Aghast Reporter Asks If FunnyOrDie Interview ‘Damaged’ Presidency

Is the dignity of America’s highest office impugned if the president appears on a comedy web series? That was the question on the mind of some members of the White House press corps Tuesday.

ABC News’s Jim Avila peppered White House Press Secretary Jay Carney with questions during a daily press briefing about President Obama’s appearance on FunnyOrDie.com’s interview series with actor Zach Galifianakis. The president plugged HealthCare.gov during the interview, a part of a concerted effort to reach young Americans.

“How much discussion was there in the White House about the dignity of the office and whether or not, in order to reach these people who don’t watch us at 6:30, or who don’t watch this briefing,” Avila asked, according to a transcript provided to TPM, “how much the dignity of the office might be lost? This is an interview like no other probably ever done by a president.”

“Safe to say,” Carney replied.

“So, how much discussion was there in the White House about this?” Avila pressed.

“Look, we’re constantly looking at different ways to reach Americans who don’t necessarily get information about HealthCare.gov from evening news broadcasts or from the newspapers,” Carney said.

“I understand the purpose, but was the presidency in any way damaged?” Avila continued.

“No,” Carney said. “We obviously assess opportunities that we have and look at whether or not they’re going to be successful and wise, and I think we made the right call here.”

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