updated 6/15/2009 11:50:15 AM ET 2009-06-15T15:50:15

Guests: Donny Deutsch, Susan Molinari, Chrystia Freeland, Bill Press, Larry

Elder, Rep. John Hall, Lizz Winstead

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  This is THE ED SHOW.

Good evening, Americans, live from 30 Rock in New York City, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. 

Sarah Palin is playing the victim card again.  She saw an opening.  You‘ve got to give her credit.  She took advantage of it, but liberals, better watch out.  I bet moms across America are going to be supporting her on this one. 

Change sweeping the Middle East.  Iran‘s anti-American president is fighting for his political life at this hour.  And NBC‘s Richard Engel joins us live from Tehran on today‘s vote. 

Congress wants you to stop smoking.  How about these new sweeping powers for the Food and Drug Administration?  What‘s next?  What‘s in their headlights after this one? 

Plus, “Psycho Talk.” the Drugster, he knows really what‘s killing America when it comes to health care, and that‘s exercise.  All that and a great panel and comedienne Lizz Winstead is on tap tonight with her thoughts. 

But first, tonight‘s “Op-Ed”. 

You know, if Sarah Palin had really cared about overexposing or protecting her kids she would have kept her mouth shut.  Here she is back in the national spotlight.  It‘s a full-blown mama bear mode, defending her daughter from being the butt of a late-night joke on David Letterman. 

Now, Governor Palin has turned this, miraculously, and pretty - with a savvy tongue, I think, into a media circus.  Folks, when you turn on Letterman, when you turn on late-night TV, turning on “Saturday Night Live,” you know exactly what you‘re going to be getting.  When you listen to a Dick Cheney speech, you know exactly what you‘re going to be getting.  People in the political arena are targets; sometimes of nasty commentary, the brunt of jokes, opinion pages.  They are targets in the joke world. 

It was a joke, Sarah, just a joke.  It was six seconds long.  But you see, the governor from Alaska never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.  She‘s taken this one-liner, a joke, and turned it into a national media tour, which is really what the Republicans need.  I mean, it‘s all over the Internet. 

What people are saying is probably a heck of a lot worse than what Letterman would have ever said in six seconds.  But the question is, is this how she protects and defends her daughter?  Now, to her credit, Sarah Palin has turned this into a positive for her political career.  I mean, she saw an opening and she took it, because now, every mother in America can relate to Sarah Palin defending her daughter.  It‘s a political home run when it comes to exposure and the Republican Party - which has been in an identity crisis for months—finally has a pulse.  They‘re connecting with someone out there.  They‘re not anti- something, they‘re for daughters and moms and motherhood and apple pie. 

And there is no one, there is no politician on the face of the Earth that plays the victim card better than Sarah Palin.  She loves to be the victim.  She loves to be talked about.  And she has endeared herself to every mother in America.  She has played the sympathy card perfectly, I think. 

Here‘s the hard truth, here‘s the tough commentary on this.  True conservatives, I mean hard-liners, true conservatives might say, if Sarah Palin had been a better mother, maybe her oldest daughter wouldn‘t have gotten pregnant out of wedlock.  Hm.  It‘s not forget that at the GOP convention Sarah Palin brought the whole family up on stage, including the baby.  And, of course, the baby was the focal point.  Her daughter was the focal point of conversation as well.  And it just goes with the territory. 

But identity politics is what it‘s all about.  When moms in America see a fellow mom standing up with her child, it‘s going to be a very powerful thing. Palin ‘s no fool.  She knows it.  Listen to her this morning on “ The Today Show” with Matt Lauer. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SARAH PALIN, ® ALASKA:  The comment that was made about statutory rape of my 14-year-old daughter, Willow, knowing that cross the line and then others chiming in on other comments that Letterman has made.  Just, quite, I think, a sad commentary on where we are as a culture, as a society, to chuckle and laugh through comments such as he had made the other night. 

It was a key grading comment about a young woman.  And I would hope that people really start - really rising up and deciding, it‘s not acceptable.  No wonder young girls especially have such low self-esteem in America.  When we think that it‘s funny for a so-called comedian to get away with being able to make such a remark as he did. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  I tell you what we need to do, we need to cancel all late-night television.  OK?  In fact, we need to have now a censor czar from the Obama administration.  I think she said in there other things that Letterman has said that might parallel.  Did you hear that?  That he has said other things?  What are they?  Folks, she is an MVP.  She is gaming the political field big-time.  It‘s all about exposure in the TV world.  It‘s all about name recognition.  Joining me now is Donny Deutsch, chairman of Deutsch Incorporated, a $2.5-billion ad agency. 

You can‘t make this stuff up. 

DONNY DEUTSCH, CHAIRMAN, DEUTSCH INC.:  You can‘t make this stuff up.  It‘s interesting.  I‘m not here to defend David Letterman.  I‘m here to talk about the hypocrisy of Governor Palin, the hypocrisy.  Shame on her.  You said she‘s going to garner all of this kind of sympathy from mothers in America.  I want to talk to the mothers of America.  I have three daughters. 

Last month, and all of a sudden obviously, they‘re coming out against young women having babies.  The cover of “People” magazine, OK?  This was something they orchestrated and sometimes pay for.  Bristol Palin, and her baby:  Exclusive, at home with the teen mom.  If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex, says Bristol.  Trust me, nobody.  This is a glamorous picture.  This is an aspirational picture.  Look at this picture.  It this something that‘s going to turn off young women from having sex? 

When you put your daughter out there in the media at 18 years old, shame on you.  That‘s what sets up situations like this.  Greta Van Susteren, in February, here is the way they introduced the show.  Tonight, a special guest, in his first TV appearance ever—well he‘s less than two months old—it‘s Tripp, also known as the first grandson.  Tonight Tripp goes on the record - he‘s two months old.  The last thing I‘m doing is taking my 18-year-old daughter and their two-month on TV.  What is that about?  That is exploiting your own child.  And you set them up for situations like this. 

SCHULTZ:  So this is so predictable.  There‘s a pattern here.  You know that she‘s going to game this.  You knew she‘s going to respond to anybody that says anything about her, especially someone who has the visibility of Letterman. 

DEUTSCH:  And once again, this is not to say—obviously comedians go over the line.  I‘m not talking about the joke.  I‘m talking about, you are a hypocrite.  Because I think a mother that is looking out for her child is not serving up an 18-year-old and a two-month-old into the media, into these glamorous spreads.  You are putting her in the sunshine, in the limelight. 

SCHULTZ:  Here‘s the other thing.  The political opening here is, she was just overexposed, underexposed.  Newt Gingrich got all the big play the last big Republican dinner.  She‘s trying to get back in it.  She‘s trying to grab the conversation.  This is going to go on for days.  But the Republicans need to identify with somebody.  This does pull on the heart strings of some moms? 

DEUTSCH:  You know, some.  But once again, I want to talk to the moms.  If you had an 18-year-old daughter out there and she had an out-of-wedlock two-month baby, would you be parading her all over the media?  I don‘t know if mothers would do that.  I don‘t think a lot of responsible mothers would that, frankly, between you and me. 

I think the thing is here, also, by doing it, as somebody who‘s done damage control in the past for situations, this was a joke.  Letterman—obviously he‘s got a couple of million viewers.  By going on in the media you‘re bringing millions and millions and more in front of the joke.  You‘re actually accelerating the problem.  So, if you were so concerned about it.  The best thing to do is let it go and it never would have been a news story.

SCHULTZ:  But she embellished -

(CROSS TALK)

DEUTSCH:  Of course she did.  She exploited it.

SCHULTZ:   She went way overboard. 

DEUTSCH:  She exploited it.  Because she‘s got nothing to say about the issues. 

(LAUGHTER)

DEUTSCH:  That‘s why the Republican Party is where they are.  That‘s why 40 percent of the Republican Party doesn‘t like their own party, because they need more meat on the bone at this point.  This is exploitive.  This is fear mongering in America once again.  And show me the money.  Tell me what you‘re going to do for this country.  We‘ve come back past this nonsense at this point. 

And once again, I‘m not defending David Letterman.  Bad taste of joke?  It is a bad taste joke and comedians make jokes in bad taste.  But as somebody who was running for vice president, maybe wants to run for president, hopefully you‘ve got more in your arsenal than this. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, ok, the downside for Letterman?  There isn‘t one.  I mean, the way he‘s handled it.

DEUTSCH:  He‘ll be fine.  It certainly—I‘m sure if he could get a do-over, if he could get a Mulligan on this, he would.  Once again, it is what it is.  It‘s certainly a very sensitive topic.  And the fact that he flashed up the image of the younger daughter was what really set it up.  He crossed over the line here.  He‘ll be fine.  He kind of did an apology. 

SCHULTZ:  Isn‘t this what you get with a late-night guy? 

DEUTSCH:  Well, here‘s the other interesting thing also.  They‘re saying the liberal media never reports stuff like this, meanwhile -and I‘m not going to repeat any of the stuff that John McCain, that Rush Limbaugh, said about Chelsea Clinton.  Vile.  Vile stuff. 

SCHULTZ:  Compared her to the White House dog.

DEUTSCH:  I‘m not even dignifying it in talking about it.  John McCain, her running mate, OK, said things.  So just, guys, Republican Party, you need a new tune. 

SCHULTZ:  This hurt her or help for ‘12, you think? 

DEUTSCH:  Irrelevant. 

SCHULTZ:  Irrelevant at this point?

DEUTSCH:  Completely irrelevant.  I think the American voters, and they showed it in the last election, have too much personally at stake.  It is not this kind of false value play that is up there.  They want to know, what are you going to do for me and my foreclosured home?  What are you going to do for me and my out of work husband, company for my out of work husband?  This is not the way America votes when there‘s too much on the line. 

SCHULTZ:  But, Donny, you can‘t get a lot of exposure in Alaska.  You‘ve got to take it when you can get it.  There‘s not a lot of network cameras up in Alaska. 

DEUTSCH:  She‘s good TV.  She is good TV.  She‘s fun to watch.  I don‘t think in our lifetime we‘ll ever see her as president of the United States.  Americans are too smart.  It‘s that simple. 

SCHULTZ:  Donny Deutsch, always a pleasure.

DEUTSCH:  Pleasure, buddy.  

SCHULTZ:  Great to have you on.  Great take. 

For more, let me turn to former Congresswoman Susan Molinari who probably views this a little bit differently. 

