March 20, 2014, 12:26 pm
Obama fires back: Lincoln 'loved' racy jokes
By Justin Sink
President Obama pushed back on criticism of his recent appearance with comedian Zach Galifianakis to promote the Affordable Care Act, noting that President Lincoln "loved telling the occasional bawdy joke."
The president's remarks, during an interview with ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd that aired Thursday, were an indirect jab at Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who argued during a segment of his show earlier this month that the 16th president would never have agreed to such an appearance.
"First of all, if you read back on Lincoln, he loved telling the occasional bawdy joke and being out among regular folks," Obama said.
"And 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,” he added. “So you've got to consciously try to get out of that if you want 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."
The president said he was appearing on sports talk radio, in comedy bits and on daytime talk shows because he was "pushing for folks who may not be paying attention to day-to-day politics" to enroll in ObamaCare before the March 31 deadline.
"Having health insurance is part of an overall package to get healthy," Obama said.
He also used the interview to play to ESPN's audience by diving into his college basketball bracket. He admitted that he made lots of his selections based on the reputation of coaches and programs, because he was not able to "watch as many college basketball games as I did in college."
Obama shied away from questions about students athletes getting paid, saying instead he wanted to make sure universities provided kids a "good deal and fair package for what they're bringing to college." He specifically said colleges should offer student athletes a guaranteed four-year scholarship offer, so they wouldn't lose their educational opportunities if they are injured.
"Right now, I think that schools and coaches are benefiting, the kids sometimes are not the top priority," Obama said.