This week, several of our favorite TV clips were infused with political undertones. Betty White prepared to run for the presidency on the double entendre ticket, while Bill O'Reilly wouldn't high five Letterman after admitting he was wrong about the Iraq War. Hank Williams Jr. went on 'The View' to try to explain himself after getting sacked from 'Monday Night Football,' but all that came out was jibberish.
LL Cool J dropped some knowledge in a BET Awards acceptance speech, in what proved to be the high-point of the week for Blackberry. And thankfully, Simon Cowell dumbed it all down by marveling at Wendy Williams' boobs.
Check out the clips after the jump and vote for your favorite in our weekly poll.
Before they got started, Stewart wanted to clear something up:
"Obviously, elephant in the room, tension between us -- I think I know why you're here, and let me just deflate the tension right off the bat: Apology accepted."
"No we can move on," Stewart continued, as the crowd cheered and Rumsfeld laughed. "Have a nice day, a nice conversation. I know this has been troubling you for some time now ... "
And the two did have a cordial and surprisingly funny conversation about some of the decisions leading up to the Iraq War. (And no, Rumsfeld never actually apologized for anything.)
An Ex-General Drops a Bombshell: We Were Willing to Kill a U.S. Soldier to Start the Iraq War (VIDEO)
General Shelton alleges that a cabinet member in the Clinton administration was willing to kill a U.S. pilot to provoke war with Saddam Hussein and Iraq. The general states that in 1997, airmen were flying over Iraq each day, and were facing ground artillery fire from Iraqi forces.
A Clinton aide then came up with this "clever" plan: "Fly one of our [aircraft] low enough so that Saddam could actually shoot it down." Once the plane and the pilot were shot down, the U.S. would have an excuse to attack Iraq.
The "hot dog guy" was none other than Vice President Joe Biden. "Read your Constitution, man," said Biden. Giving hot dogs to "returning warriors" is one of his constitutional duties, he explained.
"Tonight I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over," he said in his primetime address.
As for the 50,000 American troops still stationed in Iraq?
"Consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year."
His 17-minute speech also touched on the war in Afghanistan and the sluggish U.S. economy, but was clearly centered around the milestone in Iraq.
Captain Self was sent to rescue a missing-in-action Navy SEAL. In the course of this operation, Nate ended up fighting against enemy soldiers from before dawn until after dusk. Eventually, he located the SEAL -- but the man was already dead. Still, Ranger Self brought the SEAL's body back. However, Nate lost six of his own men in the course of the operation.
Cool. But luckily, or unluckily, the singer managed to sound plenty insane without taking any controlled substances.
During his interview with George Lopez, Nugent screamed, cursed, repeated the same phrases over and over, and gave the camera the finger. Neat! " ... You sound like you're on drugs!" host Lopez said.
Balloons fall -- and Stephen yells, and lifts his arms in victory. The combat phase of the Iraq War is officially over! And now that it is over, Colbert remembers to give credit where credit is due. And the person who deserves all the credit? President George W. Bush.
"What I feel most acutely is the chasm between what humans are asked to do, what humans are put through, and the politics that puts them here," Maddow said, reporting from Baghdad. "Wars start for all sorts of reasons, some deserved ,some truthful, and some not deserved and not truthful. But wars end like this ... with a political settlement."
"4,415 American fatalities in this war, tens of thousands of Americans wounded," she continued. "The human cost that has been borne by the people who have been here -- the chasm between that and the grounds on which we made political decisions, some of which, looking back on them, feel so cheap and awful when we see the human toll that they caused -- that's what I feel the most acutely."
Now that the combat phase of the Iraq War is over, how do you feel?
Olbermann was in the studio, and embedded reporter Richard Engel was on the scene.
As the final Stryker armored vehicle rolled into Kuwait, Engel made the historic call:
Stephen Colbert is taking his Colbert Report to Baghdad for the troops next week. The network claims this is the first time the USO has brought a television show into a combat area for a week of shows, if you don't count, say, the news.
Colbert has landed in Baghdad and underwent some basic military training to prepare for his visit to the region at Camp Victory, the former home of Saddam Hussein's Al-Faw Palace. That alone should provide hours of hilarious material for the show. But there's more going on than just producing something to keep you entertained during your post-work Kraft dinner.
"Television shows process news events much faster than ever before but not much more directly than they did at the time of Hogan's Heroes, M*A*S*H or China Beach," critic Alessandra Stanley wrote, noting that a failed FX program, Over There about soldiers in Iraq "turned a war into entertainment as it was still being fought."
Real With Bill Maher (*cha-ching*) premieres on February 16th.
Quotes from Bill:
- "Truth is like sex. It's best when it's a little painful."
- "HBO pays me the same whether I listen to the guests or not. It's all: bullshit, bullshit, bullshit -- my line."
- "Fox News hates us, for good reason, I make fun of them a lot ... and for good reason, they suck."
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