Obama After Hours
The announcement that President Obama will appear Thursday as a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno is a pretty minor item in the grand scheme of things, but you don’t often see sitting presidents showing up for interviews on late night television. They are much more likely to provide a good setup for the monologue, although I have heard several hosts note that Obama has thus far proved more difficult to caricature than other recent presidents.
The White House knows the visit will get massive free media coverage, precisely because these kinds of appearances by presidents while in office don’t happen very often. But its suggestion that the president will use the time for a substantive discussion on the economy could make for an awkward show segment, as would any attempt to modulate Obama’s demeanor simply because of the current economic crisis. I understand the need to not look like you are having a knee-slapping good time while others are suffering, but this kind of stage-managing often creates more problems than it avoids.


Posted On: 03-16-2009 19:01:46 by Jim Splaine
Dean, I think the problem with you and I and a lot of political observers and politician-types is that we think everyone's paying attention to what we're paying attention to. My "ego" is always brought home when I see friends, especially those I haven't seen for a while, who often -- very often -- ask if I'm still in "that politics stuff." Or when I get a call from someone from my area who says they vote -- they probably do -- but has no idea they've ever seen my name or knows I've been in the Legislature for God knows how long. By Barack Obama going on the Jay Leno show, he's reaching hundreds of thousands of people who didn't hear his Inaugural Address, haven't watched even one of his televised news conferences, and could care less about how many Cabinet nominees have withdrawn their candidacies. They're not stupid people. They just have lots of other things to do in their lives, and watching politics isn't one of them. President Obama will have a chance to share a few minutes of their time. That's a good thing for him, and his Administration and causes.

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