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President Barack Obama on the “Tonight Show”
Jay Leno: The 44th President of the United States, please welcome President Barack Obama. (Applause.)
President Barack Obama: Thank you. (Applause.)
Leno: Good to see you.
The President: It is good to see you and —- (applause.) Thank you. Let me just say, I think Kevin looks good in a suit. (Laughter.)
Leno: Thank you, sir.
The President: He looks a little like Secret Service. (Laughter.)
Leno: He does, doesn’t he? Yes. And you’re the only guy who can get him to wear it. (Laughter.)
Now, you know, it’s funny, because the last time you were here, you walked in, you had your jacket on your finger and you had the two guys with you.
The President: Right.
Leno: And that was it. Big change?
The President: You know, I was mentioning earlier, we landed yesterday and then —- this is an example of life in the bubble. We landed at the fairground down in Costa Mesa. And I see the fairground where I think we’re having this town hall and I said, well, why don’t we walk over there? Secret Service says, no, sir, it’s 750 yards. (Laughter.)
So I was trying to calculate —- well, that’s like a five-minute walk? “Yes, sir. Sorry.” (Laughter.)
Now, they let me walk on the way back. But, you know, the doctor is behind me with the defibrillator. (Laughter.)
The President: Michelle jokes about how our motorcade —- you know, we’ve got the ambulance and then the caboose and then the dog sled. (Laughter.) The submarine. (Laughter.) There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on.
Leno: Now it’s only, what, 59 days now, right?
The President: Yes, 59 days.
Leno: And so much scrutiny. Is it fair to judge so quickly? I mean —-
The President: Well, look, we are going through a difficult time. I welcome the challenge. You know, I ran for President because I thought we needed big changes. I do think in Washington it’s a little bit like “American Idol,” except everybody is Simon Cowell. (Laughter.)
Leno: Wow. Wow. That’s rough. (Applause.)
The President: Everybody’s got an opinion. But that’s part of what makes for a democracy. You know, it’s contentious and people are hitting back.
I do think, though, that the American people are all in a place where they understand it took us a while to get into this mess, it’s going to take a while for us to get out of it. And if they have confidence that I’m making steps to deal with issues like health care and energy and education, that matter deeply to their daily lives, then I think they’re going to give us some time. (Applause.)
Leno: Let me ask you about this. I know you are angry —- because, you know, doing what I do, you kind of study body language a little bit. And you looked very angry about these bonuses. Actually, stunned.
The President: Stunned. “Stunned” is the word.
Leno: Tell people what happened.