The Ticket

Stephen Colbert steps out of character to assess Romney on ‘Meet the Press’ (VIDEO)

Dylan Stableford
The Ticket

Stephen Colbert--both the faux conservative talk show host and the man himself--sat down for an interview with NBC's David Gregory that aired on Sunday's "Meet The Press."

Colbert, the character, was asked who he thinks has the edge in the 2012 presidential race. "Romney, obviously," he said. "Did you see him the other night? That guy is on fire. He is on a rocket ride to plausible at this point."

Colbert, the comedian, said he's just thankful that Romney's strong performance in the first presidential debate has tightened things.

"As a performer," Colbert said, "if he's not someone I can follow, then I'm lost. And I have to say, up until Wednesday night, I just thought, 'I don't know what I'm going to do for the next month.' ... Now he's got these long luscious coattails, and everybody's jumping on board."

[Related: 'SNL' skewers VP debate (VIDEO)]

Colbert, the performer, did not give an edge to either candidate. "I also don't know how Mitt Romney would govern," he said. "He might govern as a technocrat. You know, that sort of seems to have been his career, like, the guy from Pepsi who comes in to run G.M. You know, he can't tell us what he's going to do, 'cause he hasn't seen the books yet. But we don't know, because he seems absolutely sincere as a moderate. And he also seems pretty sincere as a severe conservative. That's not a dig. It's honest confusion."

"I'm not a politician," Colbert explained. "But I like playing political games to see what really happens in them. Like, that's why I formed a super PAC or that's why I ran for president or formed an exploratory committee to."

Later in the interview, Colbert defended his super PAC as a satirical experiment:

The super PAC was an act of discovery, because I didn't intend to have a super PAC. I intended to make a joke about Tim Pawlenty's unbelievable over-the-top ad, which was, like, a Michael Bay, you know, voice of god. You know--preaching to America from the surface of the moon, Tim Pawlenty saves our country. And I couldn't figure out how to end it. And at the end it just said, LibertyPAC.com. And I said, "What is the ColbertPAC.com on the end of ours?" And one thing led to another, including, you know, a lot of lawyers. And what I found out was, is that there's an entire industry in politics. But I didn't know. I suspected. There's an entire industry. There's a politico industrial complex that is not only raising money but that is built around making money off of the fact that there is so much money in politics, and that there are almost no rules.

He also deflected criticism of his controversial appearance testifying--in character--about immigration on Capitol Hill.

"You know, first of all, what a honor to be asked to go do it," Colbert said. "You know, once you're asked, you know, and to say, 'Well, I'm only going to do it if I can do it in character,' because I've got no business doing something like that. But my character thinks he does. And through him, I can say things that are hopefully in a more palatable way than I could ever [say]."

"I try to put myself in the news or to embody the thing," he added. "Rather than [what 'Daily Show' host] Jon [Stewart] does, what's called 'pure deconstruction,' where he picks apart what's happened in the day's news and kind of lays it out for you like a cadaver. I falsely reconstruct the news--so that's a different way of doing the same kind of job."

Colbert also revealed what he tells his "Colbert Report" guests before they come on the show: "I say, 'Thank you for coming. Have you ever seen the show? I do the show in character. He's an idiot. He's willfully ignorant of what you know and care about. Please honestly disabuse me of my ignorance and we'll have a great time.' But sometimes they forget."

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