CNBC's Rick Santelli is claiming that his infamous rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that started the Tea Party movement was the best moment of his life.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Santelli took credit for igniting the movement:
"People ask me if I'm the father of the Tea Party movement...I was the spark ...that started it. If being the lightning rod that started the Tea Party is what's written on my tombstone, I'll be very happy."
Santelli was catapulted to instant fame after his five-minute outburst on CNBC in Feb. 2009--where he decried government bailouts, called struggling homeowners "losers" and speculated aloud that a new Tea Party might be needed--went viral.
In the Sun-Times interview, Santelli called the rant "the best five minutes of my life," but said he has not tried to influence the direction of the Tea Party in any way. He did call the rise of the movement "a proud moment for America."
At least one person agrees with Santelli: Glenn Beck. On last Wednesday's edition of his show, Beck said, "Rick Santelli went on, and he expressed frustration at the government...that's where it started."