- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

He’s often been accused of abusing his power, but a tongue-in-cheek President Obama took that notion to new heights Monday night as he booted Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert from his own show, commandeering the late-night program to give it a more “presidential” feel.

In his first appearance on “The Colbert Report,” Mr. Obama literally took control from the opening moments, saying Mr. Colbert has been “taking a lot of shots at my jobs, so I’m taking a shot at yours.”

The president then went on to rename one of the show’s popular segments, “The Word,” as “The Decree,” and used his newfound platform to talk about the virtues of Obamacare and promote the health-care reform law’s second open-enrollment period.

But Mr. Colbert — who is departing Comedy Central next week to take over for David Letterman as host of CBS’ “The Late Show” — fought back and tweaked the president for, among other things, having four defense secretaries in just six years. Last week, Mr. Obama named Ashton Carter as his latest secretary of defense.

Mr. Colbert charged that hiring so many Pentagon leaders in recent years has been the primary reason for job growth.

“That’s boosted our numbers a little bit,” Mr. Obama conceded.

Still, the president, as he often does during late-night TV appearances, managed to largely stick to White House talking points on the economy, health care, immigration reform and the midterm election results.

Mr. Obama conceded that the November contests didn’t go as he would’ve liked, but he seemed to dismiss the notion that voters specifically rejected Democrats.

In fact, he said voters — young voters in particular — simply didn’t come out to the polls because they’re sick of everyone in Washington.

“At a certain point, people say, ‘You know what? It’s just not going to make a difference.’ Part of my job for the next two years, and hopefully part of the job of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, is to convince people that even in divided government, we can still put the American people ahead of politics,” Mr. Obama said.

The president again zeroed in on income inequality while defending his larger economic record.

“Overall, what we have not seen is income growth and wage growth. Corporate profits are [at] a record high, you got the stock market at a record high, but that has not translated into ordinary [people] getting enough of the share of growing productivity,” he said.

Mr. Obama also stressed that his recent executive action on illegal immigrants was done “lawfully.”

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