Bradley Cooper single-handedly saved his BFF Barack Obama & the ACA


Last month, cable news people were all pearl-clutchy because President Obama had dared to appear on Zach Galifianakis’ popular Funny or Die “Between Two Ferns” interview show. Zach’s shitck is that he’s the worst, most insulting interviewer ever, and putting him with Pres. Obama – who, let’s face it, is one of our funniest presidents – was a great combination. Obama didn’t appear on Between Two Ferns for laughs though – he did it to appeal to “the young invincibles,” or the under-30 young adults who don’t have health insurance, and Barry wanted them to go on to get covered. The bit was very well-played on both Obama and Galifianakis’ sides and the clip became the most popular video Funny or Die has ever produced.

But how did the whole thing happen? Is Barry a closet super-fan of Between Two Ferns? Did Zach stalk POTUS? As it turns out, Barry’s BFF Bradley Cooper was the one who set the whole thing up. The whole thing went down at the state dinner for French president Francois Hollande (B-Coop was invited and his plus-one was Suki). Politico has a detailed write-up about the success of the ACA and how Barry’s appearance on Between Two Ferns really did help the enrollment numbers. You can read the full Politico piece here and here are some highlights:

Back on Feb. 11, Bradley Cooper was at the White House for the state dinner in honor of French President François Hollande. Before he got to his fingerling potato velouté, the actor met with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in her office to brainstorm ideas about how to help get the word out on Obamacare.

Enlisting the website Funny or Die had come up before, an administration official said, but Cooper was pushing hard for them to think about “Between Two Ferns,” the mock-interview web show hosted by his friend (and “The Hangover” co-star) Zach Galifianakis. Cooper pulled out his cell phone, got Galifianakis on the line and put him on speaker. He was ready to help.
Now they just needed to sell the idea to the president.

The next day, at the end of a non-Obamacare briefing in the Oval Office, Jarrett, communications director Jennifer Palmieri and press secretary Jay Carney made the pitch. Obama had never heard of the show before, but he liked the idea.

“Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper are going to do this for me?” a very pleased Obama asked.

Um, not exactly, they said. Administration officials don’t know if Obama ever clicked the links they sent him to previous shows. They don’t know how he stayed so calm trading insults with Galifianakis. But they know what happened next: 11 million views of the video, and showed a 40 percent spike in traffic from the day before.

“We didn’t make a hard sell,” Obama said Tuesday, celebrating the enrollment numbers. “We didn’t have millions of dollars in commercials like some critics did.”

[From Politico]

That’s one thing that I like about Obama’s operation, especially when compared to, say, the Clinton operation. Bill Clinton enjoyed being in the company of celebrities too, but for Bubba, it was all about entertainment. He enjoyed their work and they gave him checks. But Obama has always asked more from his celebrity friends, often asking them to put their time and energy where their mouths and checkbooks are. And if setting up Between Two Ferns with Pres. Obama really happened this way, then Bradley Cooper does deserve a lot of credit. Way to go, B-Coop.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

37 Responses to “Bradley Cooper single-handedly saved his BFF Barack Obama & the ACA”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Eleanor Zissou says:

    It’s somewhat sad that he had to appear on Funny or Die video to appeal to people under 30. Are people dumb or something? How on Earth would seeing Obama on that change my apinion about health insurance?

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I thought the same thing. No pearl clutching, but are people really making decisions based on a comedy routine? Sad.

      • Lubyanka says:

        I think what they’re trying to say is that young people had the issue brought to their attention, not that it changed or made up their minds for them. A lot of the younger folks I know are politically apathetic and old politicians arguing about one thing was the same as another. So when the issue was deliberately brought into their sphere of consciousness they paid attention and looked into it. I imagine something like that is what they’re referring to.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Very good points, Lubyanka

    • Jess G. says:

      I don’t know. I think you have to reach people where they are.

      I work in TV news and young people I don’t think really watch ‘traditional’ news outlets. There’s also this distrust of news media and the coverage of was all over the place. There was several negative ads that I saw.

      I think the funny or die video made it more conversational than this news/political talking point.

