updated 5/12/2011 11:47:40 AM ET 2011-05-12T15:47:40

Guests: Lawrence Wilkerson, Rep. Gary Peters, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Jim

McDermott

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

Republicans are attacking the president for mentioning the killing of Osama bin Laden on the campaign trail.  Have they forgotten that they had a president run for re-election based on his national security failures?

This is THE ED SHOW.  Let‘s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

           

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Osama bin Laden will never again threat the United States of America.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  The president is taking heat from the right for talking about Osama bin Laden on the campaign trail.  These people have no leg to stand on and I‘m calling them out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  We all know G.M. is now “government motors,” because it‘s owned by the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The right totally whiffed on the loan that saved the American auto industry.  Today, there‘s even more good news from G.M.

And the right-wing smear machine crashes.  Poetry night at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  This is inappropriate for a president.  And he goes back to his radical roots again and again and again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll show you the performance FOX News is freaking out over.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  Great to have you with us tonight.

This is the story that has me fired up.  Don‘t you just love this number, Republicans?  Not really.  Sixty percent is one hell of a number right now.

America has $4 a gallon gas, 9 percent unemployment, some say even higher than that.  We‘ve got record number of foreclosures, but 60 percent of Americans still believe that the president of the United States is taking this country on the correct path.  The number scares the living daylights out of Republicans.  Conservatives, they are desperate to do anything to politically damage this president and take him down before 2012.

You see?  FOX News has spent the last 24 hours trying to scare their old, white viewers about a rapper named Common performing at a poem ceremony at the White House tonight.  Now, we‘re going to have a lot more on this tonight, this FOX race-baiting later on in the show.

But let‘s get back to what the president is doing.  Hey, it‘s the campaign season.  When the president goes out on the trail, he‘s going to be talking about where the country is and what has been accomplished.

President Obama has actually accomplished quite a bit in the first couple of years, more than most presidents accomplish in an entire term.  The president talked about the administration‘s—the country‘s accomplishments at a fundraiser in Austin, Texas, last night.  Listen up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  We have made incredible progress.  Sometimes, folks forget, progress shouldn‘t make us complacent, but it should remind us that change is possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you for getting bin Laden!

(CHEERS)

OBAMA:  Well, there you go.  Case in point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Hear that guy in the crowd?  “Thank you for getting bin Laden.”

Now, the righties might be saying, well, he‘s a plant.  Yes, right.

He is exactly correct.  Every American should be thanking President Obama for the death of the number one terrorist on the face of the earth.  Now, later in the speech, the president—what did the president do?  He spread the credit around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  We‘re taking the fight to al Qaeda.  And because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation‘s uniform and the outstanding work of our intelligence agencies, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, was the president not supposed to talk about that on the campaign trail?

The president has every right to use bin Laden‘s name on the campaign trail.  But Republicans, you see, they‘re trying to spin it now as a victory lap.

Slant-head Hannity, he launched a preemptive attack on the president‘s speech on Monday night.  Here we go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY:  Especially as the president goes on his “I killed Osama” victory tour, which I don‘t have any problem with spiking the football, to use his terms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The president never said he was going to spike the football or go on some kind of a victory tour.

Now, Hannity, of course, we all know, was the top Bush boot licker probably of all of them, when W. spiked the ball on the 50-yard line on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.   But, of course, Hannity can‘t admit to himself that the president got that ball across the goal line and got the number one terrorist.

And today, of course, Hannity‘s buddy, the Drugster, he attacked the president for bringing up bin Laden‘s name in Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Meanwhile, ladies and gentlemen, our brave young president has added his heroic killing of bin Laden to his campaign stump speech, which means every speech that he is giving—he‘s practically dredged up the body of bin Laden so he can campaign with it.  “Obama and bin Laden appear in El Paso” is an appropriate headline.  It‘s kind of like, do you remember the movie, “Weekend with Bernie”?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All this proves is that the right wing, they are completely out of material, and the best thing they have is to criticize the president, because the president obviously is going to talk about getting bin Laden, because the American people love what happened.  And I hope he does it at every campaign stop across America.

Buckle up, righties.  Jay Carney agrees with Big Eddie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I can‘t predict to you what will be in the content of the president‘s speeches going forward, but I certainly think what he said last night was entirely appropriate.  The president believes that good policy is why he came—you know, good policy is good politics, but that‘s why he‘s here.  That‘s why he wanted to be president.  That‘s why he ran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So, Republicans, just go ahead and knock the president of the United States for running on the war on terror.  You know, it won‘t work.

