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President Obama to guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on 3/19/09

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Anyone plan to watch the Tonight Show tonight on 3/19/09? President Obama makes history as the first 'sitting' Commander in Chief ever to appear on the long time talk show. Other Presidents from Reagan to Bill Clinton have also appeared but either before or after taking the Oval Office with hosts from Jack Pear to Johhny Carson and currently Jay Leno. Any reactions?


Meantime read this intresting article.




Barack Obama's Jay Leno Tonight Show visit will be a political tightrope walk

BY David Hinckley-Analysis

DAILY NEWS Entrairment Columnist


Thursday, March 19, 2009



President Barack Obama will make his first visit as President to Jay Leno and NBC's 'Tonight Show' on Thursday night.





When I heard that Barack Obama would be visiting Jay Leno on NBC tonight, my first thought was Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber of the 1930s.


No, I don't think Barack and Jay are going to pull on ski masks and knock over a First National Bank. I was thinking about a remark that's usually attributed to Sutton, even though he didn't really make it. He robbed banks, the line goes, "because that's where the money is."


Barack is visiting Jay because he's a salesman and that's where the customers are.


Everything Obama does these days is a sales pitch. That's not a snarky crack, it's just the truth. He's got this huge plan to get America back on its feet, which also means helping the world get back on its feet, and now he's got to sell it.


He's our First Salesman. He's the most important salesman in the world.


So he'll drop in on almost anyone who can rustle up a crowd. Since Leno averages somewhere around 5.7 million viewers on an average night and presumably will draw a whole lot more tonight, that's a lot of potential buyers.


That said, the idea of a sitting President chatting it up with a late-night talk show host still takes a little getting used to.


It scrambles the traditional order of televised political discourse, which is focused discussion in an uncluttered setting. It also scrambles the traditional order of late-night television, whose mission is to ease people out of a hard day and into a restful night.


I don't know about you, but when I'm trying to downshift into peaceful dreams, I don't usually start by contemplating mortgage risk ratios in the banking system, or projecting the long-term debt impact of a trillion-dollar stimulus package on my 6-year-old granddaughter Caroline.


When we turn on the TV a few minutes before midnight tonight, I'm guessing we'll hear a little icebreaking chat between Jay and Barack. Maybe on the NCAA tournament or traveling to California.


Then the President will move into explaining things like how he hopes the government can recover $165 million in, uh, performance bonuses from AIG executives. That part, presumably, will require more concentration than hearing John Stamos tell Jay he's sorry that "ER" is ending.


In a way, hearing Leno quiz Obama on the merits of federal employment stimulation is like having David Gregory invite Simon Cowell onto "Meet the Press." It just isn't what the room was built for.


On the other hand, this is also old-school thinking, because for years the media has been collectively dismantling whatever walls had traditionally been constructed between serious public discourse on important socio-political matters and pure entertainment.



Exhibit A is talk radio, which is pure and unapologetic infotainment — serious topics presented in a theatrical package whose success is tied no more to its ideology than its entertainment quotient.


That's equally true for the mushrooming crowd of political "analysis" and "debate" shows that populate, most notably, cable television. Just a few years ago, carnival-style political debate shows were confined to a few specific packages like "The McLaughlin Group" and carried on PBS.


Today you can hardly turn on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC without crashing into a dozen shows where matters like war, peace, economics and health care have become simply the vehicle for wars of endless words.


We pick a team, nuke some popcorn and settle back to root for our side. It's hardly a surprise, then, that today we can also hear a Britney Spears headline on the "CBS Evening News" and a debate about the merits of pre-recession economic intelligence on Comedy Central.


Nor is any of this an inherently bad thing. Most television viewers, excuse, me, "media consumers," care about a variety of things. They want to know if the stock market is down or the country's going to war.


Whether they admit or not, they also follow various parts of popular culture, whether it's TV shows, social networking on the Internet, music or the celebrity game.


So the idea that news outlets report on the "American Idol" winner as well as health care reform makes a great deal of sense. So much sense that newspapers have been doing it since the 18th century.


But newspapers can compartmentalize. That's not so easy on television, where one thing tends to flow into the next — and that will be the real test tonight when Jay meets Barack.


If they banter about Kobe Bryant, that breaks the ice, warms up the crowd and humanizes Obama. Which is fine, unless it also trivializes his serious points. If his home mortgage plan comes off as just one more topic, tossed in a hopper alongside how much he misses using his BlackBerry, his mission fails.


