THE ED SHOW
August 11, 2009
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guesst: Chuck Todd, Jeanne Shaheen, Joseph Crowley, Toni Lewis, Rep. Eric Massa, Tom Tancredo, Jamal Simmons, Bill Press, Bob Lutz
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: I'm Ed Schultz. This is THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Good evening, Americans.
Live from 30 Rock in New York, it's THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
The president headed to the Granite State, and I think he hit it out of the park on the key issues today. The death panel, taxes and public option-this guy is on the offense when it comes to the righty whack job scare tactics, basically reassuring you and me, Americans, that he does have a plan for health care reform.
New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen got a shout-out from the president today, and she will join us in just a moment.
Senators Specter and McCaskill faced I think the "Dumber Than Joe the Plumber" crowds at their town halls.
Folks, these crazies, they're getting wilder by the minute.
Madam Secretary-the African heat might be getting to Hillary Clinton.
She blew a gasket when she was asked about Bill Clinton down in the Congo. I'll show you what really got her really riled up and I'll tell you what I thought of that tantrum.
General Motors is on a roll. The Chevy Volt is now on track to get 230 miles to the gallon. GM's vice chairman, Bob Lutz, joins me at the bottom of the hour to preview their electrifying future.
And, of course, "Psycho Talk" coming up tonight.
Get your cell phones out. We've got another text survey for you coming up.
A great panel, all of that is coming up here on THE ED SHOW tonight.
But first, tonight's "OpEd."
Goofy? Yes. Spooky? Yes. And a guy shows up with a gun at a presidential town hall.
If that's not dangerous, I don't know what is.
Now, to do all of this justice, I have to show you this first tonight. Take a look at what happened inside the town hall meetings of Senator Arlen Specter and Senator Claire McCaskill today.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and your cronies in the government do this kind of stuff all the time. Well, I don't care!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not want to pay on a health care plan that includes the right for a woman to kill her unborn baby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialized country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What it says is, as a 74-year-old man, if you develop cancer, we're pretty much going to write you off.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: You don't trust me?
MCCASKILL: Hey! Hey!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Fear, fear, and more fear.
And outside the president's rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, today, this was the scene. Wild Bill Hicock shows up.
What is this guy's program? Can it get any worse? Well, it does.
This is vandalism outside Congressman David Scott's office in Georgia. He held a town hall meeting a couple of nights ago. He was greeted with a four-foot-tall swastika today.
And this is how the president is being depicted in Maryland at Senator Ben Cardin's town hall meeting-Obama with a Hitler-like moustache.
You know, this is not the country that we should be proud of right now. These folks have got to be distanced from the Republican Party. You would think that the Republican party would step and up say, these aren't our people.
This is all a product of the Republican fear mongering that's taking place out there. This is really all the game that they have right now. It's a party without a message.
So, what happens? The fringe fills in the vacuum.
Today, the president went on the offensive. I tell you, President Obama was on top of his game today. He hit on the four major points on all the talking points that they've been hammering the White House with-
Medicare, death panels, public option, and taxes.
I thought he did it with tremendous clarity.
The big questions I've had, and someone asked it today, how are you going to pay for this reform? I mean, you're really all concerned about the money, aren't you? With Republicans, it's all about the money.
Here comes a piece of truth from the president. Here's the answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It should not burden people who make $250,000 a year or less. And I think that's the commitment that I made, the pledge that I made when I was up here running in New Hampshire, folks.
So, I don't want anybody saying somehow that I'm, you know, pulling the bait and switch here. I said very specifically, I thought we should roll back Bush tax cuts and use them to pay for health insurance. That's what I'm intending to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Got that, top two percent? You're going to get taxed if all this goes through. That means 98 percent of Americans, you don't have to worry about it. Middle-classers, you're not going to get taxed when it comes to health care reform.
He also pointed out that insurance companies are rationing care right now. The president threw the bullet points right back in their face today in a very classy manner, and did it with the facts.
Let's go to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Joining me now is NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd.
Aside from commentary, right to the facts tonight, Chuck. The president seemed very much in command today. Did it appear that way to you?
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I tell you, you look at outside and, frankly, the outside folks, you know, the gun guy-and I want to say this-the gun guy was some kind of-New Hampshire's got plenty of "Live Free or Die" guys. I think he was somebody who is out on the fringe and really had nothing to do with this health care debate.
