"Papa bear" has officially become yesterday's boogeyman. According to Jon Stewart, that is.
Once public enemy #1 at Fox News Channel for most liberals and the inspiration for Stephen Colbert's faux blowhard pundit, Bill O'Reilly may still not get invited to Arianna Huffington's pad for falafels, but he's being overshadowed by his more conservative colleagues now -- such as Sarah Palin, Karl Rove and his "successor" Glenn Beck.
O'Reilly: "Isn't it interesting that a couple of years ago I was target No. 1? Now I'm like 15 on the list. ... Did I lose my edge or have I been overtaken by brighter people?"
Stewart: "I wouldn't say brighter ... You've been overtaken by a more extreme version of you. You're like Fox 1.0. You're the beta version. Fox 2.0 has jumped over you to an extent that I don't think you could ever dream of, and, frankly, I think you fear. I think deep down inside you can't believe what you've unleashed...on this network, you're left-wing."
The Comedy Central host added that O'Reilly was like the "skinniest kid at fat camp" or "the sluttiest nun."
Stewart, along with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, is hosting a rally in Washington in October. But Stewart told O'Reilly that the "Rally to Restore Sanity" wasn't necessarily for Fox News viewers.
"The folks that I see in my gigs, real Americans, plumbers and such, they tell me that they don't feel represented by the extremities they see on Fox News and other things like that," Stewart said.
"They say the real voice of the people has been muted by the extremists, that the loudest voices are the ones that seem to carry the day. So what I'm hearing is that they want to feel a catharsis that they are not alone, that they're also represented," he said.
The two agreed that they attract different audiences. The New York Daily News reported:
O'Reilly maintains Obama had separated himself from "regular folks," a sticking point Stewart returns to repeatedly.
What people? Stewart pushes.
"The regular people who would never watch your show," O'Reilly shoots back.
"Oh, for God sake's. You went to Harvard. How long are we going to play this?" Stewart says, suggesting O'Reilly isn't in touch with regular people.
For his part, Stewart did admit that President Barack Obama was somewhat of a disappointment.
"I think people feel a disappointment in that there was a sense that 'Oh Jesus will walk on water' and now you are looking that he is just treading water," explained Stewart.
"If you had to go back in a time capsule, could you vote for McCain?" asked O'Reilly.
But Stewart would have still voted for Obama. "I thought we were in such a place, much like the Tea Party feels now, that the country was in such a place that we needed a more drastic reconstruction -- perhaps a destruction of the powers that be," said Stewart.
"I thought this may be a chance to do that. I have been saddened to see that someone who ran on the idea that you can't expect to get different results with the same people in the same system has kept in place so much of the same system and the same people."
O'Reilly will be returning the favor by appearing on The Daily Show show Monday.
This video is from Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, broadcast Sept. 22, 2010.
Watch Part 1:
Watch Part 2: