, specifically the interview with Henry Bonilla where Jon goes after the "first and fourth most liberal" talking point.
There was a lot of fumbling and crosstalk in the interview, so it wasn't quite as powerful as it could have been, but if you know anything at all about President Bush's "first and fourth most liberal" talking point and exactly why it's utter BS, then it was highly entertaining.
If you're feeling generous toward Bonilla you might wonder: is he just unaware of what the data actually say, or is he deliberately lying to the people with one side of his mouth while he tries to call for honesty with the other? But he clearly showed he knows quite a bit about where the data comes from, and when Stewart confronted him and said that Kerry was actually to the right (not left) of Kennedy, and Edwards was to the right of the median Democrat, he said "You're right". Talk about disingenuous.
By the way, there was a lot of crosstalk and fumbling as is usual in any heated discussion, which made it hard to transcribe, but I watched it again while re-reading and this is fairly accurate. Substantive corrections are welcome.
Also, if there was a segment after the commercial at the end, my Tivo missed it. Time was up, so I expect it was probably the usual closer, something like "That's our show! Thanks, goodnight." But if someone saw it and there was any more worthwhile content, let me know or post a transcript of that snippet.
STEWART: Welcome back! My guest tonight: Republican Congressman representing the state of Texas, he was on last week's Republican rapid response team during the Democratic Convention, please welcome Congressman Henry Bonilla. (SHOUTS) Congressman!
STEWART: Have a seat. How are you?
BONILLA: I'm good! How are you?
STEWART: Good to see you!
BONILLA: Thank you.
STEWART: Ah, welcome, welcome to the program.
BONILLA: Good to be here. I, ah, I have to confess something, at the risk of sounding like a dork in front of your viewers.
BONILLA: As of last week--
STEWART: Are you-- Are you asking me out?
BONILLA: I have not seen your show.
STEWART: You've never seen it?
BONILLA: The only guy, I guess, in the country that may not have seen your show.
STEWART: No no no, I get the ratings, you're not the only guy. There's a lot of guys.
BONILLA: My co-workers, my family, my teenage son Austin,
BONILLA: My... everybody was like I can't believe, what are you nuts?
STEWART: Well, maybe you're lawmaking. You're-- you're-- you're a lawmaker.
BONILLA: So then I go on the internet, I watch some stuff, they tape the show for me, and I learn that you have a newborn.
STEWART: I do have a newborn.
BONILLA: So we went to a Western store in south Texas, bought you some little cowboy boots.
STEWART: Oh my god. That's adorable!
BONILLA: And I don't know....
STEWART: Let's see, let's show those there.
BONILLA: That's, ah--
STEWART: You know what's so great? This is gonna go great with his tiny, tiny gun.
BONILLA: Well you ca-- I don't know if the camera can see but you have these little nubs here, this is the ostrich skin finish and that's really cool.
STEWART: The ostrich-- yeah?
BONILLA: If he's not walking, if he's not walking though yet when, when you put these on him--
STEWART: He's only four weeks old.
BONILLA: If he's gonna kick his feet it's gonna say something on the bottom.
STEWART: What's it say? "GOP Rocks." Son of a gun.
BONILLA: There you go.
STEWART: So that's how you do it, through a subliminal-- one day he'll be walking and go, something's coming through my feet. I don't know what it is.
BONILLA: You never know. He might like pickup trucks and guns. You never know.
STEWART: That's very nice! Thank you! Well, those are such stereotypical Jewish things.
STEWART: How are you doing?
BONILLA: I'm good.
STEWART: Now that was, may I say to you, that was rapid response. This rapid response team, you guys have a, it's like a, they call it a war room. And it's a bunch of guys sitting around waiting for, I guess, the Democrats to say something silly.
BONILLA: And you know what, the whole thing--
STEWART: And then they come out and boom!
BONILLA: The whole thing is really helping us turn the corner.
STEWART: Oh man.
BONILLA: No, seriously...
STEWART: I guess you were watching back there, huh?
BONILLA: No, seriously it was a great op-- it was an incredible operation about a block away from the Fleet Center.
STEWART: How many people?
BONILLA: Ah, they had three a day. I was on the first day, on Monday, but a new team comes in every day. I mean, we had fifty members of the media fighting to get position in this small facility. (CROSSTALK)
STEWART: Now, the message that you put out from the rapid response team, is that, uh, based on something that you designed a long time ago? Or is it literally coming from: that guy said that in that speech, here's a little fact that'll throw it out there.
BONILLA: Well, we believe... This is a great country. Even Bill Clinton the other day at the White House...
STEWART: I gotta tell you. Any sentence that starts with "This is a great country", something bad's about to happen.
BONILLA: I already used the, just, we're gonna turn the corner. Ok.
STEWART: Alright. Here we go. Alright.
BONILLA: But the other day Bill Clinton pointed out at the White House that, you know, you come from the left or the right of this country--
BONILLA: You gotta be honest about where you stand. All we're trying to do is say:
STEWART: Be honest.
BONILLA: John Kerry, tell us what you stand for. I was on another show with a--
STEWART: He's a flip-flopper!
BONILLA: With another Congressman from the midwest, a Democrat, and he was asked point blank: are you a liberal? And he said yes I am. Great! I'm a conservative!
