President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised the Secret Service agents who guard him as "incredible" and blamed "a couple of knuckleheads" for the Colombia prostitution scandal engulfing the agency.
Obama, taping an appearance on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," also said he had met presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney "but we're not friends."
"His wife is lovely," the president said, according to a written report from the print pool reporter with him, Dave Boyer of The Washington Times. Romney, Obama said, "seems like somebody who cares about his family."
Obama, who has said he will be "angry" if allegations of Secret Service agents cavorting with prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, turn out to be true, played down the scandal's potential impact.
"The Secret Service, these guys are incredible," the president said. "They protect me. They protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. What they were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there anymore."
Obama's taped appearance was to be broadcast in full when "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" airs at 12:35 a.m. Wednesday. The session was recorded on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Fallon said as taping began that Obama's presence made this the "holy crap edition" of his show. The Saturday Night Live alum joked that many people couldn't get tickets to attend the taping: "Students, professors, Joe Biden."
Fallon said he had been on campus for two days and quipped "I've been having the best time hanging out with the Secret Service."
And he said that Obama had promised not to pander to UNC students, but added that it was strange when the incumbent's campaign slogan switched from "Yes, We Can" to "Duke sucks."
Obama told Fallon that, when it comes to the NBA, "you gotta go with the Bulls" but said that, as president, he did not have much time to watch TV.
"I'll date myself when people ask me what kind of comedies I like, I'll say 'Groundhog Day,'" Obama said.
Asked about his time in college, Obama reminisced when Fallon put up a black and white photograph of Obama as a student.
"Notice the afro," the president, drawing laughs from the audience.
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- President Barack Obama
- Mitt Romney