Category: Election 2008

The fight bell rings one more time on 'The View'

Hassel_200 The hosts of "The View" saved the best fight for last, launching into a vicious Election Day verbal brawl  that perhaps was one of the most contentious since the show's political "Hot Topics" discussions has made it must see viewing.

With frequent referee Barbara Walters absent, the four hosts -- Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepard and Elizabeth Hasselbeck (pictured) -- pointed fingers, ripped into each other and engaged in a "greatest-hits" shouting match reviving some of the most cutting remarks from the last few weeks regarding the presidential race.

The battle was sparked when Goldberg brought up that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had been cleared of ethics violations charges in Alaska. When Shepard suggested that members of the panel that cleared Palin had been hired by her, Hasselbeck once again attacked presidential candidate Barack Obama for what she called "broken promises" for accepting public money.

An exasperated Behar, who had clashed most openly with Hasselbeck, said, "Isn't it over yet?" prompting Hasselbeck to reply that she was going to "fight to the end." At one point, Goldberg became visibly angry when Hasselbeck brought up the divisive remarks of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, saying that she too "was guilty of cussing this country out." She indicated that Hasselbeck "needed education" on the civil rights movement. Shepard once again accused Republican presidential candidate John McCain for leaving his first wife for his current wife.

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: AP

Obama's ad draws bigger viewership than average Wednesday night

If Sen. Barack Obama were a television executive, he’d have a hit on his hands.

More than 33 million people watched the Democratic presidential nominee's paid political ad Wednesday night on seven networks, delivering a bigger television audience for that time period than the usual viewership so far this season.

On an average Wednesday night, the same networks get an audience of 30.3 million people between 8 and 8:30 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research.

The commercial, which ran nationally on CBS, Fox, NBC, Univision, BET, MSNBC and TV One, drew an audience that was more than half the size as the one that tuned into the final debate between Obama and Sen. John McCain on Oct. 15. That forum attracted 56.5 million viewers.

The infomercial was especially popular among African American viewers, attracting 15.2% of that demographic. Overall, 11.6% of television viewers watched the ad.

Obama’s commercial fared better than the series of 15 paid telecasts presidential candidate Ross Perot aired in 1992. An average of 11.6 million viewers watched those, just about 5% of the national audience. Perot’s final simulcast on election day that year drew 26 million viewers, or about 17% of all households.

-- Matea Gold

Obama plans TV interview blitz as election day approaches

Television viewers who aren’t interested in watching Sen. Barack Obama’s half-hour political ad at 8 tonight will have a few other options. (“Pushing Daisies,” anyone?) But it will be hard to miss the seeing the Democratic presidential nominee in coming days.

Aside from the blizzard of ads that Obama’s campaign is running, the Illinois senator is planning to do a raft of network interviews this week. For those trying to keep track at home, here’s the schedule:

Tonight: Obama speaks with ABC anchor Charles Gibson on “World News Tonight” and makes his fourth appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

Thursday: The White House hopeful sits down with NBC anchor Brian Williams. (Portions will air on the “NBC Nightly News” Thursday and Friday.) Later, he appears on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Friday: Obama goes one-on-one with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who will show portions of their conversation throughout the afternoon on “The Situation Room.”

Sen. John McCain is not letting his rival have the airwaves to himself, however. Tonight, the Republican presidential nominee will talk to CNN’s Larry King, just after Obama’s political ad concludes on CBS, Fox, NBC and Univision.

-- Matea Gold

'The View's' Elisabeth Hasselbeck wears heart on her sleeve, and T-shirt

   Elisabeth Hasselbeck has shown her “Great Americain hero” T-shirt twice on “The View.”  It’s the one she designed “from my heart and my creativity” and gave to Sen. John McCain’s campaign to help her favorite presidential candidate raise funds. The staunchly conservative co-host says she does not receive any money from the design or the sales. 

    But that didn’t stop the shirt from sparking more controversy for the ABC show. Hasselbeck wore it on the air Tuesday when executive producer and co-host Barbara Walters was not present.

    On Wednesday, Walters said on the air that the show’s offices had been inundated with calls and e-mails from viewers complaining about Hasselbeck’s choice of wardrobe. Walters’ comment stirred a lively discussion:

    Hasselbeck: Really? Well, they must be voting for Obama. I’m so sorry.

    Sherri Shepherd: It’s very interesting 'cause I saw you in the shirt and I thought, ‘Oh, cute shirt.’ I’ve seen so many celebrities endorse candidates. I’m so used to people wearing T-shirts. Me, myself, I don’t feel like I need to announce with a T-shirt who I’m going to vote for.

    Hasselbeck: Well, here’s the thing: I actually designed the shirt. I actually sketched it out on a piece of paper and sent it to the campaign, something that came from my heart and my creativity. There’s nothing negative about the shirt. It just says ‘Great Americain hero,’ whether you’re voting for him or not, that’s what he is. I’m not making any money on it.

    Joy Behar: But it’s kind of an advertisement.

    Hasselbeck: Well, on your comedy shows, if you’re against me wearing a shirt, I understand and respect that. But we talk about your shows. You have a political edge on your shows and you promo them here. You could also take that argument to promoting your show.

    Walters: I think the feeling was that perhaps it was one thing to wear it on [the Hot Topics segment] … but the other point of view was that it was an advertisement that you were wearing throughout the program.

    Hasselbeck: Look if I sat here buck naked, people would probably see McCain across my chest. That’s who my heart is for.

    Be that as it may, the four co-hosts were notified by their bosses about how their hearts were feeling about the matter today, according to a statement issued by ABC.

    “Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie, executive producers of "The View," don’t think it’s appropriate to wear T-shirts endorsing either candidate but would never forbid any of the co-hosts from expressing themselves.”

—Maria Elena Fernandez

Elisabeth Hasselbeck to campaign with Sarah Palin

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the staunchly conservative panelist on ABC’s daytime talk show “The View,” will introduce Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin at two rallies this weekend in Florida.

“I am more than honored to be there, so I will be flying there to travel with her and meet some pretty interesting people, I have a feeling,” Hasselbeck said on the program today. “That’s an honor, I’m excited to do it, and I’ll have some stories I’m sure on Monday.”

"Take some pictures," responded co-host Joy Behar. "I want to see her wardrobe."

In recent weeks, Hasselbeck has sparred with her fellow “View” co-hosts about the presidential race, vociferously defending Sen. John McCain and his campaign tactics. The exchanges have grown increasingly heated, particularly between Hasselbeck and Behar. On Wednesday, Hasselbeck asked Behar if she wanted “some more Barack Obama Kool-Aid.”

The intense on-air arguments have sparked speculation that Hasselbeck was considering leaving the program, a notion that has been squashed by her representatives.

"Elisabeth is passionate in her beliefs and enjoys being a part of this dynamic group of women and engaging in daily conversations," her agent, Babette Perry, said earlier this month.

-- Matea Gold

Tina Fey: Sarah Palin got 'lost in a corn maze'

On tonight's "Late Show With David Letterman," Tina Fey talks about the challenges of playing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Per usual, the Emmy-winning "30 Rock" star-creator downplayed all the praise thrown her way since she first started impersonating the Alaska governor on "Saturday Night Live."

"Not since 'Sling Blade' has there been a voice that anybody could do. Anybody could take a swing at this voice.

"It's like a beautiful Alaskan wind song," she told Letterman.

Breaking it down further she said she threw in "a little bit of 'Fargo' and 'a little bit of Reese Witherspoon in 'Election' .... Also a little bit of my friend Paula's grandma."

Fey told Letterman she did help research the Palin sketches, which have been written by "SNL" cast member Seth Meyers. "I said to him, 'Can you put in a lot of Rs in there?' Because she really loves, like, 'these terrorists' and 'William Ayers.' She digs in those Rs.

"She must think there's oil in those Rs. She is digging deep."

Letterman asked about the sketch she performed with Amy Poehler parodying Palin's interview with Katie Couric. The host said he had heard they had used about "70% verbatim" Palin's words.

Fey acknowledged that the interview with Couric had so much potential fodder that she had to make sure she got it right. "I just wanted to write down this one crazy part where she got lost in a corn maze," she said. "She started to talk about taxes and she just, she just got lost in a corn maze."

