President Obama: ‘I’ve been unfairly maligned about my jeans’

President Obama went on "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" Friday morning, where he talked about his trip to a Gap store, attacks on his dad jeans and "Between Two Ferns."


This image from video released by Funny Or Die shows President Obama, left, with actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis during an appearance on "Between Two Ferns," the digital short with a laser focus on reaching people aged 18 to 34. (Funny Or Die/AP photo)

His defense of his jeans was prompted by a conversation Seacrest had with a Gap employee who helped Obama pick out sweaters for his wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha Obama. Apparently, she was thinking that Obama should perhaps update his wardrobe during his visit, too.

“I’ve been unfairly maligned about my jeans,” he said. “The truth is, generally I look very sharp in jeans. There was one episode like four years ago in which I was wearing some loose jeans mainly because I was out on the pitcher’s mound, and I didn’t want to feel confined while I was pitching, and I think I’ve paid my penance for that. I got whacked pretty good. Since that time, my jeans fit very well.”

 

Earlier this month, Sarah Palin charged on the Obama pants front while talking about Ukraine on Fox News. “People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates,” she said.

Obama thought his fashion sense was self-evident in his sartorial choices at the Gap, and how his family reacted to his purchases. “They thought for a dad, I displayed reasonably good taste," Obama said.

His oldest daughter was also impressed by his appearance on "Between Two Ferns," Obama said. "Malia was so excited! She had seen all the previous episodes, so I figured it was going to reach our target audience, which is a lot of young people, and it turns out we’ve had close to 15 million hits."

The president hadn't known about the Web show before his staff suggested he go on it. “Zach actually was pretty nervous. It was funny to watch because this whole 'Between Two Ferns' schtick – which I wasn’t familiar with before my staff told me that we had been pitched to do this – his whole character is to go after the guest, and I think he was looking around and seeing all these Secret Service guys with guns and thinking, ‘I wonder what happens here if I cross the line?’ But we had a great time."

After the video was released, the White House said HealthCare.gov saw a 40 percent increase in traffic. Young people -- who are crucial to the Affordable Care Act's success since their good health and less frequent trips to a doctor keep premiums down -- haven't been signing up for insurance at the rates the Obama administration is aiming for, hence the White House's big push to reach them in new ways.

Obama talked politics a bit more with Seacrest. What he said to Galifianakis on "Between Two Ferns," — “I think it’s fair to say I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have something to plug" — also applies to Seacrest's radio show.

He said he visited the Gap because of its recent announcement of increasing their company-wide minimum wage to at least $10 an hour. He also talked about HealthCare.gov, saying "if you want health insurance this year, you need to make sure you that you are signing up by March 31.”

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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Jaime Fuller · March 14