Jokes Pop As Bush Appeal Drops

Perhaps sensing vulnerability, the late-night comics have been piling on President Bush.

During the first three months of the year, the president has been the punchline of 307 monologue jokes by Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, according to the Center for Media and Public affairs, which studies this sort of thing.

That compares to 197 jokes during the same period last year. For all of 2005, the center's statisticians counted 544 Bush jokes.

"Bush's numbers in public approval polls may be sinking consistently, but he's never been more popular with the late-night hosts," said Robert Lichter, the center's president.

Most of the jokes are about Mr. Bush's intelligence, rather than his policies, the center said.

For example:

"Did you know former President James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other at the same time?" Leno said. "That was Garfield. When President Bush heard about it, he said, 'We had a talking cat for president?' "

One of Letterman's jokes: "Lincoln had an IQ of 120. Bush's IQ is under four score and seven."