Report: Obama Brought Jon Stewart to White House for 'Secret' Meetings
The White House brought in Jon Stewart for two visits at key moments, according to a new report from Politico.
The first Oval Office meeting between President Obama and "The Daily Show" host reportedly came during the 2011 budget battle, as the president was getting ready for his re-election campaign.
The second occurred in Feb. 2014 on the same day that the president would deliver a speech warning Russia "there will be costs" for further incursions into Ukraine.
Following that meeting, Stewart discussed the Russia-Ukraine situation in a segment called, ‘It’s a Vlad, Vlad, Vlad, Vlad World."
Politico reported that the visits appear in the White House visitor logs and were confirmed by "three former Obama aides."
The report comes ahead of Stewart's final show on Thursday, with former White House officials David Axelrod and Austan Goolsbee emphasizing the effect of Stewart's views on the national debate.
Like Axelrod, Goolsbee acknowledged he would stay in touch with The Daily Show staff: He emailed with his former Yale classmate and improv comedy partner Scott Bodow, who joined The Daily Show as a writer in 2002 and now is an executive producer.
That work-the-umps strategy also involved the president, who used his two Oval Office meetings with Stewart as a chance to sell the administration’s ideas. At the 2011 sit-down, Goolsbee said, the president wanted to counter his critics on the left and lay the groundwork for his 2012 re-election campaign.
“The White House itself was quite interested in at least explaining its side of the story to Jon Stewart,” Goolsbee said, “up to and including the president.”
Laura Ingraham reacted this morning on "Fox and Friends," saying the Oval Office meetings are not surprising at all.
"Jon Stewart was probably one of his biggest bundlers of audience and supporters. He might not have raised money for him, but he certainly raised passions for Obama and support over the years," she said.
Obama sat down with Stewart last week for his final interview on the show, joking that he wished he could take executive action to keep Stewart from leaving.