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The Ed Show for Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guest Host: Michael Eric Dyson
Guests: Eugene Robinson, Krystal Ball, Obery Hendricks, Dr. James Peterson, Ben Jealous

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to
THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Schultz.

Donald Trump continues to attack anyone and everyone who disagrees
with him. Today`s target: Mitt Romney who snubbed Trump`s debate.

This is THE ED SHOW. And as Ed would say -- let`s get to work.


DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: I`m surprised that Mitt Romney said no.
Frankly, I was surprised because he really wants my endorsement. I mean,
he wants it very badly.

DYSON (voice-over): Donald Trump is piling on Mitt Romney. The
Republican field is piling on Mitt Romney.

with Donald Trump, and I think it strikes me as kind of a very weak

DYSON: And now, Mitt Romney is shooting himself in the foot.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think I said "most,"
but --

BYRON YORK: On "Meet the Press" in 2007.

ROMNEY: Oh, did I? Did I make that exaggeration?

DYSON: Eugene Robinson of "The Washington Post" and Democratic
strategist Krystal Ball are here on the Republican reality show.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, FOX NEWS: Yesterday was Pearl Harbor day number two.

DYSON: The deranged reaction to President Obama`s income inequality
speech continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a smooth jazz liberation theology speech.

DYSON: Obery Hendricks of Columbia University is here with reaction.

Rick Perry`s campaign is on life support. He`s trying to revive it
with bigotry against gays.

awesome, girl.

DYSON: And Bill O`Reilly is cracking jokes about the Obama
administration`s African-American outreach program.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: What does that entail? Are they going to be
on soul train?

DYSON: James Peterson is here to let us know what Bill-O was

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know you`re going to be on Media Matters for
that one right now.

O`REILLY: Soul train.


DYSON: There can be no more doubt, Donald Trump is intent on
influencing the Republican presidential race and some candidates are
running scared. So far, only two candidates have accepted an invitation to
the controversial Trump moderated debate at the end of the month. The
candidates who rejected the debate have felt Trump`s wrath.

Today, it was Mitt Romney`s turn.


TRUMP: Frankly, I was surprised, because he really wants my
endorsement. I mean, he wants it very badly. That doesn`t necessarily
affect it one way or another. But he really wants my announcement. He
came up to Trump Towers. You know, you covered it very well.

And I`m a little bit surprised that he turned down that event. I
would say if you`re down in the polls, which respectfully he`s down in the
polls fairly substantially in a lot of ways, I would you`d want to be on a
debate like this because it would be well-covered.


DYSON: Wow. So, let me get this right: Donald Trump is implying that
those who attend his debate have a better shot at getting his endorsement?
Is that extortion?

It`s an endorsement Republican front-runner newt Gingrich says he
covets. Gingrich will be at the debate and mocked anyone who wouldn`t.


GINGRICH: I think if you`re afraid to debate the Donald Trump, people
are going to say, so you want me to believe you can debate Barack Obama,
but you`re afraid to show up with Donald Trump? And I think it strikes me
as kind of a very weak position. I don`t know why people would do that.


DYSON: Yes. Gingrich has a reason to believe the Trump debate will
do him no warm. Today`s Gallup tracking poll gives Gingrich a national
lead of 13 points over Mitt Romney. It`s news that caps a very bad day for
the former Massachusetts governor.

While Romney spoke at the Republican Jewish coalition today, the
liberal political action committee American Bridge released a web ad
highlighting Romney`s flip-flops on the health care mandate, including
Romney`s own words from the last time he spoke to the Republican Jewish


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: At times, you thought it would be the model for
the nation.

ROMNEY: You`re wrong, Bret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the Massachusetts approach that was passed
under Governor Romney, is that a good model for the nation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think so.

ROMNEY: That`s how I think we`re going to be successful nationwide.

It`s the best path. We`ll end up with a nation that takes a mandate

My plan, by the way, allows every citizen in America to get health


DYSON: You know, Romney ain`t doing himself any favors. He continues
to get flummoxed by interviews with conservative-leaning news outlets.

Fresh off his disastrous FOX News interview last week, Romney couldn`t
avoid his own flip-flops during a meeting with the editorial board of "The
Washington Examiner."


YORK: Governor, on health care, you`ve often said the health care
plan you created in Massachusetts would be a good model for some other
states. You said maybe not every state, but most.

ROMNEY: I don`t think I said "most," but --

YORK: On "Meet the Press" in 2007.

ROMNEY: Oh, did I? Did I make that exaggeration?



DYSON: We know that Romney ran the Olympics. But who knew he was a
verbal gymnast as well? With all of Mitt Romney`s stumbles, it`s no wonder
Donald Trump is threatening to get into the presidential race.

Trump is once again taking shots at President Obama. Not about policy
but about personal character.


TRUMP: There is a certain arrogance that Obama has that he shouldn`t
have. That he shouldn`t have. He really is not a person that seems to
like people.


DYSON: Isn`t he the picture of humility? Only a humble individual
like Donald Trump can be so free of ego as to understand the true arrogance
of President Obama.


TRUMP: But he`s arrogant, and he`s got no reason to be arrogant.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: I noticed when we were sitting here all
the magazine covers. You know, we talk to you and we know so much about
your ideas and thoughts. I forgot all these magazine covers.

TRUMP: Lots of covers.

VAN SUSTEREN: Lots of magazine covers. Lots of trophies.

TRUMP: Lots of trophies.

VAN SUSTEREN: Lots of big trophies.


DYSON: Arrogant? Pomposity without predication seems to be Donald`s
Trump card. If the lavish backdrop wasn`t enough, irony for Donald Trump
is amazing. He climbed to the height of arrogance when he was asked if he
ever met President Obama.


TRUMP: I`ve never met him.


TRUMP: I`ve never met him. I mean, here`s the thing, me or others,
you`d almost think, hey, call up the guy, you can see he`s getting angry
with the way you`re running the country. Call up Trump. I mean, I have a
big voice.


DYSON: Yes, hold your breath and wait on that call.

Somehow I doubt President Obama`s advisers have spent a lot of time
thinking about putting the leader of free world on the phone with Donald
Trump to chitchat about the day`s issues and about being an apprentice. In
fact, I`m pretty sure we all know what President Obama thinks about Donald
Trump, that is to say, not much.

It wasn`t too long at the White House correspondents dinner that
President Obama made clear his opinion of Donald Trump.


recognize that the real problem was a lack of leadership, and so ultimately
you didn`t blame Little John or Meat Loaf. You fired Gary Busey.

And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.


DYSON: Donald, you`re fired.

To people seriously interested in running the country, Donald Trump is
a joke, as the French would say (INAUDIBLE). That includes someone like
Mitt Romney which is why he`s not showing up at the debate.

But with the Republican Party unable to control a loose cannon like
the Donald, all the candidates will have to suffer under the crushing
weight of his massive, bloated ego.

Get your cell phones out. We want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: Will Donald Trump cost Mitt Romney the Republican nomination?

Text "A" for yes, text "B" for no to 622639. Or go to our blog at I`ll bring you the results later in the show.

Joining me now is Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst, as well as
an associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The
Washington Post." Also joining me is Democratic strategist Krystal Ball.

Gene, let me turn to you first.

Is the party going to be able to purge Donald Trump from its ranks?

second. We`re talking about Donald Trump here, OK? We`re talking about a
reality TV star, a reputed billionaire, a real estate developer, a clown.
I mean, he is a clown in terms of politics.

And Republican primary voters, or at least those polled, judged him a
clown earlier in the cycle.

So, I think the Republican Party, or what`s left of the serious part
of it, may have already purged itself of Donald Trump. I don`t think he
brings with him legions of voters. Perhaps he brings with him some
ratings. But that`s about it.

So I`m not sure that this is going to cost Romney the nomination.

DYSON: Well, you know, notwithstanding the fact that he`s a village
idiot, Krystal. Now, he`s turned into the town crier. Do you think that
Mitt Romney did the right thing by rejecting the debate?

KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first, I want to push back
on Eugene a little bit. You know, I think to call him a clown is frankly a
bit unfair to clowns. So, I just wanted to put that out there.


DYSON: Yes, apologize to Bozo.

ROBINSON: I do apologize to clowns. Even the creepy ones, I
apologize to them.

BALL: In terms of Mitt Romney not accepting and Newt Gingrich
accepting the debate, both of them from a purely political standpoint, I
think it makes sense. Newt Gingrich is courting more of the far right and
the Tea Party. Mitt Romney is trying to hold on to his moderates and
create a contrast with Newt Gingrich. So, I think it makes sense in that

But, you know, honestly, Donald Trump as debate moderator really when
you think about it makes perfect sense in the alternate universe the far
right is living in now. I mean, they`re living in the universe in order to
hold on to their ideology that President Obama is an idiot and Herman Cain
is a genius, and a financial crisis that was caused by deregulation should
be fixed by less regulation, and that the persecuted minority in our
country are white, wealthy Christians.

So, it`s in that alternate universe where they`re living that Donald
Trump as elder statesman and Republican kingmaker makes perfect sense.

BALL: Yes. Look, Gene, he`s not a wealthy, white Christian. He`s a
wealthy, white Mormon. And as the polls continue to show his downward
trajectory, do you think his religion is ultimately going to come into play
here? Or is it the fact he was so associated with health care, the likes
of which Obama adopted, that will send him to his political grave?

ROBINSON: I think both are true. I think the reason we`re seeing him
kind of slide in the polls -- actually, you know, he`s at his 23 percent.
That`s where he has been this entire cycle. It`s just that most of the
party would like to find another candidate -- better looking, more solidly
conservative. They don`t trust him as a conservative.

In answer to your first question, though, I do believe that ultimately
when people start voting, my hunch is that his being a Mormon is going to
cost him some potential votes. I don`t know if it`s going to be decisive.
This is early in the Gingrich cycle, though. So, we`ll have to see where
we are when we get to the end of the month.

DYSON: Well, early in the cycle. We`ll see what comes out in the

Krystal, here`s something else from Mitt Romney`s meeting with "The
Washington Examiner." Let`s take a listen here.


TIM CARNEY: What steps -- what U.S. aid -- would you be willing to
provide to Europe?

ROMNEY: Not much, because Europe is capable of solving Europe`s
problems. I actually think that -- I`m not an economist by training, but
what limited understanding of the economy I have suggests very difficult to
cobble together Greece, Ireland, Italy and Germany with the same monetary
policy and highly disparate fiscal policies.


DYSON: Krystal, is this his gone with the wind moment? I don`t know
anything about babies, I don`t know anything about the economy. Is that
quote going to come back to haunt him in an election that largely hinges on
the economy?

BALL: Well, it`s a bit of a strange thing for someone who is
supposedly the businessman and he`s supposed to be the one to understand
the economy and know how to get us back on track. It`s kind of a strange
thing to say. It`s actually an unusually candid moment, I would say, for
Mitt Romney who normally has his poll tested, focus group tested, stock
answer ready to go right out of the briefing book.

DYSON: Yes. I mean, Gene, it`s true, because when you look at that,
candidates rarely put the candid in candidacy. But look at him -- why is
he stumbling mostly with these conservative outlets which seems to be an
ill-built strength and audience for him?

ROBINSON: Yes. He really has a problem there, it`s a weakness for
him as a politician. He`s not good with spontaneous questions and answers,
even from the friendliest side. What he said there actually, it was just
weird, because, in fact, he says, I don`t know much about the economy. And
then he goes on to give a very good diagnosis of the problem, a common
monetary policy and have disparate fiscal policies.

DYSON: Right.

ROBINSON: So, he actually understands fundamentally what`s going on.
Yet, he -- I don`t know, maybe he`s trying to --

DYSON: Are you accusing him of modesty? Is he being modest?

ROBINSON: I think he`s trying to appeal to the anti-intellectual
crowd and pretend he don`t know nothing.

DYSON: Dumbing down a little bit.

Yes, Krystal?

BALL: And I do think Eugene is right in saying he struggles with that
sort of intellectual nimbleness, not that that`s a great word to use, but I
can understand why people look at Newt Gingrich and they see his
performance. He`s very quick on his feet in the debates. He`s really

He gave -- Glenn Beck had a very tough interview with Newt Gingrich
that I have to say he handled very well. Contrast that to Mitt Romney`s
interview with Bret Baier and I can understand why Republican candidates
are going, you know what? I think Gingrich might be a our guy, he might be
our best chance with President Obama.

DYSON: But, look, they beat up against President Obama all the time.
You know, he`s just a bag of wind, he`s a great golden throat, super tongue
rhetorical genius, but hey, beyond that there`s no substance.

Are we going to see the same kind of pushback on Newt Gingrich come
election time?

ROBINSON: Look, Newt Gingrich is very quick on his feet and sometimes
to a fault, often to a fault, usually to a fault, in fact, because he will
say everything eventually. And so --


DYSON: So nothing can be untrue because he says it all.

ROBINSON: Exactly. And so, at some point, he`s going to say
something that`s just so outrageously crazy that he`s going to get himself
into trouble. Then we`ll see how he, if he can talk his way out of it.

DYSON: All right.

BALL: Well, the question is not if but when, right? Is it before the
primary ends or is it in the general election?

DYSON: Right. Just a matter of timing.

Eugene Robinson, Krystal Ball, thank you so much for your time

BALL: Thanks, Michael.

DYSON: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of
your screen. And don`t forget to share some thoughts on Twitter using
#EdShow. We want to know what you think.

The right wing freak-out over President Obama`s speech in Kansas.
That`s next.

And Bill O`Reilly thinks President Obama`s African-American outreach
program involves soul train? You better apologize (INAUDIBLE).

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Coming up on THE ED SHOW:

Righties go after President Obama`s speech yesterday. Obery Hendricks
joins me with reaction.

Newt Gingrich says he would appoint John Bolton as his secretary of

More than a dozen states implemented laws that would block the vote
for minorities, seniors and students. NAACP president Ben Jealous on how
his organization is fighting back.

And let us know what you think on Twitter using #EdShow. We`ll
feature your tweets throughout the show.

Stay tuned.


DYSON: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

In his speech in Kansas yesterday, President Obama may very well have
laid out the most compelling argument for progressive values, fairness and
economic progress of any modern president. All of those progressive who
were upset with the president at least for a while have to be silent.

But let the games begin, because Republican presidential candidate
Mitt Romney was having none of that. He said President Obama was espousing
an entitlement society.


ROMNEY: He is seeking to replace our merit-based society with an
entitlement society. And in an entitlement society, everyone receives
about the same rewards, regardless of the education they pursue, regardless
of their effort, regardless of the willingness that they have to take risk.
You see, they replace opportunity with certainty -- certainty that everyone
in the entitlement society will enjoy nearly the same rewards.

But there`s another certainty: They`ll all be poor.


DYSON: Why is it that all the guys who get the genetic lottery one
and who get a handout talk about merit? And the right wing pundits had a
field day criticizing this speech.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama resorted to using some good old-
fashioned class warfare rhetoric.

STUART VARNEY, FBN: It reminds me of a British socialist, frankly,
from the 1940s, 1950s.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yesterday was Pearl Harbor day
number two, the attack on the country by the president of the United States
in the speech in Osawatomie, Kansas.

DICK MORRIS: But still, to have this collectivist European socialist
philosophy articulated by a president is stunning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really an easy listening Occupy Wall Street. This
was a smooth jazz liberation theology speech.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: President Obama has a thousand words for
class warfare. That was a 56-minute sugarcoated speech on class warfare.


DYSON: Let`s turn to Obery Hendricks, professor of biblical
interpretation at the New York Theological Seminary, visiting scholar at
Columbia University and author of the book, "The University Bends Towards

Obery, welcome to the show tonight.

Dr. Dyson.

DYSON: You know, let`s start where that sound bite ended. You know,
Republicans love to accuse President Obama of class warfare. It reminds me
when you were a kid, you play that game when you saw somebody coming who
was trying to borrow some money from you, you know he was going to hit you
off for some dough.

You`re preemptive in your strike. You said, hey, lend me some money,
because you know he`d ask you. That`s what Republicans, it seems, are
doing with the class warfare claim here.

Isn`t it just patently unfair and that they are engaging it in

HENDRICKS: Oh, no, no doubt. The conservatives just have it
backward. One of the extraordinary things about the speech yesterday is
that President Obama laid out a vision that is so consistent with the
biblical, the most fundamental biblical values and ethics with regard to
economic and distribution of goods and services. It was so consistent that
it`s extraordinary.

It shows -- and there are many complaints about it, and their attacks
on it show just how hypocritical they are. They don`t understand that the
main concern of the Bible is personal responsibility for each of us in
society. Rather, social responsibility.

We are to look out for the least of these. We are supposed to make
sure that all barriers are removed so that all folk can eat from the tree
of life in equal measure. And they seem to have no understanding what the
biblical witness is about.

President Obama, what we heard him was akin to love your neighbor as
yourself. That responsibility of governing is to make sure that people
have a way to have enough to eat. And have a decent life. And can stand
against the depredations of the rich and exploitations of the rich.

DYSON: Well, look, you`re a professor, a brilliant scholar of the New
Testament and these ancient scriptures. But Republicans try to, especially
the evangelical right, tries to claim to the mantle of morality.

Address that in the president`s speech and the right wing reaction to

HENDRICKS: Well, you know, I talk about this in some length in my
book "Universe Bends Toward Justice." But what the president did, he did
some very important things.

Number one, he laid claim to the biblical tradition of justice as the
plum line. He didn`t ask what is good for just us, or for the rich, or for
a particular group. What he said is we must treat all people`s needs as
holy. We must make sure everyone can eat of the tree of life and at least
have access to the tree of life in equal measure. That is very, very

Secondly, he did something they just don`t seem to understand. He
held up the importance of regulatory protections. They spit on
regulations, but these are protections of the poor and the weak from the

And, you know, we see these as early as the Book of Exodus and
Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which says that we must have market protection
for people from those who are in power and the greedy.

And last, he held up, as I mentioned earlier, the importance of
responsibility to make sure that the whole society does well. Not just any
particular group.

DYSON: Well, that`s a great point.

Let me say this. Given your analysis here, a summary of what he did,
isn`t it amazing that despite the fact he went to war for those who were
the vulnerable, he was their Goliath, so to speak. He was working against
Goliath as their David. But he still refused to get into the Manichean us
versus them mentality. That`s a brilliant rhetorical move but it also says
something about his moral substance.

Say about that in a speech.

HENDRICKS: Absolutely. I mean, it really showed that he was
concerned about the fundamental question of what is just, not just us, but
what is just? And that is this word, justice, in the Hebrew Bible shows up
hundreds of times. And then you have the word sotica (ph) talks about
putting it into action. These are fundamental things the religious right
does not seem to understand.

DYSON: Right. Let`s take a listen to how he refused to do the us
versus him yesterday. Let`s take a listen, Professor Hendricks.


OBAMA: I believe this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair
shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same

These aren`t 1 percent values or 99 percent values. This isn`t about
class warfare. This is about the nation`s welfare.


DYSON: You know, given your brilliant analysis here tonight,
Professor Hendricks, isn`t it kind of bizarre Mitt Romney`s critique
basically saying the president in many ways wants everyone to be poor and
on the government dole? List en to Romney as well.


ROMNEY: Entitlement societies are, of course, praised in academic
circles, where they are far removed from the reality of a competitive
world, because in an entitlement society, the invigorating pursuit of
happiness is replaced by the deadening reality that there`s no prospect of
a better tomorrow.


DYSON: You`re an ideal guest. You worked on Wall Street, Professor
Hendricks. Then you went to Princeton to get a PhD. Now, you`re teaching
at the academy.

So, you`re in the real world and the academy. Tell us about that
remark. What`s your response to Mitt Romney?

HENDRICKS: You know, that is so cynical and so wrong, just so full of
lies. That is infuriating. But It speaks to the moral impoverishment of
the conservative vision.

What -- they never talk about what`s just. You never see a policy
from the conservatives or religious right that asks, how do we help those
who need help? All of their policies always are geared toward the richest.

In fact, if you look at every policy in history of this country that
has been geared toward helping the poorest and the weakest and protecting
all Americans, you see that conservatives fought against all of them. If
it up to conservatives, we would not have Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid. We would not have those protections.

We would not have child welfare laws. We wouldn`t have medical
holidays. We wouldn`t have paid vacations. We wouldn`t have 40 hour

It`s just criminal. And it`s insane. And we have to stand up and
call these conservatives, these right wingers out for what they are. Their
vision is anti-biblical, it`s anti-Christian, and they do not have the
moral high ground.

We must reclaim it in the name of the God that we believe in and let
the world know that their vision is anti-biblical and anti-Christian, and
that it is against the welfare of all God`s people in the final analysis.

DYSON: Well, you heard it from one of the great interpreters of the
Scriptures in our land today, Professor Obery Hendricks. Thanks so much
for joining us here tonight.

HENDRICKS: My pleasure. Thank you.

DYSON: Rick Perry loves to show his conservative bona fides by
attacking gay marriage. But we`ll take a look at Governor Perry`s fun
loving side.

What would a Gingrich cabinet look like? Today, the candidate offers
a hint.

Stay tuned.


DYSON: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Yesterday, President Obama and
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared U.S. policy on ending human
rights abuses against gays abroad. This includes attempts by foreign
governments to criminalize homosexuality. This prompted Republican
presidential candidate Rick Perry to say that the Obama administration was,
quote, "investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americans of faith
find so deeply objectionable is wrong. President Obama has again mistaken
America`s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those
lifestyles," end of quote.

Perry also put out an ad about faith in America. Neither President
Obama nor anyone else is attacking anyone`s faith by extending equal rights
to gay people. On the contrary, they`re extending the historic trajectory
of faith in this country of protecting the vulnerable. As for Perry`s
anti-gay rhetoric, we thought we would mix it up with some of his more fun
loving moments for your consideration.


the pew every Sunday to know that there`s something wrong in this country
when gays can serve openly in the military.

To expand your tax footprint, if you know what I mean. Like nine
percent expansion.

As in the state of Texas, a gay couple cannot adopt a child in the
state of Texas.

I mean, like, my -- today has been awesome, girl.

Until there is a Federal Marriage Amendment that clearly states that
marriage is between one man and one woman.

If they print anymore money over there in Washington, the gold`s going
to be good.

We believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage. I applaud those
legislators in New Hampshire who are working to defend marriage as an
institution between one man and one woman, realizing that children need to
be raised in a loving home, by a mother and a father.

Who has that merry heart that loves what he does, and the countenance
of a cheerful man comes out.

Today has been awesome, girl.


DYSON: I mean, wasn`t it Joe who said the thing I feared the most has
come upon me? I don`t know. You might be protesting too much there,
Brother Perry. You go, boy.

Up next, Bill O`Reilly`s white washed life is on full display. But he
may have come up with a great idea for a reality show, presidential Soul
Train. James Peterson will be here.

Fourteen states are attempting to block the vote in the 2012
elections. Will they succeed? NAACP President Ben Jealous will join me
very shortly.


DYSON: My man, Bill O`Reilly, likes to pretend America has moved past
any racial problems into a post-racial nirvana, except Kurt Cobain`s dulcet
tones are nowhere to be heard. So he was completely confused last night
about the Obama administration`s outreach to African-Americans.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There is an outreach -- I don`t even
know what that means -- by the Obama administration to African-Americans.
I don`t -- what does that entail? Are they going to be on Soul Train?
What`s --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soul -- oh, you know you`re going to be on Media
Matters for that one right now. Soul Train?

O`REILLY: What`s the vehicle -- Soul Train is a popular program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s not. When, in 1964?

O`REILLY: Syndicated, isn`t it? Isn`t Soul Train still on? I must
be watching reruns.


DYSON: I watched "Soul Train." And trust me, "Soul Train" has been
off the air five and a half years. But it`s no surprise Bill O`Reilly is
hanging on to black stereotypes. Here`s what he had to say a few years ago
after dining with the Reverend Al Sharpton in Harlem.


O`REILLY: I couldn`t get over the fact that there was no different
between Sylvia`s Restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. It
was exactly the same, even though it`s run by blacks, primarily black

There wasn`t one person in Sylvia`s screaming, MFer, I want more iced


DYSON: Oh my god, for shizzle my nizzle. Bill O`Reilly`s surprised
that a restaurant run by blacks was not an expletive riddled experience
shows just how small minded he is. Although when it comes to President
Obama going on "Soul Train," O`Reilly might be on to something there. The
president does have some moves.


ELLEN DEGENERES, "ELLEN": You`re the best dancer, so far, the
presidential candidates.

a low bar.

I`m pretty, pretty sure I`ve got better moves than Giuliani.


DYSON: Go-Bama, it`s your birthday. We`re going to party like it`s
your birthday.

Here`s what Obama said during a 2008 debate when the moderator asked
him about the Tony Morrison quote that Bill Clinton was the first black


OBAMA: I would have to, you know, investigate more, you know, Bill`s
dancing abilities, and you know, some of this other stuff before I
accurately judged whether he was, in fact, a brother.


DYSON: So maybe a presidential "Soul Train" isn`t a terrible idea
after all. I wonder what that would look like.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There comes a time in every soldier`s life where
he must --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This man will never stop. Look at him jumping up
and down, ready to hop



DYSON: Oy vey. I`ve seen the enemy, and it`s Karl Rove. But for
more, let`s turn to Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana studies and
associate professor of English at Lehigh University.

Dr. Peterson, welcome to the show.


DYSON: Look, you`re a brilliant literary critic. You spend your life
trying to parse these complicated inter-relationships between what people
say and what they do and what they`re trying to signify. So tell us what
you make of Bill O`Reilly`s assumption that African-American outreach means
going on "Soul Train."

PETERSON: Well, this is just an attempt by Mr. O`Reilly to undermine
the administration`s efforts to reach out to the African-American
community. He`s well aware of the fact that this administration is
sensitive about these issues, because they`ve been challenged and critiqued
about not reaching out to the African-American community.

So obviously those folk on the right, their talking points are telling
them to pounce on any time that he does this, to sort of force that anxiety
within the administration for appearing to be too nepotistic, which is
insane, right? Because the Obama administration is not nepotistic. They
have to reach out to the African-American community because We`re feeling
some of the most direct pain in this unemployment era of the American

So the administration`s doing what they`re supposed to be doing.
That`s important. Bill O`Reilly is trying to make a joke out of this here,
in poor taste. I feel for Marc Lamont Hill. He`s struggling. He
understands in that very moment what Mr. O`Reilly is doing there. He`s
pandering to his base and to his viewers, and really trying to challenge
this administration that`s very delicately balancing a sort of full
complement of issues that they have got to address with respect to our
economy, and some very, very serious challenges in our communities.

DYSON: Doesn`t this prove, though, that the Obama administration has
a point, that the moment they began to make outreach in a systemic and
strategic fashion toward a vulnerable population like African-American
people, they get hammered by the right with these clueless kinds of
assaults that are rooted in racial stereotype?

PETERSON: Yes, it`s a double-edged sword here. Listen, no disrespect
to "Soul Train." I grew up on "Soul Train" as well. It`s an important
vehicle for the expression of African-American folk and oral production,
particularly around fashion and dance. It is -- there`s great documentary
about it as well.

So it`s an important piece of our culture and our history. But here
it`s being used as a political football to sort of put the administration,
at least in the eyes of some of their enemies and some of their opponents,
as pandering to the African-American community.

We all know nothing could be further from the truth. This
administration has been fair and balanced across different demographics and
across different populations. And the outreach to the black community here
is warranted when you look at the numbers of unemployment, as they stand
right now.

DYSON: Yeah, but when it comes to throwing that political football,
Bill O`Reilly is basically Aaron Rodgers, but he`s trying to pretend he`s
Tim Tebow, right, that he`s completely clueless when it comes to race
relations in America. And last year, he spoke at Reverend Al Sharpton`s
National Action Network Conference and he had this to say. Take a listen.


O`REILLY: It`s a much more interesting country, America, if we stop
with the race business, I think. I mean, I`m not black, so I don`t know
your struggle. And you don`t know my struggle. All right? Because you`re
not white.

But after 9/11, we pretty much dropped that race stuff, did we not?
We pretty much were all Americans there, right? All right. I hear yes, I
hear no. But to me, from my perch, there were blacks killed in that tower.
All right? All right, look, if you don`t think we dropped it, I do.


DYSON: I mean, maybe the guy needs to go to an ear, nose and throat
doctor. I hear yes, I hear no. Dude, they were booing you. So what do
you think of O`Reilly`s version of what he calls it, that race stuff? In
this the fantasy, we elect a black man who occupies the White House, we`re
done with the issue of race?

PETERSON: Right. And how limited is his sense of the race problem in
America, right? Because if you talk to the folk in the Sikh community and
folk in the Middle Eastern community or even folk who look Middle Eastern,
there was a tremendous amount of racial profiling in the immediate
aftermath of 9/11.

So that just seems ridiculous. What he`s doing in this particular
situation is he is aware of the fact that we have challenges around the
issues of race, but he likes to pander to his base and pander to his
viewers. This is how he sells books. This is how he commands the fees
that he commands in his speaking engagements.

I`ve done Mr. O`Reilly`s show before. Some of the stuff is just
purely performative. It`s distasteful, but he`s performing a sort of
radical right wing, post race positionalty, in order to sort of feed his

DYSON: All right. Dr. James Peterson, as always, thanks for your

PETERSON: Thank you for having me, sir.

DYSON: After the Obama administration`s continued foreign policy
success, Newt Gingrich says he`d change all of that if he were president.
Wait until you see who he`d make secretary of state. Can`t wait. That`s


DYSON: As president, Newt Gingrich says he`d lift those pesky child
labor laws. Hey, let`s return to the time when Dickens was at his height.
Today we`re given another glimpse into a would-be Gingrich administration:
Secretary of State John Bolton.

Gingrich got a standing ovation from the crowd at a Republican Jewish
Coalition Meeting after he vowed to appoint the Fox News contributor to his
cabinet. Bolton, a Bush campaign lawyer during the 2000 Florida recount,
was so beloved, Dick Cheney said he was deserving of any job he wanted.

What he got was ambassador to the U.N. He was given that role despite
comments he had made previously about the international body. "The
secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories,
it wouldn`t make a bit of difference."

Needless to say, President Bush had to recess appoint Bolton because
Senate Democrats refused to confirm him. Bolton, however, is probably best
known for his fierce advocacy of bombing Iran.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ambassador, what are our options regarding
Iran right now? What can we do?

JOHN BOLTON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think our options are very
limited. And I think that`s unfortunate. But I think diplomacy has
failed. I don`t see any prospect that diplomacy will dissuade the Iranians
from continuing to pursue nuclear weapons.

So I think we`re down to basically two other options. One is regime
change in Tehran. And the other is the targeted use of military force
against aspects of Iran`s nuclear weapons program.


DYSON: So what does Mr. Bolton have to say about Newt`s tantalizing
offer? Glad you asked. His spokesperson offered this statement: "Mr.
Bolton has not endorsed any candidate for the Republican presidential
nomination. He has spoken to a number of those running and he would be
happy to discuss national security issues with anyone in the race."

Next, the assault on minority voting rights in this country. Ben
Jealous, president of the NAACP, will join me.


