Nikki Haley vets Stephen Colbert

December 13, 2012

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) isn’t going to send Stephen Colbert to the U.S. Senate. But that’s not stopping her from having a little fun with his faux-jockeying for the appointment. Haley’s latest missive: A vetting document that dings the Comedy Central host for his inability in 2007 to name South Carolina’s state amphibian, a topic over which Colbert recently took Haley to task.

“Mr. Colbert, clearly a whole lot of people felt you needed a second look for U.S. Senate, and because I believe in doing my full due diligence ... this is what our vetting process came back with,” Haley wrote on her Facebook page before linking to a three-page document that begins with a snippet of a 2007 interview Colbert did with the late “Meet The Press” host Tim Russert.

“What’s the state amphibian,” Russert asked Colbert.

“It's my dog, Cookie. She swims, and she goes on land,” replied Colbert.

For the record, it’s the spotted salamander. Colbert called Haley out on his program Monday night for being unable to answer that question when she went on his show in April.

It’s only the latest chapter of a friendly back-and-forth between Haley and Colbert that began after Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced his intention last week to resign in January, leaving Haley in charge of filling his seat.

Colbert, a South Carolina native who previously tried to get on the ballot there as a candidate for president, pitched himself for DeMint's seat on his show last Thursday, encouraging viewers to tweet their support for him at Haley.

Haley responded with a dig at Colbert for not knowing the state’s official drink (milk), which prompted his return jab on Monday about the state amphibian.

The rest of the Colbert vetting document includes information about him once declaring he was “representing Iran” at a South Carolina trade conference and on another occasion claiming to have a scandal idea in place in case he did too well in the presidential race.

“I would've been wonderful. I wanted to like actually go down to South Carolina and like stumble around Columbia, the capital, like pantless with a bottle of Jack Daniels and try to get arrested,” he said in an October interview.

A recent poll from Democratic automated pollster PPP showed Colbert atop South Carolina voters’ list of potential DeMint replacements.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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