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National
Obama calls up LeBron, Ryan Seacrest to pitch health plan
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Obama calls up LeBron, Ryan Seacrest to pitch health plan

Obama calls up LeBron, Ryan Seacrest to pitch health plan
Photo Credit: Michael Reynolds / Pool
President Barack Obama delivers remarks while hosting the event, 'In Performance at the White House - Women of Soul', on March 6, 2014 in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC. The event was held to celebrate American music legends and contemporary major female artists.

Obama calls up LeBron, Ryan Seacrest to pitch health plan

With a March 31 deadline looming, President Obama is pulling out all the stops to boost sign-ups for his reformed health care plan. And that effort includes tapping some famous friends for celebrity endorsements.

“Hi, I’m LeBron James. I know how important it is to take care of yourself, your friends and your family. That’s why I want to tell you about the health insurance marketplace at Healthcare.gov.” (Via Healthcare.gov)

Yes, that’s NBA star LeBron James stumping for the Affordable Care Act. But Obama, a noted basketball lover, called up a few other big names from the sport.

Joining James in their own ads were retired ballers Alonzo Mourning and Magic Johnson, both of whom faced early retirement due to off-court illnesses.

And then there was Tuesday’s offering: a half-serious, half-parody interview on actor Zach Galifianakis’ web series "Between Two Ferns."

OBAMA: “Have you heard of the Affordable Care Act?"

GALIFIANAKIS: "Oh yeah, I heard about that. That's the thing that doesn't work. Why would you get the guy who created the Zune to make your website?"

OBAMA: "HealthCare.gov works great now." (Via Funny or Die)

>> Read more trending stories

The Funny or Die video racked up 16 million views by Saturday, far above the average 6 million view count for videos on the site. According to the White House, those views led to almost 900,000 visits to Healthcare.gov, a 40 percent uptick in traffic.

Presidential aide Eric Ortner told The Hollywood Reporter that the White House specifically targeted Funny or Die because they saw the site's visitors as “a very robust traffic base of young men and women who are on the edge of the cultural zeitgeist.”

So, we've got television, Internet ... how about radio? (Via Ryan Seacrest)

SEACREST: “We’ve got a deadline coming up March 31st. What do people need to do before the end of the month, Mr. President?”

OBAMA: “Well, the main thing they need to do is check out their options.”

Yep, the commander-in-chief reached Ryan Seacrest and made his pitch on the airwaves. One of Seacrest's many jobs is as a top-rated radio host in the Los Angeles market and in syndication.

Unsurprisingly, conservative critics have taken issue with the health care media blitz — particularly with Obama's interview with Galifanakis, which the folks at Fox said was beneath the office of the presidency.

With two weeks to go, the White House is hoping for an additional two million sign-ups to meet its enrollment projection of six million before the end of March.

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