ABC This Week viewers were treated to a classic conservative versus liberal debate Sunday.
When former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich tried to blame the increase in poverty in the past five years on Republicans, former Speaker of the House and current CNN host Newt Gingrich called it "baloney" firing back, "Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
JONATHAN KARL, SUBSTITUTE HOST: And let me ask you, Mr. Gingrich, Speaker, when you look at that issue of inequality - and this is something he's put front and center, the Pope has. It's something of course that President Obama talks a lot about. We saw the story about homelessness in New York--
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Sure.
KARL: Stark reality of the gap in the nation's biggest city. Is this an issue that Republicans should be talking about?
GINGRICH: Absolutely. I mean, how can you justify the level of wealth in those big towers in New York City and the level of poverty in those alleys? And without talking about government, say, surely a society that cared, that believed every person was endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness, would come up with a better solution than 22,000 children that are homeless.
And I think that the Republican Party has an obligation to rethink some of its indifference to the very poor. And I think the Democrats have an obligation to ask themselves after 50 years of the war on poverty, isn't it clear that government is not a very good [unintelligible].
ROBERT REICH: The war on poverty - which next year we are going to celebrate the 50th anniversary in addition to the Civil Rights Act - the war on poverty was successful for a time. What has happened however over the last 30 years is that much of the, much of the ardor, much of the concern, much of the, what propelled that war on poverty has dissipated.
KARL: Why after five years of President Barack Obama we see the problem worse?
REICH: Well the problem is worse; I think it has something to do, perhaps, with the intransigence of the Speaker's Party, because every time there was a jobs bill, every time there was an effort to expand a low income housing, every time there was an effort to provide better opportunities for young people. We're talking about equal opportunity.
GINGRICH: Every major, every, this is baloney.
REICH: At the basis of this, what is baloney?
GINGRICH: Here's the baloney. Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats. Every major city. Their policies have failed, they're not willing to admit and the fact is it's the poor who suffer from bad [unintelligible].