When I went on the air this morning, the furthest thing from my mind was the possibility of speaking with one of the key actors in the Iran Contra scandal that plagued this country during the Reagan administration. Of course, if you listened to any of the GOP sycophants running around the US these days, Reagan was a saint who never raised taxes or was complicit in international crimes.

Of course, we know all about those Reagan years, and Ronnie’s former National Security Adviser Robert “Bud” McFarlane. What I didn’t know – and honestly didn’t care about until this morning, is that McFarlane is now working as an foreign policy adviser on Newt Gingrich’s campaign.

It still wouldn’t matter to me if I had not been put on the phone with him during my show this morning!

Each morning at 11am ET, I get a news report – or more accurately, engage in a discussion about that day’s news with someone from the Talk Radio News Service.  This week, TRNS is in New Hampshire, covering the primary there, and running a “radio row” in which they provide broadcast facilities and guests for the visiting stations to interview.

This morning, they provided me with McFarlane is a guest.

Usually, the guests are involved with whatever event is being covered and I can usually just wing it with an interview.  This morning, though, I would have preferred a bit of advance notice so I could have adequately prepared.

Mr. McFarlane’, again, played a key role in Iran Contra – and he’s now advising Newt Gingrich on foreign policy? Scary thought.  While I was a bit shocked at the start of our conversation, I let him speak and then questioned him on his asinine statements.

He criticized “Obamacare” – and when I pushed him on that, he protested that his area of expertise was foreign policy. So, I questioned him on our involvement in Afghanistan until he changed the subject and criticized Obama for increasing the nation’s debt.  When I asked him about George W. Bush’s responsibility for his unbridled spending (and waging of wars), he again sidestepped my questions.

When he outright lied by claiming “hundreds of thousands” would be put back to work if only we’d approve the Keystone XL pipeline, I ended the charade of an interview.

Listen for yourself here…  or just listen for it in the middle of the whole show podcast…

In the first hour, I spoke with activist Robert Abston – national coordinator for the Progressive Leadership Action Network and NewStand Media.  He compiled a great collection of essays from some of the best progressive minds in the nation for FIX America: How Each of  Us Can Help All of Us, and has some great ideas about promoting a progressive vision that I hope he can realize!

In hour two, as we do every Monday, I visited with Nicole Belle of Crooks & Liars to recap the Sunday talking head shows in a segment we call Fools on the Hill.  Today, I was still a bit shell shocked coming off the McFarlane fiasco so we didn’t actually get to a lot of the audio… but here’s her recap. The links are definitely worth following.  A giant comedy of errors…

Because we just don’t get enough Republican debates, NBC decided to pre-empt their regularly Meet the Press for an ungodly early debate in New Hampshire. As usual, the clear winner of the debate was President Obama, because the Republicans just couldn’t keep showing themselves as the clowns they are.

Ron Paul, for example, rejected moderator David Gregory’s framing of what entitlements Ron Paul wanted to cut to prove how serious he was about dealing with the deficit. But because we’re talking about Ron Paul, the framing he rejected wasn’t the notion that entitlements needed to be cut, but that entitlements should exist at all. As Paul said, “Entitlements are not rights.”

Mitt Romney, to whom his rivals were oddly charitable, took several opposing stances during the debates. When asked by Gregory whose economic outlook he agreed with more, Warren Buffett and his “raise the taxes on the wealthy, they can afford it” or Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes”, Romney refused to answer the question directly. But lest you think he might be leaning towards Buffett, Romney immediately adopted Norquist’s tax policy as his own.

Mitt also suggested that only rich people should run for office in that clip.

Credit Newt Gingrich for having the quote of the day during the debate when he told Romney to cut the “pious baloney.”

On the non-debate front, John McCain proves just what a finger on the pulse of American sentiment he has by insisting to Bob Schieffer that we should be still in Iraq, because it’s “unraveling.”

And finally, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Candy Crowley that she absolutely thinks Obama should run on how little Congress has accomplished in its overarching need to oppose any legislation that would assist him (and therefore, the country).