(Reuters) - President George W. Bush, making a highly unusual appearance on U.S. television game show "Deal or No Deal," sought 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 (500,000 pound) and can triple that amount in a bonus round.
Bush made the appearance via videotape to wish good luck to one contestant, Army Captain Joseph Kobes who is an Iraq war veteran. The president also 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.