State Politics

January 19, 2012

Todd on Colbert: 'Making a mockery of the system'

NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd thinks Stephen Colbert's efforts in the South Carolina GOP race messes with the process.

NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd is no fan of comedian Stephen Colbert's efforts to take part in Saturday's SC GOP presidential primary and how the media is covering the Charleston native's "exploratory campaign."

"Look, he's got a schtick," Todd said Thursday during a forum at Winthrop University. "I admire how he has educated his audiences on super PACs. ... He is making a mockery of the system. And maybe the system deserves some mocking.

"But what he's doing now, with the campaign -- is that fair to the process?" Todd continued. "Yes, the process is a mess. But he's doing it in a way that it feels as if he's trying to influence it with his own agenda that may be anti-Republican. And is that fair to the Republican Party?"

Todd said Colbert and his Comedy Central satirical news counterpart Jon Stewart need to play by the same rules as mainstream reporters and anchors.

Colbert is scheduled to come to a rally in Charleston on Friday with Herman Cain. Colbert wants South Carolinians to cast votes for Cain, who is still on the ballot despite dropping out of the race in December, as a sign of support for the comedian.

"It's sort of like I have to admit I'm uncomfortable when it's like actually merging into the real world," he said. "As William Hurt said in 'Broadcast News,' 'You know, you tell me we're crossing the line -- they keep moving the sucker.' "

While he enjoys "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show," Todd wonders about the shows' impact on elections.

"We complain now that we feel like the most qualified people decide not to run, because they don't want to be the butt of jokes," Todd said. "Well, I think this is going to exacerbate the process."

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