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John Edwards (finally) gets a star turn, courtesy of Stephen Colbert

April 17, 2008 | 10:08 pm

Hillary Clinton (to start the show) and Barack Obama (to end it) made brief (very brief) appearances on "The Colbert Report" tonight. But it was the Democratic rival they left in the dust almost three months ago -- John Edwards -- who stole the show.

Edwards strolled onto Stephen Colbert's set to punctuate the point the comic was making that in a race between a woman and a black, the key to success in their battles has hinged -- and presumably will continue to depend -- on which one white men support.

It's about time this demographic ruled, Colbert smirked. And Edwards quipped that no white male voter is being "more vigorously courted than this one."

He began his shtick by reiterating that he remains undecided -- and provided some elaboration as to why. On the one hand, he said, he doesn't want to be seen as "anti-hope." With fine timing, he added: "On the other hand, I don't want James Carville to bite me."

He then detailed some expected -- and unexpected -- ways that Clinton or Obama might win him over.

A commitment to ending poverty in 30 years -- his prime platform -- was mentioned. But so was comping him a jet-ski (and maybe two, so his wife, Elizabeth, could join the fun). And he'd like to be assigned to spy duty ... and get his face on new money ... and have national holidays declared for each of his three children.

No word from Clinton on meeting this wish list, since her walk-on had ...

long since ended. Her spot consisted of first solving a production problem for Colbert and his stagehands, and then noticing that he needed more makeup on his forehead.

"You're so prepared for any situation," Colbert mockingly gushed.

"I just love solving problems," she responded, and then urged him to call for help anytime -- including at 3 a.m.

Obama appeared via remote after Edwards, so perhaps he hadn't heard what was required to get his endorsement. Besides, he had a pressing concern: adding "manufactured political distractions" (i.e., the type of touchy questions he was asked during the first half of Wednesday's night debate) to Colbert's "On Notice" board.

The host dutifully compiled. Somehow, though, we doubt his heart was in it (or that he'll steer clear himself of such "distractions.")

-- Don Frederick

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