Meant to flag this earlier but got caught up in sorting through the rubble of ObamaCare instead.

I think TMZ inadvertently achieved something here that the mainstream political media so disdained by O could never do, namely, they shamed him into dropping a photo op on grounds of poor “optics.” It’s one thing when a site like Politico, read mainly by hackish news junkies like me, dumps on him for having a bit too much fun at a moment of unusually high international anxiety. It’s another thing when a site like TMZ, which reaches tens of thousands of low-information voters, does it.

President Obama is juggling at least two world crises, but it’s not cramping his pop culture style — we’ve learned he’s coming to L.A. this week to appear on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.

ABC Network sources tell TMZ … the Prez will come to Kimmel’s studio Wednesday to tape a special segment. We’re also told a big chunk of the interview will be “serious.”

That was late afternoon yesterday. Less than an hour later:

2:15 PM PDT — A rep for the Kimmel show tells TMZ Obama will not be doing the show Wednesday. Our ABC sources, however, continue to say he was booked on the show and multiple LAPD sources continue to tell us Obama is scheduled to be at The El Capitan Wednesday at 3 PM for an hour.

He was booked, the White House later admitted, but he isn’t anymore: “We elected not to do it this time, but hope we can arrange to do it in the near future.” I’m surprised, honestly. His polls haven’t suffered lately; on the contrary, disapproval of his job performance dropped a point overnight at Gallup, putting him at a not-bad-by-Obama-standards 44/49. And, from the very beginning, his team’s been a big believer in reaching the masses directly with unconventional media appearances. That’s what the “Between Two Ferns” segment with Zach Galifianakis before the ObamaCare sign-up deadline was about. It paid off richly. The somewhat “serious” Kimmel segment was inevitably going to be a soapbox for pitching his base on turning out in November, but I guess “somewhat serious” won’t cut it right now politically. I wonder what data the White House is seeing to make them think that 15 minutes of moronic late-night banter would be too risky.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he decided he wanted to go to Knott’s Berry Farm or something instead and an opportunity for a private tour opened up that could. not. be. missed.

Via the Free Beacon, here’s Jon Karl wondering what could be happening today that’s so incredibly important that O couldn’t carve out five minutes for the media during a White House event celebrating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11. You know the answer.