Late Night: Stephen Colbert, Michelle Obama show support for troops

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Michelle Obama Pt. 1
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In recent months, First Lady Michelle Obama has become a late-night television fixture almost as ubiquitous as Betty White. Capping off a recent string of appearances on “The Late Show,” “Late Night,” and “The Tonight Show” -- not to mention “The Biggest Loser” -- the first lady made her second visit to “The Colbert Report” Wednesday night.

No, she wasn’t campaigning -- at least not officially. She was there to promote Joining Forces, the initiative she and Jill Biden co-founded last year to encourage support for military families.


Colbert didn’t just have the first lady as a guest, he also dedicated the entire episode to her pet cause, starting with a “Word” segment highlighting the struggles of military families and then encouraging business owners to employ veterans by putting one Marine, Sgt. Bryan Escobedo, through “Pundit Boot Camp.” (As Escobedo learned, when in doubt, make up some statistics or just say “Not in this economy.”) Obama even made a brief appearance in the bit, thanking Escobedo for his service and poking fun at Colbert’s thinning hair.

Finally, FLOTUS joined Colbert for a chat about Joining Forces, which marked its first anniversary Wednesday. After a boisterous welcome from “The Colbert Report” audience, Obama explained her mission. “Jill Biden and I started this initiative to make sure that this country -- which is a grateful nation -- to make sure that we do whatever we can to honor the service of our troops, our veterans, and their families.”

Obama emphasized the importance of hiring veterans, especially given the disproportionately high unemployment rate among military families. “Until we get to zero, we still have a lot of work to do,” she said, praising the skills and discipline that veterans bring to the workplace.

Plus, as Colbert suggested, there are additional fringe benefits to hiring former soldiers. “With the stories he tells of his previous job, it’ll really make the inter-office complaining sound trivial.”

“It’s hard to be a whiner around a veteran,” Obama agreed.

Obama explained that she was moved to start Joining Forces after speaking with military families on the campaign trail. “I was awed by their sacrifice,” she said. “Most Americans are like me and like you; we are not a part of the American military, so we don’t understand that sacrifice.”

Although most of the conversation was devoted to Joining Forces, Colbert did talk politics -- sort of. “Do you ever lord over the president the fact that you’re more popular than he is? Do you ever say, ‘Hey watch it, or I might not campaign for you?’ ' he asked.

“I might try that when I get home,” she quipped. The first lady might not be a professional comedian (yet), but clearly she’s taken some notes.

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Michelle Obama Pt. 2
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— Meredith Blake