The Burbank Bailout - NBC New York

The Burbank Bailout

Bad timing for the Los Angeles trip

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    The Burbank Bailout
    Should President Obama be ticketed for Jay-walking? The president goes on The Tonight Show Thursday while the country is in an economic mess.

    Pride, as ever, goeth before fall.

    Is President Obama's pride about to get in the way?

    One hopes not, otherwise, the fall could be a precipitous one.

    The administration is not yet 100 days old and the president has decided blow off a traditional journalist/political get-together -- arguably not a bad idea, given the state of the economy.

    But then the administration announces that the POTUS will visit with Jay Leno on Thursday's show.

    Huh? Tell me you're kidding!

    Why on earth go on "The Tonight Show," this early in the term? This was something that had to be done while Leno was still host? (Leno departs shortly for prime-time and Conan O'Brien takes over the 11:35 p.m. slot). If Obama wants to give him a nice send-off, that's something that can be done via satellite in a taped segment.

    Is this really about history? Obama will either be the first or second sitting president to go on "The Tonight Show" (it's a little ambiguous because the White House claims John F. Kennedy went on when Jack Paar was host, but every Google reference to that event cites JFK's visit as occurring during the 1960 presidential campaign).

    Doing a sit-down on "The Tonight Show" -- at a moment when the country is up in arms over bailouts given to banks and insurance companies -- sends precisely the wrong message.

    It would have been one thing if the president had waited until the symbolic first 100 days had passed to go on a splashy late-night show, when he might have some clear-cut victories. But here he is with only a stimulus package signed, sealed and delivered.

    Meanwhile, unrest -- and even outright opposition -- is building on several fronts:  Even Democrats are finding the $3.5 trillion budget outline a bit too much to swallow; veterans groups are outraged over the idea of private insurance companies being forced to pay for veterans care. And, again, more than 70 AIG execs received more than a $1 million in bonuses.

    With this sort of chaos swirling in Washington, the president of the United States feels the need to do an appearance with Jay Leno?

    This is not a good idea.

    The president is setting himself up for a for a major reality-check.

    It won't be pretty.

    Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots.