Guests: Michelle Kosinski, Rep. Jim Moran, Leo Gerard, Ron Christie, Joe Madison, Peter
Morici, Jack Rice
ED SCHULTZ, ANCHOR: Good evening, Americans and welcome to “The Ed Show” from Fort Worth, Texas, tonight.
The Haitian government has already buried 40,000 people, and they believe the death toll could top 140,000. People have started burning bodies to keep disease from spreading. Public safety obviously is a major concern.
Security teams are being dispatched with food and water conveys to stop rioting. U.S. officials now say 10,000 troops will be on the ground by Monday, about 1,000 are there right now. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will head to Haiti tomorrow.
A late-breaking development, the Department of Homeland Security has given Haitians, who were in the United States before the quake, temporary status to live and work in this country for another 18 months. This morning, President Obama spoke for 30 minutes with Haitian President Rene Preval, who told him, quote, “from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Haitian people, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The fund-raising response here in the United States has been absolutely stunning, even in a tough economy, Americans are ready and willing to help. More than $10 million has been raised through text messaging, and if you would like to donate, text the word “haiti” that‘s h-a-i-t-i to the number 90999 to make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross.
We‘ll have much more on Haiti coming up in this broadcast in this hour, and we‘ll have a special edition of “The Ed Show” tonight starting at midnight Eastern Time right here on MSNBC.
But first the big political story of the day and there is a lot of political news out there tonight, they have obviously located the panic button in the White House. President Obama will head to Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon to stump for endangered Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley.
Here‘s why, a Suffolk University Seven News poll shows Republican Scott Brown leading Coakley, the Attorney General, 50 percent to 46 percent with only 1 percent of the people polled undecided. The director of the Suffolk Political Research Center described the shift in the polls as a brownout and a massive change in the political landscape.
Bill Clinton campaigned for Coakley today in Boston, but the White House knows it may not be enough. I think it‘s great that the president is doing what he‘s doing, it‘s the right thing to do, especially with so much at stake, when it comes to the health care debate.
Brown already has promised to be the 41st vote against health care, it would be a catastrophic failure historically on part of the Democrats if this doesn‘t happen. We‘ve spent a full year on health care reform and it‘s now down to one vote. It is incredibly ironic that Ted Kennedy‘s seat could be the one to kill health care reform.
It‘s really unbelievable, I think it‘s just an unbelievable scenario that‘s playing out and don‘t kid yourselves, folks, this could derail the rest of the Obama agenda for 2010 and beyond.
When he was on Capitol Hill last night, President Obama had a look about him. You could tell he was angry, somewhat frustrated, like he just couldn‘t believe that this was happening.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know everybody in the media‘s all in a tizzy, what‘s this going to mean politically. Well let me tell you something. If Republicans want to campaign against what we‘ve done by standing up for the status quo, and for insurance companies over American families and businesses, that is a fight I want to have.
(END OF VIDEOCLIP)
SCHULTZ: The way the political winds are turning right now is absolutely amazing. This is a perfect storm for the Democrats, Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln and the rest of the Blue Dogs are watching this like hawks.
If the tea party-endorsed candidate nabs Ted Kennedy‘s seat in Massachusetts it‘s the end of change as we know it. That‘s my take. Joining us for all the facts from Washington, D.C., NBC‘s Kelly O‘Donnell.
Kelly, tell us the back story to this. Are the Democrats really nervous about this race in Massachusetts? Is it as close as the numbers say it is?
KELLY O‘DONNELL, NBC NEWS - WASHINGTON, D.C.: Well, when you hear from Democrats and Republicans the same story about a race like this, then you get a sense that there really is something here.
We have thought that all the drama in this race would be which Democrat would win the primary back in December. No one thought that Martha Coakley, the very popular attorney general in Massachusetts, would have any trouble, so what has happened?
Well, there are a few different kinds of forces at work here, Ed. Part of it is the big picture that doesn‘t directly have to do with these two candidates, a sense that there is a mood change in the country. Is this a way to speak to the whole issue of the Obama presidency and the direction of the country, frustrations about health care, about the expanding deficit.
There are people who are saying that this is a way to send a signal about those issues. At the same time, Martha Coakley as an individual candidate has frustrated some Democrats for not running as hard as they might have liked and making a few missteps along the way.
So then who is this Scott Brown? Well, he was really not even very well-known in Massachusetts. He‘s a guy who has managed to not paint himself as a typical Republican, which is exactly what Democrats are trying to do.
