MSNBC morning host Thomas Roberts on Tuesday continued in his role as one of MSNBC's most rabidly partisan, openly liberal anchors. Talking to Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn about the partial government shutdown, he questioned her patriotism, sneering, "Congresswoman, let me ask you though, when it comes to ObamaCare, do you hate ObamaCare more than you love your country?" [MP3 audio here.]
A surprised Blackburn immediately retorted, "I've got to tell you something. I think that comments like that" are "just incredibly inappropriate." Parroting White House talking points, Roberts recited, "You don't think it's incredibly inappropriate to shut down our government and take all the hostages of Americans that you've taken?" After Blackburn again objected to the smear, Roberts lectured, "No, no, no. It's not inappropriate because you've taken the government hostage through a shutdown and all the American people, you're walking them to a cliff."
The Republicans, according to Roberts, want to "push" America "over" the cliff.
In what played like a parody of MSNBC, the host interrupted Blackburn with very important news. "Congresswoman, let me ask you to stand by. Nancy Pelosi is speaking." He never returned to the Blackburn.
Calling Republicans traitors isn't new for Roberts. On August 9, 2011, the cable anchor declared that opposing government spending was an "act of treason."
On September 23, 2011, he insisted that the GOP wants to go back to the time when "slavery was cool."
On October 3, 2013, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus mocked Roberts, telling him to "just apply for a job in the Obama administration."
A transcript of the October 15 MSNBC Live segment is below:
11:32 AM EDT
THOMAS ROBERTS: Joining me now is Republican Congresswoman from Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn. Congressman [sic], great to have you with me. You know, here we are on the heels of John Boehner coming out and giving a brief description of the bill that's being crafted together and cobbled together to get enough support. But it includes revision work or anything tied to the ACA that the President has been very firm on, saying that that's, really, a non-negotiable starting point, especially mainly the delay of the medical device tax. Do you agree that no matter what something needs to come from the House that still has attachments for the ACA?
MARSHA BLACKBURN: Well, I think that one of the things that we're looking at is the fact that the House is the one who continues to pass bills and send to the Senate and continue to invite the President and the Senate to the negotiating table so we can address this. We have been doing that for months and weeks and days and even years when you look at the fact that we're the ones that continue to pass a budget. But nevertheless, we do find ourselves at another deadline, this dealing with the debt ceiling. And again, in order to get the Senate working toward something, we are going to take the steps to bring together components of a bill that we will send over to the Senate and be hopeful that they are going to take it up, take some action and maybe they'll work late for once and get it passed today,
ROBERTS: Congresswoman, Congresswoman, let me ask you though, when it comes to ObamaCare, do you hate ObamaCare more than you love your country?
BLACKBURN: I've got to tell you something, I think that comments like that that you are making are just incredibly inappropriate. What we have to realize is that the CR–
ROBERTS: You don't think it's incredibly inappropriate to shut down our government and take all the hostages of Americans that you've taken?
BLACKBURN: I said your comments. No.
ROBERTS: No, no, no. It's not inappropriate because you've taken the government hostage through a shutdown and all the American people, you're now walking them to a cliff, the economy, and you're going to push them over one-by-one based on the fact that you don't like the ACA. That's all it is. You don't like the Affordable Care Act.
BLACKBURN: Listen to yourself. Listen to yourself. We didn't want a government shutdown. Just listen to the way you're sounding, my goodness! We didn't want a government shutdown. We don't want a government default. We in the House are continuing to work.
ROBERTS: Really? Because on August the 6th at the Economic Club of Nashville –
BLACKBURN: We're continuing to work through this.
ROBERTS: – on August the 6 at the Economic Club of Nashville you said "everything we can do whether it's defunding, delaying, repealing, replacing, all of our energy needs to be every one of our efforts. I applaud Ted Cruz for getting out there and bringing this to the forefront." Did you not say that?
BLACKBURN: Those are comments that I did make to the economic club and let me tell you why.
ROBERTS: So you have been planning a shutdown since August.
BLACKBURN: No, not at all. Not at all. What you are doing is so inappropriate. We didn't want a shutdown. What we want to do is solve problems and that is what we're trying to do.
ROBERTS: But how can you say that you didn't want a shutdown if you said that that "everything we can do is defunding, delay, repealing, all of our energy needs to be to these efforts and I applaud Ted Cruz"?
BLACKBURN: ObamaCare has grown from $163 billion to $2.6 trillion – to a $2.6 trillion program. It is too expensive to afford. We know from history you can look at what happened in Tennessee with Tenn Care and you can look at how this affected our state. And by the way, it was a Democrat governor who had to come in and reshape that program. What we're saying is let's learn from the mistakes of the past. Let's look at things that are lessons learned and let's not re–
ROBERTS: But haven't you learned from Tennessee Senator Bob Corker calling this silly and self-defeating all the effort that's being placed into the efforts to try to do something with ObamaCare based on closing off the government and then trying to push us into default.
BLACKBURN: I've got to tell you, I gotta tell you, it is not House Republicans that wanted a government shutdown. You know as well as I do that the President and Leader Reid are the ones that were pushing for a shutdown. Everybody is aware of that at this point in time. What we are seeking to do is to solve the problem. We cannot continue to borrow two billion a day. We just can't do it.
ROBERTS: Congresswoman, let me ask you to stand by real quickly. Congresswoman, let me ask you to stand by. Nancy Pelosi is speaking. Stand by, please.