By Geneva Sands - 10/19/12 12:47 PM EDT
Stewart began Obama's sixth appearance on the late night Comedy Central show by presenting two photos of Michelle Obama from the first and second debates. In one photo the first lady is scowling and in the other she is smiling and reaching to embrace the president.
"What happened?" asked Stewart. "Here's what happens to me sometimes. Sometimes I'll go on stage and have an open-faced turkey sandwich and a shot of NyQuil and ... halfway through I'll look up and go 'are we on?' Did you sense, were you taken aback by the reaction to it?"
The president defended his policy positions and economic proposals, saying they've led to job growth and a resurgence in manufacturing and housing.
"Obviously I had an off night. The presentation wasn't the way it needed to be, but the issues haven't changed. They didn't change after the first debate and they didn't change in the second debate and that is that the stakes in this election are really big.
"Gov. Romney makes a good presentation, but the fundamentals of what he's calling for are the same policies that got us into this mess that we've been fighting against for the last four years," Obama said.
The president's performance during the first presidential debate was largely viewed as lackluster, but he was perceived as having a much more aggressive and energetic approach to Tuesday's town-hall-style match-up against GOP challenger Mitt Romney.
The third and final debate is set to take place Monday, Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Read more on Obama's "Daily Show" appearance, including his response to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.