The Minneapolis, Minn., Star Tribune, ran a July 1988 Associated Press report on Bill Clinton's visit to Johnny Carson's show, four years before he became president, in its Jan. 23 issue. The article was titled “A historic meeting: Clinton's saxophone performance with Carson.”
According to the article, Clinton had been the big loser the previous week for his July 20 speech. He traded quips with Carson and confided that his 35-minute nomination speech, which was interrupted by chants and less polite suggestions that he stop, was actually designed to make Dukakis look good. He also took a turn on the saxophone, doing a passable rendition of “Summertime” with Doc Severinson and the NBC Orchestra. Dukakis missed the broadcast.
President Mark Gearan, who was serving as Dukakis' press secretary, said he did get favorable reports.
“It came as no surprise to him that Gov. Clinton went out of the ballpark,” Gearan said.