We went through the archives here at MSNBC to find Republicans doing the same damned thing.  It took about six seconds to find this dandy, not even in our archives, but on YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  Saddam Hussein—

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR:  Saddam Hussein -- 

LAURA BUSH, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY:  Saddam Hussein -- 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  Saddam Hussein -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Saddam Hussein -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Saddam—Saddam—Saddam—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Saddam—

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  Saddam—

GIULIANI:  Saddam—

MCCAIN:  Saddam—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Saddam—

CHENEY:  Saddam Hussein -- 

GIULIANI:  War and danger -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Continuing danger -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hour of danger -- 

GIULIANI:  Very, very dangerous—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A grave new threat -- 

GIULIANI:  Horrific acts of atrocities.

G. W. BUSH:  Murders, regimes -- 

GIULIANI:  Dedicating to killing us -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Tyranny of power -- 

GIULIANI:  Slaughtered thousands.

UNIDENTIFIED MLE:  Weapons of mass destruction.

GIULIANI:  Weapons of mass destruction -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Weapons programs.

CHENEY:  The deadliest of weapons.

MCCAIN:  Terrible weapons -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Nuclear weapons.

CHENEY:  Nuclear weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Poison gas -- 

MCCAIN:  Torture chambers -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Mass graves -- 

CHENEY:  Deadly technology.

G. W. BUSH:  Radical ideology of hate -- 

L. BUSH:  Terror of threats -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Terror -- 

L. BUSH: Terror -- 

G. W. BUSH:  Terror -- 

GIULIANI:  War on terrorism.

G. W. BUSH:  War against terrorism.

CHENEY:  Global war on terror.

GIULIANI:  Global terrorism—global terrorism—global terrorism—global terrorism—terrorism -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Terrorism -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Terrorism—

G. W. BUSH:  Terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes.  You see, all those clips were from the biggest campaign event of the Bush presidency, the 2004 Republican national convention.  Republicans held their convention—may I remind you—just a couple of miles from Ground Zero.  They wrote the book on politicizing the war on terror.

Bush and Cheney were on a seven-year victory tour on their failed policies.  Now, let‘s just reverse this just a little bit.

Now, back in 2004, Vice President Cheney was at a town hall meeting and he said we couldn‘t change horses in midstream, and I didn‘t know what the heck that meant.  But then he went on to say that if we didn‘t vote for them and—if we didn‘t vote for them, we would get hit again.  I will never forget that, because the Kerry camp never really responded to it.

That‘s what Cheney said, if we don‘t vote for them, we‘re going to get hit again.  Well, you know, what is their record on terror?

But think about President Obama on the campaign trail.  What if President Obama were to go out, starting tomorrow saying, you know what, we got the number one terrorist on the face of the earth.  We got the guy who was responsible for hitting us on 9/11, but there‘s a new guy, and if you don‘t vote for me, you know, we could get hit again.

Doesn‘t sound right, does it?  Well, he wouldn‘t stoop so low, because he really couldn‘t credibly make that point, because who can predict the future on what‘s going to happen?  But, of course, the right wing can.  Republican candidates can.  They can look into their crystal ball and say, hey, if you don‘t vote for us, we‘re going to get hit again.

So I think President Obama should take the liberty to go out on the campaign trail and say, you know what, we got the main dude that hurt America and killed a lot of Americans and they got a new guy, and if you don‘t elect us, the Democrats, heck, we might get hit again.

What do you think they‘d be saying at FOX then?  We got hit on their watch, did we not?  They were wrong about weapons of mass destruction, no question about it.  They lost thousands of lives and billions of dollars in Iraq.  Are you for that invasion tonight?

Still, no conclusion in Afghanistan and President Obama was handed that, and, of course, we‘re going to have to remind them that they didn‘t get bin Laden.

So, the campaign trail is now—the campaign season is in full swing, and we‘re going to remind you, as often as we can, just exactly what the righties said about the, quote, “war on terror” when they wanted the White House.  I think it‘s very appropriate for the president to say we did something really good for the world by taking down Osama bin Laden and say it on the campaign trail.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s text question: Would George W. Bush have used bin Laden‘s death in campaigns if he was able to get bin Laden?  You know what?  I think I‘m going to get in on this one tonight.  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639, and, of course, you can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com, and I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.  I‘m texting “A” on this one tonight.

