Nightly News   |  November 22, 2011

Hearing on drilling in Alaska gets hot

A hearing on drilling in the Alaskan wildlife refuge went haywire when Alaska Rep. Don Young traded insults with Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: The moment of the week on Capitol Hill took place at a hearing about oil drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge . What you're about to see is an exchange between Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young and the witness, the historian and author Doug Brinkley of Rice University . It goes very haywire very quickly. The two men don't agree, they don't like each other. Pay special attention, by the way, to the young female aides sitting behind the congressman.

Representative DON YOUNG: That side's already made up its mind. This side has already made up its mind. And the -- I call it garbage, Dr. Rice , that comes from a mouth...

Dr. DOUG BRINKLEY: It's doctor -- it's Dr. Brinkley . Rice is a university.

Rep. YOUNG: Well, OK, I call you Dr. Rice .

Dr. BRINKLEY: I know you went to Yuba College and you couldn't graduate.

Rep. YOUNG: I'll call you anything I want to call you as you sit in that chair.

Dr. BRINKLEY: Pardon?

Rep. YOUNG: You just be quiet.

Dr. BRINKLEY: Well, but why?

Rep. YOUNG: You stay quiet.

Dr. BRINKLEY: You don't own me. I pay your salary.

Rep. YOUNG: I don't own you, but I can tell you right now, I'm the one that'll...

Unidentified Man: The gentleman -- the gentleman will suspend and I'll remind -- I'll remind members and I'll remind...

Dr. BRINKLEY: I work for the private sector. You work for the taxpayers.

Man: Mr. Brinkley ...

WILLIAMS: Nice to see everybody getting along. It is rare to hear a witness talk back to a member of Congress , and that's pretty much how the rest of the hearing