Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let's Move! Success: Michelle Obama Gets Jay Leno To Eat His Veggies On "Tonight Show"

The First Lady watches Leno sample veggies
First Lady talks about her new book, her childhood obesity campaign, and gifts Leno with a jar of White House honey...
Los Angeles, CA - First Lady Michelle Obama achieved her goal of getting Jay Leno to eat some vegetables during a Tuesday appearance on The Tonight Show to promote her Let's Move! campaign--and to talk Campaign 2012.

Ahead of taping the NBC show at Leno's Burbank studio, the First Lady had run a mini-campaign on Twitter, challenging the junk-food loving comic to try some veggies in response to his admitting in Parade magazine that he hadn't eaten a vegetable since 1969.

"I admit my diet is not good," Leno said during his monologue before Mrs. Obama joined him on stage.  

"My idea of fruit salad is a bowl of Skittles. The only fiber I get is when I eat a slice of pizza and the cardboard from the box gets stuck in the cheese."

As Mrs. Obama sat beside him, Leno's desk was turned into a buffet, complete with slices of vegetable-topped pizza, a cone-shaped basket of baked sweet potato fries, and apples.  

The First Lady sweetened the deal by bringing along a big jar of White House Honey from the beehive that sits beside her Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn. 

She was all smiles as she encouraged Leno to try the healthy feast on his desk: "You are such a role model for millions, it would be wonderful," Mrs. Obama said. 

The comic started with the veggie pizza, topped with eggplant, green peppers and zucchini, and made with a whole-wheat crust.

"This a good way for people of your ilk, who don't like vegetables, to incorporate them," Mrs. Obama said of the pizza.

"That does smell very good. I assume this is sausage-pepperoni," Leno joked, then added "it's not bad," after taking a few bites. 

But: "It would be better with sausage and pepperoni," he said, and seemed to like the sweet potato fries better: "quite good."

"I heard you haven't had an apple in a decade," Mrs. Obama said, as she offered a plate of sliced apples to Leno.  

"And with some of our White House honey, if you dip it, it will help it go down just a little easier."

"'White House honey'--that sounds bad," Leno quipped.  "You know, with a different president that could mean a whole different thing, ‘a little White House honey.’”

Leno dipped his apple in the honey, and took a bite.  He got a big round of applause.

Mrs. Obama segued to her forthcoming book, American Grown, which will be published in May.  The book cover was flashed onscreen.

"It's about the Kitchen Garden," she said.  Asked if the White House will ever have a cattle herd to go along with the beehive and the garden, Mrs. Obama said no, and credited First Dog Bo:  He'd chase them.

Asked by Leno if she has any veggies she doesn't like, Mrs. Obama said beets.

"I am not a beet lover," Mrs. Obama said. "I believe there is a beet gene, and I don't have it." 

It's a theory the First Lady originally posited during a Ladies' Home Journal cover story in 2010, and she's serious about it, according to her aides.

Leno turned the tables on Mrs. Obama:  He took out a plate of beets, and offered her some.

"Tricky, tricky," Mrs. Obama said.

"All I ask is that you try ," Leno said.

The First Lady was a good sport:  She held up a beet, then took a bite, wrinkling her nose. The audience burst into cheers.  

During the rest of the segment, Mrs. Obama discussed President Obama's new career as a singer--thanks to Al Green--daughters Malia and Sasha, and the re-election campaign.

A gift jar of White House honey
Leno's White House gift...
The First Lady's beehive is the first to ever be on White House grounds, and was installed when she first planted her Kitchen Garden in 2009.  Overseen by beekeeper Charlie Brandts, it produced 243 pounds of honey in 201. The honey is used for everything from First Family meals to State Dinners, and jars of it have been included in Mrs. Obama's diplomatic gifts, including a garden-centric gift for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, during President Obama's State Visit to the UK in 2011. 

White House honey is also used by the Obamas' chefs to make White House homebrewed beer

Mrs. Obama, on a two-day swing through Los Angeles, spoke at a DNC reception on Tuesday evening.  She will tape The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, then attend a Let's Move! event before heading to a Democratic National Committee fundraising luncheon.

The President last appeared on The Tonight Show in October of 2011.  After joking to Leno that the White House was in danger of getting egged on Halloween thanks to his wife's insistence on including dried fruit in treat bags handed out to school kids Trick or Treating at the White House, more candy was actually added to the presidential treat bags.


*NBC photo at top; honey photo by Obama Foodorama