Joining us now, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell and currently a visiting professor at the College of William and Mary.  He joins us tonight from Washington, D.C.

Colonel, good to have you with us.  Do Republicans really have any grounds to attack President Obama when he is talking about the death of Osama bin Laden, based on the clips that we just showed?  What do you think?

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER POWELL CHIEF OF STAFF:  Well, I was looking at your run-up and listening to the FOX commentators and Limbaugh and others, and I just want to laugh.  I appointed myself the task of watching President George W. Bush‘s speeches when I became chief of staff at the State Department, principally to see if there was anything that I could pick up on that we hadn‘t picked up on in official correspondents or NSC meetings or whatever.

And the language that was used then was clearly the language of the politics of fear.  It reminded me of the McCarthy era which I actually grew up through, too, and terms like, “wanted: dead or alive,” “you‘re either with us or with the terrorists,” “axis of evil” and so forth were just sort of the apotheosis of this kind of cowboy language.  There‘s no doubt in my mind that George W. Bush and Karl Rove, in particular, would be recommending this, would be exploiting the death of bin Laden to the nth degree if they had, in effect, brought it about.  But as you pointed out, they didn‘t.

SCHULTZ:  They did not.

Do you think there may have been a plan to exploit it, or would they have been winging it maybe with tremendous pride, maybe taking that victory lap that FOX was talking about?

WILKERSON:  No, I think it was quite the opposite.  I don‘t think they really wanted to get bin Laden.  And it‘s an interesting bit of scholarship, I think, for historians to try and calculate exactly why that occurred, but I don‘t think they wanted to get bin Laden.

You could be very cynical and say they didn‘t want to get him, because once you got him, the war was over.  And that left all the political advantage gone.  Or you could say that they knew that it was almost an impossibility to get him, given what they had done to the intelligence and other aspects of the government that you need to get him.  They just about ruined it.

Whatever reason, I don‘t think they really wanted bin Laden.  They said they didn‘t.

SCHULTZ:  Well, I want to ask you, did you hear any rumblings in government circles that maybe he‘s not the priority and he‘s really not a big deal?  Because just six months after we were hit, President Bush came out and said, you know, I don‘t know where he is.  I don‘t think about it.

WILKERSON:  I—the things I heard the president say, and the vice president say, and the actions I saw that flowed from those statements, indicated to me that bin Laden was not even on the top 10 of the priority lists in the global war on terror.

SCHULTZ:  Dick Cheney wants the president to bring back waterboarding. 

This is what he told Chris Wallace on FOX.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS:  Should the president reinstate enhanced interrogation, including waterboarding?

CHENEY:  Well, I certainly would advocate it.  I‘d be a strong supporter of it.  We went to a lot of trouble to find out what we could do, how far we could go, what was legal and so forth.  And out of that emerged what we called enhanced interrogation, and it worked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So, on one hand, they‘re going after President Obama for mentioning bin Laden, but on the other hand, they‘re out there saying—well, we have to do the waterboarding and we certainly hope he reinstates it.  What‘s your response to this?

WILKERSON:  Well, both the president and the vice president have now admitted to war crimes.  Whether you‘re looking at domestic law or you‘re looking at international law, they‘ve admitted to war crimes.  Waterboarding is a war crime.

So, that‘s a very interesting situation for the vice president and the president to put themselves in.

It‘s also nonsense.  Waterboarding and the enhanced interrogation techniques that went along with it, so far as I could tell when I was in the administration, while it might have on occasion produced some intelligence, actionable or not, it didn‘t produce a string or a consistent series of intelligence items that were actionable to the point that they could actually bring about some significant successes in the war on terror.

What did that was persistent and professional and rapport-building interrogation, and the things that went along with it—the intelligence mechanisms and the intelligence capabilities that went along with it.  That‘s what brought along the successes that we‘ve seen in the war on terror.  And we got bin Laden after waterboarding was stopped.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

“The A.P.” is reporting tonight that bin Laden never gave up control of al Qaeda.  And also, his journal has been confiscated by intelligence—by the intelligence community.  What do you—what do you think President Obama could be saying about this?  This was a pretty rich target, and it‘s been a—what‘d we say, a great find.