So he talks about being an independent thinker. He had help today from Rudy Giuliani, Martha Coakley had help today from President Clinton, those big names trying to campaign to bring more energy, the big difference that everyone is talking about is which set of voters is more motivated to go to the polls on a January day.
There might be snow, it‘s going to be cold, it‘s a special election. Right now, people are saying conservatives and Republicans and perhaps leaning independents might be more energized. What we‘ve got to figure out is whether all the talk we‘re doing about this race will fire up Democrats to try to prevent a loss, a stunning loss, really, if it were to happen.
Some say Martha Coakley can pull it out, but even if Scott Brown does not win, if he is close, Republicans are saying that‘s a victory for them, perhaps a moral victory for them, where they would be able to use that as an inspiration for other races around the country in November‘s midterm.
So already Republicans are telling me they are just delighted, and they actually feel pretty encouraged because of fund-raising for Tuesday, and Democrats are showing real concern, still optimistic that it can be pulled out, but real concern and that‘s why we‘re going to see the president there Sunday.
I‘m going to be going. I‘ll be watching it and try to get the feel for it on the ground to be able to tell what it feels like on the ground in Boston. And that‘s going to be a big measure of how much of a turnout we might see on Tuesday. How excited will people be about this race—Ed.
SCHULTZ: Kelly, thanks so much. Kelly O‘Donnell reporting from Washington tonight.
A big, big race coming up Tuesday in Massachusetts. the health care plan and various other issues. Bob (Shrum), a long time Democratic strategist and professor at New York University who is very close to the political landscape in Massachusetts joins us tonight.
Bob, the fact that the president has decided in such a late date to go up and campaign on behalf of the Democratic candidate Martha Coakely. What is this mean? Does this signal any kind of panic? And what‘s the down side for the Obama team if she doesn‘t win?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the downside is huge if she doesn‘t win and there‘s no downside in my view to him campaigning and going out there and putting himself out there. Because as we just heard from Kelly, if this race goes the other way, the president‘s going to be blamed.
People are going to say it reflects on even one of the bluest states in the country. The view that people have of the Obama administration, the healthcare plan and various other issues.
That in my view is actually a myth. The president‘s very popular in Massachusetts. John Kerry is very popular over Massachusetts. Vicky Kennedy is stratospherically popular in Massachusetts. I think what we have here is a candidate who sent the votes a message that she was taking things for granted.
She isn‘t doing that anymore, but she did that after the primary. Ran a lackluster campaign, seemed to be running for re-election as attorney general. She got a big wake-up call. The polls are actually all over the place right now.
And by the way, any poll like that, Suffolk poll that says only 1% of the voters are undecided is absurd. So I think the president‘s going up there. He‘s is going up there to fight for her, but more than that, he is going up there to fight for health care.
Because it is appalling someone would get Ted Kennedy‘s senate seat to fight not just against health care but against all of the things Ed Kennedy fought for all his life.
SCHULTZ: Now Bob, do you think Democrats in Massachusetts view it that way? Do they recognize the moment? Turnout is going to be terribly critical on Tuesday, and you were talking about a candidate that may have recognized that she‘s in trouble late in this race, and maybe not has been as focused as she should have been.
But it really comes down to the turnout, and with so much at stake, do you view this also the second part of my question is, is this a seat change in America if the Democrats can‘t win Ted Kennedy‘s seat in Massachusetts?
SHRUM: Well, it will certainly be interpreted in the media as a seat change and it will go through to 2010 and get to 2012. I think Democrats are going to turn out in this race. I think all the attention the race has gotten.
The fact by the way that Scott Brown who is no independent, no independent thinker, he‘s a Sanforized Republican, he revealed that just yesterday when he came out against the charge on the banks that President Obama wants to propose.
He‘s standing with the big banks. President Obama is fighting to get the TARP money repaid. We know that if this guy gets to the Senate he‘s going to be a down-the-line vote and it‘s not going to be a populous vote. It will be a special interest vote. It‘s going to stand against all the values that people in Massachusetts believe in.
SCHULTZ: Is health care a hot topic in Massachusetts to the point where I mean I‘ve had some talkers tell me that, you know, the people of Massachusetts really aren‘t for this health care bill in the way it‘s all playing out right now.
As much as they like President Obama, there seems to a good portion of the people in Massachusetts that don‘t like the way this is going and they feel like the president may have left the base a little bit. He, of course, will try to sure to head up on Sunday, but what is the feeling towards healthcare reform. Is this candidate, Scott Brown maybe at the right place at the right time?
SHRUM: Well, it‘s—I don‘t think the problem here is with the base. I think the base is going to vote for Martha Coakley. The question is getting that base to turn out.
It depends what poll you believe in Massachusetts and I think how the question is asked. There‘s a lot of noise around this healthcare bill right now, both from the left and from the right. Massachusetts, of course, already has universal health insurance for everybody.
And I think it‘s a question of appealing to people‘s better instincts that what‘s been done in that state needs to be done in the country. You know, you listen to Scott Brown and you say this guy is a complete phony.
He says, “I really believe in health reform, but I‘ll be the 41st vote against it so we can go back to the drawing boards and start all over again.” You know when that draft will be finished? About 20 years from now.
SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us. See you early next week. This is going to be a big one.
Coming up, we have passed the critical 72-hour mark for finding survivors of the tragic earthquake in Haiti. The United States military is on the ground and racing against the clock. We‘ll get a live report from NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski in just a moment.
And the healthcare bill is hours away from coming together, and it looks like Nancy Pelosi is winning the fight on the national exchange. Congressman Jim, tell it like it is Moran will join us for reaction in just a moment, all that plus the drugster has redefined hatefulness when it comes to working in front of the microphone. That‘s coming up in “Psychotalk.” stay with us.
Coming. A live report from Haiti and you can help the millions of people in need by donating to one of the charitable organizations that are on the ground in Haiti. Go to ed.msnbc.com to be connected to the aid group of your choice or you can make a $10 donation to the Red Cross right here by texting the word “haiti” h-a-i-t-i to 90999. It will be automatically charged to your cell phone bill. Stay with us, we‘ll be right back.
Welcome back to “The Ed Show.”
Increasing desperation Haiti, three days after the earthquake destroyed the country‘s capital city. Haitian authorities estimate that 140,000 people may have been killed. Today, President Obama emphasized America‘s continued commitment to Haiti‘s recovery.
PRES. BARACK OBAMA: It‘s characteristic of the American people to help others in time of such severe need. That‘s the spirit that we will need to sustain this effort as it goes forward. There are going to be many difficult days ahead.
It will take time to establish distribution points so that we can ensure that resources are delivered safely and effectively and in an orderly fashion, but I want the people of Haiti to know that we will do what it takes to save lives and to help them get back on their feet.
SCHULTZ: More than 20 other countries are also sending food and supplies, but it is arriving slowly. The main seaport in Haiti is damaged and the airport is jammed with aircraft. The Haitian officials are concerned that further delays in aid could lead to an outbreak of violence. Now more here‘s ITV‘s Paul Davis.
(BEGIN VIDEO PACKAGE)
PAUL DAVIS, ITV NEWS (voice-over): Outside the U.N. building in Port-Au-Prince, earthquake survivors fight over boxes of food. It‘s what happens when people are this desperate. And yet the terrible irony is, the life-saving aid the outside world is sending is arriving in Haiti.
Only planes are going to cue up to land at its tiny airport and once on the ground there‘s a bottleneck, a devastated infrastructure and ruined roads means the food, medicine and shelter so willingly donated by so many nations is taking an eternity to reach those who need it. It‘s so close, yet still they are waiting.
In this atmosphere, the risk of an anarchy is so real U.N. soldiers, rifles at the ready, watch over one of the first attempts to distribute food in the center of Port-Au-Prince. For many this will be the first hot meal since the earthquake, but it‘s ironic that there are more soldiers preventing disorder than there are volunteers distributing food.
But then how can you blame people who have lived and waited for three days now with bodies lying in the street. Here outside a hospital, hundreds of corpses await identification and burial. Medical staffs are too busy trying to save the living.
The hospital car park has become an overcrowded emergency ward. There are victims here of all ages, lives still hang in the balance. Local doctors waiting for outside help overwhelmed by the number of casualties.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Usually we have 50 doctors here in the hospital, now, I don‘t have 20. I don‘t have 20 doctors now.
DAVIS: Paul Davis, ITV News.
(END VIDEO PACKAGE)
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Paul. For more on the relief effort, let me bring in Tracy Kidder of Partners in Health, a medical organization that has worked in Haiti for more than 20 years. Tracy is also a Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” which tells the story of a doctor who worked to cure tuberculosis in Haiti.
