Paul "Big Government" Begala, as he was introduced, was the lone prominent liberal to grace the Conservative Political Action Conference stage Thursday, taking on Tucker Carlson from the Daily Caller in a debate.

Begala shushed the crowd on the debt and stood up for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Of course deficits matter, but any one of you who supported the Bush tax cuts, the Bush war in Iraq or the Bush prescription drug entitlement plan, has no business talking about debt. Just sit down, shut up and let the grown-ups handle it," he chided the conservative crowd.

On Clinton, he said he hoped she would run for president. "It's so interesting, now that we've moved toward some potential, mythical, one day, hypothetical candidacy, all the right-wingers who like 5 minutes ago were kissing her butt, now they're all saying she's evil," Begala said. For now, Begala stated, Clinton would get to have some downtime. "[But] not get a face-lift; she's not some Republican society woman, she's a real woman," he said when an audience member suggested it.

The pundits found more common ground on the soda ban (both against) and George W. Bush's AIDs work in Africa. Begala then asked Carlson to compliment President Obama for something, too.

"I have to say, I've given this some thought over the years, his second inaugural, just two months ago in January, the president walked down the length of Pennsylvania Avenue chewing Nicorette," Carlson said. "For this guy to flaunt his Nicotine addiction in public I thought was courageous, compelling and inspirational," Carlson said.

Then finally, it was time for word association.

Thoughts on "Argo?" "I love a movie about daring-do heroism under the Carter administration," Begala said. "The only good thing that happened during the Carter administration," Carlson laughed.

What about Ashley Judd? "Why does every right-wing guy I know think it's horrible that Ashley Judd posed naked in movies but think it is fine that Scott Brown goes naked in a magazine?" Begala objected. "I disagree, I was completely against Scott Brown's nudity," Carlson chuckled.