Tony Blair faces Daily Show's smiling inquisition

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The Independent Culture

Tony Blair returned to television screens last night with a confession about President Bush.

"I like him," he announced on America's favourite fake news programme, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Mr Stewart had said: "Your relationship with George Bush seems .. inexplicable."

Mr Blair replied: "Here's something I find always goes down well, particularly back home: I like him."

Mr Stewart responded: "I would probably like him too, if he wasn't in charge of me."

But the former Prime Minister was lucky enough to escape questions about Gordon Brown's troubles.

As with all big chat show guests, Mr Blair had something to plug. He today starts his teaching career at Yale University - and will lead his first seminar group as part of a "faith and globalisation" course.

Mr Blair had already expounded on the course. In an interview with the university's Yale Daily News, Mr Blair said: "I'm sort of a bit nervous for it, really.

"I was never a star student, and I'm coming along mixing with a whole lot of people who I'm sure are a whole lot more clever and smarter than I am."

He said he was partly drawn to the university after his son Euan graduated from there earlier this year with a master's degree in international relations.

"The chance to actually come to such a great institution as Yale and be able to interact with students - for me, it's a tremendous privilege," Mr Blair said.

On The Daily Show he admitted "it would have been complicated" to convert to Catholicism while still in Number 10.

Stewart's satirical programme has become so influential in the United States that many viewers claim it is their first port of call for news coverage. He has interviewed five former or current heads of state, among them Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, and the former Mexican president Vicente Fox. In September 2006, Pervez Musharraf, then president of Pakistan,

But Stewart gained few insights into the War on Terror, other than an admission that Mr Blair "would have been shocked" if he had known in advance how much carnage would have followed the Iraq war.

He also maintained that radical groups like al-Qa'ida, Hamas, and Hezbollah were linked.

And his Yale University course will explore the issues concerning the public roles of religious faiths in the context of globalisation.