Obama recruits O’Brien in faux presidential bid
CHICAGO » Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has repeatedly said he does not plan to run for president in two years.
Yet the freshman senator from Illinois, who was raised in Hawaii and attended Punahou School, says that if he did, he has already picked a late-night talk show host to appear on the ticket with him.
How does Obama-O'Brien '08 sound?
"I was thinking about you as my running mate," Obama quipped to the host of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" on Friday, after being asked again if he plans to launch a presidential bid.
Obama, 44, who in his first year in Congress has rocketed from a locally known politician to a national celebrity, gets asked about running for president at most of his speaking engagements. His usual answer is that he is flattered by the suggestion but still has a lot to learn about Washington.
O'Brien's query was met with wild applause inside the Chicago Theatre.
In this photo released by NBC, "Late Night" star Conan O'Brien spoke with Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, a Punahou School alumnus, on Friday in Chicago.
The talk show host recently had a brush with politics. He ran a mock ad campaign endorsing the re-election of Finnish President Tarja Halonen -- because of her strong resemblance to him -- and met with her in February at the presidential palace in Helsinki.
But don't go printing the campaign buttons yet.
"It would be the worst thing you ever did," O'Brien told Obama. "You'd think it was funny, and then like a day later you'd go, 'God, I'm an idiot!'"
On "Late Night," which taped in Chicago last week instead of New York, a relaxed Obama talked about everything from his hard-to-pronounce name to how his wife makes fun of his ears.
"She talks about my ears a lot; that's an old standard, how big they are," he said.
He also poked fun at President Bush, whose diction is often the target of O'Brien and his talk show counterparts. Obama joked that Bush calls him "Rac" instead of Barack Obama (buh-RAHK oh-BAH-muh).
"I can't tell whether he's trying to give me a nickname or whether he just can't pronounce my name," Obama said.