The “Coolness” Factor
By Beena Raghavendran
“I want to slow jam the news,” comedian Jimmy Fallon said on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” last Tuesday at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. “And I’m not the only one.”
Through a blue curtain walked President Barack Obama with his classic ear-to-ear grin, to the cheering of UNC students in the audience.
Together, the comedian and the president with the show’s house band The Roots introduced the topic of the interest rates on Stafford student loans that are set to double.
The news segment that Fallon normally does with Brian Williams reinforced the possibility of Presidential coolness as a deciding factor in this fall’s election.
Obama said that the rise in interest rates means college students will be paying about a thousand dollars more to get the same education.
Fallon echoed Obama in slow-jam format.
“You should listen to the President – or, as I like to call him, the Preezy of the United Steezy,” Fallon said to wild laughter from the students.
Obama then explained that some in Congress believed the high interest rate was necessary to help pay off the national debt.
“The Barackness Monster ain’t buying it,” Fallon said, as the president held back laughter.
Obama’s appearance on Fallon’s show is just the latest in his appearances – singing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theater in January, cracking jokes at White House Correspondent’s Dinners for the past few years – that go viral on the Internet and on YouTube.
“Compared to Mitt Romney, he seems not as judgmental,” senior cell biology and English major Gowri Nadmichettu said. “He wants to compromise.”
But the cool candidate may not be the winning candidate, public opinion polls show. As today, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has a 2 percent edge on Obama with a 47 percent approval rating to Obama’s 45 percent, according to public opinion polling company Rasmussen Reports.
The GOP responded with an advertisement juxtaposing both the laughter in the president’s discussion of rising college costs and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney giving a solemn speech to an audience, ending with the hashtag #notfunny.
The caption from the YouTube uploader “rnc” is “America’s not laughing, Mr. President.”
Freshman biochemistry major Somayah Eltoweissy said that in comparison to Romney’s flip-flopping ways, Obama is the obviously cooler choice for November.
The country’s choice for president will ultimately stem from the most competent candidate, Nadmichettu said.
“If the cool candidate is the same that listens to concerns, that’ll be the deciding factor,” Nadmichettu said.
What do you think? Is “coolness” a quality you look for in a presidential candidate? Or is his platform the most important factor? Comment below:
Raghavendran is a freshman journalism and government & politics double major. She is a student in the Digital Cultures and Creativity Honors Program. To contact her or any other reporter, click here.