Rahm Emanuel Roasts Stephen Colbert

12/16/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • The Huffington Post

White House chief of staff-designate Rahm Emanuel took some time off from the transition Friday night to hurl barbs at his longtime pseudo-nemesis Stephen Colbert (as well as Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, Joe Lieberman, et al...)

Colbert was roasted as part of a charity event for the Spina Bifida Association, organized every year by Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt. (Click here to donate to the cause.)

Some highlights from Rahm's speech:

On Joe Biden: "Unfortunately, Joe Biden couldn't make it here tonight. Joe's the one who predicted that President-elect Obama will be tested by a crisis in the first six months of his presidency. What he didn't mention: the crisis will no doubt be over something Joe said."

On Steny Hoyer: Stephen is a guy who knows that no matter how smart or successful he is, he'll always play second fiddle to Jon Stewart. If he thinks that's humiliating, try standing behind Steny Hoyer.

On Barack Obama: Of course, Stephen and I do have our differences. Stephen believes the messiah is Jesus Christ. In my briefing books, that's Barack Obama.

On Sarah Palin, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Lieberman: "I'm scared of Stephen Colbert. I'm not alone. My colleagues in Congress, political operatives, the top minds in Washington, even some of the people in this room -- we're all scared of Stephen Colbert... We're scared of Stephen Colbert in the same way Sarah Palin is scared of a geography bee. We're scared of him the same way that John Edwards is scared of the National Enquirer. Mary Matalin is scared of Stephen, and she's seen Carville naked! ... Even Hillary Clinton is scared of Colbert, and this makes no sense to me -- she is a woman who braved sniper fire at the Battle of Bosnia's Airport. We're frightened of Colbert, but we know that deep down, underneath the Republican character you see on TV, there's still a good man, there's still hope for him. It's the same way we feel about Joe Lieberman."

On Sen. Orrin Hatch's musical talents: "Did you know that Orrin is a songwriter much the way Joe is a plumber?"

On DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton: "In Congress, Eleanor is allowed to speak, but doesn't have a real vote or a final say. So she has the same role I used to play with Nancy Pelosi."

On Mark Shields: "He's been called one of the funniest, wittiest political analysts in Washington, which is like being called the sexiest member of the Supreme Court."

* * *

And from Stephen Colbert's speech:

On Judy Woodruff: "Judy, great to see you tonight. I love Judy's work, I haven't seen you lately, where have you been? PBS? Oh that explains it. It's a great place to get away from it all -- especially all the viewers. It's essentially the witness protection program for journalists. If you testify against the mob, they send you to Newshour. Is Jim Lehrer here? Jim Lehrer, the man brave enough to be boring. ... The important thing, Judy, is you're doing good work -- you are helping millions of elderly go to sleep every night. Well, technically it's dozens, a lot of people use the Weather Channel instead."

On Alan Greenspan: "Alan Greenspan is here, and we're in the middle of a once-in-a-century financial meltdown, so of course the question everyone is asking is, How did Alan Greenspan land Andrea Mitchell? Seriously. Keep kissing him, Andrea, he's going to turn into a prince one of these days."

On Ben Bradlee: "Ben Bradlee is here -- nice to see you Ben. Congratulations on your latest children's book, 'Grandpa, What Was Print Media?'"

On Chris Matthews: "Chris Matthews is here tonight, thank you so much for coming here tonight. People are asking, how did he come here, doesn't he have a show? Well what people don't know is that many nights, Chris just puts a blond wig on a potato and nobody notices. You're a good man -- good luck in Pennsylvania on that run."

On Dana Perino: "Dana Perino is here, what an honor to be roasted by the spokesman for the president. Dana Perino, wonderful to see you. I always knew Scott McClellan would hatch into something beautiful. When you crawled out of the McClellan cocoon, did you have to devour the shell for nutrients or is he still lurking around someplace? ... I loved it when you told Helen Thomas that the 'Mission Accomplished' banner should have read, 'Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission.' I certainly hope you had a banner for that explanation. Do you get sore the next day after shoveling it that hard? I kid, I kid, but no, Dana, you are the one person who I don't mind slamming me on this entire podium, because I know for the last year and a half you haven't meant anything you've said."

On Bill Clinton: (Speaking to Rahm) "Can I be in your cabinet? If Hillary says no, can I be Secretary of State? I promise I'll be good, I'll just sit in the back of the room, I won't say anything! No special conditions, I'll agree with everything that you say. And I promise, unlike Bill Clinton, if I say something nice about Barack in public, I won't look like I'm trying to pass a stone."