MSNBC's Schultz Touts Grayson as Model for Democrats to Imitate, 'I Love' Taliban Ad
Last week, on the Thursday, September 23, The Ed Show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz touted inflammatory Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson as an example that other Democrats should be following, and, apparently oblivious to the history of partisan polls being notoriously inaccurate, treated with credibility a poll conducted for Grayson's campaign which showed the Democratic incumbent 13 points ahead of his Republican challenger, Daniel Webster, as evidence that other Democrats should learn from the Florida Congressman. Notably, a Sunshine State/VSS poll released this week finds Grayson trailing Republican Webster by seven points, 43 to 36 percent.
On his radio show Monday, Schultz even praised Grayson's controversial ad that compares Webster's religious views to the Taliban, declaring, "I love it," and, during a panel discussion on Monday's The Ed Show on MSNBC, Schultz played a clip of the ad without noting its blatantly dishonest distortion of the Republican's words. The MSNBC host, who introduced the ad by calling it a "blockbuster," ended up claiming that Grayson's activities were no worse than those of Republicans as he debated conservative talk radio host Michael Medved.
Back to the September 23 Ed Show, Schultz plugged his interview with Grayson at the top of the show, contending that the Florida Democrat "is a loud and proud progressive, and it's working with voters in his district," and later introduced the segment declaring his belief that Grayson's alleged success offered "hope" for struggling Democrats:
But there's still hope for Democrats this year, down in Florida, maybe this is the way to do it. Congressman Alan Grayson, he is a strong liberal. He's sticking to the progressive principles, and, so far, my friends, it is paying off. Today the Nation reported Grayson's pollsters have him up by 13 points against his Republican challenger, Daniel Webster.
As he later began his interview with Grayson, Schultz praised the Democratic Congressman. Schultz: "First of all, I admire your tenacity, your honesty, and your fight when there's a lot of Democrats that are lacking confidence right now. How is this being received when you go out and about and meet people?"
As the interview ended, the MSNBC host asserted, "This is how you fight, Democrats."
On his radio show Monday, still clinging to the partisan poll alleging Grayson was 13 points ahead of Webster, Schultz praised the Taliban ad:
So Alan Grayson calling him Taliban Dan. Hands off our body and our laws. Now, this, of course, is gonna get a lot of heat, just, and he's up by what, 13, 14 points in this? And he's gonna get some heat for this, but I love it. I absolute, I mean, this, this is what you have to do. If this doesn't wake women up in that district to figure out who this guy is, nothing will.
And, returning to Monday's television show, during a segment with liberal talk radio host Joe Madison and conservative Michael Medved, Schultz introduced Grayson's controversial ad: "All right, the flame-throwing Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson has the hearts, the love and respect of many, many progressives across this country. He has come out with a blockbuster commercial, and here it is, calling his opponent the Taliban. Here it is:"
After playing the ad, the MSNBC host asked if it was "over the top," but he later rationalized the Grayson campaign's activities:
I think this is why this is such a very important point here. Because for once, there is a liberal out there who's willing to play on your home field there, Michael Medved. I mean, he's taking it right to you the same way the Republicans have done it to liberals and Democrats. So, but I think the bigger point here is that this guy's views on women is clearly out of the mainstream. And, of course, so is the Taliban.
Below is a transcript of Schultz's interview with Grayson from the Thursday, September 23, The Ed Show, followed by a clip of the relevant portion of the Monday, September 27 show on MSNBC:
#From the Thursday, September 23, The Ed Show:
ED SCHULTZ: And aren't you getting kind of sick and tired of the doom and gloom predictions that are out there by all the experts about how bad it's gonna be for the Democrats? I don't buy it. Congressman Alan Grayson, he is a loud and proud progressive, and it's working with voters in his district. We'll tell you how he`s doing it coming up in the "Playbook."
SCHULTZ, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 6:14 P.M.: And how do you run a race? Alan Grayson is proving conviction politics absolutely works. We'll show you that later in the show.
SCHULTZ, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 6:29 P.M.: Congressman Alan Grayson joins me for a gut check on just how to run a great race.
SCHULTZ: Up next, I'm hearing a lot of doom and gloom these days. The stories about the democrats aren't going to get it done in November. Here's some advice, be more like Congressman Alan Grayson, he speaks with conviction and the polls are showing he's doing what you need to do to win.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, I think its "Gut Check" time for the Democrats across the country. Stop running from health care reform. New polls show Democrats are trailing in three states President Obama won in 2008. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, he's down by six points. Senator Michael Bennett is trailing by five in Colorado. And Congressman Joe Sestak is down by five in Pennsylvania.
But there's still hope for Democrats this year, down in Florida, maybe this is the way to do it. Congressman Alan Grayson, he is a strong liberal. He's sticking to the progressive principles, and, so far, my friends, it is paying off. Today the Nation reported Grayson's pollsters have him up by 13 points against his Republican challenger, Daniel Webster. And keep in mind, it's in a district that was represented by a Republican for 25 years before Grayson took office last year. Grayson has been successful by going after it, by sticking right with his gut instincts and just hammering the Republicans with videos like this:
BEGIN CLIP OF AD:
KEITH OLBERMANN: What's the Democratic defense play on that?
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D-FL): Tell the Republicans: Stop lying.
SCHULTZ: This guy is what it's all about!
END OF AD
SCHULTZ: Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida joins us here on the Ed Show. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. First of all, I admire your tenacity, your honesty, and your fight when there's a lot of Democrats that are lacking confidence right now. How is this being received when you go out and about and meet people?
GRAYSON: It's great. You know, Ed, the most inspiring thing is that it's not just me, it's all of the people who are behind me, all the people who support me. That's why they're up 13 points up on the polls, that's why 50,000 people have come to the Web site, CongressmanWithGuts.com, and made a contribution to our campaign. It's not me, I'm just saying what everyone else is thinking.
