Representative Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) slipped in a comparison of his tea-party colleagues in Congress to members of the Confederacy, and then stood by the idea after a CNN anchor pointed out how bizarre it was.
“This is all about a handful of people who got elected as Republicans that want to bring down our government,” Rangel said on Tuesday morning. “In the same way they fought as Confederates, they want to bring down the government and reform it.”
Anchor Ashleigh Banfield stopped Rangel to ask if he meant the comparison seriously. “I can tell you this: If you take a look at the states that they control, take a look at the Dixiecrats, see how they went over to the Republican party,” the New York congressman replied.
Banfield fired back that that tea-party favorites such as Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann aren’t from former Dixiecrat states. “What’re you talking about?” she asked, before Rangel changed the subject.
UPDATE: On MSNBC later in the day, Rangel once again compared the tea party to the Confederacy, and even worried that rhetoric opposing President Obama was similar to the sentiments that led to John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Rangel’s comments were met with little resistance from MSNBC host Martin Bashir, unlike Banfield who pushed back against the congressman’s comparisons.