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Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Friday June 10, 2011

Guests: Katie Halper, Jane Hamsher, Scott Randolph, Stephen Moore, Maggie Haberman, Ed Rendell, Pat Buchanan

CENK UYGUR, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening.  I‘m Cenk Uygur, defending Anthony Weiner and showing the Democrats how to fight back against Republican hypocrisy.  That‘s tonight‘s lead story.  All week, I‘ve been saying the so-called Weiner scandal is a massive over reaction, and now folks are starting to take notice.  We like that.  Last night, “Talking Points Memo” published an article with the headline, progressives call on Democrats to show some spine after Weiner scandal.

When they called me about that article, I told them what I‘ve been telling you, Democrats need to defend their own, not throw them under a bus.  It‘s a matter of principle.  Whenever Republicans attack on anything, the Democrats never circle the wagons to protect their own.  In this case, we have a controversy about a guy‘s private life.  There‘s no corruption, and there are no charges of law breaking.

Today, we saw signs that the tide might be turning.  Look at this, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer pointedly did not call for Weiner to quit when given the chance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We just wondering if you could give us your reaction to what‘s going on with Anthony Weiner.

STENY HOYER, HOUSE MINORITY WHIP:  No, I don‘t have any comment on that now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you going to call for his resignation?

HOYER:  I told you, I didn‘t have any comment right now.


UYGUR:  No comment?  I‘ll take it.  It pushes a win as they say in Vegas.  Hey, listen, that‘s a great start, and Rangel did much better.  We‘ll show you that in a little bit.  But, look, as long as they stop attacking their own guys, we don‘t have a high standard.  That‘s a very good start, but unfortunately, there are now at least ten Democrats in congress calling on Weiner to resign. 

They‘ve got to stop, but here‘s something really interesting.  Weiner‘s constituents don‘t agree at all with the national Democrats telling him to step aside.  A new poll Weiner‘s constituents show 56 percent want him to stay in office.  Now, are you ready for this?  If you take out those who don‘t have an opinion, he‘s actually doing better now than when he won the election last year.  He‘s got 63 percent today compared to the 61 percent of the vote that he got in November.

So, why are some Democrats so eager to give in, as usual, and move on?  Why are they letting Republicans bully them into it when they should be counter attacking?  Now, look at this treasury chest of skeletons and scandals in the GOP closet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Last year, I had an affair.  I violated the vows of my marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The bottom line is this, I have been unfaithful to my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am not gay.  I never have been gay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want to, again, offer my deep, sincere apologies to all those I have let down and disappointed.


UYGUR:  My favorites always I have never been gay.  But anyway, all those guys clung on to power long after their sorted secrets burst into public view.  Many defended to the end by their Republican colleagues.  In fact, the one who admitted to sleeping with prostitutes, Senator David Vitter, is still in office.  And his family values, friends, and the GOP are rewarding his behavior by giving him gobs of cash.

Twenty-seven Republican lawmakers gave more than $161,000 to Vitter‘s 2010 campaign.  John Cornyn alone gave $20,000 and other 42,000 of Vitter through the GOP Senate reelection committee.  Of course, Cornyn is called for Weiner to resign.  I guess, he has no problem with the sex scandal as long as it was the Republican who was getting off.  Republicans are now calling on Democrats who took campaign money for Weiner to give it back.

Meanwhile, they‘re actually doing something much more egregious.  They are giving money to a man who is involved in a much worse scandal.  I never said that Weiner‘s actions were right.  Of course, not.  And, obviously, at this point, it‘s not a case study and a kind of Democrats you want to promote in public, but those aren‘t the reasons I‘m asking Democrats to fight for him.

It‘s not about him.  It‘s about the Democratic Party.  Are they willing to get in the ring?  The republicans don‘t hesitate to back their guys.  Vitter got a standing ovation and over $160,000 for his actions, and he survived just fine.  So, at the very least, the next time a Democrat is asked about Congressman Weiner, can we ask them to say, yes, I‘ll call for Rep. Weiner‘s resignation, the minute that I see Senator Vitter has resigned.  So, please go ask Senator Vitter about his plans to do so.  How‘s that for an answer?

All right.  Joining me now is Jane Hamsher, founder of firedoglake and Katie Halper, a progressive organizer and the co-founder of the website,  She started a Facebook group in support of Weiner.  I like that.  Katie, let‘s start with you.  So, what made you start the Facebook group?

KATIE HALPER, LIVINGLIBERALLY.ORG:  I was just really annoyed with the way the Democrats were rolling over and not fighting at all.  And what was interesting is that the scandal has actually made me like Anthony Weiner that much more, not for what he did in his personal life, but it reminds me of how different he is from most Democrats.  The irony is that I feel like Weiner is the only guy in office who would have known how to fight back against something like this.

UYGUR:  Yes, you know, Jane, look, that‘s part of my issue here, too.  The Republicans love to attack guys who are the strongest on the Democratic team.  Now, in this case, look, Weiner set himself up.  He might doing something credibly stupid.  Everybody gets that, right?  But remember back in the day when they attacked Howard Dean, and they try to get everybody to apologize for Howard Dean, et cetera.

They seem to go after the strongest fighters, and when they do, the other Democrats seem to scatter.  Obviously, I think it‘s a bad strategy.  What do you think?

JANE HAMSHER, FIREDOGLAKE.COM FOUNDER:  I have a slightly different take.  I‘m not an Anthony Weiner fan.  I don‘t like a lot of his politics, and I don‘t like his grandstanding, but the fact that the Democratic leadership have basically called for his head is not an appropriate thing for them to do.  It‘s not Harry Reid‘s and Nancy Pelosi‘s decision about who gets to stand the party and who can‘t.  As you noticed, the people in his district think that he should stay.

An election should have consequences.  It should be up to them.  And if Anthony Weiner wants to stay, he should stay.  But the bigger problem, I think, is what the definition above seeing here is.  I don‘t like what Anthony Weiner did, but I like torture a whole lot less.  Three wars in the Middle East with no end in sight is obscene to me.

Bankers who get free money from the government and throw people out of their homes is obscene.  Where is that level of high dodging coming from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?  They should care as much about doing something about that or more than they should about Anthony Weiner‘s Twitters.

UYGUR:  Right.  You know, look, the line I always come back to is, we don‘t look backward, we look forward.  That was the administration‘s line on all the lawbreaking, on torture, on warrantless wiretapping, et cetera, but you know, whenever it‘s a Democrat, everybody looks backward, right?  Everybody except one person, apparently.

Finally, today, we had one guy come out and actually defend Weiner.  It‘s—I supposed inappropriate (ph) person to do so in some ways is Charlie Rangel, but I love the way he did it, so let‘s show it to you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you think he should  resign?

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL, (D) NEW YORK:  Of course, not.  He wasn‘t going with prostitutes.  He wasn‘t going out with little boys.  He wasn‘t going into men‘s rooms with broad stances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You think he can be an effective congressman?

RANGEL:  Only if the press gets off his back.


UYGUR:  Now, of course, Rangel is a New York congressman with his own set of issues, but maybe, that‘s what made him more sympathetic to Weiner, but Katie, aren‘t you like that—you know, you do tell (ph) me, that was not bad by Rangel.

HALPER:  No, he‘s good.  He actually performed with us once when we had a laughing liberally (ph) show.  He did a cameo.  So, I wasn‘t surprised by how funny he was, but I think that the point is that there‘s not the same hypocrisy that you see on the right.  Anthony Weiner didn‘t run on family values.

He doesn‘t have a terrible record on reproductive rights or marriage equality or gay rights, and that‘s what I think the right has that the left doesn‘t.  So, that‘s why I was really angry about the way people are comparing it to Vitter and Larry Craig.  He also didn‘t break the law.

UYGUR:  And Vitter, you have to understand, it wasn‘t just a vaguely profoundly values.  He ran on the issue of family values.  He introduced legislation on two different occasions on how the sanctity of marriage while he was visiting the prostitutes, illegally, and he gets off.  I mea,, that‘s the hypocrisy that I think drives Katie crazy—drives me crazy, et cetera.  Look, another point here, Jane, is other politicians in history, right?  And does it affect the way they do their jobs?

Let‘s give you four famous instances, there are million of them, but in American history, we had, of course, FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, and President Clinton.  All pretty good presidents who had issues with affairs.  Do you think it affected the way they did their jobs?  You know, was a new deal less effective because of what FDR was doing?  Was Eisenhower, you know, not only as president but when he was going into “D” day, did anybody care who he was sleeping with?

HAMSHER:  Well, you know, I talked to Pat Buchanan just before he came on, and Pat said, you know, if you look at what Anthony Weiner is actually guilty off and you took everybody in Congress out who was guilty of the same thing, you wouldn‘t be able to get a quorum.  That, I think, is part of the worst part here.  That all the people who are up there, both parties, calling for Anthony Weiner‘s resignation are probably guilty of just as bad or worse.

And, you know, he‘s not a popular guy on the hill.  A lot of people don‘t like him, and so, they didn‘t stand-up and defend him.  And what you wind up with is, you know, him having to play defense.  The Republicans do, what the Republicans will always do, and everybody just kind of letting him fall or trying to take him out, and he‘ll probably go down because of redistricting anyway, but in the meantime, it should be his choice.

UYGUR:  All right.  And the constituents choice, eventually, of course.


UYGUR:  Katie, one more thing here.  I mean, you talk about hypocrisy.  Mark Foley, of all people, was on Sean Hannity‘s program, and we have a great little bite from that.  Let‘s play that for you.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST:  If somebody talks the way you spoke to these kids, should they go to jail?


HANNITY:  Should they be arrested?

FOLEY:  No.  Should I have gone to jail, no.  Absolutely not.

HANNITY:  Mark Foley, thanks for being with us.

FOLEY:  Thank you.

HANNITY:  Appreciate it.


UYGUR:  So, he asked him, you know, when you were sending all this stuff to pages, now who is abusive his authority, right?  Should you go to jail, he says no, and Hannity is like thanks so much for being on.  Fantastic.  Look at Mark Foley back screen (ph).

HALPER:  It‘s ridiculous.  And I think that may be the reason people are so upset about Anthony Weiner is because this didn‘t result in any actual sexual relationships.  Maybe, that‘s the issue.  Like, they‘re disappointed.  Maybe, that‘s why he has apologized to Clinton.  It‘s like the lack of action that brought about.  That‘s the only way to explain it.

UYGUR:  They (ph) must be thinking, hey, you know, when we (INAUDIBLE) sex scandal, it‘s actually a sex scandal.  This guy‘s a rookie.  He doesn‘t know what he‘s doing.


UYGUR:  All right.  Jane Hamsher from and Katie Halper for livingliberally.  You guys are great.  Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

HAMSHER:  Thanks.

HALPER:  Thanks.

UYGUR:  All right.  Have a great weekend.

Now, when we come back, Republican—oh, I‘m sorry.  One more thing.  Republicans love Weinergate because it hides the real corruption potentially hiding in their party.  As we first told you last night, Florida republican, Vern Buchanan, may be the most egregious case right now in the GOP.  He‘s a top fundraiser for the party and a rising star within the ranks, but the federal government says his campaign illegally received tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from the employees of a car dealership that he once owned.

The FEC says employees and their relatives were pressured in giving Buchanan nearly $68,000 for his first two election campaigns.  According to the allegations, the dealership then paid the employees back if any campaign finance limits and breaking the law.  Buchanan says he did nothing wrong.  He claims his business partner manages whole thing without him knowing it.  I‘m sure.  The problem is similar schemes are alleged that several other dealerships that Buchanan owned.

So, let‘s talk about that, an issue that is much more critical and involves corruption rather than sex.  So, joining me now is Florida State representative, Scott Randolph.  He‘s a strong Democrat who Republicans recently attacked for daring to use the word uterus in a debate about abortion rights, which was very funny, actually.  All right.  Thank you for joining us.

STATE REP. SCOTT RANDOLPH, (D) FLORIDA:  Thanks for having me.

UYGUR:  Now, let‘s talk about Vern Buchanan here.  It seems like these are very serious charges.  Could he be in real trouble here?  He isn‘t talking about it very much, but these are real heavy charges.

RANDOLPH:  Well, I think they are.  And just as Jane mentioned, I think we need to expand the definition of obscene.  You know, everybody thinks of obscene being a sex scandal.  I‘d like to define obscene as being the obscene financial scandals that Republicans constantly have, and Vern Buchanan is a perfect example.  Nearly $70,000 of illegal contributions which the FEC, and you don‘t usually get bureaucrats using strong words called an extensive and ongoing scheme of secret illegal contributions.

And of course, in typical Republican fashion, Vern Buchanan is hiding behind the corporate structure.  Oh, I couldn‘t have possibly known what was going on at the corporation that I owned, that I had a majority share in.  And this guy is a vice chair of the NRCC‘s finance committee.  So, it‘s literally his job.  Remember, he owned a car lot.  It is literally his job, a used car salesman to go out and sell the lemon jalopy of the Ryan Medicare plan to the American people.  And here he is, just embroiled in financial scandal.

UYGUR:  So, now, his excuse is my employees were giving me all this money.  It was bundled up.  Oh, I had no idea, right?  Now, as a politician, do you not know when you hit $68,000?  Does that take you by surprise from time to time?

RANDOLPH:  Well. And the exact same amount and all within a very short timeframe.  You know, he was behind in his fundraising, and then suddenly, in one quarter, wow, all these employees decided that he was the best candidate, and in a massive showing, they all came out and gave him practically the same amount of money in a very short time period, but hey, it‘s Florida.  I mean, we have a governor down here.

Governor Rick Scott who had the largest Medicare fraud case levied against him, $1.7 billion, and of course, his excuse was, I can‘t possibly know what‘s going on at the company I own.  That‘s not my fault.  You know, clearly, maybe what Congressman Weiner should have done is incorporated himself before he got into the scandal, then he could have the same excuse as they do.  Yes, I couldn‘t possibly have known what was going on.  Lower management decision.  I have no idea what‘s going on.

UYGUR:  Yes, and it‘s funny how it happened to happen at all his dealerships, too.  Just wild coincidence after wild coincidence.  All right.  We‘ll see how that case develops.  Florida State representative, Scott Randolph, thank you so much for joining us tonight.  We really appreciate it.

RANDOLPH:  Thank you.

UYGUR:  All right.  And I want to tell you, guys, one other thing.  Look, the reason we bring up Vern Buchanan is, one, because it‘s a very serious case, right?  Because we‘re so worried about money corrupting our politics and here‘s an instance where there are some allegations of serious law breaking.  So, I hope that they look into it.  Second of all, come on, how much more substantive is this than somebody‘s crotch shot?

I mean, the other scandal is, oh, my God.  There‘s a crotch involve and everybody‘s excited and it involved sex.  This one doesn‘t involve sex and nobody talks about it, but this is what‘s really wrong with our system, the way that these guys get elected.  They get a certain amount of money funnel to them.  In this case, he was funneling the money to himself.

In most other cases, even in legal cases, the real problem is all the corporate money they take and then do favors for those corporations as we‘re going to talk about in the next segment.  That‘s what‘s wrong with our system, not a guy who sent the wrong tweet.

All right.  Now, when we come back, a day after Newt‘s team fires him, he‘s speaking out.  What‘s his lame excuse?  Former governor Ed Rendell and Pat Buchanan on that tonight.

And Donald Trump goes on a tirade and get this, I actually agree with him.  Wait until you hear what he says about Paul Ryan.


UYGUR:  Coming up, we‘ll tell you why President Obama should pay close attention to this very interesting music video about Elizabeth Warren.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Elizabeth Warren, we got your back.  Wall street, you better watch out.


UYGUR:  All right.  That‘s fascinating.  You‘re watching MSNBC.  Stay with us.


UYGUR:  Out of the ashes of the financial crisis, Democrats created a new resource for Main Street, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  An agency designed to make sure consumers know what they‘re getting into when they sign mortgages and open credit cards.  It‘s an agency to protect consumers.

Harvard law professor, Elizabeth Warren, thought it was a good idea years ago.  In fact, she‘s the one who cam up with it.  As she put it in 2007, quote, “If it‘s good enough for microwaves, it‘s good enough for mortgages.”  President Obama gave her credit when he appointed her to be special adviser last fall.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The idea for this agency was Elizabeth Warren‘s.  She is a tremendous advocate for this idea.


UYGUR:  Well, Republicans don‘t like this at all because it would protect consumers against the people who sign Republican paychecks, the bankers.  They don‘t want Warren to run the new agency because they‘re worried she‘ll be effective at her job, but then again, they don‘t want anyone running it.  They don‘t like the idea of protecting consumers, period.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, ® KENTUCKY:  We‘re pretty unenthusiastic about the possibility of Elizabeth Warren.  We‘re pretty unenthusiastic frankly about this new agency.


UYGUR:  So, how much do the banks pay these guys to kill off anything that might protect consumers from their rapacious practices?  Well, Wall Street spent $5.1 billion on lobbying and campaign donations in the last decade.  That buys you a lot of politicians.  Don‘t trust me.  Listen to the head of the House Financial Services Committee, Republican, Spencer Bachus.

He says, quote, “In Washington, the views of the banks sort to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”  Exactly.  And if that means you take the cops off the street to let the robbers run blind, well, the Republican Party is here to serve the banks.

Joining me now, Stephen Moore, senior economic writer from the “Wall Street Journal” who might have a different take on this.  All right.


UYGUR:  Good to be with you, as well.  So, I take it, not a big fan of Elizabeth Warren.  Tell me why.

MOORE:  Well, I‘m not.  And by the way, I just want to correct you on one of your—you‘re right about the numbers that are spent lobbying, the banking committees by the Wall Street and the financial industry, but you know, if you look at those numbers for 2010, you‘re going to find that more of that money went to Democrats than it went to Republicans.

UYGUR:  No, that‘s not true.


UYGUR:  Stephen, I‘ll give you the exact number.  I‘ll give you the exact number.

MOORE:  All right.

UYGUR:  Sixty-one percent went to the Republicans.  Sixty-one percent went to the Republicans.  They got $12 million.  We looked into it today.

MOORE:  Well, I looked at the numbers myself, too.  More Wall Street money went to Democrats than Republicans in 2008 and 2010, but here‘s the point.  The question is, with respect to Elizabeth Warren, she created this whole agency herself.  She has never been Senate confirmed.  This is an agency—I mean, how can you have somebody who‘s running an agency that was never elected, never confirmed by the Senate?

The Republican said to the president, look, you can put just about anybody else in this position except Elizabeth Warren, and who do you think that he picked, her.


MOORE:  Let me make one more point because I think it‘s important.  The big problem with the U.S. economy right now is banks are not lending, right?  They‘re in a catatonic state.  It‘s hard for businesses and consumers to get loans from banks.  You want to beat up the banks more?  The problem is if they‘re making too many loans, it‘s they‘re making too few.

UYGUR:  It‘s not about their loans, Stephen.  We want to make sure that we protect consumers, but let me clarify a couple of things you just said there.


UYGUR:  First of all, there are great number of regulatory agencies that do not get confirmation and you know that.

MOORE:  Like who?  Name one where you don‘t have Senate confirmation?

UYGUR:  You‘re saying that there are no regulatory agencies in the United States government that don‘t get confirmation?

MOORE:  Every head of every agency has to be Senate confirmed.

UYGUR:  Stephen, you‘re saying here -- 

MOORE:  Who are they accountable for then?  I mean, how are they accountable to?

UYGUR:  Stephen, listen.  In this case, this one does get confirm, so


MOORE:  But she wasn‘t.

UYGUR:  Even if I grant you that every other one gets confirmed, this one should get confirmed as well, but the Republicans have said and this is what I have to correct the second part on.  The Republicans has said, as we just showed you in the clip, that they will confirm no one for the position, right?

MOORE:  Yes.  We don‘t need this regulatory agency.

UYGUR:  OK.  So, then, if you‘re the president and you have the agency and you need somebody to run it, and you‘re a Republican say you‘re not going confirm anybody for it, well, then, you don‘t have a choice.  You have to do an appointment that gets around the Senate because they won‘t confirm anyone.

MOORE:  I don‘t think they said they wouldn‘t confirm anyone, I think they said they don‘t need the agency.

UYGUR:  We just showed you the tape.

MOORE:  Well, that was one member of the banking committee, but I think Republicans would probably confirm someone who is more reasonable, but she is a regulatory zealot.  She‘s against the hedge fund.  She‘s against the banks.  She‘s against Wall Street.  That‘s not the kind of person we need if we want an economic recovery right now.

UYGUR:  All right.  Two things.  First, again, let me clarify, because I‘m McDonald spokesperson as well.  It‘s Donald Stewart, he said, quote, “It‘s not Elizabeth Warren specific.  It‘s any nominee.”  They would oppose any nominee here, but let‘s get to the heart of this, right, because you keep saying that it‘s a bad idea to protect—well, I shouldn‘t put words in your mouth.

You appear to be saying it‘s a bad idea to do consumer protection here which is, according to the bureau, against the banks, because you think, oh, the poor banks, well, you know, then, otherwise, they couldn‘t make the billions upon billions of they‘re making, I suppose.  What is wrong with protecting consumers whether it‘s food, you know, make sure that we don‘t get poisoned by our food, whether it‘s drugs, or whether it‘s the case of credit cards or mortgages that are so important to our lives?

MOORE:  Well, look, we already have hundreds of agencies, not hundreds, but dozens of agencies that are regulating the financial industry, from the FDIC to the banking committees, on and on and on, the Commodity Future‘s Trading Corporation.  I mean, we have all of these agencies.  To think that, somehow, we‘re going to protect consumers by putting Elizabeth Warren in charge of this agency I just think is wrong.

My point is, we‘ve got a situation now where the financial markets are contracting, where banks are making loans, and to have somebody in this committee who is basically beating up the banks, I think, is exactly the wrong signal to send if we want to get this economy moving again.

UYGUR:  I love your defense of the banks.  The banks aren‘t making enough money, and we can‘t be beating them up.  Is any regulation beating them up?  I mean, is it saying that we‘re beating up McDonalds if we say to them, hey, everyone tonight, we like to make sure that your hamburgers aren‘t poisonous.  That‘s not beating them up.  That‘s protecting consumers.

So, what we need here in this case, and you said, look, we already have agencies that protect consumers, but that‘s the whole problem.  They didn‘t do their job.  Those are the same agencies that were around in 2008.  And what happened?  They didn‘t do any regulation.  They got co-opted by the banks because the banks say hey, don‘t worry.  Play ball with us.

MOORE:  Let me say something.

UYGUR:  And after you‘re done, we‘ll hire you at a much higher salary. 

The one person who doesn‘t play ball with the banks is Elizabeth Warren. 

That‘s why they‘re so scared of her.  That‘s why you‘re so scared of her.

MOORE:  You‘re refusing to—look, I do think that the banks and the lenders and I think the rating agencies there were all sorts of mistakes made.  I think consumers were largely took out bad loans.  I think a lot of them were responsible for the behavior.

UYGUR:  I know, the poor banks. 

MOORE:  No, but look, just because—when someone takes out a bad loan because they want to make money in a house, the bank isn‘t the one that‘s responsible for that.  The point is, if you want to look at the epicenter of the financial crisis, it was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and what‘s interesting is that these regulators that you‘re saying are so important to saving consumers, there‘s nothing in this bill, the Dodd-Frank bill that created Elizabeth Warren‘s agency that deals with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and I think we should both be outraged about that.

UYGUR:  All right.  Look, I‘m absolutely outraged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

MOORE:  Good.

UYGUR:  That‘s a separate conversation.  All right.  Hey, we end on agreement.

MOORE:  Why don‘t they regulate those two things?


UYGUR:  No, no.  All right.  Look, we got to leave it right there.


UYGUR:  No, no.  We got to leave it right there.

MOORE:  Next time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then regulate them.

UYGUR:  I know.  Steve, look, let me tell the audience something. 

Stephen, thank you very much.

MOORE:  Thank you.

UYGUR:  Look, they keep bringing up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  You know why?  Because they want to distract you from the banks.  The banks didn‘t give those loans out to the poor because somebody made them.  They made billions of dollars of that and they kept all that money even if the banks went under.  Look, the reason Stephen and all these guys don‘t want to regulate the banks is because the banks pay them.

They pay them so much money to protect them.  That‘s the whole problem with the Republican Party.  The one thing I like about Stephen there is that he‘s honest.  He‘s like, we got to protect the banks.  They‘re not making enough money.  Elizabeth Warren will cost (ph) that money by protecting consumers.  We can have it.  That‘s why the president must appoint Elizabeth Warren.  She‘s the one person that everybody trusts to actually look out for us instead of Wall Street.

All right.  Now, when we come back, Michele Bachmann has some company.  Another Republican is wrapping himself up in the constitution, and just like her, he has no clue what‘s even in it.  That‘s funny.  You‘ll want to see that.


UYGUR:  Right wingers love to use the Constitution as a prop to justify their agenda but they don‘t even know what it says.  And that‘s our con job of the day.  Presidential hopeful Herman Cain is the latest Republican to make a constitutional gaffe.  Just listen to him on the Glenn Beck Show. 


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  So, wait a minute.  Are you saying that Muslims have to prove there has to be some loyalty proof?

HERMAN CAIN, BUSINESSMAN:  Yes, to the Constitution of the United States of America. 

BECK:  Would you do that to a Catholic or would you do that to Mormon?

CAIN:  Nope, I wouldn‘t.  I wouldn‘t. 


UYGUR:  Of course it‘s funny that Cain says, Muslims must prove loyalty to the Constitution since the Constitution says, quote, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”  That would make Cain‘s loyalty test to the Constitution quite ironic to say the least.  And that wasn‘t Cain‘s only constitutional flub.  Here he was last month. 


CAIN:  We need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution.  There‘s a new section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 


UYGUR:  That line of course comes from the Declaration of Independence.  Have these guys ever read the Constitution?  But Cain isn‘t the first Republican to make kind of this mistake.  Take Michele Bachmann.  She says, the Constitution fan, she‘ll organize class about the document but she doesn‘t always have her facts straight.  Bachmann said, the founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery.  In fact, many of the Constitution signers owned slaves and the document famously refer to slaves as counting as three fifths of a person.  Bachmann also said the Constitution only requires you to fill out part of your census. rated that quote a, “pants on fire.”  And while not strictly a constitutional heir, Bachmann lost a little credibility when she said the battles of Lexington and Concorde happened in New Hampshire when of course they were in Massachusetts.  And even John Boehner can‘t quite get his facts right. 


REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, OHIO:  This is my copy of the Constitution.  And I‘m going to stand here with our founding fathers who wrote in the preamble we hold these truths to be self-evident. 


UYGUR:  That‘s awesome.  He‘s holding it up as he says it.  Of course that line is the opening of the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.  Maybe the next time, Republicans read the Constitution on the House floor as they love to do, they should actually listen.  Until they do, Republicans swearing to honor the Constitution when they don‘t know what‘s in it is our con job of the day. 


UYGUR:  Welcome back to the show, everybody.  Now to discuss some of today‘s biggest political stories, we bring on our Power Panel.  And this is a powerful Power Panel.  Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, of course he is now an NBC News political analyst as well.  Senior political writer for Politico, Maggie Haberman.  And MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan. 

All right.  First question for the panel.  Is Mitt pulling the short straw?  Mitt Romney will not be participating in Iowa straw poll in August, even though in 2007, he attacked his rivals for not taking part. 

All right.  Apparently we don‘t have the video on that.  But trust me, it was definitely against the strategy before.  Now he‘s in favor of it.  So, Maggie, let me start with you here since you are the reporter.  Why is he not participating on this given specially, his previous record on it?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO:  Well, essentially because right now, he is the clear front-runner and he doesn‘t have to.  You know, he‘s been very careful about what he‘s going to do in terms of Iowa and setting expectations.  He is not going to do particularly well there.  His people know that he knows this and he‘s been sort of grasping at any—to not participate there.  It‘s going to go to Mike Huckabee, then well, it‘s going to be Michele Bachmann.  He has says, committed to participating in Iowa and being part of the process.  But apparently, that doesn‘t include the straw poll.  But right now, he is doing so well and the rest of the field is having so many problems, that he can probably get away with it.  And frankly, the Republican Party of Iowa can‘t do too much about it because he may be the nominee. 

UYGUR:  Right.  Governor, is it about bad idea over all though or isn‘t not going to matter to him?

FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Well, first of all.  I have nothing to add.  I think Maggie hit it right on the nose.  Is it a bad idea?  No, I think straw polls this far out are ludicrous.  There are exercises in (INAUDIBLE).  I think Maggie‘s analysis is right.  Things are going very well for Governor Romney.  The polls show him beating the president and all the way premature.  That‘s certainly a boost to his candidacy.  He doesn‘t have to participate.  I think he‘s making the right decision.  However, of course he is susceptible to the flip-flop charge.  And this is another one where the governor appears to have taken both sides of the same issue. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Let me show you that video, (INAUDIBLE).  This is what Romney said back in 2007.  Let‘s watch. 


MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR:  If they thought they could have won, they would have been here.  If you can‘t compete in Iowa in August, how are you going to compete in January when the caucuses are held, and then how are you going to compete in November of ‘08?


UYGUR:  Pat, does that hurt him at all?  Is that another flip-flop?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I don‘t think it hurts him at all, to be very honest.  I think what Mitt Romney is doing, this is a pretty clever strategy.  He seems to be seating Iowa to Pawlenty.  And Pawlenty is running ahead.  Pawlenty should win the straw poll, and then he‘d be favored to win Iowa.  But if Pawlenty then gets beat by Michele Bachmann, he‘s gone.  And if Michele Bachmann wins the Iowa caucuses, she becomes the favorite to be the opposite for Romney in the long run and he believes he can win that.  The governor‘s ride, he‘s not that strong in Iowa right now and he‘s very strong in New Hampshire.  Romney is betting everything on New Hampshire.  And he‘s betting that even if Pawlenty wins Iowa, he walks into New Hampshire and beats him there and he can bet him going the distance.  I think it‘s a pretty smart strategy. 

UYGUR:  You know, what?  I might disagree with the entire Power Panel.  Look, I never like the strategy of skipping all these things.  I mean, it always reminds me of Rudy Giuliani who waited for like the 47th state to get into the race.  Now, I know, Iowa is a little different.  A lot of people won Iowa have not gone on the win et cetera, right?  But I mean this guy is supposed to be the presumptive nominee here sitting into Tim Pawlenty, Pawlenty is a joke.  Why would you see that any. 

BUCHANAN:  But Cenk, John McCain seated Iowa in 2008 and won the nomination. 

UYGUR:  No, it happens all the time, I hear you on that.  He‘s such a presumption nominee that I wouldn‘t give the credibility to anybody else.  Because Pawlenty is polling like three percent and five percent.  Governor, what do you think? 

RENDELL:  But, Cenk, you have to understand, this is a straw poll. 

It‘s ridiculous.  It‘s as ridiculous as the. 

UYGUR:  That‘s a fair point. 

RENDELL: .exercise.  It‘s a straw poll.  And look, I want to be clear and I think Pat will go along with me, I‘m for Michele Bachmann. 


BUCHANAN:  I like her too, governor. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Then, the Power Panel finally is in agreement, Michele Bachmann it is. 

All right.  So, let‘s go on the Newt.  Next question.  Has a dream been neutered, if you will?  Even after losing almost all these times staffers yesterday, Newt Gingrich insists his campaign will go on.  He spoke out on camera today. 


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Let me just say that there‘s a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run.  Now, we‘ll find out over the next years who‘s right. 


UYGUR:  Maggie, have you ever seen this before where every—like basically, the campaign step in mass fires the candidate? 

HABERMAN:  Yes.  I hate to kick someone when they are down, but I have to say, I think we will find out who was right probably before the year is out.  You know, we need something very basic in order to campaign.  And it‘s called money.  Newt Gingrich has not raised very much of it by all accounts.  This is not going to help him raise it.  When the July 15th numbers come out, that will be for the second quarter that ends at the end of this month.  I don‘t expect they are going to be very good.  And after that, it‘s not really clear where he would go.  I mean, he‘s barely been in Iowa.  He is not expected to be any kind of a real presence at the Ames poll which I realize we just debated the wisdom of participating in.  But for someone like him, he does needs to be there.  So, I think that this is approaching the end of the line here. 

UYGUR:  Pat, is he done?

BUCHANAN:  I think he‘s pretty much cooked right now.  I tell you, when you take a two week vacation in the middle of the campaign, go to the Greek Islands after you‘ve had a $250,000 to $500,000 revolving account at Tiffany‘s revealed, it suggests that a lack of seriousness or purpose on this on the part of Newt Gingrich.  And he has a first division staff in the campaign, and early on, before the problems with Paul Ryan thing, Cenk, I thought that he would be one of four individuals who had a real shot at the nomination.  But I think he‘s blown himself up. 

UYGUR:  Governor, real quick, can we make it unanimous?  Can we gavel it?  Is he done?  

RENDELL:  Everything Maggie and Pat said is actually correct. 

UYGUR:  There you go.  We are all agreed then. 

All right.  Now, everybody, Ed, Maggie, Pat, all of you, stay with us for a second here.  We are going to come back and talk more about politics.  Donald Trump actually ripped into Paul Ryan and went after the republican. 

So, we‘re going to ask you all about that.  So, come right back. 


UYGUR:  Well, Donald Trump says, the GOP has a death wish.  He goes after Paul Ryan and the other Republicans.  He says, he might re-enter hinting as an independent.  There‘s a lot to talk about.  Is he right?  I he wrong?  The Power Panel on that when we return. 


UYGUR:  We‘re back now with our Power Panel.  Ed Rendell, Maggie Haberman and Pat Buchanan. 

Final question tonight, do Republicans have a death wish?  That‘s what Donald Trump says.  He blasted off on YouTube Channel Thursday going after Republicans on the Ryan plan. 


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR:  Paul Ryan‘s plan.  The timing of this plan was so bad.  I happen to think the concept was bad, also.  It almost seems as though the Republicans have a death wish.  When they tamper with Medicare which happens to be a good program.  But there‘s lots of fraud in ways that we should take care.  But when they tamper with Medicare, they have a death wish.  This is not going to happen.  And frankly, I would protect Medicare.  The Democrats are laughing at the stupidity of the Republicans and the Ryan plan.  There was no reason for him to step out.  He‘s a bad chess player.  The fact is, he should have sat back and it was Obama‘s problem, and let Obama come up with a plan and then criticize that plan.  This plan, and in particular the timing of this plan is a total disaster. 


UYGUR:  Governor Rendell, is Donald Trump right for the first time in his life?

RENDELL:  Good God, I agree with everything that Donald Trump said. 

Why am I getting paid?


UYGUR:  All right, Pat.  I suspect you have a different take on it. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, you know, I think Paul Ryan is a man of courage and conviction and intellect.  But I do think his proposal, when you take that proposal which turns, uses, turns the Medicare program and use vouchers for it and change it from automatically paying for these bills, that is a dramatic change.  And you are shipping it over to a United States Senate that A, he is going to trash it and B, he‘s going to kill it.  So, you don‘t have a chance of getting it through.  You are doing what the democratic house did, with cap-and-trade.  Vote for a controversial program and not get it through.  So, I think the criticism of the politics of the Republican Party is fully justified.  They should have made Obama go first. 

UYGUR:  All right.  If Pat, let me sit with you for one second. 


UYGUR:  Because you were the right wing of the Republican Party.  I mean, Buchanan brigades (ph) in New Hampshire, the whole thing, right?  So, what do you think of the Medicare proposal itself?  Do you think that‘s too right wing for you?  You wouldn‘t have gone that far in Medicare?  I don‘t know.  I‘m asking. 

BUCHANAN:  I‘ll tell you.  If you got into negotiation, if I were going to change, I wouldn‘t do that proposal for everybody.  But what I would do, quite frankly, on Medicare, is if there are people in Medicare that you can save money by just saying, here is your six grand, go get some health insurance on you.  And they are wealthy people and they want to opt out, I would say that would be OK.  But that‘s—it‘s too dramatic to drop this into this debate right now.  Because there‘s an awful lot of people that depend on Medicare, they‘d like it the way it is.  But Donald Trump is right, you do need some changes in it. 

UYGUR:  Maggie, you know, the Republicans right now are doubling down. 

They are not backing away from it.  The Senate voted for it, et cetera.  Can we get humanity on the panel on trumping right which I can‘t believe I‘m saying that the Republicans are headed in the wrong direction on this one? 

HABERMAN:  I think it‘s certainly risky.  I think that, you know, if anybody can remember the results of the NY 26 special election.  That was largely framed around this Medicare plan.  I know with everything that happened with Anthony Weiner, it seems like a lifetime ago.  But it was in fact about two weeks ago.  So, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that this is where, you know, the middle of the country is certainly going and maybe more so, I will say for Donald Trump in terms of consistency, he does get points here.  He was saying this actually well before NY 26 and well before he dropped out of the race and well before it became expedient. 

UYGUR:  That‘s true.  I remember him saying that before, too.  One more thing on the extremist that he points out.  Let‘s show you a clip that he had about Eric Cantor.  Because he goes to a similar point.  Let‘s watch.  


TRUMP:  Eric Cantor, a very nice guy, but he comes out with a plan that despite the fact that we‘re spending billions of dollars a month in Afghanistan, billions of dollars in Iraq, trillions of dollars overall, he doesn‘t want to give any money to the tornado victims.  I mean, give me a break.  What kind of a country do we have?


UYGUR:  Another point, not so bad Governor, I mean.


RENDELL:  Donald is two for two.  He‘s two for two.  Eric Cantor who is a smart guy, at least I think he‘s a smart guy, that was about the dumbest statement I ever heard. 

UYGUR:  Pat. 

BUCHANAN:  Cenk, let me say this.  Donald Trump, when he‘s talking Afghanistan and Iraq is wiring himself into very much Middle America.  I think a clear majority of Americans are beginning to say, look, we are fighting everybody else‘s war, we‘re defending everybody else.  In our expense, it is time to come home and take care of America first.  I think the people in the primaries who take that message are going to go far.  I think Donald Trump here is in touch with the American people. 

RENDELL:  But Pat, let me just say one quick thing, Cenk.  Pat, you‘re absolutely right, 100 percent right about what you said.  But how stupid is Eric Cantor to make the Republican Party seem absolutely cold and heartless?

UYGUR:  I‘ll take Pat‘s laugh as a gentle agreement.  Because we are out of time. 

RENDELL: --Send money to Joplin. 


UYGUR:  We‘ll give Trump the clean sweep amazingly.  All right.  Great panel.  Ed Rendell, Maggie Haberman, and Pat Buchanan.  Thank you all so much.  Have a great weekend. 

RENDELL:  You, too, Cenk. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, when we come back, although Rush Limbaugh is full of hot air, surprisingly he knows nothing about global warming.  He went after me for a segment we did on it, actually.  And I‘m coming right back at him.  The difference?  I actually have facts.   


UYGUR:  Last night on the show, we did a segment on Rush Limbaugh attacking Mitt Romney for admitting that global warming is real.  I don‘t agree with Romney on much, but I defended him there because he‘s factually correct.  And of course, Limbaugh has no idea what he‘s talking about.  But I said the fight between facts and Rush Limbaugh, republican voters were more likely to side with Rush.  A compliment really, he apparently did not take it that way. 


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  The guy that had this 99 percent of scientists agreed.  Surely untrue bogus.  And the guy that said that was Cenk Uygur.  I don‘t know what a Cenk Uygur is.  I don‘t know where a Cenk Uygur works.  C-e-n-k is how you pronounce the first name.  I‘m not even sure of pronouncing the last name right, it‘s U-y-g-u-r, I‘m just guessing it‘s Cenk Uygur.  99.9 percent of all statistics are made up. 


UYGUR:  I love that.  Statistics, they‘re all made up.  Look, Rush, let me educate you a little bit.  First, I work at MSNBC as you can see here.  I also work at “The Young Turks.”  You should check it out online, if you like.  Look, Cenk Uygur is a hard name, I get it.  And Rush has a hearing problem, so that OxyContin.  Rush, let me help you out!  The C is pronounced like a J.  It‘s Cenk.  But hey, you know what?  You got Uygur right.  So, we are making progress as Bush would say.  We‘re making progress. 

Here is what he went the last time he tried. 


LIMBAUGH:  Robert B Reich-shhhhh (ph).  He was on MSNBC Live last night.  With the anchor Cenk Uygur. 



UYGUR:  This time you got Uygur right.  Hey, very good.  And then you‘re fun of my name, very clever.  It‘s almost as clever as when Paul Calimia (ph) said it to me back in third grade.  I remember my principal got it wrong.  He called me Senka, I got called Senka for all the year.  You‘re not going to face me with the name.  But now, under the much more important matter.  How pathetically wrong Rush is on climate change. 

But again, I‘ll be fair, I was a little off.  It turns out, according to the National Academy of Sciences, 97 percent of scientific experts agreed climate change is very likely caused by human activity.  And the facts don‘t lie.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1900, the 2009, the average global service temperature rose approximately .7 degrees Celsius or 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rush, global warming is real.  It‘s pronounced Cenk Uygur.  Now go back to OxyContin. 

All right.  Thanks for watching everybody.  The “HARDBALL” starts right now. 

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