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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Obama finds Jon Stewart show is nothing to laugh about

President Obama and Jon Stewart (AFP)

President Barack Obama apparently thinks politics is no laughing matter, even when he’s staring down a comedian.

Obama barely cracked any jokes during an appearance Wednesday on “The Daily Show” despite host Jon Stewart‘s attempts to draw out the president’s humorous side with a few of his own snarky wisecracks.

Less than a week before the critical Nov. 2 congressional elections, Obama said he hopes Democratic lawmakers who made tough votes will be rewarded with another term in office. He promised more accomplishments in the two years left on his own term in the Oval Office and urged people to vote — early if they can.

Stewart asked how the political environment got to the point that Democrats “seem to be running on ‘Please, baby, one more chance'” just two years after Obama ran a successful presidential campaign built around “very high rhetoric, hope and change.”

“Are you disappointed in how it’s gone?” asked the Comedy Central satirist.

Obama seemed to suggest that he wasn’t disappointed. He said his advisers had told him during the euphoria of his 2008 election to “enjoy this now because two years from now folks are going to be frustrated. That is, in fact, what’s happening.”

He listed as reasons a 9.6 percent unemployment rate, sinking housing values and an economy that is growing but not fast enough. But Obama said his administration has also stabilized the economy, noting it has grown for nine months in a row. He also signed major health care and financial legislation. Obama suggested that his administration did so much that “we have done things that some folks don’t even know about.”

The comment seemed to catch Stewart by surprise.

“What have you done that we don’t know about?” he asked. “Are you planning a surprise party for us, filled with jobs and health care?”

Obama cited legislation extending health care to more children and broadening a national service program as examples.

“Over and over again, we have moved forward an agenda that is making a difference in people’s lives each and every day,” Obama replied. “Is it enough? No. And so I expect, and I think most Democrats out there expect, that people want to see more progress.”

The interview, which allowed Obama to take his campaign message to the type of audience that gets political news from programs like Stewart’s, seemed more wonkish than slapstick.

Stewart pressed Obama on the changed political climate in the country and questioned him about the new health care law. The president defended his record as well as Democrats, who are expected to suffer a drubbing at the polls Tuesday. Obama was the guest for the entire show. Stewart is taping the show in Washington this week ahead of a rally he’s holding Saturday on the National Mall.

At one point, though, when Obama asked to say something about members of Congress, Stewart prompted laughter by asking, “Are you going to curse?”

Stewart poked at Obama for saying during the presidential campaign that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

“So here you are, you’re two years into your administration and the question that arises in my mind: Are we the people we were waiting for or does it turn out those people are still out there and we don’t have their number?” the comedian intoned, suggesting that someone in the White House needs to call them up.

There was even more laughter when Obama used a now-notorious Washington phrase to defend Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser who is leaving the administration at the end of the year. Stewart reminded Obama that he’d once said that different results won’t come from the same people. Then Obama hired Summers, who had served in the Clinton administration.

Obama said Summers “did a heck of a job,” to which Stewart said, “You don’t want to use that phrase, dude.”

That’s because in 2005, then-President George W. Bush used the phrase to describe the job his emergency management director, Michael Brown, was doing after Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters had devastated New Orleans.

On the “Daily Show,” Obama said he hopes voters will reward some Democrats from largely conservative districts who took votes they knew would be bad politically but did so anyway because they thought it was the right thing to do. He named freshman Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia, who voted for Obama’s health care overhaul and is in a tight race re-election race. Obama plans to campaign with Perriello on Friday.

“My hope is that those people are rewarded for taking those tough votes,” Obama said. “If they are, then I think Democrats will do fine on Election Day.”

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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9 thoughts on “Obama finds Jon Stewart show is nothing to laugh about”

  1. He said his advisers had told him during the euphoria of his 2008 election to “enjoy this now because two years from now folks are going to be frustrated. That is, in fact, what’s happening.”

    >Maybe his “advisers” were instrumental in causing the frustration of the masses?

    Obama suggested that his administration did so much that “we have done things that some folks don’t even know about.”

    So much for that “transparency” Obama was speaking about huh?

    All promises, empty words and smiles while shilling for the UN?
    Passing “free” trade agreements and shipping manufacturing jobs overseas while bailing out the already super-wealthy on Wall St.

    Merely an observation … there’s no anger involved. The people deserve what the people tolerate. Besides, there’s ESPN on the TV and a cold Bud in the fridge. (sarc)

    • You can’t really expect the super-wealthy to be responsible for losing on their own bets, can you? Interesting that these super-genius financial gods created the apparatus, made money on the way up, failed to recognize the pitfalls, and then made money on the way down as well. Too bad OTB doesn’t work that way, I’d be playing the ponies all day and getting subsidized by the taxpayer for my losses.

      Right now we’re witnessing the Great Leveling, only we’re not raising the rest of the world to our level, but bringing the U.S. down to third world pauper status.

  2. At one time the show was actually funny but now it is really stale. Think SNL. I guess that could also apply to the failed administration?

  3. The performance reminded me of two clowns talking to each other.

    Has serious political discourse now come to this?

    • Let me see…. a politician made statements and the host of the show offered serious arguments, criticisms, questions and counterpoints.

      Does that happen on any of the “serious” news programs anymore?

  4. I used to watch Stewart and Colbert. I would have to agree with Obama on this one. It ain’t funny any more.

    America is drowning in debt, people are suffering and dying the world over under our righteous tutelage, and the Political Class and their corporate sponsors are living large at our increasing expense. No laughing matter.

  5. What’s with Jon Stewart changing the decor of his set, to majestic Doric Columns and faux marble Greek decor? Was it because some Olympian god – Obama? – was going to “descend from Mount Olympus” to appear on his program???

    If that be the case, maybe Stewart should have chosen Indian decor – more fitting for the appearance of Hanuman – the Monkey King!

    One thing was very fitting, though. That Obama would make an appearance on a comedy show…since he’s a joke!

    • The set is different because it is new. The weeks shows were all done in D.C.

      Let the hate flow because common sense certainly isn’t.

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