About (Late) Last Night: Jon Stewart mocks Obama's clumsy Spanish [Video]
A few weeks back, Jon Stewart took non-presidential candidate Donald Trump to task for his fussy pizza-eating methods; Wednesday night, it was President Obama whose street cred Stewart called into question.
On Wednesday, President Obama made a historic, albeit very, very brief, trip to Puerto Rico. Somewhat unbelievably, he's the first sitting president to pay a visit to the territory since John F. Kennedy.
The trip was the fulfillment of a promise Obama made during the 2008 campaign though, as Stewart pointed out, the president may have had a few ulterior motives. "Like most New Yorkers I assumed it was the president's way of trying to avoid the traffic from Sunday's Puerto Rican Day parade," he joked.
But there's also the not-insignificant matter of the growing Latino vote, which will be pivotal to his reelection bid in 2012. But at least in Stewart's view, Obama's Puerto Rican charm offensive fell woefully short.
While in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the president delivered some perfunctory, highly uncontroversial remarks in which he touted the virtues of the Puerto Rican people and name-dropped celebrities like Marc Anthony and J.J. Barea. As Stewart suggested, "No historic five-hour state visit would be complete without a stirring address in a flag-draped airport hangar just feet from the still idling plane the president had just landed in."
Obama even tried to speak a little Spanish, which may have, in the end, done him more harm than good. Our president does a lot of things with enviable ease--shooting hoops, swatting flies, killing terrorist masterminds. So it was a bit of a surprise to discover that his Espanol is about as suave as a rusty bicycle.
Obama began the speech rolling his "r"s, but soon gave up the "spicy pronunciation." As Stewart put it, he went from "Puerrrrto' to 'Port-oh' in just under 8 minutes." But the most cringe-inducing moment came when the president declared that Puerto Ricans who have served in the military are "as American as apple pie, or as...arrroz...con...gandules."
That's rice with pigeon peas, in case you're wondering.