Study: Late-Night Comedians Make More Romney Jokes than Obama Jokes

Early voting returns may show that Obama leads in swing states so far, but Mitt Romney is outpacing his opponent in a different arena.

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Paul Drinkwater /NBC / NBCU Photo Bank

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in March

Early voting returns may show that Obama leads in swing states so far, but Mitt Romney is outpacing his opponent in a different arena.

A study released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University found that since the parties’ national conventions this summer, comedians on late-night shows have made 148 jokes about the Republican presidential candidate, more than twice the amount they made about Obama (62) and more than jokes about all of the Democratic contenders combined. The center analyzed all of the opening monologues for the highest-rated hosts — Jimmy Fallon (Late Night), Jay Leno (The Tonight Show), Craig Ferguson (The Late Late Show) and David Letterman (The Late Show) — on the broadcast networks between Aug. 27 and Oct. 3 to obtain its results.

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“Romney is leading in the humor race, but being the biggest joke is a race nobody wants to win,” CMPA President Dr. Robert Lichter said.

Late-show hosts are also poking more fun at Romney’s GOP mates. The CMPA analysis discovered that comics made 290 jokes about Republicans  compared to 138 jokes about Democrats. But these results hardly differ from those found in the last CMPA study. In the 2008 election, John McCain, Sarah Palin and George W. Bush topped the list of comedians’ most-targeted politicians, with 658, 566 and 244 jokes, respectively. Obama ranked fourth with 243 jokes.

Although all of the comedians told more gags about Romney, the most gleeful was David Letterman, who made 44 jokes about the GOP contender versus just nine jokes about Obama. This finding could fuel the ongoing Romney-Letterman dispute, which started in mid-September after the infamous “47%” clip leaked. When asked in the video about why he doesn’t make more TV appearances, Romney claimed that Letterman disliked him because he has appeared on Jay Leno’s show more often.

“I’ve been on Letterman a couple of times, I’ve been on Leno more than a couple of times,” Romney said in the video. “And now Letterman hates me because I’ve been on Leno more than him. They’re very jealous of one another, as you know.”

Letterman responded by denying Romney’s claims, praising the candidate for being a “wonderful guest” in the past and inviting him twice on consecutive nights to appear on his show.

“Well, that’s absolutely, the man is delusional if he thinks, honest to God, if he thinks I hate him,” Letterman said during his Sept. 20 show, claiming he has extended more than 100 invitations to Romney. “Let me ask you something, Mitt. If we hated you, why do we keep begging you to be on the show?”

Romney also has a beef with other late-night programming. In the same video, he told donors that he doesn’t want to appear on Saturday Night Live for fear of seeming unprofessional.

“I was asked to go on Saturday Night Live. 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,” he said. “And Saturday Night Live has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential.”

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86 comments
Rocky2
Rocky2

      Getting Short With Obama !

(1) Obama Coffee:  grounds for impeachment!

(2) Barack-coli:  a vegetable or a national plague!

(3) Obama's favorite candy:  Mecca Wafers!

(4) When Obama says we're on the cutting edge of history, he must be thinking about beheadings!

(5) New Nursery un-Rhyme:  Obaba Black Sheep keeps pulling the wool over our eyes!

(6) The southwest is running out of water, but Obama is helping with his surplus of wet*****!

(7) Obama is an expert on beheading. After lunch he tells his secretary: "I'll be heading back to the golf course!

(8) Uncle Sam hasn't built the border fence high enough to keep out the un-American criminals. I repeat, Uncle Sam hasn't built the White House fence high enough to keep out the un-American criminals - and they are now inside the White House!

(9) We've gone from America's Declaration of "unalienable rights" to Obama's Proclamation of ALIENable rights!

(10) The nicest words Obama could repeat while golfing: "I'm having a stroke, I'm having a stroke"!

        (For more on you-know-who, Google "The Background Obama Can't Cover Up.")

CitizenJP
CitizenJP

At least his flip-flopping keeps folks at Saturday Night Live well employed.  To me this is clear and present evidence of job creation by him.  Not sure why you guys focus so much on his lay-offs and shipping jobs to China, which he did a while back?   

sucorazon2010
sucorazon2010

Mitt, never mind, you will always be a joke and UN-presidential to to a lot of Americans and non-Americans !!

DanCahill
DanCahill

The media and entertainment are a joke.  There is no truly independent media outlet.  CNN and MSNBC are like wings of the Democratic party -- and Fox obviously is the Repub party.  We need some independence and fairness from our media, and that includes late night comedians.  (And who thinks Leno or Letterman are funny?  Anyone?)

beverlyNC
beverlyNC

Romney has made himself a joke. He has shown himself to be a man with no character, no integrity, willing to lie and continue lying even after his words are proven false, refuse to talk to the media, refuse to give details on anything or any issue. No one knows who he is or what he stands for. You don't let a man like that be a Mayor much less have the most critical job of our nation and of the world. Romney cannot be trusted. He is in it for the POWER not the PEOPLE and that makes him not only unqualifed but dangerous for America.

harleydavidson
harleydavidson

of course, try to make fun of obama and risk being called a racist.