Tracy, good to have you with us tonight. There‘s been a lot of conversation obviously about relief. There‘s been a tremendous response getting it out to the people, obviously, logistically as one of the big problems.
What about medical facilities, are we making any headway at all when it comes to attending to the needs of the people of Haiti when it comes to medical needs?
TRACY KIDDER: Ed, I‘m sorry to say I don‘t know chapter and verse about this. I do know what Partners in Health has been doing. Partners in Health was the largest medical health care provider in rural Haiti.
They were relatively almost completely unscathed by the earthquake. They have ten hospitals, they have 120 doctors, 600 nurses, about 2,000 community health workers, almost all of whom are Haitian. They‘re very skillful.
There are 10 hospitals in the central plateau now being inundated by patients who are making their way from the capital and of course they‘re taking all comers. They have also sent teams down into Port-Au-Prince, there are probably some of the very first responders so they are intact.
They are trying to set up a base of operations to provide emergency care and then to identify the people who need to be sent out to their hospitals out in the countryside. But this is only a fraction, of course, of what needs to be done. It‘s truly horrifying situation. If I might say one thing—
KIDDER: I think this will, I mean, one way or another Haiti will get through this. It‘s what happens afterwards, too, that I think we have to soon begin to think about and I would like to say that Partners in Health, I know I‘m biased, you know, but I‘ve seen these people in operation.
And I mean this is a totally almost totally indigenous operation now that was founded by an American doctor. It seems to me it provides a really good model of how aid ought to go forward in this country.
That is one they make every attempt to work with the government to work with the authorities to strengthen the public institutions of Haiti, and to instill both expertise and infrastructure in a country that really needs both, and deserves both n my view. So I think it‘s an exemplary—
SCHULTZ: Your organization has been down there for 20 years. Can you speak to the character of the people? They have through so much, they‘re a nation that‘s very poor, the poorest country in our hemisphere. The character of them, they‘ve been through an awful lot. Give us a sense of how you think they‘re going to be pulling through this?
KIDDER: They are some of the toughest people on earth, and some of the most hospitable and in my limited experience, some of the most gracious and generous whom I‘ve ever encountered. This is a people who have created extraordinary art and music.
They are also the people who abolished slavery really. Kidnapped West Africans their ancestors who threw out their French masters and created their own republic. This is the only place in the world this happened. They are to me, you know, I think they‘re magical people.
And gosh, you know, their history, unfortunately, you know, my own country has played a large role in their history and not all of it good, but I do think that in recent years under this administration and to some degree under the Clinton administration, the approach of the U.S. government was much better.
And I think progress was being made quite recently among other things, Paul Farmer, Dr. Paul Farmer is the Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti and I think that should give some comfort that the reconstruction will take a form that really has some promise for Haiti. I do.
SCHULTZ: Tracy Kidder, Partners in Health, I appreciate your time tonight.
Thanks so much. You‘ve given us a real insight on how—
KIDDER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet, on how the people are responding and the character of the people of Haiti and the thing that strikes me in what you say tonight is that they are good people. They are good-hearted people, and this is so out of character, but when people start, you know, getting violent and whatnot, security is somewhat of an issue down there. Thank you, Tracy. I appreciate your time.
KIDDER: How would we behave? Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Coming up, in the midst of all of this coverage and this tragedy that‘s been taken place, there are some words that are being thrown out in this country that are just unbelievable. The Drugster says he‘s trying to tweet the media with his despicable comments. Buckle up, big guy, coming after you in “Psychotalk” next.
And in “Psychotalk” tonight, well the Drugster is still exploiting the tragedy in Haiti to further his hateful political agenda. Today, he went after President Obama again for not talking about the cost of sending U.S. troops to Haiti and he topped it off with a swipe at the military.
So President Obama was quick to claim that it cost U.S. taxpayers $1 billion for every 1,000 soldiers sent to Afghanistan. Remember this? And he has yet to mention how much it cost to send a soldier to Haiti.
Why is there no concern about the cost from the White House? When there was so much concern about Afghanistan, after all, isn‘t the job of the U.S. military first and foremost to protect the national security and interests of the United States? No, it‘s not. The U.S. military is now meals on wheels.
Well, Rush, you seriously have misplaced priorities here. Now from a guy who wrapped himself in the American flag for some eight years and threatened, you know, liberals, you know, because they just didn‘t love the military the way you did, this is widely off base.
