Clinton: “Live, From New York, It’s Saturday Night”

Hillary Clinton was the surprise guest on “Saturday Night Live” — which did yet another spoof on the Democratic debate at the perceived media bias toward Barack Obama.

The skit portrayed NBC anchors Brian Williams and Tim Russert asking Clinton, portrayed by Amy Poehler, tough questions while giving softballs to Barack Obama.

Then, according to the AP, the real Clinton appeared onscreen and offered what was called an “editorial response.”

The sketch, Clinton said, “wasn’t an endorsement of one candidate over another. I can say this confidently because when I asked if I could take it as an endorsement, I was told, ’Absolutely not.’ But I still enjoyed that sketch a great deal because I simply adore Amy’s impression of me.”

When Poehler asked her how the campaign was going, Clinton responded: “The campaign is going very well. Very, very well. Why, what have you heard?”

Clinton then opened the show with the signature line, “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night.”

The Clinton campaign has been unusually aggressive about directing attention to last week’s skit — Clinton herself brought it up during the (real) debate — as an example of media bias. In other words, it’s so pervasive that “SNL” can do a skit about it.

No word from the Obama campaign, but perhaps they now will have a bone to pick with “SNL.” Two weeks in a row now, the show has essentially done the same skit. Equal time?

As far fetched as it sounds that a late night comedy show could have an impact on an election race, don’t forget 2000. The show picked up on Al Gore’s “sighing” during his debate with George W. Bush. Or the “lockbox on social security”? It certainly didn’t help Gore’s image, and perhaps the latest “SNL” will sway impressions of Obama, as an inexperienced, even doltish candidate reaping the media’s acclaim.

The real surprise of the show, however, was the appearance of Rudy Giuliani during a “Weekend Update” segment. Giuliani blamed the failure of his campaign on his 1997 hosting gig, in which he appeared in drag.

Clinton has been particularly aggressive in making appearances on late-night TV — it is free media, it is not the scrutiny of the national press corps and it softens her image. She appeared on “Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday and guests on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on Monday.

Also: The New York Times examines the whole question of media bias,  and  finds that some of the national press corps take issue with the Clinton campaign’s complaints.

“People got it into their head that if you say something good about a candidate, you have to say something bad about him, and if you don’t, that’s not fair,” said Jonathan Alter of Newsweek. “What the Clinton partisans wanted was for us to create a phony balance that was at odds with what our eyes were telling us. That’s not the job of a journalist.”

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