Policymakers sometimes drop by the set of Jon Stewart's Comedy Central "Daily Show" set for some laughs, but according to Bloomberg, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner visited the comedian for an off-the-record April meeting to discuss the U.S. economy.
The meeting, which took place at Stewart's New York office on April 2, appears on Geithner's appointments calendar posted on the Treasury Department's website.
Geithner didn’t stay for a television interview with Stewart although other administration officials -- most notably President Barack Obama last week -- have turned up for on-camera chats.
“Jon Stewart is influential in America, so we took the opportunity for the two to meet and to discuss the economy,” Treasury spokesman Steve Adamske said in an e-mail yesterday. Stewart’s program has poked fun at Geithner, including a segment last year about the Treasury secretary’s trouble selling his New York home.
On the same day he met with Stewart, Geithner spoke on the phone with Democratic lawmakers including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, according to the appointments calendar.
Geithner also spoke with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Max Baucus of Montana, all Democrats.
The Geithner-Stewart summit-of-sorts was held on a day of some good news for the administration: Labor Department figures for March showed employment figures had improved the most in three years. ...
Spokesman Steve Albani of the Comedy Central network declined immediate comment on the meeting between Geithner, 49, and the 47-year-old Stewart.
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Reflecting on the news, the Wall Street Journal noted today on its blog that Jon Stewart has apparently "jumped from fake news to real power broker."
Stewart long has declared that he isn’t a journalist and has he talked down his influence. Now, it is time to give up the pretense. Face it, Jon Stewart, you are a major cultural and political force in America, dude.