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Obama's 30 minute infomercial? Nah, we watched Jon Stewart

By Jimmy Orr / October 30, 2008

The Daily Show/Comedy Central/Hulu.com

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Always a politician, Barack Obama dodged another question.

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He flat-out refused to answer. He danced around it. Sure, we think we know what the answer is. But we're left shaking our heads.

The question? Who Obama intends to vote for.

Infomercial

The 30-minute infomercial was one thing. Many say it was well done. Some say it was overkill. John McCain called it a "gauzy feel good commercial." One TV writer said it was JFK-like. Obama's daughter was glad it didn't preempt Disney programming.

It seemed like it was one of the few programs that it didn't preempt. After all, the :30 minute TV extravaganza was seen on seven networks. Of the major networks only ABC didn't join in on the action.

As Monitor colleague Alexandra Marks noted there was a clear difference between the Obama :30 minute prime-time spectacular and the last presidential candidate to appear in an infomercial.

That’s when Ross Perot, pointer in hand and graphs at the ready, used a series of infomercials to argue his case. Those infomercials were more like a series of lectures on the economy. Obama’s, by contrast, was a series of vignettes about the struggles of distinct middle-class American families. Woven in-between was Obama’s own personal story.

Comedy Central

But much like McCain on Letterman, Sarah Palin on SNL, or both candidates telling jokes at the Al Smith dinner, we preferred Obama's appearance on the Jon Stewart show last night. Call us shallow. But we're in it for the laughs.

Jon Stewart delivered. As did Obama. And they talked about real issues on the campaign trail. Like charges that Obama is a socialist and the hot topic of race.

Mandate for Socialism

It's been talked about it a lot. Is Obama a closet-Socialist? Turns out, according to Stewart, there are even more drastic charges out there.

Jon Stewart: So much of this has been about fear of you. An elitist, a celebrity, a Muslim terrorist sympathizer. A Socialist, a Marxist, a witch. That's right. They've been calling you a witch. They're saying if you do win, is that a mandate for Socialism in this country? Has any of this fear stuff, do you think it's stuff with the electorate? Are you finding that on the trail?
Barack Obama: You know, it just hasn't. I mean, I think, there's a certain segment of hard-core Sean Hannity fans that probably wouldn't want to go have a beer with me, there's no doubt about that. But I think for the average voter, they're saying to themselves, what's all this stuff about?...And the whole Socialism argument that doesn't fly too well. The evidence of this seems pretty thin. I said today that I think they found proof that when I was in kindergarten I shared some toys with my friends. That's clearly a sign that of subversive activity now, I can tell you, Jon, that being on your program I think is further evidence of these tendencies.

Race

When bringing up the oft-discussed "Bradley effect," we're guessing Stewart asked Obama a question he's never been asked before.

Jon Stewart: Are you concerned in some respects, you know, and I don't even know how to bring this up. Obviously your mother is from Kansas. She's a white woman. Your father, African. Are you concerned that you may go into the voting booth and....
Barack Obama: I won't know what to do.
Jon Stewart: Your white half will all of a sudden decide, "I can't do this."
Barack Obama: That's a problem.
Jon Stewart: (laughing).
Barack Obama: I've been going through therapy to make sure that I vote properly on the 4th.

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