WILKERSON:  It probably is a great find.  I understand from my contacts in the intelligence community that it‘s quite a bit and it will take some time to go through it, because as you might imagine, a lot of it‘s not in English, and they‘ve got to get multiple translations to make sure they‘ve got the right read on it, the right perspective.

But I suspect if bin Laden was still in at least control of al Qaeda, al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, for example, in Yemen, in Maghreb, and elsewhere in the world where they still remain somewhat formidable—Somalia, for example—that this may be a treasure-trove and might help us wrap up the final remnants of al Qaeda.

SCHULTZ:  Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.

Thank you.

WILKERSON:  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen.  I want to know what you think.

And the other big success story that‘s playing out for the Obama administration this week: General Motors.  I mean, they are kicking butt and they are just creating new jobs.  But the conservatives are so quiet about this story.

And, of course, he cheated on two wives for America.  Today, he announced he‘s making an honest woman out of us.  Newt Gingrich says he‘s running for president.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And I want every American to remember this story, because it was awfully lonely at the top when the president wanted to do this.  The end result, General Motors making brand-new investments in American plants and adding American jobs.  But remember—the Republicans were against the government making a loan to the auto industry just two short years ago.

And later in the program tonight, Reverend Al Sharpton joins me to discuss the FOX News controversy about Common at the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The big success of getting bin Laden has almost crowded out a few other stories out there that the Obama administration, in my opinion, should really be talking about on the campaign trail, like General Motors is now planning huge new investments in U.S. plants and adding thousands of jobs.

You like the numbers?  I love these numbers.  General Motors announced it will invest $2 billion in 17 plants.  That would be “B,” as in billion.  This translates into 4,000 new jobs that will be created or preserved as General Motors will be retooling plants in eight different states across the country.

Now, let‘s just remember what Republicans were saying just two short years ago about the government loan to save General Motors and the auto industry from total collapse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

REP. TED POE ®, TEXAS:  We can‘t call it a bailout, because that might be too honest a statement to our citizens, so we call it a bridge loan.  Actually, it‘s a bridge loan to nowhere.

REP. RICHARD SHELBY ®, ALABAMA:  Unless Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors become lean and innovative and competitive in the marketplace, this is only delaying their funeral.

REP. JEB HENSARLING ®, TEXAS:  They must reorganize, but another bailout at the taxpayer expense is not the answer.

SEN. JON KYL ®, ARIZONA:  And the people who would be paying the bill for this, the average worker in the United States, I don‘t think, should be burdened with bailing out the auto companies that have been sick for a long time.  This is not something that‘s going to be repaid, as opposed to the financial markets where we expect to—hope to get most of the money back.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ:  “Not going to be repaid”?  Senator Kyl from Arizona.

How about a little character here, dude?  Put out a press release tomorrow stating exactly how that money‘s coming back to the Treasury, because you were wrong then and you are wrong tonight.

General Motors made $3.2 billion in the first quarter of this year.  That‘s real money, and it was profitable last year.  Gosh, they‘re hitting the jackpot, aren‘t they?

But, of course, Republicans, they were dead-set against the loan.  In fact, they were calling it the bailout.

Here‘s what they said.  Republican Congressman Dan Burton called quasi-socialist.  Republican Congressman Lamar Smith called it, if I can remember it, the leading edge of the Obama administration‘s war on capitalism.

Well, let‘s go back to the board.  Since exiting bankruptcy—boy, we‘ve got some big numbers up here, don‘t we?  G.M. says it has invested $3.4 billion in the United States plants, amounting to 9,000 jobs.  Does that sound like a war on capitalism?

And I want to point out that none of the Republicans that we played in that montage of sound bites have said a word about this program, a word about the loan.  No pat on the back for the workers.

Let me tell you about the United Auto Workers.  On average, it went from anywhere from $7,000 to $30,000 in a haircut they took to make it happen.  And now, the company is making money and there‘s going to be bonuses paid out.

Let‘s welcome Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan, who knows what this is all about.

Congressman, tell me what kind of a success story this has become, where your people are in Michigan.

REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN:  Well, Ed, this is a huge success.  Just a couple of years ago, we were looking over a cliff into the abyss, as a result of the unbridled greed on Wall Street that brought our economy to its knees.  The auto industry was in shape.  Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost.

