Wisconsin State Senate yet to vote on anti-union bill.
Obama Taken To Task by Cenk Uygur on MSNBC TV, February 25, 2011 For Not Supporting Wisconsin Workers .
President Barack Obama’s response to labor protests in Wisconsin hasn’t been forceful enough for many political leaders in his party… Cenk Uygur lambasted Obama on MSNBC for not showing more solidarity with the workers — even though back when he was running for president, he vowed he would.
00:00:00 That we can do which is creang jobs.
00:00:02 All of us get things done.
00:00:04 We’re about getting things done.
00:00:06 We’re not primarily and ideological group of people.
00:00:11 >> A distraction.
00:00:13 It’s a distraction.
00:00:14 People finally stand up.
00:00:15 They’re fighting for their rights.
00:00:17 <÷ And they even agreed to the spending cuts. 00:00:20 All they want is can we have an ability to negotiate together? 00:00:23 And to yo you that's a distraction. 00:00:25 Look, these protesters and legislators in wisconsin having fighting this unbelievable heroic fight in the street. 00:00:33 And democratic governors from across the country have this response? 00:00:36 I've got to ask, did the white house instruct them to do that? 00:00:39 Did they say hey, you know what, go out there and shush, don't talk about wisconsin. 00:00:43 I'm going to come about that in a minute. 00:00:45 And I'm actually going to ask one of the governors who was there about that as well. 00:00:51 We'll also try to find out why the white house and the national democrats seem so lukewarm about what's happening in wisconsin. 00:00:56 Can we get a pulse? 00:00:58 Can we get a heart beat, can we get fighters? 00:01:01 We actually have one on the show. 00:01:02 So let me talk to a real fighter. 00:01:04 Joining me now is wisconsin state representative cory mason who was on the house floor when the republicans rammed through the bill. 00:01:13 Cory what happened? 00:01:15 What did they do in those matter of seconds that got you so angry? 00:01:20 >> It was unprecedented.
00:01:21 We had been in the midst of debating and trying to persuade independent-minded republicans to come over to our side.
00:01:28 We were debating for 61 hours and abruptly they shut down the debate and immediately we went to a vote.
00:01:37 We think maybe unethically and unlawfully.
00:01:41 >> Could this have been so illegal?
00:01:43 >> They closed down the vote so quickly.
00:01:53 They closed the rolls.
00:01:53 There were thousands of people waiting to be recognized.
00:01:57 They’re willing to resort to any tactic to ram this through.
00:02:01 >> As you’re sitting there pointing at them saying shame, shame, shame!
00:02:08 Obviously the relationship with the republican side has to be disastrous.
00:02:14 Is there anyone there to talk reason?
00:02:15 Or is it like ha ha, we got you and they run out of the building.
00:02:19 >> It was pretty cowardly, I’ve got to be honest with you, to do this and cut off debate.
00:02:24 The minority, the one right we still have is the right to dissent and make sure our voices are heard.
00:02:31 They didn’t even want us to do that.
00:02:34 It’s a ridiculous pattern of taking away workers’ rights.
00:02:37 Now they took our rights away to dissent on the floor.
00:02:41 >> Let me ask you, how do you feel about the rest of the country here?
00:02:44 Obviously you have a lot of passionate people in wisconsin, whether it’s you guys or the protesters that have been there day after day after day.
00:02:50 And then from the national democrats, you hardly hear a peep, how does that make you feel?
00:02:56 >> I will tell you what makes me most heartened is the rank and file grassroots support we’ve been getting from people around the state and around the country.
00:03:05 And not just from democrats, from independents and republicans who are outraged this governor is trying to take away people’s rights.
00:03:15 >> Have there been any fallout?
00:03:19 That’s it, to the senate with 14 senators out of the state.
00:03:28 >> What this proves is the 14 senators can’t come back until we know they’re willing to treat us fairly.
00:03:34 >> All right, cory mason, thank you for your time this evening.
00:03:37 >> Thanks.
00:03:38 >> We always appreciate it.
00:03:39 Now let’s turn to the people who think wisconsin is a distraction.
00:03:43 We showed you governor o’malley saying it wasn’t right to focus on wisconsin.
00:03:47 No look, I’m going to ask you a real question temperature do you think he came up with that on the own?
00:03:54 Or do you think it’s possible in the white house, the white house said be cool, be cool, don’t talk to the press about wisconsin, or else it will seem like the democrats support the unions.
00:04:06 God forbid, the guys who helped get you elected, the guys you said you would support.
00:04:11 Now all of a sudden no, no, no we don’t want washington thinking that.
00:04:19 Let me meet you to a different man, this is candidate obama in 2007.
00:04:23 >> And understand this, if american workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the white house, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself and walk on that picket line with you as president of the united states of ç america, because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.
00:04:45 >> Oh, that is so true.
00:04:48 Where is that man?
00:04:48 Where is he?
00:04:52 What happened?
00:04:52 Now that you’re in the white house you couldn’t find a comfortable pair of shoes to get out there on that picket line.
00:04:59 He said I’ll be right there with you.
00:05:02 Since thursday, not a word, not a word.
00:05:04 What has he done since collective bargaining rights of the people in wisconsin have been challenged?
00:05:10 I’m telling you.
00:05:11 He doesn’t have comfortable shoes on, he has comfortable slippers on.
00:05:14 And he put them on.
00:05:15 Of course, the excuse he always uses is oh, no, it would be a distraction.
00:05:19 It would seem like — of course it’s political!
00:05:21 It’s a tough political fight.
00:05:23 You know who they could use?
00:05:25 They could use their leader.
00:05:26 But he hasn’t gone out there.
00:05:27 He hasn’t even said one word of support since last thursday.
00:05:31 Instead he sent out a spokesperson to talk about cutting spending instead.
00:05:36 >> On the wisconsin situation, congressman ellison and others have called for the president to come out to wisconsin and stand with the workers.
00:05:43 Is that under discussion?
00:05:49 >> And that I’m aware of, chip.
00:05:54 I think what we have made pretty clear is that the president thinks and we think, he’s stated this, that obviously a lot of states in the union are dealing with fiscal issues.
00:06:06 Big problems in their state budgets that need to be addressed.
00:06:12 They need to act responsibly, tighten their belts, live withinairewithin their means just as we in washington need to do with our federal situation.
00:06:23 >> I’ve got to ask you, even if you’re the most ardent obama supporter, could you tell that from any republican administration?
00:06:31 Fiscal issue, tighten your belts.
00:06:34 He later talked about shared sacrifices.
00:06:39 There’s never shared sacrifice for the rich which they just gave a huge tax cut, too.
00:06:44 Did he say president obama is in the middle of grabbing his shoes and getting out there?
00:06:48 He didn’t say that.
00:06:49 HE SAID THEY’VEyTu TO CUT Spending in wisconsin.
00:06:52 It sounds like he’s supporting the governor.
00:06:54 I don’t want you to get me wrong.
00:06:55 President obama isn’t the problem.
00:06:56 In this case, the republicans are the problem.
00:06:59 Governor walker wants to take away collective bargaining and balance the budget on the back of the middle class.
00:07:04 I get that.
00:07:04 But what I need you to realize, because it’s true and because it’s important is that president obama, while me’s not the problem, is also not the solution.
00:07:21 He’s never going to put on those walking shoes.
00:07:22 He’s not going to get out there and lead.
00:07:59 That’s not what he does.
00:07:59 That’s not who he is.
00:08:00 He’s a careful, calculating politicians.
00:08:01 Well, you know, in washington if I seem like I’m cutting spending more than the republicans, will they write good things about me?
00:08:04 Great, they’re writing great things about me in washington.
00:08:05 He’s going to try to get out there and frogt this sense that he cuts more than the republicans.
00:08:08 Get out there and support unions?
00:08:09 No, no, no nose are liberals.
00:08:09 I wouldn’t do that.
00:08:10 I’m in the white house, I’m not going to say a word.
00:08:11 He’s not going to get shaken off the political game he is plays.
00:08:13 in ohio it’s in your party, it’s among the people who voted for you, who supported you.
00:08:16 It’s in your country.
00:08:17 But don’t do it, don’t even think about obama coming out thereto and coming to the rescue.
00:08:19 And I want to tell you, thank god for the people of wisconsin.
00:08:21 They didn’t wait for him.
00:08:21 And that’s why I’m telling you this.
00:08:22 It’s not to blame obama, it’s to tell you that under no circumstances should you wait for him or anyone else to ride to the rescue.
00:08:28 That they’re not going to do it.
00:08:30 It’s not in them, it’s not in obama.
00:08:35 They’re politician he’ll only ride in on the cavalry, honestly, in t case of president obama, if he thinks you’re right about to win.
00:08:47 They’re for you.
00:08:48 You’ve got to wear them and you’ve got to wear them proud.
00:08:51 Don’t don’t wait for any politician.
00:08:55 Look what’s happened in the last eight days.
00:08:58 They’re not going to do it.
00:08:59 YMu GRAB THE REINS AND YOU DO It.
00:09:01 That’s what they’ve been doing in wisconsin and that’s what’s worked so well.
00:09:04 That’s why republican governors in ohio and florida and new jersey are running scared.
00:09:09 Because those are real people exercising their right to a democracy.
00:09:13 All right, now let me talk to a man who’s stuck in the middle of all this.
00:09:18 He’s joining me, now he’s illinois governor pat quinn who’s participated and helped by giving shelter to the democratic state senators from wisconsin.
00:09:28 But he was also at the meeting with president obama today.
00:09:33 I want to ask you about the wisconsin democratic senators.
00:09:36 It looks like illinois has become a bit of a sanctuary.
00:09:39 You had the indiana senators come in as well.
00:09:43 What is it about illinois?
00:09:45 You know, that you provided support for them?
00:09:47 >> We believe in unions, we believe in the right to collectively bargain.
00:09:51 We believe in offering hospitality to anyone who wants to come to our state.
00:09:55 I talked to mark miller, the democratic leader in the senate there in wisconsin.
00:10:00 I talked to him and welcomed him to our state.
00:10:02 He’s free to stay with his colleagues as long as they want, the same with our friends in indiana.
00:10:10 Illinois believes in unions and so do i.
00:10:14 I’m not in the middle.
00:10:15 I’m on the side of the working people in wisconsin.
00:10:17 I don’t agree at all with governor walker.
00:10:20 I’ve said that publicly.
00:10:24 And I was at the meeting with the president this morning.
00:10:27 He agrees with me.
00:10:28 He’s from our state, president obama, and he’s on the side of collective bargaining.
00:10:32 He made that crystal clear this morning.
00:10:34 We’ve got to have unions that have the right to sit around the table and negotiate wages and working conditions and benefits.
00:10:41 And that’s an article of faith, as far as I’m concerned.
00:10:43 I know that’s true of the president, too.
00:10:46 >> I meant you’re in the middle of the action, you’re at the white house, involved in the wisconsin state democrats.
00:10:52 But governor quinn, I want to ask you about that meeting you just mentioned there.
00:10:56 You said the president has made crystal clear he’s on the side of collective bargaining.
00:11:01 >> He said it was an assault on the right ç to organize, the right to have a union.
00:11:09 When this all began — >> many moons ago.
00:11:10 >> But governor walker in wisconsin, I think that’s the person we should real pli be criticizing.
00:11:18 He’s taking a very extreme position that’s anti-worker, anti-middle class, anti-the opportunity of everyday people to come together and ban together, to have a union.
00:11:29 They already made their they’re willing to do that.
00:11:34 I think americans all over the country feel that this is wrong and they joined together and they’re saying no.
00:11:44 >> Here’s the thing.
00:11:46 Is governor walker the problem?
00:11:48 No question.
00:11:48 We’ve been doing that for a week.
00:11:49 We’ been saying it over and over.
00:11:52 We showed the koch brothers call.
00:11:54 It’s obvious who he’s in the pocket of.
00:11:56 But a lot of progressives are asking, look, it’s been a long time.
00:11:59 It’s been eight days.
00:12:01 There hasn’t been a single word about this.
00:12:03 And then you have the meeting at the white house.
00:12:06 Internally we were discussing here.
00:12:07 I wonder what’s going to happen?
00:12:09 Are they going to come fighting or come out and say oh, no, no, no I don’t want to talk about wisconsin.
00:12:15 And the governors came out and said I don’t want to talk about wisconsin.
00:12:19 I’m asking what happened in the white house is that led to that press conference.
00:12:22 >> I think democratic governors are aggressive and progressive when it comes to this issue, whether it’s in wisconsin or ohio or indiana or anywhere else.
00:12:30 If there’s an effort to try and bust unions, I’m going to stand up.
00:12:52 The workers and the peop of wisconsin that come together and have a union and work hard.
00:12:56 Who’s clearing the snow in the blizzards we’ve had?
00:13:02 The hardworking public servants.
00:13:04 They deserve a decent wage and benefits and a union.
00:13:09 We’re going to fight hard until the last dog dies.
00:13:12 >> I wish I was hearing just as clear a message from the white ç one last specific question.
00:13:18 Did anybody in the white house tell the governors, when you go to talk to the press, let’s skip wisconsin, let’s not talk about that?
00:13:25 >> Oh, no, not at all.
00:13:27 I think every governor there felt the same way that I felt about.
00:13:34 We have dialogue.
00:13:36 I don’t always agree with the unions that represent the illinois worker, but we have an opportunity to visit, to have give and take.
00:13:43 And we come to a decent bargain and a decent contract.
00:13:52 The workers have a chance to get a little class wage and living.
00:13:58 That’s what we’re fighting for.
00:13:59 We’re not going to let governor walker in in wisconsin take that away from people in wisconsin or anywhere else.
00:14:05 >> Thanks for joining us tonight.
00:14:06 We really appreciate it.
00:14:07 >> Thank you.
00:14:08 >> All right.
00:14:09 Now, the progressive movement subpoena standing with wisconsin and proudly so.
00:14:14 Solidarity protests will be held all across the country tomorrow.
00:14:18 One progressive activist joins me to talk about that next.
00:14:21 And witnesses say a republican congressman laughed when a voter at a town hall meeting stood up and asked him, quote, who’s going to shoot obama.
00:14:30 Reverend al sharpton responds to that next.
00:14:33 And it’s also a swim and a misfor house speaker j boehner.
00:14:40 He went golfing in the middle of the shutdown showdown.
00:14:44 Which is exactly what he accused clinton of doing 15 years ago.
00:14:50 Usual hypocrisy.