The rest of the protesters, for what it's worth, actually seemed to keep a level head. And what that tells you is, the office of the presidency-we're not seeing this with U.S. senators, we're not seeing this with members of Congress. But the office of the presidency, at least, is keeping people from going nuts.
SCHULTZ: And how are they doing that?
TODD: Yes, they're doing their vocal protests-well, on the inside. For instance, I talked to one of the gentlemen that questioned President Obama, told me he did not vote for President Obama, does not like the idea of a public option, asked him about the public option. But, you know, he wasn't screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs.
I talked to a few other people at the town hall who were not supporters of the president but were there to learn a little bit more about health care. So, you could-whatever it is about the office of the presidency, I think it created a different atmosphere inside, and it certainly-the president himself, with the tone that he struck, I think, was an attempt to try to make sure everybody was keeping a level head about them.
SCHULTZ: Chuck, everything that the Republicans and the whack jobs have been throwing at the president-Medicare's going to get cut, taxes are going to be going up-all of these things, it seemed like the president was really on a mission today to definitely address these particular issues.
Did he accomplish that?
TODD: You know, I think so. I mean, he went-it was funny. He spent as much time frankly saying what's not in his plan. And he went down that he's not going to cut Medicare benefits, he's not going to pull the plug on grandma. I think he tried to use humor on that.
I think he tried to sell the public option. And I am curious-I know you're a big supporter of it.
He used a comparison, frankly, that I think is going to get him in trouble with postal workers, because he said, hey, check out FedEx and UPS. They seem to be beating the postal service, a government-run program, pretty well. It was sort of a weird way to compare it, because he's probably going to have a lot of mailmen very upset with him today.
SCHULTZ: Well, it's interesting. Senator McCaskill did the very same thing. I wonder if they weren't organized in how they wanted to present all of this.
TODD: Well, and it brings up another point, Ed, is that one benefit the White House is taking from all this-and look, this has politically been tough to watch for them, watching some of their supporters have to take this heat. But they have been spending time to try to refine their arguments, to try to get better at pushing back at some of the things they think they've been losing on.
For instance, this idea of a death panel and all this. This seems to be something that has gotten out of hand. They have not been able to get their arms around it.
SCHULTZ: Like wildfire.
TODD: And I think the president today and the White House feels better about pushing back on it today than they have in a while.
SCHULTZ: Thanks, Chuck. Appreciate your time on THE ED SHOW tonight.
Thanks so much.
TODD: You got it, buddy.
SCHULTZ: I want to know what you think. Are the right-wing lies about health care reform starting to sink in? Text "A" for yes, "B" for no, to 622639. We'll bring you the results later on in the show tonight.
Joining me now is Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who was at the president's town hall today.
Senator, great to have you on tonight.
The demeanor of the crowd, are they passionate in New Hampshire as they are in other parts of the country? And do you think the president really connected with the crowd today?
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I think the president did a great job of correcting misinformation about health care reform, pointing out what are the benefits to middle class families of getting health care reform.
One of the things that I thought was most poignant about this afternoon's session was the woman who introduced the president, who talked about the fact that she has Hepatitis C, her ex-husband had it. And she's had a business of her own, she's done very well, and she can't find anybody to give her health insurance because of that pre-existing condition. And the president talked about the fact that there are insurance reforms that are going to be part of this health care plan that are going to benefit people like Laurie (ph) and like so many people who have had difficulties with their insurance companies.
SCHULTZ: Does it make your state look a little fringy when a guy shows up with a gun outside a presidential town hall meeting, Senator?
SHAHEEN: Well, I think the earlier conversation is probably accurate, that he wasn't really here to talk about health care. And I didn't see him, so I don't know what his issue was.
But I think the debate this afternoon was civil. It was respectful. It was the way it should be.
As you heard, there were people who asked questions who didn't agree with the president, and he did a very good job of responding to those. And listen, this is an emotional debate.
There are people-health care affects every single person in this country and people care about it. And I think it's important to have a debate about it and about what goes in the health care plan. But we need to have that debate in a way that's civil, that's respectful, that gives people a chance to respond, and that, frankly, corrects misinformation.
SCHULTZ: Well, it's pretty interesting how this is not happening at Republican town hall meetings. It's only happening at Democrat town hall meetings. And of course it was much more controlled with the president today.
Senator, good to have you on with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.
