President Barack Obama was recently offered a cameo appearance on Netflix’s hit political drama, “House of Cards.” It sounds like a joke, but could Obama actually wind up as an extra on the show?
Meeting with Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings at the White House on Tuesday, Obama jokingly asked if Hastings had “brought an advance copy” of the upcoming season of “House of Cards.”
Obama is a big fan of the Netflix original series, which stars Kevin Spacey as ruthless Congressman Francis Underwood, and Hastings immediately offered the president a cameo role in an upcoming episode. The offer was played as a joke, but there are several reasons an Obama cameo on “House of Cards” could become a reality.
At the meeting, Obama joked that he wished the real-life political process worked as quickly as its “House of Cards” counterpart, though presumably Obama would prefer fewer murders in real-life D.C.
“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” Obama joked. “It’s true. I was looking at Kevin Spacey, and I thought ‘Man, this guy’s getting a lot done.’”
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Obama isn’t the only high-ranking politician who loves “House of Cards,” and some friends might support his cameo. Former President Bill Clinton, for instance, admitted to binge-watching the entire first season of “House of Cards” in just three days. Perhaps he could persuade Obama to do a cameo.
On the other hand, there are also some reasons why it may never happen. Traditionally, presidents have shied away from the entertainment industry after taking office. Ronald Reagan, an actor by trade, was offered a small role as mayor of 1885 Hill Valley in 1989’s “Back to the Future III,” but ultimately declined. No president before or since has made an appearance on an entertainment production after his election -- except Obama.
Plenty of American presidents before him made appearances on late-night talk shows and sketch comedies, but all of these appearances came before their elections. Bill Clinton’s infamous sax solo on the “Arsenio Hall Show,” Richard Nixon’s “sock it to me” on “Laugh-In” and George W. Bush’s top 10 list on “Late Night with David Letterman” all took place before they took office.
Last year, Obama became the first sitting president to appear on a late-night TV talk show when he slow jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon, and in 2012, he became the most-televised president in American history, outpacing the former record-holder -- Ronald Reagan.
Obama could always push the envelope a little more, of course. Besides, Vice President Joe Biden made a cameo appearance last year on the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” Why should he get all the Hollywood spotlight?
Season 2 of "House of Cards" will debut on Feb. 14.