Guests: Thad Allen, Billy Nungesser, Byron Dorgan, Bill Halter, Maria Teresa Kumar, Ron Christie, Sam Stein, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Bill Press
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW
tonight from New York.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons at this hour.
Republicans hate big government, don‘t they? Except when it helps
them politically. Now a Republican senator is suggesting President Obama
should become an oil czar.
Supporters of Arizona‘s new anti-immigration law claim it‘s not
racially motivated. Now the state is going to go after teachers who have
And RNC Chair Michael Steele refuses to condemn Rand Paul‘s comments
criticizing the Civil Rights Act.
Those stories coming up, but this is the story that‘s hitting my hot
button tonight and has got me fired up.
It‘s day 35, and there is no solution and there‘s no end in sight.
The BP oil spill, the way it goes politically, is this potentially could be
President Obama‘s Waterloo, because as the nation gets more frustrated,
most Americans believe they simply are not getting the truth and the whole
Asking the American people to trust BP is a rather tall order, don‘t
you think? And now there is a senator who was quoting an actual number
when it comes to payback.
At a press conference today, Senator Mary Landrieu guaranteed payment?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: If you made $50,000 last year and
you can‘t work this year, BP is going to write you a check for $50,000. If
your business made $1 million last year and you can‘t make that million
dollars this year, BP is going to make your business whole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That‘s the most definite thing we‘ve heard so far. But what
a shocker, that the senator that took hundreds of thousands of dollars from
the oil industry is now speaking for their restitution?
I don‘t know where she got those numbers, because we checked with the
White House twice today, and they could not confirm that.
Governor Jindal, governor of Louisiana, is now calling for more
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ®, LOUISIANA: It is clear we don‘t have the
resources we need to protect our coast. We need more boom, more skimmers,
more vacuums, more jack-up barges that are still in short supply. And
let‘s be clear. Every day that this oil sits and waits for cleanup is one
more day that more of our marsh dies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: More, more, more. So, all of a sudden, the Republicans love
government, what government can do for them.
And so does Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER ®, TENNESSEE: There‘s one thing they could do
under the law. They can fire BP and take it over. But the truth is, the
federal government probably doesn‘t have the capacity to do that.
BOB SCHIEFFER, “FACE THE NATION”: Would you favor taking over BP if
that became necessary?
ALEXANDER: Sure. That‘s up to the president to decide. Under the
law, we know who pays. That‘s BP. They‘re the responsible party.
And we know who‘s managing the federal effort. That‘s the Coast
But under the law, the federal government can take it over if they
choose. And I understand why they might not choose, but that option
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Hmm. Did he say “sure”? I thought I heard him say “sure”
in that answer.
Government takeover. Now it‘s up to the president to fix it all,
isn‘t it? Government takeover.
Isn‘t this the crowd that didn‘t want a government takeover of health
care, but now that it‘s at their shores, oh, it‘s the federal government,
come on in. We need more this, more this, more this, more this.
I‘ll tell you what we need, is the truth. And there is no trust in
this environment right now.
An interview coming up in a moment might shock you.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to how you feel about this
Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think the White House should
take full control of the BP oil disaster? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for
no to 622639. I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Earlier today, I spoke with Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen.
SCHULTZ: Admiral Allen, good to have you with us tonight. I
appreciate your time.
ADM. THAD ALLEN, COMMANDANT, U.S. COAST GUARD: My pleasure.
SCHULTZ: Why does the head of the Coast Guard trust British
Petroleum? What have they done to earn your trust? You‘ve been quoted as
saying that you do trust the CEO.
ALLEN: Well, I think it‘s important to understand the relationship we
have in trying to solve this problem, especially as it relates to the oil
leaking in the sea floor. We have no access down there other than
remotely-operated vehicles, and all the technology, the capability and the
capacity to fix this problem lies in the hands of the private sector.
This necessarily has to be a collaboration, but one in which BP is
responsible for their actions and what they‘re supposed to do, and
accountable to us. And we‘re accountable to the American people.
If you can‘t do that without some credibility between the two parties,
you‘re not going to be successful. So you can characterize this as trust,
collegiality, whatever you want. My job is to make sure that BP
understands what they‘re supposed to do and are held accountable to do
that. And to do that, we have to have frank, open, honest communications,
and that‘s what I was talking about.
SCHULTZ: Well, there have been confusing statements that have been
made between the COO and the CEO of that company. The COO saying today
that this is not going to be very modest. Yet, previously, Mr. Hayward has
said that it‘s not as bad as what they had once thought.
I mean, you‘re standing by with the interest of the United States.
You see the conflict of some of their people in the way they‘ve talked to
ALLEN: Actually, that was a topic of conversation I had with Tony
Hayward over the weekend, and we talk personally whenever I need to do it,
and I will call him. And I told him that BP was not doing very well in the
retail end of things related to the perception of agility and flexibility
and speed of response on shoreline cleanup. And he is now in Louisiana
today talking to the people there today, and they‘re working the problem.
