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Encore: The SHOWBIZ Obama Watch

Aired December 26, 2008 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Now, on this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama Watch, tonight, the remarkable, almost unbelievable similarities between Barack Obama and a hit TV show.
From the message of change to a rival like Hillary Clinton getting picked as secretary of state, tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reveals the TV presidency playing out in real life for Barack Obama.

The first couple of cool. Tonight, what Hollywood`s biggest stars are telling SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about Barack and Michelle`s coolness. From Jennifer Aniston to Oprah Winfrey -


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": You know, what`s so fantastic about her is she is a completely, 100 percent authentic woman.


HAMMER: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask, will the Obamas be the coolest first couple ever?

Plus, is Michelle Obama the new Jackie Kennedy? Tonight, great debate over the comparisons between Michelle O. and Jackie O.

A special edition of TV`s most provocative entertainment news show, the SHOWBIZ Obama watch, starts right now.


Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: Hi, there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you tonight from Hollywood. And tonight, a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama Watch. From comparisons to John and Jackie Kennedy and stars opening up and speaking out about the Obamas, A.J., I think it`s fair to say the president-elect and his wife, Michelle, are two of the biggest stars out there.

HAMMER: Brooke, I think that is fair to say. And you know, long before many of us even knew who Barack Obama was, his message of change had already come to the White House, on TV`s "The West Wing." The parallels between Obama`s campaign and what played out on the show are really incredible.

ANDERSON: Yes, and as I learned, one of the guys who wrote scripts for the NBC drama found the similarities pretty stunning.


(voice over): A new president offering his rival the position of secretary of state -

JIMMY SMITS, ACTOR (as Matt Santos): How about secretary of state?

ALAN ALDA, ACTOR (as Arnold Vinick): Secretary of state?

ANDERSON: In the final season of "The West Wing," imaginary President- elect Matt Santos offered his defeated rival, Arnold Vinick, the job of secretary of state. A show off the air for almost four years, but seemingly able to predict the 2008 presidential campaign and transition.

Eli Attie was the writer on the show who scripted the fictional run to the White House which was started by casting Jimmy Smits as Santos.

ELI ATTIE, WRITER: The funny thing was, at that time, four years ago, there was just no precedent for a Latino candidate or any kind of minority candidate. And the closest I could find was then state Senator Barack Obama. And so the character wasn`t really created to be Barack Obama. But as I started to fill in those first big episodes and to find who he was, that was the first place I really looked for inspiration.

ANDERSON: And so "The West Wing" wound up a young minority candidate who would defeat a favored Democratic rival in the primary and a moderate Republican maverick in the general election. But Attie, who worked in the Clinton-Gore administration said it didn`t exactly take a psychic to see the scenes that would dominate the 2008 campaign.

ATTIE: I actually think a lot of that was coincidence. Both of them gave speeches where they talked about hope and the promise of the future. And politicians have been doing that for a long time, maybe not always as eloquently as a carefully scripted actor on a TV show or Barack Obama.

ANDERSON: Not that he isn`t surprised to see the future unfold along the lines of his creation.

ATTIE: The interesting thing is something like having Matt Santos choose his rival for a powerful cabinet post was for us wish fulfillment, you know, saying what if he had a candidate who didn`t hold grudges and really wanted to bring in the best people. It`s amazing to write your sort of gauzy, flag blowing in the wind fantasy version and then watch it unfold on CNN before you. And that is what`s happening.


ANDERSON: OK. Obama`s secretary of state pick, Hillary Clinton, is also a Democrat, but Matt Santos on "The West Wing" appointed Arnold Vinick, a Republican rival to secretary of state.

HAMMER: All right. So how about the comparisons between Michelle O. and Jackie O.? You know, so many people are saying that they`re pretty much one in the same. You`ve got the youth, the beauty, the young kids in the White House.

But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is taking a closer look. Are these fabulous ladies really that similar? Right now, from New York, it`s Katrina Szish who is a celebrity journalist.

Hi, Katrina, what`s your take on all these comparisons that claim Michelle O. and Jackie O. are basically cut from the same cloth?

KATRINA SZISH, CELEBRITY JOURNALIST: I think it`s a lot of wishful thinking. I think that people - it really comes from a feeling of hope. People do see, as you mentioned, the youth, the beauty, the kids in the White House. But beyond that, I really don`t think the comparisons are valid.

HAMMER: There`s a lot of sentimentality, I would agree with you on that. But there are some obvious, shall we call them, superficial comparisons perhaps that are worth-taking a look at it.

SZISH: Sure.

HAMMER: And first, I want to compare their fashion. No doubt Michelle Obama is fast becoming a fashion icon, just like Jackie O. certainly was. And there are a lot of fashionistas out there who compare them when it comes to fashion - that`s in both in what they wear and how they wear it. Katrina, what do you think? Is that basically a fair comparison?

