updated 3/16/2010 11:35:45 AM ET 2010-03-16T15:35:45

Guests: Adam Green, Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, David

Kirkpatrick, Sam Stein, Joe Madison, Clint Van Zandt

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to “The Ed Show” from New York.  Tonight these stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight.  Is it really here?  This is the end game for health care reform.  President Obama turns up the heat in Ohio as democrats, well, they‘re basically hunting for enough votes over on the house side.  I‘ll talk to Senator Bernie Sanders in just a moment. 

And also the latest on the head count from Congressman Chris Van Hollen at the half hour. 

Senator Chris Dodd‘s financial reform bill may look pretty good.  Wait until you read the fine print.  Congressman Ron Paul of Texas will be here to talk about that. 

In the Justice Thomas‘s wife is starting her own little Tea Party group courtesy of the Supreme Court‘s recent campaign finance decision.  How convenient.  

But, first, tonight‘s big story in my opinion is of course what the president is doing.  I want to talk about the 31 million people who will be insured if this health care bill passes.  You know, let‘s face it, the top two percent have been getting everything that they want in this country for the last eight years and its been up to us to pick up the tab for them for years.  Now, they need to pay the piper.  Thirty one million people are about to get a much need economic shot in the arm.  I don‘t think the democrats have talked enough about this.  The president went on the road today in Strongsville, Ohio, and said the right things. 


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The American people want to know if it‘s still possible for Washington to look out for their interests, for their future.  So, what they‘re looking for is some courage.  They‘re waiting for us to act.  They‘re waiting for us to lead.  And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership.  I don‘t know about the politics, but I know what‘s the right thing to do.  So, I‘m calling on Congress to pass these reforms and I‘m going to sign them into law.  I want some courage.  I want us to do the right thing. 


SCHULTZ:  Have you noticed the difference the way President Obama talks about health care, the way the republicans do?  I mean, the republicans, they just look like a beaten crowd  every time you ask them a health care question and it‘s all about fear.  This is a time for courage.  Wavering democrats need to forget about the tea parties and lobbyists.  It‘s time to suck it up and get this thing done.  This bill helps a family of four without insurance that earns less than $88,000 a year.  If you‘re single and earn $43,000 a year this is your chance for health care.  It will eliminate pre-existing conditions, get rid of lifetime caps, lower co-pays, and stop insurance companies from dumping people when they get sick. 

It‘s kind of common sense stuff.  I know it‘s not perfect, but the middle class can‘t wait for Congress to pass a perfect bill.  They need to get it done now.  Things are about to get a lot worse.  Much worse.  A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute shows, quote, “Without significant reform to the current health care system, the number of uninsured Americans could grow by ten million people in the next five years.”  The report projects that by 2015, there could be as many as 59.7 million people uninsured in this country.  And the number could swell to 67.6 million by 20.  A lot of liberals call it, oh, it‘s a big cave-in into the insurance industry.  OK.  I guess you could say that if you want to look at the negative.  But I‘m caving for the middle class. 

I‘m caving for the hundreds of thousands that are going to go bankrupt because of medical bills.  I‘m caving for the mother that just can‘t afford it help her sick kids.  The middle class needs this.  They can‘t afford to wait any longer for Washington to grow a spine.  And I believe that there are a lot of politically exhausted Americans out there.  Number one, they‘re tired of this story.  I want all of you to know it‘s wearing on your old buddy, Ed.  I mean, I have talked about health care until the cows come home.  It‘s time to get something done.  It‘s time to take this deal.  And I know a lot of lefty blogs out there are going absolutely crazy, saying it‘s a sellout to the insurance industry, denying that there is some good in this.  There is some good when you save a life.  There is some good when you get somebody some insurance when they can‘t afford it before. 

It‘s just a game that has had to be played.  And we‘ll get to more on the public option in a moment but talking about where the people are.  I was handed a study today because the unions in this country are out there trying to figure out, OK, where are our people?  How to they feel about all of this stuff?  You know, what happened in New Jersey and Virginia with the gubernatorial races, this Scott Brown thing that took place in Massachusetts.  Where are the people right now?  So, a survey was taken by the Bennett‘s and strategy group here in New York.  They checked out New Hampshire, Colorado, and Nevada.  Three different parts of the country.  Eighty eight percent of the democrats and 69 percent of independents in those three states, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Nevada said that health care is an urgent problem that requires immediate action. 

