David Usborne: One but, no ifs: Obama blew his TV moment

It was the dream booking for all involved. But, in the end, Barack Obama may come to regret his latest appearance on The Daily Show. For, once the short-term political benefits have subsided, many viewers will remember his modulation of a famous phrase: "Yes we can, but..."

It's not going to happen overnight, the President went on, in an appeal to the young voters whose support he desperately needs in the midterms and who are such fans of Jon Stewart.

This performance was not the barrel of laughs viewers might have expected. Still, Mr Obama had no difficulty exchanging ironic jabs with Stewart, managing simultaneously to acknowledge that the "hope" of his 2008 campaign has turned out to be a bit anaemic in his first 18 months in office and to defend his tenure and the party.

A measured Stewart plus a calculating President do not a fireworks display make. But the repartée occasionally speeded up.

"Let me say this about members of Congress," Mr Obama said at one point. "Are you going to curse?" Stewart cut in. But this President would never do that. He is far too disciplined, which means that, as Daily Show guests go, he was OK, verging on a snooze.