President Obama takes the “Tonight Show” couch for the second time since being elected into office. In excerpts of the interview provided by NBC, Obama talks with Jay Leno about issues surrounding Muammar el-Gaddafi, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Hilary Clinton as his Secretary of State, the NBA lockout, and even one of his favorite types of junk food.
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The interview will air tonight at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.
Here are the excerpts:
JAY LENO: It's an honor and a privilege to welcome my first guest back to the show. Welcome the 44th President of the United States, President Barack Obama.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. It is good to be back.
JAY LENO: It's good to have you back, sir. Of course, the big news this week, Gaddafi is dead. Rebel forces -- killed by rebel forces. Your reaction? Your take on this?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is somebody who, for 40 years, has terrorized his country and supported terrorism. And he had an opportunity during the Arab spring to finally let loose of his grip on power and to peacefully transition into democracy. We gave him ample opportunity, and he wouldn't do it. And, obviously, you never like to see anybody come to the kind of end that he did, but I think it obviously sends a strong message around the world to dictators that --
JAY LENO: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: -- people long to be free, and they need to respect the human rights and the universal aspirations of people.
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JAY LENO: Let me ask you now, many members of -- many members of the GOP opposed withdrawing from Iraq.
THE PRESIDENT: It's shocking that they opposed something I proposed.
JAY LENO: See, here's the problem. And the thing that angers me and I think a lot of Americans is I didn't like what they did to President Bush. I don't like when they do it to you. When Mitch McConnell says, "Our goal is to make this guy a one-time president." I mean, why -- does that anger you? How is that a goal? That doesn't help the --
THE PRESIDENT: Look, I think the things that folks across the country are most fed up with, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, is putting party ahead of country or putting the next election ahead of the next generation.
JAY LENO: Now, have you been watching the GOP debates?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to wait until everybody is voted off the island before --
Once they narrow it down to one or two, I'll start paying attention.