Video of presidential roast attracts big Web audience

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert is one of the Internet's hottest acts this week after video of the comedian skewering President Bush spread rapidly on the Web.

Colbert made news Saturday at the White House Correspondents' Association annual black-tie dinner by making fun of the president's falling approval ratings, as well as his record on the Iraq war, and possible use of illegal wiretaps.

On YouTube.com, the leading upload site that lets users showcase homemade videos, at least a half dozen clips of Colbert's performance were posted following the dinner. The video, first broadcast by C-SPAN, quickly generated enough traffic and comments to take up a position on both the Web site's most-viewed and most-discussed videos sections.

Combined, the various clips generated more than a half million viewings before YouTube removed them Wednesday at the request of C-SPAN, which said the airing of the video violated its copyright, according to Julie Supan, YouTube spokeswoman.

Plenty of other sites still carried the video on Wednesday night, including iFilm.

Some of Colbert's biggest laughs came at the expense of the president's environmental record.

"This president has a very forward thinking energy policy," Colbert told the crowd of journalists, politicians and Hollywood stars. "Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time. He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008, we will have a mesquite powered car."

When waxing on how difficult it is to interview the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Colbert said it was like "boxing a glacier."

"Enjoy that metaphor, by that way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is."

 

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