Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck has already shown he's a rating success and is leaving a mark in cable news. However, he may have pulled one of his most successful performances yet.
Beck interviewed Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on his March 30 broadcast. But, the radio and TV host took the opportunity to tell Blumenthal what he thought of his investigation into the bonuses received by American International Group (AIG) executives - whose company received federal bailout money.
"Look, you know what you have done, know what you have done?" Beck said. "You have - you are an insult to George Washington, sir. George Washington made it very clear that we are a respecter of laws, not of men. For your own political gain, you have decided to go after these people at AIG because it is a popular thing."
Beck pressed on, demanding to know what law the AIG executives broke that warranted Blumenthal's involvement.
"And while I may agree with you that it is obscene, I would like to know, is not what's right as a rule of thumb - not what makes us feel good," Beck continued. "You, sir, are to protect people and, and to stand for the law in Connecticut, so, again, I ask you, sir - what law gave you the right to go after them? What law did they break?"
Blumenthal claimed the AIG executives were "undeserving" of the bonuses. Blumenthal also pointed out the bonuses paid out were to increase next year. However, Beck pressed Blumenthal on the legality of that and Blumenthal came up blank in this exchange:
BECK: Is that against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: Well, it is against public policy. And it is unsanctioned by law.
BECK: Is that against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: It should be against the law.
BECK: Is it against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: It's against the public policy and against the taxpayer...In my view it is unrequired by law.
BECK: It is a yes or no question. Counselor, it is a yes or no question. Is it against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: It is not against the law and I have never said that it is against the law, and I have never said that we would bring an action.
BECK: Then you know what you should do? You should enforce the law. You shouldn't use your bully pulpit to gain popularity.
After another exchange over Blumenthal's behavior, Beck likened Blumenthal and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to a "vampire," accusing him of capitalizes on a populist sentiment.
"You are twisting it," Beck said. "It has everything to do with the excuse that AIG used to say we had to do that. And you're exactly right - it has nothing to do with that. But that has nothing to do with the little vampire fangs that you all of a sudden sprouted and tried to grab on to - to make yourself, you and Andrew Cuomo, tried to make yourselves the king of the world, and look at me - I'm the savior here. I'm going to help everybody, the little people. All you're doing is trying to make yourself look good in a populist move. I think it's wrong."
Beck's broadcast style has drawn a lot of attention since he made the move from CNN Headline News to Fox News earlier this year. He was featured in a front-page article in the March 30 New York Times that examined his sudden rise in popularity.