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Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Read the transcript from the Wednesday 6 p.m. hour

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Guests: Richard Wolffe, Rep. Jim McDermott, Tyson Slocum, Chris Redfern, Toni Bond Leonard

CENK UYGUR, HOST:  Welcome to the show, everybody.

We start with some disastrous news for the Republicans.  As they stick with their Tea Party base, the numbers are not good.  And a new CNN/Opinion Research poll has found that 47 percent of people have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement.  That‘s up from four points from December and 21 points from last January.  And that is a disaster for the Tea Party.

You know what‘s happening?  People are actually looking at the Tea Party and going, oh, that‘s what they stand for.  OK, well, I got no interest in that.

But nonetheless, the Republican Party has said, I‘m with those guys, those guys rock.  And they are totally affecting the so-called budget negotiations we‘re having right now.  Look, we‘re having the wrong conversation in the first place, OK?

Here‘s how the conversation went—all right, we‘re going to give giant tax cuts, over $800 billion in tax cuts, and then we‘re going to have a conversation about how we‘re going to cut spending.

Well, that‘s a Republican conversation.  We shouldn‘t be having that conversation in the first place.  But, of course, as always, the Democrats agreed to it.

Now, the only question that remains is: how much are we going to agree with the Republicans?

So, in that regard, let‘s look at how, again, the so-called “negotiations” have gone so far.  Oh, we‘ve got a new graphic—fun for everybody.

OK.  In the beginning, Barack Obama gives away basically $40 billion from his 2011 budget proposal.  You see, the car moved a little bit, or whatever that thing is.  It‘s an arrow, it moved.  OK, you see it‘s going through, it‘s a roadblock.

And then we had a continuing resolution that said that, hey, you know what?  We‘re going to cut $4 billion more.  And we had another continuing resolution for another three weeks that said we‘re going to cut $6 billion.  There it is.  It‘s going and going and going.  Still, the roadblock has not moved at all.

And now, we just found out recently, the Republicans have offered—

I‘m sorry, the Democrats—of course, the Republicans offer nothing—the Democrats offered another $20 billion.

And where have the Republicans gone all this time?  Nowhere!

OK.  And you know what happens today?  Now, there‘s talk of the Democrats offering another $6 billion in cuts.

Will you—for the love of God—stop already!  OK.  Look—but it doesn‘t look like they‘re ever going to stop.

And everybody sees like this as a loss for the Republicans somehow.  Sometimes, I can‘t understand Washington conventional wisdom.  They‘re like, do you know, that they‘re fighting amongst themselves.  Now, they‘re patting exactly where they were.

I‘m going to give another fact.  Do you know when all this started?  You forget the original $40 billion—the Republicans said that they wanted $32 billion in concessions.  They‘re already at $30 billion in concessions from the Democrats.  And it may jump out to $36 billion in concessions.  They‘re massively winning.

But, finally, the Democrats have gotten a little tougher and they looked at that poll and they‘re like, whoa, the Tea Party is unpopular.  Time to hit them.

So, here‘s what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to say about the Tea Party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER:  The country  doesn‘t care much about the Tea Party.  The people who care about the Tea Party are a very small number who care about them positively.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  And he laid the smackdown.  That‘s as tough as Reid gets. 

The country doesn‘t care about the Tea Party.  Go get them, Harry!

All right.  Now, “The Washington Post” is reporting that Republican leaders are talking to Blue Dog Democrats to get a budget compromise before next week.  Maybe they saw those polls after all.  Is this the beginning of a tiny, itsy-bitsy, little-bitty, this much compromise?  Maybe.

Senator Reid said yesterday the Republicans were willing to move down to $36 billion in cuts from their original $61 billion.  Are they not merciful?

But, so far, there‘s been no public commitment on that from the GOP.  Though Eric Cantor digging his heels this morning, saying that for some reason, the House is going to hold another vote this Friday on the budget bill that they already passed.  Here‘s how he explained it:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER:  This week, again, we will act.  On Friday, we will bring to the floor the government prevention—excuse me, the prevention of government shutdown act.  And that will say to the American people the Senate‘s got to act prior to the expiration of the C.R.  If it does not act, H.R.1 becomes the law of the land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  That is wildly and comically wrong.  A bill does not become the law of the land if the House simply passed it twice.  That was weirdly wrong.  Was that a slip of the tongue or does Cantor have no idea how our system of government works?

Has he even watched Saturday morning cartoons?  That even tells you how a bill becomes a law.  It‘s not like hey, you know what, if the House passed it and the Senate doesn‘t, and the House votes again!  No, that‘s not how the system works.

But, unfortunately, that is the Republican vision of America.  If the GOP insists hard enough, their proposals should just become the law.

All right.  Joining me now to talk about all this is Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington.

Congressman, you know, I think—as you just heard, I think we‘re having the wrong conversation in the first place.  So, I‘m going to keep it real from you right from the get-go.  Whose fault is it that we are seeing a tiny little compromise on how much we cut spending from Republicans as a victory, instead of the gigantic loss which I think it is?

