Guest: John Nichols, Dennis Kucinich, Sheila Jackson Lee, Steny Hoyer, Todd Webster, Heidi Harris, Andrew Romanoff, David Frum, Laura Flanders
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW
from New York tonight.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight and I know will hit
yours. The CBO score is in and the clock is ticking on the vote. The big
story, the big interview here tonight, House majority leader Steny Hoyer
will be here to tell us just how close the House is to getting the votes
needed to pass this bill.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich is now a yes on the bill. He says the
effort to undermine President Obama‘s presidency is what really swayed him.
He‘s voting on the House floor right now and he will join me in just a
matter of minutes.
And the liberal left is on fire in Colorado after progressive Andrew
Romanoff beat U.S. sitting Senator Michael Bennett in the Democratic
caucuses last night. We‘ll get reaction.
But first, this is the top story tonight. And it‘s got me fired up.
Look, the clock is starting right now. And I hope that the Republicans
John Boehner and Eric Cantor, that they have their reading glasses on this
The CBO score is in, it came in this morning. Congress now has 72
hours to read the bill. Now think about that. Seventy-two hours to read
I have to talk to the college kids tonight for just a moment. Has
your instructor—after paying to go to class, has your instructor ever
given you an assignment for the weekend and you don‘t want to read this?
You‘ve got a party to go to, you‘ve got a date or something‘s going on or
you‘re looking forward to something, there‘s some concert and you have to
read this! And you have to get it done by Monday morning.
See, those with any kind of academic background can understand the
deadline of having to get it done. But I just want to point out that these
guys are making damn near 200 grand a year in the Congress and they‘re
complaining about a deadline of having to read something.
That just infuriates me. They‘re complaining about something that
they wanted to do. They shake you down with taxpayer dollars and then they
said, well, I can‘t do this, I can‘t read that much.
Would you have passed that class?
Now the House vote is slated for Sunday afternoon. Keep your fingers
crossed, liberals. The president has pushed his trip back until June. And
at this hour, Nancy Pelosi is five votes away from making history.
The president talked about the CBO score today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reform we seek
would bring $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next two decades.
That makes this legislation to be the most significant effort to reduce
deficits since the Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s.
SCHULTZ: Cut into the chase, the bill covers 32 million Americans,
guarantees that 95 percent of Americans are going to be covered, and it
reduces the deficit.
Now the Republican leadership just couldn‘t wait to talk about the
good news. Here‘s House minority leader John Boehner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: We‘ve made clear that it‘s
time to scrap this bill and then start over on common sense reforms to make
our current health system better. But no, they‘re going to continue to
ram, ram, ram this bill through the Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: “We want to ram, ram, ram that deficit reduction package
because that‘s exactly what this is. If you don‘t pass this bill, we‘re
going to have a greater deficit. They‘ve been talking about how they‘re
concerned about that. You pass this bill, the CBO scores it, it‘s going to
But because it‘s a Democratic bill, oh, we can‘t vote for it. The
Republicans—this is what you get after getting your fannies kicked in
2006 and 2008. And all they can do is sit in the stands and throw barbs
They have no power because the Democrats have won enough at this
point. We‘ve had to put up with the Liebermans of the world, the Nelsons,
the Lincolns, the Landrieus, all the obstructers, all the deal cutters.
You know what‘s great about this? They don‘t matter anymore. We‘re
at that point. There is celebration in my heart knowing that Joe Lieberman
is no longer a factor when it comes to health care reform. He‘s history.
We‘ve gone that far.
Now we are now in a position to do something. President Obama was not
elected to do nothing and we are going to do something for the middle
class. We are in position to do something for the folks who have been
outsourced, who have seen their incomes go down, who have seen their energy
cost, their education costs go up.
This is something. The Congress can do for the middle class. And
where are the Republicans? Nah, they don‘t want to do it.
So I guess they‘re saying that the CBO is nothing but a bunch of
liars. What‘s the old saying? Elections have consequences?
Now we are at a moment that we are going to do something that hasn‘t
been done for some 50 years. If that doesn‘t warm the hearts of these
conservative Democrats who are sitting on the fence, I don‘t know what
does. It‘s good for working Americans.
Tell me what you think on the telephone survey tonight, folks. The
number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is do you think President Obama‘s presidency is
riding on this health care bill? Press 1 for yes and press 2 for no. I‘ll
bring you the results later on in the show.
Putting it all in perspective, what does this mean from a political
standpoint? John Nichols of “The Nation,” Washington correspondent, joins
And I guess, John, I want to ask you, where‘s “The Nation” stand on
this? I mean “The Nation” is viewed—the magazine “The Nation” is viewed
as, you know, the liberal bastion of ideas and progressive thought in
America on paper.
You‘ve got hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Where does “The
Nation” come down on this bill in this moment?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, Ed, we struggled with it because we
were strong supporters of a Medicare-for-all plan, as outlined by folks
like Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers and talked about by you.
We also, however, people who believe that the election of 2008 meant
something. And the American people voted overwhelmingly to elect a new
president and to give that president a Congress that could enact major
So we took a look at what we‘ve got. It‘s not the bill that we would
love, it‘s not the bill we would have written. But the fact of the matter
is the health care bill that is in play now would expand access for health
care to tens of millions of Americans.
It does begin to regulate the insurance companies, not enough, but it
does a lot of the right thing. And finally, perhaps most importantly, it
tells the American people that elections do have consequences, that the
2000 election -- 2008 election meant something.
And when they voted for change, they could count on something coming
from it. If this bill isn‘t passed, if it is stopped for procedural
reasons, structural reasons, party of no reasons, then the reality is that
our democracy has taken a huge blow.
And so what we say is, yes, it‘s got to be passed.
SCHULTZ: What do you say to those disgruntled liberals out there that
are taking it out on even the Kuciniches of the world who are, quote,
“selling out.” I have been accused of that on my radio show big time. I
mean the nastiest e-mails I think I have ever seen in my career.
I mean there are some on the left that are still furious about this
but there seems to be more in the progressive media saying hey, we‘ve got
to take this deal while we can.
The bigger picture, and I want to ask you, putting it in perspective,
what does it mean to President Obama if they can‘t close the deal?
NICHOLS: Well, this is the thing that I think people have to be
conscious of. You don‘t have to love this bill to recognize that we have
moved beyond the debate of about health care to a political moment. And
the fact of the matter is, this week will determine whether President Obama
can do big things.
He can always tinker around the edges. But the question is, can this
president pass major legislation? If he is stopped on this, the really
central piece of legislation of his administration, then it is unrealistic
to believe that he could possibly do anything meaningful on financial
services reform, on job creation.
NICHOLS: On a host of other essential reforms.
SCHULTZ: And I think it needs to be pointed out, folks, that this is
the moment that the Republicans have been working for. There is a chance
that this could be waterloo for President Obama.
This is the moment that Jim DeMint talked about, if we can break him.
This is what they have worked for. Their stall game has now taken us to
almost Easter. And there are a few—just five—that are sitting on the
fence right now that are wondering if they want to be a part of history and
are they going to be on the right side?
And the intimidation that‘s taken place on the Hill is pretty amazing
right now, John. Have we ever seen this before?
NICHOLS: Sure, we have. Ed, look, anybody who‘s old enough remembers
the Civil Rights fights of the 1950s and the 1960s. And remembers the
great battles over the Vietnam War and a host of other issues.
The reality is, though, that there are only a few times in someone‘s
lifetime where you get to a fundamental test that really decides, not
merely an issue, but whether a young presidency --
NICHOLS: And this is still a very young presidency—will mean
SCHULTZ: John Nichols of “The Nation,” great too have you with us
NICHOLS: This is the meaning test.
SCHULTZ: It really is, buddy. Thanks so much.
Joining me now is the man of the hour, Ohio congressman, Dennis
Kucinich, who has decided to vote yes on the health care reform bill.
Congressman, a lot of people want to know, what flipped you? Was it
the—was it the conversation you had with President Obama? What was it?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: It was a number of things, Ed. When
I made every effort I could to try to get a public option in the bill, to
try to protect the rights of states, to pursue single-payer, and I found
out there was no room for that. It was not going to happen.
Then I was left with a decision. The decision was do I vote and kill
the bill, or do I vote, move it forward and enlarge this space so we can
have a discussion and action on a more comprehensive health care approach?
And in the end, I decided to take the road that I hadn‘t traveled
before and I think it was the right thing to do.
SCHULTZ: Are you the deciding vote, Congressman? What do you think?
KUCINICH: Well, to talk to people a couple of days ago, you know, you
would get that idea. And I had to approach it as though I was the deciding
vote and I had to think about the effect on the nation and also that we can
keep the conversation going.
I couldn‘t get what I tried to get. I tried to get something in the
bill since last year.
SCHULTZ: So --
KUCINICH: And that is to find a public option, to find a way for the
states to go forward.
KUCINICH: After this vote, Ed, I‘m going to go right back to helping
states on the single payer issue and all the other issues of health care
reform that have not been touched by this bill.
SCHULTZ: What did the president say to you? What—did he say that
his presidency was on the line and if this doesn‘t go through that they‘re
just going to have all kinds of problems getting anything else done? Did
he say that?
KUCINICH: Well, I think that you could characterize it that way. You
know the conversations—and it wasn‘t just one that I had with the
president—had to do with what‘s at risk for the nation here.
SCHULTZ: What do you --
KUCINICH: And certainly—and you know, what John Nichols said a
KUCINICH: He‘s absolutely right. This is a young presidency. If you
cripple it, it‘s going—you know, he‘s going to have trouble being able
to serve the country on the broad issues of the economy, unemployment,
helping people stay in their homes, health care is one of those issues.
So, you know, there‘s a lot on the line here. And in the end, when I
saw I couldn‘t get what I wanted in the bill, I had to look at the bill as
it is, not as I wanted it to be, and say look, I did everything I could to
change it, I couldn‘t change it. Let‘s try to move this bill larger
discussion on health care once it passes.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, you have been viewed by many liberals across
this country, many progressives, as somebody who just never sells out. And
that word is being tossed around on progressive talk radio right now and e-
mailed all over the country and some blogs, for instance, Firedoglake,
pointed to a statement that you had signed that you had not endorsed a bill
unless it had a public option.
And you have explained your position on that. But has there been any
liberal backlash or progressive backlash? Do you think you‘ve lost any
kind of following at all from those folks because you‘ve made a move to
vote yes on this?
KUCINICH: I don‘t look at this based on left or right. I look at it
what‘s wrong and what‘s right. And I think that the thing to do is to take
a look at the bigger picture that I—no one has fought longer and harder
than I have on these health care issues.
I brought the issue of national health care into two presidential
campaigns. I was—I fought for it in platform committees. I was a co-
author and the co-author of HR 676. I worked to try to get a public option
in the bill. I signed a pledge along with 77 other members of Congress
saying that if it‘s not in the bill I‘m not going to vote for it.
I was the only ones who‘ve kept that pledge.
Listen, Ed, people know where I stand. But I have to make a mature
judgment—excuse me—about where we‘re at this moment. And if I take
this car called single payer and I drive it over a cliff, there‘s no
satisfaction in that if it kills health care discussions in this country
for quite a few years to come.
SCHULTZ: And finally, Dennis, how would you consider or how would you
describe those who haven‘t decided yet? What‘s the holdup? Who are they,
in your opinion? What crowd?
KUCINICH: Well, it‘s not a crowd. It‘s—look, members of Congress
have had trouble with this bill. I don‘t retract any criticism I made of
the bill. You know, as I said yesterday, I incorporate them into my
People know that there‘s—they‘re going to get it either way, no
matter how they vote. We have to look at the bigger picture and that‘s
what I‘m sharing with my colleagues. That‘s why—that‘s why I decided in
the end to vote for the bill, not because of the way the bill is, but
because we created an opening here to address a more comprehensive approach
towards health care.
Absent this bill, if this bill doesn‘t pass, we will not have that
opportunity for the foreseeable future. So I‘m hoping to be part of the
discussion to help the states move towards single payer.
KUCINICH: But first, we‘ve got to get this bill out of the way. This
bill is like a bottleneck. And the Obama presidency is on the line and
there‘s a lot on the line for all Americans.
We get this bill, move past it, enlarge the discussion about health
care, address jobs and education, and making sure that we can move our
economy forward, keep people in their homes. These are the kinds of things
that we spent a lot of time that have been ignored in—while the whole
town is consumed and the whole country is consumed about this health care
SCHULTZ: No doubt.
KUCINICH: Let‘s do something.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. A very
courageous move on your part. I commend you. I appreciate it very much.
Coming up, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joins me on the front
lines talking about the battle for the votes. You‘ll get the latest right
here on THE ED SHOW. You won‘t want to miss it. That‘s coming up in a few
And the president signed the jobs bill today, but African-Americans
may be getting left behind in our economic recovery. Congresswoman Sheila
Jackson Lee will tackle that issue with me in just a moment.
