President Obama appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart Thursday night, submitting himself to a mix of serious questions on Libya and lighter quips about Vice President Joe Biden's physique.
Host Jon Stewart asked Obama why his administration seemed "confused" following the September terror attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. The administration had originally said the attacks were related to an anti-Muslim video before labeling them terrorist attacks.
"If four Americans get killed, it's not optimal," he said.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for mislabeling the attacks and not providing adequate security.
Stewart questioned whether the State Department and White House were on the same page regarding the attacks and security issues. Obama replied that the government is a big operation and that there are occasionally issues, but he declined to directly answer the question.
"We weren't confused about the fact that four Americans had been killed," Obama said. "I wasn't confused about the fact that we needed to ramp up diplomatic security around the world right after it happened. I wasn't confused about the fact that we had to investigate exactly what happened so it gets fixed. And I wasn't confused about the fact that we're going to hunt down whoever did it and bring them to justice."
Conservatives have jumped on the "not optimal" comment, criticizing the president as insensitive and even "disgusting."
There were some lighthearted moments during the segment as well. At one point, Stewart playfully suggested that Vice President Biden attends meetings in a bathing suit.
"I've got to say, he looks pretty good," Obama quipped in reply.
The audience was comprised of female veterans. Obama thanked them for their service at the beginning of the show before quipping to Stewart, "They're going to mess with you if you mess with me!"
Stewart also ribbed the president for appearing sleepy in the first presidential debate, presenting two photographs of Michelle Obama greeting her husband after each debate - one looking frustrated, one looking happy - and asking Obama to guess which photograph was from each debate.
"That's cute," Obama replied, laughing.
He also teased Stewart, jabbing him for reading a popular erotic novel.
"I saw you flash that Shades of Grey thing," he said. "I know what you've been reading!"
With the election less than three weeks away, Obama took the opportunity remind people that he passed healthcare reform and saved the auto industry among other accomplishments.
He acknowledged that he had not accomplished everything he wanted in his first administration. Obama said that he still wants to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, and blamed Congress for obstructing his plans to do so.
The president closed by asking viewers to vote.
"The stakes on this could not be bigger," Obama said. "There is no excuse not to vote."