updated 1/7/2010 11:07:15 AM ET 2010-01-07T16:07:15

Guests: Byron Dorgan, John Nichols, Jack Rice, Karen Hanretty, Sam Stein,

Arianna Huffington, Rob Johnson

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to “The Ed Show” from New York tonight.  It has been a blockbuster 24 hours for the Senate Democrats.  The new cycle has been fast and furious.  Two long time serving senators, first, Byron Dorgan in North Dakota and then Chris Dodd of Connecticut both announcing that they will not seek re-election.  There is no bigger story and a personal political request of this broadcaster which all address later in the show tonight but first, the biggest shocker I think comes from the high plains, North Dakota where Senator Byron Dorgan called everyone in his party by surprise.  After 40 years of public service, Dorgan says, it‘s time to move on. 

And Senator Dorgan joins us exclusively tonight from the Capitol in Washington.  Senator, great to have you with us tonight.  Congratulations on a fabulous career.  You have done a lot for a lot of Americans and been a man who has spoken truth to power time and time again.  And the case could be made, Byron, that the Democrats need you now more than ever, no matter what the political winds are.  Why are you going to do this?  Why are you going to step away from the Senate?

SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA:  Well, that‘s a big question, Ed.  You know, this has been a rare and great privilege for me to serve in the United States Senate.  I have served, as you said, starting at age 26.  Forty years of state-wide elective office.  It‘s been along, wonderful career.  But you know, I just came to the conclusion that rather than make a commitment for seven more years, this year plus another six, I wanted to do some other things in life, outside of public service and I made that decision, I feel good about it.  But again, it‘s no reflection on my party.  It‘s no reflection on our government.  Great hopes for this country and I‘m an eternal optimist about our country‘s future.

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think a lot of people are assuming that the Democrats are in trouble in 2010.  We all know the wind blows in North Dakota.  The political wind may be a little bit tough right now.  Is the political climate weighing heavy on your decision at all?  I mean, it‘s a tough climate out there right now.

DORGAN:  It really has not, Ed.  I‘ve run statewide in 11 elections, been very successful and would have been successful this year had I run for election, and no question in my mind about that.  But the question for me is, when is the time to move on to do some other things?  I‘d much, much rather have them ask the question, why did he leave so soon rather than why did he stay so long?  As I said to you, it‘s a great privilege.  I love the United States Senate.  But there are other things in life I‘d like to do and frankly this gives me the opportunity to do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, does the political climate in this country, the political climate in Washington, you saw it on the road as well at the tea party things.  You told me at one point you had never seen anything like this in your political career, some of the town hall meetings that you went to and what we‘ve seen in the last year in this country.  Does that leave a bad taste on your mouth and also weigh on your decision?

DORGAN:  No, you know what, I don‘t leave this with regrets or concerns.  That‘s not my point.  I‘m enormously proud to have served.  I do know that in this country, there‘s a lot of unsettled folks that we‘re in a deep recession, coming out of it, I believe.  But a lot of people are unemployed, they are concerned about the future.  And so I understand that.  And whenever this happens, this is the deepest recession since “The Great Depression,” there‘s always going to be a lot of angst and a lot of people agitating for this and that. 

I understand that.  But you know what, I talked to the president this morning at some length.  We are going to come out of this.  We‘re going to set this country back on track and put people back to work.  This is a great place.  We‘ve got to work together.  We‘ve got to have hope and we‘ve got to decide that it requires all of us to come together to fix what‘s wrong in this country.  And I have great optimism that will happen.

SCHULTZ:  Are you putting yourself ahead—and I hate to ask this, because you‘ve served for 40 years, but are you putting yourself ahead of what you really could do for this country?  I mean, 60 votes are important to get things done.  We‘ve seen how the Republicans act right now.  They don‘t want to work with President Obama.  Obviously his re-election is going to be a big thing, your position in the Senate or head of the Democratic Policy Committee.  Senator, I have to ask you tonight to hang in there because there‘s a lot of blog traffic out there that they don‘t want you to do this.  Can you hang in there?  We want you to hang in there.

DORGAN:  Well, you know, I had a reporter ask me today, are you betraying your constituency and betraying your state?  I said, after 40 years, I don‘t think so.  I mean, I‘m enormously proud of my service.  I‘m going to work all year very hard with this president to try to set things right in this country and we‘re going to do that.  This is a great country.  But Ed, I do think that there are times to leave and times to move on and I‘m going to write a couple more books.  I‘ve written two.  I‘m going to do some other things with energy and some other things when this Congress is over at the end of this year.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, you‘ve been fighting hard for the prescription drug

re-importation amendment.  You had 30 Democrats vote against you on this

recently.  President Obama, when he was in the Senate, he was a co-sponsor of that with you.  When he got to the White House, they were silent.  In fact, there was a lot of talk that they were talking to Democratic senators not to vote for it.  Does that leave a bad taste in your mouth and is that something that you would remember on the way out?

