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White House Looks to Jon Stewart in 9/11 Health Bill Bid

Posted on Dec 21, 2010
Wikimedia Commons /

Because Jon Stewart is just so popular with the GOP(?!), the White House is taking the funnyman seriously when it comes to the proposed first responders’ health measure.

Not doing much to convince certain detractors that “The Daily Show” is in cahoots with the Obama administration, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs voiced his hope, during a press briefing Tuesday, that Jon Stewart would be able to rouse support among members of the Senate for a health measure designed to help 9/11 first responders. Specifically, Gibbs held out the wish that Republican senators would pay attention to the message if it came from Stewart’s show.  —KA


If there’s the ability for that to sort of break through in our political environment, there’s a good chance that he can help do that,” Gibbs said in his briefing. “I think he has put the awareness around this legislation. He’s put that awareness into what you guys cover each day, and I think that’s good. I hope he can convince two Republicans to support taking care of those that took care of so many on that awful day in our history.”

Stewart has dedicated lengthy segments on “The Daily Show” to the legislation that would help the first responders on Sept. 11. 

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By openvista, December 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Apparently no one at the White House pays attention to Jon’s show. Last Thursday,
he announced they’d be off for the next two weeks.  So Jon won’t be available to
be the substitution for a Real Press and Real Congress until next year.  Gibbs
wasn’t thinking Jon would actually make some phone calls was he?  How
dysfunctional is our government?

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By ardee, December 23, 2010 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Stewart “in cahoots”? Republican legislators listening to, believing in, or acting upon what Stewart says on his show?

Gibbs is an idiot, Stewart is what he is, supporting some, not supporting other, democratic proposals and actions. He is a comedian first and foremost.

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By DBM, December 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

Why Jon Stewart?

Because legislators are answerable to the electorate.  Seemingly the only effective way to reach sufficient numbers of the electorate is through expensive political advertising funded by political donations.  So, legislators are ONLY interested in keeping that flow of funding dollars coming.

Now, a popular TV show can also reach the electorate.  It is possible ... just barely possible ... that Jon Stewart can reach enough of the electorate through his lofty platform to trump the political advertising avenue and shame a few politicians into supporting the causes he chooses to back.

This makes Stewart an immensely powerful man, comedian or not ... but not in the same league as political lobbyists and campaign donors.  On very rare occasions the politicians will feel enough heat of public disapproval that they will doubt that they can buy their way out of any pro-rich and pro-business position which disadvantages 99% of the population.

Is this the particular issue which deserves the Stewart treatment?  Perhaps, but it is completely up to him what causes he chooses to back.  The important thing here may be setting a precedent that he can drum up populist public opinion which trumps political calculation.  The next precedent would be to trump a corporate backed initiative ... a much tougher hurdle.

As for this being a good use of money ... c’mon, this entire programme could be funded by the tax benefits of a handful of the largest recipients of continued tax breaks.  Those tax breaks are being funded by borrowing - not primarily from China but from Wall Street organisations which are giving bonuses to the same people getting the tax break in the first place!!! (and making political donations)

Let’s hope this is a good trial ... if Stewart could turn the tide on tax breaks for the wealthy it would really do some good and make programmes like this one easy to fund.  Ah well ... we can dream!

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By Queenie, December 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

I am so in agreement with SoTexGuy. Yes! A down payment on universal health care or an option to get Medicare. Jezus, it’s so obvious these pack of dullards in congress absolutely detest us common folk.
They can’t wait until we all die off and just shut the fuck up.

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By Blackspeare, December 22, 2010 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

This bill, if passed, is a windfall for the medical community for those involved!  With no cost medical coverage and a virtual bottomless pit of money doctors will prescribe everything.  While we certainly feel for those individuals so affected by 9/11 activities no health care should be free when others have to pay deductibles and co-pays for very similar illnesses.  Having to pay something will keep the abusers away and make them use their own insurance.

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By pacrat, December 22, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course Jon Stewart wants the first responders to the 9/11 attack on our nation to have their health problems remedied by congressional support. Yes, he’s passionate - and very clever. Why aren’t most of our elected folks in congress as clever or passionate. This is the most lackluster and corrupt congress in our country’s history!

I am constantly embarassed by the ignorance of many congress persons - and their indifference to the rights of all Americans - especially the first responders.

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By SoTexGuy, December 22, 2010 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Lots of emotion surrounds debate on the Bill granting billions for healthcare
and disability payments to 9/11 responders. If you cut through that just what is
it all about and what does it accomplish?

It’s about political grandstanding and hand-wringing.. and it accomplishes
temporary aid to yet another small subset of Americans.

Why not take those billions and use it as a down payment for universal or public
option health care? We need Medicare type health care for all Americans, 9/11
responders, teachers, farmers, Wall Mart greeters.. you name it.. We don’t need
special appropriations bandaids for any group, no matter how deserving..

And if those responders have some legal liability beef with those in charge over
the response and subsequent cleanup.. let them sue them into oblivion.. pass a
law that allows that, by golly.


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By severed2009, December 22, 2010 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

Jon Stewart for White House Press Secretary.  He probably would not last very
long, but he could make history as the best one ever.  He would handle the usual
stupid, repetitive, gotcha questions from the press corps (the ones designed to
elicit a sound byte to enhance the reporter’s rep and further the reportorial career) 
as they deserved to be handled. 

All the reporters who thrive on bullcrap would unite to get him out of there.

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By gloria monday, December 22, 2010 at 4:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

a man who shakes hands with a man who incites political
assassination isn’t a comic ; he’s an accessory to
homocide… and I don’t care if the other sob is a
congressman: a creep is a creep.

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By meh, December 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

funnyman? comedy channel? easily amused i guess.

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By chip, December 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

The white house press corps are taking their talking points from the comedy channel now?

We are so screwed.

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By Sgore, December 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m guessing they watch the show from time to time, but I’d hardly say thanking him for having on 9/11 responders in order to bring attention to a bill that was otherwise fairly ignored means they’re in cahoots. I really have no trouble believing this bill is actually something Jon Stewart personally just wanted to see happen.

I also take issue with the word “cahoots.” It’s just so preposterously silly sounding. Seriously. Say it out loud a few times. “CAH-HOOTS” I like it, I just giggle a little every time I hear it. I don’t get why people use it such a serious context all the time. This is has nothing to do with my above comment, of course, but I thought it had to be said. Please ignore my irrelevancy.

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By rend, December 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

god, they just have no play.

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