updated 5/21/2009 12:54:51 PM ET 2009-05-21T16:54:51

Guests: Barbara Boxer, Jesse Ventura, Sam Stein, Karen Hanretty, Todd Webster, Sen. Mark Warner, David Ignatius

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  I‘m Ed Schultz.  This is THE ED SHOW.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  Good evening, Americans. 

Live from the nation‘s capital, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

President Obama gets a win on cars and climate change and brings together a diverse group of people to get it done, from a Republican governor to automobile CEOs. 

Credit card companies get thumped on Capitol Hill.  The Senate passes Chris Dodd‘s bill.  Just how good is it? 

And RNC Chairman Michael Steele tells Republicans, hey, they need to start attacking the president head-on.  So much for the party of new ideas. 

Plus, “Psycho Talk.”  Glenn Beck compares taking back AIG bonuses to the Holocaust. 

And in my playbook tonight, I‘m really disappointing myself not to lead with this story tonight, but I will tee up my very favorite story. 

That‘s all coming up with a great panel tonight. 

But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.”

Some are calling it the biggest step ever by any president.  The left is loving this president tonight. 

Barack Obama is living up to a campaign promise.  During the campaign, President Obama went to Detroit, and he told them that they were going to have some changes.  CAFE standards were coming. 

Today, he made good on that promise. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This gathering is all the more extraordinary for what these diverse groups, despite disparate interests and previous disagreements, have worked together to achieve.  For the first time in history, we have set in motion a national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new trucks and cars sold in the United States of America. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  By 2016, light cars and trucks manufactured in America must get 35.5 miles to the gallon.  Now, the president‘s team is claiming that this is going to cut emissions, reduce costs, and take a major step towards energy independence, which he talks so much about. 

Now, environmentalists are just praising the president tonight, although Detroit has fought CAFE standards for decades. 

Folks, let me tell you something.  This is are change.  Detroit has been trying to figure out how to make a dollar and make a living and how to survive.  The president just handed them a very brand new roadmap. 

This is your new direction. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  And the fact is everyone wins.  Consumers pay less for fuel, which means less money going overseas and more money to save or spend here at home.  The economy as a whole runs more efficiently by using less oil and producing less pollution.  And companies like those here today have new incentives to create the technologies and the jobs that will provide smarter ways to power our vehicles. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, this is going to save about 1.8 billion barrels of oil through 2016.  That‘s 1.8 billion.  That‘s more oil than we imported last year from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, and Nigeria combined, my friends.  Combined. 

That‘s an environmental equivalent of taking 177 million cars right after the road.  New vehicles are going to have to get 30 percent cleaner and more efficient by the end of this program. 

Here‘s the catch, and it‘s a tough one.  The price of the cars for you and me is going to be going up.  Consumers, well, we‘re going to be paying about $1,300 more for a vehicle by the end of 2016. 

But you know what‘s interesting?  Politically, this comes at a very interesting time, because there‘s been a lot of bad news around the country about the car industry, Chrysler going bankrupt, GM facing a deadline, factories are being closed, jobs are being lost.  And now the president throws out something that the lefties can really embrace.  Pretty savvy. 

The automobile industry claims that this is going to cost them more money.  But the upside is the environmental impact. 

And for more on that, let‘s go to the senator from California, Barbara Boxer.  She‘s a chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. 

Senator, I can‘t let it go, congratulations in order.  I know that you‘ve worked very hard on this.  But I know that there‘s going to be a lot of people out there saying, here we go, this is big brother dropping a mandate on the car industry. 

How do you feel about the big picture? 

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  Well, the fact is, we have fuel economy standards, Ed.  We‘ve had them for many, many, many years.  We just haven‘t done our work.  We haven‘t raised them to where they ought to be raised. 

Now, I think if you ask the average person, do you think the carmakers by 2016 should be able to give us 35 miles to the gallon?  I think most people would say yes.  I‘m already getting 52 miles per gallon, you know, on a hybrid car.  So this isn‘t much of a stretch, and it‘s a moneymaker for the average family. 

After three years, you start making money because we‘re going to have

it‘s going to take so much less fuel to fill up our cars.  By the time we get rid of that car, we‘ll have made a couple of thousand dollars.  So it‘s a win-win, and it‘s not a new government reach.  It‘s something we‘ve done for many years. 

SCHULTZ:  And do you think the cost of these cars is going to be something that‘s going to be tough for them to bring to market?  I mean, right now we‘re having a hard time buying a car in this economy.  Where are we going to be in 2016?  Do you think this goes far enough? 

BOXER:  I think this is a very good meeting of the minds between California, who started all this, asking for our waiver.  We are so excited about this.  By the way, 15 states followed us on that, so we had all of these states just raring to go with these higher fuel efficiency standards. 

And then we had to bring to the table Detroit, California, and the federal government.  And this could have been done many years ago.  My only regret is it took us so long. 

As far as the cost is concerned, I think I‘ve said that.  We‘re going to see an increase in the car price.  However, you‘re going to make it up over the lifetime of the car.  It‘s going to be a couple of thousand dollars in your pocket. 

We get free of foreign oil.  It‘s the equivalent of taking 177 million cars off our roads.  So the air will be cleaner, and we‘ll be creating clean, you know, alternative energy jobs, which is very exciting. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you‘ve got to hand it to the president, he‘s living up to his campaign promise on this. 

BOXER:  Oh, yes. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think—do you really think this is going to have a big environmental impact?  Because that‘s really who he‘s playing to right now. 

BOXER:  Well, I don‘t think that that‘s all he‘s playing to.  I think he is following through on a commitment to make this country, you know, free of foreign oil, to make us energy independent, to create clean jobs.  And yes, by the way, it‘s going to make our air cleaner and it‘s going to fight global warming, because when you reduce those greenhouse gas emissions, it really helps. 

And all this done by bringing people to the table, as I said, California and those other states, Detroit, and the federal government.  You know, the president said yes, we can, and he‘s proving it once again. 

This is a win-win for everybody.  It really is. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Boxer, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

BOXER:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Last night on this program, I said the White House has been ominously silent in their support of Nancy Pelosi.  That changed today.  President Obama was quick to applaud Nancy Pelosi and her leadership, standing firm behind the speaker. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I want to make sure that I acknowledge some people who have been critical to this effort and critical to so many efforts at the state and federal levels. 

First of all, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has just been cracking the whip and, you know, making Congress so productive over these last several days, we are grateful for her. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Pelosi continues to be the target of the right, but it doesn‘t seem to be working.  It‘s all about torture.  That‘s right. 

Has Pelosi made all of the right moves? 

Joining us now is former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, who‘s an expert on a lot of things. 

Governor, got to have some fun with this early on.  I did help you get Becker County back in the good old days. 

(LAUGHTER)

JESSE VENTURA, FMR. MINNESOTA GOVERNOR:  What, when I ran for governor? 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, sir, absolutely. 

VENTURA:  How did you do that?

SCHULTZ:  Well, I was on the radio saying that you were the man for so many days.  Come on, now. 

VENTURA:  OK.  Well, I just became aware of that.  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Governor, I‘ve got to ask you, do you think that Nancy Pelosi has played this correctly?  And has she really beaten back a real push by the conservatives to make her look terrible in all of this? 

What do you think?

VENTURA:  Well, to me, it‘s very much a smoke screen.  Going after the speaker doesn‘t get to the heart of the problem. 

The truth of the matter is, if the Bush administration hadn‘t done torture, this would all be irrelevant.  So let‘s go to who started it all, and that is the fact that Vice President Dick Cheney and his lawyers changed the name of torture.  They call it enhanced interrogation.  And they think that by just changing the name of something, that makes it acceptable. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you have been very critical of the former vice president.  In your opinion, as an American, do you think he‘s gone too far to stir this up, to pit one administration against another and saying that the president is weak right now? 

VENTURA:  Yes.  Well, he‘s going to say that.  After all, he‘s the opposition.  And he‘s defending the position they take of taking us to these two wars and everything that went on for the last eight years. 

I personally am offended greatly by the fact that my country now tortures people.  I don‘t like that a bit.  It‘s very much like an old friend of mine used to say, once the nose of the camel gets under the tent, there‘s no stopping the camel from being in the tent. 

When you start to waterboard, where will it end? 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  And from your experience as a Navy SEAL, how do you think the SEALs feel about all of this?

VENTURA:  Well, certainly, I would hope they don‘t condone torture, because it‘s against the law.  It‘s already been proving that you don‘t get information from torturing someone, because when you do torture them, they will say whatever it is to stop the torture.  So it‘s not reliable information.

And again, should we be stooping to the level of our opponents?  I don‘t think so.  You know, our country should be above that. 

And waterboarding is torture because I‘ve had it done to me at SERE school.  And so I know what it‘s like to be waterboarded, and I find it very interesting that all the people that say, oh, it‘s just waterboarding, have never had it done to them.

SCHULTZ:  Governor Ventura, respectfully, I‘ve always called you that.  Jesse, what do you think of this political sideshow or very serious situation in Minnesota with Norm Coleman and Al Franken?  As former governor, what do you think Governor Pawlenty should do after the Minnesota State Supreme Court rules coming up in the next few days? 

What do you think?

VENTURA:  Well, I think whatever way the Supreme Court goes, he should follow suit and declare the winner, because Minnesota needs its second senator.  They‘ve gone through the process.  And the initial election was so close that by law, I believe, it required a recount. 

