A 2,500-word piece by Darren Samuelsohn for Politico certainly doesn't bury the lead: President Obama has twice asked Jon Stewart to make, as the story's headline puts it, "secret" visits to the White House to meet with him. The "previously unreported" meetings, which occurred in October 2011 (amid the budget battle) and February 2014 (right before Obama discussed Russia and Ukraine on TV), were confirmed via White House visitor logs and by three former aides to the president, and were used by Obama "as a chance to sell the administration’s ideas," per Samuelsohn, who interprets the meetings as such: "To engage privately with the president in his inner sanctum at two sensitive moments ... speaks volumes about Stewart and his reach."
And it wasn't a one-way street. Samuelsohn reports that David Axelrod and Austan Goolsbee were quick to handle any calls or emails from Stewart or his team. As Axelrod put it, "I can’t say that because Jon Stewart was unhappy policy changed. But I can say that he had forceful arguments, they were arguments that we knew would be heard and deserved to be answered." Obama ultimately made seven appearances on the show; most recently last week. Read the piece, which examines the influence Stewart may have had on issues like veterans' care, 9/11 responders, and the Confederate flag, in full. (Read more Jon Stewart stories.)