At about 4:49pm EDT today on CNN's Inside Politics, when Bob Novak maintained that Katherine Harris could win a Florida Senate race because she's anti-establishment and candidates the establishment hates have won before, James Carville charged that Novak made that argument because he has “got to show these right wingers that he's got backbone. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching, show them you're tough.” Novak fired back: “I think that's bullshit and I hate that." Novak then pushed his chair back, got up and removed his microphone as he walked off the set. Transcript follows. Real and Windows Media video also available.
A transcript of the exchange, corrected against the video, picking up after anchor Ed Henry asked for comment on Republican Florida Congresswoman Harris's decision to run for the Senate:
JAMES CARVILLE: Yeah, the two happiest people in America today about this decision is Bill Nelson and Jay Leno. I mean-
ED HENRY: Bill Nelson the Democratic Senator.
CARVILLE [Picking up on Harris' claim that the media have altered her facial appearance in pictures]: The Democratic Senator and Jay Leno. They're going to go nuts over this. 'They're messing with my makeup. You don't know who it is.' I mean, let's say this. She's going to be good for the humor circuit, she's going to be good for the speech circuit. She's good for a lot. And I think that Nelson, it's no secret that the White House wanted the Speaker to run and I suspect that the Nelson people are, you know, feeling pretty good here today.
NOVAK: A couple of points here. In the first place, don't be too sure she's going to lose. All the establishment's against her. And I've seen these Republican -- anti-establishment candidates do pretty well. Ronald Reagan, I guarantee you that the establishment wasn't for him. We just elected a Senator from Oklahoma, Senator Tom Coburn, everybody in the establishment was against him. She might get elected. [talking over Carville] Let me finish what I'm going to say, James. I know you hate to hear me but you-
CARVILLE: He's got to show these right wingers that he's got backbone. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching, show them you're tough-
NOVAK: Well, I think that's bullshit and I hate that. [then waves hands at to Ed Henry:] Just let it go.
[Novak pushes chair back, gets up and removes microphone as he walks off set.]
A flustered Henry, fumbling his words, carried on, asking Carville: “James, what do you think though, seriously about this Senate race, James, that the -- that basically the Katherine Harris and Bill Nelson, if they do square off, what do you think what will that mean for Bill Nelson? He's considered the endangered incumbent?”