Seems everybody has an opinion on President Obama appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the first time a sitting president has gone on the program and perhaps the first time a sitting president has ever been called “dude.” So let’s take a look at what the media and critics have to say about the two dads going at it:
Nancy Franklin, The New Yorker: I’m not sure what anyone gained from the encounter. Maybe Obama shored up his standing with the people who elected him—who are the same people who watch “The Daily Show.” But there wasn’t all that much substance, and there wasn’t much comedy, either. Neither of them overcame their stiffness—Obama stuttered a fair amount (at one point taking five tries to get out the word “if”) and paternalistically used the word “folks” about twenty times, when the word “people” would have done just as well, and Stewart scored low on the talk-show-host relax-o-meter.
Alessandra Stanely, NY Times: Mr. Stewart seemed to feel that he needed to voice the concerns of liberals who are disappointed in Mr. Obama’s legislative record, one he described as “timid” instead of coming up with more offbeat questions of his own. And the president, who had earlier in the day answered questions from radio talk show hosts and liberal bloggers, easily parried Mr. Stewart’s complaints about the lack of real change in Washington. As is his wont, he gave long, reasoned answers about the economy, unemployment and populist frustration that Mr. Stewart couldn’t or wouldn’t interrupt.
Joshua Greenman, NY Daily News: Obama’s handlers were supposed to be smarter than this. They were supposed to use his celebrity strategically to advance his agenda. Instead, they’ve been indiscriminate, carpet-bombing Americans with the man they elected rather than launching communications smart weapons.
JJ Sutherland, NPR: What was perhaps the most surprising part of President Obama’s appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night, was how comfortable it all seemed. The interview was fairly standard, polite, a couple of jokes. Obama seemed more relaxed than Stewart at times, but there was no sense of anyone being that surprised that a President would appear on a comedy show. It’s a tribute to how our times have changed, and a tribute to the growing influence on Mr. Stewart himself.
Hank Stuever, Washington Post: The laughs belonged mainly to Stewart. Poking gently at the president, Stewart wondered what we all wonder: Can the economy truly recover? Has the White House capitulated to Wall Street and other powerful interests? “Are we the people we were waiting for, or does it turn out those people are still out there?” the ever-meta Stewart joked.
Joe Kernen, CNBC/SquawkBox: I saw him on The View.’ Now he was on The Daily Show?’” (Pause.) “Sesame Street’ on the list coming up?”
What did you think?