How often do you see someone on television deride media darlings Al Gore and Paul Krugman in virtually the same sentence?
Not often, right?
Well, on Monday's "Situation Room," CNN contributor Alex Castellanos deliciously did exactly that, and actually evoked some nervous laughter from studio members (video available here, partial transcript follows):
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Powerful new criticism of President Obama's economic rescue plan coming from the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. Did too much get cut out, or is compromise the right thing to do?
Let's discuss in our "Strategy Session."
Joining us now, the Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, and CNN contributor, the Republican strategist Alex Castellanos.
You know, here's what Krugman writes in "The New York Times" today, among other things: "What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition, undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses? A proud centrist. And how did this happen? I blame President Obama's belief that he can transcend the partisan divide, a belief that warped his economic strategy."
Pretty strong words coming from Paul Krugman.
JAMAL SIMMONS, ADVISER, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: They are.
And Paul Krugman's a very well-respected and seemingly very good economist. I'm not sure he's ever passed one single bill in the United States Senate. So...
SIMMONS: And if you take a look at it that way, President Obama's got a real challenge, which is that he's got to get a bill not only through the House, where the Democrats have a commanding majority, but also through -- also through the Senate, where he needs 60 votes, and then he's going to need some Republicans to go along to get cloture. So, this looks like the best bill he can get to get through the Senate and get some money immediately into the economy.
BLITZER: In the Senate, he not only needed some Republicans to get above that magic number of 60, but he also needed those moderate or conservative Democrats who could have bolted as well.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: He's caught between the rock and the hard place on this one.
He's got Democrats who would want him to spend more on the left, and Republicans who are saying, hey, this is crazy.
And I know Krugman's won the -- Krugman's won the Nobel Prize. But so did Al Gore. It can't be that hard.
Let's laugh with them, shall we?