Obama's friendly advice for Kanye presidential bid

Reality TV show training may be good for Kanye West (above, with his wife Kim Kardashian), says US President Barack Obama.
Reality TV show training may be good for Kanye West (above, with his wife Kim Kardashian), says US President Barack Obama.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO • United States President Barack Obama offered advice last Saturday to Kanye West on the rapper's improbable White House bid - telling him that reality television might be good training for Washington.

"First of all, you've got to spend a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they're on a reality TV show.

"So you've just to be cool with that," he said to laughter in a crowded theatre where he was headlining a fund-raiser. West is married to reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

"Second important tip: saying that you have a Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - that's what's known as 'off-message' in politics. You can't say something like that," Mr Obama riffed, making reference to a popular West album.

"And No. 3: Do you really think that this country is going to elect a black guy from the South Side of Chicago with a funny name to be president of the United States?

"That is crazy. That's cray!" Mr Obama, who lived on the South Side of Chicago before he was elected president, concluded to applause.

West, who is known for his brash self-confidence and has likened himself to Michelangelo, declared in August at the MTV Video Music Awards that he plans to run for president in 2020.

Last month, he said he was serious about the White House bid.

Mr Obama opened his remarks at the fund-raiser, at which West was scheduled to perform, by joking that the entertainer was going to jump into the increasingly complicated race to replace Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner.

"A little bit later, you're going to hear from a guy who I hear has been talking about launching a potential political career," Mr Obama told the crowd. "Kanye is thinking about running - for Speaker of the House. Couldn't get any stranger."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2015, with the headline 'Obama's friendly advice for Kanye presidential bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe