Who Called Whom Dude?

Contrary to the White House pool report I linked to earlier, it was Jon Stewart who called President Obama “dude,” and President Obama said that Larry Summers was doing a “heckuva job.” The pool report has it reversed. My apologies for any confusion the pool-report error may have caused.

So, did Jon Stewart cross the line by calling President Obama “dude?” Steven Kurutz writes at WSJ.com:

Barack Obama’s appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” last night marked the first time a sitting president has been a guest on the Comedy Central program. It likely marked another first: the first time a president was called “dude” in a TV interview.

Obama said that administration official Larry Summers did a “heckuva job” on financial reform–and the President suggested his words were deliberately chosen to echo the language George W. Bush used to praise FEMA official Michael Brown during Hurricane Katrina. Stewart jokingly told the president, “You don’t want to use that phrase, dude.”

Was it disrespectful for Stewart to address the president using a term that’s more commonly exchanged between two college guys sharing a bong?

Since the days of George Washington, America’s top leader has been addressed as “Mr. President.” Even Martha Washington called her husband “Mr. President.” Congress at one point considered the loftier title of “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.” It’s unlikely the Founding Fathers would have ever considered the title “dude.”

No, I think not.

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