On Tuesday evening, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stepped out on the national TV stage for the first time in her campaign, and she made quite a bit of news. Whether on trust, the controversy over her emails, or even whether a woman should be put on the ten-dollar bill, there was a lot to take away. For example, CNN's Brianna Keilar asked Clinton to weigh in on which Saturday Night Live performer's impression of her she preferred. And, ever the politician, she didn't tip her hand — Hillary Clinton didn't pick an SNL favorite, so why not watch and make the call yourself?
It was a nice, casual aside near the end of an occasionally contentious interview. Keilar raised a number of issues that seem pretty consequential for Clinton's campaign going forward — her troubling numbers on trustworthiness, for example, and her position on immigration (contrasted against the hyper-offensive position stated by Donald Trump during his presidential announcement last month).
Still, it would've been nice to hear Clinton actually say whose impression she preferred. She was given a choice between Kate McKinnon, who currently holds the role, and Amy Poehler, who mastered the craft back in 2008. She did acknowledge Poehler as "a friend" before demurring.
Amy's a friend of mine. Kate's doing a great job. You're not going to get me to pick one or the other. I think I'm the best Hillary Clinton, to be honest. So I'm just going to be my own little self and keep going along and saying what I believe in and putting forth changes I think would be good for the country. I'm looking for ratings, not looking for votes.
So, who do you think played Clinton best — Poehler, McKinnon, or the woman herself? Here are some prime examples to help crackle your memory.
McKinnon's the woman for the job in this 2016 campaign season, and that earns her top billing. She's got a thinner resume at this than Poehler does, there's no doubt about that — she's only played Clinton four times so far, first stepping into her shoes back in 2013. That's surely going to change soon, though, with the 2016 race heating up. Who knows how many SNL sketches will feature McKinnon in this part when it's all said and done - obviously, that depends a lot on whether Clinton wins.
By any measure, Poehler's probably the most revered of the two Hillarys — she really brought the role to form, first playing her in February 2008, and doing so ten more times, the last of which came in December 2008.
It's easy to lose sight of it when you're not watching them back to back, but McKinnon's impression is pretty superior to Poehler's in at least one way: the voice. McKinnon's cadence echoes Clinton's in a way that Poehler's simply doesn't, and that's obviously a major point in comparing any two impressions. Poehler achieves something a little more nuanced and subtle in her portrayal, however. And it probably doesn't hurt her case that she went on to play Hillary-ite Leslie Knope in the much-loved Parks and Recreation.
Well, let's face it, you can't beat Clinton at being herself. Despite often being the target of some pretty pointed portrayals — SNL has depicted her at varying times as power-obsessed, egotistical, insincere, and entitled — it speaks to her good humor that she's appeared on the show herself. She made a guest appearance while still a candidate in 2008, and went toe-to-toe with Poehler. The line people tend to remember from it: "Do I really laugh like that?"
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