The president stepped up to the plate and said, “I will not let the American middle class down, American workers, and American companies,” made an investment in the auto industry, and now that investment is coming back.  Not only paying back the taxpayers, but as you mentioned, with real jobs.  General Motors adding up to 4,000 jobs just recently.  Chrysler now on track almost to have the same number of jobs they had back in 2008.

We are seeing jobs being created, and not just in the big three, but all of the auto suppliers, which is even a larger number of jobs.  Those jobs would have disappeared if it wasn‘t for the president standing up for the American worker.

SCHULTZ:  Well, Congressman, how it is that every single Republican could be wrong on this?  It wouldn‘t have anything to do with them wanting to see President Obama fail, would it?

PETERS:  Well, I think it had a lot for that to do.  In fact, it shows the blindness of ideology, when you look at just ideology and not about practical problem-solving, the president said we‘ve got a problem here, we‘ve got to solve it, we‘ve got a road to do it.  But most importantly, we‘ve got to put people back to work and get this economy going.  Forget ideology, this is about results.

SCHULTZ:  And, Congressman, to your knowledge, the money is being paid back.  The loan is being paid back.  Even though G.M. right now still has common stock, the plan is that they will divest that, correct?

PETERS:  Right.  The treasury will be continuing to sell that stock.  There‘s still a percentage in there.  Probably this fall, although that will depend on where the stock is and the price before that, the decisions made.

SCHULTZ:  OK.

PETERS:  Chrysler‘s on track to pay back the money early well this summer.

SCHULTZ:  So, that would mean the sound bite I played a minute ago of Senator Kyl, is it fair to say that he‘s dead wrong?

PETERS:  He‘s wrong.  We‘re on track to get that money back or get a large portion of that money back.  But, again, the important thing is, we‘ve got a healthy domestic auto industry, and with that, we have a manufacturing center.  We have a manufacturing industry.  You could not have that without a healthy auto industry.

And without manufacturing, we can‘t be a great country, and we can‘t have a great middle class.

SCHULTZ:  And how much do the workers deserve credit in this deal?  I mean, you know, they took a haircut.  Nobody in Congress, I don‘t think, is taking a pay cut, because we know how great they‘re all getting along, no offense.  But the fact of the matter is: there is a lot of Americans out there that think that the Congress isn‘t functioning very well.  I mean, we just had a record number of filibusters by the Republicans in the last session of Congress.

PETERS:  Right.

SCHULTZ:  That‘s dysfunctional.  They, of course, didn‘t take a pay cut.  But these autoworkers did.  And to save their jobs and to make sure that there would not be a ripple effect, so there would be a multiple loss of jobs.

So, it was pretty lonely at the top when this decision was made.  What about the workers?

PETERS:  Absolutely.  The workers, there was shared sacrifice across the board, blue-collar, white collar, while the auto suppliers, a lot of folks stepped back and said, we will sacrifice because it is important to save this industry.

This industry‘s not just about Detroit, it‘s not about Michigan.  It is about the United States of America.  It‘s about having a manufacturing industry in this country.

SCHULTZ:  So, I think there‘s a parallel here, I really do.  I think we can—we can make a correlation here.  We have seen middle class workers in this country to save their industry take a pay cut—

PETERS:  Right.

SCHULTZ:  -- give in on health care, give in on retirement pension, and give in on the daily salary.

PETERS:  Absolutely.

SCHULTZ:  Yet, to save the country, we haven‘t seen the Congress step up at all and say, you know what, we need a little bit of that out of the top 2 percent if we‘re going to get our treasury in order.  Do you think there‘s a parallel there?

PETERS:  When we talk about shared sacrifice, it truly has to be shared sacrifice for everybody.  That means from top to bottom, and everybody in between.

SCHULTZ:  Shared sacrifice works.

Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.  And I commend you, Gary Peters.  You were one of the lone voices out there in the midst of all of this.  You were always willing to come on the air and talk about how we‘ve got to do this, it was not a bailout, it‘s a loan.  You did the job for those middle classers and I appreciate it.  Thanks so much.

PETERS:  Thank you, Ed.  I appreciate it.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

The rapper Common—I mean, this guy has got FOX newsroom—I mean, they‘re just twisting upside down over this deal, accusing President Obama of inviting a thug to the White House?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.  We told you at the top of the show, the righties were just trying to do everything they possibly could to change the subject now that President Obama, for lack of a better term, is on a roll.  A lot of good things have happened. 

