New York Times columnist Paul Krugman during a taped debate Monday night accused Joe Scarborough of engaging in “ad hominem” attacks because the latter dared to quote the former.
Krugman claimed Scarborough was distracting from the discussion after the MSNBC host pointed out during their disagreement over deficit spending that the economist has warned for years about the deficit issue.
“That’s such a tired argument, to go and search for quotes in stuff I said once upon time instead of dealing with the issue,” said Krugman. “It’s so disappointing if all you can do is ad hominem and say, oh, you said this, and you were — you know, pull out the ad hominem.”
Wait, quoting someone is considered “ad hominem”? Let’s back up for a minute and get a definition of terms. From Merriam-Webster:
1ad ho·mi·nem/adjective/ad-ˈhä-mə-ˌnem, -nəm\: … marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.
“Anybody that knows me knows I don’t engage in ad hominem attack,” Scarborough shot back.
“That’s what you’re doing right now,” Krugman complained.
Scarborough pointed out the obvious, that is, that he was merely “quoting back what [Krugman] said.”
Things didn’t get any better from there. Krugman became increasingly exasperated with Scarborough and repeatedly sighed and muttered “Wow” during the MSNBC host’s arguments.
“You know what? If you could just stop from saying, ‘Wow,’ and let me just finish a point, Paul,” said Scarborough. “You and Al Gore really need to talk about it. This is a real problem. If people don’t agree with you all the time … you just feel like you have to take the cheap shots.”
Here’s a good highlight reel of the debate [courtesy Mediaite]:
Before the debate aired, Krugman took to his blog to a) make excuses for his performance and b) get in the one-liners couldn’t think of during taping.
“I was tired, cranky, and unready for the blizzard of misleading factoids and diversionary stuff,” he wrote on his blog, saying that he had his own “Denver Debate Moment.” “[H]aving a Denver moment isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Ask Mitt Romney.”
Ha! Get it?
Anyway, if you’re surprised that Krugman would run off to his blog to complain about a debate opponent, you shouldn’t be. That’s what he does. Just ask former Congressman Ron Paul or his son, Sen. Rand Paul.
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Featured image screen grab. This post has been updated.