On the March 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN contributor Carol Costello quoted political analyst Dan McGinn, CEO of The McGinn Group, saying that politicians who appear on television entertainment shows "have to be funny. You do have to be entertaining, but you can't do it in a forced way that people feel like that's really not who you are." Costello then concluded: "And that is a real challenge. That's why you don't see candidate Hillary Clinton on Leno or Letterman." In fact, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) has appeared on numerous entertainment shows as a Senate candidate, senator, and possible presidential contender, including on the August 4, 2003, edition of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the October 8, 2003, edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She appeared on ABC's The View as recently as December 20, 2006, and she also appeared on The View on May 10, 2004, and October 13, 2003. Clinton also made an appearance on NBC's The Ellen DeGeneres Show on November 21, 2005.
The newsletter Studio Briefing reported that Clinton's appearance on the January 12, 2000, edition of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman, which occurred during her first U.S. Senate campaign, "drew the highest ratings the program has received since Letterman's mother appeared on the show from the Winter Olympics in Feb. 1994." The 2000 interview and the additional live and taped Clinton appearances -- on February 14, 1994; May 9, 2001; September 29, 2001; and June 16, 2003 -- were all listed as "highlights" from Letterman's "25 years in late night television" on the Late Show's website.
From the March 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
DON PARDO (announcer): Rudy Giuliani!
COSTELLO: But putting the fun in politics can be dangerous. Take Rudy Giuliani, he hosted Saturday Night Live, too, appearing in a skit in drag. It's an image he's trying to shed, as he tries to win the Republican conservative base.
Or take Tom Vilsack [D], the former Iowa governor who wanted to be president.
JAY LENO (NBC host): Have you reached a point where -- hey, you're the guy!
VILSACK: Not quite.
COSTELLO: His performance screamed, "There is no fun in politics." He dropped out of the race a few days later.
McGINN: When you choose to go on these kinds of shows, you do have to be funny. You do have to be entertaining, but you can't do it in a forced way that people feel like that's really not who you are.
COSTELLO: And that is a real challenge. That's why you don't see Candidate Hillary Clinton on Leno or Letterman -- Wolf.