SUSAN MOLINARI, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  You think? Gee!

SCHULTZ:  Who‘s she appealing to?  Do you think there‘s lot of moms out there across the country that can relate to this?

MOLINARI:  Yes.

SCHULTZ:  Or do you think they‘re going to be viewing this as political exploitation? 

MOLINARI:  I think there are a lot of moms and I think there are a lot of women that listen to this conversation that just went on right now and say, you guys don‘t get it.  Sarah Palin—what also you don‘t get is that there‘s a conservative Republican female who is a power house in this country and it‘s making a lot of people nervous and that‘s very clear.

Look, David Letterman stepped over the line.  He told a mean joke about an 18-year-old.  About an 18-year-old, you know what, that made a mistake and is now dealing with the very responsibly.  But Sarah Palin is saying, we‘re not going to hide from this.  Just like families all over this country do every day.  So I don‘t understand this attack over a woman who says, my family is just like every other family, and we‘re going to go out there and we‘re going to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly, and deal with its consequences. 

And quite frankly I think the fact that Sarah Palin , Governor Palin, now is using this as an opportunity to speak to not only mothers, but women in this country to say, you know what, this isn‘t funny.  And we‘ve got to band together to say, this is just not what we‘re going to expect from our entertainers. 

You‘re right, it‘s late night, and if you run for office it is fair game.  We all have big targets on us.  But hopefully the 18-year-old daughter escapes that. 

SCHULTZ:  But she is really vilifying David Letterman as if he is some horrible human being, who has a habit of doing this kind of stuff.  And I think it was about the 14-year-old and not the 18-year-old, Susan. 

(CROSS TALK)

MOLINARI:  Well, David letterman said - and I‘m giving David Letterman the benefit of the doubt.  David Letterman said he meant the 18-year-old, and that they made a mistake, that the 14-year-old, obviously, would be even less funny to talk about statutory raping of a 14-year-old, as opposed to consensual sex with an 18-year-old.  I think both are in pretty poor taste.  But Letterman said it was the 18-year-old he meant to tell the joke on. 

SCHULTZ:  But exposure is exposure.  You have to admit that Sarah Palin is a political opportunist and getting exposure and TV time is what it‘s a all about.  This is not—

MOLINARI:  I think Sarah Palin—

SCHULTZ:  This is a knee-jerk reaction, Susan.  This is all planned for her to go after Letterman, I think. 

MOLINARI:  I think Sarah Palin ‘s saying, you‘re not going to keep me quiet.  I think one by one, men, in particular, on television decide, we‘re going to try and get this woman back in Alaska and not hear from her. 

SCHULTZ:  Oh, no, I want her to run. 

MOLINARI:  She‘s one tough woman and she‘s not going away.  I think she does speak for a lot of mothers and a lot of the women right now.  I think this is a story that‘s going to continue to have legs because a lot of people are upset by what‘s being said.  Not only by David Letterman but by other people who are talking about David Letterman. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think she‘s going to connect with mothers a across America because any mother is going to go out and defend their child.  Especially what the family has been through and all the exposure, but she - what if she had just walked away from it, said no big deal, late-night TV? 

MOLINARI:  You know what, it is a big deal if it‘s your own 18-year-old.  Obviously David Letterman is very popular. 

SCHULTZ:  Well -

MOLINARI:  It‘s a legitimate argument to say—my initial reaction was, don‘t give him the credibility by going on as a former vice presidential candidate and taking on a late-night joke that was made in bad taste.  But we‘re now having this conversation about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in this country.  And I think maybe that is a good conversation. 

SCHULTZ:  But, Susan, it was not maliciously done.  And that‘s where I think a lot of Americans are.

MOLINARI:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, 

SCHULTZ:  It was not maliciously done and you know that. 

MOLINARI:  David Letterman, you don‘t think that‘s a malicious joke to tell about an 18-year-old girl? 

SCHULTZ:  I think the intent was to get a joke.  I don‘t think the intent was to be mean to anybody. 

MOLINARI:  I think it‘s about one of the meaner things I‘ve ever heard on TV and I watch your show, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  We have the open debate.  Susan, good to have you with us tonight. 

MOLINARI:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you so much.

Coming up, a game-changing election in Iran.  Young people are coming out in droves to vote for reform.  I think it‘s change we can believe in.  Richard Engel joins us live from Tehran for an update on the situation. 

That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  After the speech that I made in Cairo, we tried to send a clear message that we think there‘s the possibility of change.  Whoever ends up winning the election in Iran, the fact that there‘s been a robust debate hopefully will help advance our ability to engage them in new ways. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  That was President Obama talking today about the change in the Middle East, which he sees reflecting in Iran. 

Now, the world is looking on, waiting for final results of this Iranian presidential election.  Since 1979, Islamic revolution in Iran, no incumbent president has been defeated.  It has never happened.  Something important really, folks, is happening here that could change the real focus of our diplomatic relations with that country. 

A third of the eligible voters are under 30.  Will today‘s election really begin a new era of U.S./Iranian relationship?  Let‘s bring in our panel tonight.  We‘ve got the U.S. managing editor for “The Financial Times” Chrystia Freeland is with us.  Also, nationally syndicated talk show host Bill Press is along with us tonight; and media commentator Larry Elder.

Chrystia, what do you think of this?  How big is this? 

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, U.S. MANAGING EDITOR, “THE FINANCIAL TIMES”:  This

could be huge.  This could be a real turning point.  Now, we don‘t know where it‘s going to go yet.  And as of sort of late-night Iran time today, we had a really tense standoff with Mousavi disputing the results that Ahmadinejad had declared.  So, it could be a really tense and volatile moment.  I think the fact that we‘ve seen such a high turnout, a lot of people are saying that that tends to favor Mousavi.  And I think the results we saw in Lebanon, with Hezbollah being defeated, suggests that, you know, we could be seeing a positive wave of change in the region. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill Press, what do you think?  Is this the Obama effect in any way, shape or form?  Because the United States has shown it wants to change? 

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, before we jump to that conclusion, first of all, look, I‘ve got to agree.  I‘m a little skeptical knowing who counts votes in these kinds of countries, that it will be possible ever to get rid of Ahmadinejad.  But even if he‘s not dethroned, just the fact that you had these tens and tens of thousands, millions of young people in the streets, a sea of green, through the streets of Tehran.  Ed, there is change sweeping through there. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.

PRESS:  And I believe, you tie that with Lebanon, there‘s real change going on in the Muslim world.  And I think Cairo and that speech in Cairo did have a lot to do with it.

SCHULTZ:  What do you think, Larry?  Speech in Cairo have something to do with it? 

LARRY ELDER, MEDIA COMMENTATOR:  I would like to think that it did, but I doubt it.  Let‘s keep in mind that the mullahs are the ones who choose the candidates.  Anybody who really is a true reformer is not allowed to be put on the ballot.  Iran is still building a nuclear bomb, they still are testing long-range missiles, they still are talking about Israel being a fictitious state.  I don‘t see any difference whatsoever in whether or not Ahmadinejad wins or loses as long as the mullahs are the ones who pick the candidates. 

SCHULTZ:  Going to be the same old Iran, is what you‘re saying, Larry?  There‘s not going to be any change at all when it comes to the U.S.  relations? 

ELDER:  When I hear Iran say that Israel has a right to exist, when I hear Iran say that I‘m going to renounce building a nuclear bomb and my nuclear bomb is only for defensive and civil purposes; and until I hear Iran say that Israel is no longer a threat and is not a fictitious nation, and the Holocaust did in fact occur, then, and only then, will I believe there are changes. Until then, I think these things are cosmetic.

SCHULTZ:  OK, panel stay with us, we have to use you a lot tonight. 

There‘s a lot of the news on this Friday. 

Next up on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.” The Drugster blames our broken health care system on athletes?  That‘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.”

(LAUGHTER)

In “Psycho Talk” tonight, it‘s our ol‘ buddy, Rush Limbaugh, the Drugster.  Tells us who‘s actually to blame for rising health care costs in America.  You‘re not going to believe this one.  Here it is, listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think those of you that regularly exercise, playing softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, mountain biking, running, rock climbing, skiing, skating, running.  You‘re the people getting injured.  You‘re the people showing up at the hospital with busted knees and tendons and skin cancer, ankle sprain.  All you exercise freaks.  You‘re the ones putting stress on the health care system.  What happens when people don‘t regularly exercise, keep their weight relatively under control?  Nothing.  They probably don‘t even know their doctors‘ names. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  A sprained ankle?  How many people have you seen going to the emergency room with a sprained ankle?  Now, that‘s definitely doing it.  Now, this whole thing about weight and health care and—I mean, this is nuts, Rush.  Come on. 

Rush, I realize that you‘re no expert on exercise and I‘m not claiming to be either, although, I have dropped 22.  Here‘s what I do know.  Heart disease is the number one killer in this country.  Guess what increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.  That would be obesity.  One-third of our population is obese.  Half are overweight.  You think exercise is the problem?  Now, Rush, you might want to set down that expensive cigar, put away that juicy steak, and throw a salad in there every now and then. 

But I have to tell you, for the round mound of conservative sound to blame exercise for rising health care costs, that‘s just a big fat old case of “Psycho Talk.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. 

President Obama and Congress, they are cracking down on a bad habit.  Ted Kennedy said today, miracles still happen.  It‘s a new bill that‘s going to put bigger warning labels on cigarette packs, put an end to flavored cigarettes, and put some tough restrictions on tobacco marketing to youngsters. 

Well, let‘s look at the politics of all of this.  The parent company of Phillip Morris called the bill tough but reasonable.  Some Republicans are using this as an opportunity to try to tag Democrats as socialists. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. HOWARD COBLE ®, NORTH CAROLINA:  Allowing the FDA to regulate tobacco in any capacity would inevitably lead to FDA regulating the family farm.  Of course, that is the potential. 

REP. STEVE BUYER ®, INDIANA:  When you lock down the marketplace, and we then stifle innovation and we do not have competition in that marketplace, we truly don‘t have the ability then for these companies to track at-risk capital, to make investments in harm reduction strategy. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s all about the money, isn‘t it?  No surprise there.  But there is room to debate.  In the war on smoking, it seems like the government is putting the burden on regular people, with more taxes and restrictions.  We should be going after big tobacco companies, and taxing the heck out of them, and targeting the dealers, not the addicts, in my opinion. 

Joining me now is Congressman John Hall of New York.  John, great to have you with us tonight. 

REP. JOHN HALL (D), NEW YORK:  Good to see you. 

SCHULTZ:  Good to have you.  Long overdue.  Are you in favor of this? 

HALL:  I am.  I believe that Nicotine is a drug that you can currently buy in a drugstore as a patch or as a supplement or as a chewing gum, for instance.  And it‘s about time we regulate it like we do other drugs. 

It kills about 400,000 people a year.  The biggest single preventable cause of death in the United States. 

SCHULTZ:  So is this going to bring down medical costs in this country, in the big picture, you think? 

HALL:  Well, it‘s going to take awhile.  But approximately 100 billion dollars a year of medical costs are attributed to tobacco-related diseases. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, over the long haul, we‘re going to be looking at, you know, teenage smoking.  Is this going to curb teenage smoking?  If it doesn‘t, I mean, people are going to say, hey, here‘s the government just restricting freedoms. 

HALL:  Some teens choose to smoke, and some don‘t, as they choose other behaviors.  What it does is it prevents candy-flavored cigarettes, fruit-flavored cigarettes, things that make it easier to get over the taste of tobacco to those who don‘t immediately like it. 

It will bar advertising within 1,000 feet of schools.  It will increase the warning label to half the size of the box of cigarettes. 

SCHULTZ:  A lot of middle income and low income people in this country smoke cigarettes.  Are you targeting them?  They can‘t get off the habit. 

HALL:  They will still be able to buy them.  For the first time, we‘ll be able to know all those ingredients that are actually in the cigarettes, as we do with food.  You buy a loaf of bread, you can read what the ingredients are. 

SCHULTZ:  Here comes big government—I‘m playing devil‘s advocate—here comes big government coming in here, what‘s next? 

HALL:  Well, go back to 1994 when there was a hearing in Congress.  The tobacco executives came in under oath and swore that tobacco was not addictive.  Now ask anybody who‘s tried to get off of cigarettes.  I know people who have gotten off of recreational drugs, who have gotten off of drinking heavy doses of alcohol.  Talk to any health professionals at a treatment center or halfway house, and they‘ll tell you tobacco is probably the hardest of all those drugs to get off of. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Different subject, but can you do this to big oil so we don‘t have four dollar a gallon gas anymore?  Would that be going too far?  That‘s really socialism there. 

HALL:  I‘ve been working for 30 years to try to come up with our own, homemade sources of renewable energy.  And this Congress is working hard to produce a bill to do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Hall, good to have you here tonight. 

HALL:  Thank so much.

SCHULTZ:  Thanks for being here.  I appreciate it.  For more, let‘s go back to our panel.  Chrystia Freeland is with us.  She‘s the U.S. managing editor for the “Financial Times.”  Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host.  And media commentator Larry Elder.

Larry, what‘s your take on shutting down the smokers in this country?  Actually, let me frame it this way: the Food and Drug Administration now has more power under the Obama administration than at any other time in American history.  How do you feel about that? 

ELDER:  I don‘t like it.  I think, in fact, the Food and Drug Administration should be shut down.  Under the Commerce Clause, the government has gotten involved in all sorts of things, including tobacco.  Tobacco is a legal product.  If people want to smoke tobacco, given all the bad health consequences, they ought to be able to do so. 

These warning labels have been on since the 1960s.  Anybody that doesn‘t understand that smoking can possibly cause cancer in some people, and shorten the lives of some people, is living somewhere in a cave.  It is a legal product and the federal government should butt out. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think, Bill Press? 

PRESS:  I like Larry‘s idea.  Let‘s get rid of the Food and Drug Administration so millions more Americans will die of salmonella.  You go to the grocery store, you have no idea what you‘re buying.  Go to the meat counter, go to the fish counter, you‘re going to get putrid stuff that‘s going to make your kids sick. 

This is a stupid idea, Larry.  Let‘s get with it.  All this does—first of all, we had an election—

ELDER:  I didn‘t say there ought not to be any regulation—

(CROSS TALK)

PRESS:  I‘m sorry.  You said you should shut down the FDA.  That‘s what I‘m responding to.  I think that‘s—

ELDER:  That‘s what I said.  I did not say that states ought not regulate things. 

PRESS:  Yes, sure. 

ELDER:  The federal government has no power under Article One Section Eight to be involved in the regulation of cigarettes and shouldn‘t be involved in minimum wage, shouldn‘t be involved—

SCHULTZ:  Hang on a second.  Bill, I want you to respond to this before we bring Chrystia back into this.  Will it have a positive effect when it comes to teenagers not starting to smoke? 

PRESS:  That‘s why think it‘s important, Ed.  I do think it‘s important.  I think it‘s good.  I think it proves that elections have consequences, because this—the FDA will have authority now not only over the—what‘s in them, Ed, but, as you pointed out, how to market them.  And that‘s what the tobacco companies need to do. 

SCHULTZ:  Chrystia, where do you think the American people are on this?  Do you think they‘re OK with this?  Or is this big government jumping in our personal lives? 

FREELAND:  I think the American people are very OK with this.  The fact that 79 senators supported it, and actually Philip Morris supported it shows how far the country has come.  And I think that your question about teenage smoking is really one of the central points.  A lot of studies show that if you start smoking as a teenager, it‘s an even more addictive habit and a lot harder to break. 

