Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
Read the transcript from the Wednesday 6 p.m. hour
Guests: Ron Paul, Eric Boehlert, Richard Wolffe, Jim Wallis, Anna Kasparian
CENK UYGUR, HOST: Big day. There‘s a lot of news out there in Wisconsin, in Washington, all across the country. Fox News challenges people to call them out on their lives. Oh, we‘re going to take them up that challenge, and that‘s going to be fun.
And there‘s even a story about an anti-gay pastor caught in a compromising position. You won‘t believe where he was caught and what he was doing. Actually, you will totally believe it. You know what‘s coming. It happens every single time.
And we have got a lot of great stories and a lot of great guests coming up, including this man, Ron Paul, the winner of the Tea Party Patriots‘ 2012 Poll; winner of the CPAC Presidential Straw Poll; former partner in crime to Alan Grayson as they busted up the Fed. Ron Paul is coming.
We‘ll get back to Dr. Ron Paul in one minute. But first, we start with the big news out of Washington, where there will be no government shutdown. Well, at least for two weeks. Whew!
Now, today, the Senate approved a two-week funding extension that includes $4 billion of budget cuts, and the president signed it this afternoon. Now, the bottom line, this was a loss for the Democrats.
They didn‘t get the month-long extension that they wanted and they gave the GOP all the cuts that they requested for now. Now, for the next round, the Democrats are bringing in their big guns. They‘ve enlisted Vice President Joe Biden to lead some of the negotiations.
But the Republicans are feeling emboldened after their $4 billion victory. Now, that seems strange to me, because the federal budget deficit is projected to be nearly $1.5 trillion in 2011. So it doesn‘t seem like they did a lot of damage there.
Now, today, Republican leaders were crowing about cutting Republican.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER: I would only add that even though it was only a two-week bill and a $4 billion reduction in spending, it is the first time I can recall in the time that I‘ve been here our actually cutting spending on an appropriation bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: Our team wants to cut spending in a real way. And it‘s time to get to work.
You know, if you give Congress four weeks, guess what? They‘ll take four weeks. If you give them six weeks, they‘ll take six weeks.
Now, we‘ve got two weeks. Let‘s get the job done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Now, I guess they‘re bragging because they got the Democrats to do what they wanted for these next two weeks. But what I find interesting about that bragging is, look, 231 House Republicans voted yesterday for a bill to cut $4 billion from the federal budget. Right? But before that vote, there was this vote to end oil subsidies.
Now, voting for this bill, according to Congressman Markey‘s office, would have saved $30 billion over the next decade. Republican votes in favor? Zero. That‘s right. Nada, not one individual.
So, in the hot pursuit of $4 billion in spending cuts, the Republicans voted to keep $30 billion in big oil subsidies. Now, this is part of why I think there‘s very little intellectual honestly on the Republican side.
Now, most Republicans are just carrying out marching orders from their corporate donors while they pretend to be in favor of small government principles. Now, with the exception perhaps one Republican, and that is specifically my next guest.
Joining me now is the Republican congressman from Texas, and former and perhaps future presidential candidate, Ron Paul.
Congressman Paul, now, I think a lot of the guys on your side, to be honest with you, take money from corporate donors, as I said. You seem to have some principles. You get a lot of respect for that, whether it‘s in the conservative community or it‘s in the online community. But yesterday, you voted for those oil subsidies as well, $30 billion.
Why did you do that?
REP. RON PAUL ®, TEXAS: Well, how do you define a subsidy? See, I don‘t consider any tax break as a subsidy.
That was not a spending bill. That was not a grant. So, if they get benefits, I cut—I never vote to increase any taxes. I vote to always give tax credits, and I always cut spending. I‘ve never voted for a real spending bill, so I don‘t think that‘s in the category of what I would consider a spending bill.
UYGUR: That‘s interesting. What do you think should be the proper income tax rate?
PAUL: Well, the best would be zero. I mean, we lived most of our history with zero income tax. But you would have to have the proper sized government. You would have to have the proper role for government.
You can‘t be the policeman of the world and not have an income tax. So I would not have all my troops around the world. I would be bringing the troops home. And I wouldn‘t have a military industrial complex that demands so much, but I wouldn‘t have a welfare state either.
And under those conditions, you don‘t need an income tax. And I think that‘s the way it should be.
UYGUR: You‘ve got to raise none somehow, right? I mean, so how would you raise money if you had a zero percent income tax?
PAUL: Well, how did they raise it before 1913? They had excise taxes and some import taxes. But it wasn‘t the matter of how you raised the money, it was who was demanding the money. But there‘s an endless demand when you concede so much to the military industrial complex and a militaristic foreign policy, and you say that you have to redistribute wealth from cradle to grave and take care of people.
I think when people take money from you and give it to somebody else, that‘s the equivalent of stealing from you. I don‘t want to take any of your money. I want you to invest it and create jobs.
So, and I‘m personally convinced that I‘m on the side of the—humanitarian side of this, because if you care about poor people and jobs, you‘re going to have them more likely if you do it that way rather than the government spending the money, because just look at where we‘ve been with all this spending and printing of money and bailing out. Who gets all the benefits when you run a system like that where you‘re pretending to redistribute wealth?
You serve the special interest and the powerful corporations. Then when you get into trouble, who gets bailed out? They get bailed out.
Wall Street and the banks get bailed out. And who gets stuck? It‘s the taxpayers. That‘s why you need income tax, so you take care of the wealthy.
UYGUR: So, now, look, Congressman, we disagree on that, of course. I mean, it‘s not 1913. I believe we need a little bit more money than you say. But it is an interesting point about defense.
Now, if you do non-defense discretionary spending cuts—in fact, if you brought that to zero, you cut everything outside of defense and entitlements, that would only be $610 billion, you would still have a gigantic deficit. So, is your proposal the counter to the rest of the Republicans in saying we must cut defense, and perhaps fairly drastically?
PAUL: Well, I use a different term. I don‘t want to cut defense, but I distinguish military spending different from defense spending.
You think if we send troops into Libya next week, or this week, that‘s serving our national defense? No. It‘s going to cost a lot of money, but it won‘t serve our defense. It‘s just military spending.
So I want to cut military spending, not defense spending. But you could do that with maybe a third of the military budget.
You could cut hundreds of billions of dollars from that and it wouldn‘t hurt us. But that still wouldn‘t be enough.
I mean, you have to get rid of this redistributive mentality that is right and proper and moral to take from some and give to others, because when you endorse a system always intended to help the poor, you help those who distribute the wealth and who are on the gravy train. So the corporations benefit. The people get the crumbs.
So look who lost their houses and lost their jobs. We were propping up housing, housing for everybody, and giving a gift, low interest loans and all this intended to help the poor people have houses. But there were a lot of big companies and mortgage companies that made a lot of money, and the builders made money on the way up. They get into trouble with over-speculation, we bail them out, we cause a recession, and the poor people lose their jobs and they lose their houses.
I cannot see how anybody can endorses that system.
UYGUR: Congressman Paul, you know, a lot of people, of course, do want to spend a lot on defense. Namely, the Republican Party, certainly some portion of the Democratic Party as well. Whenever you go to cut there, they fear-monger, they scare-monger.
So why do you think they‘re doing it? Is it the money that they‘re getting from defense contractors?
PAUL: Well, you have to ask both parties that. The Democrats were supposed to cut back on that, too.
But no, I think the war profiteers have a lot of influence. I think that if you vote against military spending, the Democrats especially get trapped into it. They finally get in and they take a more non-interventionist policy.
Then they get in and they say oh, we can‘t look week on defense, we‘ve got to spend. But they also really endorse the policy.
See, Republicans and Democrats aren‘t much different. They believe in the Federal Reserve paper money system. They believe in the welfare system. They believe in the warfare system. They believe in international intervention and running the world. And they also believe in intrusion into our privacy.
So I don‘t see any difference between the leadership of the two parties. Maybe the rhetoric on the Republican side is a little bit better about yes, less taxes and less spending. But just think, when we had eight years of a chance to do something, the Republicans really didn‘t cut. You know, they kept spending.
UYGUR: Right. And by the way, they were also much more in favor of defense spending. I mean, you could say the Democrats are a little guilty of that, but certainly Republicans have been pushing for that for decades.
But you mentioned the Federal Reserve there. I know one of your biggest legislative accomplishments was with Congressman Alan Grayson in auditing the Fed, and that was very good.
But I‘m curious about what you think about credit, because you and I have had this discussion before. And I‘m not sure a lot of people know this.
What do you think should be the credit policy of the United States?
Should you be able to borrow money to buy a house, a car, et cetera?
PAUL: Oh, sure. In a free market, you can do that. But the market generates the credit.
You know, if I had an automobile, and you and I had a transaction, and I want $10,000, I can extend you credit. And all of a sudden, there‘s $10,000 worth of credit. Or an automobile company could do that or a bank could do that. But the credit really is backed up by savings.
The crime that‘s being committed today is that the credit comes out of thin air. In the old days, what you had to do was you had to put the money in this, and you had to work, you had to live, you had to save. You‘d put your money in the bank, and then they‘d loan it out for you.
Today, for a couple of decades, there‘s been essentially no savings. And the Fed says, well, interest rates are awfully low, but there‘s no savings. What we‘re going to do is just give more credit.
And it‘s a false thing, and it causes all kinds of malinvestment and all this debt accumulation. So, artificial credit by the Fed is wrong. It is an immoral and illegal act, really.
UYGUR: Let me follow up on that real quick though.
What if a kid that‘s in your district, a poor kid in Texas, got good grades, wants to go to school, doesn‘t have the money for it because he‘s poor. Do you think he should be able to—the government should give him a helping hand and give him an opportunity?
