03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Jon Stewart, Lou Dobbs Discuss CNN, Argue Over Health Care Reform (VIDEO)

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart welcomed former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs with a Mariachi band because... why not? Over a long interview, only portions of which aired, Stewart and Dobbs discussed the newsman's decision to quit on the air... or not quit on the air... or come to some sort of mutual understanding tied up in contracts that dissolved the relationship between CNN and the controversial anchor. Dobbs basically offered that CNN "wanted to move in another direction," to which Stewart replied, "I see the direction they're going in, I believe it's called down."

Then, praising Dobbs for having "abhorrent and wrong" views that are nevertheless "consistent," Stewart pressed Dobbs on the issues he invoked in his "I'm quitting, in some contractual fashion" speech: "The issue seems to be -- and you allude to it in your resignation speech -- that the winds of change are blowing this country -- people have, apparently, lost their minds. there seems to be a panic that we have lost the fabric of our society and I'm having trouble getting a handle on what has happened that is so drastic that people would think it's tyranny or fascism or Hitler-esque."

Dobbs noted that "what has happened" goes back to previous administrations, and that the Bush administration fostered a great "indifference" to the way policy impacted the lives of Americans. Which strikes me as, uhm... suddenly very generalist! Stewart basically countered by saying that it seems to be the coming of the Obama administration that has set everyone's "hair on fire." Dobbs cited the "Obama health care legislation" as something that's uniquely scaring people about the current administration with the prospect of fundamental change.

Stewart countered by pointing out that there's really no such thing as "Obama health care legislation" ("Obama hasn't really said anything," Stewart said, "to his discredit."), adding, "We're not a fragile country. This idea that somehow getting a health care plan through takes us back to the days pre-revolution is bunk. There's a fear out there that seems irrational." Stewart contended that individuals like David Addington, architect of the unitary executive and the torture policy in the previous administration, represented to him a more frightening agent of change than an administration that seems to, essentially, want to "expand Medicare."

Dobbs allowed that he thought that "part of that fear is simply catching up with the events of some years ago." Stewart observed, "Why do they always catch up to the fears during the Democratic administrations? It feels like all the people that want limited government really just want government limited to Republicans."


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The Daily Show has made extended versions of the interview available.

PART TWO: Dobbs raises a good point about the lack of priority on ending the unemployment crisis, but insists that the current state of play -- where one party controls the legislature and the White House -- doesn't allow any avenue for the "expression of frustration." Stewart counters by pointing out that elections are the avenue for this expression, and that people are confusing "losing an election" with tyranny.

Dobbs goes on to discuss at length his contention that government is best led from the center, and that the past two administrations are scaring the center. Stewart's contention is that the crazy anger spilling out into the street isn't centrist, noting the lack of angry protesters carrying signs that read "Be reasonable!"

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Lou Dobbs Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Crisis


In this final part, Dobbs and Stewart wind down their discussion, with Dobbs continuing to press for a return to centrism, and insist that the nation is in a "delicate" state. Stewart won't sign on to the idea that the nation is somehow fragile. "It's trumped-up fear that's being used as a wedge."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Lou Dobbs Extended Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Crisis

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