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON:  Well, I think the president and the Democrats never should have agreed to extending the Bush tax cuts for my extended period of time at all.  We made the deficit worse at that point.

What we‘re doing now with the Tea Party, these are a group of people elected not to govern, not to understand government, not to figure out how it works—but simply to come in here and tear it apart.  And what you‘re going to see when we have a government shutdown here in a week or so that, like children, they‘re going to find out that what they‘ve been told that government has a role and a responsibility, they‘re going to find out that the American people are really going to be angry when they can‘t get into their national parks, they can‘t get into their museums, they can‘t get their passports, they can‘t get all the myriad of services that they get from government.

The Tea Party would have you believe that public servants do no good, no place, no time, and we could do without all of them.  And that‘s simply not true and we‘re going to find out very shortly because we‘re going to hit the wall.

UYGUR:  So, Congressman, let me ask you, you seem like you‘re pretty sure there‘s going to be a shutdown.  I mean, there‘s talk about how Boehner is reaching out to the Blue Dog Democrats and you might strike a deal with them.  Do you think there‘s going to be a compromise?  Or do you think we‘re definitely headed towards a shutdown?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, Mr. Boehner has a terrible problem.  He‘s got 85 people in his caucus who simply just don‘t understand what this is about.  They are neophytes, all of them.  They think they know everything.  They‘re just like little kids who think they know how things work and they don‘t.

So, Boehner‘s now got to lead them by the side of the road and reach over to the Democrats, and, ultimately, when he puts together—he‘ll say, well, I‘ve got a bipartisan proposal.  But it won‘t go through the Senate.  So, then, they‘re going to try and blame it on the Senate.  The Senate Democrats killed the bipartisan agreement from the House.  I think we are headed for a terrible mess here in the next few days.

UYGUR:  Yes.  Look, if the Democrats lose that public relations battle, I‘m going to lose my mind.  I mean, right now, you‘ve got Cantor, you saw him in that clip.  And you‘ve got all these guys saying it‘s the Democrats‘ fault, they‘re the ones who are going to force the shutdown.  That seems mental to me.  But, of course, most of the Washington media takes it seriously.

How do you fight back against that?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, Mr. Cantor has been running the Republican follies in the House now for 13 weeks.  You know, we read the Constitution and we‘ve done—we passed all kinds of silly bills that had no impact.  We haven‘t passed a single bill related to a job.

And then he comes out here and says if the House tosses this bill, it will become law.  Well, we have to explain to him how a bill has to pass both houses of Congress before it can be presented to the president.  He doesn‘t even understand the basic mechanisms of government.  It really is a classic farce going on in the Republican caucus.

UYGUR:  But, Congressman McDermott, let me challenge you on one

premise.  You know, you‘re saying that the Tea Party guys are kids and they

don‘t get it, et cetera.  But hasn‘t that intransigence worked?  I mean,

like I said, initially the Republicans just wanted $32 billion in cuts, the

Tea Party forced them to $61 billion, and the Democrats—for some reason

went along and now it looks like they‘re going to get more than $32 billion in cuts.

      

So, didn‘t the Tea Party‘s stance in some way work?  And didn‘t the Democrats enable it by constantly compromising and not drawing the line?

MCDERMOTT:  You know, I‘m a child psychiatrist and I‘ve dealt with children my whole life.  And there comes a point in which you tell a child, don‘t do that, it‘s going to hurt you.  And you say, don‘t do that, it‘s going to hurt you.  Don‘t do that, it‘s going to hurt you.  Ultimately, they get hurt and then they cry and say, you know.  Well, that‘s what you‘re going to hear around here when the Republican Tea Party people actually get what they‘re wishing for, because you cannot run government on two weeks at a time.

Nobody in business runs two weeks at a time.  Nothing in the world works two weeks at a time.  And they are simply strangling the economy and destroying the job opportunities for their own people and the people back home know it.  And you‘re going to start to see the reaction.  You‘re seeing it in the polls you‘ve already shown.

I think it‘s only a matter of time before the people get on to them.

UYGUR:  All right.  Congressman Jim McDermott, thank you for your time this evening.  We appreciate it.

MCDERMOTT:  You‘re welcome.

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, let me bring in MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe.

Richard, let me ask you this first.  You know, you cover the White House extensively.  So, what is the White House plan?  Are they planning to just give more and more and more concessions on the hope the Republicans will move at some point?  Or do they have a bottom line?  Is there a line in the sand anywhere?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes.  Sure, there‘s a line in the sand.  What they want to do is come out with something in the middle and show that they‘re reasonable.  In fact, what they want to do more than that and the numbers can get dizzying because, remember, we‘re halfway through this current year and there would be various compromises along the way in terms of cuts.

But what they really want to do beyond the numbers is explore the different ways the Republicans are fracturing here.  You‘re seeing them already moving towards negotiating directly with the Democrats, with the White House.  There‘s some kind of intermediary here.  You‘ve got Boehner‘s staff is talking to Reid‘s staff.

