White House Correspondents Dinner

Discussion in 'Politics' started by PoundTheRock, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner-- President Not Amused?

    By E&P Staff

    Published: April 29, 2006 11:40 PM ET updated Sunday

    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 impersonator.

    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. “If anything, 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, just three tables away from Karl Rove, and that he had brought " Valerie Plame." Then, worried that he had named her, he corrected himself, as Bush aides might do, "Uh, I mean... he brought Joseph Wilson's wife." He might have "dodged the bullet," he said, as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wasn't there.

    Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, “photo ops” on aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, melting glaciers and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face. He advised the crowd, "if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly on into your table numbers and somebody from the N.S.A. will be right over with a cocktail. "

    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 of the story — the president’s side and the vice president’s side." He also reflected on the alleged good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.

    Addressing the reporters, he said, "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. Put them 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. 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. The president shook his hand and tapped his elbow, and left immediately.

    Those seated near Bush told E&P's Joe Strupp, who was elsewhere in the room, that Bush had quickly turned from an amused guest to an obviously offended target as Colbert’s comments brought up his low approval ratings and problems in Iraq.

    Several veterans of past dinners, who requested anonymity, said the presentation was more directed at attacking the president than in the past. Several said previous hosts, like Jay Leno, equally slammed both the White House and the press corps.

    “This was anti-Bush,” said one attendee. “Usually they go back and forth between us and him.” Another noted that Bush quickly turned unhappy, and left the dais shortly after while most seated near him, including Colbert and Snow, glad-handed the crowd. “You could see he stopped smiling about halfway through Colbert,” he reported.

    After the gathering, Snow, while nursing a Heineken outside the Chicago Tribune reception, declined to comment on Colbert. “I’m not doing entertainment reviews,” he said. “I thought the president was great, though.”

    Strupp, in the crowd during the Colbert routine, had 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. (He later said the president told him "good job" when he walked off.)

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

    In its report on the affair, USA Today asserted that some in the crowd cracked up over Colbert but others were "bewildered." Wolf Blitzer of CNN said he thought Colbert was funny and "a little on the edge."

    Earlier, the president had addressed 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." The routine went over well with the crowd -- better than did Colbert's, in fact.

    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.

    E&P Staff (gmitchell@editorandpublisher.com)
  2. This guy Colbert has some cojones -- pretty funny.
  3. Maverick74



    Bush Plays Straight Man to His Lookalike

    The Associated Press
    Sunday, April 30, 2006; 1:30 PM

    WASHINGTON -- It was twice the fun for members of the White House Correspondents' Association and guests when President Bush and a lookalike, soundalike sidekick poked fun at the president and fellow politicians.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, I feel chipper tonight. I survived the White House shake-up," the president said Saturday night.

    But impersonator Steve Bridges stole many of the best lines. Vice President Dick Cheney and his hunting accident were targets of his humor on a couple of occasions.

    "Speaking of suspects, where is the great white hunter?" Bridges said, later adding, "He shot the only trial lawyer in the country who supports me."

    Bush continued a tradition begun by President Coolidge in attending the correspondents' dinner.

    He invited Bridges to play his double. The president talked to the press in polite, friendly terms. Bridges told them what the president was really thinking.

    Bridges opened like this: "The media really ticks me off _ the way they try to embarrass me by not editing what I say. Well, let's get things going, or I'll never get to bed."

    "I'm absolutely delighted to be here, as is (wife) Laura," Bush replied.

    "She's hot," Bridges quipped.

    The featured entertainer was Stephen Colbert, whose Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report" often lampoons the Washington establishment.

    "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," Colbert said in a typical zinger.

    He also paid mock tribute to Bush as a man who "believes Wednesday what he believed Monday, despite what happened Tuesday."

    Yet it's the Who's Who of power and celebrity in the audience _ invited by media organizations to their dinner tables _ that draws much of the attention.

    Joining ABC were former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, the CIA officer at the heart of a leak investigation that has reached deep into the White House.

    Others on the guest list included rapper-actor Ludacris; James Denton, the hunky plumber on ABC's "Desperate Housewives"; "Dancing With the Stars" winner Drew Lachey; New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin; tennis player Anna Kournikova; and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    Award winners honored at the dinner were:

    _Deb Riechmann of The Associated Press and Terry Moran of ABC News, Merriman Smith Awards, the top journalism award for White House reporting under deadline pressure.

    Riechmann was recognized for breaking the news of Bush's choice of John Roberts for the Supreme Court. Moran was cited for his broadcast coverage of Bush's first visit to areas hit by Hurricane Katrina.

    _Carl Cannon of the National Journal, the Aldo Beckman Award for his profile of presidential adviser Michael Gerson. The award is given for repeated excellence in White House reporting.

    _Marcus Stern and Jerry Kammer of the Copley News Service, the Edgar A. Poe Award for a series of stories on Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who resigned in disgrace and pleaded guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes. The Poe award recognizes excellence in news of national and regional importance.

    The association was established in 1914 as a bridge between the press corps and the White House. The current president is Mark Smith of AP Radio.
  4. Yeah, I saw some of that footage. That was hilarious as well. Give credit to President Bush as he does seem to have a good sense of humor.
  5. i am a huge colbert fan

    but imo, colbert simply wasn't very funny at the dinner. everybody bombs sometimes.

    the bush impersonator was very funny, as was bush. i just think colbert was off. his routine was longish, and his timing was off

    it just wasn't up to snuff, imo