Corrected and updated version
That, and other news, in today’s Roundup and Recap.
President Obama will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Thursday, part of a day-and-a-half swing through Southern California.
An NBC spokeswoman says the president will make an in-studio appearance, in what is believed to be the first presidential in-person visit to a late-night talk show. It is now a common practice for presidential candidates to reach audiences who may not be regular news junkies, but that hasn’t been the case for a sitting commander in chief. Obama’s visit is designed to win support for his economic agenda in a comfortable setting.
Previous presidents have appeared on late-night talk shows and primetime comedies and dramas while in office, but such guest spots are usually taped. President Bush taped a segment last year for NBC’s “Deal or No Deal.” President Clinton made a cameo in a 1997 CBS TV movie “A Child’s Wish.” And Gerald Ford filmed a clip for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 1976, merely saying, “I’m Gerald Ford and You’re Not.”
There was probably a time that a president making an appearance on “The Tonight Show” would have incited complaints that it is beneath the dignity of the office, but the parade of politicians and world leaders has been so frequent in late-night in the past decade that such outcries are considerably weaker than they once were.
Obama’s Southern California visit includes a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa and a tour of an electric vehicle plant in Pomona.
Ron Silver Remembered: Frank Luntz writes in Huffington Post that the actor was able to work in both worlds of politics and entertainment.
He writes, “I personally enjoy the nexus between Hollywood and Washington — listening to performers who have learned the substance of the issues they champion, but who don’t necessarily get the nuance. For their part, watching a Washington politician try to navigate the waters of the Left Coast is like watching the various swimmers in the movie Jaws. The outcome isn’t going to be pretty.
“Yet Ron was comfortable in both worlds. I heard a colleague refer to him as an actor’s actor because he put so much of himself into his craft — at least in the early years. But congressmen and senators were equally impressed with his command of the finer points of diplomacy. He was not only well-spoken. He was well-read.”
Patrick Gavin writes in Politico that Silver was a ubiquitous D.C. presence: “In a word, he was here a lot. So much so that he began to blend in with the woodwork. You may have stopped doing a double take when you spotted him in a crowd or on a red carpet. So what if you remembered him from his stints in “Reversal of Fortune”, “Ali” or “The West Wing”? So what if he won a Tony Award for his work in “Speed the Plow”?
“At some point, you probably just stopped even wondering what he was doing in town. When Silver stopped by a party at the Fairfax on Embassy Row hotel the day before Obama’s Inauguration, his presence was hardly buzzed about, if even noticed, in an A-list crowd filled with the Clintons, Valerie Jarrett, Yo-Yo Ma and Brian Williams.”
Populism Problems: The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney cites Jon Stewart’s faceoff with James Cramer as just one reason that White House officials are worried that populist anger will complicate efforts to shore up the banks, given the outrage already at the way that bailout funds have been spent.