Stating the obvious, President Obama told Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart Thursday he had an “off night” during the first presidential debate, and his “presentation was not what way it needed to be.”

Stewart likened Obama’s performance that night to what sometimes happens to him while hosting “The Daily Show.”

“I’ll go on stage and I’ll have, let’s say, an open-faced turkey sandwich and a shot of Niquil. And, half way through [the show] I’ll go, ’Are we on?’”

But mostly, Stewart played it straight during the long-ish interview.

GOP candidate Mitt Romney “makes a good presentation,” Obama acknowledged, “but the fundamentals of what he’s calling for are the same policies that got us into this mess that we’ve been fighting against for the last four years – trying to dig out way out of -- an economy that was good for a few folks at the top but wasn’t working for ordinary Americans.”

Obama told Comedy Central’s faux newsman, and his enthusiastic studio audience, “The most important thing is, when you think about the economy, I’m absolutely convinced, when you look at the historical record, that when middle class families do well, when there are ladders of opportunity for poor families to get into the middle class, the entire economy does well.”

“When a few folks are doing very well at the top and everybody else is getting squeezed, the economy grows slower...that is the central issue in this election.”

Stewart wondered how many times a week veep Joe Biden come to meeting in a wet bathing suit.

““I had to put out a presidential directive on that. We had to stop it,” Obama responded, adding: “I gotta say, though, he looks pretty good.”

On the other hand, Stewart also quizzed Obama as to the “confusion in the administration over what happened” in the Sept. 11 attacks on American diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, Libya.

“What was it that caused that confusion?” Stewart asked.

“We weren’t confused about the fact that four Americans had been killed,” Obama responded.

“I wasn’t confused about the fact that we needed to ramp up diplomatic security around the world right after it happened. I wasn’t confused investigating exactly what happened so it gets fixed, or confused about hunting down whoever did it and bringing them to justice...When a tragic event like this happens on the other side of the world, immediately a whole bunch of intelligence starts coming in. People try to piece together exactly what happened. And what I always try to do is make sure we get all the facts, figure out what went wrong,a dn make sure it doesn’t doesn’t happen again. We’re still in that process now….Every piece of information we get, as we got it, we laid it out for the American people. “

Stewart intended to wrap up the interview with another gag, asking the president how many e-mails his campaign had sent him during the interview. Obama played along again, but ended the interview his way:

“Here’s what I will say to everybody who’s watching: The stakes on this could not be bigger. War, peace, Supreme Court, women’s right to choose, whether we’re creating jobs in this country or whether they’re getting shifted overseas, are our children getting the best education they can – all that stuff’s at stake and there’s no reason not to vote.”

“Hit the polls! – And I hope you vote for me!”