Is "Saturday Night" Clinton's Favorite Time Of The Week?

The legend of the "3 a.m. phone call" lived on over the weekend, as "Saturday Night Live" began its newest episode with a parody featuring an in-over-his-head President Obama soliciting late-night advice from Hillary Clinton on how to handle a simmering international crisis.

The skit is raising questions about whether the venerable institution that has produced decades of sharp political parody has become a cheerleader for the Clinton campaign. In the three episodes that have aired since the end of the television writers' strike, "SNL" has run a string of apparently pro-Clinton segments, including an endorsement from Tina Fey, a parody on perceived pro-Obama media bias and a self-deprecating appearance by Clinton herself, which may have given her a bump going into Ohio and Texas.

Political reporters were among those who most lamented the writers' strike, which continued through the early stages of the campaign. Without the poignant jabs of late-night comedians, the daily political discourse seemed to be lacking an important element.

How would Letterman have reacted to the now famous tears Hillary Clinton shed while opening up about the pressures of the campaign. What would Jon Stewart have said about Mike Huckabee's bizarre pre-Iowa caucus press conference, in which he announced with great fanfare that he would backtrack on his decision to air a negative advertisement against Mitt Romney before proceeding to show it to the assembled press anyway?

Time and again, parody has inspired what becomes conventional wisdom, and what happens on "Saturday Night" can help set the tone for the week ahead.