Comedian Stephen Colbert launches his version of The Late Show on CBS on September 8, and one of his first guests will be Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The Bush campaign was quick to turn the appearance into a fundraising opportunity. As the Associated Press reported, the campaign sent out an email to supporters asking for at least $3 to be entered into a contest to receive a ticket to the taping of Colbert's show.
A CBS spokesman told the AP the contest was not coordinated with the network. At the time of the AP's story, Colbert himself had not commented. But the former Comedy Central star has released a new web video calling out Bush's campaign for launching the contest without asking Colbert first.
"No one from Jeb's campaign asked me if this was okay with me to raise money off my first show," Colbert says. "Where my cut of that sweet three bucks, gov?" Watch the video below:
Colbert is countering with his own tongue-in-cheek contest, where the winner will be able to submit "one non-obscene question" for the host to ask Bush. A suggestion from Colbert: "Don't you wish you consulted Stephen before launching your contest?" The $3 entry fee in Colbert's contest will go to a charity for wounded American servicemembers.
The Bush campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment on Colbert's video or claim that the host was not consulted about Bush's fundraising contest. (See update.)
Colbert is a favorite among liberal audiences, and Democrats have taken advatange of that fact before. When the comedian was ending his long-running Comedy Central program The Colbert Report last year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out an email blast asking for fans to "sign a card" for Colbert. The DCCC was compiling a list of names and addresses for future donation solicitations.
Update: Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell says the campaign did receive permission from Colbert's show to conduct the fundraiser. "We think Stephen’s piece is hilarious. It’s a comedy show, folks!" Campbell wrote in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. "Governor Bush thinks it’s great Team Colbert is raising money for the Yellow Ribbon Fund."
Michael Warren is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard. He is 2012 Robert Novak journalism fellow, and he has written for the Washington Times, National Review Online, City Journal, and the Washington Examiner. He has also appeared on CNN and C-SPAN.