Guests: Holland Cooke, Bill Press, Marvin Odum, Mark Demoss, Doug
MacKinnon, John Feehery, Jennifer Donahue, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Bill
HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW
from New York tonight.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight.
Well, the right wing owns the airwaves in this country. They are
peddling hate and calling it entertainment. The shocking numbers are out
on how conservatives control your radio dial and how they play into the Tea
Black lawmakers were spit on by the Tea Party protesters at the
Capitol, but Michele Bachmann refuses to acknowledge it. She says sees is
Well, Congresswoman, pay attention. We‘ll play the tape for you.
Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is getting down and dirty in her
state. She‘s falsely insinuating that her challenger has a drug problem.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter will be here to set the record straight.
And with all the news about oil today and drilling, the president of
Shell Oil will talk with me here on THE ED SHOW tonight about the
president‘s decision to drill, baby, drill. That‘s later on in the
But first the story that has me fired up tonight.
Now, I guess hate talk is entertainment. At least that‘s what the
A “USA Today”/Gallup poll just asked who‘s to blame for incidents of
vandalism and verbal threats that followed the health care bill passing the
Congress. Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are a major reason for
the incidents? Hold it right there.
The tactic the Democrats used to pass health care is called the
legislative process. And there‘s a reason that Americans believe the
Democrats are to blame for the hate talk. It‘s called the conservative
This very same poll shows that 46 percent blame harsh criticism by
conservative commentators on television and on radio. Limbaugh, Beck,
Hannity and the rest of the hate merchants on the radio dial on the right,
they have been on a mission to destroy this president and the Democrats
since day one. They have a stronghold on the market. Ever since President
Obama took office, it has really turned ugly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We need to defeat these
bastards. We need to wipe them out. We need to chase them out of town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, “THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW”: I‘ll tell you, I only have one
mission from now until November. It is to defeat them. It is to defeat
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOE PAGLIARULO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: A crisis that I believe is
perpetuated purposely by this administration, our economic and employment
crisis, our jobs and employment crisis. That was what this president was
going to take care of if he got elected. And he got elected and he‘s
ignoring it on purpose. He‘s made it worse on purpose.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, “THE GLENN BECK PROGRAM”: The battle is health care. The
war is freedom.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: Their health care legislation is the real death threat in
this scenario. It‘s a death threat against the country as it was founded.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BECK: You tell me how this has honor or integrity. It doesn‘t. The
fruit of this tree is extraordinarily evil. The fruit of this tree is
corrupt and poison.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yes. Saving lives, 30-some-odd million people going to get
health care insurance in this country, and, of course, the discrimination
is going to be over because of the pre-existing condition. You see, folks,
that‘s the kind of garbage that is pumped out every day on the airwaves by
I guess we‘re doing “Psycho Talk” early tonight.
This is what passes for entertainment in America? So Americans
believe this stuff because it‘s really what they have access to, the only
thing they have access to.
An exhaustive joint study conducted in 2007 by the Center for American
Progress and Free Press titled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk
Radio” shows some shocking figures. The analysis of the political talk
programming on the 257 news talk stations owned by the five largest
commercial station owners reveals this -- 91 percent of political talk
radio programming on stations owned by the top five commercial station
owners is conservative. Only nine percent is progressive.
Here are the numbers on the hours -- 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of
conservative talk are broadcast each weekday on these stations, compared to
just 254 hours of progressive talk.
Now, 92 percent of these stations -- 92 percent of these stations—
do not broadcast a single minute of liberal talk radio programming. There
is no such thing as balance on political talk radio in this country.
Conservatives own it. They program it. They syndicate it.
Major radio companies like Salem, Bonneville Broadcasting and Citadel
have never had one minute of progressive talk syndicated on their station.
Ninety-eight percent of Americans consume some type of audio every
single day. Conservatives have used this practical monopoly to push their
agenda for years.
Now, in Washington, D.C., here‘s a perfect example. Washington, D.C.,
93 percent of the folks there, registered voters, they are Democrats.
Now, there were two talk stations that broadcast conservative talk.
When CBS decided to flip one of their stations to a talk at 50,000 watt AM
signal calling it “The Big Talker”—this was back on November 10, 2008 --
the program director refused to consider progressive talk saying that there
were—well, they‘re just going to take the station hard right.
So, in an overwhelmingly liberal city with the Democratic votership at
93 percent, they decided that it was a good business decision to saturate
the airwaves with more right-wing talk even though they have, you know,
superstar Glenn Beck on the air?
