Don Lemon | News | Rand Paul

CNN's Don Lemon Battles Rand Paul On Debt-Ceiling 'Talking Points'


Lawmakers are still fighting it out on our looming debt-ceiling. And as the Senators and Representatives debated into the weekend, openly gay CNN anchor Don Lemon hosted Tea Party Senator Rand Paul to discuss the process.

The exchange was probably more contentious than either imagined -- though the interview began on a traditional note, it rapidly became a back-and-forth between Lemon and Paul, who the journalist derided for parroting his party's talking points and refusing to compromise with Democratic colleagues.

Here's a sample from the official CNN transcript:

LEMON: OK. Listen. The Democrats have made many concessions when it comes to what's going on here, and even the Tea Party position it appears to most people remains rigid. The question is, have you made your point? And by continuing to go on with this, do you feel like you're overreaching and that you're going to lose the clout? And really, the respect that you've gotten, because when you've really made your point here and then most people will say, you have done a good job at it, but do you feel like you're overreaching right now?

PAUL: Well, I guess the thing is that we have $14 trillion in debt and the Boehner plan and the Reid plan and whatever the mixture of the two will become, we'll add about seven to $8 trillion over the next ten years. I think what's interesting here is that people talk about Moody's and S&P downgraded our...

LEMON: OK. Hang on, hang on. Can we just stick to that -- we're going to get to that, but hang on, let's stick to the -- hold on, please, be respectful here.

PAUL: Let me finish my thought.

Watch Lemon and Paul's entire conversation, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Don Lemon is a teriffic telejournalist. Rand Paul is a zombie.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 31, 2011 11:23:34 AM

  2. I think most people are going to conclude, yeah, this was fine when it was an abstract point. When it came to crashing the economy into a world wide depression, not paying Grandma her social security, destroying every pension fund in the country, and laying off the military, this is NOT funny any more. These people are not principled, they're just lunatics.

    Posted by: Craig | Jul 31, 2011 11:47:27 AM

  3. The idea that this "exchange was probably more contentious than either imagined" is BS. Contentious is precisely what happens whenever you have a politician (lib or con) who starts from a relatively fixed ideological position. This idea of "contentious" is all over Fox News whenever you see a partisan dem being interviewed by a partisan host (like Hannity).

    I guess the real point of this post is to show us a gay anchor in action and give us all a little jolt of "gay pride" in seeing a gay journalist doing his job.

    I think this post gratifies our need to see gay role models while it strokes and feeds the liberal's ego that they are right in thinking conservatives rigid, inflexible.

    Posted by: will | Jul 31, 2011 11:51:26 AM

  4. When is a compromise not a compromise? When it's offered by the Tea Party.

    Why don't we pull out of Afghanistan and throw the millions per day at the problem, instead of cutting social programs? How about a war on debt instead of cutting library days and hours, etc. Instead we sacrifice our young peoples lives, kill thousands of foreign people, and cut our social programs. Military spending rules. I guess politicians run the risk of seeming treasonous if they advocate cutting the military budget. Creepy.

    Posted by: kodiak | Jul 31, 2011 11:56:49 AM

  5. The Tea Party have made their goal clear from the beginning. They want to dismantle Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs, primarily Social Security and Medicare. That would take our country back to the era before the 1930s and make our nation a backwater among industrialized countries.

    Many heterosexual people listen to Tea Party types even though the destruction of the 1930s New Deal works against their economic interests. Among LGBT voters, a small but vocal minority of self-loathing gay people listen to Tea Party types even though the Tea Party is spouting anti-gay hate every chance they get. But then, isn't that what self loathing is all about?

    Posted by: Artie Rimbaud | Jul 31, 2011 12:12:24 PM

  6. Seriously, what's up with that jackass's hair?

    Posted by: Dave | Jul 31, 2011 12:47:26 PM

  7. Rand Paul is no friend to middle class, working Americans, but then again no Republican is. It's all about parroting the usual talking points of tax cuts for those who least deserve and need it and the rights of corporations.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jul 31, 2011 1:47:39 PM

  8. This is a manufactured crisis that both sides are using in order to get what they want. The Republicans seem to be looking only to tank the economy further for what they hope will be better election results in 2012, while Obama has finally found the moment, by making this into a crisis, to cut social programs, and move the economy and country towards a centrist corporate position. People really need to put down their TV remotes when looking for news analysis, and stop watching the corporate controlled CNN, ABC, Fox, and're not going to find any truth there.

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Jul 31, 2011 4:12:27 PM

  9. Tea Party = Billionaire Ass Kissers

    Republicans = Corporate Welfare Enablers

    Supreme Court = Uncontrolled Morality

    Democrats = Spineless Corporate Shills

    Posted by: Seriously?Y | Jul 31, 2011 4:18:31 PM

  10. This liberal, gay, Democrat thinks Rand Paul sounds pretty sensible and plenty willing to compromise if he is truly willing to vote for Harry Reid's plan in exchange for a deal to balance the budget in 7 years. Maybe I am missing something here, but that sounds reasonable to me.

