updated 9/28/2009 11:32:46 AM ET 2009-09-28T15:32:46

Guest: Jim Moran, Sam Stein, Joe Cirincione, Cliff May, John Feehery, Steve McMahon, Rep. Joe Sestak, Liz Winstead

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  A big day for the president.  We‘ll break it down.

Good evening, Americans.  This is THE ED SHOW, live from Washington, D.C.

Hey, guess what?  It‘s not August anymore. 

A new poll is out today showing that Americans are solidly behind the Democrats when it comes to health care.  Here are the numbers. 

Sixty-five percent of Americans want a public option.  That‘s up five points since August, according to a new CBS News/”New York Times” poll.  Plus, 78 percent believe their health care system needs fundamental changes or a complete overhaul. 

I like it. 

Republican leader Eric Cantor, who refuses to come on this program—come on, Eric, we‘ll just talk for an hour about what your plan is.  The fact is, you don‘t have a plan.  He wrote in Politico he wants to set the reset button. 

I‘ll bet he does.  He doesn‘t have a plan.

Congressman Cantor, I‘ll show you how to set the reset button.  It‘s like this... 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICIA CHURCHILL:  I have a very close relative, a woman in her early 40s, who did have a wonderful, high-paying job, owns her own home, and was a real contributing member of society.  She lost her job.

Just a couple of weeks ago she found out that she have tumors in her belly and that she needs an operation.  Her doctors told her that they are growing and she needs to get this operation quickly.  She has no insurance. 

CANTOR:  I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there, because if we look at the uninsured right now, there is probably 23 percent, 24 percent of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program.  Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, folks, I just can‘t play that piece of tape enough on this show.  Americans are one pink slip away from that situation.  Americans are one bad test result away from that situation.  But Cantor‘s answer to that woman in Virginia is really a Republican pattern of behavior at town hall meetings. 

This is what they tell constituents—go beg for charity.  Go get in line. 

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, he‘s a doctor.  He told a sobbing woman at his town hall meeting to go get help from the neighbors?  Coburn was asked about it in a recent interview with PBS. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA HINOJOSA, PBS:  Well, let me ask you about something that happened at one of your town hall meetings.  A woman there told you that her husband was denied nursing care.  He has traumatic brain injury. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He left the nursing home and he told us we were on our own.  He left with a feeding tube.  I‘ve been working with him, but I‘m not a speech pathologist, a professional that takes six years for a master‘s.  And I‘m trying to get him to eat and drink.

SEN. TOM COBURN ®, OKLAHOMA:  Well, I think first of all, yes, we‘ll help.  The first thing we‘ll do is see what we can do individually to help you through our office, but the other thing that‘s missing in this debate is us as neighbors, helping people that need our help. 

HINOJOSA:  You told her to turn to her neighbors for help. 

COBURN:  No.  Actually, what I said is, that‘s unfortunate, but what I made the point was, is if she couldn‘t afford insurance and if she couldn‘t care, is that the federal government‘s responsibility? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, folks, how ironic that the Republicans are being taken down by their own town hall meetings.  Not by the people screaming and heckling them, but by ordinary Americans who are asking for solutions and finding out that the Republicans, they don‘t have anything. 

A hundred days ago today, back on June 17th, the Republicans promised to put out an alternative bill.  Today, we have no bill from the Republicans. 

Here‘s what the Republicans are spending their time and energy on. 

Listen to Senator John Ensign‘s contribution to the health care bill. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN ®, NEVADA:  This is Amendment Number C-10.  It has to do with transparencies and czars.  We are now facing a situation where there‘s almost a shadow cabinet that‘s being developed.  It started slipping in there with a czar here and a czar there. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCHILL:  She found out that she has tumors in her belly.  They are growing. 

CANTOR:  I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility. 

CHURCHILL:  But she needs to get this operation quickly. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENSIGN:  This is Amendment Number C-10.  It has to do with transparencies and czars. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCHILL:  She has no insurance. 

COBURN:  Us as neighbors helping people that need our help. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR:  There are charitable organizations.  There are hospitals here who do provide charity care. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, you just saw it.  The Republicans have no solutions. 

That‘s all you need to know as an American. 

All this talk about, well, we‘ve tried to work with the Democrats, and it‘s all their bill and there‘s no bipartisanship, show up with a plan, folks, over on the conservative ledger.  You‘re making all of us think that you just don‘t care about people, that it‘s all about the money and all about profit. 

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think. 

Do Americans get that Republicans have no solutions in this debate?  Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show tonight. 

Joining me right now is Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia. 

Got to give us an update on the public option in the House.  I see that the Blue Dogs are softening their position a little bit. 

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  I think that the Democrats will be there, when it comes down to it.  And Nancy Pelosi is a strong leader, an d she is committed to a public option.

And the facts—the facts speak for themselves, Ed.  It‘s a no-brainer. 

But, you know, it‘s not just that the Republicans have no alternative solutions.  They have no heart.  This is really...

MORAN:  Well, this is about caring about the rest of our American community. 

SCHULTZ:  But you said they‘re heartless, they don‘t care?  Why don‘t they have a plan? 

MORAN:  Well, I‘m not—I‘m just—well, if they cared enough about the people, the tens of millions of people who have no insurance, they would come up with a plan.  I don‘t know why they don‘t have a plan.  I think it‘s because they feel that the people that are going to be covered, perhaps, are not their constituents because they‘re going to lose campaign contributions. 

I don‘t know what it is.  They can speak for themselves.  But it‘s disappointing.

SCHULTZ:  So, Congressman, when are the Democrats going to say to hell with the conservatives, to heck, you know, let‘s go, let‘s go, let‘s get this done?  They‘re telling people at town hall meetings to go see a charity.  They‘re telling people at town hall meetings to go seek out some program. 

Why weren‘t they—in your opinion, is it all about beating Obama?  Is it all about possibly giving a new president a political victory?  Is that what it is? 

MORAN:  You know, I think a lot of this is residue that‘s from an attitude that started back about 1980 that the government isn‘t your friend, that the government is the problem.  This was the Reagan mantra, and it was designed to cut taxes and benefit the wealthy and the powerful, and people still have that attitude.  They fear the government.

Heck, there are 110 million people who have government-paid health insurance in this country and they don‘t want it to change. 

SCHULTZ:  But I want to see some toughness out of the Democrats.  And I‘ll tell you why, because this new CBS/”New York Times” poll, the view of Republicans in the Congress is almost at 60 percent unfavorable. 

MORAN:  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  When you don‘t have solutions and you‘re the party of no, why even visit with these folks? 

MORAN:  But you know, Ed, that‘s not the constituency that elects them.  They‘re appealing to their base, and every year it gets a narrower and narrower base.  And a whole lot of the stuff they‘re putting out there, they can‘t afford for it to be true because it wouldn‘t be accepted.  But they got this right-wing radio network.  You‘re trying to counter it.  But people are fed a whole pack of lies. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, let me tell you how out of touch they are.  The United States Chamber of Commerce, now that is an organization that always lines up with the Republicans.  Here‘s what they say.

“The reality with the business community is that we want reform, while some Republicans want to stop this train and start over.  This is not, just not going to happen.”

There you have Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  You‘ve even got one of the most favorable groups for the Republicans, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is even telling them it isn‘t going to happen. 

MORAN:  The average insurance premium this year was over $13,000.  That‘s as much as an annual income for somebody on minimum wage.  And according to Business Roundtable, within a decade it will be $29,000 per employee.  Our economy can‘t function unless this changes.

SCHULTZ:  So, how much more ammunition do the Democrats need?  I mean, this ought to be done Tuesday, and let‘s get after it. 

And, you know, the Blue Dogs, the Blue Dogs have got to be paying attention to this too.  They‘re teetering, I think, on being obstructionists. 

MORAN:  Well, I‘m note going to speak for the Blue Dogs.  I think many of them are going to be with us on a public option. 

What they would like to see is three amendments to the health care plan when it hits the House floor.  One of them would be single payer, another would be public option, another would be cooperatives.  And they‘re all going to vote at least for the nonprofit cooperatives, but maybe they‘ll vote for two out of three. 

We‘ll get a bill out of the House.  Hopefully the Senate is going to have a bill.  And, you know, this needs to be Ted Kennedy‘s legacy.

We don‘t admire him so much just because he was so hardworking and intelligent, we admire him because he had heart.  You‘ve got heart.  That‘s why I watch your show every night.  And I think the American people have heart.  I don‘t know, the Republicans can speak for themselves.

SCHULTZ:  We‘re winning this.  We are winning this.

MORAN:  Well, we‘ve got to win.

SCHULTZ:  I believe we‘re...

MORAN:  We‘ve got to win it because we care about the rest of the country.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, great to have you with us.

MORAN:  It‘s always good to be with you, Ed.  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  I believe the tide is turning. 

Jim Moran on Virginia.  He‘s on Appropriations.  With us here on THE ED SHOW tonight.

Now, the Republicans have no support for their inaction plan on health care.  Business isn‘t on board, medical professionals aren‘t on board.  So the Righties, you know what they‘re doing?  They‘re trying to lure doctors into this advertising campaign.

Congressman Tom Price of Georgia—by the way, he‘s a doctor—he‘s sending faxes to doctors, asking them to be a part of a Physicians‘ Council to advise Congress.  I mean, it sounds like he‘s asking for nonpartisan professional advice, except this council is owned and operated by the National Republican Congressional Committee.  It‘s a righty campaign group.

The NRCC and Price are just pushing ideas that are completely nuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM PRICE ®, GEORGIA:  We will not rest until we make certain that government-run health care is ended.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That‘s Price‘s advice?  End Medicare?  I think 94 percent of Americans who have it love it.  That leaves seniors out on the street.  Doctors don‘t support that. 

Now Price is trying to hook doctors into joining him in a Republican ad campaign?  This is how they operate. 

Now, I‘ve been getting e-mails from doctors who are absolutely furious about this, and I‘m going to have one of them on this program on Monday.  It‘s an interview that you‘re going to want to see.  It cuts right to the chase. 

The Republicans don‘t have a plan.  They‘re mean-spirited in their debate.  They‘re talking hateful stuff about Barack Obama. 

Grandma‘s not going to get the plug pulled on her.  There are no death panels.  And now they‘re going out and trying to get doctors on board, faking them into an ad campaign. 

Joining me now is Sam Stein, political writer for “The Huffington Post.”

SAM STEIN, POLITICAL WRITER, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Hey, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  How you doing? 

STEIN:  I‘m doing well. 

SCHULTZ:  Congratulations!  You‘re married! 

STEIN:  I am married, yes. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Good.

STEIN:  The best three weeks so far of my life. 

SCHULTZ:  Congratulations.  Now you‘re back into it. 

Now, I want to talk about it.  When you left, what was the public option talk then and what is it right now?  Can you sense that things have changed? 

STEIN:  Yes.  I mean, you see it in the polling data, obviously. 

When I left, that was the end of August, roughly.  The narrative was essentially that the public option was dead.  You had the popularity at about 46 percent, 48 percent. 

Today, in a CBS poll, we have it back up to about 65 percent. 

Talk on the Hill, you can sense, is people are generally more optimistic about it.  Sherrod Brown, for instance, last night, on this network, spoke about how he thinks the votes are there for cloture when it comes down to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  He even said Rahm Emanuel on my show.  He said Rahm is wrong. 

STEIN:  And I think it‘s telling that he‘s willing to call out the chief of staff of the White House on that. 

That said, not all news is great.  There was a hint from Harry Reid today in a tele-town hall that he did in Nevada where he praised the trigger.  And I think that was a telltale sign that that‘s where he thinks the end game is, even though he personally is supportive of a public option. 

So, it remains to be seen.  I think the House is going to get a public option.  I agree with the congressman.  What happens in Finance is key, and we‘ll see a vote on Tuesday, apparently. 

SCHULTZ:  And that is going to be interesting.  It‘s, I think, a great move by Senator Jay Rockefeller, who has said, look, we don‘t have a public option or guaranteed competition in a public forum for the private sector, so let‘s get all the Democrats on this committee on board and have them vote on a public option. 

This is going to be a real tough vote for Senator Conrad of North Dakota. 

STEIN:  Sure.  Well, Conrad, actually, in an interview yesterday with “The Washington Post,” said he was not in favor of a public option.  The question is—it‘s twofold.  One is, who‘s going to blink first? 

I mean, you have these poll numbers.  Democrats in Congress are enjoying better numbers than Republicans, resoundingly.  Obama has gotten a boost in how he‘s handling health care.  The public option is favorable.  Seventy-six percent of the public says the GOP has no plan.

The question is, which conservative Democratic senator is going to blink and say, wow, the public is on the side of the Democratic Party, why am I even entertaining this idea? 

The other question is, can cloture work?  And I know there‘s a new campaign to get every Democrat committed to voting to end a Republican filibuster.  But Ben Nelson‘s office reached out to be personally and said the senator is not committing through ending that filibuster.  It‘s up to the leadership to corral those votes and say, listen, at the very least, procedurally, be with us. 

SCHULTZ:  But Ben has also said he‘s not going to vote for anything unless there‘s some Republicans on. 

STEIN:  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  I mean, I am still struggling with some of the Democrats because the American people are with guaranteed competition for the private sector.  They have got to realize that.  They‘ve got to realize how unfavorable the American people are viewing Republicans right now. 

STEIN:  Well, that‘s the other story we had.  We got a memo today at “The Huffington Post,” and essentially what it said was, with the Finance bill, they‘re mandating people to buy insurance, but they‘re not giving the people the option of buying government insurance.  And that is hugely unpopular when you poll in House swing districts, Blue Dog districts, and in the state of Maine.  If you offer them the government option and you require them to buy insurance, all of a sudden, the popularity is through the roof. 

Now, when is a senator who‘s on the fence going to look at these numbers and say, OK, enough of this, I‘m going to be on board?  That‘s the question.  And it also comes down to, can the White House convince them this is a political, palatable way to go? 

SCHULTZ:  They don‘t want to go home and face the 30-second commercial saying that the taxes are going to go up now that we got health care reform.  They‘re trying to figure out how to do this without having to be stuck with a tax increase for anybody, for that matter, even if it is just the top two percent. 

Sam Stein back to work. 

Congratulations on no longer being a single dude. 

STEIN:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  I think she‘s a lucky gal.  You‘re a good guy. 

STEIN:  I‘m a lucky guy. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.