And if you think the role of our troops is limited to food distribution, you got a real lack of understanding of the dire situation down in Haiti, not to mention the lack of respect for the men and women in uniform in the United States military.
They have the skills that go far beyond wielding weapons. In fact, they are down in Haiti right now, right now running air traffic control for safety concerns, and yes, they are helping distribute food and water, which under the circumstances is an incredibly complex task of the utmost importance.
Who better to be in charge of something like that than members of our highly trained disciplined military. Rush trivializing the heroic works of our nation‘s bravest men and women puts you really in the serious “Psychotalk” zone.
Coming up more on the crisis in Haiti. A former CIA Officer Jack Rice is headed to Port-Au-Prince and he‘ll join us with the latest on the role of America‘s military and how they are performing down there.
And Congressman Jim Moran will be with us to talk about health care. The battlefield is squaring up. He‘s also waging war against Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell. That‘s next.
Plus, guess who is on the GOP‘s top ten most wanted list? Your old buddy, Big Eddie. More on that at the bottom the hour. I‘m honored. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW from Ft. Worth, Texas, tonight.
Thanks for watching.
To health care, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says we could have a final health care bill in the next 72 hours. But a third day of marathon negotiations at the White House has ended without a deal. The urgency is growing, because of the political landscape in Massachusetts and the dramatic turn of events. In that Senate race, it‘s looking increasingly possible that the Democratic candidate running for Ted Kennedy‘s seat could lose that seat. The president is now heading to Boston Sunday to try to prevent that.
But if it happens, in the words of Chairman Barney Frank, it would kill the health care bill.
Joining me now is Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, a member of the progressive caucus. Jim, good to have you back with us tonight.
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Were you in the room last night—you bet. Were you in the room last night when President Obama spoke to the Democrats? If you could describe the intensity—it looked like, from the sound cut we ran, that President Obama was very intense. We‘re definitely coming down to the wire on this. Tell us his mood, his determination, and what your impressions were.
MORAN: Well, obviously I wouldn‘t miss that. He was intense, very serious. He has an extraordinary capacity to grasp details, but also to keep the context in mind. And he made it clear. He‘s going to give us a bill that we can sell, and that he will do his best to sell all over the nation.
The problem is, it needs to be finalized before we can go out and market it. Now, he sat down with the Speaker, and Rich Trumka, particularly, and his other labor leaders. They worked out the deal that was the biggest problem on the House side. And I think now that they‘ve gotten over that, that they‘ve satisfied organized labor—because labor gave up a lot of salary increases in order to get better health care coverage. And now to tax that at 40 percent, it just wasn‘t going to work, and it wasn‘t going to work with probably a majority of the House Democrats.
So that‘s worked out now. And he‘s now got to worry about the Senate. You‘re absolutely right. How ironic that the person that would fill Ted Kennedy‘s seat could very possibly be the vote that would kill health care reform in the Senate. So we‘ve got to get it done before that happens. You‘re absolutely right. This is urgent. It‘s number one priority. Really nothing else much matters, other than the fact we‘ve got to respond to what‘s going on in Haiti, as you‘ve made clear.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, you made reference to the excise tax and the unions, of course, have come to negotiation. We‘ll touch on that again in a few moments with Leo Gerard. But what about abortion? What about all the concerns with the conservative Democrats in the House? The last few days, there hasn‘t been a whole lot of conversation about the abortion concerns, because there is language in that Senate bill that a number of liberal Democrats are not going to go along with. So where is that as you see it right now?
MORAN: It‘s undecided how we‘re going to work that out, Ed. That‘s one of the pieces that needs to be fixed. I would hope that we could find a way around that. I would hope that the people who are opposed to abortion under any circumstances would understand that the American people need health care, and as important as abortion is to them, this is about the quality of life of all Americans, and they ought to be willing to make some compromise.
So right now, we‘ve got very conservative language in the House and Senate. But I think those of us who feel a woman ought to have control over her own body are willing to make some compromise to get this health care reform bill through.
SCHULTZ: And one other point I want to ask tonight, on a different subject, and I know you have worked on. That is the military issue of Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell. What is happening, because today was a big deadline on that?
MORAN: Well, it was. Ninety five of us in the Congress sent a letter to Secretary Gates saying we want to know how many people you have discharged over this policy. You know, there are so few other countries that have this policy where you discharge people because they happen to be gay.
