Liberal Talk Radio, Ed Schultz Show, Republican Party, Iraq
After 'Chickenhawk' Slam Backfires, Host, GOP Donor Tangle
An argument between a GOP supporter and liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz over the Iraq war actually turned physical, according to the Forum of Fargo, North Dakota.
Was Big Eddie's meltdown the result of too many "cool ones", or a stunt designed to remove persistent "progressive" doubts concerning his true political stripes?
Apparently, the barroom row, which took place in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, began after a patron mistakenly thought Schultz was still a conservative Republican and introduced the talker to his cousin, a Californian GOP donor.
When Big Eddie's attempt to use the standard lefty "chickenhawk" argument against his impromptu debate opponents backfired, the syndicated talker apparently got nasty.
From the Forum's Andrea Domaskin:
Schultz said the man and a woman with the man, both of whom had been drinking, would not end the conversation despite Schultz’s repeated attempts to do so.
“Finally, I put my beer on the bar and put my finger in his face,” Schultz told listeners of KFGO’s “News and Views” morning radio show. “I told the guy, ‘I didn’t come here for this.’ ”
The guy, Kevin Nagle of El Dorado Hills, Calif., offered a slightly different version of events when contacted Wednesday by The Forum.
Nagle, who was visiting relatives in the area, said his cousin introduced him to Schultz Saturday night. She wrongly thought Schultz was still a Republican, as he was earlier in his radio broadcasting career.
Nagle, who was with his fiancee Saturday, said he and Schultz had a civil discussion for about 10 minutes and that Schultz didn’t appear uncomfortable.
The conversation went sour when Nagle said he respects Joe Lieberman, the Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut known for supporting the Iraq war.
Nagle said Schultz said he doesn’t like Lieberman, and then commented that if Nagle felt so strongly about the war, his family should go over and fight in it. The daughter of Nagle’s fiancee serves in the Army and may soon go to Iraq. His fiancee’s son-in-law has served in Iraq. “It was at that time that Mr. Schultz completely lost control, in my opinion,” Nagle said. “He became enraged, and then our interactions became far less civil.”
Schultz said the woman with Nagle addressed Schultz’s wife with profanity.
“If someone comes up to you in public and calls your wife (references to expletives), what are you going to do?”
Schultz said he engaged in harmless shoving with Nagle, whom he never named on his radio shows. Schultz said he knew if he hit the man, he could be arrested, which could sink his professional career.
“That’s in my contract. I can’t be arrested,” Schultz said. “Am I now the target? I’m against the war. I think Bush is a fraud.”
Nagle said his fiancee, who he didn’t want to name, was responding to what she heard said about Iraq. “Obviously, you’re going to become very defensive,” he said. “That’s her family. That’s my future family.”
Nagle said as he and his fiancee were trying to leave the bar, Schultz moved toward him with his fist cocked, as if to threaten a punch.
“Fortunately my fiancee stepped in front of him right at the last second and blocked the physical interaction,” Nagle said.
Nagle said he talked to Hotel Shoreham owner Rick Lynch as he and his fiancee were on their way out, but then decided to stay. Shultz said he and his wife chose to leave the bar following the incident.
Nagle, president and CEO of a privately held health-care company, donates regularly to the Republican Party. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Nagle donated $21,420 to candidates and the party during the 2006 election season.
Schultz said on the air he felt he must share his side of the story after a reporter from The Forum inquired Tuesday night about the incident. He did not return a Wednesday phone call seeking a response to Nagle’s side of the story.
Though Schultz obviously hopes this incident will put to rest doubts about his true feelings, it ought to give the team of national Democrat Party leaders and syndication suits who initially backed his show pause.
Big Eddie talks about downing "cool ones" quite a bit on his show and it's clear that he isn't kidding. Could he prove far more of a loose cannon than they ever could have expected?
UPDATE: a substantial number of people are arriving at this page as the result of search engine requests for "Ed Schultz bar fight" and other variations. Will this incident become the defining moment in his career? Has Sean Hannity chosen to discuss this?
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