Stephen Colbert says Jeb Bush, who has poked up into third place in the Republican presidential race, has a “lucky turtle in his pocket” — the possibility that Ted Cruz might not be eligible to serve as president.
The “Late Show” host teased Bush, who has been plugging along in the single digits in most polls, for giving a toy turtle to a boy during a recent campaign stop.
“Yes, he gives out toy turtles,” Colbert said. “He tried using real turtles but they kept crawling out of his pocket and passing him in the polls.”
Donald Trump, who is trailing the Texas senator in Iowa, may have helped Bush by reminding voters — and lawmakers — that Cruz was born in Canada.
“Personally, I think the whole thing is horseshit, but Donald Trump doesn’t,” Colbert said.
Cruz has responded to the “birther” issue by attacking Trump’s “New York values” — although that backfired during Thursday’s GOP debate, which took place after Colbert recorded his show.
“This isn’t the first time the natural-born citizen issue has come up in an election,” Colbert said. “In 2008, one candidate’s unusual, possibly un-American origins had a lot of people suspicious: John McCain. Sen. McCain was born in Panama, on a U.S. military base, but that was cleared up when all his Senate colleagues, including Barack Obama, stepped in and passed a resolution declaring him a natural-born citizen.”
“Now, Cruz isn’t particularly popular in Congress. He has been described by members of his own party as a ‘jackass,’ a ‘wacko bird’ and ‘the Republican no other Republican can stand.'”
Although other GOP candidates would benefit if Cruz, who has been the most consistent and successful challenger to Trump, was ruled ineligible — Colbert said he was certain Republican senators would “rally around him like they did John McCain.”
“Right, Mitch McConnell?” Colbert said, and showed video of the Senate Majority leader saying flatly that he did not “think the Senate ought to get in the middle of it.”
“It looks like Jeb Bush has one more lucky turtle in his pocket,” Colbert said.
Watch the entire segment posted online by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: