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Most Blatant Pop-Culture Pandering

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McCain: Wedding Crash and Burn
Senator McCain probably had no idea when he filmed his ten-second cameo in Wedding Crashers that the appearance would ignite a mini-firestorm. McCain appears in the summer 2005 movie as a wedding guest of a Treasury Secretary, and though he barely speaks, his mere presence in the movie was taken by some as a tacit endorsement of the film’s raunchy sex humor and frequent soft-core nudity. The bit was perhaps not the wisest of choices considering the soon-to-be presidential candidate would have to seek the support of his party’s conservative religious base in the coming campaign. The Drudge Report blared the politically unhelpful headline, “Sen. McCain Stars in Boob Raunch Fest.” Add to that the allegations of hypocrisy for appearing in an R-rated film marketed to teens, the very thing he railed against in the Senate a few years earlier, and you have the trappings of a pretty embarrassing situation. “I thought it would be kind of a fun thing to do, and I was glad I did it,” McCain told George Stephanopoulos. “Am I sorry that all this controversy has erupted over it? Yes, I'm sorry that it has.”

Obama: When on Ellen DeGeneres, Do as…
As a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Obama tried to follow the local customs. On October 29, 2007, he was introduced to Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” and began grooving along with Ellen, who frequently dances for her audience’s amusement. Obama’s dance moves were smooth but simple, not fancy or showy—or particularly good, if you ask people who witnessed them. One commenter on the Huffington Post wrote: “It was like watching an elderly relative who you cheer on just for trying. Unfortunately, its embarassing [sic] when you're not 80+ years old.” Another called it “creepy” and “painful to watch.” Barack wasn’t so sure, telling Ellen, “It's a low bar, but I am pretty sure I have better moves than Giuliani.”


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