Up next, now, we have caught Iran in another dangerous light.  New revelations of Tehran‘s secret plans to enrich uranium.  President Obama told Ahmadinejad to back down.  His response to the president is, back off. 

Plus, Republican lady‘s man John Ensign takes a trip to the “Psycho Talk.”  He‘s got a dandy for us on why it‘s OK to break the law. 

And “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winsted is in the house tonight. 

She‘s discovered a disturbing costume connection between two-steppin‘ Tommy

DeLay and tent-pitchin‘ Moammar Gadhafi.  I can‘t wait to hear that

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear power that meets the energy needs of its people, but the size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program.  The Iranian government must now demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  President Obama comes out strong with a warning to Iran—come clean with your nuclear activities because we have proof you‘ve been cheating.  Ahmadinejad‘s response is, that‘s not nice. 

American, British and French officials briefed the International Atomic Energy Agency on a secret enrichment facility inside Iran.  Their intelligence shows it‘s not a peaceful kind of nuclear plant. 

So, much to discuss here on this story.  Let‘s get right to it. 

Joe Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund.  And also, Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 

Gentlemen, I would venture to say that at least half the American people have no clue what the International Atomic Energy Agency is, what they do, and how we‘ve gotten to this point with the Iranians. 

Joe, I‘ll let you start it out. 

JOE CIRINCIONE, PRESIDENT, PLOUGHSHARES FUND:  This is an agency started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it is our eyes and ears on the ground. 

CIRINCIONE:  You can trust them to do what they do, which is to monitor the existing facilities.  But as we‘re just seeing with Iran, you have got to supplement their intelligence with our own national intelligence.  We just did that in a very dramatic way today. 

CLIFF MAY, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES:  Joe is

being really nice here.  This is a U.N. agency that is pretty much useless. 

If they didn‘t know what Iran was doing, they should have.  It‘s their job.  Instead, it appears they found out from western, probably American, maybe other intelligence agencies, that Iran had this secret facility building that was part of the nuclear weapons‘ program.  Then they told Iran.

Then Iran wrote a letter saying, oh, by the way, we forgot to tell you, just outside Qom we‘ve got a nuclear facility.  Meant to tell you that.  We kind of slipped on that. 

SCHULTZ:  Ahmadinejad says he‘s within the rules. 

MAY:  He is not within the rules.  President Obama, good for him, has made that very clear in the sound bite we just heard.  And we know this also from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who have said they‘re building nuclear weapons.  We need to stop them.  We have legislation.

CIRINCIONE:  I can‘t believe I‘m saying this, Cliff, but I complete agree with you. 

MAY:  Thank you.

CIRINCIONE:  He is not inside the rules.  He has violated—we call this a safeguard violation.  He was supposed to declare this facility.  He did not.  He was hiding it from the IAEA, from the U.N.

MAY:  They‘ve been lying for 20 years.

SCHULTZ:  Chuck Todd reporting today that White House officials are—they feel good about the fact that they‘ve got the Russians on their side because the Russians were taken by surprise on this. 

The dynamic between the United States and Russia is now changing somewhat, is it not, Joe? 

CIRINCIONE:  Let me start with this one. 

Apparently, Obama told Medvedev about this at the U.N. this week in a private, just the two of them, session.  So, this is why we‘re concerned.  Here‘s the information. 

Good for him.  Medvedev then stepped up.  This is when he gave his statement that he‘s not in favor of sanctions in General, but sometimes they‘re unavoidable. 

It looks like we have Russia on our side.  If you have Russia, you can pretty much get China.  They never like to be out there isolated, being the only one opposed in something like this.  So far, it looks positive for Obama. 

MAY:  Here‘s an important point that‘s been missed on most of the shows, and that is it would be great to have Russia on board for sanctions, great to have China on board, great to have the U.N. on board.  It is not absolutely necessary.

If they will simply not break the sanctions—they don‘t have to be part of them, just not break them—we can do it.  Again, right now, Evan Bayh, Jon Kyl, Joe Lieberman, others, Howard Berman, have legislation that would cut off gasoline.  We just don‘t want Chinese violating the sanctions that I hope the U.S., if it‘s serious, will now put on Iran. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s talk about the politics of this.

The president, I thought, did a fabulous job today.  And this gives him an opportunity to show the world that he can handle this and he can get everybody together. 

CIRINCIONE:  But here‘s the key to this.  This is what you have to understand.  Obama has known about this secret facility from the beginning.  He was briefed on it during the transition.  Our intelligence has known about this for two years. 

So, reevaluate everything you thought about Obama.  Reevaluate all those criticisms he got from the right for being weak and naive and extending the hand of friendship.  He knew exactly what he was doing. 

MAY:  Well, this is what actually concerns me.  Again, I have no quarrels with what he had to say today.  But, since he has known it for so long, why is he delaying and delaying doing anything serious? 

Now we have—but now we have...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Well, having the French president, and having the Brits say draw the line in the sand?  I mean, isn‘t that what you want? 