SCHULTZ: And what is that number?
MORAN: Iran—well, a number of people that have been discharged? More than 13,500. We‘ve recently discharged more than 800 mission critical troops, 67 who could speak Farsi and Arabic. How desperately we need those folks. They did nothing wrong, other than the fact they were suspected of being gay. So we discharge them. In 2001, we discharged almost 1,300 people as soon as the Bush administration came in.
That‘s not what the Obama administration is about. It‘s about getting the very best people. There are thousands of gay people around the country watching your show who want to be in the military, who want to go to Haiti, who want to help those people. And they can‘t because they happen to be gay.
Not that they‘re not qualified. Not that they are not good US citizens and patriotic. So it needs to be fixed. That‘s all. And let‘s get it fixed. It‘s not as much as important as other items. But it ought to be done.
SCHULTZ: Yeah, no doubt about it. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your joining us on this Friday evening.
MORAN: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Back to health care for a moment. Labor drew a line in the sand in the final health care negotiations, and in a sense it worked. Union leaders have won major changes on the excise tax. And in that compromise, union plans will be exempt from the tax until 2018. The taxable threshold has been raised, and will be adjusted for inflation, and it will allow unions to shop for plans in the new health care insurance exchange.
Today, Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats were on board with the compromise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: This is something that president wants to have in the bill in principle and he will. I think the principle is preserved. But working families and middle class in our country will not feel the negative impact that we feared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers International. Mr. Gerard, always a pleasure. Good to have you with us tonight. How much did labor give up? How much did the White House give up? Are you comfortable for where it is right now on the excise tax?
LEO GERARD, UNITED STEELWORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION: Well, let me say that it was a meaningful set of discussions that we had, because we were substantially concerned that the excise tax, as it was designed in the Senate, was going to be hugely unfair to middle class workers and middle class families. And what we wanted to do was have a discussion that would make sure that those that already had health care weren‘t going to be pushed out of the health care system by an unfair tax.
I think that the president came to the discussion with an open mind and said he didn‘t run for election to punish middle class families, and that he wanted to know our concerns. And over a number of days, a number of trade unions, led by Richard Trumka, explained all of the different concerns that we had, where people that were older would get punished; women would get extra because—and a lot of it was over demographics, age, location.
And as we explained those, it became clear there need to be some way to relieve the burden off middle class workers. And I think we‘ve done that, not just for trade unionists, but for middle class families across the board.
SCHULTZ: Are the unions of this country satisfied with the president‘s performance on health care reform? I mean, now he seems to be really engaging down the stretch. His talk last night at the House, some of the things he‘s doing right now. And now, of course, Leo, this Senate race that‘s taken place up in Massachusetts on Tuesday throws a whole new mix into this game. There is a chance, if this Senate seat is lost by the Democrats—and union can play a big part of boots on the ground on this - - this whole thing could be for naught. Isn‘t that correct?
GERARD: Well I think, as congressmen said, it would be a tragedy if someone was to get Ted Kennedy‘s seat and vote against this health care proposal. And I think we have to get it done before that possibility could happen.
Look, this is not the health care bill that the labor movement would have written. It‘s not the health care bill that the House wrote. And it‘s certainly not the health care bill that most Democrats would write. We need to know and not to never forget that every single Republican has been against anything that was in that health care bill that would have helped middle class workers, the middle class families, so that what we‘ve got is a health care bill that has the possibility, and hopefully very soon, of getting politically passed at this point in our political environment.
This is a bill that‘s going to bring about something that we haven‘t been able to do in America for 100 years, get every American high-quality health care and affordable health care. I‘m very concerned. And I‘m very proud of Nancy Pelosi for hanging in and demanding that there be a national exchange or a national set of rules, so that we can try to bring about some competition. So I think we‘ve made some concessions. Everybody‘s made concessions. The only people that haven‘t done anything are the Republicans, who are just against anything.
SCHULTZ: There‘s no doubt about that. Thank you, Leo Gerard, appreciate your time tonight. President of the Steelworkers International with us here on THE ED SHOW.
For more, let‘s bring in our panel. Joe Madison is an XM satellite radio talk show host, and Ron Christie, Republican strategist, with us tonight. Gentlemen, it is almost politically amazing what is unfolding in Massachusetts. Ron Christie, is this the golden goose that the Republicans have been waiting for to knock down health care reform?
