Obama 'slow jams' student loan relief
Chapel Hill - US President Barack Obama "slow jammed" his call to prevent a spike in federal student loan rates during a comedy show appearance early on Wednesday aimed at the youth vote.
During a swing through North Carolina - a key battleground in November's presidential election - Obama appeared on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", where he not only sat for an interview but also took part in a running skit.
The skit, entitled "Slow Jam the News", features straight-faced guests speaking about something serious and then pausing as Fallon echoes their words in a throaty baritone reminiscent of soul singer Barry White.
The show's band, The Roots, meanwhile lays down a sultry R&B beat in the background and then breaks in with a comic refrain.
In an appearance recorded before a live college audience on Tuesday, Obama called on Congress to keep college loan interest rates from doubling on 01 July, saying "Now is not the time to make school for expensive for our young people".
"Awww yeah!" a deep-voiced Fallon chimed in. "You should listen to the president, or as I like to call him, the preezy of the United Steezy."
"If Congress doesn't act it's the students who'll pay/ The right and left should join on this like Kim and Kanye," The Roots sang in refrain, referring to tabloid rumours about reality TV star Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West.
A straight-faced Obama said his Republican rivals in Congress refused to act on the loans for fear of worsening the national debt but said they also rejected raising taxes on the super-wealthy in order to help pay it down.
Or, in Fallon's words: "The Barockness Monster ain't buyin' it."
US presidential candidates often appear on late-night comedy shows for light-hearted interviews but only rarely take part in comic sketches.
Obama hopes to rally the youth vote that helped propel him into office in 2008 as he fights for another four-year term.
His appearance on Fallon's show came as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney swept five Republican state primaries, further cementing his grip on the party's nomination, and essentially kicked off his general election campaign.