On MSNBC this afternoon, deficit peacock Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) got into a heated exchange with anchors Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis, challenging their “integrity” and calling them “irresponsible” and “duplicitous” after they tried to get him to offer specific ways he would cut spending to lower the deficit.
Asked about the money President Obama is proposing to spend on jobs and whether it should “go hand and hand with other programs that integrate job training, vocational skills and certainly educating very young people,” Gregg responded with his usual complaints about government spending and his desire to “control the rate of growth of government.” When Francis said that sounded “good in theory,” Gregg got upset, retorting, “that’s not theory. Don’t tell me that’s good in theory”:
FRANCIS: That’s good in theory, senator. How would you practically…
GREGG: It’s not theory. It’s not theory. Don’t tell me that’s good in theory.
FRANCIS: Well, how would you, tell me how to put it to work.
GREGG: No, you don’t tell me it’s good in theory.
FRANCIS: Tell me very practically…
GREGG: How do you get off saying something like that?
After Gregg calmed down and ticked off a list of the ways he thinks the Obama administration has been fiscally irresponsible, Brewer interjected that Francis was “really asking for specifics” of “which programs” he was willing to cut. “Are you willing to tell schools ‘no money for you?'” asked Brewer, setting Gregg off again:
GREGG: Well, first off, nobody’s saying no money for schools. What an absurd statement to make.
BREWER: Well, I’m asking you, what we’re…
GREGG: And what a dishonest statement to make. On its face you’re being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.
Eventually, Gregg said that he would freeze discretionary spending, “eliminate the TARP money,” “end the stimulus spending” in June, and reform entitlement spending. He then returned to complaining about Francis and Brewer’s questions, calling the question about education spending “the most irresponsible question I’ve heard probably in a month.” Watch it:
After their tempers cooled, Gregg said that “education spending isn’t going to be cut.” His outrage over the insinuation that he could cut education funding is peculiar, considering that he voted for an amendment in 1996 that “would balance the budget faster by killing the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Commerce, and Energy.”