House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi relented on her oath not to appear on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” when she joined host Stephen Colbert Wednesday for a segment to promote the DISCLOSE act.
Prior to the segment featuring Pelosi Colbert teased a video clip of a previous interview with the Democratic Leader when she told the comedian she would not appear on his show.
Adding fuel to the fire, on June 30, 2006 Pelosi predicted that Colbert would fail in his pursuit of interviewing every member of Congress for his show, and she discouraged her colleagues from falling for the trap.
“I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go on the show,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) advised at the time. “I would think that it would be okay to go on if you were live-to-tape, but don’t subject yourself to a comic’s edit unless you want to be made a fool of.”
But Wednesday night, wearing a red suit, Pelosi joined Colbert for a segment recorded live-to-tape earlier in the day.
“You said you’d never come on here. Do you often break your promises?” Colbert joked as he opened up the conversation.
“This is part of my lent resolution — to do good works, be kind to Republicans,” she replied. “So here I am.”
Pelosi was invited onto the show to promote her support of the DISCLOSE Act, which Democrats recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives.
The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act, also known as the DISCLOSE Act, aims to prohibit foreign influence in federal elections and establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in elections.
“If we want to cancel elections, and have the wealthiest people in America … give tens of millions of dollars, we can just ask them: who do they want to be president, who do they want to run Congress, who do they want to be governor,” Pelosi said.
“That would be polite,” Colbert interjected.
“No that would be a plutocracy,” Pelosi scolded Colbert. “We are a democracy and our founders intended that the people would decide.”
Pelosi genuinely seemed to enjoy herself, often laughing aloud to Colbert’s snarky comments and witty humor.
At one point, Colbert attempted to make a half-hearted attempt to engage Pelosi in a meaningful discussion about DISCLOSE, but his attention quickly waned as he asked her to explain her “fetish for transparency.”
“Why don’t you want people to have the right to free speech?” he asked. “These are people and they speak with money.”
“Let’s just say that I want them to disclose. The people have a right to know,” Pelosi said. “If they’re going to have tens of millions of dollars that they’re putting up for a candidate or a cause, the public has a right to know by whose authority is this coming to them?”
But with House Democrats in the minority, there is little hope for Congress to pass the bill this year. Pelosi said Democrats aim to “win the election, reform the system, overturn the Supreme Court decision [Citizens United] by amending the Constitution and give the vote and the voice and power to the people.”
Next, Colbert turned his attention to another controversy buzzing in Washington: contraception.
“They are holding hearings about women’s reproduction; it’s a bunch of guys,” Colbert exclaimed incredulously about a panel last week that omitted female witnesses. “Five guys!”
“Five guys!” Pelosi echoed in dismay. “Might be all right for hamburgers but not for [Congress].”
“I knew over the years that we tried to tell people that this was an issue in Congress, but frankly they didn’t believe it,” she continued. “This is a woman’s health issues and the size and timing of a family is something…”
But Colbert couldn’t restrain himself and told the minority leader that “size does matter.”
“It’s a women’s health issue, which is very important to every family,” Pelosi recovered. “A mother’s health and the health of her children, and she and her husband, and their doctor and their god, decide what that is, but it isn’t up to five guys sitting around a table in Washington, D.C. to determine what that size and timing will be.”
House Democrats will hear testimony Thursday from a female expert on the issue at an unofficial hearing.
As the segment drew to a close, Colbert asked Pelosi to cut a deal.
“This disclose, is it important to you?” he asked. “If I throw my weight behind the DISCLOSE Act …will you encourage the Democratic members of House of Representatives to do my “Better Know a District” series?
“It’s a deal,” Pelos agreed, as she thrust her hand forward for a handshake to seal the deal.
“It’s a deal!” Colbert cheered as the two clasped hands. “Let’s put California’s eight up on the board.”
Pelosi then clapped along enthusiastically as Colbert lit her California district up on a map of the country.
“Looks light somebody just sparked up some medical marijuana!” Colbert laughed, surprising Pelosi and cutting off the former speaker’s applause. “Nancy Pelosi everybody, the DISCLOSE act, it’s going to happen.”