SHAHEEN: Great to be with you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Joining me now is Congressman Joseph Crowley of New York. He's a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Joe, good to have you on tonight.
REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY (D), NEW YORK: Thanks, Ed. Great to be on your show.
SCHULTZ: Thank you. You bet. You bet.
House Ways and Means Committee, now, you guys are going to have to figure out how to pay for this over on the House side. The president today was very clear-over $250,000 a year, the money's got to come from somewhere.
Is that going to fly in the Congress?
CROWLEY: Well, that's already the bill that we passed out of the Ways and Means Committee. In fact, let me clarify that.
The bill that we passed out of the Ways and Means Committee is $250,000 AGI, adjusted gross income. That means every dollar over $250,000 will face this surcharge of two percent and graduate higher as you go towards a million. But we've already gone beyond that.
SCHULTZ: Well, the president had to address that today. I mean, kids stood up and asked him, OK, how are we going to pay for this reform? I mean, today it seemed like the president went out to debunk all the right-wing bullet points that have been out there to put the fear in the hearts and minds of Americans.
CROWLEY: I think he's done a great job as well. In fact, we've been talking about even raising that threshold.
So, if anyone has a problem with someone making $250,000 adjusted gross income, probably it's going to be $500,000 when we're all done. This is the very, very, very wealthy in our country. It's not people of the middle class or struggling to be in the middle class, or those who hope to at one point attain a higher income.
SCHULTZ: Are you surprised at the demeanor of people at these town hall meetings? We haven't seen tape like this, events like this, in 20, 30, 40 years in this country. I mean, this thing, you've got to go back to the Vietnam War to see this kind of public passion that's been out there.
CROWLEY: Well, you know, I live in a walking town hall in my district. When I see people on the streets they let me know how they feel. But it's done with respect, and mutual respect.
I have tremendous respect for my constituency, and they have for me. And I think that's-regardless of party. And that's what's missing right now in this debate. It's not about having a discourse, it's about shutting down meetings, it's about being disruptive. And that is outside the American tradition of town halls.
SCHULTZ: OK. Are they having an effect?
CROWLEY: I think that they're having an effect and that people are looking at this thing, well, what am I missing about this? What don't I know about these issues?
What they're in effect doing is they're clouding the issue. There's a din out there you can't hear through. But I think eventually people are going to get the facts, they're going to know what the health care plan is that the House and the Senate are working on and that the president promised, and that is to make sure, as Jeanne Shaheen said before, people with pre-existing conditions will not be discriminated against, people who can't get insurance now will get the insurance. And quite frankly, the 45 million people who don't have insurance today, they get health care, except those of us with insurance are paying for it.
SCHULTZ: Are you winning the argument with the American people?
CROWLEY: I think eventually we are.
SCHULTZ: Are you still on the upside?
CROWLEY: I think we're on the upside and we're going to win this because the status quo can't stay. We have to do something.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
CROWLEY: Great to be with you, Ed. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, one health care brawler claims that he was beaten by Obama supporters and union thugs outside a recent town hall meeting. He's pointing his crooked finger at one union in particular, the Service Employees International Union. One of their top officials will join me with their side of the story next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
So, we can remberer the summer of '09, right-wingers going to town hall meetings across the country, showing up with these talking points, manufactured, and their only mission is to disrupt civil discussion. That's what it's all about.
Last week, Congressman Russ Carnahan's town hall in St. Louis turned violent when right-wing TEA partiers clashed with members of the Service Employees International Union. Six people ended up in handcuffs and a TEA partier was injured. He says he was attacked by union members?
Now right-wingers are calling the SEIU guys union thugs.
Joining me now is Dr. L. Toni Lewis, president of the Committee of Interns and Residents of SEIU Healthcare.
Doctor, I've got to ask you, are you coaching union members to go and be disruptive back at those who are speaking out at town hall meetings?
DR. L. TONI LEWIS, SEIU HEALTHCARE: Absolutely not. You know, actually, quite the opposite. You know, our members have been running town halls for -- we've had thousands of town halls over the past year to talk about health care.
SCHULTZ: Without incident?
LEWIS: Without incident. And what we want is a civil discussion on what's going on right now in health care.
SCHULTZ: So, the union guys went there with no idea, and just evolved into something that they didn't want to have happen, right?
LEWIS: Well, you know, as we've heard earlier, it's right to be passionate about this. We're going to make legislation that changes the rest of our lives. So, no, we did not go there...
SCHULTZ: Is there a call from the Service Employees International Union not to get involved, not to get confrontational at these meetings?
LEWIS: There is a call to keep the discussion civil and about our health care workers and about our patients. At SEIU, we have 1.2 million health care workers, 100,000 nurses and doctors that see patients every day and understand what's going on. So, we want this discussion to be about affordable, comprehensive health care, not about theatrics or anger.
SCHULTZ: But being called "thugs," I mean, the image of this is, and the word-he says he was attacked by union members. I mean, the image of that is not very good.
LEWIS: No, absolutely not.
SCHULTZ: So, how do you counter that?
LEWIS: You know, it drives me nuts when they call our union members "thugs." We have two million members. Our members are nurses, doctors, long-term care workers, security guards, janitors, teachers, school bus drivers. They are not thugs, we are not thugs. We are hard-working people in our communities, and we want to raise up the voices of hard-working families all across the U.S.
SCHULTZ: So, what's the mission from here on out? Obviously, the unions have been very evolved in getting Democrats elected. From this point on, do you think there will be any problems? I mean, because it looks to me like the right-wingers aren't going to be changing their tactics at all.
LEWIS: It does look that way. But, you know, what we need to do is can't to focus on health care, comprehensive, affordable health care for everyone. And we're going to maintain that focus from here on out, because this is too important to let it deteriorate into just anger.
SCHULTZ: So, this was an isolated incident that you don't expect to happen again?
LEWIS: You know, it's passionate. It's absolutely passionate. There's a lot of passion out there. So, I would hope that it doesn't happen again, and SEIU members are going to work hard to keep the discussion civil so that we can really form this debate.
SCHULTZ: Is Andy Stern, the president of the Service Employees-is he putting out a statement, don't get involved in this?
LEWIS: Absolutely. Absolutely. Andy Stern and the international executive board of SEIU, which I serve on, we've all said, we are going to keep this about health care. We're going to keep it about health care and keep it about building up working families.
SCHULTZ: And finally, Dr. Lewis, the exchange, the public option, is the SEIU holding the Obama White House-holding their feet to the fire on this? Will you get that?
LEWIS: We are absolutely working very hard for the public health insurance option. We believe it's important for our patients and ourselves to have a choice of comprehensive, affordable health care.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Lewis, good to have you on THE ED SHOW.
LEWIS: Thank you so much.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for coming in tonight.
Next up on THE ED SHOW, mad Marsha Blackburn is up to her eyeballs in right-wing bullet points. But as usual, she's still firing blanks. Her "Mediscare" duds land her in the "Psycho Talk" zone next on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Oh, it's "Psycho Talk" time tonight.
It's kind of hard to be picking these psycho talkers these days because there's so much material out there. You know, these lies they've been spreading in the Republican Party about health care reform.
Today it's Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. She's a dandy. She takes the "Psycho Talk" prize with her fear mongering over Medicare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN ®, TENNESSEE: I think that people want to be certain that they don't end up with a bureaucrat in the exam room between them and their physician. Our seniors are saying, look, don't diminish Medicare. We have been paying into Medicare. That is prepaid for us. It's been coming out of our paycheck for 40 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: A bureaucrat in the exam room? Can we get some videotape of that? Oh, wouldn't that be something?
Now, this is the same mad Marsha who said last month, we're not going to try emergency every time we have a Katrina or every time we have a tsunami. And she wants us to believe that she's campaigning against health care reform because she cares about people? She cares about keeping her top campaign contributor happy, that's what she cares about. That's the health care industry, of course.
Republicans campaigned against Medicare, did they not, for years? They called it socialized medicine. They tried to kill it at every opportunity they had. And now they're pretending that, oh, we're on the side of the seniors.
They're against reform that will cut costs for everyone. They're against reform that will close the doughnut hole on prescription drug coverage for seniors.
And oh, Congresswoman Blackburn from Tennessee, for lying about Medicare and playing the fear card, you're guilty of pandering misinformed, cowardly "Psycho Talk."
And coming up, the two sides of Hillary Clinton are on display in Africa. One minute she's dancing with the locals, having a grand old time. The next time she's telling a college student in the Congo-telling him off.
