updated 8/24/2009 10:40:12 AM ET 2009-08-24T14:40:12

Guests: Jim Moran, Joe Madison, Gary Peters, Leo Gerard, Michael Graham,

Bill Press, A.B. Stoddard, Michael Duss

(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, it‘s THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

President Obama heads to Martha‘s Vineyard this weekend.  He‘s got a lot on his mind.  He‘s probably thinking about the numbers.  People are losing faith in the president on health care reform.

We‘ll go inside the numbers.

Speaker Pelosi, I‘ve got something for you on this Friday night.  She said it again, the House won‘t back down on a public option.  That‘s my girl.

Congressman Jim Moran is in the foxhole with her, and he‘ll join me in just a moment, right here on THE ED SHOW.

Hey, how about this?  Cash for Clunkers ends this weekend.  The government takeover of the car business is finally coming to an end. 

Now, let‘s get this thing straight.  This is a big success, but understand that Wall Street, those guys got $787 billion and the car guys only got $3 billion?  And they want to stop the program?  Why? 

Michigan Congressman Gary Peters has reaction to that tonight. 

And the former Bushies, how about this?  They‘re saying that Tom Ridge is lying about being pressured to raise the threat level for political gain. 

Now, I want to give you my take, and that will come up at the bottom of the hour.  Here‘s a hint: I think he‘s a huckster. 

And speaking of hucksters, I‘ve got a bone to pick with former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.  You see, he trashed the commander in chief while he was overseas.

Jim “DeMinted” lands in “Psycho Talk” again. 

And “Daily Show” creator Lizz Winstead weighs in on “The Hammer‘s” fancy footwork. 

But first, tonight‘s “OpEd.” 

All right.  You know the old saying “let the majority rule.”  That‘s normally how it works.  Well, a “Washington Post”/ABC News poll says that the majority of the public still supports health care reform in this country. 

We‘re looking at 52 percent support an insurance plan created by the government.  Oh, yes, that famous public option.  We‘re going to remember the summer of ‘09 as “public option.”

Fifty-one percent say that health care reform is necessary, 66 percent say their quality of care will be as good or better when this is all done.  And that‘s a number that has not changed since June. 

Even after all the town hall protests, all the death panel talk, the comparisons to Adolf Hitler, more than half the country still supports reform.  What people are losing is faith in the president and his leadership on this. 

He is still offering an olive branch.  I‘ve got to calm down when I say that, because I don‘t think he should be doing this.  He‘s still offering the olive branch to the very people who are trying to destroy his presidency. 

Mr. President, put this on the Republicans.  You invited them to the table and they said no.  The Republicans don‘t want to negotiate.  They‘re interested in doing one thing, and that‘s destroying your presidency for political gain. 

Now, the American people know their motives.  Seventy-eight percent of them say they have no confidence in the congressional Republicans that are going to make the right decision for the country.  Insurance reform should be a slam dunk. 

The majority of Americans want it.  Democrats have huge majorities in the Congress.  Americans don‘t trust the Republicans.  But once again, once again, it‘s our friends the Democrats that are screwing up their own story here. 

Here‘s Senator Kent Conrad on the wrong channel. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA:  There are many more who are open to the cooperative option as being a way to bridge the gap between those who are passionately in favor of public option and those who are passionately opposed.  It‘s very clear that there are not the votes in the United States Senate for public option.  That‘s why I was given this assignment, to try to come up with an alternative. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  But wait a minute, Kent.  You‘re a friend of mine, and you‘re a reasonable guy and a good guy.  All these town hall meetings are taking place.  How do we know that we don‘t have some conservative Democrats changing their mind when they come back to Washington? 

What in the heck is Senator Conrad doing going to the belly of the beast and saying that the Democrats don‘t have the votes?  We don‘t know that yet.  He‘s saying, basically, well, the Senate is not listening to the people of the United States. 

Now, I know President Obama wants the Congress to, you know, handle all this thing and let them sort this thing out, and they are in a sense over in the House.  The real rock star in all of this has been the speaker. 

Nancy Pelosi has been clear and consistent about this the entire time.  She said it again last night, no bill gets through the House without a public option. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER:  There‘s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option. 

(APPLAUSE)

Unless somebody comes up with a better idea, that‘s how we‘re going forth in the House. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  She has shown the real leadership on this and never wavered.  When the Blue Dogs in the House started making some noise about, we don‘t know about public option, you know what she said?  We‘re not throwing it overboard.  In fact, we‘re going to get it.

The progressives have won this election.  We‘ve already compromised. 

The public option is non-negotiable. 

I love it. 

Now, the conflict is over in the Senate.  No one is driving the Senate debate.  Key negotiators are sending out mixed messages, they‘ve been doing it all week long.  And you know where it‘s showing?  It‘s showing in the poll numbers. 

It‘s time for the president to step up and get after it. 

Now, an interesting development today.  Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle went to the White House.  You know Tom Daschle.  He was the guy that Barack Obama wanted to have as the health and human services secretary on his cabinet, and then the tax thing got in the way and, bingo, they deep-sixed him.  But he has the experience, he has the legislative know-how, and he knows the health care issue. 

What kind of signal is that?  We‘ll get to that in just a moment.

But I want to get you to get your phones out tonight.  I want to know what you think. 

Who is showing better leadership on health care reform?  Text “A” for President Obama, text “B” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Text your answer to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the program. 

Joining me now is Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, a member of the Progressive Caucus. 

Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. 

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  It‘s always good to be with you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of Tom Daschle being invited over to the White House today?  Is this a signal that the president may be ready to make a decision on the public option and draw the line in the sand? 

What‘s your take on that meeting? 

MORAN:  You know, I have no idea what Tom told the president, Ed.  I hope he didn‘t suggest that we compromise, because listening to the beginning of your show, I completely agree with you. 

This thing doesn‘t work unless we have a public option any more than the military care of veterans works without the federal government taking on the responsibility to make sure that every veteran gets medical care that they need.  Same thing with Medicare.  It wouldn‘t have worked if we had come up with some kind of nonprofit cooperative based upon seniors getting together and pooling their resources. 

When something is important enough, the American people need to get together, get the resources of their government in there, and do it right.  And that‘s what the public option is all about, so people have a choice to get quality, affordable health care. 

And without the public option, I don‘t think they have their choice. 

And they‘re not going to get the kind of quality they deserve. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘re on the same page, undoubtedly. 

Now, back to this meeting about Daschle today over at the White House with the president, when he came out of the meeting he was asked if they talked about reconciliation in the Senate, and the comment that Daschle made was, “That‘s not the best way, but that could be the only way.”  He did acknowledge that the president did talk to him about reconciliation. 

Now, if that‘s the case, isn‘t that a signal to the folks over in the House, stay strong on a public option, he may be willing to pull the legislative trigger on reconciliation over in the Senate?  I mean, that‘s the way I would take that. 

Your thoughts? 

MORAN:  I would, too, but, you know, we‘re both speculating.  I wish that Tom was still the majority leader because of a real comprehensive health reform bill was his number one priority.  I hope that Harry Reid will insist that it‘s the Senate‘s number one priority. 

If the Republicans decide to filibuster, then let them filibuster.  Let the American people see what they‘re about, which is just opposing anything that represents progress. 

SCHULTZ:  And speaking of filibuster, do you think the American people right now have fallen off the wagon with President Obama if he doesn‘t, you know, play that hand?  Now, here‘s the deal—some of the numbers here are a little staggering for the White House right now, and I don‘t think it‘s Independents, I don‘t think it‘s conservatives.  I think it‘s the liberal base that‘s getting a little bit shaky. 

Your thoughts? 

MORAN:  You know, my thought is we were elected to lead, not to follow.  The American people want us to get out in front.  Even if they are hesitant to follow us, they put their trust in us. 

And we were elected, and the Democrats were given a majority, and President Obama a mandate to get health care reform done in this country.  This is our opportunity.  And we ought to put the polls aside. 

If we get it done, you know, the rewards will be to follow.  The American people will realize we took some risks, he took a lot of risk, but he got it done, he served their interests.  And I know they‘ll re-elect him if he gets this done.  And he should, and I think he will.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Jim Moran, great to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.

MORAN:  Always good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  For more, let me bring in my friend, XM Radio talk show host Joe Madison.

Joe, good to have you with us tonight.

What do you make of Daschle going over to the White House today and having a conference with President Obama?  What‘s your read on that, Joe? 

JOE MADISON, XM RADIO HOST:  Well, I really don‘t know what my read is, Ed, on that one.  I‘ll tell you what I have been focused on.  And I heard Jim Moran talk about they‘ve elected us to lead, but I think it‘s now time for the people to lead. 

If you did a text survey on whether or not there should be a march on Washington as a defining moment to send a message to people and Congress, I bet you that you would get an arousing response.  I‘m suggesting strongly, I‘m calling on the same base, the progressives in Hollywood, labor, we who are in the talk business, we should demand right now, we get here in Washington in October. 

Here‘s what I think is going to happen.  When vacations are over, Ed, the real discussions are going to take place in committee hearings.  And that‘s when people will hear all of the facts that you‘ve been hearing on your show and I‘ve been hearing on my show.  What I found out, Ed—and I‘ll close with this—we‘re 80 percent of the way there.

Both of us are old football players.  We are on the 20 yard line. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘re in the red zone. 

MADISON:  Thank you.  We‘re in the red zone, and it‘s now time to bring out the big dogs. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, do you think that a march on Washington, Joe, is going to influence Kent Conrad and Max Baucus and the Arkansas senators, Pryor and Lincoln?  And there‘s a host of other Democrats that are—even Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota is quiet on a public option. 

Do you think that march would turn them over? 

MADISON:  In a word, yes, because if the AFL-CIO and all of those folk who are responsible for electing and re-electing them are out on that Mall, the way we were—the way that many people were in ‘63 -- and it also allows President Obama to understand something Johnson understood, when, in 1965, Martin Luther King went to him and said we need a voting rights act.  He said, Martin, I just gave you a Civil Rights Act, and if you want me to give you a Voting Rights Act, you‘ve got to make me. 

And what happened?  Tens of thousands of people hit the streets.  And that‘s what we‘re going to have to do. 

So, I don‘t look for politicians to be leaders outside the beltway. 

SCHULTZ:  You‘re looking for the people.  I got you, Joe.

MADISON:  Ed, that‘s what‘s going to have to happen.

SCHULTZ:  Joe, great to have you with us tonight.

MADISON:  Thank you very much.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

XM Satellite talk show host Joe Madison with us here on THE ED SHOW.

Now, I want to show you a graphic.  You can go to John Dingell, the congressman from Michigan, and you go to his Web site, and he says this is what it‘s costing Americans for the uninsured in this country. 

That‘s right, insured singles played $368 a year to cover those who are not insured.  And those families are paying $1,017 a year extra to cover the 48 million that aren‘t insured.  And, of course, the check is written to the insurance industry, and it is in the billions.  That‘s the price we‘re paying. 

All right.

Switching gears, push it in, pull it in, or drag it in.  That‘s right, you only have 48 hours to trade in your clunker for cash.  The Cash for Clunkers program is ending on Monday.  It‘s your last chance to put $4,500 in your pocket. 

Run, don‘t walk. 

Michigan Congressman Gary Peters, he‘s going to be here in Big Eddie‘s car lot when we come back on THE ED SHOW. 

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Cash for Clunkers coming to an end.  I thought it was a joke when it started, I really did, but you‘ve got to admit, it‘s been great. 

You know, come 8:00 Monday night, it‘s all over.  So, if you‘ve been thinking about trading in your old car for a more fuel-efficient one, this weekend‘s your last chance to get the program‘s $4,500 rebate.  So far, almost 500,000 cars have been sold through the program.  Dealerships can‘t keep enough cars on their lots. 

It‘s a great story, great position to be in.  So why are they stopping it?

Let me bring in Congressman Gary Peters, who‘s—can we call you the brainchild behind all of this?  You had your hands all over it, Congressman.

Good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN:  Well, it‘s great to be here. 

There was Representative Sutton and a lot of other folks that were involved in it, but it was great to be a part of it.  Certainly a very, very successful program. 

SCHULTZ:  It started out with a billion dollars.  They thought it was going to go to November.  Car dealers right away said you‘re going to run out of money. 

You put another $2 billion into it.  Why stop at $3 billion when Wall Street got $787 billion? 

PETERS:  Well, this is a program that has been incredibly successful, but, really, the program was designed to kind of prime the pump.  And certainly it has done that, Ed. 

We‘ve got folks come into showrooms.  Cars are selling, as you mentioned in the opening.  Actually, cars are off the showroom floor and off the inventory lot, and we‘re low on inventory. 

And a great thing right now is that American car companies are going back and getting those factories working.  In fact, a plant in my district is now working overtime to build some Chevy Malibus, which are just flying off the showroom floor. 

This is great for America, because not only are we buying cars, that means we‘re making steel, we‘re making rubber, we‘re making plastics.  We‘ve got people working. 

This is a great economic stimulus.  As I‘ve always said on your program, Ed, the best way to get the American economy going is start selling automobiles, and that‘s exactly what‘s happening. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So why stop at $3 billion?  Why not put it on a date and have it open-ended?

PETERS:  Well, it‘s done, the priming.  As you mentioned, right now, because of some of the slowdowns that we had, and through the bankruptcy proceedings—for example, GM and Chrysler—there‘s actually a shortage of some of these cars. 

So, we want to make sure those cars are out on the lot.  This gives some time for the auto companies to get back, get those inventory stocks back up again.  Plus, as the economy recovers, we‘ll be able to start selling those cars.  So, we can revisit that. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think for sure it‘s an attitude adjustment for a lot of workers in this country. 

I do want to point out, out of the top 10 cars that are going off the lots right now, four out of five are foreign cars.  Are you concerned about that?  Here they are: Toyota; Honda; Ford is number three, the Focus; the Camry; and also Hyundai Elantra. 

What do you make of that? 

PETERS:  Well, we‘ll wait to see the final numbers.  The numbers that I‘ve seen is that American cars are selling about equal to their market share.  People are going in to the showrooms.

In fact, they‘re not just buying the small cars.  We‘re finding out people are buying—even if they don‘t have a clunker to trade in, they‘re going into the showroom and they‘re buying automobiles.  So you‘re going to see real strong sales figures from American auto companies as well. 

