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The best of 'Saturday Night Live' political debates, from Chevy Chase to Tina Fey

On Thursday night, as Joe Biden got his Irish on and Paul Ryan hydrated like a camel during their contentious vice-presidential debate, you just knew that Saturday Night Live‘s writers were foaming at the mouth. In fact, when Saturday night’s show opened with a debate sketch, some of the best punchlines were verbatim quotes from the candidates themselves.

In recent years, SNL‘s debate sketches have become less cartoonish and more straight-forward mimicry — mostly because the candidates are more ripe for satirical study. Four years ago, Tina Fey skewered Sarah Palin with many of the Alaska governor’s own words. (Granted, “And I can see Russia from my house,” was pure Fey.) Twelve years ago, Darrell Hammond’s Al Gore was such a sharp parody that the candidate’s campaign staff made the vice president watch in order to bring attention to his annoying sighs and negative body language.

Ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial presidential debate at Hofstra, track the evolution of SNL‘s debate history. READ FULL STORY

Unemployment drives Lindsay Lohan to endorse Romney. No, seriously.

In September, onetime hope and change advocate Lindsay Lohan asked Barack Obama to cut her taxes — and the president had the nerve not to respond to her perfectly reasonable request. As though he’s got other things to worry about! Now it looks like LiLo is taking Obama’s snub to heart: Last night, she revealed that she’s changing her political allegiance to Mitt Romney.

“I think unemployment is very important for now, so as of now I think [my vote] is Mitt Romney,” she told a group of reporters, including a few from Fox News. Evidently, Lohan also has other, more mysterious reasons for endorsing the Mittster — but she’s keeping them under wraps for now. “It’s a long story, but you’re going to have to wait for that,” she explained yesterday. When contacted for comment, Lohan’s publicist declined to elaborate any further.

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Obama explains his debate performance: 'I was just too polite'

Saturday Night Live blamed altitude sickness and regret at missing out on his wedding anniversary. Jon Stewart blamed his “mouth language.” But President Obama himself has another explanation for his lackluster performance in last Wednesday’s presidential debate: “I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite,” he told a Houston radio host this morning. And the POTUS has no intention of letting that happen again.

The titular host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show was frank with POTUS this morning, bluntly asking him, “What happened at the debate?” Here’s Obama’s full response:

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Jimmy Fallon visits 'Mister Romney's Neighborhood' -- VIDEO

Did you know that if Mitt Romney gets elected and cuts PBS’s funding, he’ll effectively be canceling his own series? That’s right — unbeknownst to most people, Massachusetts’s ex-governor has been hosting a children’s show on PBS called Mister Romney’s Neighborhood. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon unearthed a clip last night, and it really is a gem.

Romney has a knack for explaining tricky concepts like “wallet” (“Do you know what money is? I’m guessing no, because you’re watching public television”) and “choke,” a.k.a. what his mailman Mr. Obama did at the debate last week. And he really seems more approachable when he arrives home each day and trades his suit jacket in for a different suit jacket. Come, join the Republican candidate in his house and on a trip to the land of make-believe, the magical world where he and Paul Ryan find most of their facts:

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New Obama ad mocks Romney's Big Bird remark; 'Sesame Street' does not approve -- VIDEO

President Obama’s reelection campaign knows not to look a gift Muppet in the mouth. For nearly a week, the left has been making hay out of Mitt Romney’s pledge to cut PBS’s funding — and now Obama for America has followed in the DNC’s wingprints, releasing an ad that mocks Romney for vilifying public broadcasting. Update: Sesame Street has disavowed the Big Bird ad on its website, writing,”Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”

Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you’ll probably be amused by this faux-serious clip. “Bernie Madoff. Ken Lay. Dennis Kozlowski,” a sonorous movie trailer voice intones as pictures of the aforementioned crooks flash onscreen. “Criminals. Gluttons of greed. And the evil genius who towered over them?” That’d be Big Bird. After all, Mr. Snuffleupagus’s best pal is eight feet tall.

Yes, he’s big. He’s yellow. He’s “a menace to our economy.” Then comes the kicker: “Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about — it’s Sesame Street.” It isn’t fair to pretend like Romney’s entire platform is centered on demolishing Big Bird’s nest, but hey — at least some fun has come out of that exaggeration. Watch the new ad below:

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Jim Lehrer on his debate performance: 'I'm very upbeat about it'

There’s one thing Jim Lehrer won’t shut the f— up about — his performance as moderator at last week’s presidential debate. Though he’s been widely criticized for letting the candidates disregard time limits and not asking more pointed follow-up questions, Lehrer is happy with how the debate turned out: “I thought the format accomplished its purpose, which was to facilitate direct, extended exchanges between the candidates about issues of substance,” he said in a statement last Thursday.