All that plus I‘ll tell you why Bart Stupak needs to stop whining and
of course Michele Bachmann, it‘s a dandy, she lands in the zone.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Well, it‘s almost an “I told you so” moment. Coming up, I
hope President Obama learned his lesson yesterday cuddling up to those
righties on the right-wing network and—because he just got interrupted
More on that in tonight‘s “Rapid Fire Response‘ at the bottom of the
hour. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The jobs bill I‘m
signing today and our broader efforts to achieve a recovery aren‘t about
politics. They‘re not about Democrat versus Republican. This isn‘t game
that we‘re playing here.
They‘re about the people in this country who are out of work and
looking for a job. They‘re about all the Americans of every race and
region and age who shared their stories with me over the last year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Today, President Obama signing into law an $18 billion
bipartisan jobs bill. It passed the Senate with 11 Republicans on board.
I tell you what, I will get tipped over on that number. But there are
concerns that the legislation doesn‘t do enough to help African-Americans
who have really been rocked by this recession.
African-Americans make up 13 percent of the entire U.S. population but
they comprise almost 18 percent of the unemployed.
Among black men, the unemployment rate is at 19 percent. That‘s 10
percent higher than in 2007. And 13.1 percent of African-American women
are unemployed. That number was 7.1 percent three years ago.
Joining me now for more on this is Democratic congresswoman Sheila
Jackson Lee of Texas.
Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight. What are your
expectations with this job bill? Will it change the numbers I just put up?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Well, Ed, first
of all, let me thank you and I‘m glad to be with you and your audience, and
I‘m going to promise we will pass this health care bill.
I‘m glad the president signed this bill, although I did not vote for
it, because it is a step forward to ensure that we move towards the
chronically unemployed. I think that number, Ed, is even larger than 19
percent. It may be 22 percent.
But what you see in this bill are incentives to small businesses of
which we represent. A large proportion thereof. The problem with that
happened with the stimulus dollars—I‘d like to call them investment
dollars—I‘d like to throw the blame partly on the states and local
Those monies were sent into those states, a lot of the southern
states, a lot of the states like Texas. And they made the distribution
that biased and discriminated against minority businesses and didn‘t employ
the chronically unemployed.
So we‘ve got our hands full. This bill, the hire bill, gives tax
incentives. As I said, it focuses on small businesses. It does a lot with
the infrastructure. It allows us to rebuild crumbling schools. Now the
job has to be the oversight that the federal government has to give
including the United States Congress to put your hand down, if you will,
maybe even your first down, to insure that you reach out into those
You literally set up a recruitment shop in the middle of some of the
chronically unemployed areas. And we‘re using the census tracks. The
Congressional Black Caucus is not just saying African-Americans, it‘s
saying the census tracks of the most impoverished.
Go put a tip there and say that you‘re recruiting workers. That‘s
where we have failed. And I think we have the responsibility, one, to see
how this bill works, but Ed, to be very honest with you --
LEE: -- we‘ve got to go forward on the summer youth jobs. The Senate
has got to stand along with the House to vote for that. And we‘ve got to
move forward on getting the chronically unemployed hired. That means ex-
felons who are rehabilitated. It means working with federal dollars to get
them working public jobs.
SCHULTZ: Well, you‘ve got an idea and you‘ve got a plan. I commend
you for that. Does the president get it? Has he done enough in your
LEE: The president gets it. When we were in a meeting just a week
ago, we had a heart-to-heart, a face-to-face and a mind-to-mind. And in
that meeting, the president articulated that he‘s just recently moved from
south Chicago so he gets it.
But we have to work with him to ensure that we can push our colleagues
to get it and to make sure that we move this emergency summer youth jobs.
Before I left Houston, I met with one of my non-profits who said this
is an emergency. This is now March, children are out of school in May, we
need and emergency push to get the summer youth job program passed.
SCHULTZ: I want to make something very clear tonight. Am I hearing
you say in your first answer that the states are sitting on the money and
they‘re not getting the stimulus money out to where it has to go? That
there might be some states out there that are using this to balance budgets
and use the money for things that it was not intended for.
What do you think?
LEE: Well, let me use my own state of Texas. We sent them out $3
billion there for education that could have helped with teachers and
various expansion of programs to educate our children.
