White House deems Obama's 'Daily Show' appearance a 'success'

Despite Jon Stewart's apparent disappointment with President Obama's "timid" first two years in office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that he thinks Obama's appearance on "The Daily Show" was a "success."

But Stewart gave voice to disgruntled Democrats who question whether Obama has fought hard enough for their issues on matters like "Don't ask, don't tell" and the public health insurance option.


That voice led many to wonder on Thursday, one day after the show aired, if the White House might have made a mistake in sending Obama onto the show with just days to go until the election.

Gibbs said that he does not "have any regret" about Obama doing the show.

"Our viewpoint is that when the president gets to talk about what he's done and sit through what people may or may not have heard, it's a positive benefit," Gibbs said. "So I would think of it as a success."

In defending the decision for the president to appear on the biting comedy show, Gibbs heaped praise on Stewart, the show's host.

"I will say this: I think Jon Stewart is about as good an interviewer as there is in the public domain right now," Gibbs said.

To that end, Gibbs said, the White House did not "walk into that interview thinking that we were going to get asked a bunch of softball questions and somebody's going to hand us a list of jokes and they'd hit the laugh machine and it would sound like a bunch of people."

"Nobody here scheduled the interview with Jon Stewart expecting that, you know, he would ask, 'Does he like living at the White House? What's his favorite color?' " Gibbs said.

Gibbs said Obama has appeared on programs such as "The Daily Show," "The View" and "The Tonight Show" because the president wants to reach out to all Americans, including those who don't get their news from traditional outlets.

"There may be people that watch 'The View' that don't watch NBC News," Gibbs said. "It doesn't make them less involved in the political process. It just makes them a group of people that watches a different segment of television, and the president still wants to talk to them, too."

The press secretary said that Obama told him and senior adviser David Axelrod after the taping Wednesday afternoon that he "thought it was a good opportunity to walk through what he'd done."