Neither Leno nor Obama would deliberately toss it there. That's just one of the things television sometimes does.


It homogenizes, makes everything run together. Years after Katie Couric occasionally wore goofy costumes to amuse viewers on "The Today Show," that was still being waved around as a reason she couldn't deliver casualty reports from Iraq on "The CBS Evening News."


Most of the risk tonight lands on Obama, because barring some disaster, Leno has already won. He's scored this huge "get" and quite probably opened the door for more victories when he starts his 10 p.m. nightly show on NBC in the fall.


For Obama it's riskier, though less so because he's pretty sharp about these things. His whole improbable election started with his team's grasp of the new media landscape.


His appreciation of the Internet alone not only reaped massive donations, but made millions of people feel like part of a movement. He's developed a relaxed, yet charismatic style that works beautifully on television, and he backs that with a confidence that enabled him to go one-on-one, live, with a not altogether sympathic interviewer like Bill O'Reilly.


Leno, it's safe to assume, will take a more deferential tone tonight. That may cause some critics to note how Obama send surrogates to the tough rooms and takes Leno himself, but then, that's not really the point.


The point is that he thinks he can sell his case to people who don't watch the Sunday morning shows. In the bigger picture, tonight's visit is part of a train that's already running full throttle.


In an age when Presidential candidates call in to raunchy morning radio shows, and the governor of New Jersey just this week asked citizens to send budget suggestions to his FaceBook page, more and more public officials clearly have decided any potential taint from being associated with trivial popular culture is outweighed by the chance to reach that not-at-all-trivial pop culture audience.



c)2009 NY Daily News, Inc.

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The Jay Leno apperence for Pres Obama produced among the highest rated shows since he took over the show from Johnny Carson almost 20 years. Despite that a minor controversy occured with an Obama joke. Here story.


President Obama sorry for 'insensitive' Special Olympics dig on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno'

BY Michael Saul



Friday, March 20th 2009




President Barack Obama has apologized for his foot-in-the-mouth quip about the Special Olympics, but the chairman of the organization said Friday he hopes the gaffe will be a teaching moment for the country.


"It's important to see that words hurt and words do matter," declared Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."


Shriver said the President's comments "can be seen as humiliating" and a "put down to people with special needs."


"This kind of language needs to be a teachable moment, I think, for our country," Shriver said. "I would hope every parent who's at home this morning watching this show could turn to their children and say it's a chance for us to recognize that when we talk about Special Olympics, when we talk about people with special needs, let's make sure we talk about it in an affirming way."


On Thursday, during his appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Obama chatted about his infamously dismal bowling skills. The commander in chief said he's been practicing at the White House bowling alley and recently scored 129.


"Oh, no, that's very good," Leno told Obama.


"It was like the Special Olympics or something," Obama joked, drawing laughter from the funnyman and his audience.


The quip immediately drew criticism on the Internet. And even before the pre-taped program aired, the White House issued an apology.


"The President made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics," Obama spokesman Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One after the taping.


Obama also called Shriver to apologize before the program aired. On ABC Friday morning, Shriver discussed the phone call.


"He expressed his disappointment and he apologized, I think, in a way that was very moving," Shriver said.


"He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate this population, certainly didn't want to embarrass or give anybody any more reason for pain."

Shriver said Obama told him he was interested in becoming more involved in the Special Olympics.


Obama "said he was a fan of the movement and, I think, importantly said he's ready to have some of our athletes over the White House to bowl, or play basketball or help him improve his score," Shriver explained.


In a statement issued Friday morning, Shriver called on the President to consider hiring a

Special Olympics athlete to work in the White House. "In so doing, he could help end misconceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world," Shriver said.


Obama's comment came just hours after he appeared with California First Lady Maria Shriver, whose mother founded the Special Olympics.


It's not the first time Obama's humor has gotten him in trouble. He apologized to former First Lady Nancy Reagan for making a crack about her consultations with an astrologer.


"I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances," Obama said last year at a news conference.


c)2009 NY Daily News, Inc. With Bill Hutchinson


My takes as i saw the show 'live' last night (3/19/09)is that it was a cold and corny joke. With that said, the media made too much of a big deal about it.

This is IMO political correctness at it worse. Hopefully the media mention it and moves on.


Any reactions?

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