DORGAN:  Well, try as you might, I‘m not going to tell you I‘ve got a bad taste in my mouth.  You know what I‘m going to do?  I‘m going to get that amendment passed.  That‘s $100 billion in savings to the American people.  We‘re going to get that passed this year.  And I tell you, it didn‘t get passed in health care for a lot of reasons and a lot of strange bedfellows but I‘m going to get it passed this year in the United States Senate and save the American people $100 billion on their pharmaceutical bill because we shouldn‘t be paying the highest prices in the world for brand name prescription drugs.  That‘s outrageous, in my judgment. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, you have also had a record, well-documented of having great political foresight and I want to take you back to November 4th, 1999.  This is what you said on the Senate floor about deregulation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DORGAN:  We are almost certainly moving towards substantial new concentration and mergers in the financial services industry.  I think we will in 10 years time look back and say, we should not have done that because we forgot the lessons of the past. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You voted against deregulation.  How do you feel about it today? You were correct.

DORGAN:  Yes, that was one of the biggest mistakes in the history of this country, Ed.  I mean, it steered the country into the ditch.  It‘s cost us trillions and trillions of dollars.  And, you know, once again, this was some of the biggest financial interests in this country trying to get the laws changed, repeal the laws that were put in place to protect us after “The Great Depression.”

They succeeded.  I was one of eight people, and I led the fight on the floor of the Senate against it—one of only eight people to vote no.  But you know, the spoils of that system at this point have been so costly to this country.  And now we need to put it back together. 

If you‘re too big to fail, you‘re too big in my judgment.  And the fact is, we ought to separate investment banks from the FDIC insured banks.  We ought not to let this continue this way.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, you also voted against the Wall Street bailout.  What do you have to say about that now?  What should the Senate do about this climate on Wall Street right now in the wake of all the bonuses and the toxic assets that have been purchased with taxpayer money?  And we really don‘t even know what the Fed is doing when it comes to financial operations in the interconnected, interconnectivity of Wall Street.  What‘s your advice?

DORGAN:  Well, this could be one of the big issues right at the start of this session is financial reform and Wall Street is right back in the same old swamp doing the same things.  And with respect to the Federal Reserve Board, you know, for the first time in history, they said to the big investment banks, you can come and get direct lending from the Federal Reserve Board.  We‘re trying to find out from the Fed, who did you give the money to?  How much money did you give?  And my point is, what did you do with our money?  And the Federal Reserve Board says none of your business.  Well I‘ll tell you what, it is our business, and I‘m not going to let the Bernanke nomination to head the Fed for another term go through until he tells us what did they do with our money, the American people‘s money? 

So we‘ve got a lot of things to work on here.  And as I said before, if you‘re too big to fail on Wall Street, then you‘re too big in my judgment, because that‘s no-fault capitalism and we shouldn‘t continue with it. 

SCHULTZ:  Would you consider a seat on the Cabinet of the United States administration with President Obama if that opportunity ever came up?

DORGAN:  Well, it hasn‘t been offered, yet, Ed.

           

SCHULTZ:  Well I know, it hasn‘t been offered but we‘ve got a long way to go if Barack Obama is going to be around for eight years.  It‘s going to be a brutal re-election in 2012.  And the fact is that, you would be offering some tremendous experience.  You‘ve got a clean record.  There‘s never been anything wrong with anything you have done.  There‘s no hanky panky anywhere or any of that kind of stuff.  I mean, you‘re clean.  The Democrats need you.  I‘ll try one more time, but would you consider a seat on the Cabinet if it were ever offered to you?

DORGAN:  Well, sure.  Do I look like I‘m slow witted?  I mean, if the president called and said would you serve in my cabinet, of course I would consider that because that would be a great honor.  But that‘s not part of this master plan of mine at all.  But thanks for giving me that clean bill of health, by the way.

           

SCHULTZ:  Well, you‘ve done a lot of things.  What do you say to the people of North Dakota who have elected you 11 times?  And I know that this has been an emotional decision for you.  And there have been some polls out there showing that the probable opponent that you would be facing might have an edge on you and it might be a tough re-election.  Has that weighed on your mind at all in this decision?  What do you have to say to the people of the state?

DORGAN:  You know what, in 11 election contests, there have always been people with edges, but it never quite worked out for them.  In my judgment, the people of North Dakota have given me the rare gift of being able to serve here in the Congress and, you know, I‘m eternally grateful to them.  I think had I run again this year, I would have been elected to another term.  The question for me is, is that what makes sense for the next seven years of my life?  And I decided that there are many other things I want to do and now intend to do.  But you know, I won‘t be far from public service and if called again, I may well show up again, Ed, as you ask. 

SCHULTZ:  What is your response to Congressman Earl Pomeroy, announcing today that he‘s going to run for the House and not seek your Senate seat?

