updated 12/17/2009 11:46:20 AM ET 2009-12-17T16:46:20

Guests: Courtney Hazlett, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Tom Harkin, Ned Lamont, Byron Dorgan, A.B. Stoddard, John Feehery, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Sen. John Barrasso

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW from New York. 

Mr. President, pull that chair up in front of the fireplace here. 

What you say we sit down and have a little talk here tonight?  What do you think, huh? 

The base is restless.  They are wandering in the wilderness, Mr.

President.  They are looking for your GPS coordinates. 

They want to know, where are you?  They think we can do a heck of a lot better.  Liberals and progressives think that they‘re not being treated properly.

Right now, Mr. President, your base thinks you‘re nothing but a sellout, a corporate sellout, out that.  I know it‘s tough audio, but I‘m your buddy Ed.  I‘ve got to tell you this.  I don‘t think anybody else is. 

You aren‘t listening to the very people who put you in office, Mr.  President.  This isn‘t about your legacy.  It‘s about the people in America who need health care now. 

Mr. President, I don‘t know if you‘ve noticed or not, but you have carved out the most important elements of reform.  The only people who like this current bill right now, Mr. President, is the insurance industry.  They get a bunch of new customers. 

Here is what Wendell Potter, a friend of mine, told me on the program last night. 


WENDELL POTTER, INSURANCE WHISTLEBLOWER:  The Senate bill is full of loopholes, and the insurance industry knows that.  In fact, they‘ve made sure that they are in there. 

One in particular will allow employers to charge certain workers thousands of dollars more just based on health factors.  And it can be obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol. 

The insurance industry will be able to write the rules.  They are not being set in the legislation as currently written. 


SCHULTZ:  Mr. President, don‘t leave the room.  We‘ve got some more talking to do.  You can‘t make it?

Apparently none of that matters.  You see, at the White House, not long ago, the president told liberal Democrats to suck it up and listen to Joe Lieberman‘s version on health care. 

Now, here‘s what gets me.  The guy standing behind Obama is the biggest taker from big pharma and the insurance industry.  Our old buddy, Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, is taking $3.4 million from the health industry over the last six years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  That‘s an average of $1,500 a day to Baucus from big health care.

Now, the travesty continues.  Last night, 30 Democrats voted against an amendment that would help you and me, the consumers—the drug importation bill. 

It would let consumers buy prescription drugs from overseas at a fraction of the price that we pay right now.  But you see, voting for it would have really endangered the deal that the White House cut with big pharma. 

Mr. Personality, Rahm Emanuel, he must have gotten a hell of a deal.  So, the Democrats got together and they killed it.  So much for change we can believe in.

I have to ask the question tonight to our listening audience, if you‘re a liberal, tell me—send me an e-mail at Ed@EdSchultzShow.com.

Why do you support President Obama after the way he‘s been coming down on all of this?  Does he deserve your support at this point?  Rahm Emanuel is nothing but a turncoat.  They are not listening to the base at all. 

The Republicans—I know this is heresy, but they do deserve credit. 

See, they know how to close ranks, and nobody does it better than them.  It‘s kind of like they still have the Tom DeLay effect.  The Democrats are always looking for a hero. 

Now, Howard Dean finally did it today.  The Democrats just don‘t know how to get tough. 


HOWARD DEAN, FMR. DNC CHAIRMAN:  You know, if we are Republicans, we would ram this thing through the way we want them to.  They wouldn‘t have hesitated to do that.  And we‘re not tough enough.  The Democrats aren‘t tough enough.  We don‘t have to be mean like the Republicans can be, but we have to be a lot tougher if we‘re going to get anything done. 


SCHULTZ:  OK.  So we‘ve got this list of progressives who are starting to line up.  Let‘s see—we‘ve got Howard Dean, we‘ve got Arianna Huffington.  We‘ve got Markos Moulitsas of “The Daily Kos.”  We‘re going to have a very interesting guest here in just a moment.

Is this the change that we all talked about, a gift to the insurance industry?  Change is not back-door deals with big pharma and sticking it to the consumers.  Change is not Joe Lieberman calling the shots on health care reform. 

Mr. President, before you leave the room, listen to your buddy, Big Eddie.  Your base is leaving you, and you need to listen to your base, because we‘re the ones that put you in office. 

Joe Lieberman didn‘t put you in office.  None of the Republicans put you there.  In fact, they are still trying to defeat you at the water‘s edge.  They won‘t give up.

Folks, get your cell phones out tonight.  I want to know what you think on this.

Do you think the White House has sold out to big pharma?  Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me now is Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of “The Nation,” tonight. 

Katrina, nice to have you with us. 


SCHULTZ:  The base, is it in trouble with President Obama?  I‘m listening to those and the progressive talkers.  The blogosphere is wild.  This is a new set of dynamics for the president.  We‘ve got some poll numbers coming up in a few minutes.

How do you see it at this hour? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Well, I think the base—I mean, the people who put Obama in office, angry, infuriated, heartbroken.  This is not the change that we voted for. 

I think Representative Anthony Weiner put it well just the other day.  The compromises are all going in one direction.  And so people who work very hard, not just the base, a majority of Americans who support a public option or a Medicare expansion, are looking at a White House which has emboldened the conserva-dems, people like Joe Lieberman, who not only worked for McCain, but is now holding hostage a bill that would really serve millions of Americans.

Instead, we‘re getting this watered-down, diluted plan, and I think it‘s not too late.  I think progressives can stand and fight. 

There is another day.  Congress has two houses.  It‘s going to go to the House, which has some spine, and we need to give it spine moving forward, because, otherwise, it‘s going to be very ugly in terms of 2010, and very ugly in terms of what emerges as a bonanza for the insurance companies. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s just not the base and it‘s just not the progressive media that‘s out there.  It‘s members of Congress.  John Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Absolutely.

SCHULTZ:  He says this: “The president keeps listening to Rahm Emanuel.  The insurance lobby is taking over.”

Here‘s Dave Obey, who is the chairman of House Appropriations.  “The White House has been useless.”

It‘s ridiculous.  And the Obama administration is sitting on the sidelines.  That‘s nonsense. 

What do you make of this? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Well, I mean, you have in the House people like Obey and Conyers.  You have a Progressive Caucus, 83 strong, which stood firm, tall, with spine to counter these Blue Dogs who don‘t represent much but the insurance companies.  And the Progressive Caucus will need to do some work moving forward. 

So, you‘re going to head in—Steny Hoyer, majority leader, said today you‘re looking at January.  You‘re going to need to meld the Senate bill with a House bill that is a lot better, including, obviously, a public option or Medicare expansion, but better on affordability, better on any trust exemption for these insurance companies. 

So, I think there is work to be done.  And in this period, progressives and citizens who don‘t want to be held hostage by the insurance companies moving forward need to do some hard work and tell this White House that, yes, we‘re not naive.  Compromise in politics is inevitable, but you want compromise that opens opportunities and takes into account those who have worked so hard for something, and not something that forecloses opportunity and is an insurance bonanza.

SCHULTZ:  Katrina, good to have you on tonight.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Thanks so much.  Always the truth coming from you and “The Nation.”

Senator Tom Harkin joins us tonight.  He‘s the chairman of the Senate HELP Committee.

Senator, are you disappointed in the recent developments? 

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), CHAIRMAN, HELP COMMITTEE:  Well, Ed, of course I‘m disappointed.  I‘m disappointed that we don‘t have a public option in there.  I‘m disappoint that we couldn‘t get the early Medicare buy-in. 

A lot of things I‘m disappointed in, but I have to come down to this -

is what we‘re doing, is the bill that we have before us better than the status quo?  And the answer to that is a resounding yes.

Is it all that we liberals would like to have?  Absolutely not.  But I‘m an old Hubert Humphrey Democrat.  You know that, Ed.

He used to always say, if you can‘t get a half of loaf, get a half of loaf.  And that‘s what we‘re getting here. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you‘re going to get a...

HARKIN:  And we can build on that in the future. 

SCHULTZ:  ... half of loaf with the White House, the House and the Senate.  And this president won nine Bush states.  And Howard Dean is now out saying—and you supported Howard Dean big-time in Iowa when he was shooting for the Democratic national endorsement.

How do you feel about his comments, Tom? 

HARKIN:  Well, I had a long talk with Howard.  He‘s a great friend of mine, and I was proud to support him, and he remains one of my best friends today. 

SCHULTZ:  Is he wrong?

HARKIN:  Well, we come at it from different viewpoints.  I talked with Howard about this. 

To kill this bill and then to go to what they call reconciliation, we lose a lot of good stuff.  Ed, I worked a long time to get a lot of prevention and wellness in here, a package to change the paradigm of health care in this country.  That‘s in the bill. 

It‘s not talked about much.  It‘s not on the blogs and stuff.  But this is one of the most important parts of this bill.  You go to reconciliation, we lose all of that. 

We‘re starting in this bill to begin the process of repayment based on quality, not quantity.  That‘s important.

In this bill, we say to insurance companies, you can‘t discriminate against women because of their gender.  You can‘t discriminate against people because of pre-existing conditions.  You can‘t put people off just because they got sick.  These are good measures, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  They are good things, Senator Harkin.  But here‘s the deal -

the base is shaken right now.  The poll numbers for the Democrats are not good. 

Somewhere along the line there‘s been some miscommunication on all of this, or maybe the messaging isn‘t right, but there‘s a perception out there that this White House is sold out to corporate interests.  And last night, when that vote got 30 Democrats to go against a drug importation bill which would have saved $19 billion over 10 years, how else can we read it other than the Democrats aren‘t paying tough?  And Howard Dean says the Democrats aren‘t tough enough. 

HARKIN:  Well, as you know, I support Senator Dorgan‘s measure on that.  And I think I‘m just, again, disappointed that we didn‘t do better on that amendment.

SCHULTZ:  Well, why didn‘t 30 Democrats do that last night?

