Aides to the president said the attempt to get young people to sign up for health insurance was worth the risk of appearing on a show that might seem beneath the dignity of the presidency.
“We have to find ways to break through,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s senior adviser and chief communications strategist. “This is essentially an extension of the code we have been trying to crack for seven years now.”
It's safe to say the president can give it out as good as he gets.
Despite his famous guest, Galifinakis stuck with the m.o. that made the Funny or Die web series a cult favorite, asking questions intended to throw his guest off balance. But the president, rather than being fazed, threw it right back.
"I have to know," the Hangover star asked, "What is it like to be the last black president?"
"Seriously?" the president shot back. "What's it like for this to be the last time you talk to a president?"
"It must kind of stink though, that you can't run, you know, three times," the host pressed.
"Actually, I think it's a good idea," the president replied. "If I ran a third time, it would be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn't really work out very well, did it?"
Filming two weeks ago, the president, who tends to laugh hardest at his own jokes, only broke once, giving a long grin after joking about the annual turkey pardon. There was the obligatory joke about a birth certificate, and basketball.
But Obama was there to talk about the Affordable Care Act, and once Galifinakis led him into it ("Do you go to any websites that are .coms or .nets, or do you mainly just stick with .govs?"), he moved into the pitch.
"Have you heard of Healthcare.gov?"
"Here we go," Galifiankis said. "Let's get this out of the way, what'd you come here to plug?"
While the president pushed through his standard Healthcare.gov material, Galifinakis interrupted to ask if this is what they "meant by drones" or if he meant to say "invisible instead of invincible."
In the end, Obama hit the red button on the table between them, but instead of "That Was Easy," a curtain dropped to reveal they had shot the segment at the White House.
The deadline for open enrollment on the new healthcare exchanges is March 31.
[New York Times]