DORGAN:  Well, it‘s very hard for anybody to give anybody else a public life advice.  He‘s an extraordinary congressman.  He‘s a terrific guy sand I believe he‘ll be re-elected and good for him. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, I can‘t let you go this easy.  You know, I remember how furious you were about the way the Bush administration was running this country and the conversations we had back in 2002 and 2004 and I know how you felt when Tom Daschle was defeated in the Senate and how close you were to Ted Kennedy and this progressive surge that has taken place in 2006 and 2008.  How much is your departure and the departure of Chris Dodd going to hurt the Democrats going into this 2010 election midterm?

DORGAN:  The honest answer is I don‘t know.  But obviously, whatever Chris‘s decision was and my decision, wasn‘t about trying to hurt anybody or intending to hurt anybody.  We‘ve got a great bench.  We‘ve got a lot of Democrats out in this country that are willing to serve and anxious to serve.  I belong to a great political party.  We have two good parties in this country, but I belong to a great political party that has always led the fight for the right things, women‘s rights, equal rights, civil rights, you name it.  You name the fights that have made this a better country and this party that I‘m a part of has been at the front edge of it and often paid a significant price for it.  But we‘ve done the right things for our country and that will be true today, tomorrow and forward.  We‘re going to find great candidates.  And I think we‘re going to have good times ahead.  The key is to put this country back on track and give the American people confidence about the future.  It‘s a great place and we can do that and I hope we make some progress this year. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Byron Dorgan, I‘m honored to have you as a friend and the Democrats of North Dakota and the Democrats of this country have been very well served for the last 30 years in the United States Senate and the U.S.  house and 10 years on the state level starting at the age of 26.  People should be very proud to have a career like you‘ve had.

DORGAN:  Well Ed, thanks very much, God bless you and I look forward to spending more time with you this year as we work through the United States Senate on some of these significant challenges. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you, senator, I appreciate your time tonight. 

DORGAN:  Good to be with you, thanks.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  

Coming up, some of you may have seen the reports that I‘ve been officially asked to run to replace Senator Dorgan.  I‘ll address that later on this show and tonight‘s play book and things are hitting up between President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and millions of union members in this country.  The Nation‘s John Nichols will tell us all about that, who is getting burned, in just a moment.  All of that, plus Arianna Huffington is in the house and the Beckster lands in the Psycho Zone. 

You‘re watching The Ed Show on MSNBC.  Stay with us.       

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Liz Cheney is following the footsteps of her father, she is accusing the President of the Unites States of failure on the war on terror.  Get your phones out, I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, have the Cheney‘s convince you that we are less safe under President Obama‘s watch?  Text A for Yes and B for No to 622-639.  Results are coming up.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight.  President Obama is showing his hand on the health care reform bill and Nancy Pelosi not all excited about it.  He wants—the president wants the house to pass the senate‘s health care bill, which includes a tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans.  But those plans are just for fat cat Wall Street guys.  Some union health care plans are really going to get hit by this if it goes through. 

For more on this, let‘s bring in John Nichols, Washington Correspondent for the nation.  John, great to have you with us tonight.  Why would the Obama administration be just stumbling all over themselves because the unions supported them so strongly a year ago and had some promises made to them now this, I know for a fact is  blind siding a lot of union leaders when they see that their health care plans could possibly be taxed.  What is the landscape here, John?

JOHN NICHOLS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR “THE NATION”:  Well, the landscape is that Barack Obama would not be the president of the United States if it wasn‘t for the trade union movement.  

SCHULTZ:  So, they call markers on this?

NICHOLS:  They sure should.  Not for their own self service but because Ed, remember, the president of the United States is not offering trade unionist a single payer plan where everybody will have access to quality care.  The future is a private health care system without even a public option if you pass the senate bill.  And so, trade unionists have every right, in fact they have a responsibility to defend the benefit packages that people fought and died for.  It would be madness to buy ... 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  So, how much of an issue is this going to be for labor?  Would this be big enough to turn off labor support for the democrats and some areas of the country?

NICHOLS:  Well, it‘s a big house of labor.  So, I understand that.  But I can tell you this, there are some unions that are furious.  The teamsters have been very, very outspoken on this issue and I can also tell you something else.  Even if labor swallowed hard at the leadership level, don‘t you think that come election time, republicans will be putting adds in places like Toledo and Flint, Michigan, saying, remember what the democrats did to your health care package.  This is a very dangerous different turf.  

SCHULTZ:  John Nichols in the Nation.  How much do you expect the progressives to push back as the story reads the president once the house to pass the senate bill?

NICHOLS:  That‘s madness.  Look, Nancy Pelosi cannot let that happen. 

And I‘ll tell you why.  She won‘t have the votes to pass the senate bill.  This cannot happen.  So, it‘s just not an option.  Nancy Pelosi is going to have in these negotiations and frankly she is going to have to negotiate something better than the senate bill to get it through the house.  