Defy this, Glenn. You have zero ratings in Washington, D.C. Zilch.
Nil. Nada. Zero.
Now, the second tier radio talk station, WTNT, is ranked 30th in the
market with a 0.4 share. Now, this kind of imbalance goes unchallenged.
We‘re supposed to believe that this is a free market. I think it‘s
ownership. And I think it‘s time for Congress to get involved. It‘s time
for the Fairness Doctrine to be reviewed by the Congress and then
The airwaves are public. It‘s not in the public‘s interest to have 92
percent of, you know, right-wingers out there filling the airwaves that is
just so anti anything the liberals want to do.
Tell me where the fairness is. Don‘t tell me it‘s the free market. I
gave you an example of “The Beckster” and what he‘s doing in Washington,
D.C., but they decided to put that garbage on the air anyway.
It‘s not about business. It‘s about ideology, and it‘s about getting
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight‘s text survey is: Do you think Congress should take action to
balance political talk radio?
Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639 to 622639. We‘ll bring you
the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Holland Cooke, a radio talk consultant with McVay
Media, one of the best in the business, and a regular contributor to
Holland, good to have you with us tonight.
HOLLAND COOKE, TALK RADIO CONSULTANT: Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ: What they‘re doing, is it entertainment or is it
COOKE: Objectively, what you and Rush Limbaugh and I do for a living
is the same thing. We are in the business of attracting an audience and
trying to get them to listen to as many commercials as possible. It is
entertainment in that sense.
But what concerns me is what Rush and the legion of Rush wannabes who
are dominating this conservative conversation are doing to attract that
audience. Three things.
Number one is the potty mouth. I don‘t think you should say
“bastards” on the radio. I‘m embarrassed just quoting Rush on your show
because my mom and dad are watching. But now there are words coming out
the dashboard of the SUV the soccer mom does not want the munchkins
This is ratings tear gas. But that‘s not the big problem.
Then there‘s the hate speech. And how can you say that “Barack the
Magic Negro” is not hate speech? But that‘s not the biggest problem.
You know how they say high blood pressure is the silent killer? I
believe what is most dangerous is what‘s right below the surface of talk
radio, and it is a deliberate overstatement for the purpose of rising above
I‘ll give you an example.
As the president was pursuing health care reform, Rush Limbaugh said,
“Obama wants to put your personal, private medical records on Google so
that everyone can see them.” Now, he‘s a smart enough guy to know that
that‘s not true, but what about these nine heavily-armed nut jobs hopping
around in the forest in Michigan who have been getting a steady diet of
that, of Glenn Beck saying the FCC is going to scrub the Internet so you
better start stacking up canned goods and guns in the cellar?
This stuff didn‘t happen overnight with those nine guys in Michigan.
And why I have spoken up in conscience is because I don‘t just think
there‘s nine of them.
SCHULTZ: No, I don‘t think so either.
Now, the Tea Parties have been organized and promoted by right-wing
talkers, and this is where we get into some dicey area. They‘re using the
licenses for a political movement.
Is that what this was all intended to end up to be?
COOKE: Well, be careful what you wish for, righties, because it might
come true. This revelation yesterday about how the RNC is spending its T&E
money on T&A is going to turn the Tea Partiers away from the party that
thought they had control of those voices.
So I believe these people are in play. And the president himself, on
NBC just yesterday, was saying, you know, this is the American way. People
ought to be able to assemble and speak up, and that there are reasonable
voices among them—
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, take a look at this. Broadcast stocks are down
from the radio companies. They‘re firing people left and right. Yet, we
keep hearing that right-wing talk is so hot, that nothing else works.
COOKE: And their hobby horse is this Fairness Doctrine that the
president and chairman of the FCC have repeatedly said will not be
reinstated. Yet, by their actions, by this potty mouth and the outright
misinformation, ,and the arguable hate speech, they are inviting content
regulation while decrying it.
SCHULTZ: Holland Cooke, stay with us.
I want to bring in Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show
host and author of the book “Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right has Poisoned
America‘s Airwaves.” This is due out on May 25th.
Well, you‘re ahead of the curve here, Bill.
Bill, would the Fairness Doctrine clean this up or change the
landscape, or is it really not an avenue to pursue?
What do you think?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, first, I‘ve got to say, Ed,
you‘re ahead of the curve. You summed up the entire book in your first
five minutes. So there you‘ve got it.
Listen, I‘ve got to tell you, the Fairness Doctrine—first, what did
the Fairness Doctrine require? All it required is that for—and here‘s
an essential principle, as Holland and you both know. These are public
airwaves we‘re talking about.
We, the American people, own these public airwaves. They‘re the
licenses given so they can operate these—station owners—operate these
airwaves in the public interest.
They are not serving the public interest if they are only serving one
kind of programming that appeals to the far right. At least half the
people in this country are not extreme right. And yet, as you see there,
you have got one hour of liberal talk for every 10 hours of conservative
So, Ed, I think the Fairness Doctrine would just require—I‘d be for
bringing it back. I think what it would require is that every station has
to have a mix of voices.
You can‘t just be all far right. But there‘s more than that I think
we need—just quickly. We need to do something and you touched on it,
about ownership. Because today, a company could go in, buy all the
stations in one town like here in Washington, D.C., and put on all right-
wing programming, and that market is not served.
SCHULTZ: Well, Holland, that‘s the issue. You know, you have
companies come in, they own a bunch of signals. They own the AM signals.
And then they‘re conservative, and then there goes the balance. There is
SCHULTZ: Would the Fairness Doctrine clean that up?
COOKE: Well, the founders gave us a Fairness Doctrine based on
scarcity. And this was before fax machines, let alone podcasting and
blogging and MSNBC.
I think the reason we‘re not going to see a Fairness Doctrine is, as a
practical matter, it‘s impractical. There is already a diversity of
voices, and talk radio will play this one-note song at its own risk,
because people are wandering off to the new platform to find something
other than the Democrats bad, Republicans good show. I‘m right, you‘re
right wrong, I, I, I, me, me, me.
Ed, the more important issue really is, I think, the ownership issue.
The Fairness Doctrine would not change that. It did not affect ownership.
That has got to be the FCC. And all they have to do is put down some new
rules and enforce the rules.
SCHULTZ: Well, we‘ve seen an evolution of right-wing talkers.
They‘ve gone from good comic radio bits, and I think thoughtful commentary,
to the hate speech of targeting the president. He‘s a socialist, he‘s a
Marxist. And, of course, that‘s goes into the ears of millions of low-
information voters and it affects, I think, opinions in this country.
Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. We‘ll do more on this
in coming shows.
Coming up, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, has
thrown the Republicans a curveball. He is ready to drill, baby, drill.
The president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum, will join me in just a moment.
And get a load of this. An armed rally will be marching on Washington
soon. And it just so happens to be scheduled on the anniversary of the
Oklahoma City bombing. Frightening details on that at the bottom of the
All that, plus the Maverick lands in the zone and Shep Smith sinks one
in my “Playbook” tonight.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So the answer is not
drilling everywhere all the time, but the answer is not also for us to
ignore the fact that we are going to need vital energy sources to maintain
our economic growth and our security. Ultimately, we need to move beyond
the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and
environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure-all and
those who would claim it has no place, because this issue is just too
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: President Obama is changing his tune on offshore drilling.
He was against it during the campaign, but today the president announced
that he supports drilling for oil and gas off Florida‘s Gulf Coast and off
the coast of Virginia.
Some experts predict there is enough oil off our shores to supply the
United States for 15 years.
Joining me now is the president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum.
Mr. Odum, good to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time here
I think a lot of—
MARVIN ODUM, PRESIDENT, SHELL OIL: You bet. Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
A lot of Americans are wondering, what does this mean? Is this a big
step forward to energy independence?
How do you see it?
ODUM: Well, it‘s actually a very important step. Now, it‘s not the
whole run, but it is a very important step.
So I see it like this—you break down the areas that were identified
by the administration—offshore Alaska, the Eastern Seaboard, and the
eastern Gulf of Mexico. And allowing exploration and ultimately the
production of resources in those areas to take place is going to make us—
we‘re going to be producing more of our own energy, we‘re going to get the
benefits of that.
This industry in the U.S. alone employs, indirect and direct jobs,
about nine million people. This project that we just started in the Gulf
of Mexico, itself, had 12,000 people that worked on it. So if you want to
answer the jobs question and talk about producing our own energy, then this
is an important first step.
SCHULTZ: Can it be done safely?
ODUM: Absolutely, it can. And, you know, it‘s the critical piece of
us moving into some of these areas.
And the thing that you have to look for to answer that question—
because, you know, me just saying it isn‘t enough. And so you have to look
at the track record in places like the Gulf of Mexico, and you look at the
performance of this industry over the last couple of decades.
It‘s very, very strong. It certainly makes us comfortable. And I
think, again, I‘ll go back to what the administration said today.
Talking about exploration in offshore Alaska and the areas that have
been leased, now they wouldn‘t be saying that if they weren‘t looking at
the hundreds of millions of dollars of studies that the U.S. government did
to answer the question, can it be done safely there? So, yes, it can.
SCHULTZ: So you view this as a reasonable and safe decision by the
president, who, out on the campaign trail, never talked like this? Does
this decision surprise you in a sense?
ODUM: Well, it‘s good to see it coming. I mean, we‘ve been in the
conversation for a while now, that oil and gas is going to be an important
part of the U.S. energy mix for many decades to come. And I think this is
an acknowledgement, if you will, of that and setting a path forward that‘s
Now, this doesn‘t take away from starting to develop alternative
energies and incentivizing new technologies. All that needs to take happen
as well. But to take advantage of the resources we have in this country,
get the jobs, security and everything else that goes along with that, as
opposed to importing all that energy, is an important step for us.
SCHULTZ: And do you believe that this will make us more energy-
independent and more secure as a nation?
ODUM: Well, every bit helps. So I‘ll—let me just talk for a
second about a project we started up in the Gulf of Mexico today.
SCHULTZ: The Perdido?
ODUM: This is a massive—Perdido Project, exactly. Thank you.
So, you know, a massive, really innovative, cutting-edge technology
kind of project. This project, 200 miles out, in two miles deep of water,
more or less, this will be producing 100,000 barrels a day.
Now, 100,000 barrels a day is one day of production from this
platform. It‘s enough to supply the energy needs for an entire year for
over two million households. So when you get to the question of, can
opening these areas and developing these kind of projects make a
difference? Yes, it can make a difference.
SCHULTZ: Now, will these reserves, these new oil reserves that are
being, you know, extracted now and going to be put out on the market, is
this going to be sold on the world market, or is it going to affect the
United States and—like, you know, consumers are saying, gosh, I wonder
if prices are going to be going down now that President Obama has opened
What about that?
ODUM: Well, there‘s a whole bunch of factors that go into, you know,
any given day‘s oil and gas price. But, yes, you know, predominantly, and
more than predominantly, the vast, vast production of any production off
the shores of the U.S. finds its way into the U.S. energy supply. And so
this has a direct impact, as you say.
SCHULTZ: All right. Mr. Odum, good to have you on tonight.
Appreciate your time.
ODUM: Good to be here. You bet. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Marvin Odum, who‘s the president of Shell Oil, with us here on MSNBC.
Coming up, the Mav got a little too worked up while war-mongering the
other day. That throttles him right into the zone in just a moment.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, a serious one from 2008‘s
biggest loser, Senator John McCain.
At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire earlier this month, the much
heralded veteran made a pretty shocking error while talking about the war
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: And now for three months there‘s not
been a single American service member killed and wounded in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, if only that were true.
In the three months before John said that, 12 U.S. troops died in
Iraq. At least 93 were wounded.
It is true that there were no combat-related deaths in Iraq in
December of 2009. Now, McCain either hasn‘t gotten Iraq updates this year,
or he decided to ignore the latest casualties.
The Bush administration misled us time and time again in the war in
Iraq for the first five years of the war, and that needs to end. It is
disgraceful and despicable to the American people to have it treated that
way, and it downgrades the service of our armed forces.
John ignoring more than 100 dead and wounded soldiers is serious
Coming up, Bondagegate keeps rolling. Michael Steele is being
ominously silent as all the ugly strip club details come out day after day.
Two Republicans who were calling for his removal will join me next.
Plus, a group of heavily-armed protesters will march on Washington on
April 19th. I think this is a powder keg just waiting to be lit.
We‘ll bring you the details.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
More on the Michael Steele story; it looks like he‘s going to survive the
latest embarrassment of the RNC. I‘d like to know exactly what you have to
do to get fired over there at the Republican National Committee.
Republicans are out there attacking Democrats on government spending and
values, while RNC staffers are green lighting reimbursement sheets for
bondage themed strip club appearances.
Well, as a practical matter, it would take a two-thirds majority to
oust Mr. Steele before his term is up in January, of next year. But some
Republicans want him to resign and get the RNC out of the headlines and
back into the business of raising money before the midterms.
For more, let me bring in two Republicans who have been very critical
of Mr. Steele. Mark Demoss is a longtime Republican donor who has stopped
giving to the committee. Doug MacKinnon is a former press secretary for
Majority Leader Bob Dole.
Gentlemen, this story is fluid. I want to two to this statement
first, because just a few moments ago, Tony Perkins of the Family Research
Council has addressed this. He writes, “I‘ve hinted at this before, but
now I am saying it: don‘t give money to the RNC. If you want to put money
into the political process—and I encourage you to do so—give directly
to candidates who you know reflect your values. The latest incident is
another indication to me that the RNC is completely tone deaf to the values
and concerns of a large number of people they are seeking financial support
from.” Tony Perkins, Family Research Council.
Gentlemen, may I say that I think this is a real shot over the bow.
Mr. Demoss, do you think that Michael Steele can survive this kind of
pressure and this kind of publicity?
MARK DEMOSS, REPUBLICAN DONOR: I don‘t know. And I don‘t know if he
should step down, but I would say this: if he doesn‘t step down, he should
step up and take charge of a very messy situation. I actually wrote him a
letter, the chairman, about three weeks ago, telling him after the fund-
raising mess down in—at the donor retreat in Florida—that I would no
longer give to the party, because I thought that presentation was
embarrassing and immature and uncivil.
So I‘d already made that decision that Tony is talking about now. But
it‘s a mess. Interestingly, this latest strip club situation is not at the
top of my list of egregious behavior in recent weeks at the RNC. It‘s on
the list, but it‘s not at the top. I think that the rest of the spending
is a bigger problem. And I think—I‘m concerned about the whole culture
of the place, frankly.
SCHULTZ: Well, the RNC has definitely changed its tactics. That
fund-raiser that you were talking about, these were just some of the things
about socialism that were up on the board. Also there was some about the
Evil Empire. Mr. MacKinnon, this is a low road, is it not? And does the
RNC and the Republican party have to get away from this kind of stuff?
What do you think?
DOUG MACKINNON, FMR. PRESS SECY. TO BOB DOLE: I mean, Ed, I think
you‘re absolutely right. It‘s an incredible low road right now for the
RNC. I think for the last year, I‘ve been trying to tell my fellow
conservatives and Republicans that, unfortunately, Michael Steele, while a
very nice guy, tends to put Michael Steele before the party many times.
And this latest incident is just one more reason why I think he has to step
I‘m amazed at, you know, three or four days later, we‘re still having
this same conversation, where I think if Michael Steele had done the right
thing and resigned immediately, we could use beyond this, and the party
could move beyond it. I think Tony Perkins is absolutely right. Either
give your money directly to candidates you believe in, or give it to Haley
Barbour and the Republican Governors Association, because at least you know
it‘s going to be spent, hopefully, in the right way.
SCHULTZ: Don‘t you need the RNC to be a functioning fund-raiser for
the party. to be effective and win seats, Mr. MacKinnon?
MACKINNON: Ed—well, theoretically, you do. I think you‘ve proven
the point right now tonight in some of the things you‘ve talked about,
right now they‘re not effective. Right now, they‘re not doing the job.
Right now, the money is not going to the RNC, because people are just
embarrassed of what‘s going on there. Mr. Steele‘s leadership is one of
the major reasons why.
SCHULTZ: Mark, what about his silence? I‘m surprised Michael Steele
hasn‘t come out with I guess you could call friendly media and address this
and be aggressive about it. Why isn‘t he doing that?
DEMOSS: I don‘t know the answer to that. It‘s puzzling. But I think
that the fact that the party has squandered what should have been a week of
great political capital—I intended an event last night in Atlanta at
Emory University Law School, where Mitt Romney spoke for an hour about the
future of the country, the cost implications of this health care
legislation. That is what the RNC ought to be leading a debate on.
Instead, we‘re side-tracked for a week talking about an expense account at
a strip club in California. It‘s unbelievable to me.
SCHULTZ: Mr. MacKinnon, you‘re a former press secretary. How would
you handle it right now if you were advising Mr. Steele?
MACKINNON: Well, I would frankly—again, as we just talked about, I
would advise him to resign immediately and explain why. I was very
disturbed that basically he sent a probably over-worked, underpaid staffer
out there to take a bullet for him and to resign, when, in fact, if the
Republican party‘s mantra, which is self-responsibility, personal
responsibility—why didn‘t he just fall on his sword himself? I don‘t
understand why he didn‘t do that.
SCHULTZ: Why was only one person fired when there were a couple of
people above that particular employee that, you know, said OK to the
MACKINNON: Well, a lot of these things, as you know, Ed, in any
organization are sort of CYA, and some of that‘s going on. We understand
that. It‘s exactly as Mark said. The Republican party has had to take a
week of this or more. And it‘s going to last. In one way or another, as
long as Michael Steele is the chairman, this story is not going to go away.
