With the election season in full swing, the race for President took center stage on TV last week, beginning with the President of the United States visiting David Letterman. With that appearance in mind, we thought we’d devote this week’s Top Five to the week in political TV.
1) It’s all part of the run-up to Election Day Nov. 6: The candidates and their spouses (either separately or together) will be turning up all over the place on TV — particularly on shows such as “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Live with Kelly and Michael,” “The View” and others, where they expect (or at least hope) the hosts will treat them with kid gloves. These shows (with the possible exception of “The View,” if you’re Mitt Romney) are seen as opportunities for the candidates to charm America by showing them as relaxed, filled with humor and resilient enough to take a joke at their expense. President Obama usually aces these kinds of opportunities, and this week’s appearance with Letterman was no exception.
2) Dave, Jay and Mitt Romney: Mitt Romney was all over TV this week, but it wasn’t because of any light-hearted appearances on any late-night shows. Instead, it was the videotape of the remarks he made at a private fundraiser in which he seemed to disparage Americans who receive government assistance. In the context of those remarks, he also talked about a handful of TV shows, including the “Letterman” show and “The View.” Of “Letterman,” Romney said he thinks Dave “hates” him. The reason: According to Mitt, it’s because he’s appeared on the “Leno” show more times than the “Letterman” show. Well, on “Late Show” this week, Dave begged to differ, saying he doesn’t “hate” Mitt, and the GOP candidate is welcome anytime on his show. While making his Romney remarks, however, Dave also got a dig in at Jay Leno.
3) Another “View”-point on Romney: Certainly, the ladies of “The View” weren’t going to pass up their own opportunity to chatter about what Mitt Romney said about them on the infamous videotape. On the tape, he remarked that “The View” might be a tough place for him to appear in the days before Election Day because, according to Romney, four of the women co-hosts are liberal, with just one conservative (Elisabeth Hasselbeck). Reacting this week on the show, Barbara Walters insisted that she’s neither liberal nor conservative (preferring to keep that aspect of her life private, in the interest of maintaining her impartiality as a journalist). But no one denied that Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg are liberals who may give Mitt Romney a hard time if he comes on the show. Goldberg wasn’t on the show this week, but she blasted Romney on Twitter (our story on that is right HERE).
4) Campaign comedy: If laughs were votes, Romney would be leading Obama by a landslide. Unfortunately, all the laughs this week at Romney’s expense were not helpful to the Republican candidate’s campaign because that videotape emerged as topic A for all the late-night hosts — and also for this past Thursday night’s prime-time edition of “Saturday Night Live” (we wrote about that show HERE). But perhaps in the interest of comic balance, Jay Leno also took a few shots at President Obama and his economic policies. This next clip, from Leno’s monologue on Thursday, was typical of this week in political comedy, starting with Leno’s jibes at the President and then steering toward Romney and that infamous videotape.
5) Whatever happened to …: … 2008’s GOP nominee? It was John McCain, and it’s hard to believe it’s been four year since the drama of the 2008 campaign — with McCain, Sarah Palin, Obama and the rest. Well, McCain’s still a senator and, since he’s not running for President, he has time for other pursuits. One of them was filming a scene for the season premiere of “Parks & Recreation” on NBC, in a cloak room with Amy Poehler. The episode also had two other real-life senators.