Colbert on McCain: 'Clearly he has hundreds of years of experience'
In a segment of his comedy show, Stephen Colbert attacked Senator John McCain's claims to be the candidate with experience, pointing out that McCain is "experienced enough to know that some experience is relevant, like the fact that he has experience, while other experience, like his previous experiences, are irrelevant."
Last week, Barack Obama said in response to a question that "if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq" after a US withdrawal, "we will have to act." John McCain used that remark two days later to imply that Obama isn't aware there already are al Qaeda members in Iraq, to which Obama retorted that they weren't there before George Bush and John McCain decided to invade. McCain's final comeback was, "That's history, that's the past."
"Exactly," said Colbert. "It's ancient history. Who knows who invaded Iraq? I don't."
"But there's something here far more important than Iraq," Colbert went on. "Experience. Senator McCain is running on one thing. ... Look at the man. Clearly he has hundreds of years of experience. And yet when you question his record, he says this: 'I want to make it very clear: this is not about decisions that were made in the past.'"
"Now, 'decisions that were made in the past' is how people without experience define experience," Colbert observed. "So how can McCain claim to be more qualified of a candidate because of his experience yet also claim that any history of bad decisions is irrelevant?"
"There is an easier way to say it," Colbert continued, playing a clip of McCain saying, "We are where we are now." Colbert then explained that in McCain's view of the world, we're always "where we are" and never where "we were" or where "we will be."
"We can question him only in the past-less and future-less present," concluded Colbert. "This infinitely thin slice of existence. This zero-dimensional theoretical plot-point of the now, where eternity intersects time."
"And if that's what he's saying, the question is not 'Senator, how did you vote?' or 'Senator, when will we withdraw?' but 'Senator McCain -- are you high?"
This video is from Comedy Central's Colbert Report, broadcast March 4, 2008.
Transcript via closed captions
:: let's talk about john mccain. you know, i could actually see myself growing to like the guy. oh, i hate you! i'm sorry that just snuck up on me. last week mccain got another conservative endorsement. this time from evangelical minister john hagee and boy was mccain was honored to learn it. jim?
:: i'm very honored by pastor john hagee's endorsement today.
:: stephen: honored to be endorsed by hagee who has called the catholic church quote "a false cult system, the apostate church and the great whore." man, i wish this guy could have been alive in late 15th century spain. now, i'm a catholic, folks, but as a good christian i have to turn the other cheek. my guest does not. here to express my outrage for me is the president of catholic league and friend of the show william donna hue -- donohue. bill? are you ready? go nuts.
:: thank you, stephen. [ cheers and applause ] we at the catholic league are very familiar with reverend john hagee's long history of anti-catholic bigotry and the slant he has made our -- against our faith. in my estimation he is a real tool kit.
:: stephen: thank you. well put. for the record you called jon stewart an anti-catholic bigot when he pointed out the pope had a funny hat s. that right?
:: i did, indeed. thank you sir.
:: stephen: bill donohue. nation,. [ applause ] -- this is my favorite part of campaign season, when candidates start reaching across the aisle with their first tentative bitch slap. it started when tim russert asked barack obama whether he would reinvade iraq if american troops left and al qaeda resurged. take a look at obama's naive answer. if al qaeda is forming a base in iraq, then we will have toll act in a way that secures the american homeland and and our interest abroad.
:: stephen: if al qaeda. you know the old saying, if if's and but's were candy and nuts we already be bombing iran. luckily mccain set him straight and they went at it.
:: i have news for senator obama, al qaeda is in iraq.
:: i have some news for john mccain and that there -- is that there was no such thing as al qaeda in iraq until george bush and john mccain decided to invade iraq.
:: stephen: i have some news for both of them. angelina is totally pregnanters again. -- preggers again. [ cheers and applause ] but concerning his vote authorizing the war, mccain had the perfect comeback.
:: yesterday senator owe buma said well, we -- obama said well, we shouldn't have gone in this the first place and if we hadn't gone in this the first place, we wouldn't be facing this problem. that's history. that's the past.
:: stephen: exactly. ancient history. who knows who invaded iraq. i don't. in fact, senator obama if you keep complaining about the war, i'm going to have to conclude that he who smelt it, dealt it. that deserves applause. [ cheers and applause ] but there's something here far more important than iraq and it brings us to tonight's word. [ cheers and applause ] experience. senator mccain is running on one thing: jimmy?
:: i believe that my experience and background qualifies me to lead.
:: i have the judgment and the experience.
:: i have the experience, my life, my experience. experience. that's because i have the experience.
:: stephen: exactly. look at the man. clearly he has hundreds of years of experience. [ laughter ] and yes, when you question his record he says this: i want to make it very clear this is not about excisions that were made -- decisions that were made in the past. now decisions that were made in the past is how people without experience define experience. [ laughter ] so how can mccain claim to be more qualified of a candidate because of his experience yet also claim that any history of bad decisions is irrelevant? easy. experience. you see, he is experienced enough to know that some experience is relevant, like the fact that he has experience. while other experience like his previous experiences are irrelevant. plus, there soon easier way to say it. jim?
:: where we are -- we are where we are now. we are where we are now.
:: stephen: for all those obama man maniacs out there -- [ cheers and applause ] i'm not just taking john mccain's word for it. when he says we are where we are i verify with my where-are, meter. i made this. there's fans of arts and crafts tonight. i made this from an old sinetology -- scientology emeter. i don't need it anymore. this we are where needle measures where we are. as you can see presently we are where we are. now this we are where we were segment, that is experience. it cannot be questioned because we're not there. [ laughter ] that's why they call this experience like ex-wife. [ laughter ] it doesn't make sense to ask mccain where he will take us when we are where we will be because we're not there either. okay. we are -- we are where we are. this is where mccain says we can question him. re-- we can question him only in the pastless tense futureless present. this instantly slim slice of existence, this zero dimensional plot point of the now where eternity intersects time. if that is what he is saying, the question is not senator how did you vote or senator when will we withdraw but senator mccain, are you high? [ laughter ] and that's the word. we'll be right back. [ cheers and applause ]