Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Thursday fired back at the liberal, Obama-friendly talking points from MSNBC host Thomas Roberts. At one point, a disgusted Priebus, appearing to discuss the shutdown, slammed MSNBC, attacking, "This is a joke. I think you ought to just apply for a job in the Obama administration or the communications department of the DNC." [MP3 audio here.]
An annoyed Roberts rather mildly replied, "No, I'll come work for you guys and help you sort out what's going on, because your message is a little befuddled." The MSNBC anchor acted as grand inquisitor in the interview, repeating all of the White House's talking points against the congressional GOP. At one point, he wondered, "But does the Constitution really allow for the Republican Party to take the government hostage and shut it down?"
Making no effort at objectivity, Roberts lectured on the GOP House: "I don't need to give you a math lesson, but that's one-third of power in Washington D.C., Reince. Two thirds is Democratically controlled."
Earlier in the interview, Roberts noted that the President is saying that Republicans are "writing a ransom note and asking for some type of goody bag in response to Congress doing its job to govern."
Priebus mocked, "Well, those are some pretty good talking points." The RNC chair fired back to every attack from Roberts. At one point, he marveled, "It sounds like I'm debating the chairman of the DNC here, Thomas."
Roberts appeared unable or unwilling to grasp Priebus's point. He insisted, "They're not talking points. That's directly from what the President just gave a speech on."
A partial transcript is below:
THOMAS ROBERTS: But why do we need to attach the solutions or changes that go along with the law that has been vetted by the Supreme Court, by a mandate by the people reelecting the President and both houses of Congress. Why should that be attached to shutting down the government and as the President is saying basically writing a ransom note and asking for some type of goody bag in response to Congress doing its job to govern?
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, those are some pretty good talking points. Let me just rewind.
ROBERTS: They're not talking points. That's directly from what the President just gave a speech on.
PRIEBUS: It sounds like I'm debating– It sounds like I'm debating the chairman of the DNC here, Thomas. Okay, that's fine. I'm happy to debate you.
ROBERTS: No, no, no. It's not – These are not talking points. This is specifically about what's going on right now in Washington, D.C. and why they have to associate the health care law with running our government. Why not just do a clean CR and get the government back up and running and then take to task which some republicans want to take to task the ACA?
PRIEBUS: Okay. Well, first of all, you said ransom note, goody bags. I should have figured coming on M--
ROBERTS: That was in the president's speech.
PRIEBUS: I should have figured -- Okay. First of all, let's be clear. The Republicans in the House are the only body, are the only party that has offered a continuing resolution along with an individual mandate delay, a continuing resolution along with a law that says all members of Congress and their staffs ought to be held under the same laws of all Americans across this country, which is fair. It's the president which unconstitutionally has -- has changed a law that was passed which is ObamaCare. He, on his own, has delayed the employer mandate of ObamaCare, something now he says that Republicans shouldn't be able to do on the employee side, even though employers aren't going to be providing the mandated coverage to the employees and it's Republicans who are fighting for what we believe is fair for the American people.
ROBERTS: But does the Constitution really allow for the Republican Party to take the government hostage and shut it down?
ROBERTS: The way has been playing out, is it really constitutionally appropriate for the tactics of the right to take the government hostage over the fact that they don't have a majority in Washington, D.C., right now.
PRIEBUS: We have a majority in the House, Thomas.
ROBERTS: I don't need to give you a math lesson, but that's one-third of power in Washington D.C., Reince. Two thirds is Democratically controlled.
PRIEBUS: We passed a bill in the House.
ROBERTS: You passed a bill in the House
PRIEBUS: And the Senate has a majority.
ROBERTS: And when you talk about the ACA, that passed both houses of Congress. That passed through the White House and vetting of the Supreme Court and the American people elected a president back in office against the Republican opposition who ran against he mandate who, we should remind everyone, actually instituted that exact thing in Massachusetts in 2006.
PRIEBUS: This is a – this is a joke. I think you ought to just apply for a job in the Obama administration or the communications department of the DNC.
ROBERTS: No, I'll come work for you guys and help you sort out what's going on because your message is a little befuddled. Because, right now, we're seeing is how government is not working properly. There is a great dysfunction and you have to agree with that, Reince, that there is a great dysfunction in Washington D.C. right now. .
PRIEBUS: So your approach should be to grow – so your approach would be to grow the
ROBERTS: my approach would be that the government needs to continue working.
PRIEBUS: Why would you want to grow something that if it's so dysfunctional, why would you want to grow something that's so dysfunctional?