    And I thought Don Lemon came across like a disrespectful jerk in that interview.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jul 31, 2011 4:43:16 PM

  11. Don Lemon seems very good anchor and has guts. I am glad he made clear he wants answers.
    And he is handsome.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jul 31, 2011 5:11:25 PM

  12. So Don Lemon isn't a journalist, he's an Obama shill. Big surprise.

    Journalists are supposed to report the news, not engage in fiery debate and advocate a political outcome. Silly me. (Yes, I know Fox does the same thing. I never said otherwise.)

    Posted by: Max | Jul 31, 2011 5:40:49 PM

  13. Go Don!

    Posted by: Ishaq | Jul 31, 2011 6:11:06 PM

  14. I am an immigrant from India and it is refreshing to see the Tea Party and Senators like Rand Paul. Democrats are inferior brained fools who keep spending away money. They have no brains.

    The crooks among the Democrats and Republicans gang up and steal our money. Notice that only Whites gain by deficit and debts as they fund fraudulent programs that give grants to White people. Affirmative action too is nothing but affirmative action for White women even though they talk of saving blacks.

    This is why the hope for the country is with the Tea Party. They are the only ones who are honest.

    Posted by: Arvind | Jul 31, 2011 6:11:13 PM

  15. Arvind if your post is meant to be ironic or sarcastic you need to work on your masery of the English language. If your post was serious,I pray for you and others like you as to how mis-guided you are.
    Should the Tea-Partiers prevail and crash the economy as is their goal, I hope their constituents are the ones hardest hurt.
    Rand Paul is a liar and a theif, wasn't interesting that he wanted to have significant reductions in medicare except for opthamologists. Why is that you say, because Mr.Paul,or I should say Dr Paul is an opthamologist; the self-serving two-faced P.O.S.

    Posted by: Nyrkr | Jul 31, 2011 6:30:07 PM

  16. I love Rand Paul. "I am willing to vote for the compromise bill.. (pause) long as it gives me what I wanted in the first place."

    Or in other terms. "I am willing to give you 10 dollars...(pause) long as you are willing to give me 5 dollars."

    Which means that he is not willing to give you 10 dollars. Is that compromise?

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Jul 31, 2011 6:36:39 PM

  17. the rand interview....don lemon you are an ass

    Posted by: john q. public | Jul 31, 2011 6:41:19 PM

  18. I would like to see Don Lemon equally as rude to the President. Mr. Lemon needs to be spanked by his Mother. His rudeness can only be exceeded by his good looks.

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 31, 2011 8:57:10 PM

  19. Pres Obama declared during his acceptance speech that conservatives and republicans need to go to the back of the bus because the democrats won the election - that means go away be quiet we're in charge - when Rep Pelosi told us we need to pass the legislation before we can read it - that means go away we're in charge - you anti Tea Party folks should realize that conservatives have ended their compromising ways - it's always them that have to give up on their principles to compromise with democrats - not any longer so get used to it - the next election will bring even more TP's into congress - and by the way - they don't care much about personal life choices and try as their haters did, they are not racist nor homophobes.

    Posted by: jonn begaygey | Jul 31, 2011 9:21:27 PM

  20. Truth and honsesty, according to you fascist shills, is "rude"

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 31, 2011 9:45:28 PM

  21. It was refreshing to see Mr Lemon put Mr Paul's feet to the fire. Just answer the
    question Mr Paul. Political rhetoric
    gets in the way of good and honest dialogue
    when all the public wants are "just the facts mam".

    Posted by: Dee in Des Moines | Jul 31, 2011 9:47:14 PM

  22. Okay so if the TeaPee'rs aren't racist where were they from 2001 to November 1st 2008 when two white guys, Bush and Cheyney were piling up the deficit and cutting their friends taxes ?/ why weren't they protesting then ? Why weren't they running around with pictures of Bush and Cheyney in African tribal dress ?
    Can you explain that Johnbegaygey. Two summers ago Palin and the teapeers were shrieking from the rooftops and in every town hall across the country that obama and them dems wanted to kill grandma because and now, that the conservative/republican/teabagger legislation actually shows that they are the ones who really want to starve and kill grandma why aren't they shrieking and carrying on lik before ?
    I will tell you why, they are nothing more than a bunch of damned racists and the fact that an American of African descent is in the white house trying to deal with the shitstorm left by those two white guys Bush and Cheyney is making the teapeers absolutely crazy, they will do anything, including running the country intop the ground to discredit Obama, they are a sick and treasonous bunch.

    Posted by: Nyrkr | Jul 31, 2011 10:00:27 PM

  23. Oh this certainly grates Rand Paul to have to answer tough questions from a black gay guy. That pesky, unconstitutional, civil rights act again. He better stay on Faux News for the soft ball questions next time.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jul 31, 2011 10:20:23 PM

  24. Yes, Rand Paul is not used to the "help" questioning his authority.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 31, 2011 11:03:53 PM

  25. @ PETERPARKER: I don't think that a balanced budget in 7 years is really reasonable. More like 10–20 given the mess that the repugs have left. With so much money gone to Iraq and a f-kd Afghanistan, the US schools, health, and infrastructure need a lot of remediation.

    Posted by: David R. | Aug 1, 2011 2:10:32 AM

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