The Ed Show for Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Read the transcript to the Friday show
THE ED SHOW
January 3, 2014
Guests: Byron Dorgan, Dan Kildee, John Fugelsang, Lizz Winstead, Sherrod Brown
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not really the expert.
SCHULTZ: The burden is on the Republican Party to pass the unemployment
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And hold them right out from running easily. And
there`s nothing left. There`s nothing left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good to have you this night, folks thanks for
watching. We start with unemployment tonight. Six days ago, 1.3
million Americans stopped receiving their unemployment benefits. Their
government, I believe, has failed them. And now, they`re at a tough
spot and it gets worse at this hour. This just then, I told you, you
can`t trust the Republicans. House majority leader Eric Cantor has sent
a memo to house Republicans laying out their legislative agenda for the
month of January. Unemployment insurance is not included in this memo,
but I tell you, you cut a deal with the Republicans and they`re not
going to bring it to the floor. It`s not on their agenda. Majority
leader in the Senate Harry Reid, said that the Senate will vote on
Monday, on a three-month extension of unemployment benefits. That`s
The bill is expected to pass in the Senate but of course the leader
isn`t holding out any hope for what could happen in the house. He said,
"I don`t predict anything in the house." And after he reads this memo,
he will back that up. He described the chamber in the house as a "black
hole of legislation." Now, a lot of House Republicans are opposed to
the unemployment extension.
Philosophically, they`re not there. House Speaker John Boehner said
that he might bring it up for a vote if the cuts are made elsewhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R), OHIO: When the white house finally called me
last Friday, about extending unemployment benefits, I said that we would
surely consider it. As long as it`s paid for it and as long as there
are other efforts that will help get our economy moving once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Tell me, Mr. Boehner was the shutdown paid for? No. You`re
wiping your hands to that one right? Democrats are taking a huge leap
of faith trusting John Boehner to go along with the Senate Bill. You
know, I want to play out a scenario if I may, tonight on this program.
I would like to present myself to you viewers tonight as a long-term
unemployed American. I`m in my 50s. I`m trying to get back in the
marketplace. I`m trying to get back into the economy. I have applied
for jobs everyday, but just nothing seems to be breaking because the
economy is just still very much in a rot.
Now, I`ve been in the workforce for 25 years. I paid all my taxes. I
played by the rules, you know, but you know what? My job was
outsourced. I`m a professional. I was in middle management. The
company I work out, I`m in my 50s, I did pretty good over the years but
I just can`t seem to find a job that uses my skills. And really what I
need right now is more time. But right now, I kind of feel like my
government has abandoned me.
I don`t know, you know, what I`m going to do about putting food on the
table, paying the rent. Who knows? We might get evicted. And most
importantly, I need time to go find another job. It`s a tight market.
And now, the Democrats who I voted for. The Democrats, they want me,
Mr. Unemployed to go out and pressure Republicans to pass an
unemployment extension. Here I am, I`m an electrical engineer. I`ve
got all the qualifications in the world. My company is downsized. I
need a little bit more time. And they want me to gin up some kind of
pressure that`s going to change the heart and soul of an ideologue who
has been the center piece of obstruction. John Boehner, you want me to
Democrats want me to change John Boehner`s mind. Give me a break, you
had a vote. You threw me to the side of the road. What type of
strategy use this? Well, here`s the memo. I`m just an unemployed guy
watching The Ed Show and they tell me that, well, it`s not on their
legislative agenda for January.
They want people with no money to show up in Washington and do a rally?
The unemployed? I mean, we could barely put food on the table. There`s
no way that they can afford, you know, gas, and travel expenses to go to
Washington DC. Hell, I got to stay in my house. I got to pay the rent.
There is nothing that is going to break the will of John Boehner and the
There was a time in that town called Washington DC, when a Senate vote
and I kind of follow this stuff a little bit. A Senate vote actually
meant something. It was kind of the pulse of the country that you could
kind of count on the House to follow. Well, those days are over.
I don`t think there is anything that will move the Republicans on
unemployment unless there is something in it for them. I want you, The
Ed Show, heck, they just played a sound by the John Boehner`s and yes
we`ll do it if we can make some cut somewhere else. What are they
doing? They`re trying to take blood out of a rock? I think these
unemployed Americans need to brace themselves for the long haul. That`s
me. OK, now back to reality, now back to Ed.
I will be absolutely stunned if Boehner brings us up for a vote
especially now that we`ve seen this memo. And I`m talking about an
unconditional vote, in other words, not tagged to anything else. I hope
Our next guest is Former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota who has
always had a great record as a public servant in his 40 years to fight
for the working folk of America.
