A study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs finds late-night TV hosts target the GOP presidential nominee in their opening monologues more than twice as much than they do President Obama.
From Aug. 27 (when the Republican National Convention was supposed to begin officially) through Oct. 3, there were 148 Romney jokes to 62 about the Democratic incumbent.
"Romney is leading in the humor race, but being the biggest joke is a race nobody wants to win," said Robert Lichter, president of the media and public affairs center, located at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
Turns out Letterman - who hasn't had Romney as a guest since last year - did the most wisecracking about Romney. Letterman mocked Romney 44 times in his opening monologue, compared with nine Obama jokes during the study's time period.
The study reviewed jokes by Letterman, Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon, hosts of the highest-rated, late-night talk shows on broadcast TV.
Howard Kurtz writes in the Daily Download that the center's study shows a "comedic bias," in part because Obama is "hard to mock." Kurtz notes that late-night comedians loved to skewer Bill Clinton because his "lip-biting, babe-seeking persona" was a joke writer's dream during the Democrat's two terms in the White House.
Romney made reference to the late-night talk show circuit in that now-famous secretly taped video, in which he was heard saying nearly half of Americans were dependent on the government. He also told his donors this spring that Letterman "hates" him because he's been on Leno's show more often. Letterman extended Romney an open invitation to appear on Late Show, but we're guessing that won't happen with less than a week to go before the election.
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)