Guest: Sherrod Brown, Arlen Specter, Ben Cardin, Susan Molinari, Tom Andrews, Keith Erekson, Stephen A. Smith, Tom Tancredo
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to
“The Ed Show” from New York tonight. These stories are hitting my hot
buttons tonight. I guess you could say the Right Wing crazy train was back
on Capitol Hill today. Michele Bachmann and her crowd trying to kill the
bill while the President and Nancy Pelosi are doing a full-court press for
all the votes.
Senator Sherrod Brown and Arlen Specter will be joining me in just a
Small businesses can‘t get credit and big banks, I think they‘re to
blame. Some Democrats want the small business administration to start
making direct loans. The President, he disagrees with that.
Plus, a revolt inside the Tea Party Movement. Dick Armey is out for
Tom Tancredo. Why? I thought they were Republican brothers. Tom is going
to be here later in the program to respond to all of that.
But first, tonight‘s top story that‘s got me all fired up. The Tea
Party crowd. Back on Capitol Hill today, trying to kill the bill with this
big rally with you know who Michele Bachmann kicking the whole thing off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELE BACHMANN: We are at the bottom of the ninth. We‘ve won every
inning so far, so that should feel pretty good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BACHMANN: All we have to do is keep this up until Saturday. We do
not want this bill passed. We want to kill the bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kill the bill! Kill the bill!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And we know for a fact there absolutely were no Capitol Hill
staffers in that crowd whatsoever. There‘s just been this huge mob that‘s
just moved right into Washington to say kill the bill. Dog darn-it, the
Republicans are good at choreography, aren‘t they? The bottom line here,
folk, is they in the last 72 hours have not addressed one thing that they
would like to see in the bill. It‘s all negativity across the board.
That‘s all it. Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight.
The number to dial is 1877-Ed-msnbc.
And my question tonight, let‘s lay it right at the doorstep of the
Democrats, if the Democrats fail to pass the health care bill, who will you
blame? Press 1 for President Obama. Press 2 for speaker Pelosi. I‘ll
bring you the results later on in the Show.
Joining me now, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, mixing the Show up a
little bit tonight because, of course, the senate has just got votes that
have been called. He, of course, is on the senate health committee.
Senator, the President has made a full-court press to get Dennis
Kucinich, a colleague of yours from Ohio. Where do you think that‘s going
to come down in the House? Do you think the congressman is going to change
his vote and go with this bill?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D) OHIO: I was with Dennis yesterday, so was the
president. We talked as a small group. We talked individually. I don‘t
know. I mean, Dennis plays it close to vest. What I was thinking, though,
Ed, as I was listening to Michele Bachmann, is you know, I just wonder if
the opponents of this bill ever talk to people who have lost health
People that got disqualified because they got a pre-existing condition
or people who lost their insurance because it was so expensive. I mean,
because they got sick and it cost the insurance company so much they
dropped them from their plan. Or people that are, you know, they‘re 23
years old, home from college, can‘t get insurance, can‘t get on their
parent‘s plan. I talked to a small business who can‘t afford it anymore
because like a guy in Columbus—or Cleveland yesterday I talked to—
runs a group home of 200 employees and premiums went up 40 percent or 50
percent. I don‘t know who these people that are opposed to this bill are
SCHULTZ: They don‘t.
BROWN: They see these suffering, they don‘t see these huge economic
problems for working families or for small businesses. I mean, I don‘t
even get it. I don‘t get how they keep shrilling, screaming, you know, men
and women both in the Republican Party against this bill. Don‘t they talk
to any real people? Do they just talk to people that dress like this?
SCHULTZ: They don‘t care, Senator.
BROWN: I don‘t get it. I don‘t get it.
SCHULTZ: Senator, they want to see President Obama fail. They want
to see the Democratic majority fail. This is all an ideological war. And
that‘s the term that they‘re using right now.
BROWN: You know that‘s probably right.
SCHULTZ: The word “war” has been used by Orrin Hatch, the word “war”
has been used by Senator Jon Kyl. I feel like we‘ve wasting all these
months. I want to ask you, there‘s some NBC poll numbers coming out at the
bottom of the hour, and there‘s been some other surveys out there as well.
Do you think that the country is politically exhausted with this story?
That—and also do you think that it‘s really starting to do damage to the
entire process of Washington trying to get something done? I mean don‘t
the Democrats just have to get the deal done?
BROWN: Yes. That‘s why I‘m really glad speaker Pelosi is moving this
week. Will move next week. It‘s got to be done. The President‘s tired.
I mean, the President has such a huge job anyway. Everybody‘s is tired
this. The public country want to hear about it.
We need to get it done. Not that we can‘t get two things at once, but
we have to get health care done, put it aside, focus exclusively on jobs,
how to create jobs in 100 different ways. But the health care stuff we‘ve
been doing it long enough and the Republicans just want to delay. I mean
everything, start with a clean sheet of paper. They know that kills the
bill. That‘s the same old stuff that‘s all about delay and we can‘t let
them delay any longer.
BROWN: They‘re going to do amendments and after amendment after
amendment Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint and David Vitter next week, we stay in
24 hours a day until they‘re talked out, until they get laryngitis,
whatever it is. They can‘t talk anymore. They‘re done with their
amendments. It‘s all about delay. We have to hold their feet to the fire.
Make them vote. We vote over and over and over again until they run out of
words and we pass this bill.
SCHULTZ: Senator Sherrod Brown, good to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
BROWN: Always - thank you.
SCHULTZ: Folks, what is happening here is very clear. You have got
some base Democratic progressive groups in this country that are going to
start fighting back against conservative Democrats who are going to block
Now, there are 22 Democrats who have decided to go with the
Republicans and vote no on this bill. What we‘re going to be seeing
across the country is a bunch of primary challenges. This one coming in
late this afternoon in the state of South Dakota.
And I find it very interesting that Senior Obama campaign official
Steve Hildebrandt is eyeing a Democratic primary challenge to South Dakota
congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Congressman Sandlin she voted
against the health care bill once before. She‘s saying she‘s going to do
it again. Hildebrandt, who was in Tom Daschle‘s staff and was a big wig in
the Obama campaign, he said if the vote is very, very close and we lose it
or come close to losing it, I will take seriously a look at challenging her
in a primary.
Now, this is going to be happening in Colorado, it‘s going to be
happening in Ohio, in Kentucky, and in Arkansas. And I think it is a real
message to the rest of the Progressive Democrats that are out there, there
is such an angst amongst the base they‘re willing to challenge their own.
For more on this and what‘s going on as far as working together across the
aisle, let‘s go to Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. Senator, good to
have you with us.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Nice talking to you, Ed.
Thanks for the invitation. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Yes, yes, sir. There seems to be a narrative going around
right now. Hey, we‘ve never done this before. Well, I thought I‘d ask a
veteran. Have we done this before? Has the procedure that‘s being
discussed right now, in the House and the Senate, has it been done before?
SPECTER: Yes. 22 times. I filed a statement today which is just
about a legal brief on the subject, pointing out where it has been done in
the past on similar circumstances. For example, Welfare Reform in 1996.
For example, Cobra, Changing Insurance Policies. For example, children‘s
health. For example, Medicare advantage. And I have cited in this legal
brief the specific Republican Senators who used it and who are now
complaining about it.
It is well established. It is a legitimate way—look, Ed, we‘re
really facing more than health care reform.
SPECTER: We are really facing the confidence to govern. You have 40
Republican senators saying no, all of them. You have 176 out of 177 in the
House saying no. We have to fight fire with fire. This is legitimate.
It‘s a question of whether Washington can govern.
SCHULTZ: Well, it looks like the American people, the polling that‘s
coming out, they‘re disgusted with it. They‘re politically exhausted with
this story. And they just want change, whether it‘s Republican or
Democrat, it seems like right now. So how pivotal, in your opinion, is
this for President Obama‘s presidency?
SPECTER: Well, I think it is very important. Look here, I crossed
the aisle, in fact, I may have crossed the aisle one time too much to suit
my Republican colleagues who were outraged when I voted for the stimulus in
order to avoid sliding into a 1929 depression.
Now President Obama‘s on the spot, but Congress is on the spot to see
if we can legislate. If we get tied up in knots it‘s really a suicide
pact. Justice Jackson said years ago that the constitution is not a
suicide pact. Well, technical rules are not a suicide pact. Especially in
the context where they‘ve been used before. But this is a real test as to
whether President Obama can act, whether the Congress can act. I predict
we‘re going to do it, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Yes and senator, for our viewers across the country tonight,
give us a sense of what it‘s like in the halls of Congress right now.
Passing one another in the hallway. These demonstrations that are taking
place outside. The moment of history here and the angst amongst the
American people. What would you compare it to, Arlen?
SPECTER: Well, I would compare it to a hurricane. I would compare it
to a tsunami, to a volcano eruption. This is a question as to whether
government can function. And there‘s a lot of anger that‘s flowing both
ways. Look, I went to those town meetings. I went to Lebanon, the guy was
apoplectic waving his arms at me. America is furious and largely about the
gridlock and inability of Congress to govern. And it is more than health
care. It is more than a piece of legislation. It is more than any of us
who hold office about re-election. It‘s a matter about whether our system
SCHULTZ: Senator I have to cut you off, I got to do you a favor. You
have to go vote. That‘s what I‘m told. Good to have you with us.