The state legislature, my good friends that are Democrats fought
hardly against it. Our governor decided to put it in the rainy day fund.
LEE: You asked me to explain that. In addition, when that money gets
in the hands of local authorities, and this is not a condemnation of all of
them. But they‘ve got to be more keenly aware of these numbers that, Ed,
we have agreed to, that you just mentioned on national television.
LEE: And that is the 22 to 19 percent unemployment among African-
American males. What has been their mission to take those dollars—if
they are building new homes with the dollars that they‘re using, community
block grants, or if they‘re fixing a flood area, then who are they seeking
LEE: They need to be in the neighborhoods, the census tracks,
document the people who‘ve been unemployed for more than a year and get
those people employed.
Ed, let me tell you what someone told me who was employed. They said,
listen, here‘s a secret. They‘re calling back retirees. I have nothing
LEE: They‘re calling back people who are comfortable, who have just
gotten off work and they‘re calling them back and saying, you do us a favor
and come work. Those people are glad to come work but they‘re not needy.
They need to go and get the folk that are needy who will then churn the
dollars in those inner-city communities.
SCHULTZ: Congresswoman --
LEE: (INAUDIBLE) stores. They will make a difference. This is about
SCHULTZ: It is.
LEE: -- a multiple problem that needs to be resolved by multiple
SCHULTZ: Congresswoman, keep up the fight. I appreciate your time
LEE: We‘re fighting through the weekend for good health care. I‘ll
tell you that.
SCHULTZ: And I like your promise. There‘s no doubt about that.
Thank you so much.
LEE: We‘re working hard. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: All right. Coming up in just a few moments, we‘re going to
have “Psycho Talk”, of course, with Michele Bachmann dishing out just
another doozy lie.
And my man, Congressman Alan Grayson, won‘t let her get away with it.
That‘s next in “Psycho Talk.”
And also, Steny Hoyer will here to give us the—the headcount out of
the House. The House majority leader with us here on THE ED SHOW. Stay
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Michele Bachmann is just one
of a bunch of Republicans hollering about this deem and pass rule that is
being considered in the House.
And she‘s actually taking it a step further. Last weekend, she told
people to stop paying their taxes if the bill passed under that rule. And
this week she went on Hannity‘s radio show and called for Nancy Pelosi‘s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMAN ®, MINNESOTA: And the other thing is
(INAUDIBLE) and media. Where this is mainstream media in all of this not
telling this story? This is a compelling story that the speaker of the
House would even consider having—pass a bill that no one votes on?
I mean that should laugh her out of the House and there should be
people that are calling for impeachment off or something like this. That‘s
how bad this is.
I mean, trust me, Dennis Hastert could have never gotten away with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Really? I play that sound for Congressman Alan Grayson on
my radio show today. He didn‘t waste any time setting Bachmann straight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: And trust me, Dennis Hastert could have never gotten away
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Except for the fact that he did it
GRAYSON: One hundred times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Did you hear that, Michelle? Dennis Hastert used deem and
pass, the rule, more than 120 times, making up more than 26 percent of all
rules passed while he was Speaker of the House.
Not to lose you on this, Michelle and Sean, I‘ll give you some
examples. He used it back in 2001 on the Paycheck Act. He used it on the
40 billion dollar deficit reduction package, so that the Republicans could
avoid a vote on immigration. And he used it to tack campaign finance
reform on legislation onto an ethics bill.
Mr. intellectual curiosity, not Sean Hannity. Whatever she says is
good with me, right, Sean? So far, Bachmann, for her to say that Hastert
wouldn‘t have gotten away with any of that is flat out—it‘s lying, but
it is psycho talk.
Coming up, the House is, count them, five votes away from making a
giant leap of faith. A man who has fought for health care his entire
career will be here next. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer checks in with
me and will tell us the vote. Will they get it?
And Elizabeth Edwards is speaking out for the very first time about
Rielle Hunter‘s pantless photo spread in “GQ.” I‘ll show you what she had
to say. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: For the health and well-
being of the American people, for the fiscal soundness of America‘s budget,
for seniors, for young people, for women, for small businesses, and for
competitiveness, we will make history, and we will make progress by passing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Of course, the clock is ticking down. Thanks for watching
THE ED SHOW tonight. Appreciate it very much. House Democrats are hoping
to bring the health care reform to a vote on Sunday afternoon. NBC News
reports Democrats are no more than five votes away from the needed 216 to
pass the bill. That‘s after Congressman Dennis Kucinich switched his vote
from no to yes.
