Colbert, John Kasich spar over Supreme Court nomination


Stephen Colbert and John Kasich debate whether President Obama should name a replacement for Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court

Stephen Colbert interviewed Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday’s episode of The Late Show. The pair discussed the demolition derby-like atmosphere of the GOP debates, the increased polarization in Washington, his positive campaign for the Republican nomination, and his thoughts on whether President Obama should nominate a Supreme Court Justice in his final year in office following the death of Antonin Scalia.

Colbert began by asking Kasich about his second place finish in the New Hampshire primary. “How is losing winning?” he inquired.

“New Hampshire is a place where you can kind of get on a rocket ship and become known. And that’s really happened,” Kasich explained, before pledging that he wouldn’t change his message ahead of the next primary in Colbert’s home state of South Carolina.

The host then ran down a series of talking points that Kasich’s campaign staff sent him regarding the type of race he was running, which revolves around a positive message that he hopes will help bring people together.

“Now that I’ve said all that, you can’t. You have to answer my questions now,” demanded Colbert. He then questioned Kasich’s assertion that voters are tired of negativity, given the continued success of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

“I think people want to know what the solutions are.” Kasich said. “I think they’re nervous about their jobs. They’re worried about their kids not having a decent life and the ability to have the kind of life that they had.”

The presidential candidate then dismissed the debates as “the dumbest thing going” because you have to “explain your entire life story in thirty seconds,” relying far too much on sound bites that are often just attacks on others.

Kasich received loud cheers from the crowd when he promised that he could separate himself from his own party. “Look, the Republican Party is my vehicle, it is not my master, okay? It never has been,” he said.

However, things got testy when the conversation veered into talk of Obama’s pledge to name a Supreme Court replacement before he leaves office, which has already been vehemently opposed by most Republicans in Congress.

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“Would you look at the Constitution, see the words ‘the president shall’ and go, ‘maybe later?'” Colbert asked.

Kasich began arguing that the president should withhold his nomination until after the 2016 election, before he was abruptly cut off by Colbert. “We already had an election. We had an election in 2012,” pointed out the comedian.

“Was I finished?” countered Kasich. “All I’m saying is it’s an opportunity for people to vote for president and also have a say in who’s gonna be on the Supreme Court.”

However, Colbert continued to press Kasich on the topic, questioning his previous statement that it was necessary for Obama’s nominee to be appointed by a unanimous decision.

“I’m talking about someone where the overwhelming consensus says that’s the person we want, and that isn’t going to happen now,” he answered.

He went on to argue that that’s why the appointment should be made by the next president so it’s more orderly and less of a political fight than it is now, a response that received some boos from the crowd.

Watch the entire Late Show interview between Colbert and Kasich below:

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Kasich’s second appearance on The Late Show came two days after his rival Trump called in for the show’s first-ever phone interview with Colbert, which was a mostly lighthearted affair where the duo discussed the businessman’s notorious potty mouth, but like Kasich, Trump also received jeers from the audience when he restated his position that Obama shouldn’t be allowed to name a replacement for Scalia.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS. The rest of this week’s guests will include Tea Leoni, Amanda Peet, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Chelsea Handler.