Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and political writer for the New York Times, offered a surprisingly harsh assessment of Stephen Colbert's testimony, in Colbert Show character, before Congress yesterday.
Harwood ripped the episode in response to Lester Holt's observation, on this morning's Today show, that he didn't know whether to cringe or laugh. Harwood had no doubts, saying "it was all cringing for me," and went on to lambaste it from there . . .
LESTER HOLT: We showed a moment ago, Stephen Colbert testifying on immigration before a congressional hearing yesterday. I didn't know whether to cringe or to laugh. I think members of Congress kind of felt the same. Give me your take on what happened yesterday.
JOHN HARWOOD: Well it was all cringing for me. I thought that was one of the dumbest stunts that I've ever seen in the Congress, making a mockery of a congressional hearing. I understand the reason why, which is that they thought Stephen Colbert, as he said, has some star power that can bring some attention to an issue that isn't getting a lot of attention. But if you think that the attention from that hearing was on immigration, that proved out to be a terrible miscalculation, because it was more about the theater, the comedy, and as Savannah [Guthrie] indicated in her piece, it deepened that sense among many Americans I suspect that Congress is a joke. And you look at Congress' approval ratings, they're 15, 20, 25% and I don't think that's what they needed.