Monday 21 August 2017

Yes, we still can - just not quite yet, admits Obama

US President Barack Obama, speaking on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'
US President Barack Obama, speaking on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'

Toby Harnden in Washington

US President Barack Obama used a satirical news show to amend his "Yes we can" campaign slogan to: "Yes we can, but it's not going to happen overnight."

Mr Obama's appearance on Wednesday's 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' came as he prepared to embark on a last-gasp dash around the country to prevent what polls indicate is likely to be a Republican landslide.

The midterm elections are likely to see the Democrats losing its 39-seat majority in the House of Representatives and suffer a slew of defeats in Senate races.

Talking to Stewart, whose show White House aides view as a vehicle to reach young, liberal voters, Mr Obama was notably serious and did not joke. Instead, he pleaded for patience: "When we promised during campaign 'change you can believe in,' it wasn't change you can believe in 18 months," Mr Obama said, modifying one campaign slogan.

He prompted sniggers from Stewart and guffaws from the studio audience when he said that his other famous slogan should now be modified to: "Yes we can, but it's not going to happen overnight."

When Mr Obama said that "we have done things that some folks don't even know about", Stewart responded: "What have you done that we don't know about? Are you planning a surprise party for us, filled with jobs and health care?" Mr Obama said he had extended health care to more children. Mr Obama unconsciously echoed President George W. Bush, who famously said to his emergency chief Michael Brown after Hurricane Katrina: "Heckuva job, Brownie."

Comedy

Stewart was pushing Mr Obama on the economy under Larry Summers, the outgoing senior economic adviser, when the president parried: "Larry Summers did a heckuva job."

The comedy host shot back: "You don't want to use that phrase, dude." ( © Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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