This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, we continue our interview with Comedy Central titan Jon Stewart. Yesterday we debated the wisdom of the White House inviting a controversial rapper to a poetry reading, and tonight we turn our attention to politics.
O'REILLY: Presidential politics, Republican side. Any Republican possible candidate that you like, that you respect? Do we have music that we can put under Stewart?
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": That I like?
O'REILLY: Yes. That you respect or that you like…
STEWART: I like a few -- I mean like them personally or like them…
O'REILLY: No. That would be a good president.
STEWART: That would be a good president?
O'REILLY: Anybody. Anybody out of the 50,000 that may want to run.
STEWART: You know, again, the standards for presidenting, I don't expect the president to be a superhero. I would imagine that Tim Pawlenty seems like a reasonably logical individual.
O'REILLY: Tim Pawlenty. Are you willing to endorse now?
O'REILLY: Yes, Pawlenty.
STEWART: Right now I'm looking at whose campaign to help run. I think he seems like a reasonable guy.
O'REILLY: Has he been on your program?
STEWART: Mitt Romney looks like if you were to open a box labeled president and pulled something out it would look like Mitt Romney, so I guess I would enjoy that.
O'REILLY: He's got hair like you. You guys have the same kind of hair. It goes up a lot.
STEWART: A little salt and pepper. And we're both Mormons, so there you go. Oh, wait. I'm Jewish.
O'REILLY: Is that an endorsement of Romney? Do you like his policies? You think he's a good leader?
STEWART: I thought that he didn't do terribly for Massachusetts. As I don't think -- I think Pawlenty actually was a little worse for Minnesota than maybe Romney, I think, was for Massachusetts. And I look at their executive experience. I tend to think that executives tend to make good presidents because they've had that experience.
O'REILLY: All right. So Pawlenty and Romney because they did OK in their respective states, you would consider them as viable candidates?
STEWART: Sure. I would absolutely consider them as viable candidates.
O'REILLY: Sarah Palin? She was a governor and…
STEWART: I'm sorry. You know what? I think my earpiece went out.
O'REILLY: Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, but left office with high approval rating.
STEWART: I'm sure she did.
STEWART: Then they got to know her.
O'REILLY: No, she left with high approval rating. She was in there.
STEWART: Fair enough.
O'REILLY: Like her?
STEWART: I'm not a particular fan of her style of rhetoric. I think she's too thin-skinned.
O'REILLY: Sounds like Colbert you're describing.
STEWART: Colbert, I would actually endorse for president. She's reminiscent to me much more of a television personality than a politician because I think that her inability to get past slights, it makes it very difficult to -- like I would just imagine her at night just with the hands going, did you see that thing that Maher…
O'REILLY: Newt Gingrich? Hello? Hi.
STEWART: Yes. Listen, he has -- definitely his head is large enough that you imagine there are great ideas in there, but it's so big it's almost like they're free-range ideas. And I don't know if he could actually herd them and gather them and take them in. I think that Newt does not have the -- presidents tend to be very charismatic individuals. I'm not suggesting that he is uncharismatic but he doesn't -- when you meet George Bush, when you meet Barack Obama, when you meet Bill Clinton, you feel them. There's a certain…
O'REILLY: In a literal sense.
STEWART: Literal -- for some of them. Sarah Palin has that, by the way. She has that star quality and charisma.
O'REILLY: She has charisma, absolutely.
STEWART: I feel like he doesn't. He would be an excellent guy who stands behind the president going, "Yes."
O'REILLY: But you don't hate him like The New York Times. They loathe him.
STEWART: I don't -- again, I feel like this country is stronger than any individual you can throw at it. So I don't hate any of these people. I don't think personally that the damage that they can do is so drastic and so great that we would ever be run off course by one individual.
O'REILLY: OK. James Buchanan comes to mind, but I don't know.
STEWART: You are old.
O'REILLY: I am. How about Donald Trump?
STEWART: I pray.
O'REILLY: For or against?
STEWART: That he runs.
O'REILLY: You like him?
STEWART: The man puts his name on everything he has. The only other people in the world that do that are six-year-olds. Like that, for a comedian, he has his name on a helicopter. Who puts your name on a helicopter? Does he lose it in the parking lot? Like why would you have your name on a helicopter? He has silly hair and crazy thoughts. That to me -- I mean he spends -- before he runs for president, he spends his day arbitrating arguments between Meat Loaf and Gary Busey. For me…
O'REILLY: That could be good in diplomacy though.
