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Stephen Colbert grills Harold Ford: funny or unfair?

Stephen Colbert at Portrait Gallery 

Stephen Colbert has been poking fun lately at a certain former Tennessee congressman who is considering a race for a U.S. Senate seat in New York.

"The Colbert Report" host has called Harold Ford Jr. the "Alpha Dog of the Week" and praised him for his changing perspectives on same-sex marriage and abortion. "He believes that every American has the right to choose -- when it is politically expedient to be pro-life," Colbert said.

So Ford, who moved to the Big Apple three years ago after he lost his Senate race in Tennessee, decided to see if the comedian "wants to beat me up in person."

Apparently, Colbert did.

Things started pretty funny when the comedian quipped, "Evidently, six minutes at my interview table counts as New York state residency."

But then the Comedy Central satirist turned into Jake Tapper on steroids, grilling the would-be senatorial candidate for once supporting civil unions for gays and now backing full marriage rights.

"If you're for politicians who are static in thinking, I'm not your guy," Ford said, who also defended his views on abortion.

Colbert was relentless, defending his questions on grounds that "you're saying these things in the media capital of the world -- New York City, gotcha-town. And you're saying, 'Come and gotcha me.'"

See what you think.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Harold Ford Jr.
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Economy

Colbert grew funny again when he ribbed Ford for an interview he gave to the New York Times in which he noted that he’s been to Staten Island because he landed there once in a helicopter.

I would recommend that for Schenectady, I would just look at that on Google Maps,” Colbert said.

We await the interview with Ford's potential primary opponent -- New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Maybe he'll mock her for moving to the left in flip-flops on gay marriage, gun control and immigration reform since she was named to the Senate seat once held by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Or maybe not.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Stephen Colbert's portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. Credit: "The Colbert Report"

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Comments () | Archives (6)

The comments to this entry are closed.

What's unfair about asking a political candidate to clarify his views on the issues, especially one who seems to change his opinions depending on the audience he's addressing?

This is what is called good journalism. Too bad so few newspapers practice it any more. Since the news media has largely abdicated its responsibilities, it is left to "comedians" like Colbert and Jon Stewart to do their jobs. I wouldn't be surprised if Colbert invited Ms. Gillibrand on as well to defend her positions.

Colbert is opinionated, full of himself and unfair. He's not the only TV commentator (left or right) who fits that profile. This is news?

Perhaps next week you can explain how "shocked, shocked" you are to discover that politicians make promises that they never intended to keep. With our kids, we call that lying.

Funny? Unfair?

How about "not nearly harsh enough?"

I think it will be to see what the results of their actions, for many this is well and support him and many others and this feels wrong to be against, we'll see who wins.

if harold can't take the heat, he should get out of the kitchen! from tennessee to new york? the beverly hillbillies are back in business. We do not need any more throwback politicians. The game has changed and he should stay out of it!!!

Colbert has been skewering everyone on the right for years, and the left has found him to be high-larious throughout. Now he has a favored Democrat on his show and pokes some fun at him, and it's offensive?

Give it a rest. Ford's a politician. I wouldn't even call that a harsh interview.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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