Next week President Obama will go on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” for a taped interview on October 27th. It is unclear at this point when the interview will actually air on television. The interview between Stewart and the President will take place just days before Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” in Washington D.C. on October 30th. The rally is expected to be a very large event, as over 200,000 people have already pledged to attend via Facebook (though it is unclear how many will actually attend). In addition, President Obama’s interview comes just days before the crucial 2010 midterm elections on November 2nd.
The White House likely arranged the interview as part of the President’s ongoing effort to energize the Democratic base ahead of the midterm elections. Stewart is very popular among many liberals, and his television audience features the demographic Democrats will need to go out and vote this fall. In the interview, President Obama will likely get a chance to refute some of the most common criticisms he faces from liberals. In addition, the interview will simply raise the President’s profile and remind young people of the upcoming election. Finally, the President will also likely try to resonate with Stewart’s message of moderation in the “Rally to Restore Sanity.” Stewart’s attempt to give a voice to the sane has turned out to be a very popular idea, and the President has already endorsed the rally.
While Stewart is known as a comedian, he has increasingly gained a reputation as serious media critic and political commentator. After Walter Cronkite died, an online poll found that a plurality of respondents called the Stewart the “most trusted man in news.” Conservatives will likely criticize the interview with President Obama as a joke, but if Stewart follows the pattern of previous interviews the President will face some tough questions. Stewart has hosted a number of the President’ advisors and Cabinet members. Each time Stewart has pressed them on why the Obama administration has allegedly not “lived up to the promise” of the 2008 campaign. Specifically, Stewart seems to take issue with various compromises and deals made in passing health care reform. Stewart also has blamed the Obama administration for not “changing the tone” in Washington D.C. as the President promised. If the President can answer these kindx of criticisms successfully the interview will be a success. If the President fails to provide good responses then it may actually cost him with his base.
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