Martin Bashir tore into Representative Joe Walsh on Tuesday, condemning the congressman for his failure to pay over $100,000 in back child support in a live interview.
The MSNBC host was interviewing Walsh, Republican from Illinois, in the lead-up to President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Bashir suggested that Walsh had been "somewhat disrespectful" for his refusal to attend Obama's jobs speech in September, and quizzed him on his support on Newt Gingrich's plan for zero tax on capital gains.
Then, Bashir abruptly shone the light on a sore subject for the congressman. "One of the things you've repeatedly said is that you will not place another dollar on the backs of your children," Bashir said. "Haven't you already done that by inadequately paying child support that you owe to your wife and children?"
Walsh protested, "Hey Martin, that's an awkward segue on TV." He said he was fighting the issue legally and in private. Bashir pressed on, asking Walsh for his reaction to a bill that would bar people who owe over $10,000 in child support from running for public office in Illinois.
When the congressman tried to move away from the subject, Bashir insisted that it was an issue of integrity, much like Newt Gingrich's infidelity and Mitt Romney's ability to relate to the middle class. He alleged, "You are serving a constituency in Congress and yet many of your own constituents find you to be a man who seems to lack a level of integrity." The combative exchange even prompted Joy Behar to tweet, "Martin Bashir just ripped Rep. Walsh from Illinois a new one." Watch it in the clip above (starts at 6:37).
Bashir and Walsh have had hostile interviews before. Bashir is also not the first MSNBC host to lay into Rep. Walsh. Lawrence O'Donnell banned Walsh from his program over the politician's failure to pay back child support, and reiterated that ban when Walsh failed to attend a child support hearing.
The rest of MSNBC's lineup: