Is Obama's Tour of Comedy Shows Over?

Monday, 31 Jan 2011 08:45 AM

By James Hirsen

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President Barack Obama has demonstrated a lack of restraint, and it’s not just in his tendency to splurge on the taxpayer’s dime.

In the history of our country, no other sitting president has traded away a portion of his stature and appeared on a late-night comedy show.

Obama’s late-night guest spots have included ones on the shows of David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Jon Stewart. The appearances were orchestrated by a White House that was seeking to tap into the youth vote.

On the “Late Show with David Letterman,” the president delivered a prepared one-liner. It was in response to the negative reaction the public had to Obamacare and the claim from former President Jimmy Carter that the dislike of the healthcare takeover was rooted in racism.

“It’s important to realize that I was actually black before the election,” Obama quipped.

While appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Obama compared life in Washington to “American Idol,” where “everybody's got an opinion.”

“Everybody is Simon Cowell,” the president cracked.

The most troubling moment for the presidential image occurred on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” In one exchange, Stewart actually referred to the president as “dude.” After the president said that “Larry Summers did a heck of a job,” Stewart advised the commander in chief, “You don't want to use that phrase, dude.”

Stewart was referring to the same phrase that was used by President Bush when he praised FEMA head Michael Brown during the post-Hurricane Katrina situation.

Obama had added other TV venues to his ever-expanding media lineup, including ABC’s daytime talk show, “The View,” and even Discovery Channel's “MythBusters.”

These days, however, the president seems to want to convey a move to the center, and it now appears as though the White House may be altering its media strategy accordingly.

David Axelrod, the outgoing senior adviser, used an NFL analogy to describe Obama’s over the top media involvement, when he told New York Magazine, “There was a period of time in the '80s when the Bears weren’t very good, and they would hand Walter Payton the ball on every play . . . it became kind of a dreary game plan. And, you know, we have one of the great political performers of our time. But I think we degraded that to some degree by using him as much as we did in the ways we did.”

Astute followers of politics know that Obama’s re-election campaign is already underway, and as we watch closely we can see that he’s hard at it each day.

Axelrod is one of the key strategic planners, so his words matter a great deal.

Late-night production staffers may be disenchanted over the news that Obama won’t be on the couch as often as in the past. But his political scorekeepers won’t be.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, commentator, media analyst and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on various landmark decisions. Hirsen is the co-founder and chief legal counsel for Visit: Newsmax TV Hollywood:

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