Even Colbert and Obama Staffers Mock Cuomo’s Anti-American Gaffe

While the journalists at CBS News have still refused to cover New York Governor Andrew Cuomo telling a crowd of supporters on Wednesday that America “was never that great,” Late Show host Stephen Colbert pressed a trio of former Obama White House staffers about gaffe on Thursday night’s program, aired early Friday morning.

“Okay, let’s talk about Andrew Cuomo,” Colbert announced midway through a discussion with former Obama communications staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor. Favreau replied: “Do we have to?” Colbert continued: “Yes, we have to. Let’s talk about the governor of the great state of New York, his excellency Andrew Cuomo....He said yesterday in his speech, ‘America – We’re not going to make America great again because America was never that great.’”

 

 

The audience laughed at the potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate’s obvious blunder as Lovett facepalmed upon hearing the remark. Colbert wondered: “On a scale of one to the end of all the universe, how big of a mistake was that from a speech writer’s point of view?” Favreau joked that Cuomo might as well have said, “Also babies, not a fan. Children, don’t like them.”

Vietor attempted to justify the comments:

There’s some truth to the statement, right?...If you’re an African-American and living in this country and people are talking about how great things were in the old days, that would ring pretty awful to me. [Applause] And I imagine we was trying to reference the reality of our history and the fact that we shouldn’t view things with rose-colored glasses.

However, even he concluded: “I think there are things and phrases you say in politics that are going to stick with you for a very long time and this is gonna stick with him for a long time.”

Favreau seemed to marvel at how badly Cuomo stumbled: “Yeah, he could have made that point in a sort of rhetorical way....Instead he was like, ‘Oh, I’m facing a challenge from the left. America sucks, how’s that progressives? Do you like that?’”

As the audience laughed, an exasperated Lovett chimed in:

How about this for an idea? Don’t say America’s already great, don’t say America’s not great, how about you don’t try to reference his [Trump’s] dumb slogan? How about just come up with your own slogan that doesn’t compare yourself to Donald Trump?! How about that?!

Colbert wrapped up the exchange by asking if Cuomo’s left-wing opponent in New York’s upcoming Democratic primary for governor, actress Cynthia Nixon, might have “an opening” in the race as a result. Vietor observed: “She’s renting space in his head and it is, you know, at New York prices....this is not as easy for him as he thought it would be.” Colbert quipped: “Based on that speech, I would say it’s unfurnished.”  

This was not the first time in recent days that Colbert did a better job covering the news than CBS’s reporters. On Tuesday night, Colbert actually challenged socialist Senator Bernie Sanders on his radical political views. By contrast, on Wednesday, the hosts of CBS This Morning tossed Sanders softballs.

Here is a transcript of Colbert’s August 16 exchange with Favreau, Lovett, and Vietor, aired early on the morning of August 17:

12:07 AM ET

(...)

STEPHEN COLBERT: Now, you were the head speech writer for President Obama, true?

JON  FAVREAU: True.

COLBERT: Okay, let’s talk about Andrew Cuomo – [Applause] Thank you, they don’t know where this is going.  

FAVREAU: Do we have to?

COLBERT: Yes, we have to. Let’s talk about the governor of the great state of New York, his excellency Andrew Cuomo.

FAVREAU: You’re going to ask me about that line that I gave him.  

COLBERT: Yeah, exactly, exactly. He said yesterday in his speech, “America – We’re not going to make America great again because America was never that great.” [Laughter] On a scale of one to the end of all the universe, how big of a mistake was that from a speech writer’s point of view?

FAVREAU: “Also babies, not a fan. Children, don’t like them.”  

COLBERT: I can’t tell whether that was in the speech that had been written and vetted, or whether he was just improving up there.

TOMMY VIETOR: There’s some truth to the statement, right? If you’re African-American –

COLBERT: Watch it.

JON LOVETT: How dare you sir! [Laughter]

VIETOR: If you’re an African-American and living in this country and people are talking about how great things were in the old days, that would ring pretty awful to me. [Applause] And I imagine we was trying to reference the reality of our history and the fact that we shouldn’t view things with rose-colored glasses. But I think there are things and phrases you say in politics that are going to stick with you for a very long time and this is gonna stick with him for a long time.

FAVREAU: Yeah, he could have made that point in a sort of rhetorical way.

COLBERT: You can say that, “We’re not going to make America great again because America has always had the promise of greatness,. You know, in its founding documents America has always held the seeds of greatness. It’s for every generation to water that – ” whatever, anything!

FAVREAU: That’ll work. Instead he was like, “Oh, I’m facing a challenge from the left. America sucks, how’s that progressives? Do you like that?” [Laughter]  

LOVETT: How about this for an idea? Don’t say America’s already great, don’t say America’s not great, how about you don’t try to reference his dumb slogan? How about just come up with your own slogan that doesn’t compare yourself to Donald Trump?! [Cheers and applause] How about that?!

COLBERT: America is delicious! [Laughter]

LOVETT: Thirty-one flavors of America.

COLBERT: Thirty-one flavors. America will make you lose weight! [Laughter] Do you think it actually hurts him? Do you think he like – do you think this gives Cynthia Nixon an opening?

FAVREAU: I don’t know, I mean –  

VIETOR: She’s renting space in his head and it is, you know, at New York prices. It’s like he’s having a – this is not as easy for him as he thought it would be.  

COLBERT: Based on that speech, I would say it’s unfurnished. [Laughter]

(...)

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