SPECTER: Okay. Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania with us tonight.
America undoubtedly I believe is sick of the fight. The numbers are going
to be showing that. They want Washington to get this bill passed and just
to move on and let‘s get to the polls.
Now I showed you a survey last night, the Bennissen (ph) strategy
group that clearly indicates 88 percent of Democrats want immediate action
on this health care issue. 69 percent of independents view this as an
urgent problem. It‘s the inaction that‘s doing this. People are drained
by the Right-wing lies and all these ridiculous demonstrations by psycho
talkers out there in my opinion and the Democrats are dragging their feet.
They‘ve done everything to be bipartisan.
I think the American people, because of all of this are politically
exhausted with the health care story. But hold it right there. I‘m doing
this tonight and I‘m going to see this thing through because it‘s going to
save lives. And it‘s going to help a lot of Americans. I said at the
beginning of all this I was willing to lose friends over this, believe me,
I have. But this is the moral thing to do for the country. The new NBC
news/”Wall Street Journal” poll might slow the process down even more.
Believe it or not. Respondents were asked, they were asked, if you knew
your representative voted to pass the current health care bill, would you
be more or less likely to vote for them this fall? The numbers are
staggering. 36 percent say that they will be less likely. That‘s eight
points higher than 28 percent who would be more likely.
Nancy Pelosi at this hour is fighting for every last vote. Any
Democrat that lets this moment or any poll scare them is begging for a
primary challenge. This is about life or death. It‘s a gut-check time for
Washington. If this bill fails you know who wins? The Michele Bachmanns
of the world who have never done anything for anybody. The bill fails,
people will die. No doubt about it. That‘s not an extreme statement. I
have had a lady on this program several nights ago, if this bill had been
enacted a life would have been saved. How much more evidence do we need?
Moveon.org blasted an e-mail to its 5 million members today. They
have pledged to use donations to help primary challenges defeat any
Democrat who votes against the bill. We never thought we were going to be
in this place. If you‘re a strong Liberal we never thought it would
happen. But it has. We have to have the intestinal fortitude to see this
thing through. You either want to talk about the money and you want to
talk about people? Pick your party. Pick your movement. We may be
frustrated with the process but the moral thing to do is support those who
are going to vote yes on this bill.
Coming up, I think the big banks, I think they‘re hoarding the money
from small businesses because they want this guy, President Obama, to fail.
Senator Ben Cardin is fighting to help the little guy. He‘ll be with us
next here on “the Ed Show.”
And Tiger Woods is making his move and he‘s going for the green
jacket. Steven A. Smith will join me in the “Playbook” and we‘ll talk
about the comeback.
It‘s all coming up in the “Ed Show” stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to “the Ed Show.” let‘s talk business. Small
businesses are hurting for capital and big banks, I think are to blame.
The major financial institutions are sitting on credit. I don‘t think they
want to do anything to help this President succeed.
They are invested in his failure, at least they‘re acting that way, in
my opinion. But business owners, they need access to credit. They have to
get their hands on cash. If the big banks won‘t provide it, the small
business administration should step up. Maryland Senator Ben Cardin
introduced a bill calling for the SBA to directly lend to small businesses.
Senator Cardin joins me now. He‘s a member of the senate small
business committee. Senator, look, this is just an opinion here. And you
can give me yours. It seems to me credit is way too tight and that
businesses are cash strapped. They want to move. They want to do
projects. But they can‘t get access to capital. So where does the small
business administration step in on this in your opinion? What should
SEN.BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well we know that banks have money and
they are not lending money to small businesses. We know that. We know
many worthy small business owners are not able to get the credit they need
in order to create jobs and get our economy back on track. More new jobs
will come from small business than from larger companies. More innovation
comes from small business. So I think it‘s important that we make credit
available for credit-worthy customers for small companies. That‘s not
happening today. What I have suggested and, yes, let‘s beef up the SBA
programs. Let‘s look at direct loans to help during these extraordinary
SCHULTZ: Why doesn‘t the president want direct lending?
CARDIN: Well, the president has an alternative proposal to try to
make credit easier to community banks. I respect his views on this. I
think community banks, given some help that could also help. I know our
states also have programs. But I think we need to have, at least as a
backup, the ability of SBA to come in and help when we know that there are
important business decisions that are being denied because credit‘s not
SCHULTZ: Well, the argument that‘s being made is that this would
create a greater bureaucracy. Why wouldn‘t they have this direct lending
go through local banks and they could be part of the deal? And that, of
course, would alleviate all of the administrative stuff that would add to
the infrastructure. Why can‘t we just use the private banks, but it would
be government money and direct lending?
CARDIN: Well, you‘re right we also have the SBA structure that‘s in
place. They‘re already guaranteeing 90 percent of small business loans
under their major program. So they‘re already involved in evaluating the
loans. They do have partnerships with banks. So, I think this could be
done very quickly and efficiently. I agree. I think this could be done
with minimal cost and get the money out quickly.
SCHULTZ: Do you think the financial sector, the big-money people in
this country do not want to see President Obama succeed?
CARDIN: Well, I think that it‘s important that our economy get back
on track. Our President has a game plan to help small businesses. We have
to help small businesses grow. To me, the key is going to be to get credit
out to small companies who are being denied credit today. If they don‘t
have an existing relationship with a bank it‘s impossible, very difficult,
to get a loan today. We have to correct that.
SCHULTZ: They‘re tight with the dollar. No doubt about that.
Senator Cardin. Thanks so much.
CARDIN: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, I‘m not sure what I should be more disturbed
about when it comes to Senator Inhofe‘s rant on the senate floor last
night. His story about ostrich heads? Or the naked Al Gore cartoon he
used as a prop? You know where that puts him. He‘s in the “Zone.” Stay
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Oklahoma‘s foremost global
warming denier. And that would be Senator Jim Inhofe. He‘s the guy who
said global warming was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American
people. Well yesterday on the senate floor he decided to ignore all the
important things that are going on in Washington and instead spend time
regurgitating old attacks on Al Gore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JIM INHOFE, ® OKLAHOMA: Gore seems to be drowning in a sea of
his own global warming illusions. When it comes to practicing good science
Gore stands alone. He wants the world to put its head in the sand and
pretend nothing‘s happening. It kind of remind me of the story of the two
boy ostriches chasing the two girl ostriches through the woods and they‘re
catching them. The one girl ostrich said to the other as they came to a
clearing, what do we do? Well he said let‘s hide. So he took each of the
girl ostriches stuck their heads in the respective hole and the boy
ostriches came galloping up to the clearing. And one looked at the other
and said, where do the girls go?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Did you get that out of the “Weekly Standard,” senator? I
tell you what, senator, if there‘s anyone with his head in the sand, it‘s
you, buddy. First of all, you‘re ignoring basic science that supports
climate change and your head is really in the sand if you think the cute
ostrich analogy does anything but waste time. Save it for the grandkids.
Will you, Jimmy? It‘s no place for the senate floor. A complete waste of
time. At a time when congress needs to take serious action on major issues
facing our country, your attacks, attacks on Al Gore, are irrelevant
“Psycho Talk.” poor Oklahoma.
Coming up, a bunch of loonies in Texas. They‘re trying to fill your
kids‘ school textbooks with “Psycho Talk.” I‘ll tell you what that‘s all
about. What you can do to stop it.
And the tea they‘re drinking in New Jersey is really strange brew. A
court just ruled that the righty fringe can force their Democratic Senator
right out of office. Just because they disagree with him on health care.
All that, plus I‘ll tell you what I think of Tiger‘s decision to play at
the Masters, you‘re watching “The Ed Show” on MSNBC, stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
Our NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll has just been released. The
numbers aren‘t good for the majority party when it comes to health care
reform. Only 36 percent think it‘s a good idea; 48 percent say it‘s a bad
idea. Despite that, people still want the Congress to pass it; 46 percent
say it‘s better to pass the current bill; 45 percent say it‘s better to
keep the status quo.
The American people don‘t trust either side right now. They‘ve been
turned off by a sausage-making process and all the politicking that‘s
taking place. even from the president; 57 percent disapprove of how
President Obama‘s handled health care; 59 percent disapprove of how the
Republicans in Congress have handled health care.
Now, the question is whether the country will come around once the
Democrats pass reform, if they succeed in passing it. For more on that,
let‘s bring in John Harwood, CNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent. John,
I don‘t know if the word to use is frustrated or the other word that starts
with a “P” that says really upset. Where is America right now?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it‘s more on
the latter. You could go even worse than that, but this is a family
network. Our colleague, Peter Hart, Democratic pollster, who does this
survey with us, says the findings, if you take them together, amount to a
memo from the American public to Congress that says, you stink.
I think the question, Ed, is the one that you framed. You know,
health care polls show that the American public is sour on the process.
You do show a plurality of people saying the Obama plan is a bad idea. But
the politics for Democrats are all in favor of going ahead of this because
the consequences would be much worse, in the estimation of all the
Democratic political people, if they don‘t do it, if it fails and goes
Then you have the question of how much can they mitigate their
problems, can they blunt their problems with the public if they pass it?
That‘s what we don‘t know.
SCHULTZ: There‘s other information tonight, obviously relating to the
president. How‘s he faring in all of this? His job approval rating is at
48 percent. Also the views of the stimulus package, 42 percent a bad idea;
35 percent a good idea; no opinion at 23 percent.
And which party would do a better job on the economy? John, I really
found this interesting. There is no winner here. There is no winner.
HARWOOD: Yes, but it‘s clear Republicans have made headway damaging
the reputation of the stimulus package, and you see that in these numbers.
They have never been all that strong, because when you have a huge
government-spending plan in this environment, you have a lot of misgivings
about it. And you know, Democrats are in the position of trying to sell
the argument that things would be a lot worse, we could have had a Great
Depression if we didn‘t do what we did. It‘s hard for people to imagine a
consequence that hasn‘t happened.
So the challenge for Democrats, in this very tough environment, very
favorable environment for Republicans, is to try to fight through it and
see if they can take, for example, the health care plan, if it passes, and
sell the individual components, some of which are popular, and turn a
failure story in a success story. That‘s their challenge.
SCHULTZ: The big question every politician is asking is—when it
comes to the midterms now, is this a yes or a no? Will this be—will
these numbers, or any poll for that matter, be a deciding factor on where
they go on this major piece of legislation? And I think one thing that
we‘re seeing is all this talk of primary challenges. Do you think any of
these numbers would push any politician over the edge to go one way or
HARWOOD: Well, you do have a lot of people on either fringe of the
party. the Tea Party right, or the activist left in the Democratic party,
seeing what‘s happening in the bases of the two parties, how polarized they
are and how strongly they feel about this. You may see some consequences.
You mentioned earlier in the show Steve Hildebrand potentially
challenging Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. That‘s an example of what will
happen if the Democratic base is disappointed by the failure of health care
bill. That‘s a means of the left putting pressure on some of those Blue
Dogs who are withholding their votes.
It is a rough environment out there, though. There‘s no question the
Republicans have the high side in this election. And it‘s—what
Democrats have got to do is simply limit their losses. They know there are
going to be losses.
SCHULTZ: John Harwood, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
HARWOOD: You go tit.
SCHULTZ: Now I want to get rapt fire response from our panel on these
three stories tonight. The John Edwards scandal is the kind of thing that
makes Americans hate politicians. This could have a major impact on the
vetting process for whoever wants to stand up next.
Republican leadership says that it could be war. Could be war? If
Democrats try to pass health care reform through reconciliation with just
And the Tea Party crazies, nuts, whatever you want to call them, in
New Jersey won a court victory today to move forward with the recall effort
against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. The senator has 45 days to appeal
that ruling before the Tea Partiers can act on it.
With us tonight, Tom Andrews, a former Democratic congressman and
executive director of the New Security Action, and Susan Molinari, former
congresswoman and Republican strategist with us.
Let‘s start with the John Edwards story. Susan, you first. I mean,
it would seem to me, with the disappointment that John Edwards caused in
the political arena, this is going to really open up a brand new effort to
SUSAN MOLINARI, FMR. CONGRESSWOMAN: I think John Edwards is in a
category all by himself here. It is a story that continues to be told in
the pages of magazines now, with his girlfriend posing in just a nightshirt
and on beds with a little doll.
You know, yes—I don‘t know how to answer this, Ed. I mean, my
goodness, clearly you have to vet your candidates, but how deep can you
get? I mean, would anybody have ever thought to say to John Edwards, a
United States senator and vice presidential candidate, before he was a
candidate for president, have you ever had an extra-marital affair on your
wife who is—you know, has cancer? And do you have a child?
I mean, it wouldn‘t occur to people that people would be this
narcissistic, this crazy, to put themselves out there.
SCHULTZ: It happens and a lot of people were hurt. A lot of
organizations came out in favor of John Edwards. Tom Andrews, do we ask
for cell phones and passwords on the Internet? How far do we go with this?
TOM ANDREWS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: You know, the reality is, Ed,
unfortunately, neither political party has a monopoly on this kind of
bizarre behavior. It‘s just obviously inexcusable. The people that John
Edwards was talking about and reaching are, of course, the people that you
said earlier on the show—this health care debate is literally a matter
of life and death.
So you need those voices out there loudly and clearly. The problem
for the Democrats, frankly, on this issue, is it‘s not the lack of
messengers or messengers compromising themselves, it‘s being off message,
allowing the Republicans to take control of that message. That‘s what we
have to be focusing on in this debate.
SCHULTZ: Susan, talking about what the Republicans are saying, that
it would be war if the Democrats try to pass health care through
reconciliation. Is this a scare tactic, or is this really a signal that
we‘re not going to work with the Democrats on anything if they go
reconciliation on health care?
MOLINARI: I think what they‘re saying is if the Democrats feel like
they‘re going to do a self-enacting rule, they‘re going to do
reconciliation, you know, that this is the way they‘re going to go—I
don‘t think when Jon Kyl and others said this is going to be war, we‘re
never going to work for the American people ever. But we‘re going to make
sure that their feet are held to the fire, and that this is a vote that‘s
going to be taken very seriously, and will be played politically, in the
right sense of the word, towards election.
SCHULTZ: Tom, does this embolden the Democrats to just go ahead and
ANDREWS: Absolutely. This is war. And it‘s about time the Democrats
in Washington stand up and fight in this war, and fight for the people we
elected them to fight for. This Republican reaction—I just think of
“Casablanca” and Claude Rains saying, I‘m shocked—shocked that they‘re
using—the Democrats are using exactly the technique that we used when we
were in the majority. Nobody buys that.
What we want to see is Democrats standing up, fighting, getting
results and getting this thing passed. I think the word for this is
hypocrisy, this complaint about the process that the Republicans, of
course, made famous when they were in the majority.
MOLINARI: The republicans weren‘t the ones that stood up and said,
we‘re going to do government differently; we were going to have this
transparent, this translucent government; we were going to have everything
on C-Span; everything was going to be regular order. It‘s anything but
with regard to health care.
SCHULTZ: The president took enough heat and he did open up the
process. Everybody showed up.
MOLINARI: That‘s right.
ANDREWS: We all remember the Contract on America, you know. And how
that all went for the Republicans. Listen, people want to see results.
They want to see results. The problem is that Democrats, frankly, have
lost control of this—the terms of this debate. Finally, the president
is out there swinging away. He‘s going after the insurance companies that
are ripping off the American public.
And we‘re seeing those poll numbers that you talked about earlier in
the show, Ed, are beginning to move in a positive direction because
Democrats are starting to fight and fight hard. That‘s what we expect them
SCHULTZ: Tom, I want to switch now to the Senator Menendez story in
New Jersey. If the Tea Partiers are able to recall, or at least put the
senator‘s back to the wall, what does that say about them being a political
ANDREWS: Well you know, Ed, I‘ll tell you. This is why we have
elections. If you disagree, if you‘re opposed to someone who‘s in public
office doing things that you don‘t like, then by all means, go out and run
against them and vote against them.
You know, I tell you, there are an awful lot of Republicans that folks
in my party would like very much to see recalled all over the country. Of
course, there was a big movement when George W. Bush was president.
Frankly, I think that‘s what elections are for.
SCHULTZ: Susan, how should Republicans respond to this possible
recall of Senator Menendez?
MOLINARI: I think this goes way beyond Senator Menendez. I think the
fact that we have 18 states that allow for recalls of state officials, that
the state of New Jersey has now deemed that even though the US Constitution
says you can‘t recall a senator and a congressman, that you can maybe, in
fact—that the state Constitution would supersede that. You‘re going to
see this happening throughout the United States if this is allowed to
stand, to Republicans and to Democrats, first starting with the United
I wouldn‘t be surprised if there‘s actions throughout this United
States to try and change state Constitutions to try to deal with members of
SCHULTZ: I don‘t disagree with that.
MOLINARI: This is going to be the next big debate that both
Republicans and Democrats, and every elected official is going to have to
deal with. It does not end in New Jersey, by any means.
SCHULTZ: Susan Molinari and Tom Andrews, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks for the rapid fire response.
Coming up, after four months of hiding, Tiger says he‘s ready for the
comeback. And he‘s going big. He‘s headed for the Masters in Augusta.
Stephen A. Smith will be here to talk it over with me in the playbook.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, four months after his infamous
Thanksgiving night car crash, Tiger Woods will be back on the golf course
for the Masters golf tournament. He announced his return to golf today
with the following statement. He said, “the Masters is where I won my
first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long
and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I‘m ready to start my
season at Augusta. I have undergone almost two months of in-patient
therapy, and I‘m continuing my treatment. Although I‘m returning to
competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life.”
Joining me for more on this story tonight is Stephen A. Smith,
nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and columnist for the
“Philadelphia Enquirer.” Stephen A., I got to tell you, on my talk show
today, I asked people if they were rooting for Tiger Woods and the
comeback. It was 50/50, but it was emotional and passionate. There was no
gray area. How is he going to be received at Augusta?
