Rachel Maddow confronted Republican Senator James Inhofe about his ties to anti-gay legislators in Uganda during a tense conversation on her Thursday show.
Inhofe was on to discuss his new book, which focuses on his famous anti-global warming views. But, in the second half of the interview, Maddow asked him about a section of the book in which he mentioned her for what he said was an attack on him for attending the climate change summit in Copenhagen.
"Did you actually watch that show?” she said. "I'm sure I did, but I can't remember exactly what happened on that day," Inhofe replied.
"That wasn't what I was talking about," Maddow said. She played a clip of her Dec. 3, 2009 show in which Inhofe was mentioned. The context, however, had to do with an infamous bill in Uganda which called for the execution of gays in some circumstances. (That bill has recently been re-introduced in the Ugandan parliament.)
In the clip, Maddow detailed the ties the legislators had to Inhofe and to Doug Coe, the leader of religious Washington group The Family.
"Senator, when you talked about that show in your book you made it sound like I was going after you for Copenhagen, but that was the actual context," she said. "I'm wondering if you want to weigh in on that issue for the first time publicly."
"Are you saying, are you suggesting, Rachel — and I want to make sure that everyone understands this — that I am for executing gays, that I somehow knew something about what their philosophy is over there and what they're doing legislatively?" Inhofe responded. "I wish you knew Doug Coe. I've never known anyone in my life who just loves everyone ... I am sorry that you did that."
Maddow then quoted from a recent New York Times article on David Bahati, the legislator in Uganda who is the prime mover behind the bill. The article described in further detail Bahati's ties to religious and political conservatives in the U.S.
"I don't have any idea who you're talking about," Inhofe said. "Let's talk about something to do with global warming instead of getting off on these hysterical things."
"This isn't hysterical," Maddow said. "This is the context in which you brought me up in your book totally out of context, and so I'm trying to redress something that's wrong in your book."
BEFORE YOU GO