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Stephen Colbert takes on political preachers, while Letterman lands Romney interview -- sort of

Comedy Central

Election Day is just five weeks away, but the Barack Obama-Mitt Romney race is far from over.

“The debate could change everything,” Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday’s “Colbert Report.” “The past two years of campaigning will mean jack squat. A total reset back to Year Zero of America. We will abandon the city and seek refuge in Cliffside caves.”

And speaking of reset, the first of Colbert’s two guests was looking to go back to the days where church leaders could get directly involved in political endorsements, before the IRS stepped in and it was declared illegal for tax-exempt organizations. Religious figures involved plan to make political speeches this weekend on Pulpit Freedom Sunday, send the tapes to the IRS, and challenge those laws. Because who doesn’t love being both sued and audited?

Then again, Colbert did put up a good sales pitch. “Pulpit Freedom Sunday! When the thrill of lengthy sermons finally meets the excitement of tax policy. It’s the boldest theological movement since Casual Good Friday,” he said.

Explaining it from the organizing group’s perspective was Pastor Jim Garlow, a leader of the Pulpit Freedom Sunday effort. Grabow was a good sport, answering Colbert’s theory that if a religious leader endorsed a candidate who lost or failed in office, it would reflect poorly on God.

“Your God’s probably just fine. But maybe you just had a loser preacher,” Garlow said.

But Colbert wasn’t convinced.

“I don’t need the government protecting me from speech,. I am a mature free-thinking American capable of making my own rational decision about which candidate my priest says God wants me to pick,” he said.

After that Colbert talked to Jorge Ramos of Univision. Ramos said he doesn’t expect the Latino vote to be in play, and that the Republican strategy for dealing with the immigration issue isn’t a winner.

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“I’ve spoken to thousands of immigrants and I haven’t found one who wants to self-deport,” he said.

What voter fraud?

On “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart focused on the failure of a Voter ID law in Pennsylvania, which the courts ruled could not be applied in 2012.

“Typical liberal judge! Striking down a perfectly hypothetical solution for fear of the real harm that it does,” he said. “The whole thing is a farce. In-person voter fraud doesn’t exist. It’s like outlawing New York Mets World Series celebrations.” Jon, Jon, Jon … was the 1986 Series really so long ago? Oh, wait. Guess it was.

“The Daily Show” also sketched out what it might have been like had Herman Cain kept the lead he had at one point in the primary election polls and became president. The former GOP nominee gave a taste of how he would respond if China demanded repayment of our debt.

“Why you gotta play me like that China? When you loaned that money to my predecessors, did you really think you were gonna get it back?” Cain said.

If nothing else, I’m sure the voters would appreciate the honesty.

Finally

David Letterman's repeated public invitations to Mitt Romney finally paid off. The host, who's hasn't held back his negative commentary about the Republican candidate, wanted Romney on the "Late Show" and on Tuesday night, he got him -- sort of.

Letterman introduced Romney and out came funnyman Jack Black in the role of Romney.

"I must say, in person, you're even more handsome," Letterman quipped.

"What a kind and thoughtful thing to say," Black-as-Romney responded. "Especially to a guest who is so reticent to appear on your late-night television program. Any misgivings I previously had about talking to you have been vanquished!"

And this Romney had even more praise for Letterman.

"You're a beacon of impartiality in the wasteland that is the lame-stream media," he said. "I regret my ill-advised to decision to delay my appearance on your program."

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