A Leno appearance...is seen as a chance for shtick -- a place where John F. Kerry sharpened his man-of-the-people chops by riding a motorcycle onstage on Nov. 11. A Kerry adviser says that the Harley spin was the Leno writers' idea and that the show wanted Kerry on for Veterans Day, all good for his campaign message.
But the visit proved that Leno can be devastating, too. Because Kerry, it turned out, was the second-billed guest, following a cigar-chomping, trash-talking puppet named Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. And the dog, voiced by comedian Robert Smigel, delivered a sharper critique of Kerry than any rival is likely to muster. His humor tends to center on dog waste, and this time he compared it to the Kerry campaign's momentum.
If things go poorly for Kerry, that could become the campaign's defining moment, said Matthew T. Felling, media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. "Michael Dukakis had the tank picture," Felling said, "and Kerry's going to have Triumph."
Leno should be given particular pause these days, Felling said, since he gave Arnold Schwarzenegger such glowing treatment at the start and finish of his gubernatorial bid.
Triumph, it turns out, had a riff on that one, too. "The Terminator can take over the show, but John Kerry, a war veteran, has to follow a freaking dog puppet?" he said on the Leno show. "What's going on in America?"
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.