President Obama Tells Jon Stewart He Had an "Off Night" at First Debate

TV Guide

President Barack Obama, Jon Stewart | Photo Credits: PictureGroup/Comedy Central

President Barack Obama appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Thursday, where he discussed his administration's handling of the incident in Benghazi, the incessant emails from his re-election campaign and Joe Biden in a swimsuit.

But before getting to any policy issues, Stewart made the president address his seemingly unenthused performance in his first debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Stewart, who participated in his own debate earlier this month against Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, gently chided Obama for his weary showing.

"What happened?" Stewart asked. "Here's what happens to me sometimes. Sometimes I'll go onstage and I'll have, let's say, an open-faced turkey sandwich and a shot of NyQuil. And halfway through I'll look up and go, 'Are we on?'"

Obama took the criticism good-naturedly, acknowledging that he didn't exactly energize his supporters after the first meeting. "Obviously I had an off night," Obama admitted. "The presentation wasn't the way it needed to be. But the issues haven't changed ... the stakes in this election are really big. Gov. Romney makes a good presentation, but the fundamentals of what he's calling for are the same policies that got us into this mess that we've been fighting against for the last four years."

Second presidential debate: What did President Obama find "offensive"?

Obama also addressed issues that were brought up in the second debate, conceding that housing has been "one of the weakest parts of the entire [economic] recovery" and that the unemployment rate is higher than he'd like it to be after four years in office. However, Obama added, "We could be growing even faster than we have if Gov. Romney's allies in Congress would move on some of the things that we've recommended."

The interview wasn't all serious, though. "How many times a week does Biden show up in a wet bathing suit to a meeting?" Stewart said at one point. "Just a ballpark figure."

"I had to put out a presidential directive on that," Obama responded, without missing a beat. "We had to stop it. ... I've got to say though, he looks pretty good. Just sayin'."

The president concluded the interview with a nonpartisan message to all viewers.

"The stakes on this could not be bigger," Obama said. "There is no excuse not to vote."

Watch the extended interview clips below:

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