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O’Reilly, Stewart to face off in debate

MEREDITH BLAKE, Los Angeles Times

Publication: The Day

Published September 19. 2012 4:00AM

Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly will go head-to-head in a debate to be held in Washington next month, the pair announced Monday.

In what will no doubt be the greatest exchange of ideas since the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, the hosts will face off Oct. 6 in a 90-minute event, dubbed the "The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium." The conversation will be moderated by television journalist E.D. Hill, and Stewart and O'Reilly also will field questions from the audience and the Internet.

Although Stewart, the left-leaning host of "The Daily Show," and O'Reilly, the conservative host of "The O'Reilly Factor," have made occasional appearances on each other's shows over the years, the Rumble represents the first time the ideologically divergent pundits will spar for an extended period of time.

The curious can watch the debate, which will be live-streamed via the Internet, for a mere $4.95.Tickets to the live show, which will be held at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, will cost quite a bit more: $100 to be exact. One half of the net proceeds from the event will go to a "number of charitable causes," according to the Rumble website.

On his show Monday night, O'Reilly struck an unusually humorous note about the upcoming debate, promising that he and Stewart would debate "man-to-man, eye-to-eye - well not really, he's a tiny guy" and warning that "it better be cool in there because Stewart is going to be taking some massive heat."

In a statement, Stewart was somewhat less cocky. "I'm excited to debate Mr. O'Reilly," he said. "I believe this will be a very enjoyable night for fans of our programs, political junkies, partisans and people who just enjoy yelling."

No doubt partisans on both sides of the political divide, who've long clamored for exactly this kind of fight, are certain their man will come out on top. We'll have to wait - and pay - to see who's right next month.

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