The President of the United States appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday, where, like Katy Perry and Snooki before him, he agreed to read "Mean Tweets" on camera. The segment typically features multiple people, but POTUS did the honors all by himself—and boy, were the tweets mean!
"Online, people who already don't like the President are criticizing him for coming here. President Bush would get the same thing when he did TV shows. It's the nature of the job, I guess, especially now when we have Twitter," Jimmy Kimmel told the audience. "I think it's important to remember that presidents are people, too, and from time to time we give celebrities the chance to read some of the mean things people tweet about them. Tonight, we extended that same courtesy to our commander-in-chief."
Obama opened the segment by reading a tweet from @carold501: "Obama's hair is looking grayer these days. Can't imagine why since he doesn't seem to be one bit worried about all that's going on." As R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" played in the background, he read a tweet from @RWSurferGirl: "Is there any way we could fly Obama to some gold course halfway around the world and just leave him there."
This time, he issued a response. "Well, @RWSurferGirl, I think that's a great idea," Obama said.
Some of the issues people raised were sillier than others. "A 30 rack of coors light is $23 now at Sun Stop. Thanks, Obama," @campaignrpoz tweeted. Another Twitter user, whose username was blurred, wrote, "How do you make Obama's eyes light up? Shine a flashlight in his ears." Obama laughed at that joke, saying, "That's pretty good." @theautho tweeted, "Somebody send obama some lifehacks on how to be a good president. haha. like, i bet that would help. lol." Obama delivered another burn, telling the user, "The LOL is redundant when you have the haha." The final tweet came from @TPPratt, who wrote, "I am alright with the President wearing jeans. I am not alright with the President wearing THOSE jeans."
Kimmel walked on set wearing unflattering jeans. "Jimmy, I think they've got a point," Obama admitted.
"I have to say, though, those weren't that mean," he said. "I've got to tell you, you should see the ones the Senate sends about me."
The host jokingly introduced Obama as the "first Kenyan-born Muslim Socialist ever elected president."
"I cannot drive," Obama said, explaining that he is licensed but not allowed to get behind the wheel.
"Is that because you don't have a birth certificate?" Kimmel asked.
"In Kenya we drive on the other side of the road," Obama deadpanned.
The rest of the interview covered Kanye West's allegations, Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal and more.
POTUS famously called West "a jackass" years ago, and in a recent talk with Oxford University students, West bragged that he can "call Obama out of the blue," adding, "He calls the home phone, by the way."
Naturally, Kimmel wanted to see if West was telling the truth.
"I've met Kanye twice," Obama said of interacting with the musician. "The first time was when I was a senator and he was with his mom. He'd just gotten big. He's from Chicago, so they wanted to meet, and he was very soft-spoken and very gracious. He was a young guy, and hadn't quite come into his own. And about six months ago, he came to an event and, look, I love his music and he's incredibly creative. I don't think I've got his home number." The president added, "I do love his music, though. He's terrific."
West will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live! next Friday, so it's safe to assume he'll have something to add.
Kimmel also asked Obama if he has Clinton's new e-mail address.
"I can't share it with you," Obama joked. "I don't think she'd want you to have it, quite frankly."
As fellow guest Sean Penn waited in the wings, Obama admitted he was quite familiar with the actor's 1982 coming-of-age comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. "I lived it," he joked. "I didn't just see it."
The conversation turned a little more serious when Obama was asked about his daughters and social media. "[Michelle Obama] and I try to emphasize to them that we don't want them on TMZ," he said. As for his own social media practices, he said, "I do not physically tweet in general...Generally speaking, I've got some other stuff to do." Furthermore, "I don't text. I e-mail. I still have a BlackBerry. I can't use phones with recorders in them, so a lot of the newfangled stuff, for security reasons I don't get."