Presidential Race Winners and Losers
Tina Fey, Bob Schieffer and Rachel Maddow
Not all the winners in a presidential election go to Washington. Some jump into the political fray to get laughs, higher ratings, or their own show on MSNBC. Here's our look at the stars — and one city — that have already won or lost in Campaign '08.
Winner: Chuck Todd. The NBC News political director and on-air analyst came out of nowhere (okay, National Journal's The Hotline) to become a constant presence on MSNBC and a candidate to replace the much-missed Tim Russert on Meet the Press.
Winner: Tina Fey. The former Saturday Night Live head writer worked a grueling schedule for years, anchoring Weekend Update, writing and co-starring in Mean Girls, and creating the brilliant but underwatched 30 Rock. Then she lucked into a strong resemblance to Sarah Palin, and tortured her vowels into a dead-on impersonation. The result: a huge ratings upswing for SNL and 30 Rock, and Palin forever defined, in some voters' minds, as that lady who can see Russia from her house.
Winner: SNL: The show is the best it's been in years, and not just in ratings. Amy Poehler's Hillary Clinton, Fred Armisen's Obama, Darrell Hammond's McCain, Jason Sudeikis' Joe Biden and that one Palin impersonation have made the show essential viewing for anyone who cares about politics, or just likes to laugh. Clinton, Obama, McCain, and Palin, all guests of the show, must be in both camps.
Winner: Elizabeth Hasselbeck. The former Survivor contestant stays alive as The View's lone conservative voice, keeping her cool amid the relentless overtalking of Joy Behar and even earning an invite to introduce Palin in Florida.
Losers: Keith Olbermann/Chris Matthews. The MSNBC hosts found themselves banned from the anchor's desk after going beyond the usual provoking and prognosticating to outright opinionating.
Winner: Rachel Maddow. After Olbermann dubbed her the "World's Best Pinch-Hitter" for her stellar ratings as his fill-in on Countdown, she scored her own show, which doubled MSNBC's audience in 9 pm hour.
Winner: Oprah Winfrey. The Queen of Talk proves she can choose primary winners as well as she chooses books, endorsing Obama early on and helping him gain massive audiences in key states.
Loser: Scarlett Johansson. The whole made-up dust-up about her being text-messaging buddies with Obama highlighted one of the problems of celebrity endorsements: They can make a candidate seem less-than-serious.
Winner: Bob Schieffer. CBS's old hand hosted by far the best of the presidential debates, even getting the candidates to actually answer a couple of questions.
Winner: Scranton, Pa. Winner and Loser. The charming eastern Pennsylvania town was already known as the setting of The Office, but secured its place on the national stage with Joe Biden's constant references to how hardscrabble it was when he grew up there. Um, thanks.
What do you think? Who's on your list of campaign winners and losers?