Does it bother me that Barack Obama called a female reporter "sweetie"? Sure. It's patronizing as hell. You don't have to have a vigilant inner feminist to see that.
But as a parent of two girls, as is he, I'm actually surprised it doesn't happen to him more often. "Hold on a second, sweetie" is a stock phrase in my house, and I'll bet it is in his, too.
Am I looking for reasons not to be bothered by this because I think he's terrific and I don't want to like him less? Yeah maybe. But I also know how easy it is to slip into auto-parent mode. It happens. So I'm prepared to let this one go.
I am so going to call him "sweetie" if we ever meet, though.
"Mr. President, sweetie," that is.