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Sunday, June 12, 2016

President Obama on The Tonight Show Proved He’s Different from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

By Time, June 10, 2016 

It’s hard to believe that Barack Obama was the first sitting president to appear on a late-night talk show, if only because, over the course of his presidency, he’s made such appearances, as well as ones on daytime TV and even on web series and podcasts, seem practically commonplace. No president has ever been quite so omnipresent—or, perhaps, so present both to older Ellen viewers and to younger Between Two Ferns viewers—in order to convey his message.

Part of that, of course, is that no president has ever had quite so many media avenues to choose; Bill Clinton may have wanted to have been on a podcast, but there were no podcasts yet. But a bigger part of that seems to be a relaxing of social norms around the presidency. In what was self-consciously styled as something of a farewell interview on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, Obama exhibited all of the traits that defined him in the public eye—including a sort of TV-ready accessibility that neither of the current presumptive nominees can match.

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