STEWART: What is President Bush's greatest accomplishment in your mind?
PODHORETZ: I think the War on Terror...
STEWART: Yes, he did start that...
PODHORETZ: They've set a new standard for how to approach the world, how to make Americans safe and how to advance the prospects of freedom and liberty in the world.
(This was met with a couple of seconds of silence followed by snickering from the audience.)
PODHORETZ: I do believe that a lot of the people who criticize the president do criticize him in a reckless and irresponsible and unfair fashion...one that he's a moron, one that he's a puppet, one that he's a religious fanatic, one that he's like Hitler...
STEWART: I remember a few years back, there was a guy in the White House, I can't recall his name...uh...Clinton was his name. And I remember Representative Dan Burton calling him a scumbag on national TV. So I find it really odd that the argument is now brought up that discourse in this country has become outlandish or attack oriented when I remember eight years of pretty vicious and seemingly ad hominem type attacks on him.
STEWART: Do you really think that people believe that Bush is a moron?
PODHORETZ: I do. Last week both Joe Klein in Time and Jonathon Alter in Newsweek worte columns which essentially said that Bush does not have the intellectual heft to be president and is doing it in a silly way.
STEWART: I think you got a guy who's clearly...he went to Yale and Harvard and a lot of other very elite east coast institutions. I think he's very bright. I think we're stupid and I'll tell you why - if we weren't, he wouldn't talk to us this way.
(laughs and applause)
STEWART: Personally...I didn't know this crowd was so partisan and freaky. He's much smarter than what he shows us. What he seems to shows us is [low Southern drawl], "Freedom is good...and people like it." He doesn't trust us enough to say to us, "We need to establish a bulwark in the Middle East of democracy." He says to us [drawl again], "They could get their hands on bombs."
STEWART: I think there's a legitimate concern that 9-11 changed everything. But I'm not sure that everybody needs to believe that it changed it this way...that tends to be the way it's portrayed as, "You guys don't understand. 9-11 changed everything, and if you don't abide by the way we see the world, you're a fool or you're naive." And that strikes me as irresponsible.
Wednesday, February 25
The Daily Show
Jon Stewart took a rather humorless John Podhoretz (NY Post columnist and author of "Bush Country") to school tonight in a way I haven't seen from Stewart - well, ever. It was very civil, but Jon had no problem letting his feelings be known.
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 12:37 AM