For most, Tuesday night offered a fun, lighthearted moment. President Obama appeared on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and among other things, “slow jammed” the news. In the process, Obama used the opportunity to urge Congress to extend lower interest rates on student loans, a top White House priority.
I realize we’re in a political environment in which every move the president makes will draw reflexive criticism from the right, but the pushback on this is pretty silly.
Fox News has responded to President Obama’s appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon by suggesting that Obama is somehow denigrating the office of the presidency. For instance, today on Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said that it’s “nutso” for Obama to go on “these comedy shows” because it “lowers the status of the office.”
On the April 23 edition of the show, Fox News host Dana Perino – a press secretary for President George W. Bush – said that Bush had “a very different outlook on these comedy shows. He liked them, he respected them, but he never went on during his presidency.”
Carlson said that it’s “hard to believe that in 2012, we have presidents and candidates considering to go on these comedy shows, and even host, like, Saturday Night Live.”
Actually, it’s not hard to believe at all. George W. Bush appeared on a game show in 2008; Bill Clinton talked about his underwear on MTV in 1994; and my personal favorite, Richard Nixon appeared on “Laugh In” to deliver the show’s signature catch phrase in 1968.
Not only is there precedent, it’s not even especially new for Obama, who, as president, has also appeared on “The Daily Show” and “The Tonight Show.” The stature of the presidency endures.
And yet, not only is Fox News complaining, but the Republican National Committee is launching a web ad going after the president for his “Late Night” appearance.
There have to be better things for Republicans to complain about.
Update: Rush Limbaugh complained about this yesterday, too.