Well, when they did the recount, Franken apparently won.  And it‘s time to move on. 

It‘s time to get going and let him become the senator, if indeed the Supreme Court rules that way, and end this matter.  And besides, I find it very interesting that Norm Coleman, the Republican, in 35 years he has never had a private sector job.  I think it‘s about time as a Republican he finds out what it‘s like to work in the private sector. 

SCHULTZ:  Governor Ventura, good to have you with us here on THE ED

SHOW. 

VENTURA:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Thanks so much.

VENTURA:  All right.  Very good.  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Thank you, sir.

Coming up, Congress cracks down on abusive credit card practices, but now companies are looking to put the screws to their best customers. 

Can we stop them?  I‘ll ask Senator Dick Durbin next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Big banks have been making big dollars with their deceptive credit card practices.  Now, today, the Senate finally decided enough is enough and passed a Credit Card Bill of Rights.  This is great news for consumers. 

President Obama says that he wants to sign the bill before the Memorial Day recess, but the banks aren‘t giving up.  They‘re not going to give up $20 billion a year in profit and penalty fees without a fight. 

The credit card companies plan to go after you if you‘re a good customer, and that‘s how they‘re going to make up the difference.  You know, the folks that pay their bills. 

Well, give me a break on this one. 

Joining me now is Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. 

Senator, good to have you with us tonight. 

I know that Americans out there want to know, does this clean it up? 

Does this, Dick, take out the fine print in all of this? 

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS:  Well, Ed, let me tell you what we‘ve done.  We‘ve managed to close and blow up maybe 40 or 50 tricks and traps that these credit card companies and banks have come up with.  Trust me, if this makes it all the way through, signed by the president, they‘re going to put their accountants and lawyers at work to find some more tricks and traps. 

We really need an agency to protect American consumers, one that‘s on the job full time.  Congress gets around to this every once in a while.  This is a good bill, but we need an agency that works on this full time. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, what agency are you talking about?  Are you talking about growing government on the back of this?  What‘s happening here?

DURBIN:  Well, I‘ll tell you what, we do need it.  We have the Consumer Product Safety Commission right now that makes sure that there‘s no lead paint in toys and that the toaster you buy doesn‘t catch fire and the television doesn‘t blow up after you bring it home.  We need to also have in place a financial products safety commission, too, that keeps an eye on these credit card agreements and blows the whistle on these companies when they cross the line. 

SCHULTZ:  Here‘s what people want to know.  They want to know if there‘s not going to be anymore surprises.  Like, if they pay their bill on time, there‘s not going to be any arbitrarial-type (ph) movement to go from, say, 8 percent to 29 percent. 

Have you taken that out? 

DURBIN:  Well, I can tell you that Senator Chris Dodd led the fight on the Senate floor for this.  And he makes sure that when it comes to changing the interest rates or upping the interest rates, or having people get hit with a penalty, and then interest on the penalty, and then interest on the interest, we start closing those down one after the other in this Senate bill.  And Senator Dodd did a great job to achieve that. 

I voted for the bill that had an overwhelming support in the Senate.  I think it‘ll come out in good shape in the conference report.  But we need to do more. 

SCHULTZ:  But now, Senator Durbin, the credit card companies are saying that, well, we‘re just going to go after the people that have been paying their bill and make it a lot tougher on them.  You know, what‘s the oversight there? 

DURBIN:  Well, I think the good news is there‘s enough bipartisan anger on the floor of the Senate today to pass this kind of reform.  I tried to put in some of these provisions 10 years ago, and I was beaten back by the Republican side of the aisle.  But now, after the election, after the president‘s leadership on this, we‘ve seen some changes.  We‘ve got to make sure that we keep vigilant, keep an eye out to help consumers, because I know the credit card companies aren‘t going to go away. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Durbin, we got a lot of response from our viewers when you made the comment on this program several weeks ago that the banks own the Senate.  Did you prove something here with this?  Is this a punch back? 

DURBIN:  Well, I can tell you, when I tried to do something about mortgage foreclosures, the banks beat me.  Just fair and square, they beat me, and it was unfortunate. 

Then we came back on credit card reform and we succeeded.  I still think there‘s an agenda we need to work on. 

I talked about the financial product safety commission.  That‘s one of those things. 

The second thing is, you ought to be able to get that discount when you pay in cash, check, or with your debit card and don‘t use a credit card.  Right now, the credit card companies are stopping that. 

And finally, we‘ve got to have a limit on the interest rates that are charged.  There are some rip-offs going on here with these pay day loans and title loans.  These operations are ripping off American consumers and we need to fight to make sure that they have a chance. 

