Episode 4058 (4/30/2008)

“Duck, duck, duck, Truth. This is The Colbert Report!

Wright Off: “Tonight, Barack Obama distances himself from his former pastor. Meanwhile, McCain distances kids from his lawn.”

  • Satellite guest: Superdelegate and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile

Keep The Ballot Rolling: “Plus, the candidates keep criss-crossing the country. Hmm, I wonder why they wanna lift that gas tax.”

  • Better Know A District: Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam

Noah Constrictor: “And my guest Noah Feldman is a Harvard professor who helped write the Iraqi constitution. Why did they include the right to bear arms?”

In closing: That’s it for the Report everybody, goodnight!

Video Highlight — Donna Brazile on the Democratic Campaign: Superdelegate Donna Brazile plans a late night rendezvous with Stephen to prove she is black.

NOTABLE MOMENTS — Additional video links and more after the fold!


  • *Toss! “I got your hat, Drudge!*
  • Nation, I would like to start off the show, as I start off so many of my shows, with an apology. However, this one is not court-ordered. You see, last night I closed my show by saying this: “Join me tomorrow night, when my guest will be J.D. Salinger!” Mr. Salinger is the author of, among other things, ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ a book that is very popular with everyone, from brooding teens to insane assassins. And Salinger is what’s known in the talk show world as a ‘good get.’ He is a famous author, who has been an unreachable recluse since 1965, and he may drink his own urine. He also may not. The point is, it’s out there, now, and I’ve got my opening question.
  • I’m really angry at my guest booker. Emily! *cut to Emily Lazar, rolling her eyes* You dropped the ball. I am angrier than when you didn’t deliver Ghandi.
    • Emily: Ghandi’s dead, Stephen.
    • Stephen: Send him a fruit basket, he’ll come on.
  • Listen up Salinger! No one stands me up! I am calling you out. Today we start our countdown: Salinger Watch. Jimmy, throw up the graphic. Yeah. Nine days, okay? Why nine days? Because Jerome, every time you turn down an invitation to come on my show, I’m gonna rip out one of your beloved nine stories. *Holds up paperback of ‘Nine Stories‘* Yeah. Colbert Nation, you can play along at home.
  • Oh, look at this. ‘We know the sound of two hands clapping, but what is the sound of one hand clapping?’ You know what? It sounds a lot like a guest who doesn’t show up.
  • It’s a perfect day to rip ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ out of your book.
  • ‘Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut,’ brace yourself.
  • He [Reverend Wright] is now even being tailed by stalkerazzi website TMZ. Thank God, thank God the Reverend’s entourage slapped that camera away. Can you imagine if Wright was caught saying something embarrassing on tape? And I want to congratulate TMZ on their fine political coverage, though I am not looking forward to candid photos of the Reverend getting out of his limo.
  • When you see or hear things that are bad, and going on in your church, you get up and you walk out. That’s what Catholics like me, and Papa Bear and Sean Hannity understand! You leave that church! Unless it’s, you know, widespread, decades-long, rumors of sexual abuse. In that case, you gotta give it time!
  • The point is, all any Catholic pundits and Catholic politicians who may be criticizing Obama are saying is, do as we say, not as we didn’t!
  • What a sweeping generalization about a group as diverse as racists.
  • Oh, all racists hate black people. Wrong! I know plenty of racists who hate Mexicans.
  • But can’t we learn here, with this election, whether Americans are ultimately more sexist or more racist?
    • Brazile: I don’t think so. Look, I’m a woman, so I like Hillary, I’m black, I like Obama, but I’m also grumpy, so I like John McCain. Um, I think this is going to be a very interesting test for the American people in terms of whether or not we’re ready for a president who’s competent.
    • Stephen: Now, people have said that the Reverend Wright controversy has made this nomination process harder for Barack Obama. Do you think that’s true?
    • Brazile: I think we need to get beyond race. If you can get beyond race –
    • Stephen: I don’t see race. I’ve evolved beyond that. By the way, are you – you said you are a black woman. Can you do anything to prove that? Cause I don’t see race.
    • Brazile: Um, no, but maybe if I meet you a little later, I can show you something that – if you won’t tell, will prove that I am black.
    • Stephen: *starts to break character* I am DYING to know what that is. I’ll get on a flight tonight.
    • Brazile: Well, I’ll meet you halfway!
    • Stephen: Okay, Kansas City at midnight.
    • Brazile: Sounds like a plan.
    • Stephen: Now, you are a superdelegate, who will you be supporting?
    • Brazile: Well, let me just say this, I have not told anyone how I will cast my ballot, and I will withhold my judgment until that moment.
    • Stephen: Okay, so, so, who will you vote for?
    • Brazile: Well you know, you’re not my beau, so I’m not about to tell you, but if you want me to call you on your private line later, I’ll give you a hint.
    • Stephen: Okay, okay, how about – just give me the hint now, and we won’t broadcast it.
    • Brazile: It’s too early to give you a hint when we still have voters in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, who are about to cast their ballots – let them vote, and then I’ll vote at the end of the process.
    • Stephen: Well, let’s forget about who you’re voting for, let’s just say you’re going out for ice cream. Um, I’m not gonna you whether you order chocolate or vanilla, I’m just gonna say you’re ordering two scoops of strawberry, but one of the scoops has an inflammatory pastor and the other scoop has been on the counter for 35 years. Which one do you go for?
    • Brazile: Peach cobbler.
    • Stephen: Well Ms. Brazile, thank you so much for joining us.
    • Brazile: It’s been my great honor, sir. I’ll see you in a couple of hours in Kansas City.
    • Stephen: All right! *Stephen starts singing “Kansas City“*
  • We gotta get going – we gotta get going, I gotta get to Kansas City.
  • This year Guam is so important that Barack Obama is doing what no other presidential candidate has ever done: opening a campaign office there. I mean if this race gets any tighter, he may even connect the phones.
  • Bordallo: You know, when I first came to Congress, one of my colleagues thought we were part of Hawaii.
    • Stephen: There are some numbnuts in DC.
  • Tell me about the Fightin’ uh, all of Guam.
  • Do you live in the United States? [Bordallo: “Yes.”] Where? [Bordallo: “Guam.”]
  • Could you please show me Guam on this map.
    • Bordallo: Well, that’s upside down.
    • Stephen: *turns it right side up* Now find it.
    • Bordallo: If you show me a world map, I will.
    • Stephen: Okay – but I said are you part of the United States. [Bordallo: “That’s correct.”]I accept your apology.
  • I know you’re big on clarifying misconceptions about Guam, so let’s get ’em all out there. I’ll say it, you tell me if it’s true. Guam is an island. [Bordallo: “Yes.”] The men of Guam are hulking giants. [Bordallo: “Yes.”] The people of Guam eat their young. [Bordallo: “They what?”] Eat their young. [Bordallo: “No.”] No. Okay, thank you. A lot of the research – a lot of the books we read on Guam said stuff like that. Well, not so much research – we watched ‘Gilligan’s Island.’
  • Guamanian sounds like a mental condition. “I’m sorry, he has guamania. There’s nothing we can do. Just make him comfortable, and keep feeding him chamarros.”
  • *He actually pulled the snake-in-a-peanut-can joke and it WORKED! HAHAHAHAHA!*
  • Your book, ‘The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State’ – don’t you – isn’t that backwards? Isn’t it the rise and fall of the Islamic state? We have a footprint in the Middle East now, from which all the Islamic states around us will topple. Isn’t that the idea of being in Iraq? *HAHA Stephen correcting the book jacket*
  • Right, which is why Iraq needs to get some superdelegates to overturn the will of the people. Did they think of that over there?
  • So there is an establishment clause, except that it establishes a religion.
  • So the Army will be actually helping the Iraqi people have shari’a law – ‘be Allah you can be’?

