The Ed Show for Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, Eric Boehlert, Lee Papa, Amy Holmes
RACHEL MADDOW, “TRMS” HOST: Highly recommend it. And thanks, Goldie, for doing our first ever guest op-ed.
Now, it‘s time for THE ED SHOW. Have a good night.
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight, live from Minneapolis.
Today, the first African-American president in the nation‘s history was compelled to show his long-form birth certificate to prove he is an American citizen. It is a day of shame for Republicans.
This is THE ED SHOW. Let‘s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We got better stuff to do. I‘ve got better stuff to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Tonight, the president‘s full address. The bogus reaction from Donald Trump. The racial undertones of the birther movement with Michael Eric Dyson and Reverend Al Sharpton, Eric Boehlert on the right wing media role in all of this, and Amy Holmes with Republican reaction.
SCHULTZ: This is the story that has me fired up tonight: President Obama holding three fund-raisers this evening in Manhattan. And moments ago, I give a lot of credit. He put the birther story right where it needs to be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: My name is Barack Obama.
OBAMA: I was born in Hawaii.
OBAMA: The 50th state of the United States of America.
OBAMA: No one checked my ID on the way in. But just in case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, after four years as a United States senator, 827 days as president of the United States, and two best-selling autobiographies, President Obama felt compelled to prove again to the country that he was born in the United States of America.
This morning, the White House released the president‘s long-form birth certificate to the media and the president addressed the made-up controversy from the briefing room.
So, now, after all the psychos have been out there hogging up all the network airtime with this absolute nonsense, the president, I think, deserves to have his full side of the story told tonight unedited.
Here are his comments in its entirety from today.
OBAMA: As many of you have been briefed, we provided additional information today about the site of my birth.
Now, this issue has been going on for two, 2 ½ years now. I think it started during the campaign. And I have to say that over the last 2 ½ years, I have watched with bemusement. I‘ve been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going.
We‘ve had every official in Hawaii, Democrat and Republican, every news outlet that has investigated this confirm that, yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4th, 1961, in Kapiolani hospital. We‘ve posted the certification that is given by the state of Hawaii on the Internet for everybody to see. People have provided affidavits that they, in fact, have seen this birth certificate and, yet, this thing just keeps on going.
Now, normally, I would not comment on something like this because, obviously, there‘s a lot of stuff swirling in the press at any given day. You know, I‘ve got other things to do. But two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors, even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week, the dominant news story wasn‘t about these huge monumental choices that we‘re going to have to make as a nation. It was about my birth certificate. And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here.
And so, I just want to make a larger point here. We‘ve got some enormous challenges out there. There are a lot of folks out there who are still looking for work. Everybody is still suffering under high gas prices. We‘re going to have to make a series of very difficult decisions about how we invest in our future, but also get ahold of our deficit and our debt. How do we do that in a balanced way?
And this is going to generate huge and serious debates, important debates. And there are going to be some fierce disagreements. And that‘s good. That‘s how democracy is supposed to work.
And I am confident that the American people and America‘s political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We always have.
But we‘re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted. We‘re not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. We‘re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We‘re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers.
We live in a serious time right now, and we have the potential to deal with the issues that we confront in a way that will make our kids and our grandkids and great grandkids proud. And I have every confidence that America in the 21st century is going to be able to come out on top just like we always have.
But we‘re going to have to get serious to do it. And I know that there‘s going to be a segment of people for which no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest.
But I‘m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We‘ve got better stuff to do. I‘ve got better stuff to do.
We‘ve got big problems to solve. And I‘m confident we can solve them, but we‘re going to have to focus on them. Not on this.
Thanks very much, everybody.
SCHULTZ: I am so glad the president of the United States came out and did exactly what he did today. Not going to be any hammering from this broadcaster. Well, I really don‘t know how this is politically going to play out. It plays out perfect. Why? Because it is the truth.
