Barack Obama, in Southern California for World AIDS Day, guested on Jay Leno where the host tried to goad him into announcing a presidential bid. “I know there is a tradition of making announcements on this show…but I’m committed to the Food Network,” Obama quipped.
The Illinois Senator said he plans to announce his decision early next year, and when asked whether he would consider running for vice president, he said, “You don’t run for vice president, so I don’t think about it as much.”
Obama said that he believed much of the excitement over a possible bid was because “I think I’m sort of a stand in right now for the American people being interested in a new kind of politics.”
Earlier in the day he appeared at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church along with Sen. San Brownback (R-Kansas), another presidential contender. Warren defended Obama’s appearance against conservative Christian critics upset with his stance on abortion.
“Everyone was reporting on me going to church,” Obama said. “It was like, a Democrat in church!”
Obama’s star status grew out of his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address. On Leno, he noted what a difference that experience was from 2000, when he couldn’t even get a floor pass and “got access to the restrooms.”
“That was my first convention experience,” he said. “The second was better.”