President Barack Obama stopped by “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” Thursday night and marked the history of his presidency with a small first step: writing thank you notes.
As emotional piano music – “thank-you-note-writing music,” per Obama’s request – tinkled in the background, the president and late night host took turns “thanking” all the people, places and things that came to shape his presidency.
“Thank you, my 2008 slogan ‘Yes We Can’ – or as I now like to call you, ‘Yes We Did,’” Obama began.
Fallon wrote next, “Thank you, President Obama’s birth certificate. He used to carry you around to prove he was American, now he needs to carry you around to prove he’s only 54!”
The president also managed to jab Republicans over Donald Trump in a thank you note to Congress: “Thank you, Congress, for spending eight years wishing you could replace me with a Republican. Or to put in another way, how do you like me now?’ he joked as a picture of the presumptive Republican nominee appeared on screen, drawing big laughs.
But Fallon upped the ante when he wrote to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton next, “Thank you Hillary Clinton for possible becoming the first fff… president. I would have said ‘female,’ but someone deleted the email.” Obama joked back, “I’m not so sure this is a good idea.”
Finally, Fallon thanked Obama “for serving our nation with dignity, class, patience, eloquence, optimism, and integrity” – which he joked was “the first time anybody has sincerely said, ‘thanks Obama!”
Later on the show, Obama got serious during the interview when he began to make the case for Democratic unity – saying he hopes Democrats are “able to pull things together” ahead of the general election.
“My hope is over the next couple weeks, we’re able to pull things together. And what happens during primaries, you get a little ouchy. Everybody does,” Obama told host Jimmy Fallon. “There’s a natural process of everybody recognizing that this is not about any individual” and said he expects a “great convention” in Philadelphia this summer.
When Fallon asked Obama if he thought the Republicans were happy with their choice of Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, he deadpanned – “we are” – before seriously ruminating on the need for “a healthy two-party system.”
“The truth is actually I am worried about the Republican Party,” he said. “You want the Republican nominee to be somebody who could to the job if they win. And you want folks who understand the issues. And where you can sit across the table from them and you have a principled argument. And ultimately can still move the country forward.”
Obama continued: “So I am actually not enjoying, and I haven’t been enjoying over the last seven years, watching some of the things that have happened in the Republican Party, ‘cause there’s some good people in the Republican Party. There are wonderful Republicans out in the country who want what’s best for the country and may disagree with me on some things but are good, decent people.”