THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
March 20, 2013
Guests: Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, Jackie Speier, Robin Wright, Matthew Duss, Janaye Ingram, Tara Dowdell, Nina Turner, Mike Wise
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to
THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Schultz.
President Obama makes his first trip to Israel and gets caught at an
The RNC`s attempted minority outreach is penned by their former
The love gov makes a comeback in South Carolina.
And March Madness hits the White House.
But tonight, I start with Washington dropping the ball on protecting
This is THE ED SHOW -- and as Ed would say -- let`s get to work.
DYSON: It was supposed to change everything. The massacre at Sandy
Hook Elementary School was brutal and horrific, it shook us to our core but
out of the tragedy, there was a hope something could get done about gun
violence in this country. We as Americans believe this was the event that
would prompt our lawmakers to finally act.
Yet this is the cover of today`s "New York Daily News," "Shame on Us."
The faces of the murdered 20 children from Sandy Hook Elementary School
students in Newtown, Connecticut, surrounding those words. This is how a
paper in the nation`s largest city is reacting to news of the assault
weapons ban being dropped. It was announced Tuesday that ban reintroduced
by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California was getting dropped from a larger
gun safety package because the votes weren`t there.
To Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, it`s about the math.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Right now, her amendment,
using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes. That`s not of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Yes, looking at the latest polling, this is something that the
majority of Americans really want -- 57 percent of Americans say they want
to bring the assault weapons ban back. But that majority is not being
heard in the halls of the United States Congress. Reid couldn`t get
Republicans behind an assault weapons ban. He couldn`t even get Democrats.
As "The New Yorker" put it, "The scale of the defeat suffered by the
ban`s supporters is shocking. This wasn`t a close call. It was a body
Senator Feinstein vows to keep fighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: This is very important to me.
And I`m not going to lay down and play dead. I think the American people
are said in every single public poll that they support this kind of
legislation. It`s aimed to protect children -- to protect schools and
malls. Not to give me a vote on this would be a major betrayal of trust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: To that last point, Reid told Feinstein the bill could be
offered as an amendment at a later time. On the heels of this setback, we
were given some rare good news from a state with a significant history with
Today, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado signed into to law some
of the toughest safety measures of the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The new law extends background checks, to include purchases
and transfers between private parties and online sales. It closes a
loophole that had exempted firearm sales at gun shows from background
checks. The laws also limit the size of ammunition magazines to 15 rounds
and eight shotgun shells.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: But even that progress was tainted by tragedy. Hickenlooper
signed the legislation just hours after members of his own cabinet was shot
dead. Tom Clements, the head of the state`s prison system, was gunned down
in his own home last night. Clements was fate lay shot after answering his
door. Police are still looking for his killer.
Earlier, Hickenlooper mourned the loss of Clements and stressed the
importance of moving forward with the gun safety laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: I think the cabinet is good
with this, we go forward with our work. It`s the kind of thing that Tom
would have understood, I think. And, and would have supported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Yet Republicans in that state say they will fight the new gun
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. GREG BROPHY (R), COLORADO: It proves that we have the gun
control governor here in Colorado. And the myth is busted that no one can
any longer think of him as a moderate Democrat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Today marks the eighth month anniversary of the deadly
shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The mother of one
of the victims told the governor, "You`ve given us a real gift today."
But where is the gift for the family who loves loved ones in
Connecticut, in Tucson, Arizona, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, or on the streets
of Chicago, as gun violence continues to take its toll across this country,
millions of families continue to wait.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight`s question: will we see any major gun safety laws passed in
Text A for yes, text B for no to 67622, or go to our blog at
Ed.MSNBC.com. I`ll bring you the results later in the show.
I`m joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, Congresswoman
Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California.
Ladies, welcome to the show.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good to be with you.
DYSON: Congresswoman Lee, let me start with you. How disappointed
are you that this assault weapons ban was dropped today?
REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: I`m extremely disappointed because
these weapons of war belong on the combat field, not on the streets of
America. And I`m very pleased, though, that Senator Feinstein is such a
fighter. And we`re going to continue to fight until this gets done.
People have to hold their members of Congress, both House and Senate,
accountable. And I think now`s the time, it`s a wakeup call and people
have got to push forward and come to Washington and insist that there`d be
some accountability to gun control and gun safety legislation.
DYSON: Congresswoman Schakowsky, in light of what Congresswoman Lee
has said, in terms of holding people responsible, do we hold Congress
people responsible for giving into and abdicating the fight to the NRA?
Has the NRA really won this fight?
