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Candidates Broke Late-Night Show Appearance Records

The Presidential candidates worked the late-night talk show circuit during the 2008 campaign, making more than four times the number of appearances with Letterman, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and the likes than the 2004 lineup did, according to new research.

Candidates showed off their face-to-face skills with 110 appearances on late-night comedy shows, a sharp shoot up from 25 in 2004, according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs. Fifty of those spots occurred before the primary votes were even cast, offering the chance for candidates to show their comedic chops and create ideal YouTube or cable news sound bites. And, as a former Hillary Clinton adviser said, "It's a lot more risky, as Sarah Palin will attest, to do an interview with Katie Couric than it is with Jay Leno".

John McCain made 17 guest appearances and created quite a hullabaloo when he canceled on Letterman. President-elect Barack Obama clocked 15 appearances, third behind Republican Mike Huckabee, who now has his own show on Fox News Channel and was promoting his book. Do you think the late-night appearances helped you get to know the candidates?

Photo courtesy of NBC

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janneth janneth 8 years
These appearances are pretty much required now. Free PR.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Agreed, Steph. They're all about "humanizing" the candidate, something that's demanded in this TV/reality-show age.
stephley stephley 8 years
I don't think you get to know a candidate from appearances on these shows - they're set up to be pleasant encounters.
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