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Late Night: Colbert defends Romney's 'I like to fire people' gaffe

January 11, 2012 | 10:22 am

Tuesday's episode of "The Colbert Report" was taped before the results of the New Hampshire primary were in, but that didn't stop Stephen Colbert from proclaiming Mitt Romney the winner. "The smart money's on Romney. Actually all the money's on Romney," he said. 

Though Romney appears to have a lock on the nomination, Colbert suggested the candidate has one small liability: "The years he spent as a heartless corporate raider at Bain Capital, extracting millions from troubled companies by taking them over, firing their workforce, then chopping them up to sell the pieces to the highest bidder with no regard for the lives destroyed."

You know, that teensy, weensy vulnerability.

Colbert argued that Romney "will breeze to the White House as long as he never reminds voters what Bain Capital did." Cut to footage of Romney's latest gaffe, in which he told an audience of New Hampshire voters, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." Regardless of Romney's original intent, it was an unfortunate choice of words. (Colbert used an actual record scratch for emphasis.) 

"Of course the media and the other candidates have jumped on Mitt, like Newt Gingrich on a younger, healthier wife," Colbert joked. 

Romney claimed his words had been taken out of context, since he was specifically arguing that individual citizens should have the right to pick and choose their health insurance. 

"This taking Romney's words about insurance out of context is totally different than when Romney put out an ad taking Obama's words about John McCain out of context," Colbert said, a reference to this ad

Back then, Romney defended the commercial with a glib "what's sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander."

But, Colbert said, it doesn't go both ways. "Everyone knows you can't put gander sauce back on the goose. If a chef did that to Romney's goose, he would fire him -- and enjoy it."  


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— Meredith Blake