Things got heated Monday on “CNN Tonight” in a segment on the Mississippi Senate race between Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Democratic nominee Mike Espy.
CNN contributor Scott Jennings predicted Hyde-Smith would win, despite a recent racial controversy because Mississippi leans Republican. Columnist and network global affairs analyst Max Boot went after Jennings and his analysis, resulting in Boot getting emotional over Hyde-Smith’s “blatant racism.”
“I think Hyde-Smith is going to win,” Jennings said. “I think [Hyde-Smith] said some things that were not great and she didn’t handle the apologies well. It strikes me that based on the general election results and based on the fact that I’ve not seen any evidence or public polling that tells me this race has tightened that it’s more likely than not that a Republican is going to win this election, because it’s a nationalized election and the people of Mississippi like Donald Trump’s agenda.”
Host Don Lemon asked, “Are you surprised, though, Scott, in all honesty, that you’d have a president of the United States and a president openly supporting someone who has made those comments without any good explanation except for the obvious as to why she made them?
“No. I mean, he is a Republican president. He wants a Republican Senator,” Jennings replied. “It would be a huge embarrassment for his party to lose this seat. And he loves the campaign. So I’m not at all surprised …”
Boot interrupted, calling Jennings’ commentary of the race “values-neutral horse race analysis.”
Partial transcript as follows:
JENNINGS: Hey, Max, listen, brother, I don’t answer to you OK? We come on these shows and you jump all over me. I don’t answer to you, Max Boot. You left the Republican Party. I don’t answer to you.
BOOT: Can I please make my comment, Scott? Is this your show or can I make a comment?
JENNINGS: You interrupted me, so I’m going to interrupt you back. Jerk.
LEMON: Go ahead, Scott. Go ahead, Max. Sorry. Go ahead. And there’s no need to call names here. Come on, Scott. You don’t have to call him jerk.
BOOT: We discussed the kind of appalling …
JENNINGS: He does this to me. Don, we get on these shows and Max interrupts me and I — is this your show?
LEMON: Let him make his point.
BOOT: No, Scott. OK. You’re trying to filibuster because you’re embarrassed by what I’m going to say, which is that you engage …
JENNINGS: No, I’m embarrassed to sit here with you, Max.
BOOT: You are not letting me finish …
JENNINGS: Your sanctimonious bull crap. That is what I’m embarrassed about.
BOOT: OK. I’m embarrassed by your filibuster and I’m embarrassed by the fact that you will not call out this blatant racism on the part of Cindy Hyde-Smith and Donald Trump. You offer this kind of values- neutral horse race analysis and you refuse to condemn the bigotry of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln. This is a disgrace to what the Republican Party has stood for so much of its history.
LEMON: Scott, I’ve got to say — Scott does condemn bigotry and he does criticize the president at times on this show, but go on.
BOOT: But he is not doing it now, Don. He is not doing it now. He is offering an analysis of why these appeals to prejudice will be successful politically.
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent