The Ed Show for Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Guests: Sherrod Brown, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Chris Van Hollen, Alan
Grayson, Ron Christie, Joe Madison, Sheila Jackson Lee, Beth Clark
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories in the stack and hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour tonight.
The Waterloo strategy, well it has failed again. Senate Democrats secured an unemployment benefits package extension. Two Republicans stepped up and did the morally correct thing while the rest of them had no problem playing politics with American families just trying to make ends meet.
My commentary on that in just a moment.
Fox News is in a panic mode over the Democrats in the midterms. I‘ll get reaction from the DCCC chairman, Chris Van Hollen, plus we‘ll get a preview of the Democrats‘ new plan of attack.
Well, it looks like John Boehner and Eric Cantor might be kind of getting cold feet about this Michele Bachmann Tea Party caucus after all, but you won‘t believe who Bachmann sent a personal invitation to. That‘s coming up.
But this is the story that has me fired up tonight.
At this hour, millions of unemployed Americans who have been basically kicked to the side of the road by these old, heartless senators on the right-hand side of the aisle in Washington, well, they are one step closer to getting help from Democrats and President Obama. The Senate is on the verge of extending unemployment benefits to 2.5 million people who have been cut off since June.
The Democrats voted to help wage earners like Beth Clark, a jobless, single mom of two in Nashville, Tennessee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETH CLARK, LOST UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN APRIL: I want to work, and I never thought in a million years I would be completely at my age unemployed. It is extremely scary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Beth is going to join me later on in the show, but here‘s the point. There are millions—and I mean millions—of stories like Beth all across America right now.
Those frauds over in the Republican Party, they don‘t give a damn about her, but they will fight to the death to keep tax cuts for the top one percent in the country. The middle class is facing its worst economic crisis in 80 years in this country, but big business, well, I‘ll tell you what, they are having just an awesome quarter, and they are not hiring anybody.
The suits over at JPMorgan, well, they raked $4.8 billion over the last three months. That‘s only up 76 percent.
Our old buddy Dick Cheney, he‘s got to be smiling. Halliburton is up 83 percent.
And today, our old friends at UnitedHealthGroup, big insurance company, they came up with a 31 percent jump in the second quarter.
Now, big business and their puppets in the Republican Party, they are basically on a mission to make sure President Obama doesn‘t spread the wealth, and, of course, fails. Republicans treat tax cuts—it‘s almost like a religion, and they bow at the feet of their corporate masters.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso even wants to use stimulus money to pay for extending the Bush tax cuts . He spoke to Norah O‘Donnell earlier today on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC: Are you for adding to the deficit in order to continue those tax cuts?
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO ®, WYOMING: There is so much unspent stimulus money, that we ought to use that in a responsible way, which is to help keep taxes low. People aren‘t hiring right now because there‘s so much uncertainty in the economy, Norah.
There‘s uncertainty about health care expenses, taxes, cap and trade, if that comes down the line, increasing energy costs. Businesses are afraid to borrow money, and they are afraid to reach out and hire more people because of the state of the economy, and it‘s the policies of this administration that are making it worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I thought I got that correctly. There‘s just so much uncertainty with a 76 percent increase in profit. So much uncertainty when there‘s a 31 percent jump in business.
Come on. The Republicans flat-out lie about what‘s going on. This is about defeating the president of the United States and grabbing the power again, and trying to hoodwink all Americans out there who are desperate for a chance to get back in this economy.
Now, hold it right there. I got an e-mail today from a lady. Let‘s talk about the tech sector.
Now, I talk about construction and manufacturing and everything else, but in the technology sector, she tells me that her husband is 53 years old. He‘s got a Masters in computer science. He‘s been let go by Motorola two years ago. He can‘t get back in at the same level in the economy.
What is he supposed to do, take the janitor‘s job?
This is what the Republicans want. This is their plan.
They don‘t have a plan for people because, you see, this guy, his job has been outsourced overseas. That‘s what the Republicans want to bring back to this country.
And now, of course, to vilify the president of the United States—well, he doesn‘t have a plan—but did you here Barrasso say, well, we haven‘t even spent all the stimulus money yet. Now, are you for it or against it?
I think Senator Barrasso is a really decent man, but I think he‘s got warped priorities. And I think his allies in the Republican Party are plotting to take back the country and completely dismantle what this president is trying to give the middle class. And in my opinion, they are committing economic terrorism on the middle class in this country and on the poor.
They want to do it on the backs of the poor folk. They love cheap labor. They are addicted to cheap labor the same way they are addicted to oil.
And in the meantime, 50,000 people joined the ranks of the 99ers club.
