SALT LAKE CITY -- Former Utah governor and GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman took his message to late-night comedy with an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" Monday night.
Huntsman was hoping for a boost to his lagging poll numbers, and he certainly drew his share of laughs from the studio audience.
Colbert gave Huntsman somewhat of a ringing, yet non-political endorsement.
"I like you," Colbert told Huntsman. "I like the cut of your jib. I don't know what a jib is, but I like the way you cut it."
I like the cut of your jib. I don't know what a jib is, but I like the way you cut it.
Colbert also said, "Recent polls show you are at 2 percent. Are you ready for the Colbert bump?"
Huntsman answered, "I'm so ready for the Colbert bump."
"Governor, you may be at 2 percent," Colbert said. "We're going to get you up to whole milk."
Huntsman also addressed the serious issues of politics such as the economy. His Mormon faith also was mentioned.
"Why do you think people feel like it's OK to attack Mormons?" Colbert asked.
"Well, first of all, you get in a whole lot of trouble talking about religion," Huntsman said. "You should never go there, particularly when you're seeking votes and running for public office. But let me say, when John F. Kennedy ran in 1960, what were people calling Catholicism? A cult. So they come out, they become more mainstream, people find out about them. They go mainstream. It's probably the same thing with Mormonism."
Huntsman apparently drew some controversy for something that did not show up on TV. One exchange, which was reportedly cut for time, drew a gasp from the audience.
A blog from ABC News reports Colbert played a sound effect of stereotypical Chinese music for Huntsman, the former U.S. Ambassador to China. Huntsman replied, "When's the delivery food coming?"
Colbert also asked Huntsman to say something in Mandarin. He did, then explained, "I just said I'd think you ought to consider being my running mate for vice president."
The Colbert Bump
Professor James H. Fowler, from the University of California San Diego, in 2008 found there is such a thing as the "Colbert bump" for some candidates. Democratic candidates who appear on the Report receive a statistically significant bump in campaign donations. He says they get 44 percent more money in a 30-day period after appearing on the show.
Written with contributions from Andrew Adams.