How many caught President Obama on “The Daily Show” Wednesday night with Jon Stewart? Reviews Thursday are somewhat mixed but then, how much heavy lifting are you really going to do on a comedy show, right? One exchange, perhaps, was symptomatic. Asked by Stewart about his administration’s performance on the economy, Obama claimed credit for stabilizing the financial system, the stock market and the overall economy — all at less than half the cost (in terms of U.S. gross domestic product) of fixing the S&L crisis in the 1980s, which by comparison was smaller and more localized than the recent recession. “I’d say we’ll take that,” the president said confidently.
He should’ve stopped while he was ahead. In the next breath, trying to credit his former economics adviser, Obama teed up a line no professional funny man could miss if he tried: “Larry Summers did a heckuva job …” As the studio audience started cracking up, Stewart pounced, deadpanning: “You don’t wanna use that phrase, dude!” Obama tried to yuk it off as an intended pun, but inadvertently comparing his performance on the economy to President Bush’s on Hurricane Katrina — using the same word to reference an ineffective underling — surely wasn’t the objective in what was supposed to be a friendly sit-down with Stewart.