Sen. Inhofe tells MSNBC’s Maddow she's one of his ‘three favorite liberals’

Conservative Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) offered high praise Thursday night for a trio of ideological foes, including MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

“By the way, you and Lisa Jackson and Barbara Boxer are my three favorite liberals, because I enjoy watching you very much,” Inhofe told Maddow during an interview about global warming.

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EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, are frequent sparring partners for Inhofe, the panel’s top Republican.

However, Inhofe frequently points out that he has a friendly relationship with them.

“Lisa, she even has a picture of my 20 kids and grandkids hanging on her wall. She and I get along fine,” Inhofe said on MSNBC. (An EPA spokeswoman confirmed his comment about the picture.)

Inhofe has long battled Environmental Protection Agency and Democratic efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions through cap-and-trade legislation, which collapsed in 2010, or regulations.

He’s Capitol Hill’s most outspoken opponent of mainstream climate science. “You say something over and over again and sooner or later, people, particularly your audience, there’s a liberal audience, they want to believe it,” Inhofe told Maddow.

The overwhelming majority of climate scientists say the planet is warming and that human activities — including the burning of fossil fuels — are a major cause.

A small minority of scientists argue that data on warming trends and the human contribution are inaccurate or inconclusive.