HARKIN:  Well, Ed, you‘ve got to talk to them.  I don‘t know.  There‘s a lot of different reasons floating around out there.  We‘ll be back. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I have to say, I don‘t mean to corner you in this interview, but I‘m shocked that Chris Dodd did this.  John Kerry.  I mean, we‘ve got some good progressives that voted against what would be absolutely direct help financially to hard-working families in this country. 

HARKIN:  Well, I think, Ed, that some of the reasons, I don‘t say people voted this way—because there was some talk last night on the floor that if we voted for Dorgan, if Dorgan carried, it would kill the bill because the pharmaceutical companies would walk away from their agreement with the president that they were going to put in $80 billion over the next 10 years to help close a little bit of that doughnut hole.  Quite frankly, Ed, between you and me, I don‘t buy that argument. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So, you‘re telling us tonight that the deal that the White House cut with big pharma, Dorgan‘s amendment, flat-out got in the way of that? 

HARKIN:  Well, that‘s what people were saying last night.  I don‘t know that for a fact.

But I will say this—the $80 billion that the pharmaceutical companies agreed to put up with this agreement represents less than two percent—less than two percent of their earnings over the next 10 years.  That‘s nothing to them.  Nothing at all to them. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Well...

HARKIN:  They got a sweetheart deal on that one, I‘ll tell you.

SCHULTZ:  They got a real sweetheart deal.

All right.  Give us some quick confidence here tonight, Senator Harkin.  I‘m a believer in you.  We don‘t have the public option, at least not yet, but what are the chances in conference committee?  The House has got a strong public option.  What about that?

HARKIN:  Well, they do.  Speaker Pelosi is very strong on that.  We have to go to conference.

SCHULTZ:  So it ain‘t over?

HARKIN:  It‘s not over yet, Ed.  It isn‘t over by a long shot. 

And I‘ve got to tell you, the way I‘ve explain this bill to my liberal friends is this—look, what we‘re buying is a starter home, not a mansion.  You know, but it‘s got a good foundation.  We‘re covering 31 million people.  It‘s got a good roof, protects people from outrageous abuses by the insurance companies. 

But you know what?  We can build some additions on it in the future.  But if we don‘t have that starter home, we‘ll never be able to build those additions in the future.  That‘s the way I look at it.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, good to have you on.  Appreciate your time tonight.

HARKIN:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the HELP Committee.

Now I want to turn to the man who tried to stop Joe Lieberman back in 2006.  I‘ve got to have some fun with this.

Ned Lamont, I guess I‘m going to be grandiose about this.  I only brought you on here tonight just to rip into Joe Lieberman.

Can you give me two minutes of audio just ripping into a guy that is screwing a lot of things up?  Have you ever thought about what the country would be like, Ned, if you had beaten Joe Lieberman?

NED LAMONT, FMR. CONNECTICUT SENATE CANDIDATE:  Oh man, Ed, you‘re feisty tonight.

SCHULTZ:  What is happening in Connecticut?  What is the response?  What are you hearing from the progressives in Connecticut as to all the things that are unfolding with his actions in the Senate?

I think there‘s a little bit of exhaustion with Joe Lieberman.  thanks for coming on tonight.  I guess I‘m going to be grandiose tonight.  Can you rip into a guy that is screwing a lot of things up?  Have you ever thought what the country would be like had he beaten Joe Lieberman? 

You‘re being feisty tonight. 

What is happening in Connecticut?  What is the response?  What are you hearing from the progressives in Connecticut as to all of the things that are unfolding within the Senate? 

LAMONT:  I think there‘s a little bit of exhaustion with Joe Lieberman.  What I hear as I go around the state of Connecticut is, we‘re ready for a vote.  We‘re ready for a fair up-and-down vote on health care.

A few other points here.

Perhaps President Obama compromised too early on, on the public option.  I think we threw out the Medicare buy-in too soon.  But we‘re ready for a vote.

And what they‘re disappointed by Senator Lieberman is he‘s denying us the right to a vote.  And health care reform doesn‘t come around every few years.  We don‘t get a chance to fix it and do it again. 

I think it‘s a generational opportunity.  We‘re ready for that vote. 

That‘s what I hear in Connecticut. 

SCHULTZ:  What‘s your next political move?  I know you‘re an advocate of health care, universal health care.  What‘s your next political move?  Does this change your landscape? 

LAMONT:  Well, it changes my landscape a bit.  I‘ve been going around the state of Connecticut.  I‘m a small business guy.  That Medicare option would have given us a chance to reduce our health care costs, employee a few more people. 

I‘m in a state that‘s dead last when it comes to job creation.  Health care reform has got to be about jobs, and I‘m thinking about running for governor of the state of Connecticut.  Maybe a guy who created a few jobs isn‘t bad in a state that‘s dead last in job creations.

SCHULTZ:  Is Chris Dodd in trouble in Connecticut, in your opinion?

LAMONT:  Chris has got some trouble, no question about it.

I will tell you that he‘s back in the state, is working his heart out.  He‘s back in front of people, showing them that he‘s on their side when it comes to consumer finance reforms, health care reforms. 

SCHULTZ:  But he voted against the drug importation bill last night that would have helped a lot of people in Connecticut. 

