Last month I did something quite unexpected on a weeknight when I stayed up past my bedtime. And I'm a 40-something dad who works a full-time job, a few things on my plate. But something very exciting kept me up -- the live appearance of Barack Obama on a special episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I couldn't help but think how cool is it that our president (and candidate for reelection) has such a relaxed and easy-going personality to make such an appearance. I have a hard time envisioning Mitt Romney on a similar stage. I was sort of giddy laughing out loud (shh, don't wake the kids) similar to my reaction a few months ago when our Commander in Chief broke into song to Al Green's, "So in love with you...". These are presidential media moments that rank up there with Clinton playing sax on The Arsenio Hall Show (yes, before he was The Celebrity Apprentice).
The President made his first appearance on the show in the second segment where Jimmy did his popular, "Slow-Jam the News" along with his band The Roots. Jimmy has used this theme several times before, most notably featuring NBC's Brian Williams as the straight man. This Slow Jam segment lit up the live audience -- a larger than normal group of college students at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
We live in remarkable times. Our president is one cool dude, I know this having grown up with the likes of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Clinton and a couple guys named Bush. It's not about the color of this president's skin, but the man is just so comfortable in his own skin. What better way to communicate his message on "student loan interest rates are about to double" than to aim straight for a college audience and younger grads who are paying off those bills? He got up there with such grace and composure that Jimmy Fallon readily admitted to being the nervous one. During the interview portion the President deflected Fallon's jokes about the wild parties with the secret service staff -- he had fun with it, but quickly pointed out the stupid actions of "a few knuckleheads" have unfairly given the overall group a bad name. Fallon was excited, respectful and at the top of his game. Obama was funny, comfortable and human.
This was just the type of appearance our candidate needs to reinvigorate a younger audience that helped send him to Washington. The same younger audience is needed just as much locally to help at a grass roots level in so many tough races. I can't wait to see what President Obama has in store in the coming months to continue to move this group from apathy to action. Will you be in the crowd to see President Obama at the Iowa State Fairgrounds? He's coming here to light another fire, not only for his own campaign, but also for the dozens of critical races on national, state and local levels. There's a lot to be proud of and even more to fight for around the corner. What do you think...is that smoke on the horizon?
Tue, May 22, 2012
by Dan Johnson