And I told you I wouldn‘t let this story go.
Now, this bill tonight that they‘re going to do, it doesn‘t do anything to help people who have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits. It doesn‘t help them.
The Democrats have two and a half weeks to get something done before the August recess. And I hope the president and his team and the majority party use the bully pulpit to finish the job for four million Americans who are desperately in need. Don‘t go home until you help these folks.
This is just one step tonight. And I also think that the Congress has to seriously consider a public employment job. That‘s right.
If the private sector isn‘t going to hire talented people like that gentleman who is 53 years old and has so much to offer, he‘s such a resource—let‘s put him to work. Put him on the government payroll. Absolutely.
Is it socialism? I don‘t care. It beats the hell out of having people sitting home waiting for the government to do something.
The fact is the private sector isn‘t hiring, and the government has to step in. And it‘s all a result of Republican policies and outsourcing.
That‘s why we are where we are in this country. They shamelessly ship the jobs overseas. They shamelessly stop defending this country when it comes to trade policy.
When was the last time you heard a Republican talk about, you know what, we‘ve got to fix our trade policies? No, no, no, no, no. See, the trade policies we have right now, they keep the working man down in this country, and they keep the downtrodden right where they want them, in line for that cheap labor.
We have the haves and the have-nots. I write about it in “Killer Politics,” my book, how big money and bad politics are destroying the great American middle class.
Now, we can sit back here and do nothing and just say, well, we‘ll write them another check, but it is time for some kind of an FDR move to make it better in this country.
Tell me what you think in our telephone survey. The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is: Do you believe President Obama could do any more than he‘s already doing to help the unemployed? Press the number “1” for yes. Press the number “2” for no. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Sherrod Brown, Senator from Ohio on the Senate HELP Committee.
Senator, what are we going to do for the four million people? I think it‘s great. There‘s going to be a vote tonight. You‘re going to get 2.5 million people helped, an extension, because they are on hard times right now.
What about the other four million? Is it time for a public employment program?
What do you think?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Yes. I‘ve introduced legislation to do that, as some others here have. Senator Harkin is working on money and more money into education for teachers and teachers aides and all that.
I‘ve introduced legislation on putting money into local governments so they don‘t have to lay off police and fire fighters and mental health counselors and librarians and all that. And that will do the same kind of stimulus to the economy, getting people back to work, that will create more demand so that private sector wants to, instead of husbanding their cash reserves as they have been doing, so that they will invest it in job creation because they will have more demand for their products.
SCHULTZ: Senator, what about staying for the first week in August and doing something about the 99ers?
SCHULTZ: I mean, the Democrats can do this. The Democrats can call the shots right now and the president can do something to help four million Americans.
What do you think?
BROWN: I agree with that. As you know, Ed, I go down to the Senate floor almost every day and I read letters from individuals in my state, similar to the e-mail you read that people—you know, they worked 10 or 20 or 30 years. They have worked in the same industry, often the same employer.
They lose their job through no fault of their own. They are people that want to go back to work. And some of my colleagues of the 40 that voted no consistently on extending unemployment benefits say they think it‘s unemployment welfare when it‘s unemployment insurance.
I mean, the people are paying into this. It‘s insurance.
I mean, you don‘t want to collect on your health insurance. You don‘t want to collect on your car insurance. You don‘t want to collect on your unemployment insurance. You pay in just in case something happens, and that‘s what‘s happened to, as you say, literally millions of Americans, all of whom had jobs, all of whom have to continue to look for work, sending out resumes.
They can‘t afford their gasoline if they don‘t get unemployment to drive to a place for an interview, for God sakes.
SCHULTZ: And is the unintended consequence of this we‘re really finding out who the Republicans are in all of this? Are we not?
BROWN: Yes, we are. And, I mean, the most amazing thing is when they say these tax cuts for the rich, the Bush tax cuts for upper-income people, that we shouldn‘t have to pay for those, just for theses—just for workers.
But, you know, I really do think it‘s important that we keep telling individual stories because I just don‘t know in f my colleagues know people or have conversations with people that have lost their jobs. You know, you think about—
SCHULTZ: No. They‘re over at the country club. They‘ve got—they‘re over at the country club. That‘s the crowd they‘re hanging out with. They‘re not with the working wage earners in this country.
BROWN: Well, apparently they‘re not. And it‘s not just—you know, we‘re going to pass this, and people are going to get their unemployment back from when they lost it June 1st. But think of the anxiety.
People have waited week after week after week wondering if they‘re going to be able to—they‘re now two months behind in their mortgage. They‘re now a month behind in their utility bill.
