Many fans of the Daily Show spent much of the Bush years dreaming of what it might be like should Jon Stewart ever get the chance to go head-to-head with one of the figures he viciously skewered every night.
Last night Donald Rumsfeld (to his credit…I mean, wow) was Stewart’s guest. Said Stewart off the bat: “I think I know why you’re here…apology accepted!”
Now Stewart does not have the best history when it comes to facing people in real life he roasts on his show — he has in the past fallen apart (and one time even apologized for it). He didn’t fall apart last night, but as Stewart noted at one point “I feel like we’re on the porch drinking lemonade.”
Stewart: I don’t even know where to start. So let’s start with Iraq…boy if there was ever a solid critique of the administration you served under it would be ‘certainty with power is dangerous’…true of false?
Rummy: If you would go to Rumsfeld.com there are hundreds of documents, thousands of pages, and what you will see the absence of certainty.
Stewart: If you would go to my TIVO…
It certainly helped that Rumsfeld was (and essentially has been all week) entirely willing to concede that mistakes were made.
It also helped that Stewart took his time, was obviously prepared, and sort of relentlessly walked Rummy slowly through the lead up to the Iraq war (“did you have any power over there?!”) and how it was “sold” to the American public (Rumsfeld took great issue with that phrase) which started to wear on Rumsfeld about half way through at which point he started getting testy: “I don’t think it’s correct to say we pushed to make it happen.”
However, as with the Andrea Mitchell interview the big takeaway here is either Rumsfeld really, truly believes the administration did nothing wrong, or is just so exceedingly slippery as to be impossible to pin down. Which in the end may be as revealing as anything Stewart was trying to get Rumsfeld to admit to.
All three parts of the extended interview below.
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