And that is an example of what I‘m talking about.
SCHULTZ: Well, this is day 35. I hope BP finally gets the message.
You have mentioned also that you have lack of access. If the Coast
Guard had more access, would we be further along, in your opinion?
ALLEN: I think the question was put to me was access to senior
leadership, or access to resources. Either one, I have access to senior
leadership and we have access to resources.
We have a tremendous relationship with the Department of Defense. If
there‘s something we need very, very quickly, we can actually make a verbal
request to Secretary Gates and he will give us permission to move the
And this could be C-17s moving boom from Anchorage, to side-scanning
sonar from the Navy. They‘ve been very, very responsive. And when we want
something we get it.
SCHULTZ: Well, it may be have caused by the private sector, but the
sense of the American people is that enough is not being done.
Can you tell us tonight that the Coast Guard is absolutely doing
everything it can?
ALLEN: Well, the Coast Guard alone is not going to solve this. The
Coast Guard‘s responsibility, in addition to being part of the cleanup and
the response, is to oversee what BP is doing in our role as federal on-
scene coordinator. And every element of the Coast Guard and government is
being brought to bear on that.
There are people down in Houston that are overseeing this potential
top kill solution. And next Wednesday we have engineers there. We have
people at every levels in British Petroleum. We are working constantly
with them and providing oversight.
SCHULTZ: And are they winging it? I mean, are they looking for
technology that they‘re not sure of at this point?
ALLEN: They‘re actually using technology that‘s been used many places
in the world to deal with blowouts. The novel thing about this response is
it‘s never been done at 5,000 feet. So the technological challenge
associated with that are the things that are introducing risk and
uncertainty. But the lines of operation to deal with this problem are
completely consistent with industry standards.
SCHULTZ: From what you know, are you confident that there will be a
mission accomplished in a timely fashion as the environment continues to
take a pounding? Are you confident that this is going to get resolved in
the near future?
ALLEN: Well, it‘s not going to be resolved permanently without risk
until we have a relief well drilled and the drill is capped for good. And
that is not likely to happen until August.
In the meantime, everything we need to be focusing on has to do with
stopping the leakage on the floor of the ocean and then attacking it as far
off shore. The last place we need to be dealing with this is on shore.
We‘re not going to stop everything, but we need to move at best speed to
stop the leak at the bottom, and the next step will be the top kill option.
SCHULTZ: U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
ALLEN: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Billy Nungesser, the president of
Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.
Billy, good to have you on tonight.
You were with us on Friday and you were asking for some help. What‘s
changed since Friday? But maybe before that question, what‘s your response
to the head of the Coast Guard just saying August?
BILLY NUNGESSER, PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT: I don‘t think, in all
due respect, they have a clue. I mean, you know, you asked them if they‘re
doing everything possible, and he passed the buck to BP.
They are the commanders. They‘re in charge. They can demand what BP
And until we have leadership step up to the plate and make some
decisions—he did say we need to fight it off shore, but they won‘t
approve the permit and move the dredges to location to keep it off shore.
Instead, we‘re reacting every time it infiltrates the marsh and kills off
another island of pelicans, turtles, fish.
This is absolutely ridiculous, that we allow them to keep passing the
buck back and forth. The corps is going to issue a permit, BP‘s going to
pay for it, the Coast Guard is going to demand it happens. Absolutely
nothing is being done. There is no plan.
Governor Jindal and the other parish presidents met late last night,
put a plan together. We‘ll be funding locally, minimal plans, to start
building a berm with or without the support of the United States of
America. They have dropped the ball tremendously, and they continue to do
it. They keep passing the buck.
You know what? Look into the camera and say, we are doing absolutely
everything possible to save the marsh of Louisiana. Until then, quit
passing the buck back and forth.
This is absolutely ridiculous, that the president of the United States
puts up with this. I‘m disgusted. I‘m so tired of this. And the marshes
are dying while they keep throwing the ball back and forth.
Stand up to the plate and show some real leadership and get the job
done. Do everything physically possible. It‘s not being done.
We‘ve got a thousand people here with things that will go out there
and fight the oil in the marsh. Pick it up.
We‘re using one dispersant. We continue to use one thing. We‘ve got
skimmers, minimal. We‘ve got minimal boom.
What the hell are we doing? Where is—we‘ve got everything at our
disposal—the Defense Department.
Well, this country‘s in trouble if we‘re using everything possible.
We‘ve got real problems, and we better take a second look.
SCHULTZ: Billy Nungesser with us tonight. He‘s the president of
Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.
Earlier, a press conference was held today, and your senator said that
if you made $50,000 last year, you‘re going to get a check from BP. If you
made $1 million, you‘re going to get a check from BP.
Do you believe that?
NUNGESSER: Well, all we‘ve asked BP is, quit making people wait 30
days hoping. These are proud people.
These are fishermen. It‘s been in their families for years. And
they‘re sitting by the phone wondering if there‘s going to be another
Let‘s set up a three-or-six-month plan. Tell them what they‘re going
to get until they can either put their nets back in the water or look for
another way of making a living, because at the speed we‘re going, we‘re
losing marsh every day. And it don‘t look like our industry is going to be
what it used to be for many years to come.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Nungesser, keep up the fight. We‘re going to come back
to you, because you are the guy that‘s standing in front of the camera
telling it like it is. And I will say that America needs to hear your
voice damn near every night, my man. Keep it going.
I appreciate your time. Thank you.
NUNGESSER: Thank you. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. He‘s a
member of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
Senator, good to have you on tonight.
We were told by the head of the Coast Guard that this could go into
August. If that‘s the case, it will well be up the East Coast. In fact,
it will probably be in the Chesapeake Bay if we wait that long. It might
even reach Washington.
SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Ed, this can‘t go until August.
It just can‘t.
And I think we‘re going to hear the results of what is called this top
kill, the latest BP approach. I guess that‘s on Wednesday.
We‘re, I think, 34 days into this with the gusher of oil coming up
from the—under the sea. And I think if Wednesday this doesn‘t work, my
own sense is what we need to do is push BP aside and put together an
emergency operation center with one czar in charge saying we‘re going to
find every—everything on this planet that might be available to help us
get this done.
I mean, I would go to the Norwegians, who have a lot of experience in
this. Anywhere on this planet somebody can help us, bring them here. This
is an emergency. This is the most significant environmental disaster in
the last couple hundred years. And so this needs to get done.
SCHULTZ: Senator, you think the president should push BP aside
DORGAN: Well, I think on Wednesday that certainly would be the case.
If the last approach which is going to be top kill on Wednesday doesn‘t
work, in my judgment I think you push them aside and you say, look, I want
somebody in charge of this that has one interest in mind, and that is the
public interest. Not any private sector interest, no company interest,
just the public interest, because this is a catastrophe and we have got to
This can‘t last until July or August. We‘ve got to use every resource
that‘s available on this planet to try to put a stop to this.
SCHULTZ: And what about the liability cap that the Republicans are
against? You know, they‘re for putting in a low cap, should I say, whereas
the Democrats want an unlimited cap.
What are your thoughts on that?
DORGAN: There ought not be a cap. Look, I mean, the amount of
damages here are dramatic, and we‘re going to be decades and decades trying
to work through them. But we ought not to have a cap on this.
What we need to do is to say to these companies—in this case, BP—
you‘re going to have to pay up. I mean, that‘s just a fact.
You just had a discussion with the previous guest. You could hear the
anguish in the voice. You know, my heart breaks for those folks.
But this ecological disaster is going to go on for some while. We
cannot sit back and just report on, what is BP going to do next? When will
they do it?
I mean, look, I‘m tired of hearing that. Let‘s see what they get on
Wednesday. And if not, I say move them aside, put together an emergency
operation center, put one czar in charge of that, one czar, and say let‘s
operate exclusively in the public interest and bring everything on this
planet to bear on this problem.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
DORGAN: Thanks a lot, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, the same person that said, “Drill, baby, drill”
attacks the president for being in bed with big oil? “Caribou Barbie” is
psycho-talking again and she lands in the “Zone.”
And Blanche Lincoln fighting for her political life in Arkansas. She
calls in the hometown hero, Bill Clinton, to stump for her. Her opponent,
Bill Halter, joins me in just a moment.
All that, plus the president has a court pick for LeBron James.
And put away the chicken costumes in Nevada.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching
Senator Blanche Lincoln is pulling out all stops in the final days of
the Democratic primary fight in Arkansas. Bill Clinton will stump for the
embattled senator in Little Rock this Friday.
Lincoln topped Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter by just 5,000 votes in
last Tuesday‘s primary, with a third Democratic candidate taking 13 percent
of the vote. A two-way runoff is scheduled for June 8th. The latest poll
out of Arkansas shows that Halter now leads by two points over Senator
Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter joins me tonight here on THE ED SHOW.
Governor, good to have you with us.
LT. GOV. BILL HALTER (D), ARKANSAS SENATE CANDIDATE: Great to be
SCHULTZ: You‘re up against Bill Clinton now. They‘re pulling out all
stops. So who‘s more popular, Bill Halter or Bill Clinton? What do you
HALTER: I don‘t think there‘s any question that Bill Clinton is more
popular, but I‘ll be the one on the ballot versus Senator Lincoln. And
Arkansas voters are going to decide this for themselves, I believe.
SCHULTZ: There has been a real shift in message as far as Senator
Lincoln is concerned. She now seems to be running commercials that say
that she‘s right with President Obama and has been there all along.
What do you make of that?
HALTER: Well, there‘s been a lot of shifting back and forth on the
part of the Lincoln campaign. And I think Arkansans are seeing through
I mean, at the beginning, she was for the public option and then she
was against the public option. Then she went down and threatened to
filibuster a public option. She‘s been all over the map on the Employee
Free Choice Act.
One thing she‘s been consistent, though, Ed, she‘s been a firm
believer in eliminating or greatly reducing the estate tax for those with
wealth of $10 million or more. She‘s been very consistent on that.
SCHULTZ: Do you think she had any hand in this most recent vote that
took place in the Senate for Wall Street reform? And does that have any
bearing on your runoff with her on June 8th?
HALTER: I do believe that you‘re going to see a shift again in that
bill. The rumor is—and reporters have been all over this—that as
soon as the runoff occurs, those provisions are going to be dropped from
the bill. There was conversation that they were going to be dropped on May
19th, but, of course, we forced a runoff, and they‘re around for at least
two and a half more weeks.
SCHULTZ: The latest Research 2000 poll shows you were slightly ahead
of the Senator, 48-46. Is it going to be this close all the way? What do
HALTER: I think it will be close, but I believe that we‘re headed for
a victory on June 8th. Certainly, we have all the momentum, Ed. We‘ve
seen that all over the state.
SCHULTZ: Do you have the money?
HALTER: We can always use help, Ed. BillHalter.com for anybody who
wants to help out.
SCHULTZ: But right now do you have the money?
HALTER: Well, we‘ve got enough to get our ads up, but we can always
SCHULTZ: Well, what about her war chest? She doesn‘t seem to have
the grassroots the way you do.
HALTER: No, that‘s true. But she‘s had six years to raise money, and
so she banked over $8 million.
We‘ve out-raised Senator Lincoln ever since we got in the race, but
she just had a big head start. Of course, she spent a lot of that money,
too. But we could use everybody‘s help, $10, $20, $30. BillHalter.com is
the place to go.
SCHULTZ: Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, good to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.
HALTER: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Sarah Palin tells Rand Paul never to trust the
press. She says they‘re looking for the “gotcha” moment?
Hey, Sarah, I‘ve got one for you next in the “Zone.”
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Fox News is still letting
Sarah Palin armchair quarterback. This weekend, the “Drill, baby, drill”
poster girl had the nerve to attack President Obama for taking money from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKAN GOVERNOR: I don‘t know why the question
isn‘t asked by the mainstream media and by others if there‘s any connection
with the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and
the support by the oil companies to the administration, if there‘s any
connection there to President Obama taking so doggoned long to get in
there, to dive in there and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy
that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico.
Now, if this was President Bush, or if this were a Republican in
office who hadn‘t received as much support even as President Obama has from
BP and other oil companies, you know the mainstream media would be all over
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What did she say? She said that Bush hasn‘t got as much
support as Obama when it comes to oil? Do I have the right script here?
Actually, Sarah, Republicans routinely get way more campaign cash from
big oil than Democrats do. And before going on Fox News, you ought to get
these facts straight. So much for the research.
So far this year, 71 percent of all contributions from the oil and gas
industries have gone to Republican candidates. In 2008, only 77 percent
went to Republicans.
And Palin must have forgotten that her running mate in 2008 took $2.4
million from oil and gas industries. Obama got less than half that amount,
just under $900,000.
But a lie about oil money wasn‘t Palin‘s only offense yesterday. You
see, she also took aim at Rachel Maddow, blaming her for Rand Paul‘s Civil
Rights Act disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: When Rand Paul had anticipated that he‘d be able to engage in
a discussion—he, being a libertarian-leaning constitutional conservative
-- being able to engage in a discussion with a TV character, a media
personality, who perhaps had an agenda in asking the question, may be
prejudiced before they even get into the interview in regards to what your
answer may be, and then the opportunity that they seize to get you, you
know, they‘re looking for that “gotcha” moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yes, that “gotcha.”
Well, I don‘t think that Rachel Maddow was the prejudiced one in that
interview at all, but I guess you really can‘t blame Palin for sticking up
for Rand Paul. She has certainly had her fair share of disastrous
interviews, hasn‘t she?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES GIBSON, CBS NEWS: Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?
PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?
Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States
of America. Where do they go? It‘s Alaska.
KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS: What newspapers and magazines do you
regularly read? What ones specifically? I‘m curious.
PALIN: All of them. Any of them.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: Who‘s your favorite founder?
PALIN: You know, well, all of them, because they came collectively
together with so much—
BECK: Bull crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Beck‘s word choice there is one way to describe Palin‘s
I‘m just going to call it “Psycho Talk,” because that‘s what it is.
Coming up, tensions are higher than ever over the Arizona immigration
law. Now the Arizona Board of Education made it even hotter.
And the head of the Republican Party stumbles when asked about Rand
Paul. He can‘t condemn the nut job‘s views?
And Joe Sestak, he gets into it with the White House over who offered
a job and whatnot. We‘ll get into that.
LeBron James gets presidential advice.
And I‘ll show you who caught the big fish over the weekend, as I
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The battleground story
tonight, no doubt Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has taken a lot of heat for
the state‘s new anti-immigration law. She says people who don‘t agree with
the law, well, they just haven‘t read it. She‘s making the case with a
puppet. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reading is really super swell. Reading‘s great so
let‘s all shout it out. Reading helps you know what you‘re talking about.
let‘s see what these folks have to say about reading
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: have you read the Arizona law?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not had a chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you read the law?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have I read the law?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: If you had a chance to review the new
law that was passed by the state of Arizona?
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I‘ve not—
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Not read it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
NAPOLITANO: I‘ve not—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Opponents like me think the law leads to racial profiling.
And the anti-immigration crusade in Arizona is getting even bigger. The
state lawmaker who proposed the Papers Please Law is now pushing an effort
to strip U.S. born children of illegal immigrants of their American
citizenship. And the Arizona Department of Education is sending auditors
in to evaluate school teachers and determine if their accents are too
For more, let‘s bring in Maria Teresa Kumar, the executive director of
Voto Latino. Ms. Kumar, what do you make of this? It‘s like every day
there‘s a new chapter to this story. Now they‘re going to be checking out
the accents of teachers. Are you offended by this?
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: I think, as Americans, we should all
be offended by this. I mean, the little TV ad you showed with the frog is
quite trite. And it actually, unfortunately, doesn‘t address the issues
and concerns of two million Americans living in Arizona who happen to be
Latino. It‘s racial profiling at its best. And unfortunately the
governor‘s tactic of trying to poke fun—shame on the administration
folks for not reading it. But shame on her for trying to make light of
serious issues that disenfranchises Americans. Let alone—we don‘t even
have to get into the mess of illegals. But it really disenfranchises
Americans. That‘s a problem.
SCHULTZ: Does your organization, Voto Latino, support all of the
boycotts that are taking place right now, the number of cities that have
lined up against doing business with Arizona?
KUMAR: We‘ve actually created a very comprehensive site so folks can
visit VotoLatino.org, and you can identify—there are 18 cities so far
who have joined the boycott, and joined the boycott in regards to actually
spending money in Arizona, going to conventions, et cetera. Then we‘ve
always created a comprehensive list of how people can participate.
What we can‘t do, Ed, is we can‘t allow this slippery slope where a
group of Americans, all of a sudden, rights get taken away. You mentioned
Pierce just recently. What he‘s proposing is throwing out the Constitution
because anybody born—based on the Constitution, that‘s born here in the
United States is a U.S. citizen. That‘s outrageous.
SCHULTZ: Do you think that deserves a federal response?
KUMAR: It absolutely does. We need comprehensive immigration reform.
We need to secure our borders. Comprehensive immigration reform,
fundamentally, is talking about three things. Our national security,
because it brings people out of the shadows. We need to know who‘s living
here. And it secures our border. It talks about the economy, because, all
of a sudden, people who have a path to citizenship, they can pay fines and
taxes that our coffers desperately need.
And then finally, it actually makes sure that millions of people
aren‘t exploited by unscrupulous employers who want to actually make sure
that wages are artificially suppressed.
SCHULTZ: Maria, these last two things that have come up, last two
chapters of this, going after the teachers, evaluating them, and of course
the birth of children in this country, does this underscore, in your
opinion, that this truly is a racist law?
KUMAR: You know, it‘s disappointing because I think what‘s happening
is that the American public is saying—it‘s telling Congress we need
comprehensive immigration reform. And if you don‘t do it, we‘re going to
look to the states.
SCHULTZ: It‘s taking on a tone of racism.
KUMAR: Complete—it has. It‘s disappointing, because I think it‘s
hurtful and not constructive. We can‘t let our prejudice throw out the
Constitution. We need smart policy and we need leadership.
SCHULTZ: Maria, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
KUMAR: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Immigration is one of the topics I dig into in my new book called
“Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics are Destroying the Great
American Middle Class.” It comes out June 1st. We‘ve got a series of town
hall meetings and book signings. You can go to my website, WeGotEd.com,
for the entire schedule.
Now, let‘s get some rapid fire from our team, our panel, on these
stories tonight. How bad is the blood between Democratic Senate nominee
Joe Sestak and the White House? Sestak continues to say the White House
offered him a job to get out of the race against Arlen Specter. But he
won‘t say that he is an Obama Democrat.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issues a lukewarm
apology for stoking the lie that he served in the Vietnam War. A new poll
suggests don‘t worry about that because he may be on a roll and certainly
not dead in the water.
Michael Steele tap dances when pressed about Rand Paul‘s criticism of
the Civil Rights Act.
Joining us for all of this tonight is Sam Stein, political reporter
“Huffington Post,” and also Ron Christie, Republican strategist.
Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight. Let‘s talk Joe Sestak.
Mr. Christie, was Joe Sestak offered a job at the White House? Offered a
job with the administration to get him out of the race?
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It seems like it to me, Ed.
He‘s been on television on more than one occasion saying the White House
had made him an unspecified job offer if he would clear the primary field
for Arlen Specter. I think the American deserve to know the truth of that.
The House Ethics Committee, I think, should take a look at this. If a
sitting member of Congress was offered a job to get out of the way for
political purposes I think the American people need to know that.
SCHULTZ: What do you think, Sam? Is there trouble in the waters on
SAM STEIN, “HUFFINGTON POST”: Look, if the administration is right
and they say nothing illegal took place, then they should have no problem
telling us what happened. In that respect, I‘m with Ron. I don‘t think
I‘m going to get as worked up as he is over this. I think it‘s probably
not the best use of the committee‘s time. I think there‘s other things to
investigate. This type of informal quid pro quo, you give me this for
that, happens a lot, actually. Let‘s not be naive.
SCHULTZ: Doesn‘t it speak volumes, Sam, that if the White House says
nothing inappropriate was done here—I mean, they have their backup,
STEIN: Yes, that‘s why I think they should actually come forth with
anything they have related to the matter. If it‘s innocent, what‘s to
SCHULTZ: OK, let‘s go to Connecticut. Richard Blumenthal, you would
think that maybe fabricating his record in Vietnam might hurt him, but of
course the polls are showing—the Greenberg Quinlan Rozer (ph) poll 2010
shows he‘s up 55 percent to 40 percent over Linda McMahon. Ron Christie,
is this smooth sailing? Has he gotten out of the troubled waters on this
CHRISTIE: It‘s too soon to say, Ed, I think. I think we would have
had a far better chance if the Republicans had nominated Rob Simmons, who
was a decorated Vietnam veteran, himself. Having an executive from the
former wrestling foundation, it‘s hard to say. I think he could be in
trouble if she decides to make this an issue in the campaign. It‘s too
soon at this juncture to make any post mortems of his candidacy.
STEIN: Isn‘t the problem, to begin with, that she did make this an
issue, that she was very blatant about feeding this to “the New York
Times,” the Vietnam controversy I‘m talking about? The whole thing seems
very much politicized, even though there‘s an issue there with him
misleading voters. I think the McMahon people definitely misplayed this.
I think part of the reason that Blumenthal hasn‘t been hurt in the polls is
because people look at this and they see partisan politics.
CHRISTIE: No, I think people look at this, Sam, and they say, this
guy lied; 58,000 brave Americans lost their lives and he‘s going to—
STEIN: I‘m saying the McMahon people basically took credit for
feeding this to the “Times.” That‘s a miscalculation right there.
SCHULTZ: But it walked him into an apology.
STEIN: Yes, I think he had to give an apology if he wanted to move
forward on this. He did it.
SCHULTZ: Michael Steele, this is what Michael Steele had to say about
Rand Paul‘s comments about the Civil Rights Act. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: I can‘t condemn a person‘s view.
That‘s like, you know, you believe something and I say I‘m going to condemn
your view of it. It‘s—the people of Kentucky will judge whether or not
that‘s a view that they would like to send—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you comfortable with it?
STEELE: I‘m not comfortable with a lot of things. It doesn‘t matter
what I‘m comfortable with or not comfortable with. I don‘t vote in that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Ron Christie, why is Mr. Steele tap dancing on this?
CHRISTIE: I don‘t know, Ed. Look, I condemn that. I think it‘s
absolutely outrageous what Rand Paul had to say. There are a number of
conservatives saying we need to rally behind him. I do not think there‘s
any place in this current political discourse where you should say that we
should either repeal the Civil Rights Act or it shouldn‘t be enforced in
the private sector. The private sector is, in fact, the way
segregationists kept African-Americans and other people of color from
participating in society. We should condemn that, period.
STEIN: Not much more to add to that. I think that‘s very artfully
said. One of the things that‘s getting lost in all this debate is the fact
that Rand Paul really sees no role for government in any facet of society.
I think to say the things he did about the Civil Rights is truly an insult
to actually the people affected by—not by segregation in the private
place before the act was implemented.
SCHULTZ: Here‘s where I‘m at on this Michael Steele thing; the
Republicans have an identity crisis. They‘re afraid to come out and say
what‘s right and what‘s wrong and make a statement. I mean, it seems to me
like Michael Steele is just so afraid, you know, he might make somebody
upset if he says something.
STEIN: That‘s the double-edged sword of the Tea Party movement right
there. You live by the sword and you die by it. If he goes out and
offends the Ron Paulites or the Rand Paulites, the he risks the ire of them
in the election.
SCHULTZ: He had one other sound bite that caught my attention as well
that dealt with the president. Here it is.
STEELE: He ran a grassroots campaign that was focused on the issue
that impact the people of Hawaii. So don‘t just take away from that race
by sort of shoving it off. It is a significant win. It is the birthplace
of the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not everybody in your party thinks that.
STEELE: Well, that‘s irrespective. That‘s where the man was born.
And we‘re proud of the fact we‘re able to take that seat, just like we‘ll
take his Senate seat in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Nobody is focusing on that, that we have got an admission
from the head of the Republican party that we know where Barack Obama was
born now. Ron, what do you think?
CHRISTIE: I‘ve always said these Birther guys are barking up the
wrong tree. I think it‘s significant that we actually did take that seat.
It‘s going to be hard for us to hold in November, but significant. We‘ll
take any victory that we can get. That was a good pick-up for us.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us,
Sam Stein, Ron Christie, tonight.
Coming up, Rand Paul splitting the Republican party in two. Some are
with him, some are against him. Katrina Vanden Heuvel weighs in next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, Rand Paul has further entrenched the
GOP as the party of no with his criticism of the Civil Rights Act, and
Republican leaders have been working overtime on damage control. Karl Rove
even called the Paul campaign to tell him to get out of the national
spotlight, buddy. Republicans also know Rand Paul is their guy now. And
they‘ll have to figure out what to do about all of this. If they let him
drag the party even further to the right, it may be the last nail in the
coffin of bipartisanship.
For more on that, let‘s bring in Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of “The
Nation.” Katrina, good to have you with us tonight. Some may view this as
the Republican party now at a cross roads. Do they embrace people like
Rand Paul? Or do they run away from them? I think that it speaks volumes
that Karl Rove told them to get out of the national spot light.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”: The Republicans really haven‘t
had a clear message, a clear agenda except for being the party of no, the
grand old obstructionist party for the last year, as President Obama has
put together—and sure some flaws—but a major restructuring of America
for the better of people. The stimulus, health care plan, the financial
reform legislation we‘re watching go through. At every point, the
Republicans have said no.
They now have Rand Paul who, let‘s face it, Ed, he‘s not speaking just
for himself. He‘s speaking for a strong strand in a party that has fought
the civilizing advances in this country‘s history, including the Civil
SCHULTZ: Do you think there‘s a lot of people in the party that share
VANDEN HEUVEL: I think there are people in the party who share his
views and I think there are people in the Tea Party, which the media gives
too much attention to, but deserves some attention, because they share
these views. You know what? I think the frame going into 2010 is no
longer just anti-establishment. It is about are you for effective
government or are you for no government? That is a fight I bet Democrats
in this White House want to have, because Rand Paul is essentially saying
not only roll back—or, you know, skeptical about the Civil Rights Act,
but he wants to roll back Social Security, Medicare. These are parts of
people‘s lives which have improved the condition of families‘ lives, their
parents‘ lives, generations‘ lives.
So I think the Republican party is in a very tricky place. And when
Mr. Rove sticks his head into it, you know they are anxious about a
candidate like Rand Paul imploding after just 24 hours in the spotlight.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t see a big pickup by the Republicans. Everybody‘s
talking about, gosh, you know, there‘s going to get so many seats. I just
don‘t sense it.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I think a lot of it, Ed—I mean, the Pennsylvania
12th congressional district was very important. Where the Democrat came
out, I think it was eight points when a lot of people were saying no way.
The organizing on the ground will be critical. That also speaks to more
enthusiasm among Democrats, and that speaks to the power of turnout.
You know, a lot of it, Ed, let‘s face it, at this critical moment in
our country‘s time—we‘ve got a recovery. It‘s a weak recovery. It‘s
not—it‘s jobless recovery. I think this White House needs to show that
maybe they can‘t produce the jobs by November, but they are on the road
showing the political will, that they understand we need to put millions of
people back to work. That is the critical agenda for a Democratic party
that has put together, with Stimulus, with health care, financial reform
legislation, a pretty good packet for the people.
SCHULTZ: Katrina, always a pleasure. Thank you so much. Katrina
Vanden Heuvel of “The Nation.”
Some final pages in the Playbook tonight; President Obama has a new
court pick. He‘s giving his take on where Lebron James should play next
year. The president told TNT‘s Marv Albert that he‘d like to see Lebron
play for his favorite team, the Chicago Bulls. Well, I guess. Mr. Obama
saying, quote, “you knows, you could see Lebron fitting in pretty well
He also gave Lebron some presidential advice, saying the most
important thing is to find structure.
Also, the Nevada state election officials are a bunch of chickens.
