updated 10/28/2009 11:50:36 AM ET 2009-10-28T15:50:36

Guests: Sherrod Brown, Sam Stein, Mark Warner, Michael Graham, Stephanie Miller, Sam Stein, Lanny Davis, Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Debbie Stabenow

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight.

Urgent message for progressives: Don‘t get comfortable.  OK, we‘ve got a public option, kind of, in the Senate, but conservative Democrats are plotting to kill this thing.  This is one of the most predictable outcomes in American political history. 

I‘ve told you all along, I‘ve said this before, over and over again on this program, you cannot trust Joe Lieberman down the stretch.  He‘s a fox in the Democratic hen house.  And I think Democrats, just kick him out of the caucus. 

More on that in a minute. 

Now, today, Lieberman said he will stand with Republicans to filibuster health care reform.  His quote: “I told Senator Reid that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage.  Therefore, I will try to stop passage of the bill.”

He‘ll try to stop passage of the bill. 

Now, President Obama, I want to ask you, tonight, are you thinking about campaigning in Connecticut against Joe Lieberman?  I think the White House ought to consider that. 

He is now a member of the Limbaugh crowd and the DeMint crowd.  I think Joe Lieberman wants Barack Obama to fail on his domestic agenda. 

Now, let‘s just—quick history here. 

Joe Lieberman, was he not welcomed back to the Democrats after supporting John McCain and trashing Barack Obama out on the campaign trail?  The Democrats, well, come on back in, Joe, we‘ll give you your chairmanship on Homeland Security Committee.  That‘s OK, because we think that you, Joe, you‘re supposed to be a reliable Democratic vote on the domestic issues.  Now he may be the one vote down the stretch that kills health care reform. 

Let‘s see.  We‘ve got one guy in Connecticut that‘s really for it and one guy that‘s really against it.  Interesting politics over there. 

Lieberman, his vote could take down President Obama‘s agenda.  And he‘s not alone.  Two red state Democrats, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, they are now saying that, heck, they might not even vote to start debate.  You mean they don‘t want to talk about health care?  They don‘t even want to discuss it? 

Harry Reid needs only 51 votes to pass a public option, but he needs 60 votes to get an up-or-down vote on it.  Today, Senator Reid played it cool when asked about the potential Democratic defectors. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER:  There are a lot of senators, Democrat and Republicans, who don‘t like part of what‘s in this bill.  I have the greatest confidence in Joe Lieberman‘s ability as a legislator, and he will work with us when this gets on the floor, and I‘m sure he‘ll have some interesting things to do in the way of amendments.  But Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid‘s problems. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Wow.  OK.  It‘s all the Senate speak that‘s going on: Don‘t trust Lieberman.  This is a fight to the finish. 

Progressives, you‘ve got to work on Nelson.  You‘ve got to work on Landrieu.  You‘ve got to work on Lincoln.  You‘ve got to work on Conrad and Baucus. 

You know, yesterday I said we‘re in the red zone, we‘re not in the end zone.  Today we got sacked a little bit, OK?  If we can use that analogy. 

There is one voice that is being invoked in the final push, and that is the voice of Ted Kennedy.  And I hope every senator and every Democrat thinks about Kennedy when they‘re asked to vote on this. 

Today, his replacement, Senator Paul Kirk, a longtime staffer, made an emotional pitch for a common cause. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PAUL KIRK (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  As this debate continues, we would do well to pause for a moment to hear Ted Kennedy‘s voice in the quiet of our hearts.  You and I know he will urge us to seize this moment, to come together in this common cause and to make sure, at long last, that all Americans will have access to the quality, affordable health care they have long deserved and now so urgently need. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Amen to all of that. 

Democrats, don‘t block progress.  Please.  Let the people in your own back yard have the choice.  That‘s what the opt out is all about.  Eventually, it will go to the people in your own back yard. 

Get your cell phones out, folks.  I want your take on this tonight. 

Does Joe Lieberman want to see President Obama fail?  Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639. 

We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

What‘s the role of the White House at this point? 

Joining me now is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a member of the Senate HELP Committee. 

Senator, good to have you with us tonight. 

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  Good to be back, Ed.  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s almost like we‘re pouring gasoline on this story every night.  I mean, the developments that are unfolding are absolutely amazing, and the inconsistency in the reporting that‘s coming off the Hill is very confusing to the American people.  So I want to get it straight from you tonight. 

What do you want President Obama to do or not do at this point in this juncture?  What do you think? 

BROWN:  Well, this is the most important vote that, next to my vote against the Iraq War six, seven years ago, this is the most important vote I‘ll cast.  It‘s the most important vote any of us will cast in domestic issue in our careers.  And it‘s up to all of us.  It‘s up to the president to step up more and advocate for the public option and advocate for a good, progressive health care bill.

SCHULTZ:  Is it his bill now? 

BROWN:  It‘s his bill now, but it‘s all of our bills.  It‘s up to all of us.

It means I need to continue to talk to my colleagues.  Harry Reid needs to continue to talk to people.  Chuck Schumer, Sheldon Whitehouse, who helped me write the public option in the HELP Committee, Chris Dodd and the work he‘s done, we all need to step it up. 

