Wednesday's Colbert Report, in an apparent boost to Democrats before November's mid-term elections, mocked GOP congresswoman Renee Ellmers and hosted her Democratic opponent Clay Aiken for a friendly interview.
Host Stephen Colbert made it clear who he supports for North Carolina's second congressional district. He mocked the "message of hope" Ellmers sent to furloughed federal workers after she voted to shut down the government and joked, "if she weren't enough of a shoe-in already, get a load of who the Democrats are running against her." [See video below. Audio here.]
Then Colbert had a playful interview with Aiken, with the toughest question arguably being "how are you not going to completely ignore them [your constituents]?"
If Colbert's mock-conservative act doesn't say enough about his politics, his mocking a Republican while giving her Democratic opponent quality airtime is a blatant boost to Democrats. Will Colbert carry this liberal schtick to CBS?
Below is a transcript of the segment:
THE COLBERT REPORT
STEPHEN COLBERT: And with all this bad news it is no surprise that Democrats are launching electoral Hail Marys all over the country. Case in point, North Carolina's second congressional district – the fightin' second! Which is currently represented by Republican congresswoman and person in allergy ad Renee Ellmers. Ellmers won her seat by campaigning on an issue so important to the northernmost part of her district, Manhattan.
Rep. RENEE ELLMERS (R-N.C.): The terrorists haven't won. And we should tell them in plain English, no. There will never be a mosque at Ground Zero, I'm Renee Ellmers, and I approve this ad.
(End Video Clip)
COLBERT: Strong statement. Of course that ad upset North Carolina's Muslim community, both of them. But that's not Ellmers' only accomplishment. Last fall she also voted to shut down the government. Who can forget the message of hope she sent those federal workers that her vote laid off?
ELMERS: The thing of it is is, I need my paycheck. That's the bottom line. And I understand that maybe there are some other members who are, you know, deferring their paychecks, and I think that's admirable. I'm not in that position.
(End Audio Clip)
COLBERT: Yes, she wasn't in that position. And neither were the workers. They were bending over and taking it. And if she weren't, if she weren't enough of a shoe-in already, get a load of who the Democrats are running against her.
CLAY AIKEN (D), North Carolina congressional candidate: I'm Clay Aiken. And you might wonder why I'm running for Congress.
(End Video Clip)
COLBERT: Yes, I do wonder why you are running. Is it because there hasn't been anyone in Congress with such golden pipes since Senator John Ashcroft?
JOHN ASHCROFT, former U.S. senator: (Singing) Let the eagle soar like she's never soared before..
(End Video Clip)
COLBERT: That never fails to bring a tear to my eye. And for some reason blood to my ears. Now make no mistake, folks. I am an Aiken fan or playmate. I voted for him through season 2. When he lost to Ruben Stoddard, I was crushed, almost as crushed as I was when they voted off that old lady. But I cannot support Clay Aiken for congress.
Not only is he a Democrat, he is also a gay which I only recently discovered were two separate things. And I cannot believe he's trying to get Renee Ellmers fired. Does he not know how badly she needs her paycheck? If he were on my show right now, I'd vote him off. Here to be kicked out of my studio, please welcome former American almost idol and candidate for North Carolina's second district, Clay Aiken. Clay, thanks so much for being on.
All right, listen up. Listen up. Okay. I am uncharmed by those baby blues and those golden pipes. Who the hell do you think you are, you Hollywood liberal, coming into North Carolina with your San Francisco values?
AIKEN: Well, I think people are very fed up with the kind of tone-deaf representation they've had. You heard –
COLBERT: Tone deaf, just because you have perfect pitch? That's kind of cheap.
AIKEN: I mean you see what we are dealing with now. We've got a representative now who has completely ignored the people who she was elected to represent.
COLBERT: I don't know about the completely ignored thing. But how are you not going to completely ignore them?
AIKEN: Well, I have spent my entire life since Idol trying to stand up for children with disabilities. I have started an organization for kids with disabilities. And have been an advocate for certain populations for the past 11 years. And these people in North Carolina put me here. They gave me this platform, they gave me this microphone. And I feel like it's my responsibility to use that to give back to them and make sure they're represented in a way.
COLBERT: I'm unwarmed by your story. That's my disability, okay. All right? I don't hear things I don't like. Okay? So Fort Bragg, largest military base in the world, is in your district. You're a Democrat. How are you going to run to the right of a Republican on defense?
AIKEN: Why would I need to run to the right of a Republican –
COLBERT: Because the right owns defense, my friend.
AIKEN: I think what the right doesn't own is veteran's affairs, veteran's issues. The veteran's unemployment rate is 11 percent, it's four points higher than the rest of the civilian population. There are a lot of really incredible proposals that have been on the table that aren't getting anywhere because people are more interested in shutting down the government, sequestration, doing things to make sure the other side doesn't get a win. There are people who are hurting now and nothing is getting done in Congress because nobody wants to work together. And that frustrates me. I'm sure it frustrates you, even though you might not want to admit it. It frustrates a lot of folks in this country.
COLBERT: I will happily admit that partisan political bickering is how I make my living.
AIKEN: It's exactly how people in D.C. make their living too.
COLBERT: Clay, can I call you Clay?
AIKEN: Please do.
COLBERT: Is there going to be any singing on this tour of yours? Put the asses in the seats, man.
AIKEN: I'm on sabbatical.
COLBERT: Not even our national anthem?
AIKEN: I might sing the national anthem here or there, but I have –
COLBERT: Oh say –
AIKEN: But I'm going to leave it to you. I'm going to leave it to you tonight. I fell like that was – I have had a great 11 years singing. And this is the new chapter for me. I think it's more important than singing, and so I have put that on the back burner for sure
COLBERT: Headline, Clay Aiken refuses to sing national anthem. (Laughter) Clay, thank you so much. Clay Aiken, North Carolina's second district. Vote for him if you must.