“Letterman hates me because I’ve been on Leno more than him. They’re very jealous of one another, as you know,” Romney told people attending the $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla. The reference was to CBS late-night host David Letterman and NBC late-night host Jay Leno.
Romney also nixed the NBC sketch-comedy series “Saturday Night Live”: “I did not do that, in part because you want to show that you are fun, and a good person, but you also want to be presidential. ‘Saturday Night Live’ has the potential of looking slapstick, and not presidential.”
He said “The View,” ABC’s daytime talker, “is fine.” But then, appearing to think better of that, Romney said “The View” is “high-risk, because, of the five women on it, only one is conservative, and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative.”
The next morning, The Ladies of “The View” giddily jumped all over Romney’s crack.
“This is the preseason,” Sherri Shepherd, one of the Sharp-Tongued Ones, said, making a football analogy.
“If you can’t handle four sharp-tongued women, how are you going to handle the country?”
Hasselbeck, the show’s “conservative,” jumped in to say that she’d reached out to the Romney campaign and that they gave her a statement to read on the air.
“The governor has been to ‘The View’ and we’ve had a wonderful visit — ”
“Before he was a candidate,” Barbara Walters and Joy Behar jumped in, simultaneously, like some Sharp-Tongued Greek Chorus.
“ — and his team confirms this morning,” Hasselbeck continued, “that the Romneys would love to once more join the sharp-tongued chatter in October.”
Wild cheering and applause from “The View” studio audience.
“Well, Governor, let me say two things,” Walters began, and you knew what was coming — she was going to Make It All About Her.
“One, as a member of ABC News, I do not give my political opinions,” Walters began.
We settled in.
“I don’t think most people know what party I’m from,” Walters continued.
“I don’t go to fundraisers and so on, and I think — at least I hope — I have tried to be balanced. But whatever it is, Governor, we would be delighted to have you on in October, and we know that you can handle us.”
With Whoopi Goldberg missing in action on Wednesday’s show — she was in Paris to attend the opening of “Sister Act: The Musical” — Walters’s on-air assurances to Romney naturally brought the discussion around to Behar, lead singer of the Sharp-Tongued Ones.
“Joy will be respectful,” Walters said firmly, putting on her Member of ABC News Who Will Stand for No Rannygazoo From Current TV Talent face.
“I will — but I’m holding my tongue until he gets here, and then I have to question him,” Behar warned.
“I’m sure there will be no reason not to come,” Hasselbeck said, but limply, and without any real conviction. “I mean . . . we’re respectful women.”
“All we do is ask questions here. That’s all we do,” Behar simpered.
“No, we also give opinions — that’s why it’s called ‘The View,’ ” Walters corrected.
“When we have a guest, we just ask questions,” Behar insisted stoutly.
“Don’t spoil his coming here, Joy,” Walters snapped.
“We’ll give Joy the day off,” Hasselbeck suggested.
“No,” Walters insisted.
“Just kidding,” Hasselbeck said, chastened.
Letterman on Romney
Letterman did not address Romney’s taped comment about him on his show Tuesday night.
Instead, Letterman decided it was more important to focus on Romney’s comments about how President Obama’s supporters constitute the “47 percent” of the nation who are “dependent upon the government, who believe that they are victims.” Letterman did so in a chat with his Tuesday guest: President Obama.
It was a hit with Letterman’s viewers, according to early stats.
CBS boasted the next day that Obama’s appearance — his seventh on the show but only his second as president — brought the program its best early ratings since that night in early February of 2010 when Dave revealed, on the show, that model Brooklyn Decker had been chosen as that year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model.
Congratulations, Mr. President!
Getting back to Letterman: The CBS host waited — class act that he is — until Wednesday’s show to address Romney’s taped comments about Letterman “hating” him.
“Mitt goes on to say that I hate Mitt . . . because Mitt has done the Jay Leno show more often than he’s done my show, and that we’re all very jealous and petty and bitter and backbiting and show business — unlike politics,” Letterman told his studio audience, after noting that when Romney delivered his show’s Top Ten list recently, he had been “very genial, very likable, very personable.”
“I don’t hate Mitt, and I think now more than ever, he and his lovely wife, Mrs. Mitt, are more than welcome to come on the show,” Letterman continued.
“If you think you’re going to get to the White House, you’ve gotta spend time in this chair,” Letterman joked, addressing Romney.
“We’ll get him in here and we’ll see how it goes. . . .But I don’t hate Mitt because he’s been on Leno’s show more. I mean, why hate a guy who’s suffered through that?”
Can another statement from Romney’s campaign be far behind?