And this whole Tea Party dynamic, combined with the presidential dynamic that you‘re seeing on the Republican side, is a new playing field for this White House.  It‘s such a different prospect from what they had for the last two years.  That‘s where you saw real intransigents on the Republican side and it was very effective.  It‘s not just the same kind of politics anymore and I think the White House is exploring this.

The results, of course, do mean cuts, and they‘re going to be painful cuts.  But the politics does look different and that provides different opportunities for the White House, too.

UYGUR:  Well, Richard, help me out on that—walk me through that, because right now, it looks like they gave the Republicans the tax cuts that they want, and now, they‘re giving a giant portion of the spending cuts they want—it‘s still not enough, but they‘re negotiating over that.

So, where does the wind come in?  Like talk to me about the politics.  Like people talk, oh, the Republicans are fracturing, and?

WOLFFE:  Well, and the big momentum they had in the last election came from this grassroots support, which is about to be massively disappointed.  You can say that they‘ve got everything they want, but that‘s not how they view it because they‘re not going to come up with the $100 billion of cuts that they wanted.  And, remember, you‘re going to have to go through all of this all over again when it comes to the debt ceiling and next year‘s budget which the president unveiled earlier this year.

So, this is a rolling pain for the Republican leadership.  And that‘s just the internal dynamic for Republicans.  You know, there are serious budget discussions, deficit discussions that both parties want to have.

For the president, looking for re-election—yes, he‘s had to concede stuff, but he was elected to bring red and blue America together.  The more he‘s drifted away from that, the worse it has got for him among independent voters.  For him to be able to say he‘s the man of compromise, you many not have liked the tax cut deal, but actually, voters—especially, independents—really liked it.

UYGUR:  Well, Richard—

WOLFFE:  That‘s going to be his path for 2012.

UYGUR:  I‘m going to respectfully disagree with you.  I want to show you two polls here and get your thoughts.  New polls out on President Obama and now, his disapproval rating is up to 48 percent and his approval is only 42 percent.  Well, that‘s disastrous.

And then when you ask, does he deserve another term?  Fifty percent say no, he does not.  And only 41 percent say he does.  Also disastrous.

Here‘s my theory, Richard, it‘s that President Obama wins a lot of short-term battles by appearing to be reasonable and compromising, et cetera.  So, people go, oh, yes, that‘s reasonable.  OK, I get it, I get it, I like him.

But in the long-term, he never makes his own case.  He keeps agreeing with the Republicans, agreeing, agreeing, agreeing.  And at the end, in the long-term, you look at him and you go, why do I approve of this guy?  I guess I don‘t.

WOLFFE:  Well, you picked up one poll today and I can show you the Gallup poll today which actually flips those numbers around.  He‘s still within this range.  The only time he‘s really broken out of it is when he got all the stuff done in the lame duck session at the end of last year.

So, I actually don‘t think that—it may have been a temporary win for him, but pulling back those independent voters, that has been the big dynamic in the last two years against him.  That‘s why Democrats are struggling and the bigger issue for him is the underlying problem in the economy.

You can make any number of different compromises in Washington.  You can look reasonable.  But people don‘t think it‘s working unless they see the economy and especially jobs come roaring back.  So—

UYGUR:  That‘s definitely true.

WOLFFE:  That‘s why it‘s temporary.

UYGUR:  No, that‘s definitely true.  But the problem is, if you agree to spending cuts, you‘re probably going to have job losses, not job gains.  So, that doesn‘t seem politically smart either.  But I know I‘m tough on the president.  Maybe he knows better than I do.  Hey, he‘s president, right?

WOLFFE:  He got elected.  That‘s right (ph).

UYGUR:  All right, Richard Wolffe, thank you so much for joining us tonight.  We appreciate it.

WOLFFE:  Thanks, Cenk.

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, President Obama gave himself a big pat on the back during his energy speech today, saying his administration has approved seven deepwater drilling permits in recent weeks.  Except in at least one instance, the company‘s disaster plan was created before the Deepwater Horizon explosion.  So, how much could they have possibly learned from the disaster?

If you think that‘s bad, wait until you get to know the Republican plan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  The president unveiled his energy plan today.  I‘ve got my reservations about it.  But the Republican plan, comical.  I‘m going to debunk their nonsense ideas when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  A big and broad plan today from President Obama on energy, including his goal of breaking America‘s dependence on foreign oil—which honestly I always find to be funny, but we‘ll get back to that in a second.

President Obama unveiled his proposals during a speech at Georgetown University.  They include tapping new energy sources including natural gas reserves—questionable; encouraging energy efficient automobiles—lovely; investing in high speed rail and mass transit—fine; investing in clean and renewable energies research—well, that sounds good; ensuring safety of nuclear power in new generation of plants—that in reality, of course, means we keep going forward on nuclear energy, hence that‘s questionable, if you ask me; encouraging offshore oil exploration and production—well, that is totally questionable.

Look, it‘s classic Obama—a little progressive and a little conservative.  Did I please everybody?  Did I please everybody?

The Obama administration is, in fact, already encouraging offshore oil production as they handed out seven new deep water drilling permits recently.  Now, that‘s despite the fact that earlier in this month, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a group of reporters that containment systems for gushing wells still needed some work.  That doesn‘t sound.

Here‘s what he said, quote, “These containment systems are a work in progress.  Both systems currently have limitations on water depth and barrel-per-day containment capability.”

So, we‘re barreling straight ahead, even though containment systems are, quote, “a work in progress.”  That sounds disastrous.  In other words, if something goes wrong, oops, we were in the middle of a work in progress.

But to Republicans, of course, that‘s still not good enough. 

They‘re calling for more drilling, baby.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER:  When you shut down drilling, higher prices and fewer jobs are sure to follow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  Fewer jobs for Republicans who get paid by those oil companies.

To that end, Republicans are pushing measures in the House and Senate that would speed up the granting of permits and open up new offshore areas for drilling.  They want to do that, even though oil companies are still exploiting a giant loophole that allows them to avoid about $50 billion in royalties on deep water drilling.  Yes, look, that‘s $50 billion that go to the taxpayers and, sure, because it‘s supposed to be our oil but it‘s not going to us, whey are the Republicans are there to protect them?

And even though extra drilling would do almost nothing to decrease oil prices in this country, do you understand this.  Oil drilled in the U.S. goes to the whole world market.  We don‘t get to keep it.

BP doesn‘t go congratulations, Bob and Suzy, here‘s your oil.  No, they sell it and make money off of it.  And they can sell it to the Chinese.  They can sell it to anyone they like.

And now, if you think that‘s bad on a federal level, it‘s also ugly on the state level, too.  Republican Governor Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania has a brilliant idea.  Even though they‘ve got a lot of natural gas in Pennsylvania, he says, you know what, let‘s not tax that natural gas drilling—even though 2/3 of his voters in the state supported this and saying, come on, please tax them, it‘s our gas, we should be getting something for it.

You know how much they would get for it?  The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center estimated that the tax could bring in $400 million in revenue by 2015.  Remember, Pennsylvania has a $4 billion budget gap.  They could really use that money.

“The Philadelphia Enquirer” reports that Corbett got $800,000 in campaign donations from the drilling industry.  Of course, he did!

Gee, I wonder why he‘s giving away the natural gas.  I love his excuse, though.  He‘s like, you know what?  If we don‘t give them the tax incentives, they‘ll go somewhere else.

Where are they going to go?  The gas is underneath Pennsylvania.  How could they possibly get it from somewhere else?  What are they going to do, drill up from China?

Come on, man.  That‘s painfully stupid.

But all of this drilling isn‘t for your benefit, it‘s for the benefit of the energy companies and the politicians that they buy.  That‘s why this whole idea of energy independence is a bit of a joke.  We don‘t keep the oil, the oil companies do.

All right.  With me now is Tyson Slocum.  He‘s director of Public Citizen‘s Energy Program.  He‘s going to fill me in a little bit more on this.

OK.  First, Obama‘s plan.  What do you think his real motivation there is?

TYSON SLOCUM, DIRECTOR, PUBLIC CITIZEN‘S ENERGY PROGRAM:  Well, I think his real motivation is he wants to get the upper hand in the debate about energy policy and take his case directly to the American people.  Right now, you‘ve got the crisis in Libya, which is spooking speculators to drive up the price of oil, even though we‘ve got 2 billion barrels of oil and gasoline in storage here in the United States.  You got the crisis with the Japanese nuclear reactors that‘s spooking investors and other supporters of nuclear power here at home.

And all of this is going on while Congress debates whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency should be regulating power plants and industrial facilities under the Clean Air Act, and whether or not they should be regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

So, what Obama is doing is he‘s trying to preview his campaign theme going into the presidential re-election year, saying, look, I‘m trying to drill for more oil, I‘m trying to get more efficient cars, I‘m trying to build new nuclear power plants.  And so, that‘s his message that he‘s kind of putting forward.

I don‘t really see, though, that this speech that he made today is going to be able to translate effectively into legislative action because the two parties just continue to fight—and as you just previewed, are very far apart on the solutions to America‘s energy situation.

UYGUR:  Is he going to throw the EPA partly under the bus?

SLOCUM:  I think that Obama will definitely throw the EPA under the bus if he gets some sort of pro-active legislative agenda to replace it.

UYGUR:  Like what?

SLOCUM:  And that‘s what he‘s talking about.  Well, we saw what he did when he signed off on the climate bill back in 2009 that established a cap-and-trade system, that a lot of environmentalists and some folks in industry supported and that eviscerated EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

And so, I think the things that Obama would like to see is some establishment of a clean energy standard, like what he previewed in the State of the Union address, some expansion of offshore drilling and mandating that oil companies develop existing leases that they‘re already sitting on.

UYGUR:  Right.  But, Tyson, as far as his priorities are concerned -

is it any way reasonable that the expectation that the Republicans would go towards him?  Are they really going to say, oh, cap and trade, let‘s discuss it?  No way, right?  I mean—

      

SLOCUM:  Right.

