"SNL" writer says Clinton sounded "whiny"

Cataloging the fallout from Clinton's pop cultural reference.

Published February 28, 2008 6:10PM (EST)

Hillary Clinton has already received poor marks from pundits for her reference to "Saturday Night Live" in the Democratic debate on Tuesday. Now the writer of the "SNL" skit in question -- which portrayed the media as being head-over-heels in love with Barack Obama, while hating on Clinton -- weighs in: While flattered that she noticed, he too thinks Clinton didn't do herself any favors with her jaunt into pop culture.

"It might, on balance, make her look a little whiny," SNL writer James Downey tells the Associated Press. "She might have been better off if other people pointed it out for them."

To recap, Clinton, annoyed that moderators often ask her the first question, said: "I don't mind. I'll be happy to field it. I just find it curious. If anybody saw 'Saturday Night Live,' maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow."

There was, by the way, some truth to her claim. Clinton does often get the first question in debates -- she's been up first in six of the last 10 debates. The trouble was, the comment came off more like a peevish complaint than a cheerful joke, and the audience booed.

In other "SNL"-related news, ABC's Jake Tapper points out that there are probably some skits Clinton would prefer to forget. Last year, Amy Poehler played Clinton as she discussed her vote for the Iraq war on "Hardball."

"Chris, I think most Democrats know me. They understand that my support for the war was always insincere," the fictional Clinton said. "Of course, knowing what we know now, that you could vote against the war and still be elected president, I would never have pretended to support it."

Clinton can tune in on Saturday for more material, as Downey tells the AP that he's been working on another campaign skit.

Here are the "SNL" clips from the weekend:

By Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

MORE FROM Farhad Manjoo

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