“You’re simpletons. You’re idiots!”

Big Ed flips out

Rendell takes on 60 Minutes. During an interview on the proliferation of casino gambling and Pennsylvania, our soon-to-be-former governor, fresh off accusing us of being a “nation of wussies” for not forcing grown men to play a sporting event in a blizzard that was paralyzing a city, Ed lashed out at correspondent Leslie Stahl, who had the unmitigated gall to ask if, by placing a casino every few miles across the state, we weren’t creating a new breed of problem gambler, all the while using their money to balance (well, not quite) city and state budgets. Per the Inky, the exchange went like this:

RENDELL: “The biggest downside is that some people lose their paychecks. But understand, Lesley, they’re not losing their paychecks because Pennsylvania instituted gaming. These people were losing their paychecks in Atlantic City, in Delaware at the racetracks, or in West Virginia.”

STAHL: “So why not lose it here . . .”

Rendell: “Well, if they were going to lose it anyway, let’s get the upside. We were getting all the downside and none of the upside.”

STAHL: “The counter-argument is that you’re creating new gamblers. And lots of new gamblers.”

RENDELL: “We’re not creating new gamblers.”

STAHL: “Well, ’cause it’s down the street.”

RENDELL: “Those people play the lottery. They bet on football. How much money is bet on the Super Bowl.”

STAHL: “People are losing money for the state to get its revenue. They’re losing money.”

RENDELL: “Let me answer this. You . . . you’ve . . . I’ve always . . . I’ve known, uh, for two or three decades, you’re a very smart person.”

STAHL: “But not now.”

RENDELL: “But you’re not getting it.”

STAHL: “I’m dumb now.”

RENDELL: “You’re not getting it. Those people would lose that money anyway. Don’t you understand? You guys don’t get that. You’re simpletons. You’re idiots if you don’t get that . . . That’s the answer and it’s the right answer.” [Inquirer]