By bringing his messages to different media, President Obama is making history. Last night he was the first sitting president to appear on a late-night talk show, pitching Jay Leno on his take on the economy and also making a playful comment about the Special Olympics that was billed as a huge gaffe as soon as it came out of his mouth. Meanwhile, he put his straight face on to address the people of Iran via online video.
Here’s the full interview, which won the Tonight Show its biggest audience in four years. (Aside: It’s fantastic that NBC is making this embeddable in its entirety, but those guys really need to work on their SEO. The official video doesn’t appear in the top page of “obama leno” Google results, when related terms are some of the most-searched things today.)
Here’s the “Special Olympics” clip (notice Leno’s look of recognition of what just happened):
Meanwhile, Obama targeted Iranian citizens and leaders with a special Iranian New Years video message released on whitehouse.gov (with Persian subtitles available), asking for a fresh and honest approach to diplomacy.
It’s not clear how widely distributed the “Nowruz” greeting will be in Iran, or how reassured Americans will feel about the state of their terrible economy — especially considering how bad Obama is at bowling! — but at least our new president’s trying to meet people outside of the usual presidential turf.