MSNBC host Chris Matthews hammered Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) on Thursday over the House GOP’s debt limit demands, which include some big gifts to the oil industry.
Matthews began the 10-minute interview by noting that he’s “never heard of the Congress holding up the government saying they will not continue to exist unless we kill a law of the land,” a point that Perry dismissed.
“Come on, Chris. You’re a student of history,” Perry said. “This has been done on many occasions.”
From there, Matthews repeatedly asked Perry to cite one example. When Matthews said that Perry was “speaking words but not an answer,” Perry turned to an emerging GOP talking point.
“Those are your words that the country is being held hostage,” Perry said. “This is a negotiation by an intractable president – hold on, hold on — who will negotiate with Syria, who will negotiate with Putin, who will negotiate with Iran but won’t negotiate with 50 percent of his countrymen.”
“That’s good rhetoric,” Matthews shot back.
Matthews also took on a proposal drafted by House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a number of conservative goodies, including approval of the Keystone pipeline and expansion of offshore drilling.
“By the way, why is a congressman from Gettysburg so interested in offshore oil development in the Gulf?” Matthews asked.
“Because I’m tired of being tied to foreign and Middle East oil,” Perry said.
The interview was then brought to a quick and testy conclusion when Perry said he was “surprised” that Matthews read any of the House GOP’s draft proposal.
“You know what you can do with that? You can be excused because you just accused me of not doing my job and that’s a big mistake here,” Matthews said. “Congressman, thank you for coming on. I mean it. I wish you hadn’t made that last remark. I think it was a cheap shot. It was cheap. Don’t laugh.”
After Perry accused Matthews of making cheap shots too, the host fired right back.
“No, I didn’t. I was fair. You’re in bed with the oil industry,” Matthews said.