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I don‘t think it‘s the golden goose the Republicans have been looking for, Ed. I think this is the golden opportunity for the American people to stop the arrogance of one-party control here in Washington, D.C. This ultimate cynicism of a deal that was reached with the unions I think is appalling. That you would have two people who sit side by side at the Department of Justice here in Washington, one who is a member of a union, and one who is not—they‘re at the same pay scale, but yet if you are a member of a union, you‘re exempt from a tax, and if you‘re not, you have to pay that tax. It‘s the ultimate cynicism, the ultimate arrogance of power.
And I think Tuesday is going to send a wake-up call around the country. The American people are sick and tired of the side deals. They‘re sick and tired of one-party control. And they‘re tired of the runaway deficit spending.
SCHULTZ: Joe Madison, your response to that? Has it been one-party control? Numerous times, I thought I‘ve heard the president try to reach out and get Olympia Snowe and get some other Republicans on board? And also your thoughts on what could unfold in Massachusetts, Joe?
JOE MADISON, XM RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Look at the invitation to the White House list and you‘ll see whether Republicans have been invited to the White House to have heart-to-heart discussions. But it‘s interesting what Ron said. He forgets most people who are not members of unions have benefited from unions, whether they are dues paying members or not. And I suspect that this might be the same when it all flushes out with health care. And I think that‘s what you heard your last guest say, that this isn‘t necessarily just about unions, but it‘s about middle class people.
MADISON: Here‘s something else that I‘m—I would be interested.
Let‘s say the worst case scenario is that the seat goes to the Republicans
in Massachusetts. I doubt that that will happen, because I think that the
Democrats know where their votes are. It‘s a heavy Democratic state. It‘s
well-organized. And it‘s just a matter of, as someone said today in the
green room, getting the school buses out and getting them rolling. But
then, Ed—and correct me on this if I‘m wrong—you could hold up—and
Ron won‘t like this—the certification of the election. I mean, that‘s -
that is a strategy.
SCHULTZ: Well, if that happens—if I could just say, if the secretary of state in Massachusetts decides to hold up the validation of this with the absentee ballots—and there is a 15-day window there—he would really be playing Russian roulette with a lot of conservative Democrats in the House, who are concerned about re-election.
MADISON: But you know how politics are. Yes, I mean, anything‘s possible. That‘s all I‘m saying.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t think the Democrats want to do that, Joe.
SCHULTZ: I really don‘t think—I think the push-back would be something else. On a lighter note, Ron Christie, I want you to know that I‘m wearing this as a badge of honor, that the GOP has put out its most wanted list. And, in a sense, I‘m happy, in a sense—I like being number one. Heck, you got me at number four. Harry Reid number one, Barbara Boxer number two, DNC chair Tim Kaine is number three, and there‘s your old buddy Ed from MSNBC in at number four. Ron, you got to give me credit, at least I cracked the top five.
CHRISTIE: It‘s good to see you in the top five, my friend. I‘d never put you on my endangered list. You‘ve got a special place on my list.
MADISON: I‘m jealous. I‘m not on the list!
SCHULTZ: That‘s a most wanted list.
MADISON: I‘m jealous. I‘m not on it, Ed.
SCHULTZ: That‘s not an endangered list.
SCHULTZ: Joe, it‘s no honor. Fellows, good to have you with us tonight.
CHRISTIE: Take care, ed.
MADISON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, one of the largest conservative newspapers in America thinks that President Obama is—get this—doing a great job when it comes to fiscal responsibility. Top economists Peter Morici will join me in just a moment here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Haitian President Rene Preval says his country is like a war zone. Let‘s go live now to Haiti. NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski joins me from the airport in Port-Au-Prince. Michelle?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It really does look like a war—hi, Ed. It really does look and feel like a war zone, especially with all the military here. This is foreign military behind us, camped out at the Port-Au-Prince airport. But all day long, we‘ve seen US Navy planes landing and taking off, some loaded with aid, and some, we understand, also transporting people.
There‘s been a sort of field hospital set up here, before Americans are evacuated to the US. That‘s being going on all day too. These are people who have been pulled out of the rubble, and here we are in the fourth day after this disaster.
Of course, time is running out for those still trapped. But even now, in the afternoon, we‘re seeing rescue teams from around the world digging through the rubble, and still finding people alive.
