NBC's Gregory Cheers Influence of Liberal Colbert: 'You Have A Real Impact On This Race'

In a fawning interview with liberal comedian Stephen Colbert on Friday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host David Gregory gushed over the Comedy Central host being a factor in the 2012 presidential race: "What a treat for me to be in for Matt [Lauer] today....Stephen Colbert is a man who has had a loud and influential voice in this political season."

Gregory began the farcical exchange by proclaiming to Colbert: "You have a super-PAC and you have a character on television. And you have a real impact on this race." Colbert himself was skeptical: "How do I have an impact on the race?" Still, Gregory urged the fake newsman to share his supposed wisdom: "What are you exposing about the race and about the political system in 2012 that you think the rest of us miss?"

In response, Colbert took a shot at campaign finance: "I don't know what I'm exposing. But I just knew as soon as I found out there were such things as super-PACs....the way to get unlimited money into the system, and if you do it the right way, unlimited money where no one knows where it came from."

Gregory noted how Colbert's super-PAC had more money than Republican candidate Ron Paul, to which the Colbert Report host touted: "Oh, yeah, yeah, we're out-raising Ron Paul....Oh, and in March I actually got more donations in Texas than Mitt Romney did."

Again seeking Colbert's insights, Gregory wondered: "You have particular resonance among younger people....Do you think that young people approach this election differently with a different attitude, less inspiration than they did four years ago?"

Colbert hit President Obama from the left: "They were pretty excited about Barack Obama four years ago, because he was a fresh-faced kid who could relate to the youth. But now, he's old grandpa gray hair who didn't close Gitmo, so I don't know – I don't know if they're as excited as they once were."

Later, Colbert feigned ignorance of politics: "Here's the crazy thing, that I talk about politics a lot. I don't actually understand politics. I make jokes about politics. But I don't really understand it." Gregory replied: "Well, I don't know about that. You seem to be able to get to the core of these issues of what looks ridiculous about the race, or ultimately what's going to decide the race."


Here is a transcript of the May 4 interview:

7:01AM ET TEASE:

DAVID GREGORY: What a treat for me to be in for Matt today. Because I've actually never met a man on television with h own super-PAC and his own tanning bed. But Stephen Colbert has both. And we're going to get to talk to him about his new children's book and politics coming up.

7:13AM ET SEGMENT:

GREGORY: Stephen Colbert is a man who has had a loud and influential voice in this political season. He is the host, of course, of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Stephen, you're also the author of "I Am A Pole And So Can You."

STEPHEN COLBERT: Yes.

GREGORY: Which we'll get to in just a moment.

COLBERT: Please.

GREGORY: Great to have you here.

STEPHEN COLBERT: So happy to be here, thank you for having me.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Meet the Press; David Gregory Grills Stephen Colbert]

GREGORY: You have a super-PAC and you have a character on television.

COLBERT: Yes.

GREGORY: And you have a real impact on this race.

COLBERT: I deny one of those three statements.

GREGORY: Which one, exactly?

COLBERT: We'll figure it out in a minute.

GREGORY: You have an impact.

COLBERT: How do I have an impact on the race?

GREGORY: Why do you – I'm sorry, can I ask the questions here? Why do you-

COLBERT: Sure, but I asked the key question and you seem to be, you know, leaving it on the sidelines.

GREGORY: I'm flummoxed already. What are you exposing about the race and about the political system in 2012 that you think the rest of us miss?

COLBERT: I don't know what I'm exposing. But I just knew as soon as I found out there were such things as super-PACs, I knew that I would be a chump if I didn't have one. Because there the way to get unlimited money into the system, and if you do it the right way, unlimited money where no one knows where it came from.

GREGORY: Right. You made a joke about that recently at the Time 100 dinner, where you were honored as one of the most influential on the planet.

COLBERT: One of the 100 most influential on the planet.

GREGORY: That, in fact, you said one of the big Republican financiers, David Koch, gave you 5 million to your PAC.

COLBERT: Yes.

GREGORY: And you said because of our campaign finance laws you'll never know if that's a joke.

COLBERT: Exactly, and you don't. He could have given me that money or maybe not. But because I would run it through my 501c4, Colbert Super-PAC SHH, which stands for shhhh.

GREGORY: Which has more than Ron Paul's super-PAC.

COLBERT: Oh, yeah, yeah, we're out-raising Ron Paul.

GREGORY: And you're not in the race.

COLBERT: Oh, and in March I actually got more donations in Texas than Mitt Romney did.

GREGORY: You have particular resonance among younger people. This is-

COLBERT: Well, I'm so young.

GREGORY: Right, which is a big part of it. Exactly.

COLBERT: They relate to me because I'm hip. I'm hep, actually, that's how in I am.

GREGORY: Without trying to be.

COLBERT: Can't push it, kids smell in-authenticity.

GREGORY: This vote is up for grabs. Do you think that young people approach this election differently with a different attitude, less inspiration than they did four years ago?

COLBERT: Oh, I don't – I don't know. They were pretty excited about Barack Obama four years ago, because he was a fresh-faced kid who could relate to the youth. But now, he's old grandpa gray hair who didn't close Gitmo, so I don't know – I don't know if they're as excited as they once were. Because Mitt Romney, when it comes to kids, Mitt Romney's got the electricity. You know, it's a static electricity. But like, it's still an electricity, technically.

GREGORY: Mitt Romney has this nomination wrapped up, he's got Michele Bachmann's endorsement now.

COLBERT: That was a lock. Yes.

GREGORY: So, does he have the party effectively behind him? Peter [Alexander] referenced the fact that in the swing states this is now a tighter race.

COLBERT: Yeah, I can't imagine he wouldn't have the Republican Party behind him. I mean, it's not like the Republicans are going to say Mitt Romney – I will go to Barack Obama, I think it's a fait accompli that the Republicans will join behind him. But, I don't know what it'll do for swing states.

Here's the crazy thing, that I talk about politics a lot. I don't actually understand politics. I make jokes about politics. But I don't really understand it. That's why I, for instance, I started a super-PAC, so I could find out what it's really like. Because all I know is what I watch you guys do. And so you probably know better than I do.

GREGORY: Well, I don't know about that. You seem to be able to get to the core of these issues of what looks ridiculous about the race, or ultimately what's going to decide the race.

COLBERT: By trying to go do it, by trying to go do it. Because I like, for instance, in campaign finance, I heard that there were laws to prevent you from doing things with campaign finance money, until I went to go do it. And then I found out there kind of aren't.

GREGORY: Before I get to the book, one last question, what decides this election? Not on all the issues, but as you look at these two candidates, their personalities, their qualities, what does this come down to?

COLBERT: It comes down who has been crueler to a dog. Apparently it comes down to whether or not it's crueler for an adult man to strap a dog to his car and then drive for 12 hours, or over a 10-year-old boy to eat dog given to him by his stepfather. As far as I can tell, that's the biggest differentiation between the two.

GREGORY: This is the Animal Planet election?

COLBERT: Absolutely.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC