Liberal MSNBC host Martin Bashir and his guests were quite excited about two celebrities with no office-holding experience, actress Ashley Judd and comedian Stephen Colbert, being potential members of the U.S. Senate Friday on his eponymous show.
Bashir got the soon-to-be-only Democrat in Kentucky's U.S. congressional delegation, Rep. John Yarmuth, to come on the program to discuss whether Judd was seriously considering running against Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority leader, in 2014.
"I think she's serious about getting involved in government and playing a different kind of role in public affairs," Yarmuth said. "She's always been a very outspoken activist and very knowledgeable public policy person. So she's considering a run. We know that. We don't know — it might be against McConnell. it might be against Rand Paul in 2016. It could be for Governor of Tennessee, but it sounds to me like she's certainly interested in playing a different role."
Bashir brought up a recent statement from McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, who said they would make sure any opposition candidate wouldn't "come out with your nose clean. We're going to drive your negatives up and publicly litigate your record before any citizens of Kentucky." Both men interpreted this as being directed at Judd, leading Bashir to hyperbolically ask, "Is Benton preparing for a political campaign or a personal assassination?"
"Ashley Judd is a very, very popular figure, and you take on somebody with that — who is that well-known and who is that popular, you go negative on them at your own peril," Yarmuth said. "People don't like that if they have a very good feeling about the candidate. So, you know, we fully expect he would run that kind of campaign against any opponent, but against Ashley Judd, I think that's problematic for McConnell."
Bashir did not ask Yarmuth if it would be problematic for Judd that she has never held or even run for any elected office.
Judd's last successful film was 2011's "Dolphin Tale," a family film. Her ABC drama, "Missing," was canceled after one season.
Earlier in the program, Bashir and a panel discussed the prospect of Colbert, a liberal who lampoons conservative commentators on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," to replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), who recently announced he was leaving to head the Heritage Foundation.
"Yes!" Bashir said. "Sen. Stephen Colbert! And it makes perfect sense, now that Jim DeMint is leaving," going on to give examples like current Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), a former Saturday Night Live performer, and President Ronald Reagan, who was an actor before going into politics.
However, DeMint's replacement will be appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley (R) and will definitely not be Colbert, as Haley said this week. A special election for the final two years of his term will then be held in 2014.
Full video below: