WASHINGTON - President Obama is taking the case for his financial rescue plans to the late night audience, appearing Thursday night on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" during a visit to California, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
"It's a good place to talk about the economy and the choices and challenges we face," Gibbs told CNN, while acknowledging it is "not one of those places where you expect to see the president" appear for an interview.
But Gibbs said the president, who will tape the show Thursday during a two-day swing through the Los Angeles area for town hall meetings focused on the economy, sees the appearance as a good chance to "press his case" to a large number of viewers.
While presidential candidates like Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain have used late night appearances to show their lighter side in recent years, it is extremely rare for a sitting president to appear on such a venue.
"Change you can believe in, brother," Gibbs said with a laugh.
Of course, there's always some political risk to exposing yourself to the whims of a comedian. Leno recently joked that the economy is so bad that Obama's "new slogan is 'Spare Change You Can Believe In.'"