updated 5/29/2009 3:39:49 PM ET 2009-05-29T19:39:49

Guests: Carlos Watson, Chaka Fattah, Josh Kraushaar, David Corn, Todd Webster, John Feehery, Arianna Huffington, Ron Gettelfinger

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  Good evening, Americans.

Live from 30 Rock in New York City, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

Competition is good for business and it‘s good for voters.  Why I think Joe Sestak should join the fight in Pennsylvania. 

And righties can‘t stop calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist.  Arianna Huffington will be here to talk about that tonight. 

National security adviser hits Dick Cheney back on the lies he‘s been saying about us being less safe.  Why he says we‘re more secure under President Obama‘s leadership. 

UAW president Ron Gettelfinger is here tonight as GM faces a big deadline. 

Plus, “Psycho Talk.”  

All that, a great panel. 

But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.” 

Competition is a great thing, and we as Americans just absolutely thrive on it.  In business, there is nothing better than getting to victory. 

Now, I‘ve always been a believer that when you‘re out there on your own, there‘s just no way you can be at your best.  The same goes for politics. 

Congressman Joe Sestak, on this show last night, all but announced that he is taking on Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary. 

Folks, I love it.  Democrats ought to be celebrating this.  They should love it.  Americans are sick of entitlement and political wafflers, for that matter. 

Where do you stand?  That‘s what Americans want to know. 

Every city I go to, they say, where do they stand?  Where do you take a stand on a public option when it comes to health care?  Where do you stand on these horrible trade agreements?  What about the Employee Free Choice Act? 

Sestak could make Specter a Democrat real fast on those issues alone.  Specter flipped on EFCA, he‘s been a free trader, and he‘s also, I think, pretty lame on health care reform. 

Sestak, on the other hand, supports a public option in health care, he‘s a cosponsor and supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, and he supports reform on trade that will help save American jobs.  So let‘s get it on.  Bring on the competition. 

That‘s where the Democrats ought to be.  And, you know, as an American, I don‘t really care if Vice President Joe Biden has known Arlen Specter for 30 years. 

Folks, the good ol‘ boy network is really wearing thin with Americans.  They don‘t want to hear anything about that—I‘ve known him for a long time, he‘s a good guy, we‘ve worked together. 

There are American jobs at stake here.  We need the absolute best person from Pennsylvania for the Democrats to get into the Senate. 

Now, I think the president and the vice president hitched their wagon to the wrong horse too soon.  That‘s just my opinion.  I think Arlen Specter is not the future.  Sestak is doing and running for all the right reasons. 

Now, late this afternoon, the congressman from Pennsylvania said that there‘s no one, no way, no union, no politician that‘s going to stand in his way. 

Folks, this guy has the fire in the belly, along with a $3 million war chest and military loyalty, which plays coast to coast, being a retired admiral.  Personally, I think we‘ve had enough attorneys in the Senate.  No offense, but I like the fact that a retired admiral could be the next senator from Pennsylvania with the foreign policy. 

But also, I want to talk about the good ol‘ boy network.  I was troubled when I heard Vice President Joe Biden say, you know, I‘ve known Arlen for a long time, we‘ve worked on a lot of stuff and we‘ve worked on legislation. 

What is the culture of the workplace in America right now?  How many of you can go to your job tomorrow and say, hey, you know, I‘ve been here for a long time, I really don‘t have anything to worry about? 

It‘s the intensity that we as voters and we as Americans have to put on elected officials, that intensity of maybe job insecurity that might get them to move on the issues like EFCA, like health care, like free trade, and saving American jobs.  So I love the fact that Joe Sestak is on the verge of jumping in.  I love the fact that it‘s coming from the roots and what he‘s hearing from the people in Pennsylvania. 

And I think, Pennsylvanians, now, Arlen‘s done a good job for you over the years, but you have to ask the critical question.  Is he the absolute best Democrat you can come up with?  We ought to be loving this fight. 

Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania. 

Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. 

I‘m passionate about this.  It‘s starting early on.  I think the Democrats ought to be embracing competition here, because if you‘re expecting Arlen Specter to be a great Democrat from Pennsylvania, this is the best way to ensure it. 

What are your thoughts on this? 

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Well, look, I appreciate your passion for it.  The reality is, is that we have one quarterback on this team.  His name is Barack Obama.  He‘s the leader of our party. 

He has said that he is going to support Senator Specter for election. 

He‘s going to support him in the primary and in the general. 

I‘m on the team, I‘m wearing that uniform.  And moreover, I like what Senator Specter did when he, for saving American jobs, put his own job at risk by voting for the stimulus plan.  By stepping up to the plate, saying that his party was asking too much of him, to stand in the way of putting three million to four million more Americans back to work, and voting for the stimulus plan, and the work that he‘s done in health care, what “The New York Times” says when you look at what he‘s done to move health care research forward, the question of a party label is too small a question. 

But I think if Joe Sestak, who I know and I like and I admire, if he wants to run, he should run.  Nobody‘s promised anyone a free primary, and I think sometimes a primary can help get you ready for the general election. 

But we should never become the party of—or the group like the Club for Growth.  They were running Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter, saying because they wanted Specter to put party over country.  But we should not be in the same position. 

SCHULTZ:  But Congressman, also, the Democrats across the country can‘t be the party of the rubber stamp.  Competition is a great thing. 

Arlen Specter hasn‘t proven himself as a great Democrat.  Joe Sestak has. 

It would seem to me that Pennsylvanians would want this competition. 

And who knows, it may be a couple of more people jumping in as well. 

Is President Obama making the pick too early here?  Because you‘ve got Employee Free Choice, you‘ve got health care, you‘ve got trade issues. 

Arlen Specter has never been the Democrat that the Democratic Party needed.  He‘s always kind of floated off and drifted off on the big issues. 

Now, I‘m asking you tonight, do you think the president may have made a mistake by hitching his wagon to Arlen Specter too early? 

FATTAH:  Look, when Governor Rendell, when President Obama, when myself, Congressman Fattah from Philadelphia—I‘ve been a Democrat for a very long time, all of my life—we‘re supporting Arlen Specter because he is important to the Democratic agenda in the Senate.  We have the first term of President Obama, we have the opportunity of 60 votes in the Senate. 

It‘s a critical time, it‘s not a time to be—it‘s not about, you know, who‘s got the title.  It‘s about having the 60 votes. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

FATTAH:  One senator is not enough to make anything go or not go.  We need Arlen Specter.  He‘s part of the team.  He helped move the stimulus, he voted for children‘s health care, he voted for stem-cell research.

SCHULTZ:  but he voted against—Congressman, respectfully, he voted against the Obama budget.  And it‘s a vote that—definitely, it‘s support that the president wants. 

I don‘t understand why this early support.  It looks like, you know, we‘re anointing Arlen Specter instead of letting the process play out. 

Now, I want to ask you this about Democrats—or should I say that middle-of-the-roaders or moderate Republicans that switched in the last election in Pennsylvania, where do you think those voters are going to go?  You think they‘re going to go with Arlen Specter, or they going to go with a guy like Joe Sestak, who has been a centrist on issues as well? 

FATTAH:  Well, let me tell just you this.  We have Senator Bob Casey, who‘s pro-life.  We‘ve got Senator Arlen Specter, who‘s pro-choice.  We have a party in Pennsylvania that is a big tent, and there‘s room for both Arlen Specter and for Bob Casey, and for people like Ed Rendell and myself, and for all of us to work together. 

We have a situation here where if there‘s going to be a primary, no one is opposed to Congressman Sestak if he wants to run.  And, you know, he‘s a great guy.  And Democrats have spent a lot of money to win that seat that he‘s sitting in.  It was held by a Republican. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s right. 

FATTAH:  If he runs for Senate, it could put the seat in jeopardy, but he has an opportunity.  If he wants to run, there‘s going to be a primary. 

Senator Specter is taking all comers.  The only thing he wasn‘t willing to do is have a narrowly constructed Republican constituency that doesn‘t represent the state in a primary to decide his political fate. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.

FATTAH:  He‘s not asked for a free ride in the Democratic primary.  And Joe‘s got every right to run if he wants to run.  And you‘ve seen that I‘ve already made a decision.  I think it‘s a great idea. 

SCHULTZ:  I have.  I have made a decision.  I love the competition.  I don‘t like the idea that the president and the vice president have come out and taken a page of the good ol‘ boy network and said, oh, Arlen‘s our guy. 

(CROSSTALK)

FATTAH:  President Obama‘s made a decision and Governor Rendell has made one and I‘ve made one.

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think it‘s wrong. 

FATTAH:  Well, yes, I know.  But if you can make one, we can make one. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, you can.

FATTAH:  And we‘ll let the voters decide.

SCHULTZ:  Well, there is a difference.  You guys vote on stuff.  I don‘t. 

FATTAH:  Well, that‘s what we‘re looking at...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Fattah, I appreciate your time tonight.  I really appreciate you coming on and sticking up for Arlen Specter. 

Let‘s see how it all plays out.  Appreciate it very much. 

FATTAH:  Thank you.  All right.

SCHULTZ:  For more on this, let‘s turn to Josh Kraushaar.  He is following this race on his scorecard blog on Politico. 

Josh, what do you make of this?  We‘re getting into it early on here. 

JOSH KRAUSHAAR, POLITICO:  Well, this is fascinating for political junkies like us, and the notion that Congressman Joe Sestak, like you mentioned, he has a really strong resume that he would bring to a Senate race in a primary against Arlen Specter.  You mentioned miss military background.  He‘s got over $3 million in his campaign account. 

And I think there are a lot of Democrats from the perspective of labor, from a lot of liberals that are in the party, that are a little bit disenchanted.  They want some answers to questions that Senator Specter hasn‘t answered.  And they want to make sure that his party switch wasn‘t out of political convenience and there‘s some ideology in it, some passion behind it. And I think Congressman Sestak has raised those issues very effectively.

And Ed, just imagine this.  If Congressman Sestak does follow through with his candidacy, and he runs a campaign ad talking about how Specter voted for the Bush tax cuts, on how Specter voted for the Iraq War, and showing a picture of Specter standing side by side...

SCHULTZ:  Exactly.

KRAUSHAAR:  ... with former President Bush, that‘s a very, very effective message.  And I think that would really resonate in a closed Democratic primary.  And, you know, if Congressman Sestak had the money, which he could fund that campaign, which it looks like he very well may be able to do, this will be a real barn burner in Pennsylvania.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s going to be a dandy, there‘s no doubt about it.

Now, I know, Josh, you‘ve spent a lot of time in Pennsylvania.  What‘s the pulse on the ground?  Do you think Pennsylvanians want this fight?  Do you think that they want Arlen Specter to earn the Senate seat?

KRAUSHAAR:  I think you could see the potential for that, but keep in mind, polling now shows that a lot of Democrats are still satisfied with Senator Specter.  They may have some questions, they may want him to answer positions on EFCA, on labor, on a lot of key issues, but polling right now shows Specter in good position. 

But we‘re very, very early in the process.  And if Congressman Sestak runs, and he spends a lot of money in getting his message out, he could put up a formidable fight. 

Keep in mind, Ed, that a lot of people don‘t know who Congressman Sestak is. 

SCHULTZ:  True.

KRAUSHAAR:  He has a really strong resume, a very formidable background in the military.  And if he does have the resources, if he has the money to get that message out, it‘s going to be tough, it will be a tough primary for him, but he would have a clear shot at this. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, now, Josh, we all know what labor did for Bob Casey in Pennsylvania.  We all know what labor did for Barack Obama in Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvanians went with the Democrats.  OK? 

Now, I was told today by some union officials that they are not going to sit this primary out.  Their issue is Employee Free Choice Act.  Their issue is health care.  And Arlen Specter is going to have to step up pretty soon and figure this thing out of where he‘s—because he has flip-flopped on Employee Free Choice Act. 

I want to know about the military background of Joe Sestak, the retired admiral.  This has got to play well in the hardworking state of Pennsylvania, doesn‘t it? 

KRAUSHAAR:  That‘s a good biography that Sestak brings to the table.  And it certainly could appeal to a lot of blue-collar voters around the Pittsburgh suburbs and the blue-collar counties around Philadelphia. 

It‘s something that is a very powerful message.  And, you know, it‘s funny that one of Sestak‘s most prominent supporters when he ran for the House was former President Clinton, who‘s been one of his most passionate advocates on the campaign trail. 

So it will be interesting to see if Clinton takes some sides or gives him any advice as he mulls over this primary challenge.  But, you know, Congressman Sestak has a very tailor-made biography for a statewide campaign.  And if he has the money to get that message out, it could be a great race. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘ll tell you what, we‘re a long way from the primary.  Those numbers don‘t shake this guy, this admiral.  He knows what‘s going on. 

Josh Kraushaar, Politico.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight. 

KRAUSHAAR:  Thanks for having me. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, is the Obama White House feeling the heat on Sonia Sotomayor?  Well, right-wingers are just leveling some truly crazy attacks on her.  Today, the president‘s team put out some pretty bizarre talking points themselves. 

We‘ll go through that when we come back next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

President Obama named a moderate Republican-appointed judge to the Supreme Court on Monday.  The conservative attack machine called Judge Sotomayor racist, an activist, and not very smart. 

Now, that was just the first 24 hours. 

Do Republicans really want to single out Sotomayor for her race?  The White House responded with a press release today called “What They‘re Saying About Sonia Sotomayor.”

It quoted Republicans praising Sotomayor‘s “non-ideological approach to the law.”  Now, this is—you have to ask the question, is this really the time to placate the right?  What‘s the White House strategy here? 

Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for “Mother Jones.” 

David, good to have you with us tonight.

OK.  We‘ve been, what, 48 hours, 72 hours, in that framework?  Who‘s winning the PR battle right now? 

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, “MOTHER JONES”:  Well, I think the White House is pretty happy with the way things are going.  They have someone who is being praised by most as a moderate, sound, legitimate—that‘s the key word here—legitimate nominee.  And on the right, you have people like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich calling her a racist and a bigot. 

Already, you see somewhat of a split on the right between people like Ed Rollins, who was Reagan‘s political director and ran Mike Huckabee‘s campaign, who said today, listen, this is an accomplished woman, it‘s a wonderful story, her life story, we shouldn‘t be attacking her.  And then those on the right, like Rush Limbaugh, who want her head on a platter.  And you see the Republicans in the Senate, who really are the only ones who matter because they have a vote, sort of caught between two sides, what you might call reasonable Republicans and conservatives and base-minded Republicans who want an anti-Sotomayor campaign. 

SCHULTZ:  But David, why would the White House go so far to quote Republicans?  Do they need Republicans on board to get this thing done? 