It also says it‘s a serious problem that should be dealt with as soon as possible.  What people are tired of is all this wrangling that‘s taking place.  And a lot of Americans, I believe, have lost confidence that the Congress can do anything right, lo and behold, that‘s exactly what the president talks about today.  Get your cell phones out folks.  I want to know what you think about this.  Tonight‘s text survey is, do you believe that you and your family will benefit from this health care bill?  Text A for yes and B for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a member of the senate health committee.  Senator, I think that there are a lot of people in this country who are fed up.  They‘re tired right now.  And there‘s a lot of political calculation in Washington as to whether you‘re actually doing the right thing.  I want to ask you directly, and you have been great on health care, is there enough good in this bill for the democrats to gather at the war table collectively and just pass this thing as is?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, VERMONT:  The answer is yes, and the answer is the day after it‘s passed, we have to go back and make it better and stronger.  But your point is right.  Let‘s not—let‘s not ignore the reality that 31 million more Americans are going to get health insurance.  Let‘s not ignore the reality we‘re going to expand community health centers all over this country.  Another 18 million people are going to be able to walk in the door.  Health care, dental care, low-cost prescription drugs, mental health counseling, let‘s  not forget about the insurance reforms, the obscenity, the immorality, of insurance  companies telling families that they can‘t get insurance because they had cancer two years ago.  That‘s gone.  

SCHULTZ:  Senator, do you believe in the CBO numbers?  Do you believe the score that came out late last week that it‘s going to save $118 billion over the next 10 years for the federal budget?

SANDERS:  You know, that‘s what CBO‘s job is, they‘re nonpartisan.  Sometimes they give you numbers you like.  Sometimes they give you numbers you don‘t like.  So, yes, I think they‘re doing their job.  And if that‘s what they say, I believe it.  The other point is, doing nothing is not an option.  This country cannot accept 45,000 people a year dying because they don‘t get to a doctor on time.  And as you indicated, in the next eight years if we do nothing, the cost of premiums are going to double.  Now, what middle class family can sustain that? 


SANDERS:  How can Medicare sustain that?  So, we have to act.  

SCHULTZ:  So, democrats should put away the political calculator here and just grab this historic moment and do it for the people?  Is that what I‘m hearing?

SANDERS:  The answer is, pass this bill and make it better the day after.  I believe that at the end of the day what we need is a Medicare for all single-payer system.  This is far from that.  But that fight continues.  

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  

SANDERS:  So, this is a step forward.  And let us not—let us not underestimate the good in this bill.  Let‘s continue the fight.  

SCHULTZ:  Senator, why can‘t there be just a nonbinding resolution, it wouldn‘t be law, just an up or down vote, taking everybody‘s temperature in the senate, on how they feel about a public option?  Or single payer?  Just an up or down nonbinding resolution to find out where everybody is.   Maybe to give Nancy Pelosi some courage to go ahead and put it in the reconciliation bill.  What about that?

SANDERS:  Look, Ed, it‘s, you know, we are racking our brains out here about how we—if it‘s possible at this stage to bring in a public option.  In the house I know Nancy Pelosi strongly believes in a public option.  She is hanging on there by a thread.  If you ask me at this point, if there was a public option in the house reconciliation bill coming to the senate, would we have 50 votes?  The answer is yes. 


SANDERS:  So, we‘re trying to figure out how we can do this.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, the senate parliamentarian, how much of a hurdle is he viewing this public option, you know, as being even possible by a reconciliation?  Is that really the holdup?  The senate parliament... 

SANDERS:  No, no, no, no, no, no.  

SCHULTZ:  It‘s not?  OK. 

SANDERS:  No.  I mean, the holdup is politics.  I mean, what Pelosi and Clyburn and Hoyer are doing is trying to gain the two or three or five votes that they need to pass this thing.  And the question is, if you have a public option, will that take three or four votes away?  I don‘t know the answer to that. 

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

SANDERS:  Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ:  The progressive change campaign committee is not giving up on the public option.  The group has put out a new commercial hitting back hard at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for saying that the senate doesn‘t have the votes to pass it.  Here it is. 


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA:  I‘m quite sad that a public option isn‘t in there.  It isn‘t in there because they don‘t have the votes. 

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, “The Huffington Post”:  We have 41 Democrats who have said they‘ll vote for it.  

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER, D), WEST VIRGINIA:  Obviously, I want the public option.  

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D), MISSOURI:  Those who want to make sure we have no public option, I don‘t think that‘s going to happen. 

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D), ALASKA:  Public option, if it‘s part of the reconciliation total bill and I like it, I‘ll vote for it. 

SEN. JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA:  You have to do something about competition.  I would support a public option.  

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA:  Question was where I stand on public option.  I believe that we have to have competition in the system. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What is missing for you in the bill, Senator?

SEN. KAY HAGAN, (D), NORTH CAROLINA:  Well, obviously I think that the public option would have been good. 

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA:  I‘m for a public option.  I‘m always have been. 

SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA:  This is for my friend, Ted Kennedy.  Aye. 


