Strange night Monday. President Bush on "Deal or No Deal." McCain, Clinton, Obama on "WWE Monday Night RAW." All four had pretaped segments within the shows -- plus Clinton and Obama were twice featured in wrestling matches, one using animated characters (and plugging the Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 video game), the other with actors appearing as them.
It was all pandering, of course, just like going on "SNL." But there are degrees. Bush's appearance -- to congratulate an Iraq war veteran who was competing on "Deal" -- felt the least sleazy of the lot. True, he's still trying to sell his war, but at least he wasn't begging for votes the way the other three did. I could have done without the federal-budget/"Deal or No Deal" joke, but part of this whole situation involves trying to seem clever.
An actor playing Hillary Clinton gets rough with an actor playing Barack Obama on "WWE Monday Night RAW." Obama got some payback later, but both candidates lost to the WWE wrestle Umaga the Samoan Bulldozer.(From WWE.com)
The best line of the night was Obama's "Can you smell what Barack is cooking." Made McCain look even less impressive that his video, run after Obama's, had "Can you smell what the Mac is cooking." But McCain overall seemed more forced than the others, more willing to kowtow to WWE fans than to just use the appearance to push his candidacy.
Clinton looked comfortable enough in her taped remarks even with the strained WWE-referring comments. (A president who "will go to the mat for you"? Please.) But I have to wonder how she felt about being treated as half of a team with Bill for the faux-Clinton/faux-Obama faceoff in the WWE ring.
At the end of the day, did these folks want votes so badly that they were willing to appear in the middle of the head kicks, shouting and overstuffed Divas in a brawl on "RAW"?
The answer is an obvious yes. And they may have helped WWE move some product along the way; that Smackdown Vs. Raw logo took up a nice chunk of screen during the animated Obama-Clinton match. But did the candidates at least get a free video game for their efforts?