Stephen Colbert demolishes Barack Obama in wastepaper basketball: 'That's what I do!'
President Obama doesn't know how he's going to live this one down.
"I've lost my swag on Stephen Colbert."
Those were former President Barack Obama's words when he lost miserably to Stephen Colbert in a game of wastepaper basketball, which is the exquisite, sacred art of throwing balled up paper into a trash can from a distance.
Obama asked the Late Show producers if Colbert had been practicing for this moment. They promised not, but then Colbert managed to score eight in the bin while Obama managed none. "I didn't even hit one. How am I gonna live this down?" he said.
Earlier this year, at an event supporting Joe Biden for president, Obama had landed a three-pointer shot on an actual basketball court. He slipped his mask below his mouth briefly to say, "That's what I do!" Colbert exclaimed those same words Tuesday when he came out ahead of Obama.
The two shared a lengthy interview for the Late Show, pre-recorded a day earlier at a socially distanced length apart. Obama has been on the promotional trail touting his new book, A Promised Land, though the former president got into his frustrations about how Donald Trump and his administration handled the pandemic response.
"This would have been hard for anyone," Obama said in a separate interview portion. "I mean, you see people like Angela Merkel [chancellor of Germany], who is herself a scientist, exemplary, but you still see some spikes in Germany. But let's take Canada, where the death rate is 39 percent ours per capita, right?"
To date, Canada has recorded more than 11,600 deaths from COVID-19. More than 257,000 people have died from the virus in the United States.
"That's a measure of if we had done the work, that was not rocket science. We're not talking about inventing vaccines — I'm glad to see the vaccines are now coming on board — but preliminary communicating effectively, respecting the science, not undermining the leading epidemiologist in the country and saying he's an idiot, being consistent in terms of masks and social distancing, not suggesting that this is some act of oppression but rather just a common sense thing to prevent people from getting sick," Obama continued. "Had we just taken those steps, there is no doubt that we would've saved some lives and, ironically, the economy would be better because we would not be swinging back and forth in the ways that we have and people would feel more confidence about making day-to-day decisions about shopping or going out."
Not as lighthearted stuff as wastepaper basketball, but necessary.
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