POLITICS
05/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Notre Dame Debate: O'Donnell Smacks Down Buchanan (VIDEO)

Lawrence O'Donnell and Pat Buchanan faced off on Hardball Thursday over President Barack Obama's invitation to deliver the commencement speech at Notre Dame. Many Catholics, including 10 Notre Dame priests, have protested the invitation because of the president's position on abortion.

Both O'Donnell and Buchanan are Catholic, but they disagreed on whether or not Obama should speak at a Catholic University. The debate got heated when O'Donnell pointed out that former President George W. Bush was invited to speak at the school, despite the fact he supported the death penalty and launched the Iraq war, against the wishes of the Pope. O'Donnell went so far as to say this was a "fake controversy, run by religious fanatics."

O'DONNELL: This is the same university that invited George W. Bush, this is the same religion that stands in adamant contradiction to the death penalty. This is the same religion, whose head, the Pope, plead personally with not to launch an unprovoked invasion and war in Iraq ... That same president, George W. Bush, who used the death penalty more than anyone who has ever been in the Oval Office, that president was welcomed at Notre Dame with none of these objections.

O'Donnell blasted Buchanan for supporting the double standard and condemning abortion but defending George W. Bush's position on the death penalty, in contradiction to his Catholic beliefs.

O'DONNELL: Can you identify a theological principle in which you believe that the Catholic church knows ... that the killing of a fetus is worse that the killing of an adult? Can you identify that Pat, because it doesn't exist ... You are lying about what the Catholic Church position is. You have to agree with me right now that the Catholic Church is opposed on moral grounds every single use of the death penalty that this country has ever done.

WATCH:

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