Martin Bashir | April 26, 2012
>> a correspondent for the nation and msnbc contributor, and krystal ball is a democratic strategist and an msnbc contributor. welcome to all of you. joe, if i may start with you. you and others will be attending the white house correspondents dinner in a day or two or as it is being hash tagged on twitter, nerd prom . the president got the jokes on jimmy fallon . yet fox news seemed to worry america may slide into the ocean as a result of that appearance. why is that?
>> well, it's because it is barack obama and he is doing something that other young people , especially work find really cool. let's face it. the criticism from the right on this rings especially hollow when it doesn't take a long google search to find examples of other presidents during the moment of the humor to show they're regular people . it didn't take me three minutes. that eisenhower in the 1950s went on tour with abbott and cost tello. i mean, this really happened. we have other examples. we have the one that sticks in my mind most famously is president nixon ongoing sock it to me on laugh-in. he was not the president but a beloved political figure. john mccain has been on saturday night live. beneath the office is beneath concern as criticism for the white house .
>> krystal , we should point out when you listened to someone like rush limbaugh , the sort of comedy that he enjoys generally is sexis issexist, homophobic and racist the party that had donald trump , herman cain , rick perry .
>> and the front runner is concerned about the dignity of the office of the okay. i just wanted to make sure. they're like outrage junkies. they have to have somebody to be outraged about. something the president did.
>> so it is not air force one, it is that he is with jimmy fallon .
>> right. the thing is that a lot of young people do watch late night and this is a great way to talk to young people . and it is getting harder and harder for campaigns to communicate with young people . there are less and less watching tv . they're hard to get their phone number. they're hard to find their addresses so this is one way that it is effective.
>> so there is method in this. fox and friends , that woman, i think her name is gretchen carlson , called the segment nutso. she seemed to imply it was beneath the dignity of the presidency. but her network is involving kim kardashian to the dinner.
>> what is good for the goose is not always good for the fox gander. i think as the audience said, about 1.6 million people watch jimmy fallon a night and that's skewed toward the youth and this was a youth-related topic about student loans. the bigger piece that is different than eisenhower, although it is to the white house 's benefit. that then because it is a set piece . because it was particularly funny, it went all over the internet. if you checked google yesterday, the third and fourth highest search in the country were for fallon obama . this breaks out of the political stuff and normal random people searching google. mad cow disease was the only thing beating it yesterday. those folks searching it, they get a message about policy, too. i don't think that's a bad thing.
>> politicians are going to be on late night tv one way or the other. either as guests or punch lines. so why not embrace it as the president has and as krystal just said.
>> the fact is they have been embracing it for decades. fire side chats. that was one way fdr got his message to the people. i'm sure if his consultants had thought about it, he would have done a guest spot on fiber mcgee and molly. so there has always been pop culture expecting with the white house and ari is exactly right. not only was it a pretty good strategy to try to frame the message of the day in something that the white house knew would reach young people but it also serves to burnish the president's credentials as the first, probably truly pop culture president that we've had in a long time. remember, the obama brand was pretty much a logo. we had what amounted to a movement and a framing strategy that enveloped a lot of young people and that candidates are setting, certainly mitt romney 's campaign is studying how obama did what he did in 2008 . they're jeopardy rating excitement. they're trying to get something new and i think it was a good strategy that frankly, the republicans criticized because they probably didn't think of it.
>> i was going to say to you, i mean, i guess conservative think feel bad about it. if someone asked mitt romney for a slow jam , he probably asked for some toast and a knife and butt every and some peanut butter . that's what he thinks it is.
>> no jam.
>> that's a little crazy. it is hard to picture romney pulling off quite the same thing. the other interesting thing is remember in 2008 , the big criticism of the president that actually had some legs was that, he's just a celebrity. and now they're taking back up that same line of attack. why? because the enthusiasm is there. just watch. when he goes to these college campuses, they go crazy for him. there's still so much enthusiasm. i think they're going to turn out in november.
>> it is not diminishing the august nature and presence of the president. didn't jan brewer do that when she pointed in the president's face when someone shouted, when he was giving his state of the union speech and they said, you lied. that's diminishing the presidency. appearing on jimmy fallon ?
>> . no we expect the candidates to make their case wherever the people are. the people are in entertainment. the things that diminish the presidency in my view that are fairly bipartisan are, a campaign finance system that makes you spend a lot of time raising money, policy problems. these things. not how you make a joke. and with mitt romney , he said famously in 2008 , who let the dogs out. you can google or youtube that clip.
>> that's a magnificent point.
>> and if he becomes president and goes on the new hip hospital hollywood squares and says who let the dogs out, i welcome that. i welcome all of it. i don't think that's the top issue for the republicans.
>> thank you so much.