Obama Tells Jon Stewart He Had an “Off Night” In First Debate

President Obama’s guest shot on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” won’t be shown until late tonight, but the pool report already is creating a stir based on a transcript of an exchange over the attacks in Libya.

Critics already are zeroing in on Obama’s Spock-like characterization of the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. He said, per the pool report, “If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.”

But the full exchange shows that Obama was responding to Stewart’s use of the word “optimal.”

Jon Stewart: “Is part of the
investigation helping the communication between these divisions? Not just what
happened in Benghazi, but what happened within. Because I would say, even you
would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people,
as far as all of us being on the same page.”

Obama: “Here’s what I’ll
say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal. We’re going to fix it. All
of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the
government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. And you
make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it. Whatever else I have
done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I’ve been
absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes, and the American
people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace,
security, and protecting Americans. And they will continue to get that over the
next four years of my presidency.”

In other words, the word “optimal” refers to the “optimal response,” not the fact that four Americans got killed. Or so it seems. The actual video will provide a better elaboration.

Meanwhile, Stewart did ask Obama about his performance at the first debate, and the president said that he had an “off night.” Stewart showed him a photo him two pictures of Michelle Obama at the debates, one where she is looking at him angrily afterward and another where she is smiling broadly. “Do you know which debate was which?” Stewart asked.

“Cute. Cute Jon,” Obama responded.

Stewart also asked why Obama thinks he can do even better to move his agenda through in another term if Republicans still hold at least one chamber of Congress. Obama said that he wants to “make sure as many Democrats are elected as possible.”

Obama also said, “I still want to close Guantanamo. We haven’t been able to get that through Congress.”

And there were a few quips about Vice President Joseph Biden, as Stewart asked how many times a week Biden comes to a meeting in a wet bathing suit. “We had to stop that,” Obama said. “I gotta say though he looks pretty good.”

This was Obama’s second appearance on “The Daily Show” as President, and Comedy Central today unveiled the results of a poll making the case for why he and other major political figures should guest on the show and perhaps “The Colbert Report.”

The poll focused on millennials — those aged 16-32 — and found that 62% like when politicians use their humor, 54% say politicians need to loosen up, 55% say they want politicians to use their humor more often and 54% agree that the funnier a politician, the more likable he or she is.

“Between two politicians who had similar views and experience, Millennials would likely vote for the funnier, more relatable candidate,” the authors of the poll concluded. It was conducted by TRU Insights and Insight Research. One question posed was what respondents look to to see a candidate being himself or herself, and 33% said an interview with a comedian, topping the list. As for frequent sources of election news, 50% cited political satire shows, compared to 68% for network news, 58% for online aggregators, 56% cable news and 52% Facebook or Twitter. Just 44% cited newspapers.

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