Huffington Concedes Her Lifestyle is 'Contradiction' to Global Warming Agenda

Friday's 20/20 aired a piece on liberal columnist Arianna Huffington in which ABC host John Stossel got to challenge Huffington's views on issues like welfare, OSHA regulations, and the "lunatic fringe" of the Republican party. When Stossel took her to task for living in a $7 million home that is "burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World" even while she is part of the "war on global warming," Huffington responded: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight." (Transcript follows)

After describing Huffington's left-leaning Web site, the Huffington Post, and the recent case of Larry David authoring a column charging that Hillary Clinton should "put on a sarong and some sunblock and get away from things for awhile," the ABC host moved to challenge some of Huffington's liberal views. When she complained that welfare reform has failed because "a lot of people have been left without the kind of job training, and therefore without the ability to really lead productive lives," Stossel countered: "Since welfare reform, eight million people left the welfare rolls. And the incomes of low-income families are higher. And unemployment is down."

Stossel also argued that government deserves less credit in reducing workplace accidents through OSHA than it might try to claim since workplace deaths were already decreasing before the agency was formed. Stossel: "Your faith in OSHA is like a religious belief. Look at this chart. This shows workplace injuries since OSHA was passed. Yes, going down. But look at it before OSHA. Things were getting better anyway. It's like government gets in front of the parade and pretends it's leading the parade."

The ABC host then challeged her on the global warming issue:

STOSSEL: Huffington has also joined the war on global warming. However, you live in a $7 million house. You're burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World.

HUFFINGTON: There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight.

The piece then moved to Huffington's complaint that a John McCain presidency would be a "disaster for America," and her charge that Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Bill O'Reilly have "hijacked America by hijacking public policy."

HUFFINGTON: It's now the right of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly.

STOSSEL: This is the "lunatic fringe that's hijacked America"?

HUFFINGTON: Exactly, the lunatic fringe that's hijacked America.

STOSSEL: How have they hijacked America?

HUFFINGTON: They've hijacked America by hijacking public policy.

STOSSEL, WITH SARCASM: This makes Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly very powerful if they can do this.

HUFFINGTON: They are very powerful, but they will not be as powerful after we finish dealing with them. [LAUGHS]

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of ABC's 20/20 from Friday April 25:

JOHN STOSSEL: The posts on her site lean left, and Huffington's newest book, out just this week, is called Right is Wrong. These days I get labeled a right-winger because I no longer believe government programs are the best way to solve problems. So some of her bloggers attack me. John Stossel's a "pathological liar," I'm "spewing myths, lies and downright stupidity." Somebody else calls me "stupid," "contrarian," "blowhard."

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: You're definitely not stupid.

STOSSEL: So let's argue about a few things. Huffington says government must give more to the poor.

HUFFINGTON: What we need is serious government policies to address poverty.

STOSSEL: And they work?

HUFFINGTON: They don't work as well as they should be working, but there's a lot more we can do.

STOSSEL: Huffington's sincere about wanting to help others. For a decade, she's volunteered at this after-school mentoring program. But this is a private charity. Today she says she wants more government involvement. Welfare was a good thing? That didn't make the lives of the poor worse?

HUFFINGTON: No, it has not. Welfare reform, in the end, was not a success.

STOSSEL: Welfare reform wasn't better than welfare?

HUFFINGTON: A lot of people have been left without the kind of job training, and therefore without the ability to really lead productive lives.

STOSSEL: Wait a moment. Since welfare reform, eight million people left the welfare rolls. And the incomes of low-income families are higher. And unemployment is down. But Huffington joins her favorite candidate in saying, for the poor, life's getting worse.

BARACK OBAMA: One in every eight Americans now lives in poverty.

STOSSEL: So I pulled out a chart that showed the income of the poorest Americans. In general, it's been going up. It's not a disaster.

HUFFINGTON: In general, in general. But, you know, we have over 30 million Americans living below the poverty line.

STOSSEL: But we used to have more people living below the poverty line.

HUFFINGTON: The fact that we used to live in caves is not a justification for the state of affairs right now.

STOSSEL: She says to protect workers, America needs a stronger OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Your faith in OSHA is like a religious belief. Look at this chart. This shows workplace injuries since OSHA was passed. Yes, going down. But look at it before OSHA. Things were getting better anyway. It's like government gets in front of the parade and pretends it's leading the parade.

HUFFINGTON: You know what? If you were the husband of one of the women who died recently because OSHA regulations were not sufficiently implemented, you would not be so cavalier about the speed at which things get better.

STOSSEL: Huffington has also joined the war on global warming. However, you live in a $7 million house. You're burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World.

HUFFINGTON: There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight.

STOSSEL: One of her biggest fears, she says, is that John McCain might become President. If McCain is elected, it'll be a disaster for America?

HUFFINGTON: If McCain is elected, it will be a disaster for America because he did not believe he could get elected without that lunatic fringe that has become the base of the Republican Party.

STOSSEL: "Lunatic fringe" is part of the subtitle of her book.

HUFFINGTON: It's now the right of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly.

STOSSEL: This is the "lunatic fringe that's hijacked America"?

HUFFINGTON: Exactly, the lunatic fringe that's hijacked America.

STOSSEL: How have they hijacked America?

HUFFINGTON: They've hijacked America by hijacking public policy.

STOSSEL: This makes Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly very powerful if they can do this.

HUFFINGTON: They are very powerful, but they will not be as powerful after we finish dealing with them. [LAUGHS]

STOSSEL: As you might imagine, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly have a few comments about that. You can see what they have to say and more on our Web site at ABCNews.com.