RNC Spokesman Calls Obama "Daily Show" Appearance "Sad"

President Obama chats with Daily Show host Jon Stewart during a commercial break in taping on October 27, 2010 in Washington. Getty Images

Reviews have been mixed for President Obama's appearance on the "Daily Show" Wednesday, though both sides of the aisle agree that if Mr. Obama sought (comic) relief from the issues, Jon Stewart's questions offered little refuge.

Hari Sevugan and Doug Heye, the spokesmen for the Democratic and Republican National Committees, joined CBS News' Jan Crawford on "Washington Unplugged" Thursday to analyze the interview and its impact on Tuesday's midterm elections.

"I was sad that the President of the United States would go on some comedy talk show to try to yuck it up," Heye said. "For Republicans, it's not an issue of going on the 'Daily Show' or the 'Tonight Show' or 'The View' or doing his brackets on ESPN, it's a question of doing his brackets on ESPN and 'The View' and the 'Tonight Show' and the 'Daily Show.'"

"Thank God "Baywatch" is canceled, otherwise we'd see the president campaigning with David Hasselhoff," Heye added.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has faced questions at press briefings about Mr. Obama's Comedy Central appearance, which comes less than a week before Election Day.

A reporter asked if the president had any concerns about the conflation of entertainment comedy and politics, asking, "Does it take away from the seriousness?"

Gibbs responded, "Jon Stewart is sort of past that."

Though some critics have called Stewart's questions softballs, the "Daily Show" host's interview did cover a scope of issues, including health care reform, the economy and the president's support within the Democratic Party.

"Jon Stewart, who has been a real proponent of the president's in 2008 when he was a candidate, basically said last night, 'dude where are the jobs?'" Heye said. "It demonstrates the political problem the president has in trying to appeal to these voters who are naturally Obama voters."

Characterizing Stewart's questions as "tough," Sevugan said the president "is willing to talk to folks across the board whether it's our base or others, which is stark difference from what you're seeing of Republicans across the board. They're running away from the press, unwilling to answer questions."

Young voters "are going to come out again in 2010," Sevugan said. "We have a plan in place to turn these folks out."

Politico's Kiki Ryan was in the live "Daily Show" audience Wednesday and also joined "Washington Unplugged" Thursday. She said the audience was "very enthusiastic on Obama."

But Ryan reported that even the young audience was "wondering if it was a good idea for [the president] to do this, even though they love both Stewart and Obama."

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg also appeared with Crawford on Thursday's "Washington Unplugged." Check it out above.

"Washington Unplugged," CBSNews.com's exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 2 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.


Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. For more of Washington Unplugged, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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