VernonDanker
VernonDanker

"but you also want to be presidential" This is the heart of Romney's existence. He wants to be president so bad he will do and say anything to get it. Like any poser, all he wants is the title under his name in the yearbook. It will never happen, Mittens. Get used to it.

RyanFord
RyanFord

CNN should check out the internet meme sites like 9gag and redit to properly do a poll like this.

nomad
nomad

"President Obama released his tax returns. It turns out he made $900,000 less in 2011 then he did in 2010. You know what that means? Even Obama is doing worse under President Obama." –Jay Leno

roscoe0494
roscoe0494

And the unemployment rate keeps going up as of this morning. I have no idea what anyone sees in Obama. Didn't we all just endure the last four years and before that another four years of Democratic controlled congress? 

nomad
nomad

Jay Leno makes plenty of Obama jokes.  I'm sure most are afraid that they will be labeled racist.  Everyone has walked on eggshells with this obama guy because he is black.

mjcharron
mjcharron

Yeah, we'd probably spend more time making jokes about Obama if every time we did someone wouldn't cry racist. Just sayin...

tsoho
tsoho

Personally, I think the comedians have been walking on eggshells around the Obama administration.

They are afraid that any joke they make about Obama will be considered racist.

JasmineH
JasmineH

The problem with teabaggers is you can't tell whether they're making a joke or being serious.  For example, there's those who called themselves teabaggers  Was that a joke or was it serious?

AndrewKaplan
AndrewKaplan

Just a sign of things to come if Rmoney is elected, 4 more years of making fun of a stupid president.

asm_ith
asm_ith

Perhaps comedians have make more jokes about Romney because the things he's done or said has deserved to be made ridiculed more than what the Obama.

ramon
ramon

"the President came to visit but went back home to his nice warm bed and food."

 Sorry to disappoint you, but the Secret Service did not allow me to comply with your wish that I went back to Harlem.

-Barack Obama, President of the United States, 2008-2016

WolfgangWHalbig
WolfgangWHalbig

The Hurricane SANDY should have had F.E.M.A. better prepared. Yes, the President came to visit but went back home to his nice warm bed and food.He left millions without power, gasoline, food and water.Have we not learned yet as to what the response should be?We know that there will be power outages.We know that gasoline will be inn short supply.We know food and water will be in short supply.We know that a place to sleep will be in short supply.Now knowing those facts what could they do before the hurricane strikes?Have gasoline trucks fully loaded to dispense gasoline knowing that the power at gas stations may be out when needed in numerous hurricane struck areas.Those trucks should have been filled and staged outside the disaster area for immediate relief.Same for food and water.Generators should have been provided as soon as possible in a staging area for those who could still use the generators in their home. Don't wait ti'll they have to go to Lowes.I thought by now that we had a plan. Those Americans suffering today should not be dumpster diving for food.That is not the America I know.

DCGuy
DCGuy

@DanCahill - Very true.  But since many people are no longer able or willing to think for themselves, they have no place for an independent press that simply reports the facts, which can then be used to inform coherent opinions and decisions.  They need someone to tell them how to think and what to say.  Ask ten people why they support one candidate or platform over another, and nine probably wouldn't be able to lay out a reasoned and rational explanation.

DannyTV
DannyTV

awwww...somebody neeeds a hug

CitizenJP
CitizenJP

To me Mr. Obama is neither black nor white, he is an American and an oustanding American President.    If we wear our racial lense, yes, he may be half white and half black but it is time we rise above such provincial identification - it will only make us stronger as a nation.

Now to what you said, it it were true, then one joke about Mr. Obama would be one too many.  So that is not why there are not many jokes about him.  He is too cerebral of a man to slip to provide material for joke, that's all.

DannyTV
DannyTV

@nomad 

And Rmoney made $180million more so he is doing better under Obama...LOL

klur
klur

@roscoe0494 Yes, we definitely want to go back to the Bush policies that were so great.

InformedA
InformedA

It went up .01% America is doom. It you don't like President Obama because he is black say that for god sakes instead of hiding behind your white sheets trying to pick apart everything he does as bad. I am willing to bet my life that you didn't complain for one moment when Bush was destroying this country or wait that's because a full white guys was doing it not a half white guy. White people are so racist that they don't and can't accept a guy good just because he's half black.

