Jon Stewart gave President Barack Obama his full attention during his final visit to The Daily Show Tuesday night, devoting the entire episode to grilling Obama about policy, the media, and even Donald Trump with the reduced filter of two people on their way out of their longtime jobs.
Obama was just as upset about Stewart leaving as the rest of us, and with Aug. 6 approaching faster than ever, he joked that he might be tempted to abuse his executive power.
“I can’t believe you’re leaving before me,” Obama told him. “I’m issuing a new executive order that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show. It’s being challenged in the courts.”
Stewart argued that it was actually a state issue, but then they went right into the conversation, which was friendlier and more at ease than their past interviews but still maintained the same dry wit viewers have come to expect.
Stewart gave Obama a platform to expand on the Iran deal in particular, letting him talk about how that and some of his other priorities were starting to take effect.
When Stewart turned the conversation to the media, Obama said that, while they weren’t focused on the wrong things when reporting, some of them “get distracted by shiny objects.” For Obama and his administration, that relationship has largely been defined by adapting to new technology and no longer having to make an interview fit into a two-minute sound bite for a national news show.
But it’s often difficult, the president said, to have a single conversation when the media is so splintered and when people are looking for “facts” that support their point of view as opposed to looking at the bigger picture.
Stewart then turned to wealth inequality and asked Obama whether a plan of “selective service” would encourage Americans to get more involved and potentially cut the cost of college educations. Of course, he couldn’t resist one last jab at his favorite punching bag.
Their conversation was even longer than the show’s time constraints allowed; the two spent nearly 20 additional minutes talking. They discussed Obama’s legacy as he neared the end of his second term, the inefficiency of the Department of Veteran Affairs, and how the different parts of government work together.
Screengrab via The Daily Show