Altmire on 'Colbert'

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007

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Newly-elected freshman U.S. Rep Jason Altmire, a Democrat from Pennsylavania's fourth congressional district, made his debut on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" last night, and he didn't embarrass himself too badly.

The report began with faux conservative host Stephen Colbert in Amish garb going for a buggy ride through Altmire's district, "the fighting fourth, home to non-fighting Amish communities."

Colbert said the region used to be home to many steel mills, but "today, thanks to globalization, the area is no longer choked with pollution -- or employment."

Taped in Altmire's Washington office, Colbert began by mentioning Altmire's alma mater, Florida State, and encouraging him to "give the chop," which involves chanting like the stereotype of an Indian and moving your arm up and down like a tomahawk.

"So you have no national aspirations?" Colbert said to Altmire, who looked a little shocked.

After playing a short game of paper football, Colbert asked about Altmire's campaign against incumbent Melissa Hart.

"What was the biggest negative smear just based upon things you made up that you'd like to take back?" Colbert asked.

Altmire said he had no regrets focusing on her record of voting to support the Bush administration's policies 98 percent of the time.

"I'm talking about negatives," Colbert said.

"I do think that's a negative," Altmire responded.

Colbert kept taking Altmire's lack of support for the Bush administration policies and trying to twist them to no avail. Then he tried to get him to say something positive about the Iraq War, specifically, "Mission Accomplished."

Altmire didn't want to play into that, saying Colbert could splice it together if he managed to say both words. Eventually, Altmire said the words and Colbert did edit it together.



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