- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recently, President Barack Obama passed up an opportunity to address the Boy Scouts Jamboree and instead appeared on the popular daytime show “The View,” with host Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters. We look at past presidents, and presidential candidates, who have appeared on popular television shows.

  • Barack Obama— In October 2007, presidential candidate Obama danced on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.” “Let’s talk about dancing,” DeGeneres said. “Your wife, Michelle, was on the show and she was talking some smack about your moves.”
  • Obama grooved a little, though mostly with his arms, and said, “Michelle may be a better dancer, but I am convinced I am a better dancer than John McCain.” It was his second time on the show following a February appearance.
  • John McCainSen. McCain made an appearance on the on the comedy show, “Saturday Night Live,” just two days before the November 2008 election. The GOP candidate joked he would announce a new campaign strategy: “The reverse maverick. That’s where I’d do whatever anybody tells me. And if that didn’t work, I’d go to the double maverick. I’d just go totally berserk and freak everybody out.”
  • George W. Bush — In April 2008, President Bush made a cameo appearance via a taped video on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” to praise a U.S. veteran, Capt. Joseph Kobes of Sumner, Wash., for his service in Iraq. “I’m thrilled to be on ‘Deal or No Deal’ with you tonight,” Bush said. “Come to think of it, I’m thrilled to be anywhere with high ratings these days.” The show was seen by 10 million viewers. Kobes went home with $78,000.
  • Bill Clinton — Presidential candidate Clinton was a guest on the “Arsenio Hall Show” in June 1992, playing “Heartbreak Hotel” on the saxophone. “It’s nice to see a Democrat blow something besides the election,” quipped Hall quipped. Clinton went on to win the election in November 1992.
  • Paul Simon — The presidential candidate known for his customary bowtie and black horn-rimmed glasses, appeared with Paul Simon, the pop singer, on “Saturday Night Live,” in December 1987. The two Simons joked that people have gotten them mixed up before. Simon the politician said he arrived at Madison Square Garden where he had a tough time trying to debate rock star Bruce Springsteen, while the singer said he showed up expecting to perform at debates with other candidates.
  • Bruce Babbitt — Democrat presidential candidate Babbitt appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” in October 1987, in a spoof that showed him trying to sneak 14 items through a supermarket express lane with a limit of 10 items. Al Franken asked Babbitt, “Governor, what about the character issue?” Babbitt: “What about it?” Franken: “I’m referring to your long history of going into supermarket express lanes with more than 10 items.” Babbitt: “Who told you that — the Dukakis campaign?”
  • Ronald Reagan — President Reagan phoned into the syndicated “Lou Rawls Parade of Stars” telethon in 1985 and 1986. He also taped a message for the 1988 show, which raised money for the United Negro College Fund.
  • Jesse Jackson — The Democratic presidential candidate hosted “Saturday Night Live” in October 1984. Jackson did an impression of George H.W. Bush, portrayed a game-show host and chastised NBC for failing to hire more minority workers. He also he confessed to having a “silent passion” for United Nations Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, a strong conservative in the Reagan administration. The network received about 300 calls — three times the normal number of phone calls — many complaining that the show was in bad taste and not funny.
  • Richard Nixon — During the Sept. 16, 1968, episode, Nixon, running for president, appeared for a few seconds on NBC’s “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” with a disbelieving vocal inflection, asking “Sock it to me?” Nixon was not doused or assaulted. He also appeared on the “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1971.

— Compiled by John Haydon, who has never run for president.

Sources: CNN, Associated Press and the New York Times.