Network Morning Shows Tout 'Comedian in Chief' Obama Mocking GOP on Leno

All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered President Obama's Tuesday appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts declared: "Comedian in chief. The President hits late-night TV talking about all the people taking swings at him right now. And why what he's really worried about is what the First Lady's giving out for Halloween."

Later, fellow co-host George Stephanopoulos noted how Obama was "trying to warm up his image with a few laughs on Jay Leno's couch." White House correspondent Jake Tapper described how the President "made certain to have a few laughs" at the expense of the Republican presidential candidates. A clip followed of Leno asking if the commander in chief had been watching the GOP debates, with Obama replying: "I'm going to wait until everybody's voted off the island."

On NBC's Today, co-host Ann Curry touted Obama "taking a few shots at the GOP presidential field on The Tonight Show" while White House correspondent Kristen Welker announced the President was "smiling and upbeat" on the show.

Later, Curry asked Meet the Press host David Gregory about the "populist effort" of the late-night appearance. Gregory praised the move: "...this is some micro-targeting going out, trying to target some individual voter groups where he can make a difference on the economy. And he's trying to go to states and use forums like the Leno show where he can directly reach people and sort of get outside the din of Washington."

At the top of CBS's The Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge teased that viewers would "hear what President Obama makes of the GOP race." Later, following the clip of Obama dismissing the Republican field, news reader Jeff Glor reported: "Mr. Obama is the only sitting President to appear on The Tonight Show."


Here is a transcript of the October 26 Good Morning America coverage:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

ROBIN ROBERTS: Comedian in chief. The President hits late-night TV talking about all the people taking swings at him right now. And why what he's really worried about is what the First Lady's giving out for Halloween.

BARACK OBAMA: Halloween's coming up. And she's been giving, for the last few years, kids, fruit and raisins in the bag. And I said the White House is going to get egged.

7:05AM ET SEGMENT:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to politics. Your Voice, Your Vote. And President Obama trying to warm up his image with a few laughs on Jay Leno's couch. As the Republican field tried to figure out how to deal with a front-runner who is playing by his own rules, Herman Cain. Jake Tapper is covering it all from the White House this morning. Good morning, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER: Good morning, George. President Obama wraps up his three-day swing through the western United States today, and returning to the White House last night. He told supporters in Colorado that the fight over his jobs bill is a microcosm of the pending 2012 election battle. President Obama finished the California leg of his west coast tour, appearing on The Tonight Show, poking fun at the First Lady.

BARACK OBAMA: Halloween's coming up.

JAY LENO: Yeah.

OBAMA: And she's been giving, for the last few years, kids fruit and raisins in the bag. And I said, the White House is going to get egged.

LENO: Right.

OBAMA: If this keeps up. We need to-

LENO: Yeah, you've to go.

TAPPER: Much of the President's west coast swing has been devoted to shaking the money tree for his re-election campaign. At the Bellagio in Vegas. Tinseltown fundraisers, hosted by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. And at the home of Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas. At an off-the-record meeting with some of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry, the President asked for Hollywood's help getting him re-elected. But last night, he also made certain to have a few laughs.

LENO: Have you been watching the GOP debates?

OBAMA: I'm going to wait until everybody's voted off the island.

[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]

LENO: I know you quit smoking.

OBAMA: I did. I did.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

OBAMA: Definitively.

LENO: That's out?

OBAMA: That's out.

LENO: Alright. Remember, you're under oath.

OBAMA: I am.

(...)

Here is a transcript of the Today coverage:

7:08AM ET

ANN CURRY: Now to politics. President Obama is wrapping up his west coast tour today after taking a few shots at the GOP presidential field on The Tonight Show. NBC's Kristen Welker is in Denver, Colorado with details on this. Hey Kristen, good morning.

KRISTEN WELKER: Hey, good morning to you, Ann. Well, President Obama will speak at this Denver University later today, where he'll announce help for graduates who are struggling to pay off their student loans. On Monday, he announced help for homeowners, both are executive actions that don't require congressional approval. Now this trip is not all about policy. He's also attended half a dozen fundraisers, and spent some time with Jay Leno on Tuesday.

JAY LENO: President Barack Obama.

WELKER: A smiling and upbeat President Obama on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

LENO: Now, have you been watching the GOP debates?

BARACK OBAMA: I'm going to wait until everybody's voted off the island.

[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]

LENO: Really?

OBAMA: Once they've narrowed it down to one or two I'll start paying attention.

WELKER: Getting a taste of L.A.'s traffic gridlock on his way to the studio, he talked about political gridlock in Washington.

OBAMA: I think the thing that folks in – across the country are most fed up with, whether you're a Democrat, Republican, independent, is putting party ahead of country or putting the next election ahead of the next generation.

(...)


7:11AM

ANN CURRY: David Gregory is the moderator of Meet the Press. David, good morning.

DAVID GREGORY: Hey, Ann.     

CURRY: Why is the President making this populist effort now out west, on Leno, reaching out to college graduates, and will it give him the momentum he needs?

GREGORY: Well, we'll see about that. There's a new Ohio poll out this morning showing that he leads any Republican in the field for president, that's a good sign for the re-election campaign. Look, the conversation in Washington has stopped. His jobs bill is not going anywhere. He tried to break it down. It's still not going anywhere. Now the President's trying to do things that he can do by himself, whether it's on housing or whether it's on student aid, this is some micro-targeting going out, trying to target some individual voter groups where he can make a difference on the economy. And he's trying to go to states and use forums like the Leno show where he can directly reach people and sort of get outside the din of Washington.

Here is a transcript of the October 26 coverage on The Early Show:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

CHRIS WRAGGE: Rick Perry tries to jump-start his flailing presidential campaign with a proposal for a new flat tax. We will get reaction from Republican rival Newt Gingrich and hear what President Obama makes of the GOP race.

BARACK OBAMA: I'm going to wait until everybody is voted off the island.     

[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]

7:13AM ET SEGMENT:

JEFF GLOR: President Obama is wrapping up his three-day western swing in Denver, where he'll announce a plan to help students with their college loans. Last night, Jay Leno asked the President if he's keeping tabs on his Republican challengers.

LENO: Now, have you been watching the GOP debates?

OBAMA: I'm going to wait until everybody's voted off the island.

[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]

LENO: Really?

OBAMA: Before – once they narrow it down to one or two, I'll start paying attention.

GLOR: Mr. Obama is the only sitting President to appear on The Tonight Show.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC