From the moment President Obama took office after defeating Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election, one of the two of them has been a constant on the Sunday morning political talk shows. Spoiler (if one is even needed): It isn't the president.
Analyzing data from the Women & Politics Institute at American University, the New York Times figured out which guests on the five main Sunday shows were the most common. It was McCain by a landslide, followed closely by his close ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
The Times made a tool that allows you to peruse all the data. But given the dominance of senators from Arizona and South Carolina -- not the most populous states -- we were curious if we could figure out which areas of the country were most heavily represented on Sunday morning TV.
We took the Times data and assigned states to every guest who had made five or more appearances and who was 1) an elected official in a federal position for the state or 2) a statewide elected official in the state. And, for kicks, we also assigned a party ID to guests that were elected officials, were partisan consultants, or worked for a presidential administration. (Bob Gates, who worked for both presidents of parties, got a pass.)
Presenting: the most appearances on the Sunday shows, by state. (The darker the color, the more appearances.)
This isn't hugely surprising. New York and California are well represented. In third place: Arizona, followed by Texas and, you guessed it, South Carolina.
But there's another way of looking at it. We took the appearances-per-state and created another metric: the number of appearances for every 100,000 people in the state's population. And something interesting happened.
South Carolina is still well represented. But the two best-represented as a function of population are North Dakota and Wyoming. For that, you can thank former North Dakota senator Kent Conrad (D), who made a lot of appearances -- far more than Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D). And Wyoming? You get one guess.
The most under-represented in this regard is Kansas, followed closely (interestingly) by North Carolina. Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) ought to try to get booked. Maybe it'll help both of them fend off tough challengers this year.
As for the partisan breakdown, it was about even in terms of number of appearances.
That's a 52-48 percent split. It's even in part thanks to a surfeit of Obama administration staffers, past and present, who get to make their case. It's also thanks to a two other Sunday show stalwarts: Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
As for Obama, he's been on 12 times since he became president. In two days, that will reach 13.