President Obama mixed policy discussion with personal reflections and a few jokes in an appearance on CBS's "Late Show With David Letterman."
It was the first time a sitting president has been a guest on the entertainment show, according to the CBS Web site. President Obama discussed a range of issues, but in a very telling moment denied that racism was the root cause of opposition to his healthcare proposals when he quipped, "I was actually black before the election." He said, "Whenever a President tries to bring about significant changes, particularly during times of economic unease, then there is a certain segment of the population that gets very riled up... This is not untypical," he said. "One of the things you sign up for in politics is, folks yell at you."
Obama promised to ask "tough questions" before deciding whether to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, saying it was necessary to have a clear strategy in place before deploying resources.
Asked about the economy, Obama called the $787 billion economic stimulus a "tourniquet" that prevented the recession from worsening. Complete economic recovery will take time, he warned, but added that the situation appeared to be getting better.
Here are some clips from the show:
Top Ten Reasons the President Appeared on Letterman:
10. Heard the lady with the heart-shaped potato was gonna be here
9. Thought it would be fun to watch someone else get heckled
8. Something to do with that whole Cash For Clunkers deal
7. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has done it
6. Someone offers you 600 bucks, you take it ladies and gentlemen
5. We told him Megan Fox would be here
4. Needed some time to hang out before check-in time at his hotel
3. I have no idea
2. Said yes, without thinking, like Bush did with Iraq
1. Wanted to congratulate Dave on the big Emmy win