03/16/2012 12:52 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

James Inhofe: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Is One Of My 'Favorite Liberals'

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a longtime foe of the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to cap carbon dioxide emissions, praised the agency's Administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday, along with TV's Rachel Maddow and environmental champion Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

During an appearance on Maddow's MSNBC show, the Republican senator from Oklahoma offered kind words for the three left-leaning women.

"[Maddow] and Lisa Jackson and Barbara Boxer are my three favorite liberals, because I enjoy watching you very much," he said. "Lisa, she even has a picture of my 20 kids and grandkids hanging on her wall. She and I get along fine."

The EPA confirmed Inhofe's comment to The Hill.

This is not the first time Inhofe has expressed admiration for Jackson. At a 2010 hearing on the EPA's budget, Inhofe expressed his personal fondness of the agency's head before calling climate change a "hoax."

"I'm going to say in front of all these people: I really do like you," he said to Jackson. "We've spent time in my office, we've talked about our kids and all that, and I just say from my heart that I want you to know that that's true."

Inhofe's affection for Jackson may come as a surprise to many, as the Oklahoma senator is one of Congress' most outspoken critics of manmade climate change theories. He was on Maddow's show to discuss his new book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future and the so-called "Climategate" controversy, which posits that climate data used as evidence for global warming trends was manipulated in a scientific conspiracy.

Last fall, Inhofe led an investigation into the EPA's findings that greenhouse gases posed health threats. He has also accused President Obama of attempting to "kill fossil fuels" through the EPA's proposed caps on carbon dioxide emissions.

Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, frequently goes several rounds with committee chair Boxer over climate regulations. In 2009, after news broke that an international climate change agreement would be punted to the following year, Inhofe made headlines with his harsh words for Boxer.

"We won, you lost, get a life," he said during a committee meeting.

Watch Inhofe's full interview with Rachel Maddow:

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