SZISH: I don`t think it`s a fair comparison. It surprised me very much when that comparison really started to get going. There were a few moments when Michelle Obama wore a sheath dress and the pearls and had her hair one in a classic flip.

But beyond that, Michelle`s made a variety of fashion choices, things that are a little bit daring like the Narciso Rodriguez dress we saw here. She also wears J. Crew, whereas Jackie Kennedy embraced haute couture in the 1960s. All of her dresses were custom. They are really completely different when it comes to style.

HAMMER: Completely different when it comes to their particular and individual style. But still, you certainly would agree that they are both, in their own right, fashion icons.

SZISH: Fashion icons but that doesn`t make them similar when it comes to their style.

HAMMER: Got it. All right. Got to move on to their jobs. Now, this is one big difference I feel worth pointing out between Michelle O. and Jackie O. Jackie actually gave up her writing career when she got married to John Kennedy. But Michelle not only kept her job as an attorney when they got married, for a while, you know, she was Barack`s boss at the law firm they were working at together. And that really, Katrina, comes down to a sign of the times, doesn`t it?

SZISH: It sure does. When Jackie Kennedy married John Kennedy, it wouldn`t have been appropriate for her to keep her job. Her job was to then be, at that time, his wife. And now, we`re seeing a completely different time when husbands and wives have equally important, equally strong, equally successful careers and we`re living in a very different time as you said.

HAMMER: So it`s really interesting as people have been constantly making comparisons, and really, since the first couple elect or designate has come into being. They have been making these comparisons to a first couple from, you know, 50 years ago.

If you were going to compare Michelle Obama to a past first lady other than Jackie O. - and I would like to think perhaps a little more contemporary, who would that person be?

SZISH: That would have to be Hillary Clinton. And I think for the biggest reason there is because they`re both very accomplished women in their own rights. They`re not defined by the fact that they`re married to presidents. They really have their own careers and of course, they have really reached their own level of excellence. They`re not defined by their husbands. They`re defined by themselves.

HAMMER: And I love that, you know, you are pointing out Hillary Clinton because it`s kind of interesting, the woman that you are comparing Michelle Obama to is the woman that her husband beat to become president of the United States.

SZISH: And she will be secretary of state so she will not be very far from Michelle Obama.

HAMMER: All right. So wrapping it all up, as we move forward, as we get set for the big inauguration in January and people will probably continue to make these comparisons, should we put an all clear on this? Is it safe to say in the end, the whole Michelle O. and Jackie O. comparison not that all accurate?

SZISH: Not all that accurate. And I`m looking forward to it being over. Everyone just gets so excited about the idea of I think showing those beautiful Kennedy images. And I love to look at them, too. But that does not mean that it`s accurate to compare Michelle O. to Jackie O.

HAMMER: Katrina Szish, thank you for being here.

SZISH: Thank you, A.J.

ANDERSON: The SHOWBIZ Obama watch continues now with more on Michelle Obama`s new role after her husband is sworn in as president on January 20th. There`s a great debate going on about whether or not Michelle should be paid for her hard work as first lady. Here`s CNN`s Alina Cho for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She`ll make history as the nation`s first black first lady. But even before her husband`s historic win, Michelle Obama was a powerhouse in her own right, an Ivy League- educated lawyer with a six-figure salary. In a month, she`ll be moving into a new home and a new full time job, working for free.

PROF. ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY NEWHOUSE SCHOOL: I think most Americans when they hear the phrase "first lady" still think China patterns, tours through the White House.

CHO: Jacqueline Kennedy won an Emmy for her TV tour of the White House. William Howard Taft`s wife, Helen, attended cabinet meetings, but she said only to keep her husband awake. Nancy Reagan had her "Just Say No" campaign. Then came Hillary.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), INCOMING SECRETARY OF STATE: I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and made tea, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession.

CHO: Hillary Clinton redefined the role of first lady, taking on healthcare, traveling the world. Yet she was never paid a cent.

LISA CAPUTO, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR HILLARY CLINTON: We used to joke that we were a moving public works project. Wherever we would go, there would be new roads paved, literally. She defined that role for herself and I think in many ways, helped pave the ground for future first ladies.

CHO: Like Michelle Obama -

THOMPSON: More and more presidents are going to, I think, have spouses who actually come to the job with a life, with a career. And the kind of things that they do might, in fact, be useful things to employ.

CHO: But a salaried first lady? Some say the pay is in the perks. Big fancy house. First class travel. Elegant dinners. So what does the current office holder think?

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I don`t think it should be a paid post. The spouse of the president is not an office holder. We weren`t elected.



HAMMER: So Brooke, you know, a lot of stars think Barack and Michelle Obama are very, very cool.

ANDERSON: Yes, Hollywood does, indeed, love these two, A.J.

HAMMER: Well, coming up, Brooke, the first couple of cool, Barack and Michelle. The new ways "SNL" and stars like Jennifer Aniston and Oprah are gushing over the first family. But will they be the coolest first couple ever or will this whole cool thing fade once they get into the White House?

HAMMER: We`ll also have this -


LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OGUNNAIKE: Do you feel a responsibility as a black comedian to either skewer him or not skewer him, because you all share the ...

PAUL MOONEY, COMEDIAN: I`m a comedian. I`m going to make fun of everybody. I`ll be making fun of you when you I leave here.


HAMMER: Black comics on the Obamas. Tonight, there is an explosive controversial question that everyone is asking - will black comedians take it easy on the president-elect or will they go after him full force? That is coming up next.

ANDERSON: Well, tonight, one of the Obamas` biggest fans, Oprah Winfrey, is speaking out to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. You have got to hear the brand-new things she`s saying about Barack and Michelle. You`re watching the special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama watch.


GLENN CLOSE, ACTRESS: Our biggest hope is that people will know what they have - what he has in front of him and the huge, almost impossible task of putting things right and that we will understand it and continue our support.




DYLAN BAKER, ACTOR (as Martin Geller): We`d like you to run for president.

CHRIS ROCK, ACTOR (as Mays Gilliam): Of what?

BAKER: The United States.

ROCK: Of what?

BAKER: Of America.


HAMMER: I love it. In Chris Rock`s movie "Head of State," there are plenty of jokes flying around about America getting its first black president. But is anything of limits now that America really is getting its first black president?

Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama Watch. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Well, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the first black president of the United States on January 20th. But when it comes to comedy, will the jokes be on Obama? What`s fair game, what isn`t and will black comedians back off?

Joining me tonight in New York, Lola Ogunnaike who is an entertainment correspondent for CNN`s "American Morning." Hey, Lola.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT, CNN`S "AMERICAN MORNING": Hey, A.J. Well, President-elect Obama has definitely inspired a lot of people. But the question is, will he be inspiring comedians, too? I spoke with some of Hollywood`s best-known black comics and asked them if Barack Obama`s historic election is changing their comedy routine. And what, if anything, now is off limits?


PAUL MOONEY, COMEDIAN: Obama is a politician. We make fun of politicians. He looks like Malcolm X. He talks like Martin Luther King. Oprah loves him. What more do you want, America?

DAVID ALAN GRIER, COMEDIAN, "CHOCOLATE NEWS": Barack, what are you doing? When you said hope and change, we thought you were talking about the country, not about your wardrobe!

D.L. HUGHLEY, HOST, "D.L. HUGHLEY BREAKS THE NEWS": I think he`s funny. It`s got to be funny that there are going to be products in the White House they never seen before.

OGUNNAIKE: Like what for example?

HUGHLEY: There has got to be a pressing comb in there. It`s got to be that. There`s got to be a wave cap. There has got to be at least a tube of Sulfur 8. Got to be something.

OGUNNAIKE: If you had to take a guess, do you think black comedians will be devoting a majority of their sketches or Barack Obama being president? Or, do you think it is something that they will shy away from because it`s too tricky?

SALAMISHAH TILLET, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: American political comedy has been very racially segregated. And now comedians, black, white, of color, are going to have to sort of step up their game and now reflect and match the views of the American voting public.

Now you have what we would consider, sort of a buppie president. Black urban professional president. And so the jokes about barbecues on the lawns are only going to go so far.

OGUNNAIKE: You don`t necessarily want to traffic in the stereotypes, though, do you? Do you want to talk about chicken and watermelon in the White House?

MOONEY: It`s not about chicken and watermelon. Black people like chicken. If chickens could talk they would say, "I hate black people."

You can make jokes about everything. Nobody is safe about it. If it`s funny it`s funny.

White people, get in the back where you belong! Obama is president!

OGUNNAIKE: So where do you draw the line when it comes to the Obama jokes? Because some people ...

MOONEY: There is no line. He`s the president. This is America. We can talk about our president. I`m not in some other country where they will put me in a dungeon.

HUGHLEY: Barack and Michelle went on their first date since the election. I`ve got to say, they must be really in love. Because when I take my wife out to dinner, it ain`t a date, it`s an apology. That`s what it is.

OGUNNAIKE: Can a comedian go too far?

HUGHLEY: Sure a comedian can go too far. You`ve got to be willing to take the risk. But it`s not up to you to define what that line is.

OGUNNAIKE: Do you feel a responsibility as a black comedian to either skewer him or not skewer him, because you all share the ...

MOONEY: I`m a comedian. I`m going to make fun of everybody. I`ll be making fun of you when you I leave here.


OGUNNAIKE: Yes, A.J., it seems like everyone is fair game to comedians, even me. You know, we had a lot of fun joking around about it. But my sense is, historic election or not, Barack Obama better bring his sense of humor to the White House.

HAMMER: Well, Lola, as you well know, you know, a lot of people have said Barack Obama is just too perfect, that he`s just too cool, not a lot of comedy material to pull from there. So based on what the comedians you spoke with said, do you think they`re kind of standing at the ready, waiting for him to slip up?