CORN:  Well, of course, they—you know, depending when Al Franken becomes senator, they‘ll have 60 seats in the Senate.  They really don‘t.  But it doesn‘t hurt.  Olympia Snowe, Republican senator from Maine, came out and said she was well qualified. 

This is just what happens in Washington all the time.  If you can get anyone on the other side praising your decision, you use that, because it makes the people on the other side attacking you seem even more marginal. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of some of these Republicans coming after the nominee?  Because this is the fastest-growing demographic, politically, in the country.  And President Obama won 36 percent, up from 27 percent in 2004. 

Isn‘t this, in a sense, political suicide, by the conservatives? 

CORN:  You know, I think it is in a lot of ways.  I don‘t know what calculation they‘re making, but some of them are caught between a tradeoff. 

If they do nothing against her, they don‘t oppose her, they‘re going to really tick off their base, which is smaller than it ever was, but they still need it.  But if they go after her, they‘ll alienate this growing Hispanic bloc of voters. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

CORN:  So what to do?  And I think the proclivity of some on the right, not all, is to not worry about minority voters in any major way and just go for the red meat.  In that case, you just attack whoever Obama puts forward as a liberal activist. 

SCHULTZ:  David Corn, good to have you with us tonight, Washington bureau chief of “Mother Jones.”

We should point out that there is one Republican senator tonight who is saying that he will not support the nominee.  And that is Kansas‘s Pat Roberts.  He‘s already saying that he will not support her. 

Up next on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.” 

Conservatives are concerned President Obama isn‘t being a big-tent president.  He‘s not being inclusive?  Who are the Republicans looking out for? 

Find out in a new GOP Web video.  It‘s next in “Psycho Talk.”  

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Have you heard some of the crazy things that are being said by conservatives? 

It‘s time for “Psycho Talk.”

Well, tonight in “Psycho Talk,” it‘s Congressman Tom Price of Georgia.  Price is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of super conservatives in Congress. 

Now, yesterday, he released a video on this group‘s behalf.  Now, before I show you this thing, let me set this thing up. 

Price is standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  His message?  Abraham Lincoln was a uniter and President Obama is a divider.  And to make his point, Price uses one piece of sand.  That sound clip, it‘s a clip of President Obama criticizing—criticizing greedy businesses. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM PRICE ®, GEORGIA:  There are many Americans who believe that our current president is not bringing people together.  In fact, is dividing people.  What do you think?  Take a look at this. 

BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And while many stakeholders made sacrifices and worked constructively, I have to tell you, some did not.  In particular, a group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout. 

I don‘t stand with them.  I don‘t stand with them.    

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK, let‘s clarify this whole thing. 

That‘s President Obama speaking after the Chrysler bankruptcy.  The president begins by praising some of the businesses for making sacrifices to make it all work.  Then he goes after a group of greedy businesses that refused to come to the table and do the deal, a group that held out for, we must point out, an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout? 

Obama says he doesn‘t stand with them.  Well, my question is, who the heck would?  Keep listening. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRICE:  What I saw in that clip troubles me a lot.  What I saw was our president saying, I stand with these people, but not with those people.  What he said was, I stand with some Americans, but not with all Americans. 

It‘s a very chilling statement. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes, a very chilling statement. 

Now, this is another sign that Republicans are simply tone deaf, they‘re out of touch.  It‘s a desperate search for a message.  And at this point, any message—and they‘re failing—calling Obama a divider because he doesn‘t stand with panhandling hedge funds and investment banks who want a taxpayer-funded bailout, that‘s “Psycho Talk.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Today, the first GOP senator went on record saying that he will vote against Sonia Sotomayor to be our next Supreme Court justice.  Kansas Senator Pat Roberts cited the usual conservative excuse, he doesn‘t agree with her vision of the role of the court.  OK, fine. 

What I want to know, where are the other 39 Republican senators?  Where do they stand?  Because Newt Gingrich is out there calling Sotomayor a racist.  Karl Rove is attacking her intelligence and academic credentials, saying, quote, “he knows lots of stupid people who went to Ivy League schools.”  Gosh, Karl, who are you talking about there? 

Right wingers say they‘re offended by identity politics, but they have no problem attacking the nominee for who she is, rather than how she‘s ruled. 

Joining me now is Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in chief of the “Huffington Post.”  Arianna, great to have you with us.  I think this is your first time on THE ED SHOW.  What an honor.  Good to have you here tonight. 

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  It is.  I‘m delighted to be on your show and I‘m loving it. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you.  I appreciate that.  OK.  Why are they doing this?  Why are the conservatives playing the race card?  Why are they attacking her so much, and not going after some rulings or some actions that she‘s done on the bench?  What do you think? 

HUFFINGTON:  Well, that‘s really what I‘ve been thinking.  How self-destructive are they being?  Because, you know, Ed, the demographics are changing.  In the last election, Hispanics went for Obama over McCain by a very large margin, 67 to 31. 

