Obama faces Stewart on the Daily Show
President Obama and Jon Stewart were themselves last night as the cerebral chief executive fielded questions from the comedically serious host of "The Daily Show." And thank goodness. Nothing is sadder than when someone not known for humor tries to be funny. Obama had a job to do -- talk to young voters (18-29), pray they listen to what he has to say and hope they turn out in big numbers on Tuesday -- and he did it well.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Barack Obama Pt. 1|
Stewart channeled the frustrations of progressives and young people from the beginning of the interview when he said, "You ran on very high rhetoric, hope and change, and the Democrats this year seem to be running on 'please, baby, one more chance.'" He continued, "How did we go in two years from 'hope and change,' 'we are the people we've been looking for' to 'you're not going to give them the keys, are you?'" This provided the president the opportunity to rattle off his list of accomplishments. You know the list by now. Prevented another Great Depression. Stabilized the economy. Passed historic health-care and financial regulatory reform. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
To those disillusioned and dispirited by the slow pace of change, Obama counseled that it wasn't change you can believe in in 18 months. He also modified his campaign mantra of "yes, we can" to "yes, we can -- but it's not going to happen overnight." He lauded fellow Democrats representing conservative districts, such as Rep. Tom Perriello (Va.), who took tough votes and are now facing tough reelection battles back home. His implicit message throughout was that he needs Democrats to hold the House if he is to continue making progress on the issues he campaigned on.
An interesting moment came when Stewart asked if the federal government was agile enough to handle the problems and issues it needs to address. Obama zeroed in on the Senate's 60-vote filibuster rule, which "is not in the Constitution" (got that, Tea Partyers?!) and how congressional districts are drawn as two areas in politics that "are going to have to be fixed." The former reduces the need for compromise by either party. The latter leads to extremely safe districts ("90 percent Democrat or 90 percent Republican") that adds to the polarization of the electorate. Obama didn't spell out exactly what he would do to "fix" them.
But those are long-term issues. Obama's more pressing short-term goal was articulated at the very end of the Stewart interview. "Go out there and vote Nov. 2," he said. "A lot of you have early voting in your states make sure...to make use of it." In five days, we'll find out if they did.
| October 28, 2010; 7:19 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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