SCHULTZ:  Did a political nor‘easter hit Chris Dodd and did a windstorm hit Byron Dorgan in North Dakota?  Political wins not with the democrats right now.  But you know, 11 months, he is in attorney in politics.  Who knows, they could have turned it around.  How do you read both this veterans getting out and how much will this affect the democrats as the party there in the image business, what is it look like, how much is this going to affect the democrats in the midterm?

NICHOLS:  Well, let‘s be clear.  The democrats are probably not going to come out in the midterms with 60 seats.  They are going to lose some seats.  Both Dorgan and Dodd were vulnerable.  But these were very different decisions, Dodd was generally vulnerable and he had a lot of weaknesses.  Dorgan was this surprised, and I think Dorgan‘s decision, has he said to you, rooted in sort of the sanity of the man, he really is in North Dakota and my beat is that if Barack Obama got his head screwed on right. When and if they create a consumer financial services protection administration some kind, I‘d like to see Byron Dorgan in charge of it because there‘s nobody I know of coming out of the senate would be a player on protecting consumers and protecting Maine Street.

(CROSSTALK)

NICHOLS:  Senators from Maine Street.

SCHULTZ:  John, would there be more democrats will two what these two gentlemen did? 

NICHOLS:  Yes, you have to see quite a few more, be very, very aware of the house raises, I think they are going to see some there.  And also, watch governorships.  Losing governors going in to a real portion, that is a big deal.  

SCHULTZ:  John Nichols of the Nation, great to have you on, buddy. 

Great to have you here.  Thank you. 

NICHOLS:  My pleasure. 

SCHULTZ:  Next up, since 2010 has started, Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann have taken their turns in Psycho Zone, wow, you know what that means.  The Beckster and his current.  That‘s up next, in THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And our Psycho Talk tonight, well, our 2009 psycho talker of the year is Glenn Beck.  And his first trip back to the Psycho Zone in 2010.  This guy has hit a new law.  On his radio show today, Beck was busy taking shots of the Democratic Party, which he does a lot of.  Then he decided to really dive right in to the gather and take a swing at the late Senator, Ted Kennedy.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, TALK SHOW HOST:  Ted Kennedy is gone.  Oh.  Oh.  Well, gee, that‘s kind of sad, I hate to see a man who lived a long and evil life pass and now what is, you know, now—did I say that out loud?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Yes, Beckster, you did say that out loud and it‘s one of the most despicable things that you‘ve ever said.  Where is his pulse?  In Ted Kennedy‘s 46 years in the Senate, he fought to strengthen and expand civil rights legislation.  Is that evil?  He battled gender discrimination by strengthening Title IX.  How evil is that?  What will the women think about that?

He co-sponsored—giving millions of un-insured kids access to health care in this country.  Glenn, let me ask you.  What have you accomplished?  TV show?

Hell, I‘ve got one of them.  And look, you‘ve made a lot of money, which you‘ve been doing it, spewing low rent garbage and that‘s nothing but Psycho Talk in its shameful.

Coming up, Liz Cheney‘s strong and verbal grenades at the president, Former CIA officer, Jack Rice will take after her at the bottom of the hour.  That is coming up and of course, Arianna Huffington has figured out a way and the middle class can turn the tables at the big banks.  She will explain how you can get it done by moving your money next.

All of that, plus, I got an invitation that I‘ve received to run for senate, I‘ll address that coming up here on THE ED SHOW.  You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW tonight at MSNBC.  Thanks for watching.  Travelers are always reminded at airports and train stations to keep a close eye on their luggage.  But at one airport in Eastern Europe, they were actually testing passengers by sneaking explosives into their bags.  One passenger failed the test.  Airport security workers stuck a bag of explosive material into his luggage.  The bomb-sniffing dogs missed it.  And the passenger made it all the way to Ireland with the material. 

Security officials in Slovakia say they immediately notified the airport in Dublin.  But the Dublin airport workers say they didn‘t get the message until two days later.  The Slovakians say the test explosives didn‘t have detonators.  So passengers weren‘t in danger.  Sound good to you?

It underscores how faulty our security systems are.  A threat from Slovakia became a threat to Ireland, just like security failures in Nigeria and Amsterdam became a threat to Americans on Christmas day.  Got pretty lucky the bomb failed to ignite during the landing in Detroit.

For more, let me bring in NBC New terrorism analyst Michael Sheehan.  He‘s the former deputy commissioner of counter0terrorism for the New York Police Department. 

Michael, are we ever going to be totally safe?  This is going to be caught by consumers of news in this country like why in the world would we ever board a plane with baggage in it?  The terrorists are always going to look for more sophisticated ways, time and time again.  Are we just going to have to be resigned to the fact that we‘re never going to be completely safe?  What do you make of this test? 

