Barney Frank appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning to discuss his new bill that would limit Federal Reserve power to Fed board members who are in D.C. (and not part of the regional Fed banks). But that's not what created the fireworks. And there were fireworks.
Halfway through, host Joe Kernen decided to ask about giving Bush credit for bin Laden's death. In the process, he made the off-handed comment that he wanted to bring out Frank's "feistiness." That set Frank off. Not only did he scold Kernen immediately, but he came back to it and scolded him even more at the end:
Here's a transcript via CNBC (although we edited it slightly):
KERNEN: Congressman, we love your feistiness. I'm going to try and get you going here and see if i can do it.
KERNEN: I'm looking at the journal today. Victory in Islamabad. They're talking about this is also a moment to salute George W. Bush. I saw yesterday Eric Cantor tried to make the same claim. You said thed egree of deep partisanship by mentioning bush by Eric Cantor, you didn't even expect from Eric Cantor to be that deeply partisan and actually thank George Bush. And I don't know. I mean, a lot of this legwork goes back years and years from finding the courier. The most striking fact of Mr. Obama's prosecution of the war on terror is how much it resembles Mr. Bush's to the consternation of america's anti-terror left. And I think it's more partisan to single out Cantor for just barely mentioning george bush's name than to just -- I think your point was we won't have thanked Bill Clinton or Bill Clinton not have been thanked if Bush had gotten Bin Laden. Don't you think it's partisan to say Bush had anything to do with this?
FRANK: I am struck by your intro inrto in that you're going to try to get me to be.
KERNEN: Come on, you love this.
FRANK: Please don't interrupt.
KERNEN: All right.
FRANK: I've got to be honest with you. I'm asked to come on the show and glad to have a thoughtful, serious conversation. When you tell me your purpose is try to get me to be upset, that's not worth getting up early for. Now can i get to the substance?
FRANK: I said and I mean it if this had had happened under Bush, the Republicans would not have said bush and Clinton because the effort to kill Osama bin Laden started under Bill Clinton who tried to kill him and almost was able to do it. I do think at the moment of triumph for the current administration to say you share the credit with bush is a partisan effort. I don't think that that's the appropriate time to do it. That doesn't mean Bush had nothing to do with it. It does mean there were people out there right wingers who were being tolerated by the Republican party or were engaged in the most savage attacks on the president who would impugn every aspect of his birth, his religion, who said he doesn't care about America at a moment when the he presided over one of the great successes we have had, it would be appropriate to give him credit.
KERNEN: I hope you'll come back because I want to talk to you about the Massachusetts state legislature and public unions. I'd love to get your opinion on some of that, too. But I wouldn't want you to get too mad at me if I were to ask you that.
FRANK: Excuse me. I'm sorry, but I really do take exception to that. I only get mad at you when you prefaced your question by saying let me see if I can get you to be too feisty. I'm always glad to have a thoughtful conversation.
KERNEN: I like you to be feisty. Like I said, we have Howard Dean. Watch him, he might even do that yell when he comes on.
FRANK: Please, you want to back off it, okay, but you said you were trying to pick a fight.
KERNEN: No I'm not, it's cable. Congressman Frank, it's cable. Come on.
FRANK: Please don't denigrate your medium.
KERNEN: It's not C-SPAN.
FRANK: Well, then that's unfortunate for cable. If you're telling me that serious thoughtful conversation without a lot of fireworks isn't appropriate for cable, then I'm disappointed.
KERNEN: All right, well we appreciate your time today. Thank you. I hope you come back.