Watch CBSN Live

​Will Jon Stewart moderate a presidential debate?

Over 150,000 people are calling for comedian Jon Stewart to moderate a presidential debate in 2016, saying the former host of "The Daily Show" is uniquely qualified to interrogate the nominees for the White House.

An online petition directed at the Commission on Presidential Debates, the governing body that ultimately decides the details of the events, had garnered over 157,000 signatures on by Friday morning -- and that number keeps growing by the minute.

Jon Stewart: Most Trusted Source

"Jon Stewart is more than qualified to tackle the moderating job," the petition says, pointing to his years of experience grilling a variety of guests. From Nobel prize winners to heads of state, Stewart has sat at the table with "scores of other political leaders from this country and around the world while establishing himself as the most trusted person in (satirical) news."

Mariel Waters, the New Jersey woman who started the petition two weeks ago, said that despite Stewart's departure earlier this month from "The Daily Show," "we still need him."

The petition also cited Stewart's presidential election reporting, adding that the Peabody Award was given to "The Daily Show" in 2000 and 2004 for its election coverage.

"It's a very important election in 2016. We'd love for him to come back and perform this service for us," Waters told "For the past 16 years, he's been a great voice for so many people. He may have left 'The Daily Show,' but we still need him."

At least one Democratic presidential candidate is on board: former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. O'Malley signed the petition and Tweeted out his endorsement Thursday:

Signed. Jon Stewart moderating or not, #WeNeedDebate.

— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) August 20, 2015

In a 2009 TIME online poll, Stewart was voted the most trusted newscaster in America after Walter Cronkite's death, and during Stewart's reign, young viewers frequently named "The Daily Show" as a top source of information. NBC's "Meet the Press" even reportedly considered Stewart as a host for their weekly political news show.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 40 percent of Republicans say Jon Stewart - who has in the past said he considers himself "more socialist or independent" - shares their worldview at least some of the time. Among the overall population, over 52 percent of the poll's respondents said the same.

Dixon Talent, which represents Stewart, and the Commission on Presidential Debates, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

View CBS News In