Sunday, April 30, 2006

Colbert Rips Bush a new one

Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner-- President
Does Not Seem Amused

By E&P Staff

Published: April 29, 2006 11:40 PM ET
WASHINGTON A blistering comedy "tribute" to President Bush by Comedy
Central's faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House
Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling
at its close.

Earlier, the president had delivered his talk to the 2700 attendees,
including many celebrities and top officials, with the help of a Bush

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who
ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his
low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, "and reality
has a well-known liberal bias."

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White
House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. "This
administration is soaring, not sinking," he said. "They are re-arranging
the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg."

Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired
generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky
Balboa in the "Rocky" movies, always getting punched in the face--"and
Apollo Creed is everything else in the world."

Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that
governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards
we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

He noted former Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the crowd, as well as "
Valerie Plame." Then, pretending to be worried that he had named her, he
corrected himself, as Bush aides might do, "Uh, I mean... Joseph
Wilson's wife." He asserted that it might be okay, as prosecutor Patrick
Fitzgerald was probably not there.

Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, "photo ops" on
aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, and Vice President Cheney
shooting people in the face.
Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, "When the
president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday
- no matter what happened Tuesday."

Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was "surrounded by
the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News.
Fox believes in presenting both sides--the president's side and the vice
president's side." He also reflected on the good old days, when the
media was still swallowing the WMD story.

Addressing the reporters, he said, "You should spend more time with your
families, write that novel you've always wanted to write. You know, the
one about the fearless reporter who stands up to the administration. You
know-- fiction."

He claimed that the Secret Service name for Bush's new press secretary
is "Snow Job." Colbert closed his routine with a video fantasy where he
gets to be White House Press Secretary, complete with a special "Gannon"
button on his podium. By the end, he had to run from Helen Thomas and
her questions about why the U.S. really invaded Iraq and killed all
those people.

As Colbert walked from the podium, when it was over, the president and
First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling, and left immediately.

E&P's Joe Strupp, in the crowd, observed that quite a few sitting near
him looked a little uncomfortable at times, perhaps feeling the material
was a little too biting--or too much speaking "truthiness" to power.

Asked by E&P after it was over if he thought he'd been too harsh,
Colbert said, "Not at all." Was he trying to make a point politically or
just get laughs? "Just for laughs," he said. He said he did not pull any
material for being too strong, just for time reasons.

Helen Thomas told Strupp her segment with Colbert was "just for fun."

The president had talked to the crowd with a Bush impersonator
alongside, with the faux-Bush speaking precisely and the real Bush
deliberately mispronouncing words, such as the inevitable "nuclear." At
the close, Bush called the imposter "a fine talent. In fact, he did all
my debates with Senator Kerry."

Among attendees at the black tie event: Morgan Fairchild, quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger, Justice Antonin Scalia, George Clooney, and Jeff
"Skunk" Baxter of the Doobie Brothers--in a kilt.


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