Was Mr. Stewart playing to Mr. O’Reilly’s Fox News audience? Was he overcome by the sheer brilliance of O’Reilly’s rhetoric? Was he just being nice?
Under what circumstances would he bolt the Democratic Party?
“If I didn’t have a clear sense of the direction he wanted to move the country and somebody else had a more logical sense of where to take it,” said Stewart.
O’Reilly inquired as to whether there are any current Republican presidential hopefuls that Stewart approves of. The “Daily Show” host replied that ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty “seems like a reasonable, logical individual” and that Mitt Romney “didn’t do terribly for Massachusetts” when he ran the Bay State.
Of course, Stewart also said that Mr. Romney looks like something you would pull out of a box labeled “President” if you opened it, and that “we’re both Mormons, so there you go.”
(That’s a joke, if you didn’t know. Stewart was born Jewish.)
Things kind of got livelier from there – Stewart described candidate Newt Gingrich as someone whose “head is so large you imagine there are great ideas in there ... but it is so big they’re like free range ideas.” When O’Reilly asked him what he thought of Sarah Palin, he said, “I’m sorry. My ear piece just went out.” If there is a candidate he would endorse now, it would be fellow Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert, said Stewart.
As for Donald Trump, “He puts his name on everything he owns. The only other people that do that are 6-year-olds,” said Stewart.
(Yes, Mr. Trump is not running, but will that stop us lamestreamers from talking about him? Actually, we believe the show was taped prior to Trump’s drop-out announcement.)
In the end, it was clear that Stewart is not turning Republican. As O’Reilly put it, Stewart in the past has criticized Obama “only when he didn’t do some far left thing you wanted.”
“This is just a treasure trove for you, this presidential race – for you and your 18,000 writers,” O’Reilly concluded.