And next, I'll talk to a congressman who faced such a big mob at his health care town hall meeting in New York, he opened up the barn door and took the whole doggoned show outside.
We've got the video. It's all coming up on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. By now, members of Congress have got to be expecting to encounter some fireworks at these town hall meetings around the country. The test is really how they're going to handle all of this. And passion and emotions are very high right now.
For instance, in a town hall in New York last week, Congressman Eric Massa took some heat from some constituents, but he kept things under control by laying down the law, right off the bat, when the first question threatened to rile up the crowd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health care has been no real issue. I don't know anyone that's seeking health care in America today.
REP. ERIC MASSA (D), NEW YORK: Folks. Hey, folks. Everybody, the gentleman made a statement and a lot of people jumped on him. Let's not do that. It doesn't help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Congressman Massa joins us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Congressman, were you surprised at how many people showed up at this? Or are you a target of the conservatives? What do you think?
MASSA: I think it may be a little bit of both. But frankly, I take great celebration in it. You know, Ed, this is a great national debate. And I fought very hard to have the opportunity to come back to my district and talk and make myself available to my constituents. And that's what's happening.
We're doing 17 town hall meetings. You just saw a video clip of one. Tensions are high. But I believe that if you appeal to all American's sincerity to try to solve this problem, it won't get out of hand and you can actually have a thoughtful and beneficial exchange.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, I don't know how else to ask this question. Are these just pissed-off Republicans? And I mean, you know, we haven't seen this kind of activity in America in the past. It just seems that they are-we know they're orchestrated. But these very people that are coming to these meetings, these are the folks that the president wants to help. Don't you find that rather strange?
MASSA: You know, one of the universal frustrations I've had is talking to the older voters in my district who look at me with great sincerity and say, I don't want the government involved with my medical care; I just want Medicare. And so you scratch your head by saying, that's a little bit juxtapositioned.
You know, when Representative Marsha Blackburn says there's a bureaucrat in every examining room, she's not telling the truth. In every examining room and in every operating room across this country there are three people: a patient, a doctor, and an insurance executive. And the insurance executive makes the decision about whether you get that prescription or whether or not you get that life-saving procedure. That is ground truth today.
To people who say, no public option, well, here's a news flash. We don't have a public option today. We have a whole bunch of for-profit health insurance companies running our health care system into the ground.
SCHULTZ: This is what-there's a disconnect for me, anyway. I don't know what they're so upset about. The president has said repeatedly, if you like your insurance, you can keep it. In other words, he's saying if you like getting gouged, we're going to continue to let you get gouged, if that's what you're all about. Congressman, what are they upset about?
MASSA: Let me sum it up in an encounter I had on Saturday that, frankly, broke my heart. A woman who told me she was 90 years old came up to me unsteadily, with tears in her eyes, and looked at me and said, Congressman, don't let them put me out on an ice flow.
MASSA: And I was just-I was stunned. But you know, the day prior to that, I come to find out that a nationally recognized radio show talk host said that, quote-unquote, Obama-care is going to put our elderly on ice flows and let them go adrift. And she had heard that. And she internalized it.
And this is the great disservice that many are doing to this most important of national debates. That's why I'm putting myself out there to actually tell the truth.
SCHULTZ: You've also put yourself out there as a stand up guy, because you're not taking your benefits inside the Congress. Is that true?
MASSA: Well, this is one of the things they shout at me, just give us the health care you've got. My answer to that is, I'm on the public option because I don't take the Congressional health care benefits plan. I get my insurance and my health care through a subset of Medicare, which is exactly what I want every American to be able to access.
Marcia Blackburn's right, people have been paying into Medicare for 40 years; it's working great. Ed, why can't we make that system available to every single American citizen, cut and dry, straight forward?
SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you on with us tonight. Eric Massa from New York here on THE ED SHOW.
Let me bring in our panel, Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, radio talk show host Bill Press, and former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo. Tom, I want to start with you tonight. Can you defend some of the demeanor that has been displayed at some of these town hall meetings? I mean, is this doing the Republican party any favors? Is this your idea of democracy?
TOM TANCREDO, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, it's certainly-it's representative of the way people feel. And therefore, I can easily defend it. If people get upset and you give them an opportunity to say something about it, they're going to take it. And that's what democracy is all about. There's nothing wrong with that.
You know, it is building. It's true. There's a great deal of emotion that's wrapped up into this debate, naturally. We're talking about something as personal as our own existence, our health care and how well we're going to be treated under a system that is highly suspect.
The president is losing the debate on this. He's losing his position. And it's apparent when you see how people are reacting to it. It's not-shouldn't be surprising to anyone that when you hear somebody over and over again tell you-the president, in this case-don't worry, if you like your present health care process, insurance, whatever it is, you can keep it. When you know-you know that there is absolutely no way that can happen when you have a public option that is-that cannot possibly-No private insurance company, no private provider can compete with a public system, because there is no need to make a profit. Everybody knows that, Ed.
SCHULTZ: No, we don't know that.
TANCREDO: He's lying about it. He knows he's lying about it. And it gets them very upset.
SCHULTZ: Tom, you see it that way. You're afraid. You're afraid that the big insurance that's ripping of the American people might get some competition.
TANCREDO: There's plenty of competition. There's over 1,700 different plans. How much more competition do you need?
SCHULTZ: Bill, I'll let you respond to this, go ahead.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: First of all, there are so many lies and so much misrepresentation and so much misinformation, it's hardly worth responding to. I would suggest that Tom Tancredo go back and watch a videotape of President Obama today in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He answered every one of those lies, every one of those misrepresentations.
TANCREDO: No lies.
PRESS: No, no, no, with the absolute truth. Tom, I didn't interrupt you at all. I listened to your babble. I want to make my point.
TANCREDO: Babble on.
PRESS: Listen, the other point is this, Ed: you asked earlier, what are they afraid of? I'll tell you, they're afraid of two things. Some of them are legitimately afraid of government, which I would say to them, OK, how many here are on Medicare? How many here are on Social Security? Probably over half of them. Well then turn in your Social Security card. Turn in your Medicare card, if you're really afraid of government.
The other people, Ed, the manufactured ones, the ones who are paid to go there, they are there against Barack Obama. It doesn't matter how good it is, how much it will help them. If Obama's for it, they're against it. Let's not kid ourselves. That's what this is all about.
SCHULTZ: Jamal Simmons, what do you make of these democracy in action, all the normal people showing up at these town hall meetings? I thought the president hit it out of the park today. He debunked all the right-wing talking points, the taxes, the Medicare, the public option across the board. What do you think?
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think he did a good job, from the parts of it that I saw. It's clear that a lot of the these folks have been organized by outside groups and brought there. I think Democrats and progressives are now trying to make sure that their people are there, so that when those folks start to shout, there's some people there who can talk about why they like health care reform.
I got to say one thing about Congressman Tancredo and his nervousness about private companies competing with public options. Tell that to UPS or to Fed-Ex. They compete against the post office and, frankly, they do very well against the post office. The post office is the public option when it comes to mail. So I think the private sector shouldn't be afraid of competing against.
SCHULTZ: Tom Tancredo, I'm going to pick on you a little bit tonight here.
TANCREDO: No kidding.
TANCREDO: I'm here as your political pinata. Go ahead.
SCHULTZ: Only because I like you, Tom. The president was very clear today, if you're making over 250,000 dollars, he wants your taxes to go up and to pay for this. So that means 98 percent of the American people are not going to be affected by this. I want your response to that.
TANCREDO: Ed, there is no way on God's green Earth that you can tax people at that rate, at 250,000 dollars above, enough to pay for this health care plan. If you believe that, Ed, honest to goodness, you're living in Obama-land.
And I'll tell you another thing, if you think that the other guys aren't coming here, that the left isn't organizing-here's the e-mail from MoveOn.org that goes out to everybody, telling them where to go, what questions to ask. Here's the poster, the thing that you can get online. They'll print it to you, that you can take and hold up.
SCHULTZ: We're better than you guys at this.
TANCREDO: You do. You got posters, that's true.
PRESS: Ed, I'm going to ask a question. Where's the memo from MoveOn.org that says, get there early, spread out, take over the meeting, disrupt them, and don't let the guy finish one word, and shout down everybody? Where's that memo from the left? I haven't seen that one yet.
TANCREDO: I haven't seen it from the right. Where is it on the right? I've never gotten it. Have you gotten it.
PRESS: I'll show it to you. Go to my website, look at my column, get the facts. Crazy as ever. It's Robert McGuffie (ph) wrote it.
TANCREDO: Who's he?
PRESS: Point by point-he works with Dick Armey's FreedomWorks.com.
TANCREDO: What is that? It sends out 300 e-mails or something? Give me a break.
SCHULTZ: Tom, you know that these folks are being coached to go in and disrupt. Jamal, it's very interesting how all of this is happening at Democratic town hall meetings. Gosh, I don't see this happening at all at any of the righties, do you?
SIMMONS: I don't. Frankly, I'm a little upset about it. I'd rather have some Democrats show up at some of those Republican meetings and agitate about having health care.
TANCREDO: Could it possibly be-
SIMMONS: Republicans need to understand that people in America want health care reform. We don't want to be subject to these insurance companies for the rest of our lives.
TANCREDO: Is it just possible-could you conceive of a situation where people are coming because they don't like it? Not because they're coached. Not because-
SCHULTZ: They are coached.
SCHULTZ: Tom, they're coached by the right-wing talkers. They're coached by a network. They're encouraged to go out there and disrupt, and the Democrats are not doing that.
TANCREDO: How cynical.
SCHULTZ: Stay with us. We've got more coming up. Stick around. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kind of flips her lid over a question about Bill Clinton. I'll tell you why her short fuse had me worried for a number of years. That's next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had-basically she's had enough of the world's obsession with her husband. And she's making it clear that she's now the top diplomat in the Clinton family. At a town hall event in the Congo, she lost her normally unflappable composure when a student asked what Mr. Clinton thought about an international financial issue. Listen to Clinton's response here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks?
My husband is not the secretary of state. I am.
So you asked my opinion. I'll tell you my opinion. I'm not going to be channeling my husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The student said after the event that he meant to say Mr. Obama, not Clinton. But the damage was already done. Let's bring back our panel on this one tonight, Jamal Simmons, Bill Press, Tom Tancredo. Bill, let me ask you, do you think maybe Hillary was a little upset that Bill was in Vegas celebrating number 63 with the boys? And she was in the heat of the battle in the Congo? What do you make of her tepid response there?
PRESS: You know, I have to tell you, Ed, I know we're going to disagree on this one. Look, we criticize our elected officials sometimes for not being humans, human beings. When they prove they are human beings, then we criticize them because they make a mistake. She could have handled it better. But I thought it was a very refreshingly honest moment.
You would never ask a man that same question. It was her way of saying, damn it, I'm here; I'm in charge; deal with me; I don't care what Bill thinks.
SCHULTZ: Jamal, your thoughts on this? I mean, did she just have a rough day at the office or what was that?
SIMMONS: You know, she's been on the road for a lot of days. I'm sure there hasn't been a lot of sleep. And you know, Ed, I'm sure you've probably been intemperate on your radio show before.
SCHULTZ: Never, never.
SIMMONS: I know I have. I'll cop to it. Sometimes people make mistakes. And you've got to give them a chance to, you know, make that mistake and keep moving. The person I felt really sorry for was probably whoever was staffing her on the that trip. I can imagine standing there watching this happen in slow motion, knowing this was going to be the news the next 24 hours.
SCHULTZ: I think there-is there or could there be, Tom Tancredo, a little envy here? Bill Clinton goes over to North Korea. He actually does the job of the secretary of state. And what do you think, a little tension here?
TANCREDO: That is the first thing I thought of. It seemed like somebody said, will the real Hillary Clinton please stand up? And she responded. And that is the real Hillary Clinton we're looking at, perhaps. This is America's top diplomat, right? Wasn't being very diplomatic in that case, lost her cool. Wonder what could happen under other circumstances.
That is the first thing I thought about when I heard this thing. I had not seen it. But I've heard that play over and over again. That's what I thought is, you know what, this is a reaction to Bill getting all that attention by going over there to North Korea. And there's a little-it did not go over well at home, I don't think.
SIMMONS: You know, Ed-Ed, the good news is that this-the Democratic secretary of state got in trouble for being too honest, not got in trouble for telling people there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and setting us on a war for a couple years. If that's the choice, I'll take it.
SCHULTZ: I get your point. Jamal Simmons, Bill Press, Tom Tancredo, thanks for joining us tonight.
Coming up, GM is burning some serious rubber with their Chevy Volt. You won't believe the miles per gallon that they are tracking. That's next in the playbook. It's a great story for the American car industry, next on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, call this one a win for General Motors; 230 miles per gallon? You heard it right, folks, 230 miles per gallon for the new Chevy Volt that's coming out next year. That's combined highway and city driving for General Motor's new electric car.