OGUNNAIKE: I think they want him to be a little less perfect. They want to have some fun with him. But I`ve heard a few jokes in recent weeks that are actually really funny. Apparently, the way that he played basketball with his sweat pants up to his rib cage ...


OGUNNAIKE: That`s something that people are going to poke fun at. So there`s some material there. You`ve just got to look a little harder for it.

HAMMER: And I have to say, I think once his presidency has begun, he will be fair game. It will be open season. "American Morning" entertainment correspondent, Lola Ogunnaike, I thank you.


ANDERSON: Hey, voting in the presidential election was no joke for Heidi Klum. Heidi`s husband, Seal, told us right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that his wife got her U.S. citizenship in 2008 so that she could vote for Barack Obama. So when I spoke with Heidi, I asked her why that was so important to her.


KLUM: Well, I`ve been living in America now since 1993, and I love this country. I think it`s a fantastic country. And you know, I`ve been, you know, paying the taxes and I`ve been working. And I don`t know. I thought it`s about time for me, you know, to become an American, and our three children are all born in this country.

And I really wanted to vote. I saw, you know, when people say every vote counts, and I always felt like, you know, I`ve been living here, you know, for such a long time. I want to vote, too. So I really made a point, and it was on the top of my list.

And I hurried up that I, you know, got my American citizenship just in time, so I got to vote.


HAMMER: How do you not love Heidi Klum? Brooke, I think it is so cool how Heidi became a citizen just so she could vote for the first couple of cool.

ANDERSON: It really is terrific that she took the right to vote so seriously, A.J.

HAMMER: So Brooke, what about this first couple of cool, Barack and Michelle Obama? Tonight, will the Obamas be the coolest first couple ever? That is coming up.

Also this -


ALLISON SAMUELS, "NEWSWEEK": I think what Michelle Obama will be able to do is just show you a different type of African-American woman.


ANDERSON: Can Michelle Obama single handedly change the way the world views African-American women? That`s a pretty big challenge. You`ve got to stick around to hear this, straight ahead.

HAMMER: And I`ve got to say, I think this will be one of the most important appointments Barack Obama`s going to make - who`s going to make him dinner? Yes, it`s the search for the next White House chef coming up next.

You`re watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama watch.


DUSTIN HOFFMAN, ACTOR: This is just a man who won the presidency. A human being beat another human being and became the next president. It was David defeating Goliath.



ANDERSON: Hey, welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama Watch. I`m Brooke Anderson.

Now, Barack Obama will become commander-in-chief, but right now, we`ve got a revealing look at the search for his commander-in-chef. Whoever becomes the White House chef will have to please a lot of different palates. And let me tell you, that`s never easy. Here`s CNN`s Samantha Hayes for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with what`s going on behind the scenes of Barack Obama`s kitchen cabinet.


SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They like everything, from the local deli...

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I ordered this corned beef.

HAYES: ... to high-end Mexican food. Their favorite restaurant is itself a mouthful, Chicago`s Topolabampo. And for the big post-election day, it was the four-star Spiaggia. The Obamas` taste in food ranges from tacos to tilapia. The kids, mac and cheese, please. So their chef better have a big menu.

Former White House chef Walter Scheib, who cooked for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, says the key to pleasing presidential palates is get to know the family.

WALTER SCHEIB, FORMER EXECUTIVE WHITE HOUSE CHEF: One of the things, first and foremost, is to really get a great relationship to the first lady and the first family. Understand what they`re looking for and how you can make their dreams in terms of the cuisine and entertaining style come true. Almost to know what they want before they know it themselves.

HAYES: Tip two, lose the prima donna attitude chefs are so famous for.

SCHEIB: It`s a job that`s low key. You check your ego at the door when you work the White House. It isn`t about you; it`s about the family. So you are very discreet and don`t talk about your job too much.

HAYES: For now, the first kitchen is in the hands of Cris Comerford, the first female top chef. Whether she stays or goes is up to the Obamas.

SCHEIB: Mrs. Obama will be the one who will set the tone for the house. It really is Mrs. Obama letting the chef and letting the resident staff know what she wants. It`s their job to make it happen.

HAYES (on camera): The first family is fit and healthy, and you can expect the ingredient list to reflect that. But there`s one food the first chef might be wise to skip - beets. The president-elect hates them.


ANDERSON: That was CNN`s Samantha Hayes cooking things up for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Brooke, I think that`s incredibly cool. You get to pick out your own personal chef.

ANDERSON: Yes, definitely something I wouldn`t mind having, A.J.

HAMMER: Oh, like you don`t already, Brooke. Come on.


HAMMER: The first couple of cool - I`m talking about the Obamas. We`ll have a lot of other cool stuff in the White House. But will they be the coolest couple ever? That`s coming up.

Also, Oprah on Michelle Obama -


WINFREY: She is number one on my Hollywood list.


ANDERSON: I think it would be fair to say that Oprah could be the Obamas` number one fan. You`ve got to hear the brand-new things "O" tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about the first family. That is coming up.

HAMMER: And Beyonce is a big Barack Obama fan, too. Tonight, she`s telling us about her big Barack wish. So, Mr. President-elect, if you happen to be watching, feel free to grant Beyonce`s wish. We`ll give you the chance, next.


JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I just have faith in him and in his attitude and what he has behind him. And I think we just all are rooting for him. It`s not an easy task that he has ahead of him.



HAMMER: Now, on this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama watch, the first couple of cool. Tonight, the biggest stars in Hollywood are speaking out to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about Barack and Michelle`s coolness. Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, even "Saturday Night Live." But will the Obamas be the coolest first couple ever?


WINFREY: She is number one on my Hollywood list.


HAMMER: Oprah gets passionate about first lady-to-be, Michelle Obama. Oprah Winfrey talked to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and she is beaming big-time. It`s Oprah in her own words.

This special edition of TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now.


Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama watch. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you tonight from Hollywood.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, it`s the first couple of cool. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking what a lot of people are asking - are the Obamas, in fact, going to be the coolest first couple ever?

"Saturday Night Live" is leading the cool charge for the Obamas showing exactly how cool Barack Obama really is. You have got to see this, and we`ll show it to you.

And Hollywood is just over the moon about the Obamas moving into the White House. Everybody, from Oprah Winfrey to Jennifer Aniston just went on and on to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about the Obamas and you will hear what they told us.

I`m going on the SHOWBIZ Obama watch with Jami Floyd who is an anchor for "In Session," and Amy Holmes who is a CNN contributor and political analyst.

A lot of people thought it would be hard to make fun of Barack Obama if he won the White House. Wrong! "Saturday Night Live" showed us why, revealing just how cool Obama is. Take a look at this.


FRED ARMISEN, ACTOR (as Barack Obama): Let`s take Hillary Clinton, you remember her. She ran against me in the Democratic primary, told superdelegates I couldn`t win in a general election. Hey, she brought up William Ayers before anyone. Did I exact political revenge? No. I brought her in.

Why? Because I keep it cool. I take my kids to school, I don`t lose my temper. It`s my only rule, I keep it cool. And then there`s John McCain. Would have been easy to turn my back on John McCain. But I didn`t. I sat down with him and we announced we were going to work together to take on the critical challenges facing this nation.

So why did I do it? I think you know the answer to that. I keep it cool.


HAMMER: You have to love the stringed bass in the background. Jami Floyd, what do you think? Is Barack Obama going to be the coolest president ever?

JAMI FLOYD, "IN SESSION": First of all, you have to love the cool jazz underneath, I agree A.J., it just drives the point home and adds to the humor of it all. Look, he may be the coolest president ever. I think cool kind of goes with the job description. We`ve had a lot of very cool presidents in our history though we may not have used that word exactly.

I do also think, though, in all seriousness, that a lot of this is going to be about managing expectations. He is a cool cucumber, one cool dude, but he`s also the president of the United States. And we have some tremendous challenges that he`s going to have to work with others to face. And I think the American people will have to be realistic about what can be accomplished after the last eight years.

HAMMER: Yes, I think there`s no question about that. But Amy, what do you think? Do you play right into the "Saturday Night Live" thing? Is he going to be perhaps the coolest cucumber president ever?

AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I thought it was a fun skit. Really cute. But you know what I did notice about it, A.J.? It didn`t actually make fun of a foible. This is something you could consider an asset. Whereas when they do skits about say Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin or George Bush or Bill Clinton, these are about what are their weaknesses, their Achilles` heels. Whereas Barack Obama, I still think "Saturday Night Live" is still kind of giving him a pretty easy ride on this.

And what they didn`t show Mr. Cool doing? Smoking a cigarette, which is something that we know that Barack Obama does. I have no particular moral thing against it ...

HAMMER: You just want to bring it up. You want to make sure everyone knows, Amy?

HOLMES: Isn`t that a whole part of that whole jazzy martini scene? "Saturday Night Live" didn`t go there.

HAMMER: I suppose if they had the whole smoky jazz club thing going, too, that - I don`t know.

Let`s talk about the fact that it`s not just "Saturday Night Live" dealing with the cool factor for Obama. Everybody from Jennifer Aniston to Oprah Winfrey all talking to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about the Obamas. And you`ve got to see what Oprah told us about the other half of the cool couple, Michelle Obama. Take a look at this.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Just true brilliance. You know, smart, not just intelligent smart, but smart from the heart and wisdom and spiritual and connected and a mother. She is - you know what`s so fantastic about her, is she is a completely, 100 percent authentic woman. So what you see is really herself. There`s no pretense there. She is the real, real, real deal.


