POLITICS

Carville, Richardson Continue Catfight On Larry King Live

05/02/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Even better than that staged WWE wrestling match between "Hillary Clinton" and "Barack Obama" was last night's hullabalunacy on Larry King between James "Cajun-Style" Carville and Bill "El Judas" Richardson. Once united as participants in Bill Clinton's administration, the two men harbor some serious antipathy for one another ever since Bill Richardson broke the sacred "two dudes who watch the Superbowl together should totally endorse each others wives" tradition and came out as an Obama supporter. This joint Larry King appearance was apparently the first time two men had spoken to each other since Carville placed Richardson in the Garden of Gethsemane.

It did not go well. Whatever went down between Richardson and the Clintons is a unique point of bitterness to Carville, because he gladly admitted that he doesn't put former Clinton supporter-turned-Obama endorser into the same category, telling King, "Well, first of all, I have never criticized any other Obama supporter. I have many dear friends that support Senator Obama." Whatever transpired with Richardson remained something Carville wouldn't elaborate on, except to broadly imply that Richardson did something really, really mean. In turn, Richardson disputed the implication:

CARVILLE: Again, it was -- again, I don't name names that representations were made to. I've said -- I've had my say on it. I said what I said. I'm in it. And I think the more important thing is, is what's going to happen in here Indiana and what's going to happen in North Carolina. He has his opinions and I have mine. I said it and was quoted accurately. I was quoted in context. I don't take a word of it back.

KING: All right. One of the things said, Governor, that we ought to clear up is had you said -- told people that you were going endorse Senator Clinton?

RICHARDSON: No. I was close to endorsing Senator Clinton after President Clinton visited me in Santa Fe to watch the Super Bowl. He's a very persuasive guy.

But the more we got into the campaign, it really bothered me, that 3:00 a.m. phone call, implying that Senator Obama was not experienced. That's wrong. This man can face dictators. I've faced dictators. He can lead our foreign policy. He has a judgment and temperament to move forward.

With that as prelude, the two men sublimated their animus into an unpleasant argument over the Obama/Clinton rivaliry. Carville repeatedly lashed out at the New York Times for penning "The Low Road To Victory," saying at one point that Dan Balz "knows more about politics than everybody in The New York Times editorial board put together, that the paper didn't "know anything about politics", and that Jonathan Weisman was better than Gail Collins. Carville also, strangely, repeatedly declaimed that he was tired of seeing campaign surrogates on the television, and yet, there has was! Campaign surrogate! On the television!

Richardson criticized the Clinton's negative tone and her use of Osama bin Laden in a campaign ad, and then wildly veered direction, brought up the notion of dynasty, and accused the Clintons of wanting to "cling to the throne," which is what Clintons "cling to" when they're bitter I guess! "You know," Richardson explained, "We're America. We're not Monaco."

To which Monaco replied, "Jeez. Leave us out of it!"

The two men had to practically be cattle-prodded into a commercial break. When they returned, the yelling recommenced, this time over whether there should be a 11,257th debate added to the 11,256 that have already transpired. Then Richardson accused Clinton of wanting to change the rules. Perhaps Richardson had gotten an advanced look of the latter half of this Jon Stewart routine:

But Carville wasn't having any of it. That's when things got a little shouty:

[WATCH.]

RICHARDSON: They're changing the rules. They want to bring in Florida and Michigan all of a sudden and count them. They're basically saying that Senator Obama is -- can't win in November, when he is, obviously, the strongest general election candidate winning battleground states and his message with Independents.And now, all of a sudden, the presidency is slipping away and they'll do anything to keep it.

CARVILLE: You know, maybe the governor was vacation and not taking phone calls when myself and Governor Rendell and Governor Corzine offered to pay for a revote in Florida and Michigan. And, by the way, I would point out, of people actually voting, Senator Clinton leads the popular vote. People did go vote in Florida. They did go vote in Michigan. If you don't want to count the delegates after they voted. But we said...

RICHARDSON: That is false.

CARVILLE: Excuse me. Governor...

RICHARDSON: That is totally false.

CARVILLE: Governor, I don't...

RICHARDSON: How can you say, when they didn't participate, James?

CARVILLE: Governor, I...

RICHARDSON: How could you say that?

CARVILLE: Honestly, sir...

RICHARDSON: That is lunacy.

CARVILLE: I have not interrupted you.

RICHARDSON: That is lunacy.

CARVILLE: Sir, I have not interrupted you.

RICHARDSON: All right. Go ahead.

CARVILLE: I have not interrupted you.

KING: All right. One at a time. Go ahead.

CARVILLE: Right. So maybe he was on vacation not taking phone calls. We offered to pay for it -- to have a vote in Florida and Michigan. We got -- we've got nine percent of the Democrats in this country live in Florida and Michigan. They did go vote. Now you may not want to cost the delegates (ph), but please don't offer to me that Senator Obama won the popular -- is winning the popular vote, because he's not.

And things pretty much degenerated from there, with Carville continuing to yell at the New York Times, Richardson putting down debates, Florida, Michigan, vote-counting, McCain laughing at Democrats, Carville talking about how he has good friends in Puerto Rico, Richardson bragging about how he has faced down dictators, and somewhere on the CNN studio, a production assistant kept a taser and a tranquilizer gun at the ready, just in case.

Naturally, there was still time for one of those inimitable inquiries from Larry King:

KING: Governor Richardson, do you expect a lot of negativism in the next couple of weeks?

RICHARDSON: Well, I do.

The system works!

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