The Ed Show for Friday, August 6th, 2010
Read the transcript to the Friday show
Guests: Andrew Romanoff, Jonathan Alter, Scott Paul, Barry Lynn, Louie
Miller, Karen Hunter, Heidi Harris, Stephanie Miller
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from Minneapolis.
These stories on the table and hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
The Senate has skipped town for the summer. Five weeks. John Boehner hitting the links and Michael Steele is on a bus tour.
These politicians couldn‘t be more out of touch with what‘s happening in this country, in my opinion. Commentary coming up in a moment.
The Bush/Cheney war on labor is over. Under the Obama administration, the manufacturing sector is having its best run of job creation in over a decade. Now the Democrats are launching a new “Make it in America” campaign.
I love it. We couldn‘t be prouder.
And the Tea Party Senate nominee Sharron Angle told a conservative group she fully supports letting clergy promote candidates from the pulpit. She wants to turn Sunday services into Republican campaign commercials paid for by the taxpayers.
But this is the story that has me fired up tonight. Greed has absolutely crippled economic growth in America, and the Republican Party wants to pull the plug on any effort whatsoever to improve things.
Today‘s new job numbers show 131,000 Americans joined the ranks of the unemployed in July. The unemployment rate still stuck at 9.5 percent.
Now, I believe the Republicans enjoy numbers like this before the midterms. They‘re desperate, and they‘ll take any political advantage of any issue they can find, even if it costs human suffering. And people are suffering economically in this country.
RNC chair Michael Steele launched a campaign today for one more American to lose her job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: Join us perhaps in the most important journey we can make towards November, a journey to fire Nancy Pelosi.
We are the people‘s party! We‘re going to win in November! And Nancy Pelosi will be in the back of the bus!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Wow. The people‘s party, and what was that about the back of the bus? We‘ll get to that in a moment.
The Republicans, they don‘t give a damn about the people. They‘re the party of Wall Street, big oil, big insurance, and butchering the middle class at any cost to run the profit to the top.
John Boehner, let me tell you, folks, he is no man of the people. You be the judge.
Not many regular working folk Americans get a chance and have time to play golf 119 rounds in a year. Can you believe that?
And Michael Steele says he wants Nancy Pelosi to go to the back of the bus. I find that absolutely disgusting.
Steele is lucky he still has a job after the strip club scandal and misplacing the RNC money. He ought to be choosing his words much more carefully.
Speaker Pelosi‘s done more for the working class Americans than either of these two jokers. She‘s pulling “The Tan Man” off the links next week to come in and vote on a jobs bill. In fact, Pelosi has shown more leadership than Harry Reid, who just let the Senate start a five-week vacation last night without passing any help for the 99ers?
Harry, we warned you, that‘s a huge mistake. It‘s big, political, risky territory.
Senate Republicans—here‘s what they did. They spent the last day before the recess clogging the chamber with amendments to protect the super-rich. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, “Mr. Waterloo,” introduced two amendments to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
And, you know, the hypocrisy here is just unbelievable. It just kills me.
Republicans, well, they‘re fiscal hawks when it comes to spending $20 billion on the 99ers, but they have absolutely no problem whatsoever putting a $3.1 trillion debt on the backs of the next generation so they can give the tax cuts to the millionaires and then scare the heck out of Americans and say, if we don‘t do this, the economy is going to drop further. Baloney.
Folks, it‘s not just Republicans. That‘s the tough thing for the Democrats. You see, we have a couple sellouts.
Sellout Senator Blanche Lincoln and back-stabbing Ben Nelson sided with DeMint and voted for the tax cuts. Senator “Mutual of Omaha” Ben Nelson voted against $33 billion to pay for unemployed American wage earners and protect the wealthiest Americans.
Does that sound progressive to you? Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln, they just absolutely need to stop protecting Wal-Mart and Wall Street and start going to be an advocate for the American worker and be real Democrats. The American worker will never get a fair shake from Washington when Democrats cross the aisle to go work with people like John Boehner and Jim DeMint.
Michael Steele says the Republican Party is the party of the people? Baloney. I know the Democrats are the party of the people. You know the Democrats are the party of the people.
And this whole deal, this is exactly why I was so adamant about this primary challenge in Arkansas, because that really is who Blanche Lincoln is. She‘s with the party of the rich. She‘s not with the average working folk of America. She‘s not with the wage earners. That is not advocating for the middle class, to side with Jim DeMint, extending the Bush tax cuts and making them permanent.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about all of this tonight.
Tonight‘s text survey question is asking you: Who do you think is the party of the people? Text “A” for the Democrats, text “B” for Republicans to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
I love primary challenges. Joining me now is Andrew Romanoff. He is challenging Senator Michael Bennet in Colorado in the Democratic primary next Tuesday.
