November 5, 2012 — Nate Silver

The Colbert Report Episode GuideEPISODE NUMBER: 9019 (November 5, 2012)
GUESTS: Nate Silver | Sasha Issenberg
SEGMENTS: Colbert SuperPAC – Severe Candidate Warning | Shame Based Campaigning | Shame Based Campaigning — Sasha Issenberg | “Razor Tight” Election Polls | Sign Off – GO VOTE!
SUIT REPORT: Black pinstriped suit | White shirt | Light blue/dark blue striped tie
VIDEOS: Monday, November 5, 2012


Kind of amazing that somehow Mitt stumbled upon the slogan of Colbert SuperPAC. His vagueness of positions translated itself, at long last, to the supreme vagueness of Stephen’s SuperPAC message! So much anticipation today, with everyone streaming to the polls and finally putting an end to this election madness. Whatever your political persuasion, follow Stephen’s advice and GO VOTE!

It was great to hear Stephen’s famous Maya Angelou impression. It was scary to think that campaigns go about compiling data about voters with such laser-like precision.

I liked both guests, Issenberg and Silver were not only timely in appearing the day before election but it helped give us a good frame of mind going into today.

What did you think of the ep? Share in the comments.

Colbert SuperPAC – Severe Candidate Warning

“If you live in one of these states, The Colbert Report is now issuing a Severe Candidate Warning. Be prepared with fresh water and flashlights-“

“-and please, if you have a single, female, suburban undecided voter in your home, cover here with plywood, or she could just get sucked up into a vortex of pandering.”

  • I remember when I came up with that slogan. Seems just like yesterday, yesterday.
  • I think that proves that Mitt is a candidate just as serious and sincere as I am. I mean, my words, his mouth! I feel like I am a billionaire.

Shame Based Campaigning

  • The Obama campaign just found me and have been sending me emails. It just started last week, so I have just received 600 of them. But one of my favorites came from literary legend and only-poet-you’ve-ever-heard-of Maya Angelou.

  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Spams.
  • Fun Fact: Like the other kids who support Romney, Kid Rock is 41.

  • Now there’s a lot of technical jargon in there, so let me break it down for you: the candidate who has more voters…is going to win. That is the best analysis cable news has done since the CNN 6 part series:

  • Although by unlikely voters [Obama and Romney] are both being beaten by a Honey Boo Boo marathon.

“…the best way to motivate voters is through shame, something that Catholics have known for centuries – that’s why Jesus keeps getting re-elected.”

  • [Campaigns] can shame you into voting, by threatening that you and your gay friends watch porn together on expensive vacations –or even worse, that you drink Michelob Ultra.

Barack Obama is the leader in shame-based campaigning. Mitt has a handicap, given how many times he’s flipped positions, he may not understand the concept of shame.

Shame Based Campaigning — Sasha Issenberg

  • Stephen: What is the secret science of winning campaigns, because in some red states, all science is secret.
  • SC: So what would they glean from this: I love lemonade, I subscribe to Golf magazine, I like deep pile shag carpet, and I believe that poor people should be euthanized.
  • Sasha Issenberg: Campaigns want to do the same thing credit agencies do, but they want to do it for politics.
  • SC: So it’s no longer “soccer moms”: It’s like Brenda, and Debra, and Daphne.
  • SI: It’s not counties or precincts-
  • SC: It’s individuals.
  • SI: They have individual predicitions for all 173 million Americans who are registered to vote.
  • SC: Should I be as terrified as I feel right now?
  • SI: What are you afraid that they might know about you?
  • SC: Things that I won’t tell you.
  • SI: They collect this information because they want to have a meaningful relationship with you.
  • SC: Oh, the same way you put a probe into a monkey’s brain- “to have a meaningful relationship with it”
  • SC: If a guy sends me an email with a threat in it, why don’t I just say “f*ck you I am going to vote for the other guy”?
  • SI: It’s non-partisan….. It’s not about changing their minds, it’s about modifying their behavior [from non-voters to voters.]

“Razor Tight” Election Polls

“Yes, this race is razor tight. That means no margin for error, or correct use of metaphor. I mean it’s banana up for grabs!”

  • [About Nate Silver’s accurate predictions] but you know what they say, “Even a stopped clock is right 98% of the time.”
  • [Nate Silver’s analysis] ignores proven methodologies like flag pin size, hand shake strength, and intensity of debate glare.
  • Silver is predicting that Obama has an 86.3% chance of getting re-elected. (audience erupts in cheers) Yeah, I don’t buy it either.
  • Where does he get off predicting something other than the Agreed Narrative? I mean, what part of “razor tight” doesn’t he understand? That just makes me so crab claw angry!
  • And folks, I am not the only tarnishing Silver’s sterling reputation.
  • Silver and his math are jokes, because math has a liberal bias. After all, math is the reason why Mitt Romney’s tax plan doesn’t add up.
  • After 20 years in politics, 5 election cycles grinding it out on MSNBC, Joe’s gut is telling him…. either Obama will win, or Romney will win. I mean, where does he find the courage?


Stephen: Okay, but here is my problem with what you are doing. You are taking bread from my kid’s mouth. Because I am a pundit, okay. Those of us in the punditocracy make our bread and butter by telling people what the truth is as we see it from our gut….are you trying to put the pundits out of work, because CNN doesn’t need any more help.

  • SC: What is your opinion of pundits? Shoot from the hip.
  • Nate Silver: I’m not very pro-pundit.
  • SC: C’mon, put your balls on the felt, how do you feel about pundits.
  • NS: If pundits were on the ballot against like, I don’t know-
  • SC: Ebola.
  • NS: -I might vote Ebola. Or third party.
  • SC: Third party. Might write in Black Plague.

Nate Silver: I think a lot of people get on TV and say things [and] they don’t really have any conviction behind it. It becomes a game to entertain half the audience, or the other half of the audience….we’re trying to say something very simple. Go, look at the polls, and take an average, and add up the states, and see who has 270 electoral votes- it’s not really that complicated….there are many things that are much more complicated than looking at the polls and taking an average, right?

Stephen: That is the longest possible way of calling [Scarborough] a bulllsh*tter.

Sign Off — Go Vote!

Stephen says: Go vote!


  • lockhart43

    “I am not the only one tarnishing Silver’s sterling reputation.” *giant grin*

    There was an actual audible groan from a gentleman in the audience when Stephen said that. And it made me love the sentence all the more for it. Also, total fangirl moment: oh my goodness hair, and oh my goodness tie. That is all. 😀

  • Mariana312

    I thought Stephen was on fire last night! Lots of snappy one-liners. Great show.

  • Anna S

    Making a better tomorrow, tomorrow! I can’t believe Romney said that, and I love how obviously delighted Stephen was that he did – oh to have been there when they found that footage! I really enjoyed the Nate Silver interview – such an interesting guy. Looking forward to seeing him again on TDS this week!

  • Erika

    I thought it was funny but a little *headdesk* that the first guest outed the real Stephen.

    Thank you TCR! Last night I was dying for SOMETHING to make me laugh and feel happy and cure me of election mania. I’ve been a nervous wreck about my state’s marriage ammendment, among other things, so it was definitely needed. The Daily Show had a couple cute moments, mostly involving those school election kids, but other than that it was a bit grimm and didn’t really help my mood much. But then something named Stephen Colbert breezed onto my screen and all way right with the world. He just makes me so happy. JOY MACHINE ACTIVATE!

  • lockhart43

    @Erika – He really does have this way of making you forget you were stressed, upset, or anything other than happy, doesn’t he? There have been so many nights when I’ve needed to get my mind off of something, and there’s Stephen, making me laugh. Joy machine activate, indeed! I’m glad Stephen and TCR made you feel better, and hopefully not just for a little while. 🙂