President Obama got a lot of attention for slow jamming the news on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” Tuesday night. About 2 million people watched the show, during which Mr. Obama talked about the need to keep student-loan rates low over a beat laid down by house band The Roots.
That’s what slow jamming the news is: It’s kind of a combination of a Barry White song and a "PBS NewsHour" report. Mr. Fallon does this from time to time, though he’s never had the chance to do it with Obama, whom he referred to as “the Preezi of the United Steezi,” the Barack Ness Monster,” and “the POTUS with the mostest."
Well, not everyone enjoyed the bit. Two days on, the backlash is in full swing, with many Republicans grousing about the Fallon episode and complaining that Obama is just trying to distract Americans from his policy failures.
Rush Limbaugh, for one, said the whole thing wasn’t humorous.
Slow jamming the news “is supposed to be wildly funny if you have a low threshold for humor," Mr. Limbaugh said Wednesday on his show. "It’s also funny if you smoke certain controlled substances."
Conservative talk-show host Ann Coulter seconded Limbaugh during a Wednesday-night appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, saying Obama’s performance was “pretty pathetic” and an attempt to overshadow news coverage of scandals at the General Services Administration and the Secret Service.
“This whole week has been a government employee failure,” said Ms. Coulter.
Other right-leaning commentators noted that the subtext of Obama's appearance seemed to be an attempt to portray him as cool and hip, as opposed to Mitt Romney’s more stiff personality. The best way for the GOP to counteract this, they said, might be to embrace it and flip it around: Do you want a president who is hip or a president who is effective?
“The coolness issue is a trap for Obama, I’d suggest.... Not even actually cool people want a cool incompetent as president,” wrote conservative Jennifer Rubin on her Right Turn blog in The Washington Post.
The Republican National Committee, for its part, has already produced a two-minute Web ad titled “A Tale of Two Leaders.” It jumps from clips of presumptive nominee Mitt Romney making a speech to clips of Obama slow jamming, in an attempt to portray the former as more serious than the latter.
The ad ends by inviting viewers to tweet anti-Obama thoughts using the hashtag #NotFunny.
While Obama’s political opponents criticized the slow jam, so did one of Fallon’s ratings opponents. Funnyman Jon Stewart noted on "The Daily Show” that Obama at this point does not have to lower himself to connect with voters.
“Mr. President, you’re the president! You don’t have to do this [bleeped expletive] anymore. Although we’d love to have you back on the show,” said Mr. Stewart.