This is a real progressive, folks. And I have to say, primary challenges are so important in our political system right now. We need the vetting process to keep the movement pure and focused and honest.
It‘s all about the money. It‘s all about who you side with, Wall Street or the working folk of America.
Mr. Romanoff, good to have you with us tonight.
ANDREW ROMANOFF (D), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Thanks, Ed. How are you?
SCHULTZ: Spell out the difference—and I‘m going to be real choosy here. I‘m with you. I believe that you have the guts to stand up for the American people and the American worker.
Spell out tonight how different you are from Mr. Bennet.
ROMANOFF: The difference has just gotten a lot clearer today thanks to a new development. “The New York Times” revealed a risky deal my opponent cut with Wall Street that made JPMorgan and a lot of banks a lot richer, left our school system a lot poorer, and in the end, made my opponent one of the biggest recipients of Wall Street cash in the U.S. Congress.
This is not the Democratic Party that I led and believe in. When push comes to shove, we need folks, as you said, Ed, throughout the country—as you said here in Colorado, we need folks who are willing to stand up to the special interests. I‘ll do that. And I‘ll give you one quick example.
My opponent voted against a proposal in the U.S. Senate that would have prevented these big Wall Street banks from becoming too big to fail. I would have voted for that proposal even if it cost me contributions from Wall Street banks. I don‘t take them anyway.
Andrew, you know what the unemployment situation is in this country. We‘re headed in the right direction, but the progress is the speed of a turtle right now. No question about that. This is a real tough situation right now. The Senate has gone home after a bill was put on the table to help the 99ers and to incentivize businesses for hiring long-term unemployed Americans.
Where do you stand on that? You‘re not an insider. Do you think Harry Reid did the wrong thing?
ROMANOFF: Yes. I think the Senate itself does the wrong thing by going home when so many Americans are out of work. They did the same thing, you‘ll remember, over the Fourth of July, when people were crying out for an extension in unemployment benefits. The Senate decided to take a holiday.
We need to put people back to work. I‘m glad, as you are, that there is a “Make it in America” program again, because the truth is, we‘re losing too many jobs in manufacturing to other countries because of our failure to reform tax and trade policies.
SCHULTZ: What‘s your response to President Obama not supporting you and supporting the appointed Senator Bennet?
ROMANOFF: Well, I respect the president. I support the president.
I‘m looking forward to working with the president.
People in Colorado are quite capable of making their own decisions, I will tell you. And what is unbelievable now is the Democratic National Committee, our party, is holding an all-out phone bank this weekend at its headquarters in Washington to try to save my opponent from the free-fall he‘s in. The good news is it‘s not working.
We‘re up in the polls. We‘ve gained 20 points in the last month. And we‘re going to win this election on Primary Day, August 10th.
SCHULTZ: You know, in the past, we‘ve heard candidates speak the way you‘re speaking right now. They go to Washington, they get spoiled.
What‘s your buffer zone? What‘s your protective wall to make sure that the lobbyists aren‘t going to be knocking your door down and influencing you, and you won‘t become one of them?
I mean, I think it‘s admirable as can be that you have mortgaged your home to finance your campaign. There‘s very few folks out there that would do something like this. I mean, you are bankrolling the future, your future, and taking a big risk to do this.
But how do we know you won‘t get like them if you get inside the beltway?
ROMANOFF: I sold my house altogether, which goes to show you how crazy this campaign finance system is. I‘m up against a guy who‘s taken $1.3 million from Wall Street banks, insurance companies, oil companies, and other special interest groups.
What‘s going to keep me honest is the people of Colorado. I‘ll owe my seat in the U.S. Senate literally to them.
So many members of Congress, I‘m sad to say, on both sides of the aisle have to pick between doing what‘s right for their constituents or what might be profitable for their corporate contributors. I won‘t face that dilemma, Ed. I don‘t have any corporate contributors.
SCHULTZ: Andrew Romanoff, we‘re looking forward to next Tuesday.
It‘s going to be a heck of a race. We‘ll see you.
Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Have a great weekend.
ROMANOFF: Thanks. You too, Ed, and appreciate it.
SCHULTZ: All right. Coming with us now is Jonathan Alter, national affairs columnist for “Newsweek” and MSNBC political analyst.
Jonathan, I want to get your take on this one tonight.
Rolling into the weekend, we‘ve got a lot of unemployed Americans out there, and Harry Reid, to their credit, they put a bill on the table, but they could have stayed another 24 hours, or maybe even through the weekend, when the House comes back to vote on the jobs bill next week. They all could have done it there to help the 99ers.
Is this a political mistake, in your opinion?
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC ANALYST: I think it is. I mean, I think they have to do everything they can inside the Democratic Party to convince the American people that they are focused like a laser on jobs. And if that means having a couple fewer days to campaign back at home—I know that‘s their first priority, getting reelected—so be it.
I think there‘s a myth here, Ed, within the Democratic Party that the best way to hold on to the Congress this fall is to localize these elections and kind of run for cover at home by finagling various advantages on local issues. I‘ve heard several members of Congress tell me they think that‘s their best bet for survival. I disagree.
I think they should nationalize this election and try to sort of highlight the very, very big differences between the parties right now on issues like job creation. And in order to do that, to stick around in Washington a little longer and accentuate the differences, I think would be a positive step for the Democrats.
SCHULTZ: What was your response when you heard that sound bite from Michael Steele about Nancy Pelosi‘s going to be in the back of the bus?
ALTER: You know, the guy‘s a bit of a clown at this point. And I wasn‘t surprised by it, but he‘s pretty ham-handed when it comes to pretty much anything to do with his job.
I think honestly, the only reason he‘s still in his job is because Republicans are afraid to remove an African-American chairman and the way that would look. They don‘t have any—not a single African-American in either the House or—African-American Republican in either the House or the Senate right now.
So they can‘t get rid of him. He keeps sticking his foot in his mouth. It doesn‘t surprise me.
SCHULTZ: Jonathan, you wrote a very comprehensive book on the president, “The Promise.” You‘re close to him.
Do you think he has anything up his sleeve down the stretch to the midterms? How is he going to interact? How focused is he going to be? How involved is he going to be? Is he going to have coattails?
He‘s going to get a lot of attention in the next 80 days.
ALTER: Well, I think he has to campaign as hard as he can. The idea
the two words “Speaker Boehner” should strike real fear not only in the hearts of Democrats, but in the hearts of anybody in the White House.
I think they finally, Ed, have the right sound bite, the right frame for this, and it‘s—of all things, it‘s an automotive metaphor. The president was using it again last night, where he said, you know, “They drove us into the ditch. Don‘t give them back the keys. A car has two gears: forward and reverse. They want to go in reverse, we want to go in forward.”
That‘s the kind of thing that voters remember. They need to simplify it, stay on that, repeat these kinds of ideas hundreds of times until they‘re bored to death of driving home this metaphor. The Republicans are offering nothing except a return to Bush.
SCHULTZ: Except the Tea time. Except the Tea time.
ALTER: There‘s a big question—a lot of your viewers are activist Democrats, and they are wondering, how active do we need to be? Maybe we‘re disappointed in Obama.
And the answer is they really need to educate themselves on what these guys would do if they get back in, what it would be like for “Speaker Boehner,” you know, “Majority Leader McConnell” passing this legislation that took us right back to Bush.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think they‘ve shown their cards. I think they‘ve shown their cards.
They‘re all about tax cuts, they‘re all about the estate tax. They‘re all about the super-rich in this country, no doubt.
SCHULTZ: Jonathan, great to have you with us tonight.
ALTER: Thanks a lot, Ed.
SCHULTZ: And I love that billboard. I don‘t if you do, but I love
that billboard, because what this billboard does is—if President Obama -
everybody gets a day off. If he decides to play golf, at least he can say, well, I haven‘t played 119 times this year the way Boehner has.
Jonathan, have a great weekend. Good to have you with us.
ALTER: Yes. He also passed out checks from the tobacco institute on the floor of the House, Ed, a few years ago. John Boehner did. It‘s just pathetic and appalling.
SCHULTZ: It is. Good to have you with us.
ALTER: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Michele Bachmann might be driving a big wedge in the Republican Party. The Democrats have launched a new strategy, and this “Psycho Talker” is the centerpiece.
I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response.”
And Tea Party nut job Sharron Angle‘s dark side has been revealed. You will not believe some of the radical positions that were uncovered in a questionnaire. That‘s coming up in the “Playbook.”
All that, plus, we‘ve got Mitch McConnell telling Al Franken to stop reliving “Saturday Night Live,” and Stephanie Miller checks in on the stage in “Club Ed” tonight.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
Another lackluster jobs report today. The national unemployment rate unchanged, standing at 9.5 percent.
But one bright spot—manufacturing. The economy added 36,000 new manufacturing jobs in the month of July.
Under President Obama, the manufacturing sector, well, it‘s having its best run of job creation in over a decade. The president and the Democrats know American manufacturing jobs, which includes green jobs, are the key to the future and turning this economy around.
