For whatever reason, Laura Ingraham fields more than her fair share of sexist remarks. Remember the Ed Schultz episode? Charlie Rangel wasn’t quite so tasteless in this clip, but his off-the-cuff comments still come across as cheap and classless.
Last night on “The O’Reilly Factor,” Ingraham served as the substitute host and grilled Rangel about the unwillingness of the president and Congress to take any responsibility for the present economic situation.
“You had a Democratic house, a filibuster-proof Senate and the White House in Democratic hands, OK? You had that for the first two years. Can’t blame Republicans for those two years — or can you?” she begins.
“We can say what the man inherited if you would permit me to say it,” Rangel responds.
Ingraham doubles down. “Those two years you were fully in charge, no Republican House. Did it work out?”
Rangel evades: “We had a deficit, we had two wars that we shouldn’t have been in.”
“OK. It’s Bush’s fault,” Ingraham quips.
Rangel, obviously at a loss, reaches for the club he should have just left in the bag (we’ll call it the “sexist iron”).
“Let me say this,” he says. “Bill O’Reilly told me he had a secret weapon. I didn’t know it was just a pretty girl that he would bring in here.”
But Ingraham doesn’t bat an eyelash. She just calls him out on it. “That’s very condescending, sir. Quite condescending. A pretty girl? These are serious questions. There is an ideological battle going on.”
Rangel tries to regain control of the conversation, but he’s completely lost it. “You have asked me 50 questions and I’m begging you, I’m begging you, I’m begging, I’m begging you — even while we wait now, the president’s on vacation and we’re waiting for the jobs program … We have a half a dozen bills that we had brought out.”
But he doesn’t say what the Democrats’ job creation or deficit-busting plans consist of, couldn’t answer any of the questions with which Ingraham peppers him — until, finally, at the end of the clip, he concedes at least one point.
“Has Obama worked for the inner city?” she asks.
“No,” Rangel answers. “No one has.”
Ingraham proves the power of a persistent line of questioning. Turns out O’Reilly’s secret weapon is not just a pretty girl — she’s a true professional capable of flustering even the most impervious of politicians (and Rangel, who has managed to hold on to his scandal-plagued seat through thick and thin, definitely qualifies as “impervious”).
The exchange comes at about :34 seconds into the clip (but the first part, in which Ingraham takes a Democratic strategist to task for blaming the Tea Party for the disappointing debt deal, is worth watching, too).