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Published: Monday, 10/22/2007

This Presidential Campaign, Or: They Do It With Mirrors


9 AM

I can barely listen to the quiet thoughtfulness of NPR first thing in the morning, let alone television. But who could stand to miss this Sunday morning?

Stephen Colbert, blowhard TV personality and now an erstwhile candidate from South Carolina, with Tim Russert on Meet the Press one of Sunday morning s reliably staid and certainly gusty talking-head shows.

It was surreal enough on its own, looking just like the kind of mock TV segment that might show up in a movie about, say, a TV comedian running for president (wait, haven t we already seen this at the cineplex?). But then Tim Russert began questioning Colbert about changing the pronounciation of his last name by turning to dolls dolls! -- from Sesame Street. As in, if Colbert is pronounced ColBAIR, then why is Ernie s pal still called Bert ? For that matter, shouldn't it be "Tim RussAIR"? OK, that was the moment it became clear that the morning would require still more coffee. C mon Tim Russert on MTP, holding up two pre-school toys and using his Serious Stentorian Voice to use them as compare-and-contrast objects? Kinda makes you feel hung-over, even when you didn t drink at all the night before .

As for the presidency, Mr. Colbert said, he didn t really want to win. He just wanted to run. And yes, he carefully pointed out, there s a difference.

Gee, a girl sure hates to see something as important as a presidential election used as a comedy prop. (No, I mean *deliberately.*) But then, God knows Colbert could bring a certain something to a campaign, a kind of well, what exactly? Oh, wait. I know.


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