Joe Scarborough's Softball Take on Jon Corzine: 'We Like Him'

In a softball interview with Sen. Debbie Stabenow on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday asked the Michigan Democrat if it was difficult for her to grill a friend and colleague, the former New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine, on the MF Global scandal. At one point, Scarborough enthused, "Senator Corzine. I like him a lot. We like him."

Co-host Mika Brzezinski started out the interview by asking Stabenow on how they would be taking on the MF Global investigation. The Michigan senator essentially rattled off the hearing's witness list.

Scarborough then interrupted, not to press Stabenow about what she was doing to get to the bottom of the scandal but to ask a "personal question":

JOE SCAROBORUGH: Senator Corzine. I like him a lot. We like him. Every time he is around this table. He seems like a -- to us he seems like a really good guy. We hate seeing this happen to him. How hard is it for you to grill a former friend or a friend and a former colleague on an issue like this? It seems to me that you got to do your job but, personally, its got to be pretty uncomfortable for you.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 13 at 7:38 a.m. EST, is as follows:


[7:38]

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Joining us now, Democratic senator from Michigan, Senator Debby Stabenow. Thanks very much for coming back on the show.

DEBBIE STABENOW: Absolutely, Mika. It is good to be with you.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So today you will be taking on the MF Global situation pertaining to Jon Corzine. What is going to be happening?

DEBBIE STABENOW: Well, we have a hearing. As you know the agriculture committee oversees the futures markets commodities because they are so important to agriculture. And we have a hearing that starts at 10:00. We're gonna first hear from the customers who have lost upwards of 1.2 billion dollars because that's really our focus. We have a grain elevator operator from Michigan coming in. We’re gonna hear from farmers, business people. Then we're gonna hear from the former CEO Jon Corzine as well as the CFO and the COO. So we got the top three people from MF Global and we want to know why they don't know where the money is. And then finally I would just say we're gonna hear from the regulators and the trustee who has been put in charge of getting the money back to the customers.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask you a personal question, Debby. We served together.

DEBBIE STABENOW: Right.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You served obviously with Jon.

DEBBIE STABENOW: Right.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Senator Corzine. I like him a lot. We like him. Every time he is around this table. He seems like a -- to us he seems like a really good guy.

DEBBIE STABENOW: Right.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: We hate seeing this happen to him. How hard is it for you to grill a former friend or a friend and a former colleague on an issue like this? It seems to me that you got to do your job but, personally, its got to be pretty uncomfortable for you.

DEBBIE STABENOW: Well, Joe, we have to do our job. I mean, the reality is for me is I've got to keep focused on who was hurt here. I mean, we've got people in Michigan that have called me that have lost money that count on the ability to hedge their risk whether it’s a co-op or a grain elevator or a farmer. I've had people from Michigan who are retired who have put money into accounts at MF Global in order to be able to do certain kinds of investments and they've lost a lot of their money. So I've got to keep -- regardless of my personal feelings -- I have to keep focused on what is most important which is the fact that we have customers who put money in accounts that were supposed to be separate from the company and now folks are saying, and it's been six weeks since the bankruptcy, they don't know where the money is. That's pretty tough.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: How much are we talking about?

DEBBIE STABENOW: Well its upwards of 1.2 billion dollars and so, you know, that's pretty tough right now and I think people on both sides of the aisle in our committee have a lot of questions about this. And we are hopeful we're gonna get some answers.

--Grant Dahl is an intern for the Media Research Center.