updated 1/19/2010 11:43:50 AM ET 2010-01-19T16:43:50

Guests: Tim Murray, Mike Barnicle, Robert Menendez, Joe Courtney, Steve

McMahon, Bill Press, Michael Medved, Michael Eric Dyson

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

Nearly a week after a powerful earthquake flattened the capital city of Haiti, international aid is finally starting to get through to the victims.  But with millions of people in need, it‘s still not moving fast enough. 

Some Haitians are fleeing the capital city of Port-au-Prince, hoping to find shelter, food and water in the countryside.  Among those who remain in the city, desperation has lead to increased looting and violence. 

In response, authorities have ordered a curfew starting at 6:00 p.m., though it‘s hard to know where exactly hundreds and thousands of homeless Haitians will spend the night.  Ten thousand U.S. troops were to have arrived today to help keep the peace and coordinate the distribution of aid. 

The death toll estimate ranges between 50,000 and 200,000 people.  According to the State Department, at least 24 American citizens are among the dead. 

In the midst of all the destruction, we are still hearing remarkable stories of survival.  Today, a USAID search and rescue team pulled 10 people out of the rubble alive. 

Former President Bill Clinton arrived in Haiti today, and he immediately pitched in to help, delivering supplies before meeting with Haiti‘s president. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We have a big interest in not having a failed Democratic state in our own hemisphere.  And because we don‘t have to do this alone now—the Brazilians are leading the military effort, the Mexicans have come through.  All of our Latin American and Central American neighbors, the Caribbean neighbors, they all want to be part of a new modern Haiti.  So we have an opportunity that‘s also very much in our own interest. 

Right now this is the morally right thing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Former President Bill Clinton has teamed up with former President George W. Bush to create a Haiti relief fund.  They have already raised nearly $9 million. 

We‘ll have more on the relief effort in Haiti coming up in just a few minutes. 

But first, the big political story of the day, a earthquake of sorts, is coming in Massachusetts.  Danger is looming for health care reform. 

The people of Massachusetts head to the polls tomorrow to decide who will take over the seat that was held for some 46 years with Senator Ted Kennedy.  And Republican Scott Brown, a disciple of Dick Cheney‘s school of thought, is ahead of the Democratic candidate, Attorney General Martha Coakley. 

A recent poll shows Brown with a four-point lead, 50-46.  President Obama went to Boston trying to rally the troops to rev up the folks in support of Coakley, and the Coakley campaign taking full advantage of this.  Today, they put out a new television ad featuring some of the president‘s remarks. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Martha knows the struggles Massachusetts working families face because she‘s lived those struggles.  She‘s fought for the people of Massachusetts every single day.  She went after big insurance companies and took on predatory lenders. 

That‘s what Martha Coakley is about.  Every vote matters.  Every voice matters.

We need you on Tuesday! 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The president spending his political capital on the road. 

Here‘s the question for Massachusetts voters in all of this.  What has President Obama done to make you think you need to stop his agenda?  That‘s what this election, in my opinion, is all about.  It‘s about turnout.  It‘s about empowering the same right-wingers who ran this country for eight years.

Why would you want to help them?

Scott Brown is just a young generation, cut of the mode of Dick Cheney.  He‘ll do anything to see President Obama fail.  He‘s right in lockstep with the DeMints of the world. 

Remember this? 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. JIM DEMINT ®, SOUTH CAROLINA:  If we‘re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo.  It will break him. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  It will break him.  Such a great goal to have, isn‘t it? 

Scott Brown is in this—let‘s see—for the bankers.  He‘s in it for the corporate greed.  He‘s not going to do anything on Wall Street.  And he really is the kind of guy that wants to stick it to the wage earners of America, the working folk. 

Where is the middle class in this entire cycle coming up on Tuesday?  Compare that guy to the guy who held the seat for us so many years, Ted Kennedy. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  How much more do we have to give to the private sector and to business?  How many billion dollars more are you asking, are you requiring?  When does the greed stop? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know what this is about?  This is about loyalty to change.  And I find it so interesting that all of the polls out there and everybody says, oh, Coakley is going to lose and whatnot. 

Wait a second.  Grab the moment, liberals.  Grab the moment, Democrats. 

You mean to tell me that the conservatives, they were loyal enough to give George W. Bush a second term but we‘re not loyal enough in the sea change to give Barack Obama a second year with the majority? 

Massachusetts, that man you just saw who represented you for 46 years, do you really want his successor to be a guy who is a Dick Cheney disciple?  Part of the problem for the Democrats is having a heck of a time feeding strong candidates with this turnover as far as age is concerned.  Think about the political landscape in Massachusetts.

You‘ve got a long-timer in Ted Kennedy, so the Democrats really are weak at the bench right now.  They‘re not going to have a great candidate.  They‘ve never had to have one.  They always had Ted.

And I think you‘re seeing the same thing in North Dakota with Byron Dorgan.  He‘s retiring.

But the bottom line is that, in this special election, this has national consequences.  It‘s all about the folks who supported Obama in 2008 in November.  They‘ve got to recognize the moment and get back out there.

If Scott brown wins this, the Democrats lose the super majority and the obstructionist Republicans will work even harder to make sure that Obama has a terrible 2010.  And where does that take the country?

Why give up now?  Why not show up at the polls?  Why would you want to help the Republicans do something like this? 

They haven‘t done anything to earn this at all.  So I feel that this is all about turnout.

And I also like the fact that the Republicans are coming after me.  I even made the hit list.  I‘m number four.

You know, I don‘t like that.  I wish I was number one on the GOP Most Wanted List. 

You know, college football polls, they scale them every week.  Is that going to stay that way, or do I get a chance to move up to number one? 

I‘m wearing that as a badge of honor.  And I‘m going to keep telling the truth about these people. 

If Scott Brown wins tomorrow, he will work against America‘s middle class.  Just listen to him talk.  Sending him to Washington will take us back to the Bush/Cheney days. 

For more on all of this and the landscape of Massachusetts, joining me now is Lieutenant Governor of the great state of Massachusetts, Tim Murray. 

Mr. Murray, good to have you here tonight. 

LT. GOV. TIM MURRAY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  Thanks for having me, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s all about turnout, isn‘t it?  Or am I wrong on that? 

MURRAY:  No, you‘re 100 percent right.  It‘s, get out the vote and really—and trying to get out to those Democratic voters and progressives and liberals, and letting them know what‘s at stake here. 

You know, Scott Brown is not this kind of affable, middle-of-the-road guy.  He is, as you‘ve described, someone who subscribes to the Bush/Cheney agenda.  He‘s someone whose record, when we actually get down to talking about his record, indicates that on a whole variety of fronts—women‘s health issues, voting against the expansion of mammograms and breast cancer awareness campaigns.  He proposed a bill, a piece of legislation, that would allow hospitals to prevent rape victims from getting emergency contraception. 

SCHULTZ:  So this would be a radical change if this guy were to win this election on this Tuesday; right?

MURRAY:  There couldn‘t be someone more diametrically opposed to the values and the beliefs that Senator Ted Kennedy fought for, for so long.

SCHULTZ:  So, what‘s going on in Massachusetts?  Why is this even close?  I mean, it was just weeks ago that Martha Coakley had a very comfortable lead?

What‘s happened, in your opinion?

MURRAY:  Well, in Massachusetts, the largest number of voters are unenrolled.  And I think Scott Brown has been able to portray himself for a period of time, though I think that‘s changed in the last week as this kind of moderate type of Republican, which occasionally has been elected here in Massachusetts.  But I think that‘s changing quickly as people get the word out that his rhetoric and his sound bites don‘t meet the rhetoric and the facts. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think, Mr. Murray, that Barack Obama, the president of the United States, his being in Boston, him being up there on the stump, is that going to help?  Is that going to really wake up those who might think, hey, wait a minute, we‘ve got to go vote on Tuesday?

MURRAY:  No, I think it does.  It brings attention to how important this race is and what is at stake.  Literally, the agenda of the president. 

And you showed Senator Kennedy, and Senator Kennedy was someone who was strong in his beliefs and fought for it.  But he also was able to reach out, whether it be on the No Child Left Behind and others, in certain areas.  Isn‘t it unfortunate that the Republicans have not offered that same type of bipartisan spirit of compromise that Senator Kennedy himself offered to the former president, George Bush, on issues of education and other types of things? 

We‘ve got a Republican minority that really is trying to obstruct the will of the voters in the 2008 election who elected President Obama and a Democratic House and Senate.

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Murray, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.  I hope it all works out.  There is definitely a lot at stake, no question about it.

MURRAY:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Lieutenant Governor of the great state of Massachusetts Tim Murray with us tonight.

For more, let me bring in MSNBC political analyst Mike Barnicle.

Mike, no one probably knows more about this than you do, but I‘m curious to your thoughts.

Where does the middle class come down in this election?  What has Barack Obama done to turn off the middle class folks when this guy Brown is just out there pushing all the same rhetoric that Dick Cheney and George Bush did for so many years? 

MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Ed, I‘ll tell you, Barack Obama hasn‘t done anything to alienate the middle class in Massachusetts.  He‘s still very well liked in Massachusetts.  He‘s very popular. 

His agenda is probably largely popular.  I think majority popular.

This isn‘t about Barack Obama in Massachusetts tomorrow.  It‘s about, unfortunately, for Martha Coakley, her and her campaign.  She‘s run a terrible campaign. 

Ed, you‘ve been around a long time.  Campaigns are not rocket science. 

People don‘t like to be taken for granted. 

They like to meet the candidate in the retail experience.  They like to be told what the candidate believes in and they like to see and hear the candidate in public places. 

She has spent pretty much the large part of her campaign, since the primary, in hiding.  She has not been available to the public.  And she has practically ignored the public, and now she‘s on the verge of paying a horrific price for it. 

SCHULTZ:  So the question is, is President Obama strong enough with Massachusetts voters that he could go up there and say, I need you to do this, whether you elect Martha Coakley or not?  Isn‘t that what it comes down to?  I mean, because this will fatally hurt the Obama agenda, if this seat is won by the Republicans.

BARNICLE:  Yes.  There‘s a couple of things you have to understand about Massachusetts when it comes to the president‘s agenda, when it comes to health care reform, specifically, Ed.

The vast majority of voters in Massachusetts feel that they have no horse to ride in that campaign for health care reform.  The vast majority of people in Massachusetts have health care.  Massachusetts has pretty much a national health insurance coverage policy at a state level, so they don‘t feel that they have a real vested interest in paying for someone else‘s health care.  Unfortunately, that‘s just the way a lot of people feel.

The other aspect of it is health care, to the people in Massachusetts

and I think this goes for many other states, Ed—hasn‘t really been explained to the point where people grasp the importance of it.  And that‘s on the administration.  They haven‘t explained it.  And so what you hear over and over from people in Massachusetts—and I spent two or three days out in the campaign with both candidates—is it comes down to, how much is this going to cost us, meaning individuals and families? 

That‘s what they want to know.  That‘s what they don‘t know.

SCHULTZ:  Mike Barnicle, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

BARNICLE:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  OK.

OK.  Well, if I could just quickly answer a couple of those questions.

The Congressional Budget Office says over the next 10 years, that this health care bill, either one of them, will reduce costs.  It also means that millions of Americans will have an opportunity to get insurance because they right now have a pre-existing condition and can‘t get it. 

So, Massachusetts Democrats, it comes down to this: You have to examine your heart and your conscience.  Do you believe in change?  Do you want to stop it in its tracks?  Do you want to help the Republicans or do you want to get out there tomorrow and give Barack Obama, the president of the United States, give him two years with the majority? 

I think he deserves it. 

Coming up, this Brown-Coakley race has got some Blue Dog Democrats really on the edge of their seat.  I‘ll explain what a Brown victory might mean to the future of health care reform as we‘ll further discuss that tonight. 

Plus, tensions are rising in Haiti, and a curfew has been imposed to curb violence.  Senator Robert Menendez will be here to explain the role of the United States military in all of that.

And Ann Coulter—I‘ve been waiting for this—she debuts in “Psycho Talk” with the psycho fraternity.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Six days after the earthquake that left most of Haiti‘s capital city destroyed, U.S. troops are playing a vital role in supplying aid to the people of the country.  It‘s going to be a long time before Haiti even begins to return to normal, and I want to know, what is the long-term expectations of our military presence?  What‘s it going to be?

For more, let‘s turn now to Senator Robert Menendez.  He‘s the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance.

Senator, great to have you on tonight. 

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY:  Good to be with you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  In some circles there has been some questioning of the United States military and what they are doing.  I just want to be very clear with our audience tonight, the United States military is saving a lot of lives.  The United States military is doing a fabulous job. 

Your thoughts on, and where are we, in your opinion, from what you know at this hour? 

MENENDEZ:  Well, we‘ve made enormous advances even in the face of enormous challenges.  Our military is helping with the Haitian government run that airport, going from 60 landings a day to 100 landings a day. 

We have 30 military helicopters.  The United States providing food drops in the Port-au-Prince area.  The USS Comfort is on the way there with 600 medical military personnel on board to deal with that.  We already have 250 medical personnel in Haiti, on the ground, from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

But, Ed, this an enormous challenge.  It‘s a logistical challenge.

Even in the airport, the challenge between having the troops to create both the security and the distribution efforts, versus letting the aircraft come in for that purpose, versus the aircraft coming in with humanitarian goods. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

MENENDEZ:  So, it‘s 3.5 million people that we‘re trying to deal with here, and it‘s just an enormous challenge. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, are you willing to say tonight that we‘re going to have a military presence there for the role they‘re playing right now for quite some time? 

MENENDEZ:  Well, I think, you know, the president made it very clear in his $100 million commitment that we are there with the people of Haiti.  And so, I don‘t know what length of time the military presence will be necessary.  But clearly, they are part of creating the security for the humanitarian relief, as well as being conduits for that relief in Haiti.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s a pretty tough position for our military to be in, to do security, almost like a police force.  Are you concerned about that?

MENENDEZ:  I am.  And that‘s why I‘m glad to see that the security—the U.N. Security Council talked about and the U.N. secretary-general talked about increasing the present commitment to Haiti by the U.N. of forces beyond ours, more so in a police capacity.  But at this moment, clearly, with the total instability that exists of the government based upon the massive damage done to their infrastructure and what happened with the earthquake, without that military presence at this time, there would be absolute chaos. 

SCHULTZ:  How many more troops?  What do you think? 

MENENDEZ:  I think we‘re going to be at around 10,000 boots on the ground, between on the ground and off Haiti in our naval vessels.  Probably be at 12,000 when it‘s all over, and then how long they remain is an issue. 

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

MENENDEZ:  Good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey with us here on THE ED SHOW.

Coming up, “Machine Gun” Ann Coulter has taken—well, overtaken both “The Beckster” and “The Drugster” when it comes to “Psycho Talk” about Haiti.

I‘ll show you that tape in just a moment.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, the hate merchant herself, Ann Coulter. 

It‘s hard to believe, but this is her first appearance in “Psycho Talk.”  

Way to join the fraternity, Ann.

Last night, she joined the likes of “The Beckster” and “The Drugster” and Pat Robertson by exploiting the disaster in Haiti to take a political cheap shot at former President Bill Clinton. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN COULTER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  Can we get to the shame and embarrassment of Bill Clinton being involved in this bipartisan effort? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why not?  Please. 

COULTER:  I mean, it‘s not like there aren‘t other ex-Democratic presidents out there.  As long as there are no Jews in Haiti, I think Jimmy Carter would be just fine.  He would be better than the horny hick.

And this isn‘t just your average ex-Democrat.  This isn‘t Walter Mondale.  He‘s a national embarrassment. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And, of course, she went on to make a lewd and crude line about Clinton.  But since this a family show, we‘re not going to be showing you that part.  Just use your imagination.

Ann, if you want an example of shame and embarrassment, you better look in the mirror, because taking a sheep shot at the former president of the United States, who at this very moment is in Haiti working to help those in need, shameful, self-serving, just like Ann, “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, I can‘t believe it.  We‘re finally in the homestretch with a health care bill.  And a centerfold is about to “Waterloo” the whole thing? 

More on my take on tomorrow‘s historic Senate election.  That‘s coming up.

And as we stop to remember Dr. Martin Luther King today, we will take a closer look at the state of race in our country.  The numbers may surprise you. 

All that.

Bill Press and Michael Medved are in the house tonight for commentary. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.  The fate of the health care bill now rests on this special election tomorrow in Massachusetts.  The bill is in jeopardy if Republican Scott Brown wins. So Democrats in Congress are trying to figure out how to get it through without 60 Senate votes.  One possibility is to push the Senate version of the bill through the House as is.  I‘m not a big fan of the Senate health care bill.  It can be a lot better.  But the preexisting condition part of a legislation is going to help millions of Americans.  Try to focus on that.

So all you folks in Massachusetts, think about that before you go to the polls tomorrow.  Do you want to have to go tell your neighbor that they can‘t have health insurance because you really wanted to have Scott Brown in the United States Senate?  For more on the Democrats‘ next move on health care, let me bring in Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut. 

There are a number of—I would say—conservatives Democrats who are concerned about this, but also liberal Democrats in the House who are concerned about just the pushing through of the legislation.  Joe, thanks for joining us tonight.  How much of a problem would it be, in your opinion? 

REP. JOE COURTNEY (D), CONNECTICUT:  Well, as you and I have discussed many times over the last few weeks, there are real issues with the Senate bill.  The excise tax, which is the primary financing mechanism in the Senate, is something that finally was getting some positive attention, partly because of your show, because of the negative impact it would have on a lot of working families and middle class families.  The Senate bill does not go far enough to close the donut hole. 

The purchasing exchange in the House bill, which would be a national purchasing exchange and allow I think much greater pooling and better opportunity for affordable health insurance—there‘s a lot of issues there that separate the two.

SCHULTZ:  But congressman, the gist of all of this is that the president, his agenda for 2010 could be at stake.  He could come over to you guys again and say, look, I‘ve got to have this.  Are you willing to give it up? 

COURTNEY:  Well, there‘s a couple of ways that this could be approached.  One of them would be to use the budget reconciliation process, the 51-vote rule, for cleanup, as sort of a follow up to passage of a Senate bill.  To be honest with you, that‘s going to be a very hard sell for everybody.  And it‘s not just a progressive caucus issue.  It really would require a lot of trust that there would be a follow-on to incorporate some of these changes. 

We don‘t even want to think about that.  Your audience in Massachusetts should just keep pounding the phones.  We‘ve got to make this thing work tomorrow. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, basically, congressman, what you‘re saying to the folks in Massachusetts tonight, they‘ve got to deliver the mail; and if they don‘t do it, health care reform in this country is in serious jeopardy and so is President Obama‘s agenda, right? 

COURTNEY:  The stakes are huge.  And you stated it perfectly.  And the best way to make sure that we get a fair and balanced—to use a terrible phrase—compromise between the House and Senate bill is to make sure that we have 60 votes in the Senate and we have a Democrat from Massachusetts. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, here‘s how it‘s going to shake down if Brown wins the Senate race and the president of the United States is sitting there in the balance, the Democrats in the house are going to have to take a very politically courageous position, and stand up and say, Mr. President, we‘re with you.   We‘re going to get something.   Whether it just be a pre-existing condition and 30 million people who are going to get covered, wouldn‘t that be enough? 

I mean, in the totality of it all—and I guess I‘m going to ask the provocative question—do you think the conservatives would have done this to George W.  Bush?  Tom Delay would have twisted a lot of arms on his side to make sure that nobody screws this thing up.  Because of this situation in Massachusetts right now, it seems to me that it‘s very clear, the Democrats are put in a corner, in an untenable position, to say hey, we got to take what we can get on this deal, we didn‘t know that it was going to screw up like this in Massachusetts.  What about all of that? 

COURTNEY:  Well, again, there‘s obviously going to have to be consideration of a plan B after tomorrow if it goes the wrong way.   I‘ve been involved in public life for years.   Health care access and quality have been my passion.   It‘s what really made me run for office.   So the end game here, the big picture end game, which you described very powerfully, Ed, is really something that many of us don‘t want to let slip through our fingers for another generation, which is what we saw happen in Clinton-care collapsed.  

Again, plan A is still to try and hold on to that seat in Massachusetts.  And plan B is to try and figure out whether there‘s either an expedited process to reconcile the two bills with the good changes that have gotten a lot of momentum over the last week or so, or whether or not there is a follow on reconciliation process that can, again, incorporate the intelligence discussions happening over the last two weeks.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, great to have you on.   Way to fight for the people.  

COURTNEY:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  And one of the reasons I‘m not running for office is so I can get here every night and tell it like it is on the people like this guy Brown, who is nothing but a Cheney disciple.   Come on, Democrats, don‘t short change President Obama.  

All right, let‘s turn now to Democratic strategist Steve McMahon.  Steve, the straight question tonight is where is the Democratic loyalty in Massachusetts?  I guess we‘re going to find that out tomorrow night.

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, if we can get the Democrats in Massachusetts enthused and turned out, Martha Coakley should be able to pull this thing off.  There‘s a three to one advantage the Democrats have in Massachusetts over Republicans.  So the real issue is whether or not the Democrats will show up tomorrow night.  There were 600,000 phone calls made by the Coakley campaign and Organizing for America to Democrats over the weekend.   So I‘m still optimistic.  

SCHULTZ:  The polls don‘t look good.  But one poll that is not out there, are you going to vote tomorrow night—I mean—tomorrow?  That‘s the intangible in all of this.   But it would be the first time since the early ‘70s that a Republican would hold this seat.   What about labor‘s involvement?   Now with this health care thing in the balance, they may not get the deal that they want depending on how this turns out.  It would seem to me that that would give the union folk and the wage earners of Massachusetts all of the incentive in the world to get out and make sure that they can get the deal that they want by winning the Senate seat.  

MCMAHON:  The truth is that every Democrat in Massachusetts should have plenty of incentive to come out.  This is, after all, Ted Kennedy‘s seat.  I used to work for Senator Kennedy.  His entire life was devoted to getting health care reform passed.  We‘re now on the verge of getting it passed.  For a Republican to get this seat would be a tragedy and a travesty, frankly.

