Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas an idiot on CNN today for suggesting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency be denied funding and that Americans rely on private insurance to cope with natural disasters.
Three minutes into a live, five-minute interview about the impact of Tropical Storm Irene on Connecticut, anchor Christine Romans posed a long question about the criticism of FEMA by Paul, a tea party hero and Republican presidential candidate. Malloy answered in just five words.
"I think he's an idiot," Malloy said.
Romans seemed taken aback.
"That's blunt. That's quite blunt," said Romans, who began laughing.
Malloy, 56, a first-term Democratic governor now seeking a federal disaster declaration to bring aid to the state, said the money the U.S. is spending on two wars dwarfs the resources that go to FEMA and disaster relief.
"This is a ridiculous conversation," Malloy said. "I really don't understand what he's talking about, and I'm not sure he does."
"I think I hear a frustrated Democratic governor of Connecticut," Romans said, noting he still was coping with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, which destroyed or heavily damage dozens of homes. "You're in the middle of a mess right now."
"It's not that," Malloy said. "I'm a supporter of FEMA."
He credited disaster planning by all levels of government for saving lives in a storm that pummeled the east coast from North Carolina to New England. FEMA's second in command, Richard Serino, was in Connecticut on Tuesday.
The exchange is one reason why Malloy has become a welcome guest on shows such MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where Malloy wasn't been shy about mixing it up with the host, Joe Scarborough, or exchanging barbs with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
Ron Paul's comments to Anderson Cooper of CNN last night below the fold.