Late Night: Jon Stewart lampoons rowdy Republican debate
Sometimes Jon Stewart doesn't have to do much to make our political leaders look ridiculous. Case in point: Tuesday's rowdy Republican presidential debate, which provided plenty of easy material for the writing staff at "The Daily Show."
Last night, Stewart took evident delight in all the absurdity. He likened Michele Bachmann's proposed method of dealing with illegal immigration (a "double-walled" fence on the border) to gimmicky razor blades. He joked that Ron Paul, who had dared to ask critical questions of Republican icon Ronald Reagan, was "there to remind people what uncomfortable silence sounds like." And he politely suggested that Rick Perry should rethink his habit of calling Herman Cain "brother."
But Stewart reserved his most scathing critique for Romney, the default leader in the Republican field. On Tuesday night, the former Massachusetts governor defended the healthcare plan he instituted in the state, but insisted that he would not have made it national. Stewart summarized his position this way: "It's a great Republican idea, that works great, the people of Massachusetts love it. I would never do it again, it's socialism."
The most heated moment in the debate came when Rick Perry accused Romney of knowingly employing undocumented workers at his Massachusetts home. Romney claimed that once he discovered their immigration status, he confronted the lawn-care company that had hired them. "We said look, you can't have any illegals working on our property. I'm running for office, for Pete's sake."
For a candidate plagued by questions about his authenticity, it was an impolitic moment. Stewart observed that "[it] may be the most honest thing Romney has ever said" and offered some advice: "There is no story that makes you look good that involves you saying 'I'm running for office, for Pete's sake.' "
Photo: Jon Stewart, left, and Mitt Romney. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press and Jae C. Hong / Associated Press.