SCHULTZ:  So, does this bill address pay day loans?  Because that‘s different from credit cards now. 

DURBIN:  No, it sure doesn‘t. 

SCHULTZ:  This is something that you want to do in the future.  Is that correct?

DURBIN:  That‘s exactly right.  There‘s more to do. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.

DURBIN:  We shouldn‘t view this credit card reform as the last stop.  We‘ve still got to be there to fight for America‘s consumers who are struggling in this recession. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Senator Durbin, great to have you with us on THE ED

SHOW.

Thanks so much. 

DURBIN:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Next up with THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.”   Glenn Beck suggests that taking back executive bonuses is like the Holocaust?  His complete psycho talk next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Time for “Psycho Talk.” 

Oh, he is back.  Glenn Beck checks into the “Psycho Talk” zone tonight. 

See, he took his show on the road, I guess, on Friday.  And he did a town hall type thing which he called the civilest of wars. 

Why is that all these conservatives, everything they do, they want to put the name “war” on there? 

All right.  Anyway, during this thing, Beck starts to talk about gun sales.  They love that. 

They‘re through the roof, he says.  And then he explains why.  The why is what‘s shocking here.  The why invokes Nazi Germany, and then it compares it to our government. 

Listen up. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  Gun sales are going up through the roof.  Does anybody remember the poem, you know, “First they came for the Jews and I didn‘t stand up because I wasn‘t a Jew”?  Do you know that from Germany? 

And then at the end, I think this is the problem.  First, they came for the banks.  I wasn‘t a banker, I didn‘t really care.  I didn‘t stand up and say anything.

Then they came for the AIG executives.  Then they came for the car companies.  And I didn‘t say anything. 

Until it gets down to you, most people don‘t see they are coming for you at some point.  You‘re on the list.  Everybody‘s on the list. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Wow. 

Let me see if I got this right.  Beck says Americans are buying guns.  Why?  To defend themselves against a government he compares to Hitler‘s Nazi Germany, a government that is coming for you? 

Now, it‘s a great line.  You‘re on the list?  What the heck does that mean? 

For the man who wrote the German poem Beck quotes, it meant going to a Nazi concentration camp.  The poem‘s author spent eight and a half years in a Nazi concentration camp. 

So what does it mean for us?  What are they going to do to us when they get us?  I mean, this is crazy fear mongering again.  It‘s paranoia, it‘s right-wing conspiracy theories.

It‘s Glenn Beck again in the “Psycho Talk” zone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN:  It is time to talk to you about some very important turning points for our party.  The first turning point is this: Today, we are declaring an end to the era of Republicans looking backwards. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That was RNC Chairman Michael Steele laying out his vision for the future of the Republican Party today. 

Steele says the GOP needs to turn the page.  But who is out there talking right now?  Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Rush.

Are Michael Steele and the Republicans ready to tell these guys to get back in the box?  Who would take their place anyway?  Who else is speaking for the GOP? 

Republican Governor Jon Huntsman, well, he joined the Obama administration earlier this week.  And Governor Schwarzenegger, well, he‘s kind of in the dog house for actually trying to work with the president on climate change and the economy. 

No, when the Republicans look to the future, all they say is tea. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STEELE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  You know it‘s real.  You can see it, and you can feel it.  This change, my friends, is being delivered in a tea bag. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  For more on all this, let‘s bring in our panel tonight.  Democratic strategist Todd Webster, Republican strategist Karen Hanretty, and also “Huffington Post” political reporter Sam Stein with us tonight. 

Interesting comments there.  Sam, we‘ll start with you tonight.  Are they trying to throw Michael Steele under the bus?  Is he on solid ground right now? 

SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Paradoxically, this was to get him on more solid ground with the Republican leadership.  This was a red meat speech.  You saw it there.  There was really no substance to it whatsoever. 

We did a word search for the speech; 32 mentions of Obama, zero of Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism; only two mentions of the economy.  There‘s no ideas other than we need to change like our tea bag demonstrations show. 

And it helps with the base and certainly they loved it there.  I don‘t see how this helps him penetrate the moderates that are clearly fleeing the party. 

SCHULTZ:  We may be rolling back to the ‘90s.  It‘s the economy stupid.  This is what Michael Steele had to say about the economy today in his speech. 

What he said “our nation‘s unemployment rate has climbed to a 25-year high.  The gross domestic product, the best indicator of our economic health, was down 6.1 percent in the last quarter; 2.5 million Americans have lost their jobs this year alone.  Just last month, when 530,000 Americans lost their jobs, this administration tried to spin this as progress.” 

Karen, it‘s like he‘s trying to put the whole thing on the Obama administration.  Do the Republicans have a leg to stand on when it comes to the economy?

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, look, I think Michael Steele, each and every day, in each and every way, seems to step in it.  There‘s no real disputing that. 

SCHULTZ:  Is he on solid ground? 

HANRETTY:  I actually don‘t think he‘s on solid ground.  And the only thing I would dispute with you, Sam, the only thing is that he‘s actually appealing to the base.  I‘m not even sure that he‘s really even appealing to the base at this point.  I think there‘s a lot of concern about his leadership. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, his leadership is also, Todd Webster—he‘s under criticism for hiring cronies and then paying them a little bit more than market rate.  What about that? 

TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I think the Republican party has more fundamental problems.  I give them credit for trying to put a moderate, genial, articulate guy as their—the head of their party, to try to draw some more support.  But the fact is there‘s only 25 percent of Americans consider themselves Republicans right now.  It shows that there‘s a fundamental problem there. 

I think, more broadly, when the Bush administration, like the Republican party, was trying to do a better job selling itself in the Middle East, rather than changing their policy, which was to invade a Muslim country and call it a crusade, they hired a Madison Avenue ad executive to try to beef up our diplomacy.  When that didn‘t work, they hired Margaret Tutwiler (ph).  When that didn‘t work, they hired Karen Hughes. 

The problem was not a lack of flash and spin.  The problem was the underlying Republican philosophy and the underlying problem. 

SCHULTZ:  The president has signed SCHIP.  The president has an economic stimulus package passed.  The president is working on health care.  The president today set the standard, a very bold step forward on CAFE Standards.  And 52 percent of Americans right now are willing to step up and identify with the Democratic party; 52 percent of Americans identify themselves as Democrats. 

On the other hand, the GOP‘s in trouble.  They lost with college grads in 2008.  They lost 10 percent, low-income nine percent, middle income at nine percent.  In the Midwest, they lost nine percent.  In the moderates, they lost nine percent.  This is a clear erosion.  And lost nine percent of those who did support them at one time that are under the age of 30 years old. 

Is the hourglass turned on the Republicans right now? 

HANRETTY:  You know, I think they‘re making a lot of mistakes in the Republican party.  This is not the time—you know, we talk about being the loyal opposition.  If I were Republicans right now, looking at the most popular political figure on Earth, I would find some areas where we actually do have agreement.  And I think there are some areas.  And I‘m going to plagiarize here from someone who wrote on “Politico‘s” the Arena.  I‘m sorry, I‘m not recalling the name. 

SCHULTZ:  At least you‘re calling it out. 

HANRETTY:  At least I‘m calling it out.  I don‘t want to pull a

Maureen Dowd.  Yes.  But, you know, Republicans should become the party of

yes, but.  Yes, we agree with the president here, but.  And, you know, look

and obviously, we‘re two parties.  Assume we don‘t agree on everything. 

But what the president‘s doing on health care, people want something done on health care or energy.  There—look, take smart grid.  Find some of these infrastructure issues where we can agree, yes, we ought to be spending money; we ought to be upgrading, you know, the electrical grid. 

STEIN:  I said this before.  I thought during the stimulus debate, they missed an opportunity.  They got a bunch of tax cuts in the package.  It was a victory for them, albeit a relatively moderate one.  None of them actually voted for the package and then turned around and took credit for it.  That would have been a big boost for them. 

I think you‘re absolutely right, with health care, they‘re going to need to do this.  They‘re going to need have an accomplishment under their belts if they want to build fundamentally. 

HANRETTY:  If you want people to listen to you. 

SCHULTZ:  And finally, all three of you, on a scale of one to 10, if the Republicans were putting Michael Steele on the ladder of trust, where would he be? 

WEBSTER:  They‘ve taken away his budget. 

SCHULTZ:  If you can‘t run the money, how you going to be the boss? 

WEBSTER:  He‘s purely a figure head.  He‘s window dressing for the party.  They‘ve taken away any budgetary authority.  I don‘t know how long he is for the party. 

HANRETTY:  But it‘s worse than that. 

(CROSS TALK)

HANRETTY:  He‘s not even supposed to be a figure head.  He‘s supposed to be out there registering voters, coming up with plans to actually go and win campaigns, recruit candidates. 

STEIN:  To his credit, he had a strong fund raising month.  And I don‘t see the Republican party wanting to go through this whole process again of finding a new chairman.  And he‘s not going to be kicked out of the committee any time soon.  He‘s not on solid ground.  Obviously, he‘s stepped in it one too many times. 

HANRETTY:  He‘ll just become irrelevant. 

SCHULTZ:  I don‘t know how they‘re going to get somebody else.  If the bar is set, you can‘t run the money.  You have to be able to run the money. 

We‘re coming back.  Coming up, how can the government help give small businesses a break in this economy?  I‘ll ask Virginia Senator Mark Warner.  He‘s a business guy.  He‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my play book tonight, I want to talk about the financial literacy of the American people for a moment, the literacy of the Congress when it comes to finances.  You‘ve heard it before, members of Congress don‘t have a clue about business.  They‘re deciding about hundreds of billions of dollars of your tax money going out the door. 

Tonight, I wanted to speak to a freshman senator who knows a bit about business, who has been very successful.  He knows how to make it happen.  He knows how to run a state.  He did that.  Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and former governor of the state of Virginia, and very successful businessman.  He sits on both the Banking and Budget Committees. 

Senator, I wanted to talk to you for a while.  I appreciate your time tonight. 

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA:  Thanks. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  I think the president ought to be talking to you every day with the success that you have had in understanding this climate of getting businesses moving.  What would you do for a small business?  What suggestion would you make to the president and his economic team about jump starting this economy now that the stimulus package is out there a little bit? 

WARNER:  Oh, I think I would give the administration good efforts in terms of starting, but they‘re still incomplete.  Forty percent—in the earlier segment, it was brought up 40 percent of the stimulus is actually tax cuts.  We didn‘t get that word out.  A lot of that is five-year loss carry backs for small businesses.  We need to promote that more. 

The SBA has announced a lot of new programs.  But I‘ve been kind of frustrated by the fact that they‘ve been very slow at actually getting the details out.  Karen Mills, the new SBA administrator, I think she gets this.  She needs to get staffed up so she can get these programs actually out to the small businesses. 

Where we get is small businesses are particularly getting slammed by the shutting down of the financial markets.  As banks constrict the amount of lending, it‘s the small business guys who were often times around the margins, who hurt the most when their credit lines get caught off.  And we‘ve got to do more and the SBA is one area to do that. 

One other point here, we‘ve not seen any of the upsides of the stimulus programs.  The broad band money, the health care IT money, a lot of these energy programs.  We‘ve got to make sure as that money goes out that we don‘t exclude small businesses from getting their fair share.  That‘s where the innovation‘s going to come in this economy. 

SCHULTZ:  They need to hit the gas pedal on this.  They need to get rolling on this.  The timing‘s a little slow, in your opinion? 

WARNER:  The timing‘s been slow.  I‘m sympathetic to the concern.  They want to get the dough out.  But they don‘t want to have these new initiatives stumble coming out of the starting gates.  But people are getting frustrated.  They want to see these dollars come out. 

You think about rural broad band; nothing can do more to promote small businesses around rural America, that disproportionately has been hurt by this downturn, than making sure we get those broadband dollars out and that small businesses get a piece of it. 

SCHULTZ:  I agree with you.  The broadband is awfully big.  But I‘ve been harping on this.  Cheap money, why is it that Wall Street gets it so cheap?  And you‘re on the Banking Committee.  And why is it small companies go into their local banks and they‘re looking at nine percent, 10 percent, 11 percent.  They got to guarantee the loan. 

People are scared.  How are you going to get risk takers back into the market?  Senator, this was your game before you got into politics. 

WARNER:  Ed, what of the things we‘ve got to do, on a going forward basis, I don‘t want to ever hear the claim that a bank‘s too big to fail.  The fact is that‘s anti-capitalism when we‘ve allowed some of these institutions to get so big they can‘t fail.  And consequently, it‘s often times these big banks who have cut off the credit lines to our smaller banks. 

Let‘s also put out the point that a lot of small and community-based banks, they didn‘t get us into these problems.  They‘re still out there supporting the small businesses around.  We need to do more to support these small and community-based banks, because they‘re the ones who support the small business, that still need to be the life blood of our economy. 

SCHULTZ:  Does Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, does he get it when it comes to small business?  Or is he just a Wall Street guy? 

WARNER:  You know, Ed, I actually had breakfast with the secretary this morning.  And one of the points I made with him—and we had the Banking Committee.  And I think he responded very well.  He understands we‘ve got to do more to push out these SBA loan guarantees, basically, to help support lending to small businesses. 

I think you‘re going to see new announcements coming up in the next week or so that will accelerate some of these programs.  A lot of these programs have been—are well-intentioned, but they‘ve got to get the fine print out, so small businesses who are looking for the support can go ahead and apply and get the support they need. 

So far, I‘ve gotten a lot of frustration from small businesses in my state that say, hey, senator, this is a good idea, but where do I get the details?  How do I make sure I can actually get these money running into my company? 

SCHULTZ:  And you being a former governor, having run a budget, how hard is it to engage in these what we call shovel-ready projects?  That‘s all we heard about, all these shovel ready projects.  I know in business and you do, senator, that they can wire money pretty fast these days.  They got to get the money to these states, do they not? 