SCHULTZ:  And we can say that a government program has worked, can we not? 

PETERS:  Absolutely.  This worked, and it‘s going to get the economy moving. 

SCHULTZ:  And there was no government takeover at all here, we should point out.

PETERS:  Absolutely. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you, Congressman.  Good to have you with us.

PETERS:  Great to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  The benefits of Cash for Clunkers aren‘t just limited to the car companies now.  It seems the program is having a ripple effect across other industries. 

For more on that, let me bring in the president of United Steelworkers International, Leo Gerard. 

Leo, great to see you tonight.  Good to have you on with us.

What‘s the ripple effect?  Has this been so positive that you think maybe they should continue it?  What do you think? 

LEO GERARD, PRESIDENT, UNITED STEELWORKERS INTERNATIONAL:  This is a great stimulus program, Ed, and I‘m pleased to be on your show to talk about it.

Just up the road from Pittsburgh, in Lordstown, there‘s now 2,200 of the autoworkers called back, and they‘re going to bring people another 1,100 people next week making the Chevy Cobalt.  Just up the road from Lordstown, a steel mill reopened and called everybody back to work.  Just here in Pittsburgh, one of the steel mills reopened. 

Our tire plants are now working full out.  The people that were working rotating days are now working full shifts and calling them back.

Our glass plants are coming back to work to make the glass for the automobiles.  Some of our smaller auto parts plants are getting some work out of this. 

So, this has been a terrific program.  And I‘m not as quite as open-minded, maybe as Congressman Peters.  I think the program should have been geared to the big three. 

These tax dollars shouldn‘t be subsidizing foreign-made vehicles, in my view.  But having said that, we‘re still selling a lot of cars, and it‘s primed the pump.  And it showed that this government‘s plan of getting the economy back to work is really working. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you have an issue with the clock and the train stopping at $3 billion when a lot more went to Wall Street? 

GERARD:  I think—in this case, I agree with Congressman Peters.  So many cars have been sold, that in some places we‘re short.  And I think we can find other ways to prime the stimulus pump.  I would like to see an infrastructure bank so we can fix water lines and sewer lines. 

SCHULTZ:  So they should try this in other areas of the economy as well? 

GERARD:  They should try this in other areas of the economy.

Let me just say that renewable energy, wind turbines, we just got a plate mill opened up since the stimulus program has been in place.  Wind turbines are now back on the agenda.  People are able to access some capital.  There‘s wind farms being built. 

So, two of our plate mills are back up and running.

SCHULTZ:  Gosh.  We keep hearing that the stimulus package isn‘t working.  We‘re getting some positive news here tonight.

GERARD:  I think what‘s happened is it‘s taken a while for it to kick in.  It‘s not all in yet, and it‘s starting to kick in.

I don‘t think it was enough.  I‘ll just say that.

I think there should have been more.  I think there should be a focus program for an infrastructure bank.  I think we can do more on mass transit and take people out of their slowed-down trains and put them on speedy trains.  That frees up some skies, it frees up some highways, it creates jobs, and we need a good blend on that. 

So, I think the president is hitting the right direction.  And when he passes the health care bill, that will open up the markets some more.

SCHULTZ:  All right.

Leo Gerard, Steelworkers president, with us here tonight on THE ED

SHOW.

Thanks so much.  Have a great weekend, buddy. 

GERARD:  My pleasure.  Same to you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Coming up, I‘m putting Senator “DeMinted into the “Psycho Talk” zone.  He‘s got the nerve to suggest that the president is leading us down the road to totalitarianism?  I‘ll set him straight in a minute.

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Another edition of Friday night “Psycho Talk.”  Tonight it‘s South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. 

You know, he‘s the genius who said if the GOP could stop President Obama on health care reform, it would be his Waterloo.  That would break him. 

Here‘s the senator‘s latest attempt to break the president. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. JIM DEMINT ®, SOUTH CAROLINA:  And we‘ve seen a lot of countries over the years collapse when they‘ve gone down the road that we‘re going down.  Probably the most heart-wrenching experiences I‘ve had over the last several days is when naturalized American citizens who have emigrated here from Germany, Iran and other countries, they come up to me and they say, why are we doing what so many have fled from?  Why don‘t Americans see what we‘re doing?

And I‘ve realized that these people who have lived under socialist-type economies and totalitarianism, they know where we‘re headed if we don‘t turn things around. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All right, let‘s start with Germany. 

Now, I don‘t know what German immigrants Jim has been talking to, but the Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago and Hitler has been gone for 60 years.  Germany is not socialist or totalitarian.  And, by the way, virtually all of their citizens have health insurance. 

But let‘s get to the really “psycho” part, that we‘re somehow turning into Iran.  Let‘s compare some recent events.

Remember when the Iranian regime banned protests following their elections this summer, when the protesters hit the streets anyway?  Well, the police unleashed their guns, batons, pepper spray, and silenced the opposition. 

