Last night, President Obama made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The president started off his appearance on the show on a more serious note than expected, addressing the recent embassy closings, counter-terrorism, and the flood of NSA stories about the agency's surveillance programs. The second segment followed a similar path, as the president answered questions about Edward Snowden, whistle blower mechanisms, and even the role of public sector vs. private sector in regards to intelligence gathering.
Interview part one
Interview part two
The president’s best moments came when he spoke on the recent discriminatory laws targeted toward gay people in Russia, declaring wholesale support of Olympic athletes and expressing dismay at any potential discrimination they may face. While speaking on the economy, Leno asked the President about the political possibility of a new Works Progress Administration-style program geared at rebuilding the collapsing infrastructure that has come to symbolize fallen cities like Detroit and Baltimore, a question many have come to ponder recently.
In the final segment, the interview turned to the 2016 presidential race, and Obama's recent lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his relationship with her. The president then transitioned to speaking on his healthcare plan and it’s market exchange system, his recent comments on Trayvon Martin, and the first lady’s obesity initiatives. The president capped the interview by giving Leno a model of the limo he rides in, nicknamed “The Beast.”
President Obama’s appearance marked the sixth time he’s been on Leno’s program. While it may not rank up there with some of the all-time recognizable late-night presidential appearances, like Ronald Reagan’s sketch with Sonny and Cher, or Bill Clinton’s saxophone rendition of Heartbreak Hotel on Arsenio, or even the president’s “slow jam” on Fallon. But it was informative, and that’s ok.