Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's New Day, liberal CNN commentator Paul Begala attacked Rick Perry as a "dope" and a "demagogue" during a discussion of the Texas Republican criticizing President Barack Obama for not visiting the border to see the illegal immigration crisis in person.
Begala went on to insult Perry's intelligence: "I mean, if he's going to pick Rick Perry's brain, that is the very definition of slim pickings."
CNN co-anchor Kate Bolduan reacted by exclaiming, "Ohhh, Paul!" and a bit later admonished him for going over the top as she brought in fellow guest and Republican strategist Kevin Madden. Bolduan:
Kevin, you can jump in on this. I mean, Paul. that was pretty brutal. Rick Perry is a dope on this issue? Rick Perry says he's just trying to defend the border that is his state. Kevin?
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, July 8, New Day on CNN, which ran at about 6:45 a.m.:
KATE BOLDUAN, AFTER RECOUNTING THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS OFFERED TO HAVE A MEETING WITH RICK PERRY: Paul, did Rick Perry just hand the President a big out politically on this?
PAUL BEGALA: Well, what I suspect you're going to see is Rick Perry bounce right back and say, "Good, we'll meet, but let's meet on the border, sir."
I think it's, you know, Rick Perry is the governor. He's been a demagogue and, frankly, a dope about this issue. He's been totally unhelpful, suggesting darkly that there's somehow a conspiracy that Barack Obama is behind.
Look, children are fleeing violence in Central America. It is taking a very long time to deport them because of a law President Bush signed back when he was President. That law was designed to try to protect people who are fleeing violence and to protect their rights. So President Obama here is simply caught trying to obey a law that was passed before he became President.
That line about faith leaders, I think, is the most important. I mean, if he's going to pick Rick Perry's brain, that is the very definition of slim pickings.
BOLDUAN: Ohhh, Paul!
BEGALA: There's a faith leader we ought to be listening to. Mark Sites is the Bishop of El Paso. He's actually been to the region. He's been to Honduras and Guatemala. He testified last week before the Congress. I read his testimony. I recommend it to our viewers. He actually knows what is going on. And he explains that it's like these children are trapped in a burning building, and, of course, they're going to leap and come to anything that looks comparatively safer, even if it risks their life to do so, I think Bishop Sites is who he ought to meet with.
BOLDUAN: Kevin, you can jump in on this. I mean, Paul. that was pretty brutal. Rick Perry is a dope on this issue? Rick Perry says he's just trying to defend the border that is his state. Kevin?