Now, they‘ve got a new pitch to the American people and a new slogan:
“Make it in America” campaign designed to spur job growth. The president hammered the message home at a Ford plant in Chicago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘m convinced we‘re going to rebuild not only the auto industry, but the economy better and stronger than before. And at its heart is going to be three powerful words: “Made in America.” Made in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a nonpartisan advocacy group for jobs in America in the manufacturing sector.
Scott, great to have you with us tonight.
SCOTT Paul, ALLIANCE FOR AMERICAN MANUFACTURING: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: These 36,000 jobs that have been added, where did they come from? What are they doing?
PAUL: Well, I mean, we have added 180,000 jobs since the beginning of the year. There were less layoffs than normal last month in the auto sector. They normally take about a month off at some of these plants, but they‘ve really been boosting up production. And as you pointed out, in Chicago, at this Ford plant, they‘re adding 1,200 workers, and it‘s in part thanks to the help of the Obama administration.
SCHULTZ: OK. So in the auto industry. Where else were the jobs created, the 180,000 this year?
PAUL: Well, we‘ve seen some upticks in other industries, and we‘ve seen tire plants hire people back, we‘ve seen some steel mills put people back to work. Part of the reason is that some of these manufacturers really cut to the bone.
During the recession, we lost about 2.5 million manufacturing jobs, and over the last decade, we‘ve lost about a third of all the jobs. So they were really down to the bone, and there was nowhere to go but up.
There‘s some trends that worry me though, Ed—the trade deficit. And we need to keep a sustained investment in the manufacturing sector if we‘re going to keep having positive numbers in the future.
SCHULTZ: What does “Made in America” mean? Outside the slogan, what does “Make it in America” mean?
PAUL: It really means, Ed, having a manufacturing strategy so that we can re-grow this sector and create good middle-income jobs. It means focusing on trade policy. It means putting some public investment into our manufacturing sector. And it means buy America policies, and also strengthening our workforce.
And I know the House of Representatives is just getting started to work on this. But after Labor Day, they need to come back and hit it really hard.
SCHULTZ: Well, the story today is that the Democrats have made it very clear that they‘re going to go after China. And what does that mean? How are they going to tell the Chinese to stop manipulating their currency which plays right into our trade deficit? How are they going to tell the Chinese to stop bringing manufacturing jobs over there because they pay them a hell of a lot less than what we pay American workers?
How does this all work? What do you expect the Democrats to do?
PAUL: Well, I‘ll tell you what, China is the biggest challenge that manufacturing faces today. And if we fix the China problem, nearly everything else is fixable in manufacturing.
I hope that what the House does is pass a bill that‘s been introduced on a bipartisan basis by Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio and Congressman Murphy of Pennsylvania. It would hold China accountable for its currency manipulation and penalize it in trade cases if it stops, so it provides a deterrent and incentive for China to play by the rules. Ed, this alone would create 750,000 jobs, if we can get the currency manipulation taken care of.
SCHULTZ: But quickly, didn‘t a few weeks ago, the White House rule that China is not manipulating its currency? I almost feel like we‘re getting mixed messages here.
They‘re saying the right things, you know, “Make it in America,” but then—and then they say that they‘re going to go after the Chinese on the heels of the White House saying that the Chinese are not manipulating their currency. I mean, I just find that somewhat confusing.
Your thoughts on that?
PAUL: Well, it is. And I‘m disappointed that the White House hasn‘t gotten as far as it should in dealing with China on currency.
That‘s why I think the House and Senate need to step in. Senator Brown, Senator Schumer, Senator Stabenow have been very aggressive on this, and they have Republicans who‘ve joined them. And there‘s going to be broad support. If this bill comes for a vote in the House, Ed, I guarantee that it will pass overwhelmingly.
SCHULTZ: Scott Paul, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
PAUL: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up this bozo, Brent Bozell, is telling “Slant Head” lies again, and Hannity of course is falling for it hook, line and sinker.
I‘m reeling them both in the “Zone” next. Stay with us
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Brent “Bozo” Bozell.
Now, this guy‘s supposed to be the president of the Media Research Center, but on “Slant Head‘s” show last night, he made it clear he doesn‘t actually have any media research skills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENT BOZELL, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: Do you know what else happened on Obama‘s birthday that no one in the press reported? And you tell me which story that‘s more important, the fact that he‘s getting gray hairs or that in the state of Missouri, the voters of Missouri absolutely crushed, clobbered, massacred his Obamacare program by 71 to 29 percent.
What‘s more important?
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Great point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Great point. I mean, just a great point.
No one in the press reported on the Missouri vote?
Bozell, this is why you are a bozo. For a guy who‘s organization actually is fixated on every word that comes out of my mouth on the radio and this show, you‘ve paid shockingly little attention to what was actually said on this program. I‘ll make it real easy for you. Watch the slip from Wednesday‘s program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: By a 3-1 margin, Missouri voters cast their ballots against the federal law that would force Americans to buy health insurance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: It sounds like a report on the Missouri health care vote to me. And yesterday, we did it again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Republicans think health care referendums really could be the hot ticket to mobilize conservative voters to go to the polls in November. Missouri did it on Tuesday night, and now Arizona, Oklahoma, they are considering putting a health care question on their ballots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And, by the way, the only time we will even mentioned the president‘s birthday was to call out “The Drugster” for using it as an excuse to push the birther theory.
Brent, you‘re a complete fraud and always have been. And you gave—really, you give redheads a bad name. Saying that no one in the press reported on the Missouri health care vote is sloppy, informed “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, Sharron Angle‘s outdone herself. An absolutely shocking questionnaire reveals she wants clergy endorsing candidates from the pulpit.
Reverend Barry Lynn says it would turn houses of worship into electoral machinery. He‘ll sound off on that next.
And RNC Chairman Michael Steele has no shame. He‘s going on a “fire Pelosi” bus tour and says he wants to put the Speaker in the back of the bus. Wow, rapid fire response on that.
And, of course, we‘ve got Turdblossom going stepping in for the drugster next week. Liz Cheney is going to be stepping in for Slanthead. All the psychos are coming out and Stephanie Miller has commentary on all of that and the coat up stimulus monkeys in Club Ed. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight. Nevada Tea Partier Sharron Angle is finally answering some questions. And her radical positions just seem to get crazier. Now, this wasn‘t a reporter Q and A. This was a 36-question questionnaire she gave to a conservative pack that reveals what a nut job she really is. One of the questions asked, should clergy be allowed to support or disapproves of political candidates from the pulpit? Angle answered yes. This is stunningly hypocritical considering Angle billing herself as a constitutional defender, the separation of church and state is spelled out in the constitution and here‘s a shocker for you, Sharon, clergy can preach whatever they want in their churches. As long as they give up their tax exempt status. Houses of worship are given special exemption from paying taxes so that they can serve the people free from political and government interference.
Joining me now is Reverend Barry Lynn, Executive Director of the Group Americans United for The Separation of Church and State. Reverend, I‘ll tell you what, if this doesn‘t really exemplify that Sharron Angle is an airhead, I don‘t know what does.
REV. BARRY LYNN, AMERICANS UNITED: Well, this is certainly a miserable idea. It has been resurrected from whatever the graveyard of really stupid ideas are. It‘s come up before. But now it‘s coming up again. And I want people to understand, if you could as a church, a not for profit and tax exempt church, if you could start to endorse candidates from the pulpit or maybe even take money from the collection plate because after all, you know, money is just speech now, you could have an enormous effect on a relatively unregulated campaign finance system that we have today. So this is—when people say, well, shouldn‘t somebody out in the little church in the dale be able to tell you who he‘s going to vote for. This it would include freeing the mega ministries, the giant TV evangelists and TV preachers into spending unlimited amounts of money promoting their favorite candidates. And that‘s a recipe for disaster and the corruption of the church.
SCHULTZ: You know, I go back to South Dakota back in 2004 when Tom Daschle was defeated. And the Catholic Church had a number of priests go right to the pulpit, right to the lectern on Sunday afternoon and talk politics, no one ever challenged them on their tax exempt status. And I thought it was a real cheap shot. Maybe it was just too far out in the prairie. But the point being here is that the reverends are very clever at weaving their message in and out. Your thoughts on that.
LYNN: Yes, some of these guys are not just clever, there‘s a group called the alliance defense fund, a real right wing group out in Arizona that is actually encouraging pastors in this upcoming election to just say, I endorse x, y or z for whatever the open public seat is. In other words, they‘re deliberately trying to challenge this rule. And before somebody says, but wait a minute, don‘t pastors have freedom of speech? Of course, they do. Jesse Jackson, Jerry Falwell, all these guys have always expressed their thoughts about issues. But never gone so far as to endorse candidates. Martin Luther King spoke once every day about civil rights and about social justice. Never once did he endorse a candidate from the pulpit because he understood the church is about spiritual matters. It‘s not about becoming part of some hack politician‘s political campaign.
SCHULTZ: Reverend, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time here on THE ED SHOW.
LYNN: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much. Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.
The DNC launched a new campaign demanding to know where republican candidates stand on the Tea Party‘s extreme positions and whether they plan to join Michele Bachmann‘s Tea Party caucus.
Conservatives have lost their mind over the mosque near Ground Zero in New York. Now, John McCain is jumping on the bandwagon. And that‘s what it is, a bandwagon, not even at the World Trade Center. It‘s several blocks away. You know, I‘d like to know, how far away would it have to be to satisfy all these opponents who are against this?
And RNC Chairman Michael Steele says, he wants to send Nancy Pelosi to the back of the bus?
With us tonight, Karen Hunter, journalist and publisher and also joining us tonight is Heidi Harris, radio talk show host out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Let‘s talk about the mosque first if we can. Karen, does it really matter to New Yorkers, you‘re in New York, I‘m in New York, I have to say I don‘t hear much conversation about it. But one thing that no one ever really tells us, how far does it have to be or do we want to shut down this religion all together in this country? Your thoughts on it.
KAREN HUNTER, JOURNALIST: Well, I actually had an interesting conversation with a Muslim on the way in. And he said that he didn‘t think that the mosque should be there. He thought it was antagonistic to have it built there. That‘s it, I agree wholeheartedly with Mayor Bloomberg. Either we Americans and we tolerate all religions or we don‘t. And to kind of paint a broad brush on all of Islam, Islam did not attack us on 9/11. It was some extremists who happened to be Muslims but it was not all of Islam. And I think that if we are really going to be Americans we should challenge ourselves and say you know what? Having a mosque there, what is that really mean? And if we can tolerate that, then really we are I think holding true to the tenants of what this country was built on in the first place.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, what about freedom of speech, freedom of religion?
Does that not come into play in this situation, what do you think?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes. I‘m all about freedom of speech, freedom of religion. I certainly respect property rights. I understand this is going to be built on private property. But it‘s interesting what Karen said, it‘s really important, Muslims understand it in a different way than she does and than I do. They see this as basically telling us that, you know, that we‘re weak. That‘s what they say. They‘re making a stand.
HUNTER: Who‘s saying that? Where are you hearing this? In Nevada?
HARRIS: No, no, you said that the Muslim you talked to today told you it was not a good idea to do it. I‘m not talking about what you said, I‘m talking about what he said because this person sees it the way the Muslims see it. Can you imagine this having been done eight years ago? It never would have happened. And to me, we‘re looking at this in the rearview mirror, it‘s been nine years now. And I can‘t believe how weak we‘ve gotten as a nation.
HUNTER: Again, it‘s holding all of Islam responsible for what happened on 9/11. And I think that that‘s fundamentally wrong.
HARRIS: I don‘t think that anybody is doing that. But the point is, eight years ago, this would never have happened because New Yorkers would have had a different attitude and so with Mayor Giuliani. And the point is, here we are now nine years out, and everybody goes oh well, it‘s all about tolerance. We don‘t want to let them win. If we let them do this, we let them win.
HUNTER: Hello. Oh, thank God, thank God people have awakened over the last eight years.
HARRIS: We‘ve forgotten. That‘s the problem.
SCHULTZ: Isn‘t it about the law though? Isn‘t it about the law we‘re still America?
SCHULTZ: We‘re still a country of laws. The rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. And for us to shut this out and for someone not to tell us how far this mosque has to be from Ground Zero, it brings up more questions than it does give answers. I think. And it just seems to me that the conservatives, Heidi, are just using this as another whipping post to beat down the Obama administration or anybody on the left who might support the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of religion in this country.
HARRIS: Well, we support freedom of speech. But once again, I go back eight years ago, could you imagine having this happen. And here we are nine years out for 9/11 and everybody‘s acting like it‘s not a big deal.
SCHULTZ: But Heidi, you‘re assuming that there‘s no way this would have happened eight years ago. We don‘t know that.
HARRIS: Right. No, we don‘t but I‘m assuming.
SCHULTZ: We don‘t know that at all.
HARRIS: Right. But I think that‘s what would happen.
SCHULTZ: And you made the comment that we‘re a weaker nation. I believe it was in the news yesterday that we just busted up a bunch of people that were going to join a terrorist network and also that we‘ve hauled in more terrorists in Afghanistan in that part of the world than we did under the Bush administration over the last 18 months.
HARRIS: I understand that. I get that. But I look at this as Islam...
SCHULTZ: But Heidi, doesn‘t it seem like the conservatives and Newt Gingrich has been out on this quite a bit, that it‘s just another fear card on the American people? These are loving Americans who happen not to be Christian, that happen to be, you know, Islamic. They‘re not all terrorists. And it‘s not all going to be a bunch of cell development there. What‘s the fear here?
HARRIS: I‘m not afraid of Muslims. I don‘t think all Muslims are terrorists. Are you kidding? That there are a lot of people though, no question Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin weighed in because these people are getting ready to run for office and they know this is a big emotional issue for a lot of people. I just think that they‘re basically giving us the finger and saying na, na, na, na, look at this, it should be hallowed ground and we‘re going to build the mosque there. That‘s how I see it.