UYGUR:  Can he get anything from them?

SLOCUM:  I really don‘t see that there‘s a point of agreement or intersection between the two parties.  I mean, when the Republicans dust off their tired play book of “drill, baby drill,” when even the Bush administration concluded in 2007 that opening up all areas that are currently off-limits offshore in the United States to new drilling would have an insignificant impact on prices and imports, that shows that drilling is not going to be the answer.  We have to focus on alternatives.

UYGUR:  Tyson, that‘s the thing that drives me crazy.  That‘s the

final question for you.  I mean, for decades, I‘ve been hearing oh, we‘ve

got to get independent of foreign oil, as if we get the oil.  Can you just

am I getting this wrong?  I mean, when BP or ExxonMobil drills for oil, they don‘t give it to you, do they?  They never showed up at my house and give me a tank of gas.  They keep the oil and sell it all over the world, right?

      

SLOCUM:  Well, I mean, most of the time when they‘re drilling domestically here, it makes more business sense for them to sell it into a massive consumption market like the United States.  You‘ve got pipelines and infrastructure.

Legally, they can sell it anywhere.  But when the number one consumption market, when one out of every four barrels of oil is consumed here in the United States, it makes business sense to sell in to that very lucrative market.

UYGUR:  Right.  But they‘re selling it to us.  It‘s not like we get the oil.  They sell it.  They get a profit.  So, how are we getting the oil?

SLOCUM:  Well, I mean, that‘s a good point.  It‘s a globally priced market, and the United States is the third largest oil producer in the world.  Very few Americans know that.  It‘s just that we consume so much.

But the oil companies make out like bandits.  When it cost them about $18 in costs to pull a barrel of oil out of the ground and they‘re selling it into the U.S. market for more than $100, you do the math.  That is great profit numbers for the big oil companies.  And more than 80 percent of their campaign contributions are going to Republicans.

UYGUR:  Look, I don‘t mind people making a huge profit if it didn‘t come from our hide.  They‘re taking our oil.  They‘re saying, hey, let me drill for more oil and then I‘m going to charge you an $82 profit per barrel.  It‘s insanity, right?  All right.

SLOCUM:  And there‘s thousands of leases in the Gulf of Mexico where oil companies aren‘t even paying a dime in loyalties to the American taxpayer.

UYGUR:  Aaah!  OK.  All right.  I get frustrated by politics.

All right.  Tyson Slocum, thank you very much.  We appreciate it.

SLOCUM:  Yes.  My pleasure.

UYGUR:  All right.

Now, we have an update about a FOX News executive who admitted to lying on air about Barack Obama and socialism.  How much it‘s going to affect what FOX News so-called reporters said on air?  Those stunning numbers, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  Yesterday, we told you that conservatives are so desperate to demonize President Obama‘s intervention in Libya that they‘ve latched on the idea that Libyan rebels are really in cahoots with al Qaeda.  That‘s scary.  Oh, my God, al Qaeda!

Even though the top U.S. NATO commander says, quote, “The intelligence that I‘m receiving at this point makes me feel that the leadership I‘m that seeing are responsible men and women who are struggling against Colonel Gadhafi.”  So, apparently, those scare tactics about al Qaeda are nonsense.

But, of course, that‘s not going to stop Glenn Beck.  He‘s got to outdo everyone else.  So, he‘s added some twists to the theory that President Obama is helping the terrorists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  We‘re protecting the killers and the terrorists.  We have gone from a nation who was doing the wrong thing by siding with Mubarak, to a nation who is doing an even greater evil by arming al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, which empowers Iran and also, in the end, destroys Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  That was fantastic, man.  There was so many ridiculous comments in just two sentences.  That‘s why he‘s the record holder in crazy.  Nobody can beat him.

So, let‘s bring it down real quick.  First, by fighting against Gadhafi, we‘re now apparently helping terrorists and killers.  But guess what we would have been doing if we let Gadhafi kill the opposition?  You guessed it, helping terrorists and killers.

So, in Glenn Beck‘s world, all roads lead to President Obama helping terrorists, literally no matter what he does.

Second, to further make that point, he then says we were wrong for helping Mubarak and we‘re now even more wrong for helping his opposition.  So, those are your two options in evaluating the president.  Wrong or more wrong.

Third, somehow the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has jumped to the Libyan opposition.  OK, maybe, they‘re neighbors.  But then they jumped all the way to Shiite Iran and joined this some sort of evil, crazy plan against Israel while in the middle of fighting against Gadhafi.  Does anyone else get lost in these conspiracies?

I don‘t get it.  Where is ACORN in all this?  How did they start this?

Finally, how did we wind up destroying Israel by helping pro-democracy rebels in Libya?  Where the hell that does come from?  And how is Van Jones responsible?  I want to know.

All right, now the Ohio House has just passed a collective bargaining bill that‘s even worse than the one in Wisconsin.  Congratulations.

Hey, but don‘t worry, progressives are fighting back.  We‘ll show you why their plan just might work.