UYGUR: Or should he be able to get a loan? Or that‘s it, tough luck, you‘re poor, you don‘t get an education?
PAUL: Well, no. I mean, you‘re the government, it‘s your money. I don‘t have a right to come to you and say my poor kid in Texas needs an education. I come to you and knock on the door and say give me $500, but we send the IRS agent and then it‘s OK.
So, I have no right to take money from you. And nobody has a right to somebody else‘s wealth.
You have a right to your life and you have a right to your property, but you don‘t have—education isn‘t a right, medical care is not a right. Education—these are things that you have to earn.
Now, you might ask, well, what kind of a system would that be? Well, I grew up with that system. But prices were different, there was no inflation. My tuition was $350 a semester. I had jobs in the summertime, I could earn it.
When I went to medical school, there were loans available if I needed them. But it was a completely different world. Today—
UYGUR: So there were loans. Did you take advantage of those loans?
PAUL: No. It was through the school. The school made the loans. No government loans.
UYGUR: All right. So you‘re OK with the school giving loans then?
PAUL: Oh, sure. I mean, that‘s credit. And people—endowments.
That‘s what would happen. But prices would be different.
Kids today, even if they work, as soon as they work, we tax them. If they‘re a waitress or waiter, we tax their tips. So we encourage them to work, then they don‘t have enough money.
Prices go up on the tuition, and then we give them grants. And then they get out of college and they owe $200,000. It makes no sense whatsoever. I don‘t know how anybody can justify it.
UYGUR: All right. Congressman, I know you‘re big online. So we asked our Facebook audience—we have one on TYT Nation—a question for you.
Bryan Carter wrote in, “Ask him if he really does support Walker‘s efforts to destroy unions,” because we got a lot of questions on this and I wanted to ask you about that.
Where do you stand on Governor Walker‘s --
PAUL: Well, it‘s a loaded question because—I can answer for myself. I do not want to destroy unions, but I don‘t want to give them artificial power. I want to give the corporations no artificial power, and I don‘t want to give the unions—
UYGUR: Well, why is collective bargaining artificial power?
PAUL: Because it‘s based on law.
UYGUR: Isn‘t that the employees getting together in a free market and saying OK, we‘ve gotten together?
PAUL: OK. Workers have the right to get together and negotiate. But just as you and I on a voluntary transaction, or the actions between two people for social reasons, it has to be voluntary. Economic transactions have to be the same way.
So, workers who can voluntarily get together and negotiate, they can negotiate, but they can‘t force their will by law. And that‘s what the government has done. They have given them artificial power.
UYGUR: No, they‘re saying by law you are not allowed to collectively negotiate, which doesn‘t make sense if you believe in the free market.
PAUL: Well, I‘m talking about my position.
UYGUR: OK. So you don‘t agree with Governor Walker.
PAUL: My position is you can voluntarily organize and negotiate, but you can‘t—nobody has any force. See, the Libertarian belief is that you can‘t use force on people.
UYGUR: So then you don‘t agree with Governor Walker, because by law he‘s saying you cannot collectively bargain.
PAUL: Well, you have to have—it has to be voluntary on both sides.
UYGUR: OK. So one last thing now.
Look, you finished first in CPAC, you finished first in all these different polls. Obviously, that puts you in a position where you might run for president. Sarah Palin says that she won‘t run for president if there‘s a candidate in the race who speaks for her.
Do you think you can adequately speak for her?
PAUL: Oh, I doubt it. I think we have some disagreements. I don‘t think I would be able to do that.
I mean, I would appeal to the people who like her and support her, and try to convince them that what I believe in, and my interpretation of the Constitution is, you know, very strictly limiting government and non-interventionist foreign policy. Yes, I would work real hard to appeal to her supporters, but I don‘t think you could translate that into saying, somehow or another, I‘d be speaking for her. I mean, that would be a little bit of a stretch.
UYGUR: I think so, too.
So are you running?
PAUL: We‘re losing you.
UYGUR: Are you running for president, Congressman Paul?
PAUL: Oh, hold on. Go ahead.
UYGUR: This is great.
Congressman Paul, last question for you. Are you running for president?
PAUL: I haven‘t decided. And it will be a little while before I do that.
A lot of—especially the young people, the next generation that realizes what we‘re get into and what burden they‘re bearing, they‘re anxious for me to do it. I think it‘s a worthwhile thing to do, but I‘m a bit away from making that decision because it is a very tedious job to run.
UYGUR: All right.
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.
Thank you for your time tonight. We appreciate it.
PAUL: Sure thing.
UYGUR: All right.
Now, ahead, we will break down the different lies being told about Wisconsin by the propaganda wing of the Republican Party—i.e., Fox News Channel.
Plus, did Mike Huckabee know exactly what he was saying when he said President Obama grew up in Kenya? And how does it fit with the Republican attack plan for 2012?
We‘ll lay out how they are going to run against President Obama.
And can you tell the difference between Charlie Sheen and Chris Christie? You might actually be surprised.
Ana Kasparian, my co-host on “The Young Turks,” fills us in on the surprising similarities tonight.
UYGUR: Now, everybody knows about the fights over unions in Wisconsin, but there‘s also another fight going on around the issues. And that‘s the fight over facts versus propaganda.
The protesters understand that one side is distorting things, even interrupting Fox News‘ live shots with chants of “Fox lies!”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF FLOCK, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: For the most part, they are just at this point wanting to make sure that this bill does not come—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fox lies! Fox lies!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Now, the other day, Bill O‘Reilly sent a producer to ask a protester in front of News Corp what exactly Fox lies about, and the protester fumbled the answer. So Bill took the opportunity to gloat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”: He finds out that they‘re mad, Bernie, that Fox lies. OK? Fox lies about what? And nobody can tell them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Ooh-ooh. Bill, I know someone who can tell you. Me. Thank you for teeing that one. So let‘s get started.
First, listen to Glenn Beck talking about collective bargaining.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX HOST: In fact, FDR said collective bargaining would destroy us. Yes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Look it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: So, of course, we looked it up. Perhaps something Beck should have done before he went on air.
Of course, FDR never said anything about collective bargaining destroying us all. In fact, FDR signed laws protecting collective bargaining and often hailed collective bargaining as an important step for labor.
Now, he did have some big questions about public unions‘ right to strike, but that‘s nowhere near collective bargaining destroying us all, when he was, in fact, massively in favor of it in many contexts.
Next, Fox contributors keep saying that Governor Scott Walker campaigned on a platform that included ending collective bargaining for public workers.
Just check out the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You have to put Scott Walker in context. He campaigned for a year and a half on a very clear program. Nothing he‘s doing is new. Everything he‘s doing was in his platform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Again, not true. The fact-checking site Politifact looked into this and were unable to produce any record of Walker vowing to end collective bargaining. Walker hasn‘t produced any record of that either.
Now, next up, the idea that public workers in Wisconsin are fat cats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State government employees make over $51,000 a year on average. Compare all of that to the private sector employees, who make about $38,600 a year. What a difference.
It used to be if you went to work for the state government, you would make less, but it would be worth it because you would good benefits, good health care, nice, fat pension. That kind of thing. So your salary would be lower, you can see from that full screen we just showed you, that graphic, that that‘s no longer the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right, except that they want to cut their pensions.
And the second problem is that the Fox numbers didn‘t account for workers‘ education, experience, and other factors. The Economic Policy Institute found that when those things are accounted for, Wisconsin‘s public employees earn 4.89 percent less in total compensation per hour than comparable full-time employees in Wisconsin‘s private sector.
So Fox either purposefully compared apples and oranges with the intent to deceive and manipulate the passions of their audience, or they just could be ignorant of the facts. Maybe they‘re just all ignorant.
And finally, Mr. O‘Reilly, let‘s come back to you.
A couple of nights ago, while talking about Wisconsin, your show rolled video of a violent protest which, by the way, didn‘t really happen in Wisconsin.
Now, one problem, you made no mention of the actual location, leaving the impression that the Wisconsin protesters were out of control. A little misleading, don‘t you think?
Now look out for the palm trees in the background here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: And how many are professional left-wingers, and how many are just regular folks?
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It‘s tough to tell. When you get to the weekend, you get a lot of out-of-towners. A lot of people are bused in from not just Wisconsin, but a lot of surrounding states. I talked to someone who is from California who is sleeping in the capital throughout this process. So you‘ve got a real mixed bag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Speaking of California, those palm trees seemed to be from California and not Wisconsin. O‘Reilly, several minutes ago in that program had mentioned the protests had happened around the country, but it was not mentioned at all within the context of that conversation with reporter Mike Tobin on Wisconsin.
It was just labeled “union protests” with no stated location. Gee, I wonder why they did that?
Now, look, what‘s the impression they want to leave you with at the end of the day? There are union thugs in Wisconsin, they‘re overpaid. They shouldn‘t have the right to collective bargaining anyway. And Governor Walker is just doing the will of the people.
That‘s what Fox News does. They lead you with misleading information and impression. That is part and parcel of what they do over there.
With me now is Eric Boehlert, senior fellow with Media Matters for America.
All right. Eric, that is not all, is it?
All right. I want to go to them doing this in other occasions. For example, you saw there, they‘re talking about Wisconsin, they put up the palm trees, et cetera.
Now, you remember Jon Stewart busted them on this, too, on another protester that Sean Hannity was talking about.
Let‘s watch that for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, “THE DAILY SHOW”: It seems Sean Hannity used footage of a bigger crowd form a totally different event to make last week‘s GOP health care rally appear more heavily attended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right. So what do you think is going on here? Are they just constantly, oops, making a mistake, wrong video again? Or do you think it‘s on purpose.
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: And you forgot to mention last week when they inverted the poll results.
UYGUR: Oh, we‘ve got that, too.