Fangirl Suit Report: Black suit; pale blue shirt with barrel cuffs; Black tie with white dot pattern; WristSTRONG bracelet.

More Video Highlights, courtesy of Comedy Central’s shiny new Colbert Report website

  • Intro – 4/30/08: Obama distances himself from his former pastor. Meanwhile, McCain distances kids from his lawn.
  • Salinger Watch: Superdelegate Donna Brazile plans a late night rendezvous with Stephen to prove she is black.
  • Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo: Stephen sits down with Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo of Guam, a hotspot for the Democratic campaigns.
  • Noah Feldman: Noah Feldman, who helped advise the Iraqis, educates Stephen about the Iraqi Constitution.


  1. ColbertGirl27 says:

    What did Noah Feldman and Stephen (!) say in Arabic?

  2. Ms Interpreted says:


    Well, since we’re not actually linguists (or even employees of the show), there are limits to what we poor bloggers know and/or have time to look up.

    I’ll take a crack at the initial exchange, as it’s essentially a traditional greeting. (My apologies in advance to native speakers, since I know that spellings and pronounciation vary according to region, the person to whom you address the greeting and the formality of the exchange … and I’m doing this more or less phonetically, so there are bound to be errors.) I’m lost on Feldman’s reply, though.

      Feldman: Assalamu `alaikum, ya as-sayyid Colbert. [Peace be upon you, master/mister Colbert.]