SCHULTZ:  So, the votes are there, but congressional Democrats aren‘t fighting for this phase of the bill.  The public option it may be because the White House made a deal with the devil in big insurance eight months ago.  Here‘s the quote from an obscure article in one of the industry‘s top lobbyists published in “The New York Times” on august 13th, quote, “We have an agreement with the White House that I‘m very confident with will be seen all the way through conference.  We trust the White House.  We are confident that the Senate Finance Committee will produce a bill we fully can endorse.”  The current senate proposal that the house is trying to pass looks an awfully lot alike.  The Senate Finance Committee bill. 

Joining me now is Adam Green, co-founder of the progressive change campaign committee.  Mr. Green, good to have you with us.  Adam, you‘ve done a phenomenal job keeping the pressure on lawmakers.  That commercial is very compelling.  At this point, what‘s the game plan?


you know, that quote you just showed could be depressing for some people.  But the good news for folks watching out there is, that this commercial represents some of the best in progressive rapid response and really taking the fight to the bad guys.  You know, last Friday morning, you know, the excuse was made that the senate doesn‘t have the votes.  By Friday evening here on this show, we had our rapid response ready to go.  We named names.  Listed all the senators.  And proved that there were 51 votes.  And by this morning, we had that formalized in a TV ad.  As democracy for America in credo. 

And to be clear, the bad guys are the insurance companies who are trying really hard to ram a bill down that people‘s throats that has no public option.  So, right now what we need is for the house to acknowledge the facts in this ad, say that the votes do exist in the senate and for a few bold progressive leaders to step up, stick it to the insurance companies and demand a public option in the house bill.  

SCHULTZ:  But your target in this ad clearly is Nancy Pelosi for not doing it.  You want her to believe that commercial. 

GREEN:  Well, she has to.  I mean, the reason that we used footage of the senators, themselves, was to make perfectly clear that people like Jim Webb who were at a Town Hall meeting saying, I want the public option, are not going to kill this bill because there‘s a public option in it.  That‘s as crazy.  

SCHULTZ:  So, how much credibility do you put in that article in “The New York Times” and that comment and also Jim Messina, who is the Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House was quoted in that article about this deal between the hospital  association and the white house that there would not be a government-run program?

GREEN:  You know, it‘s been widely reported that there have been deals between the White House and the pharmaceutical companies, you know, to get rid of provisions that would make the cost of prescription drugs lower.  So, therefore, it‘s not off the table that this kind of deal would also be there.  If so, it‘s very depressing for all of us who worked so hard in 2008 for change we can believe in.  But this is not a time for finger pointing.  It‘s time to get a job done and to pass a good bill.  And again, we need a few bold progressives in the house, people like Anthony Weiner, people like Chellie Pingree, so many others who have been champions on this issue to say to Nancy Pelosi, look, the facts are on the table.  The votes are in the senate and now we need a fair vote in the house on a public option amendment. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you want them to do?


GREEN:  But we need a fair vote.  

SCHULTZ:  Are you saying that you want these liberals that you mentioned and there are some others in there, Jerry Nadler, you know, there are lots of them that have been staunch supporters of public option.  You want them to hold their vote unless there‘s one in there?

GREEN:  I think it would be an eminently reasonable position to say, I want health care reform, I want a great bill.  I‘m going to vote for health care reform as long as there is a fair up or down vote on a public option amendment.  If we win, we win.  If we lose, we lose.  But then at least we‘ll have our fair shot.  But to take it off the table when the votes are there in the senate, when the American people overwhelmingly want it, it is just a weird strategy. 


GREEN:  And the only reason to do that is a lack of leadership.  So, we need some leaders at this moment.  And that‘s why thousands of people by the way have gone to whipcongress.com today and chipped in for his this ad.  This ad is only possible because regular people are getting involved and demanding bold leadership.  

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

GREEN:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  One thing will be remembered from this fight, your group has never given up.  

Coming up, Senate Banking Chair Chris Dodd just made promises to reform Wall Street that fall short of what the president wanted.  Congressman Ron Paul will be here with reaction in just a moment. 

And Rielle Hunter broke her silence on the affair with John Edwards.  She‘s bringing a new meaning to the saying “A picture says a thousand words.”

Plus, cops are selling guns and, of course, Michele Bachmann lands in the “Zone.”  She doesn‘t want you to pay any tax if you can believe it.  You‘re watching the Ed Show on MSNBC.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Coming up on the “The Ed Show,” the wife of a Supreme Court justice is not only drinking the right wing tea, she‘s launched her own Tea Party group.  What is Clarence Thomas‘ wife up to?  We‘ll get to that in the bottom of the hour, stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to the ED SHOW, thanks for joining us tonight.  Earlier today Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd laid out a financial reform bill that everyone admits has been watered down to win republican votes.  If you want to see how the bill lost its teeth, just look at the fine print.  For examples, the bill creates a consumer protection agency to be a watch dog on credit cards and mortgages but would be inside the Federal Reserve not an independent agency.  It allows shareholders and company boards to vote on executive compensation.  But those decisions are not binding.  The bill lays out a process to, quote, “wind down the so-called too-big-to-fail banks.”  But there‘s a lot of red tape and potentially lengthy appeals process for that and it has new tough regulations for risky derivatives like the kind that cause the financial crisis in the first place.  But the fear is that the banks, or should I say, the fear is that thanks to lobbyists and lawyers many of the worst offenders would be exempt.

