Allow me to refresh his memory.
Ed Schultz and a caller to his radio show Thursday got into a heated argument after she criticized him for suggesting last year that Democrats stay away from the polls on election day to express their anger with congressional Democrats for not extending unemployment benefits.
Schultz not only denied what the caller said, he was unequivocal and emphatic about it. Here's how the exchange went (audio) --
SCHULTZ: All right, let's see, let me get back to this headline here -- "Obama's team seeks new ways to fire up his base." Beverly in Chicago, you're on the Ed Schultz radio show. Respond to that, thank you.
CALLER: Do you think what you did in the midterms was right, telling folks to stay home?
SCHULTZ: I didn't say that and I'm not going to get into that discussion. That is absolute garbage. That is right-wing crap that's going around the Internet and I'm not even going to go down that road, but I'll give you a chance to finish your phone call.
CALLER: Whether you did or didn't ...
SCHULTZ: No, I, no, no, no, no, no, no. That's not a question of whether I did or didn't. I did not. I gave my opinion. I did not tell people not to vote. Do not say that! That is not true.
CALLER: OK, can I say something now?
SCHULTZ: You can say something, as long as it's not accusatory.
Don't you know I'm above criticism?! After that the call turned toxic, Schultz and the woman arguing for the next two minutes until Schultz reined in his anger and, to his credit, said he wanted to talk with the caller again after a commercial break. Later in the same hour, back on the phone with Beverly from Chicago, Schultz said this (audio) --
Do I think the president, do I have opinions about his campaign? Absolutely. Do I have opinions about the way they're doing things? Absolutely. Does that mean that I'm against him as a president? Absolutely not. Not at all! And, you know, you have to clarify exactly what you're consuming, OK? Just like when you called in and said that I was telling people not to vote. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I was telling the 99ers (Schultz's term for the long-term unemployed, those who had received jobless benefits for nearly two years), you know, asking them the question, where do you stand now in the midterms? They were the ones that brought it up. They said they didn't want to vote. I covered it as a story. I never said, hey yeah, you guys get together and don't vote.
.... a claim demolished by what Schultz proclaimed to his radio audience on July 30 (audio) --
SCHULTZ: But I'm not giving up on this (advocating for extension of jobless benefits for long-term unemployed). And I think the best way for the 99ers to get the attention of the Congress is to form an unemployed coalition and just flat-out tell the Democrats, we're not voting in the midterm. Look, if they don't realize the seriousness of this, then they don't deserve to be in office. It's that simple. Because they are not serving the people and they're just taking the problem and passing it to the next generation. We have got unprecedented unemployment in this country and the people have to be heard. The people have to be heard! This isn't about saving anybody's congressional ass. This is about saving lives at this point. And if Harry Reid doesn't have the guts to keep the Senate in to move on this issue, in my opinion, he should not be re-elected in Nevada. I don't care who he's going up against. We'll just have to go through this generational fight and make it a lesson for the Democrats and make sure that they know that the grass-rooters are serious, that we mean business, and you gotta do it for people and if you don't, we're not going to vote!
And I'm announcing today, I'm not gonna vote in the midterm. I'm not gonna do it! You can say it's un-American. No, it's rather revolutionary is what it is. I'm at that point. I'm checking out. I'm checking out of the Democrats because they are proving to me that they don't know how to handle these big babies over on the right that say no. You know what you do? You get in the driver's seat, you hit the throttle and you run over 'em. That's what you do. And the Democrats just don't have the guts to politically do that. So they have to be taught a lesson.
Not exactly a get-out-the-vote pitch. Any of this strike a chord, Ed, in particular your own remarks?
By the way, the legislation Schultz wanted passed before the midterms, to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, was not approved until December in the compromise between President Obama and Republicans to extend the Bush tax rates.