So what are they actually thinking?  After the xenophobia of the last immigration debate, now they have this amazing attacks on Sotomayor based on nothing but the fact that she‘s Hispanic.  Even today, on the Hill, we had this amazing attack, because she might vote in a different way because she likes Puerto Rican food. 

So I am reminded of Robert Downey Jr.‘s quote.  You know, when he was constantly in and out of rehab, that he couldn‘t help himself.  It was like having a shotgun in his mouth and he liked the taste of gun metal.  Well, that‘s a little bit of what‘s happening with conservatives right now. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you know, they keep pointing to a 2002 speech that Sonia Sotomayor gave at UC Berkeley, back in 2002.  And they‘re questioning her, saying it was racist.  But she was talking about her life experiences.  And we pulled out a sound cut from Judge Alito when he was going through his process, and I think you have a similar sound cut here.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE:  When a case comes before me involving, let‘s say, someone who is an immigrant—and we get a lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases—I can‘t help but think of my own ancestors.  And that goes down the line.  When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethic background or because of religion or because of gender.  And I do take that into account. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Arianna, are Democrats and liberals fighting back hard enough on this issue in your opinion? 

HUFFINGTON:  Well, Ed, this is a fantastic quote that you found, because that‘s exactly the point.  Human beings are human beings.  We are not machines.  We are, obviously, affected by everything that we‘ve been through.  But that doesn‘t mean that Sotomayor is going to be biased in her rulings, which is the conclusion that they are drawing. 

And what is stunning here is that after all, the majority of Republicans in the Senate voted for her just over ten years ago.  And when she was—when she was actually confirmed for her current position.  So what changed in the last ten years?  What was so different?  What has she done that makes her now worthy of that opposition? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I can tell you one thing that hasn‘t changed, that‘s political operative Karl rove.  He offered up this sound bite and characterized her as a schoolmarm. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER:  What she would do is she would mark them up like she was your English school teacher, with your typos and misspellings and other words she wanted to have changed, and send it back to her colleagues.  She was acting like sort of the schoolmarm. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUFFINGTON:  Well, you know, this is really sad, because, on the one hand, she‘s being attacked as not being smart enough.  Then she‘s being attacked for being meticulous and too concise and precise about her corrections.  It doesn‘t make any sense. 

You know what is stunning?  If this continues like that, so superheated, by time we get to the actual confirmation hearing, it‘s going to be a complete letdown.  Unless we have some return of pubic hairs on Coke bottles or something completely unexpected, it will be a complete snooze. 

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

HUFFINGTON:  You too, Ed.  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  From the “Huffington Post,” editor in chief and co-founder Arianna Huffington with us here on THE ED SHOW. 

For more, let‘s turn to our panel, Carlos Watson, an MSNBC anchor and political strategist.  Democratic strategist Todd Webster is with us tonight.  And also Republican strategist, John Feehery. 

John, I‘ve got to ask you, are the Republicans shooting themselves in the foot being so aggressive so early on the nominee? 

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  You know, Ed, I think you have to make a distinction between the Republican senators, who have actually been pretty cautious and careful about language, and then political commentators, like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, who don‘t face voters, and they are basically just trying to get more listeners to their radio show or sell more books. 

There‘s got to be a distinction there between those two camps.  I think the Republican senators have been very measured, because they want to examine the entire record, which I think is entirely appropriate to examine the entire record.  The Democrats did that with Miguel Estrada.  The Democrats did that with Sam Alito and with John Roberts.  Democrat activist groups really threw all they could at those three. 

So I do think this is part of the process.  But I do think you also have to make a distinction between those two groups. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So, certainly, you‘re saying that calling her a racist is not part of the process. 

FEEHERY:  No, I don‘t, Ed.  I don‘t think it‘s part of the process.  I think it‘s actually—I think it actually sets the Republicans back to call her a racist.  I think that‘s unfortunate language. 

SCHULTZ:  Carlos, let me ask you.  For Newt Gingrich to do this—I mean, this is a former speaker of the House.  Doesn‘t that kind of lower bar? 

CARLOS WATSON, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Not only does it lower the bar, but you have to wonder, all those Republicans that are calling on Democrats to criticize their own—right, when a Democrat supposedly crosses the line, Republicans are always saying, why isn‘t there more criticism?  You want to hear someone step forward. 

You know who this is going to hurt the most, though?  John McCain in Arizona, Kay Bailey Hutchison, who wants to run in Texas for governor.  It‘s going to hurt folks like that who would have a shot at doing reasonably well with Latinos and now could have a much tougher time. 

SCHULTZ:  Todd Webster, I would imagine as a Democratic strategist, your advice would be to just let them keep on talking, because they are alienating the fastest-growing demographic in the country politically. 

TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Absolutely.  And the reality is that these fat, old, white, doughy guys who are—

FEEHERY:  Todd, I take exception to that. 

