Jimmy Fallon welcomed Hillary Clinton to The Tonight Show for the third time on Sept. 19, less than one week after Donald Trump was on the program. Once again, just like with Trump, Fallon had fun with the presidential candidate, choosing entertaining, easy questions and helping Clinton appear likable and relaxed. The ways he did so were unique, but the outcome was the same. Say what you will about his questioning of Trump, his approach wasn't so different with Clinton. The Trump and Clinton Tonight Show interviews were pretty much the same, in that they were an opportunity for both to seem personable and friendly.
In fact, Fallon even asked them both the same question: "Why should kids want to grow up be president?" Clinton answered after acknowledging that when she was a kid that wasn't even something she could dream of. "It wasn't even within the realm of the possible for little girls back then," Clinton noted. But she left things up to the kids as far as hopes and dreams go:
They should be what they want to be. They should follow their dreams, but they should not feel that they bump up against a hard glass ceiling, or that because of who they are, where they were born, who their parents are — any other circumstance — that somehow the American dream isn't big enough for them.
Trump also had a pretty good answer, especially when you consider the sound bites that normally get him in the news. "I think you want to grow up to be president to help people," he told Fallon. "There's tremendous problems that people in this country have, and all over this world. And if you want to help people, there's no better position to do it from than the presidency."
In addition to asking both this key question, he also teased Clinton and Trump for their weak spots. He welcomed Clinton with a surgical mask, making fun of her recent pneumonia diagnosis and break from the campaign trail to recover. Meanwhile, Trump was mocked endlessly for his hair. Fallon messed it up violently to the bemusement of many. And I, for one, am shocked nothing came undone.
From there, it became clear that Fallon's views of Clinton's candidacy are more positive. Clinton was never a topic during the Trump interview, except when he noted Trump's reasonable response to Clinton's health issues — perhaps the first time that he has treated her or her health reasonably.
With Clinton on the other hand, Fallon was quick to tease Trump. He brought out a brown bag at the beginning of the interview saying that Trump had left it in his dressing room. Inside was a framed picture of Vladimir Putin, which Clinton called "the most famous bromance going." Then there was a copy of Pink Floyd CD's The Wall — you get where that one is going. Clinton sure did. "That's as close as he's going to get to the wall," she quipped.
But Fallon didn't get away without a little teasing. The last item in the bag was a package of softballs, because of the easy questions that were lobbed at Trump on Thursday's interview. "That was my gift to him," Fallon acknowledged before adding, "I'll give them later to you in the interview." Fallon had been widely criticized for going easy on Trump.
Clinton also made time during the interview to share her vision:
You know, we have to decide in this election what kind of country we want. Are we going to be a country that comes together, that respects each other, that celebrates our diversity — which I think is one of our great strengths — or are we going to be pitted against each other, and be divided?
For the sake of kids these next four years, the diversity argument needs to win.
Image: The Tonight Show/NBC (1)