On Wednesday night, NBC aired a prerecorded interview with President Barack Obama on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in which the president discussed issues as disparate as abortion, the war in Afghanistan, Donald Trump’s dare, Halloween and “Romnesia”, his derogatory term for Presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney’s recent public position revisions.
Characterizing abortion and women’s healthcare as “not just women’s issues, these are family issues”, President Obama reacted to a question about Indiana’s US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s televised debate claim that, “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
Reacting to Mourdock’s assertion, Obama said, “Let me make a very simple proposition, rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me, don’t make any sense to me.” Governor Mitt Romney has publicly backed Mourdock, even recording a television commercial supporting him, although he has stated publicly that he disagrees with Mourdock on this one position.
Obama said abortion is a woman’s healthcare issue and a right. “This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions,” Obama said while the studio audience loudly cheered and applauded. “Women are capable of making these decisions in consultation with their partners, with their doctors, and for politicians to want to intrude in this stuff, often times without any information, is a huge problem.”
Obama then reminded the audience that the next president will probably get to nominate “a couple of” Supreme Court Justices over the next four years. He said, “Roe vs. Wade is probably hanging in the balance,” referring to the current makeup of the court and the fact that one new justice can change how the Supreme Court may vote if they revisit Roe v. Wade.
He also referred to funding of Planned Parenthood as a key issue, listing some of their services to “millions of women”, including cervical cancer screenings, mammograms and “all kinds of basic healthcare”, in addition to abortion services.
Later in the broadcast, Jay Leno asked, “What are the kids dressing up as for Halloween?” Obama replied, “You know, they don’t tell me. It’s always a big surprise.” The president recognized that his daughters have “graduated” from princess costumes, noting, “Now, they’re getting a little more sophisticated and so, occasionally, they want to do something a little spooky.”
Leno then teased the president about last year’s Halloween hand-out of fruit. Jokingly, Obama replied, “It is true Michelle takes this healthy eating seriously but it is an election year so, candy for everybody.” The audience cheered, then he added, “And if anybody comes from Ohio to the White House, they will get a Hershey bar about this big” indicating a huge Hershey bar with his hands. “And Pennsylvania too. It will be a twofer.”
One of the bigger laughs happened as President Obama described the televised presidential debates as “not a natural way of communicating, sitting next to somebody and having an extended argument with him like that…” when Jay Leno inserted, “Well, you’re married.” Obama replied, “The difference is with Michelle, I just concede every point.”