Christie's Criticism of Obama as Weak Leader is 'Hate Speech,' Fumes Ed Schultz

Laura Ingraham comes closest to nailing Ed Schultz's persona -- Ingraham sees him as the hothead "Heat Miser" of the mid-'70s animated Christmas special, "The Year Without a Santa Claus."

But Schultz isn't miserly when it comes to what he considers hate speech. Just about any criticism of President Obama qualifies. (audio clips after page break)

On his radio show Wednesday, Schultz vented about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appearing on "Morning Joe" the day before and describing Obama as a weak leader (audio) --

SCHULTZ: There is a developing narrative that President Obama doesn't lead and it, and it just bothers me. You know, look, I'm not happy with everything. But he's definitely my guy compared to anybody else. And I don't mean that to be a backhanded compliment. The fact of the matter is is that I think he's the best available person to be president of the United States, OK? I think his heart's in the right place, I think his intentions are good, I'm a fan and I believe in what the guy's trying to do, although I question his methods from time to time. Whatever! But that he doesn't lead? No. No, President Obama has been a leader on many, many fronts. But this is Chris Christie. He's on "Morning Joe" yesterday and he had a couple of sound bites that caught my attention. Let's play 'em, here we are --

CHRISTIE: My quarrel with the president is, is that he has not stepped up and led. He has not stepped up and led. He hasn't done the things that you need to do, the difficult things you need to do to lead. And that's my problem with the president. I mean, of course I have philosophical differences with him. But in the end, he hasn't stepped up and led.

SCHULTZ: What does he consider leadership? Well, he didn't get to that point. He didn't have A, B, C, D, this, this, this and this. It's just this generic pablum that is thrown out by these right wingers. Here he is again --

CHRISTY: Your definition, recently, of compromise is, everybody agree with what the president wants, so we can compromise. And that's not what compromise is.

SCHULTZ: Is it compromise when 89 people in the Senate say let's go ahead and extend these benefits, and this payroll tax holiday for two months, until we work out a deal? You mean to tell me that President Obama's influence and his leadership is so strong that he could get 39 people in the Republican Party in the Senate to be a turncoat and go along with him? Is that not leadership? I mean, look, your definition of, what, see, and that's the prob-, my problem with the governor from New Jersey is that he doesn't give any examples of where President Obama has failed when it comes to leadership. But I can give plenty of examples of where he has been very triumphant in leadership. What does he consider leadership? He hasn't led -- that's his quarrel? He has a quarrel with the president? That's what he said. When has he ever argued with the president on anything? Obama doesn't pay any attention to Christie. Except he did show up when there was some disastrous flooding that was taking place in New Jersey. He didn't seem to bother him there. Did he lead there or was that all Christie grabbing the president of the United States by the hand and walking around with him in New Jersey?

I mean, I just, I hate this generic talk and it really is a form of hate speech is what it is. Christie is trying to develop the narrative that this president is incompetent and hasn't gotten anything done.

Another form of hate speech comes to mind, this one much closer to the actual thing -- deceitfully claiming a political opponent hasn't said something that he has. Which is exactly what Schultz does here in alleging that Christie criticized Obama's leadership without offering specifics. That would be true if all one heard were the two brief clips provided by Schultz lasting less than 30 seconds. But the segment with Christie ran 21 minutes (linked here in its entirety). And during that time, Christie cited three examples of why he considers Obama weak and ineffective. 

Here was Christie's first specific criticism of Obama as leader, following a plug for Romney (audio) --

Let me tell you something, Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee for president. And when he is, he's proven before in his career that he can reach across the aisle. He was the governor in Massachusetts with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature and he got things done in Massachusetts when he was there. That's something that Barack Obama has never in his life proven he can do. Voting present in the Illinois state legislature doesn't count. Not voting and not showing up in the United States Senate doesn't count. If he wanted to continue to be somebody who was a bystander, he could have stayed in Congress for his whole career and not be held accountable for anything. But you know what? It's time to be held accountable. And he has not stood up the test of leadership.

The second example will ring a bell because it includes the first of Schultz's clips of Christie -- excluding Christie's criticism of Obama's leadership right after what Schultz aired. You stay classy, Ed (audio) --

And my quarrel with the president is, is that he has not stepped up and led. He has not stepped up and led. He hasn't done the things that you need to do, the difficult things you need to do to lead. And that's my problem with the president. I mean, of course I have philosophical differences with him. But in the end, he hasn't stepped up and led. (Schultz's clip ends here). And Simpson-Bowles is the perfect example. Now, we have a contrast between me and the president, New Jersey and in the country. Simpson-Bowles came out, difficult tough medicine, I don't agree with every part of it but I think it was a common-sense plan to try to deal with this debt over the long term. He asked for it and he took the, politically put it on the shelf. In New Jersey, we put forward a pension and benefit plan that hurt, hurt everybody. But we fought for it, we passed it, we're now, we're going to have a solvent pension system and we're going to have a health benefit system where everybody pays their fair share.

Third example, Christie citing Obama's unwillingness to expedite permitting for the Keystone XL pipeline in exchange for extending the payroll tax cut a full year, Christie seeing this as Obama's unwillingness to compromise to pass legislation (audio) --

And so my point though on this latest flap, the Republicans have offered a compromise. They're willing to swallow the one-year payroll tax cut if in fact in return they'd get the Keystone pipeline done, something they believe strongly and philosophically will create jobs. I know the president doesn't want that, but they don't want the payroll tax cut 'cause they don't think it works economically. That's the boulevard (previously cited metaphor for bipartisanship). You have to swallow that sometimes if you're the president of the United States in divided government to get done what you want to get done.

On the bright side, Schultz somehow got through his entire diatribe without accusing Christie of racism.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts