New media stars -- The presidential campaign of '92 brought figures like Tabitha Soren and Larry King into the limelight
Not only did the ’92 election provide us with a new Prez, it also generated a slew of new media stars, who rode the coattails of the democratic process like rodeo champs. Among them:
TABITHA SOREN Her ”Choose or Lose” coverage for MTV — including lively interviews with Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Al Gore — made politics palatable for attention span-impaired young voters, who turned out at the polls in record numbers. Now she has signed a Today show contract as well.
ROSS PEROT His amusing, down-home debate style was not exactly cut from Oxford cloth. His infomercials were among the most-watched programs of the year. He ran for President like he was host of the hoedown. No wonder his paperback, Ross Perot: In His Own Words, stayed on the best-seller lists for several weeks.
WILLIAM FIGUEROA Adding an e to potato to spare Dan Quayle’s dignity was the best goof that ever happened to this 12-year-old New Jersey kid. In the fantastic flap that followed, the sixth-grader made an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman, signed a $4,000 deal to endorse Spectrum HoloByte Inc.’s computerized word game, accepted an invitation to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic convention, and landed a $50-a-day gig commenting on the Republican convention for WFAN radio in New York.
LARRY KING Campaign ’92 turned the celebrity interviewer into a power broker: All three candidates chose his CNN talk show as their favorite electronic whistle- stop. (Heck, Perot announced his candidacy on King’s air.)
COMEDY CENTRAL The two-year-old cable channel got the last laughs with its unconventional convention and debate coverage, including crackpot commentary by Al Franken and Buck Henry, dramatic readings from Marilyn Quayle’s novel, Embrace the Serpent, and segments such as ”Tonight’s Rant” with guests Ron Silver and Denis Leary.
GENNIFER FLOWERS The Star paid this 42-year-old alleged cabaret crooner and former Arkansas state employee a reported $100,000 for the kiss-and-tell details of her alleged trysts with Clinton; she subsequently appeared in the buff in Penthouse magazine, where she also offered alleged revelations about the President-elect-to-be’s penis size.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS Only 31, this boyish, cutish Clinton spokes-individual was just made for TV — and you’ll be seeing lots of him on the tube over the next four years, as he makes the transition from Governor Clinton’s campaign communications director to one of President Clinton’s main White House aides (and chief Tantalizing Single Guy).