With nine days to go until Election Day, political satirists are doing everything they can to squeeze every last laugh out of the campaigns, but Mitt Romney refuses to be the butt of anybody's joke. In the past couple of months, the Romney campaign has balked at invitations from practically every single major late night show, invitations that apparently came from very eager, very accommodating producers. (Spoiler: Presidential candidates bring in great ratings.) Most recently, Romney came thisclose to agreeing to do a cameo on Saturday Night Live only to cool on the idea at the very last minute, according to The New York Times. Why so serious, Mitt?
Though his campaign has remained silent about blowing off this invitation along with all the others, Romney actually opened up about his absence on late night TV, when he didn't know the cameras were rolling. We're talking about the infamous "47 percent" video, of course. Talking about his avoiding the stage at SNL, Romney explained, "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. And Saturday Night Live has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential." In the same breath, he said that David Letterman "hates me."
Speaking of presidential, Barack Obama hasn't been the least bit shy about showing his face on late night TV. In the past month or so alone, the president's made appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman and even did a skit called "Slow Jammin' the News" with Jimmy Fallon. Obama's no rogue in his late night campaign stops, either. Both George W. Bush and John McCain both appeared on SNL during their presidential campaigns, with McCain having done the show just three days before the presidential election. Maybe Romney's superstitious?
When you take a step back and think about it, though, this Romney-hates-comedy idea makes total sense. Looking at the debates alone, it's easy to see that the former Massachusetts governor has a bit of a problem sometimes when it comes to saying things that become unintentionally funny, whereas the president seems to have a firmer grasp on his sense of humor. Just compare Romney's accidentally hilarious "binders full of women" comment and with Obama's very intentional, very funny "horses and bayonets" remark. Now just imagine what a cast of the country's most talented improv comedians could do to Mitt and his ambition to appear presidential. Something sidesplitting, we're sure.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.