Dubbed “Entertainer-in-Chief” by U.S. News reporter Kenneth Walsh, President Barack Obama will appear on the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night for the second time since his inauguration and his seventh time ever. Conservative pundits have attacked Obama for choosing to appear on Letterman while informing the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that his schedule is too full to meet regarding Iran.While the liberal media looks forward to the president’s appearance tonight, both camps can agree that this is a calculated political move by the Obama campaign.
Between the recently leaked Mother Jones video of Romney declaring “47 percent of [Americans]… are entitled” and Tuesday evening’s Letterman show, it seems the Obama campaign is looking to distract the country from the Muslim riots and protests across the globe. Larry Mendte of the The Philly Post even compared tonight’s show to the music Nero played while Rome burned around him . This may be hyperbolic, but it’s hard not to feel bitter about the state of affairs in the U.S. while such significant events on the world stage are used as nothing more than election year fodder.
In the past Obama has skillfully and charismatically balanced humor and policy to attract voters and maintain popularity. During his 2008 presidential run, Obama used his airtime with Letterman to defend his “lipstick on a pig” comment (a metaphor for McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin to distract from his support for the Bush administration’s failed economic policies) with the audience eating up his every word. Meanwhile, Obama made sure to slip in policy changes he would make if elected. Then, when he returned in 2009 Obama attempted to reassure the nation that his policies were reversing the recession and that America was on the right track again – a message the president will most probably reiterate tonight.
Despite conservative fears (read: hopes) that the president will merely trade jokes with Letterman, Obama will use the considerable audience to refine his message and address the real, current issues in the world. Expect President Obama to lay on the charm, but to also seriously address the nation. It is likely that he will speak on a combination ofsecond term campaign promises and reassurances to the country that we are better off now than we were four years ago. Whatever his message may be, it will set the tone for his campaign going into the upcoming debates and the home stretch of this election. I would assume tonight’s show will be as entertaining as the president’s earlier cameo as “Barack-oli,” but considerably more factual and relevant to the world.