THE ED SHOW
June 9, 2013
Guests: Kendall Coffey, John Nichols
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Where are the jobs?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Where
are the jobs?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Mr. President, where
are the jobs?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our businesses have
created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 32 months.
REPORTER: Like this construction elevator, confidence in the economy
is climbing to new levels
OBAMA: Thanks to the grit and the determination of American people,
folks are starting to come back.
OBAMA: Ordinary folks, they do their jobs. The notion our elected
leadership can`t do the same thing is mind-boggling to them.
CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Do you understand the words that are coming
out of my mouth?
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: We in the Republican
conference remain committed to emphasizing working families.
CHARACTER: They took our jobs.
ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: Are we serious?
BOEHNER: This week, we will be repealing Obamacare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You blew it.
SCHULTZ: That`s who the Republicans are.
OBAMA: It needs to stop.
SCHULTZ: You know what? We`re going back to work.
JOY REID, GUEST HOST: Good evening. And welcome to THE ED SHOW.
I`m Joy Reid, in for Ed Schultz.
And we have some late-breaking news tonight. "The Guardian"
newspaper in London has released a video of the self-described source of
leaked documents of the NSA data collection program. We`ll talk more about
this new piece of information later on in the show.
And this morning, the NSA story was topic A on the Sunday morning
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They are looking at a billion phone
calls a day is what I read in the press.
GLENN GREENWALD, THE GUARDIAN: It indicates just how vast and
massive the NSA is in terms of sweeping up all forms of communication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My main concern is that Americans don`t know the
extent to which they are being surveilled, George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really makes you wonder, you have to ask
yourself this question is, can you trust this administration with your
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: People are concerned about this mountain of
data that you have.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: If everybody knew the phone numbers
were being kept or maintained by the NSA, maybe the terrorist would start
using pony express and smoke signals. It will slow them down a little bit.
MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Let me quote Rush Limbaugh, my
beloved. It`s not line Colonel Sanders is collecting this information, OK?
PAUL: This is what we objected to. And what our Founding Fathers
partly fought the revolution over.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
REID: Colonel Sanders?
Unfortunately, the NSA news is overshadowing more important issues
like gun control. On Friday, a man armed with an assault rifle killed five
people in Santa Monica, California. He fired hundreds of rounds at random
people in the city before being shot and killed by police inside the Santa
Monica College library.
This is just one of many shootings that happen in our country all the
time. And what is Congress doing to solve the problem? Nothing.
This could be why only 6 percent of voters think Congress is doing a
good job compared to 64 percent who rate its performance as poor.
Meanwhile, another reason why that number is low: jobs and the
economy. Americans have been very clear. They care about job creation.
They want Washington to be 100 percent focused on fixing the economy.
Believe it or not, even Republicans know this.
That`s why House majority leader, Eric Cantor, had this to say on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CANTOR: You hear a lot about the desire for the taxpayers and
citizens of this country, for Congress, for Washington, for the White House
to be focused on jobs and the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Now, hold it right there, Mr. Cantor. Your party has spent
the past several years trying to repeal Obamacare, defend Planned
Parenthood and curtail voting rights. Meanwhile, the White House has put
forth a jobs bill you won`t even consider.
Now, no thanks to Republicans, the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in
May. And overall, we have seen 39 straight months of private sector growth
under President Obama, totaling 6.9 million new jobs.
Now, just to be clear, the red bars you`re seeing there are job
losses under George W. Bush. The blue bars start when President Obama took
office. How much better could we have done if Republicans spent more time
working on the economy rather than attacking the president?
They blocked countless job bills, including last year`s American Jobs
Act, that could have created roughly 2 million new jobs.
And so far, John Boehner`s 113th Congress hasn`t brought a single
jobs bill to the House floor. They have been focused on one thing, trying
to hurt President Obama`s image with these so-called scandals.
Even during there so-called Solutions for America Jobs Conference,
Eric Cantor just couldn`t help himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CANTOR: House Republicans remain committed to uphold and fulfill our
obligation to conduct oversight of this administration in light of the
abuse of trust reflected in the actions of the IRS and elsewhere throughout
There has been an abuse of trust on the part of this administration
towards the American people. All of this has occurred, specially at the
IRS, is something that strikes Americans as completely unacceptable.
It is the Obama IRS. I mean, here, you have a neutral instrument of
government like the IRS, being used to go after political opponents.
That`s just not what we do in American.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
REID: Now, it`s important to point out, during Cantor press
conference, he spent 32 seconds talking about jobs. That`s right, 32 whole
seconds talking about jobs during the jobs press conference. But that is a
great-looking banner behind him, I have to say.
Now, House Majority Leader Cantor offered no tangible solutions to
actually create a job. But he did spend two minutes and 15 seconds talking
about the scandals.
Now, during President Obama`s first term, Republicans obstructed.
They damaged the economy to try to deny the president a second term. Now,
they are using these so-called scandals to slow progress and harm the
president`s legacy. The American people are sick of it and they want
Congress to get back to work.
So, joining me now -- first of all, before joining me now, get your
cell phones out because I do want to know what you think of tonight`s
question. So, what`s more important to you? The scandals or jobs? You
can text "A" for scandals and "B" for jobs to 67622, or you can go to our
blog at EdMSNBC.com, and I`ll bring you the results later in the show.
And now, I am joined by Ari Melber, co-host of "THE CYCLE" here on
MSNBC, Joan Walsh, editor at large for "Salon," and Jonathan Alter, MSNBC
political analyst and author of the new book, "The Center Holds".
And I want to start with you first, Jonathan.
So, Republicans have had about two weeks to just focus on what they
considered to be scandals, the IRS, Benghazi. They sort of tried all of
those and thrown them at wall to see what would stick. And now, you have
this NSA story.
Do Republicans believe that they can run out the clock on the 2014
election, focus on White House scandals? And then, conversely, is the
White House worried that`s exactly what they are going to do?
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that is the state of
play now. And the only language they understand are election results and
pressure from constituents.
So, the election results, for instance, are why there is less
gridlock on immigration reform. They are moving toward some kind of deal,
notwithstanding the scandals, and that`s because this is a story that I try
to tell in "The Center Holds," there was 71 percent of Latinos that voted
So, the Republican Party understands why they can`t succeed in the
future if they can`t cut that margin. So, that`s why there is progress on
that. On jobs, they didn`t get the message. So, the president needs some
new strategies for putting it to them and for essentially saying, come to
an infrastructure conference if you want anything built in your district.
And, by the way, he needs to go over their heads and say to the people in
their states and districts, do you not want your roads and bridges fixed
and go and visit them and really put pressure on them the way he is
starting to do on their obstruction on judges.
So he must join this fight. As I explain, I try to pull back the
curtain on what happened over the last couple of years. He`s capable of
doing this. He got reelected.
ALTER: He can fight.
REID: He can message on it.
ALTER: He just needs to do it.
REID: But, Joan, I mean, in the sense, is the White House sort of
victim of the economy`s own success?
You do have job reaction. We showed you that bikini graph, that
showed that under President Obama, we have seen a rebound in jobs. It may
not be great but the economy is growing. So the Republicans are less
interested in sort of talking about that issue.
So, is it actually in a sort of warp sense, more difficult for the
president to go out and mention on jobs, because people sort of see it
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Well, I don`t know if people see it
happening. I mea, it`s a really weak recovery. So many people you -- in
polls, so many people still care about the economy. So many people are
still reporting that they or a loved one has lost a job, that someone is in
So, I think there is still a lot of pain. It`s just that the
Republicans -- they don`t care about those people.
ALTER: They don`t.
WALSH: That is not their constituency.
So, Jonathan is right. They are more amenable to doing something on
immigration reform. But even there, you are seeing the far right of the
caucus pull them back. And Rand Paul comes out today and says, I am the
conduit through which a deal must be made.
I just love that idea.
REID: Right, while he`s going to be also suing on the NSA. He`s got
a lot on his plate.
WALSH: He`s very busy. He`s very pleased with himself. He`s really
popped up about this stuff. But when Rand Paul is pretending that he is
the voice of reason and perhaps conciliation on immigration control, you
know on immigration reform, you know this bill is in some trouble.
REID: Yes. And probably trouble in the house, too. Ari, we do have
this situation where you have the Rand Pauls who are probably looking to
run for president. You have a lot of presidential 2016 politics mixed in
with 2014 politics. It does seem like we have a recipe for absolutely
nothing getting done. We`re just going to talk about the IRS and Benghazi
and whatever the next faux scandal is.
ARI MELBER, "THE CYCLE" CO-HOST: Yes, I think the challenge for the
White House is to try to build penalties in to this system. I mean,
Jonathan was talking about what moves, in terms of the pressure.
I went and counted all the House votes that have been held this year,
211 votes. By my count, there was only one related to jobs at all, sort of
returning veterans jobs program. So one out of 211 is really bad, really,
really bad, a failing grade.
And so, I think what the White House has to do is really build that
message and basically say, we see you. We see what you`re up to. We see
you can`t get anything on the floor. I`m not talking about what they have
MELBER: You can`t get the floor votes. And in the Senate, you have
a shadow of filibuster and everything. So, I think that messaging has to
be much stronger for those who want to criticize and make some pressure.
REID: Right. I mean, and the idea then that president is having a
conversation with the American people. He did that Affordable Healthcare
Act press conference the other day, which, f course, got big-footed by the
NSA stuff. He is trying to constantly talk about jobs in his jobs bill.
Republicans are having a totally separate conversation that`s all
about Barack Obama being an authoritarian monster. So, I mean, this
doesn`t sound to me like there`s going to be a lot of forward movement on
the most important issue to Americans, which is the economy, jobs.
ALTER: What you have to remember is, the press has a short attention
REID: And it`s more interested right now in the Republican
ALTER: The scandals --
MELBER: What are you talking about?
ALTER: That`s news here. Scandals have a short shelf life.
ALTER: Even if they are ones that people like me care about, like
the press scandal and the NSA scandal, nonetheless, a month from now, they
are not going to be dominating the headlines, unless there`s some big new
REID: Republicans will just come up with a new one, right?
ALTER: Yes. But they have to get traction on certain things. So,
at a certain point, you can bring some pressure to bear. And then the
other thing that`s really important to remember when progressives get
depressed, in -- to look at the glass half full. Imagine if Mitt Romney
and Paul Ryan had been elected --
REID: OK. Now, you`re just scaring me.
ALTER: That`s why I think the story that I`m telling in my book is
compelling one. We dodged a bullet once. We can dodge a bullet again.
REID: I want to give Joan the last word on this.
WALSH: I just want to say, I think you are being a little bit too
optimistic about the short attention span of the press. You`re right they
do, but they also get really distracted by bright, shiny objects.
WALSH: Benghazi got a new burst of life when Jonathan Karl had those
emails. They`re supposedly have those emails.
REID: Yes, the creatively sort of worded e-mails that weren`t quite
exactly what they were making --
ALTER: But what are the consequences? We`re not near an election.
What does it ultimately matter?
WALSH: It`s time off the clock. It`s exactly that.
ALTER: It`s time off the clock.
WALSH: Time off the clock matters.
ALTER: But if you get your forces aligned properly, if you light a
fire under the members with the kind of communication that Ari is talking
about, you can make things happen. What bothers me right now is there`s a
sense of fatigue about trying, thinking new ways.
REID: OK. We`re going to continue to cut it right there because we
are going to continue more about one of the bright, shining objects that
really is sort of making news. So, when we come back, we will talk about
that latest bright, shiny object.
So, Joan, Jonathan, Ari, please stay with us.
And remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Also, share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow, and The Reid Report,
and on Facebook. And I want to know what you think.
So, up next, the man that says he is the source of the documents from
the NSA data collection program shares his reason for the leaks.
Our panel reacts to the latest news, coming up.
REID: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Late this afternoon, am interview with the source of the leaked
documents in the NSA data collection program was posted by "The Guardian."
In the interview, Edward Snowden describes his decision to release
information from an undisclosed location in Hong Kong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD SNOWDEN, SELF-IDENTIFIED SOURCE OF LEAK: When you are in
positions of privileged access like a sys administrator for these sort of
intelligence communities agencies, you are exposed to a lot more
information on a broader scale than the average employee. Because of that,
you see things that may be disturbing but over the course of the normal
person`s career, you`d only see one or two of these instances.
When you see everything, you see them on a more frequent basis. And
you recognize that some of these things are actually abuses. And when you
talk to people about them in a place like this, where this is the normal
state of business, people tend not to take them very seriously and, you
know, move on from them.
But over time, that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up and you
feel compelled to talk about it. And the more you talk about it, the more
you are ignored. The more you are told it is not a problem, until
eventually, you realize that these things need to be determined by the
public, not by somebody who is simply hired by the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Snowden went on to describe why he thought this program was
dangerous to every single American.
(BEGI VIDEO CLIP)
SNOWDEN: Because even if you`re not doing anything wrong, you are
being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems
increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude. To where it`s
getting to the point you don`t have to have done anything wrong. You
simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a
wrong call. And they can then use this system to go back in time and
scrutinize every decision you have ever made, every friend you`ve ever
discussed something with and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive
suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And I am joined again by Ari Melber, Joan Walsh and Jonathan
And, Ari, you know, I want to start with you, because I thought that
last point was sort of one of the more interesting things. I`ll just
stipulate I didn`t think there was anything that newsworthy in the
interview other than he is in Hong Kong. That`s where he is hiding out.
The interview wasn`t exactly contentious. It was an interview by a
supporter of his. It was Glenn Greenwald who supports him, interviewing.
So, it was a sort of soft interview.
I thought in that answer he got to what the potential real sort of
worry is about in these programs, which is that they are collecting all
this huge amount of data. It`s sort of an inefficient way to do law
enforcement in the near term, but if you ever wanted to go back and look at
something someone did before, n sometime in the future, then you can sort
of string together sort of the bit of someone`s life.
MELBER: Yes, I think the question is whether there is the proper
oversight and accountability. The history of expansive surveillance in
America is an ugly history. It was the FBI counter-intelligence program
that was used to surveil Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and the Black
Panthers and Abbie Hoffman, and Muhammad Ali. Anyone who is a critic of
stop and frisk, or aggressive police tactics, understands why many of us
have such a premium -- we put such importance on having systems to check
REID: Can I go back on one thing before you go further? Because the
issue when this first came out, this was first disclosed by James Risen
back in 2006, and the outrage that it including me, I was like wait a
minute, warrantless wiretapping, not a good thing.
And what people, particularly on the liberal and libertarian side
said, is if you want to do this, get a court order. Well, here we have the
supposed scandal, which was the leak of the court order. Now, we`ve had
the government go and get the court order that people on the left and
libertarians were demanding in `06. They produced the court order in a
leak, and now, we say, oh, wait a minute, that`s not good enough.
BERMAN: It`s a very important point and it`s one that I think people
REID: -- no court order, right?
BERMAN: Correct, but it`s one that people of goodwill can disagree
on. I was calling it the time for individualized court orders, case by
The administration under Bush and now under Obama, through the NSA
has implied to Congress that these were relatively individualized. They,
for example, said, in 2012, there were 200 or so business record requests,
which left many people, including some members of Congress, thinking, oh,
about 200 requests. What we learned, the reason why this is really
significant as a leak, even though I would agree, it doesn`t seem to be
illegal under what we understand about FISA is, one record request reaches
millions of business phone lines, millions of Verizon customer lines.
So, then, when we look at the history of what happens when you don`t
have individualized court oversight, when it has ballooned -- yes, with the
cooperation of both parties. Both parties also led us to the war in Iraq,
with financial deregulation.
The fact that the national security state is bipartisan doesn`t make
me feel any better. And the history, the reason this is important, even
though Republicans have clearly been self-interested and politically
opportunistic in the way they approached it, none of that speaks to the
same thing that we talk about when we look at stop and frisk, when we look
at the way criminal disparities work, according to --
REID: Right, right.
MELBER: All these work together in the fact that we need
individualized oversight. So, I`m looking for that kind of reform.
REID: Now, I`m glad you mentioned the stop and frisk piece of it,
because, you know, in the fiscal world, the sort of metadata world, a
dragnet like this make you pick up 40 black guys because one black guy
robbed the store and then you have the victim of the robbery come in and
identify them in a lineup, or you go through and stop and frisk every black
guy in Brooklyn, because you want to find one, right?
I mean, there is this physical metadata collection. It happened
And in this case, the court order that was demanded by the left is
what happened in this instance.
And so, Joan, you and I have talked about this before. I am kind of
struck by the extent to which this guy, Mr. Snowden, and in general, those
who have been critical of the administration, have attempted to get the
Barack Obama administration to be the administration they perceive when he
They say, if he was going to be this, if he isn`t this, we are going
to act. I am going to do a leak or something else to force the
administration`s hand to mold them into the Obama administration I wanted.
WALSH: Well, I think -- I see an element of that, Joy. But I think
these are important issues. I think what Ari said is true. We don`t -- I
don`t think even members of Congress really knew what these court orders
REID: The intelligence committees did. They were briefed.
WALSH: They were briefed and some of them were quite anxious about
it and wanted to talk about it.
And I`m a little bit -- you know, I get a little peeved with the
president when he says, I`m glad we`re having this debate now. Well, we`re
having it because of these leaks. You know, if you don`t -- if you don`t
like or trust this guy, Snowden, and you want to impeach his character,
whatever, that`s fine. I`m not saying you are doing that. People are
trying to do that.
But he has access to the kinds of secrets we`re talking about. I
mean, the breadth of this dragnet.
REID: Right. Have ever asked, Jonathan, I mean, you are a student
of presidential history, you just wrote about Barack Obama, has there even
been an instance where the government, where the National Security Agency,
FBI, CIA, has ever produced the court orders by which they do law
enforcement? Because now, we are changing the goalposts, we have to admit
that. We`re saying, not only do we want a court order but we want a
publicly-induced court order from the National Security Agency to describe
the law enforcement in process.
ALTER: FISA court is a secret court.
ALTER: And it has been ever since it was set up.
REID: Ever since Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter set it up, right.
ALTER: Barack Obama`s position on this has not changed. And I went
on MSNBC several times debating Glenn Greenwald about this at the time in
2007, because Obama took the position that it should be legal, it should be
done through the FISA court.
You know, this -- the law is important. What everyone thinks of the
merits of this snooping program, there are arguments on both sides. The
law is important. This is why this whistle blower, Mr. Snowden, even
though he acted out of conscience, if he did come back to the United
States, he would need to be arrested. Otherwise, the law doesn`t mean
ALTER: Where people like me were getting upset was when the
reporting of the leak was criminalized or the effort by journalists to get
the leak was criminalized. The leaker, if you are working for the CIA, as
he did or for the NSA, you are taking a oath. If you break the oath, and
you`re breaking the law, you have to suffer the consequences, which is why
he is in Hong Kong.
You have to say in his defense, he has decided he will never live in
the United States again. That`s a big decision to make when your 29 years
REID: Right, at the same time, Ari, you know, I come back to this
again, is that I think there was an attempt to portray this as being
exactly what George W. Bush did, something outside the bounds of the law,
when, in fact, the law at requested, and as demanded by people like Barack
Obama at the time was followed. He voted for the 2007 act that made this
go through the FISA court.
MELBER: There is a clear difference. What we had under George W.
Bush was warrantless surveillance of the content, the audio of telephone
calls. Several senior Republicans, including James Comey and Robert
Mueller threatened to resign over that. It was brought back within the
Having said that, so that`s why this is different -- and I`m not a
big fan of the "Huffington Post" running a merge of Bush and Obama faces
every six months. I don`t think that`s the texture of this conversation.
Having said that, those of us who look at the treatment of marginalized
community, police abuse and national security abuse, haven acute awareness
of how dangerous it is to not have individualized oversight.
And so, I have --
REID: It`s a different conversation.
ALTER: It`s not the same at stop and frisk though.
MELBER: Let me just finish my point, John. My concern is that when
you look at the FISA court, which was originally built to do individual
oversight, sometimes after the fact. Put the wiretap down. And within 24
or 72 hours, run it through. But it was case by case.
The point isn`t to say it is the exact same as Mayor Bloomberg`s stop
and frisk is a literal surveillance. The point is to say surveillance has
been used over and over again, against people, because it is so tempting --
MELBER: If we don`t individually oversee it, we leave that
temptation for the next president, who you might trust less.
REID: I want to take distinction on the history, right, because the
FISA court was set up in `78. The first time they ever turned down a
request was 1999. We had gradual intrusions to where we had physical
This has always been a court that was individual and benign. It`s
always been a court that`s essentially rubber stamped whatever the national
ALTER: I have a big problem with that, and I also have a big problem
with the slippery slope between spying on foreigners, which the NSA was set
up to do. This is what their mission is.
And suddenly, we are starting to spy more on people who --
REID: The technology has sort of outrun the law. These are phone
calls, now, these are international trend --
ALTER: You want them to have the leeway to go after the bad guys.
You don`t want to create a situation where we can`t do that. What we need
are some clear, more public words of the road.
REID: Right, and one of them is not going to be that we`re not going
to send all our court orders to Brazil so that reporters --
WALSH: No, no, it`s not. But I mean, somebody else said this. We
want -- when you are balancing freedom and security, you want them to
collect as little as possible to be effective. You want them to tell us as
much as they possibly can in a democracy.
And I think that balance has shifted. And I think we`re trying to
bring it back.
And so, those of us who are saying that -- I`m not holding Barack
Obama personally responsible above all presidents to make this happen
himself. I think, though, now that we know this, we need to have more
transparency. We need --
ALTER: Obama does try at least -- I try put these in historical
context. Again, imagine if Romney was president, he would be saying this
guy should be shot at dawn.
So, Obama is at least wrestling with the balance of security --
REID: And privacy, yes.
And I think when we are having this conversation, I think we all need
to have a conversation about the information we are proactively sharing
with corporate America, because the other side, the flip side of this
story, is that we are either not knowingly or just benignly and freely
sharing much more data and information about ourselves with corporations
that are doing God knows what with it, sharing it --
WALSH: Sharing it with the government.
REID: Sharing it with the government and I think that`s a
conversation, too. So, hopefully, we`ll have a whole big conversation,
lots of -- sort of a multi-faceted meta conversation.
REID: All right. Meta, that`s the word of the day.
All right. Ari Melber, Joan Walsh and Jonathan Alter, thank you so
MELBER: Thanks, Joy.
WALSH: Thanks, Joy.
REID: All right. A Tea Partier in Texas spills the beans on the
GOP`s racial outreach. You won`t believe this one.
Plus, would you let this man be responsible for your children`s
education? Teachers are standing up and saying no.
But, next, I`m taking your questions. So, stay tuned. You`re
watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
REID: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We love hearing from our
And tonight, in "Ask Ed Live," the first question is from Florence
Whitfield. "Why is Eric Holder hounded by the right?"
Florence, that`s a really good question. I think the reason that
Eric Holder is hounded is because he is a proxy for Barack Obama and
because he is the chief law enforcement official in the country. He is the
center of all their fears, whether it`s on gun control, whether it`s
protecting voting rights from all the people that want to follow black
voters around and make sure they`re not voting too much for Obama. All
that gets concentrated in Eric Holder. So, I think that`s the reason he
gets so hounded.
OK. Our next question comes from Steve Wallace. "Voting Rights
Section 5, will the Supreme Court uphold or strike it down?"
OK, this actually is a question that really kind of makes me nervous.
I don`t have a lot of trust in the five majority members of the Supreme
Court. I think that if you see something on affirmative action that looks
like it`s going down, then you may see the Voting Rights Act at least
upheld in part, because John Roberts doesn`t want to be a villain. And I
think he`ll try to make at least one of those two laws stand in large part.
So, I think a lot depends on which comes first. If you see
affirmative action going down, you can have some hopes that at least the
guts of the Voting Rights Section 5 will stand.
All right. That`s my answer. Thanks for the questions and we will
be right back.
REID: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Jury selection in the trial of George Zimmerman, the former
neighborhood watch volunteer accused of second-degree murder in the death
of Trayvon Martin begins tomorrow. Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled and
followed the 17-year-old. While Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self
defense after Martin physically attacked him.
This week, preliminary hearings in the case focused on audio
evidence, specifically on four audio experts who describe their methods and
their conclusions about a 911 call from the night of the shooting at which
someone can be heard screaming for help.
Zimmerman listened Friday as the call was replayed during the
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911: Does he look hurt?
CALLER: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I don`t
know what`s going on.
911: Does he keep yelling help?
911: What is your --
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID: That sound of the final moments of the confrontation between
George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin and the question of, who was screaming
for help, Zimmerman or Martin, could be crucial in the case?
Defense and prosecution experts disagree on whether there is enough
audio to draw a conclusion at all.
Joining me to discuss the case and what we can expect from the trial
is Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney for the district of Florida and now
an attorney in private practice in that state.
And, Kendall, it`s always great to talk to you. Thanks for being
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, FLORIDA DISTRICT: Thanks for
having me on, Joy Ann.
REID: All right. Kendall, so, last weekend going into yesterday,
these audio experts that testified, two on the prosecution side, two on the
defense, disagreed about the methodology, whether or not you can draw a
conclusion on who was screaming on that tape, if you have less than 14
seconds of audio.
How indecisive will that be in the case and what does the judge have
to go on? Can she just allow only one side audio experts in and exclude
those of the other?
COFFEY: Well, it`s difficult to overstate the importance of this
evidence. The prosecution doesn`t have a truly overwhelming case. They
need this evidence.
And the other witnesses to the scene apart from George Zimmerman only
have small glimpses or heard small pieces of what happened, more pieces to
the puzzle to create questions rather than answers.
So, this is vitally important evidence. The judge has to consider
whether the methodology of the prosecution experts has sufficient
scientific acceptance to be allowed. If the judge allows it in, you can be
darn sure that the defense experts will be challenging the prosecution
testimony every step of the way, accusing them of junk science, saying it`s
Btu this may, in terms of the pre-trial rulings and other rulings
that remain, this may be one of the most important of all.
REID: Yes. And in addition to the issue on this audio expert, the
other thing that I think is going to be really important that mostly
people, including yourself have said, that is going to be key is going to
be jury selection.
You have a 500 member jury pool. They`ve got to get down to six
jurors and six alternates. How important do you think jury selection is
going to be to the outcome of the trial?
COFFEY: It`s always important in any trial. It`s especially
important here. And among the many challenges, is finding jurors who don`t
already have pre-existing beliefs in a community that has been drenched in
title waves for pre-trial publicity.
The law we know doesn`t require an empty mind, only an open one. But
what the judge has to determine is how much exposure to pre-trial publicity
is too much.
At the end of the day, what some judges do, Joy Ann, is to simply
say, if the juror can say, I will be fair and impartial, whatever I`ve
read, I will judge the case only on the merits, only on the evidence
submitted to trial. Based on that, a lot of judges will deny a cause
challenge. But it`s going to be very difficult, one of the reasons why
jury selection could last for weeks.
REID: Right. And you talk about a cause challenge, Kendall. I want
to unpack it just a little bit. Each side can essentially challenge jurors
outright, right? There`s a certain number that they can just say, I
exclude this juror without explaining why and then they can exclude for
Can you explain that a little bit because that`s what`s going to be
seeing next week?
COFFEY: You have an unlimited number of for cause challenges that
will center on exposure pre-trial publicity. But others could involve
things such as it`s too much of a hardship for an individual juror or a
juror has some connection to some of the parties or attorneys involved in
The other category of jury challenges is something called peremptory
challenges. It`s referred to commonly as automatic strikes. Each side up
to now is indicated to get 10 per side.
But remember this, Joy Ann, in the current law, if one side is seen
as using these peremptory strikes in order to exclude members of a
particular minority, that can be challenged. There is a whole protocol on
a process for doing so. And it is entirely possible that some of those
issues may also arise over the next two weeks.
REID: And you make a really good point, because there has been some
discussion and some discussion about the racial composition of the jury.
But what about the ideological composition of the jury? I mean, this case
unfortunately has also become divisive in terms of political ideology, left
Is it possible for a prosecutor or a defense attorney to attempt to
exclude someone based on ideology? Can they even ask about political
COFFEY: Well, I think they absolutely can and they should. I have
no doubt that prosecutors are not going to be crazy about having people on
the jury that absolutely love guns an absolutely believe in "Stand Your
Ground" law. That`s going to be something that will be developed through
jury questioning, because like a lot of clear divides in attitudes about
this case, the attitude towards gun and gun ownership is one of the big
ones. It will have some impact in jury selection.
REID: Right. I mean, just in your experience in trying these cases
in Florida, how long does it take? I mean, do you literally have to
question all 500 members of this jury pool? Or is it just up to the point
where you get 12 and then you stop? How long could it take?
COFFEY: Well, different judges have different procedures. But what
would generally happen is a large group, not all 500, but a large group
would be brought in for general questions. That might be conducted by the
judge. At some point, groups will be asked questions by individual
attorneys in order to drill down on it.
But it`s a process that will occur in phases and it`s projected to go
two weeks. Again, pre[-trial publicity. Strong attitudes and divisions
within the community.
This is going to be one of the most difficult jury selection
processes that ever took place in Florida.
REID: Yes, I think that you have -- maybe the understatement of the
day. Thank you so much, Kendall. I`m sure we`ll be talking to you
throughout the trial. Really appreciate you being here.
COFFEY: Thank you.
REID: All right. Thank you.
Well, George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal, the parent company for
this network, for defamation. The company has strongly denied his
And up next, a Tea Party Republican accidentally tells the truth
about who should be voting for his party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want answers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t handle the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Our pretender comes clean after the break.
But, first, tonight in our survey, I asked you, what`s more important
to you, the scandals or jobs? Seven percent say scandals, 93 percent say
REID: Everything is bigger in Texas, including pretenders. Our
pretender tonight takes us to Dallas, where Tea Party leader Ken Emanuelson
took an approach to voter outreach questions that was honest but not too
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BISHOP JOHN LAWSON: What are the Republicans doing to get black
people to vote?
KEN EMANUELSON, TEA PARTY LEADER: Well, I`m going to be real honest
with you, the Republican Party doesn`t want black people to vote if they
are going to vote 9-1 for Democrats.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID: Well, tell us how you really feel. Or better yet, let`s see
how the GOP is supposed to feel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: We care about every voter. The RNC
cannot and will not write off any demographic, community, or region of this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Reince Priebus` Republican autopsy advocated outreach. But in
practice, the GOP has done nothing but rollout a gag reel of halfhearted
and insulting ambassadors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I mean, how many of you would have -- if I would have said who
do you think the founders of the NAACP think they were Republicans or
Democrats? Would everybody know they were all Republicans?
All right. You know more than I know. I don`t mean that to be
insulting. I don`t know what you know. You know, I mean, I am trying to
find out what the connection is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Ken Emanuelson`s words draw the fine line between the GOP and
the Tea Party, honesty. Republicans create an inclusion facade, while
their policies tell a very different story. The Tea Party makes no bones
about mixing racial derision with their politics. But if the GOP wants to
pretend their feelings are any different than Emanuelson`s, they can keep
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: The key to measuring is to test.
And, by the way, I have heard every excuse in the book why we should not
test. Oh, there`s too many tests; you teach the test; testing is
intrusive; testing is not the role of government. How can you possibly
determine whether a child can read at grade level if you don`t test? For
those who claim we are teaching the test, uh-huh, we are teaching a child
to read so he or she can pass the test. Testing is important to solve
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And, finally, tonight, George W. Bush left us with a
struggling economy and two unfunded wars but his most devastating legacy
might be No Child Left Behind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Get it right! Get it right!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Teachers, counselors, principals and parents staged this
massive rally in Albany yesterday to protest standardized testing.
Educators are learning that protests like this work.
This February, teachers in Seattle successfully boycotted a regional
standardized test and won.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can try to implement the map test here at
Garfield, but if it`s wrong for students -- it won`t happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The focus group has spoken. It`s the teachers.
It`s the principals. It`s the students. The focus group has spoken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And shortly after that rally, Washington state made the
standardized test optional for that district.
This is a game of inches. Teachers across the country say it`s worth
their career to speak out against teaching against the test. Even
President Obama couldn`t avoid this issue earlier this week when he
announced funding for faster Internet access in schools.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Imagine educators spending fewer hours teaching to a test,
more time helping kids learn in new and innovative ways.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And joining me now is John Nichols, coauthor of the new book
"Dollarocracy" and writer for "The Nation" magazine.
Thank you for being here, John.
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: It`s an honor, of course.
REID: You attended that rally, which apparently had a huge, massive
turn out. Now, what were those protesters calling for?
NICHOLS: They were calling for a moratorium on testing. These are
interesting things. These are teachers, counselors, and a lot of parents,
a surprising number of parents and students came.
And what they`re saying is, look, we know we have to test sometimes.
