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Obama ‘Daily Show’ Appearance Designed to Boost Voter Support

US President Barack Obama. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will tape an appearance for Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” program tomorrow, three days before host Jon Stewart helps lead a rally in Washington that Democrats say may boost their party’s election chances.

While it will be Obama’s first visit to the Comedy Central show since he was elected president, it’s not the first non-news program he has participated in while in office. The program is scheduled for broadcast at 11 p.m. New York time tomorrow.

He is going on the show six days before the midterm congressional elections because it’s another way to generate voter enthusiasm, Robert Gibbs, Obama’s spokesman, said.

“It’s one that reaches an audience that isn’t watching cable television every day, or the nightly newscasts, but they’re probably going to participate in this election,” Gibbs said. “It’s a great opportunity to reach those folks.”

Obama has sought to reach beyond news programs and traditional political forums to get his message across. Last week he taped an appearance for Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters” show as part of an effort to promote science and technology education. He also was interviewed on ABC’s daytime talk show “The View” in July, and during the debate over his health-care overhaul plan he went on CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman.” He’s also appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Both Sides

Republicans also have used non-traditional venues. Virginia Representative Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House, was on the “Daily Show” earlier this month.

“I’m sure we’ll pull in some funny lines,” Gibbs said of the president’s “Daily Show” taping. “If you sign up to do Comedy Central, you do it because you can exist in that atmosphere. The truth is he’s good at the type of banter back and forth.”

The president’s appearance is scheduled during the series’ week-long trip to Washington. The special programs are intended to provide viewers with “Indecision 2010” coverage of the midterm elections, Comedy Central said.

The Oct. 30 rally, hosted by Stewart and fellow Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert, is intended to be a counterpoint to a rally organized by Glenn Beck, a Fox News commentator popular with Tea Party and other conservative activists, on Aug. 28. Stewart has said the event isn’t a political rally.

To contact the reporters on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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