MSNBC's Schultz Defends Bachmann from 'Right-Wing Hit Job,' 'Maybe' a 'War on Women' in GOP

  On Wednesday’s The Ed Show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz came to Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s defense against what he called a "right-wing hit job" from the Daily Caller in the form of an article alleging that the Minnesota Congresswoman suffers from severe migraines. But one may question whether Schultz waded into taking a side in the controversy as an excuse for bolstering his case that the Republican Party is anti-woman, or just to attack the GOP establishment and other Republicans whom Schultz may perceive as being more able to defeat President Obama as he lambasted presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and FNC contributor Karl Rove.

But whatever his motives, Schultz had words that sounded more gracious than one typically expects to hear him speak of a Republican. As he neared the end of the segment, Schultz addressed Bachmann directly:

Michele Bachmann, I do not agree with you on anything. And I can say that my respect for you has gone through the roof in the last 24 hours. You were clear, concise, you stood up to it, and you weren't bullied by these people. The Republican establishment obviously fears this candidate as she is moving up in the polls big time and she's raising money far more than the people who are trying to take her down.

Earlier in the segment, the MSNBC host had played a clip of Karl Rove as the FNC contributor seemed to give advice to Bachmann on how to deal with the controversy by recommending that "it's going to be important for her to get her doctors out there quickly to provide the medical records and to provide the reassurance that people are going to want to have that this is not a serious issue." For giving what seems to be sound advice for a Republican candidate battling a hostile media, Schultz accused Rove of going after Bachmann. Schultz:

And it's just like Karl Rove to pull a stunt like this and raise the question that maybe she's not fit because he happens to be supporting Mitt Romney or anybody else of the establishment. But certainly not a Tea Partier like Michele Bachmann. Welcome to the dirty pool hall of the Republican Party, Michele.

The MSNBC host had begun the segment by showing a clip of Bachmann defending herself, with Schultz then adding: "That was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann responding to a right-wing hit job that appeared on the Web site Daily Caller."

Earlier in the show, Schultz had highlighted a dispute between Florida Republican Rep. Allen West and Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. After quoting from the Daily Caller during the segment on Bachmann, the MSNBC host suggested that there may be a "war on women in the Republican Party." Schultz:

Now, in my opinion, if Bachmann's polling numbers were in single digits and in the tank like Tim Pawlenty’s are, then perhaps there wouldn't be a need for a story so heavy on insinuation and light on specifics. But she's a real threat, you see. The Republican establishment is scared. Maybe there is a war on women in the Republican Party, so, sure enough, after Bachmann that stated she is able to keep her migraines in check, here comes Karl Rove planting yet another seed of doubt.

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday, July 20, The Ed Show on MSNBC:

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN) CLIP #1: Like nearly 30 million other Americans, I experience migraines that are easily controllable with medication.

BACHMANN CLIP #2: But I'd like to be abundantly clear: My ability to function effectively will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief.

ED SCHULTZ: That was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann responding to a right-wing hit job that appeared on the Web site Daily Caller. The story alleges that the presidential candidate suffers from migraines that leave her, quote, "incapacitated" for "days at a time." Worse yet, the piece suggests that Bachmann pops pills like candy to keep the issue under control. Now, in my opinion, if Bachmann's polling numbers were in single digits and in the tank like Tim Pawlenty’s are, then perhaps there wouldn't be a need for a story so heavy on insinuation and light on specifics. But she's a real threat, you see. The Republican establishment is scared. Maybe there is a war on women in the Republican Party, so, sure enough, after Bachmann that stated she is able to keep her migraines in check, here comes Karl Rove planting yet another seed of doubt.

KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: For the Bachmann campaign, this is a first big challenge. It's evidence of what happens when you jump up into the top ring of these polls and the kind of scrutiny that you get. And it's going to be important for her to get her doctors out there quickly to provide the medical records and to provide the reassurance that people are going to want to have that this is not a serious issue.

SCHULTZ: It is a non-story. Doubling down on Rove's efforts, Tim Pawlenty - Mr. Two Percent - like a buzzard circling over a carcass, here’s Pawlenty questioning whether Bachmann is even fit for office.

FORMER GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY (R-MN) CLIP #1: All of the candidates, I think, are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job all of the time.

PAWLENTY CLIP #2: There’s really no time off in that job.

SCHULTZ: I just wish he would have done all of the job, all of the time, in Minnesota so you wouldn’t have left us with a $6.5 billion budget deficit, but I guess that’s another story. Now, keep in mind, folks, that comment right there that Pawlenty just gave us, that's coming from a guy who took a pass on attacking frontrunner Mitt Romney on his health care record in the first debate. Well, it looks like he's really getting tough. Late this afternoon, Bachmann's camp released a letter from the attending physician of Congress, the doctor stating that Bachmann manages her migraines with medication and is otherwise healthy. Michele Bachmann, I do not agree with you on anything. And I can say that my respect for you has gone through the roof in the last 24 hours. You were clear, concise, you stood up to it, and you weren't bullied by these people. The Republican establishment obviously fears this candidate as she is moving up in the polls big time and she's raising money far more than the people who are trying to take her down. And it's just like Karl Rove to pull a stunt like this and raise the question that maybe she's not fit because he happens to be supporting Mitt Romney or anybody else of the establishment. But certainly not a Tea Partier like Michele Bachmann. Welcome to the dirty pool hall of the Republican Party, Michele.