The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Mike Huckabee has been on the ‘The Daily Show’ more times than any politician except Bill Clinton

(Comedy Central)

When President Obama films his appearance on "The Daily Show" Tuesday, it will be his seventh and final stop by the show with Jon Stewart as host. That puts him in the upper echelon of those with most frequent political "Daily Show" appearances of all time, but not enough to dethrone two former Arkansas governors.

According to "The Daily Show" database of guest videos, 12 political figures have been on four times or more. Bill Clinton has been on 10 times, more than any other, followed by Mike Huckabee and Obama. Some of most frequent political guests aren't even politicians, but are members of presidential administrations, like White House Council Economic Adviser chairman Austan Goolsbee, who was on as many times as Jimmy Carter and Nancy Pelosi, and former secretary of labor Robert Reich, who was on more than Al Gore.

But most surprising is Huckabee, one of only two Republicans on the list (Newt Gingrich is the other). "The Daily Show" has one of the most liberal audiences in the media -- only the New Yorker and Slate's lean further left -- so it was notable when any Republican showed up, and many did, including Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Rick Perry. But for Huckabee to go on as many times as he did is remarkable. It was enemy territory, but he went on nine times.

Add to that the fact that the majority of his appearances happened while he was also a host on one of Stewart's favorite targets: Fox News. "Huckabee," which ran on Fox from 2008 until January 2015, was the ordained Baptist minister's chance to preach to the choir, and "The Daily Show" was outreach. Although most of his stops were pegged to a book release (the guy is a prolific writer, with six books since his last presidential campaign alone), but most of his discussions with Stewart were about politics, not his books.

They've talked about same-sex marriage and abortion, Republican efforts to reach minorities and whether the United States is a Christian nation. They're the kind of topics Stewart might rage against if they came in the form of a clip from one of Fox News's opinion shows, but with Huckabee, it was a civil discussion. "We always have reasonable conversation," Stewart said to him in 2011.

It's unlikely a few minutes on "The Daily Show" helped Huckabee sell too many more copies of "God, Guns, Grits and Gravy," or that his antiabortion arguments changed minds on abortion, but it's a reminder even in our hyper-partisan times, people like Stewart and Huckabee can go outside their ideological comfort zone to not just agree to disagree, but get along.

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