Jacob Gershman in New York Magazine:
Back in April, when the debate over torture was roaring, Jon Stewart invited Cliff May, a national-security hawk and former spokesman for the Republican Party, to come on The Daily Show and defend waterboarding. May was hesitant. He thought Stewart would paint him as a crazy extremist. The audience would jeer. It would be a disaster. “I was apprehensive about going on, even though I've been on TV for a dozen years,” says May. “A lot of my friends told me: 'Don't do it. You're meat going into the sausage factory.'”
But May had a change of heart after soliciting advice from his friend Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. “Kristol told me: 'You'll be pleasantly surprised. He doesn't take cheap shots. Jon is smart. You'll do just fine.'” Kristol proved to be right. Stewart's interview of May — a crackling, lengthy debate about where to draw the line between freedom and security — produced one of the most clarifying discussions about torture on television. “Literally, this is the best conversation I've had on this subject anywhere,” May told Stewart.
“There is genuine intellectual curiosity,” May told New York. “He's a staunch liberal, but he's a thoughtful liberal, and I respect that.” May isn't the only conservative gushing about Stewart.