Joe Scarborough took Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski to task Thursday over the ongoing debt negotiations. "[Republicans] already have given specifics on the Paul Ryan Medicare plan which was political suicide for a lot of Republicans. They took that hard vote. What hard vote have Democrats made on the debt over the past year? Name one. Name one vote" said Scarborough.
Scarborough's challenge came after Brzezinski groused about the supposed unwillingness of Republicans to negotiate seriously on, and defended President Obama. "You know what, he'll give specifics when the Republicans even come to the table with something" said Brzezinski. She then accused Scarborough of being a flack for the Republican Party. "You are trying to cover for a party that cares more about itself than the country."
Scarborough spent the remainder of the segment hammering away at his panel, and tried to get an answer to his question. "Somebody at this table name one tough vote Democrats have made this year on the debt," said Scarborough.
Only New York Magazine's John Heilemann answered the question meaningfully: he simply (and sheepishly) replied "Nope." Heilemann did, however, also try to deny that the Ryan budget was in any way a tough vote. This view was soon corrected by Sen. Pat Toomey, who was the guest during this segment. "You just ask Nancy Pelosi. She's been celebrating that vote since it was cast. Of course it was a tough vote," said Toomey.
A transcript of the conversation, which aired at 7:46 am Thursday, follows.
7:46 am EDT
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The President himself has put things on the table that go directly against his base and are politically dangerous for him, he's done it.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: What are the Specifics?
BRZEZINSKI: Be quiet for a second.
SCARBOROUGH: What are the specifics?
BRZEZINSKI: You know what, he'll give specifics when the Republicans even come to the table with something.
SCARBOROUGH: Actually, they already have given specifics on the Paul Ryan Medicare plan which was political suicide for a lot of Republicans. They took that hard vote. What hard vote have Democrats made on the debt over the past year. Name one. Name one vote.
BRZEZINSKI: I think they're trying to hammer it out right now -
SCARBOROUGH: Name one vote. They've had a year. These are all words. Name one tough- anybody at the table.
BRZEZINSKI: You are trying to cover for a party that cares more about itself than the country.
SCARBOROUGH: Somebody at this table name one tough vote Democrats have made this year on the debt.
CHARLES BLOW: I think you're deflecting. I think you're deflecting -
SCARBOROUGH: You can't. The Democrats have had a year. You can't answer that question.
BLOW: You have the Republicans standing on the center of the table, and anyone sitting at the table and wanting to make up the difference all on the Republican -
SCARBOROUGH: You know Charles, sometimes it's all right just to say "I don't have an answer." Sometimes it's fine.
BLOW: You see, this is classic - this is classic. This is classic Republican circling back, and trying to pull in everything else that's not in these negotiations.
SCARBOROUGH: John Heilemann, give me one vote. Can you name one vote the Democrats have made on the debt? Just one vote. I just want one vote and then I'll say I'm wrong. You can't do it, can you? They haven't put a budget out.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Nope.
SCARBOROUGH: And by the way, this has discussion is never had in mainstream media, and they haven't it all year.
HEILEMANN: All I'll say though is that I'm not sure the vote on the Ryan budget though it turned out to be a political albatross for them. I'm not sure it really qualifies as a tough vote.
SCARBOROUGH: If you're a Senator in Pennsylvania like Pat Toomey and you vote for a Paul Ryan Medicare deal, that I wouldn't have voted for, probably. That is a dangerous vote.
SEN PAT TOOMEY: You just ask Nancy Pelosi. She's been celebrating that vote since it was cast. Of course it was a tough vote.