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Did Jon Stewart hurt the Democrats in Election 2010?

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Look no further than the senatorial campaign of Delaware hopeful Christine O’Donnell to see comedy's reach, says Robert Thompson, founder of the Bleier Center of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. Her own colorful history of flirtations with witchcraft gave her opponents plenty of material for their ads. But, he says, the comedians took it from there, with skits on "Saturday Night Live" and clips on everything from "Real Time with Bill Maher" to "The Daily Show." “People running for positions of power sign up for this kind of treatment,” he says. “Comedy carries along the hypocrisies, inconsistencies, blunders, and assumed deficiencies.”

In Ms. O'Donnell’s case, Thompson says, the satiric troops took it to a point “where a thinking person could not rationalize voting for someone so ridiculed.”

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