SCHULTZ: All right. Karen, do you think that‘s what it is, is this all about spite?
HUNTER: No. In her language, you know, they are giving us the finger. They‘re part of America. Hello. They‘re part of America. Come on, Heidi.
SCHULTZ: All right. Let‘s go to Michael Steele. Michael Steele is going to go on a bus tour, says he wants to fire Nancy Pelosi. But I think it‘s a racially charged comment in my opinion with implications here, he says, he wants to put Pelosi in the back of the bus. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL STEELE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We‘re taking our message back to America. We are the people‘s party. Get on the bus. Hundred and seventeen cities, get on the bus. We‘re going to win in November. And Nancy Pelosi will be in the back of the bus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: There was a time in this country when African-Americans were viewed as second class citizens. They couldn‘t go to restaurant counters, they couldn‘t go to the same drinking fountains, they couldn‘t go to the same bathrooms and they had to ride in the back of the bus. It was a revolutionary move by this country for human rights to change all of that. And now Michael Steele refers to that of putting the speaker of the house there. I‘ll reserve commentary. I want both of your thoughts on this. Karen, you first.
HUNTER: Well, I think it‘s a shame considering that his mother comes from South Carolina and has a sharecropper background. He probably should be a little more sensitive to this issue than anyone else. I‘m clearly expecting him to probably done white face at some point and do a reverse Al Jolson because his act is turning into reverse minstrel act but the hat looks good. That hat is really fetching.
SCHULTZ: What do you think, Heidi?
HARRIS: Well, you know, he can get away with it. I‘m not saying he should have said. It is not a phrase that I would use but if you‘re black, you can get away with it just like if you‘re black, you can use the “N” word and white person can‘t and shouldn‘t by the way, nobody should. But there‘s a double standard and he‘ll probably get a pass on it because, you know.
HUNTER: But he‘s pandering. He‘s pandering and he‘s using language that he knows resonates with that crowd. OK? And I think it‘s abomination that that black man can stand up there and do that. Is he that desperate for this position? Is he that desperate, Heidi?
HARRIS: Pandering and politics, how shocking.
HUNTER: It‘s true.
SCHULTZ: Karen Hunter and Heidi Harris, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate your time.
Coming up, take a look at this disgusting carnival game. It shows a man who looks a whole lot like President Obama. Being shot at. The organizers insist, well, it‘s not political. I‘ll take aim at that next in the Playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think. Tonight‘s text survey question is, who do you think is the party of the people? Text A for democrats, text B for republicans to 622639. Results coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, the oil spill spin game. That‘s what‘s going on, I think. Yesterday, I told you about my trip to the White House earlier this week for a briefing with Thad Allen. Obama Adviser Carol Browner and also White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. They‘re saying only 26 percent of the oil is still in gulf waters. Today, BP‘s COO Doug Suttles painted a very rosy picture of his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG SUTTLES, BP COO: There‘s essentially no skimmable oil left on the surface, no recoverable oil left on the surface. Things have improved quite dramatically. And that‘s a combination of work we‘ve done as part of the response and also Mother Nature‘s help, as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Outside experts are still skeptical about this optimistic attitude and so am I. Joining me now is Louie Miller, the Mississippi director of the Sierra Club. Mr. Miller, good to have you with us tonight. Are we being sold big-time? Do you believe this sales pitch that the government and BP is throwing at us? What do you think? Where are we at?
LOUIE MILLER, SIERRA CLUB DIRECTOR: I think it‘s totally irresponsible on the part of this administration to declare this gulf disaster over, Ed. I mean, it‘s, you know, they‘re cherry picking these numbers, obviously and even the people who were part of the NOAA study have added their disclaimer to their conclusions on this. I mean, 25 percent, you have 25 more percent has been quote, “dispersed which means it is still out there in the water column or on the bottom of the ocean.” So when you‘ve got 50 percent of the oil, you‘ve still got a spill that is approximately nine to ten times the size of the Exxon Valdez. There‘s still a lot of oil.
SCHULTZ: They say that Mother Nature, Mr. Miller, they‘re saying that Mother Nature took care of 25 percent of it. Dispersants did 25 percent. And the oil never got into the loop. It never reached the coral reefs. I mean, this has been a miraculous recovery, hasn‘t it? If you believe them.
MILLER: Well, I think the administration has bowed to the intense pressure that‘s been put on them by the drilling community or the offshore drilling community by the tourism industries, and that‘s not—that‘s not what we‘re looking for. That‘s not the change that we are supposed to believe in. We need accountability and responsibility here. I was meeting with the EPA last night in Biloxi, Mississippi. They were saying oh, you know, we reduced the dispersants by 72 percent and that is simply not true. The whole time we were being led to believe that, you know, the coast guard and BP were getting waivers to continue spraying. So, the true figures are around nine percent. So you know, this is unfortunate. It‘s sad.
