A Daily Show Obama interview was a calculated move from the President. The Daily Show Obama interview let him respond to criticisms over his presidency, in hopes of getting a final boost for the Democrats. Since he appeared on a friendly program – albeit one that’s expressed disappointment over him as well – he got more than enough time to tout his record. Of course, that still doesn’t change how many Democrats don’t want to run on his record anyway. Yet the Daily Show appearance let the President use a comedy program to make a serious defense.
For the first time, Jon Stewart’s program devoted the entire half-hour to one interview. But since this was the first time the show had a sitting president on, it was a special occasion. Yet the President is no stranger to the Comedy Central news shows, as he ordered Stephen Colbert’s head shaved in Iraq.
However, the Daily Show Obama episode was aired live, had the President in the studio, and did not have any pre-taped bits. As it turned out, President Obama did much of the talking, and did not get into too much comedic banter with Stewart.
The President defended the accomplishments of his administration, in spite of declining polls and low hopes for the midterms. He got particularly defensive midway through, when Stewart pointed out how many regard his achievements as “timid,” especially with health care.
As he and the Democrats have done for some time, the President pointed out how change cannot grow overnight. Yet in the second half of the interview, Stewart reminded him of the high-minded rhetoric and promises he used on the campaign.
In spite of the harsh reality and compromises of the last two years, the President explained that progress had been made. In the case of health care, he said that they got “90 percent” of what they wanted, yet some are focused on the 10 percent they didn’t get. In the case of the economy, he touted how a second Great Depression was held back – even with the same old people helping him, like Larry Summers.
Stewart pointed out that the President said not to expect different results from the same people, yet he hired Summers anyway. However, he said that Summers had done “a heck of a job” – which has not been a wise thing for past presidents to say.
The Daily Show interview may not help the President turn things around. It may not even be the biggest event with Stewart this week, given his “Rally To Restore Sanity” on the weekend. Yet, given Stewart’s high profile lately, it was worth a shot for the embattled President to try to get a bump.
If any momentum was garnered from the Daily Show appearance, the Commander-in-Chief has just five days to build on it before Election Day.
The Daily Show- “October 27, 2010 – Barack Obama”
Comcast.net- “For Obama, election politics no laughing matter”