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McConnell's Hypocrisy On Corporate Speech Falls Flat As Big Brands Punish Georgia

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, once a staunch defender of the right of corporations to express themselves, is leading the GOP charge against companies like Coca-Cola and MLB who have protested Georgia's new voting restrictions. #Colbert #ALateShow #Monologue

Video Transcript

STEPHEN COLBERT: Hey, welcome to a "Late Show." I'm your host, Stephen Colbert. Are you cold? This is freezing in here. I'm holding onto this like a life raft. Oh my gosh.

Hope you're warm, and toasty, and healthy everywhere you are out there, America. After a year of this pandemic, this nation is finally starting to feel a little bit better thanks to the widespread availability of vaccines. Side effects may include tears, hugs, and sexy snaps. Hello, ladies. I'm halfway immune. And, yes, I'm that pale all over.

[ONE PERSON LAUGHS]

Yeah. I'm immortal-- halfway to being immortal at this point. One more shot, bullets can't stop me. So let's find out the way the vaccine is changing the scene in our new recurring segment, "The Vax-Scene"

[MUSIC PLAYING]

[SINGING "JAB" REPEATEDLY]

Longer-- longer. Stall. Why the can-can, you ask? I asked that myself-- the answer, public domain. That's the answer to most things, really. When Joe Biden was running for president, he promised 100 million shots in 100 days, but we have blown past that barrier, baby.

The USA is now administering about three million shots per day on average. This administration is delivering pricks in arms as opposed to the last administration, which delivered armed pricks. In fact, at the rate we're going, the USA will reach 75% vaccination in three months, ahead of every other country. In your face, number two, Chile.

Next, we're coming for your [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] a delicious blend of vegetables and walnut sauce that I definitely knew about before googling Chilean cuisine this morning. Thank you. Gracias. The vaccine rollout is going so well that this afternoon, President Biden announced instead of the original deadline of May 1, every adult in the United States will now be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19.

Way to go, Joe-- getting it done early, although supporters of the previous president are quick to point out that he was able to finish his entire presidency a whole four years before his original goal. Today, President Biden visited a vaccination site at a seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. And pops Joe did not waste any time laying on some confusing charm.

- Just don't ask me to play the piano or the organ-- I can't. My father said I had no talent at all. My dad used to play the saxophone, had a band when he was in high school. He'd look at me and say, Joey, I don't know where you came from.

He said, you have two left feet. You can't dance. You can't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow. And then he said, you have no lip to play a reed instrument. But you know, so I had to become president-- nothing else to do.

STEPHEN COLBERT: I mean this-- with respect and admiration, I don't know if he knows where he is right now. Tell you, my pops used to say, Joey, get yourself a nice saxophone. Somebody will be with you in your old age. Make sure it has tennis shoes on two of its feet. Make them the left. Who smells toast?

Anyway, wise lesson to all the parents out there-- if you tell your kids they have no talent, one day they could be president. If you support their dreams for even a moment, they can end up with a useless degree in theater arts, and then have to settle for hosting a show on CBS.

This accelerated vaccine schedule is revving up here in the Big Apple too. Because today in New York City, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility was expanded to anyone aged 16 and over. New Yorkers can prove they're 16 by showing either a driver's license or a DM from Matt Gaetz.

There's still plenty of people acting COVID irresponsible. For instance yesterday, the Texas Rangers played their home opener in front of a crowd of 38,000 people. I got to say-- that kind of looks fun. But even the Rangers' own general manager acknowledged the danger, saying, "having a lot of people that close together does kind of go maybe against some of the recommendations," adding, "I think it's a one-time event."

Well, sure then, no problem. How could you be pregnant? We agreed that not using birth control was a one-time event. And I bunted. For those keeping score, the Rangers lost 6 to 2, so you can understand why the fans were excited they only have 80 more chances this season to see the Rangers lose at home.

In other baseball news, today MLB formally announced they were moving the all-star game from Georgia to Denver. Normally, people only move to Colorado if they're founding a startup they keep calling Uber for Weed-- obviously called Doober-- million dollar idea, do not steal. The game was moved to protest Georgia's new voter suppression laws, which give people less time to request absentee ballots, curtails ballot access for voters in urban counties, and makes offering food or water to voters waiting in line a misdemeanor.

That was going to make for some interesting jailbreak movies in the future. All right, this is Frankie. He's in for a double murder. This is Spider, he's doing hard time for arson. And this is Pete, he handed a Kit Kat to an old lady whose blood sugar was low. And he'd do it again.