And last night, Lehrer echoed his comments again in an interview with the Associated Press. “I may be seeing something that’s not there, but I can’t imagine emerging from this experience — I’m talking about myself — with any permanent scars,” Lehrer, said, adding, “I’m very upbeat about it, and I don’t have any second thoughts.”

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Dionne a Democrat? As if! 'Clueless' actress Stacey Dash takes heat for endorsing Romney

Democrats outnumber Republicans in California’s 30th congressional district — which represents rich L.A. suburbs like Santa Monica, Malibu, and Beverly Hills — 48 percent to 26 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times. But there’s one high-profile resident of the Fightin’ 30th who isn’t afraid to voice her support for Mitt Romney: Dionne Davenport, fashionista and graduate of Beverly Hills’ Bronson Alcott High School. Or, at least, Stacey Dash, the actress who played Dee in the big screen and TV versions of Clueless.

Fresh off the pages of EW’s Reunions Issue, Dash made waves yesterday when she tweeted a Romney endorsement. “Vote for Romney,” she wrote, calling the candidate “The only choice for your future.” Dash included a photo of herself posing against a giant American Flag backdrop at the end of her message.

The reaction on Twitter was swift and snarky.  READ FULL STORY

Obama gets advice from 'West Wing' president Jed Bartlet -- courtesy of Aaron Sorkin

While watching Barack Obama’s halting, pause-filled performance in last Wednesday’s debate, liberals across the country found themselves wishing that the president had been prepped by someone more focused, someone more aggressive, someone like, say, snappy dialogue writer extraordinaire Aaron Sorkin. Unfortunately for them, there’s no way to grant this wish short of stealing Professor Frink’s time machine. But at least those folks can take solace in Sunday’s New York Times, which contains the next best thing to a Sorkin-penned debate: a Sorkin-penned dialogue between President Obama and imaginary ex-president Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, last seen thinking about “tomorrow” on The West Wing‘s series finale.

Sorkin pal Maureen Dowd invited her famous friend to imagine a post-debate conversation between the real commander-in-chief and the one Sorkin made up. Sorkin obliged, just like he did in 2008 when Dowd first asked him to write Obama/Bartlet fan fiction. The final product features vintage Sorkinese, cigarettes, a barrage of statistics, and cameos from Jim Lehrer and The Newsroom‘s Will McAvoy. Here’s the real meat of the conversation:

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Fired Big Bird meme continues with new DNC video

Big Bird is the new Invisible Obama is the new “long-form birth certificate” is the new “I can see Russia from my house!” (Plus dozens of other memes, huge and tiny, that have faded into the ether between 2008 and now.) Since Mitt Romney’s quip about liking Big Bird despite wanting to cut PBS’s funding was one of the few memorable moments in Wednesday’s presidential debate, we can expect to see this thing really get beaten into the ground over the next week or so — or longer, depending on whether next Thursday’s Paul Ryan/Joe Biden debate yields pay dirt.

In the meantime, the Democratic National Committee is capitalizing on our collective love for Sesame Street with this new video, which cuts together various news reports mentioning Romney’s “Big Bird” remark.  It’s worth watching, if only for Al Sharpton’s concluding dig at the former governor of Massachusetts: “The math doesn’t add up! Hmm… maybe Mr. Romney needs a little Sesame Street.READ FULL STORY

'Romney,' 'Obama' tell 'Jim Lehrer' to 'shut the f-k up' -- VIDEO

It’s safe to say that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney don’t see eye to eye often, but there’s one issue that they do agree on: Debate moderator Jim Lehrer should “shut the f–k Up.” Jimmy Fallon and his Late Night writers spoofed the president and former governor yesterday, saying aloud what Obama and Romney most likely were thinking during the presidential debate Wednesday night.

Fallon plays Romney and initially asks Lehrer (his head writer A.D. Miles) to “hush child.” Then things slowly get out of hand: he makes a giant leap from saying “shut your yapper a little bit” to “you’re a useless human being.” Hilarity ensues when Obama piles on. Let’s just say he threatens to put his foot where it doesn’t belong. READ FULL STORY

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