MICHAEL SHEEHAN, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST:  You‘re right, Ed.  And the timing of this couldn‘t have been worst.  The Slovakian officials putting these explosives on nine bags, and, what, eight of them were caught by their sniffing bomb dogs.  It‘s really a messed up situation.  The Irish are furious.  The Slovakians are red faced.

You‘re right, it makes everyone nervous about air travel and it‘s really bad timing.  But there is risk in air traffic.  You have risk with weather.  You have risk with pilot error.  You have risk with mechanical error.  Of course, there‘s always a risk of terrorism.

What we do expect of our governments, though, is not to bungle cases that clearly could be prevented.  As you mentioned, there is risk, every time you get on a highway, and every time you get on an airplane as well. 

SCHULTZ:  How effective is our bag screening procedure?  We‘ve been talking a lot about full body screening and pat downs and what not.  This opens up a new line of questioning about security, not only in our country, but around the world.  How secure are we when it comes to screening bags?

SHEEHAN:  As you know, whenever you check on a plane, there‘s a tremendously complicated and thorough procedure with checked baggage.  This incident looks at the—your carry-on baggage.  This looks at the checked baggage.  In this case, checked baggage has always been a vulnerability of airlines.  It‘s been well known.  It‘s well known not only to the security industry, but also to terrorists as well. 

In the United States, we‘ve been trying to use more X-Ray technology to try to screen all the check baggage.  But overseas, I‘m afraid the processes aren‘t as good.  So when you check baggage, those aren‘t as carefully scrutinized as and when you carry it on. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael, do we do this, what these foreign officials did, these foreign security officials, Slovakia?  Do we do these type of tests?  Do they happen in the United States?  How do we fare? 

SHEEHAN:  We do do tests.  TSA has tests all the time with different times of materials.  However, we would never send something to another country without coordinating with them.  That‘s where the Slovakians really fouled up. 

But, yes, the TSA officials often testing by sending things through checked baggage, unchecked baggage, through hand-carried baggage.  And TSA generally does pretty well.  That‘s why when people get concerned that they treat someone—Grandma Moses, who is going through the—checking their search so thoroughly.  And I remind people, hey, they don‘t know if that‘s somebody actually testing their procedure.  So they have to handle everybody carefully.

SCHULTZ:  Are we doing all we can, in your opinion?

SHEEHAN:  No, we can‘t.  We‘re going to have to keep moving quickly.  Obviously, over the last few weeks, we‘re going to be tightening up the no-fly lists that our Nigerian—we can probably do more in terms of the checked baggage and screening that more thoroughly in the United States, and particularly overseas. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael Sheehan, great to have you on.  Thanks so much. 

Liz Cheney is right behind her father, attacking the president, saying the foiled terror attack proves he‘s not up to the job.  She says “President Obama has weakened American security by treating terror as a law enforcement matter, refusing to use every tool at his disposal to prevent attacks and taking his eye off the ball.  America‘s homeland security and counter-terrorism systems will continue to erode in the absence of strong, consistent, unwavering presidential stewardship.” 

I think I‘m going to throw up right here on TV.  When is this going to stop?  There‘s nothing more consistent than the Cheneys politicizing a national security issue.  For more, let me bring in former CIA officer, Jack Rice. 

Jack, they have no boundaries, the Cheneys, absolutely no boundaries. 

JACK RICE, FMR. CIA OFFICER:  You‘re absolutely right.  We‘ve seen this so many times in the past from both of them.  I guess the logic is what we‘ll do first is we ignore the facts.  Then what we do is we‘ll lie about the facts that we have.  And then, of course, the obvious conclusion to all of that is that liberals and Democrats hate America.  So we‘ll just stop right there.

SCHULTZ:  Well, you know, it‘s really, I think, getting embarrassing, as far as Americans are concerned, that a family has really taken up the banner to go against the Obamas as they have.  And where are we weak, as opposed to the Bush years?  It seems to me that this report is all over the place, tighten security measures.  Is there anything that the Cheneys would give credit to the Obama administration for when it comes to security.  She using the word eroding.  It‘s stepped up measures.  What do you think?

RICE:  Let‘s take a look at what it is that happened during the Cheney/Bush years.  I mean, come on.  Let‘s take a look at sort of how much more dangerous it became because of their inadequacies, their—just how illogical they were and how many more people they caused to hate us. 

But let‘s move beyond that for a second.  The problem that we really face is this—is that if you look at what‘s happened since 9/11, we‘ve spent literally more than a trillion dollars, we‘ve invaded multiple countries, and with those invasions, we‘ve killed of thousands of people, let alone thousands of our own—the real problem that we‘re facing is really, in some ways, the same problem that we faced after 9/11.  It was this failure to analyze intelligence.

And by the way, what I particularly appreciate about what the president said yesterday is he directed his information at that issue specifically.  And that‘s what he talked about.  And what we really need is good analysis right now.  And he gets that. 