And I think the fact that this will ban those candy flavors put into cigarettes, and ban cartoonish marketing—it‘s hard for me to understand why a person wouldn‘t think that that‘s not a good thing.  Who wants cigarettes to be designed especially for kids? 

SCHULTZ:  Larry, is this a step towards socialism?  That‘s what I‘m hearing Republicans say today.  Isn‘t that a little heavy-handed? 

ELDER:  Well, it depends how you define socialism.  Socialism is government ownership of means of production.  Fascism is when the government allows private ownership, but the government tells you what to do.  I would put this in the fascism column, and not the socialism column. 

FREELAND:  Wait a minute.  If I could step in there, the government tells all companies what to do.  That‘s why this is a rule of law society.  There are health and safety regulations.  There are regulations about how we treat our workers.  There are regulations about paying taxes.  It‘s really a myth to imagine that it‘s even possible in such a huge and complicated country, in such a huge and complicated world, to live in a place without some forms of government limitations and government regulations. 

(CROSS TALK) 

FREELAND:  Capitalism wouldn‘t be possible in a jungle like that. 

SCHULTZ:  Larry, quick comment.  Go ahead, Larry. 

ELDER:  I never said there shouldn‘t be regulation.  What I‘m talking about is what the authority of the federal government has.  That‘s outlined in Article One Section Eight.  IT has nothing to do with regulating cigarettes, regulating minimum wage, regulating all sorts of things the government does do, by both parties, by the way. 

PRESS:  Ed, I‘ve got to say, when I fly a plane, I‘m glad there‘s the government safety regulations.  When I drive my car, I‘m glad the government safety regulations are there.  When I go to the supermarket, I‘m glad the FDA is there.  And I‘m glad the FDA is now going to have authority over cigarettes. 

SCHULTZ:  Panel, stay with us.  Heavy news night, as I said.  Coming up, the health care compromise plan.  I think it‘s nothing but a cop-out.  I‘m sick of the Democrats getting spooked by the party of no, because they don‘t like something.  That‘s next in my playbook.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  OK, in my playbook tonight, I want to talk about this co-op plan for health care, which personally I don‘t like.  This is a compromise plan being pushed by Senator Conrad.  He was asked to come up with a compromise.  This is what he came up with. 

It would create a nonprofit health care cooperative that would supposedly compete with private insurance companies.  In theory, these co-op plans would provide all the benefits of a public plan. 

But folks, I don‘t buy that.  In a blog posting for the American Prospect yesterday, Robert Reich, former labor secretary, laid out the problems with the plan I think perfectly.  He wrote, “it wouldn‘t have any real bargaining leverage to get lower prices, because they‘re too small and too numerous.  Pharma and insurance know they can roll them.  That‘s why the Conrad compromise is getting a good reception from across the aisle,” meaning the conservatives love this thing because they can protect the insurance industry. 

Nancy Pelosi said yesterday she‘s against it.  She said there is strong support for a public option in the House.  I‘ve gotten a lot of emails, a lot of response from the northwestern portion of the United States, around Seattle, where we‘ve got some good radio stations up there.  And they‘re telling me that this group health co-op system, they refer to this thing as group death. 

Now here‘s my take.  I don‘t believe this co-op thing is going to satisfy most Americans.  It still gives the control to the insurance companies. 

Joining me now is Ezra Klein.  You can find his blog on the “Washington Post.”  He covers economic and domestic policy.  Ezra, what do you make of this?  Is this—of course, Nancy Pelosi‘s against it.  Does that kill it?  What do you think? 

EZRA KLEIN, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I don‘t know if it kills it.  I actually spoke to Representative Lynn Woolsey of the Progressive Caucus.  They‘ve got 80 members in the House.  She said if there‘s not a public plan, our members are going to vote against health care reform.  We‘ve not done that before, but we‘re prepared to do it here. 

There‘s going to be real opposition.  Part of the question is if Senator Conrad is right about the votes.  If you can‘t get health care reform out of the Senate, with the public plan, then they are going to begin looking for a compromise. 

But I don‘t know if that is a done deal yet.  Right now, I think I‘d be surprised to see this co-op plan really sap the well of support for a public option, even in the Senate. 

SCHULTZ:  Ezra, are the Democrats buckling?  There‘s an undercurrent across America, in the sound chamber of America, that you know what, you guys were sent to Washington to bring us change, and now you‘re going over there talking bipartisan stuff.  The political angle of this seems like the Democrats are losing their innards on this, their guts. 

KLEIN:  I wouldn‘t say—I don‘t know what the Democrats are going to come out with.  We‘re seeing the Health Committee‘s going to come out with a bill.  That‘s going to have a public option.  See what the Finance Committee comes out with.  I think the majority of Democrats right now, it‘s safe to say, are pro-choice in health care reform.  They think you should have a choice of insurers.  It could be a public one. 

Honestly, I think Senator Conrad‘s idea is a good one.  But it doesn‘t replace the public plan.  I see no reason to believe the insurance market is working so well that people like me and you shouldn‘t have access to all the options anybody can think to give to us. 

If I like a co-op or I want a public plan or I want Aetna, who‘s to tell me I‘m wrong?  It‘s the power of the consumer. 

