"The Daily Show" has a lesson in debating for Rick Santorum: Don't be so honest.
All of the new Republican primary frontrunner's rivals piled on him in the Wednesday night CNN debate, painting him as a Washington insider who enabled federal programs abhorred by conservatives.
Confronted with his prior support for No Child Left Behind and for former Senator (and Republican-turned-Democrat) Arlen Specter, Santorum gave an explanation that Stewart called "the reason Rick Santorum will be one more failed not-Romney."
That explanation Santorum gave? A realistic but wonky run-down of policy wheeling and dealing in Congress — and of concessions he'd made for his Republican colleagues.
"When you're part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team," he admitted during the debate, to loud boos. "Politics is a team sport, folks."
The debate audience didn't exactly approve.
"Boo! I boo your uncomfortably frank assessment of the inner workings of our legislature. Boo! Santorum, you're in a debate — this is no place for reasoned arguing," Stewart joked.
But the most fun Stewart had with the debate involved a former candidate who wasn't there and whom Stewart sorely missed — especially when the debate moderator John King asked the candidates each to describe himself in a single word.
"This is when you really miss Rick Perry in the debates, don'tcha? He's the guy who could actually blow it in one word," Stewart said.
Check out the rest of his nostalgic riff on Rick Perry below.