President Barack Obama made his fifth appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight. After a lighthearted chat about the MLB World Series and Air Force One, the conversation took a more serious turn over half-way in when discussing women’s health care rights.
Obama, who was fresh-faced despite traveling 5,300 miles in one day, addressed his underwhelming performance during the first presidential debate, crediting his low energy and poor presentation skills for the upset. He also made an effort to crack jokes throughout the night. When Jay compared the debate to his conversations with the First Lady, Obama pointed out a significant difference: “With Michelle, I just concede every point. That’s why we celebrated our 20th anniversary.”
Naturally, his biggest zinger of the night came when the conversation turned to Donald Trump’s “big announcement”: his plea for Obama to release his college applications and passport records in return for a $5 million charity donation. Obama said the feud, which Leno compared to his relationship with David Letterman, “dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya. We had constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn’t very good and resented it. When we finally moved to America, I thought it would be over.”
Obama also addressed the housing crisis, bank regulations, tax extensions, and troop withdrawal from Afghanistan — hitting the talking points he discusses during almost every public appearance. One of his bluntest statements of the night came in response to comments Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock made yesterday about rape: “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
“Let me make a very simple proposition: Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me, don’t make any sense to me. This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians — mostly male — making decisions about women’s health care decisions,” Obama said amidst audience roars.
The interview ultimately came full circle and turned casual again when the President responded to audience questions. He joked that in an election year, the White House couldn’t afford to dole out apples in place of Halloween candy like it did last year. And his response to the cure for “Romnesia”? “Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions.”
Whether on a high from Monday’s performance or too tired to discuss policy after a jam-packed day of campaigning, Obama was chock full of jokes tonight. Which of his recent talk show appearances did you enjoy most: The Tonight Show, The Daily Show, or Late Show with David Letterman?
Watch the clips below: