Episode 5018 (02/03/2009)

Hey! Lady Liberty, isn’t it time you settled down and found yourself a man? This is The Colbert Report!”

New Elephant in the Room: “Tonight, Republicans choose a new leader. Don’t worry they’re the same old ideas.”

  • Tom Daschle Steps Down

The Wørd: Army of One

A Fool and Your Money “Then, advice for America’s C.E.O.’s. Step one – buy a shredder. Step two – plug in the shredder. Step three – dive right in.”

  • Colbert Platinum: Ass Covering Edition

Barbarian Asks the Gates “Then, author Henry Louis Gates has a new book about Lincoln. I’m pretty sure he wrote it just to meet Obama.”

  • Guest: Henry Louis Gates Jr.


Henry Louis Gates Jr. Lincoln on Race and Slavery

In closing: “Thank you so much. Ladies and gentlemen, that is all the show we have time for. Fortunately, it’s also all the time we have show for. Everybody wins – good night.”

Video Highlight: The Word – Army of One If Republicans do what Rush Limbaugh says, they’ll get the only vote that matters: his.

R.A.P.S. – Click here to talk about the episode!

NOTABLE MOMENTS — Video links and more after the fold!

More Video Highlights, courtesy of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report website


  • Obviously, let’s get right down to it, big news today, of course. Tom Daschle has taken himself out the running to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • His judgment was thrown into doubt when he was asked to choose eye glass frames and went with gay John Lennon.
  • In a statement, Daschle explained his withdrawal: “…this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction. Right now, I am not that leader.”
  • Or as Christian Bale might put it, “Hey, it’s f$#%ing distracting!”
  • Of course, the main distraction was Daschle’s late payment of almost $130,000 in back taxes. And apparently, the position of Secretary of Not Paying Your Taxes was already filled.
  • Now, I’m not a big “pay your taxes” kind of guy. I haven’t paid my taxes since I had myself legally declared an island in the Caribbean.
  • I call these babies Turks and Caicos.
  • I gotta work on my coral reefs.
  • Everybody says Daschle was the one guy who would have been able to push through Obama’s socialized medicine agenda.
  • You know what that means? No universal care! WHOOO! You’re not getting health care, and you’re not getting health care, and you’re not getting health care! None of you are getting health care!
  • Nation, look how happy they are. Let’s celebrate. Enjoy celebratory raw egg, or suck on a Chinese toy, or adopt a monkey from an infectious disease lab. Live a little!
  • Now I was afraid the Obama administration was going to be tough because of the whole “mandate to govern” and high approval ratings, but Daschle folded like an origami tax form that you “forgot to fill out”.
  • If this were the Bush administration, he would never have stepped down – not without a Medal of Freedom.
  • I’m telling you Obama’s team won’t last more than a month. It’s just a matter of time before Hillary Clinton quits after it’s revealed she went over her anytime minutes.
  • Things are looking better for the Republicans, and it’s about time. They lost the presidency. They’re the minority in the House and the Senate.
  • At lunch, they stare at their plates hoping an image of Reagan will appear in their grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Right now, Republicans are still trying to figure out who they are. And you can tell because Lindsay Graham has started dressing in black and listening to The Cure.
  • Thankfully, the Republicans have found a bold, new leader which brings us to tonight’s word: Army of One.
  • Now folks, last Friday the Republicans elected a new chairman, Michael Steele. [Picture of Michael Steele] This is a landmark achievement. Steele is the first African-American to hold the post. He’s qualified. He’s an excellent fund raiser. And most excitingly, he is completely irrelevant. [Irrelevant Elephant] Because there is a much fresher face the Republicans are now following. Quote: “He is a passionate, articulate, conservative voice.” “Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh, Rush, Rush, Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh has an incredible amount of power. He really is a force to reckon with. Rush Limbaugh is a conservative voice in this country that clearly, people must pay attention to.” Rush Limbaugh is the future of the Republican Party. [This is 1993, Right?] Folks, here’s how it went down. Rush said he wanted Obama to fail. Obama said Republicans shouldn’t listen to Rush. Republicans embraced Rush as their leader. [And Got a Contact High] So, the battles lines were drawn, and the GOP went to battle for Lord Humongous. Quote: “Why is the President of the United States picking fight with Rush Limbaugh?” “Mr. Limbaugh is a voice of a significant portion of our conservative movement in America.” “Rush Limbaugh, who I admire, and like millions of Americans, I cherish his voice in the public debate.” I cherish Rush’s voice too. That’s why he’s my ringtone. *Plays ringtone that has Rush saying: Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.* So true. It’s kind of like what talk radio does for unattractive men. [And Whatever Glenn Beck Is] Now, there were some Judas’s who tried to tried to betray their super-sized savior, like friend of the show Georgia congressman, Phil Gingrey, who said last Tuesday, “It’s easy if you’re… Rush Limbaugh… to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party…” Rush would never do that. He needs those bricks. Tragically, he learned from his two brothers that you can’t build a house out of straw or sticks. [Also Stocked Up on Chinny-Chin-Chins] Luckily, Congressman Gingrey is a huge coward. So, he went on Rush’s show to beg for forgiveness. Gingrey saying: “I want to express to you and all of your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments, and I just want to tell you Rush, and all our conservative giants who help us so much to maintain our base, and grow it, and get back this majority, that I regret those stupid comments.” You know? That’s funny. When I interviewed Gingrey, he had a mustache. I wonder why he lost that. [Left It Up Rush’s Ass] Now it is no surprise that Republicans are returning to Rush. He is a symbol of their glory days, back when the party stood for something. [Destroying Bill Clinton] He offers a demographic for the future: white males, over 50, with no young children. Just saying those words is like a zeppelin trip to Tomorrowland. [A Hindenburg of Progress] And like, just like his nemesis Obama, his words can inspire a nation. Remember his stirring tribute to Michael J. Fox?. *clip of Rush rudely pretending to be Fox* Or his sensitive analysis when Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama. Rush shouting: “It was totally about race!” Or for that matter, the strong support he showed our Commander-in-Chief in a time of war. Rush: “I hope he fails.” So Republicans, follow Limbaugh. All Rush wants is for the Republican Party to return to core principles, and the core principle that Rush follows is: follow Rush. [Off a Cliff] Just do what he says and you’ll get the only vote that matters – his. Which is good because if you do what he says, eventually his will be the only vote you get. [Smarmy of One] And that’s the word. We’ll be right back.
  • Nation, last week President Obama scolded Wall Street executives for handing out $18 billion in bonuses.
  • Wrong, Mr. President. Wall Street is full of a lot of things, but clearly, shame isn’t one of them.
  • The point is – the masses want blood. And it is my duty to look out for little guy. Which is to say, the rich.
  • We are physically smaller from decades of inbreeding. This is “Colbert Platinum”.
  • Ass-covering edition.
  • Reminder this segment is for Colbert Platinum members only. If your private chef isn’t creating new animal hybrids for you to eat, maybe you should go see what’s on Spike.
  • Extremely rich nation, it’s time to learn a lesson from our fellow Platinums on how to cover your ass.
  • First, ex-Merrill Lynch honcho, John Thain, who while his firm was getting Merrill-lynched in the market, spent $1.2 million to renovate his corner office with items like a $1400 parchment waste can and a $35000 commode on legs.
  • Non-rich people just don’t understand the convenience of a toilet that walks to you. *Ridiculous picture of Stephen and a walking toilet.*
  • But Thain handled it like a pro. Once he got caught, he apologized. *Clip of Thain apologizing and saying he will reimburse the company.*
  • Nice work. If there’s one thing poor people love, it’s an apology.
  • That’s why when I pass beggars on the street, I always say, “Sorry.”
  • Now paying the furniture money back is not bad. But better to go one step further, and just hire people to be your furniture. That’s creating jobs.
  • Next up, former Lehman Brothers C.E.O., Richard Fuld, who sold his $13 million dollar Florida mansion for $100. Where’s he gonna live now?
  • I guess he’ll have to move in with his wife, who bought his $13 million Florida mansion for $100.
  • That is a brilliant way to hide assets from creditors. But how do you protect the rest of your stuff?
  • First, you sell your house to your wife. Then, sell your wife to your boat, your boat to your car, your car to your jet, and finally, your jet to your dog.
  • Though now that the dog is doing you such a big favor, you might have to let him hump more than your leg.
  • It’s a rough economy, it’s a rough economy – Man’s best friend.
  • Now, not everybody nails it. Take Marcus Schrenker, the wealthy banker, who to escape massive death, crashed his plane to fake his death. Schrenker’s mistake – he didn’t commit.
  • If you really want to convince people you’re dead, you need to actually die. Or better yet, why not learn to live?
  • Abandon your ego. Find beauty in the everyday. Treat everyone you meet with respect, and share your blessings and your goods with those less fortunate.
  • Then, when you die you’ll go to Heaven, where you can spend eternity eating gold and nailing angels.
  • Well, that’s it for “Colbert Platinum”. Remember, if anyone sees you drinking champagne and eating caviar, tell them it’s ginger ale and dirt.
  • My guest tonight has a new book about Lincoln and race. I bet that stove pipe hat really slowed his 440. Please welcome Henry Louis Gates.
    • SC: Alright, let’s get right down into it. Your book is called, “Lincoln on Race and Slavery” and you also have an upcoming television show called, “Looking for Lincoln” on PBS. Lincoln here, Lincoln there. That’s a lot of Lincolns. What Lincoln are you looking for in your work? The conservative, the liberal, the gay, the depressed, the racist, the transcendental – which Lincoln?
    • Gates: Each generation of Americans remakes the image of Lincoln in order to remake ourselves. The myth of Lincoln is so capacious that every successive generation of Americans has been able to look into the mirror of Lincoln and see themselves reflected.
