updated 3/10/2010 9:44:41 AM ET 2010-03-10T14:44:41

Guest: Bob Shrum, Dennis Kucinich, Adam Green, Bill Press, Susan Molinari, Peter Morici

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED

SHOW, live from the nation‘s capital. 

Tonight, Washington, D.C., these stories are hitting my hot buttons. 

Eric Massa.  I mean, he‘s going down in flames, and he‘s trying to

take the Democratic Party with him.  He just wrapped up a bizarre interview

with “The Beckster.”  I‘ll recap it in just a few minutes. 

And Congressman Dennis Kucinich says he plans to vote against the

president‘s health care reform plan.  Well, I‘ll try to change his mind and

get him to try to say yes to covering 30 million more Americans, which the

plan would do. 

Plus, President Obama‘s ambitious new plan to stop foreclosures. 

That‘s all coming up on THE ED SHOW.

But first, here‘s the story that‘s got me fired up tonight. 

Congressman Eric Massa is going down in flames.  I mean, he tried to

take the rest of the Democratic Party with him.  But so far, I mean, the

only person he‘s sinking is himself. 

This story gets more insane by the minute.  I mean, I thought I knew

this guy.  I‘ve interviewed this man dozens of times on this program and on

my radio show.  But in just the past couple of days, hours, even minutes, I

mean, he‘s changed his tune and he‘s singing just a whole lot more crazier

stuff. 

I mean, he just got off of Beck‘s show, an interview that was pretty

damaging.  Just to recap, since there‘s been so many twists and turns and

so many accusations in this story, let‘s go to the top. 

First, he was accused of harassing a member of his staff.  Then he

said that he had terminal cancer.  Next, Massa claimed that the Democrats

forced him out the door so that it would be easier for them to pass health

care reform. 

That didn‘t make any sense.  I didn‘t buy Massa‘s conspiracy theory

either.  Neither did House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn when he was on my

radio show today.  Clyburn, he‘s the guy who counts the votes. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), MAJORITY WHIP:  Nothing could be further from

the truth.  He was never counted.  We think of the magic number before he

resigned was 217.  I was not counting him in that 217.  So his staying or

going will not impact a whole lot. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, to be sure that no stone was left unturned, I asked the

congressman if anyone on the left was harboring any ill will at all towards

Congressman Massa for his believes in a single payer system. 

Here‘s what he had to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CLYBURN:  My lord, absolutely not.  I remember him telling me that

that‘s what he wanted. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

CLYBURN:  But let me tell you something, people like John Conyers has

been around here talking about single payer for as long as I can remember. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, things have changed since then.  Massa just took it to

a whole new level in his one-hour sit-down with “The Beckster” moments ago. 

Changed his story again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC MASSA (D), FMR. NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN:  Can I just start off with

something? 

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  Sure. 

MASSA:  I wasn‘t forced out.  I forced myself out. 

I failed.  I didn‘t live up to my own codes.  I own this. 

I take full and complete responsibility for my misbehavior, and

goodness only knows what allegations they‘re going to throw at me.  There‘s

even new ones today, and we‘ll talk about that. 

BECK:  The new allegations, first it was you made an off-color remark

or you hit on a guy at a wedding. 

So, explain that one first. 

MASSA:  OK.  So we‘re at a wedding New Year‘s Eve.  Everyone had too

much to drink. 

There were 300 people there.  I went with a bridesmaid, danced with

her, sat down.  I went back to my staff. 

All the bachelors, they all made the remarks that you can imagine

about you ought to do this, you ought to do that.  I grabbed a guy, tussled

his hair—“No, I ought to do it to you.”  And there were other words and

they‘re all out there. 

I gave a full and complete disclosure.  And I left because I realized

the party was getting to a place that I shouldn‘t be at.  And I did it. 

Now they‘re saying I groped a male staffer.  Yes, I did.  Not only did

I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn‘t breathe, and then four guys

jumped on top of me.  It was my 50th birthday.  It was kill the old guy.

You can take anything out of context. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  I think this guy‘s in crisis mode.  I mean, don‘t people

resign to get out of the spotlight and end all of this personal indignation

that takes place when the media starts attacking you? 

Instead, this guy‘s going full throttle.  I mean, he‘s on a media

tour, guns blazing, what appears to be lies flying all over the place. 

And by the way, the plot has thickened.  “The Washington Post” just

reported late this afternoon that the House Ethics Committee is reviewing

new allegations that Massa groped multiple male staffers and conducted

himself improperly with interns, as well as full-time aides. 

Folks, tell me what you think about this in our telephone survey

tonight.  The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 

My question tonight is: Do you believe Eric Massa is telling the

truth?  Press 1 for yes and press 2 for no.  I‘ll bring you the results

later on in the program. 

Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. 

Mr. Buchanan, please—good to see you, by the way.  Draw on your

experience, as you always do.  Have you ever seen a politician go out like

this? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I never have.  I never have,

and it was—frankly, I thought the whole thing—I watched 50 minutes of

it.  I thought it was sad, Ed.  I‘ll be honest.  I thought it was sad..

Here‘s a guy who says he‘s defeated, I can‘t fight the cancer, I can‘t

fight anymore the White House, I can‘t fight the leadership, I can‘t fight

the Democrats,  Republicans.  I think he wants out. 