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: You know that head line that front
cover of the newspaper that said shame on us should be a rallying cry of
the American people with overwhelming majority want background checks, they
want anti-trafficking bills, and yes, they want a ban on assault weapons.
If they don`t rise up, then the NRA is going to win again.
And it`s really a choice of the American people right now, whether or
not they`re going to call their members of the Senate, the House of
Representatives, or they`re just going to let the NRA hold us all hostage
to the gun lobby.
DYSON: Sure. Congresswoman Speier, if you can`t get an assault
weapons ban now, when in the world will we be able to get one?
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: We`re not going to wait for the
next massive killing in this country for us to get religion on this issue.
You know, Senator Feinstein, I was with her last night, and while she was
very disappointed in what she heard from Majority Leader Reid, she was very
clear about taking this fight to its full and complete resolution.
And I think all of us have got to say to our colleagues in Congress
that fear is not an option -- fear of not being reelected, fear of the NRA.
We are paralyzed in fear right now. And we`ve got to stop it.
DYSON: Right. Congresswoman Lee, is there anything that Congress can
pass that will curb the violence? Because a lot of people have been
pushing back saying, look, there`s nothing that could be done in
Washington, D.C. that would protect our children in the vast majority of
America. Do you agree with that?
LEE: I refuse to believe that. I believe that we can pass background
checks. I`m hoping we`ll pass some version of the repeal of the Tiahrt
Amendment, which is a rider that`s been attached to the appropriations
bills, without any debate in Congress. Congressman Moran, myself,
Congresswoman Speier and Schakowsky, all of us are trying to work to repeal
the Tiahrt Amendment, which means that it would make it easier for law
enforcement to conduct gun tracing efforts. Right now, they are prevented
in so many ways, from just basically tracing gun.
So I think there are some measures, but it`s an uphill battle. Again,
we`ve got to ask the American people to know that this is a wakeup call,
and you`ve got to rally around ensuring that your members of Congress are
accountable to what you believe will provide for a safe future for our
DYSON: Congresswoman Schakowsky, when this Newtown Connecticut,
situation happened, the American people were simply horrified and felt that
this was the tipping point. This was the signal moment to the American
people that something had to be done and politicians vowed on every side to
But here we are a little while later, and it seems to be all that
momentum has been lost. How do we gin it back up and how do we galvanize
the American people to defend our children and others in this country who
are victims of gun violence?
SCHAKOWSKY: Oh, I don`t think the battle is over by any means. And I
don`t think the enthusiasm is gone. Almost every day, I`m part of a
meeting or conference call ending gun violence and passing this
legislation. And ask, does that make a difference?
There are already studies that show that states -- the 14 states that
have -- require background checks on handguns, that there`s a decrease in
gun trafficking, in a shooting of women by intimate partners, that suicides
by guns are decreased by 28 percent. So, we know that passing this
legislation actually does work. And the American people, I really don`t
think, are going to give up. I know that`s true.
DYSON: All right. Congresswoman Speier, in your district, what do
you hear from the people there? Are they -- are they simply fed up? Do
they want you to take action? Do they want the rest of the Congress to
take action? As you take a straw poll and get a sense of the heat index of
how people are responding, what do you hear?
SPEIER: Well, in my district, they want us to get a steel backbone.
They want us to speak on behalf of the people and not the NRA. I did a gun
buyback in my district just a few weeks ago. It`s the second lowest crime
rate in the state. And we collected 685 guns, 24 assault weapons,
magazines and silencers and one street sweeper.
And if that`s the kind of guns that are in our communities, it as time
to rethink whether or no we need them in our homes. And Jan Schakowsky had
said, there`s a higher incidence of gun violence in homes when you have a
gun. You`re more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than you are
by a stranger.
And I have a number of people who said to me, I asked them why are you
coming here and why are you giving up your gun? He said, you know I`ve got
small kids. This is something that came to may from my grandfather or
uncle. I don`t need it anymore.
And I think we`re all rethinking whether or not we need guns in our
DYSON: So all three of you, distinguished ladies, let me ask you a
question: do you talk with your Republican colleagues about this issue? Do
they say they really believe they don`t think we need to do something after
the horrific tragedy in Newtown?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, let me just say that I think it`s at their peril
that they ignore this issue. Ninety-one percent of Americans say they want
universal background checks. You -- it`s pretty hard to resist that. And
I also want to say, Professor, I know there`s a gender gap that moms all
over this country who identify as Republicans or Democrats or independents
don`t want to be fearful when their children go to school or to the movies,
and are ready to rise up and demand that we do something about this.
LEE: There`s an organization called Moms Demand Action. They were up
here several weeks ago in Washington, D.C. Phenomenal women who came
together to organize after the tragedy in Newtown, and believe you me --
these were Republican, independent, and Democratic women, and they are on
the march. They are going to make sure that action is taken in the
And they have to hold their representatives once again. We have to
hold our representatives accountable, Republicans, Democrats and
independents. And so, as we talk to Republicans, you know, they may be an
a little reticent to move forward. They don`t want to do it.
Of course, as Congresswoman Schakowsky said, the gun lobby is alive
and well, but believe you me, the power of the people and the voices of the
people I think will ultimately prevail.
SPEIER: I also think we should demand that a vote takes place on the
House floor, demand that vote takes on the Senate floor. No one should
somehow be cushioned from having to take a stand on this issue.
And the Connecticut effect, which is what the NRA talked about, we`re
going to wait until the Connecticut effect wears off. That`s what happened
in their mind. And we can`t let that happen. We can`t let the 20 little
coffins that passed through that town and the six adults who lost their
lives be lost for no reason. We must act on this issue. And we`ve got to
keep it alive.
DYSON: But here`s the real question. Tell our viewers, because I
don`t think they know. Do you in Congress who work with each other see
each other every day? Do you have suggestions with Republicans about this
issue at all? Is there -- is there a kind of daily transaction between you
SPEIER: Not really.
SCHAKOWSKY: You`re hearing kind of a silence in response to that
question, because there really hasn`t -- there hasn`t been across the aisle
conversations about guns. I know that there are some Republicans that if
they had their druthers would actually vote against the NRA and would stand
up for the people in their district.
We`re hoping that they will find courage from the people who are
contacting them -- I hope they`re hearing from them every day -- if they`re
not, shame on the people in the district that want the bills passed.
DYSON: Let me ask you this -- what about in social situations? You
all must have a drink, coffee, espresso. Is there not any kind of
transaction between -- it`s amazing that we don`t have conversations
between Congress people across the aisle just as human beings. At the end
of the day, when you take off your Democrat or Republican, you`re human
beings. My God, this is a travesty here.
Do you have any kind of conversation here?
LEE: Well, this environment is not really conducive to that type of
conversation for a lot of reasons as you know. And I think the real debate
is going to begin when some of these bills begin to be debated in the
We have a gun task force here on our side. We`re on the -- I`m on the
Appropriations Committee and we`re going to have a debate as we try to
repeal the Tiahrt Amendment. So, we`re going to see some discussion and
dialogues take place.
But I think it should be in the public view.
LEE: I think people should hear what their representatives are saying
and what Republicans are saying.
SCHAKOWSKY: I do know, Professor, that Mike Thompson who is head of
our task force on guns, has been talking to Republicans. I just don`t know
what the report is, but he`s definitely been reaching across the aisle.
DYSON: Right, right. No, I have no doubt that you`re reaching across
the aisle. I hope something`s coming back besides a fist, maybe some
conversation, some words that can heal the nation.
SCHAKOWSKY: We hope.
DYSON: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and
Congresswoman Jackie Speier -- thank you so much for your time tonight.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen and share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow, and on Facebook. I want
to know what you think.
The president faces the media in Israel as the drum beat for war in
Syria gets louder. That`s next.
DYSON: The former head of the RNC slams the party`s attempted
minority outreach. I`ll ask the panel if the party can reconnect with
And later, not everyone is happy with President Obama`s Final Four
pick. Hey, did he include your town? We`ll look at the bracket politics
Make sure to join Ed Schultz in his new time slot, 5:00 to 7:00
Saturday and Sunday coming soon.
Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using the
We`ll be right back.
DYSON: Thanks for staying with us.
Conservative critics blasted President Obama on Israeli policy during
the campaign. But the loudest critics suddenly fell silent when Mr. Obama
arrived in Israel this morning.
This is Obama`s first trip to Israel as president. And today, he
promised unwavering to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Both leaders are struggling to build a consensus with the political
opposition. President Obama even got caught on tape joking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s a beautiful day.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Good to see you.
OBAMA: How are you? Good to see you. Thank you so much. It`s
wonderful to be here.
How are you my friend? Good to see you.
SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: Good seeing you.
OBAMA: Thank you so much.
It`s good to get away from Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: President Obama did try to bring some Republicans with him on
this trip. "Politico" reports Eric Cantor got an invitation, but Cantor
said he was too busy.
Meanwhile, both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu were also
busy today watching developments in neighboring Syria where rebels claim
their own president used chemical weapons on a village in the north. The
attack killed at least 31 people. And Syria`s government sealed off the
area to keep out journalists and international observers.
President Obama says he`s skeptical Assad used chemical weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We have been clear that the use of chemical weapons guess
against the Syrian people would be a series and tragic mistake. The Assad
regime must understand that they will be held accountable for the use of
chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: By the way, Netanyahu agrees with President Obama on Syria.
Remember conservatives tried to use our relationship with Israel to
grab votes. They accused President Obama of not getting it. And some
called him the most anti-Israel president in history. This afternoon, Bibi
set the record straight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: I want to thank you for the investment you`ve made in our
relationship and strengthening the friendship and alliance between our two
countries. I`m absolutely convinced that the president is determined to
prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The president has reaffirmed
more than any other president, Israel`s right and duty to defend itself, by
itself against any threat.
So, it`s a profound honor to host you, the leader of the free world,
at this historic time in our ancient capital. Mr. President, welcome to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Let`s turn to Matthew Duss, policy analyst for the Center for
American Progress. And Robin Wright, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute
Peace and at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Mr. Wright, let me start with you.
We see these conciliatory gestures being offered by Prime Minister
Netanyahu, but, boy, that`s different than the lecture he gave to Obama in
his own digs in the White House. What accounts for the shift here? Is it
merely the fact that he as there on his open terrain and he wants to be a
nice host? Or is this a genuine change of attitude on Netanyahu`s part?
ROBIN WRIGHT, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Well, we`re coming to a point
where both sides have to begin thinking about what happens next. During
his first term, President Obama was focused largely on ending two wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan.
WRIGHT: And now he`s facing two different challenges, whether it`s
Iran`s potential nuclear capability or what happens next in Syria. And
both offer challenges that Israel faces in an even more existential way.
And so, they are of common mind. But this trip really is more about
process than substance. And the key question is what happens next --
whether it`s on Iran, Syria or ultimately the Arab-Israeli conflict.
DYSON: Well, in line of what Robin said, can we afford a kind of
symbolic trip here? I mean, there`s a lot at stake, what the region is
going through, what the partners of Israel have seen as necessary to
protect itself, what the Palestinian response has been to two state
solutions and what occupation. So, how do -- how do we figure our way out
of here, and how does the president respond to this? Does he have anything
substantive to offer?
MATTHEW DUSS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think the president is
finding out that it`s very difficult to lower expectations on a visit by
the president of the United States. You really can`t go there and not say
anything and I don`t think that will be the case here.
But I think the logic behind the trip -- there are a few things behind
it. One, I think the president understands that he did not attempt to make
a connection with the Israeli people during his first term in a way that
perhaps should have. Given the things you mentioned, the Arab Spring, the
Iran issue, the Israeli-Palestinian, these are things, these are issues on
which if the U.S. and Israel are to move forward and makes some of these
tough choices, he needs the Israeli people on his side and he needs them to
understand that the United States and he personally understands the
situation that they`re in and has their backs as he asks the Israeli
government to make some of these tough choices.
DYSON: Sure. Well, Robin, are peace talks really a possibility in
Obama`s second term? Is he going to give an advance of a post-presidential
term like Jimmy Carter when you try to create that kind of space? Is there
any possibility he can do that?
WRIGHT: Realistically, it`s probably the third on the list that --
the interesting thing today is that President Obama and Prime Minister
Netanyahu have not always agreed on Iran in terms of the timetable or in
terms of what`s next or what the response should be. And the two talk
about a year or so away from having to make some kind of strategic
decision. They both face a very sudden emergence of Syria and the possible
use of chemical weapons, and that has suddenly risen to the stop of the
The Arab-Israeli conflict, given the fact that there are different
Palestinian factions, they`re not in agreement about talking to Israel,
that looks much further down the road than the other two issues.
DYSON: Do either of you believe that Assad actually used chemical
weapons? Or is that being deployed by some forces that have at stake the
division between Israel and the United States in a substantive way that
would create tension, hostility, and therefore, nothing would get done?
DUSS: Honestly, I don`t know. I mean, I think there`s logic to what
you just said. The president made it clear that is a red line. It seems
to me that that`s something that the Syrian government would take
seriously, as vicious as they have been up to now.
But to step back to something Robin just said, I think clearly, you
know, what we saw here today at the press conference was Benjamin Netanyahu
really moving much closer to the president`s position on this. As we know,
there`s been tension on this. Benjamin Netanyahu sees this in a more
immediate way. He used various means to try to pull the United States to
There was that tension, as you said, that lecture in the Oval Office.
I think what we saw today is a prime minister who recognizes that the
president has been reelected and it`s in his interest to try to ease some
of those tensions.
But getting back to Syria, when I was in Israel last week, clearly,
Syria, as much of a problem as the Iranian nuclear program, is the most
immediate threat that I gathered was Syria and the possibility that some of
those, some of these, some of that could spill over and affect Israel.
WRIGHT: The fog of war, having covered 12 wars, is always difficult
in those initial stages. And there are lots of accusations by both sides.
The British today announced they`re sending chemical weapons testing
kits to the rebels, to be able to verify what may happen. It is clear that
if either side used chemical weapons, it will be a game changer, whether
it`s in terms of what the outside world is prepared to do against the
regime of President Bashar al-Assad, or how much support it gives the
But we`re not there yet. And it`s something that we all have to sit
The challenge is Syria over the next year as we wait to see what
happens with the diplomatic situation on Iran, what the other alternatives
are, that Syria will be the one, that given the fact you have these
existential challenges to the Syrian people, will be the one that both
sides have to make a stand on.
DYSON: Let me ask you very briefly. OK, thank you.
Let me ask you very briefly, we`re almost out of time. Do you think
that the anniversary of Iraq with all this bluster from Cheney and from
Rumsfeld who are unrepentant in their belief that they did the right thing,
do you think the faux pas that we made there in terms of ascribing
(INAUDIBLE) Hussein that wasn`t there, that makes us very careful here
about talking about chemical weapons and therefore what we do?
DUSS: I would say yes. And I would recognize that as one of the few
actual benefits of the Iraq war. It has made us much more cautious about
making these kind of claims and deploying troops as we did in Iraq. So,
WRIGHT: The U.S. has neither the will or the interest in investing in
a third military conflict.
DYSON: All right. Matt Duss, and Robin Wright, thank you so much for
joining us today.
The RNC is putting $10 million on the line to reach out to minorities.
I`ll give them some free advice, ahead.
And later, this guy committed a big personal foul on the basketball
court last night. We`ll have the play by play, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: How does Reince Priebus
reconcile his approach and his agreement with voter registration policies
that many in the black community view as anti-black, racist, whatever the
term happens to be?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: That was former RNC Chairman Michael Steele wondering how the
RNC`s 10 million dollars in community outreach will be successful if the
policies of the party are offensive to minorities. Let me save Republicans
10 million bucks and offer some free advice off the top of my dome.
Let me lace you with this commentary. First, stop resting on your
questionable laurels. If you want to reach out to black and other minority
voters, you`ve got to give up the old saw that it was the Republican party
that helped black folk out when the Democrats were doing us in. True. But
that was more than a hundred years ago. Black folk fled to the Democrats
when they offered -- that is FDR offered the nation a New Deal, and haven`t
looked back since.
Republicans, you`ve got to get a Janet Jackson vibe going and answer
the question, what have you done for us lately.
Second, stop acting as if reaching out to black folk means you`re
giving them the hook up. Ever read the book by the white sociologist Ira
Cats Nelson (ph) "When Affirmative Action Was White?" Yes, that`s right.
White folk have been getting the hook up forever. And Republicans who
think they`re self-made have been taking advantage of their privilege of
birth while denying that privilege to others and refusing to extend a
helping hand to anybody else.
Third, if you were smart, you would exploit the fact that black folk,
by and large, have conservative cultural and moral values. And if you
toned down that black culture is primarily about pathology and moral decay,
and approach black folk with respect, then a lot more black folk would be
willing to listen.
Fourth, what the heck happened to the liberal Republican? I pine for
the days of Nelson Rockefeller and Jack Kemp, or black Republicans like
William Coleman or Ed Brook. What about Bill Cohen, a Republican who is a
fiscal conservative but a social liberal? Can we get some more of that?
Instead, we get conservatives who are simply out-of-bounds. We get
insult wielding lightweights like Sarah Palin, volatile verbalists like
Rush Limbaugh, and paranoid historical revisionists like Glenn Beck.
Or we get Tea Party partisans who are ruining our country and the
Republican party, by the way, by throwing fits when they can`t get their
way. If you want to reach out to black and other minorities, treat us like
adults, respect our history, tell the truth about our own and yours as
well, stop practicing the poisonous politics of stereotype mongering, stop
trying to suppress the black vote, stop trying to exploit immigration
policies, and learn to respect our humanity, dignity and intelligence.
You`d be surprised how far that could get you.
Let`s bring in Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, the Washington bureau
chief of the National Action Network, Janaye Ingram, and Democratic
strategist Tara Dowdell. Thank you all for joining me here tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
DYSON: Senator Turner, you`re obviously from a vital swing state
where access to the ballot box is extremely critical. What would you like
to say about the RNC`s outreach effort?
NINA TURNER, OHIO STATE SENATOR: Well, you know, Dr. Dyson, they
believe that they have a branding problem. They have -- they need to
change their policies. You know, in other words, they didn`t trick enough
people last year, so they need to change their rhetoric. What they need to
change, though, is their policies.
If they want more women to vote pour them, then they need to stand up
for equal pay for equal work. They need to keep their noses out of women`s
reproductive health. And they need to stop pretending that there`s such as
If they want people of color, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-
Americans and other people of color to support them, then they need to stop
trying to block their vote, step-on their rights and access to the ballot,
make sure that they advocate for fair immigration policies.
If they want working class people, middle class people to vote for
them, Dr. Dyson, then they need to advocate for good paying jobs with
health care and for a fair tax wage. But Dr. Dyson, if they did something
like that, you know what that would make them? Democrats.
DYSON: Janaye Ingram, in light of what Senator Turner has already
indicated here, the RNC outreach is a 10 million dollar effort to send
hundreds of party workers into African-American, Hispanic and Asian
communities, a kind of evangelical thrust there. But it`s not the money;
it`s the message at issue here, as Senator Turner has said. Isn`t it?
JANAYE INGRAM, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Absolutely. I actually think
it`s more than just the message. I mean, ultimately, what they`re saying
is we want to win at any cost. And we`re just going to tell you what you
want to hear. And it`s more about showing us. And I think Michael Steele
said it best when he said, you can go into the communities, but it`s not
just about showing up. You can show up anytime, but it`s about what you
And their actions are not measuring up. They`re saying one thing and
they`re doing another. So really, it`s more than just about telling us
what we want to hear. It`s about showing us who you really are. Because
right now, it just seems like, you know, they`re the party that wants to
disenfranchise black and Latino voters. They are the party of the rich.
And that`s not what we are about.
So it`s really more about show me more than tell me.
DYSON: Right. Tara Dowdell, given what Senator Turner and Ms. Ingram
have already indicated, what would you do? If you were sitting on an RNC
planning meeting committee, what would your advice be?
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I`m not in the business of
giving advice to Republicans. But since you asked, first of all, I think
what the Republicans need to do is to remember that people have very long
memories. And it wasn`t so long, throughout the 2012 election cycle, as
you referenced, they spent a lot of time insulting black voters, insulting
Hispanic voters and ignoring Asian voters.
And so, first of all, they have to understand that this is going to be
an ongoing challenge for them if they want to woo those minority voters
because people do not forget. And I don`t think they fully understand just
how much damage was done through that election cycle with the rhetoric that
was used. It was not lost on us when they made a point about Obama voters
being lazy, wanting free things from the government, when we know that
Obama voters, a large chunk of his coalition were black and Hispanic and
So those comments were not lost on our communities. The other issue
the Republican party has and what they need to address is their
unwillingness to call out racism when it occurs in their party. When
Democrats -- there was a situation recently where a liberal group made a
comment about Senator McConnell`s wife and Democrats were very quick --
progressives were very quick to condemn those statements because they had
The Republicans have got to be willing when people in their party say
something racist, say something sexist to immediately condemn it and really
push it -- push those type of people out of the party. And they seem
unwilling to do that.
DYSON: In light of that, senator -- Nina, tell us here exactly your
response when you saw that videotape -- I`m sure you saw it at the CPAC,
where there was an interaction between the -- you know, the Frederick
Douglass black representative of the conservatives there and the young
white man who was trying to protect his southern white male identity. Is
that indicative, Senator Turner, of what you think is the problem here
going on between those who are trying to reach out, when they haven`t even
converted those within their own party as to the need for an enlightened
TURNER: I was mortified, Dr. Dyson. They need to get real. But
oftentimes when you`re dealing with the Republican party -- you know, my
grandmother said you can put truth in the river five days after a lie.
Truth is going to catch up. And the fact that somebody would make such a
flip comment about Frederick Douglass and his need to thank his slave
master for room and board, they are absolutely out of touch.
So I have a message for my Republican brothers and sisters, if you
want people to vote for you, change your policies or switch your party to
Democrats. But we will know the tree by the fruit that it bears. That is
what the Good Book says, doc. And we know the tree -- the fruit of the
Republican party is rotten to the core.
