Flashback: Letterman Glows to Obama: ‘I Can’t Tell You How Satisfying It Is to Watch You Work’

President Barack Obama will appear on tonight’s Late Show with David Letterman for the second time during his presidency. Below, a reprint of my short rundown of his first appearance on the CBS show back on Monday, September 21, 2009:

David Letterman, who still regularly ridicules former President George W. Bush – and has even accused him of committing “war crimes” and lacking “humanity” – didn't hide his affinity for Barack Obama during his Monday night Late Show interview of the President, while remaining unable to contain his disgust for Bush. “I can't tell you how satisfying it is to watch you work,” a beaming Letterman gushed to Obama at the conclusion of the program.

Audio: MP3 clip

When Obama, who took two weeks of vacation in late August and early September, displayed some jealously as he quipped that his two daughters “basically just goofed off all summer, which I couldn't do,” Letterman interjected, in an obvious jab at Bush which delighted the audience: “Others have.”

In the midst of Obama reciting the benefits his health care quest would deliver, Letterman mocked Obama’s opponents as he expressed befuddlement at criticisms of single-payer, government-run systems: “I know whenever you invoke like Great Britain or Canada people start to shudder, people go ‘oh my God, it’s socialized medicine, oh my God, it’s socialized medicine.’ And I’m not a socialist, but it don’t sound that bad to me.”

Even with Obama as the sole guest for the hour, Bush couldn’t escape derision in a “Top Ten” list pivoting off Obama’s appearance – though Letterman’s reading of the list was edited for time from the show that aired. In the “Top Ten Reasons Why President Obama Agreed to Appear on the Late Show,” the #2 entry: “Said ‘yes’ without thinking...like Bush did with Iraq.”

New since September of 2009: In May of this year, 2012, Letterman celebrated Obama (NB post with video): “So now Osama bin Laden finally is gunned down by Barack Obama, displaying great courage and great intelligence. What more do you want to lead your country than that kind of courage and that kind of intelligence?”

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