Veteran news anchor Tom Brokaw, sat down with funnyman Jon Stewart on night one of the Democratic National Convention to discuss his views about the candidates and the impact of his show, “The Daily Show” on the voting youth.
TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR: Bill Clinton knows how to give a speech. Is it a thought for John Kerry to just give his speech to Bill Clinton on Thursday night and say, why don‘t you go give it for me?
STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”: If he doesn‘t rise to the occasion, he doesn‘t deserve to be president.
The interesting thing to me is, with all the challenges that face the country today, whether it be terrorism or the economy or that, the real question is, are the Democratic wives loose cannons? I think that‘s really the thing that we should all be talking about.
BROKAW: Well, we had a chance to talk with Teresa Heinz Kerry earlier tonight. And she said that reporter mischaracterized what she had said. He came back to her and said, what were you talking about un-American activities? She said certain un-American traits, which is civil discourse in American politics.
STEWART: Absolutely. I think we should focus a lot of time on the wife race, because, as you remember, we nearly lost World War II when Eleanor Roosevelt told the reporter from “The Hartford Times Courant” to sit on it. So, these are issues that we really should be talking about. And Teresa Heinz Kerry, for what it‘s worth, yesterday I saw kill a hobo with her bare hands.
TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Now, as you know, all these speeches tonight were vetted. Al Gore had to rip up his speech and write a new one. In order to modulate his tone. Will you put unplugged Al Gore original version on your program?
STEWART: That does not sound like something that would happen at a political convention. No, I absolutely won‘t. That‘s not the program we‘re running.
BROKAW: What was the joke that he had to leave out? Al Gore had to leave out a joke.
RUSSERT: Al Gore has told all his friends that the Bush plan on terrorism is like a drunk who lost his keys. He‘s looking all over the place and he says, what‘s wrong? He says, I lost my keys. He says, where did you lose them? He says, over there. He said, then why are you looking here? He said, because that‘s where the light is. And he said, and that‘s what the war on terrorism in Iraq...
STEWART: I don‘t think they cut that because it was the wrong tone. I just think, that‘s not really very funny.
How much do you think Al Gore will love it the day when he can open a speech without a recount joke? How much is that just an albatross around that man‘s neck?
STEWART: What did you think of President Carter? Who thought he would be the velvet hammer tonight? He sounded like my grandfather a little bit. He came out swinging.
I‘ll tell you something. Carter, for all the houses that he built and everybody talks about what a great guy and he builds a lot of houses, nobody ever talks about all the houses he knocks down.
He’s out there, knocking them down. Then he acts like he just came upon the scene and building another one.
BROKAW: What works better for you, Democrats or Republicans?
STEWART: Neither. The theater that works best for us is sort of the absurdity of the stage managing and the craft. To be perfectly fair, there‘s nothing wrong with turning this into one of those herbal life conventions. There is a certain feeling, towards the end of the night, where, as they start to whip up the crowd, you expect the speaker to say, and how much would you spend for a president like that, $100? Because, no, my friends, Kerry is only $50.
There‘s a certain sense of, I‘ve got this tonic here and it‘s going to cure your liver spots, and, as well it should be, because they‘re selling to the crowd.
BROKAW: There‘s no secret about the fact that you‘ve brought a lot of young people to your program and to the idea of politics as a subject, and whether they‘re just looking at because they can get a laugh out of it. But I also happen to believe that they‘re more engaged in it in part because of you and the way that you‘re dealing with it.
STEWART: That‘s very kind of you to say. The beauty of what we do is that we‘re completely isolated. Our studio is over on the West Side of Manhattan. We don‘t have colleagues. We barely go to dinner.
If they are getting engaged with our program, it‘s not, I don‘t think, purely for the humor. It‘s for what they believe to be the underlying foundation of the show, which is, don‘t look at the acting, look at the script and see what‘s the context and what‘s the content.
BROKAW: Are they more engaged now then in past presidential elections?
STEWART: Well, I think, right now, they‘re worried about being drafted. You want to get young people involved in politics, reintroduce the draft, and, man, you‘ll see voting rights skyrocket.