Friday, March 13, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House’s chief spokesman on Friday said he enjoyed watching “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart give a lashing to CNBC’s Jim Cramer over how he and the business network have covered the collapsing economy.

Cramer’s Thursday appearance on Stewart’s Comedy Central program garnered buzz that carried all the way to the White House briefing room.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said he had spoken with President Barack Obama on Thursday about watching the Stewart-Cramer showdown.

“I forgot to e-mail and remind him that it was on, so I don’t know if he’s seen it,” Gibbs said when asked by a reporter Friday. “I enjoyed it thoroughly.”

The spokesman added: “Despite, even as Mr. Stewart said, that it may have been uncomfortable to conduct and uncomfortable to watch, I thought it was _ I thought somebody asked a lot of tough questions.”

Gibbs has been dismissive of cable chatter, particularly about the economy, and has also been critical of CNBC’s Rick Santelli after he spoke harshly of Obama’s plan to stem home foreclosures. Stewart’s had invited Santelli to be on his show earlier, but Santelli was a no-show.

On Thursday, Stewart took Cramer to task for trying to turn finance reporting into a “game.” Stewart claimed CNBC shirked its journalistic duty by believing corporate lies, rather than being an investigative “powerful tool of illumination.”

For his part, Cramer insisted on the show that he was devoted to revealing corporate “shenanigans.” At one point, Cramer responded to Stewart’s plea for more levelheaded, honest commentary by saying: “How about I try that?”

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