he video: President Obama "kept his jokes to a minimum" on Jay Leno's Tonight Show on Tuesday, and instead used his fourth appearance on the program to talk seriously about everything from his jobs bill to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq (see a video clip below). Obama said the demise of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya should send "a strong message around the world to dictators that people long to be free," adding that jubilant Libyans shouldn't "relish" the way Gadhafi was killed. Obama did touch on a few lighter topics, including his disapproval of his daughters' desire to watch the reality-TV family the Kardashians. Obama said he was "probably a little biased against reality TV partly because, you know, there's this program on C-SPAN called 'Congress.'"
The reaction: Facing reelection with falling poll numbers, says David Nakamura in The Washington Post, Obama wasn't out to get laughs. He was trying to "reach the widest audience possible to boost his political fortunes." Well, "Obama couldn't have found a more willing accomplice," says Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast. Leno pointed out that Obama's approval rating is three times higher than Congress' — was this an Obama "infomercial" written by David Axelrod? With all the pain Americans are facing, says David Zurawik at the Baltimore Sun, "it's outrageous for our president to be playing these calculated, dippy, little TV games." What we need right now is "real leadership." Judge for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Pope Francis' American problem
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- How to develop a photographic memory in 4 easy steps
- 12 holiday gifts for the hardest-to-shop-for people on your list
Subscribe to the Week