Maddow Blasts AFP's Tim Phillips As "Parasite", "Bad For The Country"

[media id=10344] Rachel had an extended segment with America For Prosperity (AFP)'s Tim Phillips tonight. AFP is yet another of those 501 organizatio

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Rachel had an extended segment with America For Prosperity (AFP)'s Tim Phillips tonight. AFP is yet another of those 501 organizations on the right funded by the insanely wealthy, founded for no specific purpose other than keeping taxes as low as possible and government out of their day-to-day activities as much as possible. The amorphous nature of the group means they can quickly adapt to whatever issues are popular at the moment and likely to draw the most cash donations. Mostly though they're a tool of a the Republican Party. The past president of AFP went straight from Koch Industries to the AFP, and then onto the McCain campaign as a spokeperson, Nancy Pfotenhauer. Enter Tim Phillips.

Prior to becoming the AFP President Phillips main claims to fame were as a political operative, with connections to Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff. Phillips was instrumental in the infamous Max Cleland-Saxby Chambliss race for Senate in 2002, often described as one of the dirtiest campaigns ever. Since becoming president of AFP they've been involved in every conservative cause, from drilling on ANWR in Alaska and denying Global warming; to helping organize the Tea Party movement (along with Dick Armey's Koch-sponsored sister group Freedom Works); to now taking an active role in opposing health care reform under the "Patients United Now" ad campaign, with one of them the infamous Shona Holmes ads. Phillips makes regular appearances on all the cable news networks but especially Fox News, of course. His "aw shucks" manner plays well there and he's fairly adept at denying the reality of his work as some homespun, grassroots organization when it is anything but. Phillips is among the slimiest of this faux movement, and Rachel rightly calls him out on his foul history.

A larger quote is below this one but here is a snippet of the exchange where Rachel tells Philips what she thinks of him and his kind.

Maddow: I just want to know who you are and I want America to know.

Phillips: Sure.

Maddow: And I have to tell you—because we’re making this about you and me is that I personally think that you and the folks who do what you do are a parasite who gets fat on Americans’ fears. And I hope that…

Phillips: That’s very hurtful and disappointing…

Maddow: I know…

Phillips: You certainly have a right to say that and it’s wrong.

Maddow: And I know that sounds hurtful. That’s why I paused before I said it but I want…

Phillips: And you’re wrong and you’re disparaging a lot of Americans who are out there fighting the good fight Rachel.

Maddow: But I want—I want…no. It’s different.

Phillips: Sure you are.

And here is a more complete text of their exchange. The entire two-part segment is available at MSNBC, here (Part 1) and here (Part 2). For the most part it is surprisingly congenial even while both share nothing but contempt for each other's professional activities.

Maddow: I’m not trying, I’m not just trying to cherry pick the Jack Abramoff…

Phillips: Sure you are.

Maddow: There’s the Jack Abramoff involvement…

Phillips: Mmm hmm.

Maddow: There’s the Saxby Chambliss issue. There’s the Koch Industries funded group that you’re doing—that you’re working at now that is…

Phillips: And by the way on the Koch thing. Well, just hear me out because you’ve mentioned that several times.

Maddow: Yeah, David Koch taking credit just last week for having founded the group that became…

Phillips: And we’re thrilled. David Koch has every right to do that. And Rachel you say “Oh I’m not disparaging David Koch. Of course you are. Come on.

Maddow: No. I’m saying this is an important thing…

Phillips: You’re attacking him for being involved in the process.

Maddow: I’m just saying when people look at that bus—they look at Americans for Prosperity, when they look at your big hot air balloon and say…

Phillips: And these aren’t Americans?

Maddow: No, I want them to think “There’s a guy who’s the eighth richest man in America because he inherited an oil and chemical company from his dad who founded this group.

(crosstalk)

Phillips: Inherited? They built that company. It’s one of the best companies in American businesses.

Maddow: But I want people to look at that hot air balloon that says climate change paranoia is all hot air and I want them to think oil and chemical company—the largest privately held oil and chemical company in the country. And for you to try to distance yourself from your own…

Phillips: You can do that.