Folks, that is unprecedented. While General Motors is sitting on the cool car of the summer, which is the Camaro, can the Volt next year, at 40,000 dollars a pop-can it be the car to buy when it hits the showrooms next fall?
Joining me now is Bob Lutz, who is the vice chairman of General Motors. Mr. Lutz, good to have you with us tonight. A very positive story for the-for General Motors. Are you ready to claim victory over the foreign manufacturers when it comes to battery technology?
BOB LUTZ, GENERAL MOTORS VICE CHAIRMAN: Yes, I think we're very confident in this car. I do have to correct one thing. The 230 is a city number. The combined number will be triple digits. But we haven't announced that yet, because all battery-
But Ed, yes, we are ready to take anybody on, because the Chevy Volt is absolutely unique. It will give you 40 miles of pure battery power. Unlike other electric vehicles, when that's over, you don't have to go back to a wall outlet. You can drive another 300 miles off of the flex fuel driven generator.
So it's got the range and applicability of any normal car, but it has the advantage of being able to do 40 miles purely electrically. And 40 miles purely electrically covers the daily commuting needs of 80 percent of Americans.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Lutz-
LUTZ: That's what makes it-
SCHULTZ: No, the numbers are all great. There's no question about that. But Bob, tell us why 40,000 dollars? That's going to be out of range for a lot of average American families, don't you think?
LUTZ: But there's more. You get a federal credit of 7,500 dollars if you buy this vehicle. So-besides, we haven't confirmed the 40,000 dollar price. But you deduct 7,500 from that, you wind up with 32,500. And 32,500 gets to the point where it's within the range of a lot of vehicles that people buy. For instance, you mentioned the Camaro. The average transaction price of Camaros is easily over 32,000 dollars.
And you ask, why is it so expensive? Well, this is the first generation of a car with Lithium Ion Technology, and combined with a motor generator and very expensive electronics. It's also a very luxuriously equipped and very, very well-appointed car.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Lutz, can you make enough of these? Do you expect this to be the hot car of the decade?
LUTZ: Well, I think it's the hot car in the decade in terms of introducing new technology, and providing a great halo image for General Motors and its technology. But in terms of numbers, it will be the most produced electric car probably ever, at 10,000 the first year, 50,000 each succeeding year. And it will be exported around the world.
But when you put it in the context of, you know, the several million vehicles that General Motors produces a year, it's obviously a drop in the bucket.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Bob Lutz, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time. I guess I got to say a big congratulations to General Motors. There's been a lot of tough news out there in the car industry. This is one great story for America. Congratulations.
Earlier, I asked you what you thought. Are the right-wing lies about health care reform sinking in? Forty percent of you said yes; 60 percent of you said no.
And a final page tonight of the playbook. Tiger Woods won the Bridgestone Invitational, but he's going to have to hand a little of that money back. He's being fined for criticizing a tour official after the win.
Woods and Harrington really were put on the clock by European tour chief John Paramour at the 16th hole. Harrington ended up with a triple bogey. Both players said being timed put too much pressure on them. Woods told Harrington after it was over, I'm sorry John got in the way of a great battle.
The PGA player handbook says members are obligated to refrain from attacking or disparaging tournament sponsors, fellow members, players, or the tour itself. A very rare moment for Tiger Woods, who is absolutely a class act.
And imagine that; he shows compassion for the guy he was competing against and understands exactly what the moment was all about.
One other note tonight before we go. As a gun owner, as a guy who loves to hunt and fish, as a guy who has spent 30 years in the Midwest with that kind of a lifestyle, for the life of me, I can't understand why somebody would show up at a presidential town meeting, whether they're inside or outside, with a gun on. That is psycho activity is what that is.
Don't you remember the story, folks, down in Atlanta, when a prisoner overtook a guard, and went in and shot the judge and other people. How do we know that gun owner today just could protect that firearm so well that he knew that nobody was going to come up and grab it and start shooting people?
It's happened. It has happened. Who says that it couldn't have happened today? Chris Matthews has got a great interview with that gun owner coming up on "HARDBALL." That's THE ED SHOW. I'm Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com, or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starting right now for the place for politics, MSNBC.
Have a great one. We'll be back here tomorrow night, 6:00 Eastern time.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.