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O’Reilly, Stewart vie for laughs

O’Reilly
Stewart

– This high-stakes debate had some props that even the presidential candidates might want at their own events.

Jon Stewart came prepared with a mechanical pedestal he used to elevate himself, making the height-challenged comedian appear taller than the lanky Bill O’Reilly when he wanted to drive a point home.

“I like you much better that way,” O’Reilly quipped at one point as he gazed up at his ideological foe.

The two celebrity gabbers have claimed their stakes to polar opposite ends of the political spectrum and on Saturday night they tangled in an event dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium.”

The 90-minute exchange between the Fox News anchor and the star of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” saw them banter aggressively but good-naturedly over birth control, President George W. Bush and the “War on Christmas.”

Stewart, defending government involvement in health care and social programs, said the U.S. has always been an entitlement nation.

“We are a people that went to another country, saw other people on it and said, ‘Yea, we want that,’ ” Stewart said. “Have you ever seen ‘Oprah’s favorite things’ episode?”

Asked whom he’d like to see as president, O’Reilly deadpanned: “I’d have to say Clint Eastwood.”

“Well why don’t we ask him,” said Stewart, mocking the Hollywood actor’s widely panned speech in August at the Republican National Convention by getting out of his chair and staring at it while the crowd erupted in laughter.

The event was live-streamed for $4.95. On Twitter, viewers complained they missed the event when the video servers crashed. Organizers vowed refunds and said video will be available for download.

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