MSNBC Host: Former NYSE Chief 'Poster Child' for 'Excess'

You can win in a court of law and still get attacked in the court of public opinion. That's what former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso would have learned from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" July 2.

Host Mika Brzezinski called Grasso a "poster child for Wall Street excess" in reporting a New York State Supreme Court ruling allowing Grasso to keep his $187.5 million pension payout.

"There you go, a little justice there," Brzezinski said. "Jack Welch calls it justice; I call it a very large pay package. It's a lot of money, Jack."

Former General Electric (NYSE: GE) Chairman Jack Welch came to Grasso's defense. "It's a lot of money, but it was well earned and it was given to him by the board of directors and he took it," Welch said. "I haven't seen any CEOs in my lifetime who said, ‘please, please keep it.'"

In a later segment, guest host Pat Buchanan piled on Grasso as well. "A 190-million-bucks going away present after 9-11? You don't see the problem there? We got a problem in middle America," he said to CNBC's Larry Kudlow, a guest on the show.

But Kudlow joined Welch in defending his "friend," Grasso.

"Middle America does not want to take from the rich, Mr. Obama," Kudlow told Buchanan. "You sound like Obama on this for God's sake. Middle America doesn't want to take from the rich; middle America wants people to do their jobs and open up opportunity."