CenterisRight
CenterisRight

We see the Dow Jones DOUBLING since his 5ht week ..... we see Unemployment DOWN 2-1/2% in 2-1/2 years after the ;ast guy DOUBLED IT... we see Bin Laden's reighn of Terror ended .... we see the Auto Industry saved .... we see 5 million jobs added in 30 months .... we see 32 STRAIGHT Months of Private Sector Job Growth ..... we see a Dictator Removed WITHOUT ONE LOSS of an American Soldier and with out spending Trillions.... Turn off the Hatstrem Media and real facts like this will make their way to you.

bckrd1
bckrd1

Would you have preferred the economy Bush and Company left? Losing over 700 thousand jobs a month and counting? Was that really preferable to you? We are probably the only Country that is creating jobs out of all who were hit with the recession. And it is the Democrats who got us out of recession while the Republicans sat on their collective hands and did everything to obstruct any recovery. They harmed their fellow citizens and for no other reason than politcs. Is that the mentality of who you want running this country?

SNoob
SNoob

@roscoe0494 because Romney is blowing smoke up our collective backsides.  Consumers have changed and no one is talking about that.  People are spending less and saving more.  After 8 years of Bush, we are all gunshy and a lot more fussy about where we spend our money.  Consumers spending is down because we are tired be getting burned and lied to.  This consumer spending trend is here to stay and if anyone, like Romney, thinks he can grow the ecomony fast is not paying attention to what is going on.  He is so out of touch with most American's it is not even funny.

QueenE_III
QueenE_III

@roscoe0494 Get used to it because he is going to win. Again. Why don't you flee to Canada? I'll help you pack lmao

DannyTV
DannyTV

@nomad 

"walking on eggshells=closeting the racism

SNoob
SNoob

@nomad It hasn't stopped all the conspiracy theory wackos out there from slamming Obama.  I have not heard anyone call Trump a racist.  I have not seen anyone attack the thousands of right wing websites where they make string together half truths to make on big lie.

DannyTV
DannyTV

@mjcharron 

sounds like you have a guilty conscience...wanna talk about it?

ramon
ramon

"That is correct!"

-Signed: Seamus

DCGuy
DCGuy

I think you might want to check those dates, ramon.  The election was held in 2008, but...um... well, you'll figure it out -- you seem like a smart guy.

GeorgePeters
GeorgePeters

@WolfgangWHalbig FEMA and the President have been praised by all the Governors and Mayors involved. That's good enough for me. As for going home - are you suggesting maybe the President should lay down in the mud and go to sleep? Or maybe he could have carried in some gas cans? Your criticism is ridiculous and it is obvious you are just looking for some reason to diss Obama.

hopalong
hopalong

@WolfgangWHalbig I guess you knew right where to put that stuff "outside the disaster area", which roads were going to be passable, who was going to need what where. The people doing this are professionals, I think that I will accept their proven methods over your guesses.

VernonDanker
VernonDanker

@WolfgangWHalbig And, of course, under a Romney administration, this emergency response would be handled by private enterprise, who would place profit first. Why is it these Compassionate Conservatives want the Federal government out of their business until an emergency. Then they come begging to the Federal government for handouts.

FranklinRBurn
FranklinRBurn

@WolfgangWHalbig  Obama was ready for only one thing ...to jump in and take credit for what others have done right in NJ and to a lesser extent NY . liberals want to pretend that he did something different that what President George W Bush did back in 05 but the fact is they both did exactly the same things at the same times ....the lose back then was thanks to the democrats running the state that was hit . 

ramon
ramon

"the President came to visit but went back home to his nice warm bed and food."

Actually, he DID not.

-Katrina Victims

asm_ith
asm_ith

@WolfgangWHalbig And do you believe that the Republican House would vote for any money to do this, simply in preparation for a possible event?  How much are you willing for your taxes to be raised to fund what you are suggesting?  And let's not just talk about hurricanes; lots of the federal disaster aid goes to the midwest to deal with the aftermath of floods or tornados, which hit them with far more regularity than hurricanes hit the US.

norman.wheelers
norman.wheelers

And, Romney promises to go back to Bush policies - Plus more! Yeap, if Willard did win, we would be in a depression in less than a year.................

DCGuy
DCGuy

@DannyTV -- So if I disagree with you, am I racist against whatever race you might happen to be?  I've disagreed with just about everyone I know at one time or another, so I guess I've got real issues.  Thanks for pointing this out to me -- I guess I should seek some help.

JanetLove
JanetLove

@hopalong @WolfgangWHalbig Finally a comment that made some sense! hopalong is right this was not a ground war where you can put boots, supplies,shelters,etc in predesignated areas. I have lived in Florida all my life and have endured many hurricanes. The biggest problem I saw watching this storm unfold was the number of people who did not evacuate. When your address included the words Island or Beach and you see a storm of this magnitude you run. Some guy on that spit of land where all those houses were getting burned and washed into the Atlantic said he did not evacuate because he thought the whole thing was political hype, UNBELIEVABLE!!

FranklinRBurn
FranklinRBurn

@DavidEsmay @WolfgangWHalbig  hey David why do you even use the word facts when you would not know one if it bit you in the ass ? If we start posting facts you will just look even more foolish than you already do ...just go back to pretending that after 100 years of chanting Tax and Spend that some how Obama is something "new" -