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Letterman and Obama: The clip and review
President Obama will be on "Late Show with David Letterman" in a couple hours, and without further ado . . .
By the way, this clip addresses the Mother Jones controversy. I will return for a larger take on the full interview tomorrow; but of course you already knew that.
And as promised, my two cents! Last night's interview was as expected a free ride for the president, who didn't break a sweat and didn't have to. The president scores! Dave? Somewhat less so. It does bear pointing out that the host of "Late Show with David Letterman" is not a journalist, is not beholden to standards of fairness, is not required to demonstrate nonpartisanship, has every right to ask whatever he wants, say whatever he wants — within reason — and otherwise conduct his great late night talk show in whatever manner he so chooses. But one is also within one's right to ask — at what point is Dave supposed to convey just the slightest scintilla of skepticism? Or interject just the briefest rejoinder along the lines of . . . "Umm, well yes Mr. President but what about . . .?
Fist-bumping . . . saying he "loves" Joe Biden . . . asking about the White House basement brewery . . . talking about weight . . . or Dave's son's kitty: All fair and reasonable and fun within the confines of an entertainment talk show. But maybe just a moderately more sophisticated question about the national debt then "who do we owe that money to?" or whether the murder of U.S. envoy Christopher Stevens constitutes "an act of war?"
Letterman's a very smart, informed guy and of course he's an Obama supporter — he's never made any secret of that and there's no reason he should — but last night did feel a little bit too easy, a little too remote, and much, much too out of touch on the part of the host. There are a bunch of desperately worried people out there, Dave — Democrats and Republicans, many of them your own viewers. It wouldn't have hurt to have demonstrated an empathetic grasp of what some of them are going through . . .