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Stewart, O'Reilly go head-to-head over government muffin spending

Bill O'Reilly is an admitted Democrat! The government paid $16 for a muffin! Cocaine dealers are the source of our debt problems! And Stephen Colbert may have a ready replacement for "The Colbert Report" if he ever decides to step down.

Such were the twists and turns that emerged from Jon Stewart's interview last night with Bill O'Reilly on "The Daily Show."

The two are longtime nemeses, yet treat one another with a mix of respect and quippy jabs whenever they meet. This most recent appearance of O'Reilly on "The Daily Show" ostensibly revolved around his promotion of the book, "Killing Lincoln," but a few seconds in Stewart readily acknowledged they weren't there for such pedestrian reasons.

No, instead Stewart was following up on a comment he originally referred to in a show last week -- namely that O'Reilly said that if his taxes really went up too high, he would consider abandoning his show, "The O'Reilly Factor." That was too good of a pledge to pass over, so Stewart went right into it: Would he quit if taxes went up too much?

Nah. "All of it" was an empty threat, said O'Reilly. But he did take time to suggest he could "take Colbert's place" ("somebody has to"), and complain about taxes anyway, adding, "I don't mind paying 40%, but first (the government is) going to have to stop wasting the money."

And then came the muffin discussion ... in which O'Reilly gave Stewart a finger-wag for not knowing that the government had paid "$16 dollars" for "muffins" at "a bunch of conferences for pinheads." Stewart hadn't heard of it, which meant he didn't know the "pinheads" in question were Department of Justice workers and it wasn't as straightforward as all that, but it did make for entertaining (if not informative) television.

Stewart swung things around and asked if O'Reilly realized that the Wall Street problems of the past several years added up to far more than $16 times 250 muffins. "Capitalism also sometimes finds itself going astray sometimes and wrecking our economy," he said.

But perhaps most interestingly, Stewart got O'Reilly to admit in an extended interview that he was, in fact, a democrat. In certain limited situations, that is. When asked if he thought the last 20 years had been good for the wealthy, O'Reilly agreed, saying, "I don't have any sympathy for the pinheads who are stealing money and doing all the derivative selling and doing the day trading, I don't like these people and I think there should be government watchdogs and set up rules where they can do this and they can't do that."

"So you're a democrat?" asked Stewart.

"On that I am. I am a democrat on that," said O'Reilly, before delivering his best line of the night: "We have a trillion dollars in the underground economy, people not paying any taxes at all, your cocaine dealers, these people, they're not filing. ... I want a consumption tax, so when they buy their Bentleys they pay two or three percent, so we get something from everybody."

And there you have it. For more, make sure to check out the clips.

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