In fact, he wrote a book called "Take This Job and Ship It." The book
came out about six years ago, and it warned some situations just like
this. You want to ship jobs overseas, this is what you`re going to run
into. You`re going to run into a long-term unemployment which is higher
now than it was the last time we had an extension. Republican policies,
my friends, have led to this mess, and now, they`re refusing to help fix
the problem. They don`t have a solution. So here we are, we`re rolling
back in to the second session of 113th Congress, and you know what the
Republicans are going to talk about?
They`re going to talk about the EPA. They want to reform some things at
the EPA. They want to talk about flood insurance and they also want to
talk about trade. Gosh, I wonder if they want the Trans-Pacific
partnership which is going to gut more American jobs. As far as the
unemployed is concerned in this country, there`s nothing on the table
when it comes to the Republicans. So, did the Democrats do the right
thing by doing a deal with these folks? OK so it did shut off of the
sequester, when are we going fight?
That`s the question. When are the Democrats going to draw the line in
the sand and say, all right, we`re going to let the American people
decide whether these sequester cuts are too much or not. But you`ve got
to do something for the unemployed. These are special circumstances.
We still have high unemployment. It`s still above six percent. I
believe that the Democrats should take the position that it`s going to
be unlimited. It`s going to be unlimited unemployment insurance until
we get that unemployment under six percent.
It`s a fight that you can win with the American people. Democrats, get
your cellphones I do want to know what you think. Tonight`s question,
is there anything that will make John Boehner care about unemployed
Americans? Text A for yes, text B for no to 67622. You can always go
to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. We`ll bring you the results later. And
keep in mind, this is the same John Boehner and the Republican house
that has refused to work with the Democrats and this President when it
comes to a jobs package.
Let me bring in Former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. Senator,
good to have you with us tonight.
BYRON DORGAN, FMR SENATOR, (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Hey Ed you`re at a roll
tonight aren`t you?
SCHULTZ: Well, we have to be on the roll Senator I mean, I think that
this -- we`re doing Americans wrong by just kicking these folks to the
side of the road like road kill.
SCHULTZ: And how important is it in your judgment that this extension
for unemployed Americans be made?
DORGAN: Well it`s unbelievably important. It`s important for the
economy generally because it will lift the economy but, you know, for
those that are chronically unemployed, they`re not unemployed because
they volunteered and said, "you know, I`d like to wake up in the
mornings out of a job." That`s not what their situation is. And I find
it really interesting. You talked about the House of Representatives
and Eric Cantor and there John Boehner. I find it really interesting
that in just recent years, when the biggest enterprises in America got
into trouble and by the way, some of them on the Wall Street that helped
cause a near collapse in the economy.
Congress, the same people who are ignoring the unemployed, rushed to
those biggest economic interests to say, you know, we got unlimited
money to bail you out. So the people that nearly caused the economic
crash or the near economic collapse, they get bailed out and the victims
of that collapse, some of whom are still looking for work are told, you
know, you don`t matter. We`re going to leave you behind and it`s just
fine. Well, you know, what does that say about the value system? It`s
unbelievable to me.
SCHULTZ: So Senator, there was a time and you could speak to this
certainly, all your years in the senate. That when you took a vote, it
had an effect on the House. It seems like those days are gone. I want
your take on that.
DORGAN: Well, the house is that, you know, we now have become
accustomed to the little expectations of the House of Representatives.
I mean, I understand it. Most people who watched would understand it.
We know that there`s nobody that`s unemployed in this country who`s
going to jump in a private jet -- their private jet and fly to
Washington to ask for some help. They can`t do that. They don`t have
private jets. They don`t have jobs. And so -- but we also know, there
are a lot of private jets landing that come to the Capital Hill and are
getting a lot of help from the House of Representatives.
My hope is that Senator Reid will, as he indicated have a vote in the
Senate. They`ll pass an extension of unemployment benefits. You know,
this comes from insurance, as you know, those taken out of pay checks in
any event. It`s not welfare. My hope is that the Senate will pass that
and that pressure will grow on the House and they will finally
understand their responsibility. During these times, we have a
responsibility to do this.
SCHULTZ: I mean. I think it`s the Democrats are reaching here a little
bit to expect somebody who`s unemployed to take the time to put pressure
on the Republicans when it`s well stated in their memo that it`s not a
priority with the Republicans. It`s simply not a priority. So it looks
like the Democrats have done a deal with the devil again that you can`t
trust the Republicans unless they`re going to get what they want. So
how do we resolve this Senator, what`s the solution here?
DORGAN: Well, look, you know, Republicans are going to leave some of
these folks behind them. Unfortunately, Democrats need to keep pushing
them and, you know, the sober reality here is we have to do the
following for the chronic unemployed people. We need to extend the
unemployment benefits. We also need to provide worker and job training.
We need education opportunity and we need to increase the minimum wage.
We just need to do that and all of that by the way, represents an
investment in the human capital of this country and all of it will lift
the economy. So if you talk about it, as many of them do, let`s find
ways to strengthen and lift the economy. Do these things which will
help those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
SCHULTZ: You know, in your book "Take This Job and Ship It" you
predicted a lot of this stuff that there was going to be a domino effect
that if you ship these jobs oversees there`s going to be more multiple
problems that are going to be propping up and this is one of them. But
you`re also, you know, fighting a mindset. I want to play this clip
Rand Paul doubling down on his claim that unemployment benefits hurt
people already struggling. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: What I said is in the service. I mean
this. I am worried about the workers. Not that I think they`d become
bad people by being unemployed longer but that the longer they`re
unemployed, they`re less likely are ever to get a job again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Less likely for them to ever get a job again.
What`s your reaction to that, Senator?
DORGAN: Well, I`m reminded of that quote when you hit someone over the
head with a book and get a hollow sound. It doesn`t mean the book is
empty. I just don`t understand what he was talking about. You know,
the fact is we need to help people at the bottom of the economic ladder
who are chronically unemployed, looking for work, desperate for some
help. Why don`t we do what we are required to do?
SCHULTZ: What does the president need to do? I mean I personally think
that, you know, President Obama has made this a priority but how much
political capital can the Democrats spend on this? There`s other
business that has to be done too. And the fear here is that the, you
know, that`s not going to get done. So--
SCHULTZ: The role of the president, what could he do? What should he do
in your opinion?
DORGAN: Well, just continue to apply as much pressure as he can.
You`re right. We have another agenda, a significant agenda but, you
know, like in the old west when the wagon trains were popular in the old
west, the notion was you don`t move the wagon trade ahead by leaving
some wagons behind. The same is true with our country. We have people
at the bottom of the ladder at this point unemployed and in very
difficult straits and let`s at least be able to do those easy things.
It is not a big lift to extend the unemployment benefits. It is so
important to do it and not might be a big lift for anybody.
SCHULTZ: Yeah. I find it hard to believe that they can`t find 25
billion in the defense budget. I think the President needs to be very
vocal, very aggressive about this and don`t get off the dime at all. I
mean, stay focused. This is where the country is on income inequality.
Former Senator Byron Dorgan always great to have you with us, Senator.
DORGAN: Thanks Ed.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us tonight.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the screen.
Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at Ed Show and on Facebook. We
always want to know what you`d think.
Coming up, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa`s newest push to put the
Postal Service in a death spiral. Still ahead an NFL team kicks back
allegations of bigotry and anti-gay sentiment from its former punter.
Stay with us. More coming up from the Ed Show, from the North Country.
SCHULTZ: Time now for the Trenders. The Ed Show`s social media nation
has decided and we are reporting. Here are today`s top Trenders voted
on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Hercules, Hercules, Hercules.
SCHULTZ: The number three Trender, Hercules hits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just three days after millions watched the ball
drop, Time Square, looking like a ghost town.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this is a big where no one is getting spared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 80 million people of youth that happened to be under
winter weather advisories in the mornings all the way from Georgia clear
up to (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New York Northeastern really is a monster.
SCHULTZ: The powerful weather storm wallops the Northeast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As much as two feet of snow fell in parts of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best way to get in town right now, maybe
something like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Temperatures across the northeast will dip into
the chains today with wind chills down to 30 below zero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a very powdery snow, the consistency like
confection or shigger (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s so fluffy!
SCHULTZ: The number two Trender, Clay for congress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Clay Aiken, the Washington Blade is reporting
that Clay Aiken is actually considering a run for congress.
SCHULTZ: The American Idol runner up hopes to top the charts to North
CLAY AIKEN, FORMER AMERICAN IDOL FINALIST: I think I kind of bring with
me a stable of different talents that I think some other folks might not
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ll see if people and a reality contestant has
been with a lot of winning than he did when he is a kid on American
AIKEN: I have the intelligence, the work ethics, the savvy and the
experience of being in a competition.
SCHULTZ: And today`s top Trender, postmark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready for (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m concerned about the post office.
SCHULTZ: People have trusted the United States Postal Service for two
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re loosing tens of billions of dollars at each
SCHULTZ: Well, Congressman Issa wants to end the postal service as we
Darrel Issa`s military pension plan targets the post office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new budget carries $63 billions in savings with
it, with $6 billion of that is coming out of the pocket of this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Members of congress who have vowed to repeal this
SCHULTZ: Republicans like Congressman Darrel Issa have been trying to
take down the postal service for a long time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R), CALIFORNIA: They need to right-size the post
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protected by Viper, stand back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan who is a
member of the House Financial Services Committee. Congressman, good to
have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
Now, I understand that you support repealing the cuts to military
benefits but you don`t think Issa`s plan to end Saturday postal service
is the way to do it.
REP. DAN KILDEE, (D), MICHIGAN: No, it`s not.
SCHULTZ: How did you get there? And I`d like your take on how would
you get there and how important is it as you see it to make sure that
they hold on to Saturday delivery?
KILDEE: Well first of all, how we get there, there`s a bill that my
colleague Congressman Dan Maffei from New York has introduced that I`ve
co sponsored that would restore the military pension, cola cut. It was
a one percent cut from military pensions up till age 62. It would
restore that $6 billion cut over 10 years by simply requiring that
companies, corporations that are operated and managed here, controlled
and managed here in United States but choose to offshore their corporate
headquarters in order to avoid taxes that those corporations simply have
to pay the same corporate income taxes that real American companies pay.
KILDEE: That would generate $6.6 billion.
SCHULTZ: That`s a heavy lift, Congressman. That is a heavy lift.
KILDEE: Here`s the thing. I agree. But here`s the thing. We`ve got
to put the Republicans in a position where they show who they stand
with. We know they stand with their corporate interest.
KILDEE: I find it really interesting that Congressman Issa`s approach
is to tell working people, middle class people military pension
retirees, recipients that the only way we can get their benefits back is
to cut the jobs and cut the support to other middle income people that,
you know, this postal service deficit is a manufacture deficit. It`s a
false creation of the Bush White House and it`s really disingenuous that
they continue to point to that as some sort of failure to postal
SCHULTZ: It is and they will take any opportunity they possibly can to
get rid of the postal service. It`s just going to be one day at a time.
And to cut Black Saturday delivery to take care of military retirees, I
think, is absolutely outrageous but here is Issa.
KILDEE: Well, here is, where they create--
SCHULTZ: .again concocting these plans. Here is Issa, again,
concocting up all of these plans to go after American workers.
KILDEE: Right. This would cost about a third of the new postal
carriers in our cities are veterans which I think is ironic. 80,000 of
KILDEE: . would lose their jobs under Mr. Issa`s plan. But the fact is
they created this crisis by requiring the postal service to pre fund 75
years worth of retiree benefits in a 10-year period. No public or
private organizations, everyone asked to do that but because they did
SCHULTZ: And Issa never gets called on that.
KILDEE: No, he doesn`t.
SCHULTZ: Issa never gets called on that. And .
KILDEE: The postal service--
SCHULTZ: . I know that there`s -- go ahead.
KILDEE: I was going to say the postal service would have made a profit
in 2013 if it had not been for that ridiculous requirement. It`s a
SCHULTZ: You`re going to say that and you`re exactly right on that.
There is no question about it. This is a government intervention. This
is a government take over. They have strapped the postal service. But
even when they can`t shut it down, they use other issues to go right
back after it. They`re all about privatization across the board and I
guess the question is, "Where are the Democrats? When are they going to
go on offense and make demands the same way the Republicans do it like
KILDEE: You know, Ed, I think I agree with you. This has been a
frustrating first year for me in congress and there are just there`s a
time when we have to stand and fight. You know, we try to be the good
guys so often that we are, sometimes, in a position where we`re doing
that to our own detriment.
We`ve got to be able to fight.
KILDEE: And when it comes to the middle class, we`re supposed to
support and represent those folks. We ought not let them try to
leverage the pension obligation that we have to our military retirees in
order to cut the postal service. I mean, this is really getting out of
hand. It`s beyond the pale and we need to say no more.
SCHULTZ: And Congressman Kildee, I want to go back to the opening
segment on this program tonight. We got some breaking news that the
Republicans do not have it on their agenda to do anything about
unemployment insurance. That`s not where they`re going in January.
What`s your reaction to that?
KILDEE: Well, it`s a shame. And it`s no -- I wish I could say I was
surprised because they did say toward the end of the year, "Oh yeah,
we`ll bring that up, you know, after the first of the year." They
didn`t say when. But it`s a shame. I mean, this is a.
KILDEE: .this is a Republican conference that, you know, that it has
shown itself to not have any real concern over the working people in
SCHULTZ: Or understand it.
KILDEE: . that shields the corporations. It doesn`t seem as they
SCHULTZ: Or understand what the unemployed are.
KILDEE: That is exactly right.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Dan Kildee, great to have you with us tonight. I
appreciate your time.
KILDEE: Thank you Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much for joining us. You bet.
Coming up, why Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he was the best thing to
happen in his city, plus, a leash of his own.
Senator Sherrod Brown takes a stand against the National Football
League. He joins us live. But next, I`m taking your questions. Ask Ed
Live, just ahead on the Ed Show on MSNBC where (inaudible).
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. We love hearing from our viewers
here on the Ed Show. We love your questions tonight in our Ask Ed Live
segment. Our first question comes from Jim Green. Jim wants to know
"Why does our media treat unemployment with such indifference?
Well, Jim you definitely come to a conclusion and it`s not getting
enough attention. I can speak for anybody else nor would I attempt to
and I`m not a media critic, but I know what I believe is important to
the American people. It`s the long term-unemployment. I mean I accept
the fact that there is going to be a certain amount of unemployed people
in every country and every society.
But when you have a long-term unemployment, there is a reason for it.
And the reason is we`ve got terrible trade policies. We`ve got bad
taxation in this country when it comes to allowing corporations to run
roughshod over our government and do whatever the hell they want. And I
think it`s one domino after another. And long-term unemployment isn`t
going to go away until we do something about the jobs issues in this
country and invest in what we need to invest in to keep this country
strong. I think it all ties together. I think it`s a big, big story.
Our next question is from Manny, "Do you think Republicans will ever
acknowledge that the website Healthcare.gov is working properly?
Well, let`s just say it`s not 100 percent but it`s a heck of a lot
better and it`s working better all the time. A lot of time and resource
has been put into this to make it right. I think that they have done a
tremendous recovery. Now, I think it`s up to the Democrats to re-
explain all the good things about ObamaCare and the Affordable Care Act
which is by the way the same thing.
But if they`re not going to give credit for this turnaround that we`ve
had in the economy, or 47 months of private sector job growth which is a
positive. How do you expect them to ever give credit to the White House
when it comes to a website when they are ideologically opposed to any
intervention whatsoever or government assistance when it comes to
Remember, they want to privatize everything, not just some things.
Stick around Rapid Response Panel coming up next.
SEEMA MODY, CNBC ANCHOR: I`m Seema Mody with your CNBC Market Warp.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke assures investor`s rate will remain low. Data
help the DOW end the day with the 28 point gain, the S&P 500 fell a
fraction, the NASDAQ they`re loosing 11.
December wasn`t a standout for the auto industry but 2013 was pretty
good. Ford posted a slight sale gain last month, but sale grows 11
percent for the year a sixth year high.
As for GM, sales fell more than 6 percent last month. For the year
though, they were up 7.3 percent.
And that`s from it from CNBC first in business worldwide.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. Thanks for watching tonight.
Let`s talk a little football and social issues.
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is making an explosive
allegation against his former employer of the Minnesota Vikings.
Kluwe claims that the Vikings` cutting for speaking out for marriage
equality like he did on this program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS KLUWE, FORMER MINNESOTA VIKINGS PUNTER: As athletes, we have this
very prominent platform where we can affect social change. And, you
know, I think it behooves all of us to do the right thing.
There`s only so many hours a day that I can punt and I think that goes
with the thrust to the matter of what the delegate was trying to say to
Brandon is that, you know, you should just be a football player. You
should only be on the field, that`s all we should hear from you.
And I don`t think that`s right. I think everyone deserves to have their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Kluwe was cut by the Vikings after posting one of his best
years as a punter of the NFL in 2012. Now, he`s blasting the Vikings in
an article for death spin, saying that he believes he was railroaded out
of the National Football League by two cowards and a bigot for speaking
Kluwe claims the Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier at the time and
General Manager Rick Spielman repeatedly tried to dissuade him from
speaking out. According to Kluwe`s account, Minnesota Vikings special
teams coordinator Mike Priefer is most likely the person responsible for
Now, Kluwe claims Priefer responded to his activism by berating him in
team meetings, giving unfair evaluations using homophobic language in
his presence and saying things like this, quote "We should round up all
the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows."
Mike Priefer and the Vikings denied the allegations made in Kluwe`s
account. It`s important to note that Priefer is also one of the
shortlist to become the Vikings next head football coach because they
got rid of Frazier.
This story comes on the heels of a related NFL controversy just this
week. Earlier this week, all pro quarterback, and the Green Bay Packers
quarterback Aaron Rodgers felt pressured to address an internet report
about his sexuality on a local radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: Or if you get, you know,
crazy rumors that swirl around you from time to time that are just
JASON WILDE, GREEN BAY PACKERS BEAT WRITER: I have no idea what you
could be referring to. Oh you mean the "Aaron Rodgers is gay story?"
RODGERS: Yeah. You know .
WILDE: So, you`re aware, you saw this out there?
RODGERS: Yeah, I`m just going to say I`m not gay. I really, really
like women. That`s all I can say about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: 2013 was a huge year in this country for equality in America
but these two stories make one thing clear. The NFL has got a long way
Joining me now is our Rapid Response Panel Author Lizz Winstead and
liberal commentator and comedian John Fugelsang, great to have both of
you with us tonight.
I mean it`s the evolution of society and acceptance and maybe the NFL
isn`t there but let`s get right to it. Do you think Chris Kluwe was
fired for his activism? Lizz what`s your take on this?
WINSTEAD: Well, I`m not a giant football fan so I can`t really say that
I have to say that Chris Kluwe doesn`t seem like the kind of person who
would just come out and make these accusations blindly. I think that
when you come out on a controversial issue, in an environment that it`s
hustle towards it, you were putting your own self on the back burner to
work for the greater good. So, I`m really curious to hear if what he
says is true and if his special teams coach said that then that person
should be fired.
SCHULTZ: What about that John Fugelsang? How can anybody put any kind
of social pressure on the NFL as bigot industry as they are and what a
fraternal order the owners have?
FUGELSANG: Well, you know, capitalism is really one of the unsung
heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, Ed. And by boycotting a team, you
can do that. However, there`s a really much more good news here than
that. I know a lot of us who are shocked there could possibly be
homophobia in professional sports.
And I long for these simple wholesome days of 2013 when football players
like Manti Te`o innocently had dead fake online girlfriends. But the
fact is they`re allowed to fire this guy if they want to. They`re
allowed to let him go and replace him with a guy who makes half the
money. We talked about this two weeks with A&E and the guy from Duck
A private company has every right to fire you for your personal beliefs.
However, what`s very interesting is the coach hasn`t filed a law suit of
defamation. And Mr. Kluwe claims he has plenty of witnesses to this. I
think it`s fantastic that we`re in an age when football jocks are
competing over who`s the least homophobic. And we should all be very
proud America has gotten this far.
SCHULTZ: As the country moves forward on this issue of equality,
football seems to be still pretty backwards on this. And it just shows
that there`s just not going to be total acceptance in society.
Now, the assistant coach of the Vikings Priefer released a statement
saying that "I vehemently deny today`s allegations made by Chris Kluwe.
I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and
am respectful of all individuals. I personally have gay family members
who I love and support just as I do any family member."
Lizz what`s your response to this? I mean we have a man who`s
responding to an allegation. What`s your response to that?
WINSTEAD: Well that last line is kind of weird like "I love my gay
family members just like the other family members." I`m not really sure
what that means although he would there, you know, we have purebred dogs
and rescue dogs. Well, I love them all the same.
So, I mean I just think that one thing that says we have moved forward
is the fact that, you know, a special teams coach in a major league, you
know, a major NFL football team has to issue a statement on this issue.
And I think that that is a pretty big deal in moving forward that
society has said "You want to know what? We do not take kindly to
hearing that you maybe have said homophobic things and we are going to
hold you accountable."
SCHULTZ: But, you know, here you have the quarterback of the Green Bay
Packers in Aaron Rodgers feeling compelled that he`s got to talk about
internet rumors -- had these rumors about every American out there on
the internet. You could believe about 25 percent of what you read about
John, what does that say that a high-profile player has to, I guess,
clear the air on a talk radio show that he is not gay. Let`s get this
all clear now he says just about, you know, what do you make of that?
FUGELSANG: Yeah. I know. I heard him telling repeatedly he wasn`t gay
and I was like "Go get her." I mean, we saw Mike Piazza have to deal
with this for many, many years on the New York Mets said it would be
really great if Mr. Rodgers is going to come out and thrown in it, not
that there`s anything wrong with that but he`s under no obligation to do
I`d like to see more professional athletes be leaders on human rights
issues in America. I think -- and we just had a movie about Jackie
Robinson last year, it`s not unheard of to see athletes leading the way
on civil rights advances. Chris Kluwe is a hero over this and I`d like
to be able to see a guy like Rodgers laugh it off the way straight guys
usually do and not make it seem like being gay is de facto icky.
WINSTEAD: Yeah. And that`s.
SCHULTZ: The Viking -- yeah.
WINSTEAD: That`s my biggest thing too was that he could have just said,
"So what if I was? I`m not." But, you know, who cares, like what a
WINSTEAD: Instead, it was this big "I`ve got to address this. I
really, really like the ladies."
FUGELSANG: You`re allowed to be gay. You`re allowed to be a homophobe
but the homophobes are dying off and it`s going to be fun watching them
SCHULTZ: I think Aaron Rodgers` statement the way he handled it on that
interview just underscores that there is a level of intimidation and you
better clear the air because you don`t want to be discriminated against.
Now the Vikings are saying that they`re going to review the matter. But
they also denied Kluwe`s accounts.
So, I don`t know what needs to be done at this point but I think that we
can come to the conclusion that there`s not going to be too many NFL
players out there who are going to be activists when it comes to social
change in America, that it`s for their own career. I think the message
has been sent to them that, you know, it`s best if you keep to yourself
on issues like this because you don`t want to, you know, possibly affect
WINSTEAD: Well, I just thought that the fans.
SCHULTZ: . which I think is.
WINSTEAD: Oh, and I think that that`s where the fans need to come in
and say, you know what, we really respect you, we really support you for
coming out because unless the NFL hears from the fans that the fans are
super behind when Chris Kluwe says and rightly so, just because you
become a professional athlete or an actor or whatever, doesn`t mean
you`re not a citizen anymore and you get to have opinions and you get to
-- you say what`s right.
FUGELSANG: In fact, being gay is natural. Hating gay is a lifestyle
choice. And Chris Kluwe is going to be a hero to a lot of people for a
long time. How many other former Vikings punters can you all name?
SCHULTZ: Yeah. Lizz Winstead, John Fugelsang, great to have you with
us. I appreciate your time tonight.
FUGELSANG: Thank you. Happy New Year.
WINSTEAD: Thanks Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thank you on the Ed Show.
Coming up, the Cincinnati Bengals throw a Hail Mary to fans. The team
needed to sell enough tickets for Sunday`s playoff game to avoid a media
blackout. Tell you how that went down, stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in Pretenders tonight, Ford more years? That`s right.
Mayor Rob Ford. Toronto`s mayor filed for reelection Thursday with a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: I`ve got the strongest track record. I`ve
been the best mayor that this city has ever had. Ford more years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Ford more years. Wow. Ford`s performance certainly has been
exceptional, especially when Toronto`s city council stripped him of
nearly all of his powers. His spirit never broke. The record speaks
for itself and so does the footage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you smoke crack cocaine?
FORD: Exactly. Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.
Easy guys. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He also charged across the room toward the gallery
knocking over a woman city council member.
FORD: Do I? Am I an addict? No.
Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Rob Ford may promise to crack down on Toronto`s problems, but
if he believes Toronto will let him represent the city again, he can
keep on pretending.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to The Ed Show. This is a story for the folks
who take a shower after work.
Late this afternoon the Cincinnati Bengals pulled off a Hail Mary. The
Bengals were able to sell out Sunday`s playoff game with the Chargers
with the help of some big corporate donors. Earlier this week the NFL
had threatened to blackout home playoff games for the Bengals, the
Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers if they failed to sell out
Ohio`s Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown blew the whistle on the NFL`s
threat. He released a statement on Thursday saying this potential
blackout is unacceptable at a time when the price of attending games
continues to rise and the economy is not where it needs to be.
I applaud the Senator for doing that. You know, NFL owners are some of
the wealthiest Americans. Good for them. They use taxpayers to
subsidize the building of their stadiums. They charge extraordinary
amounts for tickets and they have used this blackout rule for years as
extortion to grab every dollar they possibly can get.
The Federal Communications Commission by the way recently proposed to
eliminate the sports blackout rule. This is a case, I believe, of
classic income inequality. If you`re wealthy, you have all the access
to entertainment. If you`re an Average Joe wage earner, you`re left out
in the cold depending on how important the game is. This rule needs to
change. It`s long overdue.
Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joins us tonight. Senator, good to have
you with us on this. I think this -- it`s gutsy to bring this up
because the NFL is such an institution in America. It`s really a big
part of our culture and I was certainly interested in your story today
on the radio when you talked about you were a kid and your dad used to
take you and your brothers to games back in the days when it didn`t cost
very much. Those days seem to be slipping away for middle class
Americans. How important was it for you to call the NFL on this?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN, D-OHIO: It was actually three years ago. This
isn`t the most important national issue we faced at Congress we involved
in but on the hand, three years ago I sent a letter to the commission of
the NFL saying this blackout rule is unfair to fans and the taxpayers.
Got no answer. Finally, we`ve sent another letter and called them and
finally gave us kind of a weak non-committal answer and then the Federal
Communications Commission got involved and made a unanimous bipartisan
ruling basically saying get rid of this rule and the NFL still has dug
in and you think about it this way. Cincinnati, especially, has some of
the highest subsidies, taxpayer subsidies to build Paul Brown Stadium in
that city. In almost every city in America there are lots of tax
dollars involved in building these stadiums.
The average price of an NFL ticket, it would take a minimum wage earner
more than 10 hours to buy a ticket just from the -- because of the
average price is something like $75 and for the playoffs it`s probably
half again more than that. And when you figure then they black these
games out because in working class, middle class people can`t afford to
go when there`s so many tax dollars involved. That`s why the NFL ought
to just do the right thing in this policy of blackout. Let people see
the game. And the other thing, the NFL is the most profitable sports
league, I believe, in the history of this country and -- that they are
so fan unfriendly, if I could coin a term, is really something here.
SCHULTZ: Yeah. Well, I think you make a great point because those
folks that want to go to the game and can`t afford it, it`s their tax
dollars that helped build the stadium so that billionaire can go make a
bunch of money in the NFL.
SCHULTZ: I mean, if they were all funding their own stadiums, I think
it would be a different story and ironically, Cincinnati has the
cheapest tickets for any of the NFL playoff games this weekend. It`s
the NFL, not the Bengals that gets all the revenue of the ticket sales.
Isn`t that wrong?
BROWN: Well, I don`t know exactly how the process works during the
playoffs but I know it`s wrong. It`s wrong in a sense that taxpayers
put this money into these stadiums and, you know, you`ve talked a lot
about inequality generally in our country. Congress needs to get to
work. We need to extend unemployment insurance. It`s insurance you pay
and you get help if you need it and we need to raise the minimum wage.
And some of these other things, you know -- and this is just an example
of what income inequality means.
You`ve got billionaire owners, millionaire players, stadium, tax player
-- taxpayer subsidies, public airwaves here.
BROWN: .and then you`ve got this blackout rule when ticket prices are
so sky high that most middle class families can`t afford.
SCHULTZ: Senator, thanks for bringing it up. I think it`s -- if we
don`t talk about income inequality and fairness, it`s never going to get
addressed. It`s not something that`s just going to happen.
I want to talk to you about a story that broke at the top of the hour.
Eric Cantor, House majority leader, sent out a memo to all the
Republicans in the House about what the agenda is going to be, the
legislative priorities for the month of January. Unemployment insurance
is not on the list. What`s your reaction to that?
BROWN: Of course, it`s not. They are the ones that blocked it. I know
their leader Reid wanted to keep us in Washington in December. A lot of
us said, "We shouldn`t be going home for the holidays until we extend
Tens of thousands of people in my state had their unemployment end this
week. That`s just outrageous. I mean, this -- it`s insurance. You
pay. It`s like Medicare and Social Security. You pay in the social
insurance. If you need it, you get assistance. That`s what
unemployment is. You`ve got to be looking for work in order to get the
benefits. It`s about $300 a week on the average.
So people, I mean, there are always exemptions.
BROWN: . and stories but people aren`t gaming this system by and large.
They want to go to work. They need us. They need help. And it puts
money into the local economy and creates more jobs.
Schultz: Well, we`ve got all that. There`s no question about it.
You`re correct. But now, we`re at a crossroads. The Republicans,
they`re not going to bring it to the floor unless they get something.
And that get might be something really big. So was it a mistake for the
Democrats to do this budget deal now that the Republicans are showing
their cards here the third day in January?
BROWN: Well, I think Senator Murray did the best she could in this
budget deal. And nobody was thrilled with it but I think it was pretty
good concerning what it could have been but I think we`ve got to do
whatever it takes. And I know that Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island
has been leading the charge on this with a group of us supporting him
and Senator Shaheen and others and it`s really important that we attach
this to something else or we just continue to tell stories about how
important this is and hope that even though the Christmas is over, that
maybe the Christmas spirit will enable some of these senator -- these
House Republicans to do the right thing here.
SCHULTZ: Yeah. Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
BROWN: Glad to be here. Thanks.
SCHULTZ: Best of luck to your team.
SCHULTZ: All the best. Have a great weekend.
That`s the Ed Show. I`m Ed Schultz. PoliticsNation with Reverend Al
Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
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