Campbell Brown Calls Out Rush Limbaugh to Debate Ali Velshi

CNN's Campbell Brown isn't happy with what Rush Limbaugh said about her colleague Ali Velshi Friday, and has invited the conservative radio host to debate him on her program.

As some background, Velshi was on Brown's "No Bias, No Bull" show Thursday and claimed: "This is not the economy that Ronald Reagan ever saw or anybody with the last name Bush ever saw, or Clinton. We have not seen anything like this in our lifetime."

After the fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers were released Friday showing a much lower-than-expected decline, Limbaugh took issue with what Velshi said the night before:

Mr. Velshi, you are incompetent. You are a disservice to your business, except you fit right in at CNN. Disinformation, character assaults. This economy is nowhere near as bad as it was in 1982.

Brown took issue with this Friday evening (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, file photo):

CAMPBELL BROWN, HOST: Last night, on this program, we spent some time talking about Rush Limbaugh and a piece he had in "The Wall Street Journal" arguing there should be more emphasis right now on tax cuts to help the economy.

Our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi, came on and took issue with some of what Limbaugh said.

Rush then responded with this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW")

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Mr. Velshi, you are incompetent. You are a disservice to your business, except you fit right in at CNN, disinformation, character assaults. This economy is nowhere near as bad as it was in 1982.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: So, let's stop there.

Now, Mr. Limbaugh, you may well have a legitimate case to make about tax cuts and what they can do for the economy, but the histrionics and the name-calling, they undermine anything constructive you might have to say.

Rush, I would love for you to come on, on this show and debate Ali on the issues. Make a case for your ideas. Our country is in desperate straits right now, and we need ideas. But what we don't need is nasty rhetoric and useless noise. This doesn't help anyone get a job or keep a job or feed their family.

If there were ever a time to put the meanness behind us and focus on real dialogue and real solutions, this is the time.

First off, Campbell, if you want to talk about meanness, maybe you should have a chat with CNN contributor Paul Begala before throwing stones.

Furthermore, this was the full context of the point Limbaugh made Friday:

The GDP number shows that the fourth quarter was down 3.8%, right? Now, for the longest time, we've been hearing that we're in "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." The Great Depression was 1930s. So that's 70 years ago. Now all of a sudden, Obama said this morning that the economy in the fourth quarter GDP number was as bad as it's been in three decades. Now, he said that to confuse his own voters. He shoulda said 30 years. Wait a minute! Thirty years and 70 years is a big difference.

Do you know what the GDP, you know what happened to it in 1982? That was Ronald Reagan's second year in office. The GDP for 1982 was minus six-point-something percent, almost twice what the fourth quarter was in 2008. Not only is this economy right now nowhere near as bad as the Great Depression, it's nowhere near as bad as the recession of 1982 when we were coming out of Obama One, also known as Jimmy Carter.

In fact, NewsBusters reported much the same Friday morning after the GDP numbers came out:

[T]his 3.8 percent decline is only the 13th worst since the Commerce Department began doing quarterly reports in 1947. This means that there's been twelve worse quarters since 1946, and none of them signalled the end of the world nor required the kind of government spending now being discussed in Washington.

For instance, GDP declined by an astounding 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 1982. This followed a 4.9 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 1981. History now shows this to be the worst of that decade's recession, as the economy exploded in 1983 beginning one of its most powerful and long-lasting expansions ever.

A similar situation occurred in 1974 when the third quarter GDP declined by 3.8 percent followed by a 1.6 percent drop in the fourth quarter and a 4.7 percent drop in the first quarter of 1975. Yet, once again, the world didn't come to an end for the following quarters showed growths of 3.0, 6.9, 5.4, and an amazing 9.3 percent.

As such, there have been two recessions in the previous three decades when we experienced far worse economic growth than this most recent quarter without it indicating a depression and without the need for historic increases in deficit spending to get the economy going again.

The point here is that it is indeed absurd at this juncture of the current recession to claim it's worse than anything we've seen since World War II as it's still not as bad as what transpired in 1981-82 or 1974-75. 

Might it get that bad? Sure, but we're not really close to seeing those kinds of economic conditions yet.

As a result, I'd love to see Limbaugh debate Velshi, for he'd wipe the floor with this CNNer.

As a sidebar, I've already e-mailed Rush concerning Brown's challenge. As it's Super Bowl weekend, I imagine he's nowhere near a computer. However, if he responds I'll let you know.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.