Joining me now is Texas Congressman and Former Presidential Candidate Ron Paul.  Congressman, good to have you on tonight.  From what you know of this bill, does it go far enough?  I know that you and Congressman Grayson have got a bill up there to audit the Fed, but what about this consumer protection agency being an arm of the Fed? What do you think?

REP. RON PAUL ®, TEXAS:  Well, I guess more power to the Fed and doesn‘t do the job.  Of course, I don‘t argue for more regulations, but I support Barney Frank on this and it should be independent and out of the Federal Reserve.  The whole idea of putting it in the Federal Reserve and giving them more power, they get the financing, that co-itself.  Which means it‘s out of the prerogatives of the Congress to audit it.  So, to me, I don‘t think it will do a job.  I think everything they have in there, there are loopholes in it, you know, whether they‘re trying to pretend to regulate the big banks and all.  I think there are a lot of loopholes in that. 

But I‘m for regulation but I‘m for much more regulation of the Federal Reserve and I think as long as you have a Federal Reserve that is a lender of last resort, all the regulations in the world won‘t compensate for this because they know, they work on the assumption that there‘s always availability of credit.  That‘s the purpose of the Federal Reserve, to be the lender of last resort and that is what causes the moral hazard.  That‘s what causes people to make all the mistakes and take these risks because they figure the Fed will be there to pick up the pieces and the people get stuck.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, what about shareholders and board members deciding on executive compensation?  Are you OK with that?

PAUL:  Well, I think it‘s a great idea, but I wouldn‘t mandate it because I‘m not a regulator, but I think that I wouldn‘t be interested in buying into a company that runs raft shaft over the stockholders.  So, yes, I like the idea that they would vote for it, but I just don‘t go into this idea, the federal government can go in there and do that. 

SCHULTZ:  So, what regulation would you be for, Congressman Paul? 

Would you be for the really new tough regulations on risky derivatives? 

How about that?  Would that play well for you?

PAUL:  Well, you know, this vocal rule I sort of sympathetic with, you know.  To say that some of the things that can‘t be put in there because they would be vulnerable to FBIC insurance.  And I voted against that repealing Glass Steagall for that very purpose.  So, I think that‘s well intended and hopefully I can support that.  I don‘t know the exact details on that. 


PAUL:  It‘s something like that, inviting people to take risk and not restrain that.  I don‘t think we should open the door to the taxpayer being libel to bail out all these people.  So, something like the Volcker rule I would be sympathetic to and look at very closely.  

SCHULTZ:  This is kind of a tough call for you small government guys, isn‘t it?  I mean, you don‘t want Wall Street to run away with money, but in the same sense, you‘re not one that wants a whole lot of government intervention and regulation.  

PAUL:  Yes, that‘s why I argue really for the true reform, and that is the reform of the Federal Reserve and the whole concept of money.  Because, once you allow governments and a secret bank like the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air, you allow things like wars to be fought because you don‘t have to be responsible.  The Fed will pick up the debt. 


PAUL:  And the deficits are huge today because of the Fed.  If people are worried about the $2 trillion increase in the national debt this year, it couldn‘t happen if you didn‘t have the Federal Reserve to be the lender of last resort to the politicians for whatever reason.  But there‘s collusion here.  The conservatives like to do it to fight wars, liberals like to do it to have welfare.  And, therefore, the fed—fits the benefits both of conservative and the liberals and it destroys the money ultimately.  And that is why I‘m so interested in looking at the Fed in detail.   

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you on with us tonight.  Thank you. 

PAUL:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Ron Paul from Texas.

Coming up, now I got a tip for the Internal Revenue Service.  You boys might want to keep an eye on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann out of Minnesota.  She just might go rogue on her taxes and she wants everybody else to do it.  That‘s next, in “Psycho Talk.”


SCHULTZ:  Oh, what a way to start the week.  “Psycho Talk” tonight, Michele Bachmann passed around the crazy Kool-aid this weekend in a rally in Minnesota.  She was talking about how the house could pass the senate health care bill by using a procedure called the, quote, “self-executing rule.”  That means the senate bill would be automatically attached to a reconciliation bill.  It‘s a perfectly legal procedure, but Bachmann, she doesn‘t let little things like the truth stop her.  So, she decided that the bill would be illegal and that we should protest it by not paying taxes. 