SCHULTZ: It‘s anguish.
BROWN: They put money on their credit cards. And the anxiety they feel and the pressure on these families, on these—on marriages, on children, on where are we going to school, are we going to lose our house, it‘s just unforgivable, the pain here.
We didn‘t fix this by finally passing it when we do, because the pain has been inflicted on millions of Americans. And the anxiety—and frankly, my colleagues who voted no on this, who walked down the Senate floor and go like that when their name is called, they need to understand the pain they inflicted.
SCHULTZ: They are heartless is what they are. Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
BROWN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Keep up the fight.
BROWN: Sure. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: I‘m going to push this idea that the Senate stay in session through August until they get something done for the 99ers. That‘s the only thing, because this is some bad stuff.
Thanks, Senator. Appreciate your time.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of “The Nation,” with us tonight.
It is now a moral issue, and the mask is being taken off the Republican Party.
How do the Democrats use this to their advantage at this point?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”: I think we saw that the Republicans have no head, no heart no, brain, Ed, in the way they voted. They are cruel, they‘re callous. They‘re not clueless, as we‘ve talked about.
I think their strategy is to throw people under the bus. Lives are in the balance, but they want President Obama to fail.
What they don‘t understand—and they have no head—is that job creation, as Sherrod Brown—Senator Brown said earlier, you said, job creation is essential for a robust, real recovery in this country. And they are consigning millions of Americans and this country to insecurity, to fear, and to pain.
So I think the Democrats have today to work, but the Democrats also, as you said, have to also do something.
SCHULTZ: Do something.
VANDEN HEUVEL: They have to work to bring benefits not only to the 99ers, to bring benefits needed to states and cities. And I think that they also need to threaten to move government money out of these big banks if the banks don‘t start lending.
You know, in New York City, a group of labor unions, powerful labor unions, the city comptroller said to the big banks, Bank of America, Wells, Chase, we‘re going to start moving money—and you‘re talking about millions and millions of pension dollars—out of your banks unless you do some real mortgage modification.
I believe pension funds in this country are about $3 trillion. Let‘s pressure the banks, because as you said, corporate America has seen profits rise 40 percent since Obama became president, and the job market is battered.
SCHULTZ: Corporate America is raking in the dollars right now, just raking in the money.
VANDEN HEUVEL: We need creative solutions. They are not going to do it unless they face pressure—
VANDEN HEUVEL: -- from big money, and there is big money. There‘s people‘s money in countervailing ways that could put pressure. And I think this administration—you know, there‘s this ridiculous myth out there that this is an administration that‘s anti-business.
VANDEN HEUVEL: This administration has saved business from its own excesses. Look at the corporate profits, look at how well they are doing. There should be some shame going on. There should be a shame campaign and a move your money campaign.
SCHULTZ: Katrina vanden Heuvel of “The Nation.”
VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, Sean “Slant Head” Hannity, he is just shameless. He cooked up a talking point that Democrats are panicked about the midterms.
I‘ve got something to get him panicked about coming up a little bit later on in the show. Congressman Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the DCCC, will prove him wrong.
“The Newtster” has the audacity to call President Obama a job killer?
Name-calling like that just underscores that his party has no real ideas.
And we‘ve got, of course, straight-talker Congressman Alan Grayson, who has a message for the Republicans who voted no on unemployment benefits extension—“May God have mercy on your souls.” That was his quote. He‘ll join me at the bottom of the hour.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, the founding mother of the Tea Party caucus, Michele Bachmann, she parachutes right into the “Zone” again. How about that?
The wannabe beauty queen wants the most powerful woman in the world to join her crusade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Oh, absolutely. The very first member to join the caucus is a member of the Republican leadership. I‘ve written a letter to invite Speaker Pelosi to join as well. It‘s bipartisan, open to everyone, and it‘s really—the Tea Party is not a political party like Republican Party or Democrat Party. It‘s a set of ideas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Doesn‘t it just make you feel good that racism is just open to everybody in the Congress now that they are going to do this?
Michele, I would like to take the opportunity to answer the invitation for the Speaker. I don‘t think she wants any part of the ideas like carrying guns at rallies or pretending President Obama is a foreigner. I don‘t think that she wants to join a group whose leader says the BP escrow account is nothing but a big shakedown.
Oh, and I think Vice President Joe Biden called Speaker Pelosi the mother of health care, so I doubt that she wants to join a group dedicated to repealing the reform that will save millions of lives.
