“Late Show” host David Letterman has joked about Republican Mitt Romney five times more often than he has poked fun at President Obama, leading a trend among late-night comics.
A study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs found that Mr. Romney was the target of 148 jokes in late-night talk-show monologues from Aug. 27 to Oct. 3. Mr. Letterman told 44 jokes about the Republican during that time, compared with just nine barbs about Mr. Obama — the greatest disparity among any of the hosts.
Overall, Mr. Letterman, Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon told 290 jokes about Republicans and 138 about Democrats. All four comedians made more wisecracks about Mr. Romney than about the president.
“Romney is leading in the humor race, but being the biggest joke is a race nobody wants to win,” said CMPA President Robert Lichter.
In the 2008 general election, CMPA found that Mr. Obama finished fourth with 243 jokes, behind Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (658), GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin (566), and outgoing Republican President George W. Bush (244).
For all four comedians combined, joke totals for the top 10 targets were:
1. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (Republican) — 148
2. President Obama (Democrat) — 62
3. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican) — 39
4. Former President Bill Clinton (Democrat) — 28
5. Rep. Paul Ryan (Republican) — 20
6. Prince Harry — 19
7. Clint Eastwood (Republican) — 18
8. Vice President Joseph R. Biden (Democrat) — 16
9. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — 15
10. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Republican) — 14