SCHULTZ: Mark Demoss, Doug MacKinnon, gentlemen, thanks for joining
us tonight on this subject.
MACKINNON: You bet.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s turn now to our panel for some rapid fire response to
these stories tonight. Republican lawmakers in Georgia are trying to
impeach the Democratic attorney general, Thurbert Baker, because he refuses
to file suit to repeal the recently passed health care reform bill.
Conservatives are planning to line up with guns along the Virginia
border of Washington, D.C., at a so-called Restore the Constitution Rally.
That‘s taking place April 19th, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City
And I want to know why my panel—what they think about Michael
Steele living to fight another day, and the most recent development, Tony
Perkins‘ statement tonight, telling donors to the Family Research Council
not to give to the RNC.
Joining us now, political analyst Jennifer Donahue and Republican
strategist John Feehery with us tonight. John, I know you have been a
supporter of Michael Steele, thinking he‘s going to survive all of this.
What do you think now, as some big groups are starting to peel off? Tony
Perkins swings a big stick with a lot of conservatives.
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Ed, I‘m not sure if I‘m a
supporter of Michael Steele. My analysis was he‘d stick around. I don‘t
think there would be any movement to get rid of him. I think he does a
pretty good job of catering to the needs of the RNC members. And they‘re
the only ones who ultimately have the vote to get rid of him.
JENNIFER DONAHUE, POLITICAL ANALYST: No kidding.
FEEHERY: I think—exactly. I don‘t think he‘s going anywhere.
Now, I do think that some of his staff have been fired, that‘s probably a
good thing. I think he needs to do a complete forensic accounting. One of
the biggest mistakes he made early on was firing one of the key accounting
people at the RNC. That was a big mistake. Obviously, we have all these
problems and we shouldn‘t have those problems.
SCHULTZ: Jennifer, what do you think? Will he survive this?
DONAHUE: He will survive it. You‘ll have to carry him out in a body
bag. He wants the job. He‘s probably going to stay on the job until
January, when he has to be elected out. The truth of the matter is, if he
had gravitas, if he had security in himself, he would leave. It looks like
he‘s one of these old party boss hanging on to power at any cost.
I can‘t help it. I love John Feehery, but I‘m laughing at everything
he says because this is like out of central casting. Everything you say
about this story makes it look more transparent. It makes everything just
seem ridiculous. This is really from, like, a hundred years ago. This is
not—it‘s hard to believe that in the middle of this recession—
FEEHERY: I‘m not defending him. I‘m analyzing him.
DONAHUE: -- staying in five-star hotels.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s go to Georgia—
DONAHUE: You don‘t defend him, John? You don‘t defend him?
FEEHERY: No, I don‘t defend him. I‘m analyzing him. I‘m not
DONAHUE: You think he should go?
FEEHERY: You know what—
DONAHUE: You think he should go?
FEEHERY: I‘m not sure if he should go.
SCHULTZ: All right, Jennifer, I‘ll ask the questions, if that‘s OK.
If you‘re OK with it.
FEEHERY: It‘s a deal. I am.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s go to Georgia politics, if we can. The Democratic
attorney general is now looking at possible impeachment because he won‘t
line up with 14 other southern states and states around the country—not
just southern—that want to overturn and repeal this health care bill.
Jennifer, your thoughts on this?
DONAHUE: Well, I think it looks really political. He‘s running for
governor. He‘s got a Democratic primary opponent. And I think basically,
in some ways, after the health care victory by the Democrats, Republicans
are grasping at straws. This is the first thing, the health care victory,
that slowed the momentum since Scott Brown won the election in
Massachusetts. I think this looks like, you know, really grasping for
straws, and I don‘t think it‘s going to get very far.
SCHULTZ: John, what do you think?
FEEHERY: I think this comes with the perils of passing a very
partisan piece of this legislation. You have this also happening in
Michigan. You have it in North Dakota and South Dakota. This is a
widespread movement to take a serious look at this law. A lot of this—
parts of this law people just don‘t like very much. You will have some
inflamed passions and people looking at ways that they can get at it. I
think that‘s what you‘re seeing.
If this had been a broad bipartisan bill, like Medicare and Social
Security, you wouldn‘t have this kind of situation.
SCHULTZ: All right. They‘re going to show up along the river, armed.
I hope they‘re not dangerous. Restore the Constitution Rally, John
Feehery, what do you think of this?