The killing of Osama bin Laden makes us a safer world.  So Fox News decided to go after a rapper named Common who was invited to the White House tonight for a poetry reading. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Is this the guy, poet, we ought to be inviting to the White House? 

This is a guy that we don‘t want our kids to listen to. 

If this was somebody that used the same type of rhetoric about violence against President Obama, I would be against it.  This is inappropriate for a president.  And he goes back to his radical roots again and again and again. 

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Why would he invite a thug to the White House who said he wanted to kill President Bush? 

TUCKER CARLSON, “THE DAILY CALLER”:  This is a joke.  I mean, if this was some white guy using the N word and talking about cop killing, he would have been off the list a long time ago. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is no Robert Frost.  This is no Maya Angelou. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It sounds like he‘s a promoter of cop killing. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is the White House. 

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  The Obamas do not understand the sensibilities of many Americans.  The president and First Lady have made a major mistake in inviting this man to the White House. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All right, let‘s talk about mistakes.  This was the same rapper that fox praised just six months ago as a rap legend, and someone who was a positive role model for kids.  That was their network saying that.  And where were the complaints from the right wing when a rapper named Easy E. Was invited to President George H.W. Bush‘s White House back in 1991? 

Easy E. was pretty famous.  He was quoted as saying, how the F can I be a Republican when I‘ve got a song called “F The Police.”

He was invited to the Bush White House in 1981.  Where was the media on that one?  And don‘t be fooled by Sean Hannity.  This is a guy who defended, of all people, Ted Nugent, even when Nugent said that candidate Barack Obama should suck on this machine gun.

The claim about rapper Common is that the lyrics of one of his songs pays homage to a cop killer, a convicted killer, who escaped and is now in Cuba.  And the president of the State Trooper‘s Union of New Jersey, David Jones, says he shouldn‘t be going to the White House. 

Well, here‘s Common, performing at the White House tonight. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMMON, RAPPER:  I bleed the blood of the struggle, walking over troubled puddles.  The hustle‘s in my chest.  No hustle, no progress.  Extremities of life in this process.  The birth of a son, the death of another.

With love, I caress both mothers, and told them, who‘s in control is the one that‘s above us.  I walk where money talks and love stutters, the body language of a nation, going through changes, the young become dangerous, pain gets spent into anger; anger gets sent through the chamber.  It‘s tough when your own look like strangers. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s bring in the president of the National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton.  Reverend, good to have you with us tonight. 

I spoke today with a former social worker with the Milwaukee Public Schools who told me that they recommended Common and that he was from a different league than other rappers.  And they recommended him to the kids.  They had no complaints from any of the parents or anybody in the community.

And his lyrics were far different from others who have been castigated in the past.  I want to ask you, did the president and the White House do the right thing by having Common to the White House tonight? 

AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  I absolutely think so.  First of all, as you know, National Action Network and I have condemned some of the rap lyrics.  We even marched on some of the record companies.  And ironically, Glenn Beck joined one of the marches. 

Common is known as a positive rapper.  And the fact that he had a political view on one case clearly does not mean at all that he endorsed cop killing.  I think that that—he has the right to his view, as you or I, anyone does on a particular case. 

But the hypocrisy here, I think you point out, when President Bush invited a rapper that had made lyrics that people felt offended in terms of profanity, I didn‘t hear the outcry from the right wing. 

Diddy, who I have a relationship with—we‘re friends, but we‘ve argued about lyrics—was at the Republican convention.  I didn‘t hear the outcry. 

So, again, where‘s the standard?  Is there an Obama standard and then everybody else?  They look like they‘re reaching out.  I think that this is just to try and distract from what the president has done in terms of national security, in terms of bin Laden, and distract his argument on immigration.

So they‘re taking a side issue that they clearly couldn‘t believe in.  Otherwise, they would have taken the position with the Republican convention and when President Bush invited a rapper, who has far more used profanity in all, not around a political position, people that have made lyrics that have been accused of being misogynist and self-degrading.

That is not the case with the artist Common.  I think this is a real attempt to distract from the real things this country‘s moving forward on. 

SCHULTZ:  Reverend, what‘s made this a story is David Jones is the president of the New Jersey State‘s Fraternal Association.  He has a real problem with this rapper being invited to the White House tonight, Common.  Here‘s what he said on O‘Reilly‘s program. 

There‘s no sound on that?  I‘m sorry about that.  I thought we had that.  And obviously when you have the head of the police organization in a state come out and condemn it, it‘s going to be a story. 

