11/17/2011 02:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Chris Matthews, Stephen Colbert Laugh It Up, Talk JFK Book

Chris Matthews appeared on "The Colbert Report" on Wednesday to discuss his new book on John F. Kennedy. His enthusiasm for the late president was so infectious that even Colbert admitted that Matthews was onto something.

Colbert introduced Matthews with a cheeky comment that cracked the MSNBC host up. "By coming on, you have admitted that my half-hour program has more pull than your entire network," Colbert joked. "I accept your surrender."

Matthews explained that he wanted younger audiences to know "that they once had a hero as a president." His admiration for Kennedy was clear as he recounted stories about the president's heroism during the war. After noting that Kennedy had saved his stranded crew by carving a message into a coconut, Colbert asked, "Can you imagine how this guy would do on 'The Amazing Race?'"

The comedian also wanted to know, "Why are you guys - and I mean you lefties -- so obsessed with this particular Democratic president?" Matthews cited the American people's love of Kennedy, and growing up with the threat of nuclear war -- which he credited Kennedy for averting.

But the pièce de résistance of the interview came when Colbert asked Matthews who the next Kennedy would be. "Gingrich?" Colbert guessed. Matthews responded with his signature "HA!" and an emphatic "no!"