Now, we‘ve had a few protests in our country this summer, but even the most extreme nut jobs can run their mouths, insult the president, insult elected officials right to their faces, and be protected by the Constitution.  Also, Iran shut down the media after the election.  They kicked the foreign press out of the country and blocked the Internet sites. 

Here in the United States, anything goes for the media.  Just watch you know who. 

And President Obama may sometimes wish to control what he calls cable chatter, but that‘s not going to happen. 

Now, I mean, the whole death panel hoopla, it all started on the Internet, courtesy of the northern defense minister, Sarah Palin. 

So, Jim, if you‘re going—I think you‘re just going to have to do a lot better than that if you‘re going to take down this president.  Comparing the U.S. to Iran isn‘t going to cut it.  It‘s just “Psycho Talk.”  

And coming up, another Bushy is trying to sell a book.  Former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge now says he was pressured to raise the threat level before the ‘04 election. 

Hey, Tom, now you tell us, when there‘s money on the table. 

Plus, “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead, she‘s going to turn Tom DeLay into a dancing punching bag tonight in “Club Ed.”

Stay with us.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to “The Ed Show.”

Tom Ridge, you are a huckster.  In his new book the former Homeland Security Director says he was pressured by Ashcroft and Rummy to raise the terror threat level the weekend before the ‘04 election. 

You know the story.  Usama Bin Laden released a videotape before the election.  Both Bush and Kerry responded to it.  Well, in his book, Ridge writes, quote, “Then Attorney General John Ashcroft strongly urged an increase in the threat level and was supported by Rumsfeld.  There was absolutely no support for that position within our department, none.

I wondered, is this security or politics?  Postelection analysis demonstrated a significant increase in the president‘s approval rating in the days after the raising of the threat level.” 

Come on.  Ridge questioned whether the Bush administration was abusing its power, exploiting fears of another terror attack on the eve of presidential election, and said nothing until now? 

Tom, I‘m not interested in doing an interview and I‘m not interested in reading your book, but I am interested to know why you didn‘t speak up earlier, like before the midterm in 2006.  The Bush regime was still in power, Bush, Cheney, Rummy, the whole crowd was still there.  Ridge knew the American people were being played for a fool, and he said nothing. 

But you see, it‘s book time. 

Tom Ridge may be the nicest guy in the world.  Pennsylvanians, you may love the guy.  But for him to play with the minds and the emotions, to hold that back for a book and not speak up before the midterm—to be fair to the American people, look, when you‘re a servant of the people, you‘ve got to tell the truth, and you‘ve got to speak up when it‘s timely and when it‘s important. 

For more on this, let‘s bring in our panel tonight.  National syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press is with us, A.B. Stoddard, Associate Editor of “The Hill,” and Michael Graham, radio talk show host, WTKK. 

Michael, going to go to you first tonight, because I want to know, who do you believe here?  Do you believe Ridge, or do you believe Ashcroft, rummy and that crowd? 

MICHAEL GRAHAM, WTKK RADIO SHOW HOST:  One of the people involved is Francis Townsend, who was right in the middle of this and was supposedly in the chain of command.  She says it never happened.  She‘s a career DOJ employee, an intelligence employee. 

Who knows?  You‘ll never know.  This is the point.  When you give government power, government use power.  Nixon had the enemies list, Hillary had stack of FBI files in the basement.  That‘s why some of us, Ed, don‘t want to give the government power over our health care. 

SCHULTZ:  Oh, nice pivot, my man. 

(LAUGHTER)

Let me pivot on that one right here.  Lying by the Bush administration, health care.  OK, good move.  I like it.

Bill Press, I want your thought on this.  I have a problem with Tom Ridge not speaking up before the midterm. 

BILL PRESS, RADIO SHOW HOST:  I just have to say how deliciously predictable Michael Graham. 

(LAUGHTER)

Look, Ed, certainly Tom Ridge doesn‘t deserve any badge of courage reward, because he should have quit at the moment.  But you what else, Colin Powell should have quit over the Iraq War, and he didn‘t either.  So I‘m not going to praise Tom Ridge here.

But I think what‘s really important is what he was saying.  We knew this, Ed.  You said it at the time, I said it.  Now it‘s confirmed, the Bush administration, they were willing, Cheney and Rummy and Ashcroft and Bush were willing to play politics with national security. 

They did these arrests, they did these warnings.  They raised the color alert when politically it benefited them and, that is odious, and I think that‘s worth noting. 

SCHULTZ:  A.B. Stoddard, how do you think this plays with the American people.  Is this a red flag in many respects?

A.B. STODDARD, “The Hill”:  The charges are serious and they‘re distressing and disappointing. 

But I agree with you, Ed, that when you see someone like Tom Ridge, who has been a public servant his whole life, a Vietnam veteran, a governor, a congressman, a cabinet secretary, when you see someone like him coming out now in a chance and a tell-all book to make money after he has decided not to run for the Senate, after he wasn‘t chosen to be John McCain‘s vice president on the ticket, you see a man who‘s decided during the years when he wanted to still be in the Republican Party to stay quiet, and now to come out with his book. 

Now, there was a fierce backlash today, as everyone mentioned, from Andy Card, former chief of staff, in addition to Frances Townsend.  You did not see Rumsfeld or Ashcroft or these others coming out to deny it. 

I don‘t know why Tom Ridge would make this up, but you always attract questions and you‘re a target for criticism when you‘re doing it in a tell-all book after you‘ve gotten the big advance. 

SCHULTZ:  I would like to know.  Michael Graham, is Cheney involved in this?  He was involved in everything else. 

GRAHAM:  I was waiting for you to point out that Halliburton had their mind control ray working on him and he that‘s why he couldn‘t leave the White House.

Look, why do you believe one career official over the others.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  This is in your party.  You have got your people saying that they‘re lying.  I just want to know, my only point is...

GRAHAM:  How are you picking teams here? 

SCHULTZ:  Do you agree with what they were doing if Ridge, what he‘s saying is true, do you agree with phonying up the threat level? 

GRAHAM:  First of all, I hate to inject facts here.  But as he says in the portion that you read, he suspected and wondered—later in the same book according to what‘s been posted on the Internet by the publishers, he said explicitly that he never set the threat level for any political reasons.  So he contradicts himself or your allegation should say in the same book. 

PRESS:  The point is, Michael, he said he was pressured to by Ashcroft and Rummy. 

GRAHAM:  And if they said they didn‘t.

PRESS:  Listen, if you want the facts, go to Keith Olbermann on YouTube, it‘s out there.  In April he documented ten times, never rebutted by the Bush administration, ten times where the timing—they timed either terror alerts or warnings or arrests because of some bad news for the administration. 

They took 9/11 and they made it a political club to beat Democrats over the head with. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘ve got to leave it there.  Panel, we‘re coming back to you.  Hang on. 

Next up, conservatives just couldn‘t stop ripping the Dixie Chicks when they took a crack at Bush.  But somehow when one of their own rips Obama, they‘re dreadfully silent.  I‘ll tell you who needs to shut their trap on this one next in my playbook.

Stay with us on “The Ed Show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In tonight‘s playbook, apparently the idea that politics stops at the water‘s edge only applies if you‘re a Democrat.  See, Mike Huckabee traveled to Israel this week and spent time criticizing President Obama‘s foreign policy. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Many of us were surprised by the significant policy shift of this administration from previous administrations.  It‘s certainly even inconsistent from his own campaign promises when he came to Israel.  I think that‘s one of the reasons why it‘s a concern, even to members of his own party in the Congress in the United States. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  I‘m not saying he‘s got to agree with the president, but a former government official criticizing his country‘s foreign policy overseas is wrong. 

And where‘s the outrage?  When Al Gore went to Saudi Arabia in 2006 and criticized U.S. government abuses of Arabs, conservatives went absolutely bonkers on that one.  “Investors‘ Business Daily” accused the former vice president of supreme disloyalty to his country.

And remember in 2003 when the Dixie Chicks told a London audience that they were ashamed the president was from Texas.  The backlash was unbelievable.  Bush lovers steamrolled piles of CDs.  Do you remember that?  Their music was banned from the airwaves.  Right-wing talkers called them “Dixie Sluts” and “Saddam‘s angels.”  They received death threats. 

So it wasn‘t OK for a former Democratic officials or even a group of singers to criticize the president on foreign soil, but it‘s OK for the conservatives, not a problem at all. 

Joining me now is National Security Editor for Think Progress, Matthew Dusk.  Mr. Dusk, good to have you on tonight.

Am I overplaying this double standard, or is this just hitting us all in the head like a big softball?  What‘s your take on this tonight?  Is this a double standard? 

MICHAEL DUSS, THINK PROGRESS:  Clearly it‘s a double standard.  As you said, when Natalie Manes of the Dixie Chicks made an offhanded comment on the stage in London in 2003 about being ashamed of George W. Bush being from Texas, there was a huge outcry, people destroying their CDs, people making death threats against them. 

And here we have Mike Huckabee not just making a brief offhand comment but actually going to settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and lining up with some very extreme characters from the Israeli political spectrum and making specific policy criticisms against the president of the United States. 

SCHULTZ:  Is this his first move to 2012? 

DUSS:  I think that‘s probably a good way to look at it.  I mean, some of the statement he‘s even made since then, talking about kind of right wing, Christian evangelical support for some these policies, indicate, yes, he‘s there to shore up support amongst a very, very fundamentalist faction of the Republican base. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, the liberal blogosphere has called him on it.  Conservative talkers have praised him for it, and other outlets who are conservative have just thought it was just another day at the office. 

