CBS Boosts Colbert's 'Mitt the Ripper' Anti-Super PAC Campaign

Dean Reynolds filed a glowing report on Tuesday's CBS This Morning promoting comedian Stephen Colbert's mock campaign against super PACs. Reynolds led the segment by stating, "Before we say that a comedian could have no serious impact on a presidential campaign, let us remember that six days after a poll came out here showing Stephen Colbert slightly ahead of Jon Huntsman, Jon Huntsman quit the race."

After inflating Colbert's supposed impact, the correspondent continued by claiming that "so far, Colbert's effort is not displaying what you would call a light touch." Reynolds then played a clip from an ad released by the comedian's "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow" super PAC, which blasts GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a "serial killer. He's 'Mitt the Ripper.'"

The CBS journalist noted that "what's striking about the ad is how it resembles the ones that have been flooding the airwaves, which attack Romney on the one hand....and especially Newt Gingrich on the other." He added that "Gingrich and Romney have insisted they have no control over these nominally-unaffiliated groups, and they say the ads should be removed if they're inaccurate. And so, too, in his way, does Colbert." Reynolds followed this with a clip from Colbert half-seriously remarking on his Comedy Central program, with the laughter of his audience, "So is Mitt Romney a serial killer? I don't know. But that question's out there now."

Near the end of his report, the correspondent stated that "Colbert has found is another way to inject himself into the race," played a sound bite from the latest ad put out the comedian's super PAC, which jokingly endorsed former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. Anchor Charlie Rose asked Reynolds, "Is Stephen Colbert having fun, or does he have a message that he wants to have some impact?" The CBS personality returned to boosting Colbert:

Dean Reynolds, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgREYNOLDS: Well, he clearly is mocking the whole super PAC thing. Whether or not the people of South Carolina understand the distinction that is drawn between PACs and super PACs, I think, remains to be seen. But, clearly, it came up in the debate last night, and whether these guys are playing fair, and whether this whole Citizens United case, which allowed super PACs and unlimited, unregulated money to get into campaigns, is a good idea. That's a debate that is worth having, and Stephen Colbert is having it.

The transcript of Dean Reynolds's report from Tuesday's CBS This Morning, which aired at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour:

ERICA HILL: This morning, the Republican presidential field isn't laughing about Stephen Colbert, as we hear from national correspondent Dean Reynolds, who's in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Colbert's super PAC is now running ads for that state's upcoming primary, although, perhaps, not for the person you'd think. Dean, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Colbert Vs. Romney: Comedian Takes Jab At Candidates, Super-PACs"]

DEAN REYNOLDS: Good morning, Erica. Well, before we say that a comedian could have no serious impact on a presidential campaign, let us remember that six days after a poll came out here showing Stephen Colbert slightly ahead of Jon Huntsman, Jon Huntsman quit the race.

REYNOLDS (voice-over): So far, Colbert's effort is not displaying what you would call a light touch. This is from the Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow super PAC, which Colbert is using to mock super PACs in general.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER 1 (from Stephen Colbert super PAC ad): If Mitt Romney really believes-

MITT ROMNEY, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Corporations are people, my friend. (echoes)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER 1: Then Mitt Romney is a serial killer. He's 'Mitt the Ripper.' (clip of unidentified woman screaming)

REYNOLDS: What's striking about the ad is how it resembles the ones that have been flooding the airwaves, which attack Romney on the one hand-

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER 2 (from anti-Mitt Romney super PAC ad): For tens of thousands of Americans, the suffering began when Mitt Romney came to town.

REYNOLDS: And especially Newt Gingrich on the other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANNOUNCER 1: Newt has a ton of baggage.

REYNOLDS: Gingrich and Romney have insisted they have no control over these nominally-unaffiliated groups, and they say the ads should be removed if they're inaccurate. And so, too, in his way, does Colbert.

STEPHEN COLBERT (from Comedy Central's "Colbert Robert"): So is Mitt Romney a serial killer? I don't know. (audience laughs) But that question's out there now. (audience laughs)


REYNOLDS: Colbert may have an obstacle to his write-in campaign here, like the fact that South Carolina doesn't recognize write-in campaigns, but so what?

COLBERT (from ABC's "This Week"): They said you can't go to the moon. They said you can't put cheese inside a pizza crust. But NASA did it. (George Stephanopoulos laughs) They had to because the cheese kept on floating off in space.

REYNOLDS: A satellite message to diners in Myrtle Beach on Monday dealt with an almost Talmudic question about corporations.

COLBERT: Are corporations people, or are only people people? And while you discuss that, I'm going be the good boy and eat my vegetables.

REYNOLDS: Colbert insists his effort is less than a campaign, and more like an expedition without a destination.

COLBERT (from "This Week:): You know, I'm exploring right now. I'm a one-man Lewis & Clark, and I'm just looking for my Sacagawea. When you're exploring, you don't know what you're going to find.

REYNOLDS (live): And what Colbert has found is another way to inject himself into the race. This is a new ad that went out last night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER 3 (voice-over): Thankfully, there is one name on the ballot that stands for true Americanity (sic)- Herman Cain. America for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow believes a vote for Herman Cain is a vote for America. He's not a career politician. He's such a Washington outsider, he's not even running for president. Send them a message. On January 21, vote Herman Cain.

REYNOLDS (live): Now, that may, just may, cause a little confusion here because Herman Cain, while he quit the race in December, is still on the ballot in South Carolina.

CHARLIE ROSE: So Dean, is Stephen Colbert having fun, or does he have a message that he wants to have some impact?

REYNOLDS: Well, he clearly is mocking the whole super PAC thing. Whether or not the people of South Carolina understand the distinction that is drawn between PACs and super PACs, I think, remains to be seen. But, clearly, it came up in the debate last night, and whether these guys are playing fair, and whether this whole Citizens United case, which allowed super PACs and unlimited, unregulated money to get into campaigns, is a good idea. That's a debate that is worth having, and Stephen Colbert is having it.

ROSE: Dean, thank you very much- good to see you. And the point is, also, that if, in fact, you're part of the conversation, then you're having impact.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center