On Monday, Dec. 18, Iowa Governor and Hamilton alumnus Tom Vilsack became the first 2008 presidential hopeful to appear on The Daily Show with John Stewart. Eric Kuhn '09 was the only reporter in the audience. He wrote about the program and a subsequent reporters' conference for the Huffington Post.
The program began with Stewart making fun of Vilsack's name with the AFLAC duck quaking "Vilsack." When the Iowa governor came out on stage, he handed the host a stuffed AFLAC duck with a "Tom Vilsack '08" medallion pinned on the front. This set up the candidate perfectly for his first punch line when asked if he was going to continue to be associated with the quaking of his name. "I am not going to duck from that," Vilsack proclaimed.
Vilsack spoke about his visits to Afganistan and Iraq and said they are "mostly scripted and a little bit unscripted, kind of like this show." He believes that "America should let the Iraqis decide for themselves about their future."
Moments after the show ended, Vilsack joined a conference call with reporters from outlets ranging from the Associated Press to the Huffington Post . Kuhn covered the event for both the Huffington Post and Hamilton College. He questioned the candidate about the importance of college students to the Vilsack campaign and to the election generally. Vilsack told his fellow Hamiltonian, "It is all part of a process to speak to all voters." He continued that because this election is about the future of youngsters, "it's important for candidates to get out and listen to all age groups." Vilsack told another reporter that, "The Daily Show is one of the most popular news shows for those under the age of 35…humor has been a part of politics for quite some time." In his Huffington Post article Kuhn wrote about how Vilsack's campaign is the first to have a video blog and to fully utilize YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and other youth-oriented technologies. Kuhn will continue covering the campaign for Hamilton's student paper, The Spectator, and other publications. Vilsack will also be a future guest on Kuhn and Company, a popular WHCL radio interview show.
Kuhn's story on the Huffington Post can be read here.