Tags: Barack Obama | The Colbert Show | immigration | Keystone XL

Colbert to Obama: 'When Did You Decide to Become Emperor?'

By    |   Tuesday, 09 December 2014 07:40 AM

President Barack Obama was a guest on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" on Monday night, but not before showing up early to boot host Stephen Colbert from his seat and delivering his own version of Colbert's "The Word" segment.

The segment is a takeoff on Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo," and Obama, as commander-in-chief, renamed it "The Decree." He was supposedly delivering the monologue prepared for Colbert in which his fictional conservative pundit persona takes on liberalism.

In Obama's segment, Obamacare and the president's popularity were among the targets.

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When Obama returned later as guest, Obama defended his recent use of executive orders when quizzed by Colbert.

In 2008, Colbert noted, "part of your campaign was believing that the president at the time had invested the executive with too much power. Then you became president, and you seem to have a whole lot of power.

"Does that happen to every president where you get into the office and you think, 'Oh, I might be the only one I can trust with this much power so I'll hold onto it?'"

Obama repeated his argument that he has acted only after the frustration of waiting for Congress to act on issues such as immigration reform. But he assured Colbert he has made sure his legal counsel is "fiercely independent" when advising him on what he is able to legally do.

"When did you decide to burn the Constitution and become emperor?" Colbert asked.

"Actually, Steve, everything that we have done is scrupulously within the law and has been done by previous Democratic and Republican presidents," Obama said.

He also touted the improving economy, pointing to 57 straight months of private sector job growth.

"I'll give it to you: You've employed a lot of people, mostly as secretary of defense," Colbert replied in a reference to his recent nomination of Ashton Carter, who, if confirmed, will be the fourth person to hold that office during Obama's presidency.

Colbert also asked about Obama's continuing inaction on approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which is favored by Republicans and labor unions but opposed by environmentalists.

Despite Colbert pointing out that the State Department already has ruled that the project would not contribute significantly to climate change, Obama stuck by his longstanding line that it is going through an "evaluation process."

"It's being held up by a court in Nebraska which is making a decision about whether the route is legal or not," he said. "I don't make the initial decision. The State Department evaluates it."

Colbert suggested a plan that he said would "kill two birds with one Keystone."

Rather than running an oil pipeline to New Orleans, he said, "build that pipe over the Mexican border, the other end is open with a sign that says 'Mucho Jobso.' The people take the thing all the way over the border, they end up in Canada, and the Canadians are too polite to kick them out, and there’s your immigration policy."

Obama said he loves his job.

"It’s an incredible privilege," he told Colbert, "but when you’re in it, you’re not thinking about it in terms of titles, you’re thinking about, how do you deliver for the American people, and also when I go home, Michelle, Malia, Sasha give me a hard time and there are no trumpets and they tease me mercilessly."

Coming off a recent midterm defeat for his party, Obama said young people stayed home because they are disillusioned with the process.

"At a certain point, folks figure: 'You know what? It’s just not going to make a difference,'" he said.

Colbert's show is based in New York, but he shot Monday's show at George Washington University one day after hosting the Kennedy Center Awards in Washington, D.C.

Colbert's Comedy Central show will be ending Dec. 18 as he prepares to take over as host for David Letterman at CBS' "The Late Show."

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President Obama was a guest on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" on Monday, and delivered his own version of Colbert's "The Word" segment, mocking Obamacare and his declining popularity.
The Colbert Show, immigration, Keystone XL
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 07:40 AM
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