So Watercooler imagines 75-year-old Dan Rather, having covered 55 elections during his career, was just a bit relieved that all his duties consisted of this year was waiting for Jon Stewart to set up his prewritten jokes. Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" were also airing live last night, in a one-hour "Midterm Midtacular" special.
Starting out with a straight recounting of where the races stood at the top of the hour, Rather summed up his views for Stewart with: "I expect tomorrow morning we'll read in the paper: Democrats take the House, Republicans hold on to the Senate."
Stewart applauded the effort, telling Rather: "That was a terrific analysis, just terrific -- but we brought you in here, though, to give us a little of that Dan Rather, you know, little bit more of that homespun kind of ..."
Rather responded with a puzzled, "How so?"
"For instance, Hillary Clinton -- we knew she was going to win in a landslide, but how would you, Dan Rather, describe the largeness of that win?" Stewart asked.
"It was a healthy margin," Rather replied, playing it straighter than an ant leading the colony to a picnic.
Stewart prodded him with a pregnant pause.
Rather, giving in, finally delivered: "How about, 'She ran away with it like a hobo with a sweet potato pie.'"
"That's what I'm talking about," Stewart crowed, setting him up for another. "The Allen/Webb race in Virginia -- still too close to call; it's an ugly, ugly race."
Rather: Yes, it was.
Stewart: Wondering, in your view, the magnitude of the ugliness. Is there some way you might ...
Rather: I'd say, "As ugly as a hog lagoon after a bachelor party."
Stewart: All right, that is ugly -- I think.
All in all, it seems Rather was satisfied with his appearance -- we think. He ended the interview telling Stewart: "It was a real eye-opener for me. I realized pretty early on I was just a four-dollar gopher in a two-dollar pelt."
Stewart: That's an insult, right?
Rather: I believe it is, Jon.