As for Fey's critics — Republicans who say the impressions are sexist, she told Letterman — "it's just crazy."

"Sarah Palin is a tough lady," Fey said. "She kills things. She kills animals that are bigger than you and me put together."

-- Denise Martin

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McCain-Letterman make-up session a hit with viewers

Sen. John McCain’s much-anticipated return to “Late Show With David Letterman” on Thursday drew the show’s biggest audience in almost three years.

More than 6.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the Republican presidential nominee try to smooth things over with Letterman after standing the comedian up at the last minute three weeks ago.

That's the best viewership for "Late Show" since Oprah Winfrey's appearance Dec. 1, 2005, according to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research. And it's a boost of 73% over the show's average audience so far this season.

-- Matea Gold

Final Obama-McCain debate had fewer viewers than last week's

As the early numbers indicated, Wednesday's third and final presidential debate between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain drew ratings well below those of their second face-off, not to mention the vice presidential debate earlier this month.

An average of 56.5 million total viewers watched the 90-minute debate, which aired in prime time in much of the country, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research. The cumulative figure includes 11 ad-supported broadcast and cable networks but does not include C-SPAN or PBS.

The Oct. 7 Obama-McCain debate drew 63.2 million viewers, while the Oct. 2 debate between Sen. Joe Biden and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was watched by nearly 70 million.

One factor in the reduced ratings: baseball. As the debate aired, Fox was covering the final game of the National League championship, with the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the pennant. An average of 8 million viewers watched the game.

Even so, the final debate generated higher numbers than the third and final debate in 2004 between President Bush W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), which was watched by 51.2 million viewers.

-- Scott Collins

David Letterman to John McCain: 'Now, what exactly happened?'


Sen. John McCain tried today to make amends with David Letterman, telling the late-night comedian that he “screwed up” when he stood him up last month to focus on the country’s economic crisis.

McCain’s appearance on “Late Show” –- his 13th time on the CBS program –- came after Letterman mocked him incessantly for three weeks.

The Republican presidential nominee took extra precautions to ensure that he made today’s long-awaited visit, traveling by helicopter from Philadelphia to skirt a weather delay, fearful that another cancellation would further enflame the host.

When the candidate walked onto the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater, he pretended to cower in fear as Letterman strode over to greet him.

“Can you stay?” the comedian asked, as McCain settled in his chair.

“Yes, sir,” responded McCain. He then added with a wary grin, “Depends on how bad it gets.”

Continue reading »

Top 10 Letterman swipes at the McCain-Palin ticket

Since Sen. John McCain stood up David Letterman on Sept. 24, the “Late Show” comedian hasn’t lost an opportunity to take a dig at the GOP presidential hopeful or his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

A few highlights (it's actually 11 swipes):

“Sarah Palin is right now training for tomorrow’s vice presidential debate in Arizona. And she says it’s really helped her on foreign policy because from Arizona she can see Mexico.”
-- Oct. 1

“John McCain watched the debate and he loved Sarah Palin’s performance. As a matter of fact, he applauded so much that all the lights in his house kept going on and off.”
-- Oct. 3

“By the way, have you heard this? This just in … a backwoods hiker has found the wreckage of John McCain’s campaign.”
-- Oct. 6

“You excited about Sarah Palin? Well, yesterday, she referred to Afghanistan as our neighboring country. Apparently, she can see Bin Laden’s cave from her house.”
-- Oct. 6
“I’m a little out of it. Did you watch the debate last night? …You know, I don’t normally do this. I gave up drinking a while ago, but I started again. And I’m watching the debate last night and here’s what I did: I did a shot every time McCain said, “my friends.” So I’m blotto.”
-- Oct. 8

“Tom Brokaw was the moderator. … At one point Tom tells Obama and McCain that they were going to now answer questions that came in over the Internet. And you know what McCain said?  He said, ‘Uh, Tom … is that the same as the telegraph?’”
-- Oct. 8