DYSON: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Tonight in our survey, I asked
you, will Donald Trump cost Mitt Romney the Republican nomination? Thirty
one percent say yes; 69 percent say no.

Coming up, Ben Jealous of the NAACP on voter suppression and how the
organization is standing for freedom.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Johnson sends to Congress a bill to
reinforce the right to vote. With Attorney General Nicholas Catsenbach
(ph), the president signs an accompanying letter to the legislators urging
swift passage for the bill that would outlaw discriminatory practices.


DYSON: Forty six years after the Voting Rights Act was passed, a
report from the NAACP finds there is, quote, "a coordinated and
comprehensive assault on voting rights in this country."

Following unprecedented minority voter turnout in 2008, not to mention
the election of our nation`s first African-American president, 14 states
have passed a series of measures making it tougher to vote, including
limited early voting, requiring photo I.D. or proof of citizenship,
imposing tougher absentee ballot requirements and residency requirements.

These laws threaten to disenfranchise millions of people. Yet
Republicans claim it`s all about eliminating voter fraud. Florida State
Representative Dennis Baxley, who sponsored a voting measure, signed into
law by Governor Rick Scott, told "Politico" he is offended that accusations
are being hurled by the NAACP.

Here`s what he said on MSNBC earlier.


better system. And we have a very accessible system.


DYSON: I`m joined now by Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.
Ben, welcome to the show.


DYSON: Going to be better? I mean, by what stretch of the
imagination can one imagine that this update on kind of poll tax and
literacy tests to determine the legitimacy of black citizenship is anything
but what it does, which is wreak of tremendous racism?

JEALOUS: Frankly, what else would he say? You know, when the League
of Women Voters says we`re no longer going to do voter registration in
Florida, because your rules are too onerous, something`s wrong. The League
of Women Voters is like mom and apple pie. It is mom and apple pie.

And they have literally -- that man has run them out of the state with
his laws. You know, that`s what we`re dealing with.

DYSON: Well, you know, obviously the 2008 presidential election had
the most diverse voter participation in American history. Do you believe
that these laws are in direct response to those kind of statistics, the
fact that there was such an outpouring of African-American and Latino
voters that really threatens the Republican hierarchy and establishment?

JEALOUS: You know, let`s stick on Florida for a second, right? So
Florida, we go through Bush v. Gore. There`s this kind of huge outpouring.
Folks are saying, you know, we need to expand -- we need to be fair. And
so Bush and Christ go ahead and say, you know what, formally incarcerated
people here can vote. They`ve done the time. They can vote. They deserve
a second chance.

What happens? A couple years later, the Democrats win Florida. The
first black president is in the White House. The next Republican governor
comes in. What does he do? He says, you know what, we`re putting those
rules back into effect.

Then you say, what are these rules? Where did they come from? These
ex-felon voting bans that just pushed a half million people in Florida off
the rolls, they really start to blossom after the Civil War. When you look
at the actual history of the legislation, the actual debates, they say to a
word that they`re intended to suppress the black vote.

Now, that was the intent then. That was the effect now. We know the
effect now is the same. What the intent is now is doesn`t matter. You`re
using this old viral strain, if you will, that was put in place, created
with racist intent, that still has a huge disparate racial impact now. You
pull it in off the bench when things don`t go your way, you got to be
accountable for that.

DYSON: So a rose is a rose by any other name, so to speak.

JEALOUS: Quacks like a duck, walks like a duck --

DYSON: There it is. It`s a quack duck. But -- so we have a Florida
legislation saying this was insulting, nonsense. Beyond the ad hominem
assault, any substance to the notion that what the NAACP is doing here is
problematic or even potentially illegal?

JEALOUS: Yeah. The reality here is that he`s a big boy. I`m a big
bill, you know. This isn`t about my feelings or your feelings. This is
about whether or not our neighbors can vote, whether or not regular folks
can vote.

This is about us having to deal with grandmothers who were born in
Mississippi 80 years ago. You know what, the county courthouse has burned
down and they`ve lost their birth certificate that was given to their mom.
And now they can`t register to vote.

That -- in the state of -- either in Mississippi, or this one case,
this one woman is from Missouri. So this is about Wisconsin, where 75
percent of young black men, between 18 and 24, don`t have a valid driver`s
license. Why? Because they`re too poor to own a car, or they rent and
they move so often that by the time that they vote, their I.D. is, you
know, for the last place they lived, not for where they live now. They
know what they`re doing. They just cop to it.

DYSON: All right then, NAACP President Ben Jealous.

That`s THE ED SHOW for tonight. I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed
Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now.


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