Emboldened by his keen sense of omniscience, left-wing radio host Ed Schultz argued with a caller who dared criticize Schultz's command of the facts.
"There isn't anything I say on television or radio that I can't back up," Schultz claimed on Friday (click here for audio). "Anything."
All of his next radio show later, on Monday, Schultz demonstrated the flimsiness of this boast when he tossed out an assertion just as dubious, about Tim Pawlenty (here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: This is a guy who was a governor in Minnesota where a bridge fell down and killed 13 people and he didn't want to build another one. I mean, this guy, he didn't, he was against, they hadn't raised a sales tax on gas in that state in some 25 years. And he was against that. And the extra money was going to go to infrastructure because the people of Minnesota wanted to make sure that they had better roads and bridges and they took it upon themselves and of course they had enough votes for an override.
In fact, Pawlenty was not only in favor of rebuilding the fallen bridge, he was criticized by Democrats for rushing reconstruction, allegedly in time for the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis the following year. Here's how it was reported in The New York Times --
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 15 (2007) -- It took all of two weeks for the political unity brought on by a deadly bridge collapse here to fall apart.
Even as divers continued searching the Mississippi River on Wednesday for four people missing since the busy Interstate 35W bridge fell on Aug. 1, political leaders were dueling over plans for a replacement span.
The battle lines extended from disputed plans for light rail to suggestions that Pawlenty, a Republican, was unnecessarily rushing reconstruction to impress Republican Party leaders, who will hold their presidential convention in the Twin Cities in September 2008. Pawlenty says such talk is nonsense. ...
... Mr. Pawlenty and his State Department of Transportation have already unveiled broad plans for the new bridge, announcing the names of five possible contractors, and urging that it be open in record time, by the end of next year.
But R.T. Rybak, a Democrat who is mayor of Minneapolis; some Democratic leaders in the State Legislature; and members of the Minneapolis City Council have been loudly critical, questioning the need -- and safety, given everything -- and rushing to build a bridge.
It's true, Pawlenty opposed raising the gas tax and state legislators overrode his veto to increase it 8.5 cents a gallon. But with state finance officials predicting a $2 billion surplus earlier that fiscal year, Pawlenty's opposition to bilking taxpayers further was hardly outlandish.
The cause of the bridge collapse? Not lack of funding for maintenance as liberals were quick to allege, but a design flaw, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigation. A rebuilt span opened in September 2008, three months ahead of schedule.
Schultz and his radio producer declined to respond to a half-dozen emails over the last two days asking Schultz to back up his claim about Pawlenty, which appears to fall under the heading of "anything."