Congressman's Off-Color Comment Caught on Live Mike

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank scolded California Rep. Darrell Issa on Wednesday for a comment he unwittingly made into a live microphone.

Issa, elected Wednesday to be the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told a fellow committee member the day before that he wanted to avoid "getting screwed" in a turf battle with Frank, who chairs the Financial Services Committee. Both committees have been holding hearings on the financial crisis.

"I want to be sure that the new ranking member of the Oversight Committee, who apparently yesterday expressed some concern that we would screw his committee out of doing their job -- nothing could be further from the truth," Frank said at a hearing of his committee on the government's bailout plan.

Issa, R-Vista, and some other lawmakers were appearing before Frank as witnesses.

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I'll be glad to talk with you anytime," Issa started to say in response.

Frank, D-Mass., cut Issa off.

"Excuse me -- I haven't yielded. We have rules here," Frank said. "The gentleman said we can talk at any time. Well, I don't remember hearing from him."

Frank defended his leadership of the Financial Services Committee and contended that nothing had changed since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007.

"I don't want to ruin anybody's Christmas by thinking I'm going to, Grinchlike, take away the jurisdiction of another committee, when I haven't done that," Frank said.

When he finally got the chance to speak, Issa said his comments made into the live mic could have been considered praise for Frank.

Frank replied: "I would shut off both the compliments and the mic the next time, if I was the gentleman from California."

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