White House Correspondent
Marking the first time a sitting president has appeared on "The Daily Show
," on Wednesday evening President Obama will sit down with host Jon Stewart at the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington to tape an episode of the popular Comedy Central show. (The interview will air later, at 11 p.m.) It's not the first time the president has appeared on a non-traditional, entertainment-focused program: Earlier this summer he appeared on the female-oriented talk show "The View
," discussing -- among other things -- Lindsay Lohan, Snooki, and the war in Iraq.
On Tuesday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs brushed aside any concerns about the conflation of entertainment -- Stewart has avowed
that he is a comic, not a politician -- and the highest office in the land. "We've had entertainers join things like Rock the Vote
to help register people to vote and help get people involved," said Gibbs. "Efforts that help get people involved in and excited in participating in that democracy on either side is a good thing."
He added that given the widespread media market -- including print, television, radio and online outlets -- and the voracious public appetite for it, "the president hasn't been shy about going to the places where people are getting their information and trying to make his case. And I think that's what he'll do on the show."
The timing on the appearance is no mystery: The November midterms are less than a week away, and the president is pulling out all the stops
to get young voters engaged and out to the polls. "The Daily Show" is particularly popular among 18-to-34-year-olds -- a considerable part of Obama's base in 2008 but a demographic that traditionally stays at home
during the midterms. What's more, the show will air three days before Stewart's planned rally to "Restore Sanity" on the National Mall -- Stewart has been broadcasting from Washington all week in advance of it, and having the commander in chief turn up three days beforehand likely won't hurt
turnout for the event.
Gibbs clarified that the president's appearance on the show was not necessarily intended to gin up support for the rally: "Jon Stewart announced a long, long time ago that he would be in Washington before the existence of the rally," he said. "We signed up to do the show many months ago, I think long before the existence of the rally."