And there are too many people across this country who do believe all this psycho talk that takes place by these people who flat out hate this president. And I do believe that race is at the root of all of this. I‘ll get to that later on in this broadcast.
But there were a couple of statements in there that caught my attention with President Obama. First, make stuff up. He said, make stuff up. That tells me that the White House has been paying close attention to this for a long time.
And I think in the midst of all of this, we as Americans have forgotten that the guy you just watched there is a human being. He has feelings. He has emotions.
And the president of the United States has had to put up with this honky-tonk conversation in the media for too long. And it‘s unfortunate that in the media culture, any time somebody says something abrasive, they are going to get some kind of attention. Trump has proven that.
But to make stuff up, and that‘s exactly what‘s happened on one of the networks for the Republicans not to come out and be clean on this, we went through one of the most exhaustive vetting processes in the last presidential election.
And here we are when we have got 99ers out there, we‘ve got gas prices through the roof, we‘ve got foreign issues at the table like they‘ve never been before. And what are we doing as a country? We‘re focusing on this kind of garbage. Why? Because I think the media has failed in its job.
You know, the question is, when did the facts become facts? How many facts do we need as broadcasters to step up to the plate and say, you know what? This is really a nonstarter. It‘s a nonstory. And this isn‘t what really Americans are concerned about.
What the Republicans believe should not be the news story because facts do matter. And I think the media is responsible in many respects for the way this whole thing, all this garbage the way it‘s played out.
Now, the number one carnival barker in America got the news when he was on his helicopter this morning. The president put Trump to shame today. But that didn‘t stop the slime bucket from Manhattan from inventing a victory lap. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MAGNATE: I‘m very proud of myself because I‘ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish. I want to look at it, but I hope it‘s true, so that we can get on to much more important matters so the press can stop asking me questions.
He should have done it a long time ago. Why he didn‘t do it when the Clintons asked for it, I don‘t know. But I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully—hopefully, getting rid of this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: He‘s proud. Donald Trump is proud of himself that he can hog the cameras. That he can invent a story. That he can make up lies. He‘s proud of himself.
Well, he‘s showing America that he doesn‘t deserve to be anywhere near the Oval Office or any—to have any political party endorse him for anything. The man has no character. He has no integrity and his bank account is no measurement of any of that.
He says he‘s proud. Well, I guess maybe we better follow his lead again tonight.
I am proud. I am proud that “The Ed Schultz” radio show and THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC never really got involved in any of this birther talk, because I believe the president of the United States and there was plenty of evidence by many sources out there that he was born in the United States of America.
And on this program a little over a week ago, I endorsed Donald Trump. I want him to run against President Obama because I think this is really who the Republicans are. And the fact of the matter is, when I asked the question, if Donald Trump really wants to be a public servant or a media whore, I think he answered that question today. It‘s media whore in my opinion.
Public service, think about that—trying to do something for someone else, trying to make a difference in people‘s lives. That‘s what being a public servant is all about. Trump is about Trump, and all about Trump and always has been all about Trump.
And Trump wasn‘t the only Republican presidential candidate to react to this story today.
Mitt Romney tweeted, “What President Obama should really be releasing is a jobs plan.” Really, Mitt? Where the hell is your jobs plan?
The president has a jobs plan and that‘s why we‘re adding jobs in this country. And, of course, Newt Gingrich had to slime it up with some talking points at “Talking Points Memo.” “All I would say is, why did it take so long? This whole thing is very strange.”
Yes, it‘s strange just like your personal life, Newt. You got some explanation on your character?
And John Boehner took a break from lying about subsidies for oil companies today to weigh in on the president‘s birth certificate. Hiding behind his spokesman, Brendan Buck, Boehner says this, “Obama‘s birth certificate has long been a settled issue. The speaker‘s focus is on cutting spending, lowering gas prices and creating American jobs.”
If John Boehner thinks this is settled, he needs to show some leadership tonight—and force the Republicans in the House to drop the birther bill that they are trying to push through.
But don‘t hold your breath because we all have to remember, what the speaker of the House told Brian Williams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That‘s good enough for me.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Would you be willing to say that
message to the 12 members in your caucus who seem to either believe
otherwise or are willing to express doubt and have co-sponsored legislation
BOEHNER: Brian, when you come to the Congress of the United States, there are 435 of us. We‘re nothing more than a slice of America. And people come—regardless of party labels—they come with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. It‘s the melting pot of America. It‘s not up to me to tell them what to think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All kinds of beliefs and ideas. In other words—well, facts might be facts but that doesn‘t matter for lawmakers. Hell, they can just make stuff.
You know, no matter how the Republicans spin this, they own this issue. They own this story. They have been peddling it.
Republicans have introduced birther bills, heck, in state legislative sessions all over America. Why? Because they think they can get people to believe that President Obama doesn‘t deserve to be in the White House.
Elected Republicans and, of course, the hate merchants on right wing radio across America have fueled this conspiracy theory for years. And it‘s had an effect. Conservatives have convinced 45 percent of Republicans that President Obama was born in a different country. And another 22 percent, they don‘t know where the hell the president was born.
Isn‘t this a sad state of affairs in this country right now? That our president was at a point where he felt compelled to come out one more time and serve it up to the American people that this is wrong.
I wonder what they are saying in government high school classes across America right now.
Republicans refuse to accept the truth. America‘s first black president—how sad it is—he‘s had to show his papers again to the people. And as I said earlier in this commentary tonight, you know, the president is human. He probably sits home at night with his wife and his kids and has this constant pounding on the news about whether he‘s really an American enough, whether he‘s good enough.
Republicans have proven again that they are morally and intellectually bankrupt when it comes to good ideas for this country and to fair play and to honest play.
The president of the United States did exactly what he should have done today. And the president of the United States tonight put this whole issue right where it belongs—in the joke column at a fundraiser.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know exactly what you think on this tonight. Tonight‘s question: Will President Obama‘s long-form birth certificate finally silence the birthers? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. And you can go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com and, of course, give us a comment. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Politics, of course, played a huge part in this birther mess—ugly politics with racism simmering underneath it all. Reverend Al Sharpton and Professor Michael Eric Dyson will join me in a moment. And later, Eric Boehlert of “Media Matters” of how right wingers bought and brought it to the American people day after day and how the media, down the trail, played a big role when it came to the birther story.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Coming up: Michael Eric Dyson and the Reverend Al Sharpton on the president‘s release of his birth certificate.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.
I want to remind you how Speaker of the House John Boehner reacted to the release of President Obama‘s long-form birth certificate. Boehner‘s spokesman said this, quote, “This has long been a settled issue. The speaker‘s focus is on cutting spending, lowering gas prices, and creating American jobs.”
We showed you what Boehner said to Brian Williams. Here‘s what he said two months ago on “Meet the Press.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: It‘s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people. Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born in. That‘s good enough for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And if you think that sounds wishy-washy, listen to Congressman Eric Cantor from a few months ago on the very same issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: Somebody brings that up just engaging in crazy talk?
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, David, I don‘t think it‘s nice to call anyone crazy, OK?
GREGORY: All right. Is it a legitimate or illegitimate issue?
CANTOR: I don‘t think it‘s an issue we need to address at all. I think we need to focus --
GREGORY: His citizenship should never be questioned in your judgment, is that what you‘re saying?
CANTOR: It is not an issue that even needs to be on the policy-making table right now.
GREGORY: Because it‘s illegitimate? I mean, why don‘t you just call it what it is? I feel like there‘s a lot of Republicans don‘t want to go as far as to criticize those folks.
CANTOR: I think the president is a citizen of the United States.
GREGORY: Why is it you want me to engage in name calling?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And even when Congressman Michele Bachmann recently admitted that this was a settled issue, she tries to give herself some wiggle room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: I got the president‘s certificate right here. It‘s certified. It‘s got a certification number. It‘s got the registrar of the state signed. It‘s got a seal on it and it says this copy serves as prima facie evidence of the fact of birth in any court proceeding.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Well, then, that should settle it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It‘s over?
BACHMANN: That‘s what should settle it. I take the president at his word, and I think for any—again, I would have no problem, and, apparently, the president wouldn‘t either, introduce that. We‘re done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, this has been introduced. So, this case is—this story is over?
BACHMANN: Well, as long as someone introduces it, I guess it‘s over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, Republican leaders have never really wanted to completely shut the door on this issue. It‘s like they got in the caucus and said, kind of distance yourself from it but don‘t slam it away because you never know where the American people are going to go on this. Maybe we can get the majority of Americans to believe these illegitimate and should not be president.
And other Republicans openly stoked it—like the House Republicans who co-sponsored a birther bill. It‘s gone way too far for too long.
Let‘s bring in the president of the National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton with us tonight. And professor of sociologist at Georgetown University, Michael Eric Dyson.
Gentlemen, great to have you with us.
Reverend, I‘ll ask you first. If this had been a white president, would we be seeking his birth certificate the way they have been doing this on President Obama and the work over we‘ve seen for 2 ½ years? What do you think?
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Frankly, I don‘t believe we would. And I don‘t think it is just the birth certificate, though—clearly, that has gone way out of bounds. And the media coverage, the saturation day and night has been appalling.
But now, we‘ve also gone to questioning whether or not he was qualified to go to the schools he went to, even though he graduated from Harvard as the president of the law journal, something that you don‘t get other than to earn it. He graduated top of his class, in the top circle of his class.
I think that—then you‘ve got people questioning whether he is what they call a Christian. It‘s this whole sense of you‘re other than American, that too many people, African-Americans, clearly, but even Latinos and women in some cases, and anyone other than them, white, wealthy males, have to prove themselves worthy. It‘s a sense of entitlement. Prove you are one of the Americans.
SHARPTON: And I think that this is appalling and it‘s not the kind of America that most Americans want. And I thought that was indicated in the ‘08 elections. I think it‘s sad we had to come back to this. And I think that the president did the right thing, but it‘s sad he had to do it.
SCHULTZ: Professor Dyson, will America recover from this? Will we move forward from this, or will this always be here?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, the stain of white supremacy and the legacy of bigotry remains with us, the malignant persistence of the vitriolic and vicious denunciation of Mr. Obama. Don‘t forget, a week ago, we had a Republican official presenting a picture of Mr. Obama as a chimpanzee. So, not only is this as Reverend Al Sharpton has brilliantly expressed, a way to otherize him, to make him other than American, to make him un-American—it also questions his humanity.
So, skepticism about black intelligence and questions about black humanity are at the heart of what it means to be an American as well. We try to pretend that this other side is the shadow side that has been really relegated to the margins of our society. But every now and again, things like this remind us that these are major currents that trace beneath our lives together.
We talk about out “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one—many different ways, diverse understandings, divergent ethnicities and races and religions that characterize us at our best.
Here is a man, Barack Obama, as brilliant as they come, as smart as any president has ever been, as articulate as any man has ever been to occupy that office, as well-trained and well-educated and yet, well-mannered, well-behaved, civil. He has not been defensive or nasty or vicious. And yet this man has been brought to the bar, so to speak, to prove his humanity. He has been put up on the rhetorical auction block of Republican slave-thinking to be made to appear again as a victim to be examined to see if he‘s worthy or not of the legitimacy that they can confer.
And the question is: what legitimacy do you have to confer upon Mr.
Obama, Donald Trump?
DYSON: Here—you know, so, I guess, Ed, this is a problematic situation, and I think it does reveal the American character. And unless we are able to put this into proper perspective, we have to indict ourselves as well as the Republicans.
SCHULTZ: Reverend Sharpton, what do you say to the Republican Party. You saw those sound bites from the leadership—Boehner, Cantor and, of course, Michele Bachmann, who continually puts herself into the news media into the news cycle. There‘s this, you know, let‘s not go too far. Let‘s make sure that we still stoke this fire a little bit.
They will not unequivocally set the record straight, and they will not tell other members in the Congress on their side to get rid of these ridiculous birther bills. What does that say about the state of politics in this country with all the evidence where it is right now?
SHARPTON: See, I think the latter of what you said is what is most troubling because people have the right to say what they want. The question is, now, you are going into legislation. You have actual state legislations that—state legislative bodies that are entertaining legislation on birther bills, never happened before in American history. You have the governor of Louisiana saying I would sign it—never happened before in American history.
So, we‘re not talking now about free speech. We‘re talking about people engaged in legislative distractions—in states that are dealing with deficits, in states that are laying off workers, that are disrupting families, where we are dealing with gas prices that are going up. With serious problems and they want to entertain this that they know is complete folly. They would rather engage in the politics of distraction than to really lay out in front of the American people their solutions.
SHARPTON: And I think that where I charge the media, I ran for president. I have been an activist all my life. But when I ran, I had to lay out what was my health policies going to be, where was I on education. We did the debates on conservation, on energy.
We had to deal with the issues. No one has said to Mr. Trump, he‘s in New Hampshire today, where is your policies on bringing down the gas? Where is your policies on the economy?
You claim you build businesses. How would you deal with the deficit?
He‘s not being confronted with these questions. He‘s allowed to duck by going through these nonissues and is being going over and over again. It‘s time to tell them to put up or shut up.
SCHULTZ: And, Professor, you‘re on college campus at Georgetown, shaping the next generation. What kind of an impact do you think this has on young people when they see this hatefulness unfold in the media and compelling the president with all these falsehoods to come out and take the high road, but try to redirect the focus of the country? What kind of impact do you think this is having on the 20-somethings that you deal with?
DYSON: Well, I think it‘s an object lesson in the invidious politics of inference, trying to imply, trying to suggest that he‘s less than. He‘s not equal to the strange algebra of bigotry. I think that they will see again clearly that their generation bears a responsibility and a determination to be better than those who came before and to suggest that the birther movement, the Tea Party movement, the questioning of the legitimacy of an American citizen, this should not happen to any human being. And no other president has had to be subject to such vicious calumny assault upon his very reputation and his identity, and be brought like a little boy before the school classroom to prove that he didn‘t stick the gum underneath his desk.
I mean, this kind of—and we‘re allowing a very few to determine what the masses of people do. I think that all good Americans of conscience should speak up and say enough of this already. We must move on to the serious business.
We‘ve got enormous inflation. We‘ve got to deal with unemployment. We‘ve got to talk about health care policy. We have to talk about two or three wars. We have to talk about drones in Libya. We have to speak about education.
We have to speak about the central issues for which we hired the president of the United States of America to do a good job. And if he is distracted, as Reverend Al Sharpton said, by these lethal tendencies of a few people to elevate themselves as the grand leaders of America, without paying attention to the powerful currents of democracy, what we are sullying here is not simply one man‘s reputation. We‘re sullying the very reputation of democracy.
SCHULTZ: Finally, Reverend Sharpton, you know the president well.
Has he been personally affected by this?
SHARPTON: I have not talked to him about it. But I would assume anyone, especially with children, that has to go home every night and their children constantly hearing on every newscast the question of whether they are a citizen of the country that elected them to lead it—when do you become a part of America?
You go to the schools. You educate yourself. You lift yourself up. You win an election overwhelmingly. Yet you still don‘t belong. That would have to affect anyone.
And what bothers me—I think the president is a tough man. I think the First Lady is a tough lady. But what bothers me is young Americans of all races that look at this and say, when does everybody count? When do you have to stop proving who you are in order to excel in this country, even after you win the presidency of the United States?
That‘s the shame of this issue.
SCHULTZ: Well, gentlemen, I do believe that race is at the pit of all of this.
SCHULTZ: And I think it is the dirty little secret of the Republican party. The dirty little secret of the Republican party. It‘s a sad day for America. And I hope we can move on from it. It needs to be addressed. And it needs to be spoken to. And it needs to be corrected.
I appreciate Reverend Al Sharpton, you being here tonight, along with you, Michael Eric Dyson. Thank you so much for joining us.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Mainstream media—the mainstream media followed along where Rush Limbaugh and Fox News took them. Eric Boehlert on how this Birther stuff just flat out got out of control. That‘s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The consensus has been, yeah, he‘s born in Hawaii. It isn‘t a big deal. They still can‘t prove it. This is stunning to me.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: He‘s digging in there. He‘s paying for researchers to find out why President Obama would have spent two million to not show his birth certificate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think of the fact that the president is refusing to show his birth certificate?
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Why haven‘t they just produced the certificate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have. They‘ve shown it. Anybody can go see it, just like you can see a copy—
HANNITY: That‘s not true.
HANNITY: They‘ve never allowed anybody to see it. That‘s the point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, the videotape is pretty clear. The right wing media promoted this Birther story, just like they promoted the Jeremiah Wright story, just like they promoted the Billy Ayers story, or any number of other made up controversies about President Obama.
And sadly, much of the mainstream media took the lead of these right wing propaganda outlets and made Birtherism into a top news story.
Let‘s bring in Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media Matters. Good evening, Eric. Good to have you with us.
Was this a coordinated effort in the last several months between Trump and Fox News?
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS: Absolutely. If you look at Fox News‘ history, up until about two months ago, Fox News had no interest in the Birther story. You go back to the 2008 campaign—I looked through the transcripts—I found exactly two references to the Birther story in the entire 2008 campaign. Both of those were to dismiss it.
In 2009, people like Bill O‘Reilly were denouncing the Birther story. Glenn Beck had called them idiots. Up until a couple months, Fox News, like most sane people, didn‘t think there was much there. Occasionally Sean Hannity would tweak Obama and talk about the birth certificate. But it wasn‘t considered a story.
But the moment Donald Trump decided he was going to make his Republican star turn, Fox News has gone Birther crazy. Even before today, as Media Matters chronicles. They‘ve had 50 segments about the Birther story. Not talking about, you know, it‘s a hoax. It‘s a fraud. Why are people pushing it?
But mostly 50 segments talking about it as if it‘s real, without acknowledging it‘s a fraud, without acknowledging it‘s been debunked. So Fox News has been driving this with an alliance with Donald Trump. No question.
SCHULTZ: The alliance with Trump, with Fox, manufacturing all of this. Did the rest of the media, in your opinion, take the bait?
BOEHLERT: I think they—yes, because Donald Trump is a celebrity. When a celebrity in our culture says something controversial and outrageous, they cover it. He went on CNN. He went on lots of places. He went on the networks.
Frankly, a lot of people weren‘t very strong with the pushback. Everyone knows the story is bogus. There‘s not a reporter in this country who thought this story was real.
And yet there is Donald Trump, you know, waltzing around the media landscape pretending it‘s real. In almost all the stories, there was a caveat, oh, by the way, it‘s not true. But they still kept printing the stories and airing the interviews. Big mistake.
SCHULTZ: Yes. You said not a reporter. What about Ed Henry and his question from CNN at the White House briefing the other day?
BOEHLERT: That was a little weird. Again, this was the day after Anderson Cooper, you know, put what CNN was claiming was a definitive debunking of the Birther story, a very good factual report. Then the next day—
SCHULTZ: Ed didn‘t get the memo. Apparently Ed didn‘t get the memo. Neither did anybody else at CNN. Does this, in your opinion, put the brakes on the story or will there be more?
BOEHLERT: Of course there is going to be more. Just look at the right wing fringe today. It‘s a fake. You know, what about his college, you know, his grades and all this stuff. It never ends. It never ends. It‘s delusional.