He says he‘s going to do one more show and this was it.  But this was,

quite frankly, it was a pathetic interview. 

He did not make one charge of credible unethical or dishonorable or

illegal behavior on the part of the White House or anybody else in

politics.  The two examples he used, one guy gave him $640 and said you‘re

not being a good Democrat.  What is wrong with that? 

One union said, look, if you vote against this health care we‘ll never

support you again.  That‘s normal politics. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BUCHANAN:  And he tried to explain the groping as sort of horseplay,

you know, high school locker room stuff that guys engage in and things. 

And that was his defense of this.  And, you know, I‘ve got questions of its

credibility, if it‘s true, that there‘s these numerous charges by interns

and others against him. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, he‘ has changed his story so much.  First he says that

Democratic leadership wanted him out. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.

SCHULTZ:  House leadership wanted him out because of his vote on

health care.  And now he says today he did this to himself. 

It doesn‘t make any sense.  There is a reversal right there. 

BUCHANAN:  Then earlier he said he had cancer and he‘s leaving for

that reason.  So he‘s changed the story repeatedly, no question about it. 

The only thing that he defended out there is the shower incident with Rahm. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, let‘s talk about that. 

BUCHANAN:  But even that is not—it‘s funny, quite frankly, for TV. 

But there isn‘t anything illegal there.  If Rahm pushes his finger in

people‘s chest, he did it in the shower, that‘s kind of funny, but there‘s

nothing illegal or unethical or immoral about that. 

SCHULTZ:  No, there isn‘t.  You know, and I‘ve played basketball at

noon at the YMCA, and you‘re in a shower, and say, hey, how did the Bullets

do last night?  I mean, I‘ve got all kinds of stuff going on.  And

sometimes people get passionate in the locker room and start talking it

over. 

But he seems to be targeting the Democratic leadership, targeting the

White House, in this scorched-earth policy he has.  He‘s going after

everybody he possibly can. 

What‘s his motivation for doing that?  Why would he take himself off

the payroll? 

BUCHANAN:  Now here we get to the area of surmise. 

Look, here‘s a guy, a Navy guy, a congressman that‘s being charged

with basically homosexually groping people, which is an awful thing to take

home.  You‘ve got a family, you‘ve got four kids, a number of kids.  So

he‘s—instead of doing that, this was a matter of principle, I went out,

I‘m fighting these guys, I can‘t take it anymore, but I‘m fighting them on

health care.

He‘s one of your guys.  He‘s a single payer guy. 

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes.  And another thing is he‘s been very critical of

Dick Cheney.  Every time the former vice president comes out and is

critical of President Obama on security, it was Eric Massa who was just

taking it to him. 

So he was somewhat of a hero on the left for going after the critics

of Obama.  So what motivation would the House leadership have to get rid of

this guy? 

BUCHANAN:  You know, it didn‘t make a lot of sense.  But I do think

this—I think with the Beck show, I think a lot of folks watch that

thing.  And when it was over, people said that‘s a sorry and it‘s a sad

case, and the guy‘s gone, just let it go, because I don‘t really—there

just is nothing there. 

The guy had an hour.  I mean, I think Beck does some good stuff when

he‘s up there speaking.  He‘s not a great cross-examiner, quite frankly. 

I think the guy should have been pressed on each one of these specific

charges harder, and just said, what about this, what about that, what about

that?  And I don‘t think he was, and Beck gave him a chance to talk, but

when he talked he didn‘t say anything but the same generalities—

politics, corrupt; too much money in it; we ought to have public funding of

politics. 

SCHULTZ:  For more on this, let‘s bring in Democratic strategist Bob

Shrum, a professor at NYU.

Mr. Shrum, great to have you with us. 

The White House reaction, this morning Robert Gibbs pushed back on it,

saying basically he wasn‘t credible. 

Did they handle it properly? 

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Sure.  I think this is—I‘ve

never seen anything like this, as Pat said at the beginning.  And this

statement coming from me is going to be very unusual. 

I agree with absolutely everything Pat said with one exception.  The

groping would have been every bit as bad if it was straight as if it was

gay. 

This guy is a human train wreck.  You watch him on television and you

can‘t feel sorry for him because he‘s totally out of control. 

He needs help.  He‘s obviously lived a lie and now he‘s told a series

of lies.  Even Rush Limbaugh got off this buckboard today. 

The only person seems to be embracing him now is Glenn Beck.  And I

suppose that‘s because it is an opportunity to tell some more lies about

the health care bill. 

But look, Rahm Emanuel didn‘t do anything wrong in this, even if you

listen to what was said here by Massa.  There was nothing wrong that was

done by the House leadership. 

Steny Hoyer took this to the Ethics Committee right away, which is I‘m

sure what Dennis Hastert wishes he had done in 2006 with the allegations

against Mark Foley.  The only person being destroyed here is Eric Massa. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me just say one thing.  I think Beck—I think it‘s

unfair what you‘re saying about Beck. 

He gave this guy every chance to say something.  He pushed him and he

gave him all this time, and the guy didn‘t deliver. 

I don‘t think there‘s anything wrong in giving the guy the time and

letting him be heard, because the allegations earlier on were very serious. 

He‘s a congressman, Democratic Caucus, he‘s making serious charges.  So you

give him time.  Beck gave it to him, he delivered nothing. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Well, Beck also wanted him to rip into the Democrats, too. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, maybe he thought that was going to happen.

SCHULTZ:  He was taking advantage of I think a guy who‘s pretty

vulnerable right now. 

BUCHANAN:  But if you looked, Beck was saying, look, you haven‘t

delivered any goods here for 40 minutes.  It‘s the third quarter.

(LAUGHTER)

SHRUM:  But there‘s nothing unfair about my comment that the only

reason Beck put him on the show was he was hoping that he would lie about

the health care bill and hurt the health care bill and hurt the Democrats. 

Look, Rush Limbaugh, who was talking nuts about this guy yesterday, has now

moved away from him totally. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Beck didn‘t hope the guy would lie.  He said, look, if this

guy‘s got some goods, I want to hear them.

SHRUM:  No, he hoped the guy would propagate some of these myths about

the health care bill that Beck has been propagating. 

SCHULTZ:  OK. 

So, moving forward, is he a story?  And I have to say, beyond this segment

and a little bit more talk, he‘s not.  He‘s irrelevant.  And I think the

fact that Jim Clyburn came out today on my radio show saying, look, we knew

where he stood all along, he was never really a factor, he was not involved

in the headcount, when he left it didn‘t hurt the situation at all for us. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I don‘t know if Clyburn was decisive.  I mean, I

wanted to hear, look, does this guy really having have something? 

And you listened and listened and listened, and it was over.  I agree

with you when you say unless something big breaks, which I don‘t expect—

frankly, if it breaks it‘s probably going to be against Massa—we‘ve

heard the end of it. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think, Bob?

SHRUM:  Yes.  This guy‘s a pathetic footnote, he‘s not a story. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  No, I totally agree, but it‘s pretty bizarre. 

Gentlemen, thanks for joining us. 

Coming up, Congressman Dennis Kucinich says he does not care if he is

the spoiler when it comes to passing health care reform.  He‘s a man of

principle, and I respect that.  But I‘m going to try to do my best here

tonight to try to change his mind. 

That‘s coming up in a moment. 

Plus, Toyota‘s now got a Prius problem.  A car that was recalled and

got fixed got stuck going 94 miles an hour.  I‘ll tell you how that story

ends up in my “Playbook.”

And I‘ve got a turd blossom special for you.  That‘s coming up.  Karl

Rove is back in the zone. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Republicans say opposing health care reform will be the centerpiece of

their 2010 campaign regardless of whether the bill passes or not.  Senator

John Cornyn of Texas, head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee,

says if reform passes, Republicans will run on trying to repeal it. 

I don‘t think the president‘s health care plan goes far enough.  You

know where I stand on all of this.  I‘m a single payer guy.  But if it is

going to get 30 million more Americans covered and get rid of the pre-

existing condition, I think that‘s a big step forward and a reason to vote

for it, and it‘s certainly better than helping the Republicans take down

President Obama‘s presidency. 

But at some point we‘re going to have to make a real decision whether

we believe in this or not.  Is this change?  Is it enough?  Not every

progressive is on board with this. 

And joining me now is Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who voted against

the bill in November. 

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO:  Ed, it‘s good to be with you.  And I

just want to say that the characterization that I don‘t care is not

correct.  I do care. 

I care that this bill privatizes health care, that it took out public

option, that it doesn‘t protect states that want to create a single payer

system.  And that, in fact, there is no control in premiums.  I care a lot

about that. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Then why not give the president a victory and vote for it? 

KUCINICH:  Well, this isn‘t about whether the president has a victory. 

This is about whether the American people are going to win. 

If you give the insurance companies $70 billion, why do they have to

put the middleman in there?  Why do they have to be in there at all? 

Why not just create a system where the money goes right to the people

without the insurance companies getting a cut?  Why do you have to give the

insurance companies a cut? 

Why was the public option taken out?  Why can‘t states have the

ability to create their own single payer system without getting attacked by

--

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  That‘s a great point, Congressman.  And you know I‘ve got

great respect for you. 

I saw the president yesterday.  It‘s the most passionate he‘s been. 

He admitted that they‘re going to be getting 30 million more customers. 

But, you know, they‘re a big player at table and this is all a part of

negotiation. 

Can‘t you accept some incremental steps?  And the public option‘s not

dead with this letter that‘s being circulated over on the Senate side. 

If you guys in the House vote yes on this and come back through

reconciliation in the Senate, we might get the public option.  But we can‘t

do it if there are people on the left such as yourself—I got great

respect for you—who are saying, no way, can‘t do it. 

What about this scenario? 

KUCINICH:  Well, you have to remember, Ed, I started out with a

compromise on the public option.  I voted for it in committee. 

And I also passed through committee an amendment that would protect

the right of states to have single payer.  I had worked to compromise.  And

I‘m not beyond trying to see if there is a way to work out a bill. 

But what‘s happened is that every step that you look at to try to

improve the bill, the insurance companies keep winning.  And every time

they win, their stocks go up and the American people are getting ready to

be hosed by this. 

Mandating the purchase of private insurance—one of the reasons why

we have a problem to begin with is people can‘t afford insurance.  That‘s

why you have 47 million people who don‘t have insurance.  So, you know, I

haven‘t been convinced yet that this bill is the solution.  And as a matter

of fact, I think it‘s a step in the wrong direction because it‘s a step

towards privatization. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, you think that eliminating the pre-existing

condition and covering 30 million Americans, and the tax advantages that

are in here for small business as well, you think that‘s a step backwards

because we don‘t get single payer? 

KUCINICH:  Hold on a minute.  We could pass legislation that protects

people on pre-existing conditions without having to get into the rest of

this bill. 

I mean, two weeks ago, the Congress passed legislation that removed

the exemption from antitrust that the industry has enjoyed for a long time. 

We could do the same thing with pre-existing conditions.  It‘s not—the

bill isn‘t contingent on—you know, pre-existing conditions should not be

contingent on the passing of the rest of the bill. 

And as far as small businesses, you want to give some incremental help

to small businesses?  I‘m all for that.  But the big bill here—and this

is the thing I‘m concerned about, Ed—is that we are creating a

privatization of our health care system, and we‘re taking a step in the

direction of locking that in with a $70-billion-a-year subsidy to the

insurance companies in the hopes they‘re going to provide insurance to

people.  And insurance doesn‘t mean health care. 

They make money not providing health care to people.  And I think that

we have to keep in mind that this private-for-profit insurance structure is

not the way that you secure health care for people.  If you believe health

care‘s a right, we‘re going in the wrong direction with this bill. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  I respectfully disagree.  I think at some point we‘ve

got to take what we can get, and I think we‘re at that point right now. 

Because what would be the ramifications, Congressman, for President Obama‘s

administration and for the direction of the country if the Congress fails

on this issue? 

Your thoughts? 

KUCINICH:  There are states all across this country where there‘s a

strong single payer movement that‘s percolating.  And just like in Canada,

where Saskatchewan was the first province and the rest of the country

caught on, the United States, I think, eventually is going to find Medicare

through all through action of state level. 

Pennsylvania is a good example.  The California Senate last month

passed a bill again for the third time.  They had a governor who vetoed a

single payer initiative twice. 

SCHULTZ:  There‘s other ways, is what you‘re saying.  I got you.

KUCINICH:  There‘s other ways of doing it.  For those who say that the

whole roof‘s going to fall down on health care in America and any hope for

initiatives, that‘s not true.  That‘s just pressure tactics.  They‘re being

used to pass a bill that‘s going to benefit the insurance industry.

And frankly, I cannot be intimidated by those who are trying to force

this insurance industry giveaway down our throats. 

SCHULTZ:  Good to have you on, Congressman.  Appreciate your time

tonight. 

KUCINICH:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  I know you‘ve got to go vote.  Thanks so much. 

KUCINICH:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Karl Rove, one of the most malicious politician masterminds

in U.S. history, is now saying he thinks families aren‘t fair game? 

Don‘t worry, Karl.  You‘re the only Rove who is about to land in the

psycho zone. 

That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, the man responsible for eight

years of George W. Bush, Karl Rove, turd blossom, has a new book out, so

he‘s trying to convince people that you should shell out about 30 bucks to

read about his life. 

While on “The Today Show,” he addressed the rumor that his father was

gay.  He denied it, then slammed the critics for bringing it up in the

first place. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST:  Our view on political issues, on issues

of public policy can and should be divorced from our families.  And our

families shouldn‘t be used as convenient targets to shoot at in order to

get at people in politics. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, that‘s sure not what he thought back in the 2000 South

Carolina primary, when he reportedly came up with an anti-John McCain push

poll by asking the question, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for

John McCain if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”  That

was an apparent reference to McCain‘s daughter Bridget, who was adopted

from Bangladesh. 

Family sure wasn‘t off limits then, was it?  It wasn‘t off limits a

few years later either, when Rove leaked the name of an undercover CIA

agent, Valerie Plame, because he didn‘t like what her husband, Ambassador

Joe Wilson, was saying about the Iraq War. 

If that isn‘t using families as convenient targets to shoot at in

order to get at people in politics, I don‘t know what is.  The master of

dirty politics saying he believes family should be off limits, you got it. 

That‘s “Psycho Talk.”  .

Coming up—today—folks, this is the best reason ever to get

health care reform passed!  “The Drugster” says he‘ll leave the country if

the bill goes through. 

Hey, start packing, big guy. 

And imagine driving on a highway and your accelerator sticks, and

suddenly you‘re going 94 miles an hour and you don‘t have any brakes.  That

just happened to a guy in a Prius Toyota.  You won‘t believe how this story

ends. 

All that and so much more coming up right here on THE ED SHOW.

You‘re watch MSNBC.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  In case progressives needed

yet another reason to support health care reform, here‘s an incentive from

our old buddy the Drugster.  Check this out. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I‘ll just tell you this: if this

passes and it is five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented, I

am leaving the country.  I‘ll go to Costa Rica. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Where they have universal health care.  Rush says he‘ll

permanently leave the country.  That would get every Democrat‘s vote, for

sure.  But as it stands right now, Democrats are not united on the way

forward when it comes to health care reform.  Only 37 Democratic senators

have signed a letter promising to vote yes to pass the public option via

reconciliation.  Some of the names not on the list are pretty surprising,

like Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.  He‘s a strong supporter of

the public option.  So why hasn‘t he signed the letter? 

For more, let me bring in Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive

Change Campaign Committee.  You can find them online at

BoldProgressives.org.  Adam, there are some names on this list—Byron

Dorgan is one of them—he is not on the list, I should say.  Jay

Rockefeller.  What do you make of this?  Why are they holding out? 

ADAM GREEN, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE:  First of all, we

could break a little news here tonight.  Just a couple minutes ago at “The

Huffington Post,” three new senators said they would be willing to vote for

the public option in reconciliation.  Byron Dorgan was one.  John Tester

from Montana was another.  And Daniel Akaka from the great state of Hawaii

was the third.  Ryan Grimm, a fantastic reporter, tracked them down in the

hallways of Congress and got them on the record.

But as for Jay Rockefeller, he said a couple weeks ago he would be

open to any viable option for the public option to get it through Congress. 

Two weeks ago, we had about a dozen people on the letter.  Now we have 40. 

There is no good excuse at this point for any senator to claims to support

the public option, to not stand with us and vote yes on reconciliation. 

SCHULTZ:  Doesn‘t this mean if that the House passes the Senate bill,

and you have all these signatures on a letter that says they will go down

the road of the public option via reconciliation, what more motivation do

liberals in the House have than to go ahead and pass this bill, which the

president has been begging for, and we all know the ramifications if we

don‘t get it passed? 

GREEN:  Exactly.  A lot of us are on the same side here.  We want a

good health care reform bill passed.  And a lot of progressives in the

House would be much more enticed to vote yes if there were a public option. 

What we‘re doing is carrying the burden of proof and showing one by one—

now we‘re up to 40 -- that there will be the votes in the Senate if it gets

an up or down vote. 

SCHULTZ:  I think President Obama isn‘t out there demanding the public

option because he wants this grassroots effect to take place across the

country to give him some political capital.  In your group—you‘re—the

net-roots are giving President Obama the political capital he needs to

stand up and say, OK, let‘s go reconciliation, we‘ve got it.  We can give a

direct piece of competition to the private sector.  Do you trust the

president? 

GREEN:  Do I trust the president?  Well, let‘s put it this way:

yesterday, he rallied people actively in Pennsylvania by bashing insurance

companies who put profits ahead of patients.  Now that‘s not an argument

for requiring by criminal law that people buy more private insurance. 

That‘s an argument for the public option. 

So I want to trust the argument he laid out.  But the conclusion he

came to is a little wrong.  We need him now to embrace the public option

and fight for it.  We got him 80 percent down the field.  We‘re at the 20

yard line, ten more senators to go.  We need his help.  We can do it. 

SCHULTZ:  You‘ve made the case all along that it is politically

popular to go down the road of the public option.  Is it stronger tonight? 

Now you‘re at 40.  You‘re in the zone now. 

GREEN:  We are in the zone.  We‘ve polled in state after state,

conservative state, moderate state, liberal state.  In every single state,

the current underlying Senate bill that President Obama is supporting is at

about 35 percent popularity.  The public option is at about 60 percent

popularity.  It is a political no-brainer.  Now that we‘re getting the

votes in the Senate, it should be a legislative no-brainer, too. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Kent Conrad from North Dakota, who is the chairman

of the Senate Budget Committee, wrote an op-ed in the “Washington Post”

this weekend.  He said reconciliation is something that could be done.  Do

you think he‘s putting out an olive branch?  Or is he putting out some type

of motivation, saying, look, keep pushing on this, and you may have us in a

corner?  What do you think? 

GREEN:  I think there is a growing consensus that reconciliation will

happen.  The question is what will be in reconciliation.  What we‘ve been

constantly saying is the votes are there, just take a vote.  Now we‘re

proving it. 

Again for folks who want to see if their senators have signed on yet,

our website is WhipCongress.com.  Thousands of people every day are calling

Congress saying, get on this letter. 

SCHULTZ:  Why isn‘t Jay Rockefeller signing it, in your opinion? 

GREEN:  Jay Rockefeller, unfortunately, has been very risk averse

lately.  Again, a couple weeks ago, he said it‘s not viable at this time. 

We just made it viable.  Again, if he‘s going to look the people of West

Virginia in the face and say, I want to solve your problems, I want to help

you, it is time for him to act.  It‘s time for him to say one sentence: I

will vote yes if the public option comes up in reconciliation.  That would

do everybody proud. 

SCHULTZ:  Adam Green, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so

much.  Stay with us. 

For more, let‘s bring in our panel.  Bill Press is a nationally

syndicated radio talk show host and good friend.  And Susan Molinari is a

Republican strategist and former congresswoman from the great state of New

York.  How does this play out? 

Susan, we‘ll as you first here.  This is the grassroots pushing the

Democrats.  This is revolutionary stuff, I think.  What do you think? 

SUSAN MOLINARI, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I say, as a Republican, bring

it on.  I think this—these are still numbers overwhelmingly in some very

difficult districts for moderate Democrats that won the majority for the

Democratic party to vote for health care in general.  You want to go public

option?  I think it‘s already starting to look like the Republicans can win

the majority.  The more that the Democratic party moves to the left, the

more danger they‘re going to have of losing that majority. 

And now to introduce the public option on reconciliation, at a time

when there‘s still going to be a lot of debate—so now we‘re going to go

into the next few weeks with a debate over the public option on

reconciliation.  Reconciliation being dangerous to do for any type health

care bill.  And we‘re going to have a debate over—the Democrats are

going to have a debate over the public option and abortion on something

called reconciliation.  I think it is a very dangerous political ground for

the Democrats to be on. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill, is pushing for the public option moving to far to the

left when the majority of Americans want it? 

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  No way.  I say to Susan the same

thing that you said: bring it on.  First of all, I got to say, the idea

that the grassroots have kept this alive—Adam and his organization have

kept this alive and have 40 senators now signed up—and you know what? 

You and I know there are more senators there.  Tom Harkin hasn‘t signed

yet.  He‘s going to be a vote for reconciliation.  So is Jay Rockefeller, I

believe, eventually, and others. 

They have got the votes now.  We‘re going to get a strong  bill.  And

in the fall when the Democrats go out and say, if you have insurance now,

we‘re going to protect you from these insurance companies jacking up your

rates 50 percent every time you turn around, and if you don‘t have

insurance now, we‘re going to give you the opportunity to buy it, and the

Republicans have nothing to offer—

MOLINARI:  The Republicans are going to say, we spent two years with

the Democrats controlling the White House, the House and the Senate,

talking about health care for people who do not have jobs.  When do we have

a discussion about lowering the deficit, creating jobs—

PRESS:  That‘s going on.  That‘s going on at the same time. 

MOLINARI:  There has been absolutely no movement.  And that‘s been the

biggest miscalculation of this administration. 

SCHULTZ:  Susan, what do you say about the preexisting condition?  I

mean, Americans that would be able to get insurance coverage that they‘ve

never had before?  How can that be a safe position for the Republicans? 

MOLINARI:  It is a position for the Republicans.  The republicans have

about four health care bills that if the Democrats ever entered into an

honest negotiation with the Republicans, they would find that there are

bills out there that include crossing state lines, covering preexisting

conditions. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s in there.  That‘s what the president has embraced, to

make it bipartisan in theory, even though there‘s not going to be any

republican votes here. 

MOLINARI:  There are some things in the bill that Republicans do

support and have supported. 

SCHULTZ:  Why wouldn‘t they vote for it based on the preexisting

condition and expanding the coverage for 30 million more Americans?  The

Republican plan does three million.  The democratic plan does 30 million

more. 

MOLINARI:  Well, because—number one, because there‘s a whole bunch

of other things that are in there.  The Republicans have never supported a

public option. 

SCHULTZ:  Public option‘s not in the bill. 

MOLINARI:  OK.  Either way. 

SCHULTZ:  Not in the Senate bill. 

MOLINARI:  Either way.  They‘re talking about increasing the deficit. 

They‘re not talking about—what are we even debating in terms of how we

pay for this?  The Democrats haven‘t told us yet.  Have they come to an

agreement as to how they‘re going to pay for this.  Cadillac plan?  Labor

unions in or out?  We don‘t even know exactly what the final plan will look

like. 

PRESS:  The president made it very clear how he‘s going to pay for it. 

I‘m not particularly happy with the excise tax, but that‘s what it is going

to be. 

(CROSS TALK)

PRESS:  If I may, here‘s the thing, I thought the president said it

very well yesterday.  All these Republican complaints sent back and forth,

they had ten years.  Where were they?  They did absolutely nothing.  And

now where are they?  Nowhere. 

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s move to the midterm quickly.  John Cornyn, the

Republican who heads up the Senate Campaign, reelection campaign, he says

he wants to run against health care reform.  I say bring it on, because if

we pass this bill, and that‘s what the Republicans want to run on, here we

go.  The people get to decide. 

MOLINARI:  You‘re absolutely right. 

SCHULTZ:  So that, I think, gives the Democrats even more reason to

pass this bill.  Adam, your thoughts. 

GREEN:  Sure, bring it on seems to be the phrase of the night. 

MOLINARI:  Let me quote ex-Commerce Secretary William Daly, who said

today the Democrats have miscalculated on health care.  This last election

was moving to the center left, not to the left.  That‘s a Democrat in the

Clinton administration. 

SCHULTZ:  But if the majority of Americans want a public option, how

is that moving to the left? 

PRESS:  Ed, in these midterm elections, the Democrats, once they get

out selling the product—and it is going to be a good product—they‘re

going to be way ahead of the game.  The Republicans have nothing to sell on

health care. 

SCHULTZ:  Spirited discussion.  Great to have all of you with us

tonight.  Thanks so much. 

Coming up, defectors from the Church of Scientology are now coming out

of the shadows.  They‘re telling stories that just will knock your socks

off.  A special NBC report is up next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, the Obama administration has a new

plan to help some five million homeowners still at risk of foreclosure. 

