LAS VEGAS — President Obama’s 48-hour non-stop campaign “extravaganza” took a detour from the battleground states Wednesday for a visit to Los Angeles and the “Tonight Show,” where Obama poked fun at his first debate performance and Donald Trump, and hinted that he’s rooting for Detroit in baseball’s World Series.
Hours after Trump unveiled a dud of a potential “bombshell” against Obama – a call on the president to release his college records in exchange for a $5 million donation to charity – Leno asked the president why the media mogul and reality TV star seems to have it out for the president.
“You know, this all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya,” Obama joked, alluding to Trump’s repeated birther claims. “We had constant run-in on the soccer field, and he wasn’t very good at it. When we finally moved to America, I thought it would be over.”
Obama told Leno that he has never met Trump in person, though Obama did famously roast him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington while he sat in the crowd.
With debate season complete, Obama told Leno that he harbored a bit of disappointment because “I was just getting the hang of it” and noted that it was difficult for him to assess his performances in real-time.
“You know the truth is, you don’t have a full sense of it until afterwards partly because it plays different on TV than when you’re…on the stage,” Obama said. “Clearly, I had a bad night because the entire point of these debates is to make sure the American people understand the stakes, and everything I was saying was true. But if you don’t have the energy and the presentation that makes people snap up and say ‘Alright I get it’ then you’re not doing your job.
“The truth is, this is not a natural way of communicating, right? You’re sitting next to somebody and having an extended argument like that…”
Interjected Leno, “Well, you’re married!”
“Of course. But the difference is, is that with Michelle, I just concede every point,” Obama quipped.
Turning to sports, Leno asked Obama about his pick for the 2012 baseball World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers. (Obama is famously a Chicago White Sox fan.)
“I will say that I spent a lot of time in Detroit lately. And I didn’t want to let Detroit go bankrupt,” Obama said tongue in cheek, taking a subtle jab at his opponent, Mitt Romney, who favored bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler without federal aid. “In this particular World Series, I may be a little partial,” he said.
The “Tonight Show” appearance was Obama’s third as president and fifth overall. He has recently done a slew of entertainment media appearances, including a sit down with Jon Stewart of the “Daily Show.” On Friday, he will appear on MTV for a live 30-minute special.
“Well, the president only does these shows once or twice a week now, so it’s good” to have him here, Leno joked.
The last time Obama held a news conference to take open questions from the press was August 20th, when he called on four reporters in the White House briefing room.
Obama did respond to one question submitted by a member of Leno’s audience, saying that trick-or-treaters can expect to get candy Wednesday if they knock on the White House door. He joked that trick-or-treaters from Ohio can expect extra large Hershey bars.