Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC
For most voters, a sense of humor probably doesn't top the list of important qualities in a president. (Abe Lincoln sure isn't remembered for practical jokes or witty punch lines!) But if a comic sensibility did come into play, Barack Obama would be way ahead in the polls right now.
While Mitt Romney has shied away from light-hearted interviews on entertainment shows, Obama has recently visited Late Night With David Letterman, The View and The Daily Show. And on Wednesday night, he chatted with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.
Watch Part 1 here:
"There's a little caffeine drinking going on on Air Force One," quipped Obama, who appeared relaxed and alert despite a jam-packed campaign schedule that's seen him log thousands of travel miles in the last few days. Almost immediately, Leno remarked on Obama's off night during the first debate, and asked whether he was glad they were over.
"I was sort of getting the hang of it," Obama replied coolly, without missing a beat. Then he pointed out that debates are an awkward way of communicating, and Leno suggested he should be used to it. "You have a wife, don't you?" he asked.
The interview topics ranged broadly, from tax cuts to abortion rights to the deficit. But the highlight of the segment came when Leno asked why Donald Trump had such a problem with Obama. (Trump has made a series of absurd, politically motivated requests of Obama, asking to see his birth certificate and, more recently, his high school transcripts.)
During the next segment, Obama poked a little fun at his famously coiffed adversary -- watch here:
"This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya," Obama explained with a devilish grin. "We had constant run-ins on the soccer field. You know he wasn't very good and he resented it. When we finally moved to America I thought it would be over. But no."
It's tough to imagine Romney being this clever on a late night talk show. But he is smart enough to know that a funny bone isn't necessary for the nation's top job. During a fundraiser, he explained that he turned down Saturday Night Live because it "has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential."
True, it takes skill to manage the entertainment shows without losing credibility. For what it's worth, it's one area where Obama, well, trumps the competition.
Watch the rest of the interview here: