updated 10/1/2009 10:07:51 AM ET 2009-10-01T14:07:51

Guests: Michael Moore, John Harwood, Rep. Anthony Weiner, Michael Medved, Sam Stein, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Keith Ellison

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight, here in New York on MSNBC.

Three stories have got my hot button tonight. 

First of all, Michael Moore is going to be coming up in just a few minutes to talk about health care with me. 

This congressman from Florida, you are the dude.  I got your back on that one, buddy.  I got commentary coming up on that. 

And Mr. Boehner, is your disdain for Barack Obama so strong that you don‘t even want the United States of America to get the Olympics?  What is wrong with the Republicans?  Is that what Ronald Reagan would want? 

I‘ve said it for over two years.  The Republicans have an identity crisis, and even the most American thing that we could have, pure amateur competition on American soil, hell, the Republicans are even against that. 

All right.  Now to health care. 

Don‘t believe all this hype about the public option is dead.  The righties are crowing about that because of the votes yesterday.  Let me tell you something, the public option is not dead. 

The vote in the Senate Finance Committee came as no real big surprise.  It‘s one committee.  There‘s five of them out there.  But now the Democrats know the landscape. 

These senators are finally on the record when it comes to true competition for the private sector.  This is a process.  That‘s what it is.  And the process, I think, is picking up steam. 

All right.  We‘re in the locker room now.  We‘re going into the fourth quarter.  That‘s about where we are. 

This Friday, this is what‘s going to happen.  This Friday, the Senate Finance Committee is going to vote on the Baucus bill. 

Tip number one from Big Eddie: Don‘t trust Olympia Snowe.  She didn‘t going to be there.  This is going to be right down straight party-line voting.  This is what this is going to be. 

In a couple of weeks, the full Senate is going to start debate on this health care bill, and they‘re not going home, which is good.  Gosh, they should have tried that in August. 

Tip number two here: You know, don‘t be surprised, folks, at all if the public option is not in the final Senate bill.  But that‘s not a killer either. 

Harry Reid is just trying to get a bill out.  He‘s trying to get a bill out of the Senate and get it into conference committee.  That‘s what it‘s all about.  Because once it goes to committee, that‘s when we get down to the nitty-gritty. 

That‘s when the real work starts to get done.  That‘s where the fate of the public option is going to be decided.  It‘s either going to live or it‘s going to die. 

The folks in that room, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd, Harry Reid, Max Baucus, these are the folks you‘re going to have to count on, and that‘s a heck of a lot of a different crowd than what Max Baucus has had in the Senate Finance Committee.  So, stay confident, stay engaged.

Nancy Pelosi, you‘ve got to hand it to her, I mean, she hasn‘t budged a bit on public option.  She has been the star for the progressive movement throughout all of this.

Now, our side can count on one man.  And we found that out last night, and we found it out in other interviews as well.  Tom Harkin is the Ted Kennedy on this deal.  He is every bit as tough as Ted Kennedy was. 

Here‘s what he told us on the program last night. 


SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), HELP COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  I believe that when we merge these two bills, we will have a public option in there that we will take to the floor of the Senate, and we‘re going to pass it.  We will have a bill on the president‘s desk before Christmas, and it will have a public option. 


SCHULTZ:  Notice where all the conservatives are right now.  Where‘s Obama?  Where‘s Obama?  He‘s got to save it. 

Wait.  Hold on. 

I believe the conference committee is when the president‘s really going to step in.  That‘s when we‘ll find out if the president is willing to go to the firewall for the people who put him in office or to the corporations. 

Sixty-five percent of the American people want a public option.  Don‘t forget that.  That‘s the latest CBS News/”New York Times” poll. 

How about this number?  Seventy-five percent of those who give the care in this country, the doctors, they support a government-run plan, according to “The New England Journal of Medicine.” 

Private insurance companies have seen their profits.  This is the number.  This is the target, Americans.  We need some legislation to reel this number in. 

Now, I‘m for profit, but I ain‘t for gouging.  Four hundred and twenty-eight percent increase in profits since 2000, while your premium and my premium have gone through the roof to the tune of about $13,000 a year?  Heck, you‘re lucky to even have insurance because of the pre-existing conditions. 

Now, the White House and the Democrats, they‘re watching all of this reaction very closely as this debate comes down to the wire.  The base—that‘s you, that‘s me—here‘s what we‘ve got to do—stay engaged. 

Senator Bob Menendez, who‘s the chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, says people have to put the heat on the lawmakers now. 



I‘m reminded of what Adlai Stevenson said.  He said, “When I get the heat at home, I see the light in Washington.”

And so, I hope that that 66 percent of Americans who believe that a public option is, in fact, the way to finally create competition and opportunity for them to be covered and their families to be covered start raising their voices, because it‘s time for that heat to be felt and it‘s time for action on the floor of the Senate. 