LAMONT:  I can‘t speak to that vote, but I can tell you that when Teddy Kennedy got sick, the first person he looked to was Chris Dodd.  And Chris got a strong bill through the HELP Committee in the Senate.

SCHULTZ:  You are a loyal Democrat.  I have to give you that.  I mean, this—I mean, I‘m not forgiving anybody.

I mean, we are now in the 11th hour, and I just don‘t understand that vote last night, all these 30 Democrats who say they want change.  I mean, if Tom Harkin, what he‘s telling us is true, then, of course, Chris Dodd is a part of that deal. 

I mean, that‘s a—do you see that as a concession, in your opinion?

LAMONT:  Look, there have been an awful lot of concessions.  But I do agree with Harkin.  At the end of the day, we‘ve got to pass this bill. 

This bill is a step forward.  Do I agree that we‘ve compromise too quickly along the way?  Yes.  And when you compromise, LBJ would have gotten something for those compromises. 

We didn‘t get anything for those compromises, and that was a little weak of us.  I agree.  But here we are on today.  We‘re on the precipice of an important vote.  I‘m ready to vote.

SCHULTZ:  Ned Lamont, nice to have you on.  Thanks so much. 

LAMONT:  Ed, thanks.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, as you well know, I‘m pretty disgusted that 30 Democrats voted against a plan to help Americans get cheaper prescription meds.  The man behind the plan, Senator Byron Dorgan, will join me to sound off in just a moment.

And the Congressional Black Caucus is frustrated with President Obama.  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee will be here to tell us about that at the bottom of the hour.

And Rudy Giuliani is giving Tiger Woods advice?

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

I guess you could say it‘s another capitulation on health care.  Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota has been pushing a plan to allow the U.S., the United States, to import prescription drugs from other countries like Canada.  They have similar safety standards, no problems there, the drugs would be just as safe, but for a fraction of the cost. 

It would be kind of good for you and me.

The Senate voted on it last night and it failed.  They needed 60 votes.  They only got 51 -- 30 Democrats and trader Joe Lieberman voted against allowing American consumers to get their prescriptions cheaper.

Now, this is supposed to be the party of the people.

Senator Byron Dorgan joins us tonight here on the program.

Senator, thanks for your time. 

What happened here?  Did your amendment interfere with the deal that the White House has with big pharma? 

SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA:  I guess so.  I mean, there‘s apparently a lot of deal-making going on.  I wasn‘t a part of it.  And like an old senator once said, I‘m not for any deal I‘m not a part of.

I don‘t quite understand this.  I mean, this wasn‘t just a deal.  If a deal was made, this was a bad deal by which they stripped off a lot of friends who previously had supported this.

And I want to give you one example.

If you take Nexium for acid reflex, Nexium, you pay $400 for an equivalent amount in the United States, and you pay one-tenth of that in Germany, in Spain, in France.  One-tenth.

So, we are so dramatically overcharged on prescription drugs.  All I was trying to do was to say, pharma, big pharma, you‘ve got to reprise your drugs in this country.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, there was a lot of talk last week that you had the votes, you had the 60 votes.

DORGAN:  I did.

SCHULTZ:  You did have them?  What happened?  Who worked against you? 

Did Harry Reid work against you? 

DORGAN:  Well, seven days intervened, and in seven days, some deals were made that stripped off people that previously had supported it.  You know, my dad used to say, never buy something from somebody who is out of breath.  It was kind of a breathless quality around here about the deal-making that‘s been going on.  And the fact is, a lot of it represents fundamentally bad deals in terms of the interest of the American people. 

SCHULTZ:  You know what amazes me?  Is that the White House has been talking about bipartisanship.  So here‘s a situation where they‘ve got Republicans on board.  You had bipartisan support.  And the Democrats bail on this because of this deal that they cut with the big pharma.  And they want to know why their poll numbers are going down. 

Can you comment on what‘s happening to the Democratic Party in the eyes of the public right now?

DORGAN:  Well, look, this is sausage-making, as they say, and don‘t watch sausage or laws being made.  This isn‘t pretty, but it takes not pretty to a whole new low when we can‘t—as Democrats, when we can‘t as a Congress decide that the American people shouldn‘t be charged the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. 

By the way, this year alone the pharmaceutical industry have raised the price of prescription drugs by nine percent this year alone.  And we are charged 10 times, five times, double, triple the rate that everybody else in the world is paying for these drugs.  And we can‘t, in health care reform, pass a piece of legislation saying stop it, knock it off, shut it down?

It makes no sense to me.

SCHULTZ:  It is amazing.

Senator, keep up the fight.  Appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks so much. 

DORGAN:  Thanks a lot, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

This is one that I just can‘t believe.  This must be an unbelievable deal that Rahm Emanuel and President Obama cut with big pharma. 

This works against the interests of the middle class.  Not just the middle class.  I mean, everybody who has a prescription. 

My blood pressure, I‘ve got to settle down here. 

All right.  Coming up, Glenn Beck has found a way to compare health care reform to NFL head injuries. 

“The Beckster” better get ready to suit up, because I‘m getting after it in “Psycho Talk.”  

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, it‘s “The Beckster.”

You like that, don‘t you?  This is your favorite part of the show, isn‘t it?


SCHULTZ:  At least I can amuse the crew here. 

Beck with a crazy analogy about how the health care bill will make people less safe. 


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  The Democrats are pursuing this bill with absolute reckless abandon.  They are actually making it more likely that we, as a nation, as a republic, will be injured and possibly fatally injured.  Does that sound crazy? 


SCHULTZ:  Yes, it does.  It sounds really crazy.

But it‘s nothing compared to the psycho analogy he uses in a pathetic attempt to prove his point.


BECK:  The NFL, with good ideas, they want—they make their players wear the most protective helmets modern technology can provide.  Yet, nearly every week another player winds up with a concussion or worse.  Rugby players don‘t wear the helmets.  They don‘t wear helmets at all, yet head injuries are down in that league.

Look at the systematic failure here.  The more protection large entities provide, the riskier your behavior comes.


SCHULTZ:  Beckster, leave this sports thing alone.  You don‘t know your ass from third base. 

So, wearing a helmet causes more risky behavior?  That‘s why states have passed helmet laws.

“The Beckster” pours fake gasoline on folks and compares the president to Hitler and Stalin.  Now, you tell me whose brains are scrambled.

Now, you may be wondering how Glenn can bring this thing back around to health care.  Well, just listen. 


BECK:  The United States government, that is the helmet.  You can‘t feel.  We‘ll be here. 

The way to fix health care is to get the government out of it.  The closer the decision and the consequences are to you, the closer you‘ll be to a system that actually works. 


SCHULTZ:  Right, because keeping the government out of it has worked so well so far.  Forty-five million people are uninsured because they decided to take risk with their lives.  They just like the risky behavior, right?

Glenn, from the moment you kicked off this analogy, right up until the final whistle, it was complete “Psycho Talk.”   

Coming up, the Congressional Black Caucus has some tough love to dish out for the president of the United States.  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee will be here to talk about that, and, of course, Trader Joe in just a moment. 

Plus, the president—as confidence in the president dwindles.  Our latest NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll shows that 41 percent of the Americans are digging this Tea party thing.  Holy smokes.  John Feehery is going to be talking about that.   

Plus, a Republican senator who sided with big Pharma last night is going to be here to tell me why it‘s such a bad thing to help his constituents get cheaper drugs.  That‘s right.  It‘s all coming up in the main event.  Stay with us.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight.  New numbers out.  Our NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll has just been released.  And it‘s not good for President Obama or the Democratic party.  People are split about the job the president is doing; 47 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove.  On the economy, 51 percent disapprove, while 42 percent of Americans do approve.

Over on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Black Caucus is looking for some changes.  The current economic situation is tough all around, but it has been especially hard on the black community.  Unemployment for African-Americans is now at 16 percent, almost double what it is for whites.  And minorities have been disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis. 

The CBC says they will no longer support a policy that is, quote, “defined by the world view of Wall Street.”  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee will be joining us in just a moment to comment on all of that. 

But, first, I want to bring in our panel tonight to talk about the rest of the NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll.  That‘s A.B. Stoddard, associate editor and columnist at “The Hill,” and also John Feehery, Republican strategist, with us tonight. 

A.B., what do the numbers mean for the president?  Is it because of health care or do you think it‘s some other things that are happening out there that are dwindling away?  Is it the economy?  How do you read these numbers tonight? 

A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”:  I think all of these numbers are about the economy, and the fact that the president and the Democratic party continue to push health care, something a majority of Americans are now concerned will raise costs and change their care for the worst.  It‘s making—it‘s a real political problem for the president.  They want to see unemployment attacked by this administration.  They don‘t want to see bailouts and they don‘t want to see health care reform.  It‘s in the numbers, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s hard to hear that.  The winds have shifted here.  And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that this has been so prolonged and just gone on and on.  Which brings me to John Feehery.  Has the Republican strategy of trying to delay, and obstruct, and string this thing out as far as it can, that people have just lost sight of this?  John, what do you think?

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Ed, I think people are mad as hell, and they‘re not going to take it anymore.  I think if you look at the Tea party movement, they are just fed up with this Wall Street/Washington kind of internal game that everyone is playing.  I think, in one sense, the Republicans—I don‘t think  they can blamed for this, because they don‘t‘ have the votes in either the House or the Senate. 

The Democrats haven‘t gotten their act together.  I think with the health care plan—I‘ve said this to you all along, Ed.  I think they were overly ambitious.  They should have gone for easily discernible pieces and they could have  got a lot done very quickly without scaring people. 

I think the other thing—the big problem for the Obama administration is that they have got accomplished almost nothing.  And the lack of production is really something that shows up in the polls. 

SCHULTZ:  I see how you see that.  But it hasn‘t gone to conference committee yet.  It‘s not over.  A.B. and John, stay with us.  I want to go to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee with the Congressional Black Caucus.  Congresswoman, I know you‘ve got to vote.  Let‘s get this done quickly.  I appreciate your time.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), FLORIDA:  Thank you, Ed.  It‘s good to be with you, Ed.  Thank you for the great work. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  You had some tough words for the president last week, telling him that the black community is bleeding and that they are worse off right now.  What has to happen?  The Democrats are getting some pretty tough numbers tonight as well.  What is happening out there? 

