If anyone should be naturally equipped to make a great showing on a talk show, it’s a career politician several months into a national campaign. They’re rehearsed and experienced, with a ton of anecdotes at their fingertips, plus ample prepping by a squad of professionals behind the scenes. We expect them to be relaxed, witty, informed and on their game
Senator Hillary Clinton fulfilled all expectations when she swept onto The Tonight Show in her customary pantsuit, topped in bright red to up the energy quotient. She pre-empted any questions on her recent “misspeaking” about her experiences in a Bosnian landing zone and confessed, “Obviously, I had a lapse.”
When Hillary and Jay went after the serious subjects, she delivered her opinions with a humorous slant, proclaiming, “It’s the economy, stupid – and unfortunately it’s a stupid economy.” When Leno brought up Chelsea, noting, “She said you would make a better president than her dad,” Hillary had a perfect comeback, “Oh, she’s such a smart young woman.”
Her natural gesturing kept the visual energy high and she made an excellent connection with her host. Her body language was solid, as she leaned in toward Leno and patted his desk to make her points. But she barely misses a 5 Whisper rating because she failed to maintain eye contact consistently. This appearance was marred by an annoying habit of looking at the floor for long stretches, making it impossible for the camera to find her and keeping the viewer from making a connection. If she could direct some of that eye line to the crowd, she would have aced our scoreboard.