But he did respond in his blog.  He said “Some of the headlines from my visit to Israel have screamed “Huckabee bashes America in Israel.”  This is not just inaccurate, it‘s a proposed lie.  I have not bashed America.  I haven‘t even bashed Obama‘s anti-Israel and promise-breaking policy.  I have certainly had the opportunity.”

Is this a clear contradictory statement?  It seems to me like he‘s doing a 180. 

DUSS:  Right.  He really is just not being very honest, in my view, in that statement.  He clearly misstated U.S. policy in that clip that you just played. 

Going back to President Jimmy Carter on through President Reagan, through President Bush, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama, these administrations have had a clear policy that settlements, construction of settlements is counterproductive to the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. 

In fact, Israel agreed to a settlement freeze in Bush‘s 2003 road map. 

President Obama is just enforcing and holding Israel to that commitment. 

So clearly, Mr. Huckabee, he misstated U.S. policy. 

SCHULTZ:  Great to have you on, Mr. Dusk.  Appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks so much. 

DUSS:  Thank you.

Comedian Lizz Winstead will tell you how the righties are scaring her poor mom this week.  That‘s coming up in Club Ed.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to “The Ed Show.”  It‘s Friday, it‘s time for Club Ed with Liz Winstead, the co-creator of “The Daily Show” and the brains behind “Wake up World.”  

WINSTEAD:  I‘m not coming back if you dance like that. 

SCHULTZ:  I thought it was OK.  Was it that bad? 

WINSTEAD:  It was like bad wedding. 

SCHULTZ:  Was I like your high school reunion? 

WINSTEAD:  A little bit. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  We have had the misinformation campaign, and it was verified by NBC news on a poll this week, because 55 percent of Americans believe in health care reform, it‘s going to give coverage to illegal immigrants, taxpayer funded abortions are going to take place, half the American people think that. 

Oh, 54 percent think it‘s going to be a government takeover, and let‘s not forget the death panels for the elderly.  How is your mom doing with that news? 

WINSTEAD:  First of all, I‘m home for my class reunion, and my mom called me a Marxist while I was home because I actually would like to see poor people who don‘t have health care have health care. 

And this is what she said—“You‘re a Marxist.  And you know how I know?  I‘ve seen you bring that “New York Times” into my home.”  And I said “Yes, I bought it at Das Starbucks, mom, the underground reading facility for us in the Communist Party.” 

SCHULTZ:  What do we do to straighten this out?

WINSTEAD:  I think there are two things we need to do.  I think to deal with politicians, I think when they get sworn in and they say they‘re going to uphold the constitution, after that a collar is put around their neck much like you put a collar on a dog that barks too much, and when they lie, the collar shocks them. 

(LAUGHTER)

Secondly, there needs to be an iPod app or an iPhone app that when you go to the town halls and these crazy dining room tables are spewing out a bunch of junk, you just point your iPhone at them and it mutes them like when someone swears on TV. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s talk about Tom DeLay.  Hammer time—this is probably the best thing he‘s ever done.

WINSTEAD:  I like to call it “Dancing with the Indicted.”  I just think that the only way one should watch Tom DeLay sexy dance is if they‘re forced instead of maybe doing a prison sentence.  It‘s awful to me.

The one thing I do say is if Tom DeLay, whatever money he gets paid, he should get paid in Obama gift certificates. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s talk a little sports, Brett Favre, to your favorite team. 

WINSTEAD:  The Vikes.  I know, because you know I talk about football constantly.  It‘s exciting for the Vikes because they are getting $4,500 for the cash for clunkers, which is great because the Eagles only got a $150 for Michael Vick.  So go Vikes. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  And you were at the PGA.

WINSTEAD:  I was at the PGA Sunday.  It was awesome watching Tiger mess up that badly.  It‘s like my one chance to see Tiger Woods and the choke fest, it was on. 

SCHULTZ:  You weren‘t redoing that old movie where they tore up the golf course, were you? 

WINSTEAD:  With Bill Murray? 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

(LAUGHTER)

WINSTEAD:  No.  I actually, believe it or not, golf.  And you won‘t golf with me. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m working all the time.

WINSTEAD:  You won‘t gold with me and you won‘t bring me back wildlife (ph) from up north. 

And don‘t point at me like we have to go.  I‘m annoyed.  I‘m saying it on TV.  I have asked Ed every weekend to bring me back wildlife (ph) from Minnesota.

SCHULTZ:  I have to go north of the border this week.  We‘re going to Canada. 

WINSTEAD:  What are you talking about? 

SCHULTZ:  I have to talk about health care in Canada.  I have to do dental work on them. 

You have a podcast coming up? 

WINSTEAD:  I do.  It‘s called “Broadcast.”

SCHULTZ:  It‘s going to be clean, right? 

WINSTEAD:  No, we‘ll be swearing.  And we‘ll talk about politics, life, music, and other junk I care about.  It‘s broadcast.us. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Liz Winstead, good to have you with us as always. 

