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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

President Obama made a special, full-length appearance on The Daily Show to promote the Iran nuclear deal — but first, he had an announcement to make to Jon Stewart: “I can’t believe that you’re leaving before me! In fact, I’m issuing a new executive order — that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show.”

Obama also discussed how he has adapted to the challenges posed by the modern media environment — and how he has viewed them as an opportunity to explain things in depth, and not just for the old nightly news sound-bites.

Obama and Stewart also talked about the issues of improving care for veterans, at a time of increased demands on the system while it has been committed to do more.

As the two of them discussed the complexities of making progress in government, Obama laid down a marker. “I can say this unequivocally: The VA is better now than when I came into office Government works better now than when I came into office. The economy is better now than when I came into office.” But, he said, it’s still not goo enough for him.

Larry Wilmore looked at this past weekend’s Ku Klux Klan rally at the South Carolina State House — in a segment called “I Can’t Believe This S**t Is Still Going On.”

Larry and the panel also discussed Bill Cosby’s newly revealed deposition from ten years ago.

Seth Meyers talked about the issues of political correctness in comedy — with Margaret Cho, a true expert at pulling off raunchy and ethnic-themed comedy in style.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and President Joe Biden during 2020 presidential debate

I look at September 2019 as a month where I missed something. We began with a trip to New York to do Seth Meyers’s and Dr. Oz’s shows. Why would we go on The Dr. Oz Show? For the same reason we had gone on Joe Rogan’s podcast in August: We could reach a vast audience that wasn’t paying attention to the standard political media. On Dr. Oz, Bernie could talk about Medicare for All and his own physical fitness. While at the time we believed Bernie was uncommonly healthy for his age, he was still 78. Questions would be raised related to his age, and we needed to begin building up the case that he was completely healthy and fit. It turned out to be a spectacular interview, ending with the two of them playing basketball on a makeshift court in the studio. Bernie appeared to be on top of the world.

Yet in retrospect, I should have seen Bernie growing more fatigued. After New York, with the school year starting, we did a series of rallies at colleges and universities in Iowa; this was the kickoff of our campus organizing program in the state. We would then fly to Colorado for a large rally in Denver before heading to Boulder to prep for the third debate, to take place in Houston on September 12. In Iowa, Bernie’s voice was a little hoarse. After the rally in Denver, he had completely blown it out. He sounded terrible.

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Rep. James Clyburn

When I interviewed House Majority Whip James Clyburn in 2014 about his memoir Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, the South Carolina Democrat was confident in America’s ability to find its way, no matter how extreme the political swings might appear at any given time.

“The country from its inception is like the pendulum on a clock,” the congressman told me. “It goes back and forward. It tops out to the right and starts back to the left — it tops out to the left and starts back to the right.” And remember, he said, it “spends twice as much time in the center.”

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