WARNER:  Well, listen, one of the things I would‘ve liked to see more of in the stimulus plan was more money for infrastructure.  Infrastructure disproportionately, again, goes to small contractors, folks who can build things.  We, unfortunately, ended up with only about 20 to 25 percent—actually less than that in total that went to infrastructure projects.  I think we could‘ve done more. 

So I would say the administration‘s headed in the right direction.  A lot of these programs are still incomplete.  But we‘ve got to realize we need more elected officials that can actually read a balance sheet. 

SCHULTZ:  There‘s no doubt.  You just spoke volumes, senator.  Great to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.  We‘ve got to have you back.  Thanks so much. 

A final page in my play book tonight.  It‘s real close to the family.  Our son Dave Schultz; you know how when you‘re a dad or mom, you get a phone call from kids.  I got a phone call last night when he got off the golf course.  He said, dad, I‘m on the PGA Tour.  I qualified for the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament. 

And as a dad, I just don‘t know if I‘ve had a greater moment.  It was outstanding. 

Coming up, he said/she said on torture continues.  Yet another discrepancy was revealed today.  Does this vindicate Nancy Pelosi?  Will we ever get the whole story?  We‘ll talk about it next on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  My next guest says Nancy Pelosi is up a tree and watching as the CIA saws off the limb.  He says playing politics is a way of life on the Hill, and the CIA usually takes the hit when lawmakers get in trouble.  And he says CIA Director Leon Panetta has served notice to Nancy Pelosi that he‘s removing the kick me sign from the CIA uniform. 

Joining me now is David Ignatius, “Washington Post” columnist, and associate editor.  His seventh novel, “The Increment,” is in book stores right now. 

David, good to have you on with us tonight.  I want your opinion on this.  I think we‘ve got a pretty tough speaker.  What do you think? 

DAVID IGNATIUS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, she‘s definitely tough.  She‘s a good politician.  And she‘s fighting back.  She feels under attack and she‘s going at what she regards as her attackers. 

I just worry about what the last week has done to the process of Congressional oversight of intelligence.  We all agree that we need Congress to look at the CIA and monitor what it‘s doing.  But when a politician who feels under attack politically responds by going after the agency, and saying, as Nancy Pelosi did last week, I‘ve been misled, basically they‘re lying about this, putting them under attack, that bothers me. 

It bothers me because the CIA‘s supposed to be a professional organization.  It‘s supposed to be like the military.  It‘s the military out of uniform.  We wouldn‘t attack the military.  We wouldn‘t call our generals liars if there was a contradiction between what they said and what Congress said.  We shouldn‘t do that with the CIA either.  They‘re out there trying to protect the country. 

And I think that was unfortunate.  Going forward, I hope that Pelosi will kind of ratchet it down.  It seems obvious to me that her president, President Obama, basically wants to support the CIA director Leon Panetta. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think she was talking about the CIA under George W.  Bush, run by George Tenet, and not the one under President Obama, run by Leon Panetta.  I personally was surprised that Panetta jumped into this and said, we don‘t lie.  I can accept that and most Americans can that it‘s different.  Did she fail in not making that distinction? 

IGNATIUS:  Well, she was attacking the accuracy of the briefing paper, the ten-page briefing paper that was sent by the agency under Panetta in response to a request from Republican members of Congress who wanted a record of what the CIA had briefed about interrogation techniques starting in 2002. 

So she was attacking the integrity of a document that Panetta set up and vouched for.  And I have to believe, Ed—let‘s be honest, there‘s no way that Leon Panetta, appointed by President Obama, would‘ve made the very sharp retort he did on Friday, saying we did not mislead anybody, if the White House, if the chief staff, Rahm Emanuel, if the president himself hadn‘t said, go ahead, say it. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think of the Republicans, you know, ginning up the conversation about how she needs to resign and she‘s insulted the agency and that‘s no place for a speaker ought to be? 

IGNATIUS:  I think that‘s overdone.  I think we just have got to get out of this political hysteria about issues that involve national security.  Every day we are depending on the CIA to find out the plots that the people are hatching to try to kill Americans.  We need a strong, well-run professional intelligence agency to do the nation‘s business. 

And if it‘s a political football, it gets kicked back and forth between Republicans and Democrats, I get worried.  To be honest, we ought to look at this the way we do the military. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  What do you make of a letter that was written from Congressman Obey to Leon Panetta.  He writes, “in light of the current controversy about CIA briefing practices, I was surprised to learn that the agency erroneously listed an Appropriations staffer as being at a key briefing on September 18th, 2006, when, in fact, he was not.” 

It seems to me that the CIA is pretty shaky on their record keeping. 

Doesn‘t this defend Nancy Pelosi? 

