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In The News: President Obama Appears On The Daily Show

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President Barack Obama made a special guest appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 11 p.m. They discussed a variety of topics ranging from the president’s economic policies to the Democrats’ strategy in November to retain congress. Stewart did poignantly attack President Obama for being timid at times and not bringing the “change” to Washington that everyone initially expected.

“When we promised during the campaign ‘change you can believe in,’ it wasn’t ‘change you can believe in’ in 18 months,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to work for it.”

The biggest chunk of the show centered on banter back and forth between Stewart and the president about the healthcare legislation passed by congress last spring. Stewart argued with the president that he did not necessarily change the system, but only put forth minor tweaks, which has angered many Democrats. In a response, President Obama retorted that the bill would provide healthcare coverage for 30 million Americans, stop insurance companies from denying people coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and even introduced a patients’ bill of rights. He also warned Democrats should not focus on the negative aspects of what they did not get in the bill, but on what they did get.

“What happens is, it gets discounted because the presumption is we didn’t get 100 percent of what we wanted, we only get 90 percent of what we wanted — so let’s focus on the 10 percent we didn’t get as opposed to the 90 percent we did,” Obama said.

Although this is President Obama’s first trip to The Daily Show set as the actual president, he was a guest in 2009 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Part of the reason for the president’s guest spot on Jon Stewart’s show is because the audience for the show is geared towards a younger audience, mainly college students, who see Stewart as a comedian acting as a “stand-up journalist.”

There was some worry about President Obama appearing on the show, primarily because Stewart could make fun of him, which did occur a few times during the show by asking the president rhetorically if he was planning a surprise party for the American people filled with jobs and healthcare. Others worried the president could be blending entertainment and politics, making the president look like a celebrity more than a serious political figure.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed that accusation when he was asked by reporters at one of his daily press briefings by making the remark, “The president hasn’t been shy about going to the places where people are getting their information and trying to make his case.”

Stewart was doing the show as part of his 2010 Midterm Election coverage from Washington D.C.  His show is normally taped in New York City. Other guests on Stewart’s show included White House Chairman of Economic Advisors Austan Goolsbee on Monday and Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman on Tuesday.

The series of shows are in a lead up to a large political rally hosted by Stewart and Stephen Colbert, host of the Colbert Report, at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, Oct. 30 called the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.” The rally is making fun of Glenn Beck’s rally that occurred on August 28 called “Restoring Honor,” although Stewart has somewhat denied that claim

There have been rumors that President Obama might attend the rally, although that has not been confirmed.

Photo Credit: AFP