“Guys, guys! However you feel, he’s my guest, so don’t boo him,” Stephen Colbert schooled his Late Show studio audience as he debated GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz on the subject of same-sex marriage.

On no night since Colbert took over CBS’ Late Show has the difference between his program and that of his broadcast competitors been more sharply drawn than last night as Colbert gave Cruz the grilling he did not get at either GOP debate. Meanwhile, over on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Carly Fiorina sang a tune she created about her dog, re-iterated the no-talk plan in re “barrel chested” Russian leader Vladimir Putin and explained why it’s critical for the POTUS to be religious.

Late Show Colbert logo squareCruz told Colbert his platform in a nutshell is that the country should “live within our means, stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids and follow the Constitution.”

“And no gay marriage,” Colbert chimed in, Cruz being a former Supreme Court clerk and various GOP  candidates’ having campaigned aggressively on the recent high court decision.

“Well actually, let’s be precise: Under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states,” Cruz responded.

“It doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution,” Colbert shot back. His audience applauded.

“The 10th Amendment states that if the Constitution doesn’t mention it, it’s a question for the states. … I don’t think we should entrust governing our society to five unelected lawyers in Washington,” Cruz argued. Viewers could hear boos coming from the audience. That’s when Colbert asked them to knock it off.

“If you want to win an issue, go to the ballot box and win at the ballot box,” Cruz told them.

Earlier, the Texas senator had brought up Ronald Reagan, and Colbert jumped on board:

“Reagan raised taxes, OK? Reagan actually had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today,” Colbert said, also noting the 40th president’s having worked with then-Democratic leader Tip O’Neill to get things done in Washington.  “To what level can you truly emulate Ronald Reagan?” Colbert wondered, suggesting what the American voter wants is action in Washington.

Cruz shot back that no voter ever has told him they want him to “give in more to Barack Obama.” Colbert pressed, asking Cruz if he could “agree with Reagan on” raising taxes and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

“No, of course not,” Cruz replied. Cruz’s storyline focused on the Ronald Reagan who “signed the largest tax cut in history.”

Cruz added: “He reduced government regulations from Washington, and economic growth exploded.”

Colbert reminded: “But when conditions changed in the country, he reversed his world’s largest tax cut and raised taxes when revenues did not match the expectations, so it’s a matter of compromising.”