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The Ed Show for Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guests: Michael Eric Dyson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sam Stein, Jess McIntosh, Bob Shrum, Ron
Christie, Robert Greenwald

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
There were more intense negotiations at the White House today. The clock is ticking and it looks like the only debt compromise on the table hits the big three really hard.
But feel good about the fact that tonight, John Boehner was having pizza (INAUDIBLE) with the Tea Partiers. The folks that say they won‘t sign on to anything.
Congressman Kucinich calls the grand plan a raw deal. He is here and he is fired up tonight.
This is THE ED SHOW. Let‘s get to work.

TIM PAWLENTY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of the candidates, I think, are going to have to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Two percent Tim Pawlenty is taking cheap shops at a Republican front-runner. Tonight, I‘m going to defend Michele Bachmann.
REP. ALLEN WEST ®, FLORIDA: I‘m not going to allow anyone to take advantage of me and the niceness that I exhibit.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Allen West refuses to apologize for his sexist remarks aimed at Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Today, he says she owes him an apology. Where‘s the outrage?
And if you thought Doocy‘s defense of News Corp was bad, wait until you hear Bill O‘Reilly‘s fib in to the folks.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight, folks, here on THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching.
President Obama and the gang of six spent the day trying to convince both parties to suck it up and just take this grand bargain. The president first tried to sell his plan. And Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took their pulse this afternoon.
And then the obstructionists came over to the White House, Boehner and McConnell. You see? They‘ve got to convince members of their party to accept over $1 trillion worth of revenue increases in order to take this deal with the gang of six package? Don‘t hold your breath, it ain‘t going to happen.
While Republican leaders were with the president meeting today, freshman Tea Party bomb thrower Joe Walsh circulating a letter urging House Republicans not to accept the McConnell-Reid plan.
Eighty House Republicans have signed on. And Walsh is expecting to have at least 100 signatures in the coming days.
Now, If 100 House Republicans won‘t vote for a plan with zero tax increases, there‘s no way on earth they‘re going to go along with the gang of six deal. Senator Tom Harkin nailed the Republicans on this one.
SEN TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: The sad reality is that America no longer has a two-party system. One of our two parties has morphed into kind of a cult driven by a singular fixation and obsession, preserving and expanding tax breaks for the wealthy at all costs.
SCHULTZ: I can‘t hear enough of that.
Harkin is exactly right. The Republican devotion to protecting the rich is a religion in this country. There‘s no way Boehner will be able to deprogram enough of his party to take a deal by August 2nd. President Obama might be trying to buy some more time with the tan man.
Jay Carney today left the door open a little bit for the possibility of a short term extension in order to get a bigger deal.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You know, the president has been clear that he will not support a short term extension of the debt ceiling. There‘s no reason why we can‘t come—we cannot come together now and get something significant done. The—so, what we mean by that is we would not support a short term extension absent an agreement to a larger deal. That‘s not acceptable. Obviously, if both sides agree to something significant, we will support the measures needed to finalize the details of that.
SCHULTZ: And that significant would be $4 trillion and hitting the big three. But in that sound byte, is that the definition of kicking the can down the road? Yes, it is.
President Obama has clearly decided to make massive cuts to the debt by making modifications to the big three. I applaud him for holding the line on revenue increases. We can‘t get this deal done unless the rich pay more.
But the price for the average American in my opinion is way too painful. This modification—the new word is “modification,” it‘s like we‘re playing the game password. Remember that years ago? Modification—for Social Security, would involve a chained consumer price index, or chained CPI.
Now, right now, the cost of living adjustments for Social Security are based on the traditional CPI, moved to the chained CPI, folks, it would be devastating.
Here are the numbers. Social Security‘s own actuaries have calculated pegging cost of living increases to the chained CPI would cut senior‘s benefits by nearly 10 percent.
Can you hear me now?
For the average retiree reaching the age of 75, it would be about $560 a year.
By age 85, the change would amount to an annual cut of nearly $1,000.
Are you ready for that?
And if you‘re still around at the age of 95, the reduction would rise to nearly $1,400 a year.
Well, you know what? A small minority of lawmakers in Washington are fighting these massive cuts. So, leave it to my favorite senator to sound the alarm.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Now, to some people here in Washington, maybe the big lobbyists to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, 560 bucks a year, or a $1,000 a year, may not seem like a lot of money. But if you are a senior trying to get by on $14,000, $15,000, $18,000 a year and you‘re 85 years old, the end of your life, you‘re totally vulnerable. You‘re sick. A thousand dollars a year cut on what you otherwise would have received is a major, major blow. So, I congratulate Senator Coburn, Senator Crapo, Senator Chambliss for doing what President Obama said would not happen under his watch.
