Obama, Stewart Together One Last Time

It was a bittersweet night for two men who history will link together forever. There was something about the way that Barack Obama walked on stage at The Daily Show on Tuesday night. When Jon Stewart introduced the president for the sixth and final time, Obama applauded as much as the audience did. He clapped, presumably for Stewart and the crowd, and walked across the set with poise and confidence. Obama strode out looking like a boss.

So often on talk shows, where they always feel a bit vulnerable, politicians display some false modesty or pander to the audience. Not Obama. He behaved as though he belonged there, and that everyone was happy to see him. It’s as if he was returning to Rome after salting the earth of some Carthaginian village. When appearing before an audience as liberal as the one at The Daily Show (and those watching at home), Obama is a little bit like the conquering hero, especially after his recent peace accord with Iran.

But after the hugs and a few jokes about how he is going to issue an executive order to keep Stewart from leaving the show, what we were really looking at was two men looking to cement their legacies with the public.

This was Stewart’s last time interviewing Obama before leaving his post at The Daily Show in mid-August. Obama has been appearing on the show since 2005, when he was a senator, but this interview was a lot less harsh than Stewart’s questioning of the commander-in-chief than his 2012 visit. But still Stewart was pressing the president on important matters, showing off his skill as an interviewer and displaying one of the sharper political minds in the media, though one that is quicker to make a joke about “future president Trump” than most others.

Something that President Obama learned over the years visiting the Daily Show , he clearly knows that he’s better at taking a joke than making a joke. He laughs appropriately when Stewart brings the funny, but he doesn’t try to get in on the comedy. Obama stayed on script, but shared the stage with Stewart, two men basking in the afterglow of the best parts of their careers, and it was a sunset worth posting on Instagram.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.