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  They think they can enforce a non-bill on us?  No.  Mark my words.  The American people aren‘t going to take this lying down?


BACHMANN:  We aren‘t going to play their game? 


BACHMANN:  We‘re not going to pay their taxes? 


BACHMANN:  They don‘t want us to pay for this because we don‘t have to.  We don‘t have to. 


SCHULTZ:  Roseanne Roseannadanna.  Bachmann even went further on the radio show last Friday.  She said that the people could take legal action against the government if the health bill passed. 


BACHMANN:  If they decide to go down this very bad road, pass a rule that says that we‘re just going to pretend that the bill is already passed, if they do that then American citizens have standing to sue against this bill.  It doesn‘t get any more dishonest.  It‘s breathtakingly unconstitutional.  No, one‘s ever seen anything like this before.  


SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Michele, not only have we seen this procedure before but both parties have been using it since the 1970s.  Newt Gingrich, just republican control Congress had used the rule I think, 90 times.  Denny Hastert used it more than 100 times.  So, Michele, this rule is not illegal and it is definitely not unprecedented.  And encouraging people not to pay their taxes?  We have an elected official from Minnesota saying, don‘t pay taxes.  That‘s “Psycho Talk.” 

Coming up, a board of Texas-sized fools are rewriting history in school textbooks.  Thomas Jefferson is getting erased.  The word “Democratic” is also being replaced.  Seriously, this got to stop. 

Plus, I‘ve done some digging on the public option and why it is it happening.  It may trace back all the way to a deal that was cut by the White House in the Dog days of Summer.  We‘ll get to the bottom of that, next.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.



TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS:  Do you have the votes you need? 

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA:  No, we don‘t have them as of this morning.  But we‘re working this thing all weekend.  We‘re working it going into the week.  I‘m also very confident we‘ll get this done. 


SCHULTZ:  Vote counter Jim Clyburn on “Meet the Press” yesterday, saying Democrats will get the 216 votes needed to pass health care reform.  Nancy Pelosi reiterated that claim today, telling reporters she trusts her members to do the right thing.  House Democrats will hold yet another caucus meeting in about 30 minutes tonight.  Earlier today, President Obama made the case for reform in Cleveland, Ohio, Congressman Dennis Kucinich‘s district. 

Kucinich is a no vote right now.  He wants a public option, actually single payer in the bill.  That isn‘t going to happen.  The president and some folks in the crowd called on him to change his vote. 


OBAMA:  Did you hear that, Dennis?  Say that again? 

The truth is what‘s at stake in this debate is not just our ability to solve this problem, it‘s about our ability to solve any problem.  I was talking to Dennis Kucinich about this on the way over here.  I say, you know what?  It‘s been such a long time since we made government on the side of ordinary working folks. 


SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is a special assistant to Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.  He‘s also the chairman of the DCCC.  Congressman, great to have you on.  I think it speaks volumes that the president went to Dennis Kucinich‘s district today, spoke with him personally before the event.  I mean, he‘s asking for the order.  If Dennis Kucinich does vote for this bill, this is really going to disappoint a lot of progressives, but it also might turn the tide for the Democrats in many ways.  How do you se his vote?  Is it symbolic?  Is it important?  What do you think? 

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND:  Well, it is important.  The president was absolutely right.  This is an opportunity for us to make a major step forward in our country on comprehensive health care reform.  None of us got everything we wanted in this bill.  As you know, in the House, we worked very hard to get the public option as part of the bill.  You know, we didn‘t get it. 

Does that mean we don‘t vote for it?  I don‘t think so.  This is a major advance.  It will cover 31 million Americans who don‘t have coverage today. 

SCHULTZ:  Who‘s holding out? 

VAN HOLLEN:  All those people being denied health insurance because of preexisting conditions.  I really hope Dennis will reconsider.  The president was right to ask him one more time.  The crowd was right to ask him to do it.  But let‘s not just focus on Dennis.  Obviously, there are other members that continue to, you know, look at this.  We want to make sure they‘re on board. 

SCHULTZ:  Who‘s holding out?  Do you have the votes tonight?  Jim Clyburn said yesterday on “Meet the Press,” didn‘t have them.  Where are you today?  I would imagine this meeting tonight is pretty crucial.  Where do you stand right now?  Do you have the votes?  Who‘s holding out? 

VAN HOLLEN:  I think the momentum continues to build, Ed.  But there are many members that are waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to make its final—release its final results. 

SCHULTZ:  I thought they already did that.  Score 118 billion to save that much over the next ten years. 

VAN HOLLEN:  No, they have not yet come up with their score for the bill as amended by the president.  His proposal says it would be a change through reconciliation. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  That‘s the second score. 

VAN HOLLEN:  That‘s right.  So that‘s what many members are waiting for. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Now, the Stupak crowd, how confident are you that you‘ll peel a few of those votes off, those who have been so tough on abortion language? 

