Huntsman goes to Comedy Central in search of 'the Colbert Bump'

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 25 2011 2:20 p.m. MDT

GOP Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman Jr. appearing on the 'Colbert Report.'

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Will Jon Huntsman's presidential candidacy benefit from "the Colbert Bump"?

Time will tell.

But the former Utah governor tried to make the most of his Monday appearance on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," searching for what ABC's Sarah Kunin called "a little public relations pick-me-up."

"I am so ready for the Colbert bump," Huntsman said during the televised interview, referring to the show's reputation for enhancing the popularity of politicians who appear on it.

"Governor, you may be at 2 percent," host Stephen Colbert told him. "We're going to get you up to whole milk."

Kunin said that "Huntsman's appearance on the show allowed him to reach out to comedian Colbert's key 18-49 demographic, discussing his experience in politics and the private sector to an entirely new audience."

"I like you," Colbert said to a smiling Huntsman. "I like the cut of your jib. I don't know what a jib is but I like the way you cut it."

Kunin reported that there was one awkward moment during the interview that actually didn't appear on the telecast. During a discussion of Huntsman's recent term of service as U.S. Ambassador to China, Colbert played a sound effect of Chinese-sounding music. Huntsman joked: "When's the delivery food coming?"

"After a few seconds of awkward silence, Colbert replied: 'Did that go over well in Beijing?'"

According to Kunin, that part of the interview was cut from the broadcast "for time."

The biggest applause of the night came when Colbert asked Huntsman to say something in Mandarin. He did, and then explained: "I just said I think you ought to consider being my running mate for vice president."

The Huffington Post said that "Colbert took the request in stride, saying that it raised concerns because the fact that he has a SuperPAC prohibits him from 'coordinating' with any presidential candidate."

Colbert also brought up the subject of Huntsman's membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"There's been a lot of ugly talk in the campaign lately about the faith that you and Mitt Romney share — Mormonism," Colbert said. "What do you make of people calling Mormonism a cult? And by the way, I'm a Catholic, you're a Mormon. Let's not argue over who's right and who is not a Catholic. Let Jesus decide at the last judgment."

Huntsman expressed his hesitancy to talk about religion during a political campaign, but he reminded the audience of the 1960 presidential election, when John F. Kennedy's Catholicism was called into question.

"John F. Kennedy wins and the religion goes mainstream," Huntsman said. "It's probably the same thing with Mormonism. It will become more mainstream over time as people kind of look at it and understand it a bit better."

According to Politico's Tim Mak, Huntsman told Time magazine's Mark Halperin after the show that "I think we got a passing grade. We didn't screw it up. I don't think I offended too many people. Maybe there was a memorable line or two that will actually show up on television over the next couple of days, and if so, we might get that famous bump."

To view the entire segment click here.

EMAIL: jwalker@desnews.com

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