LEE:  Right now, we‘re in the midst of voting for a massive jobs bill that I think is an important step forward, 35 to 48 billion dollars for infrastructure, protecting police and fire, and providing job training. 

My words were not to the president of the United States.  They were to America.  And they were to all who have a policy impact on making the effort to move forward and to be courageous. 

Yes, the black community is bleeding.  Poor communities are bleeding.  Appalachia is bleeding.  Latinos communities are bleeding.  And the question is, when we make these courageous decisions on leaps and bounds, that people criticize and say no jobs have been created, which is absolutely outrageous—the American Reinvestment Act created and saved 3.5 million.  We have only lost 11,000, when before we were losing 741,000 jobs.  So we have made steep climbs and we‘ve been successful.  We‘ve had a successful session.

What I said was, in this jobs bill, we have got to be able to focus on those who are the under-employed, those who are running out of their unemployment, and, yes, the hard to hire, such as ex-offenders and young African American males.  But whatever we do in the Congressional Black Caucus, it helps everyone. 

The “Washington Post” just Saturday, Ed, we had four women of different racial backgrounds whose children could not eat because they were unemployed.  That‘s the kind of advocacy the Congressional Black Caucus is citing.  That‘s the advocacy we cited for the health care bill.  Of course, as you well know, I‘m enormously disappointed in my friends on the other side that could not get us a public option. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s eroding the president‘s base, this delay and this

in-fighting in the Senate.  Nobody can agree on anything.  They keep saying

they‘ve been saying they‘re close for the last three weeks.  Is it taking a toll on the party?  The latest numbers that are out there, the NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll, the view of the Democratic party right now is 35 percent positive and 45 percent negative. 

LEE:  Well, that‘s because, Ed, it‘s tough to get your record out with a lot of blah, blah going on.  And there‘s a lot of blah-blah going on.  But I‘ll tell you, we passed the Ledbetter Pay Equity Act.  We passed the Reinvestment Act.  We have done a major overhaul of education for our young people. 

SCHULTZ:  But health care is the story of the hour, congresswoman. 

LEE:  I know it is. 

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s dwindling away at the president‘s base.  How concerned are you with that?

LEE:  I‘m unhappy because there‘s no public option.  But I will tell you is that when the base sees the final product, and knows that we will continue to work, there will be 30 million new individuals who have the opportunity to have access to health care.  You will see the expansion of community health clinics.  You will see investment in research dollars, more scholarships for doctors, primary care physicians.  You will see a home base, if you sill—we call it a home site for health care.  More resources for seniors. 

We will see a health care bill.  And the point is, of course the nay-sayers want to pull us down.  I know the public is frustrated and tired.  But when the dust clears—today, on the floor of the House, I asked somebody to get glasses so they can clarify what‘s going on. 

When the dust clears, Ed, I believe we‘ll have a health care bill that we can live with.  And the base will understand that the president, the Congress, and the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other caucuses of good will, the Democratic caucus, our leadership, is working for them.  That‘s the whole bottom line.  We are here fighting and working for them. 

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman, good to have you on tonight.  Appreciate your


LEE:  Thank you so much.  I‘m off to vote for a jobs bill that‘s going to help America and build jobs for them. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s go back to our panel tonight.  A.B. Stoddard is with us, and John Feehery.  Thanks for staying with us.

I want both of you to see this number.  Who the American people think is going to control the Congress after the midterms 2010, 43 percent Democrats, 41 percent Republicans, 16 percent really not sure what is happening.  John, these numbers are tightening up.  What can the president do, you think, to turn this around? 

FEEHERY:  Well, one of the things that I‘ve been preaching to him for a long time is he could move to the center.  I think if he worked in a bipartisan way with Republicans and Democrats on certain discreet items, I do think he could turn that around.  I don‘t want to give the president too much advice.  My own hope is that the Republicans do take over.  Actually, I think that would be better for the country.  That‘s when you get the real bipartisan deals. 

SCHULTZ:  How do you work with anybody that says no to everything? 

They say no to everything.

FEEHERY:  They are in the minority, so they don‘t have any access to any kind of the committee votes.  They really don‘t have any votes.  And if you don‘t have a vote, you really don‘t have a voice.  If you‘re in the majority, then you have a voice and a vote.  Then you can cut the real big deals.  The fact of the matter is that divided government works better for people.  I think the American people want a check on this president‘s power.  That‘s the best way to get this country moving again.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Another aspect of this NBC/”Wall Street Journal”  poll that I find very interesting—maybe it‘s because they‘ve gotten a lot of pub and a lot of coverage.  But the view of the Tea Partiers; 41 of Americans have a positive view, 36 percent neutral or not sure, and 23 percent negative.  A.B., your thoughts on these numbers?  I would have thought that the positive would have been a lot lower than that.   

