updated 3/7/2004 10:08:23 AM ET 2004-03-07T15:08:23

Some left-leaning political humorists may be secretly hoping President Bush — whom they love to make fun of — is re-elected in December, but they say plenty of Democrats are good for a laugh, too.

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Bush, whose tough-guy swagger and linguistic miscues have provided plenty of fodder for comedians, columnists and cartoonists, is the “gold standard” for the business, “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau said.

“I’d be crushed if he lost,” he said Saturday during a panel discussion at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

But it’s not just Bush who provides good material, panelists said.

“John Kerry is so stiff,” Time magazine’s White House correspondent Matthew Cooper said during a seminar called “Who’s Funnier — the Left or the Right?”

“You sort of see him sitting at home with a powdered wig watching C-SPAN,” Cooper said. “For John Kerry, being rebellious is having red wine with fish.”

TV comedy as informative?
A survey by the Center for American Progress found that 20 percent of Americans age 18 to 30 get their facts about politics from watching television comedy, said organization president and CEO John Podesta.

That fact apparently has not been lost on politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, who announced his candidacy for governor on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

John Edwards announced his presidential bid on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and, most recently, the Rev. Al Sharpton, a presidential hopeful, hosted “Saturday Night Live.”

It’s not surprising that politicians are reaching out more and more to humorists, said GOP consultant Mike Murphy, because it’s easier to face a comedian than to “sit in the hot seat with Tim Russert.”

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