SCHULTZ: Do they appreciate this aggressive style? I hear it on my radio show a lot. A lot of Americans are saying, you know, I wish the Democrats would get out there and get fight, and really get after it and fight harder and stick up for the accomplishments that have taken place in the last 23 months.
GRAYSON: I'm just telling the truth, Ed. That's all that there is to it. I mean, how did that get to be that that seemed to be aggressive to just simply say the truth? It's like Harry Truman said, you know, I'm not giving them hell, I'm just telling the truth, they think it's hell.
SCHULTZ: What do you say about health care reform? Are you proud to go out on the campaign trail and say, look, this is good stuff, are you using that?
GRAYSON: I systematically tell the people who I'm talking to why it's good for them. I tell people without insurance, you're going to get coverage, you're going to be able to see a doctor when you need too. I tell people with insurance that the affordability credits are going to help to pay for their insurance. And they won't be paying any longer indirectly through the emergency room care for the people who don't have care. And I tell seniors that they're going to be able to be better off because, finally, once and for all, the Medicare advantage scam artists will have to at least give them 85 cents on the dollar on their care instead of taking all that money and putting it in their own pockets.
GRAYSON: And they won't have to pay any longer for the doughnut hole, and they won't have to pay any longer for co-payments for ordinary care. I explain it to people, they understand it. What you see in the polls over and over again is the people who don't like health care reform don't understand health care reform.
SCHULTZ: Well, is, are the Democrats making mistakes? Some Democrats are even running ads against it. Are they making a mistake? Is there enough, are there enough great things in this bill that Democrats should be proud of?
GRAYSON: I think we have to be proud. The first TV ad that I ran in this campaign in my district was an ad explaining to people that I brought home $200 million to keep our schools open. We have to explain to people the benefit of what we do, why we had a recovery plan, why we had Wall Street reform, why we did all these different things, why we had health care reform. We explain it to people in my district, they understand it, that's why I`m 13 points up.
SCHULTZ: Go get them my friend, keep going.
GRAYSON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Alan Grayson with us here on the Ed Show tonight. This is how you fight, Democrats.
#From the Monday, September 27, The Ed Show:
ED SCHULTZ: All right, the flame-throwing Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson has the hearts, the love and respect of many, many progressives across this country. He has come out with a blockbuster commercial, and here it is, calling his opponent the Taliban. Here it is:
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D-FL): I'm Congressman Alan Grayson, and I approve this message.
FEMALE NARRATOR: Religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, in Iran and right here in central Florida.
DANIEL WEBSTER, FLORIDA REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Wives, submit yourself to your own husband?
NARRATOR: Daniel Webster wants to impose his radical fundamentalism on us.
WEBSTER: She should submit to me. That's in the Bible.
NARRATOR: Webster tried to deny battered women medical care and the right to divorce their abusers.
WEBSTER: Submit to me.
NARRATOR: He wants to force raped women to bear the child.
WEBSTER: Submit to me.
NARRATOR: Taliban Dan Webster, hands off our bodies and our laws.
SCHULTZ: Joe Madison, is that over the top?
JOE MADISON, LIBERAL TALK RADIO HOST: Yes, I mean, it really honestly is. He doesn't have to do it that way. I mean, what he said, obviously, he's taking Daniel Webster's words, but this association with the Taliban, look, we're at war with the Taliban. We're not at war with Daniel Webster and the radical right. They're not shooting women in the back of their heads. They're not stoning women. I mean, I hate to put it like this, but it's over the top. And Grayson doesn't have to do this. He's got a great record to run on. That's what I wish he would do is run on his record.
MEDVED: Well, it just seems to me that this is an indication of how desperate and how worried Alan Grayson is. He has a ton of money. He's raised as much money, I believe, as any Democrat running for re-election in the country. And if he has to use his money like this, to talk about a veteran politician and a veteran office holder in the state of Florida, and to compare him with the Taliban, this is also a deeply bigoted ad because if he is saying that people who are evangelical Christians, with whom he may disagree religiously, are people with whom you're going to compare to the Taliban and compare to killers and oppressors and terrorists, it's completely unconscionable, and too typical of Congressman Grayson.
MADISON: Well, well, but, yeah, but Mike, but let's be careful now. I mean, he's not the only one doing this. I mean, you know, we do have people on the right who have compared Obama to Hitler, to Marx- (INAUDIBLE)
SCHULTZ, CROSS TALKING WITH MADISON AND THEN MEDVED: That's my, you know, that's a key point, and that's why I think-
MEDVED CROSSTALKING WITH SCHULTZ: That's totally inappropriate, but few of them, very few of them are candidates for office
MADISON: Oh, this is not every congressman, either. I mean, when you say very few.
SCHULTZ: I think this is why this is such a very important point here. Because for once, there is a liberal out there who's willing to play on your home field there, Michael Medved. I mean, he's taking it right to you the same way the Republicans have done it to liberals and Democrats.
SCHULTZ: So, but I think the bigger point here is that this guy's views on women is clearly out of the mainstream. And, of course, so is the Taliban.
MEDVED: No, again, if you want to debate some of the actual issues and what Dan Webster has called for in terms of legislation, that's perfectly legitimate.
SCHULTZ: Ahh, that's weak.
MEDVED: But to take a speech that he gave in church out of context and to attack him for his religious viewpoint, is playing dirty pool.
SCHULTZ: You know, if Republicans, if Republicans left the politics at the altar and didn't talk about it when they got up on the stage, I would go along with that. But they have politicized churches in this country in a big, big way. Michael Medved, Joe Madison, got to run, gentlemen. Great to have you with us.
- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.