“Did you folks see the debate Tuesday night? At one point, John McCain referred to Barack Obama as ‘that one.’ ‘That one.’ ‘That one.’ And McCain later … he apologized. He said he got confused.  He thought he was at the bakery. ‘Uh, a couple of cruellers … uh, that one…and uh, that one.’”
-- Oct. 9

“Sarah Palin. We like Sarah Palin, right? She’s a lot of fun.  Miss Alaska. She is saying that she doesn’t know who Barack Obama really is. Doesn’t know who Barack Obama is. That’s interesting. She also doesn’t know who Sarkozy is, Gordon Brown, Kim Jong-il, Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Osama Bin Laden, the list goes on and on.”
-- Oct. 9

“The third presidential debate is Wednesday night. John McCain says he’s going to win. John McCain is going to win the third presidential debate. Of course, he also told Custer the surge was working.”
-- Oct. 13

“John McCain is going to take this opportunity to unveil his new campaign persona. His new campaign personality, to really energize the last couple of weeks of the campaign: Fighting Underdog.  Fighting Underdog. That’s John McCain and the campaign.  And if that doesn’t work, then he’s going to go to Sadistic Yard Bull.  And if that doesn’t work, then he’s going to go to Corrupt Bordertown Sheriff. And if that doesn’t work, Seen-it-All Bartender. And then Priest Who Tries to Communicate with Martians. And then the Alcoholic Safecracker. And then the Maniacal Hunter Who’s After Human Prey. And then the Shifty Racetrack Vet. And then the Retired Jewel Thief. And then the Archaeologist Who Scoffs at the Mummy’s Curse.”
-- Oct. 14

“You heard what happened at a rally yesterday. Sarah Palin mistook some of her supporters for hecklers. And you know, confusion happens in all walks of life. For example, a few weeks ago, John McCain mistook her for a legitimate candidate.”
--Oct. 14 

-- Matea Gold

Final McCain-Obama debate appears to have had fewer viewers than last week's

For all the hype and buildup, it appears the final showdown between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama didn't muster the same level of interest as last week's forum.

According to early data from Nielsen Media Research, 38.3% of households in the top 56 local markets were tuned in to Wednesday night’s debate at Hofstra University in New York.

That’s more than watched the first general election debate on Sept. 26, which drew 34.7% of households. But it’s less than the 42% of households that watched the second Obama-McCain matchup last week, which was the 10th most-watched presidential debate in history.

The culprit could be Major League Baseball. As Nielsen noted, “Wednesday night’s championship baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies — aired by Fox, instead of the debate — may have impacted the debate’s ratings.”

In Philadelphia, 43.7% of households tuned in for last week’s presidential debate, while just 32% watched Wednesday's forum. The baseball game drew 32.3%.

In the Los Angeles area, 10.2% of households were tuned to the game, while 29.2% of households watched the debate — slightly less than the second debate, which was viewed by 33.7% of L.A. area homes.

-- Matea Gold

Will Sarah Palin join John McCain on 'Letterman'?

Will Sen. John McCain bring a surprise guest with him Thursday when he makes his long-awaited appearance on “Late Show With David Letterman”?

On tonight’s program, Letterman said that the Republican presidential candidate “hinted when I talked to him on the phone that maybe he’d be bringing Sarah Palin.”

“We know that’s not gonna happen,” added the late-night comedian.

“Was that a hint or was that more of a campaign promise?” asked band leader Paul Schaeffer.

“I think he was trying to make me feel better,” Letterman said. “Like, ‘Oh, I know we’ve got the hook in Letterman now.’ But I don’t think she’ll be here. Miss Alaska will probably not be here.” 

“That would be nice if she came, though,” Schaeffer said.

“Are you kidding me?” asked Letterman. “How great would that be?”

“That’s really the only way I think that he could make up for what he owes you,” Schaeffer said.

Letterman has been on a tear against McCain ever since the GOP candidate canceled an appearance on “Late Show” several weeks ago, saying he was rushing back to Washington to deal with the financial crisis. That didn’t sit well with the comedian when he discovered that McCain actually stayed in New York another day and gave an interview to CBS anchor Katie Couric at the same time he was supposed to appear on the late-night show.

-- Matea Gold


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