BOEHLERT: You know, strong support for collective bargaining. Everyone else in the press managed to report it correctly. Fox News put up the graphic and, oh my gosh, they inverted the numbers. And since then, they basically ignore any of the polls like “The New York Times” poll that showed strong support for the unions and collective bargaining.
So, yes, a couple of innocent mistakes, but when you add it all up—look, Fox News in the last couple of weeks has been basically an anti-union clearinghouse. That‘s what they do.
This is sort of Fox News as a political operation, not Fox News as a journalistic operation. They can‘t do the second, but they love to do the first.
UYGUR: Eric, you know, you mentioned the mistakes. It‘s over and over. And we‘ll give you one more.
Mark Foley, you remember the Republican who was going after the young pages, and then when Fox news puts him on, all of a sudden he‘s a Democrat. Look at that, a Democrat from Florida.
BOEHLERT: A big “D.”
UYGUR: Totally not true.
Now, what do you think it is? Do you think they‘re just incompetent and they mistake after mistake after mistake? And all those mistakes happen to be against Democrats? Is it coordinated? What is it?
I really don‘t even know if it‘s coordinated. It just seems like, golly gee willikers, all the mistakes are in favor of the Republicans.
BOEHLERT: It‘s a dangerous combination of incompetence and bias. So that‘s the bubble that they live in. So I think when incompetence comes up, it all flows in one direction.
And again, what‘s interesting about Wisconsin is that Fox News is very angry and bewildered. Why are people chanting “Fox news lies!” in the background? I mean, come on. That‘s necessary truth-telling. That‘s what that is.
That is an accurate media critique. And what‘s interesting in Wisconsin is they sort of venture outside of the right-wing bubble and they realize people are pushing back against their lies, and they‘re very bewildered by the whole thing.
UYGUR: Right. There‘s another thing that Fox did. They are saying that the state budget in Wisconsin, they‘re having shortfalls because of the public union collective bargaining.
Now, is that true?
BOEHLERT: No. I mean, they‘re tying together the issue of collective bargaining, budget shortfalls. Not true.
Just like the other attacks they‘re doing on collective bargaining. This is just sort of—it‘s sort of beyond Chamber of Commerce talking points. This is just hard-core anti-union talking points. There‘s no connection between the two.
UYGUR: So now they keep getting all those facts wrong. Is it possible that they‘re just ignorant?
BOEHLERT: That‘s a good question.
UYGUR: I mean, I‘m just throwing out possibilities. I‘m trying to help a brother out.
BOEHLERT: Yes. No, again, all the mistakes go in one direction.
So, come on. I mean, this is what they do.
They‘re here to make the unions look as bad as possible. They‘re trying to prop up the governor even though he has no support really within the rest of the Republican Party. He can‘t find anyone else to come on board with his really radical agenda of anti-collective bargaining.
So, they‘re doing the best they can. If they have to make stuff up, well, they‘ll make stuff up.
UYGUR: All right. Eric Boehlert from Media Matters.
Thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
And now one more thing in Wisconsin.
While the standoff continues between Scott Walker and the Wisconsin 14
those are, of course, the state Democrats who left the state—the Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature are getting down to work on the most important issue in the state—prank calls.
They literally want to make prank calls a state crime. Gee, I wonder why? Curious timing.
Now, two state politicians introduced a bill that would slap prank callers with a $10,000 fine if they “intentionally provide a false phone number” and convince the person receiving the call that it is David Koch on the other line. No, I mean that it comes from someone other than the actual caller.
The team that co-authored the bill says it has nothing to do with the Walker prank where David Koch called in and gave him orders. Of course not. No. Just a wild, wild coincidence.
They were getting all these calls, and they said, you know what?
Maybe this is the right time to act.
By the way, doctored videos of conservatives posing as pimps and prostitutes would still be allowed.
All right. Now, what would Jesus cut from the budget? I‘ll ask a man of the cloth.
That‘s coming up.
UYGUR: Just when you thought you heard it all, a nine-week-old fetus will, quote, “testify in Ohio.” The fetus is reportedly in favor of a bill that would outlaw abortions as soon as doctors can detect the first heart beat, which by the way, could be as early as 18 days when many women have no idea whether they‘re even pregnant yet. By all accounts, the fetus will be the youngest ever to testify. That‘s because he or she is not really testifying because he or she is not really a person yet. In fact, at that point, we don‘t know whether he or she is a he or she. You know what else hasn‘t formed at that point? Their mouth. Making a little hard to testify.
But go for Republicans, have welded a woman, they‘ll ultrasound and listen to the heart beat of the fetus in the womb. If the bill is enacted, it would be the first and—it would be the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Now, we reached out to the fetus to see if he or she wanted to come on the show. But it did not say anything, because it does not have a mouth. But if it could talk, I‘m pretty sure it would say, could you please get out of my mother‘s uterus.
