MICHAEL BROWN: FEMA’s nimble. We’re only 2,500 people. We can move on a dime.
STEPHEN COLBERT: Uh-huh. And what dime were you standing on during the hurricane?
Michael "Brownie" Brown, the FEMA head who did such a heckuva job in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that he stepped down within a month, is back in New Orleans this week — promoting his new book Deadly Indifference at the American Library Association conference and squeezing in a couple of booksignings (Garden District Book Shop, Fri., 6 p.m.; Maple Street Book Shop, Sat., 3 p.m.) And he could use all the help that he can get: his book is currently at #120,520 on the Amazon bestsellers list.
So this is a perfect time to rewatch Brownie's 2006 appearance on The Colbert Report, in which a grinning, goofy Brown obviously thinks he and Colbert are having a fine old time ... all the while Colbert is Ginsu-ing him to shreds. To wit:
BROWN: We were taking helicopters in and pulling them off.
COLBERT: The Coast Guard was doing that.
BROWN: But that’s part of "us."
COLBERT: Really? I thought that was the Coast Guard.
BROWN: They were all under one giant happy umbrella.
At the interview's end, Colbert goes for a clean kill when he asked what's changed at FEMA since the disaster. "Zero," says Brown.
"You're gone," Colbert replies. "That's nothing?"