by Roger Caldwell

President Obama made an historic appearance on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” This was an unprecedented performance for the president and a special format for the show. It was the first time that one guest was scheduled for a single episode, who happens to be the sitting president of the United States.

Jon Stewart has recently been described as a talk show host, a comedian, a media critic, America’s anchor in waiting, the court jester, and the mouthpiece. For the president to be a guest on a comedy show indicates the collective power that television programming and stars have, and how they influence our country’s thinking. Jon Stewart has become famous by making jokes about politicians and prominent people and built his show into a successful media franchise.

On Wednesday October 27, 2010, President Obama was the featured guest, and even though there were some laughs, the tone of the show was serious. It was no mistake that President Obama was on the show six days before November 2, 2010: Election Day. Jon Stewart is a progressive liberal whose show’s demographics can help mobilize Democratic supporters and deliver the vote.

Their discussion was respectful with a touch of humor, but candid, political, informative, and educational. The show started with some humor from Jon Stewart asking the president why the Democrats were begging the country for votes by saying, “Please baby give me one more chance.” The mood of the country has changed from two years ago when the country was excited about change and the new president.

President Obama responded to this humorous question with a serious answer, and the friendly sparring was on. Obama indicated that he was well aware that the “honeymoon” with the American public would not last. He was not surprised when there was a backlash, and when the economy was not improving fast enough.

Obama talks about the unemployment rate at 9.6% and over a quarter of all the homes in America, where the price of the house is more than the market selling price. He realized that many Americans are frustrated.

Jon Stewart is extremely articulate and he kept the president on the “hot seat.” “Is the difficulty that you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered? You ran with such, if I may audacity, yet legislatively it has felt timid at times,” said Stewart.

The president’s answer to this question was, “Jon I love your show, but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you, this notion that the health care was timid. Many people concentrate on the 10% we didn’t get and forget the 90% we did get.”

It was obvious there were contentious moments during the president’s interview with Jon Stewart. As a spectator, we will never know what was rehearsed for the 30 minute program, but the host never backed down. There are questions on the American public’s mind and our president was transparent and communicative.

The president is aware in the last 18 months his administration has been extremely busy getting new laws and reforms that will fundamentally change our system. The major problems with many of the reforms are that they are still in the formative stages and they have not gotten to the citizens, on the grassroots level.

Moving forward the president made it aware that he never promised that change would be easy and it would happen overnight. In 18 months, the president is content with his accomplishments, but is not satisfied with meeting his expectation level. There are many promises that the president made during his campaign that remained unfulfilled.

When Jon Stewart asked the humorous question if the president was planning a surprise party filled with jobs and health care, I really thought for a minute, maybe the president’s second term, he could make this happen. I bet the president didn’t think this was funny.

Check Roger’s other posts and columns, PRESIDENT OBAMA WATCH at OR