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Re-watch the monologue that changed Stephen Colbert’s career

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

It's hard to remember a time when Stephen Colbert wasn't a fixture in pop culture. Even after The Colbert Report debuted in October of 2005, he was known more as a sidekick of sorts to Jon Stewart rather than a force in his own right.

Then it all changed. In April of 2006 — a few months after the Report's debut— Colbert took the stage at the White House Correspondents Dinner in character, dispensed with the event's usual jokey yet cordial tone, and completely eviscerated then-President George W. Bush.

"I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers, and rubble, and recently flooded city squares," he said. "And that sends a strong message: that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound — with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world." Watch the whole thing above.