MAY:  And so here‘s the test right now.  Does Obama say, OK, we‘re going to talk to the Iranians, but I want Congress to get those bills on my desk so I have—I have not just carrots, but I‘ve got a stick I can show them as well? 

SCHULTZ:  But this also takes the pressure off the United States, does it not?  I mean, we‘re not going it alone here.  I mean, we‘ve got a lot of help on this. 

MAY:  No, no, no.  We have to lead or it will not happen. 

CIRINCIONE:  We are leading.  This is the most dramatic leadership we‘ve seen on Iran in nine years. 

MAY:  But we haven‘t seen it—what we‘ve seen so far is the president saying what he‘s known, as you point out, for a long time, that the Iranians are cheating.  They‘ve been cheating and lying for 20 years.  That‘s true.  I‘m glad he said it. 

(CROSSTALK)

CIRINCIONE:  He‘s got the Europeans with him.  He‘s got the Russians with him.  And more than that, he‘s got the Iranian people with him.  His idea of engagement has energized the reformist movement in Iran.  We‘ve got Ahmadinejad exactly where we want him.

MAY:  So answer this question—will he move ahead?  Will he do—will he get serious about...

CIRINCIONE:  He is moving ahead, absolutely.

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, good to have you with us.  Great discussion. 

Thank you. 

Coming up, Senator John Ensign is all about the Constitution, but his newest theory about the law of the land and health care reform is pretty nuts.  Even the most conservative guy on the Supreme Court thinks it‘s out of bounds. 

You know what that means.  He‘s going to “Psycho Talk” next on THE ED

SHOW. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Psycho talk time tonight on a Friday.  Senator John Ensign, it‘s nutty enough he‘s trying to put amendments about czars on the Senate Finance Committee Bill.  But this is even more wing nut.  He‘s in with the Tenthers, that‘s right.  He says anybody who believes in the Constitution will be able to get out of any requirement to buy health insurance. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN ®, NEVADA:  Some people hold the Constitution pretty high in their lives.  If they believe this thing is unconstitutional and they then say I‘m not—I choose not to have health insurance.  I‘m not going to buy it.  We could be subjecting those very people who conscientiously, because they believe in the U.S. Constitution—we should take this thing very, very seriously, and consider what we are doing to the American people who are going to be protesting. 

Some people may even do this just out of conscious, drop their health insurance and want to take this thing on. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Hmm.  Seems like he‘s been influenced quite a bit by those protesters.  First of all, senator, we‘re pretty sure people aren‘t going to take their lives and the lives of their families into their hands.  Would you agree with that?  Not when an overwhelming majority want health care reform in the first place. 

But you actually believe, senator, that someone who claims any law is unconstitutional should be allowed to ignore that law?  The beacon of conservatism on the Supreme Court, justice Antonin Scalia, says letting people do that defies constitutional tradition and common sense. 

Senator Ensign, maybe you‘re still sulking from having to ask your parents for money to give a gift to your mistress and husband, but to say anyone can claim a law is unconstitutional and ignore, it is childish, illegal Psycho Talk.

Coming up, Republican weasel Eric Cantor says it‘s time to hit the reset button on health care reform.  I think we ought to hit the reset button on him, and see if he‘ll come up with an answer for the people who are dying because they don‘t have the insurance he‘s got.  We‘ll put it to our panel coming up. 

Later, “Daily Show” co-creator Liz Winstead takes us Dancing with Delay.  She says the Hammer is really bringing sexy backwards. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Tonight, the Democrats are back to 60 votes in the Senate.  Paul Kirk, former chairman of the DNC, longtime staffer to Senator Ted Kennedy, was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden this afternoon.  He was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to temporarily fill Kennedy‘s seat.  Special election for the senator will be held in January. 

It‘s more good news for the Democrats on the health care front, and in the fight.  A 60-seat super-majority in the Senate and these numbers today from a “New York Times”/CBS News poll: 65 percent of people want—John Feehery, did you hear that—they want a public option; 78 percent of the people think our health care system needs fundamental changes or a complete overhaul. 

Joining me now is Democratic strategist Steve McMahon and also Republican strategist John Feehery.  I‘m not picking on you, John, but I just love those numbers after all those town hall meetings. 

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Ed, talk about psycho talk, a couple days ago, you said Eric Cantor wanted to kill people.  That‘s just not right.  He doesn‘t want to kill people.  I know Eric Cantor.  Eric Cantor‘s a friend.  He wants to do the best thing for the American people. 

Eric Cantor and his colleagues introduced a bill on June 17th, 2009, no preexisting conditions, refundable tax credits, so people can buy health care, associate health plans, buy health insurance across state lines.  They‘re going to put the plan together when they can. 

SCHULTZ:  No—honestly, no guaranteed competition for the private sector.  The Republicans are not at the table with—my comment—let me be straight on this here now.  He had no answer for that woman with cancer in Richmond, Virginia.  That‘s the problem.  The Republicans are not fixing these loopholes.  People are dying. 

