Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador confronted MSNBC “Hardball” anchor Chris Matthews over his insistent claims that Republican “terrorists” were threatening a government shutdown to defund Obamacare.
Labrador reminded Matthews that his one-time boss, former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, was partially responsible for a number of government shutdowns while Ronald Reagan was president — and yet Matthews had never referred to O’Neill as a terrorist as he has with Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
“I think there’s enough people in the Republican Party who are willing to do that and I think that’s what you’re going to see,” Labrador said on NBC’s Sunday broadcast of “Meet The Press.” “Our first request was to completely defund the program. And we knew we were going to lose on that. Now we’re asking for a delay, which, again, I don’t think is an unreasonable thing to do. You know, your boss, Tip O’Neill, shut down the government 12 different times. And you didn’t call him a terrorist.”
The two disputed the number of shutdowns, but Matthews protested, arguing the shutdowns were only for a day or two.
MATTHEWS: No, it wasn’t —
LABRADOR: You did not call him —
MATTHEWS: These were always issues of a couple of days. And they were always resolved, and they were over numbers. And it was both sides, though. Let’s be fair. Both sides were doing it.
LABRADOR: But it happened.
MATTHEWS: But you said once — where’d you get your number from?
LABRADOR: It’s from The Washington Post.
MATTHEWS: No, it was seven times, though. You were —
LABRADOR: No. So —
MATTHEWS: — counting all the times —
MATTHEWS: — since the ’70s. Look, they were always taking —
LABRADOR: No, there were 17 times since the ’70s, and 12 under your boss.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me —
GREGORY: All right, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you this. They were issues of a day or two. They were issues of funding. Now, what I said before is, you can argue over numbers, and then you can — if it’s seven or nine, make it eight. But when you say we’re going to get rid of the number one program that you put into law and put in the history books, and your party’s been fighting for, for half a century, you can’t say, “Give me that.” That’s a non-negotiable stand. That’s the problem.