Republicans seem to "prefer [reopening] war memorials to" resuming cancer treatments for "living children." That's the grotesque, hyperpartisan spin that MSNBC's Martin Bashir weaved on his October 2 program, reacting to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus's offer to have the RNC pay for five security guards to man the World War II Memorial which the National Park Service, in concert with the Obama White House, has ordered closed during the shutdown.
Bashir made that remark shortly into his Wednesday program before introducing his all-liberal panel of guests. Bashir, of course, failed to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's callous rejection of the notion of passing a funding bill that would re-open the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and with it clinical trials to treat cancer-stricken children. The relevant transcript follows the page break. [MP3 audio available here; Video follows page break]:
MARTIN BASHIR: Yes, Cantor and company have chosen the war memorials as their cri de coeur against the shutdown that they themselves are inflicting upon the nation.
And they plan to vote on a set of their cherry-picked government funding choices. National parks and museums, veterans' programs, D.C. government operations, the National Institutes of Health and the National Guard.
And while that list is growing, there's quite a lot they didn't mention there. For example, as many as 19,000 children in 11 states at risk of losing access to head start. Protesters at the Capitol tried to draw attention to that cause.
Similarly, they didn't mention nutrition benefits for roughly 9 million pregnant women and new mothers now on hold. But RNC chair Reince Priebus did arrive with urgent word that the Republican National Committee will pay to keep the World War II Memorial open for a month.
REINCE PRIEBUS [on videotape from earlier appearance at WWII Memorial]: I have come here to announce that the republican national committee has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel, full-time, to keep the world war ii memorial open.
BASHIR: He notably did not announce that he will pay for children with cancer to get access to clinical trials that they're now being denied. But I guess Mr. Priebus prefers war memorials to living children. Let's get right to our panel...
As the Washington Free Beacon noted earlier today, Reid dismissed the notion of passing a funding bill for NIH which would benefit sick children. Dana Bash of CNN, no staunch conservative she, asked Reid the relevant questions at a Wednesday news conference. His answers were stunning:
DANA BASH: You all talked about children with cancer unable to go to clinical trials. The House is presumably going to pass a bill that funds at least the NIH. Given what you’ve said, will you at least pass that? And if not, aren’t you playing the same political games that Republicans are?
HARRY REID: Listen, Sen. Durbin explained that very well, and he did it here, did it on the floor earlier, as did Sen. Schumer. What right did they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It’s obvious what’s going on here. You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. They’re obsessed with this Obamacare. It’s working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.
BASH: But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?
REID: Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless –
BASH: I’m just asking a question.