SCHULTZ: Social Security is not the problem. It is a $2.6 billion surplus, and it‘s 100 percent solvent until the year 2037.
Washington has been raiding the Social Security Trust Fund piggybank for years, but it still keeps on rolling, doesn‘t it? If politicians can figure out a way to pay less in benefits, then, of course, they can give more money to the rich in the terms of tax cuts and they can also borrow against it—that‘s what this big three is all about.
Think about this—we have a Democratic president and a Democratic majority in the Senate that is willing to go along with cuts to the big three. How sad a day it is? It‘s almost as if they‘re not Democrats any more.
And I just wonder, Senator Kent Conrad, who I consider a friend and have been for years, he is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee—is he willing—Senator, are you willing to go home to North Dakota and tell those seniors who have supported you for years that they‘re going to have to bite the bullet to the tune of 10 percent? But the wealthy farmers in your state are going to be able to get another break down the road?
This is wrong. It‘s morally wrong.
We should point out that you, Senator Conrad, are not going to be running for re-election in 2012. And I kind of have a problem with that.
The gang of six gets a couple of new players. Coburn‘s not going to be around. Conrad‘s not going to be around. We‘re talking about some big money to the big three that‘s going to have to be served up, and the millions of Americans out there who do make millions of dollars are going to get away scot-free.
We‘re not in this mess because of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. We‘re in this mess because of the Bush tax cuts, because of two wars that were unfunded and because of big pharma.
And what bothers me is that I‘m not hearing enough Democrats say this. I hear Bernie Sanders, I hear our next guest. But I don‘t see a litany of Democrats stepping up to the microphone in front of the cameras and saying, “We will not allow this.”
I see the Tea Partiers over there saying, “We will not allow this.”
But I don‘t hear the Democrats saying it loud enough.
The president can‘t do it all by himself. This deal on the table for the gang of six, what they‘re throwing at the American people right now is a fraud because it doesn‘t address the problem. It let‘s millionaires off scot-free and it also attacks those who don‘t have the political voice—the elderly, the students, those on disability, those who are seniors. It‘s really sad.
Get your cell phones out. I can‘t believe we‘re at this point in the country right now. I want to know what you think. Tonight‘s question: if you‘re mad at the Democrats, would you ever vote for anyone who cut the big three? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639, and you can always go to our blog at We‘ve got the results coming up.
Think about that. Would you vote for anybody who votes for cuts to the big three?
Joining me now is Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
You, I know, are one of the voices who‘s willing to stand up and protect the big three because this is not the problem. Where do we stand at this 11th hour as everyone quotes?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: I think it‘s very important for Democrats to draw the line and say that Social Security has nothing to do with creating this deficit. There‘s no reason why Social Security should be mixed in with this discussion about the debt ceiling. Social Security has a long term problem and it‘s solid through 2036 without any changes whatsoever. We could solve it very simply by lifting the caps on the amount of money that is subject to Social Security taxation.
So, we don‘t have a problem with Social Security.
Where we have a problem, as you pointed out earlier—wars, tax cuts for the rich, and the fact that you had Wall Street cashing in on speculation --
SCHULTZ: So, why are the Democrats—
KUCINICH: -- of the housing bubble.
SCHULTZ: So, Congressman, why are the Democrats even getting roped into this conversation?
KUCINICH: Well, I think that the Democrats normally we want to be supportive of the president. But when the president has put Social Security on the table in the middle of a debt ceiling debate, we have to caution the president that Social Security has been a cornerstone of social and economic justice in the United States since 1934.
SCHULTZ: He‘s not listening. The president‘s not listening to the Democrats right now on protecting the big three. He‘s not doing it.
KUCINICH: It‘s called having the votes to pass a plan. And if they‘re mixing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in with the debt ceiling issue. They‘re not likely to have a vote to pass the plan.
There‘s no reason why America should go into default. Let‘s make that clear, Ed. There have been routine extensions to the debt ceiling, 74 since 1962, 10 since 2001. There‘s no reason we should be looking at a fiscal version of Armageddon right now.
People are pushing a certain agenda, some want tax cuts. Think about this—tax cuts? We‘re saying that, what‘s the problem, the deficit—we‘re going to add another $1.5 trillion., $1.7 trillion to the deficit by getting rid of the alternative middle tax that would help those in the top brackets?
We have to ask ourselves—are we united as a nation for all the people? Because right now, these plans will essentially help the continuation of the acceleration of the wealth of America into the hands of the few, at the expense of the poor and the middle class.
It doesn‘t have to be that way. We can regain our capacity for governments who invest in the economy to create jobs. The problem is we don‘t have enough jobs in the economy.
SCHULTZ: No, we don‘t have enough jobs. So, why take from the vulnerable? Why is President Obama doing this? Why do you think a Democratic president is doing this?
KUCINICH: I can say that I can‘t tell you I know why he‘s doing it. But I do know this: that those of us who are in Congress, who were elected as Democrats, understand that—as Bernie Sanders said, it‘s so important to remember that people—use Social Security as a lifeline, for more than 90 percent of seniors, it is the source of income that people have to survive. A 10 percent cut for people over a period of time would be devastating. We cannot expect people to absorb these kinds of cut backs, when at the same time you have Wall Street cashing in on new machinations in the economy.
SCHULTZ: It makes no sense.
KUCINICH: We don‘t have to go into default, Ed. I want to make that clear. It should not be a choice. We have to do everything we can to avoid it.
But we cannot ask the poor and the middle class to continue to bear the burdens of the wrong decisions that Washington has made.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Kucinich, good to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
For the latest on the negotiations, let‘s turn to “Huffington Post” political editor Sam Stein and MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson, who‘s a professor of sociology at Georgetown University and author of the book, “Can You Hear Me Now?”
Sam, what‘s the latest? What are you hearing late tonight?
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, lucky for you and Congressman Kucinich, I‘m hearing this big bargain with the big three on the table is actually off the table, so to speak. Right now, Senator McConnell and Senator Reid are working on their hybrid approach. There‘s sort of a growing recognition that there‘s just not enough time to consider this package that‘s been put for by the gang of six, if you want to get something passed by the August 2nd deadline.
Now, there are some members who have talked about getting a one month extension to the debt ceiling, so they can have the Congressional Budget Office score it. That‘s probably not going to happen. It doesn‘t make sense legislatively.
And to top it off, the more we‘re hearing from the gang of six proposal, the more opponent‘s it‘s getting. All the labor unions came out today, harshly against it.
Not only that, but conservatives are against it because they actually see it as a tax increase, even though Congressman Kucinich is right, it would get rid of the alternative minimum tax.
SCHULTZ: Professor Dyson, Senate Republican leadership aide sent Mike Allen an e-mail explaining why Republicans don‘t like the gang of six plan. Here it is, “The president killed any chance of its success by, one, embracing it, two, hailing the fact that it increases taxes, and number three, saying it mirrors his own plan.”
Isn‘t the whole gift of this not to give President Obama any kind of successful leg up on this?
The reality is, is that, look, under George W. Bush, this would increase the debt limit seven times, under Ronald Reagan, 18 times -- 70 times since the 1960s.
And 130 members who are Republicans in Congress to date voted to raise that debt ceiling under George W. Bush.
Is there any real reason to believe here, Ed, that one of the reasons Congress will not vote to put the economy in the black because the economy is in the hands of the black? That seems extraordinarily harsh and divisive.
But the reality is, there seems to be no logical or reasonable answer or response to the notion other than they want to deny this Democrat and this particular president the victory of having the ability to forge consensus here around the reality of American debt.
SCHULTZ: Professor, are you suggesting that there‘s no way the president can get any kind of a victory out of this working with Republicans for the good of the country? They just won‘t give it to him?
DYSON: They just will not. I mean, they refuse to see the legitimacy and authority of the president—
DYSON: -- even when he agrees with some things he agrees with, they take it off the table.
SCHULTZ: And, Sam, what about Congressman Joe Walsh circulating a petition to get 100 signatures? The numbers are stacking up, but they‘re not going to get anything passed in the House.
STEIN: Yes. And that gets to the point. I mean, think about
actually what the president has put on the table—if we‘re to trust what
the White House is saying, and I do trust the sources that I deal with
there—he‘s putting on things the Republican Party have long sought
after, reforms to Medicaid, reforms to Medicare, reforms to Social Security
even though Social Security is not a contributor to the deficit or the debt.

He‘s offering all this for tax increases for slight tax increases that would come in stead of the Bush tax cuts expiring.
So, he‘s giving them all this, and he‘s not getting any tide back from the Republican Party. I think the letter from Representative Walsh who‘s been an antagonist of this president throughout, sort of personifies what we‘re both getting at here, which is that this president cannot win in this debate, which is partially why they‘re going to the fall back option.
SCHULTZ: And so, why, Professor Dyson, would the president even consider nailing the big three in a discussion like this, at this time? Because we all know—the numbers show it, that minorities would be hit especially hard if this plan were to go through or any plan for that matter, that deals with curtailing the big three. Why would the president do that, Michael?
DYSON: That‘s absolutely right. On the one hand, let‘s give him the charitable read. The charitable reading would be that it is a kind of strategic move for the president to show that the Republicans, the other side of the aisle, have no profound interest for the average American citizen.
So, by putting the big three on the table, so to speak, strategically, he shows just how deeply they have descended into the swamp of refusal to negotiate. On the other hand, the problem is, the people who are hurt most are the people at the bottom, the poorest, the most vulnerable. The graph you just put up there—
SCHULTZ: Yes. The very people that put President Obama in office, these are the people that are going to hurt the most in this deal.
DYSON: Absolutely right, Ed. You‘re talking about elderly people, you‘re talking about working class people and you‘re talking about people of color, especially African-Americans. It makes no sense.
SCHULTZ: And, Sam, let me ask you—are the Democrats getting a spine tonight on Capitol Hill? Is it a little bit different atmosphere than it was 24 hours ago? They realize this.
STEIN: Well, yes and no. On the one hand, none of the Democrats that I talked to are ready to see the debt ceiling lapse without being raised. On the other hand, you see some of them come out actually and speak forcefully against the gang of six.
The majority of the concerns are behind the scenes, you look at people like Chuck Schumer, Patty Murray, Steve Israel, people who run the campaign committees that are designed or tasked with electing Democrats. They‘re the ones who are saying, look, if you put Medicare on the table, if you talk about raising the eligibility rates, we‘re actually going to have trouble recruiting Democrats to run for office.
One more thing, on the idea that this is a game of chess, that Obama
is trying to show that he‘s more serious about the deficit than Republicans
I don‘t buy it.

SCHULTZ: I don‘t either.
STEIN: I think this White House has looked at the certain polling numbers and determined that they can actually reach independent voters by doing these types—
SCHULTZ: This is going to bring the independent voters back into the arena saying, you know, President Obama was an honest broker, he had his party take a chunk out of their hide as well in these negotiations.
Sam Stein, Michael Eric Dyson, great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks for your time.
Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen. I want to know what you think.
Congressman Allen West of Florida goes on a nasty personal tax against Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz because he can‘t defend his own policy positions.
And later 2 percent Tim is at it again. Pawlenty hints that Michele Bachmann is not fit for the presidency? I‘m actually going to defend the congresswoman from Minnesota .
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Republicans just love to scream about deficits and debt. And, of course, they want to blame it all on President Obama. But we‘re coming up on the 10th year anniversary of the federal government borrowing billions and billions of dollars to cover the Bush tax cuts.
On August 1st, 2001, “The Associated Press” reported the Treasury Department was taking $51 billion in credit to cover the first round of Bush tax cuts. It only got worse. Look at this chart of public debt. The big yellow area represents the Bush tax cuts. Those cuts are causing more debt than the recession and the two wars combined.
Ten years ago, the Treasury Department was planning on actually retiring part of the national debt, but it was forced to change its plan once the Bush tax cuts were enacted.
So happy birthday tax cuts, for the good of the nation, we hope you do not have any more to come.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Republican Congressman Allen West of Florida sent a scathing e-mail to Debbie Wassermann-Schultz. He sent it to her personal e-mail account.
Here‘s part of what he said. “You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the United States House of Representatives. You have proven repeatedly that you are not a lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me.”
West even sent out a fund-raising letter with similar language.
Debbie Wassermann-Schultz did absolutely nothing to deserve that.
Here‘s what she did. The congresswoman was simply standing up against the draconian cut and cap balance plan supported by Congressman West on the floor.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORID: Incredulously, the gentleman from Florida who represents thousands of beneficiaries, as I do, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries, unbelievable from a member from south Florida.
SCHULTZ: So, Wasserman-Schultz makes a policy point. West attacks her personally.
As you might expect, is some lawmakers took issue with that.
REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN: Just once again we have been told
that in order to be a lady, that we need to just stay in our places
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Speaking out on the floor of Congress, getting elected to office is very lady like, Mr. West. But they resort to that type of language because they cannot win on the merits.
SCHULTZ: Those lawmakers said West should apologize and they want congressional leaders to rebuke West. When West spoke to a “Huffington Post” reporter earlier today he climbed he had apologized. But a West spokesman said absolutely false. The congressman is waiting on an apology from the congresswoman—and West said this.
REP. ALLEN WEST ®, FLORIDA: She‘s not a victim. She‘s been attacking Allen West for quite some time.
SCHULTZ: Really? Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is keeping her focus on west‘s indefensible policy positions.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: If he feels that concerned and gets that churned up over having to defend his positions, then he probably should reconsider his position.
SCHULTZ: So, the debate in Washington has turned very personal.
Let‘s bring in deputy communications director for Emily‘s List, Jess McIntosh.
Jess, where is the outrage on this? What has Debbie Wassermann-Schultz done that is not lady like, that deserves that kind of a comment from a colleague?
