7 Politicians Who Appeared on Game Shows


As we’ve been seeing lately, everything politicians have done since birth ends up being in the news—especially during election time. Game show appearances are no exception, so check out these seven politico contestants. Some did surprisingly well; others should definitely stick to their day jobs.

1. Ronald Reagan on I’ve Got a Secret, 1961

A pre-politics Reagan gives Henry Morgan and Steve Allen a radio announcer’s test to see if he can make them laugh in the middle of the “audition.” If you’ve ever wanted to see the 40th President of the United States blow up a balloon using a trumpet, here’s your chance. The whole thing is quite charming.

2. Senator John McCain on Jeopardy!, 1965

If you think John McCain has gotten over his loss in Final Jeopardy almost 50 years ago, you’d be wrong. He still remembers the exact question: “Cathy loved him, but married Edgar Linton instead.” Brontë buffs, of course, know that the answer is Heathcliff. But McCain could only recall the name of the book and answered as such: “What is Wuthering Heights?”

3. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm on The Dating Game, 1978

When Jennifer Granholm was 19, she probably had no idea that she would someday have a career in politics, which is too bad—she might have asked the host to refer to her as something other than “cute and curvaceous.” Granholm is semi-apologetic about the wall o’ hair, though. “This is what being a teenager in the '70s gets you,” she said. “I was having a bad hair decade.”

Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out with the bachelor she picked. Just for reference, here’s Jennifer at the Democratic National Convention this year.

4. Congressman Rush Holt on Jeopardy!, 2011 (and more)

Rush Holt, representative from New Jersey, didn’t just clean up on Jeopardy!—he actually beat IBM supercomputer Watson last year. But no one should be surprised: Not only is Holt a politician, a nuclear physicist and a patent holder, he’s a five-time Jeopardy! champ.

5. Then-Governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter on What’s My Line, 1974

The best part is when Dana comments on how spiritual Jimmy Carter looks and wonders if he recruits nuns.

6. Gerald Ford on What’s My Line, 1969

Carter wasn’t the first future president to appear on the game show. Gerald Ford made an appearance nearly five years before when he was the House Minority Leader.

7. Bill Clinton on Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!, 2012

Earlier this year, Bill went three for three during the quiz portion of NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!. The topic? The TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Start at about 9:00 in for the quiz, but the rest of the interview is pretty interesting if you’ve got a few minutes.