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Barack Obama Proves Again he is the Coolest President Ever | Obama on the "Colbert Report"

Updated on January 27, 2015
Late Night television is nothing new for Obama, who has appeared on Letterman and Leno in the past
Late Night television is nothing new for Obama, who has appeared on Letterman and Leno in the past | Source

Barack Obama is Cool. Period.

In both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Republicans tried hard to portray Obama as an out of touch, elitist leader. The strategy has been successful for Republicans in the past (R.I.P. John Kerry's campaign) but the calls of "out of touch" have never landed on Obama as well as pundits and strategists from the right have hoped. The reason? It's obvious Obama is a cool guy.

Is President Barack Obama "Cool?"

What do you think?

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Barack Obama on the Colbert Report, 12/8/2014

If you caught President Obama on the Colbert Report on 12/8, you know what I mean when I say the man is undeniably cool. If not, you have to see the video (available in full above) to believe it. The man comes off as cool, composed, relatable, and authentically laid back in ways that no other president in history (as far as I know of, prove me wrong in the comments) has been able to.

Obama and Colbert have Bantered Before

What makes Obama come off as "cool" on The Colbert Report and in other non-formal and semi-formal media outings? Part of his laid back demeanor comes from his willingness to "play along," to take a joke and roll with the punches and have a good time in front of the camera when the time is right. And part of his "coolness" comes from an authenticity and genuine charisma that can't be faked; on the Report and in other situations, Obama let's his personality shine through, and doesn't put on an act or pretend to be something he isn't. Obama is very likely a cool guy in real life, in the world outside of the politics and away from the cameras, and it shows when he makes media appearances like he did on Stephen Colbert's show on 12/8. Below, I'll highlight some of Obama's coolest moments from his appearance on the Report, as well as argue that Obama may be the coolest president ever.

Highlights from Obama on the Colbert Report

The first thing that makes Obama cool, his outstanding ability to roll with the punches and have a good time while on camera, was on display in rare form on Monday's Report. From cracking jokes to taking the stage, Obama clearly was cool and comfortable throughout his appearance.

Stephen's interview with Barack wasn't his first brush with the First Family.
Stephen's interview with Barack wasn't his first brush with the First Family. | Source

Stephen started Monday's show with a clever twist on his regular "Better Know a District" series focusing on the whole country, and foreshadowed that Obama would be on at the end of the episode.

But the POTUS decided to steal the show (quite literally) and jumped behind Stephen's desk to deliver "The Decree," his tongue-in-cheek presidential spin on "The Word." Obama took shots at a partisan congress and republicans in particular when he declared that most people like everything about Obamacare "but the Obama." However, in cool fashion, he made jokes at his own expense as well, quipping that his administration's famously botched first version of the healthcare.gov website was "where Disney got the idea for Frozen." While putting on a flawless Colbert impression, Obama joked that he had "never cared for the president." Overall, his first segment on the show was very enjoyable, and showcased Obama's cool willingness to have a good time and laugh at himself.

Obama's sarcasm famously shines through at every year's correspondent's dinner

Additionally, Obama wasn't afraid to stand his ground and take some sarcastic jabs at Colbert through the course of the show either, cracking jokes that (even if likely pre-written) landed well and felt right at home alongside Stephen's trademark off the cuff humor. After Stephen described a long and complicated (fictional) plan to approve the keystone XXL pipeline in order to solve immigration, Obama responded cooly that Stephen's idea was "ridiculous" and jabbed hilariously to Colbert that "that's why you're where you are, and I'm where I am." Throughout the show, Obama clearly had a good time and joked with Colbert in a friendly way, exuding coolness as he did so.