And Bachmann just isn‘t inviting Nancy Pelosi to the party. Here‘s “Psycho Talker” Bachmann in a love-fest with Nevada‘s nut job, Sharron Angle, on Fox Business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: I think the people of Nevada have already decided in their mind they‘re going to fire Harry Reid. Sharron Angle just needs to give the positive story of what she will do to create jobs and cut taxes in Nevada.
She‘s done a stellar job. She‘ll continue to do that all the way until November. I can‘t wait to welcome her to Washington as a colleague in the United States Senate. Sharron Angle is going to turn that United States Senate around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Wow! She‘s going to turn it right around.
Hey, I warned you that it was tough to watch, didn‘t I?
For Michele Bachmann to think Speaker Pelosi wants to caucus with Bachmann and Sharron Angle is seriously delusional “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, speaking of “Psycho Talk,” “The Newtster,” he‘s dusting off his old suits and going in front of the TV cameras to pitch his plan to fix unemployment. Here it is: tax cuts for his family and his rich buddies.
That‘s coming up.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
The right-wing networks hate merchant across the street, Sean Hannity, the master of making stuff up about the Democrats. Look at the way they framed the midterm election on his show last night.
This is hilarious. It read—you could see all these fear merchants sitting at home on their couch—“Democrats in Panic Mode as 2010 Midterms Approach.”
Just because that little dirt bag Frank Luntz makes some prediction doesn‘t mean that Democrats are in a panic mode.
Now, Sean, I‘m pretty sure that the Democrats are not in the panic mode considering the latest Gallup poll, which I know you pay attention to. Among registered voters, it shows that Democrats leading Republicans 49 percent to 43 percent.
This is the first significant lead for the Democrats since Gallup began weekly tracking of this measure back in March. So the numbers certainly don‘t lie, but it appears that once again, Fox News just keeps the lies coming.
For more on this let‘s turn to the DCCC congressman—chairman of the DCCC, Chris Van Hollen.
You know, you look pretty dapper tonight. You don‘t look too disheveled. You don‘t look like you‘re in a panic mode. Get it together.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), CHAIRMAN, DCCC: I don‘t look like I‘m running scared, do I, Ed? No.
SCHULTZ: This is the kind of garbage that you‘re going to have to—
I mean, it was up on the screen. It‘s constant over there.
What‘s the game plan to battle it back?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, listen, Ed, you just pointed out the latest Gallup poll. And what‘s going to happen is the American people are going to focus more and more on the stakes of this election in 2010.
And what they are coming to realize is that it‘s bad enough that Republicans in Washington have tried to cynically stop progress and moving toward a new economy, and putting people back to work and getting jobs going again. That‘s bad enough, but what‘s even worse is what they would actually do if given the chance.
And what we‘re finally beginning to hear is what they would do. We hear from John Boehner, the Republican leader, that he would immediately work to repeal Wall Street accountability and reform. He would strike that down.
At the same time, we know that their head guy on the Budget Committee has a plan to partially privatize Social Security. So, talk about a boon to Wall Street, a bonanza. That would mean hundreds of billions of dollars for Wall Street.
Now, they want to repeal health care reform, that‘s bad enough. They are going to put the insurance industry back in charge.
But you know what? They also have a plan, a point person on the Budget Committee, to turn it into a voucher program and throw seniors over to the insurance industry with a voucher that declines in value every year.
So people need to understand what the costs of Republican leadership would be and what they would do if given the chance.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Congressman, are your folks and your caucus ready to go home and look at their constituents in the eye and passionately tell them that there are “Psycho Talkers” on the other side, that they are not telling the truth to the American people, and we must keep this progressive movement going to change the country? Because what—I mean, I think they are just going to have to be passionate about this, because I think that there may be some folks who are wavering a little bit, that want to hear it.
VAN HOLLEN: Look, people are raring to go. I mean, people are really getting motivated to get out there.
We have a pitched battle. People know what a challenge it is this cycle. But nobody is sitting back. Nobody is taking anything for granted.
We‘re going to go on offense, and we‘re going to go on offense with the issues that we‘ve tackled and the fact that we‘ve begun to put people back to work. After all, we know what the end of the movie was for the Bush policies. Right?
After eight years, they actually lost private sector jobs. Over 600,000 private sectors were lost during the entire eight years of the Bush administration.
So we‘re finally getting back on track. The last thing people want to do is to go back to the same policies that created the mess.
VAN HOLLEN: And so we have to be on offense. We can talk about the good things we‘ve done, but we also have to paint a very clear picture of what the consequences of Republicans being in charge would be.
And the good news is they are telling us more every day. We just want them to keep talking, because the more the American people know about what they would do, the more the people don‘t want to go there.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think part of the convincing is they lie and they obstruct. That‘s who they are.
