President Barack Obama, who’s not shy about appearing on late-night talk shows, is going to bypass comedian Jimmy Kimmel, for now.
The entertainment news website TMZ said yesterday that Obama would appear on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in Los Angeles while on a three-day, West Coast fund-raising trip, starting today in Seattle.
Well, not so fast. The White House acknowledged that during planning for the trip, officials had been in touch with Kimmel’s folks about doing the show.
“We elected not to do it this time,” spokesman Josh Earnest said in an e-mail, “but hope we can arrange to do it in the near future.” The White House offered no further explanation, though with conflicts in Israel and Gaza and Ukraine, along with the downing of a passenger jet, critics might have had a field day if the president took time out for an appearance on a comedy-focused show.
A spokeswoman for the show in California couldn’t be reached for comment before business hours.
Obama is still going ahead with events, scheduled weeks ago, to raise money for Democratic candidates in Seattle, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, where the president will mingle with Hollywood stars and technology moguls.
Republicans criticized Obama last week when attended two fundraisers in New York City on the same day Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was brought down by a missile in eastern Ukraine, and just hours after Israel began its ground assault into Gaza.
“This is what we used to call in the military A-W-O-L,” Arizona Senator John McCain said on Fox News.
The late night talk-show circuit is well trod ground for presidents and candidates from both parties. Obama has made five appearances as candidate or president on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” six on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and at least two on the “The David Letterman Show” on CBS.
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