As Obama goes coast to coast to rally for Democrats facing tough races next week, officials said the interview was part of the effort to reach out to young people about the elections.
"You've got a constituency of younger voters that watch that show, and it's a good place to go and reach them," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday. "The president hasn't been shy about going to the places where people are getting their information and trying to make his case."
Obama last appeared on "The Daily Show" in August 2007, when he was campaigning against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential bid. When asked then if candidate Obama could take on the Republicans, the former senator replied with an enthusiastic yes.
"Some of those folks are easy people," he said at the time, referring to candidates like Mike Huckabee.
In today's appearance, the president appeared more demure, cracking only a few smiles at Stewart's jokes.
"We prevented the second great depression," the president said. "We stabilized the economy. ... We got nine months of consecutive job growth. ... We have passed historic health care reform, historic financial regulatory reform. We have done things that people don't even know about."
Stewart quipped in response: "Are you planning a surprise party for us?"
"The Daily Show" host's questions mostly were aimed at the president's 2008 campaign slogan of hope and change.
"Is the difficulty you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered?" Stewart asked. "You ran with such, if I may, audacity, yet legislatively it has felt timid at times -- that I am not even sure at times what you want out of a health care bill."
Obama answered that that the health care bill -- while not including all the provisions that Democrats originally hoped for -- still expands coverage to millions more Americans and introduces new benefits.