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MSNBC suspends analyst for off-color remark about Obama

June 30, 2011|By James Oliphant

MSNBC suspended political analyst Mark Halperin on Thursday morning after he used an anatomical epithet to describe President Obama on the “Morning Joe” show.

Halperin, an editor at Time magazine, was discussing Obama’s barbed comments aimed at Republicans made at Wednesday’s press conference and said that he thought the president was a being “kind of a ...."

“Mark Halperin's comments [Thursday] morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable,” MSNBC said in a statement. “We apologize to the president, the White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”

Halperin issued an apology as well.

“I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate,” he said. “Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the president, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.”

Halperin rose to prominence in Washington circles as the man behind the daily ABC Internet report named “The Note,” which offered a dishy inside perspective on the D.C. political scene and attracted a heavy following. He’s a co-author of “Game Change,” a chronicle of the 2008 presidential campaign that is being made into a film by HBO.

Thursday morning, Halperin appeared to be encouraged to some degree to be off-color by the hosts of “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

“Are we on the seven-second delay today?” Halperin asked. “I wanted to characterize how I thought the president behaved.”

“We have it we can use it,” Brzezinski said. “Go for it.”

“Take a chance,” Scarborough said.

“I thought he was kind of a ... yesterday,” Halperin said.

“Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing?” Scarborough said. “I can’t believe you! I was joking. Don’t do that! Did we delay that?”

The remark was not bleeped, and viewers heard it in its entirety.

Here's video. Warning: the video contains offensive language:

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