DYSON: Thank you, Reverend Turner. That`s a good word Here`s more
from Michael Steele.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEELE: You`ve got to reconcile how people feel about your policies,
not just the fact that you`re going to show up. You can show up anytime.
It`s what you say and what you do when you get there that matters most to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Janaye Ingram, what part of the Republican party`s economic
message is appealing these days? They`re trying to make an outreach
predicated upon an economic one. Then what is the economic position? Is
it the can`t -- you know, is it the budget of Ryan? I doubt. Is it some
other kind of thing that they`ve been withholding from us? What do you
think the answer would be? And why does it make sense to them?
INGRAM: I don`t know what the answer would be. Why it makes sense to
them, you know, I can`t really speak to that. A lot of the cuts they are
talking about hurt African-American and Latino communities, as well as
elderly citizens. So I don`t know that the economic policies that they`re
looking at necessarily benefit anyone.
And when you talk about them being a party of the rich or them seeming
that way, that kind of speaks to that point, I think, of them protecting
corporate interests and things of that nature, but not willing to stand up
for the average Joe or Jane.
So I don`t know what that answer is. But maybe we could get one of
them to tell us.
DYSON: Exactly right. I don`t think they`re able to frame an answer
any better than what you`ve done here tonight. Ohio State Senator Nina
Turner, Janaye Ingram and Tara Dowdell, thank you so much for joining us
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
DYSON: Will the race for South Carolina`s open house seat be a choice
between a comedian`s sister and a comedian`s punch line? Find out what`s
next from Mark Sanford. That`s coming up.
DYSON: Rush Limbaugh has done it again. He thinks singer Beyonce is
telling women to bow down to their husbands in her latest single. But he
couldn`t be more wrong. And that`s got our fans on Facebook and Twitter in
On Facebook, Sandy Robbins Paz writes, "my bet is that our beloved
Beyonce would bow down to nobody."
Aria Ahrary says "Rush can`t even interpret what he and his GOP
groupies are saying, let alone Beyonce."
And Fred Christian writes, "the man is clueless as usual. Why people
listen to him is beyond or even Beyonce me."
Go to our Facebook page -- that was Michael Eric Dyson`s insertion.
Go to our Facebook page right now and join the conversation. And don`t
forget to like THE ED SHOW when you`re there. We`ll be right back.
DYSON: Welcome back. South Carolina`s special Congressional race is
one to watch, with last night`s primary winners setting the stage for an
interesting match up. Disgraced former Governor Mark Sanford won the 16
way Republican primary, getting 37 percent of the vote. Because he failed
to get a full 50 percent, Sanford will face a runoff election on April 2nd
before he can hope to face his Democratic challenger.
But considering the fact that just four years ago, Sanford was
offering a tearful apology for disappearing from the governor`s mansion and
lying about hiking the Appalachian Trail in order to visit his mistress in
Argentina, I`d say he`s doing better than expected.
In the Democratic primary, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of comedian
Stephen Colbert, easily beat her challenger, capturing 96 percent of the
vote. While Colbert Busch has benefited from her famous family ties and
business background, she faces a tough fight. South Carolina`s 1st
District hasn`t elected a Democratic representative since 1981.
The special general election will be held on May 7th.
Tonight in our survey, I asked you, will we see any major gun safety
laws passed in this Congress? Nineteen percent say yes; 81 percent say no.
Coming up, President Obama fills out his card for the Big Dance. Does
he choose my Hoyas? Find out who he`s picking to win it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Louisville this
year has the horses to go real far.
Even though I love Wisconsin, had a chance to meet those young men
when I was up there, really nice guys, but I`m going to have to go to Ohio
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Michigan against Florida. This will be
in Dallas. Who gets to the Final Four?
OBAMA: I`m going with Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shane Larkin (ph), Cody Zellar (ph), Reggie
Johnson (ph), Kenny Kogi (ph), who is going to win in this one?
OBAMA: This is a great game, but I think Indiana is going to pull it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: President Obama`s bracket is all set for March Madness, as the
NCAA basketball tournament tips off tomorrow. The president has Louisville
versus Ohio State and Florida versus Indiana in his Final Four. He
advances Louisville and Indiana to the title game.
And here`s the presidential pick for the national champion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: For the championship, I`m going back to the Big Ten. I think
this is Indiana`s year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: There you have it. The president is going back to Indiana, as
Michael Jackson sang. Barack-otology has become sort of a tradition for
the president. He has filled out a bracket on ESPN every year since he`s
been president. And every year, right-wingers freak out because President
Obama takes a few minutes, five to be exact, to fill out a bracket.