HAMMER: That is what you call raw enthusiasm. So Oprah 100 percent happy with Michelle Obama. Jamie, how do you think Michelle is going to bring the cool factor into the White House?

FLOYD: First of all, I think in the modern presidential context, the first lady is key to the president`s image. And I guess if it`s going to be cool for this couple, then Michelle Obama is half of that equation. But if you look back over our history, first ladies have been incredibly important, going back to Martha Washington and Abigail Adams.

We`re more public about it and women are more permitted to show their intellectual side, to have their policy commitments, even Laura Bush has had policy concerns that she`s pursued as first lady. I think Michelle Obama is going to turn out to be a tremendous asset to Barack Obama and to our country.

HAMMER: Yes, I think she`s going to make an indelible impact. And the celebrities are really feeling it, too.

We also caught up with Jennifer Aniston. She told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she`s rooting for Barack Obama. Watch what Jen said.


JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I just root for him. I just hope that - I mean, it`s a lot - there`s a lot we have to get out from under. And I just have faith in him and his attitude and what he has behind him and that, you know, I think we`re all rooting for him. It`s not an easy task that he has ahead of him.


HAMMER: All right. So Jennifer Aniston can`t wait. But Amy, we know how politics works. Do you think it`s only going to be a matter of time before that cool factor fades?

HOLMES: Well, I think we are all rooting for Barack Obama because he`s our commander-in-chief and he`s the leader of our country and we want our country to succeed. So, you know, I definitely respect and appreciate Jennifer Aniston`s sentiment about that. But yes - you know what? It is Washington and you`re not going to necessarily like watching how the sausage is made.

And already Barack Obama is already getting criticism from the left wing of his flank, which actually politically is kind of good for him.

But he`s already getting criticism based on his Cabinet picks. People are saying, "You`re keeping George Bush`s defense secretary? I thought we voted for change." So he`s not even been sworn in. We`re not even at inauguration yet and he`s getting criticism.

HAMMER: Thanks, Amy Holmes and Jami Floyd.

ANDERSON: More now on the monumental power of Michelle Obama. Not only is she one half of the first couple of cool, but Michelle may single- handedly change the entire world`s image of what it is to be an African- American woman. Here`s CNN`s Randi Kaye for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A high-powered professional, successful and the wife of the president-elect. Three good reasons why Michelle Obama may change the image of black women.

ALLISON SAMUELS, "NEWSWEEK": When you look at television, we`re either, you know, single mothers with a bunch of children or drug addicts or street walkers.

KAYE: Allison Samuels wrote this article for "Newsweek." She hopes and expects having Michelle Obama in the White House will help put an end to the stereotyping of African-American women, often portrayed as overweight, ignorant and angry.

EDDIE MURPHY, ACTOR: Don`t adjust my seat. That scientifically proves that you were adjusting my seat.

SAMUELS: We still have that negative image of black women being overweight and very loud and rolling their eyes and talking back and having these sassy one-liners all the time. And that`s just not the entire community.

I think what Michelle Obama will be able to do is just show you a different type of African-American woman.

KAYE (on camera): During the campaign, Mrs. Obama was the victim of stereotyping, too. One television network, not this network, referred to her on the screen as Barack Obama`s "baby mama," a slang term often used to describe black women who have children out of wedlock. The network later apologized.

(voice-over): Mrs. Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer who earned a six- figure salary before leaving her job to help her husband`s campaign. With about 30 percent of African-American children being raised in poverty, that may register with black women.

OLIVIA FISHKIN, NEW YORK RESIDENT: The average African-American woman should take heed and hope that, with hard work and study, that they can also elevate themselves and aspire to become whatever they want to become.

KAYE: What about her skin color? It`s much darker than African- American celebrities like Beyonce or Halle Berry. Samuels says that may send the message black is beautiful.

SAMUELS: In the African-American community, a lot of times beauty is sort of determined by how light you are. And what I love about Michelle is that she`s not that typical look.

KAYE: Michelle Obama`s physique may also light a fire under black women. Federal statistics show four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. Mrs. Obama works out daily, often before her girls are even awake.

SAMUELS: You don`t necessarily look at a size zero and go, "OK, I can look like that" in fashion magazines. But you have this real-life woman, who`s a mother and a wife, who is making time to sort of work out and look good. And I think all of that is going to play a big role in African-American woman, you know, just sort of taking a step back and saying, "What can I do to be healthy?"

KAYE: So while Mrs. Obama may be focused on becoming mom-in-chief, as she likes to say, her role may be far greater than she will ever know.


ANDERSON: That was CNN`s Randi Kaye for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Well, Barack Obama`s inauguration is really shaping up to be jam-packed with stars, Brooke.

ANDERSON: It is, A.J. And the guest list, more guarded than a national security secret. But we may have gotten a big scoop from one star about just who could be on that list.

HAMMER: That is right. Beyonce tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she`s ready, willing and able to belt it out for Barack. She even reveals the song she`s got picked out. That`s next.