      Stephen: `Alaikum assalam. [And upon you, peace.]

  3. One of the Heroes says:

    Thanks for the translation.

    I enjoyed Stephen’s interview with Noah Feldman so much I didn’t want it to end. It was very interesting and both men did a great job.

    I never thought I’d see Stephen vandalize two books in one episode. He was able to make me cringe and laugh hysterically at the same time. Comedy at it’s best!

    Won’t it be amazing if TCR is able to book J.D. Salinger on the show?

  4. Okay, here’s my shameful admission of the day:

    When I first heard that Noah Feldman was going to be on the show, I kept saying to myself, “why does that name sound so familiar?” but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

    Yah, now I remember: HE WAS MY PROFESSOR!!! (Apparently my name-recall is not quite up to par . . .)

    (Hee: my ReCAPTCHA words are “circles Tomorrow,” which makes me think of Stephen’s comments about Geoffrey’s lesson plans — “Let’s just do circles!”)

  5. AmandaIvy says:

    Noah Feldman was your professor?!

    That’s really cool!

  6. IAMmissAMERICA says:

    Someone please tell me where I can get a screen grab of Stephen in the fedora. My collection of hats and vintage photos is incomplete without it!

  7. Just adored the snake in the peanut can bit! I’m amazed that Stephen is able to take such silly little pranks and really make them so hilarious. I can only imagine what kinds of things he must have done as a child…

    Okay, here are my 2 head-scratchers as of late: The whole Bill O’Reilly “lost” interview footage (which I’ve heard about, but I’m wondering where they’re going to go with this) and the J. D. Salinger watch. Maybe it’s just me…

  8. @ Lisa:

    Re: the J.D. Salinger watch, I think it’s a reference to the Fox News – Obama Watch. It’s funny because it’s so completely unlikely and silly: Salinger, who has to be about 90 now, hasn’t given an interview since 1980. At some level, the gag is mocking the idea that a countdown of that sort would actually pressure someone into going on a show they don’t want to be on.

    @ AmandaIvy:

    Yah, he taught a bunch of seminars about the Middle East and also a bunch of classes on the intersection of law and religion (which was what interested me). And I think he also taught a section of Constitutional Law. His classes were always notoriously difficult to get into because everyone wanted to take them — luckily he was also a frequent speaker at symposia, so there was always a chance to learn from him.

  9. ColbertGirl27 says:

    @Ms Interpreted: Considering the name you use for this board, I love the fact that you provided the translation:) Thank you so much for taking the time. I know that most of the people on this board probably don’t speak Arabic, but I just thought I would throw it out there. Thank you!

  10. @ One of the Heroes,

    I don’t know why it is, but it always makes me squirm when people vandalize books, even if it’s for comedic purposes. I’ll even admit, it bothered me a little when Stephen did it too. Sorry…

    @ rebnej,

    Thanks for the 411. I had thought, perhaps, there was something more to that joke than face value, which is why I was a teensy bit confused.

  11. ColbertGirl27 says:

    @ Lisa: I think someone once asked Stephen one guest that he would desperately like to have on his show and he said J. D. Salinger.

  12. Ms Interpreted says:


    Well, there’s no guarantee that I’ve translated that correctly, but I figured I could give it a shot. Sometimes being an inveterate bookworm comes in handy in surprising ways. :)


    Regarding J.D. Salinger, yes, Stephen’s mentioned several times that he’d love to be able to get Salinger in the show. Just search for “Salinger” at Colbert University; you should be able to turn up multiple responses to that request.

    And as for desecrating books … yeah, I hate watching him do that. But you know what’s even more painful? Working at a bookstore and having to strip the covers off of the “surplus” books. Gawd, I was helping out at one store that was actually closing up, so they were going through the entire inventory, packing some of it up, stripping the rest. I swear, it caused me physical pain to have to rip the covers off of the strips!

    • I’ve heard about the whole J.D. Salinger thing before but I didn’t make the connection to the Obama watch until someone mentioned it earlier. I’m on it, now though. : )

      OMG…that’s traumatic. Years ago, my college’s library had a book sale to get rid of some of the older books and, as sad as it sounds, I felt sort of bad for them…so I bought a bunch of them to “save” them from being thrown away. I have issues…

  13. AmandaIvy says:

    Ms I–
    I can’t imagine having to strip the covers from so many books! I worked at a library and it was hard enough to go through all the “discards” and deface them.

    The good thing out of that though, is the fact that we could keep anything that interested us.

    He even mentioned J.D. Salinger at the end of “Countdown To Guitarmageddon”. I do like how he infuses some of real Stephen into the show like that. “Stephen” wouldn’t even know who J.D. Salinger is.

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