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March 20th, 2009
11:21 AM ET

Obama's 'Tonight Show' appearance could become a 'special' event

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/19/obama.leno/art.obama.leno.afp.gi.jpg]
Robert Lloyd
Los Angeles Times

Even in the annals of media, President Obama's appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Thursday night isn't likely to be remembered as a watershed moment.

And in the short run - well, a run whose distance is yet impossible to measure - it is liable to be most newsworthy for a remark made in a clumsy attempt at humor. More on that later.

Obama went on the show for the same reason that other famous people do - to promote his latest project - and for the same reason that other famous people do: to clear up "A Few Misconceptions About Some Horrible Things You May Have Heard" before a large national audience, predisposed by habit to already be in a good mood. Whether or not you think Leno is funny, "The Tonight Show" is the Great American Talk Show, which makes him a kind of president of the United States himself.

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