And in the recent 48-hour news cycle, none of them have been able to come up with a definite plan of what they would do to create jobs in this country. They are all about vilifying anything the majority party wants to do.
Congressman, keep up the good work. Appreciate your time tonight.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, “The Tan Man” doesn‘t want the American worker, women in this country, to get equal pay for equal work. I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that.
Plus, the NAACP says Fox News edited a speech with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans. We‘ll blow the lid off this one in just a moment as it‘s a developing story.
And there‘s a video of a flying donkey. No, it‘s not Rush Limbaugh, but I will show you the tape.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The Battleground story tonight, the real job killer. Potential, presidential wannabe Newt Gingrich is dusting off the old republican talking points that tax cuts create jobs. Yes, right. He made the rounds on the morning shows talking about how President Obama and his administration is killing jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The second biggest concern of the American people after jobs is deficit spending. In the fact that this president has been like a teenager with a credit card who has run up—if he serves eight years under current plans, he will double the national debt. We proved again with the contract with America, with the first tax cut in 16 years, that in fact job-creating principles of cutting taxes are far better than job-killing principles of big government and regulation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, shut up. For starters, Gingrich admits the number one concern Americans have is jobs, obviously, and he can‘t name a single thing, not a single thing, that republicans would do to create jobs other than give a tax cut to the rich friends and, of course, hope that they will use the extra cash to go hire somebody. The old trickle down thing. The previous administration, well, I think they tried that for eight years. It crashed the economy, exploded the deficit and left President Obama with another mess to clean up with the recovery act.
For more, let me bring in Florida Congressman Alan Grayson.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Gingrich claims that he wants to be president, yet he fails to step forward with any kind of plan to put people to work other than to offer up more tax cuts. What do you make of that?
GRAYSON: I think that he‘s a disgrace. I wonder why anybody takes him seriously anymore. If he does to America what he did to his own personal life, we‘re all in deep, deep trouble.
SCHULTZ: Now, if you look at what the republicans are proposing, which is nothing, how do you communicate that to frustrated Americans who are on the sideline and not involved in this economy?
GRAYSON: They can see that for themselves. They can see that the Republican Party is a heartless party. Look what happened with unemployment insurance. They blocked it for day after day, week after week, month after month. You‘re talking about people who are out of work for almost two years, and yet the only thing the republicans ever have to offer is their Marie Antoinette economics. Let them eat cake. If they have no bread, let them eat cake.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, you were a successful, you know, businessman in private business. Then you ran and you won and you‘re in the Congress. You‘re outspoken, far more than a lot of your colleagues. Why aren‘t they just hammering the republicans as we go to this recess, as we turn to the mid-terms and tell the story? I mean, it would just seem to me, you have shown in my opinion a tremendous leadership, having the guts to step up and say things that need to be said. But I sense that there are a number of democrats who are afraid to do that. What do you make of that?
GRAYSON: I think they intimidate people. That‘s what the right wing does. They try to instill fear in the other side. Just today somebody twitted, I‘ll give $100 to somebody who punches Alan Grayson in the face.
SCHULTZ: Well, that person was—I believe his name is Dan Gainor.
SCHULTZ: He‘s a blogger at NewsBusters, the Media Research Center, that‘s Brent Bozell‘s clowns that work for him and his organization.
SCHULTZ: Do you consider this a promotion of violence?
GRAYSON: I do. But I just want to let him know that I punch back.
SCHULTZ: If somebody came up to, you‘d nail him right back? I knew you were my kind of guy.
GRAYSON: I‘m 6 foot 4. You should see my reach.
SCHULTZ: All right. I want a comment from you on the unemployed in this country and how we have seen the right wing in the Congress act, the extremists, to gather I think some moderate republicans together and say, we‘re not going to do this. Are we seeing an illustration of who the two parties are? Is this issue really giving us unintended consequences politically?
GRAYSON: We see it all the time. The Republican Party is the party that doesn‘t want to help you. They either want to blame you, or they would try to want to convince that you somehow you‘ll be better off if nobody helps you. If you have—if you have a problem in your life, whatever you may say about the Democratic Party, it‘s your only hope for help. Now, we don‘t always get it done, but at least we‘re interested in trying. The republicans couldn‘t care less. They don‘t care about you. They don‘t care about me. They don‘t care about anybody but themselves.
SCHULTZ: And you said last night on the floor, may God have mercy on your souls.