    • SC: I like that word, myth, because I have had a suspicion that maybe there wasn’t even a Lincoln. We made him up. Cause he seems a lot like Paul Bunyon to me – you know, he’s a big, strapping frontiersman, with an axe, splitting rails.
    • Gates: He did have an axe.
    • SC: A blue ox?
    • Gates: He was a man, a very real man, three dimensions, who was turned into a myth.
    • SC: Why? Why is he a myth?
    • Gates: He was shot on Good Friday, late on Good Friday, at Ford’s Theatre as we all know. He dies Easter Saturday. By Easter Sunday, all throughout pulpits in the North, he’s being compared to Christ. He’s the American Christ. In 48 hours, this man was turned into a myth – a man who was very unpopular at certain points in his presidency, but who managed to win the war, keep the union together, managed to begin the process of freeing the slaves, and then, became deified.
    • SC: Now, in this book, “Lincoln on Race and Slavery,” well, we know what Lincoln’s opinion was on race. He wanted to free the slaves, right? He was against slavery – that’s Lincoln. Freed slaves, got shot. End of story. End of book. What else is in here?
    • Gates: He was always against the institution of slavery, but he was not a fan of Black people for a very long time. In fact, he gave a speech in Charleston, Illinois in 1858 in which he said, I’m opposed fundamentally to interracial marriage, I don’t believe Negros should be allowed to vote, serve as jurors, or to fight for the United States.
    • SC: I mean people compare Obama to Lincoln. What would he think if he came back and he saw Obama being inaugurated?
    • Gates: He would be shocked.
    • SC: So I’m very Lincoln-esque.
    • Gates: You look more like him everyday.
    • SC: Thank you very much.
    • Gates: And so does Barack.
    • SC: Why? Cause is he going for the chin curtain?
    • Gates: Every American president tries, there’s an expression in the White House, “You have to get right with Lincoln.” Every American president tries to situate or position himself against or with Abraham Lincoln. But none has wrapped himself in the mantel of Abraham Lincoln more thoroughly than has Barack Obama.
    • SC: This is one of the problems I have with scholarship. Okay, I’m sure you’re the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center for African-American studies at Harvard University, correct? Okay. I’m sure you’re a big ol’ smarty pants. You got this book where you’re finding out, you’re looking for the real Lincoln in your special there, but isn’t one of the magic things about Lincoln, is that, you know, we can just assume that whatever we’re doing is what he would want? Can’t we just declare that about Lincoln if we don’t know anything about him?
    • Gates: You know that there are 14,000 books about Abraham Lincoln? The only person…
    • SC: And one. But this is the only one people should buy.
    • Gates: Absolutely. Definitive. Only Jesus has more books written about him than Abraham Lincoln.
    • SC: He has one book written about him, technically.
    • Gates: But it’s a best-seller. And in a way, all these books are right. Abraham Lincoln is a little bit of this and little bit of that. You know? Fidel’s hero is Abraham Lincoln. One scholar wrote a book that said Lincoln was gay. I doubt… You’re from North Carolina.
    • SC: South Carolina.
    • Gates: Oh, South Carolina. I beg your pardon.
    • SC: I forgive you.
    • Gates: Last summer I filmed at the annual convention of The Sons of the Confederacy in Winston-Salem. And they told me that no journalist had ever filmed there before. I could see why. I was terrified. But they were really nice to me. I called, make sure they knew I was a brother. I didn’t want any mistaken identity. You know what I mean?
    • SC: Absolutely, absolutely.
    • Gates: You know what they said? They said that Abraham Lincoln should be chiseled off of Mount Rushmore – that he was the greatest war criminal in the history of the United States, and should be tried posthumously for war crimes under the Nuremberg Convention.
    • SC: Did these people have sloping foreheads and enlarged jaws?
    • Gates: They didn’t actually. They were very subtle, very intelligent people who cared about the sacrifices that their ancestors made fighting for principles that they believed in.
    • SC: I talked to the head of the NAACP a couple of weeks ago, and I pointed out to him there is nothing really for Black civil rights leaders, and for that matter, Black scholars of American history to be working on now that Obama is president because African-American history and American history are now just joined into history, aren’t they? By the knob at the top. So what other skills do you have? What are you going to be doing from now on?
    • Gates: I’ve been thinking about writing about white people like you Stephen.
    • SC: Oh really? I’m fascinating.
    • Gates: You know? After all, there’s a bigger readership, there’s a bigger audience.
    • SC: Now you said growing up, that there were two pictures of white people on your wall. One was Lincoln. Who was the other person?
    • Gates: Jesus.
    • SC: So you admit Jesus was white! You! The director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center for African-American History at Harvard – That is news! I’m afraid we’re all out of time. Thank you so much. Henry Louis Gates. The book is “Lincoln on Race and Slavery,” the T.V. show is “Looking for Lincoln” on PBS, the man is wall-to-wall Lincoln.

Fangirl Suit Report: Dark suit, white shirt with French cuffs. Silver tie with white and navy stripes. WristStrong bracelet. Slicked back hair.

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