In a pre-taped interview with “Meet the Press'” David Gregory Stephen Colbert said Sunday that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is his character’s muse and he just says “the opposite of whatever Rachel Maddow said the night before.”
“And I’m usually good,” Colbert said.
In a wide-ranging interview about his new book – “America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t” – his character on the show The Colbert Report and the state of American politics, Colbert jumped in and out of character. However, he gave America what Gregory called a “rare” look into the psyche of the real Stephen Colbert.
Colbert said he separates what he does from what Daily Show host Stewart does, saying Stewart “deconstructs” the news of the day, while he “reconstructs the news.”
He admitted that his show is a “tough” one for most guests because you never know what his character is going to say because “he’s willfully ignorant of what you know and care about.”
The entertainer said that while he has no political intent behind his character, it is important that his character be ideological for the purpose of making a point.
“If I were a satirist without a point of view, that would be truly schizophrenic,” he said.
He acknowledged that he was not a newsman (though he said he really admires them) nor his he a politician and he has no interest in seriously running for office, “But I like playing political games to see what really happens in them,” he said. “That’s why I formed a Super PAC. That’s why I ran for President or formed an exploratory committee.”
Despite the criticism he received for testifying at a hearing on Capitol Hill in character in 2010, Colbert said that he would do it all over again exactly the same way.
“Once you’re asked, you know, you 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,” Colbert said of the experience. “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 have.”
Colbert said that through the experience he learned that Congress is a lot like “eight grade recess” in that they could have cared less about him personally, but they saw it as “a way to beat on each other.”
With regards to the 2012 presidential race, Colbert said in character that Romney is “obviously” winning the race post-presidential debate.
“That guy was on fire. He goes on a rocket ride to plausible at this point,” adding that he didn’t watch the debate.
Out of character Colbert explained said that both the real Stephen Colbert and the Colbert Report Stephen are happy Romney did well in the debate because as a performer who “models” conservative punditry, it’s difficult for him to do his job when Romney is losing.
“And I have to say, up until Wednesday night, I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do for the next month,’ ” he explained. “He was just a walking, shambling mound of weakness.”
The faux talk-show host joked that before the debate even people who supported Romney were jumping ship, “but now he’s the man.”
“Now he’s got these long luscious coattails and everybody’s jumping on board,” Colbert said.
Still out of character Colbert said that if Romney wins, “I hope he’s a good president.”
“And if Obama wins, I hope he keeps some of the promises he didn’t keep the first time,” Colbert added.