WINSTEAD:  Bring me fish. 

SCHULTZ:  I will try.  What if I get skunked? 

Our panel is still with us.  I have to go back to what I was saying at the top of the show about Obama and health care.  Bill Press, A.B.  Stoddard, and Michael Graham—Michael Graham, on a scale of one to ten, where would you say the president is this week as far as improving the message? 

GRAHAM:  As far as I‘m concerned I would say he‘s a ten.  I think the Republican National Committee should buy him some air time, make him a 12 or a 13. 

(LAUGHTER)

His poll numbers are below 50 percent for support of his health care, and that‘s just in the House Democratic leadership.  Among the voters it‘s even worse. 

And I think the two key numbers in the new poll are not just do fewer than 50 percent of American think that he‘s handling health care right, fewer than 50 percent this he‘s going to do the right thing for America. 

And I think the whole issue is trust.  You say government is good, it works for me.  People go, I see the government.  I‘m sorry, you‘re not telling me the truth. 

SCHULTZ:  A.B., has it been a good week for the White House when it comes to reforming health care?  Have they gotten on message?  Have they made any progress? 

STODDARD:  Well, we had the outbreak over the weekend about how the public option was going to be dropped and the denial from the White House that it was going to be dropped. 

And then we had the White House and Democrats are going to go it alone on health care.  Then we had the denial from the White House that they were going to go it alone, and they were still at the table with Chuck Grassley, senator from Iowa. 

So it‘s still a bumpy road for them.  The more often—mid-course corrections are often necessary, I think.  If he decided earlier in the year that he was going to speak to the insured and to comfort the middle class with this rhetorical strategy, he should have done that from day one. 

He pivoted, of course, from covering the uninsured to trying to sell this to the insured. 

But the problem is, the more you change messages, the more diluted they become, and the more scattered your momentum is.  You see obviously this revolt from liberal Democrats dug in on a public option, the White House still not knowing what to say about that.

Then of course House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today saying it might not be necessary.  The messages are confused.  I don‘t know how they‘ve squandered so much of August.  It‘s the 21st.  I don‘t know how they get it back. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill Press, what‘s it signal to you that Tom Daschle is over at the White House today and he acknowledges when he comes of the meeting with President Obama that they were talking about reconciliation and then Tom admits that might be the only way to go. 

PRESS:  First I‘ve got to say, Ed, if FDR paid attention to the polls there wouldn‘t be any Social Security.  And if Lyndon Johnson paid attention to the polls, we wouldn‘t have Medicare.  So I hope this is not going to be driven by the result of all the negativity on the polls. 

But I want to come back to Daschle.  I‘m nervous about Tom being there.  I love Tom Daschle.  But Tom Daschle said that Barack Obama should be ready to throw the public option away.  He said that a couple of months ago. 

The fact that they‘re talking reconciliation I think is a positive sign, because, Ed, I think the president has lost control here.  The only way to get it back is to forget about these stinking Republicans, trying to make a deal with Chuck Grassley.  It‘s not going to happen. 

He‘s got to stick with Nancy Pelosi, stick with the Democrats, and tell the blue dogs to get onboard or change parties. 

SCHULTZ:  Let me follow up with you again, Bill.  How can so many Americans be so wrong on so many key issues, on illegal immigration, abortion, government takeover, and getting rid of, you know, or having death panels -- 45 percent of the American people think that. 

How can the White House let this get out of control like that?  And then Michael, you respond to that. 

PRESS:  I tell you how it happened.  It happens because, Ed, unfortunately, negativity works.  Lies work.  The myths work.  The propaganda machine works, unless you have a more effective propaganda machine on the other side, and the White House has been, I think, asleep at the switch. 

GRAHAM:  I want you to look at the cancer right now and tell the Americans that Barack Obama is going to send away illegal immigrants from hospitals once his plan is in place.  I want you to tell them that, because yesterday with Michael Smerconish he admitted that of course we‘re going to cover illegal immigrants.  It‘s what we do. 

Everybody knows the truth.  And they listen to this spin from you guys.  You‘ve got to be kidding me. 

PRESS:  See, Michael, you‘re just perpetuating lies.  Here‘s the truth. 

GRAHAM:  He‘s going to send people away? 

PRESS:  The Democratic health care reform plan, it doesn‘t matter, House or Senate, does not cover illegal aliens. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll leave it there.  That‘s all I have time for.  

Earlier in the show I asked you what you thought, who was showing better leadership on health care reform -- 29 percent of you say president Obama, 71 percent of you say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

That‘s “The Ed Show.”  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on “The Ed Show” go to our ed.msnbc.com or check out our website at wegoted.com. 

It‘s been a long couple of weeks, so I‘ve got to go north of the border and catch some fish.  But I‘m back here on Monday, and Hardball with Chris Matthews is next 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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