SCHULTZ:  Jack, her comment, refusing to use every tool at the disposal to percent attacks.  Can you tell us, from what you know—you just got back from Afghanistan.  You‘re in this loop.  You talk to a lot of people in the CIA.  That was your profession.  Are we refusing to use every tool at our disposal?  Is the president not doing something that he should be doing, in the eyes of CIA officials?

RICE:  Clearly, in the eyes of the Cheneys, he‘s not torturing enough people.  Maybe if we tortured more people, that would solve all of our problems.  I guess that‘s the logic.  All of the tools that the Cheneys had at their disposal and maybe that‘s what they‘re missing.  Maybe they missed the cries, they missed the screams.  Trust me, we can look at both of them, and a lot of people are crying and screaming.

SCHULTZ:  Jack Rice, great to have you on.  And if I can take just a moment to congratulate on your broadcasting award, Freedom in Broadcasting, which is being put out by “Talkers Magazine.”  Congratulation, you were very brave to go to Afghanistan and use the microphone the way you did.  Congratulations.

RICE:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  For more, let‘s bring in our panel tonight, Sam Stein, political reporter for “Huffington Post,” and also Karen Hanretty, Republican strategist.

Karen, when do the Cheneys, if ever, go out of bounds?  What‘s your response to the way they are playing this politically? 

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I‘m more fascinated by the response of the left and even the Obama administration, that continues to respond to the Cheneys.  I was, quite frankly, shocked when the White House issued a written response to what former Vice President Dick Cheney had to say about how President Obama handles terrorism.

I thought, if they don‘t like them, why don‘t they just ignore them.  But it‘s the media.  And it‘s you and Chris Matthews and others who keep giving them so much attention.  And I think that‘s fascinating.  And I think that you actually like having them out there, because I think you like to make the Cheneys the poster -- 

SCHULTZ:  I have to tell you, Karen, I am fascinated by it.  Chris, more than competent on political issues.  In this regard, we‘ve never seen a vice president act like this.  We‘ve never, in the history of the country, ever had a vice president go out and—not only him but his family—just attack this country and acting as if they almost want us to get hit.

HANRETTY:  OK.  Now you sound like the Cheneys.  No.  You sound like the Cheneys.  If you‘re saying that Dick Cheney wants America to be attacked by terrorists—are you a long lost cousin of Dick Cheney or something?  Come on.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  I‘ll be politically ignorant here.  I‘ll serve it up to you for an answer.  What‘s his motive?  What is her motive?  What is to be gained by this kind of rhetoric from a family that was in the position of the vice presidency? 

HANRETTY:  I haven‘t talked to them.  I don‘t know what their motive is.  But I‘ll tell you what I think it is.  I‘ll tell you what I think it is and why it doesn‘t—I don‘t mind have the Cheneys out there, because they are the only counter balance as far as a voice from the other side on how the war on terror should be fought, how we should view it, how it should be framed, because, heaven knows, the media is never going to hold Obama responsible. 

SCHULTZ:  Sam Stein, the statement she read—or put out, Liz Cheney, refusing to use every tool.  You mean, the president—they believe—the Cheneys believe that the president of the United States is refusing?  This is unbelievable stuff.

SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  I‘m surprised that we‘re now debating whether Obama should or should not respond to this.  I mean, if someone accused you of essentially willfully not using every tool to defeat terrorists, and Obama has been accused not by Cheney but by others of valuing the lives—or the rights of terrorists over the lives of Americans—you honestly expect him to sit on his hands and not respond to that?  I mean, that‘s big stuff.  Of course the president is going to respond to that.

HANRETTY:  He didn‘t respond to someone who tried to blow up 200 Americans for two weeks. 

STEIN:  What are you talking about.  That‘s just ridiculous.  Hold on.

Bush took literally six days to respond to Richard Reid, the shoe bomber.  Obama took three days to respond to the underwear bomber.  So by your very standard, I guess Bush doesn‘t care about terrorism.  

HANRETTY:  I‘m saying it took President Obama longer to respond to the Nigerian terrorist than it did for him to respond to Dick Cheney.  I think that‘s interesting.

STEIN:  Were you upset with Bush‘s six day lack of response, I guess?

HANRETTY:  Not a bit.  President Bush was engaged in the war on terror much more than President Obama has been. 

STEIN:  I just pointed to data that says otherwise.

SCHULTZ:  Sam, let me ask you.  Sam, should the White House respond?  They did put out a statement last week.  Should the White House respond to what Dick Cheney says when it comes to—

STEIN:  Of course.  Listen, there is one thing we can agree on.  There is a vacuum of news whereby Dick Cheney puts out a statement and organizations like to jump on it because it‘s good for viewers and traffic.

That being said, the Obama administration would be foolish if they didn‘t respond to these attacks.  Otherwise, the only voice out there is Dick Cheney‘s.  Dick Cheney is not an effective counter-weight to Obama on the issue of national security.  He is literally spreading false truths about what is going on.

SCHULTZ:  Absolutely. 

STEIN:  Obama is using every weapon in his arsenal.

HANRETTY:  Obama has the bully pulpit.  He‘s the president.  He has the bully pulpit.  He doesn‘t actually have to respond to every Republican who attacked him.

SCHULTZ:  But they have politicized it, Karen.  We‘re in a different climate.  It‘s almost as if the Cheneys—

HANRETTY:  Because you give them credibility. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s absolutely despicable that a former vice president would talk like this.  Let me finish.  If he really believes this, why doesn‘t he call for time with Obama and his counter-terrorism people and go to them and say, look, you guys are making some terrible mistakes right here.

HANRETTY:  How do you know he hasn‘t?

SCHULTZ:  The vice president is acting like we‘re not all on the same team.  That‘s my problem with him. 

(CROSS TALK)

HANRETTY:  -- different from what Harry Reid said when he said we‘re losing the war on terror, when all the horrible things—

SCHULTZ:  He was talking about Iraq.  He was on the Senate floor talking about Iraq at the time.  By the way, we‘re still spending billions of dollars in Iraq.  I would stand by him on that. 

Here‘s Senator Dorgan earlier in the show tonight, talking about why he‘s not going to run for re-election in North Dakota, long time senator.  Here it is.  He says it‘s not political. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DORGAN:  I don‘t leave this with regrets or concerns.  That‘s not my point.  I am enormously proud to have served.  I do know that in this country there‘s a lot of unsettled folks, that were in a deep recession, coming out of it, I believe.  But a lot of people are unemployed.  They are concerned about the future.  So I understand that. 

Whenever this happens—this is the deepest recession since the Great Depression—there‘s always going to be a lot of angst and a lot of people agitating for this and that.  I understand that. 

But you know what?  I talked to the president this morning at some length.  We‘re going to come out of this.  We‘re going to set this country back on track. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Quick comment from both of you.  Karen, you first, is this political or personal on the part of Dorgan? 

HANRETTY:  Personal.  Ka-ching Ka-ching.  He wants to make money like John Breaux and Tom Daschle, and why not do it now. 

SCHULTZ:  What about that, Sam?

HANRETTY:  His wife is a lobbyist.  They‘ll make millions and millions of dollars.

SCHULTZ:  He told me today that he will never be a lobbyist.  He will not be a lobbyist.  He told me that.

HANRETTY:  He doesn‘t have to register.  He‘ll make millions of dollars.

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Sam, what about it?

STEIN:  I think there‘s a bit of both.  Clearly, there‘s politics at play here.  I talked to a couple Senate staffers today.  They said the Senate—the Democrats in the Senate are exhausted.  They spent a year doing health care, only to go home in August and more recently, and get really unreceptive responses from some of the Tea Party protesters, especially in red districts, in red states.  I think it‘s weighing on them.  I think for people like Dorgan and like Dodd, it‘s just not worth it anymore.

SCHULTZ:  Thanks, Sam.  Thanks, Karen.  Great to have you with us tonight.

Up next, I‘m going to tell you about a wakeup call from the North Dakota Democrats and a package I got from some old friends.  You won‘t want to miss it, tonight‘s playbook.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW, on MSNBC.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in tonight‘s playbook, I thought I‘d take a moment to address the reports that I‘ve been approached to run for the Senate seat in the great state of North Dakota.  Last night‘s news about Byron Dorgan‘s decision to retire came as a complete shock to me and a lot of people who know him well, a lot of people that have supported him over the years. 

Now, I just cannot overstate how much I respect this man and appreciate all that he has done to serve the people in North Dakota and this country for the past 40 years.  Senator Dorgan called me last night and graciously agreed to do the exclusive interview that we had at the top of the show tonight. 

After talking over how he arrived at this decision to retire, he did ask me one question.  That was, how old am I.  I thought, uh oh, here we go.  Then, this morning, I got a phone call from a good friend, Merle Boucher.  Merle is the House Democratic leader in North Dakota.  He officially asked me to consider to run for the US Senate seat in North Dakota.

All right.  I‘m flattered and I‘m honored.  And I can‘t say I‘m even considering it right now.  I‘ve worked, as many people know, very hard to get where I am in my career.  To go from Fargo to 30 Rock is a dream come true for any broadcaster.  I‘ve invested a lot of years, a lot of time and effort, as an opportunity to use the microphone to advocate for the middle class in this country.

I‘m in a different place than politics right now.  I think I serve things as good as I can right here, right now.  So, we‘re a long way from any consideration.  I plan on living a long time.  We‘re a long way from any kind of decision. 

I‘m definitely honored by the phone call.  But right now, no one from either party actually has officially announced that they‘re running for this seat.  That‘s how distant this thing is now.  The race is going to be an intriguing one.  No doubt about that.  At this point, I‘m not even considering.  We‘re a long way from that.  I just thought you wonderful viewers and listeners of my radio show deserved to hear it straight from me, your friend, Big Eddy.

You know what?  There is a final page in my playbook tonight.  Since we‘ve been talking about professional opportunities in the future.  Actually, this is the story that the blogosphere missed today.  Because I got a card from the Oakland Raiders today, and from the son of the owner, Mark Davis.  He says, “Ed, once a Raider, always a Raider.  Health care reform, just in win baby.”

Hey, I agree, Mark.  And he sent me my Raiders jersey.  How about that?  This—you know, I had two cups of coffee and three breakfast specials with the Raiders and a got a jersey out of the deal.  I‘m pretty fired up about that.

Coming up on THE ED SHOW, the tax payers have bailed out the big banks and what are we doing about this rip-off?  Huh?  Well, Arianna Huffington has been pushing a plan for to us move the money out of the big bank, and turn this whole thing around.  That is next.  What do you do with your money?  Right here on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The too big to fail banks ended up failing the American people.  They took their bail out cash and used that taxpayer money to make record profits.  Fair deal, huh?  Without changing their risky behavior at all.

Meanwhile, community banks, they are still struggling.  Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson wrote a piece in the “Huffington Post” suggesting that it‘s time for the American people to take action, the people who bailed out the big banks.  Two of them behind the brains of all of this—they‘re the brains behind all of this, the plan to move people‘s money, asking them to do that.

Arianna Huffington, founder of “The Huffington Post,” and Rob Johnson, director of economic policy initiative at the Roosevelt Institute.

Arianna, could this work?  Could it really have an impact?  Tell us how this would work.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Ed, first of all, it‘s already working.  We made it very easy for people to go to MoveYourMoneyInfo.com, and put their zip code in and find out the local community banks, thanks to a tool that our friends at the institution have produced.  The local banks that are rated A or B—so they are safe.  They are solvent.

And then decide to make that move, which, as you know, Ed, means a lot of things.  It means, first of all, that we will be less likely that we are going to have to bail out the big banks again, given the way that they are behaving again with their risky investments. 

Two, that the people who move their money are less likely to have all the hidden fees that big banks keep imposing on their customers. 

And three, that the community banks are much more likely to reinvest that money in the community, and actually help create jobs.  Because, as you know, Ed, 100 billion dollars less money has been lent to the communities from these four banks that we actually bailed out, we the taxpayers. 

SCHULTZ:  Rob Johnson, do you think this would change the behavior of the big banks, if they see money shifting? 

ROB JOHNSON, THE ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE:  If they see money shifting, if they see the American people saying, we disapprove of your lobbying, we disapprove of your speculation and derivatives and everything else, yes, they will start to react.  They will understand that the American people don‘t like the product.  They are sensitive to consumers, just like everybody else that is in business. 

SCHULTZ:  Would this be politically risky, Rob, for people in Washington to say, hey, let‘s do it?

JOHNSON:  It‘s politically risky because they are very dependent upon fund-raising.  It‘s not politically risky because the population and the people who are responding to our articles and our website are very enthusiastic.  They have been feeling like they got rolled.  They‘ve been feeling like they were in pain and they were powerless.  Now they have found a method to exert their will.  And I think they would be very popular if they were to back this. 

SCHULTZ:  Arianna, have the Democrats failed the middle class by being slow and failed small business, for that matter, by being slow to get money to community banks?  To the president‘s credit, in recent months, he has said that this is what he wants to do.  But it seems like this is power to the people, isn‘t it? 

HUFFINGTON:  Exactly.  We‘ve had a lot of good speeches and a lot of good rhetoric.  But it‘s an opportunity for people to take action.  You know how angry and resigned millions of Americans are?  Well, this is a small step.  But as I‘ve been going around, I have so many people coming up to me and saying, you know, this gives me the courage to take that one step, to say, you know, I can do something with my money other than helping big banks continue the risky behavior and charge all of the fees to the American consumer, that they really have no right charging. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt about it.  And the website, again, MoveYourMoney.info.  How many people do you think are going to respond to this?  Are we talking—do you think millions of Americans would do this? 

JOHNSON:  We certainly hope so.

HUFFINGTON:  Already, over 300,000 searches of the local banks have actually been done through the tool in MoveYourMoney.info.  So this is just the beginning.  Thank you for having us on the show to talk about it.  We are collecting amazing stories from around the country.  If anybody is watching and has already moved their money or is thinking of doing it, please send us your story.  We‘d love to post it. 

SCHULTZ:  Arianna Huffington of “The Huffington Post” and Rob Johnson, thanks so much for joining us tonight.  Appreciate your time.

Tonight, in our text survey, I asked you, have the Cheneys convinced you we‘re less safe under Obama‘s watch?  Seven percent of you said yes; 93 percent of you said no.  That‘s a good number.

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com, or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com.  You can catch the radio show on channel 167 XM, Noon Eastern time.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.

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