BURBANK, Calif. (AP) -- George W. Bush was a comedic target for Jay Leno as the Republican presidential candidate tried to rebound from a lackluster appearance with Leno's rival David Letterman.
Bush, appearing Monday night on NBC's ''The Tonight Show,'' at first faced gentle questioning about his famous family and his courtship of his wife. But the laughs picked up when the comedian made light of Bush's admitted partying past.
''When you were out at a frat party, having a good time at Yale (University) partying with the boys, were you ever thinking, 'You know, I don't want to have that beer. I might be running for president.' Did that ever cross your mind?''
Bush deadpanned: ''No.''
The Texas governor gave as good as he got, though, turning around Leno's persistent questions about whether he is a cheapskate.
''Well, I'm thrifty. I'm going to be tight with your money -- all that money you make, I'm going to be tight with,'' Bush said, hinting at Leno's multimillion-dollar salary.
''Oh, you're very good at this,'' Leno replied. ''I still didn't get an answer to the question.''
Bush's appearance last Wednesday on CBS' ''The Late Show With David Letterman'' was hampered by a delay in the satellite connection between Letterman's studio in New York and St. Louis, where Bush taped the segment. Several of the governor's jokes fell flat.
Campaigning all day in California, the appearance with Leno was negotiated by top aides and sandwiched between stops in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
''The Tonight Show'' opened with a skit making fun of the Bush's poor performance on a pop quiz earlier in the campaign.
Leno was filmed walking through the hallways of the NBC studios outside Los Angeles, anxiously looking for Bush, who was in his dressing room reviewing the names of foreign leaders.
''Who is Tony Blair,'' said Bush. ''Who is Boris Yeltsin.''
Leno, acting surprised, appeared incredulous as the governor appeared not to know the names of the British prime minister and Russia's former president.
Bush, feigning indignation himself, said he was conducting a daily briefing with one of his advisers. At that point, the camera panned back to show Bush speaking with ''Jeopardy'' host Alex Trebek.
''All right governor, once again the category is foreign leaders. Who was the prime minister of Israel from 1996 to 1999?'' Trebek said.
Bush replied: ''Who is Benjamin Netanyahu?''
Thrilled with the correct answer, Leno pumped a fist and said, ''Yes!''
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