The Whole Truthiness: Stephen Colbert Testifies On Capitol Hill

September 24, 2010 6:31 p.m.

1||September 24, 2010: Stephen Colbert testifies before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on behalf of the United Farm Workers Union, which is pushing an agriculture jobs bill to give illegal immigrant farm workers a path to citizenship. Colbert spent a day in August as a farm worker as a part of the UFW’s “Take Our Jobs” program. Said Colbert, in character: “This is America. I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American. Then sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.” ||Newscom/Sipa&&

2||Colbert is greeted by Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). In his opening statement, Colbert said of the farm work: “I have to say, and I do mean this sincerely. Please don’t make me do this again. It is really really hard.” He continued: “You have to spend all day bending over. It turns out, and I did not know this, most soil is at ground level. If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we make the earth waist-high?”||Newscom/Sipa&&

3||”Why isn’t the government doing anything?” Colbert asked. “Maybe this ag jobs bill will help. I don’t know. Like most members of Congress, I haven’t read it.”||Newscom/Zuma&&

4||Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) at first asked Colbert to leave, but then withdrew his request. After Colbert delivered his opening statement, Conyers pointed out that it “was considerably different from the one that he presented.” Colbert submitted a prepared statement that was played straight. He delivered one in character. ||Newscom/Zuma&&

5||Colbert concluded his statement: “I trust that following my testimony, both sides will work together on this issue in the best interest of the American people. As you always do.”||Newscom/Zuma&&

6||Colbert speaks to Arturo Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers. Colbert cited his “vast experience spending one day as a migrant farm worker” as his reason for testifying. ||Newscom/Zuma&&

7||Colbert was questioned by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) about why he picked this specific cause. In a rare moment of earnestness, Colbert replied: “I like talking about people who don’t have any power. This seems like, one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work, but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here, and at the same time we ask them to leave. That seems like an interesting contradiction to me.”

Full coverage of the testimony here. ||Newscom/UPI&&

8|| ||Newscom/Sipa&&

9|| ||Newscom/UPI&&

10|| ||Newscom/Zuma&&

11|| ||Newscom/Zuma&&

12|| ||Newscom/UPI&&

13|| ||Newscom/Sipa&&

The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: