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Bush Wishes Soldier Good Luck on Game Show

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2008 – NBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” is no different from many game shows. Friends and family offer contestants their opinions for about 15 to 17 minutes, and if contestants are lucky, they walk away with big cash prizes.

Army Capt. Joseph Kobes got a little more than he bargained for as he tried for the $1 million top prize during the episode that aired last night.

President Bush had recorded a message for Kobes wishing him well and offering his thanks for the soldier’s service.

“Good evening Captain Kobes,” Bush said in the message. “You and your fellow men and women in uniform are heroes to all Americans whose freedoms you protect.”

Kobes, who earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Star Medals during three tours in Iraq, was shocked and thrilled with the message.

“That was top notch. I would’ve never, ever imagined something like that,” he said while the cameras rolled after the show. “It means more than [I] can explain.”

Whether the president’s good wishes helped was left up to viewer interpretation.

The game of chance had Kobes selecting from 26 cases containing sums from $.01 to $1 million. At one point, the show’s “banker” offered a pay off of $144,000 in hopes of coaxing Kobes to cut his losses and make a deal.

“This is the point where everybody gets their big amount and they say, ‘No deal,’ and they knock off the big [amount] and, bam, [the offer] just plummets,” Kobes said. “I said, ‘I don’t want to be that guy.’”

When that offer hit the $144,000 mark, however, Kobes said he was lost in the game and refused to deal. He was going for the case with $750,000, which was still in play.

“I said, ‘No deal,’ thinking you get one out of those four [remaining] cases, you knock off the 25 [thousand], the 100 [thousand], so I got greedy basically is what it was,” he reflected.

When he finally decided to deal with just three cases left, the banker’s offer was $26,000. Perhaps that’s where the president’s good wishes came into play.

It happens to be “Deal Wheel” week on the show. That gave Kobes the opportunity to drop a ball on a spinning wheel marked with spaces that could increase his winnings by as much as three times or reduce them by half, depending on where the ball settled. Kobes tripled his winnings

“It doesn’t get any better than that. You triple $26,000 [that’s] $78,000,” Kobes said later. “This has been the best experience of my life.

“It’s amazing to come from sleeping in tents and trailer parks in the middle of the desert to this and $78,000 in the pocket,” he added.

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