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President Obama was on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on Tuesday. OK, OK, technically it was Wednesday in Washington, as NBC broadcasts the show at 12:35 a.m. Eastern time. Anyway, the appearance seems to have worked up quite a bit of buzz among the blognoscenti and twitterati. How did things go?
We’d say the president’s political advisers think it went pretty well. Mr. Obama is making a big push this week to get Congress to act to prevent an automatic rise in student loan interest rates, and the Fallon show gave him a stage upon which to make that point with great emphasis. Let’s hope that for the sake of his blood pressure House Speaker John Boehner (R) was already asleep.
First off, there was the slow jam of the news. If you haven’t heard about this, it’s a recurring Fallon bit in which he and a guest talk/croon about a serious topic over a beat laid down by house band The Roots.
A Fallon slow jam resembles a mashup of a Barry White song and a Brian Williams special report. The Obama version was hilarious and partisan at the same time, allowing the president to poke at congressional Republicans for refusing to tax billionaires to help pay for cheaper student loans.
“Their position is that students just have to make this rate increase work. Frankly, I’m not buying it,” said Obama over the beat.
Then Fallon responded with “Ummm, umm, umm, the Barack Ness Monster ain’t buyin’ it.”
During their sit-down interview, Fallon also gave Obama plenty of time to go on about the importance of education to the young, and how the US needs to support it, and so on. Obama mentioned to the crowd the hashtag they could use in tweets if they supported him on the issue – #don’tdoublemyrates.
Fallon insisted that on his show they’re not political or partisan, but he did not challenge Obama on the student loan thing. Yes, it was a college crowd. But he could have asked whether kids at Ivy League schools should get cheap student loans – that would have gone down well with the University of North Carolina state school audience.
As to other stuff, Obama said people send him Web links to dancing bears and cute cats. It’s good to know that even presidents have friends eager to waste their time. Also, one of his favorite movies is “Groundhog Day,” which, Obama acknowledged, came out before many students in the crowd were born.
Also, Obama said he and Mitt Romney are not friends, but he did not appear to mean that in a bad way. He said because Romney had been a governor, their paths hadn’t crossed much in the course of political business, whereas he’d gotten to know last opponent John McCain in the Senate.
Also, Obama said Romney’s “wife is lovely,” though that reference almost got swallowed up in crowd noise.