Obama: Abe Lincoln Wouldn’t Have Had A Problem Doing ‘Between Two Ferns’

Abe Lincoln was no “Washington stiff,” so he wouldn’t have had a problem with reaching out to “regular folks” through a Funny or Die video, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

The President made the comment on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” in between talking about his NCAA basketball championship tournament bracket and the impending March 31 health insurance deadline. Obama has been on a media blitz in recent weeks to encourage young people to sign up for a health care plan before that deadline, including a turn on “Between Two Ferns,” an online faux-celebrity interview show hosted by actor Zach Galifianakis, that was criticized in some circles for being undignified.

“One network suggested Lincoln wouldn’t do this, its obviously a different time,” the show’s host Colin Cowherd said. “But you embrace young and different. Why?”

“First of all, if you read back on Lincoln, he loved telling the occasional bawdy joke and being out among regular folks,” Obama said. “And you know, one of the hardest things about being president is being in this bubble that is artificial and unless you make a conscious effort, you start sounding like some Washington stiff.”

“So you’ve got to consciously try to get out of that if you want to remind yourself of the wonderful people that you are supposed to be serving who have a sense of humor and aren’t thinking every day about position papers,” he added.

Cowherd was referring to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who criticized Obama’s much buzzed-about appearance as a “desperate” attempt to promote health care and decided that “Abe Lincoln wouldn’t have done it.”

h/t Huffington Post

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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