“No one’s interested in my bullsh*t tonight. Let’s get right to it – I’m sure there’s a fundraiser he has to be at,” Jon Stewart said tonight, kicking off the taping of The Daily Show with guest President Barak Obama.
One night after The Daily Show forecast that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump could become the country’s “first openly a**hole president,” Stewart played host to our current president one last time before giving up the Comedy Central late-night chair on August 6.
“I can’t believe that you’re leaving before me,” Obama joked. “I’m going to issue an executive order: Jon Stewart cannot leave the show.
“It’s being challenged in the courts,” the president snarked.
“To me this is a states’ rights issue,” Stewart argued.
As forecast, talk turned quickly to Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Obama joked that critics of his deal seemed to think, “if you had brought Dick Cheney to the negotiations, everything would be fine.”
“It appears that you’re feeling it a little bit right now,” Stewart said of Obama’s recent victories, including the Iran deal. “Do you feel like seven years in–…”
“I know what I’m doing?” Obama interrupted. “A lot of the work that we did early starts bearing fruit, late,” he boasted. “The way I’m feeling right now is, I’ve got 18 months,” Obama said, adding that he plans to tackle climate change and fuel-efficiency standards before he’s out of office.
“Whose team are we on in the Middle East?” Stewart wondered, before ticking off the maze of alliances and animosities in that region.
“That’s not quite right, but that’s OK,” Obama said before Stewart interrupted: “Who are we bombing?”
During a portion of the interview that was cut for length, but could be seen on the show’s web site, Stewart dinged Obama on his record with regard to fixing the Veterans Administration, saying he had come into office promising reform but “couldn’t do it after five years.”
“If you have a government that was built on 1930 models and it’s not updated for decades, there’s going to be a gap, relative to what other folks do,” Obama responded defensively.
Stewart said VA waiting times were back up to as bad as they had been, adding, “You’ll find almost unanimous agreement that you’ve failed.” Obama explained that a lot of people were coming home from the wars, which triggered Stewart’s snark, “When you got a lot of wars” that’s not a big surprise.
And, so, the afternoon wore on. Obama noted that Stewart and others had jumped on the story of IRS employees targeting conservatives, which, “it turns out” wasn’t true, the president said. Congress, Obama said, “passed a crummy law” that provided vague guidance to the people who worked at the IRS, and its employees implemented the law “poorly and stupidly.”
“Boy, you really do have only a year left!” Stewart marveled of Obama’s candor.
Obama said he feels strongly he that “stuff gets better if we work at it and we stay focused on where we are going.” By way of example, he noted that, when he was running for office, people put up all these “Hope” posters, suggesting everything would be fixed right away.
“We didn’t make those. You made those,” Stewart noted. “I’m pretty sure they came from you.”
After taping his guest-gig on The Daily Show, Obama was on his way to raise money for Senate Democrats at a private home in New York City before returning to Washington late Tuesday.
Obama was making his third and final visit as POTUS to The Daily Show, leading up to Stewart’s last show next month. An Obama visit has become one of the stations of the cross for veteran late-night hosts who are bowing. In May, he was one of David Letterman’s last guests as host of CBS’ Late Show, which marked his third visit.
“We’ve grown up with you, this country. And after … coming home from work, knowing you’ve been there to give us a little bit of joy, a little bit of laughter. It has meant so much,” Obama told Letterman, for instance, in that so-long stop. “You’ve given us a great gift, and we love you,” he added. And, in December, Obama booted Stephen Colbert from his The Colbert Report anchor chair at George Washington University, as Colbert was about to do his “The Word” segment, which Obama upgraded to “The Decree,” the subject of which would be Obamacare, aka To Health In A Hand Basket.”