STEPHEN A. SMITH, “PHILADELPHIA ENQUIRER”: It‘s going to be a mixture
of both. You‘re going to hear jeers and cheers. The fact is he‘s the
greatest golfer in the world. so you‘re going to see people who love the
game of golf, love watching him perform in the game of golf, that are going
to be rooting for him to perform, because that‘s going to bring theater to
the sport. Clearly, the game of golf, as well as the Masters, itself, are
in desperate need of his arrival and his participation.
On the other hand, you‘re going to have a lot of people out there that
find his acts very, very egregious, find his betrayal, his infidelity very
egregious, and they‘re going to try to act accordingly.
But don‘t make the mistake of assuming they‘re going to be louder than
the cheers, because the Masters, itself, will assist in making sure the
cheers outweigh everything else. That‘s a very controlled environment.
It‘s no accident why Tiger picked this event to come back.
SCHULTZ: Network executives are predicting this is going to be a huge
television audience all four days. Will it?
SMITH: No question. You‘re going to have people who want to see him
succeed, because they‘re going to adopt that underdog role when it comes to
him. Oh, it‘s Tiger against the world, we‘ve got to root for him. Then
you are going to have people rooting for him to flop and fail and fall flat
on his face, because of his egregious acts that violated his family and
Either way, whether you‘re loved or you‘re hated, you going to be
watched, which means you‘re not being ignored.
SCHULTZ: Do you think he‘ll feel a lot more pressure coming back this
time or is it just going to be another big tournament for tiger?
SMITH: It‘s another big tournament. If anything, this will help him
to perform even better. The reality is that he can either stay on the golf
course or he can be in some sexual addiction clinic, or, even worse,
sitting next to the wife that he has admittedly betrayed. I don‘t know
about any other man, but let me tell you something right now—actually, I
think I do know most men. If they had a choice to pick between the three,
they‘d pick to get back on the course.
SCHULTZ: I would say so. I think, you know, the demeanor of the fans
at Augusta is really going to be a good environment for him. It‘s not like
going to some of the other tournaments, where they heckle the players quite
a bit. It will be interesting. Stephen A., great to have you on tonight.
Thanks so much.
SMITH: No problem, buddy.
SCHULTZ: Another page in my playbook. This is a story I really
wanted to do. A handful of ultra-conservative Texans could end up deciding
what kids learn in social studies class all over the country. On Friday,
the Texas State Board of Education voted to change their state‘s curriculum
making it—I guess you could say—more Tea Party friendly.
For example, they plan to remove the word “democratic” from the
description of the United States government, describing it as a
“constitutional republic.” They also voted to include information
justifying McCarthy‘s communist witch hunts. And they‘ll even remove
Thomas Jefferson from a list of people who influenced the 18th century
revolutions. Religious icon John Calvin made the list, instead.
These changes won‘t just affect Texas schools. Texas buys so many
textbooks that nationwide publishers often tailor their texts to its
standards. Joining me now for the academic response to all of this is
Keith Erekson. He is the director of Social Studies Teacher Education
Program at the University of Texas El Paso.
Professor, good to have you with us tonight. What is the academic
response to this move by some political ideologues in the education arena?
KEITH EREKSON, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, EL PASO: Thanks for having me on,
Ed. The response is probably quite predictable. Several people are quite
alarmed. Others are throwing their hands up in the air, wondering what can
SCHULTZ: What can be done? What will you do? What do you think
should be done?
EREKSON: Well, it‘s a rather tightly controlled process from here on
out. In the next few weeks, the State Board of Education will post their
new draft online for public comment, and they‘re scheduled to have another
hearing in May. But the question remains how open they will be at that
hearing to take feedback or comments, or whether this is a done deal.
SCHULTZ: In your opinion, are they distorting history or just
omitting some things?
EREKSON: Well, even omission is a form of distortion, and they‘re
pulling a lot of maneuvers here to—their choice of emphasis, their
choice of topic, and those, of course, are choices that historians debate
and should be debated. That‘s partly the feeling that people have, is that
these are just amendments that have been sort of pushed in in the last
minute after the year-long process of debate.
SCHULTZ: As an educator, how should they handle it? How would you
EREKSON: Well, the process called for expert opinion. Unfortunately,
it did so only at the beginning of the period. So, a year ago, there were
committees made up of college professors, high school teachers, concerned
citizens, who went through the entire curriculum, made recommendations.
The board called on some outside experts.
But now those doors are closing. And the final decision will be made
by the board. So the expertise was sort of frond-ended. It‘s kind of like
if you hired top-rate designers to create a car, and then nobody stood
around at the end of the line to check if the accelerator pedal worked.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Erekson, do you think this will push some families to
move their kids to private schools?
