CNBC’s Rick Santelli appeared on at least two radio programs today to promote his “rant” against President Obama’s housing program. On G. Gordon Liddy’s radio program, Santelli called attention to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s response to his tirade. He cropped a quote from Gibbs to suggest the White House was pursuing a campaign of intimidation against him:
SANTELLI: He started that press conference saying, “I don’t know where he lives, I don’t know where his house is.” This is the Press Secretary of the White House. Is that the kind of thing we want? Is that —
LIDDY: It’s a veiled threat.
SANTELLI: It really is. […] I don’t really want to be a spokesman, but I really am very proud of a) the response I’m getting, which is overwhelmingly positive, and b) discourse, that is debate. That if the pressure and the heat I’m taking from the White House – the fact my kids are nervous to go to school – I can take that, okay.
Santelli also appeared on Mike Gallagher’s radio show, again stating “it was very scary” to have the White House Press Secretary say, “we don’t know where he lives or where his house is.”
The White House, however, has made no threats against Santelli. Here’s Gibbs’s full quote (which Santelli conveniently failed to use):
GIBBS: I’ve watched Mr. Santelli on cable the past 24 hours or so. I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgages, stay in their jobs, pay their bills, send their kids to school
Gibbs wasn’t threatening Santelli; he was pointing out the sheer absurdity of a well-to-do pundit criticizing Obama’s housing plan as seeking to simply “subsidize the losers’ mortgages.”
As the Wonk Room has reported, The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan aims to help up to “7 to 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure,” thus halting the ever-increasing number of foreclosed upon properties dragging down home values for entire neighborhoods. Santelli is not working to promote constructive debate about the merits of the President’s plan. Instead, Santelli — who made his rant before even reading the plan — has called for a “new Boston tea party” protest and appears more interested in spreading falsehoods with Liddy, a Nixon-era political operative who actually conspired to kill a political opponent.
Today’s Progress Report notes that media outlets are still shamelessly promoting various byproducts of Santelli’s outburst, with CNBC and Drudge leading the way.