One of NBC’s top political journalists doesn’t think there’s anything funny about comedian Stephen Colbert’s campaign for votes in the South Carolina primary.
The journo — Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent and political director for NBC — questioned whether the Comedy Central funnyman harbors an “agenda” aimed at undermining the Republican primary process by inserting himself into the fray in the South Carolina balloting scheduled for Saturday.
“What is his real agenda here?” Todd asked Thursday during an appearance on a panel that was discussing the presidential race at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. — as reported by the New York Post here.
“Is it to educate the public about the dangers of money and politics, and what’s going on?” Todd is quoted as saying. “Or, is it simply to marginalize the Republican Party? And so I think, if I were a Republican candidate, I would be concerned about that.”
Colbert has inserted himself into the South Carolina race in several ways, most notably: Forming a so-called SuperPac that is funding commercials ($65,000 worth, according to The Post) airing in the state in support of Colbert’s “campaign” to get participating Republicans to vote for Herman Cain, who dropped out of the race weeks ago, but still appears on the primary ballot. Since Colbert himself could not get on the ballot, he is asking people to vote for Cain as a vote for Colbert.
To Chuck Todd, Colbert’s intrusion on the S.C. primary is drawing attention away from the real issues and candidates striving to become the Republican nominee and, eventually, President of the United States.
In his remarks on the university panel the other day, Todd made a good point about how satirists such as Colbert and his Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” decry the election process and complain about how the news media covers it, but then they — the comedians — do nothing to aid the situation. “Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert want to mock us in the media all the time, proclaiming we don’t do our jobs,” Todd said. “And then when you call them out on it, they say, ‘We’re just comedians.’ Actually, no, you’re not anymore!”
Meanwhile, both Comedy Central shows used their final shows of the week Thursday night to comment on the many developments in the Republican race that day — Rick Perry dropping out, Newt Gingrich’s second wife doing that damaging interview on ABC, and Mitt Romney’s recount loss in the Iowa Caucus. We have both shows for you to watch here.