Pay them.  Pay them to sell their homes at a loss.  The process is called a

short sale, and requires the lender to forgive the difference between the

selling price of the house and the balance of the mortgage.  As an

incentive, the government will pay out 1,000 dollars to the bank holding

the mortgage, and another 1,000 to a second lender if there is one.  The

borrower will get 1,500 dollars in relocation assistance. 

This program starts on April 5th, and it could rescue hundreds of

thousands of desperate homeowners.  But lender concerns about fraud may

make the plan a real tough sell. 

Joining me now for more on this is Peter Morici.  He is an economist

and professor at the University of Maryland.  Peter, nice to have you with

us tonight.  Good plan?  What do you think? 

PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND:  I think it‘s a great plan.  You

have a lot of people who might have spent 150,000 dollars on a house, have

a mortgage 120,000.  Now the house is only worth 90,000.  They can‘t get

out.  If they ultimately end up in foreclosure, the cost to everybody but

the guy who works the deal is tremendous.  This will reduces costs to the

banks.  It will the give the homeowners a chance to get out of town, so to

speak, with decent credit.  It works for everybody. 

SCHULTZ:  The bank doesn‘t want the house back.  The bank doesn‘t want

to be shuffling the paper.  This is a real helpful thing the Obama

administration‘s doing for the banking industry. 

MORICI:  Absolutely.  In a lot of cases, there is a second trust or a

second mortgage.  And homeowners are afraid to walk away from those because

that lender can come after them, after their salary and so forth.  The idea

would be to forgive that as well. 

If you don‘t forgive that, those guys are going to lose all their

money in the end, anyway.  This is a way of accelerating the process and

keeping homes from having foreclosure signs on the front lawn. 

SCHULTZ:  Whose idea is this?  Has it ever worked? 

MORICI:  We really haven‘t been down this path before.  I think it is

a very innovative idea.  And I think this is an example of the Obama

administration being flat-out pragmatic in an effective and positive way. 

SCHULTZ:  The market re-adjustment, people just can‘t handle it.  OK? 

Now if you got a job, you can handle it, because you wouldn‘t move out of

your house if you could make the payment.  This really stems from massive

job loss in this country.  Does it not? 

MORICI:  Absolutely.  Massive job loss, people can‘t make the

payments.  Also, people borrowed under the assumption they‘d be able to

borrow again, these adjustable rate mortgages.  Now they can‘t.  The

Interest rates are ballooning.  Also people need to be able to move so they

can get another job.  You have to be able to sell to do that. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, I respect our conversations a lot.  I revere your

opinion.  I‘m a construction guy.  OK?  I think these job numbers this

summer—I‘m switching subjects—I think these job numbers this summer

are going to turn around.  I think that along the northern tier, you‘re

going to see a lot of infrastructure projects.  The stimulus package is

going to kick in.  And I really believe that we‘re going to see the job

numbers really turn.  Your thoughts? 

MORICI:  My view is we‘re bottoming.  I‘ve been tracking private

sector jobs.  We‘ve gone from 80,000 to 35,000 to 18,000 lost. 

Manufacturing‘s getting some ginger.  The real question isn‘t whether we

bottomed and whether we‘ll add some, whether we will add enough, that 1.3

million a year we need just to stay even with new high school graduates. 

We have to get back nine million jobs over the next couple of years?

SCHULTZ:  Do you think we could go nine percent unemployment before

the election? 

MORICI:  The election this fall?  No, I don‘t believe we can.  I think

it is going to be very tough to do. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Peter, great to have you with us.  Thanks so much. 

Another page in my playbook; the Church of Scientology is getting more

controversial than ever.  Now former members of the church‘s elite

management team are speaking out, saying that they were abused, severely

underpaid, and trapped.  If they wanted out, they had to pay the church

thousands of dollars and then were completely cut off from the family and

friends who remained in the fold.  NBC‘s Kerry Sanders has more. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Business as

usual, it seems, for Scientologists at the organization‘s expanding world

headquarters in Florida.  But for 33-year-old Christine Colbrane (ph), once

a member of Scientology‘s elite corps, life is anything but. 

She was born into a family of Scientologists.  But since Christine and

her husband, Chris, also a member of the church, broke away and started

speaking out against Scientology, as they did in a recent “New York Times”

article, Christine says the church has cut her off from her family. 

CHRISTINE COLBRANE, FORMER SCIENTOLOGIST:  They have to make a choice

between their daughter or their eternity, what they think is their eternity

as far as their salvation goes spiritually. 

SANDERS:  Spokesman Tommy Davis says the church denies interfering in

her family, but does say members are taught to cut contact with so-called

suppressives, people who viciously attack the church. 

COLBRANE:  I‘ve been labeled a suppressive person because I basically

no longer support the church. 

SANDERS:  Her decision to leave, she says, was emotionally and

financially costly.  Christine says every member signs a so-called eternity

contract to remain a Scientologist for a billion years.  When she broke

that contract, she says the church, which had paid her 50 dollars a week,

handed her a 40,000 dollar bill for counseling services the church had

given her over her lifetime. 

COLBRANE:  I signed a contract that said I was going to be there for

the rest of my life and beyond.  So I didn‘t fulfill that contract and they

bill you. 

