Does Piers Morgan even try to show integrity anymore? The CNN host goaded the chair of the DNC into bashing Republicans on his Monday night show and plugged her new book without asking her one tough question about her own party.
Morgan's first question to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was this pathetic softball: "What is going on with the GOP right now?" Schultz laid into her political opponents. "They have the opportunity to do the right thing and not shut the government down and hold the economy hostage with the Affordable Care Act as ransom. And instead they went with the Tea Party," she ranted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Morgan praised her "terrific book" and added this friendly comment: "Debbie Wasserman Schultz, extremely glamorous photograph on the cover there but you're apparently going to solve all our nation's problems." In explaining her book, Schultz took another shot at the Tea Party: "The Tea Party has taken us to the absolute extreme edge of the political process and we need to come back together."
In contrast, Morgan pressured his Republican guests, Rep. Peter King (N.Y.) and Rep. James Lankford (Okla.) to slam the Tea Party and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in particular. "James Lankford, am I the most naive person in America or wasn't it the same Senator Cruz that caused the shutdown that led to all this?" Morgan asked about Cruz's appearance at a protest outside of a barricaded D.C. memorial.
Morgan drew out a controversial remark made at the protest, the Million Vets March, and asked Lankford, "when I hear people like this representing the Tea Party faction of the Republicans, I mean your heart just sinks about the sheer stupidity of these people."
Such brazen partisanship explains Morgan's recent admission that he drew inspiration from HBO's liberal "Newsroom" where the fictional news host abandons his veil of objectivity for activism.
Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on October 14 on Piers Morgan Live at 9:08 p.m. EDT:
PIERS MORGAN: Debbie, what's struck me about that interview with Peter King was the sheer venom of one Republican to other Republican. What is going on with the GOP right now?
Rep. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-Fla.): Well, I mean I understand where Peter King is coming from in terms of that frustration but that's really passing the buck. I mean, the feet – the blame really lays at the feet of the Republican Party. Each of them has a vote in their own right. They have the opportunity to do the right thing and not shut the government down and hold the economy hostage with the Affordable Care Act as ransom. And instead they went with the Tea Party and in fact that my counterpart at the RNC today, actually urged the House Republicans to stay at the course and to hang in there. I mean we're about to default and jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States and they are still – their leaders are still fanning the flames.
MORGAN: Well, we had this extraordinary rally on Sunday, the Million Vet March on the memorials where Senator Cruz and Sarah Palin turned up. But I want to play a clip first of all from a man called Larry Klayman. He's a senior Tea Party activist from Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group. Listen to what he said about the President of the United States.
LARRY KLAYMAN, Freedom Watch founder: I call upon all of you to wage a second American non-violent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this President leave town, to get out, to put the Koran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out, up.
(End Video Clip)
MORGAN: He actually went further. He actually went on to say, "We want a country that's not ruled by a President who bows down to Allah and is not a President of we, the people." I mean, James Lankford, when I hear people like this representing the Tea Party faction of the Republicans, I mean your heart just sinks about the sheer stupidity of these people.
Rep. JAMES LANKFORD, (R-Okla.): Yeah, this is America where everyone can express their own opinion but it is uniquely their opinion. You're going to be a lot of people from the Tea Party, they're great folks all over the country, very concerned about debt. They're not going to have rhetoric of that sense. He can have whatever rhetoric he chooses to have in a free country, and to be able to speak out on that. He's not necessarily voicing it for all Americans or for all people that represent even party values.
MORGAN: OK. Let's play a second clip here from Senator Ted Cruz at the same event.
Sen. TED CRUZ, (R-Tex.): This is the peoples' memorial. Let me ask a simple question. Why is the Federal Government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial? Why did that Federal Government spend money to erect barricades to keep people out of Mount Vernon? Why did the Federal Government spend money to erect barricades to keep people out of Mount Rushmore? Look. Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games.
(End Video Clip)
MORGAN: James Lankford, am I the most naive person in America or wasn't it the same Senator Cruz that caused the shutdown that led to all this?
LANKFORD: Well, he was definitely a part of it in all that. The challenge of it is not just that there's a shutdown, it's that something unique did happen. That for instance the Lincoln Memorial has never been closed, 18 different government shutdowns that have occurred, there's never been barricades erected around them. It's an open air memorial.
You know, so it is a little odd. Suddenly, there is this shutdown and there's barricades and there's people there. There are more guards actually keeping people out then there are typically when it's open it'ss there. That is a little odd I have to tell you and begs the question of why is the Federal Government spending so much money to fight to keep an open air memorial closed that has not been closed before in previous shutdowns that happened during the Reagan administration or during the Clinton administration.
MORGAN: Okay. Senator Lankford, thank you very much. You're staying with me, Debbie. What was your reaction first of all to what he just said?
SCHULTZ: Well, it's just unbelievable that what they're outraged about is not that 800,000 federal employees are furloughed. I had a woman – I was watching my daughter's soccer game on Saturday when we had a chance to go home after votes. A woman who works for Social Security, a fellow soccer mom came over to me and said it was her 10th day on furlough. She and her husband and their child live paycheck to paycheck, her husband is a salesman.
They live on commission plus her salary and she didn't know how they were going to pay their mortgage if this went on much longer. I mean the question that should be asked is why did we have to shut the government down in order to make sure that we could find a way to work together on other issues?
MORGAN: Well, the sheer nonsensical situation that the guy who caused it standing by the barricades which then go up –
SCHULTZ: Come on.
MORGAN: I mean ridiculous, I'm sorry –
SCHULTZ: You know what analogy I heard today that was perfect that was based on what Ted Cruz said. What he's arguing is like complaining that the supermarket is shut down but we can't get to the bread aisle.
MORGAN: Exactly. It's ridiculous.
SCHULTZ: I mean it's ridiculous.
MORGAN: This is your new book, "For The Next Generation," Debbie Wasserman Schults, extremely glamorous photograph on the cover there but you're apparently going to solve all our nation's problems. Very quickly, tell me about the book and what do you think we can learn from this in relation to what's going on right now?
SCHULTZ: Well, I wrote it really as one mom who happens to serve in Congress in order to sound an alarm bell because we're right in the midst of the main reason I wrote the book because we have so many dire pressing issues that have been – it's like we blocked out the sun when there's a government shutdown and we almost reached default.
We have to work together. It doesn't have to be this way. The Tea Party has taken us to the absolute extreme edge of the political process and we need to come back together. We need more parents to get engaged. We need –
MORGAN: More women, do you think?
SCHULTZ: And we need more women –
MORGAN: Are women better at negotiating with other women? Would more get done in Washington if it wasn't for all these testosterone alpha males marching around?
SCHULTZ: You know, I think we need more women because in my experience in the women in Congress on both sides of the aisle talk about this all the time, how if they just put us in a room together more often, we could solve a lot of these problems. Women are more focused on consensus building, not every woman but, you know, the times that I've worked with women, women are not as focused on obliterating the other side. They want to find a way to get to yes.
MORGAN: Well Debbie it's a terrific book, "For The Next Generation."