Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles 2020 Democrats

Stephen Colbert and John Dickerson discuss impeachment, Bloomberg, and the upside of billionaire-bashing

CBS News' John Dickerson "has been reporting on Washington since 1995, and no one is better at making sense of it," Stephen Colbert said to introduce his guest on Thursday's Late Show. They first tried to make sense of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's likely late entry into the Democratic presidential race.

"You only heard one 'woo,'" Dickerson noted when Colbert reported Bloomberg's move. Bloomberg's "a single-woo candidate," he added, "but the thinking is there's room for only one moderate" in the race, and Joe Biden "isn't getting the job done." Colbert asked what Bloomberg's entry would mean for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) "because a lot of billionaires are not happy about her — I wonder why." Dickerson suggested "it's a good sign for Warren" and the Democratic left, because "he wouldn't be concerned if she weren't doing well."

"There are only, according to Fortune magazine, 607 billionaires in the world," Colbert said. "Why do we care what they think? Because there's a lot more of us, and they have too much money. ... Why is it a bad idea to attack billionaires?" "I don't think, in the Democratic Party, it's a bad idea at all," Dickerson said. "I mean, that's why Elizabeth Warren is doing pretty well." Still, he added, campaigning and governing are different things, and if a Democrat defeats Trump in what's sure to be a "scorched-earth" election, "expectations for a Democratic whirlwind in the first 100 days should probably be lowered a bit."

"It really does look like there's going to be an impeachment in the House," so what are Republican senators saying behind closed doors about the likely trial? Colbert asked Dickerson. Their "first thought is about the actual process of going through the trial," which involves no cellphones and no talking, "like being back in third grade," he said. Politically, Republicans don't seem to have decided what to say about Trump's Ukraine actions, and Dickerson suggested the ones willing to excuse Trump's behavior may be taking on more than they can bear.

"Last question: How goes the Republic?" Colbert asked. "Fine, we're fine," Dickerson said. "We are a durable country, and we've been through a whole lot worse." Peter Weber