This is, as I said, the most important vote we will cast in our careers, I think.  It‘s the most important thing Congress has done since, I don‘t know, 20, 30, 40, maybe 50, 60 years. 

SCHULTZ:  With that, there‘s no question about that.  What do you think the conservative Democrats want? 

Do you talk to Ben Nelson?  Ben, you‘ll notice Ben Nelson‘s not on any of these talking head shows.  He says a couple of comments in the hallway. 

What does Mary Landrieu want?  What does Ben Nelson, what do these conservative Democrats say in caucus?  What do they want? 

BROWN:  Well, they don‘t much like the public option, but they are not

·         I don‘t want to speak to them, but I‘d say this, that I don‘t think in the end any one of these people you mentioned wants to be on the wrong side of history.  I don‘t think they want to stand in the way of this most important domestic initiative in Obama‘s presidency or in our political careers. 

They don‘t want to stand in the way ultimately.  And I think we keep moving forward, we keep talking to each other. 

Progressives all over the country need to be even more energized and engaged than they were last fall, in the election of the president.  The president needs to be up here talking to people more. 

This is going to be hard, but we‘re going to make it.  I mean, look in

the last couple of months.  How many pundits—you are not one of them, Ed

·         but how many of these pundits said the public option is dead?  That Max Baucus is against it, that committee?

Well, you and I said all along, four committees, three in the House and our committee in the Senate, were for it, an overwhelming number of people.  Strong Democratic support in the House and Senate.  The doctors were for it nationally in poll after poll. 

We knew we could get it, and we got it because progressives were energized.  We need to do the same thing again.

And I‘ll say one other thing, that I look back on the Medicare fight in the mid-‘60s.  There were some people that voted against Medicare that realized later they were on the wrong side of history.  They had buyers‘ remorse. 

I think that‘s going to happen.  As the next couple of months go on, a lot of people who you were not so sure of at the top of the show, and maybe I‘m not sure of in their votes, I think they come around, because they know that they don‘t want to look back in 10 years and say this health care thing worked pretty well, I voted against it.  And they don‘t want to be there.

SCHULTZ:  You know, Senator, what I would like to see is the White House come out and say the president of the United States will campaign against any Democrat that does not stand up for the public option and competition against the insurance industry.  I think we‘re at that point. 

And I want to know, how do you feel about the “OpEd” (sic)?  Is that something you could go along with, the public option opt out—I like the “OpEd,” by the way.  The opt out provision that‘s in there?  Because this is going to make people back home, wherever you‘re from, vote on whether they want the public option or not. 

BROWN:  Well, I originally was for single payer, Medicare for all.  Then I was supportive of the HELP Committee bill that we originally wrote which tied it to Medicare rates.  I think that would have made more sense. 

The public option we have in the HELP Committee is very good.  Not perfect.  Very good. 

The opt out I would rather not have, but I can live with that even.  No more compromise in terms of no opt in, no trigger.  That‘s just giving in to the insurance industry. 

We have still a good bill with opt out.  I think it may—once we pass the Senate, we may get rid of the opt out.  That‘s what I will aim to do just to have it straight.  But I‘d say one more thing, Ed, and that is that even with an opt out, most states aren‘t going to opt out. 

SCHULTZ:  No, they‘re not. 

BROWN:  Very few are, because once you give something to somebody, they‘re not going to take it back.  It‘s a full employment bill for insurance lobbyists in every state capital, in Columbus and Lansing and Harrisburg and Sacramento.  But beyond that, it‘s fairly meaningless. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, it‘s very clear that Harry Reid is giving the conservative Democrats all the cover they need to go home and say, OK, I got voted out on this.  We‘re going to do the public option, but guess what?  You can vote it out in a year or so if you don‘t like it. 

What more cover does anybody need than that? 

BROWN:  I agree with that.  I think that‘s Leader Reid‘s thinking. 

And some states, if there‘s enough organization, they do it.  But I think most states won‘t.  But give them the option. 

Go home if you‘re a senator from one of those states, go home, go to your state capital.  Say, you can opt out of this if you want, but I‘m voting for it because I know most of the country wants it, most of my colleagues want it. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BROWN:  It will give people an option.

SCHULTZ:  Senator Brown, great to have you with us to night. 

BROWN:  Always, Ed.  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

Sherrod Brown from Ohio. 

I want to put out a standing invitation to any of these conservative Democrats who are in the way right now.  Joe Lieberman, OK.  You know, you got Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu.

Just—I‘d love to give you all the air time you want to explain to progressives, what are you against?  What is it?  Is it the money?  Do you want more for your state?  Is that what it is?

Are you pushing some other agenda?  Is this horse trading behind the scenes?

We‘re playing with people‘s lives here.  We are playing with people‘s lives.

There was a story on MSNBC.com today.  A lady stopped paying for the insurance and whatnot, and she took death because she didn‘t want to have her family to have to go into financial ruin. 

That‘s where we are?

For more on this, let‘s bring in political reporter of “The Huffington Post,” Sam Stein.

Sam, what is, in your opinion and from what you can gather, what is Joe Lieberman‘s mission?  What does he want? 