GRAYSON: How cruel is it to deny unemployment compensation, what people have paid for in their own checks every week, every—every month. Just look at it. Look at your paychecks. Look where it says FUTA, FUTA is Federal Unemployment Tax. We‘re paying for it and republicans are holding it back from people because they wanted to finance the wars.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, you tell it like it is. Great to have you with us tonight. Thank you so much.
GRAYSON: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight.
Michele Bachmann‘s Tea Party caucus will hold its first meeting tomorrow. Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence is the first GOP house leader to join the club. But other GOP leaders are saying, no thanks to the crazy caucus.
An African-American USDA official may be the latest victim of a right wing hatchet job. Shirley Sherrod, was forced to resign after admitting that earlier in her career she felt bias against a southern white farmer, right wing bloggers edited the speech and a lot of people, including the farmer‘s wife, think Sherrod got thrown under the bus.
Now, the NAACP is asking Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to reconsider, big story, and Minority Leader John Boehner thinks a bill that will help American women make sure they get equal pay for equal work is a, quote, “cruel hoax.” I need another hour to do these stories tonight.
Joining us now is Joe Madison, XM satellite radio talk show host and Ron Christie, republican strategist. Moments ago, the NAACP President Ben Jealous read a released statement saying this. “We have come to the conclusion that we were snookered by FOX News and Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias. According to the USDA, Sherrod‘s statement prompted her dismissal. While we understand why Secretary Vilsack believes this false controversy will impede her ability to function in the role we urge him to reconsider.” Ron Christie, what do you make of this story tonight?
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I‘m not quite sure, Ed. I saw the video several times yesterday, as I think millions of Americans did, and I think that her comments spoke for themselves. Now to suggest somehow that she has been snookered or her comments have been taken out of context, I would enjoy the opportunity to see the full statement and the full videotape, but her statements seem to me to be racially biased and left the impression with me that she did not want to fully help a white farmer based on her position at USDA because, quote, “his people could take care of him.” So, on the face of it, it seems to me that she was racially biased, motivated and should have been fired.
SCHULTZ: Joe, what do you think?
JOE MADISON, XM SATELLITE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, on the face of it, Ron would be accurate, and that‘s why you‘ve got the initial reaction that you did, but something has happened very seriously here. You‘ve just broke news, and Ron, you will be able to see the full speech because if I‘m not mistaken, NAACP is going to put the unedited version on their website along with the statement. We were all snookered, if in fact, what Ben Jealous and the NAACP is charging is true, and let me tell you, if that‘s the case, that‘s a very, very serious charge that media outlets, whether it‘s MSNBC or FOX should really go back into the management rooms and never allow this type of thing to happen again. But what you do have going for you, are the farmers themselves who came to the defense of Miss Sherrod and said, she saved their farms, and let‘s keep in mind, this happened 26 years ago, and finally I would say, Ed, I wish the USDA would have been as quick to respond to the discrimination that the black farmers faced who won a legitimate court case and still have not been paid their restitution.
SCHULTZ: Well, the farmer‘s wife defended Sherrod in “The Atlanta Journal Constitution” and said this. The wife of the white farmer allegedly discriminated against by the USDA‘s rural development director for Georgia said, Shirley Sherrod kept us out of bankruptcy. Miss Spooner who considers Sherrod a friend for life said, the federal official worked tirelessly to help the iron city couple out and hold onto their land as they faced bankruptcy back in 1986. She took probably two or three trips with us to Albany just to help us out. I just can‘t believe that this is happening to her.” Ron, doesn‘t she deserve a review by Mr. Vilsack, the Ag secretary, what do you think?
CHRISTIE: Of course, she does. Again, if she is alleging or if there is evidence that can come to light that shows that this has been taken out of context, obviously I think that review is warranted. But based on the surface, I think, Joe and I and Ed, you would agree with us that based at least on our initial impression of what we saw the other day, it appeared that her comments were racially discriminatory but I‘m willing to give her that chance to see if she can clear her name.
SCHULTZ: But does it bother you that the tape was possibly doctored?
That‘s the accusation here?
CHRISTIE: I think Joe and I both agree that it has a serious editorial commentary that news outlets would put a tape on the air that has been doctored. If it wasn‘t doctored, we should see it. If it was doctored we should know why it was put on the air.
SCHULTZ: Well, it was Sean Hannity and FOX News‘ lead story last night, Joe.
MADISON: Yes, and let me tell you. I sat on the board of the NAACP elected to it by its members for 14 years, and they don‘t make these charges and name names just willy-nilly. You can be sure that there‘s been a lot of conference calls going on right now among their leadership to make sure this statement is accurate.
SCHULTZ: Joe, what do you make of Mike Pence going to join the Tea Party caucus along with Michele Bachmann?
MADISON: It might be the only two republicans on that caucus because, look, let‘s be quite honest. The republican leadership is quite concerned about the Tea Party, quote, unquote movement.
SCHULTZ: Ron, what do you think?
CHRISTIE: I don‘t have any problem with it whatsoever. There are numerous caucuses in the United States Congress and the senate ranging from diabetes to different research to trade. If they want to have a tea party caucus and they want to invite members, I‘m all for it. I believe in their principles. I believe that we should have a less intrusive government, we should have a smaller government, we should be more fiscally responsible. If you guys have a problem with that, I don‘t really know how we can come to any sort of agreement.
SCHULTZ: And Mr. Boehner says, the fair pay bill is a hoax. This is his comment. “The bill is a cruel hoax. It won‘t empower women who face discrimination, but it will empower trial lawyers whose junk lawsuits will clog up the courts and make it hard for businesses to grow and hire.” Joe, your thoughts?
MADISON: Women make 77 cents less than men make. Number two, laws don‘t come about by vacuum. They come about because egregious behavior takes place. Number three, trial lawyers are the little people‘s lawyers. They are the ones that represent little people against big corporations, and if they don‘t want to be caught up in this law, then do what‘s right.
SCHULTZ: Ron Christie, you‘ve got the final word.
CHRISTIE: I love you, Joe. The trial lawyers are hardly the people for the little people. They are lining their own pockets. Sometimes, I wonder whether we have too many statutes on the books. We already have anti-discrimination statutes but I do agree with the spirit of this law. Let‘s take a look at it. If it is going to line the pockets of the trial lawyers, John Boehner is absolutely right.
SCHULTZ: Ron Christie, Joe Madison, always a pleasure. Great to have you guys with us tonight.
Coming up, a fight has broken out on the hill between Michele Bachmann and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee after the Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee compared her Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan. She will join us and tell us all about it. And the congresswoman for her reaction to the NAACP‘s claim, they were snookered by FOX News. That is all coming up in the Playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s still not too late to let us know what you think. The number to dial tonight is 1-877-ed-msnbc. Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you believe President Obama can do any more than he‘s already doing to help the unemployed? Press the number one for yes. Press the number two for no. Again, the number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, Michele Bachmann is fuming at Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for comments she made linking the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan. She visited her old buddy Hannity to talk about how the Tea Party isn‘t racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA CONGRESSWOMAN: You have a member of Congress saying that mainstream America, God-fearing freedom loving patriots, who object to this out-of-control spending, now they are part of the KKK? That‘s essentially what she is saying. I don‘t know any more of a worse smear than you could possibly have. Racism is ugly. You hate racism. I hate racism. Most of your listeners out there, I‘d say like 99.9999 percent of your listeners hate racism. So, stop saying that normal people are racist when they aren‘t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now to respond is Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. Congresswoman, your response to what you just heard, please. Thanks for joining us tonight.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Well, Ed, it‘s very glad to be with you, and first of all, let me say that I join my colleagues in fighting for the republicans to stop obstructing the extending of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who are in need, and we hope to get that bill, the democrats do, and be able to help the Americans who are in need today. I guess, I would like to answer the question in that very same vain which is we need to be working on how we can improve jobs in America and how we can make sure that Americans have a better quality of life.
If the Tea Party would just stand up and acknowledge that elements of their party, elements of this organization that I frankly don‘t agree with my colleague. It‘s not mainstream America. Most mainstream Americans find themselves in the middle. We all know that, would just acknowledge that elements of their group seem to have a fascination with race. Just denounce it, and we can all move forward. I have no problem, no quarrel with the Tea Party.
SCHULTZ: She says they are not. She says—she says the Tea Party is not racist and no element of it is. What do you make of that?
LEE: Well, as long as you continue to be in denial, this kind of engagement and controversy will continue. The NAACP, if any of its members, I know them very well, were promoting racist tendencies, you can be assured, I‘m talking about their membership, you can be assured that they would stand up. Now, just recently, they expelled Mark Williams who said that slavery was a great gig or that the NAACP was using race and getting more money from race than a slave trader. What kind of comments are those if they want to comment on comments that I may have mentioned, it is just a question of asking them to denounce those who want to use race and use it in an ugly manner that are amongst their group.
SCHULTZ: And you‘ve made it very clear that you think that there are some elements of the Tea Party that are like the Ku Klux Klan, that they are racist and have a fascination with it. With that, are you somewhat offended that there‘s going to be a Tea Party caucus?
LEE: Well, you know, I believe in democracy and equality, and if there are members of this Congress who are brave enough to join the Tea Party caucus and believe that they have a message of hope and opportunity and they have a message of creating jobs. They have a message of improving the health care of Americans, they have a message of helping those who are unemployed, then so be it. I have no quarrel with that.
LEE: But what I do have a quarrel with is refusing to admit in reality that there are elements. Ed, you know, over a year ago when we had our town hall meetings, you were certainly engaged in seeing the activity that occurred. In my own town hall meetings, there were episodes that one could cite as being unfortunate, signs that say, I voted for the American, don‘t blame me. And pictures and so, all I ask is nothing argumentative. I simply say, if these elements exist simply denounce them and promote the mission of the Tea Party as you perceive it.
SCHULTZ: And congresswoman, a developing story at this hour. USDA official Shirley Sherrod resigned late yesterday after this videotape was sent out by Andrew Breitbart, who is the same guy that did the editing of the tape on the ACORN controversy. The NAACP has asked for the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to reconsider. Do you think he should?
LEE: Secretary Vilsack is a decent and wonderful American.
SCHULTZ: Was she railroaded? Was she railroaded? Does she deserve a hearing on this?
LEE: My point is that I believe Secretary Vilsack has the kind of integrity that will listen to all of us. As I have read the circumstances, and this was a statement made some 20-plus years ago, and as was mentioned earlier in your program, farmers have come out and said, this woman has worked to the bone on our behalf, then, yes, absolutely, I think there should be a re-consideration.
LEE: I don‘t have all the facts, but I believe that in this instance, we‘ve allowed FOX News to set racial policy in America and they should be the last ones setting any racial policy in America.
SCHULTZ: We will follow the story. Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee. Thanks for your time tonight.
LEE: Thank you for having me.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, I have been anxious to introduce my guest all day long. The righties need to hear her story. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it is safe to assume that based on the games that are going up on Capitol Hill, we are not at this point going to see an increase in extending those 99 weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Wow. Over 2.5 million unemployed Americans have been waiting for what is about to happen tonight. The senate is on the verge of extending unemployment benefits, but over four million Americans known as the 99ers, people who have already used up their 99 weeks are getting no help from the government.
Beth Clark is a single mother of two who lost her benefits in April and she is struggling to make it. She joins us tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Beth, good to have you with us. What are you doing right now to survive?
BETH CLARK, LOST UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN APRIL: Well, barely anything. I‘m borrowing money. I have savings, and making payments with the savings. It‘s running out quickly.
SCHULTZ: OK. How long can you last, do you think?
CLARK: Maybe six more months.
SCHULTZ: What do you say to the republicans who have blocked this all along?
CLARK: I don‘t think it‘s fair. I‘m not one of those individuals that would take advantage of the government. I‘m actively seeking employment and want to work, but I need another—I need some help until I get a job.
SCHULTZ: Did you ever think you‘re going to be in this position?
CLARK: Never. Never. I have worked since I was 15 years old, never been without a job.
SCHULTZ: Are you offended in any way by the way the republicans are saying that would you rather sit home and take the benefits than to go look for a job, that it‘s a disincentive? What about that?
CLARK: I‘m absolutely offended. That‘s not me.
SCHULTZ: Would you take any job at this point?
CLARK: If it was in my field, yes, an office administration. I would take any job if it provided insurance benefits.
SCHULTZ: So, you‘re digging into your savings, but beyond that, if this economy doesn‘t turn around for a lot of Americans, what‘s your plan?
CLARK: I lose everything.
CLARK: My home, everything, my car.
SCHULTZ: And live on the street?
CLARK: And live on the street. I mean, Tent City flooded out May 1st and 2nd when we have the floods here in Nashville, so it doesn‘t exist anymore.
SCHULTZ: Have you had any contact with your two senators from Tennessee who are against it?
SCHULTZ: Do you plan on doing that?
CLARK: Yes, I do.
SCHULTZ: Well, we want to have you come back and talk to us again after you make some contact with your republican senators, and how do you feel about how they say, well, they want to make sure that this is all paid for and are worried about the deficit?
CLARK: I don‘t think that‘s very fair. I‘m sure there‘s money out there that the government has that can help us out. Not everybody is like what the republicans are saying and just sit at home and live on the government. That‘s not right.
SCHULTZ: How are your kids doing?
CLARK: They are hanging in there for now.
SCHULTZ: OK. Beth Clark, keep up the fight. Thanks for joining us.
CLARK: Thank you for having me.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Tonight, our telephone survey, I asked you, do you believe President Obama can do any more than he‘s already doing to help the unemployed? Seventy percent of you said yes, 30 percent said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL” is next. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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