FEEHERY: I read—I read that website that you sent me, Ed. I took
a look at these folks. There‘s also a counter-rally by the Gun Owners of
America and the National Rifle Association. I don‘t know anything about
this group. I think it‘s kind of a self-deputized group of
constitutionalists, I guess. They‘re going to come armed and they‘re going
to do this thing.
I think, you know, when we highlight them on TV shows like this, it
gives them a little bit more oomph out there. I don‘t take them that
SCHULTZ: OK. Jennifer and John Feehery, good to—what do you
DONAHUE: Oh. I just basically wanted to say I think that there‘s a
lot of backlash going on. John, I respect the fact that you‘re distancing
from that group. But a lot of people in that group like the Republican
party because it protects the Second Amendment. So the Republicans are
stuck with that image, even though that‘s not fair.
FEEHERY: Harry Reid got an endorsement from the NRA. It‘s not just
Republicans who are supported by gun owners.
DONAHUE: I wasn‘t talking about the NRA. I meant the
FEEHERY: That‘s fair enough.
SCHULTZ: Jennifer and John, good to have you with us tonight.
Coming up, Michele Bachmann just took the gloves off in Duluth,
Minnesota. The Minnesota hate merchant is painting civil rights icon John
Lewis as a liar. “The Nation‘s” Katrina Vanden Heuvel will respond to that
in the playbook next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has
joined the righties who are denying that anti-health reform protesters
shouted racial slurs at black lawmakers last Sunday. Speaking from a
boxing ring in Duluth, Minnesota, over the weekend, Bachmann delivered this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Democrats said that they were
called the “N” word, which, of course, would be wrong and inappropriate.
But no one has any record of it. No witness saw it. It‘s not on camera.
It‘s not on audio. They said they were spat upon. No one saw it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Sorry, Michele. The “Huffington Post” has the video of
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver being spit on. Take a look. You‘ll see
Cleaver recoil as he is walking up the steps, as you would if somebody spat
in your face. Cleaver then gets into it a little bit with the guy, then he
keeps walking. And you clearly see him wipe off his face.
Then that afternoon, Cleaver‘s office released this statement: “the
congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote when one protester spat on
him. This is not the first time the congressman has been called the “N”
word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured. That being said,
he is disappointed that in the 21st century of our national discourse has
devolved to the point of name calling and spitting.”
Now, I understand that you don‘t see clearly that the spitting is
taking place in the video. So I guess really it‘s, you know, who you want
to believe, Congressman Cleaver or Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Now, I know who I‘d pick.
For more, let me bring in Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of “The
Nation.” This is, Katrina, just another classic example, get it into the
audio culture of the country, just say it over and over again, and there
will be enough on your side to believe, hey, it never happened. What a sad
day that an elected official has to resort to this type of manufacturing of
a story. Where does that take the discourse in the country, if your
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”: It takes it into the gutter.
It‘s toxic talk. Michele Bachmann has been practicing a politics of
epithets, of slurs, of incitement. We have seen after this health care
victory a flow, a tsunami of myths, fabrications, distortions and lies.
And Bachmann has been there all along.
What I think is very sad, Ed, is that she is sewing confusion and fear
among people without jobs, among people in her district, by the way, where
she‘s out there running to be queen of the Tea Party. Meanwhile, she
nearly lost her seat by three percent in the last election. She has a 17
percent rate of absenteeism from the House. And she is in Minnesota‘s
highest foreclosure district but votes with the banks, votes with the
insurance companies, against limits on fore closures, against health care
So be queen of the Tea Party, but don‘t traffic in a politics of
incitement and fury at a time of economic pain in this country, when your
own constituents are hurting.
SCHULTZ: We did a segment earlier in the program tonight about right-
wing talkers. Is it entertainment or electioneering? Your thoughts on
HEUVEL: I think the great imbalance in the country is a disservice to
the marketplace of ideas this country deserves, Ed. I think that the
Federal Communications Commission, Michael Copps, a great commissioner
there, has thought long and hard about how you address that imbalance.
Until we have a level playing field, and one which is giving real
Just a moment, again, on Michele Bachmann and her allies. From death
panels to the other day going on about how the IRS is going to be breathing
down the back of every American, we deserve the facts. We deserve a good,
healthy debate. That strategist from the Republican party earlier deplored
what has happened to this Republican party. Is a reasonable—is a
responsible Republican party so extinct that it can‘t call out people like
Silence is complicity. Silence is consent when you have people like
Palin and wannabe Michele Bachmann talking about politics as armed
defensive, in violent rhetoric and language.