Also this -


WINFREY: She is number one on my Hollywood list.


ANDERSON: There`s no question that Ms. Winfrey is going to Washington. But find out why she`s gushing about her brand-new BFF, Michelle Obama. You don`t want to miss Oprah getting emotional, next.

HAMMER: And if you can`t make it to Washington for the inauguration, no problem, we`ll take you there, Hollywood-style. We`ve got the greatest presidential movies of all time you`ve got to see before inauguration day. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.


SIGOURNEY WEAVER, ACTRESS: I hope everyone sees it as a new beginning. We have huge challenges. But there`s so much we can do if we work together.



HARRISON FORD, ACTOR (as President James Marshall): Listen to me. You know who I am. I`m the president of the United States.


HAMMER: That has got to be, for my money, one of the best presidential films of all time. Harrison Ford as the defiant president of the United States in the 1997 blockbuster "Air Force One."

Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama Watch. And tonight, we`ve got your top five presidential films of all time.

Of course, we`re getting ready for a brand-new president in the New Year. So what better time than now to catch up on the best presidential films ever made. "Air Force One," "The American President," "Dave" - the list goes on and on.

But which five films should you absolutely see before inauguration day. That`s why I brought in Leah Rozen, film critic from "People" magazine to help us figure it out. We`ve got a little time on our hands, Leah. Let`s get to it.

With "Air Force One," Harrison Ford, truly in his movie star heyday. And he`s kind of like the American president and an action hero all rolled. I just love this film.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, this is, you know, he`s on "Air Force One." Terrorists hijack Air Force One and the president himself kicks terrorist butt. And who would you rather see kicking terrorist butt than Harrison Ford?

HAMMER: Nobody, yes.

ROZEN: This is, you know, - it`s pre-9/11. It`s very clearly a pre- 9/11 film. And in fact, the director, Wolfgang Petersen, said he wouldn`t have made a post-9/11. But it worked then and to a great extent, it works now.

HAMMER: I was going to say that said, it still holds up. It doesn`t feel like an old movie when you watch this thing.


HAMMER: All right. Let`s move on to "The American President," obviously a classic, Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, all-star cast. And I love that it`s written by Aaron Sorkin. I think that`s lost on a lot of people - the guy, of course, who brought us "The West Wing."

ROZEN: Exactly, he was doing kind of a rehearsal for "The West Wing" here. Rob Reiner, who directed, was a good friend of the Clintons, gave them money, raised funds, et cetera, spent time hanging out with Bill Clinton, kind of got to know the White House, and you can tell in this film.

It`s this very sort of intimate look at being the president. Michael Douglas plays a widower who starts dating a lobbyist played by Annette Bening.

And it`s the romance that`s the fun stuff in this film. How does a bachelor president get some booty call and that`s the fun stuff with this. The politics are a little doctrinaire.

HAMMER: Booty call`s always the fun part, right? And the acting though, from what I remember, I haven`t seen this film in a long time. It was terrific.

ROZEN: It`s terrific. Michael Douglas makes a charming president.

HAMMER: All right. Let`s move on and go back in time for this one. We`re going all the way back to 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson is in the White House and "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," was in movie theaters. I`ve never seen this film. Educate me, please.

ROZEN: This is one of the great satires of all time, nominated for four Oscars, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Peter Sellers plays three roles in this, including a bumbling president and indeed - we have accidentally sent bombs off to Russia and they`re about to hit and didn`t mean to do that. How can we fix that?

This is one of the great satires of all time. It`s worth-seeing and it`s very much now a period piece because it is so during the Cold War.

HAMMER: I was going to say you sort of have to put yourself in that mindset, I guess, to remember, this was a time when people were very much afraid of the bomb, obviously, and fearful of Russia at that time.

ROZEN: No. It was, you know, anyone could hit the button any day and that would be it. When you watch the film, you understand that feeling. But it did a very deft job of lampooning that.

HAMMER: And I`m going to be able to find that one, right?

ROZEN: You are.

HAMMER: It`s got to be out there.

ROZEN: Directed by Stanley Kubrick.

HAMMER: Now, here`s the one I`m concerned about locating. But if you tell me I should have no trouble, that`s fine. We`re going back to the days of FDR. So here`s a film, I`ve got to tell you, and I know my movies - I`m not familiar with "Gabriel Over the White House." Why is this a film we have to see before Obama comes into the White House?

ROZEN: Because it couldn`t be more timely. This is a sort of comedy drama about a president who`s basically a do-nothing crook, based on, to some extent, Warren G. Harding. He then is in a terrible auto accident, is in a coma, and emerges a changed man, an activist politician, a Roosevelt. And it`s at a time of economic panic, huge financial disaster.

You kind of go, "Gee, did they just write this now?" Fascinating stars. Walter Houston is the president who was the father of the director, John Houston.

HAMMER: So we can watch this movie and say, "You know what? It has happened before. They`re not making that up.