    • Hope says:

      I think he’s appearance has more to do with out of sight out of mind. Unless ppl are specifically interested in politics or healthcare they are not seeking out that info. The president was smart for “going to” the population he needed most to appeal to them. In the end they made the decision to get coverage.

    • Tatjana says:

      I’m not American, but American politics seems very very showbizzy, much more than any European country I can think of.
      And if young people are so apathetic to politics that the president needs to do showbizz shows to reach them, that is incredibly sad.
      And what do you mean people don’t trust the news?

      And I first heard that people in The US don’t have universal healthcare when I saw Sicko. It shocked me completely. Because of Hollywood you grow up with a very sugar coated version of America and then to find out people there don’t have things that are considered the basics of the basics was shocking.

      • MCraw says:

        Tatjana it is very showy politics, they learned how to pitch a message using television when ppl first saw Kennedy (or someone else?) talking and saw how looks helped get voters.

        And no, the news is not trusted and shouldn’t be. There is a history of distracting the public with stupid “news” while major political decisions are being made. News outlets are very biased and don’t report stories properly, sometimes unprofessionally.

        I don’t think it’s sad that some people get their news updates this way. America is geographically huge with a huge population of over 300mill, so it’s not the same as getting the message out to people in one European country. The internet is the best way to reach a portion of the population completely disillusioned and turned off to the circus and showiness of politics.

      • Tatjana says:

        I get your point, but I still think that it’s sad that people in their 20is aren’t interested in politics. You don’t have to be active, but not interested in something that affects everyday life so much? I don’t understand that.

  2. johio says:

    Why are you referring to the President by a childhood nickname he stopped using when he became an adult? Are you trying to say that no matter what he does, he’ll always be a boy in your eyes? Do you know that many birthers also call him? It’s not cute and I really wish you would stop doing it.

  3. Kudzuqueen says:

    Ask the working poor and small business owners what they think about Obama Care. You won’t see them crack a smile. And before I get jumped on here, please, just ask them.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      So far, I’ve heard positive responses.

    • Vickyt says:

      My aunt whose husband died a few months ago and who had lived most of her life as a housewife without health insurance was able to see a doctor for the first time in decades because of Obamacare. Her children went to the web site and signed her up. I wasn’t a believer till I heard a real life story. So, people are benefitting.

    • Kate says:

      I am a small business owner, and know a few others who are as well. Obviously, “Obama Care” is talked about a lot in our circle. Nobody has said anything negative about it. So….

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      It will not affect me one way or another, but I have heard positive and negative things about it. My internist thinks it will be terrible for medicine. I know people who have lost insurance they were happy with. I know people who are now insured who couldn’t be before. I know people who are paying more and paying less.

      I have some issues with it, such as nobody seems to have read it, I’m not crazy about the short term fixes, etc., but I think rolling out something this huge is just going to be a bumpy ride that needs adjustment. Something needed to be done, and I hope we can work this out because it’s what we have to work with. I hope both sides came get down off their high horses of “it’s a disaster” and “it’s perfect” and just fix it.

      • Kudzuqueen says:

        I agree everyone should be able to afford healthcare. I also believe that everyone who was able to afford healthcare should still be able to afford it with obamacare, and WITHOUT the subsidies. That is my problem with it. The people who now cannot afford the premiums and high deductibles who were affording them before. There are so many of those here where I live and it is heartbreaking. It is not perfect as it is touted to be and does not save everyone. People still cannot afford the premiums. It needs to be fixed. That’s all. So for the others, not the person I am responding to, thanks for making it out to seem like it is God’s gift to everyone, because it is not. Also, I find it hard to believe that we live in that different of an environment where I, and almost everyone else around me can see problems with it and others on here can say oh it is just fine.

  4. Patty says:

    I agree that the ACA is a work in progress. But if anyone has issues with high premiums and deductibles, take it up with the insurance companies. They, not the government, decide premiums and deductibles. It is after all a private market exchange ( with expanded Medicaid coverage for the poor – depending on your state).

    My hope is that ACA will eventually pave the way for a single payer system, but we shall see.

  5. Lena says:

    Why can’t we have celebrity stuff and no politics? They ruin each other and should never be crossed–like those Ghostbuster streams.