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY‘S LIST: Look, I‘m going to do my best to act like a lady here, so you let me know if I‘m getting too opinionated here and I‘ll back right off.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz did nothing to deserve the sexist tirade that we saw from Allen West. It was one of the most sexist thing that we have seen in politics. But, frankly, the Republican agenda is one of the most sexist that we have seen in politics.
They have shown themselves willing in word and in politics and in policy to discriminate against women, everything from cutting family planning, to privatizing Medicare. So, the thing that made me saddest about this was that it came during the normal course of business.
Just as you said, Debbie Wassermann-Schultz was on the floor of the Senate, talking about the impact of legislation on her own constituents.
SCHULTZ: Where are the women‘s groups in this country? Emily‘s List has come out and made a statement and taken action. Where are the rest of the women‘s groups on this?
MCINTOSH: I think there‘s a lot of outrage among women and, frankly, men in America, who are sick of this kind of thing. And I think the outrage and the enthusiasm that it has engendered is coming from two places. One is the GOP war on women, which I think nobody expected the ferocity of. And the second is inspiring women coming to the forefront of the Republican Party like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, like frankly the woman who we would like to replace Allen West, Louis Frankle (ph), West Palm Beach, awesome lady, all around.
If you want to support her, you go to Wouldn‘t it be nice to take this guy down and replace him with a Democratic woman who can act like an adult and work with others and get things done?
SCHULTZ: I‘m amazed how silent some women‘s activist‘s groups are in this country on this issue. And I‘m rather the conservatives don‘t distance themselves from this congressman and what he said.
And the congressman also said—alluded to the fact that she has gone after the congressman in the past. Are there things that we don‘t know about that maybe she has said?
MCINTOSH: I think—it‘s been shocking that not a single Republican has said anything. It‘s been over 24 hours since he launched his e-mail offensive, and they‘ve said nothing.
That silence is speaking very loudly to American women right now. And that‘s why it is so important that we replace some of you Tea Partiers, these folks with this really anti-woman, anti-family agenda, with strong Democratic women and that‘s what we‘re trying to do with Emily‘s List.
SCHULTZ: Well, I have to commend Wasserman Schultz she was on with Andrea Mitchell earlier today on MSNBC and didn‘t go down in the gutter. She kept in the political arena and basically said that West could defend his position on this draconian cuts and maybe he should change his policy.
Jess McIntosh, thanks for joining us tonight from Emily‘s List.
MCINTOSH: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Appreciate it so much.
Coming up: she‘s surging ahead in the polls. Is this the war on women for the Republicans? So, now the Republican establishment is trying to portray Michele Bachmann as unfit for the presidency. You won‘t believe what Karl Rove has cooked up this time around.
And Steve Doocy endorses Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert‘s latest conspiracy theory about President Obama‘s birthday.
Stay with us.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Like nearly 30 million other Americans, I experience migraines that are easily controllable with medication.
But I‘d like to be abundantly clear, my ability to function effectively will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief.
SCHULTZ: That was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann responding to a right wing hit job that appeared on the website “Daily Caller.” The story alleges that the presidential candidate suffers from migraines that leave her, quote, “incapacitated” for days at a time.
Worse yet, the piece suggests that Bachmann pops pills like candy to keep the issue under control. Now, in my opinion, if Bachmann‘s polling numbers were in the single digits and in the tank, like Tim Pawlenty‘s are, then perhaps there wouldn‘t be a need for a story so heavy on insinuation and light on specifics.
But she‘s a real threat, you see. The Republican establishment is scared. Maybe there is a war on women in the Republican party. Sure enough, after Bachmann stated she is able to keep her migraines in check, here comes Karl Rove, planting yet another seed of doubt.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: For the Bachmann campaign, this is the first big challenge. It‘s evidence of what happens when you jump up into the top ring of these polls and the kind of scrutiny that you get. It‘s going to be important for her to get her doctors out there quickly to provide the medical records and to provide the reassurance that people are going to want to have that this is not a serious issue.
SCHULTZ: It is a non-story. Doubling down on Rove‘s efforts, Tim Pawlenty, Mr. two percent, like a buzzard circling over a carcass—here‘s Pawlenty questioning whether Bachmann is even fit for office.
TIM PAWLENTY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of the candidates I think are going to have to able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time. There‘s no real time off in that job.
SCHULTZ: I just wish you had done all of the job all of the time in Minnesota, so you wouldn‘t have left us with a 6.5 billion dollar budget. But I guess that‘s another story.
Keep in mind, folks, that comment right there that Pawlenty just gave us, that‘s coming from a guy who took a pass on attacking front runner Mitt Romney on his health care record in the first debate.
Well, it looks like he‘s really getting tough. Late this afternoon, Bachmann‘s camp released a letter from the attending physician of Congress. The doctor stating that “Bachmann manages her migraines with medication and is otherwise healthy.”
Michele Bachmann, I do not agree with you on anything. And I can say that my respect for you has gone through the roof in the last 24 hours. You were clear, concise. You stood up to it. And you weren‘t bullied by these people.
The Republican establishment obviously fears this candidate, as she is moving up in the polls big time, and she‘s raising money far more than the people who are trying to take her down.
And it‘s just like Karl Rove to pull a stunt like this and raise the question that maybe she‘s not fit, because he happens to be supporting Mitt Romney or anybody else of the establishment.
But certainly not a Tea Partier like Michele Bachmann.
Welcome to the dirty pool hall of the Republican party, Michele.
Ahead, what are these Republicans up to with the Bachmann story? I‘ll talk with Democratic strategist Bob Shrum and Republican strategist Ron Christie.
And Bill O‘Reilly took on News Corp phone hacking scandal for the first time. Take a wild guess on who he sided with.
BACHMANN: I keep a very rigorous schedule. I feel great. So we‘ve answered that.
SCHULTZ: That was Michele Bachmann earlier today, once again answering questions about her medical background after a right wing website reported that she suffers from debilitating migraines brought on by stress. Already, folks like Karl Rove are suggesting that Bachmann should release her medical records.
Her doctor did make a mistake today. While Mr. two percent, Tim Pawlenty, is hinting that she is unfit to be president of the United States because of all of this.
Joining me now is Democratic strategist and professor at New York University, Bob Shrum, and Republican strategist Ron Christie.
Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight. Bob, is this proof positive that here she is surging in the polls, raising credible money—she‘s gone from four percent to 13 percent nationally. She‘s right behind Romney. Romney‘s in at 30 percent.
There you see the numbers. She‘s a force and gaining. Is she a threat to the establishment Republicans? And this is one of these stories that they can‘t wait to get out there. What do you think?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure, Ed, you‘re right. Look, it is a hit piece. And I think a lot of people in the Republican establishment are wishing that you and some of the rest of us had succeeded in getting rid of her in the 2010 election, but the tide was too strong.
The real question here is they can‘t say what they object to. It‘s not her headaches. It‘s that her head is filled with dangerous fantasies, that she makes mistakes, that she seems is far out of the mainstream. And they think that she can‘t win.
The problem is, she can win the Republican nomination, because one person‘s fantasy is another person‘s faith. She can command a legion of Tea Party faithful and conceivably win that nomination.
I think they want to stop her early. I think, by the way, now that this has happened—I never thought I would utter this sentence—Rove is right and she will have to release her medical records.
SCHULTZ: What do you think, Ron Christie?
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think this is a disgrace. I like Tucker Carlson, who is the publisher of the “Daily Caller.” Karl Rover is a mentor of mine.
I am disgusted by this sort of scurrilous attack on someone who is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the Republican party right now. If you have something that you want to say about Michele Bachmann, be it her policies, her record, what have you, say it.
But to come out right now and say oh, her migraines are a problem. Look, I worked on Capitol Hill for nine years. Anonymous aids leaking stories, they have their own agenda. If you have something you want to say, put your name behind it and say it.
SCHULTZ: Former Governor Tim Pawlenty responded to his comment earlier today just moments ago on Fox News. This sounds like a walk back to me. Here it is.
PAWLENTY: I think it‘s mostly a side show, Greta. I‘ve observed Congresswoman Bachmann. I‘ve never seen her have a medical condition or impairment that would seem to be a concern.
What I said today, generically applying to all candidates, not her, is that anybody who is going to serve as president of the United States, of course, has to be able to do all of the job all of the time, 24/7. That‘s just common sense. It‘s not a debatable proposition.
SCHULTZ: Do you buy that?
CHRISTIE: I don‘t buy that. Where is he coming from? What did you call him, Mr. two percent? For a fellow who‘s not raising any money, for a fellow who‘s trying desperately to get ahead in the headlines, and no one‘s paying him any attention, he‘s going to do this against Congresswoman Bachmann?
For him to have observed her? Again, I think this is a scurrilous attack. If you have something you want to say about her, say it. But to use her migraines or her medical condition, which we don‘t know for a fact is a condition, I think is really despicable.
SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, does this story help Michele Bachmann?
SHRUM: It may help her with her base. Look, the problem here is that the Republican establishment believes and the polls would all appear to indicate that she can‘t win this election. So, for example, if she‘s going to get to the nomination, all that money is going to have to come from the grassroots. It‘s not going to come from big Republican givers.
If she gets to that nomination and stays in the same shape she is now, she‘d be crushed by President Obama. So that‘s why they want to get rid of her. I think as we look down the road, we‘re going to see a whole series of tests that she‘s going to be subjected to, because, quite frankly, I think there‘s some panic in the Republican party.
You know, I‘d have to say to Ron, you know, Rove has had some practice at some pretty scurrilous attacks over the years. This time he just happens to be using it against a Republican, instead of against, for example, John Kerry.
CHRISTIE: Well, to my friend Bob Shrum—and I enjoy sparring with you so much, Bob. I think Michele Bachmann is a force to be reckoned with. I think the Democrats are scared of her. Yes, she could be the nominee.
The Democrats are scared of her.
SHRUM: I‘m not scared of her. Bring her on.
CHRISTIE: Let me tell you, I‘m so ready to bring her against Barack Obama, because we‘re going to beat him like a drum in the next election.
SHRUM: Let‘s not overstate this thing. She, in fact, is the weakest conceivable Republican.
CHRISTIE: No, she‘s not. I actually think she‘s the strongest conservative in the race.
SCHULTZ: Why do you think she can beat President Obama?
CHRISTIE: I think she can beat President Obama because I think she‘s a strong fiscal conservative. She has strong family values. And I think she speaks in a very clear and concise voice. And I think she‘s a force to be reckoned with.
SCHULTZ: But when the polls come out, 80 percent of the American people don‘t want to touch the big three. She‘s all over it. I mean, she‘s not in step with a lot of Americans.
CHRISTIE: I still think we have 16, 17 months to go. There‘s several other candidates. I‘m a personality friend and a favorite of Governor Romney. Again, the Republican nominee, whoever he or she will be, Governor Romney or President Obama, they‘re going to have a tight election.
SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, I want to ask you about Tim Pawlenty. This is the second time he‘s had to restates his position. It was in the debate when he didn‘t go after Mitt Romney on the health care. He soft pedaled that. Now this situation with Michele Bachmann.
Does this show that maybe he‘s not ready for prime time?
SHRUM: I think we already know he‘s not ready for prime time. He got catapulted into the spotlight when John McCain considered him for vice president in 2008. The great mentioner then put him on the list of potential presidents.
So far, he‘s done very badly in the Republican campaign. I think it was incredibly opportunistic, cheap to jump all over Michele Bachmann today. Then somebody said to him, look, it looked really bad, so you have to back off.
SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum --
SHRUM: So yes, I have nothing great to say about him. All I have to say to Ron is let‘s have this race, Obama versus Bachmann.
CHRISTIE: Bob, we agree on something. How‘s that, brother?
SCHULTZ: You two are ED SHOW favorites. Bob Shrum and Ron Christie with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.
“Fox and Friends‘” Steve Doocy accuses President Obama of faking it on the economy. And then he brings on Dick Morris to attack the president for going on vacation? Psycho Talk is next.
SCHULTZ: Wisconsin‘s union busting Governor Scott Walker says he‘s working to save money. But his decisions just keep costing taxpayers of that state more. When he took office, Governor Walker rejected an 810 million dollar federal grant to extend the Chicago/Milwaukee railroad line over to Madison, Wisconsin.
Walker said the operating costs would be too high. They would have to have been 30 million dollars over 20 years. But it turns out Walker‘s decision is going to end up costing the people of Wisconsin way more than 30 million dollars. Yesterday, the state legislature‘s budget committee voted to spend almost 32 million dollars to maintain the train service between Milwaukee and Chicago.
And the state will ultimately need up to 99 million dollars to get the job done. Almost all of the costs would have been covered by the federal funds Walker rejected. So with the federal grant, Wisconsin taxpayers would have paid about 30 million dollars. But because of Scott Walker‘s dumb decision, they could be on the hook for 99 million dollars.
Just one more major reason why Democrats keep pushing for a Walker recall.
SCHULTZ: And in Psycho Talk tonight, “Fox and Friends‘” Steve Doocy doesn‘t believe the debt ceiling needs to be raised by August 2nd. He thinks President Obama made it all up so he can go on vacation. Today, Doocy brought Fox commentator Dick Morris on to agree with him.
STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Even with no debt deal, he‘s still planning a swanky vacation on Martha‘s Vineyard. Oh, and that August 2nd debt deadline the president keeps referring to as Armageddon? Well, the commander in chief has a birthday blowout planned for the very next day.
DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: When Clinton was president, I urged him not to go to Martha‘s Vineyard, but to go hiking in the Rockies.
SCHULTZ: Well, after Morris got his foot out of his mouth, the interview went down hill from there. First of all, Doocy‘s birthday party line isn‘t even original. He ripped off conspiracy theorist Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, who got the ball rolling last weekend.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT ®, TEXAS: The president has a big birthday bash scheduled for August 3rd, celebrities flying in from all over. And low and behold, August 2nd is the deadline for getting something done.
SCHULTZ: And, of course, even Medicare busting Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has agreed that they need a deal by August 2nd. But criticizing President Obama for going on vacation is a favorite line of attack for the righties out there. They always conveniently forget the last guy who was in the White House spent a third of his presidency clearing brush and showing off his golf game.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killings. Thank you.
Now watch this drive.
SCHULTZ: And W learned his vacation habits from his daddy. During Operation Desert Storm in 1990, Bush senior spent three weeks fishing in Kennebunkport. So to imply President Obama is more interested in his birthday party and Martha‘s Vineyard than the economy is classic Doocy Psycho Talk.
Bill O‘Reilly says the News Corp hacking scandal has not involved any American employees of his parent company. Looks like he didn‘t get the right memo on this one.
SCHULTZ: And caution, you‘re entering the Bill spin zone. Last night, Bill O‘Reilly covered the News Corp hacking scandal for the first time since the story broke. Wake up, dude. He wasted no time downplaying the whole thing.
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do the folks over there—the folks, the regular people, do they care about this big press battle?
SCHULTZ: You know, the folks. But when his foreign correspondent told him people do care about the story, he moved on to a flunky from the Heritage Foundation who gave him the answers he wanted.
O‘REILLY: Here in the United States, there isn‘t any intrusion of this story thus far on News Corp properties, none. Yet you have the “New York Times” absolutely running wild with the story, front page, front page, front page, column, column, column, vicious stuff, vicious stuff.
Correct me if I‘m wrong, doctor, there‘s not one American employee of the News Corporation implicated in any of this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that‘s absolutely right. There‘s not a shred of evidence whatsoever.
SCHULTZ: Actually, that‘s totally wrong. Now, I know you‘re just looking out for the folks, Bill. You don‘t want them to be misinformed, do you? Here‘s Big Ed‘s Talking Point‘s Memo tonight.
Les Hinton, one of Rupert Murdoch‘s closest colleagues and an American citizen, resigned over the hacking scandal. You should know him. He worked in your building, Bill. Hinton was the CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of the “Wall Street Journal,” both News Corp properties.
So it‘s here. Facts like these are things folks might like to know.
That‘s the memo.
Joining me tonight, Robert Greenwald, director of the documentary “Outfoxed, Rupert Murdoch‘s War on Journalism.” He‘s also the president of Brave New Foundation.
Good evening, Robert. Good to have you with us.
What about O‘Reilly now spinning this, it just hasn‘t hit our shores, when somebody in his own building resigned over the whole thing. What about it?
ROBERT GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS: I guess he doesn‘t read the newspaper. Maybe he never heard of the “Wall Street Journal.” It‘s really hard not to be snarky about this, Bill. But I think what Bill is doing and what they‘re doing over there is a very conscious attempt.
Because it was a very important column that Michael Temasky (ph) in the “Daily Beast” today. He talks about the very real possibilities that Murdoch could be indicted and there could be legal proceedings against him for the bribery and what‘s gone on over there.
So they‘re trying to avoid that subject at all possible costs.
SCHULTZ: You wrote today that this was a script of the public relations firm, of what Murdochs did yesterday. And Fox News is taking the story equally as so. What about that?
GREENWALD: Well, they‘ve hired Edelman, who we‘re very familiar with. They attacked us when we did our Wal-Mart work. If you look at the testimony, the lines from James Murdoch and Mr. Murdoch, over and over again, were clearly scripted lines.
It‘s an effort to turn it into a PR story, to make sure that it‘s not a legal story, to make sure that they don‘t talk about the bribery, the fact they‘re paying legal fees for people who were being indicted, and the fact that‘s becoming a big case here of—that their daughter, his daughter is being given 675 million dollars for her company.
Murdoch‘s treating it, again, like it‘s his own private piggy bank. Look, it‘s nice to be nice to your daughters. I have three of them. But 675 million dollars?
SCHULTZ: But for Bill O‘Reilly to say that it hasn‘t hit our shores and nobody in the company in the United States has been affected—Les Hinton—is this a classic where Fox will flat out lie on the air knowing there‘s a portion of their viewers that are just going to believe it because he is who he is, and who‘s saying it?
GREENWALD: It‘s pretty mystifying. The facts are so clear, in fact, that I don‘t know how he can look at himself in the mirror and z distort it that way, unless he really doesn‘t know about the “Wall Street Journal,” unless he has into idea what‘s been going on, and unless he got the memo from Roger Ailes saying distort, distort, distort.
SCHULTZ: Robert Greenwald, thanks for your time tonight.
Tonight in our survey, I asked, would you ever vote for anyone who cut the big three? Six percent of you said yes; 94 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. You can listen to my radio show, Sirius XM radio, channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 p m. It‘s where America comes to talk, “The Ed Schultz Show.” We‘ll do it tomorrow..
“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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