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Conan O'Brien wants reward for election win

Late-night host seeks Cabinet position as inspector of saunas in Finland
/ Source: The Associated Press

Conan O'Brien, who endorsed the re-election of Finnish President Tarja Halonen with mock ad campaigns, said Saturday he expects to be rewarded with a Cabinet position as inspector of saunas.

Hundreds of fans welcomed the American talk show host on Saturday to a freezing Helsinki, the capital of the land of the saunas — only two weeks after Halonen, 62, secured a second six-year term as Finland's first female presudent.

The quirky, self-deprecating O'Brien said he will ask "Tarja" for a Cabinet position when he meets her Feb. 14.

"I'd like to be the inspector of saunas, mostly women's saunas," he said.

Organizers said some 2,000 fans waited for hours in subzero temperatures to catch a glimpse of the TV host who has become unusually popular in this nation of 5 million on the northern fringes of Europe.

O'Brien has joked that his show is highly popular here because of his resemblance to the fair-skinned, red-haired Halonen. Last year, he caused a political stir for endorsing her during her campaign, broadcasting mock ads promoting her and attacking her opponents.

"Why do I support Tarja Halonen? Because she's got the total package: a dynamic personality, a quick mind, and most importantly — my good looks," the comedian told The Associated Press.

A soldier in uniform said "the army loves him."

"He lightens our lives in the evenings quite a bit," said Corp. Mattias Ronnberg, an 18-year-old conscript.