LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - President George W. Bush made a highly unusual appearance on U.S. television game show "Deal or No Deal" on Monday, seeking show host Howie Mandel's help to deal with the federal budget in upcoming talks with Congress.
"Howie, I don't know if you're free to come to Washington anytime soon but I have to reach an agreement with Congress on the federal budget. How'd you like to host a $3 trillion dollar 'Deal or No Deal,'" Bush joked.
In the program, contestants compete to win a $1 million prize and can triple that amount in a bonus round.
Bush made the appearance via videotape to wish good luck to one contestant, Army Captain Joe Kobes who has served three tours of duty in Iraq and received the Purple Heart for injuries after his truck was blown up in 2004.
Bush's appearance was arranged after the show's producers contacted the White House on learning from Kobes that the president was one of his heroes.
The president noted the show's wide popularity saying he was "thrilled" to be appearing on it.
"Come to think of it, I'm thrilled to be anywhere with high ratings these days," he quipped.
He then thanked Kobes for "courageous service in Iraq."
On "Deal or No Deal," contestants pick one briefcase among a group of more than 25, hoping that $1 million is inside the case. The cases are eliminated from the game while a "banker" offers contestants less than the $1 million to drop out.
Kobes did not have $1 million in his case, but he did eventually win $26,000 from the banker.