Rick Santelli, the man widely regarded as the founding father of the Tea Party movement, got into an incredibly intense shouting match Tuesday morning with CNBC reporter Steve Liesman over recent comments regarding possible election-year manipulation of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report.
Things started poorly when CNBC host Joe Kernen interrupted an already irritated Liesman so that Santelli could weigh in on the issue. Santelli did indeed weigh in, arguing that the economy has not improved and that he predicted last month pre-election BLS data would show sizable decreases in unemployment and that it would be under eight percent.
“Take it any way you want!” Santelli said.
“Rick, what you’re implying with your comment –” Liesman interrupted.
“I’m not implying anything!” Santelli shouted back. “I’m telling you and it turned out that way! I’m a market whisperer!”
“Why say it?” Liesman asked. “It was the same point Jack Welch made.”
“Because it’s true! I like people to get the benefit of my 32 years in the market. There was no doubt it would be under 8 percent!”
“Why did you have no doubt, Rick?” Liesman persisted.
After this last question, Kernen mutters, “Oh, sh*t” (probably because he knows full well things were about to get real ugly for both CNBC contributors) and the fight is broken up:
Final Thought — As for Santelli claiming he predicted jobs data would improve as we get closer to the election, well, he did make the prediction [via CNBC]:
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(H/T: Mediaite). This post has been updated.