MEDIA
10/28/2010 02:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Memo To Milbank: Obama Repeatedly Said That Change Wouldn't 'Happen Overnight'

So, here's Dana Milbank, closing off his riff on President Barack Obama's appearance on last night's "Daily Show", in which the president and Jon Stewart conversed on whether or not the experience of the past two years has tempered Obama's expectation that big changes are possible:

Obama wore a displeased grin as Stewart diagnosed, with high accuracy, the administration's condition: "The expectation, I think, was audacity going in there and really rooting out a corrupt system, and so the sense is, has [the] reality of what hit you in the face when you first stepped in caused you to back down from some of the more visionary things?"

"My attitude is if we're making progress, step by step, inch by inch, day by day," Obama said, "that we are being true to the spirit of that campaign."

"You wouldn't say you'd run this time as a pragmatist? It wouldn't be, 'Yes we can, given certain conditions?'"

"I think what I would say is yes we can, but -- "

Stewart, and the audience, laughed at the "but."

Obama didn't laugh. "But it's not going to happen overnight," he finished.

Try shouting that slogan at a campaign rally, dude.

Uhm... actually, if we're paying attention and being fair, he did use that slogan at campaign rallies:

Hartford, Connecticut, June 23, 2007:

These are some of the challenges that test our conscience - as Americans and people of faith. And meeting them won't be easy. There is real evil and hardship and pain and suffering in the world and we should be humble in our belief that we can eliminate them. But we shouldn't use our humility as an excuse for inaction. We shouldn't use the obstacles we face as an excuse for cynicism. We have to do what we can, knowing it's hard and not swinging from a naïve idealism to a bitter defeatism - but rather, accepting the fact that we're not going to solve every problem overnight, but we can still make a difference.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, October 8th, 2007:

Now, none of these steps will happen overnight. They will take time, they will take sacrifice, and they will take a sustained commitment from the American people. As President, I will lead this commitment. I will not be outlining these goals in my State of the Union and then walk away when they become too difficult. I will report to the American people every year on the State of our Energy Future, and let you know the progress we've made toward an 80% emissions reduction by 2050, toward replacing over a third of our oil consumption by 2030, and toward improving our energy efficiency 50% by 2030. I will also make America's energy security a fundamental tenet of our national security by preparing our military to deal with threats posed by climate change.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, October 29, 2007:

Coming together to meet this challenge won't be easy. It won't happen overnight. It will take restoring a sense of shared purpose in Washington and across this country. But if you put your trust in me - if you give me "your hand and your heart" - then that's exactly what I intend to do as your next President.

Greenville, South Carolina, January 22nd, 2008:

We know the road ahead will be difficult. None of the problems we face will be easy to solve and change will not happen overnight. It will take a new spirit of cooperation and sacrifice. It will require each of us to remind ourselves that we rise and fall as one nation; and that a country in which only a few prosper is antithetical to our ideals and our democracy. And it will take a President who can rally Americans of different views and backgrounds to this common cause.

North Dakota State Democratic Convention, April 4th, 2008:

We can do this as a country. It won't be easy. It won't happen overnight. And it'll take more than one election or one president. The change we need will take an entire nation that's ready to work for it, and fight for it, and most of all, believe in it.

Unity, New Hampshire, June 27th, 2008:

No matter where we've disagreed, these are the issues that have always united Senator Clinton and myself. They are the causes that unite as Democrats. And I believe that at this moment, they are the causes that can unite us as Americans. Because the choice in this election is not left versus right or liberal versus conservative - it is the past versus the future. And it is time for us to move toward that future together. I know it won't be easy. I know it won't happen overnight. I know that there will be many times where Americans disagree with each other.

Washington, D.C., September 27, 2008:

So yes, we have to lift up our struggling families. Yes, we have to solve this economic crisis. But we also have to look out for our middle class over the long run. Because while I know this economic crisis may affect my budget as President, I reject the idea that you can't build a strong middle class at a time when our economy is weak. Just the opposite - a strong middle class is the cornerstone of a strong economy. And building that middle class will be a cornerstone of my presidency. It won't be easy. It's not going to happen overnight. We know that we'll have to overcome our doubts and divisions and the determined opposition of powerful special interests before we can truly reform a broken economy, and advance opportunity.

Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 2008:

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

Heh. Weak kicker, dude.