'Wow': Rematch With Scarborough Ends Badly for Paul 'Cheap Shot' Krugman

Sparks flew when MSNBC host Joe Scarborough matched up against his new nemesis, Times columnist Paul Krugman, on Monday's edition of Charlie Rose. They have a little history, engaging in testy debate on Scarborough's "Morning Joe" back on January 28, and that carried into Monday night's face-off on debt and the economy, in which Scarborough did not appreciate Krugman hassling him with his sighs.

Noel Sheppard documented some of the meatiest back and forth at NewsBusters under the totally accurate headline "Krugman: Quoting What I Said in the Past Is an Ad Hominem Attack."

JOE SCARBOROUGH: The thing is, though, we don't know, as Bob Ruben says, you never know when a bond crisis is going to come. It's not like we're going to get a warning. You're going to wake up one day and suddenly there's going to be a crisis. When is that going to happen? I don't know.

PAUL KRUGMAN: All kinds of things can happen, right?

SCARBOROUGH: What do you mean all kinds of things? Paul, again, you've been predicting this for 20 years.

KRUGMAN: You know, that's such a tired argument. You go and search for quotes and stuff I said once upon a time instead of dealing with the issue.

SCARBOROUGH: It’s not once upon a time. We’re talking about you said this for fifteen years. And so then you woke up one day and said, “I was wrong.”


SCARBOROUGH: You said we needed to create a housing bubble to replace the NASDAQ bubble.

KRUGMAN: Come on, that’s a, you know that I was joking when I said that. Come on.

SCARBOROUGH: You were joking?

KRUGMAN: Yes, yes of course. This is so disappointing.

SCARBOROUGH: It is disappointing.

KRUGMAN: So disappointing. Is all you can do is ad hominem and say, “Oh, you said this” and you were, pull out the…

SCARBOROUGH: Well, anybody that knows me knows I don't engage in ad hominem attacks.

KRUGMAN: That's what you’re doing right now. That’s awful.

SCARBOROUGH: Actually, I'm quoting back what you say.

KRUGMAN: We're trying to have a serious discussion here.

SCARBOROUGH: Well then don’t accuse me of ad hominem attacks.

Near the end, Scarborough got annoyed with Krugman interrupting his point on the history of Social Security with a sotto voce "Wow," and reacted (see clip) by comparing Krugman to another infamous liberal "sigher" – Al Gore!

SCARBOROUGH: You know what? If you could just stop from saying ‘Wow’ and being childish.

KRUGMAN: I’m sorry. I've written about this so many times, and it's just-

SCARBOROUGH: Let me just finish a point Paul.

KRUGMAN: I'm sorry, that was an involuntary reaction.

SCARBOROUGH: You and Al Gore really need to talk about it because, again, this is a real problem. If people don't agree with you 100 percent of the time – you talk about ad hominem attacks, you always feel like you have to take the cheap shot, so if I could just finish-

KRUGMAN: Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH: -I'd listen to you.

The self-regarding Krugman sensed he'd come off worse after the taping and pre-emptively made excuses for himself on his nytimes.com blog Monday afternoon. How dare Scarborough cite his previous work!

Well, we’ll see how it comes out after editing, but I feel that I just had my Denver debate moment: I was tired, cranky, and unready for the blizzard of misleading factoids and diversionary stuff (In 1997 you said that the aging population was a big problem! When Social Security was founded life expectancy was only 62!) Oh, and I wasn’t prepared for Joe Scarborough’s slipperiness about what he actually advocates (he’s for more spending in the near term? Who knew?)