[***UPDATED*** October 11, 11:15 ET, More analysis and full transcript added]
In an interview with Senator John McCain for The Daily Beast's annual Hero Summit on Thursday, the blog's editor-in-chief Tina Brown launched into an unhinged rant blaming conservatives for the government shutdown: "The story of this political crisis is really, you know, the culpability not just of the Republican crazies, but of the Republican non-crazies. I mean, how do we get to the point where Mitch McConnell is Rand Paul's bitch?...Why aren't the moderate Republicans, you know, fighting back? We're always saying why don't, you know, the moderate Muslims fight jihad, but, you know, this is jihad." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Andrea Mitchell was so delighted by Brown's offensive screed that the MSNBC host played a clip of the morning exchange on her 1 p.m. ET hour show, touting how McCain had "blamed the Tea Party for the government shutdown." He had argued to Brown: "Unfortunately, we are driven to some degree by – I'll be very frank with you – some incumbent Republicans' fear of a Tea Party primary."
Rather than call out Brown for her nasty attack, following the clip, Mitchell simply described it as an "edgy interview."
Here is a full transcript of the October 10 exchange as aired by Mitchell:
ANDREA MITCHELL: This morning, Senator John McCain sat down with Tina Brown at The Daily Beast's annual Hero Summit. And he blamed the Tea Party for the government shutdown, but also blamed the President for not, in his view, negotiating.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN [R-AZ]: If we, obviously default on the debt, there are some colleagues of mine who believe we have enough money to keep the government going and all that. But what I think they are not appreciating is the signal that we send to the world. Whether you know, the Chinese own a trillion dollars of our debt, our securities. And if we send that signal, then I think you're gonna see the markets act and then I think it's gonna force us to act.
The question is, is why should we put the American people through this? Why should we do this? Everybody knows what the answer is here. We sit down, we do something about the medical device tax because everybody is unalterably – most everybody is unalterably opposed to. We probably do something to make sure that members of Congress are subject to the same health care provisions under ObamaCare that other Americans are. Maybe a couple of other small things, and get going again.
And Unfortunately, we are driven to some degree by – I'll be very frank with you – some incumbent Republicans' fear of a Tea Party primary.
TINA BROWN [THE DAILY BEAST]: Well, I know we see that, but I mean, isn't really the big question now – I mean, the story of this political crisis is really, you know, the culpability not just of the Republican crazies, but of the Republican non-crazies. I mean, how do we get to the point where Mitch McConnell is Rand Paul's bitch? I hate to use that word, but I mean it's like, where's the heroism in your own party? I mean, why aren't the moderate Republicans, you know, fighting back? We're always saying why don't, you know, the moderate Muslims fight jihad, but, you know, this is jihad.
MCCAIN: I think he is, but I'd also like to point out that the President, as opposed to – [cell phone rings] excuse me. I hate this device.
BROWN: It was that word, I think, that I uttered, it made the phone ring.
MCCAIN: The President's making a mistake too, my friends. And that is that in '95 when we shut down the government, there was 'round the clock, literally, negotiations with Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich and the President. And they talked and they negotiated. And whether they reached any agreement or not, at least there was the effort being made. And I think the President, up until about yesterday, by saying, "I won't negotiate under any circumstances," is making a mistake too.
What we're doing, Tina, long-term is we're really shaking people's confidence in government. And if that's the case, that has really long-term implications. Because I still think, as Churchill said, you know, "It's the worst of all, but a better one hasn't been invented." And I really seriously – I joke about it, but I really worry a lot about it.
MITCHELL: Wonder who is calling John McCain. It was an edgy interview, though, maybe that's the reason for the cell phone call. We'll be right back.