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Carney: Dignity of the presidency was not 'damaged' by Funny or Die skit

The White House press secretary told reporters that Barack Obama's appearance on "Between Two Ferns" drove traffic to Healthcare.gov.
By Kate Stanton   |   March 11, 2014 at 9:20 PM   |   Comments

March 11 (UPI) -- Barack Obama's appearance on Funny or Die's "Between Two Ferns" sketch show was a calculated plug for the administration's Obamacare site, but some critics claimed the president back-and-forth with Zach Galifianakis had tarnished the dignity of the office.

One reporter posed the question to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during his daily press briefing on Tuesday.

"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, how much the dignity of the office might be lost?" asked ABC's Jim Avila. "This is an interview like no other probably ever done by a president."

"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.

"But was the presidency in any way damaged?" Avila pressed.

"No," Carney replied. "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."

Carney went onto assert that the video, which racked up 3 million views by Tuesday afternoon, would "be one of the reasons we get young Americans to HealthCare.gov, one of the reasons we get young Americans to enroll in health insurance programs, but not the only one."

Tara McGuinness, the White House's Affordable Care Act rep, tweeted Tuesday that FunnyorDie.com had become "the #1 source of referrals to http://HealthCare.gov."

[Mediaite, TPM, THR]

Follow @KateStan and @UPI on Twitter.
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