I caught Illinois Senator Barack Obama on The Daily Show last night. I tell you what, the guy is a natural. I usually feel a little uncomfortable watching politicians of any stripe on Comedy Central’s nightly take-down of the news. Most pols are fish out of water trying to survive questions from, or even (gag) match wits with, Jon Stewart. No so Obama. Grinning widely for the whole interview, he was perfectly at ease and certainly gave the impression he was truly enjoying himself. Stewart never made him look foolish and Obama was every bit as funny, coming up with one-liners of his own that had even Stewart laughing.
Making his appearance even more credible, Obama had to do the interview remotely. Why wasn’t he in the studio as guests usually are? At a political fundraiser? To good to make time for such silliness? Nope. He had to change his schedule at the last minute to be in Washington for an important defense spending vote. But he didn’t cancel his appearance; he found a way to accommodate both his business and pleasure. Not to be too cynical about it but that's PR gold.
Obama is going to be able to go far just on his charisma. Much as Ronald Reagan disarmed folks who were otherwise opposed to his politics, Obama’s presence provides him with a huge political advantage. You just can’t help like the guy even if you don’t like his politics.