It is an incredibly emotional place, a disturbing place, and a frightening place. And now we‘re seeing damage, not to the scale of Port-Au-Prince, but people still affected by the earthquake very much, buildings down, people hungry and thirsty, well outside the capital, too, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks, Michelle. We‘ll be right back with more on THE ED SHOW from Ft. Worth, Texas right after this.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, Karl Rove has always worked pretty hard to paint the Democrats as fiscally irresponsible. But get this, the conservative “Washington Times” is reporting that President Obama has already been significantly more successful in cutting spending than Bush ever was.
Congress has approved more than 60 percent of Obama‘s budget cutting proposals for the first year he was in office. Bush‘s most successful year was 2006, and he got only 40 percent of the cuts he proposed that year. In 2007 And 2008, he got 15 percent of what he wanted.
Joining me now is economist Peter Morici, who is a professor at the University of Maryland. Peter, how does the White House capitalize on this? This is supposed to be really good news in terms of exploding budget deficits.
PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: There was a great article this morning in “The Post” by Axelrod. When Bush came into office, they had a 236 billion dollar surplus that they inherited from Clinton. When Bush left office, they had a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit.
Now, the president will have to start to grind down the deficit in 2011, once the economy has recovered. And that‘s his challenge. But certainly we can only go up from here.
SCHULTZ: Peter, you‘ve been rather critical of the Obama White House, as far as dealing with Wall Street. The comments that the president made yesterday, how did they sit with you? Do they go far enough? And of course, it came on the heels of the testimony of the bank CEOs the day before, in front of that House committee. What are your thoughts?
MORICI: Well, this year the banks are giving out 145 billion dollars in bonuses, and the president‘s proposed tax will only take back nine billion a year. Over in Britain, they‘re taxing the bonuses at a rate of 50 percent for any bonus over 250,000 dollars. I would prefer to see an approach just like that. Let‘s go right after those bonuses, take them back, put it in the Treasury.
SCHULTZ: Is this going to be a hot political potato? Because obviously this has a real populist tone to it. It‘s almost like the president is sticking up for the masses on this.
MORICI: I don‘t think he‘ll be able to get it through the Senate. Even if they win in Massachusetts, it‘s going to be hard to muster the super majority for this purpose, simply because Wall Street gives a lot of political contribution—campaign contributions to Democrats. So this is a tough one for the president.
SCHULTZ: Peter Morici, appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so much.
Coming up, keeping the peace in Haiti is getting tougher by the minute. Former CIA officer Jack Rice joins me to talk about security right after this.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Haiti‘s government has turned over control of the main airport in Port-Au-Prince to the United States State Department. US airplanes have been landing there all day, dropping off search and rescue teams, FEMA workers, and provisions. There are about 1,000 US troops there right now; 10,000 more are expected to be on the ground by Monday.
Joining know now is former CIA officer Jack Rice. Jack, the role of the military in this; this is a rather unusual mission. They‘re doing things that they normally aren‘t trained for. Tell us exactly the scope of this, as you see it right now, and how vital this is.
JACK RICE, FMR. CIA OFFICER: This is absolutely critical, Ed. The one thing that the US military has is that they‘re self-contained. So when they go into a zone like this, they have not just the people and their expertise, they also have communications and so much more. So that‘s a big part of this.
You think about what‘s on the ground, there‘s an estimated—I think it‘s 10,000 Haitian police officers, but that‘s in disarray as well. Who knows how many of them have actually showed up. There‘s about 7,000 UN troops. So bringing in the Americans to sort of buttress this is absolutely critical. In Port-Au-Prince, where there may be three Million people who have been impacted by this, you have these people on the ground. This brings stability. That‘s what the Americans can do.
SCHULTZ: Jack Rice, I know you‘re going down there, and you‘re going to be down there I believe next week. We look forward to hearing from you here on THE ED SHOW. You see the pictures. We‘ve seen them all week long. They‘re absolutely devastating. Be safe, my friend. Travel safe and we‘ll visit with you next week on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.
RICE: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: That‘s THE ED SHOW tonight. I‘m Ed Schultz. Chris Matthews continues our Haiti coverage on “HARDBALL,” starting right now on MSNBC. I‘ll be back tonight at Midnight Eastern time for a special edition of “THE ED SHOW,” right here on MSNBC.
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Transcription Copyright 2010 CQ Transcriptions, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research.
User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s
personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed,
nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion
that may infringe upon NBC and CQ Transcriptions, LLC‘s copyright or other
proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal
transcript for purposes of litigation.>