Democrats invade Colbert Nation

[18 April 2008]

By Glenn Thrush

Newsday (MCT)

PHILADELPHIA - Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards converged on Colbert Nation on Thursday.

Obama appeared via satellite, but Clinton and Edwards exchanged a few words backstage at Stephen Colbert’s show in its temporary digs in Philadelphia.

Clinton’s campaign was mum about the substance of the conversation with Edwards, who has remained neutral since suspending his campaign in late January.

The former first lady dropped in on the Philadelphia set of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” after the host complained about technical glitches and his staff’s incompetence. After helping to restart Colbert’s blacked-out monitor and barking out arcane technical advice to the producer, she turned her sights on Colbert’s make-up.

“Your forehead’s a little shiny,” she said.

“Wow, senator, you are so prepared for any situation,” cooed Colbert, mopping his brow and vowing to give her a 3 a.m. phone call.

Thursday morning, Clinton, Obama and John McCain returned to Washington for a more sober huddle with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Later, Clinton told a crowd at Haverford College that she and Brown talked about the environment and the prospects of bringing England’s “Green Cities” initiative to the United States.

“I am absolutely confident that having talked to the three candidates that the special relationship between our two countries is strong and secure and valued by all of them,” Brown said afterward. “I am also absolutely confident that through working with any of them we could rise to the great challenges of the future.”

Obama, who faced a barrage of criticism and questions during Wednesday’s Philadelphia debate, flashed a bit of wit during a stop in North Carolina Thursday - brushing off his shoulders as if he was sweeping mud off his suit jacket.

Some of Obama’s surrogates accused debate moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos of unfairly pelting the Illinois senator with trivial questions about his relationships with former pastor Jeremiah Wright and one-time 1960s radical William Ayers.

That didn’t sit well with Bill Clinton, who was campaigning for his wife at an American Legion hall in St. Mary’s, Pa.

“When I watched that debate last night, I got kind of tickled,” the former president said.

“After the, her opponents ... were saying, `Oh this is so negative, why are they doing this?’ Well they’ve been beating up on her for 15 months. I didn’t hear her whining when he said she was untruthful in Iowa or (when they) called her the senator from Punjab.”

In fact the former first lady has complained repeatedly about what she has viewed as preferential treatment toward Obama.

As the crowd applauded, he added, “This is a contact sport. If you don’t want to play, keep your uniform off.”

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