SAM STEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, “HUFFINGTON POST”:  Relevancy.  I mean, that would be the first start. 

You know, this was sort of bound to happen.  You could sense it coming up. 

Once Harry Reid went with the opt out provision, we knew there were 57 senators roughly who would support it, and we were waiting to see who the other three were.  Lieberman was the first out of the gate.  And I think what he‘s done is essentially put himself in a position where he can make demands, and that‘s what you do when you‘re someone who sits on the fence. 

He‘s going to move the legislation in a direction that he wants.  I think it‘s counterintuitive to the interest of local—I am myself from Connecticut. 

SCHULTZ:  But Sam, he is on record.  He is on record as saying that he does not want the government involved.  He said that on the Senate floor last week.  He does not want the government involved in any kind of health insurance program that would help people that have a pre-existing condition or can‘t afford it. 

That‘s it.  Over, said and done.  See you, Joe Lieberman.  That‘s it. 

He‘s a Republican. 

STEIN:  I mean, there is a valid point to make that when he was welcomed back into the Democratic Party, it was under the premise that he‘d be a reliable vote on domestic matters.  And I think a lot of people are sort of kicking themselves when they look back at the rationale for letting him retain his committee chairmanship.  It doesn‘t really make much sense now. 

But then, you know, on the flip side, you would have 59 caucusing members without him.  And there are some votes, the stimulus being one of them, in which he did side with Barack Obama.  But he seems utterly useless to the caucus at this juncture. 

SCHULTZ:  He is completely useless, my man. 

Sam Stein, good to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your time here on THE ED SHOW.

STEIN:  Of course.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, “The Drugster” falls for a hoax.  Not surprising. 

Reports it as fact.  And then has the stones to stand by the story. 

Oh, facts don‘t matter.  I‘m all over that in the “Playbook.”

Plus, the White House‘s war with Fox News, it continues on. 

And Lanny Davis has stepped on to the battlefield.  He‘s going do be joining me on that at the bottom of the hour. 

All that, plus Terry McAuliffe.  That‘s right, Senator Deb Stabenow coming up. 

And another ESPN talking head finds himself in hot water. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

President Obama is finally standing up for Main Street and pushing for increased lending to small businesses.  And Congress is following his lead with plans of their own. 

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia wants to create a $50 billion fund to help community banks step up the lending process for small businesses.  The fund would include $40 billion of TARP money.  The remaining $10 billion would come from participating banks.  Senator Warner sent his proposal to President Obama last week, along with 32 other signatures that came out of the Senate with his colleagues. 

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia joins us tonight here on the program. 

Senator, good to have you with us. 

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA:  Thanks, Ed, for having me on again. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

It‘s a crucial issue.  And I know that you have spoken with hundreds of small business owners across your state of Virginia.  You‘ve combed the countryside.

Isn‘t the number one issue health care?  And is that not to get this off the backs of small business, to get this economy going again? 

WARNER:  Listen, small businesses are the only people who pay retail for their health care, and we have got to get health care fixed.  But my fear is we are going to get health care reform done this year.  By the time the reforms kick in, a whole lot of these small businesses may be out of business because even if they‘re profitable, what we‘re seeing is so many of the banks pull back their credit, decrease their lending lines, so the banks can try to hoard their capital to try to increase their balance sheets.  So, they do the right things for the banks, which is try to protect against the bad commercial loans they still have got on their books. 

In the meantime, small businesses, which historically have been the source of job growth, coming out of recession, oftentimes 65 percent, 75 percent, they‘re getting left literally without the financing.  In some cases, I‘ve talked to retailers, literally without the financing to even hire people for the holiday season. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, you come from a unique perspective.  You were a very successful businessman in the private sector before you went into the Senate. 

Does this administration have the chops to turn things around for small businesses?  I don‘t know how else to put it. 

I mean, we‘ve done the TARP money on Wall Street.  We‘ve seen these bonuses paid out.  We see small businesses not hiring people.  Capital is tight.  Lending is tight. 

How do we free that up?  What do you have? 

WARNER:  Well, listen, let‘s—there are good things that have happened.  You know, the Dow is back at 10,000.  Wall Street is doing fine. 

You mentioned them, $130 billion of bonuses going to be paid out over the next couple of months.  But, you know, Wall Street at 10,000 doesn‘t mean anything if you don‘t have a job, or if you‘re a small manufacturing company, or if you‘re a small butcher shop or an auto repair shop. 

So, what I‘ve said is let‘s—and this won‘t cost the taxpayer a dollar because we have already allocated these funds.  Let‘s use some of the TARP funds that have not been used by the larger banks.  Let‘s put up some of this money.  It could be a combination of TARP money and Fed money. 

Have the banks, themselves, put up 20 cents for every 80 cents we put up and take that first dollar loss.  And say to the banks, here‘s a pool—

I say upwards of $50 billion—use it or lose it.  We would not allow these banks to simply put this money back on their balance sheets.  Let‘s get out there and lend to these small businesses.  Let‘s get out there and lend to these mid-sized businesses. 

SCHULTZ:  So you want the federal government to back up these loans more so than what they have been doing? 

WARNER:  The administration has taken some small steps.  The administration has helped shore up the SBA.  The administration has helped some community financial development institutions.  But really, it‘s been around the edges.  This is a major, major problem for the job creator of most of our economy. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.

WARNER:  And we need to do more.  If we can put tens of billions of dollars into AIG alone, why we can‘t scrape together a few billions of dollars, and then have the banks, themselves, put up capital and get this money out into the small business community that didn‘t create this crisis in the first place, and let them get back to the business of hiring people and doing the kinds of things that drive the economy, I think we‘re making a mistake if we don‘t act more aggressively. 

SCHULTZ:  And Senator, I think it should be noted, these folks that are protesting in Chicago, at the ABA banker convention, these folks are mad.  I mean, they feel like they‘re being left behind and they think that this is a two Americas being played out.  There‘s a Wall Street and a Main Street. 

And I‘ll put even a time frame on it.  If the Obama administration and the Senate doesn‘t get something done to turn these job numbers around in the next six months, it could be real brutal in 2010. 

Do you agree with me on that? 

WARNER:  Amen to that, Ed.  Amen to that. 

And, you know, let‘s face it.  We had to take some of these actions because the whole financial system was in jeopardy. 

The big financial system is in the process of repairing itself.  If you‘re a big company, you can still get access to the capital markets.  But if you‘re a mid-size company, a small business, we need to make sure that we‘re shoring up that part of the market. 

I‘m not asking banks to take irresponsible risks.  I‘m not asking the taxpayer to spend one more dollar that has not been already authorized and appropriated.  I‘m simply saying, let‘s get the banks to get some skin in the game by taking first dollar loss.  Let‘s put up some of these TARP dollars that we‘ve still got unallocated. 

SCHULTZ:  That will work.

WARNER:  And let‘s direct it at where the jobs are going to be created

·         small and mid-sized businesses. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Warner, good to have you with us.  You‘ve got to come back.  Thanks so much. 

WARNER:  Thanks, Ed.  Thanks for having me.

SCHULTZ:  Appreciate your time. 

Up next, when you combine a bozo media watchdog and a crazy Uncle Lou Dobbs and Fox News, holy smokes you have a concoction. 

You‘ve got some seriously twisted “Psycho Talk” coming up on THE ED

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in “Psycho Talk,” Halloween week continues with Bozo the Clown, Brent Bozell.  I‘ll tell you, this guy‘s a piece of work. 

Now, this all-American nobody news-busted his way on to the low-rated Lou Dobbs radio show—nice booking, Lou.  Bozell was defending Fox News against the White House, and old Uncle Lou let him get away with this one... 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BRENT BOZELL, PRESIDENT, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER:  You can‘t point a finger to anything that Fox News has done incorrectly. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  Now, that‘s coming from a guy who is president of the Media Research Center?  What the heck is that anyway? 

But Brent, since research obviously really isn‘t your thing, let me help you out with some fingerpointing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Barack Obama was raised a Muslim...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Apparently when he was a young boy, he attended a Muslim school, a madrassa. 

BILL SAMMON, FMR. “WASHINGTON TIMES” WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: 

Barack Obama‘s agenda toward socialism...

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  And we‘re starting to look at fascism...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Closer to communism. 

BECK:  This president I think has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK, Brentster.  That‘s just the tip of the iceberg.  We don‘t have all night, you know.

People like Brent, who live on political donations and think tank money, will say just about anything.  Bozell saying that you can‘t find any mistakes in Fox News, that they haven‘t done anything incorrectly, is simply, you got it, “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, the president hit the campaign trail in Virginia today.  His mission: save the Democratic candidate.  Terry McAuliffe will be here with some insight in just a moment.

And some other issues on the public option. 

Plus, “The Drugster” falls hard for a hoax, reports it, then refuses to retract it. 

Rush, I‘m not letting you get away with this one.  And you can‘t spin it. 

Lanny Davis and a killer panel coming up next. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The proof is in the polling at this hour.  There is more evidence tonight the public option is what the American people want.  Our new NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll shows this: 72 percent say it‘s extremely or quite important to have a choice of a public plan in health care reform. 

Democrats just want you to have a choice.  The American people like choices.  It‘s kind of this freedom thing.  The American people like action as well. 

When asked if it‘s better to pass health care plan or just keep the status quo, 45 percent say it‘s better to pass the plan; 39 percent say it‘s better to keep the current system.  What planet are they on? 

There is no question.  This issue is going to effect races all over

the country.  That‘s what I like about the opt out.  Now, in the press

conference yesterday, I thought it was a masterful performance by Harry

Reid.  Very cool, very calm, very collected and to the point.  He‘s

basically telling the American people, we‘re going to do this in the

Senate.  We‘re going to have a public option.  And in 2014, after one year

of the public option, you can decide on a local level with your state

legislature, your assembly, your House, however your local government works

·         you can decide whether you like it or not and if you don‘t like it, you can opt out.  You can get out of it. 

