Obama's Letterman Moment

More

They joked about how cold the studio was and how Sasha and Malia, when they reached the age for dating, would be surrounded by men with guns. The political performance on a talk show, once a rarity, is now a semiregular event--although Letterman noted with bitterness that George W. Bush never came on the Late Show. Nothing Obama said was particularly new or different, but if you're not used to watching Obama at length, you had to be impressed, I think, by his sheer confidence. Television is kind to the tall and thin, and that's Obama, who exuded a quiet comfort if not the sheer enjoyment that marked some of the other famed Letterman appearances like those of Bob Dole or John McCain, who Letterman also slobbered over, as well as Al Gore who famously smashed an ashtray on the show, complete with goggles, to show the idiocy of government regulations governing such things.

Did health care get a boost? Probably, a bit. Any time the president gets some space to try and reassure people he's bound to be better off. I know there's wariness of Obama being all Eurosocialist, but I thought he did a good job with one of his central arguments: No other people in the developed world has to live like this--in total fear of bankruptcy, wondering when and if they'll get reimbursed, afraid of getting fired and what it means for their health insurance. He needed more Hope, more describing what this world would be like. But as it went, he did fine.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

It's the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In