Sep 22, 2009

Hot Potato Wins Obama's Letterman Mission [Politics]

Barack Obama capped a media push by sitting down with David Letterman to talk to the everyman. Yeah, he discussed serious issues, but those hardly matter, because everyone's going to be talking about a heart-shaped potato.

The Late Show appearance was the final televisual event in a recent Obama "media blitz," which included the Sunday talk shows. Some, like Peggy Noonan, criticized all the face time, especially the late night sit down. But the President told Dave he simply wanted to take the opportunity to break down his policies for the American people.

And, yes, the President talked about some serious issues. For example, the economy, which he says is improving, but remains bogged down by unemployment. He also fleshed out his approach on Afghanistan: review the policies and make a rational decision on how to act.

Health care, too, came up, as Obama explained to the laymen how private insurance rapes and pillages American wallets. But never mind all that, because a woman named Mary Apple brought along a heart-shaped potato, a biological anomaly she gave to Obama, who called it "remarkable." Indeed: that potato will definitely come up in newscasts over the next day or so.

So, too, will be Obama's "I was actually black before the election" dismissal of Jimmy Carters remarks on racism. Those were two of the precious moments at which the President excels. And that's exactly the point.

It doesn't much matter what Obama said about policy. It was almost guaranteed the charming Commander-in-Chief would do something adorable and the White House knows that. And they got it with his potato moment. They needed to reclaim the positive spotlight and, just as importantly, reach younger voters.

Though Conan O'Brien generally beats Letterman in terms of "youth" viewers, that demographic would likely be tempted to tune in for someone as big as the President.

That demographic may not remember his policy points, or even get involved in the debate, but they'll remember that he's awesome and a Democrat. They'll also remember the heart-shaped potato. And that's half the battle right there!

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