A few minutes ago, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded to CNBC’s Rick Santelli and his outburst which tapped into populist anger over some of the policies of the month-old Obama Administration.
CBS’s Chip Reid asked Gibbs, referring to “that cable rant,” about the Obama mortgage plan. Gibbs:
I’ve watched Mr. Santelli on cable the past 24 hours or so. I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives. But the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their jobs, pay their bills, send their kids to school, hope they don’t get sick or somebody they care for gets sick and sends them into bankruptcy.
I would be more than happy to have him come here and read [the mortgage plan]. I’d be happy to buy him a cup of coffee. Decaf. (laughter)
But I also think it’s tremendously important that for people who rant on cable television to be responsible and understand what it is they’re talking about. I feel assured that Mr. Santelli doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Santelli’s rant was quickly picked up on Drudge (where it still resides) and has since gone viral. CNBC responded to a flood of Web traffic by adding a poll on the subject.
Santelli, who covers the CBOT and Mercantile Exchange, didn’t back down one bit in an appearance on NBC’s hometown station WMAQ:
…Nor in an appearance on the Today show this morning. Although at one point Santelli said, “Maybe I could have chosen some words better, but I think at the end of the day, what this boils down to is you have to treat everybody fairly.”
So, what did the rant heard ’round the world do for CNBC.com’s traffic?
A lot. A record-breaker. Leaving Cramer’s “Bernanke” rant from August ’07 in the dust.