TODAY   |  October 28, 2010

Obama visits ‘Daily Show’ to court votes

In an attempt to recapture the youth vote that was key to his 2008 victory, the president makes an appearance on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reports.

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MATT LAUER, co-host: Now to the Decision 2010 countdown. With the midterm elections only five days away, President Obama is doing what he can to get young voters to show up at the polls, even making a late night appearance on " The Daily Show ." NBC 's Savannah Guthrie 's at the White House with more. Savannah , good morning to you.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE reporting: Good morning, Matt. Well, senior aides say this morning they are happy with this appearance because it did help them reach an audience of young voters who may not be motivated to get to the polls. But it was hardly a cakewalk, and at times the president faced a skeptical audience. President Obama became the first sitting US president to visit " The Daily Show ."

President BARACK OBAMA: This is a nice set.

Mr. JON STEWART: Thank you very much .

Pres. OBAMA: Yeah, it reminds me of the convention.

GUTHRIE: But even on the popular comedy program, it wasn't all laugh lines.

Mr. STEWART: You ran with such, if I may, audacity. Yet legislatively it has felt timid at times.

Pres. OBAMA: My attitude is if we're making progress, step by step, inch by inch, day by day , that we are being true to the spirit of that campaign. And...

Mr. STEWART: So you wouldn't -- you wouldn't say you'd run this time as a pragmatist, you would not. It wouldn't be, 'yes we can, given certain conditions.'

Pres. OBAMA: No, no I think...


Pres. OBAMA: ...I think what I would say is...

Mr. STEWART: Yeah.

Pres. OBAMA: ...yes we can, but it is not...

Pres. OBAMA: ...but it is -- not going to happen -- it's not going to happen overnight.

GUTHRIE: The president's appearance, a clear attempt to get younger voters, key to his victory in 2008 , to the polls in 2010 as Democrats fight to keep control of Congress .

Man: Six more days.

GUTHRIE: In Illinois , the final debate in the race to fill the president's old Senate seat, a race that's neck and neck and nasty.

Mr. ALEXI GIANNOULIAS: If Congressman Kirk is accusing me of flip-flopping that would be the most remarkable irony in the history of Illinois politics.

Representative MARK KIRK: I actually am accusing you of flip-flopping.

Mr. GIANNOULIAS: Then it's the most -- then all of you have witnessed the most remarkable moment in Illinois politics.

Rep. KIRK: So look at this. Look at this.

GUTHRIE: In Alaska's Senate slugfest, incumbent Lisa Murkowski , who is running as a write-in candidate, was handed a victory Wednesday night by the state's Supreme Court . The court tentatively ruled that voters could be given a list of write-in candidates, which would include Murkowski 's name when they go to the polls. Tonight, Republican candidate Joe Miller will get some high-profile help as Sarah Palin headlines a rally in Anchorage . And at their fourth and final debate Wednesday night, all three candidates were asked if Palin is qualified to be president.

Mr. SCOTT McADAMS: In a strict sense she is -- she isn't somebody whose ideology I support and I'd agree with.

Unidentified Woman: Mr. Miller?

Mr. JOE MILLER: Of course she is. I mean, you look at who we have in office right now and compare the two. There is no comparison.

Woman: Senator Murkowski?

Senator LISA MURKOWSKI: If she were to run right now, I would not support her as president.

GUTHRIE: Well, today the president's actually taking a day off from the campaign trail; he's going to meet with Americans involved with the rescue of those miners in Chile . But this weekend he returns in full force visiting five states for the final push, Matt.