Late-night comics target GOP, mostly sparing Obama

By Frazier Moore

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Nov. 4 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Letterman said there are so many protesters gathered at the lower Manhattan park, the city plans to move them to "that pothole over on 8th Avenue — the same pothole where Simon and Garfunkel had their reunion concert."

Among the many jokes about Moammar Gadhafi's death, O'Brien cited a newspaper report that said the Libyan dictator spent his last days "hovering between defiance and delusion, surviving on rice and pasta."

"In other words," O'Brien summed up, "Gadhafi spent his last days as a sophomore in college."

But largely missing from the late-night monologues right now: jokes targeting Obama, or even Democrats generally.

Things were very different a year ago, when Democrats got what Obama called "a shellacking" in the election, with Republicans capturing the House of Representatives and scoring gains in the Senate. Democrats got a shellacking in late night, too.

"While you were applauding, three more states turned red," Letterman said on his Nov. 2, 2010, election day show. And two nights after the Democrats' crash landing, he joked that "experts are now saying we won't know what happened to the Democratic Party until we find the black box."

But that was then.

This week, attention was diverted by Herman Cain as allegations surfaced from female co-workers that he had sexually harassed them in the workplace. This news was a blessing not only for the rest of the Republican pack (and for Obama on the sidelines), but, of course, for late-night humorists.

Letterman declared that "Cain is the first candidate this year to use the word 'consensual.'"

"He says he never sexually harassed anyone," Jimmy Kimmel chimed in on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Instead, the former pizza restaurant executive "was just asking them if they wanted extra sausage."

And Fallon took the same tack when he cracked that Cain's new campaign slogan is: "Did somebody order a pizza with extra sausage?"

"So let me sum up the GOP candidates," said Leno. "You've got Mitt Romney kissing ass, you've got Rick Perry getting his ass kicked and Herman Cain grabbing ass."

And you've got President Obama taking welcome cover, however temporary. For the moment, the joke's not on him.

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier

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