Does Writers' Strike Help or Hurt '08 Candidates?

Talks to end the Hollywood writers' strike will resume Monday. A settlement would be good news for the striking writers, actors, the studios and bored comics. And it also could bring a big sigh of relief from presidential candidates, who are regulars on the talk-show circuit.

Sometimes, it seems the road to the White House goes directly through Burbank, Calif., and New York City's Rockefeller Center. After all, the late-night comedy circuit is every bit a part of the campaign trail as the diners of Iowa and New Hampshire -- so the writers' strike is already having an impact.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and other Democrats are making it clear they won't cross a picket line to answer Katie Couric's questions at the last debate before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.

Michele Obama pulled out of her plans to guest host "The View," and John and Elizabeth Edwards cancelled their upcoming appearance on the show, too. None of them want to be seen as presidential "scabs."

Symbiotic Relationship

The relationship between comedy writers and politicians is a two-way street.

The writers rely on the candidates for juicy material.

Steve Bodow, the head writer of "The Daily Show," recently said not drawing a paycheck is bad enough, but when uber-conservative Pat Robertson actually endorses thrice-divorced former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, it's torture not being able to crack a joke.

"It's tough being out of the office every day -- and when you see a news story you'd love to sink your teeth into, that's tough," Bodow said.

The impact for politicians may be less obvious. Of course, they get their faces in front of voters less often. But without late night comedians making fun of the candidates, how will voters know who they don't like?

Often, the writers' punch lines come at the expense of the candidate who draws the most fire from opponents.

Lately that's made Clinton an easy target, so she may actually be breathing a little easier during the strike.

Perhaps that's why Democratic candidate John Edwards was recently out there on the picket lines with the writers.

ABC News' David Wright reported this story for "Good Morning America Weekend Edition."

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