Jimbelung the koala may be the G20 star

While US president Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott trumpeted the success of the G20, it wasn't big news in the US.

After being cheered by a rapturous crowd at the University of Queensland as if he was from boy band One Direction, US President Barack Obama is returning to the reality of American politics.

Obama left his final G20 press conference in Brisbane upbeat.

He achieved plenty on his week-long Asia-Pacific tour, beginning in Beijing, then Myanmar before Brisbane for the G20 where he trumpeted the communique the world's 20 most powerful nations nutted out.

But Obama won't be riding his G20 wave of success across the Pacific Ocean to the US where his Democratic Party was decimated on November 4 in the midterm elections, handing power in Congress to the rival Republican Party.

Republicans are preparing to battle Obama on domestic issues, including immigration, the Keystone XL pipeline and Obamacare.

On the international front, the beheading by Islamic State of US aid worker Peter Kassig will place more pressure on Obama to step up military action in Iraq and Syria.

Proof of that could be seen on American TV on Sunday.

Sunday is a big day on TV for politics in the US.

Three major American free-to-air commercial TV networks, NBC, ABC and CBS, have one-hour political programs where the political agenda for the coming week is often set.

The G20 didn't get much of a guernsey on NBC's Meet the Press, ABC's This Week or CBS's Face the Nation.

The vow by G20 nations to grow their economies by 2.1 per cent? Nope, not a big area of debate.

The communique's recommendation for nations to toss billions into the UN's Green Climate Fund? Nope.

There wasn't even a mention of how pre-summit Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott threatened to "shirt-front" Vladimir Putin, but instead only how he'd handed the Russian leader Jimbelung the cute koala.

But, wait. Did someone say koala?

Now, that's something the US political shows were interested in.

Jimbelung the koala, who was passed around like a football between Abbott, Obama, Putin and co, may be the biggest thing to come out of the G20 in the US.

In fact, if Americans watched Meet the Press and This Week they'd think the G20 was an Australian wildlife meet-and-greet.

"Well, look at that - Putin and a koala," Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, showing footage of Australia's "Koala Diplomacy", told a panel on his show including expected US presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

There was similar giggly behaviour over on ABC.

"This week we saw President Obama mingling with world leaders, but more importantly koalas at the G20 summit in Australia," This Week host Martha Raddatz told viewers.

"Even Vladimir Putin got in on it."

Raddatz then quizzed three members of her panel, Republican Party strategist Ana Navarro, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

"Name the closest animal relative of the koala," Raddatz asked the esteemed trio before they went into a debate about when Hillary Clinton would announce her run for president.

The koala question was deemed so enthralling it was turned into a teaser.

"I'll be back in two minutes with the answer," Raddatz said.

After TV ads for Xerox, a wealth management company and an anti-oxidant pill that's apparently great for your heart, Raddatz asked the panel for their answers.

Navarro said: "Putin. You know, because he's so warm and fuzzy".

Brazile: "I just said bear. I don't know."

Karl: "It's a marsupial. The kangaroo of course".

Raddatz then informed the panel and America "the answer is the wombat".

"I'm not sure what that was," Raddatz admitted after a photo of a wombat was shown.

Maybe next Sunday the quiz on This Week will be: "What is a wombat?"

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