After initially grilling former Vice President Joe Biden on being a “gaffe machine,” later on Wednesday’s CBS Late Show, aired early Thursday morning, host Stephen Colbert wondered if the 2020 Democratic frontrunner would appoint his old boss, President Obama, to the Supreme Court if elected.
During a lightening round of questions near the end of the lengthy interview, Colbert asked Biden about Obama: “Have you called him for advice?” Biden replied: “I’ve called – I talk to Barack...I guess now it’s about three, four weeks ago.” Colbert then proposed a new job for the former president: “Would you appoint him to the Supreme Court?”
As the liberal audience erupted in cheers and applause, Biden agreed: “Hell – yes. I don’t think he’d do it, but I’d – ” Colbert argued for Obama’s supposed credentials: “He was a constitutional professor at the University of Chicago.” Biden declared: “No, no, I understand. He’s fully qualified, fully qualified.”
Colbert then asked if Biden ever “asked Michelle Obama for advice?” Biden joked: “Only to be my vice president.” After more cheers and applause, he clarified: “I’m only joking! Michelle, I’m joking. That was a joke.”
In addition to pushing for Justice Obama, Colbert also repeatedly hit Biden from the left and boosted radical 2020 contenders like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders:
What do you say to Democratic voters [who say] that you’re not progressive enough? That you’re – that incremental change is not what we need right now, and that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who are calling for broader systemic change, are what we need right now?...You’re going to be on stage with Elizabeth Warren for the first time....Is it going to be rough and tumble? Because it’s gonna be broad systematic change and what people say is incrementalism. They’re looking for a fight, sir.
Of course Colbert has long served as the loudest late night mouthpiece for the left.
Here are excerpts of the September 4 exchange, aired early on September 5:
12:18 AM ET
STEPHEN COLBERT: We’re in the competition for the Democratic nomination. What do you say to Democratic voters [who say] that you’re not progressive enough? That you’re – that incremental change is not what we need right now, and that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who are calling for broader systemic change, are what we need right now?
JOE BIDEN: Look at my record. Everything I’ve done is really significant and I’d be happy to talk about the details. Medicare-for-all, we don’t have –
COLBERT: Are you in favor of Medicare-for-all?
BIDEN: No, $30 trillion. I’m in favor of taking ObamaCare, restoring it, adding a public option, making sure everybody has access to it.
12:20 AM ET
COLBERT: You said your campaign is not a continuation of Barack Obama’s administration. What would you differ with him on? Like, look back to four years ago, what did you guys shank? What should you have done differently?
BIDEN: No, it’s not – look, he pulled us out of a God-awful recession, prevented a depression, everything landed on his desk but locusts and he got an awful lot done. And the biggest thing was not one single solitary piece of illegitimate action took place in the United States presidency. Not one. [Cheers and applause]
COLBERT: No indictments, no – okay.
BIDEN: But – but the world’s changed. We need health care for all. We tried to get it done, we couldn’t. Now people have figured out. Guess what? We agree. We need health care for everybody.
COLBERT: Have you called him for advice?
BIDEN: I’ve called – I talk to Barack and I –
COLBERT: When was last time you talked to him?
BIDEN: I guess now it’s about three, four weeks ago.
COLBERT: Okay. Would you appoint him to the Supreme Court?
BIDEN: Hell – [Cheers and applause] Yes. I don’t think he’d do it, but I’d –
COLBERT: He was a constitutional professor at the University of Chicago.
BIDEN: No, no, I understand. He’s fully qualified, fully qualified.
COLBERT: Have you asked Michelle Obama for advice?
BIDEN: Only to be my vice president. [Cheers and applause] I’m only joking! Michelle, I’m joking. That was a joke.
12:22 AM ET
COLBERT: The debate. We’re covering it live, next Thursday. We’re going to have a show afterwards. You’re going to be on stage with Elizabeth Warren for the first time.
COLBERT: Give me a preview. Are you gonna have the old Jack Johnsons out? What’s gonna – what’s gonna go? Is it going to be rough and tumble? Because it’s gonna be broad systematic change and what people say is incrementalism. They’re looking for a fight, sir.
BIDEN: There is no incrementalism in what I’m proposing.
COLBERT: Really? What’s the boldest thing you would change?
BIDEN: The boldest thing I would change is the way we deal with climate change. I would invest right now $400 billion in what we’re doing, I would change the way in which we invest. [Applause] Look, think about this – if we took the money available to us and we invested it in a – in health care in a way to find cures, I have forgotten more about the cancer fight than most people know. We could, in fact, be curing major pieces of cancer. We could be taking on Alzheimer’s. We should – there’s so much we can do that is bold, very bold. And I’m on the only one proposing.
COLBERT: Well, sir, thank you so much for being here. See you next Thursday. Vice President Joe Biden, everybody!