Clearly, segments of the Democratic Party are wholly dissatisfied with the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the concerted effort on the part of the progressive base to bash any moderate that poses a threat to him. Late-night comedian Stephen Colbert learned that hard lesson on Tuesday night when his own audience lightly booed him during a brutal roast of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also running for president.
Starting out his live coverage of the Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Colbert first noted the candidates’ overall terrible performance, which mostly consisted of them shouting over each other as the moderators stared at them like deers in headlights.
“These folks said a lot of words, and I did not hear many of them,” Colbert said. “Because these candidates were speaking all over each other.”
As noted by The Daily Beast, Colbert saved his harshest rebuke for Michael Bloomberg, though he did take a few swipes at the other candidates. In response to Bloomberg saying that he “met with black leaders” to better shape his perspective on the implementation of the controversial policy stop-and-frisk, Colbert said, “Mr. Mayor, I have a feeling a lot of black leaders want your position to be spread eagle up against a wall.”
During the debate, Bloomberg also defended himself by pointing out the many black leaders who have supported his candidacy. In response, Colbert said, “A lot of them are in the audience tonight, officers—stop them, check their pockets, there’s an endorsement in there someplace, I promise you.”
The audience did not receive Colbert’s joke graciously and began to noticeably groan and jeer. The moment prompted the comedian to go off script and say, “All of Bloomberg’s voters are here tonight I think.”
Later, Colbert scolded Bloomberg for lame attempts at jokes, mockingly asserting that perhaps those infamous NDAs that his company had women sign were so they can forget his jokes.
“Oh, OK, now I understand why he asks people to sign an NDA after he tells a joke,” Colbert said. “No one wants to remember that.”
So how did Mike Bloomberg actually do during the debate on Tuesday night? Experts are mostly in agreement that he improved greatly since last week, giving him a second lifeline. Writing at The Hill, Steve Israel argued that Bloomberg still has a shot at winning due to the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the other candidates and fear that Bernie Sanders would sink the Democratic Party to new lows.
“For Bloomberg, any stumbles and setbacks can be cured by both money and tenacity. A charisma deficit can be offset with a healthy infusion of chutzpah,” argued Israel. “For those who subscribe to the punditry that his Las Vegas debate performance was the beginning of the end, I say this guy has no end. Like the book by Randolph notes, he has many lives. There is more race to be run and more time for resets, recoveries, and resurrections.”
Bloomberg will not be on the ticket in the upcoming South Carolina primary. His only shot at clinching the nomination will be on Super Tuesday.