John Boehner re-Tweeted, "the GOP conference saying, clutch with his
brackets, late with his budgets. Check out our new video." Sounds like a
rap song, doesn`t it. He linked his video slamming the president for
filling out a bracket.
Meanwhile, a Kentucky fan has cooked up a wild theory on why his team
didn`t make the cut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s a disgrace and a joke that the NCAA
didn`t put us in the tournament. If you ask me, it`s a bunch of liberal
socialism making its way into sports. I`m serious, you can laugh all you
want, but it`s the truth, man. And your party`s partially responsible for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: I promise that was not a horse from the Kentucky Derby. We
should point out Ashley Judd, who`s eyeing Mitch McConnell`s Senate seat,
is a big Kentucky fan too. So Chester may want to rethink his conspiracy
For more on this, let`s turn to the wise one himself, Mike Wise,
sports columnist for the "Washington Post." Mike, before we move on to the
tournament, what`s your reaction to the right wing freaking out over Obama
every year when he does his bracket?
MIKE WISE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, Dr. Dyson, the time it took
for Senator Boehner to actually put that Tweet together, the time he could
have been working on the sequestration problem. So I mean, it`s
ridiculous. You know what I love about this president? And irrespective
of my politics, he actually understands that our self-esteem shouldn`t be
tied to our work all the time. You can actually have a bad day at work and
actually coach your daughters afterward.
And if there`s anything to be said for that, this president is saying
DYSON: No doubt about it. Now I got a beef with him. I mean, he
chose my Hoyas, maybe it was in the Final Eight. I don`t know if he got
them in the Elite Eight. But we don`t get to the Final Four? Come on, Mr.
President. What do you think about him? He`s got to have some home town
WISE: Filling out a bracket is one thing. Did he do it well? No.
No. In fact, if you want to give him a hard time, you could say he
probably was concentrating on other things, because he basically took the
favorites. This was like investing in Microsoft and U.S. Steel.
Louisville, Indiana, he had all the favorites. This was a season in which
you could actually say -- maybe not Butler, but a New Mexico could end up
in the championship game.
DYSON: What about Gonzaga? What do you think about them?
WISE: A little soft. I see them getting to about the final eight,
maybe the Final Four. I can`t see them winning the whole thing.
DYSON: How about Chaka Smart (ph) and VCU? I mean, the president
likes them. Everybody likes them. What are their chances?
WISE" The fact that they might do the Chaka Khan song to Shaka Smart
wants me to -- this is not VCU`s year. This is -- a Cinderella that`s
going to come out of this could be St. Louis. I like St. Louis a lot.
DYSON: All right, now we`ve heard the president. Now we want to hear
from the expert. Although, let me say, before I get to that, Barack Obama,
President Obama, is a pretty knowledgeable guy when it come to basketball.
WISE: Having grown up in Hawaii myself, played high school basketball
two years behind him over there, he lives and eats and sleeps hoops still.
And he loves it. So he knows his basketball. I just think he took a
little less time on this pool than he did other ones.
DYSON: See, Republicans, that`s a good thing.
So who do you have for your elite, Final Four? And who do you have
winning this thing?
WISE: I like Tom Izzo taking that team all the way to the
championship game. Tom Izzo could take me, you and three guys who can play
and get us to the Elite Eight. He is that kind of coach at tournament
time. I don`t know if this Michigan State team is up for it, but I
wouldn`t be surprised to see a Michigan State/Indiana final. And I do like
the Hoosiers winning it all.
DYSON: I`ll have you know, I scored six points when I played with the
big boys on the YMCA. So that would be two players who could play.
WISE: Those ones were youth. You combined for 44 with the best guy,
and you had two.
DYSON: Me and Lebron did a heck of a job.
Before we go, I want to get your reaction to this viral video of a
basketball fan who was reluctant to share his ice cream with his sweetie
pie. Let`s take a look at this.
WISE: That`s just wrong.
DYSON: So eventually he gave it up. But what are your thoughts on
this, man? Is this -- come on. That`s kind of cold. What do you think
about that, man? Is that American?
WISE: There`s etiquette at games. And one of them is, you don`t ask
for ice cream from the person you actually got it from. Keep your own --
go get your own ice cream. Grow up.
DYSON: Women of America, that`s not my position.
Mike Wise, thank you so much. That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric
Dyson, in for Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now.
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