On Tuesday afternoon, I caught up with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in his office, and the conversation turned to President Obama’s decision last year to appear on both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman. Gibbs was insistent:
I actually, truth be told, was shocked that basically [David] Axelrod and I were the first two people in the history of the republic to decide to put the President of the United States on Leno and Letterman. It was two of the easiest decisions that we had to make. Tons of people are watching it, and different types of people.
So I asked the natural follow up, “Do you want to do the Daily Show?” Gibbs did not hesitate.
“I think the President would love to, just maybe not Colbert.” He went on to explain:“I have yet to see a politician best Stephen Colbert in an interview on his show,” Gibbs said, laughing. “I mean, he’s really, really good.”
So there you have it. My role as matchmaker is now complete. Jon Stewart, you should make a phone call. Gibbs is on the record. The President of the United States wants to do your show.
As for Stephen Colbert, tough luck. But I wonder, Stephen, are you just going to sit there and take that sort of treatment from the commander in chief? If he can’t face you, how prepared is he to handle, among other things, the international hug-a-horrible cute bear threat?
UPDATE: Greg Sargent tracks down a Comedy Central spokesman who says Obama is welcome to either show “anytime he wants.” Still no comment from Colbert regarding Obama bear readiness.