SCHULTZ:  It is the power of the consumer.  But I‘m starting to think that inside the beltway they‘re not really listening to the consumers.  And there‘s going to be a political push back.  And I think a price to pay if the Democrats don‘t open up their ears on this. 

I am going to be in Buffalo tomorrow night.  I‘m going to be doing a town hall meeting.  There‘s going to be a lot of Canadians coming down to that town hall.  You know what they‘re going to be talking about, hey, our health care is great.  The majority of Canadians love what they have.  And they say, well, you don‘t want to put the government between you and your doctor.  Well, if they get a paycheck, I do.  That‘s going to be the involvement of the public option, that what most Americans want right now and envision. 

If the Democrats come up with anything less than that, I think it‘s going to be trouble for them.  Look—

KLEIN:  I think you‘re exactly right.  And I think that one thing the Democrats are becoming acutely aware of is that their base, like the conservative base, has defined the public plan as victory.  If they have it, then they won.  If they won‘t, then they won‘t have. 

I think again, Conrad‘s idea has some merit as a policy proposal.  I don‘t think it‘s going to get them out of the political dilemma they‘re currently in. 

SCHULTZ:  Ezra Klein, good to have you with us.  You‘ll find his blog on the “Washington Post.”  He covers all the domestic issues and economic issues.  Thanks so much for joining us. 

KLEIN:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Coming up, Sarah Palin is going hunting for David Letterman.  “Daily Show” creator Lizz Winstead talks about Palin‘s latest media crusade.  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Time for club on a Friday night.  One more thing about Sarah Palin.  After their spat, David Letterman invited her and her husband Todd to go on the show.  Why not?  Great promotion.  Her spokesperson declined and responded, “it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman.” 

Give me a break.  Matt Lauer asked Palin about that dig this morning on “The Today Show.” 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  Are you suggesting that David Letterman can‘t be trusted around a 14-year-old girl? 

GOV. SARAH PALIN ®, ALASKA:  Hey, take it however you want to take it. 

Maybe he couldn‘t be trusted because Willow‘s had enough of this type of comments and maybe Willow would want to react to him in a way that maybe would catch him off guard. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK, watch out, Willow.  Here comes Letterman.  This is just

this is a real circus.  Isn‘t it?  Joining me now is comedian Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” and the brains behind “Wake Up World.”  I tell you, you want this to go on for weeks, don‘t you. 

LIZZ WINSTEAD, CREATOR, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  You know, Ed, I don‘t.  And I‘m sad because I got to the studio late and I wanted to wear my slutty flight attendant outfit for you.  This woman literally—Sarah Palin blames the media, and yet she is unavoidable for comment on anything but issues that would matter. 

Now she thinks—everybody with a brain knows that he was doing jokes about Bristol Palin.  He obviously got it wrong, and she was bringing Willow, who—you couldn‘t have water boarded the name Willow out of me.  I didn‘t know she had a daughter named Willow.  No one does.  Willow‘s a middle child.  People forget the middle child.  I know this.  Ask any middle child, they will tell you. 

But to really accuse David Letterman of being a pedophile is really unbelievable.  It‘s shameful.  He‘s telling jokes.  Her daughter Bristol Palin—if she cannot see the irony, which clearly she cannot, that her daughter who was knocked up, single mother, is the spokesperson for an abstinence-only group that‘s sponsored by Candie‘s slutty shoes, it‘s unbelievable.  Unbelievable. 

SCHULTZ:  Health care has been a big issue in this country.  We see that top conservative talker in the country, Rush Limbaugh, is saying that exercise is the problem.  And that‘s one of the reasons these daily jocks that go out and work out and get hurt—they‘re the ones raising the cost of health care.  What do you think? 

WINSTEAD:  You know what else raises the cost of health care is I‘m stealing prescription drugs and using them for yourself, and not paying for them, Rush.  Maybe you should look into—sometimes I really think that Rush is in cahoots with the pharmaceutical industry.  Because he—he was using all that Viagra that wasn‘t his.  You‘ve got to envision him using Viagra, which gives the pharmaceutical companies an opportunity to make a pill to erase the message of Rush Limbaugh taking Viagra out of your brain. 

I think it‘s an ugly, slippery slope we‘ve got to look into with Rush and the pharmaceutical industry. 

SCHULTZ:  One more big story tonight.  We‘re seeing possibly big political changes in Iran.  What do you make of that? 

WINSTEAD:  Well, you know, I‘m in Minnesota, Ed.  And it‘s basically -

they feel like it is the Coleman/Franken redux, right?  Both parties are claiming victory.  I say give Al the Senate seat now, and give Norm the presidency of Iran.  Everybody wins. 

SCHULTZ:  Everybody wins.  Lizz Winstead, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with on Club Ed section on Friday night. 

Before we bring back our panel, a few other stories that are out there, Ed-Lines.  First up, I love this story.  George H.W. Bush got suited up and took a birthday drive down to the summer home in Kennebunkport today, a 10,500 foot freefall at 100 miles per hour.  Not bad for an 85-year-old guy. 

