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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Holland Cooke, Bill Press, Marvin Odum, Mark Demoss, Doug

MacKinnon, John Feehery, Jennifer Donahue, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Bill


HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW

from New York tonight.

These stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight. 

Well, the right wing owns the airwaves in this country.  They are

peddling hate and calling it entertainment.  The shocking numbers are out

on how conservatives control your radio dial and how they play into the Tea


Black lawmakers were spit on by the Tea Party protesters at the

Capitol, but Michele Bachmann refuses to acknowledge it.  She says sees is


Well, Congresswoman, pay attention.  We‘ll play the tape for you. 

Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is getting down and dirty in her

state.  She‘s falsely insinuating that her challenger has a drug problem. 

Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter will be here to set the record straight. 

And with all the news about oil today and drilling, the president of

Shell Oil will talk with me here on THE ED SHOW tonight about the

president‘s decision to drill, baby, drill.  That‘s later on in the


But first the story that has me fired up tonight. 

Now, I guess hate talk is entertainment.  At least that‘s what the

righties say. 

A “USA Today”/Gallup poll just asked who‘s to blame for incidents of

vandalism and verbal threats that followed the health care bill passing the

Congress.  Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are a major reason for

the incidents?  Hold it right there. 

The tactic the Democrats used to pass health care is called the

legislative process.  And there‘s a reason that Americans believe the

Democrats are to blame for the hate talk.  It‘s called the conservative


This very same poll shows that 46 percent blame harsh criticism by

conservative commentators on television and on radio.  Limbaugh, Beck,

Hannity and the rest of the hate merchants on the radio dial on the right,

they have been on a mission to destroy this president and the Democrats

since day one.  They have a stronghold on the market.  Ever since President

Obama took office, it has really turned ugly. 


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  We need to defeat these

bastards.  We need to wipe them out.  We need to chase them out of town. 



SEAN HANNITY, “THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW”:  I‘ll tell you, I only have one

mission from now until November.  It is to defeat them.  It is to defeat




JOE PAGLIARULO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  A crisis that I believe is

perpetuated purposely by this administration, our economic and employment

crisis, our jobs and employment crisis.  That was what this president was

going to take care of if he got elected.  And he got elected and he‘s

ignoring it on purpose.  He‘s made it worse on purpose. 



GLENN BECK, “THE GLENN BECK PROGRAM”:  The battle is health care.  The

war is freedom. 



LIMBAUGH:  Their health care legislation is the real death threat in

this scenario.  It‘s a death threat against the country as it was founded. 



BECK:  You tell me how this has honor or integrity.  It doesn‘t.  The

fruit of this tree is extraordinarily evil.  The fruit of this tree is

corrupt and poison. 


SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Saving lives, 30-some-odd million people going to get

health care insurance in this country, and, of course, the discrimination

is going to be over because of the pre-existing condition.  You see, folks,

that‘s the kind of garbage that is pumped out every day on the airwaves by

the righties. 

I guess we‘re doing “Psycho Talk” early tonight. 

This is what passes for entertainment in America?  So Americans

believe this stuff because it‘s really what they have access to, the only

thing they have access to. 

An exhaustive joint study conducted in 2007 by the Center for American

Progress and Free Press titled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk

Radio” shows some shocking figures.  The analysis of the political talk

programming on the 257 news talk stations owned by the five largest

commercial station owners reveals this -- 91 percent of political talk

radio programming on stations owned by the top five commercial station

owners is conservative.  Only nine percent is progressive. 

Here are the numbers on the hours -- 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of

conservative talk are broadcast each weekday on these stations, compared to

just 254 hours of progressive talk. 

Now, 92 percent of these stations -- 92 percent of these stations—

do not broadcast a single minute of liberal talk radio programming.  There

is no such thing as balance on political talk radio in this country. 

Conservatives own it.  They program it.  They syndicate it. 

Major radio companies like Salem, Bonneville Broadcasting and Citadel

have never had one minute of progressive talk syndicated on their station. 


Ninety-eight percent of Americans consume some type of audio every

single day.  Conservatives have used this practical monopoly to push their

agenda for years. 

Now, in Washington, D.C., here‘s a perfect example.  Washington, D.C.,

93 percent of the folks there, registered voters, they are Democrats. 

Now, there were two talk stations that broadcast conservative talk. 

When CBS decided to flip one of their stations to a talk at 50,000 watt AM

signal calling it “The Big Talker”—this was back on November 10, 2008 --

the program director refused to consider progressive talk saying that there

were—well, they‘re just going to take the station hard right. 

So, in an overwhelmingly liberal city with the Democratic votership at

93 percent, they decided that it was a good business decision to saturate

the airwaves with more right-wing talk even though they have, you know,

superstar Glenn Beck on the air? 

Defy this, Glenn.  You have zero ratings in Washington, D.C.  Zilch. 

Nil.  Nada.  Zero. 

Now, the second tier radio talk station, WTNT, is ranked 30th in the

market with a 0.4 share.  Now, this kind of imbalance goes unchallenged. 

We‘re supposed to believe that this is a free market.  I think it‘s

ownership.  And I think it‘s time for Congress to get involved.  It‘s time

for the Fairness Doctrine to be reviewed by the Congress and then


The airwaves are public.  It‘s not in the public‘s interest to have 92

percent of, you know, right-wingers out there filling the airwaves that is

just so anti anything the liberals want to do. 

Tell me where the fairness is.  Don‘t tell me it‘s the free market.  I

gave you an example of “The Beckster” and what he‘s doing in Washington,

D.C., but they decided to put that garbage on the air anyway. 

It‘s not about business.  It‘s about ideology, and it‘s about getting

Obama big-time. 

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think. 

Tonight‘s text survey is: Do you think Congress should take action to

balance political talk radio? 

Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639 to 622639.  We‘ll bring you

the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Holland Cooke, a radio talk consultant with McVay

Media, one of the best in the business, and a regular contributor to

“Talkers” magazine. 

Holland, good to have you with us tonight. 


SCHULTZ:  What they‘re doing, is it entertainment or is it


COOKE:  Objectively, what you and Rush Limbaugh and I do for a living

is the same thing.  We are in the business of attracting an audience and

trying to get them to listen to as many commercials as possible.  It is

entertainment in that sense. 

But what concerns me is what Rush and the legion of Rush wannabes who

are dominating this conservative conversation are doing to attract that

audience.  Three things. 

Number one is the potty mouth.  I don‘t think you should say

“bastards” on the radio.  I‘m embarrassed just quoting Rush on your show

because my mom and dad are watching.  But now there are words coming out

the dashboard of the SUV the soccer mom does not want the munchkins

parroting back. 

This is ratings tear gas.  But that‘s not the big problem.

Then there‘s the hate speech.  And how can you say that “Barack the

Magic Negro” is not hate speech?  But that‘s not the biggest problem. 

You know how they say high blood pressure is the silent killer?  I

believe what is most dangerous is what‘s right below the surface of talk

radio, and it is a deliberate overstatement for the purpose of rising above

the cacophony. 

I‘ll give you an example.

As the president was pursuing health care reform, Rush Limbaugh said,

“Obama wants to put your personal, private medical records on Google so

that everyone can see them.”  Now, he‘s a smart enough guy to know that

that‘s not true, but what about these nine heavily-armed nut jobs hopping

around in the forest in Michigan who have been getting a steady diet of

that, of Glenn Beck saying the FCC is going to scrub the Internet so you

better start stacking up canned goods and guns in the cellar? 

This stuff didn‘t happen overnight with those nine guys in Michigan. 

And why I have spoken up in conscience is because I don‘t just think

there‘s nine of them. 

SCHULTZ:  No, I don‘t think so either. 

Now, the Tea Parties have been organized and promoted by right-wing

talkers, and this is where we get into some dicey area.  They‘re using the

licenses for a political movement. 

Is that what this was all intended to end up to be? 

COOKE:  Well, be careful what you wish for, righties, because it might

come true.  This revelation yesterday about how the RNC is spending its T&E

money on T&A is going to turn the Tea Partiers away from the party that

thought they had control of those voices. 

So I believe these people are in play.  And the president himself, on

NBC just yesterday, was saying, you know, this is the American way.  People

ought to be able to assemble and speak up, and that there are reasonable

voices among them—

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Well, take a look at this.  Broadcast stocks are down

from the radio companies.  They‘re firing people left and right.  Yet, we

keep hearing that right-wing talk is so hot, that nothing else works. 

COOKE:  And their hobby horse is this Fairness Doctrine that the

president and chairman of the FCC have repeatedly said will not be

reinstated.  Yet, by their actions, by this potty mouth and the outright

misinformation, ,and the arguable hate speech, they are inviting content

regulation while decrying it. 

SCHULTZ:  Holland Cooke, stay with us. 

I want to bring in Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show

host and author of the book “Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right has Poisoned

America‘s Airwaves.”  This is due out on May 25th

Well, you‘re ahead of the curve here, Bill.

Bill, would the Fairness Doctrine clean this up or change the

landscape, or is it really not an avenue to pursue? 

What do you think?

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, first, I‘ve got to say, Ed,

you‘re ahead of the curve.  You summed up the entire book in your first

five minutes.  So there you‘ve got it.

Listen, I‘ve got to tell you, the Fairness Doctrine—first, what did

the Fairness Doctrine require?  All it required is that for—and here‘s

an essential principle, as Holland and you both know.  These are public

airwaves we‘re talking about. 

We, the American people, own these public airwaves.  They‘re the

licenses given so they can operate these—station owners—operate these

airwaves in the public interest. 

They are not serving the public interest if they are only serving one

kind of programming that appeals to the far right.  At least half the

people in this country are not extreme right.  And yet, as you see there,

you have got one hour of liberal talk for every 10 hours of conservative


So, Ed, I think the Fairness Doctrine would just require—I‘d be for

bringing it back.  I think what it would require is that every station has

to have a mix of voices. 

You can‘t just be all far right.  But there‘s more than that I think

we need—just quickly.  We need to do something and you touched on it,

about ownership.  Because today, a company could go in, buy all the

stations in one town like here in Washington, D.C., and put on all right-

wing programming, and that market is not served. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, Holland, that‘s the issue.  You know, you have

companies come in, they own a bunch of signals.  They own the AM signals. 

And then they‘re conservative, and then there goes the balance.  There is

no balance. 

COOKE:  Yes.

SCHULTZ:  Would the Fairness Doctrine clean that up? 

COOKE:  Well, the founders gave us a Fairness Doctrine based on

scarcity.  And this was before fax machines, let alone podcasting and

blogging and MSNBC. 

I think the reason we‘re not going to see a Fairness Doctrine is, as a

practical matter, it‘s impractical.  There is already a diversity of

voices, and talk radio will play this one-note song at its own risk,

because people are wandering off to the new platform to find something

other than the Democrats bad, Republicans good show.  I‘m right, you‘re

right wrong, I, I, I, me, me, me. 

PRESS:  Yes. 

Ed, the more important issue really is, I think, the ownership issue. 

The Fairness Doctrine would not change that.  It did not affect ownership. 

That has got to be the FCC.  And all they have to do is put down some new

rules and enforce the rules. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, we‘ve seen an evolution of right-wing talkers. 

They‘ve gone from good comic radio bits, and I think thoughtful commentary,

to the hate speech of targeting the president.  He‘s a socialist, he‘s a

Marxist.  And, of course, that‘s goes into the ears of millions of low-

information voters and it affects, I think, opinions in this country. 

Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.  We‘ll do more on this

in coming shows. 

Coming up, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, has

thrown the Republicans a curveball.  He is ready to drill, baby, drill. 

The president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum, will join me in just a moment. 

And get a load of this.  An armed rally will be marching on Washington

soon.  And it just so happens to be scheduled on the anniversary of the

Oklahoma City bombing.  Frightening details on that at the bottom of the


All that, plus the Maverick lands in the zone and Shep Smith sinks one

in my “Playbook” tonight.

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

Stay with us.




drilling everywhere all the time, but the answer is not also for us to

ignore the fact that we are going to need vital energy sources to maintain

our economic growth and our security.  Ultimately, we need to move beyond

the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and

environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure-all and

those who would claim it has no place, because this issue is just too



SCHULTZ:  President Obama is changing his tune on offshore drilling. 

He was against it during the campaign, but today the president announced

that he supports drilling for oil and gas off Florida‘s Gulf Coast and off

the coast of Virginia. 

Some experts predict there is enough oil off our shores to supply the

United States for 15 years. 

Joining me now is the president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum. 

Mr. Odum, good to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your time here

on MSNBC. 

I think a lot of—

MARVIN ODUM, PRESIDENT, SHELL OIL:  You bet.  Good to be here. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

A lot of Americans are wondering, what does this mean?  Is this a big

step forward to energy independence? 

How do you see it? 

ODUM:  Well, it‘s actually a very important step.  Now, it‘s not the

whole run, but it is a very important step. 

So I see it like this—you break down the areas that were identified

by the administration—offshore Alaska, the Eastern Seaboard, and the

eastern Gulf of Mexico.  And allowing exploration and ultimately the

production of resources in those areas to take place is going to make us—

we‘re going to be producing more of our own energy, we‘re going to get the

benefits of that. 

This industry in the U.S. alone employs, indirect and direct jobs,

about nine million people.  This project that we just started in the Gulf

of Mexico, itself, had 12,000 people that worked on it.  So if you want to

answer the jobs question and talk about producing our own energy, then this

is an important first step. 

SCHULTZ:  Can it be done safely? 

ODUM:  Absolutely, it can.  And, you know, it‘s the critical piece of

us moving into some of these areas.

And the thing that you have to look for to answer that question—

because, you know, me just saying it isn‘t enough.  And so you have to look

at the track record in places like the Gulf of Mexico, and you look at the

performance of this industry over the last couple of decades. 

It‘s very, very strong.  It certainly makes us comfortable.  And I

think, again, I‘ll go back to what the administration said today. 

Talking about exploration in offshore Alaska and the areas that have

been leased, now they wouldn‘t be saying that if they weren‘t looking at

the hundreds of millions of dollars of studies that the U.S. government did

to answer the question, can it be done safely there?  So, yes, it can. 

SCHULTZ:  So you view this as a reasonable and safe decision by the

president, who, out on the campaign trail, never talked like this?  Does

this decision surprise you in a sense? 

ODUM:  Well, it‘s good to see it coming.  I mean, we‘ve been in the

conversation for a while now, that oil and gas is going to be an important

part of the U.S. energy mix for many decades to come.  And I think this is

an acknowledgement, if you will, of that and setting a path forward that‘s


Now, this doesn‘t take away from starting to develop alternative

energies and incentivizing new technologies.  All that needs to take happen

as well.  But to take advantage of the resources we have in this country,

get the jobs, security and everything else that goes along with that, as

opposed to importing all that energy, is an important step for us. 

SCHULTZ:  And do you believe that this will make us more energy-

independent and more secure as a nation? 

ODUM:  Well, every bit helps.  So I‘ll—let me just talk for a

second about a project we started up in the Gulf of Mexico today. 

SCHULTZ:  The Perdido?

ODUM:  This is a massive—Perdido Project, exactly.  Thank you. 

So, you know, a massive, really innovative, cutting-edge technology

kind of project.  This project, 200 miles out, in two miles deep of water,

more or less, this will be producing 100,000 barrels a day. 

Now, 100,000 barrels a day is one day of production from this

platform.  It‘s enough to supply the energy needs for an entire year for

over two million households.  So when you get to the question of, can

opening these areas and developing these kind of projects make a

difference?  Yes, it can make a difference. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, will these reserves, these new oil reserves that are

being, you know, extracted now and going to be put out on the market, is

this going to be sold on the world market, or is it going to affect the

United States and—like, you know, consumers are saying, gosh, I wonder

if prices are going to be going down now that President Obama has opened

this up. 

What about that? 

ODUM:  Well, there‘s a whole bunch of factors that go into, you know,

any given day‘s oil and gas price.  But, yes, you know, predominantly, and

more than predominantly, the vast, vast production of any production off

the shores of the U.S. finds its way into the U.S. energy supply.  And so

this has a direct impact, as you say. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Mr. Odum, good to have you on tonight. 

Appreciate your time. 

ODUM:  Good to be here.  You bet.  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Marvin Odum, who‘s the president of Shell Oil, with us here on MSNBC. 

Coming up, the Mav got a little too worked up while war-mongering the

other day.  That throttles him right into the zone in just a moment. 


SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, a serious one from 2008‘s

biggest loser, Senator John McCain. 

At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire earlier this month, the much

heralded veteran made a pretty shocking error while talking about the war

in Iraq. 


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  And now for three months there‘s not

been a single American service member killed and wounded in Iraq. 


SCHULTZ:  Well, if only that were true. 

In the three months before John said that, 12 U.S. troops died in

Iraq.  At least 93 were wounded. 

It is true that there were no combat-related deaths in Iraq in

December of 2009.  Now, McCain either hasn‘t gotten Iraq updates this year,

or he decided to ignore the latest casualties. 

The Bush administration misled us time and time again in the war in

Iraq for the first five years of the war, and that needs to end.  It is

disgraceful and despicable to the American people to have it treated that

way, and it downgrades the service of our armed forces. 

John ignoring more than 100 dead and wounded soldiers is serious

“Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, Bondagegate keeps rolling.  Michael Steele is being

ominously silent as all the ugly strip club details come out day after day. 

Two Republicans who were calling for his removal will join me next. 

Plus, a group of heavily-armed protesters will march on Washington on

April 19th.  I think this is a powder keg just waiting to be lit. 

We‘ll bring you the details. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight. 

More on the Michael Steele story; it looks like he‘s going to survive the

latest embarrassment of the RNC.  I‘d like to know exactly what you have to

do to get fired over there at the Republican National Committee. 

Republicans are out there attacking Democrats on government spending and

values, while RNC staffers are green lighting reimbursement sheets for

bondage themed strip club appearances. 

Well, as a practical matter, it would take a two-thirds majority to

oust Mr. Steele before his term is up in January, of next year.  But some

Republicans want him to resign and get the RNC out of the headlines and

back into the business of raising money before the midterms. 

For more, let me bring in two Republicans who have been very critical

of Mr. Steele.  Mark Demoss is a longtime Republican donor who has stopped

giving to the committee.  Doug MacKinnon is a former press secretary for

Majority Leader Bob Dole. 

Gentlemen, this story is fluid.  I want to two to this statement

first, because just a few moments ago, Tony Perkins of the Family Research

Council has addressed this.  He writes, “I‘ve hinted at this before, but

now I am saying it: don‘t give money to the RNC.  If you want to put money

into the political process—and I encourage you to do so—give directly

to candidates who you know reflect your values.  The latest incident is

another indication to me that the RNC is completely tone deaf to the values

and concerns of a large number of people they are seeking financial support

from.”  Tony Perkins, Family Research Council. 

Gentlemen, may I say that I think this is a real shot over the bow. 

Mr. Demoss, do you think that Michael Steele can survive this kind of

pressure and this kind of publicity? 

MARK DEMOSS, REPUBLICAN DONOR:  I don‘t know.  And I don‘t know if he

should step down, but I would say this: if he doesn‘t step down, he should

step up and take charge of a very messy situation.  I actually wrote him a

letter, the chairman, about three weeks ago, telling him after the fund-

raising mess down in—at the donor retreat in Florida—that I would no

longer give to the party, because I thought that presentation was

embarrassing and immature and uncivil. 

So I‘d already made that decision that Tony is talking about now.  But

it‘s a mess.  Interestingly, this latest strip club situation is not at the

top of my list of egregious behavior in recent weeks at the RNC.  It‘s on

the list, but it‘s not at the top.  I think that the rest of the spending

is a bigger problem.  And I think—I‘m concerned about the whole culture

of the place, frankly. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, the RNC has definitely changed its tactics.  That

fund-raiser that you were talking about, these were just some of the things

about socialism that were up on the board.  Also there was some about the

Evil Empire.  Mr.  MacKinnon, this is a low road, is it not?  And does the

RNC and the Republican party have to get away from this kind of stuff? 

What do you think?  


you‘re absolutely right.  It‘s an incredible low road right now for the

RNC.  I think for the last year, I‘ve been trying to tell my fellow

conservatives and Republicans that, unfortunately, Michael Steele, while a

very nice guy, tends to put Michael Steele before the party many times. 

And this latest incident is just one more reason why I think he has to step


I‘m amazed at, you know, three or four days later, we‘re still having

this same conversation, where I think if Michael Steele had done the right

thing and resigned immediately, we could use beyond this, and the party

could move beyond it.  I think Tony Perkins is absolutely right.  Either

give your money directly to candidates you believe in, or give it to Haley

Barbour and the Republican Governors Association, because at least you know

it‘s going to be spent, hopefully, in the right way. 

SCHULTZ:  Don‘t you need the RNC to be a functioning fund-raiser for

the party. to be effective and win seats, Mr. MacKinnon? 

MACKINNON:  Ed—well, theoretically, you do.  I think you‘ve proven

the point right now tonight in some of the things you‘ve talked about,

right now they‘re not effective.  Right now, they‘re not doing the job. 

Right now, the money is not going to the RNC, because people are just

embarrassed of what‘s going on there.  Mr. Steele‘s leadership is one of

the major reasons why. 

SCHULTZ:  Mark, what about his silence?  I‘m surprised Michael Steele

hasn‘t come out with I guess you could call friendly media and address this

and be aggressive about it.  Why isn‘t he doing that? 

DEMOSS:  I don‘t know the answer to that.  It‘s puzzling.  But I think

that the fact that the party has squandered what should have been a week of

great political capital—I intended an event last night in Atlanta at

Emory University Law School, where Mitt Romney spoke for an hour about the

future of the country, the cost implications of this health care

legislation.  That is what the RNC ought to be leading a debate on. 

Instead, we‘re side-tracked for a week talking about an expense account at

a strip club in California.  It‘s unbelievable to me. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. MacKinnon, you‘re a former press secretary.  How would

you handle it right now if you were advising Mr. Steele? 

MACKINNON:  Well, I would frankly—again, as we just talked about, I

would advise him to resign immediately and explain why.  I was very

disturbed that basically he sent a probably over-worked, underpaid staffer

out there to take a bullet for him and to resign, when, in fact, if the

Republican party‘s mantra, which is self-responsibility, personal

responsibility—why didn‘t he just fall on his sword himself?  I don‘t

understand why he didn‘t do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Why was only one person fired when there were a couple of

people above that particular employee that, you know, said OK to the


MACKINNON:  Well, a lot of these things, as you know, Ed, in any

organization are sort of CYA, and some of that‘s going on.  We understand

that.  It‘s exactly as Mark said.  The Republican party has had to take a

week of this or more. And it‘s going to last.  In one way or another, as

long as Michael Steele is the chairman, this story is not going to go away. 

SCHULTZ:  Mark Demoss, Doug MacKinnon, gentlemen, thanks for joining

us tonight on this subject. 

MACKINNON:  You bet.

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s turn now to our panel for some rapid fire response to

these stories tonight.  Republican lawmakers in Georgia are trying to

impeach the Democratic attorney general, Thurbert Baker, because he refuses

to file suit to repeal the recently passed health care reform bill. 

Conservatives are planning to line up with guns along the Virginia

border of Washington, D.C., at a so-called Restore the Constitution Rally. 

That‘s taking place April 19th, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City


And I want to know why my panel—what they think about Michael

Steele living to fight another day, and the most recent development, Tony

Perkins‘ statement tonight, telling donors to the Family Research Council

not to give to the RNC. 

Joining us now, political analyst Jennifer Donahue and Republican

strategist John Feehery with us tonight.  John, I know you have been a

supporter of Michael Steele, thinking he‘s going to survive all of this. 

What do you think now, as some big groups are starting to peel off?  Tony

Perkins swings a big stick with a lot of conservatives. 


supporter of Michael Steele.  My analysis was he‘d stick around.  I don‘t

think there would be any movement to get rid of him.  I think he does a

pretty good job of catering to the needs of the RNC members.  And they‘re

the only ones who ultimately have the vote to get rid of him. 


FEEHERY:  I think—exactly.  I don‘t think he‘s going anywhere. 

Now, I do think that some of his staff have been fired, that‘s probably a

good thing.  I think he needs to do a complete forensic accounting.  One of

the biggest mistakes he made early on was firing one of the key accounting

people at the RNC.  That was a big mistake.  Obviously, we have all these

problems and we shouldn‘t have those problems. 

SCHULTZ:  Jennifer, what do you think?  Will he survive this? 

DONAHUE:  He will survive it.  You‘ll have to carry him out in a body

bag.  He wants the job.  He‘s probably going to stay on the job until

January, when he has to be elected out.  The truth of the matter is, if he

had gravitas, if he had security in himself, he would leave.  It looks like

he‘s one of these old party boss hanging on to power at any cost. 

I can‘t help it.  I love John Feehery, but I‘m laughing at everything

he says because this is like out of central casting.  Everything you say

about this story makes it look more transparent.  It makes everything just

seem ridiculous.  This is really from, like, a hundred years ago.  This is

not—it‘s hard to believe that in the middle of this recession—

FEEHERY:  I‘m not defending him.  I‘m analyzing him. 

DONAHUE:  -- staying in five-star hotels. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s go to Georgia—

DONAHUE:  You don‘t defend him, John?  You don‘t defend him?

FEEHERY:  No, I don‘t defend him.  I‘m analyzing him.  I‘m not

defending him. 

DONAHUE:  You think he should go? 

FEEHERY:  You know what—

DONAHUE:  You think he should go? 

FEEHERY:  I‘m not sure if he should go. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Jennifer, I‘ll ask the questions, if that‘s OK. 

If you‘re OK with it. 

FEEHERY:  It‘s a deal.  I am. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s go to Georgia politics, if we can.  The Democratic

attorney general is now looking at possible impeachment because he won‘t

line up with 14 other southern states and states around the country—not

just southern—that want to overturn and repeal this health care bill. 

Jennifer, your thoughts on this? 

DONAHUE:  Well, I think it looks really political.  He‘s running for

governor.  He‘s got a Democratic primary opponent.  And I think basically,

in some ways, after the health care victory by the Democrats, Republicans

are grasping at straws.  This is the first thing, the health care victory,

that slowed the momentum since Scott Brown won the election in

Massachusetts.  I think this looks like, you know, really grasping for

straws, and I don‘t think it‘s going to get very far. 

SCHULTZ:  John, what do you think? 

FEEHERY:  I think this comes with the perils of passing a very

partisan piece of this legislation.  You have this also happening in

Michigan.  You have it in North Dakota and South Dakota.  This is a

widespread movement to take a serious look at this law.  A lot of this—

parts of this law people just don‘t like very much.  You will have some

inflamed passions and people looking at ways that they can get at it.  I

think that‘s what you‘re seeing. 

If this had been a broad bipartisan bill, like Medicare and Social

Security, you wouldn‘t have this kind of situation. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  They‘re going to show up along the river, armed. 

I hope they‘re not dangerous.  Restore the Constitution Rally, John

Feehery, what do you think of this? 

FEEHERY:  I read—I read that website that you sent me, Ed.  I took

a look at these folks.  There‘s also a counter-rally by the Gun Owners of

America and the National Rifle Association.  I don‘t know anything about

this group.  I think it‘s kind of a self-deputized group of

constitutionalists, I guess.  They‘re going to come armed and they‘re going

to do this thing. 

I think, you know, when we highlight them on TV shows like this, it

gives them a little bit more oomph out there.  I don‘t take them that

seriously frankly. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Jennifer and John Feehery, good to—what do you


DONAHUE:  Oh.  I just basically wanted to say I think that there‘s a

lot of backlash going on.  John, I respect the fact that you‘re distancing

from that group.  But a lot of people in that group like the Republican

party because it protects the Second Amendment.  So the Republicans are

stuck with that image, even though that‘s not fair. 

FEEHERY:  Harry Reid got an endorsement from the NRA.  It‘s not just

Republicans who are supported by gun owners. 

DONAHUE:  I wasn‘t talking about the NRA.  I meant the


FEEHERY:  That‘s fair enough.

SCHULTZ:  Jennifer and John, good to have you with us tonight. 

Coming up, Michele Bachmann just took the gloves off in Duluth,

Minnesota.  The Minnesota hate merchant is painting civil rights icon John

Lewis as a liar.  “The Nation‘s” Katrina Vanden Heuvel will respond to that

in the playbook next.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has

joined the righties who are denying that anti-health reform protesters

shouted racial slurs at black lawmakers last Sunday.  Speaking from a

boxing ring in Duluth, Minnesota, over the weekend, Bachmann delivered this

low blow. 


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Democrats said that they were

called the “N” word, which, of course, would be wrong and inappropriate. 

But no one has any record of it.  No witness saw it.  It‘s not on camera. 

It‘s not on audio.  They said they were spat upon.  No one saw it. 


SCHULTZ:  Sorry, Michele.  The “Huffington Post” has the video of

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver being spit on.  Take a look.  You‘ll see

Cleaver recoil as he is walking up the steps, as you would if somebody spat

in your face.  Cleaver then gets into it a little bit with the guy, then he

keeps walking. And you clearly see him wipe off his face. 

Then that afternoon, Cleaver‘s office released this statement: “the

congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote when one protester spat on

him.  This is not the first time the congressman has been called the “N”

word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured.  That being said,

he is disappointed that in the 21st century of our national discourse has

devolved to the point of name calling and spitting.” 

Now, I understand that you don‘t see clearly that the spitting is

taking place in the video.  So I guess really it‘s, you know, who you want

to believe, Congressman Cleaver or Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. 

Now, I know who I‘d pick. 

For more, let me bring in Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of “The

Nation.”  This is, Katrina, just another classic example, get it into the

audio culture of the country, just say it over and over again, and there

will be enough on your side to believe, hey, it never happened.  What a sad

day that an elected official has to resort to this type of manufacturing of

a story.  Where does that take the discourse in the country, if your


KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”:  It takes it into the gutter. 

It‘s toxic talk.  Michele Bachmann has been practicing a politics of

epithets, of slurs, of incitement.  We have seen after this health care

victory a flow, a tsunami of myths, fabrications, distortions and lies. 

And Bachmann has been there all along. 

What I think is very sad, Ed, is that she is sewing confusion and fear

among people without jobs, among people in her district, by the way, where

she‘s out there running to be queen of the Tea Party.  Meanwhile, she

nearly lost her seat by three percent in the last election.  She has a 17

percent rate of absenteeism from the House.  And she is in Minnesota‘s

highest foreclosure district but votes with the banks, votes with the

insurance companies, against limits on fore closures, against health care

for children. 

So be queen of the Tea Party, but don‘t traffic in a politics of

incitement and fury at a time of economic pain in this country, when your

own constituents are hurting. 

SCHULTZ:  We did a segment earlier in the program tonight about right-

wing talkers.  Is it entertainment or electioneering?  Your thoughts on


HEUVEL:  I think the great imbalance in the country is a disservice to

the marketplace of ideas this country deserves, Ed.  I think that the

Federal Communications Commission, Michael Copps, a great commissioner

there, has thought long and hard about how you address that imbalance. 

Until we have a level playing field, and one which is giving real


Just a moment, again, on Michele Bachmann and her allies.  From death

panels to the other day going on about how the IRS is going to be breathing

down the back of every American, we deserve the facts.  We deserve a good,

healthy debate.  That strategist from the Republican party earlier deplored

what has happened to this Republican party.  Is a reasonable—is a

responsible Republican party so extinct that it can‘t call out people like

Michele Bachmann? 

Silence is complicity.  Silence is consent when you have people like

Palin and wannabe Michele Bachmann talking about politics as armed

defensive, in violent rhetoric and language. 

SCHULTZ:  Your thoughts on Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council

tonight releasing a statement asking his members not to give to the RNC. 

Is Michael Steele going to survive this?  If he stays on, how effective can

he be?  Fund-raising, you‘re in the image business. 

HEUVEL:  I think the larger question is, does the Republican party

survive?  Where does it head when its leadership seems unhinged?  When

we‘ve just passed a health care bill, which is a major reform, but it is

about private insurance.  It‘s not a government takeover.  It‘s not

totalitarianism coming to our shores.  I think someone—I‘m sure there‘s

reporting being done on trying to get Michael Steele out of that perch,

because he isn‘t serving the needs of others in that party. 

The larger problem, Ed, is we need a healthy debate in this country on

the issues and not a politics of incitement, a politics of slur that is, I

think, going to take our country down, and not lift it up and make it a

more healthy, secure country. 

SCHULTZ:  Katrina, great to have you with us tonight.  Always a


One final page in my playbook tonight, Bill O‘Reilly‘s antics are

apparently fodder for jokes even among his colleagues over at the right

wing network.  The other night Shep Smith took a dig at him. 


SHEPPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Well, it‘s six minutes to 5:00 in

Los Angeles, time for a car chase.  This is it.  I think we have video. 

Can we show it?  There it is.  It‘s happening right now and we come back

from a commercial break, before we get to O‘Reilly, we‘ll do it live. 


SCHULTZ:  Of course, Shep Smith was referring to the classic O‘Reilly

meltdown from his days at “Inside Edition.”


BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  And we will leave you with a—I

can‘t do it.  We‘ll do it live. 


O‘REILLY:  We‘ll do it live.  (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it.  We‘ll do it

live.  I‘ll write it and we‘ll do it live. 


SCHULTZ:  You know, Mike, you guys are going to start getting treated

like that real soon.  And that‘s the guy who recently said in an interview

that MSNBC hires, quote, bad people?

Coming up, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is taking a page right out

of Karl Rove‘s playbook.  She‘s put out a commercial saying her primary

opponent has a drug problem.  Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter isn‘t taking

that sitting down, and he‘ll join us next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is in real

danger of losing her seat.  Her desperation is starting to show.  She

doomed herself with liberals by siding with Republicans on the health care

reform issue, and now she‘s sticking with dirty Republican tactics to try

to defeat Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter in a Democratic primary May 18th

Lincoln‘s campaign sent out a mailer that appears to suggest that Halter is

actually popping pills.  It‘s only after you open it up that you realize

Lincoln is going after Halter for his connection to a drug company that was

sued for misleading investors. 

Halter countered the claim that he is not in the back pocket of the

drug companies with this radio ad. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who is Blanche Lincoln trying to fool on health

care?  Here‘s the deal: she didn‘t stand up to the special interests.  She

worked for them.  While Blanche Lincoln was siding with her big-money

friends, Bill Halter was putting our families first.  In the Senate, he‘ll

stand up to the big drug companies to get lower prescription drug prices

for our seniors. 

Senator Lincoln, my people aren‘t fooled.  Bill Halter‘s the one who

will stand up for us. 


SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. 

Bill, is this the tip of the iceberg?  Is it going to get nasty down the

stretch?  What do you think?


started, Ed.  I think it‘s a sign of desperation.  Look, I fully expect

that it will—the more and more negative things will come.  I wish it

weren‘t that way.  We have run five television commercials so far.  We

haven‘t mentioned a single opponent in any of those commercials.  We‘d like

this be to a positive campaign and we would certainly like to talk about

the real issues, like why Senator Lincoln Decided to bail out Wall Street

investment banks. 

There‘s a bunch of issues we need to be talking about.  But I do think

it shows that they‘re very concerned.  We have momentum.  We have a lot of

support here in Arkansas.  And, you know, it says something when an

incumbent launches negative on a challenger. 

SCHULTZ:  The most recent polling that‘s out there, Daily Kos/Research

2000, says there are 25 percent undecided.  Negative ads work.  How

aggressive will you be? 

HALTER:  Well, we‘re going to be aggressively positive, Ed.  We‘re

going to put the record out there.  We‘re going to campaign hard.  I feel

good about my success in my election of 2006.  We won by 15 points.  We‘re

going to be upbeat, positive.  We‘re not going to just let somebody attack

us, though. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Going to be one to watch for sure.  Bill Halter,

good to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.

HALTER:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our text survey I asked, do you think Congress

should take action to balance political talk radio in this country? 

Seventy seven percent of you said yes; 23 percent said no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz, back tomorrow night from

Minneapolis.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place

for politics.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.




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