This is historic.According to NBC, no sitting president has ever appeared on a late night talk show.Barack Obama is going to change that.From the Washington Post:
Late-night comedy shows have become a standard pit stop for presidential candidates, who hope to humanize themselves -- and reach a broader audience -- by displaying an actual sense of humor.But is it a wise move for a sitting president? At a time when he's struggling with a tanking economy and a banking bailout mess?The White House has decided the answer is yes. On Thursday evening in Burbank, Calif., President Obama will take his comedy stylings to Jay Leno's show....There are benefits for NBC's "Tonight Show" as well, especially as Leno prepares for a nightly 10 p.m. program that debuts this fall. Obama is a ratings magnet, and Leno is likely to draw big numbers on Thursday. Obama probably won't face a "60 Minutes"-style grilling, either.Team Obama is desperate.I think they're worried about Obama's support eroding.
A new poll by the independent Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has found that President Barack Obama's popular support is eroding, with his approval rating dropping below 60 percent."President Barack Obama's approval rating has slipped, as a growing number of Americans see him listening more to his party's liberals than to its moderates, and many voice opposition to some of his key economic proposals," the Pew Center concluded.Its new survey finds Obama's approval rating falling to 59 percent from 64 percent in February. It also finds the ranks of Americans who disapprove of the president's job performance rising, to 26 percent from 17 percent.Among those who registered a jump in disapproval were Republicans, up 15 percentage points, and independents, up 13 points, Pew found.It makes sense that Obama would want to appear on Leno.Leno will be a complete suck-up. Obama can present his ideas and go totally unchallenged.Obama will crack some jokes and try to remind Americans of the good old days, the campaign days when about half the country believed he was the messiah. It's kind of pathetic. He's looking for an outlet to get the spark back into the dying relationship.This will be some relaxed wooing, no teleprompter. Obama will appeal to people who get their nightly news from late night talk show comedy, an easy sell.Phil Rosenthal, the Chicago Tribune, nails it when he points out what Obama is trying to do. He writes:
The new resident on Pennsylvania Avenue dropping in on a late-night comedy gabfest to talk about the economy when he could get TV time without leaving his Oval Office desk?That is news.By agreeing to be Leno's guest on "The Tonight Show," President Barack Obama is venturing into a genre that has become a requisite touchstone for rising high-profile pols. But it's territory where NBC says a sitting president, always a sitting duck in the nightly monologues, never before has sat as a guest.I disagree with that.Obama is NOT a "sitting duck in the nightly monologues."Obama is untouchable. Leno makes no jokes at Obama's expense. The honeymoon rolls on in the late night talk show realm.
Forget the old NBC line, "If it's Sunday, it's ' Meet the Press.' " Thursday's gambit is "Bypass the Press" as Obama, whose audiobook narration earned him recording industry honors, tries to get the nation to sing his tune concerning his pricey bid to pull the country out of its recession.A "Tonight Show" spokeswoman said the president plans to chat up his economic plan and other topics with Leno over three segments. Asked if Obama will be funny, an unidentified White House official told The New York Times, "As funny as the times allow."Yes, Obama will benefit by bypassing the press in taking over Thursday late night TV on his own terms.However, I think this could come back to bite Obama. Sitting presidents don't go on the Tonight Show to promote their latest projects. Larry the Cable Guy does that, not the president of the United States. He risks looking extremely unpresidential. Not good. But I guess it's not such a bad thing for him. Obama is different. His glory days were before he was inaugurated.This Tonight Show appearance is proof positive that Obama doesn't really know how to be a president. He just plays one on TV.