SCHULTZ: Your thoughts on Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council
tonight releasing a statement asking his members not to give to the RNC.
Is Michael Steele going to survive this? If he stays on, how effective can
he be? Fund-raising, you‘re in the image business.
HEUVEL: I think the larger question is, does the Republican party
survive? Where does it head when its leadership seems unhinged? When
we‘ve just passed a health care bill, which is a major reform, but it is
about private insurance. It‘s not a government takeover. It‘s not
totalitarianism coming to our shores. I think someone—I‘m sure there‘s
reporting being done on trying to get Michael Steele out of that perch,
because he isn‘t serving the needs of others in that party.
The larger problem, Ed, is we need a healthy debate in this country on
the issues and not a politics of incitement, a politics of slur that is, I
think, going to take our country down, and not lift it up and make it a
more healthy, secure country.
SCHULTZ: Katrina, great to have you with us tonight. Always a
One final page in my playbook tonight, Bill O‘Reilly‘s antics are
apparently fodder for jokes even among his colleagues over at the right
wing network. The other night Shep Smith took a dig at him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEPPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Well, it‘s six minutes to 5:00 in
Los Angeles, time for a car chase. This is it. I think we have video.
Can we show it? There it is. It‘s happening right now and we come back
from a commercial break, before we get to O‘Reilly, we‘ll do it live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Of course, Shep Smith was referring to the classic O‘Reilly
meltdown from his days at “Inside Edition.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And we will leave you with a—I
can‘t do it. We‘ll do it live.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
O‘REILLY: We‘ll do it live. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it. We‘ll do it
live. I‘ll write it and we‘ll do it live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, Mike, you guys are going to start getting treated
like that real soon. And that‘s the guy who recently said in an interview
that MSNBC hires, quote, bad people?
Coming up, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is taking a page right out
of Karl Rove‘s playbook. She‘s put out a commercial saying her primary
opponent has a drug problem. Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter isn‘t taking
that sitting down, and he‘ll join us next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is in real
danger of losing her seat. Her desperation is starting to show. She
doomed herself with liberals by siding with Republicans on the health care
reform issue, and now she‘s sticking with dirty Republican tactics to try
to defeat Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter in a Democratic primary May 18th.
Lincoln‘s campaign sent out a mailer that appears to suggest that Halter is
actually popping pills. It‘s only after you open it up that you realize
Lincoln is going after Halter for his connection to a drug company that was
sued for misleading investors.
Halter countered the claim that he is not in the back pocket of the
drug companies with this radio ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is Blanche Lincoln trying to fool on health
care? Here‘s the deal: she didn‘t stand up to the special interests. She
worked for them. While Blanche Lincoln was siding with her big-money
friends, Bill Halter was putting our families first. In the Senate, he‘ll
stand up to the big drug companies to get lower prescription drug prices
for our seniors.
Senator Lincoln, my people aren‘t fooled. Bill Halter‘s the one who
will stand up for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter.
Bill, is this the tip of the iceberg? Is it going to get nasty down the
stretch? What do you think?
BILL HALTER, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: I think it‘s already
started, Ed. I think it‘s a sign of desperation. Look, I fully expect
that it will—the more and more negative things will come. I wish it
weren‘t that way. We have run five television commercials so far. We
haven‘t mentioned a single opponent in any of those commercials. We‘d like
this be to a positive campaign and we would certainly like to talk about
the real issues, like why Senator Lincoln Decided to bail out Wall Street
There‘s a bunch of issues we need to be talking about. But I do think
it shows that they‘re very concerned. We have momentum. We have a lot of
support here in Arkansas. And, you know, it says something when an
incumbent launches negative on a challenger.
SCHULTZ: The most recent polling that‘s out there, Daily Kos/Research
2000, says there are 25 percent undecided. Negative ads work. How
aggressive will you be?
HALTER: Well, we‘re going to be aggressively positive, Ed. We‘re
going to put the record out there. We‘re going to campaign hard. I feel
good about my success in my election of 2006. We won by 15 points. We‘re
going to be upbeat, positive. We‘re not going to just let somebody attack
SCHULTZ: All right. Going to be one to watch for sure. Bill Halter,
good to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.
HALTER: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Tonight in our text survey I asked, do you think Congress
should take action to balance political talk radio in this country?
Seventy seven percent of you said yes; 23 percent said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz, back tomorrow night from
Minneapolis. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place
for politics. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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