"First of all, I think it's important to realize I was actually black before the election," Obama replied.
As the audience laughed and applauded, Letterman asked, "How long have you been a black man?"
But after the merriment subsided, Obama turned to a more serious explanation for the unease with his policies. "Whenever a president tries to bring about significant changes, particularly in times of economic unease, then there is a certain segment of the population that gets very riled up." He recalled the dissent faced by Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan and concluded that his current political situation is "not untypical."
Video: President Obama on The Late Show with David Letterman