ROZEN: Nothing changes.

HAMMER: All right. Tell me about your favorite because you`ve told me this off-camera before. You just love "Dave." You find this presidential comedy absolutely essential.

ROZEN: I`m not saying this is the greatest movie ever made but it`s the one I watch again and again, directed by Ivan Reitman. This stars Kevin Klein as a guy who runs an employment agency but he is a look-alike, an exact look-alike for the president.

The president himself is a slimeball. He ends up having an attack and is in a coma. They don`t tell the country. They bring in the look- alike. So suddenly Kevin Klein, "Dave," becomes president and starts really enjoying the office and doing good things.

HAMMER: And this is Kevin Klein, if I recall, doing what he does best. He is at his -

ROZEN: Bringing joie de vivre to the screen. It`s a very Capra-esque kind of film. But it`s so much fun, and you go, you know, "Gee. Wouldn`t it be nice if a good guy could be at the White House?"

HAMMER: I think as we get set for Obama, we should watch all of these movies. I`m going to have a big marathon tonight. Leah Rozen, thanks as always. I appreciate it.

ROZEN: You`re welcome.

ANDERSON: Hey, Beyonce knows a thing or two about movies. But she`s hoping to take on the role of a lifetime. Beyonce is one of the dozens of stars who wants to perform for Barack Obama`s swearing in.

I spoke with Beyonce recently about her new movie, "Cadillac Records," but I also had to ask, will she take the stage in front of the White House?


(on camera): You`ve said publicly you want to perform at President- elect Obama`s inauguration. Have you made any progress there? Have you been asked to perform?

BEYONCE KNOWLES, SINGER/ACTRESS: No, not yet, but I`m really would be excited to go and to see it on television if that`s what I`m going to do.

ANDERSON: Now, if you do take the stage, what would you sing?

KNOWLES: I would probably sing "At Last."


ANDERSON: "At Last," of course, a legendary song made famous by Etta James, the singer Beyonce plays in her new film, "Cadillac Records." And although Beyonce didn`t exactly reveal if she`s a go yet, I`m betting she`s got a good shot.

HAMMER: And man, would she be terrific. All right. Let`s fact it, Oprah influences all kinds of people all over the world, but who is the one person inspiring Oprah these days? Well, it`s our first-lady-to-be.


WINFREY: She is number one on my Hollywood list.


HAMMER: Coming up, Oprah Winfrey in a really emotional moment, talking to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Oprah in her own words on Michelle Obama.


ROSARIO DAWSON, ACTRESS: We have done something very significant by electing this man. Now it`s time to really do something significant and show that we`re all in it together.



HAMMER: Welcome back to a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, SHOWBIZ Obama Watch. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Tonight, Oprah Winfrey speaks out to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about Michelle Obama. We all know she`s been a huge supporter of Barack Obama. But now Oprah is getting emotional about Michelle.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right as Oprah was honored by the "Hollywood Reporter" as 2008`s most influential woman in entertainment. And Oprah told us right there on the red carpet that when it comes to her personal "it-list," there`s only one person comes to mind, Michelle Obama.


WINFREY: What is going to happen when she is in the white house? I cannot even - I cannot even tell you. How she represents - just true brilliance. You know, smart, not just intelligent smart, but smart from the heart and wisdom and spiritual and connected and a mother and a friend and a great daughter.

She is everything. She is the icon. She is number one on my Hollywood list. You know what`s so fantastic about her? She`s a completely, 100 percent authentic woman. So what you see is really herself. There`s no pretense there. She`s the real, real, real deal.


HAMMER: Some more big Oprah news. She`s actually going to bringing her daytime talk show to Washington, D.C., the very week of the inauguration. And I`m guessing that is going to be the second toughest ticket in town to get.

ANDERSON: Yes, no kidding. Well, as you know, Oprah wasn`t the only celebrity cheering on Barack Obama during his historic campaign. Hollywood`s young stars came out in force to say, "Yes, we can. One of them was Rosario Dawson who was a huge supporter. We caught up with Dawson promoting her new film, "Seven Pounds." And she says although the election is behind us, she believes the hard work has just begun.


DAWSON: We`re really going to show the rest of the world that this young country really has something to it. That`s where we`re at right now. And I think we can all appreciate that the eyes of history are on us. We have done something very significant by electing this man. Now it`s time to do something really significant and show that we`re all in it together.


ANDERSON: Rosario has been very active in getting young people to vote and even went to the summer`s Democratic Convention in Denver. So is she ready to ditch Beverly Hills for Capitol Hill?


DAWSON: I think not. You know, it`s very different to be, you know, telling people to vote for themselves and another thing to tell them to vote for you. So I think I`m very happy to be an activist and advocate.


HAMMER: Well, that is it for this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the SHOWBIZ Obama Watch. We thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Don`t forget you always can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 p.m. Pacific, and also in the morning, 11:00 a.m. Eastern.