IGNATIUS:  Well, you know, they got the name of a staffer wrong, that‘s unfortunate.  They probably misspelled something else.  There may be more fundamental and substantive mistakes in the document they sent out.  We haven‘t seen them yet.  This was, as Panetta said, a record that was compiled largely from people‘s recollections.  There may well be errors. 

There‘s no evidence that I can see that it was done in bad faith.  That‘s what bothered me and bothered a lot of people about the speaker‘s allegation.  The argument was, this was done in bad faith.  There was a deliberate lie, an attempt to cover something up.  There isn‘t evidence of that, even though they got the name of the staffer wrong.

SCHULTZ:  David Ignatius, great to have you on tonight.  Thanks so much. 

IGNATIUS:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s now time to bring back our political panel on this one.  Todd Webster, Karen Hanretty, and also Sam Stein.  I want to ask you, Todd, because you were with Tom Daschle when the conservatives were really going after him.  And I‘ve always said that I thought it affected Senator Daschle.  He was personally hurt.  How do you think Nancy Pelosi has handled all of this? 

WEBSTER:  Well, I think, look, this is purely a side show.  This is a way to cover up for the fact that the Bush administration condoned, authorized torturing our enemies in order to extract false confessions that were used to justify leading us into war in Iraq.  If you look at the al-Libbi confession about how he manufactured some link between Saddam and al Qaeda, which then Dick Cheney used to justify invading Iraq, that‘s what this is about. 

Republicans, Dick Cheney are trying to cover their backside, and the Pelosi thing is a side show and is irrelevant. 

SCHULTZ:  Is she out of the danger zone now, Karen, with the public, do you think?  At times, I think she was pretty much in damage control.  I don‘t think she‘s there now.  What do you think? 

HANRETTY:  I think she‘s going to stay in damage control.  And this is

you know, doesn‘t—just from if you look from a pure political standpoint, it‘s hurting her approval numbers.  And at the end of the day, you know, I think, look if you want to have a legitimate debate that you‘ve laid out, fine.  And I think the American people would agree with that.  She really thought they were lying, why not go to Leon Panetta?  Why not go directly to the CIA?  Why go over his head and directly to the public and to the cameras, and make this really blatantly politically inept bumbling statement? 

SCHULTZ:  I thought she was talking about the George Tenet CIA and there is some differences there. 

HANRETTY:  Look, they‘re career CIA. 

SCHULTZ:  Steny Hoyer made an interesting comment today.  I think it‘s starting to dog the Democrats a little bit.  They‘re a little bit frustrated.  They want to get on with the business of the country. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MAJORITY LEADER:  Here we are discussing health care reform and energy, two huge issues. 

To the extent that the press continues to focus on that, continues to ask questions about it, particularly at press conferences that are dealing with issues of critical importance to Americans‘ families and America‘s well-being, I think they facilitate the Republicans objective of distraction. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Sam, what do you think? 

STEIN:  He obviously has a point that there are major issues on the table domestically, on foreign policy.  But that said, I think when it comes to our moral compass, there‘s no bigger issue than whether or not we authorized torture.  And to study this and rectify the mistakes that may have been made in the past is absolutely essential to who we are as a country.  I think that actually should be held alongside health care. 

SCHULTZ:  And in our remaining minutes, I want to talk about the economy. 

WEBSTER:  To be clear about the briefings that the White House would send up to Capitol Hill; they were not terribly forthcoming throughout that period.  They were trying to justify the war in Iraq.  They were talking about Saddam‘s fleet of crop dusters laden with Anthrax that were going to fly across the Atlantic and scatter bomb the state of Delaware. 

There were crazy things that came out of it, not all that accurate, not all that believable.  So I think the White House credibility—the Bush White House‘s credibility is what‘s at stake here.  That‘s what we‘re trying to—

SCHULTZ:  Less than a minute on the economy.  Karen, we heard Senator Warner say more people in Congress need to know how to run a balance sheet.  What do you think?

HANRETTY:  I‘ll tell you what, he is music to my ears.  The greatest -

he‘s the biggest mouthpiece for conservatives right now, right?  Look, he‘s talking about tax cuts, talking about helping small businesses. 

SCHULTZ:  Sam, when does it become President Obama‘s economy?  Are we there yet? 

STEIN:  We‘re there.  He passed the stimulus package.  He‘s got his budget.  We‘re going into a new environmental law.  This is his economy.  We have to give him some time to see what the results are.  It‘s only been 110 days, 115 days, but this is his economy. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Thanks for joining us tonight.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information or to send me an e-mail, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com.  Town hall meeting coming up in Buffalo June 13th.  We‘ll see you back in New York.  I get to stand up again tomorrow night starting at 6:00 Eastern time, right here on MSNBC. 

“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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