Maddow: …funder undercuts your own credibility.

Phillips: And that’s why you’re losing on cap and trade. Why you’re losing on health care.

(crosstalk)

Phillips: Well the proof’s in the pudding. ObamaCare is below fifty percent. Cap and trade—there’s a governor’s race in Virginia right now where the Republican candidate is actually using cap and trade because Americans have woken up. They know what’s going on cap and trade because groups like Americans for Prosperity are going to tell them what’s going on.

If you want to keep attacking me for a flier that was a decade old or for a T.V. ad that’s years ago, you can. It’s a losing strategy Rachel.

Maddow: I just want to know who you are and I want America to know.

Phillips: Sure.

Maddow: And I have to tell you—because we’re making this about you and me is that I personally think that you and the folks who do what you do are a parasite who gets fat on Americans’ fears. And I hope that…

Phillips: That’s very hurtful and disappointing…

Maddow: I know…

Phillips: You certainly have a right to say that and it’s wrong.

Maddow: And I know that sounds hurtful. That’s why I paused before I said it but I want…

Phillips: And you’re wrong and you’re disparaging a lot of Americans who are out there fighting the good fight Rachel.

Maddow: But I want—I want…no. It’s different.

Phillips: Sure you are.

Maddow: It’s different because you’re being paid to do it and what you’re doing…

(crosstalk)

Maddow: When you signed on—you took some money to say some really disgusting things in the past like what you did about those Chinese workers in the Marianas Islands and the people who paid you to do it then—guys like Ralph Reed who should have gone to prison and guys like Jack Abramoff who did go to prison—now you’re pushing stuff that is as disgusting and the only difference is that we don’t know this time…

Phillips: Standing up for the health care feelings of Americans is disgusting. Wow. That’s a fascinating way to describe that.

Maddow: No but, having speakers at your events saying that ObamaCare is like Pol Pot and the Holocaust…

Phillips: I haven’t called it that.

Maddow: Right, but your speakers have and your organizing…

Phillips: My speaker that was at an event that was co-sponsored by us.

Maddow: Right.

Phillips: I did not control the podium. Again, if you want to pick out one of six hundred rallies, I’ve asked you to come before. Come with us on the road and see these people at these events.

Maddow: I don’t want to help promote you Tim. I don’t. I think what you’re doing is you’re getting fat, literally financially fat on Americans’ fears. And what I hope is that…

Phillips: And what are you getting fat financially to do Rachel? You’re doing it to attack us on your show.

Maddow: To do a news show—and I’m trying to tell people who you are.

Phillips. Oh, come on. A news show? Attacking us? Please.

Maddow: And what I hope is people stop falling for your shtick and stop being so afraid and that your industry that takes money to do this stuff and scare people and make money off it as a I think Republican and corporate funded thing—I hope that your industry proverbially starves because we stop being so afraid. I feel like I’ve got to say that to your face because that’s what’s burning under the surface while I’m asking you these questions.

Phillips: I can tell you’re very pretty upset tonight.

Maddow: I’m mad about what you do. I think you’re really bad for the country.

Phillips: Yeah. Well you have every right to think that. We’re going to keep going out there and delivering the message on health care and cap and trade. And we’re wining at the grass roots. You go out there and look at the fire that’s in this country—it’s on our side and by the way, it’s not about fear. It’s about loving our country. It’s about wanting to do what right for our families. You can disagree on this as fear mongering but in reality it’s about doing what they think is best—these American citizens who are involved—and whether it’s David Koch who’s a rich guy you like to beat up on although I never hear you trash George Soros. That’s an interesting point.

Maddow: I’m not beating up on David Koch.

Phillips: Oh please.

Maddow: I want people to know that he funds you.

Phillips: Come on.

Maddow: That’s all I want people to know and Tim you’ve been a sport to be here and I feel like I’ve been as honest as I can with you and I appreciate you being willing to talk about this civilly.

Phillips: You bet. Glad to be here. If we can’t do this, I don’t know what we can do and have a civil discussion about the future of this country.

Maddow: Good luck Tim.

Phillips: You bet.

Maddow: Not professionally though.

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