Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) in a devastating segment on "Hardball" on Friday, implying that the conservative congressman was a hypocrite for opposing a public option yet refusing to cut government-run health-care programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
O'Donnell repeatedly pushed the conservative Congressman to give a straight answer about what federal entitlements he would cut. Culberson refused to give a response for several minutes before finally admitting that he would have voted for Social Security and Medicare despite the fact that they are government-run health-care systems.
O'Donnell kept pressing Culberson to explain how he can defend Medicare and Social Security since they're government-run health care programs, otherwise known as "socialism."
Culberson, who calls himself a "Jeffersonian Republican," said he supports Medicare and Social Security but denied that they're socialistic.
That prompted O'Donnell to ask Culberson: "If Medicare is not socialism, why don't we just delete the over-65 part of Medicare and make it available to everyone? What's your argument against that?"
Again, Culberson refused to give a straight answer and complained about O'Donnell's persistence.
O'Donnell replied: "I don't want you to spin your time away here."
Culberson later admitted that he would have voted for Social Security in 1935 and "probably" would have voted for Medicare in 1965.
An exasperated O'Donnell asked the Congressman: "You know that Medicare is a completely government-run health care system and yet you're saying you would have voted for it."
Culberson's response: "Yes"
By the end, O'Donnell accused Culberson of hypocrisy and more:
"You lie to America about the evils of government-run health care because you people, not one of you liars about government health care is willing to repeal Medicare, to stand up and be consistent... 'I hate government health care so I want to repeal Medicare'... That is a lie that you perpetrate every day."