(Image from CBS TV online video.)
Last night, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to appear as a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. (Obama had previously appeared numerous times while a senator and presidential candidate.) The appearance was part of the president's campaign to make his argument for his policies, chiefly health-care reform.
The appearance is getting a great deal of press attention, as you'd expect. But one throw-away line from the night was of particular interest to us here at The Commonwealth Club, and it made us wonder if Letterman and his staff are Club aficionados.
During the Top Ten List, the host read out the top 10 "reasons President Obama agreed to appear on The Late Show." The reasons ranged from the odd ("Heard the lady with the heart-shaped potato was going to be here" -- long story) to the political. But one of them resonated with us: Reason Number Seven: "Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has been here."
Well, we all know that the place that has hosted every president since Teddy Roosevelt is The Commonwealth Club of California, don't we? Roosevelt kicked it off by making the case in his Club speech for federal involvement in protection of common lands. Republican and Democrat, they've made their appearance here before our Bay Area audiences and -- through our national radio and internet arms -- before the whole country. So naturally we're looking forward to hosting a speech by President Barack Obama, and he's welcome to bring the jokes.