The Democratic party needs to make sure that every Democrat tomorrow gets out to vote.  If you‘re in Massachusetts watching, please make sure you vote.   It‘s too important to the future of this country and to the future of the president‘s agenda for Martha Coakley to win this race, so that Barack Obama can be effective and move his agenda forward.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, she‘s won before.   She‘s attorney general in the state of Massachusetts.  It‘s not like she‘s an absolute stranger.  It would seem to me that there would be some comfort level for Democrats in that state for Martha Coakley.  This is President Obama, on the stump, trying to make it all happen yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We know that on many of the major questions of our day, a lot of these votes are going to—a lot of these measures are going to rest on one vote in the United States Senate.  Where we don‘t want to go right now is backwards, to the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place, when we just started to make progress cleaning it up.  

SCHULTZ:  Does Obama loyalty run thick in Massachusetts?  How do you make that call?

MCMAHON:  Well, you know, you look at these polls, and the same polls that have Martha Coakley running behind have President Obama‘s approval rating at 60 percent in Massachusetts.   So for President Obama to appear there yesterday should be a big boost for the campaign.   Part of the problem here has been, you know, it‘s an election that occurs in January, a day after a holiday.  And there are a lot of people who maybe weren‘t aware of it.   They are aware of it now.   This—these polls over the last several days might have been the wakeup call the Democrats need to understand the stakes and get out there and vote.  

SCHULTZ:  Steve McMahon, I‘ll ask you the same question I asked Mike Barnicle earlier tonight.   Where are the middle class voters?  What has the Republican party done to deserve a victory in Massachusetts in the last year?  The wage earners, what have they done for the wage earners?  Where have they earned this, other than to come up and vilify the attorney general and to say that Obama-care isn‘t going to be good for the country, when this election is going to affect millions of people?  Where are the middle class voters on this?

MCMAHON:   That‘s a really good question, Ed.  I‘m still trying to figure that one out myself.  There‘s no question that the Republicans haven‘t offered an alternative to President Obama‘s agenda.  All they‘ve done is said no, not so fast, not right now, we don‘t think so.  They shouldn‘t be rewarded.

But Martha Coakley, for whatever reason, hasn‘t run an inspired campaign.  She hasn‘t generated enthusiasm among Democrats.   If she had, she would be 20 points ahead.   This is one where Democrats can still pull it out if they show up.  But I hope that every Democrat out there who thinks that they have got to walk in November is looking at this race and seeing there aren‘t any walks in November.   It‘s an anti-incumbent year.  And if you‘re an incumbent running, or if you‘re someone like Martha Coakley, who is presumed to be the incumbent by most voters, you better work as hard or harder than your challenger or opponent.  

Scott Brown has run a great campaign.  There‘s no question about that.  

Martha Coakley should beat him by 20 points.   Right now, she‘s not.  Hopefully, tomorrow, she can eke it out.  Every democrat who takes—who is taking November for granted can learn a lesson, get started, and get aggressive early.  

SCHULTZ:  Steve McMahon, great to have you tonight.  Thanks for your insight on all of this.  I‘m just dumbfounded that there would be a low turnout with so much at stake on a national level.  The president needs the help of Massachusetts voters to make this thing happen.  

Joining me now—let me bring in our panel tonight, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press and also nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved.   I‘m sure you guys talked about this today on your radio show.  

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  You know it.  

SCHULTZ:  You know, fellows, a lot of conversation about voter fraud, but I remember operation chaos, OK, where the right wing talkers, when the Democrats were having their primary, were saying, hey, go out there and vote and get in this thing and swing in the balance of all of this.   Here‘s what they have to do in Massachusetts, as I see it.   It‘s operation organize,  operation motivate.   Now, it would seem to me, Bill Press, that this senate race, it‘s so politically ironic that it would have such major ramifications with its results.   Your thoughts on this? 

PRESS:  I was just thinking the same thing, Ed.   All of the time that we spend talking about the House and the Senate and the gang of six and the meetings down at the White house, it all comes down a special US Senate race in Massachusetts of all places.  Who would have thunk, right, that this is where we would end up? 

But you‘re right, everything is at stake tomorrow.   It‘s the future of health care reform.   It‘s President Obama‘s agenda on all the other issues in 2012.  And I think it‘s the fate of running for election in 2012.  

Here‘s my thought.   Plan A, Scott Brown cannot get to the United States Senate.   Martha Coakley has got to win tomorrow.   Plan B, if he were to win, then the Democrats have to either push this bill through as fast as he can, before he‘s sworn in, or the House Democrats are going to have to pass that Senate bill, get it to Obama, and sign the damn thing while we still have a chance.

SCHULTZ:  Michael Medved, you make the call.  What is happening here? 

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think what is happening here is the independents are turning away from President Obama.   It‘s very obvious.  Steve was right, the Democrats outnumber Republicans in Massachusetts by three to one.  But independents are 51 percent of Massachusetts voters.   They are turning decisively against health care and against President Obama.  

What surprises me about you guys is why you would not want to pay attention to a message from the American electorate.   The American people are speaking very clearly.   They do not like the Obama approach to health care reform.   Why do we ignore the people when they‘re sending such a powerful message?  

PRESS:  Ed, I know that‘s the current wisdom and everybody is saying the same thing as Michael is.  I reject that.   I don‘t think this is a referendum on health care at all.  I don‘t think it is a referendum on Barack Obama.  I think Martha Coakley, as Steve pointed out, ran a very lackluster, take it for granted, campaign, that she was the heir apparent to Teddy Kennedy. 

MEDVED:  I think that‘s absurd to maintain.   When she ran for attorney general two years ago, and she got 70 percent of the vote.  

PRESS:  We‘re talking about this campaign.   This campaign.  

MEDVED:  But people know her.  

PRESS:  It doesn‘t matter? 

SCHULTZ:  Michael, you‘re saying that this is a rejection of health care.  

MEDVED:  Correct.  

SCHULTZ:  Which I find very interesting from the standpoint that the rejection, I think, is because the administration never put single payer on the table, and they never really fought hard, in my opinion, for public option.  These are things that people, by polling, want in Massachusetts.  Now they figure, well, what the heck we going to vote for because we‘re not going to get what we want anyway.  That‘s where the apathy comes in.

MEDVED:  I think you‘re entirely correct.  I think you‘re absolutely right.  President Obama has made a mess of this entire thing, because truly what people are afraid of in this health care reform is it‘s so complicated,  so bureaucratic, and, yes, it will increase cost.  

SCHULTZ:  So what does Scott Brown bring to the table?  Michael, are you telling me that, hey, Scott Brown is leading in the polls tonight, and he‘s going to win by default just because he‘s Scott Brown and a former center fold guy? 

MEDVED:  No, I tell you what is going to happen here is people want our Congress and our president to go back to the drawing board and do the kind of health care reform that President Obama had originally talked about, which was bipartisan.   I know Scott Brown will be part of that when he‘s elected US senator.  

PRESS:  Ed, a quick second here.  The Republicans had every chance to play ball and they decided not to.  

SCHULTZ:  They did.  

PRESS:  Forget the bipartisanship.  The other thing I‘ve got to say is this idea that the Democrats up there—OK, they didn‘t get single payer.   I‘m a single payer guy, too.   We didn‘t get it.  So what are we going to do?  Hand the Senate to Scott Brown? 

SCHULTZ:  Don‘t take your bat and ball and go home.  

PRESS:  No.  

SCHULTZ:  Forget the Curt Schilling comment.  It doesn‘t mean anything anyway.   We‘re not trading baseball cards here, folks. 

MEDVED:  You‘re telling voters in Massachusetts the Boston Red Sox don‘t mean anything, Ed?  Are you really telling them that?

PRESS:  Get out to vote.  That‘s the answer, get out to vote.

MEDVED:  I hope all the independents and Republicans do.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, although we‘ve elected our first black president, there‘s still a major divide on how white people and black people view the state of race elections in this country.   Michael Eric Dyson, the professor, will explain in the playbook next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my playbook tonight, a year into the Obama presidency, it seems that our country has not made much progress when it comes to views on race.  In a new NBC News/”Wall Street journal” poll released today, 60 percent of Americans agreed that America is a nation where people are not judged by the color of their skin.  That‘s up 13 percent from January of 2008.  But when you break that down by race, there‘s a big difference; 62 percent of whites agree, while only 40 percent of African-Americans agree.

Joining me now for more on this is Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University.  Professor, good to have you on tonight.

I get a general sense though that we are making progress in this country.  And President Obama and his election has been good for the country.  Your thoughts?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY:  Absolutely right.  I think that there‘s no question that Barack Obama‘s assent to the highest elective office in the land has betokened a tremendous sea change in American racial politics.  It suggests that America was willing to forgo its tragic history, to embrace its triumphant future.  It suggests that many people were willing to give a man a chance for no other reason than he was the most qualified man in the room, so to speak, or the most qualified person to take the helm.

So I think those things are very positive and should auger well for the future.  But it doesn‘t mean that because we‘ve got a black president that there is not skepticism and suspicion about the treatment of the masses of African American people and other minorities in this country.

SCHULTZ:  Seventy two percent of Americans believe that the state of race relations in the United States is good. Also, the poll of race relations in the United States by race shapes up like this:  72% of whites say it‘s good; 64 percent of African-Americans say it‘s good.  

But there‘s one troubling number that is out there, that I was surprised that is in double figures, and that‘s 15 percent of Americans think that race relations is worse one year after the election of President Obama.   Why would people be thinking that?  What has taken place in the last year that would take some people down that road, in your opinion?  

DYSON:  Well, we can have a bifocal view here.  On the one lens, we can see that some people might be holding on to this antiquated notion that a black man simply has nothing to offer to the American scene.   Thank god it‘s a smaller minority.  But those who are recalcitrant, who hold on to the gnarled and arthritic belief that a black person being at the head of the nation is bad for this country.

On the other hand, I think some people may be skeptical of what, indeed, the change that Barack Obama‘s presence there betokens will mean for the masses of, say, black people or Latino people or other people who fall outside of the mainstream.   So I think that there is some skepticism and suspicion about that. 

But I think, overall, there‘s a good feeling about Obama‘s presence there, even if one has been critical of him.  And I was a tremendous supporter of Mr. Obama, remain so, even though we have to engage him critically.  I think there‘s no question that his presence there has opened up new possibilities, not simply for him, but for us to think beyond or outside of the box about how we can fill certain slots in this country, and how we can think into a future in a much more progressive and, I think, open minded fashion.

SCHULTZ:  Professor, from a sociological standpoint, how much does the economy play into this, in your opinion?

DYSON:  There‘s no question that when people are not eating well at home, or not living well at home, it makes them a bit more crappy and makes them a bit more cranky and makes them a bit more bitter.   I think that during the campaign, Mr.  Obama talked about this in Pennsylvania.   He was widely lambasted about his comments about the bitterness of our economy,  about how it impacts certain groups. 

But the reality is that, yeah, when you‘re not doing well in the economy, it seems that the rest of the world is not doing well.   And I think that in this case, the slumping economy and on-going troubles with unemployment and the like suggest that people might not be as hopeful as they might otherwise be, had things at home been better.  

SCHULTZ:  Michael, always a pleasure.  Good to have you on.  

DYSON:  Thanks for having me.   

SCHULTZ:  One programming note for you tonight, folks; be sure to tune into MSNBC tonight at 10:00 Eastern time to see “Obama‘s America, 2010 and Beyond.”   The “HARDBALL” host Chris Matthews and radio legend Tom Joyner - - that‘s tonight, 10:00 Eastern time on MSNBC.

Coming up, the 82nd Airborne Division is having some trouble finding military planes so they can get soldiers into Haiti—that they are hiring civilian aircraft.   We‘ll talk about that with our panel in just a moment.   Stay with us.   You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Now for the latest on Haiti.  Nearly a week after the powerful earthquake flattened the capital city of Port-Au-Prince, international aid is finally starting to get through to the victims.  Rescue efforts are still under way and there are some incredible stories of survival.  

For instance, after being trapped for five days, a hotel owner was able to catch the attention of relief workers who managed to pull her out of the rubble.   One hundred bodies are believed to be inside that hotel.   Also, despite plans to send 3,500 more US soldiers from the 82 Airborne Division into Haiti, only about 1,000 soldiers have actually made it into the country.   The 82nd is having trouble finding available airplanes to get the soldiers on the ground, so they are contracting several civilian aircraft to fly them into Port-Au-Prince.  With the civilian help, they expect to have 2,000 additional troops on the ground within the next 24 hours.

Turning back to domestic situation and politics here in America, the White House has just announced that the president will deliver his State of the Union address next Wednesday, January 27th.   I want to bring back our panel now to talk about this one, because it would seem to me, Bill Press and Michael Medved, if this president has to strong-arm this health care bill to go through, he‘s going to have some serious explaining to do to the nation.  And the State of the Union would be the perfect place to do it.   Bill?      

PRESS:  I‘ll tell you what, Ed.  I‘d like to hear him say three things, real quickly.   One is, a year ago, we were on the brink of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.  We‘re out of it.   A year ago, we were hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month.  We‘ve turned that around.  Now it‘s less than 100,000.

And three, I‘d like to hear him say, Ed, I just signed health care reform legislation, the greatest advance for the middle class since Medicare.  He could do it in a week.  He could do it in a week.

SCHULTZ:  Quickly, Michael, your thoughts on the state of the union?

MEDVED:  What the president has to do is he has to address people‘s concerns about deficits and about spending.   I understand that he‘s going to try to do that.   The difficulty is that if he hasn‘t already pushed through the health care at the State of the Union, at the same time that you‘re talking about getting the deficits down, when you‘re spending a trillion dollars more a year, it‘s kind of a difficult split to make.   

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, of course we will be there and have special coverage that night.  Bill Press, Michael Medved, always a pleasure.  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, WeGotEd.com.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts now. 

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