SANDERS:  That bill was later reduced to 10,000 dollars.  But still,

Christine claims the church made leaving so difficult, she made an extreme

choice.  The C-ORG does not allow members to have children, so she got

pregnant and hid it until it was too late for an abortion. 

The church denies putting any pressure on members to have abortions. 

Scientology boasts millions in their congregation, including high-profile

movie stars John Travolta and Tom Cruise. 

TOM CRUISE, SCIENTOLOGIST:  It is—being Scientologist, people are

turning to you.

SANDERS:  -- whose Scientology video on Youtube has been viewed more

than five million times, a testament to the public‘s fascination with this

secret religion.  But “the New York Times” reports members are walking away

in increasing numbers. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Now there is the sense that people who do leave

have company.  They‘re not alone.  And that‘s what‘s contributing, I think,

in some ways, to this flood of people who are kind of stepping out of the

church. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  “The New York Times” reported that, according to the

American Religious Identification Survey, the numbers of Scientologists in

America has plunged from 55,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2008.

A final page in my playbook tonight, another out of control Toyota

carried its driver on a terrifying 94-mile-an-hour ride down a California

highway.  How‘s that for California dreaming and driving.  The driver

called 911 while his 2008 Prius sped down the road.  Twenty minutes later,

and 35 miles later, with the help of the highway patrol, he was able to

slow down the car and turn off the engine, and the car coasted to a stop. 

Toyota says they will investigate the incident.  The car is not one of the

more than eight million vehicles included in the recent Toyota recalls.

Coming up, in case you missed it, Eric Massa is talking again, this

time with Glenn Beck in the same room.  Whole lot crazy stuff being said,

really.  We got to talk about it with our panel in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MASSA:  Everybody loves an independent member of Congress until you

are one.  And the minute you step out of the mold, then the whip starts

cracking.  Within 15 minutes of me deciding to leave, “Politico” published

a full story on this, complete with anonymous sources and time-lines that

obviously have been in development for goodness only knows how long.  Who

knows where—don‘t you find that kind of odd? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, that was former Congressman Eric Massa on Glenn Beck‘s

show just an hour ago, trying to take all of Washington down with him.  For

more, let‘s bring in our panel again tonight, Bill Press and Susan

Molinari. 

MOLINARI:  Start with Bill this time. 

SCHULTZ:  OK, I‘ll start with Bill.  He was not an independent in

Congress.  He was a single payer advocate.  He was a staunch critic of

President Obama when it came to the Afghan policy.  He just did an

interview with Robert Greenwald and “Brave New Films.”  The guy was solid. 

He‘s unraveling.  I‘ve never seen anything like this. 

PRESS:  I wrote a book about this.  It‘s called—the name, “Train

Wreck.”  That‘s exactly what we‘re seeing.  Ed, you and I had Eric Massa on

our shows many times.  He was one of my favorite guests because, on the

single payer, great, from our point of view.  On the public plan option,

great.  On the Iraq war, on Afghanistan, on Don‘t Ask Don‘t Tell. 

SCHULTZ:  He wasn‘t independent. 

MASSA:  No, right down the line, he was as liberal as you can get.  He

was a Kucinich, Maxine Waters liberal.  Suddenly, he‘s just seems to have

flipped out.  I got to tell you, I feel like I should be angry, but I‘m

really sad about him, because I just think he‘s done.  He‘s ruined. 

Tomorrow, nobody‘s going to be talking about him.  And he‘s just gone.  He

could have been a good vote. 

MOLINARI:  I don‘t know what else to say about this that hasn‘t been

said.  It‘s a sad story. 

SCHULTZ:  You know who‘s happy this is happening?  Charlie Rangel,

because Rangel‘s off the front page now.  Rangel‘s not getting talked

about.  This story has captured any kind of scandal that‘s out there for a

while. 

PRESS:  The other thing, Ed, OK, I don‘t know about these allegations. 

Right?  He says—

SCHULTZ:  Why do you take yourself off the payroll if you‘re a man of

conviction and you‘re for health care reform? 

MOLINARI:  Let me tell you something—I‘m speaking as a partisan

Republican.  I know Speaker Pelosi.  I know Leader Hoyer.  They don‘t do

these—the allegation that people in—this is a tough game.  People do

not set out to do this to people, you know.  I mean, I just can‘t believe

that they would do this.  That‘s what he‘s inferring. 

PRESS:  My point was, why quit?  If, as he told Glenn Beck tonight, he

never did anything sexually, never did anything criminal, then why not stay

and fight? 

The other thing is, I just—you know, to see this guy who had so

much going for him, and had run before, and then he turns around and

finally gets the seat—he‘s there 431 days and he walks off. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill Press, Susan Molinari, thanks for being here tonight. 

Appreciate it tonight.  Tonight, in our telephone survey, I asked you, do

you believe that Eric Massa‘s telling the truth?  Eleven percent of you

said yes; 89 percent said no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews

is up next, live from Jerusalem.  Chris has an exclusive interview with

Vice President Joe Biden.  That starts right now, here on the place for

politics, MSNBC.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.

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

BE UPDATED.

END   

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