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Paul Ryan's soup kitchen visit gets lampooned on late-night TV

Comedy Central

There’s no more awkward day to be Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert than times like Tuesday night. The presidential debate had just finished, the viewing audience was eager to get their takes on it … and because both taped before it began, everyone had to wait a day for the snark.

Colbert’s prediction was obvious: “(Romney’s) got the edge heading into tonight’s presidential debate, in that unlike Obama, he was there for the first one.”

We’ll see Wednesday night if he gives himself credit for being right.

Both hosts had some fun with Paul Ryan’s volunteering -- or perhaps “volunteering” -- at a soup kitchen. After the fact, reports came out that there were no customers there, that the dishes were already washed and that the Romney team "forced" Ryan’s way into a facility that doesn’t want to be used as a political tool.

“Do you know how hard it is to make volunteering at a homeless shelter look like a negative thing?” Stewart said.

And even though later reports proved that those dishes really were dirty -- and specifically set aside for Ryan's brief visit -- the hosts didn't give the VP candidate a break.

“Forget 'Atlas Shrugged.' This weekend, Atlas Scrubbed,” Colbert noted. And he didn’t seemed bothered by the question of whether Ryan’s efforts were for the homeless or simply for the cameras. Even if he was only washing plates for a photo op, Colbert said, “That may sound pointless, but remember he’s running for vice president, the Commander-in-Pointless.”


Colbert also sympathized with the plaintiff on a Supreme Court case in which she alleges that she was not admitted to the University of Texas, and instead had to attend Louisiana State, because she is not a minority. (If it’s any comfort to her, plenty of Texas students probably wish they’d picked LSU instead following the Longhorns blowout loss on Saturday to Oklahoma).

“Folks, there is no greater injustice than having to attend your safety school,” he said. “I was devastated when I had to attend Dartmouth instead of my first choice: Hogwarts. They never responded to my application owl -- probably because he was white.”

And to compound the insult, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling went on “The Daily Show” Monday night instead of appearing on Colbert. Burn!

Colbert did get Newark Mayor Cory Booker, fresh off his deal to get Manischewitz to relocate its corporate headquarters to his city (“You’ve got the worst wine on Earth coming. Mazel Tov!” Colbert said). The host asked the Democratic Booker to defend President Obama’s performance in the first debate.

“I think in this environment of 'American Idol,' we get focused on form and not as much on substance,” Booker said.

It’s settled. Ryan Seacrest and the “Idol” judges are moderating the next debate.  

As for Tuesday night's "Idol"-free debate, elsewhere in late night, it wasn't too early to focus on it after all. Jimmy Kimmel could have covered the action after it happened on his "Live!" show, but where's the fun in that? Instead he sent a camera crew out to the streets to talk to public about just who won the debate -- long before it ever took place.

But just because it hadn't actually happened yet, that didn't mean the man in the street didn't have some strong opinions about it. Some gave it to Obama, while other politically-minded folks rattled off their favorite highlights from the debate they only imagined. Watch the video above for the full range of reactions.

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