President Obama ended a weekend media blitz on Monday night with a visit to “The Late Show with David Letterman.” The topics of conversation were in line with what the President discussed on his five-way Sunday morning interview.
Obama looked relaxed in the guest chair at the Ed Sullivan Theater and fielded questions about national security, health care, the environment, and heart-shaped potatoes. Wait, what? Heart-shaped potatoes?
The most unconventional part of the program was supplied by a member of the audience from Missouri named Mary Apple. Ms. Apple brought a small potato shaped like a heart along with her to the taping of the show and, upon making his entrance, Obama quipped, “I want you to know that the main reason I am here. I want to see that heart-shaped potato.” He accepted the deformed tuber and held it between his thumb and forefinger for everyone to see.
“The Late Show” was an opportunity for the President to discuss major issues without fear of a difficult follow-up question. Letterman, for his part, deftly segued between the humorous and the serious but didn’t seriously challenge any of Obama’s assertions. The sharpest exchange of the evening was infused with humor as Obama confronted recent comments about racial prejudice with the line “It’s important to realize that I was actually black before the election.” Letterman, the reigning king of late night, and Obama, the most media savvy president in U.S. history, shared a laugh. With precise timing, Letterman followed up, “How long have you been a black man?”