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Colbert vs. Edwards

Say What?
Saying his parents moved him — that's the easy answer.

— Comedian Stephen Colbert, who was raised in Charleston, attacking John Edwards in a battle for claiming to be a native son of South Carolina, though he moved away when he was a year old. Quoted in The State on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007.

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Re: Colbert vs. Edwards

Hey, doesn't everybody get to be a native son or daughter of some place?

Where does Stephen Colbert stand on Andrew Jackson? Folks can disagree on whether Old Hickory was born below the Carolina-Carolina line in South Carolina or above it in what would have been at the time Mecklenburg County, N.C. (since Union County, N.C., was not formed until the 19th Century out of the western part of Anson and the eastern part of Mecklenburg).

Regardless of that question, Jackson wound up in Tennessee although he did "read law" in Salisbury back on those frontier days and rode the circuit as far north as Martinsville, Va. Still, we know for sure that Andrew Jackson was a native of one of the Carolinas through he didn't stay in either one for very long.

Hearing comedians talk about politics has been great fun all the way back to the monologues of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, and comedians help the country's pundits and political leaders keep from getting too pompous about politics. But elevating comedians to professional journalistic parity with the national press corps has hurt essential political news coverage, and among the worst offenders is ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulous with its "Sunday Funnies" segment: ABC basically has "hired" the major comedians from several networks to moonlight each Sunday morning as political commentators exclusively for its own Sunday morning news program, giving the network the likes of CBS's David Letterman and NBC's Jay Leno as virtual regular staff contributors.

At least Al Franken has taken the step of signing up for an actual campaign as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota, so Al is showing he is willing not only to try out his on-the-stump campaign material but take some of the politial heat that goes with being a serious candidate in a major statewide campaign. And Al Franken is doing well in his campaign in Minnesota because people in the Gopher State can now say: "We like ourselves, and we're okay."

South Carolina native John Edwards is in good company in the pantheon of state politics in the two Carolinas: the early advocate for substantial improvement in health care and construction of new medical facilities for mid-20th Century North Carolina, Gov. R. Gregg Cherry of Gastonia (1945-1949), was born in York County, S.C. Edwards ought to go to Gastonia and make a stemwinder of a speech on health care and cite the example of the Pacesetter of the Piedmont's own Gregg Cherry.

If some of the big television stars of comedy and entertainment don't understand the uniqueness of the Carolinas, we can at least try to help enlighten them. Just ask Jay Leno: he's been to Western Carolina University for an appearance in the heart of the Smoky Mountains.

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