STODDARD:  Well, I think that what you see in that number is—I mean, the Tea Party movement doesn‘t have a leader yet.  It‘s really—it‘s actually disparate groups that are sometimes fighting with each other.  But I think that support is made up of disaffected conservatives, of independent voters, people who really are angry at the leadership in Washington.  They saw the Republican presidency rescue the banks.  It carried on into a Democratic presidency.  They see the auto industry being bailed out.  They see AIG being bailed out.  They see unemployment going up, up, and up.  And they think that the Democrats can‘t do a better job.

SCHULTZ:  I think this is important, all the things you‘re mentioning there, A.B.  Howard Dean says that the Democrats aren‘t tough enough.  He also says that they ought to kill this bill. 

STODDARD:  That‘s a liberal and conservative rift within the Democratic party.  I think there‘s a lot of non-Democrats in this country fed up with the Democratic leadership.  And you know that they are going to take a hit in the midterm elections, for sure. 

FEEHERY:  Ed, can I jump in real quick? 

SCHULTZ:  You sure can, John. 

FEEHERY:  I would say the one thing that‘s most notable about the Tea Party is that they have nothing to do with Washington and they have nothing to do with Wall Street.  So they are outside.  So people look at them as agents of change, trying to send a message to Washington that there needs to be change.  I think that‘s why their positive approval ratings are so high. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m so glad you said that.  I‘m so glad you said that.  The people outside the Beltway across the country want a public option.  And I think one of the reasons why that the Democrats are going down in the polls right now, John, is because there‘s a perception out there by the folks outside of the beltway, out in fly-over country, that the Democrats are not delivering what the people want.  You‘ve got a prescription bill last night of importation that would have affected every American, and you‘ve got 30 Democrats voting against it. 

Buddy, I can‘t high five you on TV.  I‘m going to try to do it right through the tube here right now.  You guys, I don‘t know how you‘re doing it, but you‘re winning.

FEEHERY:  Let me say one thing, Ed, I do think that when you‘re talking about outside—I don‘t think people want to spend more of their tax-payer money on government that they see as inefficient and not working on their behalf.  When they see bailouts on Wall Street, when they see all this talking and no production from Washington, they are sick and tired of their tax dollars going for inefficient and bad government. 

SCHULTZ:  Finally, A.B., you‘ve been telling me no public option.  Tom Harkin told me tonight it‘s not over.  So there‘s a sliver left here.  I just want to remind you of that. 

STODDARD:  I don‘t believe it, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  I‘ve gotten non-believers on the show, too.  A.B., John, thanks for joining us tonight.  Appreciate it. Never give up the ship.

Coming up, folks, of all politicians in the world to give Tiger Woods advice—of course he does have some experience—Rudy Giuliani is the first to step up to the plate.  I‘ll tell you what he said next in my playbook. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, some good news for Tiger Woods.  He‘s been named the athlete of the decade by the Associated Press.  But it doesn‘t like his wife, Elin, is going to be celebrating with him.  The “New York Post” is reporting that the moving vans were at the Woods‘ mansion yesterday, and that Elin is taking the kids and moving out.  Also, a photo was taken of her recently not wearing her wedding ring. 

And Tiger‘s fans have also abandoned him, pretty much.  Our new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll shows that only five percent of people have a very positive—a very positive view of Tiger Woods.  The last time they did this was back in 1997 and that number was 57 percent. 

For more, let‘s bring in MSNBC.com pop culture and media columnist, Courtney Hazlett.  Courtney, what is fiction and non-fiction at this hour?  What is the latest? 

COURTNEY HAZLETT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  The latest is, you‘re right, Elin is moving on.  I‘m told that she‘ll actually be out of the Florida home by the holidays.  She‘s taking the kids and going to Sweden.  The fact that you saw her there without the wedding ring, that was very well crafted publicity right there.  Remember, she‘s one-half of a couple that used to be masters of their own publicity and privacy.  When Elin stepped out without wedding rings, and very prominently displayed her left hand there, she knew exactly the sort of message that she was sending there. 

And in terms of Woods‘ approval rating, I think that tells it all right there, that absolutely is fact.  When you look at that low, low approving rating, in the face of the AP poll, which just nominated—voted him athlete of the decade.  You say, why is there that dissonance.  Really, it shows there are some journalists our there, sports journalists, who say, this man has a prowess on the golf course unlike any other athlete.  That is true. 

At the end of the day, that approval rating is important for endorsements.  It‘s important for ratings.  It‘s important for all kinds of things that are tangential to just the man, the golfer. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, the golf writers aren‘t going after Tiger.

HAZLETT:  They‘re not going after Tiger because they‘re afraid.  They‘re afraid that Tiger is going to freeze them out.  In some sense, you have to look at that AP poll and say, of course they said that.  They‘re all afraid that when they come out of this, on the end, and Tiger has his big comeback, he‘s going to say, OK, guess who I don‘t at my first press conference?  You, you, you, and you. 

SCHULTZ:  Rudy Giuliani is expressing some positive comments about Tiger Woods.  He says, “hang in there.  He‘s going through a tough period.  I know what a nice man Tiger really is, particularly with children.  He was extraordinarily generous to my son.  My son played golf with him.  And he has a big heart for children.  He‘s a very, very fine man, and we know he‘s going to get through it.” 