WEBSTER:  They are the de facto leaders of the Republican party, the Glenn Becks, the Newt Gingrichs, the Rush Limbaughs.  These guys always act like they‘re somehow under siege, and somehow old white guys aren‘t getting a fair shake, and they are embattled and under siege by all these other groups around them. 

It‘s unfortunate.  It‘s sad.  It‘s ridiculous.  Pat Roberts, I‘m sorry he‘s already prejudged it.  He was the one, of course, who was sleeping through the Iraq war and refused to have any intelligence hearings on what was actually going on.  so that‘s unfortunate that he has already prejudged it before any hearings.  And maybe he found Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and these other wahoos compelling. 

WATSON:  I want to jump in here, because you talk about the Latino aspect of it, actually, I think your earlier conversation with Arianna was important.  There‘s also a gender aspect here too.  When you bring up a woman who was suma cum laude graduate of Princeton, number two in her class, coming from not a wealthy background at all—there was no silver spoon in her mouth.  A woman that goes on to Yale, becomes editor of the Yale Law Journal, prosecutor, et cetera. 

More than a few people, not just Latinos, but other people are going to look and say, is this how you treat the women?  Did you treat Alito this way? 

SCHULTZ:  What parent would not be on the ceiling if the kid comes home and says, I‘m number one in my class? 

WATSON:  You‘re the proud father of multiple kids who have done well, including a pro golfer.  But would you not be excited if Sonia Sotomayor had been your daughter or your sister? 

SCHULTZ:  We celebrate every time he makes the cut.

WATSON:  So I think there‘s a larger risk that goes beyond the ethnic one.  People just say, you know what, you‘re not dealing straight.  You‘re not dealing fair. 

SCHULTZ:  John, I got to ask you, now, one senator has come out and disavowed himself from this racist comment, and that is Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, and a high-ranking senator at that.  But why aren‘t more coming out and saying?  It‘s almost like there is this silence of acceptance of what‘s being said? 

FEEHERY:  Probably because a lot of these senators will get it from both sides if they do.  It‘s better off to keep quiet.  I did disavow it.  I think it‘s unfortunate, because it doesn‘t further the debate.  I think there‘s a lot of things you could look into.  Look into her role in the New Haven firefighters‘ case.  I think that‘s an important thing to get clarification on. 

There‘s a lot of things we could do on her record and have a responsible and good conversation about it.  We don‘t need to be calling people names.  I don‘t think that helps in the debate. 

SCHULTZ:  It took them all of day one to get to that page. 

WEBSTER:  To that point, real quick, let‘s look at the record.  Let‘s look at her being a tough prosecutor, and let‘s look at her saving baseball and ending the strike in 1994 and standing up to the owners.  She‘s not afraid to take on powerful interests.  Maybe that‘s what is scaring Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and these other old white guys. 

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, what did you make of the sound bite that we found of Sam Alito? 

WATSON:  Talking proudly about his Italian-American heritage?  I think it‘s a whole question of life experience that Barack Obama brought up was completely right.  By the way, he‘s not the only one who talked about.  Oliver Wendell Holmes has talked about it over the years.  Justice Blackmun, a lot of others have said—Sandra Day O‘Connor talked about—a Republican appointee—said that you can‘t simply make decisions based on a couple pieces of paper.  You‘ve got to make them, in part, base on real experience.

SCHULTZ:  And finally, John, on this subject, is this the kind of hearing we‘re going to have?  I mean, are they going to be aggressive on this nominee? 

FEEHERY:  I think they‘ll be thorough, Ed.  I don‘t know how aggressive they‘re going to be.  My own personal view is I think she‘s going to get—barring something unforeseen, she‘s going to be the next Supreme Court justice.  And I don‘t think it will be that many fireworks at the end of the day. 

SCHULTZ:  Gentleman, stay with us.  So much more coming up. 

Coming up next, General Motors cuts a deal with its bond holders.  Does this change the future of the auto industry?  UAW president Ron Gettelfinger is here tonight, joining us to talk about that.  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, would you buy a car that was made in China?  There was talk that part of the General Motors restructuring deal would mean cars that would be built over there would not be sold here in the United States.  Well, listen, if that‘s what it comes to, that is great.  But if what they build over there is allowed to be sold in the United States, I would call that in my playbook a major fumble. 

Joining me now is United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger.  Mr.

Gettelfinger, I appreciate your time tonight.  Tell us—

RON GETTELFINGER, UAW PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Is this China clause going to be in this final agreement? 

GETTELFINGER:  No, we‘ve got a provision in the agreement where those vehicles are going to be assembled in the United States in one of the idled facilities. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, the vehicles that are going to be built over in China, are they going to be thrown on our market?  And is it going to hurt our workers?  What do you think? 

GETTELFINGER:  No, I don‘t believe so, initially, at least.  And I‘m looking to the long-term here.  We‘re wanting to build the products that are sold here in this country.  We believe we can do that.  We‘ve got competitive agreements in place.  And there‘s no excuse for the corporations not to invest in this country. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Now, Mr. Gettelfinger, explain to our audience tonight what kind of concessions have workers given up to keep this thing going in this country? 

GETTELFINGER:  Well, if you go back to ‘03 is when it really began, and then mid-contract in ‘05, workers gave up Cola, or cost of living allowances.  They also gave up a wage increase.  And then, in ‘07, we made major changes again.  And we took a lot of liability off of the company‘s books, in the form of post-retirement benefits, specifically health care.

In fact, we began that in ‘05.  We completed it in ‘07.  In addition to other concessions that we made.  In the case of General Motors‘ worker, they will not get a wage increase from ‘06 through this agreement.  And the Cole is now taken away from them.  So there will be no wage increases or performance bonuses of any kind. 

SCHULTZ:  So you feel like the workers are doing their part for the auto manufacturers? 

GETTELFINGER:  Ed, absolutely.  First of all, the cost of assembling a vehicle associated with labor is somewhere in the eight percent to ten percent range.  But then, beyond that, yes, the workers have made dramatic reductions in wages and other benefits and the retirees. 

SCHULTZ:  Ron—

GETTELFINGER:  People that work in the plants 30 or 40 years. 

SCHULTZ:  Ron, what does it mean that GM is going to build smaller cars here in America?  What security does that give to the workers, you think? 

GETTELFINGER:  Well, obviously, there‘s too much capacity in the country right now.  We know that.  And we know that the restructuring announcement‘s coming.  So we took two approaches here, Ed.  One was to make sure that a small vehicle is assembled in this country.  When I say small vehicle, I‘m saying something smaller than a Cobalt, a Focus, or a Caliber.  It‘s what‘s referred to as a B car. 

There‘s also a smaller segment than that called the A car.  What we want to see is we want to see the B cars, and if there‘s A cars assembled here, that‘s what we‘re after.  There are no B cars assembled in this country today by any manufacturer.  That‘s the significance of these agreements, both at Chrysler and at General Motors. 

SCHULTZ:  Ron, do you think that the ripple effect is going to rebound in our economy?  I mean, a lot of people have been hurt by this, but it sounds like a lot of people are going to be saved as well. 

GETTELFINGER:  Yes, there‘s a number of people that are really going to be dramatically hurt.  But the goal here is to salvage as much as possibly could be saved.  And for every job on the assembly line, you‘re talking eight to ten other jobs out in the country somewhere.  And so this is an enormous economic driver to our economy, the auto industry is. 

SCHULTZ:  Finally, you understand the sensitivity of this for taxpayers to fork out a bunch of money to the car companies.  And then they go build the cars overseas.  This has got to be a sticking point with you? 

GETTELFINGER:  Well, it was a major sticking point.  Leo Gerard from the USW worked with us.  You were there in Washington for his teach in following the four buses that were out on the road for three days, trying to call people‘s attention to this.  And that‘s what we need to do. 

We‘ve just got to get some grassroots efforts so that folks in Washington can understand, we don‘t have an industrial policy; we cannot continue to negotiate unfair trade agreements that open our market up to the whole world, and keep us closed out of other markets. 

We‘re not talking about protectionism here.  We‘re talking about fairness.  So we were able to make some movement in this contract.  Now, look, I‘m not saying that these are good contracts, because, believe me, this is painful for the workers.  It‘s painful for the retirees.

But these contracts provide us a lifeline.  And they‘re based on a 10 million seasonal rate of automobile sales. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Mr. Gettelfinger—

GETTELFINGER:  We know that‘s going to increase. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Gettelfinger, good to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.  All the best to you.  I know it‘s been a tough row to hoe for you. 

GETTELFINGER:  Thank you, Ed.  Thanks for having the UAW on. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Thank you.  Coming up, a top general smacks down Dick Cheney, saying the United States is safer under President Obama‘s leadership.  I wonder if Liz Cheney will support a retired four star general‘s opinion.  We‘ll talk about that next on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JAMES JONES, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL:  I firmly believe that the United States is not only safe, but that it will be more secure and the American people are increasingly safer because of the president‘s leadership. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  That was President Obama‘s national security adviser, Jim Jones, giving his first big speech last night.  Moral leadership, that‘s what‘s been missing for the last eight years.  And folks, torture and a go-it-alone war don‘t make us any safer. 

Now, the ghost of the room last night was Dick Cheney, who really hesitated at all to criticize the president at any opportunity.  Today, his daughter took to the familiar language of the shooter and told us that we should be very, very afraid. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF DICK CHENEY:  It‘s very important for Americans to speak out, for our voices to be heard so that the White House doesn‘t take a stand that would lead to a less-secure nation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Time to bring back our political panel, Carlos Watson, Todd Webster, and John Feehery. 

Carlos, this is a—It is really getting childish, I think.  They have really no plan for the direction of the country.  All it is is fear mongering.  In fact, Dick Durbin said to Newt Gingrich, why do you guys keep fear mongering.  He flat out said, seriously, Americans should be afraid.  People in New York are not afraid. 

