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When Comedy Central Host Jon Stewart invites a right-leaning guest on his show, viewers gear up for a showdown. Stewart relishes a verbal scrap and his opponents rarely leave the show unscathed. But last night, Stewart was the one licking his wounds. In a face-to-face with John Yoo, the legal architect of the Bush administration's war on terror, Stewart found himself at a loss for words. Today pundits on the left acknowledged that both rhetorically and comedically, Stewart came up short.

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  • Yoo Looked Good, concedes Adam Serwer at The American Prospect: "Stewart found himself completely outmatched by a charming, tactful Yoo who seemed far better prepared to defend granting virtually unlimited powers to the executive branch than ever before. Put simply, Stewart failed to make Yoo look like he had done anything wrong. In fact, he made him look entirely reasonable."
  • A Deflection Master, notes Spencer Ackerman at The Washington Independent: "Stewart has a great command of the facts and of his medium. Still, maybe it shouldn’t disappoint us to recognize that Yoo skillfully deflected most of Stewart’s assaults."
  • Touché, Professor, writes Annie Lowrey at Foreign Policy: "Stewart couldn't catch Yoo in a lie, couldn't call his arguments what they were, and clearly seemed frustrated. He had brushed up on Yoo's infamous briefs. He wanted to engage Yoo. But the lawyer -- as brilliant a legal mind as there is in the United States, some insist, dressed in a gray wool suit, looking every bit the professor -- simply explained away."

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