On his Monday night show, CNN's Piers Morgan branded Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as "one of the most judgmental people in American politics." Bachmann shot back that he was being "absolutely rude."
Morgan's interview with her was relatively tame until he broached the topic of homosexuality, where he promptly accused Bachmann of being "judgmental" and "vociferous" in her views. [Video below the break.]
"But you have been very, very outspoken about gay marriage, about homosexuality in the past and people will view it, whether you think it is judgmental or not, as very judgmental," Morgan told the congresswoman."So I'm surprised that you think that I'm being rude by asking you about views that you very, very vociferously espouse."
Morgan had begun the interview in a creepy fashion, telling the conservative congresswoman that "I've lured you into my lair, Michele Bachmann," and asking her "Why have you resisted me for so long?"
He also pried into Bachmann's family life, asserting that he couldn't "imagine" her preaching tolerance to her foster children. "I find this weird streak of dramatic intolerance to certain groups of Americans," he expressed to her.
Bachmann did flip the debate back towards Morgan when she accused many "on the left" of intolerance. Morgan jumped to his own defense, claiming that he is not a liberal, to which Bachmann responded "oh really, Piers?"
A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 5 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:27 p.m. EST, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: I mean, yeah, he [Kirk Cameron] made it pretty clear there that his religious beliefs determine the fact that he believes homosexuality is a sin, it's unnatural, it's destructive, it's detrimental to the foundations of civilization. And because he said that, he's taking a pretty big public kicking now. All over the world. What do you think of his comments?
BACHMANN: Well, I'm not – I'm here as a member of Congress. And I'm not here as anybody's judge. That's what I have to say.
MORGAN: But do you agree with him?
BACHMANN: I am not here as anybody's judge.
MORGAN: Well, you've been pretty judgmental in the past. Come on. You've got to have to have a view.
MORGAN: Yes, you.
BACHMANN: Hardly, hardly, hardly, hardly, hardly.
MORGAN: One of the most judgmental people in American politics.
BACHMANN: Well, that's rude. That's absolutely rude. I'm not a judgmental person.
MORGAN: I'm not being rude but I mean you've been very, very outspoken.
BACHMANN: I believe in traditional values. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.
MORGAN: Well, if you've – I'm not being rude. If I read you –
BACHMANN: But I don't think that's bigoted.
MORGAN: Well, let me read what you said in 2004, that being gay leads to the personal enslavement of individuals because if you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage, personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. That's why it's so dangerous. That's fairly judgmental, isn't it? I won't be rude.
MORGAN: But you have been very, very outspoken about gay marriage, about homosexuality in the past and people will view it, whether you think it is judgmental or not as very judgmental. So I'm surprised that you think that I'm being rude by asking you about views that you very, very vociferously espouse.
BACHMANN: I'm very adamant and very clear that I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and I stand for that. I don't think that's bigoted.
MORGAN: Well, look at these polls here, you've got March 2004. 30 percent in favor of gay marriage, 62 percent against. A poll just now, 49 percent in favor, 40 percent against. This has been one of the fastest sea changes in public opinion that people can remember in America, isn't it?
MORGAN: Michele, isn't it this, that you can have a position that is based on religious belief – and I have total respect for that. I really do. You know, I was raised a Catholic. And I have members of my family who are very strong about some of these things, too. What I don't like is the rhetoric that is used against the gay community by those who don't agree with them.
MORGAN: I can't imagine, when you have all these foster kids and stuff, that a key part of your, I suppose, life lesson to them would involve tolerance of people.
BACHMANN: Of course.
MORGAN: I find this weird streak of dramatic intolerance to certain groups of Americans.
BACHMANN: This is what's so odd. This is what's so odd. No, it's so odd about people on the left that they absolutely are so intolerant –
MORGAN: I'm not on the left.
BACHMANN: They're – oh, really, Piers?
MORGAN: I'm not on the left or right.
BACHMANN: Really, they're so intolerant. Oh my word. Okay.
MORGAN: – no horse in the race.
MORGAN: Yes. But you see, I was also taught to respect and be tolerant towards people who didn't agree with those beliefs. And I think that America, with this movement on gay marriage and so on, then just has to come a time when people who have strong religious beliefs, like you, like Kirk Cameron, actually show people like the gay community tolerance and a bit of slack, and say, I don't agree with it, but nor am I going to demonize you. That's all I'm getting at.