We may not like it, but we`ve got to do it. But what they are saying there
is such a rapid implementation of new testing that we often have situations
where children are being tested before the teachers have begun to know how
to teach, not teach the test but to give them the broad information they
It is a mess. And it`s a mess across the country. We are hearing
horror stories from Texas, Georgia, upstate New York -- stories of children
in hospital beds who are told they have to take the test, because the
school districts feel so pressured to put these on.
The school superintendent in Montgomery County, Maryland, has said
this is insanity. And he is suggesting a three-year moratorium.
REID: I mean, you are talking about a tripartite kind of stress.
You have this incredible test on kids. When my kids are preparing for
standardized test, I mean, the teachers tried everything to calm them down,
to relax them, because kids were stressed out because they feel responsible
for their teacher`s future, right, if they fail.
Then, you have the teachers whose pay is tied to this. Their
advancement is tied to it. Their school can lose money because of it.
And this wholes sort of ugly, kind of pressurize environment around
something that -- my mother was a teacher and she didn`t believe the
testing advanced learning.
NICHOLS: Well, in fact, there is a lot of research that tells us
that it doesn`t. And the interesting is, that their stories, Randi
Weingarten, the head of American Federation of Teachers, told a story of
going to a school in New York where fourth grade kids were studying deep
into novels and history books. But then today suddenly break off and focus
on the test.
And the question is, it`s not, do we get rid of the test. But it is,
can we find the proper balance. And if we haven`t found it, you`re only a
third grader once. I have a 9-year-old. You are only a third grader once.
If we haven`t found the proper balance, let`s put it on hold, get it right,
before we mess up this year, next year and the year after for kids who
don`t have it the year over.
REID: Right. You`re making a good point. They are giving up a lot
of things, like art education and other things that parents really want
their children to take the test.
You know, you`ve seen under the Obama administration, a lot of
waivers given for No Child Left Behind, right? But the Race to Top
program, under Arne Duncan, secretary of education, has really kind of been
the same. It`s been a lot of sort of advancing, more testing, sort of more
rigorous testing and financial testing to do more of this kind of learning.
NICHOLS: This is not Democrat or Republican or liberal or
conservative. There are really -- when you get into kids, and you get into
parents thinking about their kids and teachers thinking about how to make
it work, you cross a lot of lines and what we are hearing from very
conservative school districts, very liberal school district, a real
discomfort with this pressure.
REID: But why is it? I mean, you had Senator Edward Kennedy, the
late Teddy Kennedy, who coauthored this No Child Left behind monstrosity
with George W. Bush. Why is there a belief in this idea of standardized
testing, whether it`s on Democrats or Republicans?
NICHOLS: Well, I think it`s an experiment that people want to go
into. They thought, well, let`s try standardized testing. Let`s see if we
can maybe really raise the quality of our schools in some way, give
But I also think, I have to be very honest about this, there is a lot
of money to be made in standardized testing. And there are -- I`m not
saying Teddy Kennedy fell for this or even George Bush, but I`m saying that
there are interests that really, really do want to see a lot of testing,
and they want to see a lot of things tied to that testing.
REID: Well, name names. Who is making money off this stuff?
NICHOLS: There are big testing corporations. Corporations like
Pearson, who really are big players. When I went to that rally yesterday,
I was quite struck by the number of people who had signs that mentioned
REID: Yes. There is a lot of talk about Neil Bush, one of the Bush
family members who develop this sort of programs that are online for
testing kids to test. I`m not saying that the Bush family had a financial
gain necessarily, but the idea is that there is a business growing up. Not
just around the testing itself but on training kids to take the test.
There a whole industry for that, too.
NICHOLS: And, you know, at a time when our schools are cutting arts
education or they`re cutting, you know, I met a girl up in Albany,
remarkable young woman, 18-years old, she`s going to Harvard. She led 500
students out of her school to protest all of the extra curricular programs
And boy, if we`ve got all of this money for testing, we ought to have
money for arts and gym and other things.
REID: Well, let me ask you a question about your sort of belief you
said you have a third grader. Do you think we need national standards that
go across state lines?
NICHOLS: I think we have to be really careful about that, I hate to
say it. But I come from teacher family. My grandmother started teaching
at 16 in a one-room school in Blue River, Wisconsin, near Blue River. I
was raised to believe that teaching is an art form and that you reach kids
in all sorts of different ways.
So, I`m a little -- I understand the desire for national standards,
but I would say, let`s understand that teachers are very special and how
they connect to something we should celebrate and emphasize before we do
REID: Yes. Absolutely, well, John Nichols, that book is called
"Dollarocracy". My mother was each teacher and my godmother retired after
25 years teaching New York City school systems. So, you know, I agree with
you, teachers are very special. We`ve got to look out for them.
Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Well, that is THE ED SHOW. And I`m Joy Reid, in for Ed Schultz. Ed
will be back next week at 5:00 p.m. eastern. Have a wonderful night.
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