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Entries in The Colbert Report (4)

Thursday
Feb232012

Nancy Pelosi Relents, Appears on ‘The Colbert Report’

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi relented on her oath not to appear on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report when she joined host Stephen Colbert Wednesday for a segment to promote the DISCLOSE act.

Prior to the segment featuring Pelosi, Colbert teased a video clip of a previous interview with the Democratic leader when she told the comedian she would not appear on his show.

Adding fuel to the fire, on June 30, 2006, Pelosi predicted that Colbert would fail in his pursuit of interviewing every member of Congress for his show, and she discouraged her colleagues from falling for the trap.

“I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go on the show,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) advised at the time.  “I would think that it would be okay to go on if you were live-to-tape, but don’t subject yourself to a comic’s edit unless you want to be made a fool of.”

But Wednesday night, wearing a red suit, Pelosi joined Colbert for a segment recorded live-to-tape earlier in the day.

“You said you’d never come on here.  Do you often break your promises?” Colbert joked as he opened up the conversation.

“This is part of my lent resolution -- to do good works, be kind to Republicans,” she replied.  “So here I am.”

Pelosi was invited onto the show to promote her support of the DISCLOSE Act, which Democrats recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives.

The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act, also known as the DISCLOSE Act, aims to prohibit foreign influence in federal elections and establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in elections.

“If we want to cancel elections, and have the wealthiest people in America … give tens of millions of dollars, we can just ask them: who do they want to be president, who do they want to run Congress, who do they want to be governor,” Pelosi said.

“That would be polite,” Colbert interjected.

“No that would be a plutocracy,” Pelosi scolded Colbert.  “We are a democracy and our founders intended that the people would decide.”

With House Democrats in the minority, there is little hope for Congress to pass the bill this year.  Pelosi said Democrats aim to “win the election, reform the system, overturn the Supreme Court decision [Citizens United] by amending the Constitution and give the vote and the voice and power to the people.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan132012

Stephen Colbert: A GOP Contender?

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- TV host and comedian Stephen Colbert might be adding a new title to his already long resume: presidential candidate for the United States of America of South Carolina.

“I am proud to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for president of the United States of South Carolina,” Colbert announced Thursday to an amped-up crowd on his late-night Comedy Central show The Colbert Report.

Of course, there is no actual United States of South Carolina.  And even if Colbert were looking to run in the Jan. 21 primary, the filing deadline for South Carolina’s primary ballot is long past, so Mr. Colbert would have to rely on write-ins.

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Rather, Colbert’s announcement was a stunt in his long running narrative to call attention to the problems of the super PACs -- the independent expenditure committees with unlimited fundraising ability -- which are so prevalent in this election cycle.

Colbert began his show by inviting out former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter, playing the role of Colbert’s personal lawyer, or, as Colbert also described him, his “money’s spiritual advisor.”  Colbert and Potter engaged in a dialogue about the do’s and don’ts of superPACs, and Colbert asked Potter if he could join the race and maintain control over his super PAC.

“No … you cannot be a candidate and run a super PAC, that would be coordinating with yourself,” said Potter.  “You can have it run by someone else.”

At that point, Colbert invited fellow late-night star Jon Stewart out onto the set.  Colbert asked Potter if it would be ok if he transferred control of his super PAC to Stewart, even though the two are business partners.  They joked that they were starting a combination bagel shop and travel agency called “From Schmeer to Eternity.”

“Being business partners does not count as coordinating, legally,” explained Potter.

The bit continued as Colbert and Stewart engaged in a “transfer of power,” and afterwards Mr. Stewart and Mr. Potter each left the set, and Colbert made his “announcement,” balloons dropped, and the audience went wild.

The rise of the super PAC began in 2010 when the Supreme Court ruled that independent spending for political purposes was protected under the first amendment, in the landmark case of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.  Thursday night's segment offered a thoughtful critique of these new groups who are legally not allowed to coordinate with the candidates they are supporting, but are often run by former staffers, highlighting the strong ties that bind candidates to these powerful organizations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct252011

Jon Huntsman Vies for ‘The Colbert Bump’

ABC/Donna Svennevik(NEW YORK) -- With poor poll percentages and even worse fundraising numbers, there’s no denying that these days Jon Huntsman could use a little public relations pick-me-up.

On Monday, the former governor swapped out the New Hampshire house party circuit for Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report in an effort to obtain the popularity propellant that is “the Colbert bump.”

“I like you,” host Stephen Colbert said to Huntsman. “I like the cut of your jib. I don’t know what a jib is but I like the way you cut it.”