WATSON:  Here‘s a reality: Republicans are not only in a troubled place, but there‘s a huge opportunity for libertarians.  Because Republicans right now aren‘t the responsible opposition.  And the reality is if libertarians were to put forth a half dozen really intriguing candidates, I think there would be the chance to jump ahead.  Right now, as you said, you‘ve got Newt Gingrich saying racist, other things that don‘t come across as responsible. 

I will say, though, having talked to Liz Cheney today, though, I do think that her dad engaging on this issue is important.  And I‘m actually one of those people who think there should be a hearing, there should be investigations. 

SCHULTZ:  Todd Webster, when did Liz Cheney become an expert on national security, other than what her dad might have told her? 

WEBSTER:  Look, there‘s no question that America is safer under this president‘s leadership than ever before.  The Defense budget is a four percent increase over what President Bush spent.  We‘re spending the more money smartly in Afghanistan, in Pakistan.  And most importantly, we‘re engaging in diplomacy with allies, so that if we need to engage in a military incursion, we‘ll have the support; we‘ll have other bodies and other treasury to help win those battles, and we won‘t be stuck going it alone, as we have in Iraq for the last eight years. 

SCHULTZ:  John, do you think we‘re going to see more of Jim Jones?  I remember Condoleezza Rice, she was out on a PR tour all the time, telling us how safe we were and how hard they were working.  This is the first time he‘s come out.  Are we going to see more of him?  Do you believe him? 

FEEHERY:  I hope he‘s right.  I don‘t know.  I don‘t have access to all the intelligence.  I do think that the vice president gave a very strong speech.  And I think it has pushed the Obama administration to make some changes in their policy, for example, on releasing the torture photos and things like that. 

You know, I do think that this is an important debate.  I don‘t think it‘s a silly debate at all.  I think it does—it shows two different visions of how you defend this country. 

I don‘t know what the future is going to hold.  I hope we are safer.  I don‘t know that to be the case.  I don‘t have access to those intelligence briefings. 

WATSON:  I think John‘s being a little bit too kind.  I think that, at times, Dick Cheney has raised relevant points.  You may disagree with him, but relevant points.  Other points, including his speech last week, I didn‘t think he was offering a different vision.  In some ways, it felt a little bit more like self-protection. 

(CROSS TALK)

WEBSTER:  We spend more money on defense than any other country on the planet combined.  We‘re going to spend 700 billion dollars on defense.  Clearly, we‘ve got the world‘s finest military, the world‘s toughest military, strong intelligence agency.  We‘re closing down Guantanamo to remove the lead al Qaeda recruiting agency. 

FEEHERY:  I think if you look at the CIA, you see that they are very, very concerned about what the president‘s been doing on some of these things.  I do think that, yes, there‘s been more of an increase in intelligence and defense spending, but a lot of that has to do with things that have to do with taking care of the troops, which I support—don‘t get me wrong—but if we go on all these other spending programs, we‘re going to reach a point where we‘re bankrupt. 

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ:  But, John, don‘t you think that Newt Gingrich should be somewhat more definitive about why we should be afraid, other than it‘s just the Democrats that are in power?  Because that‘s the way it‘s coming off. 

FEEHERY:  I do think that Newt Gingrich should be more careful in his language.  I think that‘s absolutely right.  I do say that Newt Gingrich does know his intelligence.  He‘s been someone that‘s spent a lot of time in the Pentagon.  He knows it better than anybody.

SCHULTZ:  If we‘re weaker, I would like to know where.  Todd, go ahead.

WEBSTER:  Newt Gingrich has been out of office for ten years.  How is he some authority—why is he quoted in every newspaper? 

FEEHERY:  Because he‘s spent a lot of time in the Pentagon.  He knows all those general.  He spent a lot of time there.  I know Newt Gingrich and he knows his Pentagon. 

WEBSTER:  Well, he‘s a consultant and a lobbyist now, so I‘m not sure how he‘s—

FEEHERY:  He‘s not a lobbyist. 

WATSON:  But here‘s one of the things, though.  I think we‘ve got to be careful about simply, a, giving someone credit when they haven‘t been in office for a long time. 

SCHULTZ:  And Liz Cheney would be one of them.

WATSON:  But I also don‘t think we can just dismiss Newt Gingrich.  We know he‘s still talking to generals and CIA operatives and others.  We know that, like it or not, he‘s got more access to information, that he was in the seat in power.  So dismissing him out of hand, I don‘t think that‘s credible either. 

WEBSTER:  But he has a political motivation here, which is that he wants to run for president in 2012.  Of course, he‘s going to take shots. 

WATSON:  But I would argue, he‘s not helping himself.  It‘s interesting, he‘s only running in the Rush wing right now.

SCHULTZ:  Gentleman, always a pleasure.  Great to have all of you with us tonight.  Obviously, we need you to come back.  I appreciate it.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  We‘ll be back here tomorrow night, 6:00 p.m.  Eastern time on MSNBC.  For more information, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com.  Text alerts, go to—the word Ed to 622-639.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is next right here on MSNBC.

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

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