You mean to tell me, the Republicans are allowing people to fall by the wayside?  How else can I—how else can I interpret that? 

FEEHERY:  Two points.  First of all, the Democrats have overwhelming majorities.  If this is such a good idea, they would have already passed—

SCHULTZ:  I agree, they‘re slow to the punch. 

FEEHERY:  The second point is Republicans do have plans.  I worked in the House for 15 years.  We passed health care—

SCHULTZ:  They don‘t have a plan for that lady in Richmond, Virginia. 

That‘s the key.

FEEHERY:  They do.  Refundable tax credits.  She can pay for it and she can get all automatic advance.  And then she can go and pay for the insurance right away with money she gets.  That‘s refundable tax credits.  So if you don‘t have enough money to pay—

SCHULTZ:  She was told to go to a charity and get in line.  Now, John, we can do better than that as a country.  I‘ll let you come back to it. 

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  You have Ed all riled up. 

FEEHERY:  That‘s my job. 

SCHULTZ:  You guys are hosting now. 

MCMAHON:  Listen, having Paul Kirk in the Senate is a great thing for Massachusetts.  He‘s an honorable, smart, decent person, who is going to do a great job.  It‘s a great thing for the Democrats, as you point out, because the Republicans are trying to put up roadblocks.  You can see it every day in the Senate Finance Committee.  They want to delay.  They want to say no.  And they want to kick this can down the road. 

The time is now for health care reform.  The American people are demanding it.  The Democrats are going to give it to them. 

SCHULTZ:  Senate Finance Committee is going to have a vote on public option.  It‘s a brave move from the standpoint that Jay Rockefeller is saying, hey, look, you Democrats aren‘t for public option in this Finance Committee, you‘re going to get called out this.  I think—Steve, I think it‘s a great move. 

MCMAHON:  Listen, I think the question is whether or not the public option can get 60 votes in the Senate.  I think calling them out and making them cast a vote on it is perfectly fine.  I think, at the end of the day, health care reform is going to go forward with or without a public option, and, frankly, it needs to. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you agree with Eric Cantor, that we should his the reset button?  Heck, the Chamber of Commerce isn‘t even with him on that.

FEEHERY:  Understand that when Republicans went home in August, their constituents said do not allow this bill to go forward.  The best way to get a bipartisan bill is to start over and come up with those element -- 80 percent of those elements that everyone agrees with, rebrand the package so they can go back to their constituents and say, yes, I can vote for something. 

Republicans want to vote for something.  As someone who worked in the House for 15 years, we passed health care reform step-by-step, and we can do it again if we do it in a bipartisan way.  The fact of the matter is that in the House, Nancy Pelosi does not want a bipartisanship.  That‘s the element of the House. 

SCHULTZ:  You haven‘t come to the table with anything. 

FEEHERY:  June 17th

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Blunt said, back on June 17th, we‘re going to give you a bill.  Here we are, almost the first of October, and we‘ve got Eric Cantor saying, let‘s hit the restart button. 

MCMAHON:  Listen, if there was going to be a bipartisan bill, if what John is saying is accurate, it would have come out of the Senate Finance Committee.  Frankly, it was a little disappointing, after all those months of meetings with those three Republicans, who, frankly, were the best hope of a bipartisan deal—every single time—

SCHULTZ:  This is Senator Kyl and Senator Stabenow going back and forth in the Senate Finance Committee.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JON KYL ®, FINANCE COMMITTEE:  I don‘t need maternity care, so requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something that I don‘t need and will make the policy more expensive. 

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), FINANCE COMMITTEE:  If I could just inject once with my colleague; I think your mom probably did.  But—

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Jon Kyl, the other day, came up with an amendment.  He was protecting these folks for putting out faulty material to the people that are getting Medicare, and he says it‘s OK to lie to them because it‘s freedom of speech. 

FEEHERY:  If you have people putting mandates on different plans, the fact of the matter is the costs go up.  If Jon Kyl wants to buy a plan that does not have maternity care, he should be allowed to do so.  The fact of the matter—the thing is going out of control in cost.  Having more government mandates and having a bigger government is not going to control the cost.  It has never happened before in history. 

MCMAHON:  He may not need maternity leave, but he needs his head examined if he thinks he‘s going to get re-elected in the state that has 53 percent women voters with that kind of an attitude.  He probably doesn‘t think Mammograms should be required.  He probably thinks that women who have breast cancer should just go get in line somewhere.  That‘s not—

FEEHERY:  I think that is outrageous.  Jon Kyl will get reelected.  

MCMAHON:  He doesn‘t need maternity leave. 

SCHULTZ:  This is amazing to me.  Why don‘t the Republicans just sign on to some big reform?  And if it doesn‘t work, the president has already said, hey, it‘s on my shoulders.  It‘s on my watch.  I‘m willing to pay the political price later on if it doesn‘t work. 

