(CNN) - President Barack Obama defended himself Thursday against critics who argued that his recent appearance on a Web-based comedy show undermined the dignity of his office and would never have been done by one of his most famous predecessors – Abraham Lincoln.
Obama said in an interview with ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd that Lincoln "loved telling the occasional bawdy joke and, you know, being out among regular folks."
"One of the hardest things about being President is being in this bubble that is artificial and, unless you make a conscious effort, you start sounding like some Washington stiff," Obama said.
"You have to consciously try to get out of that if you want remind yourself of the wonderful people you're supposed to be serving who have a sense of humor and aren't thinking every day about position papers."
Last week, conservative Fox News host Bill O’Reilly blasted Obama’s decision to appear on actor Zach Galifianakis’s Web-based comedy show “Between Two Ferns.”
“All I can tell you is Abe Lincoln would not have done it," O’Reilly declared.
Obama’s March 11 appearance on Galifianakis’s show was part of the administration's effort to encourage young people – the so-called “young invincible” demographic – to sign up for health insurance before Obamacare’s March 31 enrollment deadline.
The participation of young people is considered critical to balancing out costs in the exchanges.
Obama's interview on Galifianakis' show, according to the White House, led to a surge of sign-up referrals to Healthcare.gov from the series' website, Funny Or Die.
The topic of his administration's get-covered campaign came after the first chunk of ESPN’s show, where Obama, an avid basketball fan, talked about the NCAA “March Madness” tournament.
CNN's Dana Davidsen and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.