Obama visits Letterman's 'Late Show' for the potato?

David Letterman motions towards White House press photographers

David Letterman motions towards White House press photographers taking pictures of his interview with President Barack Obama during a break at a taping of CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman." (Sept. 21, 2009) (Credit: AP)

The first sitting president to appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" in its 16-year history and what does he get for the trouble? A potato.

A heart-shaped one, so maybe it was worth it after all.

Looking calm and sounding relaxed, the prime-time president ventured into late night Monday night.

In town for Tuesday's UN General Assembly speech, Obama visited Letterman as the final lap of an exhaustive tour of TV studios from here to Washington, D.C.

PHOTOS: President Obama appears on the 'Late Show' with Letterman

PHOTOS: David Letterman's notable guests and moments

A final viewing was not available by deadline - this story was based on an Associated Press dispatch and a CBS clip posted on the Internet early in the evening - but it's safe to say this was not a mud wrestle.

Still, why do this, Letterman wondered? Maybe President Barack Obama said yes without giving it any consideration: "Like Bush did with Iraq." Obama explained he came by because of the aforementioned potato, given to Dave by an audience member. "The main reason I'm here? I want to see that heart-shaped potato."

Letterman got in a question about the recent Joe Wilson heckling and whether the whole incident was somehow racist, as Jimmy Carter said: "Well," said Obama, "first of all, I think it's important to realize I was actually black before the election," Obama said to huge laughs from Letterman and the audience. "So the American people gave me this extraordinary honor and that tells you a lot about where the country's at."

Responded Letterman: "How long have you been a black man?"

The president said the incident likely had more to do with the climate of the nation in general. "Whenever a president tries to bring about significant change, particularly during times of economic unease, there's a certain segment of the population that gets riled up."

PHOTOS: President Obama appears on the 'Late Show' with Letterman

PHOTOS: David Letterman's notable guests and moments

PHOTOS: Click here to see photos of President Obama in NYC

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday on social media

@Newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday