CNN’s Republican debate Monday night was so elaborately choreographed that it proved to be an irresistible target for Jon Stewart on the evening after.
How could it not be? The event – at least in its introductory portions – was staged by CNN as if it were a prize fight or an NBA playoff game, as Stewart pointed out on his “Daily Show” on Comedy Central.
Stewart was so pointed in his criticism that we’re reluctant even to publish one of his statements – an off-color observation about the debate’s star-spangled stage set. OK, here’s our slightly sanitized version of what Stewart said: “The debate set already looks like the inside of Betsy Ross’s [private parts]!”
Among other things, Stewart called the debate – featuring the eight declared Republican candidates for president and convened under the auspices of the Tea Party – an “Ameri-gasm.” And, due to its loose connection with the Revolution-era act of protest known as the Boston Tea Party, Stewart and his writers dubbed his debate segment “Indecision 1776: Ye Cobblestone Road to the White House.”
Our own view is that CNN’s ultra-tacky production of this debate deserved everything Stewart threw at it. For him, it was a vintage performance.
Of course, Stephen Colbert made mincemeat of the debate too on “The Colbert Report” on Tuesday right after “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. For his part, Colbert focused on some of the audience reactions heard on the debate telecast – particularly the wild cheering that erupted when the tally of Death Row inmates put to death in Texas – 234 – so far during Gov. Rick Perry’s term. Colbert also had a high-powered guest – former Vice President Al Gore.