STEWART: …I could put another wing on my house if that guy runs. I'd be honored…
O'REILLY: So you're not taking him seriously?
O'REILLY: You don't take any of these guys seriously. That's probably -- right.
STEWART: Because I think, you know, unfortunately the system that we've got makes it harder and harder for people to govern effectively because so much of their time is spent running.
O'REILLY: I actually agree with that.
O'REILLY: OK. When we come back, Jon Stewart will talk about President Obama and he has some surprising things to say, and I ask him to grade the president.
Also, we'd like you to vote in our BillOReilly.com poll: Who won yesterday's debate on the rapper: Common, Stewart or me? So far more than 30,000 of you weighed in, so we hope you check it out.
O'REILLY: We continue now with the "Personal Story" segment: a chat with our pal Jon Stewart. Tonight we're featuring his take on presidential politics, including Mr. Obama himself.
O'REILLY: OK. Let's see. Is there anybody else in play there on the Republican side? Oh, yes, Michele Bachmann. Michele, my belle, Bachmann?
STEWART: Yes. I think that if Sarah Palin doesn't run...
STEWART: ...Michele Bachmann could definitely put on that blazer and try and sneak in there in costume.
O'REILLY: You like her though.
STEWART: I think that she is...
O'REILLY: I can tell you like her, just by your face. You don't want to admit it, though, because your left-wing audience would then despise you. You like her. Look. Look at Stewart. He likes Michele.
STEWART: I like the fact that when she did her State of the Union address, which was, I guess, the third of the night, that she never looked directly into the camera that was recording her. So I kind of got a kick out of that. You had the sense that she thought she was being interviewed by America as she gave her thing. She was just doing one of these.
O'REILLY: Now, this is just a treasure trove, all -- this whole presidential run for you and your 18,000 writers. I mean, this is just unbelievable.
STEWART: It's unbelievable.
O'REILLY: The Holy Grail.
STEWART: It's no rapper invited to the White House in terms of a boon.
STEWART: It's not that kind of juice.
O'REILLY: Now, on the other side, Barack Obama, you've criticized the president. You've said he let you down a couple of times when he didn't do a far-left thing that you wanted.
STEWART: How far left am I? I'm curious.
O'REILLY: It depends on the night. It depends on the ratings. It depends on who you're talking to.
STEWART: You don't know much about me, do you?
O'REILLY: And I don't want to.
STEWART: All right.
O'REILLY: No, that's not nice! It's not. Stewart's nice to come in here. But is there ever -- would there ever be a scenario where you could see not voting for Barack Obama...
O'REILLY: ...and voting for a Republican?
O'REILLY: And what would that be? What would Barack Obama have to be beside kicking you in the head?
STEWART: What would he have to be? It's...
O'REILLY: What would he have to do?
STEWART: If I didn't have a clear sense of the direction that he wanted to move the country and somebody else had a more logical sense of where to take it.
O'REILLY: So you're an open-minded guy on this?
STEWART: Well, I don't think I would ever be able to convince you of that, but yes, I consider myself...
O'REILLY: Millions of people are watching, and I'm asking the questions that they want to know about you. Right now...
O'REILLY: ...grade President Obama going into the campaign.
STEWART: I don't -- I can't -- I don't do that. I don't know.
O'REILLY: The Jon Stewart scale of how much -- you voted for him. Has he lived up to your expectations?
O'REILLY: He hasn't?
STEWART: But that's -- but I don't know if that's -- but I don't know if my expectations were fair to that individual. I believed -- I believed that we were at a more transformative time. And so -- but I've come to respect a certain steadiness of his craft that I don't necessarily agree with. I think he had an opportunity more in the Reagan mold to be a little bit more of a bully pulpit president than what he appears to be, which is more of a Tip O'Neill president, like a legislative worker, more of a -- someone who understands a bureaucratic method, as opposed to something that's more, you know, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan type.
O'REILLY: I didn't understand a word of that, but it sounded really good. I appreciate you coming in here.
STEWART: I'm a very nice man.
O'REILLY: You're a standup guy.
STEWART: Your respect for me grows in leaps and bounds. You're like the Grinch right after he realized they don't need presents for Christmas when you see me. Your heart grows to dimensions you didn't even know about. You love it. You love me because you know we come from -- we're the same people. You want this date to go on forever.
O'REILLY: Uh, yes. Jon Stewart, everyone.
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