Will there be more people, do you think, coming out?  Or is that just grand-standing by the former mayor of New York?

HAZLETT:  It sounds like a little bit of grand-standing to me.  It‘s a little bit of a dubious source, when you think about it.  Of course, in some sense, Rudy Giuliani does knows what he is going through, because he had his own discretions.  Just to say that he is good with children, well, I don‘t think that‘s what Accenture is really concerned with right now.

SCHULTZ:  What‘s the deal, Courtney, for the possible endorsements for Elin?  Is Puma really going to sign her? 

HAZLETT:  There is talk of a company that falls under the Puma umbrella.  That‘s a company called Tree Torn doing some sort of fashion deal with Elin Woods, that would actually be based in Sweden.  I think that‘s entirely possible.  If she were to do a straight up Puma deal, where she suddenly had that logo everywhere, it would seem a little bit spiteful, considering they‘re the biggest competitor—or one of the biggest competitors to Nike here in the United States.  But that‘s a story that is easy to spin into an anti-Tiger story because of that sort of relationship.  But at the end of the day, I think you‘re going to see Elin Woods trying to do her best to move on, and you‘re going to see Tiger having to come out—

SCHULTZ:  Is he moving to France? 

HAZLETT:  I think that‘s highly unlikely.  I think Tiger has got to come out and play golf before he makes any other big moves.  If he doesn‘t do that soon, we‘re all going to forget what a fantastic golfer he is.  And he can rehab his image.  People love a redemption story. 

SCHULTZ:  Thanks, Courtney.  Appreciate your time tonight. 

HAZLETT:  You got it, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, I‘m one to dish out credit where credit is due. 

Believe it or not, I‘ve got a compliment coming up for the Republicans.  I‘m trying to knock over Senator John Barrasso with a compliment tonight coming up in the main event.  Hang on, John.  We‘re talking in a minute.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Republicans in Congress have been doing everything they can to stall the health care bill.  But there‘s one thing I have to give them credit for: they know how to stick together as a party.  Joining me now is Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming. 

I‘ll tell you what, you circle the bullet points, and you get everybody on the same page, and you don‘t deviate.  That really has been, I‘d have to say, senator, a solid strategy to this point.  The delay games are causing a problem.  Wouldn‘t you agree? 

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO ®, WYOMING:  The NBC poll that you took out, just came out today, says exactly that.  Support of this is now at an all-time low.  Only 32 percent of Americans support it.  The people who are most opposed to it are seniors.  “The Washington Post” story out today—the poll shows by five to one, seniors think this is going to make Medicare worse.  It‘s going to make their care worse and their care more expensive. 

The American people, the more they see of this bill, the more they tend to not like it.  And yet we still don‘t know what is exactly in the bill, because so much is being done behind closed doors. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s what‘s really amazing.  I don‘t know how anybody can have a real opinion of it when nobody has read it.  The majority of Americans haven‘t read it. 

But the GOP, senator, is not gaining favor either.  The latest NBC poll shows tonight that the GOP is only at 28 percent when it comes to a positive view of the party.  How do you recon that? 

BARRASSO:  I‘m working on health care for the American people, increased access and quality and getting down the cost.  This bill doesn‘t do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Then why did you vote against the reimportation amendment last night, if you want to help Americans? 

BARRASSO:  Because I want to make sure that drugs are available, cheap, as well as safe.  And I will tell you, this deal is worse than you even talked about with Senator Dorgan, because the deal with big Pharma, they‘re even not going to allow seniors to use the generic drugs. 


SCHULTZ:  Are there—

BARRASSO:  -- with the insurance industry, the drug companies, one after another.  The president has flip-flopped on so many things.  That‘s why the American people don‘t like this bill. 

SCHULTZ:  Why would you deny Americans getting cheap prescription drugs when it‘s very well documented about how cheap they are in Canada, Germany, Great Britain and other countries, and they are coming from the same companies?  Why would you vote against that.  I don‘t get the rational on that. 

BARRASSO:  I‘ve been consistently saying I‘m for safe drugs, as well as cheaper drugs.  I voted for the Lautenberg amendment that said, I want to make sure drugs are safe, as well as cheap. 

SCHULTZ:  You really think drugs are not safe over there? 

BARRASSO:  If the FDA says they are safe, then I am going to be for it.  But I think people ought to be able to buy generic drugs, too, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  The FDA has given the White House cover on that.  You really think there is a safety problem? 

BARRASSO:  I want to make sure that there‘s not a safety problem.  I‘m concerned having practiced medicine for 25 years. 

One other thing; you talked with Senator Harkin earlier about a conference committee.  I don‘t believe that there is going to be a conference committee.  I believe that Nancy Pelosi is going to have to swallow this whole thing, whether she likes it or not, that whatever goes out of the Senate is what‘s going to be signed into law by the president. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your time. 

We asked our audience tonight, has the White House sold out to big Pharma?  Ninety percent of you said yes.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL” is next.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.  Watch Keith Olbermann‘s special comment tonight, 8:00 Eastern, on health care.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.



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