Jon Stewart with Dana Perino: Ari Fleischer, Ugly Serial Killer?

White House press secretary Dana Perino appeared on The Daily Show Thursday night, and host Jon Stewart disparaged former spokesman Ari Fleischer as looking like a caveman. When Perino protested that Fleischer had a female following, Stewart cracked "Is that like the women who visit murderers in prison? Like the serial killer kind of a thing?" Perino said most questions don’t fluster her, except when Helen Thomas will "ask a question that is not based on fact." Stewart asked:

"Now do you find, now that the mood has shifted, I mean, you went through a period where, I mean, they were going through press secretaries, Ari Fleischer, McClellan, Tony Snow, and then we always used to make a little attractiveness chart because it seemed like the evolution of man in terms of --

Perino: They wouldn’t wear pink.

Stewart: Because Fleischer was, let's face facts, tough to look at. (Laughter)

Perino: But a huge following.

Stewart, skeptical: Fleischer had a following.

Perino: Absolutely, women who love Fleischer like a web site, like a whole thing. (Laughter) There was.

Stewart: Is that like the women who visit murderers in prison? Like the serial killer kind of a thing?

Making fun of other men’s looks might not be the best move for a man who’s almost short enough to represent the Lollipop Guild. The other exchange came shortly after:

Perino: It does throw me when like, Helen will ask a question that --

Stewart: Helen Thomas.

Perino: – That is not based on fact.

Stewart: You say ‘Helen’ like the way people say she has – ‘cancer’ -- like when Helen -- The monster under my bed.

Perino: In the front row.

Perino insisted she has a good relationship with Thomas, and "was her date" at the Gridiron dinner recently. But it can get rough at the podium when the battle ax comes out.

The liberals like Stewart’s anti-Bush jab: "The president has said that he's going to sprint to the finish...can you get him to run faster?"

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis