MSNBC pundit: 'Obama kind of a d**k'

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)
MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin has been suspended from the cable news network after being a little bit too hard on President Barack Obama this morning.

Halperin, who still holds on to the title of editor-at-large at TIME (for now), appeared on the Morning Joe program early Thursday to discuss yesterday’s White House press conference on the debt. After asking if producers were ready to employ the “7-second delay button” and being egged on by host Joe Scabrorough to “take a chance,” Halperin frankly declared that “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.”

“I was joking. Don’t do that!” responded Scarborough. “Did we delay that? Did that work?”

A producer for the program cuts in to say that he hit the button, but nearly 20 minutes later the staff and Halperin offered up an apology after it became clear that the boner accidently made it to broadcast.

“Joking aside, this is an absolute apology. I became part of the joke. It’s no excuse. I shouldn’t have said it,” pleaded Halperin.

“I apologize to the president and the viewers who heard me say that,” he said.

Within hours of the incident, MSNBC suspended the contributor, calling his comments “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. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”

Urging Halperin to open up, Scarborough told him during the broadcast, “I get behind you. You fall down, I’m going to catch you.” Scarborough later said, “Certainly (host) Mika (Brzezinski) and I also apologize to viewers. And we hear this all the time – parents come up and say, ‘Hey, by the way, we don’t just watch the show, our kids watch the show.’”

White House spokesman Jay Carney, who previously worked with Halperin at TIME, says the comment was “inappropriate.”