The second major element that makes Obama such a cool president, his genuine authenticity, was on display during the Report as well, but is hard to nail down and cite directly. His charisma on screen comes across as genuine and good natured, like he isn't acting or putting on a front but is genuinely having a great time and being himself. Perhaps this is most evident in his willingness to get serious. While Obama made a lot of jokes on the Report, he missed a lot of great joke opportunities as well in an intentional ploy to inject some real and interesting content in to the conversation. After Stephen called him "emperor Obama," an obvious open door for a comeback or an off the cuff quip, Obama got serious, stating ""You know, actually, Stephen, everything that we have done is scrupulously within the law, and has been done by previous Democratic and Republican presidents." His seriousness and direct messaging at key points only makes his joking that much cooler; it is obvious that Obama is being himself and totally authentic while on screen.

Did you see Obama on the Colbert Report?

(If not, there is a full video at the top of this page)

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Who is Cooler than Obama?

Really. Tell me. Which president is cooler than Barack Obama?

Was Bush as cool as Obama?  No.  Just no.
Was Bush as cool as Obama? No. Just no. | Source

Admittedly, it can get very hard to compare, since presidents in the past may not have had the opportunity to express themselves in the way Obama has. Social media, which Obama's administration wields well and which at times has shown the man in charge to be a very cool guy, is a very recent development. We can't pore over Thomas Jefferson's tweets and put them next to Obama's. Likewise with the format of television and media that Obama has embraced. While TV has been around for a decent chunk of American history now, shows like The Colbert Report certainly have not. It is hard to imagine LBJ having as much fun on Walter Cronkite's show as Obama has been able to have on Stephen Colbert's. However, when comparing Obama to his recent predecessor's who have had similar opportunities as him to strut their cool, there is really no contest.

Starting with the man everyone love's to hate, George W. Bush. Bush has commonly been thought of as a man who you might like to have a beer with, but the truth is, this is a manufactured image. Where Obama's coolness comes from his genuine nature, exemplified by his willingness to switch from wacky to wonky on the drop of a hat, Bush's perception as "cool" isn't backed up by an authentically cool personality. He just doesn't have that "it" factor. And Clinton? While the man obviously oozes charisma, he also isn't too willing to crack a joke at his own expense. As president, Clinton faced his share of scandals and hardships, but remained serious throughout. His hyper-political nature and inability to make fun of the Clinton brand, where Obama has often joked about himself, just make Clinton not as cool of a guy when you get right down to it. Besides Clinton and Bush, there are a huge pool of other candidates for "coolest president" other than Obama of course. However, I honestly can't think of a single one.

Is Obama "Too Cool?"

Republican pundits, who initially tried to paint Obama as elitist and out of touch, have recently turned to calling the man "too cool," or more precisely too casual. Fox news and friends have said that Obama has disgraced the office by appearing on shows as casual as The Colbert Report, and claim that there is a decorum to the office that Obama has abused.

Obama on "Between Two Ferns"

Specifically, Obama's appearance on "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis" was called crude by many, who saw the online comedy bit as a platform which was beneath the office of the president. But if you watch the episode (to the right) you will see there is little crude about Obama's intentions on "Between Two Ferns." He makes it clear that he is there to appeal to young Americans who may not get their news in traditional settings, and to spread word about Obamacare's open enrollment on healthcare.gov. And the ploy worked: the video went viral and enrollment surged as a probable result.

While his appearance on the Report will likely be criticized by the same Republican pundit mill, he was making the same important push on Colbert as he has on dozens of shows: healthcare.gov is up and running better than ever before, and now is the time to enroll. If he is delivering an important message, and it is working, is his coolness really a bad thing? In my (obvious) opinion: no. Times change. Obama has been able to adjust to them well, and deliver important messages to young audiences through cool new methods. Just another reason why Obama is the coolest president of all time.

Disagree? Tell us why in the comments below!

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    • Cassidy Kakin profile image
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      Cassidy Michael Kakin 3 years ago from San Jose, California

      ^Not arguing that there isn't much correlation between personality/attitude and efficacy. This piece is entirely about how cool he is though, not a critique or endorsement of his policy. However, I think his willingness to use non-traditional media formats to reach younger generations should be applauded.

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      SassySue1963 3 years ago

      No he is those things as a man. No one says things about him as a man, a father, a husband. Being "cool" does not make one Presidential nor make their policies in the best interest of the country. Two entirely different species.