When Hillary faked a Southern accent in Selma, Alabama the major network morning news shows, *for the most part, ignored her blatant and awkward pandering but when Hillary and Bill played like Tony and Carmela Soprano in a campaign ad, meant to humanize Hillary, it drew widespread praise on those very same shows.
On this morning's Today show, co-anchor Matt Lauer declared it, "a hit" and "clever" while fellow anchor Meredith Vieira exclaimed she "loved" it. On ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos called it "effective" in "showing that she's also a human being who can laugh at herself." Over on CBS's The Early Show, Bob Schieffer called the ad, "hilarious," and cheered: "I think it's one of the cleverest things I've seen in a long, long time."
The following are all morning show exchanges over the Clintons’ Sopranos parody from the June 20th editions of NBC's Today show, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's The Early Show.
NBC's Today show
Lauer: "Let me, let me play a tape for you Chris, because a lot of people are talking this morning about Hillary Clinton's new tape that she put out, you know, introducing a new campaign song. But it's really not about the song."
Chris Matthews: "Right."
Lauer: "It's more about the way she introduced it. Let's take a look. We'll ask about it on the other side."
Hillary Clinton: "I ordered for the table."
Bill Clinton staring at carrots: "No onion rings?"
Hillary Clinton: "I'm looking out for you. Where's Chelsea?"
Bill Clinton: "Parallel parking."
Hillary Clinton: "Oh."
Bill Clinton: "So what's the winning song?"
Hillary Clinton: "You'll see."
Bill Clinton: "My money's on Smash Mouth. Everybody in America wants to know how it's gonna end."
Hillary Clinton: "Ready?"
Lauer: "People think this is a hit, Chris. What do you think?"
Matthews: "How, how many electoral votes does New Jersey have? Look I really think that works. It works for me. I love seeing them together. I liked seeing them without their Secret Service as regular, regular couple. Maybe because they're about my age. There's something about that, that Sunday night dinner, whatever it is, that grabs me, just like it did on the Sopranos."
Lauer: "But all people love to see that these people are real and have a sense of humor-"
Matthews: "Yeah, exactly."
Lauer: "-and that kind of shows a sense of humor. Especially someone like Hillary Clinton who's had that likeability issue."
Matthews: "Right and you know we've grown up with politicians eating blintzes and hot dogs on street corners and Philly cheese-steaks in South Philly. It's a way of saying, 'Look I'm willing to play this game. And today, electronically, the way to play the game is to pretend you're in the Sopranos. It works for me."
Lauer: "Alright, Chris Matthews in Washington. Chris, thanks as always, nice to see-"
Matthews: "I think you agree, Matt. I think you agree."
[Lauer and Vieira chuckle]
Lauer: "Alright, Chris, thanks."
Vieira: "I loved the tape, actually."
Lauer: "I think it's clever."
Lauer: "At least, you know, it shows, maybe they had too much time on their hands. I'm not sure."
Vieira: "Maybe. I don't know."
ABC's Good Morning America
Diane Sawyer: "All right. I want to switch topics and turn to the Clintons as ‘The Sopranos.' As we know, it's the video on YouTube. It was designed to announce the new campaign song after a contest. And even if you've seen it out there, let's watch it again."
[Clip of Clinton Sopranos parody]
George Stephanopoulos: "Okay. They're not going to win any Emmys, Diane. But that's part of the joke. That is really part of the joke here. One of the things the Clinton campaign is trying to do with all these web videos is humanize Senator Clinton. Their main theme, their main strategy is to show she has a strength and experience to be president. But this is another way of showing that she's also a human being who can laugh at herself and I think it was effective."
CBS's The Early Show
Harry Smith: "I want to move one now, speaking of things making headlines, is this Hillary Clinton's campaign put together to announce their -- the song they've been trying to come up with. And it looks just like the last scene of the Sopranos. Take a look at this."
Bill Clinton: "Anything look good?"
Hillary Clinton: "We have some great choices. I ordered for the table."
Bill Clinton staring at carrots: "No onion rings?"
Hillary Clinton: "I'm looking out for you."
Smith: "And, of course, it's Hillary Clinton who is sitting in the Tony Soprano seat. And was making it all-- they're looking at all the, perhaps dangerous characters and how this will end and Chelsea's screeching her tires as she's trying to parallel park. And all of this just to announce the song that will be her campaign song. Bob, this has gotten so much play. It's just, it's pretty much a work of genius."
Bob Schieffer: "I think it can also be very, very, very effective as a political tool. Humor, when it is funny, is the most effective political tool of all. Paul Wellstone, who was an unknown person running for the Senate back in Minnesota, ran these crazy little ads where he was walking around in double speed. He won the Senate there. Walter Mondale, think back when he was being challenged by Gary Hart back there, it looked like Hart might take it. Mondale came out with a takeoff on a commercial that said, 'where's the beef?' It just hit that chord and, and he went on to get the nomination in his party. This also plays to something else Harry. For all her political skills, Hillary Clinton has never been really known for a sense of humor. This thing is hilarious. And I think it's going to help her campaign. I think it's one of the cleverest things I've seen in a long, long time."
*Update: NBC's Andrea Mitchell played a brief snippet of a youtube video of Clinton faking an accent on the March 16th Today show.
Andrea Mitchell: "But even front-runners like Giuliani have another challenge this year, the youtube elections, embarrassing video clips, often taken out of context."
Senator Hillary Clinton: "I don't feel no ways tired."
Mitchell: "That means candidates can no longer carefully craft their campaign image."