WASHINGTON--Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) loosened up some by wearing a purple tie when he guested Thursday on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but there just is not much humor in talking about the tense negotiations over raising the debt ceiling that led the nation to the brink of economic disaster.
Contrast that with Wednesday night, when Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Office of Economic Advisors was on the same show--his exit interview, pegged to his departure at the end of this week to return to the University of Chicago.
As Stewart noted, Goolsbee was, well, giddy at the prospect of getting home.
"I just feel bad. The president has to stay there," said Goolsbee, who has honed his wit in Washington these past years.
Durbin on Thursday seemed recovering from the brutal last weeks in Congress. No zingers on this segment, from the host or guest.
"What we have just seen was embarrassing," said Durbin of the partisan mess Congress made of dealing with raising the debt ceiling, faced with the Aug. 2 deadline. A deal was finally struck and President Obama signed the bill just-in-time on Tuesday.
Durbin served on the Bowles Simpson bi-partisan deficit commission and was one of the Senate's bi-partisan "Gang of Six." Durbin told Stewart all told, he's been working on bi-partisan stuff to deal with the debt and deficit for the past 18 months.
He had some advice for the 12-member joint committee created in the debt ceiling deal whose job it is to chop at least $1.2 trillion -or raise revenue--by Nov. 23.
Durbin said he's been to that movie. And "it always ends the same way."