SCHULTZ: It is unfortunate.
MILLER: It‘s reprehensible.
SCHULTZ: Well, we‘re going to continue to do this story. We got to have you back. We want to have some scientists on because I think we are being sold a bill of goods. The majority of folks in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi do not think that the seafood out of the gulf is edible right now. That‘s another story we‘ll follow up on. Mr. Miller, good to have you with us tonight.
MILLER: Thanks so much to you.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Couple of final pages in my Playbook tonight. A Pennsylvania amusement company is catching a lot of heat for a carnival game allowing players to shoot at an image resembling President Obama. The object of the game is to shoot darts at this image. The owner of the company yanked the game but said the controversy is overblown and the image was not supposed to be political. But take a closer look. The presidential seal is on the belt buckle and he‘s holding a health bill. The FBI and secret service are aware of the game but likely won‘t take any action against the amusement company. What is this country coming to?
And finally, the college football “USA Today” coaches poll came out. Topping their list Alabama number one, Ohio states at number two, Florida at number three and the longhorns check in at number four and Boise state rounds out the top five. Now, I‘ll give you my picks, OK, I‘m with roll tide number one there. Number two got to be the longhorns. Texas, and coming in at number three, how can you forget TCU? They‘re going to have a great defense again this year. Number four, University of Miami. I think the canes are the sleeper this year. And let‘s throw Boise state in there because they‘ve been hot the last few years. They got the mojo going. I‘ll put them in at number five.
A special thank you to everyone who donated their time and money to make the free health care clinic in Washington, D.C. possible earlier this week. It was great to see Americans helping out each other again. But it‘s still bothering me that hundreds of people were turned away because there was such a huge need at that facility at that time. We need your help again. This show is heading down to New Orleans for another free health care clinic at the end of this month. Your donations and all kinds of volunteers are desperately needed. Please go to freeclinics.us to make your contribution.
Up next, all I have to say is, wow. Liz Cheney filling in for Slanthead, Turdblossom filling in for the drugster. Next week must be propaganda week. And there‘s one person that can make sense of it all, that‘s Stephanie Miller. She takes the stage next in Club Ed. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And if it‘s Friday, it‘s time for Club Ed with nationally syndicated radio talk show host Stephanie Miller with us tonight. Steph, great to have you on with us. We‘ve got some interesting stuff coming up in our business next week. We‘ve got Karl Rove, the criminal, filling in for the drugster. And we‘ve got Liz Cheney filling in for Spinmeister Hannity. What‘s this business coming to?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO SHOW HOST: Well, you know, Ed, first of all, I will say the rush fill-in job is not easy because are you required to take exactly as many Oxycontin in a week as he does. And so that you can make just as little sense. So, that‘s not easy to do. The Hannity thing, that is kind of an easy job as long as you can read the faxes from the RNC, I think you‘re good to go there.
SCHULTZ: Sarah Palin says, President Obama is in over his head. Your response.
S. MILLER: At least his head isn‘t made up entirely of air, Ed. Let me get this straight. An airhead from Alaska that thinks a giant Putin head floats over her state thinks the president is in over his head. OK.
SCHULTZ: Sharron Angle‘s coked up stimulus monkeys. I have no idea where she was coming from on that. That is just so outlandish it‘s beyond even psycho talk. But take a stab at it.
S. MILLER: Ed, maybe she‘s just a plant to make Sarah Palin look sane. I don‘t know. But I would think here‘s the interesting fact that he coked up stimulus monkey would still understand, you know, the constitution better than Sharron Angle and it may be destroying Social Security and the Department of Education not a good idea.
SCHULTZ: And finally Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was giving a speech on the floor and apparently Senator Al Franken from Minnesota was making some faces and we all know how Al can make those hysterical faces. He later apologized to him. What do you make of this? He told him to stop thinking it‘s “Saturday Night Live.”
S. MILLER: Yes, well Mitch McConnell should stop pretending it‘s Dr. No, leading the party of no over there or the keystone cops. At least we can tell the difference. With Sarah Palin, you can‘t even tell the difference between a Saturday night live sketch and the real thing, can you?
SCHULTZ: Stephanie Miller, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us tonight. Thank you. Tonight in our text survey, I asked who do you think is the party of the people? Seventy eight percent of you said the democrats, 22 percent of you said the republicans. Republicans must be watching tonight.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. Have a great weekend. We‘re back with you on Monday. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now here on MSNBC, the place for politics.
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