Barney Frank on Homophobia, Larry Craig, Bill O’Reilly, and Bonuses

Lloyd Grove interviews Congressman Barney Frank in The Daily Beast today on a variety of topics.

Frankbeast How does he feel about Larry Craig? "I feel sorry for him."

Why he hit out at Scalia's homophobia: "Oh, it became relevant. People were asking me strategically what I thought, and I said I thought it was better that this [pursuing the constitutionality of gay marriage] was going to be delayed with Scalia still on the court. I have done so from time to time, when there were people acting out of what seems to me a bias, but only if it’s relevant to public policy. I’m not a commentator in general, and I do that when it becomes relevant to a strategic or tactical decision."

And the reaction to his infamous rant with FOX News talker Bill O'Reilly:

Franko'reilly "Mostly I heard from people who were sympathetic to me. I do think in that one he got somewhat damaged, and he did apologize for it a couple of times, in an article and elsewhere. Part of it was incredulity. “Why would you go on?” And I said, I think you don’t want to let these things go unrefuted. He’s not invited me back. Ten years ago, I might have reacted more angrily, but I really am able to kind of separate it out. I’m being attacked not because of me personally but as an obstacle to regulate. I just did a fundraiser. I said, OK, they need to get some money, they’ve got to refute some of these things. I’m being attacked by Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove—none of these people I respect. Finally to top it off, I was one of the handful criticized by Dick Cheney in his post-vice presidential interview, and I said, my mother was wonderful woman, died three years ago at 92, and I have missed her constantly. But I particularly would’ve liked her to be around when Dick Cheney attacked me, because—I don’t know how good your Yiddish is— she would’ve kvelled at the notion that I’m still haunting Dick Cheney."

Incidentally, O'Reilly also recently commented on that segment in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter after they asked him "what's the angriest he's been" while on the air.

Said O'Reilly: "... the Barney Frank thing (in which O'Reilly called Frank a 'coward' during an October debate over Fannie May and Freddie Mac). But I really wasn't angry; I just needed to scold him because he was blaming everyone else, even though some of this economic mess is his fault...That didn't backfire at all because I don't care if a congressman is re-elected or not. That's not my job. If people in his district like him, that's fine. I'm not trying to get him out of there, I'm trying to hold him accountable. That interview was seen by tens of millions of people, so I held him accountable."

FrankhouseFrank delivered a slamdown of Republicans on the House floor yesterday over the Bonus Ban bill. The Huffpost writes: "The bill at issue, authored by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), would cap executive compensation at bailed-out financial institutions and it puts the GOP in a tough spot: after expressing outrage over the AIG bonuses, it's tough to vote against the bill."

Watch Frank's rant, AFTER THE JUMP...