Where‘s the disconnect here?  Is there a misunderstanding about rap music and what it tries to accomplish in the culture? 

SHARPTON:  I think the misunderstanding is that rap music, just like other forms of music, may express a point of view about a particular situation.  In this case, a case in terms of a New Jersey trial.  People have the right, including Mr. Jones, to have their view of a trial. 

I have fought police brutality cases.  It doesn‘t make me anti-police. 

We‘re marching now for police not to be laid off their jobs. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  I want to play that.  We do have the soundbite now.  This is David Jones earlier tonight having a real problem with Common being at the White House. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID JONES, NEW JERSEY FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE:  You and I didn‘t just pay with our tax dollars to have this here.  My guys paid with their blood.  They pay with their blood every single day.  And every guy on that wall is there because it‘s their blood that ensures the freedom of first amendment rights of free speech. 

Their position on this was that he was a broad enough, a successful enough player so that this can be excused. 

O‘REILLY:  It can‘t be.  It‘s a terrible, terrible decision. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, the song that was composed by Common was about a Black Panther, Assata Shakur, who was convicted of killing a state trooper on the highway in New Jersey.  She went to jail.  She escaped.  She‘s in Cuba. 

The song was—in his terms, was a story about how he feels she was wrongly convicted and also how the—he felt that there was police brutality involved. 

How big a problem, if at all, is this for the White House? 

SHARPTON:  I don‘t think it‘s a big problem at all.  I think most Americans understand people have right to disagree on a particular case.  It doesn‘t mean you‘re endorsing any particular behavior.  I think that if anyone has been strong on support of police, it‘s been the president, who, ironically—what makes this so ludicrous is President Obama, before he was president, denounced lyrics that he felt was bad and was poisonous to the community. 

But what I would have been interested in seeing is that if Mr. Jones,

who does have the right to his point of view and representing state police

why didn‘t he, since he was in Fox, Condemn fox for praising Common? 

Why this—this delayed reaction when Common, who is clearly a mainstream, positive rapper that‘s invited to the White house, why didn‘t he have that reaction when he was praised on Fox TV? 

If I was going to Fox and had a problem with an artist they had praised, I would have taken them on. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think this is a political setup? 

SHARPTON:  I think it‘s a political setup to distract the public‘s attention, so we end up arguing about something that has nothing to do with the feelings of the president, the feelings of the public.  And any artist that goes to the White House, and anybody, we can disagree with some of their political positions, that they may use their art to express themselves. 

SCHULTZ:  Reverend Al Sharpton, stay with us.  We‘ll continue the conversation after the break.  There are other issues.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  We continue our discussion tonight with Reverend Al Sharpton from the National Action Network, an organization that has condemned lyrics in rap music.  And rapper Common, known by many in public schools across America as a rapper in different league, was at the White House tonight for poetry reading. 

It amazes me that this story is where it is with a major news network, and that they did not do their homework and realize that other rappers under a Republican president had been at the White House before.  And the question begs, is there underlying racism here, to try to attack President Obama? 

SHARPTON:  I think it‘s trying to create a bogeyman.  And the problem with the bogeyman this time is that it‘s somebody they‘ve embraced.  I don‘t know who in the White House are in charge of invitations, but maybe they were watching the day Fox praised Common.  And maybe that gave them the suggestion. 

The irony here is they‘ve not only done the research, Ed, as you say, about rappers who have gone to the White House under President Bush and Republicans; they didn‘t even do the research on what they themselves have said about this artist. 

SCHULTZ:  And Hannity also said that this president always goes back to his radical roots.  Isn‘t that a red flag? 

SHARPTON:  Yeah, it‘s certainly a red flag.  What radical roots are we talking about?  And are we again trying to say back to—meaning, let‘s forget about bin Laden, let‘s forget about other things.  We‘re trying to go back to trying to create this fantasy picture of President Obama as this breathing radical when people on the left, as you know, have been attacking him for not being that. 

I mean, they‘re trying to rewind and go back to their campaign strategies of 2008.  It didn‘t work then, and I don‘t think it works on the public now, particularly with somebody like Common. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah.  Reverend Al Sharpton, thanks for joining us tonight. 

Thanks for your time. 

