President Barack Obama visited one of his favorite haunts tonight on his latest trip to Los Angeles.
After Air Force One landed at LAX Tuesday, he was whisked off via helicopter to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and then a motorcade ensured his safe arrival at The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, where he discussed a sampling of the pressing issues confronting his administration—and had a few laughs as well.
Leno complimented Obama on the "eloquent" remarks he gave on July 19 after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
"I think all of us were troubled by what happened, and any of us who are parents can imagine the heartache that those parents went through," Obama said. "It doesn't mean that Trayvon was a perfect kid, none of us were...You're a teenager, especially a teenage boy, you're gonna mess up and you won't always have the best judgment.
"But what I think all of us agree to," he continued, "is that we should have a criminal justice system that is fair, that's just, and what I wanted to try to explain was why this was a partiuclalry sensitive topic for African-American families because a lot of people who have sons know the experience they had being followed or being viewed suspiciously."
"We all know that young African-American men disproportionately have involvement in criminal activities and violence, for a lot of reasons, a lot of them having to do with poverty, a lot of them having to do with disruptions in their neighborhoods and their communities, failing schools and all those things," Obama said. "And that's no excuse, but what we also believe in is that people, everybody, should be treated fairly and the system should work for everyone."
Pointing out a system that does not work for everyone, Leno asked Obama about the criminalization of homosexuality in Russia and whether that might affect the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Obama ventured that Russian President Vladimir Putin didn't want an international PR disaster on his hands.
"I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure that the Olympics work," said the commander in chief, "and I think that they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics we wouldn't tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They are athletes. They are there to compete. And if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track or in the swimming pool or on the balance beam and people's sexual orientation shouldn't have anything to do with it."
(Or on the ice and snow, considering it's the Winter Games, but no big deal. The president's got a lot on his mind.)
Obama also discussed the global travel warning that resulted in the closing of 19 embassies over the weekend, health care, NSA leaker Edward Snowden (who's been granted asylum for a year, speaking of Russia), the economy, possible 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and his now-famous love of broccoli.
"I think that the general rule is just to show some common sense and some caution," Obama said, referring to potential dangers facing Americans abroad.
Not bad advice no matter the subject matter, right?