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How JAY LENO handled MICHELE BACHMANN’S appearance on his show – latimes.com

September 17, 2011

As usual, there was nothing confrontational about Jay Leno’s interview with his political guest, in this case, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

How Jay Leno handled Michele Bachmann’s appearance on his show

September 17, 2011 |  5:00 am

She was on the West Coast on Friday to speak in Orange County and at the state Republican Convention in L.A. and, who knows? Maybe to schmooze some money from the people who give California its Golden State name too. Watch out. President Obama is on his way to California too in a few days. Although, the story is, some Hollywood folks are kinda unhappy with him.

Bachmann’s star soared last summer. She won the Ames Straw Poll, which means nothing in reality but sounds good in the media for a while. But that same day, Rick Perry entered the Republican presidential sweepstakes. He’s a big-shot GOP governor from Texas and began sucking the air, the money and the media attention away from the only female in the contest so far.

Late-night American TV is a special breed. Some jokes. A little music. Some chatter. Maybe a movie starlet swears she got locked out of her Paris hotel room with nothing to wear but a hand towel. Nothing too complicated or controversial because regardless of the time zone, Americans are in their beds beginning to drift off to zzzzzz…

Not all Americans realize that these late-night interviews, especially with politicians, are …

… negotiated and effectively outlined in advance between the show’s and politician’s staffs. (How do you think Leno has those quips so readily at hand?) Generally, the topics to be discussed — and the ones to be left out — are predetermined.

This can be tricky because both sides want the exposure. The show wouldn’t mind a spontaneous gaffe; remember Barack Obama’s “joke” about not being as bad an athlete as a Special Olympian? Ooops, he had to apologize from the plane on that one.

Leno is very good at touching touchy subjects without seeming prosecutorial. Bachmann clearly wanted to talk about Texas Gov. Rick Perry attempting to order girls to get immunized against HPV, which can cause cervical cancer.

This has been Bachmann’s main attack on an allegedly authoritarian Perry to stem her drop in the polls. Watch Leno’s language in this exchange. As per agreement, he sets up Bachmann to say what she wants, as he already knows, and then gently questions the validity and gets her off the predictable “crony capitalism” talking point. And she doesn’t return to it.

via How Jay Leno handled Michele Bachmann’s appearance on his show – latimes.com.

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