Cable kings Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly went head-to-head in a somewhat live debate dubbed “Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” at the George Washington University campus on Saturday. The 90-minute face off ran the gamut of topics from serious to silly. Fans paid $4.95 to watch the debate via live stream, although technical problems caused some disruptions in the feed.
For anyone who skipped the “Rumble” or fell victim to technical problems, can watch it at TheRumble2012.com or scroll through our top five moments from the debate!
Bye, Bye, Bush: Bill O'Reilly kicked things off by explaining that “Bush is Gone” using flash cards for maximum effect. “It may have been Bush's fault for the first year, maybe two — but not three and a half.”
Stewart later piped in on the stance, saying, “Here's why it matters about our debt and deficit under Bush: What he created was a society of entitlement that we could have two wars that cost $800 billion and cut taxes at the same time."
Bulls**t Mountain: Jon, who used a mechanized lift to reach the height of his 6 foot 4 inch opponent, didn't hold back his feelings about O'Reilly. "My friend Bill O'Reilly is completely full of s**t,” he told the crowd. Later adding that “a good portion of this country” is living in an “alternate universe” called “Bulls**t Mountain” where “problems are amplified and solutions simplified.” He continued, “I have come here tonight to plead to the Mayor of Bulls**t Mountain (pointing at Bill) talk to your people.”
After the debate the “O'Reilly Factor” host had the “Daily Show” star laughing when he said, “I didn't know about the mountain out of a molehill [jab]. Thank God because I would have been on the first train back to New York.”
Feeling of Entitlement: The dueling duo went back and forth over the country's feeling of entitlement to basic necessities. Stewart said, “Obama hasn't increased and expanded your ability to get welfare and food stamps by broadening the pool. More people have fallen into the social safety net that exists there, because, as we talked about, $2.5 trillion of money went out of our economy in the bank crisis in two weeks.”
O'Reilly responded, “Nobody begrudges people who need a safety net, but right now, we have this mindset that, 'You know what, times are tough, I am going to take what I can take.'” Stewart launched a zinger back, asking, "Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don't go hungry, you're a moocher?"
The Wrong Message: O'Reilly feels Obama is sending the wrong message to countries like Iran. They are “not scared of us” he argued. “And the reason is not anything that the president has done overtly. … But the signal he sends to the world is, 'Hey let's have a conversation.' And his voice goes up five octaves.” He later added that going on shows like “The View” wasn't helping either.
Stewart responded, “So the guy with the drone army, that drops missiles into these towns is the one that is soft on terror?”
A Cure for Healthcare Costs: The future of healthcare was another hot button issue for the pair. If Jon had it his way, he would “ decouple it from work. I would make sure employers are not responsible for healthcare. What that would do is free people up to have more mobility in terms of changing jobs and not worrying about illness putting them in bankruptcy…the only way to do that is with a single payer system.”
O'Reilly adamantly disagreed, “The government can't [handle it], it isn't set up to do it. All you have to do is go to Canada or Britain to see what they have there. They run it and you can't get an operation in Canada. You have to come here for it and in Britain everybody's teeth are falling out…they don't get good care.”