No Punch to Punchlines

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

Late night comics are having trouble coming up with anything funny to say about Barack Obama, and it’s not just the furor over the New Yorker satiric cover that has them worried about laughs.

Bill Carter writes in the New York Times, “Jokes have been made about what Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton really thought about Mr. Obama during the primaries, and about the vulgar comments the Rev. Jesse Jackson made about him last week. But anything approaching a joke about Mr. Obama himself has fallen flat.

“When Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” recently tried to joke about Mr. Obama changing his position on campaign financing, for instance, he met with such obvious resistance from the audience, he said, “You know, you’re allowed to laugh at him.” Mr. Stewart said in a telephone interview on Monday, “People have a tendency to react as far as their ideology allows them.””

“We’re carrion birds,” Stewart says. “We’re sitting up there saying ‘Does he seem weak? Is he dehydrated yet? Let’s attack.’ ”

Something tells me they will get their moment, as the candidate moves into general election mode.

Rove Rules:
At the Television Critics Assn. Tour in Beverly Hills, former White House aide Karl Rove said that he “has not been personally subpeonaed by Congress,” reports Variety’s Daniel Frankel, and then cited executive privilege as a reason for not testifying before a congressional committee.

“It’s not between me and Congress. I’ve not asserted any personal privilege. This is between the White House and Congress,” Rove said.

The issue centers on “the ability of the president to receive advice from senior advisers and for those senior advisers not to be at the beck-and-call of Congress for testimony,” Rove said.

Rove may be held in contempt of Congress as the chairman of a House subcommittee has taken the first steps toward finding him in violation of a committee’s order.

Rove also defended his relationship with Fox News and his relationships with advisors to the campaign of John McCain.

Huff Stuff:
Arianna Huffington offers more criticism of Obama’s recent moves. “My problem isn’t that Barack Obama doesn’t always agree with me. My problem is that Barack Obama has started to not always agree with himself — falling prey instead to the Conventional Wisdom sirens.”

She calls on Obama to get more sleep to get in touch with his inner compass, and challenges the media’s portrayal of Obama’s moves as a right vs. left issue.

“Not everyone is approaching everything in this campaign from a right vs left perspective. Stop trying to force everything into that tired old way of looking at American politics.”

Remnick’s Response: New Yorker editor David Remnick “likened what the magazine has done to what “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” do every weeknight on television,” reports Variety’s William Triplett. Triplett adds, “He said the point of the cover was to satirize the many right-wing rumors and innuendoes that have spread virally about the Democratic candidate.”

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