President Obama and his host mixed the serious with just the plain wacky as Obama tonight becomes the first sitting president to appear on "Late Night with David Letterman."
During the taping in New York, Letterman offered up his top 10 reasons why the president had agreed to do the show, including that Obama said yes without thinking about it, according to the Associated Press account. "Like Bush did with Iraq," Letterman said.
But Obama joked that he showed up because of the unusual prop that an audience member brought to the show: "The main reason I'm here? I want to see that heart-shaped potato."
The woman tossed the potato to Letterman and agreed to let Obama keep it, the AP says.
The 40-minute interview also covered a series of sober topics, including Obama's upcoming decision on whether to send more troops to win the war in Afghanistan.
The president also had his most irreverent answer yet when asked whether the intense opposition to his health care plan stems at least in part from racism.
"First of all, I think it's important to realize that I was actually black before the election," Obama said to big laughs from the audience.
The Letterman appearance followed up interviews on five Sunday talk shows, leading some to suggest that the president is getting overexposed.
"He's been on everything but the Food Channel," Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, joked on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.