EREKSON: I think that could be a possibility. One of the other
interesting possibilities, as well, lies in the fact that you mentioned
about the prominence of the Texas textbooks. Because the California
textbooks are not widely used, because they are so strict in what must be
covered. If the Texas textbooks become more tightly controlled, more
viewed as having more of an ideological bent, that may turn away other
markets. And it may backfire in the end for Texas, in their sense of being
a prominent player in the textbook market.
SCHULTZ: Keith Erekson, thank you for your time on this subject
tonight. I appreciate it so much.
Coming up, a civil war has broken out in the Tea Party nation. Dick
Armey calls my next guest destructive. I‘ll give Tom Tancredo his chance
to respond. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Final story tonight; former
House Majority Leader Dick Armey is lashing out at fellow Tea Party icon,
former Congressman Tom Tancredo because of his hard line against
immigration. Last week, Armey said he wasn‘t happy about Tancredo being
associated with the Tea Party movement. And yesterday, he went further,
taking a swing at him at a speech at the National Press Club.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK ARMEY, FMR. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: When I was a majority leader,
I saw to it that Tom Tancredo did not get on a stage because I saw how
destructive he was. Ronald Reagan said, tear down that wall. Tom Tancredo
said, build a wall. Who‘s right? You know? America is not a nation that
builds walls. America‘s a nation that opens doors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now to respond to all that, former Republican
Congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo. Tom, your response to that
TOM TANCREDO, FMR. CONGRESSMAN: Well, first of all, calling me an
icon, that‘s cool. Thank you. I didn‘t think that was the case, but I‘m
SCHULTZ: It was that speech he gave at the Tea Party event that just
tipped me over.
TANCREDO: Yes, three standing ovations. OK.
SCHULTZ: All right. So what‘s going on here? What‘s your response
TANCREDO: Well, this is not new. It is true that we have had a
running battle, Dick Armey and I, for a long time. I don‘t know what stage
he kept me off. But I probably never will know. It wasn‘t the House
floor, I guarantee you that, because everybody has a right to go down there
if you‘re in Congress. I did all the time.
Here‘s the problem. Both of us, we just have two different ideas, I
suppose, about what illegal immigration means to this country. First of
all, I truly believe that it is an extremely important topic. I do want to
talk about it a lot because I think it matters a great deal. There‘s an
economic aspect to it. There‘s all kinds of political aspects to it. So
it deserves discussion.
He doesn‘t like my point of view. He is—you have to also think
about this: follow the money. You know, you always do that. Right?
SCHULTZ: Yeah. I want to know, are we seeing a fight for the
leadership of the Tea Party movement break out here between you and Dick
TANCREDO: Well, I can‘t say that, because truly I do not believe I am
a leader in the Tea Party movement. I went. I spoke. I will speak two or
three more times to different groups. But that‘s a lot different than
being a leader. I don‘t know there is a, quote, leader.
SCHULTZ: What do you mean follow the money? What do you mean by
TANCREDO: Well, Dick Armey is trying to be a leader in the Tea Party
movement because it is a very powerful movement. He wants to try to
control it or at least influence it. Why? Because, of course, his group -
and how, I should say, is because his group has a lot of money to spend
and they do spend it on the Tea Party, trying to influence it, trying to
direct it their way.
And so that‘s a big part of this problem, is that you have people who
are patriots for profit. Unfortunately, that‘s what Dick Armey is. He‘s a
patriot for profit.
SCHULTZ: Is he wrong on illegal immigration in your opinion?
TANCREDO: Totally wrong, totally wrong on it.
SCHULTZ: Is the Tea Party correct—is the Tea Party position on
illegal immigration in line with the way you see it?
TANCREDO: I don‘t know that they have one. I certainly want to do my
best to make them understand that—make everybody in the Tea Party
understand that there are fiscal implications to massive immigration,
especially people who will come into this country illegally. It costs us a
SCHULTZ: I just find it amazing that he would go so far to
characterize you like that, compare you to a dead guy, Ronald Reagan. And
it‘s just so out of character. I didn‘t know Armey was—we have dirty
politics inside the Tea Party movement already.
TANCREDO: It is peculiar. I must admit, I was surprised, myself. I
haven‘t responded to him. This was the first time I‘ve ever even talked
SCHULTZ: Tom, good to have you with us. Thanks for your time
tonight. I appreciate your time tonight.
TANCREDO: Sure, buddy.
SCHULTZ: Tonight in our telephone survey I asked you if the Democrats
fail to pass the health care bill, who will you blame? Sixty four percent
of you said it would be President Obama‘s fault; 36 percent would lay the
blame at the doorstep of Speaker Pelosi.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED
SHOW, you can go to Ed.MSNBC.com or our radio website, WeGotEd.com.
“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is next. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>