David Letterman's first guest on new talk show: Barack Obama

David Letterman's first guest on new talk show: Barack Obama

Letterman concludes the chat with the first guest on his show by telling Obama, "Without a question of a doubt, you are the first president I truly and fully respect". "Something's wrong here", Letterman quipped. Upcoming guests include George Clooney, activist Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern.

On Johnny Carson's last Tonight Show, his final words were, "I hope when I find something I want to do, and that I think you will like, and come back that you will be as gracious as inviting me into your home as you have been. I'm so unaccustomed to people being nice to me that it's just made it a delight".

Retirement jokes framed an hour-long conversation that was entertaining and moving, fun and serious, veering into areas both of them had avoided in their former roles. He also appeared free of the face powder, grooming and crisp dress shirts required by network TV. But he and Letterman did discuss the implications of of Russia's alleged attempts to intervene in the 2016 presidential election and the divisiveness in the country that Obama said is pervasive, and exacerbated by social media.

Almost three years after he left late night, David Letterman returns in a different guise. When John Lewis and his friends (marched across the bridge), in April of '65 me and my friends were driving to Florida to get on a cruise ship to go to the Bahamas because there was no age limit to purchase alcohol, and we spent the entire week, pardon my French, s-faced. It wouldn't be Obama's style to trash talk his successor on television, but at times it feels like the episode exists in a parallel universe where the legacies of his administration are not being systematically destroyed as the pair speak. "This is how this works".

Former President Barack Obama dispensed some advice for occupants of the Oval Office on Friday: be careful of how you act.

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Obama shook his head. On traditional televised talk series, the interviews are shorter and more promotional: politicians looking for exposure with a certain audience; actors promoting movies or, more recently, defending themselves against allegations of unsavory conduct; and, occasionally, authors hawking a book.

Each show makes room for a brief, pre-taped, on-location piece, where Letterman visits and interviews someone with an association to the main guest.

Then Letterman cuts to footage of him walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, with congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, talking about that Bloody Sunday in 1965 that Lewis took part in. "Not just African-American, but all Americans". "It's not due to their race, it's because of the social constructs over the course of 300 to 400 years that made them poor". "If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you, you know, listen to NPR".

Obama said he didn't miss the trappings of the office. "We create all these barriers and difficulties". "Secret Service is in the front, and they're just looking ahead". And they would just go, and they were communicating entirely through social media and we essentially built what ended up being the most effective political campaign probably in modern political history.

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