3:37 PM: Stephen Colbert gives Bush tha bizness

..at the White House Correspondent's Associaton dinner last night.

Stephen Colbert - the Che Guevara of journalism? Takes a lot of guts to roast the President on live television, especially while he's sitting five feet away, but he kept a straight face the whole time, and pulled it off. The crowd didn't really know how to react, so the speech is painfully awkward at times, but still hilarious.

clips available here (via Youtube)


Thank you ladies and gentlemen

Before I begin I've been asked to make an annoucement. Whoever parked 14 black bullet proof SUVs out front please move them they are blocking in 14 other black bullet proof SUVs and they need to get out

Wow what an honor, the white house correspondents dinner to sit here at the same table as my hero, George w bush, to be this close to the man, I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what, I'm a pretty sound sleeper that might not be enough somebody shoot me in the face [turns to bush] is he really not here tonight? Damnit, the one guy who could have helped

By the way, before I get started if anyone needs anything at their tables speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers, someone from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail

Mark smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame first lady, Mr. President. My name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it is my privilege to celebrate this president, 'cause we're not so different, he and I. we both get it. Guys like us we're not some brainiacs on the nerd patrol, we're not members of the fact-onista, we go straight from gut [turn to bush] right sir? That’s where the truth lies right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than in your head? You can look it up, now I know some of you are going to say I did look it up and that's not true that's 'cause you looked it up in a book, next time look it up in your gut. I did and my gut tells me that’s how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, The Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut. I give people the truth unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the no fact zone. Fox news [points to audience] I own a copyright on that term

I'm a simple man with a simple mind and I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by.

Number one I believe in America, I believe it exists my gut tells me that I live there I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the pacific, and I strongly believe that it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow

I believe in democracy I believe democracy is our greatest export, at least until china figures out how to stamp it out of plastic for 3 cents a unit. As a matter of fact ambassador [Chinese ambassador's name, no idea how to spell it], welcome. Your great country makes our happy meals possible. [Nervous laughter from audience, I think this is the point where everyone in the audience realizes the ride they're in for] I said it’s a celebration

I believe that the government that governs best is the government that governs least, and by these standards we have setup a fabulous government in Iraq [horrified laughter] and I believe, I believe in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps I believe it is possible I saw this guy do it once in circ de sole it was magical

And though I am a committed Christian I believe everyone has their right to their own religion, be it Hindu, Jewish or Muslim, I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe its yogurt but I refuse to believe it’s not butter

Most of all I believe in this president, now I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating, but guys like us [turns to president] we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking [gestures quotations with fingers] in reality, and reality has a well known liberal bias

So Mr. President, please pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass is [pauses, laughs, turns to president] it's important to setup your jokes properly sir. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means its 2/3s empty, there's still some liquid in that glass is my point but I wouldn't drink it the last third is usually backwash

Ok, look, folks, my point is that I don’t believe this is the low point in this presidency, but see I believe it is just a lull before a comeback. I mean it's like the movie Rocky alright, the president in this case is Rocky Balboa, and Apollo Creed is [pauses] everything else in the world. it's the 10th round, he's bloody, his corner man, nick, who in this case I guess would be the vice president, is yelling cut me dick cut me and every time he falls everyone says stay down rocky STAY DOWN, but does he stay down? NO, like rocky he gets back up and in the end [looks down] he actually loses in the first movie, hmm ok doesn't matter doesn't matter the point is the heartwarming story of a man who was repeatedly punched in the face

So don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man has doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% of people approve of the job he's not doing? [Nervous laughter, one person applauds] think about it, I haven't

I stand by this man [turns to president]; I stand by this man because he stand for things, not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers, and rubble, and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

Now there may be an energy crisis, well this president has a very forward thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He’s trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite powered car.

And I, I'd just like to [turns to president] he's a good Joe, obviously loves his wife. He calls her his better half, and polls show America agrees [nervous laughter] she's a wonderful woman, but I just have one beef, ma'am [turns to first lady] this reading initiative, I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them, all fact no heart. I mean they're elitists telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen, who is Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I wanna say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American. I'm with the president, let history decide what did or didn't happen.

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady, you know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs never will. And as [pauses] excited as I am [turns to president] to be with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story. The president's side and the vice president's side. But the rest of you, what are you thinking reporting on NSA wire tapping, or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason, they're super depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished.

Over the last 5 years you people were so good. Over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know and you had the courtesy not to tell us. Those were good times, as far as we knew. But listen let's review the rules, here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he's the decider, the press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put it through a spell check and GO HOME. Get to know your family again, make love to your wife! Write that novel you got kicking around in your head; you know the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration [nervous laughter, best burn of the night in my opinion] you know, fiction!

Cause really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions after all. I mean nothing satisfies you, everybody asks for personnel changes, so the white house has personnel changes. And then you write oh they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking, this administration is soaring! If anything they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg [nervous laughter]

Now it's not all bad guys out there, there are some of the heroes out here tonight. Jeff Sachs, Ken Burns, Bob Scheifer [mispelled these no doubt] I've interviewed all of them [turns to president] by the way Mr. president, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I really appreciate it, I was just as shocked as everyone here is I promise you. How’s Tuesday for you? I've got frank rich but we can just bump him, I mean [gestures with arm] bump him, I know a guy, say the word.

See who we got here tonight, General Mosley, Airforce Chief of Staff. We got General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they still support Rumsfeld! Right, you guys aren't retired yet, right? right, they still support Rumsfeld [cut to picture of general, he does not look amused] look, by the way I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble. Don’t let them retire. Come on, we've got a stop loss program; let's use it on these guys. I've seen azini and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer. If you're strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows you're strong enough to stand at a bank of computers and order men into battle, come on! [No laughter]

Jesse Jackson is here, the reverend, haven't heard from the reverend in a little while. I had him on the show, a very interesting interview, a very challenging interview. You can ask him anything but he's gonna say what he wants, at the pace that he wants. It’s like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Justice Scalia is here, Justice Scalia may I be the fist to say [gestures with hand under chin/fuck off gesture] welcome sir! [Cut to Scalia laughing heartily] you look fantastic! [More offensive hand gestures] how are you and??? Just talking some Sicilian with my pizon

John McCain is here. John McCain, what a maverick. Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon, there's no predicting him. by the way senator McCain, so wonderful to see you coming back into the republican fold, I've actually got a summer house in south Carolina, look me up when you go to speak at bob Jones university. So glad you've seen the light sir.

Mayor Nagin, Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city. Yeah give it up, mayor Nagin I'd like to welcome you to Washington dc, the chocolate city with a marshmallow center [lots of laughs] and a graham cracker crust of corruption. It’s a malomar, I guess is what I'm describing, it's a seasonal cookie.

Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front the most famous husband since Dezzie Arnez. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame [stops, covers mouth] oh my god. Oh what have I said, I... gee-manety, I'm sorry Mr. President I meant to say, he brought along his lovely wife, Joe Wilson’s wife. Patrick Fitzgerald’s not here tonight, right? Ok, dodged a bullet.

And of course, can't forget, the man of the hour, new press secretary Tony Snow. Secret service name, snow job. Toughest job, what a hero, took the second toughest job in government next to of course the ambassador to Iraq. Got some big shoes to fill Tony, some big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan of course, eager to retire, really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew card's children.
[turns to president]now Mr. president I wish you wouldn't have made the decision so quickly sir, I was vying for the job myself, I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary [points to audience] I have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these clowns. In fact sir, I brought along an audition tape, and with your indulgence I'd like to at least give it a shot. So ladies and gentlemen, my press conference.