On Saturday, Oct. 6, George Washington University hosted a live taping of “O’Reilly V. Stewart 2012: The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium,” in front of a rowdy audience. Unlike the Oct. 3 Obama-Romney debate, the rumble was passionate, informational (at times) and entertaining. Like the presidential debate, there was also a swirl of lies and talking points. Luckily, I watched the full debate for free via YouTube before therumble2012.com made them take it down. Now, you can either watch the debate piecing together YouTube clips or by downloading it for $4.95 at therumble2012.com.
Former Fox News host E.D. Hill (with the prerequisite Fox Barbie blonde hair and body-hugging dress to boot), who at times came off as as if she was hosting Entertainment Tonight, still managed to moderate the sparring TV personalities more effectively than Jim Leher. Although they both brought gimmicks; O’Reilly held up signs to punctuate his arguments and Stewart used an elevating platform, allowing the 5’6” comedian to “look down upon” the 6’4” Fox pundit.
One of the best moments of the night is when O’Reilly and Stewart argue about the social safety net. O’Reilly claims that lazy people mooch the system (“The mind-set is, if I can gin the system, I’ll do it because it’s easy”). Stewart asks O’Reilly about his own father claiming disability from his company. O’Reilly goes into belligerent-drunk-uncle mode, repeatedly yelling, “He had colitis!” followed by “If they genuinely need it, there’s no beef” (“genuinely need it” feels a little too close to Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment).
Stewart goes into breathless-exasperation mode and fires back, “If you take advantage of a tax break, you’re a smart businessman. If you take advantage of something you need to not be hungry, you’re a moocher.”