In the midst of a media news blitz ahead of the midterm elections next Tuesday, President Barack Obama made some time to appear on "The Daily Show" on Wednesday night. The president sat down with host Jon Stewart for a humorous interview that was laced with serious critiques. It was the first time a sitting president appeared on the show, and the entire episode was dedicated to the interview.
Stewart opened the interview by proudly presenting Obama with "Mug Force One," a mug with the presidential seal on it. After a brief exchange of jokes, the interview quickly moved to some humorous pointed questions about the gap between Obama's soaring rhetoric and the current state of the nation.
"Are we the people we were waiting for? Or, does it turn out those people are still out there and we don't have their number? How are you feeling about that?" asked Stewart.
The question drew a laugh out of the president and he responded, as he did for most of the show, by defending his agenda. President Obama recognized the difficult circumstances, but said that he was, "feeling great about where the American people are, considering what we have gone through." He continued by listing accomplishments such as stopping a second great depression, slowly growing the economy, and passing health-care, financial and credit-card reform.
Perhaps the most barbed moment of the night came when Stewart said the Obama presidency was "timid" about important legislation, such as health care. "Sometimes I don't even know what you want in health legislation," Stewart asked. President Obama responded seriously, saying, "Jon, I love your show but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you — I don't want to lump you in with other pundits." He went on to describe major parts of the bill, saying that a health-care bill that will cover 30 million people is hardly "timid."
"This is what I think most people would see as significant piece of legislation as we've seen in this country's history," he said.