Now, think about this.  People with a preexisting condition that can‘t get insurance get into the public option, and a year after having it they‘re going to have it taken away from them?  You mean to tell me that conservatives are willing to go face to face with people with a preexisting condition, who have never had insurance, finally get it, and they‘re going to go to them and stand up in front of them on the stump and say, you know what, I want to take away your insurance? 

This is a great move by the Democrats.  And I think, now, for the Republicans, it‘s going to put them in a very awkward position.  We know where they are.  We know where they are. 

This is calling out Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, Mark Pryor, Blanche Lincoln.  It‘s calling out senators who are, kind of, really not so sure about this public option thing or not.  OK, let‘s have the vote in Arkansas.  Let‘s have the vote in Nebraska.  Let‘s have this vote in North Dakota.  I can tell you the culture in North Dakota.  Once you give it to them. they don‘t want to give it up.  That‘s the way it‘s going to be. 

I think this is a great move by Harry Reid to put it in this way.  The public option is a public option.  And it is.  It is the first step towards single payer.  That‘s what we progressives want.  This is just taking the road to get there.  It‘s the first step to reform. 

I think that we, you and I, progressives, liberals, we have to view this as a generational effort, a generational shift in thinking, that we know where the country wants to go with this.  The conservatives had eight years to do something about health care and they butchered the middle class.  They outsourced jobs.  They didn‘t do anything for the middle class, other than depress wages, attack labor, and say, no, go get a health care savings account. 

Do we want to go back to that?  Joe Lieberman, what has happened to you in the last nine years?  You‘re not the same guy.  Whose side are you on?  Give it to Barack Obama.  He wants the public option.  He wants the private sector to have some kind of competition.  You‘re standing in the way.

And Ben Nelson, you‘ve got a habit of standing in the way.  You stood in the way for the Bush tax cuts and you butchered the economy on that.  Don‘t make another mistake. 

I bet the folks in Nebraska are going to make a change if he doesn‘t come to reckoning on this. 

For more, let‘s bring in our panel.  I could be wrong, but I know I‘m not.  Stephanie Miller, host of “The Stephanie Miller Show,” with us tonight.  Also, Sam Stein, political reporter for the “Huffington Post.”  And Michael Graham, radio talk show host, WTKK radio in Boston. 

Michael, I‘ll start with you.  Are you taking Joe Lieberman out to lunch tomorrow, because he, right now, is your best friend? 

MICHAEL GRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  He‘s not my only best friend.  You mentioned those moderate Democrats who are very good.  I will tell you, everybody outside of Massachusetts, who isn‘t stuck with our crappy universal care, Obama 1.0 system, should be taking Senator Lieberman out.  If he can save them from the fiscal disaster this has been—in less than three years, it‘s already 700 million dollars over budget. 

What are people doing? 

SCHULTZ:  Let me ask you about that.  We had a discussion about this on the radio show today.  Why haven‘t the people of Massachusetts decided to get rid of it?  Why do you still have it if it‘s so bad? 

GRAHAM:  Because, as you just pointed out, when you give people stuff, they don‘t like giving it up. 

SCHULTZ:  Oh, so it is about the money.  It‘s not about the people. 

GRAHAM:  Exactly.  A bunch of young people figured out that they can pay the fee for not having insurance.  Then if they get sick, they have to be opted in.  They buy coverage.  They hold the coverage for three months, get treatment and drop it again. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I commend Massachusetts for doing this, because if they had everybody on a mandate to pay something in on a national level, we wouldn‘t have that problem.  Stephanie Miller, what should the Democrats do with Joe Lieberman? 

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Oh, man, Ed, you said it exactly right.  I mean, you know, you have to look at the bottom line here.  It‘s not just, you know, 70-something percent of the American people want a public option.  People in Connecticut want a public option, Ed. 

Look at the bottom line, Joe Lieberman is funded by insurance companies.  Either he‘s going to side with the insurance companies or he‘s going to side with the people of Connecticut. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, how is this going to play out locally?  Sam Stein, in Virginia right now, big race next Tuesday night.  The Democratic candidate‘s behind.  The president was stumping for him today in Virginia.  Is health care, and where the Democrats stand on this—I would think that would be an asset to the Democratic candidate.  Why isn‘t it?  He‘s behind in the polls. 

SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Virginia is a tough place to make that case study.  I know in New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine has firmly come out and said he wants a public option.  If he was given the chance to opt out, he wouldn‘t do it.  Creigh Deeds has been a bit more hesitant on that. He actually suggested he would opt out. 

So Virginia is an interesting place.  But I think you look at all these public opinion polls, when they‘re done in Blue-Dog districts, when done in swing-state districts like Nebraska, like North Dakota, as you mentioned, the public option is actually quite popular.  There‘s a misconception that it doesn‘t poll well among conservative leaning districts.  That‘s just not true.  You see it in the poll. 

SCHULTZ:  Go ahead.

GRAHAM:  Did you look at the “Wall Street Journal”/NBC poll in the specific question, do you support a public option?  It‘s still below 50.

STEIN:  But it‘s six percentage points higher than not oppose.

GRAHAM:  It‘s still below 50 percent.  You‘re giving away free money and you can‘t get it above 50 percent.  Now, Virginia—I used to live in Richmond, in northern Virginia.  Their problems is Creigh Deeds is a lousy candidate, which is why the Obama folks threw him under the bus already over the weekend in the “Washington Post.”

But he‘s not getting help from President Obama.  In fact, President Obama is here in Massachusetts for our governor, Deval Patrick.  They couldn‘t sell out the fund-raiser.  They had empty seats at the fund-raiser with the president.  Who would have believed if I had said in February of this year that Barack Obama, in Massachusetts, couldn‘t sell out a fund raiser for Deval Patrick?  That‘s how far his fortunes have fallen.

SCHULTZ:  Stephanie, want about that? 

MILLER:  You know, Ed, I think, as the president said last week, he‘s been in office nine months and he hasn‘t solved world hunger yet.  Are you kidding me?  Like he‘s supposed to effect the outcome of every single race and that‘s the barometer? 

I‘m sorry, Ed.  They‘re scared of exactly what you‘re saying, the opt out.  Go ahead.  It‘s going to create a test case for every state.  And you‘re going to see how well it works and that‘s what they‘re scared of. 

SCHULTZ:  Sam—

MILLER: Explain to the people in their state why. 

SCHULTZ:  Sam Stein, I think this could have a real effect in these 37 gubernatorial races.  It may not play in this one in Virginia.  When you have something for people and you get a successful outcome and the media is going to be out there doing stories; the Jones never had insurance before until the public option.  Do you want to take—you can see the 30-second commercials playing in campaigns coming up. 

I mean, it would seem that would be a real boost.  I think it‘s a political marvel on the part of Harry Reid to put it that way. 

STEIN:  Sure, yes.  In 2010, obviously, it‘s going to be different, because at that point you will not have a public option system in place.  When you get down the road, yes, it‘s going to be a litmus test for primary campaigns, but also general election campaigns on the state level. 

One quick point of clarification on Joe Lieberman.  I hate to go back there.  But his whole shtick here was that this was going to end up costing the government money, because it‘s another entitlement program.  his rationale is just totally, fundamentally wrong.  It‘s not an entitlement program, because it‘s going to be operated off of premiums by participants.  B, every CBO scoring of the public option has said that it saves money. 

So I think his objections—

(CROSS TALK)

STEIN:  -- over 100 billion dollars in CBO.  That is when you tie it to Medicare Plus Five.  If you do it to negotiate rates, it goes down to 25 billion dollars.  I‘ll show you the numbers.  So Lieberman‘s rationale is wrong.  And I think it‘s going to fold under actual evidence and policy discussions. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael Graham, I‘m looking for the folks in Massachusetts to vote down that plan they have right now.  Sounds to me like they like it. 

GRAHAM:  Oh, yes, they love it. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, it‘s a democracy.  Why aren‘t they voting it down? 

Where‘s the protest? 

GRAHAM:  I‘m with you.  I wish the voters of Massachusetts weren‘t so loyal knee jerk Democrats who will take anything Democrats do.  But they hate the math.  They‘re paying the bill.  We‘re broke. 

SCHULTZ:  The fact is they like it.  That is the bottom line.  Folks, thanks for joining us tonight.  Terry McAuliffe, hopefully, is going to be joining us later. 

Coming up, what a week it‘s been for ESPN.  First, they canned their baseball analyst for sleeping with a staffer.  Now they‘ve suspended Bob Griese for cracking a racist joke on the air.  I‘ll tell you what‘s going on there on THE ED SHOW, coming up.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, we‘re talking about the battle that‘s going on between the White House and Fox News.  Let me bring in former special White House counsel to President Clinton, Lanny Davis.  Lanny, good to see you tonight.  You had an op-aped in the “Washington Post.” 

You see both sides of this?  What side is there?  Fox News is wrong half the time they talk about the White House.  What do you mean by that? 

LANNY DAVIS, FMR. CLINTON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL:  First of all, I thank you for having me on MSNBC.  I commented in the piece that I rarely get invited on some of the shows because I agree 90 percent but not 100 percent of the time.  But you‘re one of the ones that invites me, so thank you, Ed. 

No, look, I think Fox is over the top in the rhetoric it uses in its evening shows.  Certainly Glenn Beck I find is really over the top.  I also don‘t think that there‘s any doubt that they lean conservative in the evening shows. 

But there‘s a distinction between some of the reporters that I knew when I was at the White House, still reporting, Major Garrett, Wendel Goler, Carl Cameron, who are genuine reporters on the news organization.  That‘s where the distinction should have been made by the White House. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Would the Clinton White House have done this?  Is the climate different today than it was back then?  Do you think this is a good strategy for the White House to do this? 

DAVIS:  Look, strategically, Rahm Emanuel is one of the great chiefs of staff ever.  But I think this is unproductive if they‘re trying to damage Fox.  If anything, they have all their networks to rally to Fox when they tried to exclude them from the pool interview—

SCHULTZ:  Is it over?  Do you think we‘ll see more of this? 

DAVIS:  I think they‘ve learned a lesson.  They made their point. Now don‘t help their ratings by continuing to attack them. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So does this put the president in an awkward position? 

Next press conference, he‘s probably going to get asked about it. 

DAVIS:  I think he ought to call on Mr. Garrett first and make it clear that there‘s a distinction between news reporting and the opinion shows that are over the top. 

Look, I love Barack Obama.  I think he‘s a great president.  I watch Fox sometimes and I get angry. 

SCHULTZ:  Stop it, Lanny. 

DAVIS:  The fact is Fox has strong opinion shows.  They have me on.  I get my fair shake when I‘m on, just as you give me my fair shake when I‘m on your show. 

SCHULTZ:  Lanny, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

Lanny Davis on THE ED SHOW.

Plus, a couple more pages in my playbook tonight.  ESPN has been taking a lot of personal hits lately.  This weekend, they fired baseball analyst Steve Phillips after he admitted to a messy and public extramarital affair with a production assistant.  Now, they have suspended football analyst Bob Griese for a week after he made a racist remark about Colombian Nascar driver Juan Montoya.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB GRIESE, ESPN ANALYST:  Where‘s Juan Pablo Montoya? 

He‘s out having a taco. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Griese apologized twice on the air and ESPN spokesman says Griese understands he made a mistake.  Though the remark was inappropriate, he‘ll be back on the air next week. 

Finally, the drugster has really made a fool of himself this time.  In his enthusiasm—that‘s what it is—his enthusiasm to attack Barack Obama, president of the United States, in any way possible, he reported a story he found on a blog—nice research—that Obama wrote a senior thesis about his dislike for the United States Constitution. 

And, of course, it turns out the story was written on a satirical blog and was completely made up.  When Rush found out the story, it was a fake, he corrected himself, but didn‘t apologize.  In fact, said his error didn‘t matter because it was what Obama really was like, and what he thinks anyway.  This is just another baseless, classless attack from, you got it, the Drugster. 

Coming up, once again, Republicans are nowhere to be found when it comes to helping the American people.  Democrats are trying to extend unemployment insurance benefits and the Republicans are—you got it, they‘re against it.  Ground zero for unemployment is Michigan.  Senator Debbie Stabenow will join us in just a moment, along with Terry McAuliffe, coming up.  Those hot races in Virginia.  We‘re talking about it on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  So maybe people feel a little complacent.  Maybe people feel a little cynical because they‘re thinking, boy, we haven‘t changed things over night.  I know that there are folks watching who wonder whether or not their investment in their elected leaders can or will actually solve the problems they face. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That was President Obama in Virginia late today campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.  Joining me now is Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chair, and former Clinton adviser, and was in that Virginia race.  Terry, good to have you on tonight. 

TERRY MCAULIFFE, FMR. DNC CHAIR:  Good to be with you. 

SCHULTZ:  The Democrat candidate is in trouble in Virginia.  He‘s down in the polls.  Can Obama make a difference? 

MCAULIFFE:  Sure, he can.  As you know, President Obama won Virginia last year for the first time in 44 years.  We have got to excite those voters who came out last year to come out.  We have governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, the entire house of delegates.  Obviously, it will affect redistricting, reapportionment next year.

This is a huge race.  People can‘t be complacent.  I thought the president hit it right on in Virginia today.  If you came out and voted for me, you need to come out and help me continue what we started. 

SCHULTZ:  Why is Deeds behind? 

MCAULIFFE:  You know, every campaign is different.  Virginia, you know, it is a tough state.  I think a lot of folks in Virginia are upset.  They don‘t like what‘s going on nationally and all that. 

Ultimately, it comes down to the campaign you run.  I‘m very confident we can win still this thing.  We‘ve had a couple polls out today that were tough.  But forget the polls.  It‘s about those voters last year.  If you want to deal issues on health care and you want renewable energy, you want to do waste energy, you want to move Virginia to a new place, Creigh Deeds has the answer for you. 

Bob McDonnell is very conservative.  He wrote a thesis that woman shouldn‘t be allowed in the workplace, destruction of family life.  Issues like that, we don‘t have time for that.  We need to move Virginia forward. 

SCHULTZ:  Why is he leading?  With those points you just made, Terry, the guy is up 55-44 in the most recent poll that‘s out there, “Washington Post” poll.  If he‘s that conservative, what has happened to Virginia?  Virginia governor was a Democrat.  You have two senators who are Democrats. 

What‘s going on there? 

MCAULIFFE:  And, you know, for the fourth year in a row, rated the best place in the country to do business.  I think what‘s happened is people—I think they work very hard.  They‘re excited about last year.  It was a big win, first time in 44 years.  Maybe they‘ve gotten complacent. 

They had their win, now they‘re home relaxing. 

I keep trying to tell people, you can‘t relax.  This is just the beginning of this fight. 

SCHULTZ:  You can‘t relax on public option either.  We got a lot of heavy lifting left. 

MCAULIFFE:  We have a lot of work. 

SCHULTZ:  NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll out today.  2010 control of the Congress, 46 percent Democrats, 38 percent Republicans.  You think that‘s accurate? 

MCAULIFFE:  I do.  Listen, I‘ve been a big pusher for the public option from day one.  I commend Senator Reid.  This is why he‘s the majority leader.  He has done his magic inside.  But my best guesstimate from talking to folks is we still probably need three or four votes.  Everybody who is watching your show tonight, we have now got to really double up our efforts, because we still need help.  We have to have it.  We have the opt out. 

