MSNBC's Wagner Highlights Idea of Tagging Conservatives 'Pro-Hunger'

On Thursday's The Last Word on MSNBC, during a segment with food activist Tom Colicchio, substitute host Alex Wagner raised the left-wing activist's stated desire that those who oppose his agenda be labeled as "pro-hunger" as she seemed sympathetic to the idea. Wagner:

I want to begin by quoting something you told Time magazine. You said: "Hunger needs to become a voting issue, just like the Second Amendment is or the deficit is. It's time to start labeling people who are not on board with fixing this as pro-hunger."

And I wonder, given the conversation in Washington today, in and around food stamps, the SNAP program and the farm bill, do you think we are closer to that goal?

Colicchio responded:

Well, you know, I hope we're getting closer, and I hope that this current farm bill sort of enlightens people to realize that they need to start voting around food and food issues. The hunger advocates are just thrilled that this farm bill didn't pass. It was literally going to take food out of the mouth of children, people with disabilities, working families, seniors. It was just really devastating.

He added:

But, you know, ironically, it didn't pass because there were those on the right that didn't think it went far enough. And so it didn't pass for some of the wrong reasons, but it was a devastating farm bill that really, we need to take a look at this and create a new farm bill and one that supports hungry Americans, consumers, family farms and the environment.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, June 20, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC:

ALEX WAGNER: Before the farm bill failed today, there was an amendment to that bill that also failed on a voice vote. Republican Congressman Mike Conaway from Texas had proposed an amendment which threatened an across the board 15 percent cut to the SNAP assistance program, also known as food stamps, if Congress didn't pass a farm bill by the September 30 expiration date. He wasn't the only Texan Republican pushing for extreme cuts to a program that would effect nearly 50 million people. Enter Congressman Steve Stockman, whose communications director and agricultural policy advisor, Donny Ferguson, bragged about being able to live on food stamps for a week, which amounts to $31.50 for the average SNAP recipient.

Ferguson claims he came under that at $27.58 for the week. He went on to say: "I wanted to personally experience the effects of the proposed cuts to food stamps. ... I put my money where my mouth is, and the proposed food stamp cuts are still quite filling. We can cut the proposed benefits by an additional 12.4 percent and still be able to eat for a week." The problem here is, of course, Conaway, Stockman and Ferguson don't have to live on food stamps year around. The people that actually do tell a different story. They're struggling. That struggle is one of the topics tackled in a documentary by my next guest entitled, A Place at the Table.

(CLIPS OF DOCUMENTARY ARE SHOWN)

Joining me now is executive producer of A Place at the Table, Tom Colicchio, chef and food activist and judge on Bravo's Top Chef. ... Tom, I want to begin by quoting something you told Time magazine. You said: "Hunger needs to become a voting issue, just like the Second Amendment is or the deficit is. It's time to start labeling people who are not on board with fixing this as pro-hunger."

And I wonder, given the conversation in Washington today, in and around food stamps, the SNAP program and the farm bill, do you think we are closer to that goal?

TOM COLICCHIO, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF A PLACE AT THE TABLE: Well, you know, I hope we're getting closer, and I hope that this current farm bill sort of enlightens people to realize that they need  to start voting around food and food issues. The hunger advocates are just thrilled that this farm bill didn't pass. It was literally going to take food out of the mouth of children, people with disabilities, working families, seniors. It was just really devastating.

But, you know, ironically, it didn't pass because there were those on the right that didn't think it went far enough. And so it didn't pass for some of the wrong reasons, but it was a devastating farm bill that really, we need to take a look at this and create a new farm bill and one that supports hungry Americans, consumers, family farms and the environment.