“In recent polls you are at two percent. Are you ready for the Colbert bump?” Colbert asked.

“I am so ready for the Colbert bump,” Huntsman answered.

Colbert continued, “Governor you may be at two percent. We’re going to get you up to whole milk.”

Huntsman’s appearance on the show allowed him to reach out to Colbert’s key 18-49 demographic audience, discussing his experience in politics and the private sector to an entirely new audience. However, it was a joke Huntsman made about China, the country where he served as ambassador for two years, that caused the crowd to groan.

When Colbert played a sound effect of a stereotypical Chinese riff, Huntsman joked, “When’s the delivery food coming?” After a few seconds of awkward silence, Colbert replied, “Did that go over well in Beijing?”

“There was a gasp,” audience member Dana Cole told ABC News. “A little tasteless. No one really saw it coming. He got ahead of himself.”

“I think he was just really nervous honestly,” said Zach Zirlin, who was also in the crowd. “He was just trying to humanize himself a little bit…I think he brings a very fresh face to the Republican Party. All the past candidates were not easy to relate to and he seems more human than the rest.”

Huntsman quickly won back the group again after Colbert asked him to say something in Mandarin.

“I just said I’d think you ought to consider being my running mate for vice president,” Huntsman said as the crowd erupted into applause.

“We feel very excited about ‘the Colbert bump,'” Huntsman’s spokesman Tim Miller told ABC News before the former governor’s appearance. “The show should be fun for everyone involved and Governor Huntsman is excited at the prospect of getting into the nitty gritty of his tax reform proposal with Stephen.”

Colbert first coined his “Colbert bump” neologism to reference the success that several politicians found after being interviewed on his show. While no evidence directly links Colbert’s alleged Midas touch with improved election results, Professor James H. Fowler of the University of California, San Diego found that an appearance on The Colbert Report may in fact bolster fundraising efforts for certain politicians.

Regardless of whether or not Huntsman’s interview translates into increased campaign fundraising, the former governor can certainly benefit from some screen time. Earlier this month, Huntsman passed on the opportunity to appear at CNN’s Western Leadership Presidential Debate in Las Vegas to boycott an early Nevada caucus.

According to Nielsen ratings, the debate earned 5.5 million total viewers, whereas Colbert averages around 1.5 million viewers a night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep242010

No Joke: Colbert Asked to Leave Congressional Hearing

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.

UPDATE:  Stephen Colbert Takes On Congress, Sarcastically Argues For Farm Workers

(WASHINGTON) -- Stephen Colbert launched a comedy sneak attack on Congress Friday.

He submitted serious testimony for a hearing on the issue of farm workers and immigration, but when it was his turn to speak, the talk show host slipped into character as a satiricial conservative to make his points in support of more favored status for migrant farm laborers.

"This is America," he told the panel. "I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican," he said. "We do not want immigrants doing this labor."

He tried to enter images from his colonoscopy into the Congressional Record during a riff on how Americans should eat less ruffage. Then Colbert recalled his day spent picking vegetables at an upstate New York farm earlier this summer.

On the bill dealing with immigrant workers, Colbert quipped, "Like most members of Congress, I haven't read it." He sarcastically expressed confidence that as the bill moves forward, "both sides will work together as you always do."  That was one of the rare jokes that actually drew a good laugh from the packed committee room.

Colbert then concluded his opening statement by saying, "USA, number one."

Rep. John Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was not amused. "Mr. Colbert's submitted statement was considerably different from the one that he presented," Conyers said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

 

(WASHINGTON) -- Stephen Colbert’s appearance on Capitol Hill Friday almost ended before it ever began.  As reported Thursday, Colbert was listed as an expert witness for a House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, refugees and border security hearing on immigrant farm workers and the AgJOBS bill.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, told the subcommittee Friday morning that Colbert should leave the hearing before he’d even started testifying.
 “I’m not asking you not to talk,” Conyers told Colbert. “I’m asking you to leave the committee room completely and submit your statement instead.”  Conyers’ request drew groans from the massive crowd assembled at the hearing.

 “I think many are eager to hear his comments,” the subcommittee’s chair Zoe Lofgren told Conyers.

 After initially forgetting to turn his microphone on, Colbert responded to Conyers’ request.  “I’m here at the invitation of the chairwoman and if she would like me to remove myself from the hearing I am happy to do so,” he said.

Colbert’s involvement in the issue dates back to July when United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez appeared on his show The Colbert Report. The next month Colbert traveled to pick vegetables at a farm in upstate New York, part of a campaign by the UFW to invite US citizens and legal residents to replace immigrant farm workers -- to date only seven people have done so. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.







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