Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Late Night Politics

Monday's NY Times has a fun piece about Romney and Obama on late-night TV, or not.

Late Night Politics


In the oh-so-tight race for president, one pressing question is which campaigns' attitude toward late-night TV is correct.

In the event you're not a late-night TV fan, you should know the Obama camp has been embracing the genre while the Romney camp has been snubbing it.

Monday's New York Times has a piece in it's business section detailing Obama's appearances and questioning Romney's decision to so far stay away.

The president, writes The Times, has been on "Jon Stewart’s `Daily Show' on Comedy Central, and Jay Leno’s `Tonight Show' on NBC, racking up strong ratings in each case. (Michelle Obama visited Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.) Mr. Obama visited David Letterman on CBS last month and did a sketch, `Slow Jammin’ the News,' with NBC’s Jimmy Fallon in April."

By contrast, though Romney appeared ready to do a "Saturday Night Live" appearance on NBC right after his strong showing in the first presidential debate, it never happened. Past GOP candidates John McCain and George W. Bush both made appearances on the popular program.

SNL producers still hold out hope that Romney will drop by Saturday night, the final show before Election Day. And Romney did appear on Leno back in March.

Still, the president's strategy seems clear: make every pitch available and, in this case, go after younger voters.

The Romney camp's view seems a little less clear. The Times piece says Romney's folks did not respond to several requests for comment.

But The Times reports that part of that famous "47 percent" speech at a Florida fundraiser back in May includes Romney answering a question about why he turned down SNL in the past.

“I did not do that in part because you want to show that you’re fun and you’re a good person, but you also want to be presidential. And ‘Saturday Night Live’ has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential,” Romney said at the time.

I still think there's a chance Mitt could walk on to an SNL set come Saturday. Back in May, even in March, he still was playing to his base (largely not a late-night crowd) but since then his pitch has been far more inclusive.

He could expand that pitch with a few moments of humor (which he proved he can do at the recent Al Smith dinner in New York) on late-night TV right before the election.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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