And Congressman Rick Santorum blames abortion for the demise of Social Security.  We‘re going to try to figure that out together and we‘ll have that awesome piece of logic for you a little later.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  Wisconsin Republicans continue to blatantly violate the legal orders to stop implementation of the anti-union bill they jammed through the legislature.  They ignored a judge‘s order halting implementation.  So, late yesterday, the same judge blocked it again, saying, quote, and I love this quote, “Apparently, that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of Act 10 was enjoined.  That is now what I want to make crystal clear.”

I like it.  She‘s like Tom Cruise.  Are we clear?  Crystal!  I think that‘s a combination of “A Few Good Men” and “Top Gun,” but you get the point.

All right.  But immediately after the ruling, the state assistant attorney general said the legislation was, quote, “absolutely still in effect.”  The Republican translation: we don‘t need no stinking courts.  We‘re Republicans!

And they have also completely given up on the charade of saying that the bill was to close the budget gap.  The state Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, sent out a fundraising letter this week, removing any doubt about why they rammed through the bill.  Look, he wrote, quote, “Unions have ruined California and Illinois, but they‘re not going to ruin Wisconsin, that is because Republicans faced down big labor‘s bully tactics and a Democratic walk-out in the state Senate to break the power of unions like WEAC and AFSCME once and for all.”

So, the Republican mentality that union-busting is a good thing, unfortunately, did not resonate with the general public for them.  If the Wisconsin election was re-held now, Governor Walker would lose by seven points to this 2010 opponent.

But it‘s worse for his buddy in Ohio.  Governor Kasich would lose to his opponent, former Governor Ted Strickland, by 15 points.

So, you get it.  Voters all across the country are realizing they got sold a bill of goods.  They got problems and then they got something else completely.

Look, these guys don‘t care about balancing the budget or creating jobs.  And now you know that.  They just want to do hit jobs on their political opponents, which they now admit, and enrich themselves and their donors.

By the way, speaking of which, the biggest loser is Governor Rick Scott of Florida.  If his election was held today, he‘d lose by 19 points.

Look, obviously we can‘t just do do-overs, right, like we did back in, what, kick ball, dodge ball?  Back over the day, those are fine.  But there are other perfectly legitimate remedies.

In Wisconsin, efforts to recall eligible Republican state senators are actually going very strong.

In Ohio, Democrats are opting for a referendum.

Now, an hour ago, the Ohio House approved a union-busting bill that‘s more severe than the one in Wisconsin.  The state Senate could vote on it as soon as this evening.  But we didn‘t see massive rallies in Columbus today like we did in Wisconsin.  They chose a different path.  Instead, opponents are planning a petition drive to get a referendum on the ballot this November to repeal the entire bill.

Now, I‘d love to see the Republicans talk about the will of the people then.  That would be fun.

Joining me now is Chris Redfern.  He‘s the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.  He knows a lot more about this.

So, tell me about the referendum.  How does that work?

CHRIS REDFERN, OHIO DEM. PARTY CHAIR:  Just another great day in the Midwest, huh, Cenk?

UYGUR:  Yes.

REDFERN:  Well, here in Ohio, we have the chance to repeal this tough piece of legislation that really harms the middle class by collecting about a quarter million signatures spread across 44 of the 88 counties.  We have to do that in 90 days.

And then that language will be placed on the ballot this November.  It will be a chance for the people of the state to stand up collectively and join together on behalf of those who fight fires and police our streets, teach our children, protect our water and sewer, and stand up for the middle class.

We‘ll put this thing on the ballot this November.  The people will speak.  This bill will be repealed and then we can go about focusing on the 2012 election and holding those who supported this kind anti-working people legislation accountable.

UYGUR:  All right, Chris, I know Kasich‘s numbers are disastrous, right?

REDFERN:  Yes.

UYGUR:  But does that mean the referendum will pass?  Do you have any numbers on that or any reason to believe that you‘re going to win on that?

REDFERN:  Well, there‘s been polling that indicates when voters here in Ohio are asked whether or not police and firefighters should able to gather together collectively and ask for contracts before the local—local city council, 55 percent of Ohioans agree that Ohioans should have that right to do so.

I guess, the legislature controlled by Republicans and this governor don‘t understand it.  But we‘re going to give them a chance to understand this November.  But that referendum process is a bit of a burden.  We do have to collect a quarter million signatures across 44 counties.  Your viewers can go to OhioDems.org to learn more about this effort and hopefully get involved, as well.

UYGUR:  All right.  So, Kasich, in some crazy, ironic way wind up helping you guys.  Because, look, he won the general election.  He said, oh, I‘m going to do this, I‘m going to do that, I‘m going to create jobs and that didn‘t happen.  Now, we see his real agenda—does that give the Democrats ammunition to say, see, we told you so?  We told you they didn‘t mean it?

REDFERN:  Well, no, to his credit, John Kasich didn‘t ever tell anyone publicly he was going to attack the middle class.  He talked about creating jobs and how we were going to focus on creating jobs.  He didn‘t say he was going to go after police and firefighters.

Of course, John Kasich is a typical politician.  He‘ll attend all of the ceremonies and say all the right things on behalf of law enforcement or on behalf of corrections officers and firefighters.  But after he‘s sworn in, the day his hand leaves the Bible, he attacks the middle class by suggesting to these police and firefighters that they‘re not allowed to collectively bargain before their employer.

If he had said those things back in October or September, he wouldn‘t have been elected.  The same thing is repeated in Florida and in Wisconsin.  The voters in the Midwest and, of course, in Florida, got a bill of goods.

UYGUR:  Right.

REDFERN:  And, unfortunately, we now have to respond.  But we will -

we will respond in kind and we‘ll be successful this November.

      

UYGUR:  All right.  Chris, real quick, one last random thing for you.

REDFERN:  Sure.

UYGUR:  He also finally wants to drill in state parks.

REDFERN:  Yes, drill in state parks.  He wants to drill for oil and natural gas in state parks, nature preserves—areas that have been set aside by Republican and Democratic governors in the past.  He‘s even talked about drilling under Lake Erie.

It‘s the kind of approach that is so reckless that really words can‘t describe the feelings that we have here in Ohio.  I think, though, by slowing down this particular piece of legislation, the governor will hear the resounding voice of Ohioans collectively this November and hopefully that will derail his other ideas.

UYGUR:  All right.  Chris Redfern, thank you for your time tonight. 

We appreciate it.

REDFERN:  Hey, thanks.  Thanks, Cenk.

UYGUR:  All right.  Thank you.

Coming up next: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has made her state the first in the nation to criminalize abortion if it‘s done because of the raise or gender of the baby.  How would you not know the—how would that make—I can‘t understand it.  We‘re going to try to figure it out together.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  Late breaking news that the president has authorized U.S.  support for the rebels in Libya.  It‘s supposed to be a secret order by the president.  So, shhh, don‘t tell anybody.

Wait a minute.  I just told you about it.  So, I suppose it‘s not that secret after all.

The reality sometimes the secret orders are leaked if it helps the government make their political case.  For instance, here, the administration gets to assure everyone at home, including their critics, that we‘re helping the rebels while being able to deny it to some of our coalition partners who would publicly not be happy about that.

Hence, the non-covert covert order.  We just try to educate young journalists.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  Across the country, the right wing war on abortion is racing ahead full steam.  Not even slowing down to check of it‘s getting its facts straight.

The latest nonsense argument comes from former senator and current presidential wannabe, Rick Santorum.  Everybody, laugh with me like he‘s going to be president.

All right.  Santorum wants to blame problems with the nation‘s Social Security system on what he calls our abortion culture.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM ®, FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  The Social Security system, in my opinion, is a flawed design, period.  But having said that, the design would work a lot better if we had stable demographic trends.  We don‘t have enough workers to support the retirees.  A third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  That is a unique argument.  Never mind that the Congressional Budget Office says Social Security is funded through 2037 and that if all those babies were born, they would also need Social Security at some point.

But logic has never been Rick Santorum‘s strong suit.

But what Republicans are doing about abortion is even scarier.  In Ohio today, Republicans on the House committee voted to support a bill outlawing abortions at the first detectible heart beat, often around six weeks into the pregnancy.  If that sounds awfully early, it is.  Supporters call it the toughest abortion law in the country and say they welcome a legal challenge hoping that it goes to the Supreme Court and gives them a chance to overturn Roe versus Wade.

In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer has signed into a law a measure banning any abortion sought because of the race or sex of the fetus.  It appears to be the first—the nation‘s first ever such law.  Supporters say they‘re fighting discrimination—which is a questionable way of doing it.  We‘ll talk more about that in a second.

And now, this racially themed (ph) attack on abortion has come to the Windy City.  A group whose anti-aborting sparked outrage in New York is back with more.  This time on the south side of Chicago.  The new bill boards depict President Obama with the words, “Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.”  The anti-abortion group Life Always says the images are aimed at, quote, “The disproportionate number of abortions among African-Americans.”

Last month, the group‘s New York City billboard was removed after an outcry.  That one read, “The most dangerous for an African-American is in the womb.”

By the way, did you know that they used the image of a young black girl there from a stock photo without getting her approval?  How mad would you be if they put your picture or your daughter‘s picture on that billboard without getting permission?  Luckily they had to take that down.

With me now is Toni Bond Leonard. She‘s the co-founder and president and CEO of Black Women for Reproductive Justice.

Let me ask by asking this—let me start by asking this.  You know, they say that there is a disproportionate number of abortions among African-American women.  Is that true?

TONI BOND LEONARD, BLACK WOMEN FOR REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE:  Well, I think the bigger fact is that black women have more rates of unplanned pregnancy.  And we really shouldn‘t be focusing on the issue of abortion in terms of what all those billboards are saying.  The bigger issue is the fact that black women have higher rates of unplanned pregnancy and we need to talk about why.

And the reason why is because black women and girls have the least access to family planning methods, ways to control their reproductive autonomy, as well as the least access to comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education.  So, what we‘re really talking about, what the issue should be is how can we help not just black women but all women have the tools that they need to control their fertility.  We need to be talking about how do we get comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education in the public schools.

UYGUR:  Right.

LEONARD:  And we need to be talking about access to family planning services, not things like cutting Title 10 benefits.

UYGUR:  Well, there‘s an irony here, because Republicans say they want to cut Planned Parenthood because they‘re against abortion.  The Republicans are against abortion.  But if they cut Planned Parenthood, then doesn‘t that create more unplanned pregnancies because they can‘t help local women?

LEONARD:  Absolutely.  When you think about, for instance, for example, the billboards that are here in Chicago right now, if you tear it all apart, you really have to ask the question, what are you really talking about?  What is the motive behind these billboards?

But these billboards don‘t talk about creating healthier lives for black women, their families and the communities in which they live.  These billboards are racially motivated.  They are actually saying that black women are—they are charging black women for committing—killing future potential black leaders and that‘s just not only horrible but despicable.

You‘re actually saying—you‘re challenging black women‘s reproductive integrity and the racial integrity.

UYGUR:  Right.

LEONARD:  And to put those billboards in a community on the south side of Chicago that is economically depressed and people have high rates of unemployment, living in food deserts—

UYGUR:  Right.  Let me -- 

LEONARD:  It just doesn‘t compute.

UYGUR:  I hear you.  And, look, the idea that they‘re trying to help you is comical.  I get that, right?  But on the other hand, you know, they‘re saying, look, African-American women are getting higher rates of abortion for whatever reason, and I actually—of course, I agree with your reasoning behind it.  It makes a lot of sense, right?

But hence we‘re going to try to reach the African-American community.  Well, isn‘t that fair?

LEONARD:  That‘s not the way to reach the African-American community.  Reaching out to the African-American community by putting up a billboard that basically vilifies black women and also putting an image of President Obama, who—this is his hometown.  And the African-American community embraces President Obama.  We voted for him in massive numbers.

So, to slap a billboard up on the side of a building across from a vacant lot that‘s filled with garbage, trash, broken bottles, syringe needles, crack vials, tell me how they care about black women.

UYGUR:  All right.  Toni Bond Leonard, very clear.

LEONARD:  They don‘t.

UYGUR:  Very clear on that.  Thank you so much.  We appreciate it.

LEONARD:  Thank you.

UYGUR:  All right.  Yes, absolutely.  Now, next, an update for you about the FOX News executive who admitted to lying on TV about Obama and socialism.  Well, that‘s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  Yesterday, we told you about an audiotape obtained by Media Matters.  In it, FOX News executive Bill Sammon admitted that he lied to FOX News viewers about Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.  Sammon described his attempts to link Obama to socialism, even though he believed that idea to be farfetched.

Now, even though Sammon thought the claim was basically ridiculous, he tried to get all the FOX shows to join in on the socialism theme any way by sending out a mass e-mail to FOX News staffers with a subject line reading; “fyi, Obama‘s references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists in his autobiography, ‘Dreams from My Father.‘”  In other words, reminding all the staff, hey, make sure you reference that between now and the election.  Remember, socialist, Marxist, say it on air.

Well, did it work?  Well, let‘s see what affect it had on their reporting.  Let‘s take a look at what the people on FOX said on air between the day that Sammon sent that letter and the day of the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS:  Many Americans actually do care very much about the question of whether Barack Obama has socialist-like policies.

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS:  For the record, those are socialistic terms.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  Is America about to elect a man who‘s been dishonest to them about his radical associates, a man who is a socialist?

Let me ask you a couple questions about this redistribution of wealth, Senator, redistribution, is it socialism?

VICTORIA JACKSON, MCCAIN SUPPORTER:  I think Obama is a communist and my husband said, don‘t use that word, say radical or Marxist.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

UYGUR:  Victoria Jackson, what she‘s still doing on TV?

All right.  As Media Matters points out in the days between Sammon‘s October 27th e-mail and the November 4th election, FOX employees linked Obama to socialism, Marxism or communism at least 35 times on air.  That is a brief window to say it that many times.

Now, since the story has gotten out, Sammon has told “The Daily Beast” that he doesn‘t regret repeatedly raising it on air because it was a main point of discussion in all the media.  He goes to claim that by 2009, he was, quote, “astonished by how the needle had moved.”  Yes, that‘s FOX propaganda hard at work for you.

So, let‘s summarize.  He didn‘t believe it when he said it, but he got everybody on FOX to talk about it, so it seemed that the media was constantly bringing it up, which he then uses a justification to say that people say it all the time.  So, he must be retroactively right.

Or another way to say it is that he launched a preemptive attack on the truth and he‘s now declaring mission accomplished.

FOX has successfully injected this brazen lie into the national conversation.  This is what they consider success at FOX News.

All right, thanks for watching.  That‘s our show for tonight.  Obviously, you can follow me online at TheYoungTurks.com, YouTube.com/TheYoungTurks, TYTNation at Facebook, et cetera.

We‘ve had a fun time tonight and you will have an equally fun time on HARDBALL.  And it starts right now.

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