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Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” Weighs in on Sarah Palin, Hurricane Gustav and the Media’s Coverage of the Conventions

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We catch up with Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, in St. Paul airport. Stewart discusses Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech, John McCain’s decision to tap Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Hurricane Gustav and much more. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: There were a number of preemptive raids throughout this weekend. As they were taking place, thousands of journalists were making the trip from Denver, where they were covering the Democratic National Convention, to here in St. Paul to cover the Republicans. One of those who just happened to be on our flight was Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s fake news program The Daily Show. I caught up with him next to baggage claim at the Minneapolis airport.

    JON STEWART: I thought it was a reasonable flight.

    AMY GOODMAN: You enjoyed the mixed nuts. Is that how you refer to your fellow passengers?

    JON STEWART: That is how I refer — well, when you go to a convention, it’s really the only way to refer to your fellow passengers. But it was nice to see everybody rolling on. You were just checking off organizations — AP, New York Times, radio, Democracy Now!

    AMY GOODMAN: What if the plane had gone down?

    JON STEWART: American discourse would have risen. I can’t even imagine the depths. It would have been like the senate, the Roman senate. The speeches that could have been given, the media that could have been attended to.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you think about the possibility that this convention will take place, the Republican convention, as a massive hurricane wallops the Gulf Coast?

    JON STEWART: Well, I’m surprised that God would send a hurricane to New Orleans when the Republican convention is here. So, clearly, all the gays are here, as we all know from the Larry Craig bathroom. So it’s just, I guess, a missed opportunity for God. But I guess He knows what He’s doing.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of the image of President Bush here, when three years ago at this same time he was also not there?

    JON STEWART: You know, my guess is they’re going to work as hard as they can to create the illusion of concern this time. The illusion, of course.

    AMY GOODMAN: You mean, with a video behind them, a big screen of the hurricane happening?

    JON STEWART: My guess is they will fly him down there with some sort of crew, and — or they will say, you know, the President was supposed to speak today, but he just can’t, because he just cares so gosh darn much, and he’ll head down there and repair all the damage that’s been done. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything that he’s done wrong over these past eight years, he gets a redo, just as this goes along? Each night of the convention, maybe that will be the themes. The first night, he gets to redo Katrina. Tuesday night, maybe Iraq. You know, he’ll just get to redo each mistake.

    AMY GOODMAN: And the theme could still be “ready to govern.”

    JON STEWART: Yes. Almost — they just about got it down. They’ll get it.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of Sarah Palin?

    JON STEWART: It was interesting. I think, you know, Senator McCain has made it very clear that experience is his number one asset, and I think he went with that. Wait, are we talking about running a commercial fishery, or are we talking about governing? It was interesting.

    AMY GOODMAN: Do you think she’ll get some Hillary delegates?

    JON STEWART: The ones that were voting for her purely on gynecological reasons, maybe, but I think politically, no.

    AMY GOODMAN: The evangelicals? Do you think that could shore up something McCain could not have gotten on his own?

    JON STEWART: Yeah, they seem very pleased. I’ve seen big smiles all day long on that. So that’s got to mean something.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what about this investigation they’re doing of Palin, the possibility that she fired her top —-

    JON STEWART: Right.

    AMY GOODMAN: —- security guy for putting pressure on him to fire her sister’s ex-husband?

    JON STEWART: Right. I imagine that’s what got her the gig. They probably looked into that and said, “You know something? I could see her running the Justice Department.”

    AMY GOODMAN: What about Barack Obama? Were you there in the football stadium?

    JON STEWART: Unfortunately, we were never able to be there. I mean, a couple of guys there that got convention passes, but we weren’t able to be there for much of the time. We were over at the University of Denver. So, you know, for us, we were watching it on TV like everybody else.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what did it look like?

    JON STEWART: It looked like the first presidential nomination acceptance speech that you could see from space. That was about it.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think of the media coverage, overall?

    JON STEWART: Great.

    AMY GOODMAN: In Denver, there were Democrats all over, welcoming people every which way in Denver.

    JON STEWART: Right.

    AMY GOODMAN: But here, it’s very different.

    JON STEWART: Oh, is that true? Yeah. Do you think the city feels just a sense of shame? Is that what this is about? I don’t know. Maybe they’re just busy. They have things to do. It could be just the Labor Day weekend.

    AMY GOODMAN: What are your plans for the week?

    JON STEWART: We’re going to go do four shows from a theater, same sort of that we did for the Democratic convention. And then we’re all going to get the hell out of here and try never to get this close to the political process again.

    AMY GOODMAN: What do you think has to happen with the media over the next few months?

    JON STEWART: They — I don’t think it’s going to take a few months. It will probably take a few years. I think they have to separate themselves. They have to extract themselves from this loveless marriage and begin to be the outsiders that we need them to be.

    AMY GOODMAN: Do you have any words of wisdom for Barack Obama?

    JON STEWART: It’s mostly in hoops. I’ll let him take charge of whatever he needs to do governance-wise and all that. My only thing is, when you’re driving the lane, don’t go left, because everybody knows that now. Everybody sees how he goes.

    AMY GOODMAN: John McCain? Words of wisdom?

    JON STEWART: Just try not to stand next to really young people, because, man, that’s a juxtaposition.

    AMY GOODMAN: Finally, their ads are already up.

    JON STEWART: Yeah.

    AMY GOODMAN: Blackwater to head to Gustav. Your thoughts on Blackwater?

    JON STEWART: Boy, you’re getting a mouthful. I’ve just been — I’ve been napping for — you know, look, if those guys — it would be nice if we paid our guys that much money. So, that’s my thought.

    AMY GOODMAN: It’s nice to see you, Jon.

    JON STEWART: Nice seeing you, too. Take care.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, that familiar voice and face, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, here to cover the Republican National Convention, if, in fact, it does take place. They are still taking it day by day, they say.

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St. Paul Police Conduct Mass Preemptive Raids Ahead of Republican Convention

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