ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The easy and prevalent comedic take on John McCain has been that he's old. Has one emerged on Obama yet?
STEPHEN COLBERT: He's a hope-ronaut. He's in a rarefied level of hope where the rest of us have to take tanks up with us.
Is that really a comedic take? Seems more like a compliment.
JON STEWART: But it's not, in the same way that the take on Al Gore was ''he's too smart.'' Even if you're satirizing how wonderful they are, that hyperbole is setting them up for an expectation to fail, especially within the American political system now, where authenticity and apparently mediocrity are the manna that the populace feeds upon. To set somebody up as if they're above us, and elitist...my God, you couldn't do anything worse.
Jon, you've had McCain on your show 14 times and have spoken fondly of him. Do you think he's changed as a candidate as the election has gotten closer?
STEWART: I think it's somewhat inevitable. The most interesting moment to me was the difference in protocol when he came on the show in May, after he was the [presumptive] Republican nominee. The minute you are your party's nominee, you are a museum piece that is shuffled around by guys in earpieces. You are spectacularly managed. And I just felt the difference. When you were walking down the hallway, you were now walking into history, as opposed to going and seeing this guy that comes on your show and is a senator and has a sharp sense of humor. So that inevitably changes a person. Once you are surrounded by people who have sworn to take a bullet for you even though they don't know you, I think you've gotta be feeling pretty good about yourself at that moment.
COLBERT: Jon? If it comes down to it, I have a couple of interns I could toss in front of you.
NEXT PAGE: ''I offered to speak at the Democratic convention. And I had some expectation they might actually say yes. When I was running for president last year, they offered to let me speak to get me to drop out. Which is so weird.''