SCHULTZ: Eric Boehlert, Media Matters, thanks for joining us tonight.
The Republican party endorsed the Birthers and their questions long ago. Now they say it‘s the president‘s fault for bringing this birth certificate issue up. A conservative pundit will defend this behavior next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for staying with us tonight. You know, it hasn‘t just been the right wing media claiming that the president is hiding something about his birthplace. As we showed you tonight, many elected Republicans have embraced Birtherism. But today, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee not only said his party isn‘t interested in Birther talk, but that any talk about birth certificates is now President Obama‘s fault.
Chairman Priebus said this: “As I‘ve repeatedly stated, this issue is a distraction. The president ought to spend his time getting serious about repairing economy, working with Republicans and focusing on the long-term sustainability of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Unfortunately, his campaign politics and talk about birth certificates is distracting him from our number one priority, our economy.”
You know, when I saw this statement, I thought, you know, I need a Republican to explain to me how the party can justify this response on the heels of all of this Birther coverage.
Joining me tonight is co-host of the nationally syndicated show “America‘s Morning News,” Amy Holmes. Good to have you with us tonight.
AMY HOLMES, “AMERICA‘S MORNING NEWS”: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Completely denouncing the Birtherism—why haven‘t—why hasn‘t Republican leadership taken it to the next level to squash all of this? Why have they allowed this to have the kind of life that it‘s had when they say that, well, we—it‘s—we think he‘s an American. How do you make of this?
HOLMES: Well, in fact, I think Republicans sighed probably a deep breath of relief—a deep sigh of relief today that this was being put behind them. This is a loser. This is a loser issue. And it‘s been a loser issue for Donald Trump.
“USA Today” had a poll out this week that found 60 -- or over half of Americans said that Donald Trump would make a poor, awful, terrible president, including 31 percent of Republicans. And I think part of the reason why there‘s been so much oxygen over the last three weeks—or particularly the last two—is because Congress has been out of session.
So for President Obama actually to give this press conference today was helpful for Republicans, because it puts it in the rear-view mirror. So when they get to Capitol Hill on Monday, they can move forward with these other pressing issues that they know is what the American people care about.
They have to win independents. They don‘t need to win Birthers.
SCHULTZ: You say it‘s been a loser issue. I‘m curious. How long has it been a loser issue? Because none of the Republican leadership has viewed it that way. And also, what about the Birther bill that‘s in the House, being brought up by a dozen Republicans? I mean, it seems like the Republicans have just been wallowing in this, that they really kind of love watching this spat going back and forth.
HOLMES: Well, the very first Republican to encounter this issue, John McCain, when he was running against president, then Senator Obama. He investigated the Birther issue. He had a lawyer on it. I am very close to this lawyer. I know him very well.
He investigated, got down to the bottom of it. And they were absolutely convinced and absolutely satisfied that President Obama was born in Hawaii.
SCHULTZ: So why hasn‘t Boehner and Cantor followed along with that?
HOLMES: You are asking the Republican leadership—it started then.
SCHULTZ: Why hasn‘t Boehner and Cantor followed along with that?
HOLMES: Boehner said—
SCHULTZ: Why hasn‘t Boehner and Cantor followed along with that?
HOLMES: Boehner has said that he—
SCHULTZ: You can‘t answer the question?
HOLMES: No, you are repeating it over and over and not giving me a chance to reply. So Boehner has said he‘s satisfied that President Obama was born in Hawaii. He‘s not advocating introducing this Birther bill. When you talk about Republicans, look at what the governor of Arizona Jan Brewer did. She vetoed that bill.
So I think your conflating this Birtherism with the Republican Party is not fair to the Republican party. Mitt Romney has denounced this. Tim Pawlenty has denounced this. You saw Michele Bachmann say that the issue was closed.
SCHULTZ: Amy, there‘s a bill in the United States House—
HOLMES: There are lots of bills in the House, Ed.
SCHULTZ: They want to take action on—why doesn‘t John Boehner show some leadership and say this will never come for debate. It will never get to committee. It‘s over. It‘s done. Why don‘t they do that?
HOLMES: It hasn‘t come to debate. It hasn‘t come to the floor. It is—John Boehner has no interest in advancing this. He can see the polls for himself as well. I mean—
SCHULTZ: Thanks, Amy. Good to have you with us tonight.
HOLMES: And they have not totally denounced it, going through all of this. Good to have you with us tonight.
Today‘s news should put an end to all of the Birther talk. Orly Taitz says, not so fast. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight, it doesn‘t matter what kind of documents the White House releases, or that the president is trying to get the country focused on the more serious issues. Birthers aren‘t interested in facts or evidence. In fact, they‘re not done.
The release of President Obama‘s long-form birth certificate is now paving the way for a whole new bunch of new crackpot theories. Birther Queen Orly Taitz says that the race of the president‘s father should not be listed as “African” but “Negro.” She also claims the president is using a fake Social Security number.
Joseph Farra (ph), editor of the right wing “World Net Daily” and an informal Donald Trump adviser says there are still more questions that need to be answered, including, quote, “Barack Obama‘s parentage, his adoption, his citizenship status, throughout his life.”
Meanwhile, the Drudge report is echoing the Trump talking points and demanding the next round of documents, the president‘s college records. Trump has questioned President Obama‘s Ivy League worthiness, even though Trump‘s own son-in-law had his father pay Harvard millions just to get him in the front door.
Well, now let‘s call on Lee Papa. He‘s the author of the “Rude Pundit Blog,” as well as the “Rude Pundit‘s Almanac,” available at ORBooks.com. Welcome.
Great to have you with us, Lee. What‘s the liberal strategy moving forward with these crazies not giving up on this? What do you think?
LEE PAPA, “THE RUDE PUNDIT”: I think that there‘s something kind of maybe a little masterful about what Obama did. As always with Obama, there‘s always two ways we can look at it. We can say, in one way, he gave in to the bullies and he admitted—and he showed them what they were looking for, paid a kind of ransom to their rhetoric.
On the other hand, we can say that what he‘s done is to isolate and separate some of the crazies on the right. He‘s showing that this is what the Republican party is now. It is a party that is letting its racist flag fly.
SCHULTZ: The president said when he was elected that he was going to be the president of all the people. And I personally think the president came out today and did this because he doesn‘t want Americans to fall for the falsehoods of all of this. I think he talked about focusing the country and getting on the big issues.
In that respect, did the president hit it out of the park?
HOLMES: I think the president was right to call out people for being side shows and carnival barkers. But the other thing—the other thing that he did was he isolated this notion of Birtherism and said, OK, I‘ve put up what you‘ve asked me to. So that if you believe anything else, then you obviously—no evidence will ever be enough for you.
And that‘s why you are getting them veering to these other issues, whether it‘s the Orly Taitz stuff, whether it‘s the Harvard transcripts, whether it‘s who wrote him letters of recommendation for Harvard. This is something else they are going after.
SCHULTZ: And where do the—where do the Republican candidate goes from here, the Mitt Romneys, the Tim Pawlentys, the Newt Gingrichs? Where do they go from here on this story?
HOLMES: Isn‘t that a shame that that‘s what Republicanism has become now? Now, in order to appease the base of the Republican party, you have to be anti-gay, rabidly anti-choice and in some way a Birther. This is who they are going to have to deal with. And this is who they are going to have to confront in the primary season.
SCHULTZ: Lee Papa, great to have you with us, “The Rude Pundit.” Thanks for your time. Tonight in our survey I asked, will President Obama‘s long-form birth certificate silence the Birthers? Seven percent of you said yes; 93 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. Tomorrow night, I‘ll be emceeing the L.A. Urban League. Really looking forward to it. I‘ll be back with you on Monday. “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.
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