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, again, most of those members want to support comprehensive health care reform.  At the end of the day, I hope they‘ll look at the Senate provisions and understand that the Senate provisions do not allow taxpayer dollars to go for abortion.  It‘s pretty clear that you have to write a check with your own money if you want to buy a health care policy that includes those reproductive health services that cover abortion. 

So when it comes down to it, we really hope those members will see what the Senate bill does and make their decisions going forward. 

SCHULTZ:  Robert Gibbs said over the weekend that it will be the law of the land by next weekend.  You agree with that? 

VAN HOLLEN:  Well, by the coming weekend is when we hope to have a vote in the House.  Of course, that would send a Senate bill to the president‘s desk.  At the same time, we‘re amending the Senate bill.  We‘re getting rid of some of the provisions in the Senate bill that nobody likes, and rightfully so, like the Nebraska deal.  And so that‘s what we‘re working on right now, is to try to make those changes to the Senate bill that make sense and still provide the kind of coverage that we want. 

That‘s where we are right now, and we need to get from the Congressional Budget Office their analysis of the out-year deficit reduction impact of that combined bill.  As you know, they looked at both the House and the Senate bill and said that they reduced the deficit over a 10-year period and a 20-year period.  We need to make sure that the combined bill does just the same. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you on tonight. 

VAN HOLLEN:  Good to be with you. 

SCHULTZ:  Obviously, we need to pass this health care bill.  There‘s a lot of Americans that would be affected.  I am bothered by this deal the White House cut with the health care industry and big insurance.  Here‘s a quote from a top industry lobbyist.  It was reported in “the New York Times” back on August 13th, when the Tea Parties were going on.  Quote, “we have an agreement with the White House, and I‘m very confident will be seen all the way through conference.  We trust the White House.  We are confident that the Senate Finance Committee bill will produce a bill we fully can endorse.” 

David Kirkpatrick, Washington correspondent of “the New York Times” wrote that piece back in August.  David, good to have you on tonight.  When that comment was made to you, did you think that it was a done deal at that point? 

DAVID KIRKPATRICK, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”:  Well, that‘s a lobbyist for the hospital industry.  He‘s talking about the hospital industry specific deal with the White House and Senate Finance Committee.  I thought, yeah, I think the hospital industry has a deal here. 

There really were only two deals. meaning quid pro quo, handshake, commitment on both sides deals. one with the hospitals and one with the drug industry.  I think what you‘re interested is that in the background of both of these deals was the presumption, shared on the part of lobbyists on one side and the White House on other, that the public option was not going to be part of the final product. 

You might say, look, the White House was throwing in the towel on a public option.  Another person might look at the same deals and the same math in the Senate and say, that‘s just realism.  Anybody could have counted the votes in the Senate and said you didn‘t have 60 votes to pass a bill, the 60 votes you need to pass a bill in the Senate that included the public option. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, we were a long way from conclusion back then.  And of course we were schooled up quite a bit that they didn‘t have the votes in Senate before it was scored by the CBO, which really surprised me.  Another comment in your writing on August 13th was Jim Messina, deputy chief of staff for the Obama administration, told me lobbyists not to worry, that they would politically, you know, stand by them and that they were good for their word. 

KIRKPATRICK:  Remember, this isn‘t all lobbyist.  This is the lobbyist for the hospital industry. 

SCHULTZ:  This is a big one, though.  This was a big one that was against the public option.  In fact, many of them told Senator Conrad that if they go public option in the state of North Dakota, they were going to have to close the doors on some hospitals.  They couldn‘t make a dime. 

KIRKPATRICK:  For sure, everybody in the health care business, the doctors, the hospitals, the drug makers, none of them like the public option.  They worry it will give the government pricing power.  That‘s for sure.

Just to be clear, there was no White House deal with the insurance companies.  The insurance lobbyists were always on the other side and always I think—never going do be really, truly at the table. 

With the hospital lobbyists, the White House could find common ground.  The White House could say, look, we‘ll protect you to a certain extent here.  We‘ll limit the damage, and by insuring more people, you‘re going to get more paying customers.  This is a good deal for you.  So the White House could make a deal with the hospitals to get their support, without gutting the core of their plan here.  Their plan basically is to crack down on insurance companies. 

SCHULTZ:  After your story, I can‘t count the number of times President Obama went out on the stump and said he supported the public option, hanging that carrot out in front of those who supported him, when all along there seems to have been, let‘s say, a deal cut and insurances given to the hospital association that there would not be a public option. 

David, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

Now, I want to get some rapid fire response from our panel on these three stories.  Clarence Thomas‘ wife starts her own Tea Party group to capitalize on the recent Supreme Court ruling allowed unlimited corporate cash in US elections.

And Texas is grooming the next generation of Tea Partyers with new schoolbooks that promote conservative values instead of actual facts.

The progressive movement is divided over health care reform.  Move-On is fighting for the current bill, while the PCCC is fighting for the public option. 

With me now, XM radio satellite talk show host Joe Madison, and “Huffington Post” political reporter, Sam Stein.  Sam, you first tonight.  What do you make of a Supreme Court justice‘s wife getting real political, starting her own Tea Party group? 

SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  I sort of tried to wrap my head around this one.  I don‘t know what to make.  Usually I would say that a politician‘s wife or a Supreme Court figure‘s wife is not fair game.  This one has sort of the curious elements that the Tea Party movement is, in many ways, involved in rallying support behind certain decisions that the Supreme Court will see. 

You know, until I can get a clear sense that she‘s affecting his judicial decisions, I‘m going to be hands off on this one.

SCHULTZ:  Joe Madison, your response?  This certainly opens up new questions for the next time we have a Supreme Court nominee. 

JOE MADISON, XM RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Exactly.  It also points out the power of pillow talk.  Look, she has a right, I guess, to join any party she wants to start and start any party she wants to.  Here would be my position: one, she‘s being used as a magnet.  There‘s no if, ands, buts about it.  She‘s high profile, always has been.  She‘s a magnet. 

Number two, he should recuse himself of any decision that might be related to the Tea Party.  Now, that‘s my rapid fire response to that. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Another one for you, Joe, what about rewriting history?  This could have big ramifications in schoolrooms across the country, because Texas and California, they buy the most schoolbooks.  They‘re a client.  Now they want to take out, like, Thomas Jefferson and change some other things as well. 

MADISON:  Let me tell you what I saw.  They wanted to change the fact that the Voting Rights Bill, in essence, was the responsibility of white men, because white men were the ones who voted to give the Voting Rights Act life.  That‘s like giving credit to King George for the American revolution.  It doesn‘t take into account that you had colonists that fought.  It doesn‘t take into account that you had people whose lives were given for the right to vote.  We made politicians do it. 

SCHULTZ:  Sam, what about health care?  You have liberal groups that are opposing one another.  You have Move-On saying do the deal.  You have the PCCC still holding out for the public option.  How long will this war go on? 

STEIN:  Until health care is signed or fails in the next couple weeks.  I think the vast majority of the progressive movement does want to see this passed.  There are honest and sincere people in the movement who think it doesn‘t go far enough and that it should crumble. 

The big thing to watch is which group can funnel the most resources behind their efforts.  And Move-On is threatening to raise money for primary challenges for Democrats who help defeat the bill.  That‘s pretty bold on their part.  It remains to be seen whether the PCCC and Jane Hamsher‘s Fire Dog Lake can do the same in terms of galvanizing their resources. 

SCHULTZ:  Sam and Joe, thanks for joining us tonight.  Appreciate your time so much.

Coming up, Rielle Hunter decided to bare her soul and clearly much more to “GQ Magazine.”  But now she‘s crying because she says the photos are repulsive?  OK.  That‘s in the playbook next.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, for the first time, John Edwards‘ mistress, Rielle Hunter, is talking about their relationship.  She opened up to “GQ Magazine” with an extensive interview and a revealing photo spread.  For more, here‘s NBC‘s Lisa Myers. 

LISA MYERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Ed.  As you can imagine, after almost four years of silence, Rielle Hunter has a great deal to say about the man she calls Johnny, and about Elizabeth Edwards.  In fact, she claims most of John Edwards‘ mistakes were because he feared the wrath of Elizabeth. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right there.  That‘s beautiful. 

MYERS (voice-over):  This is Rielle Hunter today.  Posing for “GQ Magazine‘s” at times provocative photo spread with children‘s toys and with her and John Edwards‘ daughter, two-year-old Francis Quinn.  Telling the magazine, “I love Johnny and I love my daughter more than anything in the world.”

She says John Edwards was involved with other women outside his marriage before her, but their relationship a special connection. 

“I never hit on Johnny,” she says.  “I‘m not a predator.  I‘m not a gold digger.  I‘m not the stalker.”

She adds that Edwards told her the first night, “falling in love with you could really expletive up my plans for becoming president.” 

Hunter disputes Elizabeth‘s account of how she found out about the affair.  Hunter said she bought John Edwards a secret black cell phone that looked exactly like his campaign phone, so he could call her without drawing attention.  A suspicious Elizabeth found this phone and called the last number dialed.  “I answered the phone and said, hey, baby, and click.” 

She says Elizabeth then confronted her husband and he confessed. 

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS:  I only knew about a single night, a single moment of weakness. 

MYERS:  But Hunter says John Edwards never told his wife it was a one-night stand.  “Who has a cell phone for a one-night stand?” 

Hunter says she did not think John Edwards should be running for president, and was shocked when he decided to stay in the race after Elizabeth‘s breast cancer returned. 

JOHN EDWARDS, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The campaign goes on.  The campaign goes on strongly. 

MYERS:  “I really viewed it as reckless.  What‘s interesting is that she wanted to stay in.  That‘s the key.  He wanted to get out and she wanted to stay in.”

In fact, while claiming to have compassion for Elizabeth, Hunter charges that she emasculated her husband.  “Most of his mistakes or errors in judgment were because of his fear of the wrath of Elizabeth.  He‘s allowed himself to be pushed into a lot of things that he wouldn‘t normally do because of Elizabeth‘s story line.  The wrath of Elizabeth is a mighty wrath.”

Not surprisingly, Hunter vigorously disputes many of the claims of this man. Edwards‘ former aide Andrew Young and his tell-all book.  Hunter and Young are doing battle in court in North Carolina over who owns that infamous sex tape of Hunter with John Edwards. 


MYERS:  John and Elizabeth Edwards separated a couple of months ago.  Hunter deflected questions about whether she now hopes for a fairy tale ending.  As to describe her current relationship with John Edwards, Hunter replied, private.  Ed? 

SCHULTZ:  Thanks, Lisa.  Appreciate your report tonight. 

Coming up, police departments across the country are selling seized guns to try to make ends meet.  Those guns are landing in the hands of killers.  I‘ll bring you the shocking details next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The gun that was used to wound two police officers in the recent shootout at the Pentagon has been traced back to the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department. 

Here‘s what happened.  Memphis police seized that gun in a criminal case five years ago.  Then police—police sold it to a gun dealer to raise money for the department.  From there, the gun made its way to a private gun seller at a Las Vegas gun show, where the Pentagon shooter bought it. 

This cycle—that cycle is not that uncommon.  While many states require police departments to destroy seized weapons, others allow them to be re-sold.  In fact, the governor of Tennessee just signed legislation forbidding law enforcement to destroy confiscated weapons unless they are broken.  Ironically, he signed the bill on March 4th, the day of the Pentagon shooting. 

For more, let me bring in former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.  Clint, this is really a strange set of circumstances.  But it not being uncommon, apparently police departments are cycling weapons back into circulation via gun dealers.  Your thoughts on this. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FMR. FBI PROFILER:  Yeah.  The interesting thing, Ed, they‘re trying to fill up the holes in their budget that we‘re all suffering right now.  They‘re trying to backfill those holes by selling guns. 

Look, my position is, Ed, there are 310 million Americans.  There are 280 million guns that we know of out there already.  There are enough guns out there.  And even though police departments are right, they didn‘t sell it to these shooters.  They sold it to a gun dealer. 

But when the gun dealers start to sell and pass these guns around—

Ed, you‘re going to get letters on this one—but the bottom line is these two guns, the shooter at the Pentagon and the shooter in Las Vegas, one guy was a convicted felon, one guy was so psychologically challenged that the state of California sent him a letter and said, you cannot buy a gun.  Twenty days later, he bought a gun and went to the Pentagon with two guns and started blazing away like Cho did at Virginia Tech or Major Hasan did at Ft. Hood. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, gun advocates would say the gun didn‘t do it.  Why destroy the gun?  What law do you think—what provisions should be put in place?  What procedures should law enforcement take? 

VAN ZANDT:  Guns don‘t kill people.  People kill people.  That‘s what we‘ve been told for years, Ed.  But you tell the police officers that are on the receiving end of bullets coming out of guns that wound up in the hands of somebody who shouldn‘t have had them in the first place.  Ed, to me—and again, gun rights advocates, beware—we need some type of standard nationalized policy that before a legal gun is sold, we make sure the person is not a convicted felon or doesn‘t have a mental condition. 

Ed, bottom line is, if you want a gun in America, you can get one, even if you have a criminal record and even if you‘re a little crazy. 

SCHULTZ:  Isn‘t this a fast track to getting somebody a firearm that shouldn‘t have it?  It goes through a private seller.  There‘s not the background check. 

VAN ZANDT:  Sure.  You know if you go to a regular gun dealer, you have a show a driver‘s license.  You have a waiting period.  They do the background check.  But if you go to somebody else, if you go to a dealer who is not selling it out of a store, but maybe out of the back of his car, there‘s a wink, wink, nod, nod, and that gun and money changes hands.  That happens every day in this country.  And unfortunately, it winds up in the wrong hands. 

But to circle all the way back, again, I‘m not in favor of police departments putting more guns on the street.  We should trying to get them off. 

SCHULTZ:  Great to have you with us tonight. 

Our text question tonight, do you believe you and your family are going to benefit from the health care bill?  Eighty percent said yes; 20 percent said no.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.



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