Politics

Laughing All the Way to the Polls: Politicians Pitch Message on Talk Shows

Sen. Joe Biden, the vice presidential half of the soon-to-be-official Democratic ticket buys a cup of coffee while making a surprise appearance Monday Aug. 25, 2008 at the Amtrak train station in Wilmington, Del., he has used for years to commute to his day job in the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

Sen. Joe Biden, the vice presidential half of the soon-to-be-official Democratic ticket buys a cup of coffee while making a surprise appearance Monday Aug. 25, 2008 at the Amtrak train station in Wilmington, Del., he has used for years to commute to his day job in the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)  (AP2008)

Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine are set to hit the comedy airwaves Wednesday night, with Kaine appearing on "The Daily Show," and Biden following him on "The Colbert Report." Will hilarity ensue? And will the appearances really add to the political message Democrats hope to communicate to voters this campaign season? For politicians, appearances on comedy shows can be crucial.

For one thing, it's a chance to reach a younger audience. A study by Rasmussen Reports released last year found that nearly a third of Americans under the age of 40 get the bulk of their news from satirical programs like "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report."

For another, politicians who grace the couches of late-night talk shows have a chance to reach a large audiences. Shows like "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Late Show with David Letterman" regularly pull in over three million viewers a night.

And, yes, hilarity usually ensues.

Former President Bill Clinton kick-started the tradition by showing up with shades, a snazzy tie and a saxophone on "The Arsenio Hall Show" during his 1992 presidential campaign. Since then, politicians from both parties, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) and President Obama himself, have made it a point to stop by late-night talk shows or comedy programs, both on and off the campaign trail.

Then-Governor George W. Bush giggled about his verbal faux pas in a 2000 campaign season appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman." Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) rode a motorcycle onto the stage of "The Tonight Show" during his 2004 presidential campaign. And Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) sheepishly apologized to Letterman in 2008 for canceling a scheduled appearance on the program after McCain had said he was rushing to Washington to deal with the growing financial crisis but was caught taping an interview with Katie Couric.

June 3, 1992 - Presidential candidate Bill Clinton on Arsenio

July 9, 1999 - Presidential candidate Bill Bradley on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

July 23, 1999 - Presidential candidate Dan Quayle on Leno

March 1, 2000 - Presidential candidate George W. Bush on the Late Show with David Letterman

March 1, 2000 - Presidential candidate McCain on Leno

March 6, 2000 - Presidential candidate George W. Bush on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

September 14, 2000 - Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Lieberman on Conan O'Brien and The Daily Show

September 14, 2000 - Presidential candidate Gore on Letterman

September 19, 2000 - Presidential candidate Gore on Leno

October 19, 2000 - Presidential candidate George W. Bush on Letterman

October 30, 2000 - Presidential candidate George W. Bush on Tonight Show with Jay Leno

November 4, 2000 - Former president George Bush on SNL

September 30, 2003 - Presidential candidate Howard Dean on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

January 22, 2004 - Presidential candidate Howard Dean on Late Show with David Letterman

February 4, 2004 - Presidential candidate John Edwards on Late Show with David Letterman

January 2004 - John Edwards on The Daily Show

August 24, 2004 - John Kerry on The Daily Show

September 20, 2004 - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Letterman

October 12, 2004 - Vice presidential candidate John Edwards on Leno

February 28, 2007 - Presidential candidate John McCain on Late Show with David Letterman

May 2, 2007 - Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

May 21, 2007 - Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on the Late Show with David Letterman

June 25, 2007 - Presidential candidate John Edwards on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

August 28, 2007 - Presidential candidate John McCain on Tonight Show with Jay Leno

August 30, 2007 - Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Late Show with David Letterman

January 22, 2008 - Presidential candidate John Edwards on Late Show With David Letterman

January 24, 2008 - Presidential candidate Obama on Late Show With David Letterman

March 1, 2008 - Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on SNL

March 3, 2008 - Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the Daily Show

March 28, 2008 - Presidential candidate Obama on The View

April 1, 2008 - Presidential candidate McCain on Late Show With David Letterman

April 17, 2008 - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the Colbert Report

May 1, 2008 - presidential candidate Barack Obama on Late Show With David Letterman"

May 17, 2008 - Presidential candidate McCain on SNL

July 18, 2008 - Presidential candidate McCain on Conan

September 22, 2008 - Former President Clinton on Letterman

October 16, 2008 - Presidential candidate John McCain on Letterman

October 16, 2008 - Vice presidential nominee Joe Biden on Jay Leno

October 18, 2008 - Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on SNL

October 29, 2008 - Presidential candidate Barack Obama on The Daily Show

November 1, 2008 - Presidential candidate John McCain on SNL

November 11, 2008 - Presidential candidate John McCain on Leno

December 11, 2008 - Presidential candidate John McCain on Letterman

March 17, 2009 - President Obama is on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

September 21, 2009 - President Obama is on Late Show with David Letterman

April 22, 2010 - VP Biden is on The View

July 9, 2010 - VP Biden is on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

July 29, 2010 - President Obama is on The View

August 9, 2010 - VP Biden is on The View

Fox News' Heidi Noonan contributed to this report.