Forget Barack and Mitt. The “Rumble in the Air Conditioned Auditorium” as it was dubbed between Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart was so big that the host company’s internet server feed crashed because so many wanted to tune in.
The Fox News host and Comedy Central star clashed in Washington last night in a battle for the ages, but unlike Romney’s big night there was no O’Reilly rout or Stewart smackdown.
The event took place at George Washington University Auditorium and 1,500 attended with thousands more paying to watch on line.
The New York Times stated “It was a battle for hearts and minds, a chance to appeal to those who see the world differently and try to move those realities just a little closer together.”
There was lots of serious stuffJ especially when Stewart told off O’Reilly after the Fox host had complained about government handouts. O’Reilly himself had got government help as the son of a World War II veteran.
O’Reilly disagreed it was a government handout and Stewart pounced
“Why is it that if you take advantage of a tax break and you’re a corporation, you’re a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something that you need to not be hungry, you’re a loser?” Mr. Stewart said.
O’Reilly agreed that Stewart they shared a concern for veterans.
“We should not have gone to Iraq,” he added. “Afghanistan, we had to.”
Thousands of viewers online were unable to watch and organizers explained their servers had crashed due to the demand.
Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” played the role of O’Reilly stand in in a pre debate rehearsal on Stewart’s show telling Stewart to “never admit your opponent is right,”
O’Reilly told Stewart that his coach was Professor Irwin Corey, the 98-year-old comedian known as “The World’s Foremost Authority.”
O’Reilly won plaudits from a generally young and Democratic audience and was more than able to hold his own.
His most controversial remarks were on health care“I think the whole health care system has to be reorganized in this country. It has to be, basically, run by insurance companies, not the government,” which drew boos.
Half of the profits from the debate will be donated to charity.