STEWART: You think he's a flip-flopper.
BONILLA: Say what you are.
STEWART: He's a flip-flopper!
BONILLA: Tell us what you are.
STEWART: How do you-- now, like, when you say, so... Tell me who he is.
BONILLA: Well, my question better yet is in all his twenty years in the Senate, can anyone give me three things that he's done? That are significant?
STEWART: Kay, that are significant? I guess he could. Do you think? Or no?
BONILLA: I'm listening.
STEWART: Do we have--
BONILLA: One thing. How about one thing.
STEWART: Well what about this. So when you say tell us who he is. So who-- when they come out, they say he's a liberal.
BONILLA: Voted for bigger government, three hundred and fifty tax cuts, against a lot of the trade bills.
STEWART: Right. But he's the number one ranked liberal in the, ah--
BONILLA: Well, he's to the left of Ted Kennedy. Now that's fine! Be proud of that.
STEWART: Now where do they come up with those rankings?
BONILLA: We're all ranked every year.
STEWART: By who?
BONILLA: You have conservative groups on our side, there are business groups, there are people who track tax bills and spending bills and things like that, trial lawyers track us, unions, and all of these groups are kind of the, ah, understood authorities.
STEWART: You know who seems to be the only people not tracking you? The American public. We're the only ones!
BONILLA: No, they track us. They track us.
STEWART: So tell me. (CROSSTALK) I turn on the TV, and I see the response team.
BONILLA: Because we can't be here unless they vote for us!
STEWART: That's... yeah, it's sneakier than that, but alright. But so I turn on the TV and they say, he's the first most liberal Senator, John Kerry, and John Edwards is the fourth most liberal Senator.
STEWART: So, the only thing, because I watch it at home and I'm ... stupid.
STEWART: How is that, how do they figure that?
BONILLA: I haven't even seen your show.
STEWART: I know. How do they figure that?
BONILLA: They, we have votes, and bills that we sponsor, and they tra--
STEWART: I'm not retarded. I mean, how do they compile, who--
BONILLA: They list them. They take a list and--
STEWART: Who's "they"?
BONILLA: These groups that I told you about. The conser--
STEWART: But which is the one that said they're the first and the fourth?
BONILLA: The-- well, you take the trial lawyers. Or the, ah, the people that follow the union votes. The people that follow the small business votes, or the corporate votes, and they all go you're either with us a hundred percent of the time, or none-- zero percent, and they kinda average them all together.
BONILLA: These groups do!
STEWART: But which one-- how do you-- when you say first most liberal and fourth most liberal, what is the group and how is it -- because I'm not...
BONILLA: I hope I'm explaining it clearly.
STEWART: I don't think so!
STEWART: It's coming, it's starting to come. I just want to know, like, alright. What is the group that--
BONILLA: These groups have lists of votes that we take.
STEWART: But which group says they're the most liberal? Which-- you know, because the one-- that is a point that you guys make. This is the first and the fourth.
BONILLA: The liberal groups do, and the conservative groups do. Both of them do.
STEWART: No no no, I know that, but you know how like when you guys go on the show and you go, he's the first most liberal and the fourth most liberal, which group is that? The one that you guys are quoting?
BONILLA: It's a group that does it, it's a group on each side. It's not one individual, um, it's not just the trial laywers, it's not just the small business group, it's not just the corporate...
STEWART: You're making this up.
BONILLA: No, I'm not! And they--
STEWART: Okay, I'll tell you who it is. It's actually called the National Journal. And what they do is--
BONILLA: Well, that's a magazine!
STEWART: But they're the ones that put it together.
BONILLA: Right, they actually compile all this stuff.
STEWART: Right. But is that over their career, or over just...
BONILLA: Over their career.
STEWART: But see, no!
BONILLA: But they'll do it every year as well.
STEWART: The first and fourth--
BONILLA: They do it yearly and for career.
STEWART: But you know that the-- but Edwards over his career is actually more to the right than the median Democrat, and actually Kerry is more to the right of Kennedy. So I just, you know, like you say.
BONILLA: You're right.
STEWART: You just want people to have an honest discussion. That's all that I want. I'm not Democrat, I'm not Republican, but my head, with the spinning and the responses and the things, is... I'm a sad little man.
STEWART: I just need it to get more... you know what I'm saying.
BONILLA: What can we do to make you happy?
STEWART: Not-- no more of the rapid response with the-- just to twist the thing.
STEWART: Do it-- just come out and say: like, I'm sorry (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The three hundred and fifty tax cut thing is so out of context. Some of that was when he voted not to lower taxes and keep them the same, so it wasn't-- so in other words, I just want the people who are to earn the people's trust to just say that in a way that we can understand, because we are...
BONILLA: I wish both candidates would just come out and say it themselves. I stand here, and I stand here. What's wrong with that?
STEWART: (looks around) I think they do.
BONILLA: No they don't! That's why we have the rapid response team.
STEWART: Oh, that's not why you had the rapid response team.
STEWART: Alright. We'll talk more about it. We'll come back, and we'll figure it. Congressman Henry Bonilla!
(APPLAUSE, THEME MUSIC)
STEWART: Well, you know what I'm saying, right?