April 9th, 2010
09:24 AM ET
4 years ago

Barney Frank takes aim at Gingrich, conservative talk show hosts

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Thursday night.
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Thursday night.

(CNN) - Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, known for his unabashed bluntness, took aim at conservative radio and TV hosts Thursday night and said the foundation for today's often ruthless partisanship in Washington stems from the leadership of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

In an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Thursday, Frank recalled the atmosphere in Washington during the early 1980s, a time he said when political rivals President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill would often joke that they were "friends after 5 p.m." But Frank said the atmosphere markedly changed when Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House in 1994.

"A very self-described partisan came to office, Newt Gingrich became the Speaker and he said, 'This is a mistake,'" he said. "That politics gets muffled if you act as if it's just all people with good will disagreeing. So they became angrier, we responded, Democrats to Republicans."

Frank said that when angry and sometimes violent protesters took up liberal causes such as Vietnam, "they didn't have mainstream media people on the radio cheering them on."

"They didn't have people saying, 'You're right.' They didn't have TV stations saying, 'Good for you, go throw another set of epithets.' And I think that part of the problem is that the worst behavior these days gets encouraged rather than discouraged."

Frank's message for today's protestors: "Rudeness is not a substitute for thought."

Leno ran through some word association with Frank as well.

Sarah Palin? "Quitter."

Mitt Romney? "Flip-flopper."

John McCain? "Old."

McCain, 73, is less than four years older than Frank.


Filed under: Barney Frank • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    Barny needs to go crawl back into the closet he came out of which will happen in November .

    April 9, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. gg

    Newt Gingrich is a radical America-hating neo-fascist.

    April 9, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Steve, New York City

    While I hardly agree with anything that Barney Frank says, he has a point – it's not necessary to demonize people because they disagree (can't we leave that nonsense behind with Dick Cheney and others)? It feels like "elements of the right" have gone berserk – would Joe Wilson have ever shouted "you lie" at Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter? I really doubt it. What about the Southern Republican who wants to remove Ulysseus S Grant's image from our $50 bill. Is he kidding?????

    April 9, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. LIP

    Well, Barney should know all about partisan politics. Isn't there a U Tube video of him laughing at a request by George W. Bush asking for more oversight of the banks and wasn't Barney the Chair person to the very Banking committee that would make those changes?
    Sort of strange that he should accusingly point the finger when he is as guilty as the next person.

    April 9, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Are there no decent politicians left?

    "Frank's message for today's protestors: "Rudeness is not a substitute for thought."

    Leno ran through some word association with Frank as well.

    Sarah Palin? "Quitter."

    Mitt Romney? "Flip-flopper."

    John McCain? "Old."

    McCain, 73, is less than four years older than Frank."

    This sums up why I, an educated and politically unaligned and moderate American citicen, cannot take the likes of Barney Frank seriously. He is a caricature.

    April 9, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Word association (cont.)

    Barney Frank . . . Dishonest?

    April 9, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Generally speaking, people are rude when they know that they have no GOOD reason to ask for or expect what they want...
    People are also rude when they have no reasoned argument for their position.

    April 9, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. chris tx

    Agreed, politicians cheering on poor behavior is unacceptable and is why the Tea Party probably isn't bigger. It's also creating Domestic Terrorists, crippling our country from functioning or moving forward through division and is simply adolescent. Better communication means is allowing a minority to have a megaphone which is compounding the problem.

    It's creating a Mob – and that's dangerous for us all

    "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." – Yoda

    April 9, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Rickster

    This clown should have been thrown out of office years ago. C'mon people, wake up! Barney Frank is one of the main culprits in the current housing crash. He said that everything was "fine" a few years ago when George Bush wanted to establish more regulations and oversight on the housing and loan industry. And for years he has supported loan approval to deadbeats who didn't have a prayer of paying them back.

    April 9, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Barney Frank? "Socialist."

    April 9, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. TCM

    FFFFFrank's a slobbering idiot and a disgrace to mankind.

    April 9, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Dano

    What Gingrich and the rest of the new GOP don't get is that they are supposed to be doing what's best for the country as a whole and not just their campaign contributors. For 200 years the US Senate has practiced the art of compromise, but now the Republicans want everything their way and any give and take is considered weakness. I used to play with kids that always had to have things their way or they would throw a tantrum when I was a child, but we all managed to grow out of it. Apparently this group never did.

    April 9, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. OTGOLFER

    Why didn't Leno ask "As head of the House Banking Committee, (for many years) why didn't you act on Presidents Clinton and Bushs requests to look into the problems with Fannie Mae & Freddie MAC, which was a large contributing factor in our economic downturn?" "Why didn't you do your job?"

    April 9, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. QLee

    Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Miller, Bill O'Reilly and many more pundits should be ashamed of themselves. They are not dumb people. They know exactly what they are doing – preying on the minds of the less educated by using scare tactics which in turn induces those persons to react violently. Shame on these pundits. We are all one country and we can disagree but it should be disagreement without the hateful attitudes.

    April 9, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Nancy, NY

    Barney Frank is an idiot. He is not fit to be in Congress.

    April 9, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. jeff jackson, alabama

    Alright, I finally understand now thanks to
    Barney Frank.
    All the ill will in D.C. between the dems and the
    reps is the reps fault.
    Seems to me his conversation on Leno was
    exactly the type of rudeness he was accusing
    the reps of.

    April 9, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Shar

    Love Barney Frank...he is very frank and it's good to hear honesty instead of the garbage from the Republican right and faux news!

    April 9, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. Debby

    Frank is an idiot who is responsible for the crash in the economy. He is another one that will get voted out down the road.

    April 9, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |