Politics
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks before signing a Presidential Memorandum on modernizing the overtime system to help insure workers are paid fairly for their work while in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 13, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing U.S. President Barack Obama speaks before signing a Presidential Memorandum on modernizing the overtime system to help insure workers are paid fairly for their work while in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 13, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing  

Obama takes on Bill O’Reilly: Lincoln ‘loved telling the occasional bawdy joke’

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

President Abraham Lincoln enjoyed a bawdy joke here and there, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

During an appearance on ESPN’s “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd, Obama responded to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s contention that President Lincoln would not have appeared on a Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis, as Obama did earlier this month.

“Well, first of all, if you read back on Lincoln, he loved telling the occasional bawdy joke and you know being out among regular folks,” Obama told Cowherd. ”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.”

“And so you’ve got to consciously try to get out of that if you want to remind yourself of the wonderful people that you ‘re supposed to be serving who have a sense of humor and aren’t thinking every day about position papers,” he continued.

Last week O’Reilly took Obama to task in his Talking Points Memo for appearing on “Funny or Die.”

“I don’t really have a problem with it in general, but I think the timing hurts Mr. Obama. The economy continues to be problematic and Putin is clearly testing the president. It looks like Putin believes the president is a lightweight. Will a comedy video counter that?” he asked.

“I’m all for PR and if Carney wanted to go on ‘Funny or Die,’ fine, but should the president of the United States? All I can tell is you is Abe Lincoln would not have done it. There comes a point when serious times call for serious action,” O’Reilly said.

Obama added in the ESPN interview that he makes such appearances to encourage more people to sign up for Obamacare.

“If you don’t have health insurance you are vulnerable to financial hardship or medical hardship,” the president said. “If you get sick or you have an accident or like me, you’re an aging jock, and you think you can still play basketball and you pop an Achilles,” he said, going on to repeat that if people sign up they could find a plan for less than their cell phone or cable bill. (RELATED: Obamacare is definitely NOT as cheap as your cell phone bill) 

“I just want to make sure people take a look at it before the end of the month,” he added.

Follow Caroline on Twitter