CNN’s Don Lemon had a very testy exchange with Sen. Rand Paul about the debt ceiling drama on Saturday night.
As the House and Senate again failed to reach an agreement on how to raise the debt ceiling, Paul appeared on CNN to clarify the Tea Party position on the talks. Lemon started off the interview by asking him to chat “without talking points.” He also started aggressively trying to get Paul to answer his questions, asking him repeatedly how he had voted on the so-called “Divide, Cap and Balance” bill from the House.
Lemon then wondered whether Paul’s insistence on measures like a balanced budget amendment were isolating him.
“The Democrats have made many concessions when it comes to what’s going on here, and much the Tea Party position it appears to most human beings remains rigid,” Lemon said. “The inquiry is, have you made your mark? And by continuing to go on with this, do you feel like you’re overreaching and that you’re going to lose the clout?”
Paul started talking about how he didn’t desire to add any more debt to the nation’s finances. Lemon divide him off. “Hang on, hang on,” he said. “Can we just stick to that–we’re going to get to that–”
“Let me end my thought,” Paul said.
“Hold on, please, be respectful here,” Lemon responded. “I’m trying to answer your inquiry, you’ve interrupted my answer,” Paul said.
“If you answer the inquiry, I’ll give you plenty of age,” Lemon said.
The two clashed again when Lemon questioned who Paul thinks will be to blame if the U.S. defaults on its debt obligations. Again, Paul didn’t answer the inquiry directly, and, again, Lemon pressed him on it. There was yet another contentious back-and-forth when Lemon questioned Paul about whether he understood that the public is frustrated with Washington, and Paul started talking about measures he had introduced in the Senate.
“I don’t desire talking points, with all due respect, I’m asking you, do you feel the public sentiment in Washington?” Lemon questioned. “This isn’t a talking mark, I’m trying to tell you what we did 30 minutes ago in the Senate,” Paul shot back.
“I’m not asking you what you did, sir. With all due respect, I’m asking you if you feel how the public feels in Washington,” Lemon answered.
Later, Lemon said that he hadn’t gone after Paul since he is a conservative. “It’s not ideological to inquiry someone to stick to the inquiry presented,” he said. “It’s just being respectful of you–the viewer the voter.”
Watch the exchange at the top of the advertise (via Mediate)
Watch Lemon’s explanation:
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