Comedy Central's Stewart, Colbert to Host Dueling Rallies in Washington

Comedy Central television hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will host dueling rallies in Washington on Oct. 30 aimed at giving people the option to “restore sanity” or “keep fear alive.”

Stewart, star of cable network’s “The Daily Show,” announced his “Rally to Restore Sanity” on last night’s program. He said it will be a “clarion call for rationality” to respond to the “loud folks” he said have been dominating political discussions.

Colbert -- host of the “Colbert Report,” which airs immediately after Stewart’s late-night show -- will lead the “March to Keep Fear Alive” as a counterpoint to “fight Jon Stewart’s creeping reasonableness and to restore truthiness,” said the station’s website.

The rallies will follow events in Washington such as the Aug. 28 “Restoring Honor” gathering where tens of thousands of activists, many part of the Tea Party movement, joined Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to oppose the Obama administration and support lower taxes, less regulation and a return to religious values. The Tea Party is a loose coalition that seeks limits on government spending, taxes and debt.

Stewart said he was seeking to counter the types of people who compare President Barack Obama with Adolf Hitler or in past years accused former President George W. Bush of being complicit in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

On his website, Stewart called for people to attend “who believe that the only time it’s appropriate to draw a Hitler mustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles.”

The “face-off” aims “to be bigger than Nixon/Kennedy, Ali/Foreman, Aniston/Jolie,” according to a press release from Comedy Central.

The National Park Service, which issues permits for events on the National Mall, has received an application for a permit for the rally, said spokesman Bill Line. He said a decision hasn’t been made yet.

To contact the reporter on this story: Traci McMillan in Washington at tmcmillan1@bloomberg.net

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