SCHULTZ:  All right.  I like it, bring the heat, especially in Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas.

Democrats, get to the end zone on this one by doing the due diligence on those who you put in office and sent them to Washington.  This is all we‘ve got to do.  Just stay engaged, get after it. 

All right.  Let‘s go to the text poll tonight. 

Here‘s the deal.  I want to know how you‘re feeling right now about the future of a public option.  More confident?  Less confident?  Or about the same?  Text A, B, or C to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the program.

All right.  A man who has—I‘ve never met this guy.  I‘ve never met him.  I‘ve seen him do a lot of interviews, I‘ve seen all of his films.  I still—my wife and I still watch “Fahrenheit 911” at least twice a year, and we‘ve made sure the kids watch it as well.

Joining me now is filmmaker Michael Moore.  The legendary filmmaker, I might add.  He‘s got a new one out, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”  It opens nationwide this Friday.

Mr. Moore, Ed Schultz.  Great to have you with us.  I‘ve never had the pleasure, but if there‘s one thing, Michael, that jumps out at me with your work, it‘s almost as if you constantly ask Americans, what do we stand for? 

Am I on base on that? 

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER:  No.  And to take that further, actually, my films pose the question, who are we?  Who are we as a people?  And why do we allow the richest one percent in this country to control 95 -- they have as much financial wealth as the bottom 95 percent combined. 

This is a democracy.  This is not about where the richest one percent get to call the shots.  They‘re lobbyists.  They‘re working every day in Washington, D.C.  What is it now, like, $1.4 million a day they‘re spending, is the latest I heard on the health care lobby? 

SCHULTZ:  They‘re doing everything they possibly can to butcher this. 

There‘s no question about it. 

MOORE:  Right.  And our side doesn‘t have those resources. 

So, what we do have is the vote.  And I agree with you.  Anybody watching this now in Arkansas, in Nebraska, in Montana, you need to pick up the phone, you need to get on the e-mail tonight, and you need to tell these senators to behave like Democrats and to support what two-thirds of the American people expect them to do, which is at the very least, at the very least, have this public option in the health care reform bill. 

SCHULTZ:  And Michael, you have gone so far as to put Democrats on notice saying that you will work against them, you will go into their districts and target them to take them out if they don‘t represent the people.  And you went so far as to say to President Obama, “This is not a time to desert us.  This is a time to be the representative for the health industry and, of course, change.”

What would you do?  I mean, use your personal resources to get Democrats out who don‘t vote properly down the stretch?  Would you target Democrats? 

MOORE:  Absolutely.  I will personally help to organize in any congressional district or any state where, in the case of a senator, people to find the right candidate in the Democratic primary to run against these individuals and remove them from office. 

This is a deal-breaker.  There is no compromise on this.  The compromise is the public option. 

What we really want and should have is single payer health care just like every other western democracy has, where everyone is covered.  The fact that we‘re not even talking about that is a mistake, as far as I‘m concerned. 

SCHULTZ:  That is a Max Baucus issue.  He never allowed the single payer to come to the table, and people ended up getting arrested. 

Now, is this a Democratic problem?  I mean, do you hold out hope that any Republicans will come on board?  Because, right now, not one has signed on to any of the bills at this point. 

So, this becomes a Democratic problem, does it not? 

MOORE:  Yes, it is.  I mean, I expect the Republicans to behave the way we do.  That‘s how we got into all the messes we‘re in to begin with, whether it‘s the war or whether it‘s the crash, everything that Obama—I mean, Obama‘s had to inherit these incredible catastrophes, the poor guy. 

I mean, you‘ve got to give him credit that he‘d want to come in and try to clean up all the Republican messes that they‘ve created.  God bless him for doing that. 

And, you know, I think he‘s been a pretty nice guy.  He‘s held out the olive branch to the other side.  They‘ve smacked it out of his hand. 

And now it‘s time for him to say, OK.  You know, I wanted to play with you, you didn‘t want to play with me.  Well, guess what?  The vast majority of Americans agree with me, not you, so we‘ll see you later. 

SCHULTZ:  I hope that‘s in his personality down the stretch, to talk just like that.  We‘ll find out. 

Your most recent production, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”  You trace it all the way back to its roots and what many people call the evil greed of this country.  It goes back to the Reagan years. 

This is a sound clip that really caught my attention in the movie. 


MOORE (voice-over):  See that guy standing next to the president?  You know, the one that looks like a butler?  His name was Don Regan, the chairman of Merrill Lynch, the richest and biggest retail brokerage firm in the world.

He took the key position of treasury secretary so he could enact the tax cuts that the rich wanted.  Regan then became White House chief of staff as the president started to fade.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Then they should give the president what 43 governors have, a line-item veto.




MOORE:  Who tells the president to speed it up?  The man from Merrill Lynch, that‘s who.  Things in America would never be the same again.  The country would now be run like a corporation.

REAGAN:  We‘re going to turn the bull loose.


SCHULTZ:  I think the message I took out of the entire movie, Michael, was that this was a generational effort to concentrate the wealth in this country, attack labor, run jobs overseas.  You put it together so well.

Have we, as Americans, just been, for the last several decades, asleep at the switch?  What do you think?

MOORE:  Well, I don‘t know so much if we‘ve been asleep.  I think we‘ve been bamboozled.  I think that the other side is very, very good at propaganda, they‘re very good at manipulating people with fear, and they‘ve taken otherwise good people who would make good decisions and convinced them to support their bad decisions. 

SCHULTZ:  And one final point I want to make with you. 

You go after the Democrats, too.  You go after Tim Geithner here. 

You‘re not a fan of that guy at all, are you? 

MOORE:  Well, no.  I think Obama—I mean, I think he did probably the right thing considering—I mean, the large bank, they hire former bank robbers to come in and advise them on how to prevent bank robberies.  And I think it‘s smart that Obama has brought in Summers and Geithner to clean up the mess that, who else would be better at it than the ones who helped to create it? 

SCHULTZ:  “Capitalism: A Love Story.”  It opens nationwide on Friday.

Michael Moore, you‘re always welcome back.  I appreciate your time. 

It‘s nice to meet you on the tube here tonight on THE ED SHOW.

MOORE:  Thanks for my first appearance here.  I really appreciate it. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Thank you. 

MOORE:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Next up, the escalating war in Afghanistan.  The war council meeting at the White House just wrapped up.  I‘ll get the details from CNBC‘s John Harwood in a moment. 

And coming up, Eric Cantor says Democrats aren‘t listening to the people back home?  He thinks Democrats aren‘t offering families real solutions on health care? 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She needs to get this operation quickly.  She has no insurance. 

REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, MINORITY WHIP:  Existing programs that are out there, charitable organizations.  There are hospitals here who do provide charity care. 


SCHULTZ:  I am never going to stop playing that tape.  I‘ll show you the latest from the minority weasel coming up on THE ED SHOW.

Don‘t go away.  You‘re watching MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

It‘s about goals when it comes to Afghanistan.  What is the right move? 

President Obama met with his national security team this afternoon to try to figure out, what is the correct way to handle this mess?  The president‘s top commander there, General McChrystal, has said he needs more troops, but others, like Vice President Joe Biden, wants a smaller military presence. 

For more, let me bring in John Harwood, CNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent and political writer for “The New York Times.”

John, good to have you on tonight. 

How long was this meeting and do we know if it was one that was pretty intense? 

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Well, look, I think this is a very, very intense phase of this process.  The president has said—in fact, when I interviewed him a little over a week ago, he said he‘s going to take his time, get the strategy right, before he decides on resources, including the number of troops.  But this is a very, very tough call for this White House, Ed, because the president used to cite Afghanistan during the campaign as the right war that President Bush was ignoring.  Now it‘s Barack Obama‘s war, and has got to get over the misgivings of a whole lot of Democrats that this is a quagmire that may be difficult to win. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, it seems to me, anyway, John, that the White House has got their political gloves on right now.  They want to duke this thing out.  They‘re not going to take any smoke from anybody in the political war room. 

This is Mr. Gibbs responding to Eric Cantor‘s claims in a “Washington Times” interview that Obama‘s Afghanistan review is jeopardizes using U.S.  troops. 

Here it is.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I don‘t recall Congressman Cantor saying that when General David McKiernan‘s request for 30,000 additional troops sat on the desk of the previous commander-in-chief, I don‘t remember him going to a newspaper or on television saying that that commander-in-chief was endangering the lives of men and women in Afghanistan. 

I would say this to Congressman Cantor and everybody else:  The American people deserve an assessment that‘s beyond game plan. 


SCHULTZ:  Now John, that is the spokesman for the president of the United States.  When I heard that today, I thought, gosh, is this Obama talking right here? 

What do you make of that?  Those are fighting words. 

HARWOOD:  Well, it was.  And look, with good reason.

Any time a commander-in-chief is considering what resources to devote to a conflict, you could say, well, until he figures it out, he‘s putting troops at risk because he hasn‘t implemented the best strategy.  But that happens all the time. 

I think Cantor‘s statement is pretty clearly in the category of a political shot at President Obama, trying to take advantage of the fact that there‘s a debate.  Republicans are with Stan McChrystal.  They want more troops committed.  But Democrats are wary. 

And Vice President Biden, who is somebody who --- one of the reasons he was picked by President Obama is because of his expertise on these issues.  He‘s saying pull back, pushing back a little bit against Hillary Clinton, who seems to be more forward leaning and a little bit closer to where Republicans are.  So, we‘ve got a heck of an argument right now. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, one thing is for sure.  If the president commits 40,000 more troops, we‘re in it for the long haul.  That‘s not a short-term plan. 

HARWOOD:  You got it.  Right.

SCHULTZ:  What about the timing for a decision?  What do you think? 

HARWOOD:  I think we‘ve got at least a month, maybe two months, while the president sifts through this thing.  I think he‘s not in a hurry to make this call.  But we‘ll certainly get it before the end of the year.  But I think he‘s definitely in a mood to take his time right now—Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  And quickly, and finally, the president, on the campaign trail, said he wanted a lot of different opinions, not a bunch of “yes” men around him.  It looks like he‘s got a lot of different opinions in this meeting. 

HARWOOD:  He‘s getting it.  You know, they talked about the team of rivals.  You‘ve got a team of rivals—Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Stan McChrystal, and a whole bunch of other people making the case.  And you can be sure the White House political advisers are also weighing in. 

SCHULTZ:  John Harwood with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.

Thanks so much, John. 

HARWOOD:  You bet.

SCHULTZ:  Dick Cheney‘s daughter, Liz Cheney, I think she‘s showing up to the dance a little bit late.  But it doesn‘t make it any less nuttier, if we can put it that way.  She‘s on board with the paranoids who think President Obama is trying to indoctrinate your kids. 

It could only be in “Psycho Talk,” next on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Time for “Psycho Talk.”  

Ooh.  We‘ve got a new team player here.  A new addition. 

Liz Cheney has made the cut.  She‘s jumping on the bandwagon with the righties who are criticizing a New Jersey school for allowing kids to sing a song about President Obama. 

Here‘s what Liz had to say about it. 


LIZ CHENEY, DICK CHENEY‘S DAUGHTER:  Clearly, this is so inappropriate, and it is very scary.  And the president who—you know, you watch every speech he gives about national security or foreign affairs, and it‘s always, you know, sort of blaming America first.  There‘s sort of a self-admiration society going on that spreads out among some of his supporters, and I think it‘s inappropriate and it‘s, you know, unhealthy for American schoolchildren to be subjected to that. 


SCHULTZ:  Oh, brother.  Inappropriate?  Scary?  Unhealthy?  Give me a break. 

Let me show you the son folks like Liz Cheney are all cranked up about.  Here it is. 


UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN (singing):  Barack Hussein Obama -- (INAUDIBLE). 

Barack Hussein Obama -- (INAUDIBLE).


SCHULTZ:  Oh, we‘ve got to fix public education, don‘t we? 

It‘s not like the kids are out there pushing President Obama‘s political agenda.  They‘re talking about equality, and Obama didn‘t have anything to do with the performance. 

And another thing, they sang that song back in February during Black History Month.  I think it‘s OK to celebrate the fact that we have evolved enough as a country and a society to elect a black president. 

Obviously, not everybody has evolved.  And Liz Cheney‘s in that crowd, and she‘s a little short on memory as well. 

Let‘s go back to 2006. 

A group of schoolchildren who survived Hurricane Katrina went to the White House and sang a song praising President Bush and FEMA, if you can believe it.  Now, I didn‘t hear the righties complaining about indoctrinating children back them. 

Liz Cheney‘s only goal, her only goal, is to take down President Obama.  She‘ll say anything, she‘ll try anything to make that happen.  And as usual, it puts her in the zone. 

It‘s all “Psycho Talk.”   

Coming up, the fight for the public option, well, I told you earlier, this thing‘s going to come down to Nancy Pelosi, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd, in a room with Max Baucus.  I like those odds. 

Plus, righties on the Hill are upset about this guy‘s call on the health care plan. 

I‘ve got your back, buddy. 

That story coming up next on THE ED SHOW.

Plus, a debate you won‘t want to miss.

Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Something about this story I kind of like.  Democratic lawmaker from Florida set off a firestorm when he went to the House floor last night and said this about the Republicans and health care. 


REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA:  Here it is, the Republicans‘ health care plan for America: don‘t get sick.  That‘s right, don‘t get sick.  If you have insurance, don‘t get sick.  If you don‘t have insurance, don‘t get sick. 

If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly.  That‘s right.  The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick. 


SCHULTZ:  Oh, Republican lawmakers, you know, they jumped all over it.  They‘re looking for any excuse to distract from the real issues in the health care debate.  So they‘re going to go after that comment in the middle of the night.  Today, Congressman Tom Price took a break from calling for an end to Medicare to demand an apology. 


REP. TOM PRICE ®, GEORGIA:  We respectfully request that he apologize to our leader.  And I call on all Democrat members of the House and all Democrat leaders to demand that he apologize.  Just as one of our members did earlier. 


SCHULTZ:  Didn‘t Tom Delay say that the Democrats wanted to win the White House more than they wanted to win the war on terror?  I don‘t know?  Maybe—I don‘t know, I thought I heard that.  Look, I find this outrageous, from the party of death panels, to be fake.  Congressman Grayson did not back down.  Unlike Joe Wilson, he gave his apology on the House floor. 


GRAYSON:  Several Republicans asked me to apologize.  Well, I would like to apologize.  I would like to apologize to the dead.  Here‘s why: according to this study, Health Insurance and Mortality In U.S. Adults, which was published two weeks ago, 44,789 Americans die every year because they have no health insurance. 

That is more than ten times the number of Americans who have died in the war in Iraq.  It‘s more than ten times the number of Americans who died in 9/11. 

I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven‘t voted sooner to end this Holocaust in America. 


SCHULTZ:  You know, folks, I think it needs to be profoundly pointed out tonight that that man did not break the rules.  They‘re trying to compare this to Representative Joe Wilson, who yelled out at the joint session of the Congress when the president was speaking “you lie.”  That was breaking the rules. 

What this Congressman from Florida did, Alan Grayson, he didn‘t break the rules.  You know what he did?  He went by the rules.  It‘s interesting how all these righties are so concerned about this, you know, the fairness doctrine?  They‘re worried about freedom of speech being taken away? 

Well, there‘s freedom of speech.  The guy goes to the floor under the rules, gives an opinion.  I thought we were still in America. 

Joining me now is Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York. 

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 


SCHULTZ:  I want to talk at Eric Cantor with you.  He is saying that the Democrats aren‘t with the people.  Can you respond to that? 

WEINER:  Well, I like Eric Cantor.  If he had a plan for dealing with health care, maybe he would come on the show and debate it with me.  But he doesn‘t have one, nor do his Republican colleagues. 

Look, the fact of the matter is people say they want this problem solved, not only people who are not insured, but people who are having their rates go through the roof.  Right now, every single year, our insurance rates go up 1,000 dollars a year.  Most Americans see that as a Republican tax that they‘re paying because of their inaction on health care. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, did I hear you say you‘d like to debate him on this program?  Can we organize that?  Can you and I make an invitation to Mr. Cantor‘s office?  I will give both you guys, face to face—we‘ll go an hour.  I‘ll dedicate an hour with you, Mr. Weiner, and also Mr. Cantor to go at it about health care.  You OK with that? 

WEINER:  Listen, I would certainly love to do it.  I like Eric Cantor. 

And frankly, feel a little bad for him that he has to go out and shop

around some of these ideas.  When he says at a town hall meeting that if

you‘re uninsured, you just go to the hospital, and they‘ll take care of you

he must think that the bill fairy pays those bills.  I‘m not quite sure what he thinks.

But, look, I admire the idea that someone like Eric Cantor, after six years having Republican control of the House and the Senate and the White House, and still this problem gets worse—I admire him saying anything at all.  If he wants a debate, as we say in Brooklyn, bring it on, Chickie (ph). 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s get it on.  Let‘s talk about what happened over on the Senate side yesterday.  There is some conversation.  I was in conversation with Harry Reid‘s office today.  There‘s a real possibility that the Senate may end up with a bill without a public option, and then rely on all of it taking place in the conference committee in the final stage, when the legislation is actually written. 

If that‘s the case, Congressman Weiner, does this not put pressure on the House to make sure a strong public option comes out of your chamber? 

WEINER:  A hundred percent.  I think that Nancy Pelosi has already said that very clearly, that there‘s going to be a public option in it.  But not just for those of us who think there should be choice, but for all of my budget hawk colleagues.  The only way to contain costs and the best way to reduce that CBO score is to have competition, because the Congressional Budget Office, who is nonpartisan on these things, say, if you want to save money, you can‘t just leave it to the insurance companies. 

We‘re going to have a strong public option.  There‘s going to be a conference committee.  President Obama is going to say he wants a strong public option.  And that‘s what the American people are going to get. 

SCHULTZ:  The White House has given the Democrats backup as well on this.  This is Robert Gibbs on how the GOP does not have a plan.  Here it is. 


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Let me tell you, there are a series of two-way streets between here and Capitol Hill.  There are plenty of ways to—there‘s plenty of ways to be constructive.  We‘d be happy to evaluate their comprehensive proposal, and provide health care reform to the American people.  If you want to get it from them, I‘ll be happy to take it over to Leg. Affairs. 


SCHULTZ:  It‘s interesting that the White House is aggressive on that point, Congressman Weiner, because your colleague, Alan Grayson, went to the floor last night and called them out, and said the Republican plan is to die quickly.  Do you go along with that?  Do you agree with him? 

WEINER:  I like this guy, Grayson.  Usually, we don‘t let freshmen speak their first term.  We have to get this guy out there more. 

Look, he was only being slightly ironic.  If you look at what many of the Republicans are saying, essentially, don‘t do anything.  Don‘t do anything is a formula for more people dying prematurely, for more people being bankrupted in their homes, and we the taxpayer paying a much higher bill. 

So Congressman Grayson had it exactly right.  I also like the idea he used the same over-heated language that the Republicans have been using at town hall meetings all around the country.  Frankly, what this is about is not just the people who are uninsured.  It‘s about the rest of us who have insurance, who are paying too much for it in higher premiums, and too much for it in it for higher taxes. 

SCHULTZ:  So you have no problem with what he said on the floor last night? 

WEINER:  Frankly, the type of language he used, saying the Republicans are this or that, I‘ll say it right here.  The Republican party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry.  I guess they‘ll want to bring me up on charges next. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Weiner, good to have you with us.  Thanks so much. 

WEINER:  My pleasure.

SCHULTZ:  For more, let‘s bring in our panel tonight.  Sam Stein, political reporter for the “Huffington Post,” and Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio talk show host.  Gentlemen, good to have you.

Let‘s talk about this comment of Mr. Grayson.  Are you offended, Michael Medved?  Let‘s face it, the Republicans don‘t have a plan and there are people that are left out there to, you know, go absolutely financially destitute or live with the disease.  What‘s your take on what he said? 

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Americans are too easily offended.  I‘m not a fended by it.  I don‘t think it‘s a constructive contribution to the dialogue. 

Look, right now this is serious.  This is not gamesmanship.  It‘s not ra-ra back and forth.  Right now, there is a good plan on the table.  It is called the Wyden/Bennett bill.  It‘s co-sponsored by seven Democrats and seven Republicans.  I don‘t see is why it is that everyone is trying to reinvent the wheel. 

I‘ve had members of the U.S. Senate on my radio show talking about this plan, which would attempt to move us toward individual control, at the same time that you get nearly all Americans insured.  Why not work constructively, instead of calling names?  The American people are tired of it on both sides. 

SCHULTZ:  He didn‘t call any Republicans a name.  He just said what they‘re—what their plan is all about. 

MEDVED:  It‘s not true.  When—

SCHULTZ:  It is true.  Ask the lady in Richmond who‘s got tumors in her stomach and got cancer and doesn‘t have coverage.  She was told to go get a charity. 

MEDVED:  Ed, are you saying that you really believe that Republicans members of Congress, people like Congressman Cantor, want old ladies to die? 

SCHULTZ:  Let me tell you something.  I‘m telling you, Michael, that right now, when Americans are faced with a disease and no coverage, they have no options but to just naturally fight off the disease or go financially destitute and broke by doing it. 

All this Congressman is doing, Michael, is asking the Republicans, do you have a plan to fix this?  They don‘t. 

MEDVED:  I‘m sorry, that‘s simply not true, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  It is true. 

MEDVED:  I mentioned to you the Wyden/Bennett bill, for one thing. 

SCHULTZ:  The Wyden/Bennett bill was not authored by any Republicans. 

MEDVED:  It was certainly authored.  It was co-authored by Senator Robert Bennett of Utah.  That‘s why his name‘s on it.  Let me also mention, there are 14 other Republican plans on the table.  The point is, nothing Republican support is going to get through. 

SCHULTZ:  The problem I‘ve got with the Wyden bill, it still has the fox garden, the hen house, and that would be the insurance industry.  Sam Stein, let‘s talk about Mr. Grayson.  Was he over the top or was he spot on? 

SAM STEIN, “HUFFINGTON POST”:  I think the rhetoric will end up distracting from the debate.  But his message was essentially the one that a lot of progressives have been pushing or hoping to push for a while now.  I mean, we‘re talking about 47,000 people dying because of lack of health insurance coverage every year; 50,000 will lose their coverage in the next week. 

I mean, there‘s a dire aspect to the health care debate I think the Democratic party should have inserted into the discussion way in advance.  I think Congressman Weiner‘s response to Representative Grayson‘s remarks are telling, that they‘re not exactly running away from it.  People realize this is the type of messaging that works.  Maybe saying Republicans want people to die isn‘t the best way to frame it.  But this is what they want to go to.

SCHULTZ:  Sam, what about the public option, now, the votes that took place in the Senate Finance Committee yesterday?  I‘m told now there‘s a real good chance there might not be a public option in the Senate bill.  They‘re just going to take their chances in the conference committee.  What pressure does this put on the House to deliver the mail on public option? 

STEIN:  I‘m hearing the same things you‘re hearing, which is that the pressure really goes to Nancy Pelosi, and then back to Harry Reid once you get a—what should happen is a public option should come out of the House.  Nancy Pelosi has all but said she can‘t get a bill without a public option.  Then it comes down to negotiations between the House and the Senate. 

Then the pressure really goes on Harry Reid.  The Republicans have no incentive to work here.  They can just run out the clock and hope that Democrats turn on each other and battle each other over the inclusion of a public option.  Really, Harry Reid is going to have to step up to see if anything comes through with a public option.  My guess is you‘ll end up with triggers. 

SCHULTZ:  Finally, Michael Medved, here‘s my point: there is no legislation out there that is going to reel in these obscene profits that we have seen by the insurance industry over the last eight years and there‘s nothing there that‘s going to stop the premiums from going up.  Until you get competition, guaranteed competition, it isn‘t going to happen.  I‘m not confident that the Wyden bill does that. 

MEDVED:  OK.  Are you going to guarantee, or is any Democratic bill going to guarantee that insurance premiums won‘t go up?  If you look at the logic of this, if you take 30 million new people, and you are demanding more medical services from the same number of physicians, of course costs are going to go up.  Of course premiums are going to go up.  That‘s why the American people are wary of this entire plan. 

SCHULTZ:  No, actually, costs are going to go down, because people are going to be healthier.  You got to look at it in the long haul, and a generational effort to get it done.  Michael and Sam, great to have you on tonight.  Good discussion on this. 

The president leaves for Copenhagen tomorrow to make the case for his hometown, Chicago.  Maybe they should get the Summer games in 2016.  We know he‘s got a lot on his plate, but this is big for America!  How could anybody be against or criticize the president for this?  Well, I found somebody.  In fact, I found two people. 

The Republicans don‘t seem to get it, that this could be billions of dollars in economic development, hundreds of thousands of jobs.  The party of no, I guess they‘re against that, too.  Chicago Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky joins me in the playbook on this issue on “THE ED SHOW,” next.


SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, the Republican uproar over President Obama‘s trip to Copenhagen to support his hometown‘s bid, Chicago, for the 2016 Olympics is almost grounds—well, it is grounds for psycho talk.  The latest comes from House Minority Leader John Boehner.  Listen to this. 


REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER:  The president is going to go off to Copenhagen, now, when we‘ve got serious issues here at home that need to be debated. 

Listen, I think it‘s a great idea to promote Chicago, but he‘s the president of the United States, not the mayor of Chicago.  The problems we have here at home affect all Americans and that‘s where his attention ought to be. 


SCHULTZ:  Mr. Boehner, are you against creating jobs?  Mr. Boehner, would you like to give back the gold medal to the Russians that we won at Lake Placid in 1980?  Mr. Boehner, do you believe in Miracles?  Gosh, buddy, you need to get with the program. 

Why is Boehner rooting against America?  He doesn‘t like Obama.  Holding the Olympics on American soil is, number one, only going to help the economy.  And you know what?  It‘s going to make us feel good as Americans.  You know, that real Reagan feeling that these conservatives used to have back in the ‘80s.  We‘re going to feel good about this.

An independent study found the games would create 22.5 billion dollars in economic development between 2011 and 2021, and 315,000 jobs, at the least, maybe up to a million jobs. 

Let me bring in Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, whose district includes parts of Chicago.  Congresswoman, how great would it be for the United States of America to get these games?  And do you think the president is overstepping his bounds by going to Copenhagen? 

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS:  You know, if you think about 315,000 jobs, that‘s more jobs than were lost last month.  This is an incredible development tool for us.  Besides, as you said, Ed, come on, let‘s not be party poopers.  The United States of America hosting the Summer Games would be a huge boost economically, but also I think just in our spirit. 

And Chicago is the perfect place.  You‘re from the heartland.  You know that we‘re a city that is a welcoming place for people from all around the globe, who choose Chicago at their home, a place where people are all going to feel comfortable, no matter where they come from. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, what I do know is that creating jobs is an important thing.  And normally when you get something like this, if you track other Olympics, where they have been for years, the economic impact is much greater than the forecast.  Are the Republicans—are the Republicans, Congresswoman—are they just innately against everything that has Barack Obama‘s name to it? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  I don‘t know.  You think Boehner has his eyes on Rio? 

Maybe he wants to go to Rio or maybe to Madrid.  I don‘t know. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think it‘s disheartening, because I know there‘s a lot of hard-working people in Chicago that have really banked on this as being a real shot in the arm.  How good do you think it would be for just the psyche of the country, seeing that we‘ve had so much tough economic news here under the Bush years, and early on into the Obama stimulus package.  What would this mean between our ears? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  It would be absolutely great.  The thing I really resent about what Leader Boehner has said is that, as if it‘s only about Chicago and he think he‘s the mayor of Chicago. 

This is about Team USA.  This is about the United States of America hosting those games.  So I think it would be a boost for the entire country.  People would come from every state to the city of Chicago.  And maybe he doesn‘t realize we do have beaches, where he can lay out and tan as well. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, let‘s not undersell that, Congresswoman.  You also have some fantastic salmon fishing on lake Michigan.  I can attest to that.  In fact, I have pictures to prove it.  Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  I‘m just bewildered of this story.  I really am.  I am just so taken that absolutely everything Obama does, everything he does is a negative or a political target.  They‘re against job creation. 

I‘ll tell you what else the Republicans are against.  And that‘s the wage earners in the union, folks, who really need this to happen for Chicago.  God bless the First Family for taking it upon themselves to get involved. 

There‘s no political downside to this.  That‘s what being the president is, getting in the game, getting after it, promoting America. 

Eric Cantor thinks nobody is listening to the people at the town halls.  May I remind you, Mr. Cantor, we have been listening when you told someone to go begging for care?  And he‘s come back with an even more out of touch answer.  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.



REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, MINORITY WHIP:  You look at the reality on the ground and compare that to what‘s going on in Washington, and there just seems to be a real disconnect.  All we‘re hearing now in Washington is the debate about a public option.  Which way?  How can they get to a public option?  That is just absolutely disconnected with what most families in this country are expecting out of their government. 


SCHULTZ:  From the I‘m astounded corner of the building, from the say-anything crowd, Eric Cantor claims Democrats aren‘t listening to people back home?  I really don‘t know how Cantor can say that with a straight face.  It‘s like he‘s just baiting me to play this video again. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I have a very close relative, a woman in her early 40s.  She found out that she has tumors in her belly, and that she needs an operation.  Her doctors told her that they are growing and that 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. 


SCHULTZ:  He must have forgot about that town hall meeting.  Let‘s see here, now, income eligibility.  That‘s the Republican way, isn‘t it?  Despite the fact that 65 percent of the American people want a government-run program and 75 percent of doctors want the same thing.  That woman‘s family would certainly like to have some health care reform.  She asked Cantor for a solution and she was thrown a bunch of statistics. 

Joining me now is Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota.  Keith, good to have you with us.  Good to see you at the Congressional Black Caucus the other day.  This was the issue, the lies being thrown out there by the Republicans.  What‘s the mood on the Hill right now, as we move forward in the wake of this Senate Finance Committee vote?  What‘s the mood? 

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA:  Determination.  I can tell you that those of us in the House who know that a public option is what the American people need, and they said so in poll after poll after poll, and doctors have said so—we‘re committed to make sure the American people get what they want. 

SCHULTZ:  So what is Eric Cantor‘s strategy here?  Just to throw it out there and see how many people are going to believe him? 

ELLISON:  You have to say something.  It‘s his job to come up with a sound bite.  That‘s the best he could do.  He‘s the one detached from reality.  He‘s the up in the stratosphere. 

You know what?  If the Republicans want to oppose reform and health care, let them.  The fact is there‘s a majority in the House and Senate who are going to pass this bill, and the White House is there, too.  This is going to happen.  Ed, you getting the word out to the American people on who stands with them is critically important.  So thank you for that. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, thank you.  But you‘re getting some help there on the House floor.  Last night, Alan Grayson made a pretty interesting comment.  I‘ve gotten a lot of e-mail on this today.  There are a lot of lefties across the country that are saying it‘s about time somebody on the House floor stood up.  Do you agree with what he said? 

ELLISON:  Let me tell you, I think Alan is always to the point.  Alan always makes a lot of sense.  I‘m not surprised at all that he really did hit the nail on the head. 

SCHULTZ:  He hit the nail on the head.  I think he was trying to point out that the Republicans have nothing on the table.  Quickly, with the situation in the Senate, might not have a public option, how much pressure is this going to be putting on you folks in the House to get this thing done? 

ELLISON:  It‘s going to put a lot of pressure, but we are up to it.  Let me tell you, the fact is we have well enough people to pass a public option.  In fact, we don‘t have enough people to pass the bill unless it contains a public option.  I feel very confident that that‘s what we‘re going to see. 

SCHULTZ:  A more serious note, Congressman, Brett Favre and the Vikings, next Monday night against the Packers. 

ELLISON:  Sweet revenge.  Ten seconds on the clock. 

SCHULTZ:  Good to see you.  Keith Ellison, Minnesota Congressman with us. 

SCHULTZ:  Earlier, I asked you, how are you feeling about the future of the public option?  More confident, less confident, about the same?  Fifty three percent of you say more confident; 23 percent of you say less confident; also 24 percent of you say about the same. 

Bottom line, 77 percent of us are feeling real good about heading in the right direction for change in this country.  Stay focused.  Stay motivated.  Continue to get after it. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL” starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.



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