During a protracted segment tonight devoted to slamming Mitt Romney as a racist because of his campaign ads critical of the Obama administration's recent gutting of welfare reform, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and Al Sharpton took issue with token Republican panelist Steve Schmidt's complaint that both sides of the political aisle use race-baiting and extreme appeals to prejudicial fears of voters. Schmidt, who advised the 2008 McCain campaign, reminded his fellow panelists of a 2000 anti-Bush ad run by the NAACP which suggested that Bush was in some way to blame for James Byrd's dragging death, as well as a 2008 ad that compared John McCain to segregationist George Wallace. "Both sides, when they use these tactics, and both sides have used these tactics, my view is it's wrong. It doesn't have a place in American politics," he argued.

Immediately after Schmidt made his point, however, the liberals on the panel pounced, starting with weekend anchor Melissa Harris-Perry: