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Lawrence O'Donnell Absurdly Claims GOP Failure To Raise Debt Ceiling Would Crash the Country, Possible Worldwide Depression

Lawrence "Crazy Larry" O'Donnell was back to his former self during MSNBC's Election Night coverage Tuesday. During the 9 p.m. EDT hour the MSNBC anchor claimed that if Rand Paul holds to his "principles" and filibusters an attempt to raise the debt ceiling, it would destroy the United States' credit rating and possibly spark a worldwide depression. O'Donnell also pressed House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the matter.

After Cantor refused to give O'Donnell a direct answer to his oddball question, the frustrated MSNBC host ranted that he didn't want to see Cantor on MSNBC again.

In the beginning segment, O'Donnell was giving commentary after live coverage of Rand Paul's victory speech. Paul, he noted, will soon be pressed to vote on raising the debt ceiling, something which O'Donnell asserted is vital to the health of the U.S. economy.

The debt ceiling, he noted, "must be raised on a date certain - at a particular time on the clock, or the United States government goes into default."

"If [Paul] filibusters the debt ceiling beyond that point," O'Donnell added, "he can not only destroy the credit rating of the United States of America, he can wreak havoc on the world's financial markets, cause a worldwide depression with one consistent holding to principle which is his notion of the American government's relation to debt."

O'Donnell then tried to nail Rep. Eric Cantor on that very issue during the next hour of coverage. Noting that the GOP House leadership will need to introduce an increase in the debt ceiling, and that the next Speaker of the House Boehner promised not to let the Tea Party down, O'Donnell asked Cantor if the Tea Party would feel let down by the decision.

Cantor wouldn't bite on the loaded question, so O'Donnell pressed him further. "You want to raise the debt ceiling...or are you going to let the country crash?"

"We're going to have at least three or four months here to demonstrate that we are about fiscal discipline," replied Cantor. "And then you're going to raise the debt ceiling, or let the country crash?" asked O'Donnell.

Cantor wouldn't give him a direct answer. So after the interview was finished, Chris Matthews invited Cantor to come on MSNBC again for an interview.

"Now wait, I don't want him to come back if he's not going to answer questions," O'Donnell interjected, after Cantor had left. "I mean, this is ridiculous. A guy like that can run and just spins those talking points, doesn't answer a single question," O'Donnell self-righteously thundered.

A transcript of the three segments, which aired on November 2 at 9:13 p.m., 10:23 p.m., and 10:26 p.m. EDT respectively, is as follows:

MSNBC DECISION 2010 11/2/10 9:13 p.m. EDT

LARRY O'DONNELL: [Rand Paul] is a man on a very fast collision course with his principles. One of the early votes he will be asked to cast in the United States Senate is the single - the single most important vote ever cast by the members of the House and the Senate, and that is on the debt ceiling. Our debt ceiling is now 14.3 trillion dollars, it will need to be raised in the coming year. He just used the phrase "enslaved by debt." This is exactly what he stands against. If he - and he is, as a single United States senator, empowered, empowered to prevent us from raising the debt ceiling, because it must be raised on a date certain, at a particular time on the clock, or the United States government goes into default - if he filibusters the debt ceiling beyond that point, he can not only destroy the credit rating of the United States of America, he can wreak havoc on the world's financial markets, cause a worldwide depression with one consistent holding to principle which is his notion of the American government's relation to debt.

(...)

MSNBC DECISION 2010 11/2/10 10:23 p.m. EDT

O'DONNELL: (to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) ...you're going to have to loosen the belt before you tighten it, as you know, you and the Republican leadership in the House, Speaker Boehner, are going to have to bring up an increase in the debt ceiling to be voted on by your membership. John Boehner tonight has told the Tea Party quote, "I'll never let you down." Do you think the Tea Party will feel let down when you and John Boehner move to raise the debt ceiling next year?

Rep. ERIC CANTOR: Look, right now, what the people are saying, including the folks in the Tea Party, is "Get your business straight Washington, start listening to us, and start demonstrating the kind of fiscal discipline -

O'DONNELL: I'm not hearing an answer. I'll wait, but I'm not hearing one.

CANTOR: I'm going to give you an answer - I'm going to give you an answer - and start demonstrating the fiscal discipline that we expect of our federal government, and most especially the Republican Party.

O'DONNELL: You want to raise the debt ceiling?

(Crosstalk)

O'DONNELL: Or are you going to let the country crash?

CANTOR: We're going to have at least three or four months here to demonstrate that we are about fiscal discipline - cutting spending, going about the things that Americans want, which is to bring government back into -

O'DONNELL: And then you're going to raise the debt ceiling, or let the country crash?

CANTOR: Now - Now listen, we-we've got three or four months until that gets here, and then -

O'DONNELL: So you won't answer any questions about the debt ceiling until one minute to midnight when you have to raise it?

(...)

MSNBC DECISION 2010 11/2/10 10:26 p.m. EDT

CANTOR: Again, a pleasure to be on MSNBC tonight.

KEITH OLBERMANN: I'm sure you feel that way. Thank you. And -

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Please come back.

OLBERMANN: Yeah. Indeed. The irony, though, of the phrase -

O'DONNELL: Now wait, I don't want him to come back if he's not going to answer questions -

OLBERMANN: No, but I was just going to say, the irony -

O'DONNELL: I mean this is ridiculous -

OLBERMANN: Lawrence -

O'DONNELL: A guy like that can run and just spins those talking points, doesn't answer a single question.


- Matt Hadro is a Media Research Center News Analysis division intern. You can follow him at twitter.com/matthadro.