Jon Stewart (Politely) Grills Obama on ‘Daily Show’ (video)

Comedian accomplishes more in interview than president has during first 18 months in office

Last Updated: October 28, 2010 @ 10:16 AM

Barack Obama was Jon Stewart's guest on "The Daily Show" on Wednesday — an historic occasion, marking the first time a sitting president has appeared on the Comedy Central program. (Also historic: Stewart called a sitting president "dude.")

With "The Daily Show" taping in Washington, D.C. this week in preparation for Stewart and Colbert's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" Saturday on the National Mall, Obama ostensibly served as the event's warm-up act. (Kind of like Jefferson Airplane opening for the Stones at Altamont — though, for Comedy Central's sake, let's hope the Hell's Angels don't show up this weekend.)

The president got an enormous ovation from the audience when he came out. That kind of welcome “does not happen when I go to the Republican Caucus meetings,” Obama joked.

But Stewart, an Obama supporter who has been critical of his administration, grilled the president — however politely — on his failure (at least so far) to back up the rhetoric of his campaign.

When Obama read off his list of recent accomplishments (including, “We have done things that some folks don’t know even about”) Stewart stopped him.

“What have you done that we don’t know about?” Stewart asked. “Are you planning a surprise party for us?”

The jokes were few, the topics (relatively) heavy, and it made for some fascinating television. It felt like Stewart accomplished more in the 25-plus-minute interview than the president has during his first 18 months in office.

As the comedian Andy Borowitz noted on his Twitter feed on Wednesday, “Tonight on ‘The Daily Show,’ the most powerful man in America will sit down with Barack Obama.” He wasn’t that far off.

Watch the first segment below, or click here for the full interview.