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MSNBC Suspends Mark Halperin for Calling Obama a 'Dick'

Note to producers: learn how to work delay button

Mark Halperin | Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Time Warner

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Time magazine’s Mark Halperin has been indefinitely suspended as an MSNBC analyst after he called President Obama a “dick” on this Thursday’s Morning Joe.

“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. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst,” MSNBC said in a statement.

Halperin, in his own statement, said, “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. 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.”

Time magazine also voiced its disapproval in a statement, but stopped short of punishing Halperin: "Mark Halperin’s comments on air this morning were inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time’s views. We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable. Mark has appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter, and on The Page."

The offending remark was uttered during a discussion of the president’s conduct at a press conference.  Halperin asked, “Are we on a seven-second delay today? I wanted to characterize how the president behaved.” Host Joe Scarborough told Halperin to go ahead, saying, “Take a chance . . . I’m behind you. You fall down, I’m going to catch you.”

“I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday,” Halperin stated, causing a seemingly shocked Scarborough to immediately call to producers, “Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing? I can’t believe . . . Don’t do that. Did we delay that?” Halperin apologized for the remark shortly after, as did Scarborough, who said that his new executive producer didn’t understand how to work the delay button.

UPDATE: Time magazine released a separate statement later in the day, saying, "Mark Halperin's comments on air this morning were inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time's views. We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable. Mark has appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter and on The Page."