Now, conservative pastor known for attempt to shutdown an annual gay festival at New Orleans is apologizing following an arrest on an obscenity charge. The Reverend Grant Storms was arrested last week after two women reported to see him masturbating, oh boy, as he sat in a van near suburban playground. Storms said, he wasn‘t masturbating but he says that he did have his hands down his pants. Oh boy! I don‘t want to ask what he was doing down there, curiously, he did admit to having quote, “a pornography problem,” which he called an addiction that he‘s seeking help for. On the upside, he called himself a hypocrite. Very good, points for honesty.
On the down side, after all these judgmental rants against other people‘s sex lives, he was caught with his hands in his pants near a kids‘ playground. I‘m telling you, don‘t ever believe these guys. Beware of pastors bearing judgmental sermons. Now, the 2012 wannabes are already on their attack. Mike Huckabee‘s comments about President Obama being raised in Kenya are just the tip of the iceberg.
Richard Wolffe on the republican battle plan for 2012. How will they attack the president? And Chris Christie loves winning. And apparently so does Charlie Sheen. The connection is coming up.
UYGUR: The potential GOP heavy hitters for 2012 are not ready to officially commit to running for president, but the party‘s plan of attack is incredibly clear. The first and most important part is the money, of course. Karl Rove is out leading the charge on that front. His two political action committees, American crossroads and crossroads GPS announced their plans yesterday. They say, they‘re going to raise $120 million to combat unions and Democrats in the 2012 can election. Now, that‘s a lot of money. And add to that, the Koch Brothers who intend to raise $88 million to defeat President Obama. But ultimately, they have to translate that cash into votes.
So, on to part two of the GOP strategy. Appeal to people‘s base are instincts, fear, hatred, anger. All the things that Yoda warned about. Now, what better way to do that in the label Obama outsider who‘s ruining the country. Did you know he wasn‘t even born here? So, of course they appealed the birthers to believe that. Eleven states are still considering birther legislation. And the GOP has good reason to keep pushing those bills. Why? Because, look at this, a poll last poll showed that a stunning 41 percent of Republicans think President Obama was born in another country. Look, that‘s their base! And another 34 percent said he only probably was born in the U.S. That‘s a lot of people in that republican base who think that President Obama was either born outside of the country or maybe was born outside of the country. Now, those kinds of numbers that make prospective candidates like Mike Huckabee go on the radio and say things like this about President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE MALZBERG, TALK SHOW HOST: Don‘t you think we deserve to know more about this man?
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I would love to know more, what I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is he‘s having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Obviously, President Obama did not grow up in Kenya. So, that is blatantly untrue. But so far, Huckabee‘s attempt to appeal to the right wing base seems to be paying off. In a newly released NBC News Wall Street Journal poll, GOP primary voters put Mike Huckabee at the top of the potential 2012 field with 25 percent. But Huckabee‘s fellow southerner, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour barely registers in the poll, not even getting one percent of the vote. So, he is trying to boost his conservative street cred through the third part of the GOP 2012 attack plan. Go after Medicaid. Republicans tried attacking the unions first, but the unions fought back and that was inconvenient. So what‘s next?
Let‘s go after poor people. Barbour evoke Reagan‘s welfare rhetoric this week, are the state should be allowed to make Medicaid patients pay for part of their medicine because, quote, “we have people pull up at the pharmacy window in a BMW and say they can‘t afford their co-payment.” Now, you already know that is not true. When they asked Barbour about it, he gave nothing to back up that story. But let me show you how really absurd that is. Mr. Barbour‘s state of Mississippi has some of the lowest Medicaid benefits in the country. A working couple in that state with one child only qualifies for Medicaid if they earn $8,150 a year or less.
So how in the world are they going to afford a BMW that cost anywhere between $30,000 to more than $120,000? Somehow I don‘t think a family earning $8,000 a year is driving around in a BMW, even a used one. In fact, they did research on it. The lowest one was like three or $4,000. They can‘t afford that either. It‘s a made-up story. So the overall plan is to raise an enormous amount of money from rich folks and large corporations, spend on ratcheting up the fear factor in the country, and then blame poor people, people getting Medicaid in that instance, the middle class, public employees and unions, and foreigners, like President Obama. Or at least that‘s what they claim. All of this is done so you are distracted while their banker and oil friends walk out the backdoor with all of your money and you helped them to do it by voting republican. Now my opinion on that is very clear.
Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, let‘s get some analysis. So, Richard, welcome first of all.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: Great to have you here. Let me start with Huckabee, do you think he did it on purpose or no?
WOLFFE: Yes, I think he did it on purpose. And the really troubling thing about it, talk about what‘s troubling here is how lazy and casual it was. Not only did he kept saying, well this much I know and I know this, when he obviously didn‘t know anything. Never mind that he tried with a follow-up to say, he really meant Indonesia. The President spent a couple of years in Indonesia, the Brits weren‘t even there. And I know a couple of things about Brits. You know, it was just pandering to a talk show guy and he feels enthralled to that kind of nonsense that he can throw this stuff out? It‘s weird. And by the way, the bit you didn‘t play was the essence of his argument was that Brits was somehow mortally offended by the bust of Churchill being moved out of the oval office. I know a few Brits and if they get offended by that, they really need to get a life. I mean, seriously he got replaced by a bust of Abraham Lincoln. Isn‘t that what Republicans are supposed to like in the oval office?
UYGUR: I believe Abraham Lincoln was a republican. And I believe he was an American which might make me bit of a difference. All right. Now, Richard, let‘s talk about their plan to attack Medicaid, et cetera et cetera. This NBC News, Wall Street Journal poll seems like they‘re barking up the wrong tree. Sixty seven percent say that Medicaid cuts are unacceptable, right? And then you know, when you ask about unions also devastating numbers there. Should unionized public employees be allowed to collectively bargain? Seventy seven percent say yes. Only 19 percent say no. So it looks like that strategy of, you know, let‘s go after the middle class and the poor, it seems like it‘s a bad strategy, doesn‘t it?
WOLFFE: Right. Well, a couple of things, first of all, those numbers are on Medicaid. Imagine what happens when it turns to Medicare and Social Security. OK, this is, they are not starting off in a good place on this. So, the class warfare kind of thing that we had, you know, this is something Republicans always hate when it‘s Democrats who do it, but if it‘s Haley Barbour and it‘s a BMW and it‘s Medicare, that‘s totally different. They‘ve lost that one to begin with. So, it does mean they need to pay Frank Luntz here. I mean, the language isn‘t working for them, whether its collective bargaining, the unions, the pictures we saw out of Wisconsin, or on the basic need to have that safety net there. This time in these economically difficult times, Republicans are off message, then not in tune with what people want to hear, and it‘s not about cuts. It‘s about jobs. They said they got elected in the House because of jobs. They‘re not talking about jobs.
UYGUR: Well, I mean, that‘s why in question, when you look at the polls, they‘re devastating, all run on the issues. You know, people who want to cut Social Security like three percent. Medicare is like three, four percent. It‘s comically low. Cutting education, three percent. Nobody wants these republican ideas. So, my question is how did they win? You know, how did they win in 2010? How are they going to win in 2012 on those ideas?
WOLFFE: Look, the vulnerability of the administration and the president is pretty clear. He‘s still, he isn‘t really getting much over 50 percent in approval ratings. I think the NBC poll now has about 45 against a generic republican. You know, there‘s a vulnerability there and that vulnerability comes down to jobs. Their plan for jobs is to cut the size of government. Well, you don‘t have to be a Nobel prize-winning economist to say, how are the two things connected? Cutting the deficit is a good thing in general, and there‘s a lot of agreement for it. People think spending needs to come down. But that‘s not the same thing as creating jobs. So, there‘s a disconnect there and until they make the case that a smaller government leads to more jobs, and people can understand the connection between the two, they‘ve got a long, long way to go. They‘re going to need all of Karl Rove‘s money and more.
UYGUR: Right. And by the way, new analysts including by republican analyst, economists saying that cutting deficit might cost $700,000 jobs or even more according to Goldman Sachs. Richard Wolffe, thank you so much for joining us tonight, we really appreciate it.
WOLFFE: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: All right. Now, coming up, Anna Kasparian joins me to talk the soap opera that is Charlie Sheen‘s life. That and his comparison to Chris Christie. That should be fun.
UYGUR: The Republicans say, we have a moral responsibility to cut spending, for programs that help the poor. Now, would Jesus agree? I‘m not so sure. I‘ll ask Reverend Jim Wallis, next.
UYGUR: Republicans think that they have the market cornered on Christianity, which, of course, is absurd. So, a group of progressive Christian leaders, Sojourners, is challenging that claim. They took out an ad in Politico with the title, “what would Jesus cut”? They‘re asking Congress to consider that question when they‘re deciding what to cut out of the federal budget which makes a lot of sense. And House Speaker John Boehner should be onboard with that. In fact, just this weekend, they told a group of national religious broadcasters that his party‘s budget cuts were all about morality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: This debt is a moral threat to our country, but it‘s also a moral threat to our country. We have a moral responsibility to deal with this threat to freedom, and liberate our economy from the shackles of debt and unrestrained government. We have a moral responsibility to address the problems that we face. And that means working together cut spending and to rein in government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: That‘s a lot of talk about morality but would be in this party‘s budget cuts actually be Jesus approved? Food stamps? Who needs them? Jesus fed thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. And they need any damn food stamps, let them eat—from heaven. Medicaid and health care? Who needs it? Jesus could heal people by himself. He could even bring people back from a death panel. Cuts for military spending. Oh, hell no. If there‘s one thing the prince of peace is definitely in favor of is preemptive strikes. The thing about that, seriously, how can Republicans in good conscious argue that slashing benefits for the poor is the moral thing to do and that Christian values dictate that we give more and more money to oil, to bank companies and to defense contractors instead? It makes no sense.
Now let me bring in the president and CEO of Sojourners, Reverend Jim Wallis. So, Reverend Wallis, it‘s great to have you here. What do you think are the top programs that Republicans who would want to cut that would directly conflict with this morality rhetoric?
REV. JIM WALLIS, PRESIDENT, SOJOURNERS: Well, the first I want to say is there‘s a principle, a fundamental principle that I think we should all accept, which is that budgets are moral documents. They reveal our choices, our priorities. Who‘s important, who‘s not. What‘s important and what‘s not. The speaker is right. Deficits when they‘re excessive are a moral issue. We don‘t want to put burdens on our kids and grand kids, but how we reduce deficits is also a moral issue. So, Jesus made it very clear. He said, we would be judged by how we treat the least of these.
And so I have to ask, when we‘re cutting mosquito bed nets for kids to keep this from getting malaria or vaccinations, which are preventing kids from getting pandemic diseases or food and nutrition programs are saving lives every day, thousands, is that less important than one weapon system, an outmoded weapon system that‘s not making us more safe? So these are choices. And so the faith community is going to say, the tough choices are upon us. But choosing to abandon the most vulnerable is simply not a choice that we should make.
UYGUR: Reverend, you know, I think the great majority of American people are on your side and on your priorities. I‘m not guessing, there‘s a new poll out there, NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll would be including throughout the show. They say these are the top unacceptable funding cuts. Social Security, 77 percent, education, 77 percent, Medicare, 76 percent, and Medicaid, 67 percent. People saying, those are unacceptable to cut because that goes towards the elderly, the poor, the sick, et cetera, that seems to be exactly in line with what appeared to be Jesus‘ priorities in the bible, but those are exactly the cuts that the Republicans seem to want to make while they just gave away $150 billion to the top two percent of the country, that is the rich.
WALLIS: Well, I think it is even, you know, more of a hypocrisy. We realize that this is a relatively small amount of money. We don‘t have a deficit because we‘ve spent too much on poor people. That‘s not how it happened. So, where is the money? We were working on the numbers today and thought that all of the programs we like to defend would cost about the equivalent of bringing home 5,000 soldiers from Afghanistan, which each now cost $1 million a year. So we have to ask, where is the sacrifice here? Who‘s bearing the burdens? Is the poorest among us? We have programs that are proven, cost effective and they‘re not costly and we‘ll never balance a budget by cutting those programs. Rather, let‘s look at where the real money is. Let‘s talk about corporate welfare. Let‘s talk about CEO tax loopholes.
WALLIS: Let‘s talk about subsidies to oil and gas and agribusiness. Let‘s talk about the military budget, Ron Paul needs some powerful points earlier, he‘s a republican who says, why should we support what Eisenhower called a military industrial complex. This is welfare checks to military contractors. Now, from my point of view was a person who say, this is less important. I don‘t think anybody wants to say that every item, every line item of military spending is really more important to us than the school lunch program. I don‘t think we want to say that.
UYGUR: I don‘t think most Americans believe that. Reverend Jim Wallis, powerful points. Thank you so much for your time this evening.
WALLIS: By the way, I have a bracelet here that says, what would Jesus cut? They will be delivering those. an army of young people to every member of Congress in the Senate next week.
UYGUR: All right.
WALLIS: They can wear it on their risk when they make their decisions.
UYGUR: That‘s also powerful.
WALLIS: OK. We‘re going to be coming right back.
UYGUR: Now, my Young Turks co-host Anna Kasparian is here. Kaspar, what‘s going on?
ANNA KASPARIAN, CO-HOST, “THE YOUNG TURKS”: Nothing what Cenk, pretty awesome show you have going on.
UYGUR: All right. Rock and roll. Let‘s finish it up then. Now, yesterday you read me some lines and I tried to guess. I‘m going to flip it on you today. We‘re going to play who‘s line is it anyway with Charlie Sheen and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie quotes. Let see if you can get right. Question one. Who said this, Anna? “I already know I could win. That‘s not the issue. I have people calling me and saying to me, let me explain to you how you can win and I‘m like, you‘re barking up the wrong tree. I already know I can win.”
KASPARIAN: OK. First of all, let me say, you know how competitive I am and I have to beat your score from yesterday. I‘m going to go with Chris Christie because it sounds like something he would say during a campaign.
UYGUR: You‘re right. That‘s right, man! Now let‘s go to question two. Who said this, “Everyday is filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it‘s scary.” Please, please don‘t let it be Chris Christie.
KASPARIAN: The only person that could say that is crazy Charlie Sheen.
UYGUR: It‘s amazing, man! Those two quotes are so similar, except for the underwear part. All right. Anna, you‘ve been great and you did do better than me. Nice job.
KASPARIAN: Thank you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, thanks for watching, everybody. “HARDBALL” is an excellent program and guess what, lucky for you, it starts right now.
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