But I think the Republicans—it‘s OK with me—you‘re isolating yourselves.  You‘re going down in the polls big time.  The American people aren‘t with you.  John, you have to come up with a preexisting condition.  You got to guarantee competition.  And you‘re not doing it. 

FEEHERY:  We will do it at the appropriate time. 

FEEHERY:  First of all, what‘s happened?  Has Nancy Pelosi come up with a plan that can pass the House?  Not yet.  She is waiting.  She has not.  She‘s waiting for the Senate to go first, because she‘s waiting for the Senate Finance Committee to vote on your public option.  When that goes down, those Blue Dogs are going to say, we are not voting for that, because the American people don‘t want it, even though you have these polls that somehow show -- 

MCMAHON:  That may be what happens, John.  Guess what, the Democrats, one way or another, are going to get health care reform.  The Republicans aren‘t helping and they‘re not being constructive.  President Obama said something—David Axelrod said it.  I heard it from Axelrod actually, which I think is very smart.  The president has an obligation to be inclusive.  And the Republicans have an obligation to be constructive.

He‘s been inclusive.  He‘s asked for their ideas.  Max Baucus has been inclusive.  But they have not been constructive.  They‘ve said no to everything. 

SCHULTZ:  Checkpoint on the Blue Dogs.  Are they softening their position in the House do you think? 

MCMAHON:  I think that health care reform is going to pass.  I don‘t believe there‘s going to be 60 votes in the Senate for a public option. 

SCHULTZ:  Then we go reconciliation.  What does that do?  Speed up the budgetary process. 

FEEHERY:  Blue Dogs are waiting for the Senate to go first.  If they‘re see that there‘s weakness on public option, they‘re not going to vote for it. 

SCHULTZ:  I guarantee you, the Democrats are paying attention to these new poll numbers that are out.  They got the momentum right now.  This call in the Senate Finance Committee, I think you might see some Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee who previously said they‘re not sure about the public option, when push comes to shove, they may do it.  We‘ll see how it goes.

Gentlemen, good to have you with us. 

All right.  President Obama is making it clear that the era of cowboy diplomacy is over.  He is standing up to Iran, making major headway with Russia.  And the world is behind him.  The highest ranking veteran ever elected to the Congress will give us a military take on this in just a moment.  Stay with us.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In tonight‘s playbook, the chess game with Iran.  We‘ve seen a lot of moves around the board, haven‘t we?  The U.S. says we‘re not going to build the long-range missile defense in Eastern Europe, a move Russia likes obviously.  Then the Russians indicate that it‘s on board with the U.S. on stronger sanctions with the Iranians.  Iran informs the IAEA this week it that has new enrichment facility.  Says it‘s completely within the agency‘s rules. 

But U.S., French and British intelligence shows otherwise.  Russia isn‘t backing away from its earlier support of sanctions. 

I‘m joined now by Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, retired three-star admiral.  Let‘s bring him in and talk about this.  Of course, his background is Naval intelligence.  That‘s on the table with us tonight. 

Congressman, from your military experience—no one‘s talked about this today.  How difficult—if it comes to this, how difficult would it be for the United States to take out this facility? 

REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  It could be done, but it would be difficult.  Not only that, the results of this would make Iraq seem like a walk in the park.  Iran and those kind of terrorist groups that are very supportive of the goals of what Iran wants in places like the Middle East or in even Pakistan would just begin to begin a real harsh global war of terror. 

There‘s also a concern about Israel.  And that would take even more difficult, because if they were try to do it alone, it would mean probably flying along Syria/Turkish airspace, and then they would have to pre-position refueling aircraft.  So I think in their place, it would be much more harsh. 

If I could, Ed, that‘s the value of this approach of the U.S.  government under President Obama.  It has put the military option on the back of the table.  It‘s actually then taken a step toward what‘s most important, building a strong international coalition that can apply diplomatic pressure on Iran, as well, as necessary, sanctions, because it took aboard what the National Intelligence Estimate of a year ago said by our CIA. 

It said that Iran approaches its foreign policy decision in a cost-benefit way.  It‘s not a rush to have a weapon.  Rather, it takes into account the cost, economic, political and diplomatic.  That‘s what this president is doing. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  I thought he handled it extremely well today.  Congressman, let‘s talk about the Israeli reaction here.  This vindicates them.  They‘ve been saying all along these folks are cheating and building and not paying attention to anything else.  And I remember a story in the “New York Times” back in January of 2005, when former Vice President Dick Cheney made the comment, saying that, you know, the Israelis may take them out before anybody else. 

How do you think this news is being received by Israel?  What do you think their next move would be? 

SESTAK:  I think Israel will reemphasize its desire to deal with the Iranian situation before dealing with the Palestinian/Israeli issue.  rMD+IN_rMDNM_I think we have to deal with both simultaneously. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  This is former president Bill Clinton with David Gregory on “Meet the Press.”  Let‘s watch this exchange. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, “MEET THE PRESS” MODERATOR:  Is this a moment where the president says to Iran, we got you, and now it‘s time to act, or you‘re going to face serious consequences? 