There‘s no excuses now.  We don‘t want an ad in.  We don‘t want that. 

We don‘t want a trigger.  Let‘s get this thing done. 

SCHULTZ:  Terry, when does it become President Obama‘s economy?  That question was asked as well.  President Obama and the economy; 63 percent say that he inherited it; 20 percent are giving him responsibility for it; and 15 percent, some of both. 

You talk about the job climate in Virginia.  These job numbers have got to turn around nationally for the president.  Don‘t they? 

MCAULIFFE:  I do—listen, thank goodness he put the changes he has got in, or we would be in a much worse shape today.  I remind you of the 1.4 trillion deficit.  Right now, three quarters of that is left over from the Bush, the gigantic tax cuts, the prescription drug benefit that he didn‘t pay for, and the Iraq war. 

If you look at our long-term budget deficit, they talk about nine trillion; half of that is left over from Bush.  President Obama has done a great job to stimulate this economy.  It‘s going to take time.  It‘s going to be a lagging as it relates to the job creation.  But you can feel it changing.  And clearly, Ed, by the time we go in next year, with a public option, health care, and job creation—

SCHULTZ:  Terry, good to have you. 

MCAULIFFE:  President Obama is going to be in good shape.  We‘re going to do great next year.

SCHULTZ:  Terry McAuliffe, great to have you with us. 

MCAULIFFE:  Creigh Deeds is going to win.  Jon Corzine by seven. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you, Terry.  Joining me now is Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, member of the Senate Finance Committee.  I think unemployment is ground zero, or, should I say, Michigan is ground zero for unemployment.  I understand you‘re making headway in the Senate tonight on unemployment insurance benefits.  What‘s going on? 

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN:  Well, we are.  In fact, I just left the floor, Ed, where finally, after three weeks of the Republicans blocking us from being able to bring up a vote on unemployment benefit extension, we brought it up.  Senator Reid went through all the procedural hoops.  And 87 members of this Senate, out of 100, voted to proceed to do this. 

Now, the problem is, Ed, we‘ve spent three weeks trying to get this done.  Republicans slow walking it, requiring all of these procedural votes.  In fact, they‘ve been doing all year.  During that three-week period, we‘ve had over 138,000 people lose their unemployment benefits, 7,000 people every day. 

SCHULTZ:  Are the Republicans obstructionists?  Does that qualify in your opinion? 

STABENOW:  Yes.  In fact, I just released today some numbers that show that 81 times this year they have done exactly what they just did on unemployment benefits.  They require us to spend two weeks on something that should take two hours.  And they object to the leader bringing up things that are critical regarding jobs, housing, health care, credit cards, over and over again. 

Then when you get all through it, then they all vote for it.  This is just about slow walking the process, trying to stop us from solving problems, and getting things done.  We‘re not going to let that happen. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, I want to ask you one health care question before we go tonight.  What efforts are being made to speed up some type of reform before 2013?  I get a lot of calls on this, a lot of e-mails on this.  What can be done for the Democrats right now to alleviate the issues that are out there for families? 

STABENOW: First of all, we have a number of things that, as we roll out the bill, the final bill, we will have starting immediately, Some related to insurance reform, some related to other provisions around coverage.  Then, as you said, in 2013 the major effort to provide lower cost insurance will take effect, in terms of small businesses and individuals. 

SCHULTZ:  People‘s premiums—

STABENOW:  There are a number of things that will happen. 

SCHULTZ:  People‘s premiums are probably going to double between now and then.  This is a tough one. 

STABENOW:  Ed, I have to tell you—and, you know, from my perspective, this is something that all of us together are going to have to call the insurance companies on.  They are saying they‘re going to raise rates now, before anything even passes.  The day it passes, we will have done nothing to raise rates.  I bet you they raise rates. 

What we‘re going to see is what has happened with the credit card companies.  They‘re going to raise rates, and try to blame it on reform, even before reform takes effect.  We are very aware of that.  We‘re going to do everything in our power to stop that, and to create some provisions and accountability for that, because frankly, it‘s outrageous.  Co-pays, premiums, deductibles are already through the roof for people. 

SCHULTZ:  They‘re still going up. 

STABENOW:  That‘s the reason we need reform.  They‘re still going up. 

SCHULTZ:  Still going up.  Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  I won‘t ask you about public option because I know exactly where you stand on it.  You‘ve been a stalwart supporter of it all along.  Thanks so much.

STABENOW:  You‘re welcome. 

SCHULTZ:  Earlier tonight, I asked our audience, does Joe Lieberman want to see President Obama fail?  Ninety five percent of you said yes; five percent of you said no.  So nice that so many people think like me. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  I‘ve got a town hall meeting coming up November 15th, Seattle town hall.  You can go to our website for more information on that.  Looking forward to being in Seattle on Sunday night, November 15th.  The website, WeGotEd.com.  Have a great one.  We‘re back tomorrow night.  “HARDBALL” and Chris Matthews next on MSNBC.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

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.>

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,