Forget the affairs with three wives, the ethics charges, dog gone it, this guy, Newt Gingrich, he wants to be president, so he announced today he‘s running for president.  We‘ll give you the back story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  The man who cheated on his wives for America, that‘s what he once said, finally Tweeted his intentions today.  Newt Gingrich is running for president.  So what kind of candidate is he going to be?  He once called the Tea Party the militant wing of the Republican party, but now he‘s trying to woo them. 

He was a Birther long before Donald Trump came along, suggesting President Obama holds a Kenyan anti-colonial world view.  While he was Speaker of the House, well, he liked to talk about family values, but he didn‘t practice what he preached.  He dumped his first wife for his second wife.  In fact, he served her with divorce papers while she was recovering from cancer surgery. 

He cheated on wife number two with wife number three while he was leading the charge to impeach Bill Clinton.  So maybe the family values thing, that‘s not going to work out. 

Well, he left Congress after facing ethics charges, but soon figured out a way to keep the Newt brand alive and relevant through a publicity and policy cartel that Gingrich aides refer to as Newt Inc. 

It‘s run out of K Street, you know, where all the lobbyists work.  “The Wall Street Journal” reports it has amassed more than 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raised 32 million dollars between 2009 and 2010, more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined. 

Newt has a machine.  He has a Center for Health Transformation, designed to ensure healthy profits for big drug and insurance companies.  He has an Astroturf group called American Solutions.  Only the Democratic and Republican Governors‘ Association have raked in more money. 

And then there‘s the cultural arm of Newt Inc., Gingrich Production.  The company that makes straight-to-DVR thrillers on American exceptionalism and the threat of radical Islam. 

And it‘s all done with the right-wing activist‘s help, the group called Citizens United. 

Joining me tonight is Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott. 

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

Quite the ledger.  Do you think he has a chance of being the Republican nominee with that donor‘s list that is longer than everybody else‘s? 

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON:  I probably know newt Gingrich as well as any Democrat in the House of Representatives.  I‘ve had close contact with him.  He‘s the most uniquely unqualified man to be president I can imagine. 

His style, which he brought into the House, was to create partisanship and actually bring about the partisanship we see, the deadlock we see today.  His great ideas everybody talks about include things like shutting down the government. 

Now, when Bill Clinton got through with him, he was running rings around Newt.  And I think Obama will do the same. 

Newt is very slick, but it‘s about—he‘s like the mouth of the Mississippi.  He‘s about an inch deep and a mile wide.  And once you get down through the slick cover, you find there is nothing there. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, he‘s definitely built the infrastructure.  Would he be, despite the polls—would he have the best chance of gaining in the polls?  And how do you think he‘d play in Iowa? 

MCDERMOTT:  He will say whatever he thinks is necessary to say.  I really don‘t know if he believes anything.  And I think that from that point of view, the Iowa voters, they‘re very solid people.  They sit in their living room and look at these people one at a time.  And they picked Huckabee last time, because he seemed real. 

Newt will seem phony from the very start when he gets into people‘s living rooms. 

SCHULTZ:  Was he unethical in your opinion? 

MCDERMOTT:  I think the committee fined him.  The Ethics Committee fined him 300,000 dollars.  So you have to say that his colleagues in the House judged him to be unethical. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s talk about a sea change that may be taking place across America.  Let‘s go to the Ryan Plan, which a lot of people are rejecting across this country.  And it‘s affecting a House special election in upstate New York. 

The district is solidly Republican, but polling shows the Democrat has got a shot.  And now Karl Rove is forking all kinds of money out into this district.  What do you make of that race? 

MCDERMOTT:  Well, my view is that the Republicans followed Paul Ryan over the cliff with his privatization of Social Security.  And the American people woke up and said, wow, is that what this is about?  And now they‘re going to turn on him. 

They‘re going to turn to a Democratic candidate in a district where a Republican would ordinarily win.  I think that the Republicans that are now in control of the House clearly have overstepped.  They‘ve overreached and the American people are starting to bounce back against them. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Jim McDermott, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

MCDERMOTT:  See you.  Good night. 

SCHULTZ:  Tonight we asked—I asked, would George W. Bush have used bin Laden‘s death in campaigns if he was able to get him?  Ninety eight percent of you said yes, two percent of you said no.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  Thanks for watching tonight.  My radio show, you can catch it on channels 127, both on Sirius and on XM. 

“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.  See you back here tomorrow night.  Thanks for watching. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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