March 20, 2009

When Big Ears met Big Chin

Obama makes history again.This time by appearing on Leno and becoming the first sitting president to appear on a chat show. (NBC, whose ratings have been flailing - just 1 program - Sunday night football - in top 20 Nielsen ratings - and whose sister-channel, CNBC has received a lot of flak in recent days, pulled a big one with this interview! Even Leno thought so wondering why O would choose NBC to make an appearance: "You would think by this time he (Obama) would be tired of big companies on the brink of disaster with a bunch of overpaid executives." :) Even NBC CEO Zucker's cheerleading for his cheerleaders may not be enough! Saying things like "I don't want to say ratings don't matter. It's just that they are not the only gauge anymore" seems to me to be ostrich-with-head-in-sand syndrome!)

Back to Obama and the interview. When we're talking about Obama, the eager-to-judge critics cannot be far behind!
While most of the people on The Tonight show will promote a film or record, Mr Obama will be pushing his economic rescue plan for America. Critics accused him of dumbing down the presidency and of blurring the line between politics and entertainment....via

Dumbing down the presidency? Diminishing the presidency? Really? (most comments to the article say NAY!) Sigh! Expected partisan response to the interview overall!

More right-leaning: Faced with plummeting polls and Boston Tea Party-like rebellions popping up all over the country, President Barack Obama is attempting to save his faltering presidency by going to the last place that still accepts him: Hollywood.
More left-leaning: With rock solid poll numbers (higher than Reagan at this point in the presidency), President Barack Obama has the courage to leave the Washington echo chamber and talk to the common man.

To me, his appearing on the show shows that he is not going to let stupid rules stop him from connecting with the people. Break old norms. CHANGE. This is what he is about!

Like this article says:
The appearance will extend Mr Obama's habit of speaking past the Washington media and ditching the capital for events that distance him from the Beltway status quo. For those keeping account, Mr Obama might be sending a signal by going on the Tonight Show and skipping Saturday night's Gridiron Club dinner. The dinner is a white-tie highlight of the capital's social season. But Mr Obama plans to spend the evening with his family, becoming the first president since Grover Cleveland not to show up for the first such dinner of his presidency. "He's kind of setting a tone that he's not going to be restrained by the rules," said Michael Dimock, associate director of the nonpartisan Pew Research Centre.

Unbelievable though that he has to defend himself for even the smallest of things. Obama should not have to answer to every barking dog! I think he should not have even responded to the critics - esp. when their whines are ridiculous... a short interview is keeping him from his real work? Really? Geez!!
President Barack Obama is defending his appearance on Jay Leno's late-night talk show. He says his Thursday appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" is not keeping him from pressing matters. Some critics have questioned whether the television stint distracts from his work to fix the economy. Obama says he can do more than one thing at a time and is working on a host of issues, including climate change and health care reform.

Because you can bet... right-leaning people will wring their hands in desperation over his "callousness" over this remark during the Leno appearance though his comments about AIG, tax policy, and his taking full responsibility "to fix" the economic woes the US faces formed a major part of his discussion with Leno. Of course, as things go, the Simon Cowell/American Idol comment probably gets the most coverage in newspapers this morning!
"I'm excited, I'm honored to introduce my next guest, the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama," Leno said as his studio band played "Hail to the Chief."

Leno asked if it was fair to be "judged so quickly" after less than two months in office.

"I welcome the challenge," Obama said. "In Washington, it's a little bit like 'American Idol,' but everybody is Simon Cowell. Everybody's got an opinion."

And more humor, including the witty comment that it was "mere coincidence that his Final Four picks were all from swing states"....
Leno pressed him on when daughters Malia and Sasha would get their pet dog.

"This is Washington. That was a campaign promise," Obama replied to the pet question, drawing audience laughter. "No, no, no, no, no, I'm teasing. The dog will be there shortly."

Anyways, why am I quoting excerpts. Here's a transcript of the interview, if you want. But better to hear it from the Chief's mouth. Here's what you are waiting for - a link that leads to the video. Happy viewing, in case you didn't catch it on tv last night.

P.S. The subject title is not something I made up. Its a headline which the Brits thought up! ;)
When Big Ears met Big Chin -

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