Tonight marks President Barack Obama’s first appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, but it’s not the first time POTUS has made stops on the late-night circuit. Until former actor Ronald Reagan moved into the Oval Office, it was unheard of for the president to debase his political capital by visiting the same talk shows that trade in celebrities and animal segments. These days, it’s a required a stop on the campaign trail and an extension of the State of the Union address (minus the drinking games).
Indeed, conservative website the Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that Obama and First Lady Michelle — who appeared on Late Night in February — have overtaken the Reagans as the most televised presidential couple in history. Even after 2008 opponent John McCain dismissively referred to Obama as a “celebrity,” Obama has been unabashed about appearing on a number of talk shows, including The View, The Daily Show, the Today show, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He’s also filmed segments for programs ranging from The Colbert Report to American Idol and Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl. Below, we run down some of his notable appearances.
The Tonight Show (Oct. 25, 2011)
Obama’s most recent visit to Leno’s couch was his second. (He granted The Tonight Show his first major TV appearance post-inauguration back in 2009.) As the 2012 Republican primaries were heating up, Obama was in full-on campaign mode, offering details about the May 2011 take down of Osama bin Laden and the future of Iraq and Afghanistan, among other topics. The gravity of the conversation (considering how many times Leno has featured the likes of Snooki and Lauren Conrad) testifies to the weight that Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, gives to these appearances.
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