Guests: Jan Schakowsky, Jim Warren, R.T. Rybak, Sen. Ron Wyden, Michael Medved, Bill Press, Dr. Jack Lewin, Col. Jack Jacobs, Liz Winstead
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win.
And I‘m proud that I was able to come in and help make that case in person. I believe it‘s always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America and invite the world to come see what we‘re all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That is our president showing his usual class and graciousness after the United States lost the 2016 Olympic games. That is the mark of leadership, taking the losses with the wins, sticking your neck out for something you really believe in, something that‘s the right thing to do, even if you‘re getting heckled from the cheap seats.
Now, folks, I am not going to sugarcoat this tonight. This is a dark day for our country, a low point for America.
You can hang it right on the right-wing talkers and, yes, the Republican Party. Their negativity and lack of patriotism underscores just how damaged this country has become over the last eight years.
This attack on President Obama trying to get the Olympics is about the most un-American thing I think I‘ve ever seen. The righties, led by “The Drugster,” are savoring the moment that the United States lost today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The world has rejected Obama. Chicago, the least number of votes. First elimination in the round of voting for the Olympics in 2016.
Barack Hussein Obama—mmm, mmm, mmm. Barack Hussein Obama—mmm, mmm, mmm—had been running around the world for nine months telling everybody how much our country sucks. Why would anybody award the Olympics to such a crappy place as the United States of America?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Where Rush goes, the Republican Party follows. Newt Gingrich tweeted today, “President Obama fails to get the Olympics while unemployment goes to 9.8 percent. Iran continues nuclear program. America needs focused leadership.”
RNC chair Michael Steele, he had to jump into it, too, with a statement. “Our country needs the president‘s undivided attention on urgent issues facing American families today: rising unemployment, soaring health care costs, winning the war in Afghanistan and dealing with Iran‘s nuclear threat.”
Get a load of this. Michael Steele telling President Obama to focus on health care costs? The hypocrisy here is absolutely mind-boggling.
Now, the same crowd that says they support the troops didn‘t support the United States getting the Olympics. They only support the troops when it‘s good for them. They only support America when it‘s good for them. They only support America when it‘s good for their political agenda.
What the Republicans did, I think, rivals Jane Fonda sitting on a gun in North Vietnam. This was a great chance to revitalize an economy that definitely is dragging. The irony is that the party that claims to be for the free market, capitalism, and competition, the party that just loves to get out there and go one-on-one, did absolutely nothing to compete for this.
Their negativity in the 11th hour just cost this country billions of dollars in economic development and hundreds of thousands in jobs. And I might add, union jobs that are greatly needed.
The Olympics, they have always been good for the economy when we‘ve hosted them before on American soil. In 1996, Atlanta had tremendous redevelopment and revitalization. The Olympic Park is still being used by Georgia Tech.
This is not a failure of President Obama. This is a failure of the
Republican Party, the right-wing talkers in this country that openly—openly campaigned against the Olympics by denigrating our president again. It‘s their stated goal to see Barack Obama fail.
Well, congratulations, boys. You did a heck of a job. Just remember, when Obama fails, America fails.
And one thing that really bothers me about all of this is the youth of this country. What message does it send to young people when you‘ve got one political party rooting against America getting something like the Olympics? What message does it send to young people?
Think about all the young people in the region around Chicago that would have been able to go to the Olympics and maybe been inspired to compete. Well, that won‘t help at all now, of course, they‘ve got to get some cheap airfare to Rio de Janeiro.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about this one.
Who‘s happier about losing the Olympics, Rio or the Republicans? Text “A” for Rio, “B” for Republicans to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
It‘s the demeanor of the righties that is so disheartening.
Joining me now live from Chicago is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.
Congresswoman, your response to some of the Republicans that are out there just ripping into the president, calling him a failure, and also basically their campaign against Chicago.
What‘s your mood at this hour, Congresswoman?
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, imagine had the president not gone to Copenhagen. Then, of course, they would have blamed him for not working hard enough for getting the Olympics. There‘s no way for him to win.
And I‘m just proud of the president of the United States, Michelle Obama, the mayor of Chicago, the people of Chicago who worked so hard and so long. And of course I‘m disappointed, but, you know, the president, again was a class act when he congratulated Rio de Janeiro. South America has never gotten the games before. We were...
SCHULTZ: But Congresswoman, what about the political reaction? What about the Republicans actually campaigning against the United States and downtalking Chicago? How do you feel about that?
SCHAKOWSKY: Well, you know, first of all, I feel really bummed today. You know, when we were standing out on the plaza with hundreds and hundreds of happy Chicagoans hoping to hear the good news, it was so incredibly disappointing and really deflating for all of us, because we know that Chicago is the greatest city in the world. And it would have been a great host for the Olympics. But to hear the Republicans...
SCHULTZ: Yes. What went wrong in your opinion? Yes, what went wrong?
SCHAKOWSKY: You know, I don‘t think anything went wrong with our effort and our bid. I really, frankly, think that it was mainly that they decided that South America, that Brazil, a rising country not at the place where Chicago is now, could benefit very much from the Olympics. But you‘re right, the Republicans are just naysayers whatever this president does.
SCHULTZ: At everything. At everything.
SCHAKOWSKY: And how dare Rush Limbaugh—how dare he say that this president goes around talking about how bad our country is. He has finally been able to establish us as real participants in the world community. And if anything would have stopped us from getting it, it‘s the last eight years, where we have turned off the rest of the world.
SCHULTZ: And finally—well, what about that? And finally, Congresswoman Schakowsky, is this part of a political hangover? That maybe America just isn‘t as popular as it used to be with all the things that took place over the last eight years?
What do you think?
SCHAKOWSKY: You know, it may be that, but I really do think that it was more a choice for giving Latin America a chance, giving Rio a chance. I really feel that Chicago benefited just from being in the competition and having the light shone on our great city. So, I don‘t think it really was so much a putdown of Barack Obama, the United States of America. I really don‘t think so.
SCHULTZ: OK. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thanks for your time tonight.
I appreciate it so much.
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: For more on all of this, let‘s go to MSNBC contributor Jim Warren, also in Chicago tonight.
Jim, what‘s the inside story here? What was the tipping point? Why did Chicago get exited so quickly in this process?
JIM WARREN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Because I think they—a group of some of the most sophisticated political practitioners in America, Mayor Richard Daley and some of his top aides and some of his alumni club, which include David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and also President Barack Obama, were absolutely outfoxed politically by a very interesting, curious electorate, median age 72, mostly European, mostly male, mostly white, only 13, 14 females.
I can tell you that after a series of exchanges in the last hour with top officials of the U.S. bid, they were absolutely convinced when they woke up this morning that they had locked in 35 committed votes, 35 people who told them, we‘re going to vote for you in the first round. They ended up getting a mere 18. As they now deconstruct, or think they‘re deconstructing what happened, they believe they were totally fooled, ironically, by much of the African vote, which they believe had been actually committed to them and most of which now seems, on the first round, at least, to have gone to Tokyo.
Why Tokyo? Well, in the theory of what happened that the Chicagoans now possess as they fly back here, they believe that they were snookered by the head of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Rogge, who from the beginning wanted to have the Olympics for the first time in South America and who then convinced the Africans on the first ballot to vote for Tokyo because, in his mind, it had the best technical bid from all these criteria that they apparently use. It was the strongest.
Vote for them, they won‘t ultimately make it. We know you want the U.S. They‘ll still be in by the second round. And when he did that, and when, supposedly, they followed his urgings, Chicago was seemingly snookered.
Jim, can I take from your answer there that it really made no difference whether the president went or not, that this was over before Air Force One left American soil?
WARREN: Yes. I mean, I think all along—I mean, I personally thought in talking to some folks—and it‘s not as if I‘ve talked to a ton of IOC members—that Rio clearly was the absolutely frontrunner, and Madrid was probably second as a result of the huge influence of I think, what, the 90-year-old Mr. Sammeranch (ph), who put a lot of these folks on the IOC and was sort of guilt-tripping them about voting for Madrid, which the last time out actually had more votes in the first round than London when it came to the competition for the 2012 summer Olympics.
In retrospect, yes, it probably didn‘t make a difference. And I don‘t think that the bid this morning, the presentation this morning, was terribly overwhelming. And at least knock on wood that President Obama was there, because I think Mayor Daley and the head of the Chicago Bid Committee, if you saw it, I thought they were lacking in a certain passion. And Obama, in some ways, saved the bid, particularly when the basic question was asked during the question-and-answer period, well, what‘s going to be the legacy of this bid? And the person who was chosen to answer it fumbled it so badly, that the president clearly asked the head of the Chicago group, can I take a swing at that? And if you were watching, he did a much, much better job.
SCHULTZ: He certainly did.
WARREN: So, I agree with—I agree with Jan Schakowsky. If he hadn‘t shown up and we lost, he‘d been bashed. Should he have worked a lot harder? Who knows?
I think the fix was in.
SCHULTZ: And finally, Jim, is there any response from the Obama White House to all the negativity that‘s been thrown out there by Republicans and by right-wing talkers of America that are just in this sound chamber, just their negative attitude towards the whole thing? Has there been any response from the Obama team.
WARREN: Well, at least explicitly, not today. But I think their point of view is just going to be, look the other way, not to give legitimacy to those comments. Look forward, say—they were always obviously on point today—we‘ll go anywhere to support America.
And I think the reality is, in retrospect, that this was not going to happen. Chicago, as great a city as it is, as much as we love it, was a huge long shot, and they deserve some credit for, you know, making—at least getting the 18 votes that they got, because Rio had ultimately such a convincing case.
SCHULTZ: Jim Warren, MSNBC, in Chicago tonight.
Thanks, Jim. Appreciate your time on this story.
WARREN: A pleasure.
SCHULTZ: 2012 Republican hopeful Tim Pawlenty, governor of this state, Minnesota, says that the Cash for Clunkers was a joke and that Obama‘s health care plan is manure.
Governor, you just stepped in it yourself. I‘m after you. Minnesota, Minneapolis—Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mayor R.T. Rybak is next.
Stay with us. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY ®, MINNESOTA: All this talk about 2012 is premature, it‘s speculative. I‘ll tell you flat out, I don‘t know what I‘m going to be doing.
I‘m not trying to be cute or coy. I just genuinely don‘t know what I‘m going to be doing a few years from now. And we‘ll see. But the focus of that PAC is on helping in 2009 and 2010 in other races, not my own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has no idea why people are asking him about 2012? He‘s just trying to help other Republicans win?
This presidential speculation is completely out of the blue? I doubt it. It has nothing to do with the fact that Pawlenty, who lost a bid to be John McCain‘s vice presidential candidate last year, has been assembling a team of Republican presidential campaign veterans?
McCain‘s former spokesman, George W. Bush, former political director, Sarah Palin‘s personal campaign shopper?
Pawlenty‘s going to need some major help after all. Fifty-five percent of the people in his own state of Minnesota say they don‘t want him to run, and nearly half of Minnesota voters say there‘s absolutely no chance they‘d even think about voting for him.
Joining me now is R.T. Rybak. He is the mayor of Minneapolis.
R.T., good to have you with us tonight.
MAYOR R.T. RYBAK (D),), MINNEAPOLIS: Good to be here, Ed.
SCHULTZ: What is Tim Pawlenty doing? Is he just playing with the headlights, playing with the spotlights, or do you think that he is seriously thinking about making a run for the nomination?
RYBAK: I think he is a deer in the headlights. And I can guarantee you, Tim Pawlenty will be in the private sector at the end of 2012 because he‘s not going to beat Barack Obama.
I mean, back here in Minnesota, we‘ve got an expression about people who are all yak, no act (ph). That‘s Tim Pawlenty, yakking from the sidelines, no action, hasn‘t done a thing in Minnesota until he got his frequent flyer card to go flying around the country.
I mean, I guess the good news about him building that team, the one good piece of good news—he‘s got all those Bush people around him. But I like the fact that he‘s got Sarah Palin‘s shopper.
She went on a shopping spree in downtown Minneapolis. And that may be the stimulus we need here. So, I guess that‘s the one piece of good news that Tim Pawlenty could finally help this state.
SCHULTZ: All right. Pawlenty is a lot like Bush. He is a conservative, but fiscally, he‘s even tighter than Bush.
Now, he said this about the Cash for Clunkers. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAWLENTY: The effect of this is that we pulled the demand forward and are just dissipating what was future demand for car sales. And you see that in the numbers today.
Then along the way we also hurt the used car lots, the salvage industry, the charitable industry that converted old cars and much more.
I would not support increasing those programs. You know, there‘s a joke out now that says the main value of the Cash for Clunkers program may be that we‘ll get a lot of cars with Obama stickers off the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: To get a lot of cars with Obama stickers off the road.
Mayor, I don‘t know what you think, but I think that‘s borderline racist, it‘s class warfare because of the economic disparity in this country.
Is this who this guy is? I mean, he‘s just really now being cast on the national scene, he‘s going to get a lot of attention now. Is he known for saying stuff like this?
RYBAK: You‘re going to have a lot of fun with this guy, Ed Schultz. I can tell you that much.
Look, I guess you can make a joke out of somebody who‘s struggling out there and is trying to get a car. You can make a joke out of somebody on an auto assembly line who‘s desperately trying to get to work. I guess you could make a joke out of it.
I‘ve never tried it. It didn‘t seem to work for Hoover very well.
But the fact of the matter is that, what I hope is that all the investigative reporters around the country come out here to Minnesota—we‘d love to have you here—and spend a few years and do your very best to try to find a single thing that this guy has gotten done as governor.
And I‘ve got to tell you, that guy is running around the country bashing Obama. I sit here in the largest city in the state of Minnesota, and we have now gotten close to $100 million as part of the federal stimulus program that is putting people to work. That‘s what we need.
Thank you, President Obama.
Ignore my governor.
Thank you, President Obama, for helping put America back to work.
SCHULTZ: And after a bridge collapse in this state that killed 13 people, he was slow to want to repair the bridges, and he opposed a half-cent sales tax on gasoline that had not been raised for some 20 years.
Do I have that correct?
RYBAK: Here‘s the story. Tim Pawlenty and I were both there as the bridge collapsed.
It was in front of me. I had to do that work. The governor and I worked together.
And when the cameras were here, he said all the right things, that we were going to finally invest in infrastructure. When all the national reporters disappeared, he suddenly reversed face and said that he wouldn‘t make it. In fact, we finally had to get an override at the legislature to do it.
So, be careful what he says in the spotlight, because when the light goes away, suddenly he becomes a very different person. I think those of you who are going to follow him nationally are going to have a lot of fun over these next few years. But I can guarantee you, you‘re not going to be covering him from the White House.
SCHULTZ: Mayor of Minneapolis R.T. Rybak with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks, R.T. Appreciate your time tonight.
RYBAK: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coming up, Republican Congressman and Dr. Paul Broun gave a town haller a prescription for depression—go to the emergency room. That lands him in the psycho zone.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: “Psycho Talk” tonight, Georgia Congressman Paul Broun. It‘s a dandy.
He‘s one of the GOP headliners in the fear campaign against health care reform.
Now, a few months ago, he said that a public option “is going to kill people.” More recently, at a town hall meeting, one of Broun‘s constituents told him that he couldn‘t afford insurance to cover treatment for his major depressive disorder.
Here‘s Broun‘s psycho response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL BROUN ®, GEORGIA: People who have depression, who have chronic diseases—in this country, physicians are treating folks. People can always get care in this country by going to the emergency room.
The question is, can anybody have access to health care in this country?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh yes. Did you hear that booing in the background? The crowd understood the insanity of Broun‘s answer.
Go to the emergency room for depression? Congressman Broun‘s a doctor. He ought to know better. He should know better.
But Broun just rambled on through all of the boos and then unintentionally made the argument for a public option.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROUN: Anybody has access to health care in this country. The question is, who pays for it? Where do they get it? And at what cost? Going to the emergency room is the most expensive way of finding (ph) health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, finally, these town hall crowds are starting to make sense of what‘s going on.
That‘s exactly why we need a public option. A trip to the emergency room should not be your go-to move unless you have an actual emergency. And telling someone suffering from depression to just go to the emergency room, that‘s ignorant, intensive “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead will tell us what Michele Bachmann has in common with the former Miss California winner, Carrie.
And also, the Senate Finance Committee bill is in. How good is it? Ron Wyden is fuming over Max Baucus‘ watering down of the health care bill. He‘ll sound the alarm on that in just a moment.
Stay with us.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER: The poll data is pretty constant, pretty steady that people do not think that this is a good idea.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: I get to a lot of places and I‘ve not had anyone come up to me—I know I‘m inviting it. But I‘ve not had anyone come up to me and lobbied for the public option. This is about as unpopular as a garlic milkshake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, I don‘t know if they‘re lying or just misinformed or don‘t get out of the beltway much. If they were watching THE ED SHOW, the Republican leaders would know that 65 percent of people support a public option, according to the latest CBS/”New York Times” poll. So do 75 percent of American doctors, according to the “New England Journal of Medicine.”
Despite that support, the Senate Finance Committee bill does not include a public option. The committee is expected to vote on the bill next week, and then the real dealing on the floor is going to get done.
Joining me now, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, member of the Senate Finance Committee, and working on two-hour sleep. They finished up at 2:00 in the morning last night.
Senator, good to have you with us. I‘m glad you have a smile on your face, because I don‘t think you were smiling last night, when the committee did not take a vote on your amendment about choice. Now, what is your—your claim now is that there are going to be Americans out there who are working in the private sector that are not going to be able to get out and get a better policy? Is that what this—your beef is about? What is it?
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), FINANCE COMMITTEE: That‘s absolutely right, Ed. The fact of the matter is, under this legislation, if you work for a company, say a mid-sized company, and your insurer is ripping you off, abusing you, under the legislation, you‘re formally stuck. You wouldn‘t be allowed to go into the marketplace—it‘s called an exchange—and get something better.
That‘s not right. We ought to make it possible for consumers to hold the insurance lobby accountable.
I would also point out I think it‘s going to be really hard for members of Congress to explain why their constituents get no choices, while elected officials here in Washington, D.C. get lots of them, good, quality ones.
SCHULTZ: All right. Based on that, will you still vote for this bill? Where do you stand at this hour?
WYDEN: Ed, we are running on fumes this evening, because I went to bed around 6:00 a.m. And we‘re still looking at the legislation. We‘re going to fix this. American people deserve real health reform. We have a progressive president. We have a progressive Congress. We can get this job done right.
We can hold people‘s premiums down and we can promote real competition. As you know, I support options, both public options, private options. The fact of the matter is all Americans ought to have choices. Their elected officials do.
Let me tell you something, Ed, if an insurance company were to rip off a member of Congress in October of 2009, come January of 2010, the member of Congress can go out and get some options. That‘s what it‘s going to take to hold premiums down. I‘m going to insist everybody gets it, not just members of Congress.
SCHULTZ: I want you to respond to this sound bite here. This is the chairman, Max Baucus. Here he is on the insurance companies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), FINANCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The insurance—the companies are going to start dropping employees. They‘re going to start dropping them. They‘re going to say, hey, I have a smaller pool here. I got sicker people. I‘m just going to start dropping. It is very destabilizing. I cannot think of a major member either so opposed by both business and labor. Both. Both.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I want you to respond to that, Senator Wyden. Is that true?
Do you agree with him on that?
WYDEN: Ed, first of all, I understand that there is a status quo caucus out there that doesn‘t want the American consumer to have the kinds of choices members of Congress have. They are slicing a fat hog. Yes, you have some folks in business and in labor. Their benefits managers get to call all the shots. They control all the money. And they consider it a threat to give workers more choices.
I just think if we‘re going to hold these insurance companies accountable, the worker ought to be able to turn the tables on them.
SCHULTZ: Yes or no answer: is there a mandate in the Senate Finance Committee bill?
WYDEN: There certainly is a personal responsibility requirement. We tried to relieve folks from it. I will tell you, Ed, I have some reservations about that as well. What we ought to be doing is coming up with affordable coverage, so people can buy it.
SCHULTZ: OK. So there is a mandate. What about taxing benefits?
Are some benefits still going to be taxed?
WYDEN: I‘ve always said that if you have folks at Goldman Sachs getting 40,000 dollars worth of benefits, you shouldn‘t have a working class woman who doesn‘t have coverage subsidizing them. We‘re still working on that issue. I don‘t think we should be giving a handout at taxpayer expense to Goldman Sachs‘ executives.
SCHULTZ: Finally, senator, what about this amendment from the senator from Washington, Maria Cantwell? Can you buy into that? Do you really think 50 states are going to be able to go off on their own and do their own deal and set up these pools? And do you think that will satisfy consumers in this country in?
WYDEN: Ed, I think Maria Cantwell is headed in the right direction. As you know, we in the northwest always like to lead. This is a replica of what they‘re doing in Washington State. The real answer is to get the biggest possible insurance pools. That‘s how the consumer gets the best deal. That‘s what members of Congress have. That‘s going to hold the insurers accountable.
SCHULTZ: Get some sleep, senator. Good to have you with us tonight.
All the best.
WYDEN: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon with us. For more, I want to bring in a doctor who has been working closely with the Congress and the White House to forge a consensus on Medicare reimbursements. This is a major sticking point in getting the public options.
Joining me now is Dr. Jack Lewin. He‘s the CEO of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Lewin, good to have you with us tonight. Medicare reimbursement rates, I‘ve had a number of senators tell me that they will not sign on to a public option, because the reimbursement rates of the rural states just is not fair. Can that be fixed and where do we stand on that?
DR. JACK LEWIN, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY: Well, you know, if Congress would do a couple things with the public option, it would become a lot more attractive. One, make it very clear that if there is such a public plan, that it will support itself entirely by premiums it raises. In other words, people choose it and it will then be competing with other insurance companies.
The other thing is, though, it ought to be pricing its services to doctors, hospitals and other health care providers somehow competitively with the private insurance side, not trying to discount. Medicaid is a huge discount. It‘s a public charity for doctors in most cases.
By designing the thing right, there would be a lot more support for a public option than there is right now in a lot of areas.
SCHULTZ: What about over in the House side? They‘re talking about Medicare Plus Five. Is that workable?
LEWIN: I think that is workable. I think that would—you know, Congress can change its mind any time. But, yes, Medicare Plus Five starts to get people interested. That would get the pediatricians and the primary care doctors interested in the process.
SCHULTZ: So what is, in your opinion, the number one thing that‘s going to hold up a public option that will give competition to the private sector?
LEWIN: I just think it‘s political. You know, the folks on the conservative side of this see the public option as a path to the single payer. On the liberal side of the agenda, people see it as a way to maybe move a little bit in that direction.
You know, the public option shouldn‘t stop us from going to health care reform. I think Senator Snowe‘s idea of instituting the public option where insurance premiums are rising too fast, or where there‘s no competition.
There are states out there with only one insurance company. That‘s not competition. Maybe that‘s where we go to start with. Who knows?
SCHULTZ: Do you see any merit at all in 50 states doing their own thing, setting up pools to negotiate? Is that a workable solution?
LEWIN: I would rather see a federal context that applies to all states, frankly. I think that even if it‘s one that kicks in when there are reasons to kick in, because there‘s uncompetitive rates or there‘s no competition, that then we create something. That might be a much more sellable approach. And consistency across the nation would make sense.
SCHULTZ: Doctor, finally, how adamant do you think the White House is behind closed doors about competition for the private sector?
LEWIN: Well, you know, I think the insurance reform piece here is a critical part. That‘s probably more critical and more important than the public option. If we got that insurance reform, and really made that radical, in terms of community rating policies, instead of all the underwriting and rejections because of preexisting conditions, really did some powerful insurance reform in the exchanges, we‘d have more competition. We‘d have insurance companies covering everyone.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Lewin, great to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your take on all of this. Thanks for your work. I know you‘re working hard on it.
LEWIN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: For more on the health care fight, let‘s bring in our panel, Bill Press, nationally syndicated talk show host, and Michael Medved, also nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and author of the book “The Ten Big Lies About America.”
Gentlemen, we‘ve got five bills out there, four public options, one of them with a co-op. How‘s this going to fly? Bill Press, who‘s winning this battle now?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: First of all, Ed, I got to say, I feel a lot better about this issue tonight than I have before, because the Finance Committee is almost finished with this. Ed, just think, we‘re not going to have to listen to Chuck Grassley anymore within a couple days, or Mike Enzi or even Olympia Snowe.
I think you‘re right. If you look at the math, you‘ve got three good bills in the house. You‘ve got one good bill in the Senate. You‘ve got this piece of crap, for the most part, coming out of the Finance Committee. It‘s going to be up to Harry Reid—
PRESS: I tell you why, because it doesn‘t have any public plan option, for the most part. That‘s the biggest thing. The co-ops are a non-starter, Ed. So is the idea of going to 50 states.
It also has that fee on insurance companies, which you mentioned earlier. Some of the union members would end up having to pay that extra fee, which I don‘t think is fair.
But, at any rate, Harry Reid is going to put those two bills together. You take the best of the Senate and you take the best of the House. I think we‘re going to get a good bill now. I think that for the first time, with a public plan option.
SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, how hard are Republican—hard-right Republicans working Olympia Snowe? She says she‘s got a lot to think about coming out of the Senate Finance Committee. If she tips over and goes with the Democrats, what‘s that going to do?
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I think it would help push the reform generally. But look, Olympia Snowe is one Republican. What is remarkable here—and, Ed, it‘s something no one expected. I don‘t think the president expected it. The Republican party is unified. At most, you will get one member of Congress, both the House and the Senate, to back a plan with a public option.
Frankly, I don‘t think Senator Snow‘s going to do it. The reason the Republican party is unified is because the American people are truly dreading this entire process. Let me tell you why.
SCHULTZ: Michael, let me ask you this: you work in the Pacific Northwest. Maria Cantwell came out with an amendment last night that lets states individually go do their thing. Is that workable? Is it working in the state of Washington?
MEDVED: I think it is. I‘m familiar with Basic Health that we have up here. It does a pretty good job. This is one of the basic questions that conservatives have been asking all along, which is, why does this have to be from Washington? Why does it have to be from the top down? It would be far better if we actually had this in some kind of a federal system. People either like or don‘t like what Governor Romney and the Democrat and the legislature did in Massachusetts. They have their own health care program in Oregon and Vermont and Hawaii.
Let the states do their thing.
PRESS: Ed, you know the answer to that. You know the answer to that.
That‘s the same reason Medicare works, because it‘s a national program. There are some states that are just not big enough to have a viable program.
SCHULTZ: Quickly, I have to switch subjects here. Give me a quick answer. Michael Medved, loaded question: how come your party hates the Olympics so much?
MEDVED: I don‘t know about my party. I‘ve always hated the Olympics. I‘ve lived through having the Olympics in Los Angeles. It‘s a disaster for any city. I actually was celebrating today, not because it was a defeat for Obama. It was a victory for the city of Chicago. I love Chicago. Chicago caught a break.
PRESS: Let me tell you, Ed, I love the Olympics. The Olympics in Los Angeles I went there with my family, USA, USA. I can‘t believe the Republican party—the Republican party was rooting against the United States of America. What does that stand for?
MEDVED: What I was rooting against was this. I was rooting against using tax money to support a playground for the rich, which is usually something the Democrats object to.
PRESS: You know what it is, Michael? You don‘t understand it. It is jobs. It is opportunity. It is inspiration. It is—
MEDVED: How about some jobs and opportunity and inspiration in Chicago, dealing with crime and potholes, before they build Olympic Villages? That might be something.
SCHULTZ: No different than any other big city. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us on a Friday, Michael Medved, Bill Press. I am amazed at the negativity that was thrown out by the Republican leadership.
Coming up, I hope John Boehner‘s blushing today. He accused the president of abandoning important duties to go to Copenhagen. We now know that while overseas, President Obama met face to face with General McChrystal about Afghanistan. Colonel Jack Jacobs will give us an update and the landscape, next in my playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, President Obama met with his top commander in Afghanistan face to face today for the first time. The president and General McChrystal met for 25 minutes in Copenhagen on board Air Force One, before the president headed back to Washington. The White House says the meeting was part of Obama‘s on-going review of America‘s strategy in Afghanistan, and that no decisions were made.
For more on all of this, let me bring in MSNBC military analyst, retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs. Jack, what‘s the temperature of this meeting? This is the first time these two men have ever met? They really don‘t have any working relationship. Today was the first day in a critical issue. What do you think?
COL. JACK JACOBS, US ARMY (RET): Let me tell you what I think. I usually don‘t believe in coincidences. But consider this, yesterday in London, General McChrystal gave a public speech in which he said that he thought that the vice president‘s idea, that we focus our attention on counter-terrorism and, more or less, leave Afghanistan to the Taliban, was a very bad idea.
Woops. Not surprisingly, the very next day, he is summoned to Copenhagen to have a brief meeting with the president of the United States before Obama came back to Washington. I think the two are very closely related.
SCHULTZ: OK. Well, with that, if the president were to choose the strategy that Vice President Biden is talking about, do you think McChrystal would go along with it or would he resign?
JACOBS: I think it‘s likely, under those circumstances, if the president decided not to cut the baby in half, and, in fact, give General McChrystal none of the additional forces he wanted, and, further more, to focus his attention on al Qaeda, as the vice president suggests, and, by the way, as the secretary of state thinks is a bad idea—I think that General McChrystal would have a hard time staying on board. I think he might resign.
SCHULTZ: Well, if the president is going to commit 40,000 more troops, number one, it means we‘re going to be in for a long time. Number two, it‘s going to cost a heck of a lot of money. But most of all, this would be a continuation of the Bush policy. Would it not?
JACOBS: Yes, it would. Of course, it is the policy that the president of the United States said he wanted to follow when he was talking about it during the campaign. I think he‘s changed his mind. One of the things that‘s changed his mind I think is the Congressional delegation who told the president of the United States, it‘s OK for you to send more troops to Afghanistan for a long period of time, for it to cost a lot of money, and for us to have more casualties and maybe with not the result you want the United States, because you don‘t have to run for office again until 2012. We‘re running right now.
I think he has to yield to the Democrats and some of the Republicans in Congress, many of whom are very unhappy with the direction that the president has been taking.
SCHULTZ: And Jack, is it the trap of every president that military commanders always want more forces? I mean, I‘m hearing that on the radio. I‘m seeing it in the editorials, that it‘s just the school of thought of a general to think that he can win a war. Yet, when you look at Afghanistan, nobody‘s ever won there before. And yesterday, General Petraeus said we‘re not going to make the same mistakes the Soviets made when they were in Afghanistan. Isn‘t adding 40,000 more troops doing exactly what the Soviets did?
JACOBS: Well, it might. It depends what kinds of troops they are, and if they‘re special forces and special operations forces. They are focused on specific areas, to get rid of the al Qaeda and Taliban, to empower the local leaders. It might work.
As you suggested, it‘s going to take a long period of time, a lot of money and a lot of patience from Americans. If all we‘re going to do is send lots of troops over there, you can bet they‘re not going to be successful. I think this is the problem the president‘s confronting.
And you‘re absolutely right about generals. Look, anybody who asks a general is going to get the same answer. How many troops you want? I want them all. There is no such thing as too many resources. The real test is what you do with them.
I think, ultimately, the president of the United States is going to come down, likely, in the middle. He‘s going to give some troops for a period of time, but is going to demand there be lots of lots of improvements in the situation in Afghanistan.
JACOBS: He‘s already stretching it out. I think it‘s going to take a couple weeks before he gets all his ducks in order and makes the announcement.
SCHULTZ: OK. MSNBC military analyst, retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs, thanks so much, tonight.
JACOBS: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, “Daily Show” co-creator Liz Winstead wants to know why she wasn‘t asked to join the girlfriends, Ann Coulter and Michele Bachmann, in the pin-up for the conservative woman of the year calendar. We‘ll get to the bottom of that in Club Ed next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It‘s Friday and it‘s time for Club Ed with Liz Winstead, co-creator of the “Daily Show” and the brains behind “Wake-Up World.”
LIZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”: Hi, Ed. The music was sort of wacky.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, see, you‘re in New York. I‘m in Minnesota. I mean, this is kind of a wacky Friday. We do this rotational thing.
WINSTEAD: I know.
SCHULTZ: I know we want to talk about some things. But I‘ve got to ask you about David Letterman and the workplace. What‘s happening with this deal?
WINSTEAD: Well, I‘m just sure glad that I didn‘t ever have to have sex with David Letterman. I mean, it‘s so weird when things—you have affairs; you have to go on TV to explain them and extortion. I don‘t even know where to begin to say anything, because I‘m not any of the women involved. I‘m not him. I‘m not a blackmailer. So I just kind of—I‘m like, wow, a guy comedian cheating on his wife. There‘s a shocker. News flash.
SCHULTZ: I thought he was going to run for the Senate. All right.
Now, speaking of the Senate, it‘s the same old rhetoric on health care. You know, the Tea Partiers and the 912ers are out and about spewing the same old rhetoric. What do you think?
WINSTEAD: Ed, here‘s what I‘ve never gotten in the health care debate. That is the fact that all of these 912ers and Tea Baggers would stand in line for hours and hours to get into a town hall so they could complain about having to stand in line for hours and hours for actual health care.
Is that lost on anyone else? Like, I just don‘t understand it. They can find the time to scream about not wanting to stand in line.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of the Senate Finance Committee not really coming up with a public option? I know you‘re frustrated with all this and what‘s going on.
WINSTEAD: You know, Ed, I‘m so with you on all of this. You know, reiterating the states tonight; 65 percent of the American people say, hey, we want a public option. So really the vote was ten nays, 197 million yeas. And yet the bill doesn‘t pass. Congressional math is wacky.
SCHULTZ: All right. How come you didn‘t make the conservative calendar with all these beauties over there? I thought you would have been on there.
WINSTEAD: Yes, I like to call it the Real Housewives of Glenn Beck-istan. If you look at these women, it is just utterly shocking. The lovely Michele Bachmann is Miss November. You know, say what you want about Miss Bachmann, she does make the crazy trains run on time. So bless her heart.
SCHULTZ: There‘s no doubt. Liz Winstead, good to have you with us on this Friday edition of Club Ed.
Earlier, I asked you, who do you think is happier about losing the 2016 Olympics? Six percent of you say Rio; 94 percent of you say the Republicans are the happiest.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. Got to remind you, Vikings/Packers Monday night here in Minneapolis. It‘s going to be a dandy. Our director Jeff says he‘ll cut my microphone if I don‘t wish the Cowboys good luck against those undefeated Broncos.
And this might be the weekend that Dave Schultz gets his PGA card. I don‘t want to jinx it, buddy. Just keep them in the fairway. Just a few putts. We‘ll see you Monday. “HARDBALL “is next here on MSNBC.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and CQ Transcriptions, LLC‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.>
Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research.
User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s
personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed,
nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion
that may infringe upon NBC and CQ Transcriptions, LLC‘s copyright or other
proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal
transcript for purposes of litigation.>