[UPDATE BELOW: Tamron Hall responds on Twitter.] MSNBC's Tamron Hall on Wednesday worried that Arizona may be turning into the "most conservative state in the nation." A graphic on the liberal cable network chided, "Arizona Too Conservative?" [Audio available here.]
Hall talked to Zachary Roth from the Talking Points Memo web page. His site first sounded the alarm over the threat from this right wing state with an article entitled, "Crazy Arizona: How A State Went From Swinging In '08 To Out On A Limb In 2010."
After discussing several conservative initiatives that the state House has passed, Hall linked the tough new immigration law and other proposals to bigotry: "Here you have a state that could be one of the first with a dominant population of Latino and Hispanics. Is that, perhaps, why we're seeing this conservative push so appealing with people there?"
Roth quickly agreed, "That may be part of it." He highlighted other bills to come out of Arizona and condescended, "There's a law that allows people to carry guns into restaurants and bars. So, you know, what could go wrong there, I guess?"
Hall closed by asking if her viewers were as alarmed as MSNBC apparently is. She solicited, "Some of those changes in Arizona. Will it make it the most conservative state in the country? Your thoughts?" Hall can be reached on Twitter here.
UPDATE: 04-28-10 02:55pm EDT
Tamron Hall responded on her Twitter page: "I am not fretting at all, you have guessed wrong this time. I do appreciate you watching. There is room for all in my America."
A transcript of the April 28 segment, which aired at 11:18am EDT, follows:
TAMRON HALL: [MSNBC Graphic: Arizona Too Conservative?] And Arizona's new immigration law has propelled the state into the national spotlight. But, there are more controversial laws on the book- on the books in that state. Is Arizona the most conservative state in the nation? We're going to tell you what we're finding there.
HALL: And there's national attention and scrutiny on Arizona right now because of its controversial immigration law. But, in recent months, Arizona state legislature has passed other laws that some say could make that state the most conservative in the country. Zachary Roth is a senior reporter with Talking Points Memos. Zachary, thanks for joining us.
ZACHARY ROTH (Talking Points Memo): Thanks for having me.
HALL: So, there's an interesting article on your site that presents some examples of recent laws including one regarding people on welfare and cable. Tell us a little more about that.
ROTH: Yeah. That one is interesting. That would cut people off from welfare benefits if they spend any money on cable TV or on alcohol or on cigarettes, I guess under the idea that if you're so poor that you're on welfare, you shouldn't be spending money on that stuff. That's only one of the laws you alluded to. Of course, there's the birther law which hasn't yet become a law, which was approved initially by the Arizona House, which would require a presidential candidate to submit- to prove their citizenship. And we all know who that's directed to. There's a law that allows people to carry guns into restaurants and bars. So, you know, what could go wrong there, I guess? And there's a law that would cut poor kids- cuts poor kids off from health insurance. So, those are just some of the laws.
HALL: Yeah. That's the Kids Care Health Insurance Program for poor children. In the article on your site, you say the writer says the state may never have been a swing as people thought, despite polls that showed things to be closer, McCain won by nine in the end. [Reading from TPM article.] "Arizonans are leaving both parties in droves to become independents though they are leaving the Democratic side faster." Um, what is the climate in Arizona? Here you have a state that could be one of the first with a dominant population of Latino and Hispanics. Is that, perhaps, why we're seeing this conservative push so appealing with people there?
ROTH: That may be part of it. One of the ways you can see it also is in John McCain's re-election race where he's having to run very hard to the right.
ROTH: He's always been known, of course, as a more moderate senator. He's having to run very hard to the right against a conservative challenger, even calling recently for the military to be brought out to protect the border with Mexico. So, you know, there's signs of it all over. Another interesting thing to think about is Arizona was one of the states hit hardest by the mortgage crisis. Two of the other states hit hardest, Florida and Nevada, we've also seen what seemed like lurches to the right in their politics. In Florida, of course, you have Charlie Crist, the governor, who a couple years ago was very popular, was talked about as a potential running mate nor John McCain, now, essentially being forced out of the Republican party for not being conservative enough. In Nevada, Harry Reid, the Democratic leader who is in a real fight for his re-election and could lose possibly to a woman who had suggested a chicken bartering system for health insurance.
HALL: Those infamous words. Zachary, it's a very interesting article. It's on Talking Points Memo. Zachary Roth, senior reporter there. Thank you very much. Greatly appreciate you coming on with us.
ROTH: Thanks for having me.
HALL: So, what do you think? Twitter.MSNBC.com. Some of those changes in Arizona. Will it make it the most conservative state in the country? Your thoughts? And I will read a Tweet of the day.