They banned anyone from wearing chicken costumes into the polling places
this year. If you‘re wearing one, you‘re going to be turned away.
Anything in Nevada. Officials made the rule after weeks of mocking
directed at Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden. We all remember she‘s
the one that said, people should barter with doctors for medical care.
That deserves a suit in my opinion.
And finally, on Friday, on this program, I talked to you about getting
the big fish. Well, I don‘t know what everybody else does for fun on the
weekend, but the fish are biting on the Long Lake in Manatoba, 200 miles
north of Winnipeg. Jig fishing is working on the walleyes in the shallow,
just off the rapids. And you might catch a big northern pike.
Radio and TV forces some folks to do some goofy things. This is what
I do to keep my sanity. And I did get a big fish. How many TV people say
they‘re going to catch the big one and go out and actually do it?
Coming up, I‘ve been telling you forever that the nut job righty
talkers, like the Drugster and the Beckster, are filling the airwaves with
psycho talk. My friend, Bill Press, he is so adamant about it, he wrote a
book about it. He joins me next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, extreme righties like Glenn
Beck and Rush Limbaugh are routinely in psycho talk for the wacko stuff
they spout out on their radio shows. Good copy for us. Over the past
year, we‘ve seen their brand of crazy seep into the mainstream, most
recently with Rand Paul‘s rise to prominence. Joining me now is a guy who
knows something about all of that influence of talk radio, nationally
syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press, the author of the new book
“Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right has Poisoned America‘s Airwaves.” If
you‘re a talk radio listener, read this book, folks.
Bill, what‘s the mission here?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Ed, good to see you. First of
all, I just got to say, I don‘t think Sarah Palin ever caught a fish that
big, Ed. Congratulations.
You know what the mission is, Ed? Look, this is my life, it‘s your
life, Ed. I mean, we thrive on good, honest, stimulating, hard-hitting
political debate. There‘s nothing like things important to our democracy.
But as a veteran talk show host, I‘ve been really dismayed to see the level
of talk show—the level of dialogue just go downhill, particularly from
those extreme righties, where it‘s all negative. It‘s ugly. It‘s
personal. It‘ --, you know, you can‘t get—you can‘t get very far, Ed,
when you start off calling people names like communist, socialist, racist,
or even worse.
SCHULTZ: What‘s the mission of the book? To open the eyes to a lot
of people that there are some facts and figures behind all of this?
PRESS: Absolutely. First of all, two things. One is to show the
huge imbalance in talk radio today, something you and I have talked about.
There are ten hours of right-wing talk for every one hour of progressive
talk. Secondly, to show people just how bad these guys are. These are
ugly, mean-spirited people, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,
Michael Savage and Mark Lavin, and all the rest of them.
Thirdly, Ed, to show that progressive talk is there. We‘re growing.
We‘re making a difference. And we‘re on our way.
SCHULTZ: “Poison America‘s Airwaves”; do they poison and how do they
PRESS: I think they do it. You know why, Ed? Just by telling lie
after lie after lie, with nobody there to challenge them. As you know,
there are many markets in this country where there‘s no progressive voice
on the air at all. The more they repeat these lies—
You mentioned Rand Paul. Think of that. What does he say about
President Obama and the oil spill? You may disagree with what‘s going on.
He says Obama is un-American because he criticizes BP? Again, when you
start by calling somebody un-American because they disagree with you,
that‘s not debate. That‘s not democracy.
SCHULTZ: What do you say to conservatives that this is a free market?
PRESS: Well, you know what, it is a free market. That‘s why there
should be an equal number of progressive radio stations and conservative
radio stations. Then it would be a free market. Level the playing field
and I think you‘ll see what the American people choose. They won‘t choose
the hate talk.
SCHULTZ: How should that be done? Do you address that in the book?
PRESS: I do address that in the book. I think it has to be done,
one, by liberals going out there and buying more radio stations and getting
into more markets, just like the conservatives have down done. They built
their network. We have not built one yet. We have to do it. We‘re behind
the eight ball on that one.
SCHULTZ: I am going to have to read that. I‘ve been spending my
money on fishing tackle.
PRESS: That‘s good, too.
SCHULTZ: Bill Press, it‘s great read. Great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks for being on the show. There‘s the book, “Toxic Talk: How
the Radical Right has Poisoned America‘s Airwaves.” Author, Bill Press and
a frequent guest on this program.
PRESS: Congratulations on your new book, too, Ed, “Killer Politics.”
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
Tonight in our text survey question, I asked, do you think the White
House should take full control of the BP oil spill? Sixty five percent of
you said yes; 35 percent of you said no. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed
Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, you can go to Ed.MSNBC.com
or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. We have a full list of town
hall meetings and book signings coming up. My book comes out on June 1st,
“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now. We‘ll see you
tomorrow night right here from New York on “THE ED SHOW” on MSNBC.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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