It was POTUS' second farewell to a well-loved late night talk show host this year. During President Obama's goodbye to Jon Stewart, there was talk of an executive order to prevent The Daily Show anchor from retiring. Obviously the prez was joking, because despite the applause from the audience, there are limits to Obama's power. But it was a sweet gesture all the same, letting Stewart know that the show he built would not be the same without him.
"I can't believe you're leaving before me. I’m going to issue an executive order: Jon Stewart cannot leave the show. It's being challenged in the courts," the president said. And since it was Stewart, there was no time for sentimental contemplation; he immediately retorted with a quip: "For me, this is a state's rights issue." In other words, not one where a president could intervene.
Obama has been on The Daily Show seven times, three of which happened while he was in the Oval Office. And even though Tuesday's interview didn't have a lot of "I love you, man" moments and stuck mostly to the issues, Obama and Stewart have always had a kind of natural rapport (remember that time Stewart called Obama "dude?") and there seems to be a genuine feeling of respect between them.
Those looking for a vibe similar to Obama's goodbye visit with David Letterman on The Late Show back in June were probably disappointed. During the president's last Letterman appearance, things got much more personal and sentimental, even though Dave himself wasn't always super warm and fuzzy. Although it's worth noting that Obama didn't say anything about an executive order for Dave.
"We’ve grown up with you," he told Letterman. "After a tough day at the office or coming home from work, knowing that you’ve been there to give us a little bit of joy, a little bit of laughter. It has meant so much, and you’re a part of all of us. And you’ve given us a great gift and we love you."
There's little doubt Stewart can get emotional on air when he's really moved by a subject or news event. Witness his monologue about the shootings at a church in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine people dead. He gets sentimental when the situation calls for it, as does the president.
Obama has issued 208 executive orders since he's been president, a type of lawmaking which allows the commander-in-chief to essentially have the final word on a matter (barring a judicial review). Unfortunately, that final word on this one was decided months ago, when Stewart announced he was leaving the show he has hosted for 16 years. Trevor Noah will take over the anchor duties on the Comedy Central show in September.
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