Bill Kristol Admits Public Health Care Sometimes Better On 'Daily Show' (VIDEO)

Bill Kristol Admits Public Health Care Sometimes Better On 'Daily Show' (VIDEO)

Neoconservative commentator Bill Kristol returned to The Daily Show last night to have another one of his affable-yet-contentious tete-a-tetes with host Jon Stewart. On the one hand, it's pretty clear that the thought of sparring with Kristol sharpens Stewart's interviewing game. On the other hand, I've long suspected that Kristol willingly gives up a little ground to Stewart. Maybe he takes perverse pleasure in getting abused by the Daily Show's audience, or maybe beating up on the glass-jawed Fox News colleague Juan Williams on a weekly basis just gets ridiculously old. At any rate, last night's highlight was the way Stewart managed to steer Kristol into complimenting government-run health care.

STEWART: So you believe no public option, so even though that's good enough for the military, not good enough for the people of America.

KRISTOL: Well, the military has a different health system than the rest of Americans.

STEWART: It's a public system, no?

KRISTOL: Yeah, they don't have an option, they're all in military health care.

STEWART: Why don't we go with that?

KRISTOL: I don't know. Is military health care really what you -- first of all, it's expensive. I think they deserve it, the military--

STEWART: But the American public do not.

KRISTOL: No. The American public do not deserve the same quality health care as our soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve, and they need all kinds of things that the rest of us don't need.

STEWART: Well, no, they can have that level of care, but are you saying that the American public shouldn't have access to the same quality health care that we give to our better citizens?

KRISTOL: Yes. To our soldiers? Absolutely. The American public--

STEWART: Really?

KRISTOL: I think that if you become a soldier, you deserve--


KRISTOL: One of the ways we make it up to the soldiers, since they're risking their lives, we give them first-class health care. The rest of us can go out and buy insurance--

STEWART: So you said that the public--


STEWART: Get this on the record. Bill Kristol said that the government can run a "first class health care system." And a government-run health care system is better than the private health care system.

KRISTOL: I don't know if it's better.

STEWART: You just said that.

KRISTOL: I don't know if it's better.

STEWART: You said it was better! You said it's the best. It's a little more expensive...

KRISTOL: The military needs different kinds of health care...

STEWART: I just want to get this down: "The government runs the best health care."

Earlier in the interview, Stewart commended Kristol for correctly predicting that Sarah Palin would end up on the ticket with McCain. Kristol averred that Palin's plan was to spend the next few years in deep study: "She has a couple years to make her case, educate herself more on national and international issues." Kristol also promised to get Palin booked on the Daily Show. "I have no clout," he said, "but I'm going to email her and say do Jon Stewart."

I am not going to hold my breath on that one. Here's the complete, unedited interview:

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