WASHINGTON — His daughters mock his big ears, he leaves his socks on the floor and sitting behind Stephen Colbert's desk, he said, gives him a greater sense of power.
When President Barack Obama was not seriously defending his economic record, his executive actions on immigration and his delayed decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline Monday on "The Colbert Report," he was playfully confiding that the trappings of the presidency really don't go to his head.
"When I go home, Michelle, Malia and Sasha give me a hard time," he told host Stephen Colbert. "There are no trumpets, and they tease me mercilessly."
It was Obama's third appearance on the show, his second as president, and marked the beginning of the final two weeks for the Comedy Central program. Colbert will take over for David Letterman on CBS' "Late Show" next year.
Obama kicked off the show sitting in for Colbert to perform a regular feature of the program called "The Word" wherein Colbert's rants are accompanied by snarky messages to the audience.
So when Obama, as Colbert, declared that there are aspects of "Obamacare" that people from both parties actually like, the text aside to the audience read, "Everything but the Obama."
Later, Colbert observed that the economy had been creating more jobs of late.
"You have employed a lot of people — mostly as secretary of defense," Colbert cracked in a reference to Obama recently nominating his fourth top civilian at the Pentagon.
"That's boosted our numbers a little bit," Obama replied.
Colbert, whose on-screen persona is that of an insufferable conservative scold, accused Obama of exceeding his authority on immigration. "When did you decide to burn the Constitution and become emperor?" he asked. The question was heard as a joke by many in the audience at George Washington University. But to Obama's critics, the question had a ring of truth.
Obama dropped the comedy and replied, "Actually, Steve, everything that we have done is scrupulously within the law and has been done by previous Democratic and Republican presidents."
As he wrapped up, Colbert had one last question: "Barack Obama — great president or the greatest president?"
"I'm going to let someone else decide — not you, but someone who knows what they're talking about," the president replied.
Colbert countered, "Stephen Colbert — great pundit or the greatest pundit?"
Obama didn't miss a beat: "The greatest pundit."