MSNBC suspends analyst Halperin for Obama remark

Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:55pm EDT
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(Note: Use of strong language in the second paragraph)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cable news channel MSNBC suspended political analyst Mark Halperin on Thursday hours after he used foul language to describe President Barack Obama on national television.

When asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program what he thought of Obama's news conference on the budget the day before, Halperin replied: "Are we on the seven-second delay today?" before adding, "I thought he was kind of a d*** yesterday."

Realizing his remark was not bleeped out by the show's producers, he quickly apologized.

But the cable news network said Halperin was suspended indefinitely from his analyst role.

"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. 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," MSNBC said in a statement.

During his news conference, Obama compared Senate Republicans to lazy schoolchildren as he urged Congress to get cracking on federal budget and deficit legislation.

Halperin said in a statement he agreed with MSNBC.

"I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate," he said. "My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it."

MSNBC has suspended others in the past, including talk show host Keith Olbermann last year for campaign donations to Democrats. Olbermann later left the channel.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Doina Chiacu)

<p>President Barack Obama looks up during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 29, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque</p>