Major League Baseball condemned the laws, along with companies like Facebook, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Apple, Microsoft, Aflac, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, and Home Depot. Republicans are now boycotting some of these brands. They've dubbed Coca-Cola, Woke-a-Cola. And they say they'll drink Pepsi instead.

They were going to go with RC Cola, until they discovered it stands for Radical Communism-- the flavor belongs to the proletariat. Leading the charge against these businesses is Senate minority leader and guy gleefully not holding the elevator for you, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell threatened punitive legislative action against the protesting corporations, warning that if it continues, it would "invite serious consequences." And to drive the threat home, the CEO of Aflac woke up next to a severed duck head. Then McConnell said this--

- My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Yes, corporations, Mitch McConnell wants you to stay out of politics. Which is why I'm sure any day now, he's going to return the $4.3 million he's accepted from corporations in the last five years. And I'm being told he's not going to do that, and that he made an additional statement.

- My warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics. I'm not talking about political contributions.

STEPHEN COLBERT: No, no. I'm just saying, shh. Shush, darling, you're just so much prettier when you don't talk. Now, spread open that wallet, baby, and give old Mitch a peek at that bottom line. I'm going to [BLEEP] your wallet. Cash isn't the only way McConnell's being a hypocrite here. Back in 2013, he defended the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that corporations are people thusly.

- The court decision was actually fairly unremarkable. All it really said was that under the First Amendment, every corporation in America should be free to participate in the political process.

STEPHEN COLBERT: I'd call that a cell phone, but he's already 100% owned by corporations. Vaccines aren't the only thing giving this country a shot in the arm, because Joe Biden is rolling out his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. And even with that kind of dough, it's not going to be easy.

America is a bit of a fixer upper at this point. Joe is going to have to go full HGTV. Thankfully, the Midwest is already open concept. And no matter what, it'll be better than the previous guy's plan-- Love It or List Puerto Rico. The thing is, fixing our roads might be a bit of a bumpy road, because McConnell has vowed to do everything he can to block the bill out of fear that it might help someone other than Mitch McConnell.

Overcoming his filibuster would take 60 votes. So the Democrats want to pass infrastructure the same way they passed the stimulus, through a process called reconciliation, which requires only 51 votes. But to do that, they first had to seek approval from the only individual with the power to interpret Senate procedural rules, the shadowy figure known as--

[SCARY VOICE]

The Senate parliamentarian. Yes, the parliamentarian, the all-seeing oracle invested with singular authority, over which bill may pass by a simple Senate majority, and which bill must burn forever in the fires of Mitch McConnell's recycling bin. And now, let's gaze upon this Senate sorcerer supreme, steeped in the ancient arkana of parliamentary soulcraft-- behold, the dread visage of Elizabeth MacDonough.

[SCARY LAUGHTER]

Are those writhing snakes on her head, or is it just a sensible bob?

[NORMAL VOICE]

That's a sensible bob. It's a long bob-- a lob. Well yesterday, McDonough issued a ruling-- the Democrats can use reconciliation for their infrastructure bill. Hell yeah. We have a functioning democracy briefly. In this country, the majority decides as long as it's OK with a random, unelected appointee with a title that sounds like she should be wearing a funny hat.

The ruling means the Democrats can essentially reopen the budget plan that already passed in February and add new stuff to it. We bought ourselves a little time here, like if the teacher says your papers due at midnight, but you know she's not going to look at it till tomorrow, so you email her a Google Doc link, which gives you a few more hours to figure out what Steinbeck had to say about the American dream. It turns out the dream was about angry grapes.

So things seem to be looking up, but there's still a major crisis looming-- the potential affects every American. I'm talking, of course, about the nationwide ketchup shortage. Oh my god-- a ketchup shortage? What am I supposed to dip my French fries in, and my chicken fingers, and my regular fingers? It's been a tough year.

Now that I've told you to panic, don't panic, because there's plenty of ketchup bottles. The problem is that during the pandemic, people have been ordering so much takeout and delivery that restaurants are having a hard time stocking ketchup packets. Suddenly, your mom filling the refrigerator butter holder with ketchup packets isn't so crazy. That's your college fund now.

No one's safe. Bars, diners, even fast food giants are pleading for packets. It's gotten so bad that Jack in the Box was seen in the bus station offering to jack your box for a handful of packets. Looks like that guy is going to take him up on it too. Is that Joe Rogan? Who is that?

The big time player here is Heinz, which makes up a staggering 70% of the ketchup market, and wasn't prepared for the pandemic. But you know what they say? Heinz sight is 2020.

[ONE PERSON LAUGHS]

We've got a great show for you tonight. I'll be talking to Ronan Farrow and Brandi Carlile. But when we come back, meanwhile--

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