President Obama, responding to a question about Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly’s criticism of his appearance on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns, said today that President Lincoln had a sense of humor. ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd asked Obama today about criticism that Abraham Lincoln would not have appeared on the web series hosted by Zach Galifianakis. (Obama did, last week, as part of a media tour to urge viewers and listeners to sign up for Obamacare before the March 31 deadline. The ESPN Radio interview was part of that campaign.)
“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,” Obama told Cowherd. “If you read back on Lincoln, he loved telling the occasional bawdy joke and, you know, being out among regular folks.”
It was O’Reilly who, on his FNC primetime program, nicked Obama’s Ferns appearance, saying, “All I can tell you is Abe Lincoln would not have done it.” (The reference also served to remind viewers that O’Reilly co-wrote the best-selling book Killing Lincoln.)
As POTUS, Obama countered this afternoon, “you have 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.”
To that end, Obama also appeared today on Ellen DeGeneres‘ syndicated show, to promote the healthcare web site, and to tell DeGeneres of her Oscar selfie, “I thought it was a pretty cheap stunt myself, getting a bunch of celebrities in the background…you feeding them pizza.” DeGeneres’ selfie, which clocked more than 3 million re-tweets, temporarily caused service issues with Twitter, and beat Obama’s re-tweet record set on November 6, 2012 when he posted a photo of himself and First Lady Michelle Obama with the text: Four More Years.