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think that‘s what they want to communicate with them.  I think the reason they want to have talks is if they have talks, then they don‘t just hurl assaults in the press about it. 

They can more explicitly lay out things they may not be prepared to say in public yet about what the options are if Iran continues down this path.  And they can also talk about where we might go together if they reverse course. 

I always think it‘s a good idea, if possible, to look somebody in the eye and have a chance to have a conversation before there‘s a total breach.  But I think this is actually healthy that this has broken. 

The Iranians must have known that the Americans knew.  Somehow they must have found out that, or they wouldn‘t have voluntarily notified the IAEA about this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Sestak, I think that‘s a very interesting comment by former President Clinton.  He says actually healthy that this has broken.  And when I heard that, I thought about Russians today.  The Russians have been taken by surprise on this.  And they‘ve done a lot of dealings with the Iranians.  Now we seem to be closer to the Russians than we‘ve ever been in the last maybe eight years.  Your thoughts on this opportunity at a new relationship moving forward to deal with this? 

SESTAK:  Absolutely.  Both Russia and China issued statements about the IAEA going back in for inspections, comprehensive inspections.  So we can sit at the table now, as President Clinton said, in a coalition, one that is together.  We can talk about not just sticks, but also carrots. 

Look, Iran, understandably, it worries about its security.  We also know that Iran can have influence from al Qaeda, Iraq, Afghanistan, and to the Middle East.  There‘s a way to induce behavior.  And there‘s a way to talk quietly with it that there‘s a cost-benefit way to do this. 

You can only do it if you‘re talking with your opponent, as we did to the Soviet Union or the People‘s Republic of China. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think the Russians play a big key in all of this. 

SESTAK:  Absolutely. 

SCHULTZ:  I have to ask you, Joe, the United States, President Obama making the decision about the missiles in the Czech region.  Do you think this plays into all of this? 

SESTAK:  It was a very instrumental piece.  We took out of the Czech Republic and Poland a stick in the Russian bear‘s eye.  We placed that capability at sea.  Actually, it‘s a nearer-term capability for us.  By removing it, we then had the Russian president now stating we need sanctions probably.  This is the right way to approach the world under a strategy of engagement, with U.S. leadership, not just U.S. military leadership. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, thanks for your time on a Friday evening.  I appreciate it so much.  Love to meet you on issues like this.  You certainly know what‘s going on. 

Congressman Joe Sestak on THE ED SHOW.

A gift from the entertainment gods; Tom Twinkle Toes Delay is still in the game. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The next couple definitely safe to dance next week is—Tom and Sheryl. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  They rigged the votes, those ex-Republicans.  Liz Winstead wants to know what the Hammer will wear next week.  She‘s up next live in Club Ed.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s Friday night.  Time for Club Ed with comedian Liz Winstead, the co-creator of the “Daily Show” and the brains behind “Wake-Up World.”  Hey, girl, how we doing?

LIZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”:  Hi, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  We have had a big news day.  We got the Iranians playing around with nukes.  We got the president out there getting after it today.  What‘s the Republican response on this do you think? 

WINSTEAD:  Well, I‘m pretty sure that Acorn had something to do with the nuclear facility.  In fact, I think they were the ones who tipped off the Iranians to tell them that American intelligence had cracked, and they needed to come forward.  Let‘s just put Acorn into the mix.  It should take ten, nine, eight, seven—about six more seconds until Fox is reporting it. 

SCHULTZ:  Dog gone, Acorn, they‘re into it.  Aren‘t they?  All right, what do you make of Tom Delay?  He‘s going in, “Dancing With the Stars.”  Going to do it one more time.  What did you make of his outfit?  Is that going to make it or what?

WINSTEAD:  Ed, you‘re man of a certain age, as I‘m a woman of not quite your certain age, but close enough.  Do you remember the sans-belt (ph) Slacks?  Do you remember the sans-belt slacks?  They were sans-belt.  Just the brown and then kind of over the belly button pants—a little known poll came out that says that on the night Tom Delay was shaking his tail feather, there was not one couple that had sex on the entire planet Earth that evening.  Systematically, every single couple that had sex was grossed out. 

SCHULTZ:  How about all the activities over at the UN?  Any take on that? 

WINSTEAD:  Oh, dude, it was so awesome.  To watch—I watched the president speak.  And then I was Twittering and someone said, Gadhafi‘s up.  I though, I‘ll watch that.  I turned and Gadhafi‘s wearing Tom Delay‘s “Dancing With the Stars” outfit, speaking before the UN, which completely freaked me out.  And then he proceeded to go on for two hours.  I was like, oh my god, if that guy had any chance of doing commencement speeches in 2010 --

SCHULTZ:  Liz Winstead, always a pleasure on a Friday night. 

Earlier, I asked you folks, what do you think, the Republicans have no solutions when it comes to health care? 

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