President Obama, no stranger to late-night television, appeared on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” Tuesday night. The president slow-jammed the news with Fallon and house band The Roots, taking over Brian Williams‘s role in the comedic skit.
After a curtain opened to reveal Obama, Lisa de Moraes of the TV Column says the president kicked it off:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: On July first of this year the interest rate on Stafford student loans, the same loans many of you use to help pay for college, are set to double. That means some hard working students will be paying about a thousand dollars extra just to get their education. So I’ve called on Congress to prevent this from happening. What we’ve said is simple: now is not the time to make school more expensive for our young people.
JIMMY FALLON: Oh yeah. You should listen to the President – or, as I like to call him, the Preezy of the United Steezy…Things are heating up inside of Congress’s chambers, behind all those closed doors. So the president made a few discreet calls across the aisle. He said ‘Hey, let’s get together on this one.” With college getting more expensive, is it enough by itself to satisfy all your collegiate needs? Ah, Pell no!
“If Congress doesn’t act it’s the student who pay. The right and left should join on this, like Kim and Kanye,” sings Tariq Trotter, aka Black Thought.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Now there’s some in Congress who disagree. They say keeping the interest rate low isn’t the way to help our students. They say we should be doing everything we can to pay down the national debt. Well, so long as it doesn’t include taxing billionaires. But their position is that students just have to make this rate increase work. Frankly I don’t buy it.
JIMMY FALLON: Mmm-mmm-mmm! The Barackness Monster ain’t buying it. We all know our legislative bodies in the House, tossing and turning late into the night, but still Republicans disagree and could even filibuster. But, if they do, the president said, they’re gonna feel it, buster.
“The GOP is steady saying ‘No, no no!’ They should find something new to do like Tom Tebow,” sings Tariq.
Following a commercial break, The Roots played Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” to re-introduce Obama, who sang the song back in January at a fundraiser. Fallon had a hard time hiding his laughs while subsequently interviewing Obama, de Moraes says:
“Fallon, who’s been giddy since Obama walked out on stage, begins to “interview” Obama. And, by “interview” we mean suggesting Obama deliberately fall while getting off Air Force One because it would be really funny, like the time President George W. Bush choked on the pretzel. Obama says he doesn’t find it funny, but Fallon can’t let it go. They speak a few minutes about the handful of Secret Service “knuckleheads” with the hookers in Cartagena, Columbia, and the press scramble to write lead stories about it, while they move on to some sports references, and Fallon says he really likes Obama’s house -- “it’s a rental,” Obama explains, Fallon giggles.”
Fallon joked about the investigation into the actions of Secret Service members while stationed in Columbia, asking Obama if he had been “having the best time hanging out with the Secret Service,” David Nakamura of 44 said:
Obama was a bit more serious in his response.
“The Secret Service, these guys are incredible,” Obama said, according to the White House press pool report on the interview. “They protect me, they protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from what they do. What they were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore.”
The appearance showed that Obama may be cooler than the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, Chris Cillizza of The Fix said, but that may not be important on election day:
At first glance, the coolness gap between the two parties’ nominees would seem to favor President Obama. After all, who would you rather vote for: the coolest guy in school or Alex P. Keaton? (Yes, we are exaggerating. But, you get the point.)
That cursory glance, however, underestimates the political complexity of the “coolness” factor as it relates to President Obama and his bid for a second term this fall. The reality is that Obama’s “coolness” can (and will) be used against him by Republicans who will seek to paint him as all style no substance — someone who talks a good game but doesn’t deliver.
“If voters think on election day that Obama is the cool one, but Romney is the competent one, Obama will lose,” said Mike Murphy, a California-based Republican media consultant. “We are electing a president to get us out of tough economic times, not a prom king.”
More on Obama’s appearance: