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September 27, 2010

House leader says Colbert testimony was 'not appropriate'

Posted: 03:19 PM ET

Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said comedian Stephen Colbert embarrassed himself last week when he testified before Congress.

"I think his testimony was not appropriate," Hoyer told FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

Colbert, the popular host of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, spoke in character before members of a House judiciary subcommittee Friday to bring attention to the conditions facing undocumented farm workers. Colbert often spoke sarcastically, prompting laughter in the hearing room and drawing Republicans' scorn.

Colbert was invited to testify by the subcommittee chairwoman, California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

Hoyer said on FOX that the testimony "was an embarrassment for Colbert more than for the House."

"What he had to say I think was not the way it should have been said," Hoyer said. "If he had a position on the issues he should have given those issues."

Hoyer said this was his "personal opinion." His views differed from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called Colbert's testimony "great."

"He's an American. He comes before the committee. He has a point of view," Pelosi said Friday. "It can bring attention to an important issue like immigration. I think it's great."

TAKE OUR POLL:  Do you think Stephen Colbert’s Capitol Hill testimony on Friday was funny or inappropriate?

Filed under: Stephen Colbert


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Joe G. (Illinois)   September 27th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

Without Illegal Immigration Workers and Drug Money Investments finding their way into the American infrastructure, how far worst would we be?

Not surprisingly, neither one of them is something any American president is willing to challenge.

In Afghanistan American Soldiers look the other way at the poppy fields while all along countless men, women and children die for that stuff every day. American Soldiers Hero's alright! And they come home all broken and mended alright! Who are all those people in the White House? If they are comedians, I'm not Laughing. I hear Borak Obama likes Wanda Sykes!


Bob   September 27th, 2010 5:53 pm ET

You've got to be kidding me. Doesn't anyone in DC have a sense of humor? Colbert was making some important points via satire.


Freddie   September 27th, 2010 6:04 pm ET

I was angry becasue even though he was trying to be funny, he like others, continued to include LEGAL IMMIGRANTS with ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. There is a big difference. Years ago, I was legally admitted to work in American fields. I am now a citizen and I'm going to school. I worked very hard for legal admission and i worked very hard out in the farms. The people i worked with were not illegal. I hate it that others want to come and work illegally. I teach me kids to obay the law. I cant understand why people continue to think that ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS are the same as LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!


Cajazz76:24:8   September 27th, 2010 8:15 pm ET

Not appropriate? It was perfect! It was about time someone had the fortitude to confront Congress the way they affront the voters who elected them to get to represent the masses and get off their asses and start being the representatives for all classes...caj


rick roe   September 27th, 2010 8:15 pm ET

Whats not appropiate is a bunch of crooked republicans keeping 30 million men, women, and most important of all, children receiving what all other civilised countries take for granted. FREE HEALTHCARE.
I cannot grasp why any half decent adult, parent or not, in the worlds richest country, can vote for these republican bloodsuckers who are only interested in how much money they can make, and screw everybody else.


Charles   September 27th, 2010 9:26 pm ET

@rick roe,
FREE HEALTHCARE? Where would that be; certainly someone pays for it. There is no such thing as free healthcare.

@Freddie,
Congratulations on becoming a citizen if that was your goal. Sounds as though you're continuing to better yourself by going to school. I hope the future is bright for you. It is unfortunate if some consider all the immigrants illegal.


windmill3   September 27th, 2010 10:47 pm ET

Mr. Colbert is clueless about illegal immigration and all of the related problems for both the illegal immigrates and the US.


froto   September 27th, 2010 11:36 pm ET

The house leader was not appropriate. colbert had every point covered and was very valid in his testimony, this country is about freedom of speech of any persons dose not approve in what someone says maybe they would band the freedom of speech law.


IKHAN   September 28th, 2010 12:24 am ET

Those self anointed pompous politicians playing gods on Olympus have no clue to where this country is going. They
just couldn't take Colbert.

Reminds me of the time that British MP George Galloway was up confronting them in a more serious vein
.Any one remember the time?


Johnny Ringo   September 28th, 2010 12:39 am ET

I hate to say, but this is the one time I might agree with Ann Coulter. The blacks in regards to be given handouts. I don't know how much is given to imigrantes. How long long do you enable one, before all move on?


dcruz   September 28th, 2010 1:14 am ET

hand-outs to immigrants, i don't think so. do your research into how much they pay out in federal, state taxes and social security. far less than immigrants receive in social services.

Colbert made his point, valid points. any spotlight that can be had on the need for fair and just immigration reform is very much appreciated.


Marry   September 28th, 2010 6:31 am ET

Stephen Colbert did a wonderful thing: He drew attention to the very pressing problem and plight of the conditions facing undocumented farm workers. He said (on a very serious note) that he was interested because, these people had no means to help themselves better their conditions. But what was the most important lessen out of his testimony was that we could watch and see with our own eyes – while there are many ways for solutions – most of Congress (Republicans and Democrats) has no interest and no will to tackle this problem. That is what it is all about and to show it, that is what some members though of as "not appropriate".


janet walsh   September 28th, 2010 7:17 am ET

Colbert was well informed and had valid points to make, albeit in character, except for the end. I wonder if those criticizing actually listened to the entire testimony? I'm sure it wasn't played on Fox.
Steney Hoyer thought Colbert was inappropriate? Excuse me, but didn't Elmo from Sesame Street also appear before Congress?
Get a grip.


Ted   September 28th, 2010 10:19 am ET

Why should the congressmen be upset about the comedian Colbert?
The house is full of useless jokers, at least Colbert makes us laugh, instead of cry, as all those jokers do.


donald bone   September 28th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

I got a real kick out of listening to Rick criticize Colbert for repeating
his statement on the news. I believe Rick repeated this at least
three times....LOL,dwb.


Lucy   September 28th, 2010 4:43 pm ET

Colbert's testimony was unusual. But, if watched in its entirety it was profound.

Colbert is a great satirist. I kept thinking what Mark Twain might have said if called to testify before Congress.


Goldenknightone   September 28th, 2010 10:54 pm ET

I Chair the Board of a 28 year old educational institution, in Boston, MA, that serves hundreds of at risk youth from across the state. I'm a graduate of Harvard, and I'm currently completing a Masters Degree in Government there as well (through their Extension School). Basically, "I'm not just the Hairclub President, but I'm also a client". I've never written to a talk show before, but your show tonight really got under my collar. There sat all these intelligent people arguing vociferously about THE PROBLEM. Geez, I thought, all of them were obviously very well educated and clearly on top of their game. Yet, nobody said the great unsaid. So, I'm saying it here. These kids have cell phones, laptops, pdas, 7000 cable television channels to choose from, hot music, great clothes, better cars than ever before, and you name it! Who has time to be bored in school with all the basics is my point. And school can be very boring when nobody is explaining to you exactly why you really need an education ( to be able to get a job and raise a family and buy a home, and have some kind of quality of life hopefully in the future). Hence, the great unsaid is that maybe the vast majority of these kids aren't as dumb as we'd like to believe. Perhaps it is we (the older generation) who need to get a clue here. Let the kids see what their educations can get them in the future. Doctors, lawyers, business owners, public officials, college presidents, and all manner of professionals, its time to come down off our high horses and go back to visit the schools we came out of and tell these kids what our lives have been like and MENTOR students individually or as a group. Just go back and dive in and see what that approach can do for you personally to enrich your life, and for your schools and the kids. Give back is what I am saying. The teachers, administrators and parents can only do so much. These kids are smarter than you might think. They merely need to meet and listen to you and touch your tunic and just perhaps the light will go off in their heads and you can inspire someone to want to emulate your example. Lets stop with the blame game and stand up as a nation and start doing some of the heavy lifting. The time for celebrating that you got yours and moved on into your life and career needs to pass away. Instead, there needs to come a whole new age of Master Mentoring where we who have come before return and inspire and motivate others to follow in our footsteps. This is a realistic proposition and a doable potential solution. Join hands and walk in lock step back into the institutions that helped us become who we are. No doubt we'd probably be welcomed by those who are wondering whatever happened to us anyway! P.S. getting an education is a lot harder than it used to be. Besides, read In the Company of Educated Women by Solomon, getting a higher education is really a phenomenon of the mid-20 Century. Most people hadn't even finished high school before the 1930s, and women and minorities didn't start growing in numbers until the Post WWII era. In other words, real higher education is still in its infancy in America, and we must recognize this and understand that nothing happens overnight. But we can keep on finding newer and newer ways to improve the process for everyone concerned. That's the real mission of America and the heart of the problem in The Great Unsaid.


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