Michelle Obama plugs veterans initiative in sit-down with Colbert

WASHINGTON -- First Lady Michelle Obama sat down for an interview with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert to mark the one-year anniversary of her “Joining Forces” project to help veterans find employment after they return from war.

In an appearance Wednesday on “The Colbert Report,” Obama said the project began as a campaign promise to veterans, and that the work is not done. Unemployment among the armed forces has been decreasing, but is still a problem for many.

“I said on the campaign trail that if I had the opportunity to serve in this role, that I would try to be their voice and tell their stories,” Obama said of veterans and their families.

The first lady’s appearance on the comedy news show included a skit with Colbert and a Marine veteran, Sgt. Bryan Escobedo, in which Colbert trained the Marine in the skills of punditry.


All jokes aside, Obama said employers would be smart to hire veterans.

“These people are bringing in skills that actually improve the bottom line of companies,” she said. “Because these are some of the most highly trained, highly skilled, disciplined people that we have in our society, the best this country has to offer.”

And, “with the stories he tells of his previous job, it’ll really make the interoffice complaining sound trivial,” Colbert quipped.

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

Colbert remarked that the initiative’s website -- – “makes it sound like, you know, big government.”

“This isn’t big government,” Obama said. “Everyone has to step up, in ways big and small.”

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