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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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COMEDO-PUNDITS

How much do we mock our politicians? Much. Rough math reveals that late night comedians generate well over 100 jokes a week about leaders and lawmakers. Like this one: “Some good news for President Obama: In the last three months, his re-election campaign raised $86 million. The bad news: To be re-elected, he’s going to need $14 trillion more.” So said NBC ‘s “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno on a recent night.

But he has company. Americans heard 1,415 political jokes from May to August told by Mr. Leno, along with CBS’ David Letterman and NBC’s Jimmy Fallon. And surprise: The Center for Media and Public Affairs laboriously tallied and tracked them all to reveal that six out of the top-10 targets were Republicans and/or conservative.

But none led the pack. That dubious honor belonged to former New York congressman Anthony Weiner. At No. 1, he inspired 207 jokes — like Mr. Letterman’s recent observation: “Now he’s back in the private sector. And I thought, your private sector is what got you in trouble.”

Osama bin Laden was in second place with 199 jokes, Arnold Schwarzenegger was third with 125, followed by Mr. Obama (104), Sarah Palin (60) and Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, with 56. Rounding out the top-10: Newt Gingrich (55). Donald Trump (39), Vice President Joseph R. Biden (34) and Rupert Murdoch (31)

“This summer has been tabloid heaven for late night TV. And politics is the gift that keeps on giving,” observes George Mason University communications professor Robert Lichter, who led the study.

READING THE TEA

“American voters sympathetic to the Tea Party movement reflect four primary cultural and political beliefs more than other voters do: authoritarianism, libertarianism, fear of change and negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration,” says new research from the University of North Carolina presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

It’s all “new cultural expression of late 20th-century conservatism,” says lead author Andrew J. Perrin, who explains that tea partyers tend to prefer obedience over creativity in kids, are insecure about rapid change and favor both libertarianism and “nativism.”

IT COULD HAPPEN

“The Wolfeboro White House.”

Yes, that is what we would hear ad nauseam from an unfriendly press should Mitt Romney win the presidency next year. The candidate has a six bedroom, $10 million summer home in Wolfeboro, N.H., on the shores of sparkling Lake Winnipesaukee — a picturesque meeting place for his family, which includes five sons and 19 grandchildren.

The locals are already pondering a more prosperous future. What happens when a president lives in the neighborhood?

“When George Herbert Walker Bush became the 41st president, Kennebunkport has seen a huge swell of visitors hoping to see the Bush family compound at Walker Point,” says Paula Tracy, a reporter with the New Hampshire Union Leader. “There are maps and historical information about the Bush family, and the site is a destination for people around the world.”

A LITTLE TARNISH

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