This is Bush 41‘s seventh jump.  He parachuted from his Navy plane when he was shot down over the Pacific in World War II.  He says, look, he‘s going to do this, and he‘s going to do it when he‘s 90 years old, because, you know, you‘re not an old guy—you just don‘t want to sit around and be drooling in the corner.  He actually said that. 

I don‘t know why anybody would ever want to leave a perfectly fine running engine.  But some people do. 

Next up, 10-year-old Kennedy Corpus had a different idea of a good time yesterday.  She went to see President Obama. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  My name is John Corpus.  I‘m fortunate enough to be here with my 10-year-old daughter who is missing her last day of school for this.  I hope she doesn‘t get in trouble. 

OBAMA:  Oh, no. 

Do you need me to write a note? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ll take you up on that actually, Mr. President. 

OBAMA:  Here you go, Kennedy.  There you go.  There you go.  All right. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  No reaction from the teacher.  I suppose it worked. 

And finally, folks, we‘re getting phone jacks.  The “Wall Street Journal” reports the IRS wants employers to declare 25 percent of workers‘ annual cell phone charges as a taxable fringe benefit.  Wow.  Why not Internet tax? 

For some thoughts, let‘s bring back our political panel tonight, Chrystia Freeland, Larry Elder, and Bill Press. 

All right, let‘s talk about exercise, if we can, Bill Press.  Because I know you exercise every single day.  You‘re the reason why health care costs are going up in this country.  What do you think? 

PRESS:  Actually, Ed, this is maybe the one time I agree with Rush Limbaugh. 

SCHULTZ:  What? 

PRESS:  Because I‘ve been looking for an excuse not to get out there and exercise every day.  And now I‘ve got it.  By not exercising, I‘m helping keep health costs down, Ed.  Thank you, Rush. 

SCHULTZ:  Larry, what do you think?  You know, when you watch the web cam, I mean, it looked liked Rush was pretty serious about this.  Where are you at on this? 

ELDER:  Well, I‘d like to hear the whole thing in context.  I doubt very seriously if Rush was saying that people who are fit are actually costing us more than people who are not fit.  The fact of the matter is, you often have said, Ed, that you think everybody ought to have health care, all the 40 plus million Americans who don‘t have it ought to have it, and you don‘t care how much it costs. 

We -- 85 percent of people in this country, born and raised in this country, have health care insurance, and they‘re satisfied with it.  And the 43 some odd million who don‘t, about 20 million are young people who made the decision not to have it.  Another 14 million or so could have it because of various programs that are available that they just don‘t take advantage of. 

I don‘t believe there is a, quote, health care crisis that cannot be addressed through the free market.  I know you don‘t, but I do. 

SCHULTZ:  Larry, you don‘t think there‘s a health care crisis?  I tell you what, we‘re going to play that tape back over and over again.  You‘re saying that 85 percent of the American people—

ELDER:  Please do. 

SCHULTZ:  How many, 85 percent—

ELDER:  Eighty five percent -- 85 percent of Americans born here have health care insurance, and the majority of them are satisfied with their health care coverage; 40 million don‘t have health care insurance.  And there‘s all sorts of reasons for that, not least of which is that a lot of young people have made the decision that they‘re healthy enough and would rather not spend the money on health care. 

(CROSS TALK)

FREELAND:  If I can just come back at Larry with an economic argument about the failures of the American health care system, which I think are manifest.  That is purely looking at the numbers, the American system is broken.  America spends considerably more on health care than any other G-7 nation—

ELDER:  Because we have more money. 

FREELAND:  Hang on a minute, please let me finish.  And America‘s health care outcomes are worse.  Purely from an economic—

ELDER:  That‘s not true. 

FREELAND:  Yes, they are, actually. 

ELDER:  You think our outcomes are worse than Canada? 

FREELAND:  Yes, your health care outcomes are significantly worse. 

SCHULTZ:  Actually, the life expectancy in Canada is higher.  And the mortality rate for—infant mortality is lower up in Canada as well.  I‘ve got to go to some breaking news, because Bill Press, we just found out on this show that we don‘t have a health care crisis in this country.  Did you hear that? 

PRESS:  Yes, you know what?  I want the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance whatsoever, and the 25 million Americans who don‘t have enough health insurance, to know that there‘s no problem.  Don‘t worry about it.  So why don‘t we all just go home. 

ELDER:  I didn‘t say—I didn‘t say there wasn‘t a problem.  What I said was—

PRESS:  Come on. 

ELDER:  The problems cannot be addressed—may I finish? 

(CROSS TALK)  

ELDER:  The problem cannot be addressed through the federal government. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, we‘re going to get a public option, one way or the other.  Bill Press, Larry Elder, Chrystia, thank you for joining us tonight.  Great to have you with us on THE ED SHOW on a Friday.  Lively discussion.  Hot topics right here every night. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  We‘ll be back here on Monday, same time, 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on MSNBC.  Remember, we‘ve got a town hall meeting, and we‘ll be talking about health care, coming up tomorrow night in Buffalo.  It starts at 6:00 p.m.  For more information, check out my website at WeGotEd.com and also at MSNBC.com.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is coming up.

On Monday, we‘re going to be talking about the finances of how the president wants to pay for his agenda.  More on health care.  And certainly more on Sarah Palin, as she seems to know how to game the media.  Chris has got a lot on that, coming up right now, for the place for politics, MSNBC.  Stay with us.  

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