Banking analyst Meredith Whitney made a big mistake on CNBC Wednesday calling Tea Party members "freaked out white men who are unemployed" when Rick Santelli was about to come on the program.
Not surprisingly, Santelli after his pre-market interview with Steve Liesman went right after Whitney's foolish comments even making it personal (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MEREDITH WHITNEY, BANKING ANALYST: I would suggest that the debate is really around unemployment, and I think that, you know, call the Tea Party whatever you will, the fringe element is, you know, I characterize freaked out white men who are unemployed and have been unemployed for three years and they're scared to death. And three to four million of them are just about to roll off of unemployment benefits in the next three months. So, this is only going to get worse. For this reason, you have to deal with structural issues. So, if you are a Machiavellian Democrat, you want to deal with this issue and defuse the Tea Party as fast as you possibly can, because this poses the biggest threat to their reelection I think in ’12.
A few minutes later at the end of a subsequent segment, Santelli had to respond:
RICK SANTELLI, CNBC: You know, Joe, I'm surprised you don't want to ask me anything.
JOE KERNEN, CNBC: I never know, Rick, I never know how to get you going. Sometimes I ask you the most loaded questions and you blow it off. Other times I think I'm asking the most innocuous thing.
SANTELLI: No, I just had a few e-mails about a comment that one of our guests made today. I’m surprised you didn't ask me, that’s all.
KERNEN: Which comment?. Oh, oh, oh, oh, yeah, you are white and you are angry.
SANTELLI: Well, you know what? The last person that said that was King George and he said it about the colonists, you know? That's all I can say.
KERNEN: That's, it could be another, another YouTube moment. All right, all right. I'm, I hear you.
SANTELLI: I don’t need to rant about that. You know, those were our Founding Fathers.
KERNEN: Yeah, they were angry.
SANTELLI: How many muni areas have actually defaulted, by the way? Just a question.
WHITNEY: Why is he so angry? What have I done to you?
KERNEN: He’s an angry white man.
WHITNEY: I was empathizing with people who are unemployed.
SANTELLI: Oh come on. Think about it. Think about it. Stick with munis.
WHITNEY: I don't know where that came from, but okay.
For those unfamiliar with Santelli's muni reference, Whitney has recently come under fire for having predicted eight months ago there would be widespread defaults by municipal bond issuers around the country this year.
As Bloomberg reported in July, during the first six months of 2011, muni defaults are down 60 percent compared to the same period last year.
Obviously aware of this, Santelli chose to pull that scab off in order to get back at the banking analyst.
Suffice to say CNBC guests should be warned not to utter anything negative about the Tea Party when Santelli is around.
Bravo, Rick! Bravo!
(H/T NB's Tom Blumer)