Liberal MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir on Monday compared Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry to former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, citing the fact that both supposedly love guns and "shoot to kill."
After playing a clip of Perry expressing his appreciation for the American tradition of firearms ownership, Bashir bizarrely proclaimed that "Mr. Perry's wild west show calls to mind another world leader. Yes, Vladimir Putin." [MP3 audio here .]
To hammer the point home, pictures of the democratically elected Texas governor and Putin, the man who has suppressed journalistic freedom  in Russia, appeared on screen. Bashir continued, "[Putin] shoots to kill. And where's Mr. Perry shirtless on horseback? We could hardly find a photo of him with a horse, for Pete's sake."
After clearly making the connection between the two men, Bashir backed off: "But, no, Perry is no Putin. Far from it."
Repeating the word "plinking," a gun term Perry used in a clip, Bashir offered himself cover: "[Perry] just plinks away at rivals, firing off at random."
Considering that a number of anti-Putin journalists  have been murdered in Russia, it's a weird comparison at best to link that country's prime minister with the GOP candidate.
A transcript of the October 24 segment, which aired at 3:05pm EDT, follows:
MARTIN BASHIR: But one thing that's perfectly clear is Rick Perry's deep, passionate, abiding love for guns. Call it "how the governor got his groove back." Heading out on the- on the hunt in Iowa and the man who carries a concealed weapon, who'd shoot coyotes in the face, well, he just couldn't help but bubble over with fondest affection for his firearm.
RICK PERRY: It was a long love affair with a boy and his gun that turned into a man and his gun and then it turned into a man and his son and his daughter and their guns. That's part of American- is walking across that hillside with one of your children, hunting. Whatever it might be that your out or maybe you're just plinking.
BASHIR: Now, plinking in case you were wondering is, basically shooting at tin cans and brickbat. And, yes, I'm afraid I did have to turn to Wikipedia for that definition. But, it's funny, isn't it, that Mr. Perry's wild west show calls to mind another world leader. Yes, Vladimir Putin. You can bet Putin doesn't plink around with his rifle. He shoots to kill. And where's Mr. Perry shirtless on horseback? We could hardly find a photo of him with a horse, for Pete's sake. But, no, Perry is no Putin. Far from it. He just plinks away at rivals, firing off at random. And, unfortunately, for his top rival, it appears Mitt Romney and immigration may be the latest tin can on the post.
— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow him on Twitter.