These nine Democrats also voted no first time around back in November.
They have not yet said which way they‘re going to vote this time around.
Three of them are retiring, but the rest are in tough reelection races.
We have a late update tonight. Two of those members now say that they
will vote yes. Bart Gordon of Tennessee and Betsy Markey of Colorado are
switching their votes to yes. That now makes three Democrats, including
Kucinich, who have gone from no to yes.
For more on where the count stands right now, let‘s bring in House
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. He will be joining me in just a moment.
First, I will go to our panel tonight. Democratic strategist Todd Webster
is with us tonight, and also radio talk show host Heidi Harris.
I want to put up this graphic, if I may, to start the conversation
tonight, folks. There‘s four basic things that I think all of us can
comprehend in this. That is this will cover 32 million Americans; 95
percent of all Americans will be covered. Here‘s the big thing that the
Republicans—I don‘t know why they can‘t wrap their arms around this. It
cuts the deficit by 138 billion dollars in the first ten years, and it goes
further than that in the next ten years. But I‘ll hold off on what the CBO
says on that just for fair play here.
It cuts Medicare waste. It‘s focused on that. And it‘s fully paid
for. I‘ll take it a step further here on THE ED SHOW. If you‘re in the
top two percent, you‘re taxes are going up. I‘ll tell you the truth right
up front. If you make over 250,000 dollars a year, you‘re going to be
It‘s interesting, during the Bush years, nobody asked the two percent
to pay any more. They got all the breaks. But now, the Obama
administration, with this revolutionary move to get more Americans covered,
the top two percent is going to have to pay more.
Steny Hoyer joins us tonight. He is the House majority leader. We‘ll
go right to him. They had votes right now. So we‘ll shift it around a
little bit. Great to you have on tonight.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-OH), MAJORITY LEADER: Always good to be with you,
SCHULTZ: You bet, my man. We‘re not very far away, are we? What is
the count at this hour? What‘s your instinct at this point?
HOYER: My instinct is we will get 216 votes on Sunday. We‘re going
to give 72 hours notice to people, so that they can read the amendments.
This is like a conference report, as you well know. The Senate bill has
been online for almost three months, so people have had ample opportunity
to see what this bill is about.
We made some changes to it, so we saved more. That rarely happens
when you have a conference on two different bills. Usually, you end up
costing more. But we‘re saving more money. We‘re spending less.
As you pointed out, we‘re saving 1.3 trillion dollars over the next 20
years. That‘s a significant cut in the deficit. We‘re expanding coverage.
That expanding coverage is not only good for the 32 million Americans that
will have insurance, Ed. But now, every American who has insurance today
is paying 1,100 bucks on their premium for those who don‘t have insurance.
So we‘re going to get them in the system, and we‘re going to bring
prices down for small business and families across the country.
SCHULTZ: Is there any reason for Americans not to believe the CBO
HOYER: Absolutely not. In my view, the CBO is conservative in its
estimates. It‘s very conservative how much it says we‘re going to spend
and how much we‘re going to cut the deficit by.
SCHULTZ: Who stands in the way, congressman?
HOYER: My view is we‘re going to save more than they estimate.
SCHULTZ: Who stands in the way right now? Give us some names. Who
do you need to change their vote? Who do you think is on the fence? I
know the pressure on Capitol Hill has been very intense. I‘d like to have
some names tonight. Our audience would, too.
HOYER: Ed, I‘m sure that‘s the case. I‘m sure they know which
members we don‘t have. But I‘m not going to be here spotting members.
We‘re talking to all the members. We believe we‘re going to get to 216.
Clearly, we believe the public is moving our way. As you know, the
polls have now—the last two polls, “Wall Street Journal” poll, a
majority, 46 to 45 for health care reform. The “Economist,” 54 to 46 for
health care reform. We believe that we‘ve turned the public around 14 or
15 points since President Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress.
We believe, as the American people look at the internals on these—
by that I mean the provisions in this bill, preventing insurance companies
from not giving them insurance because of a preexisting condition,
preventing insurance companies from essentially putting them in bankruptcy
by capping their annual coverage, or by preventing insurance companies from
kicking people off their insurance --
SCHULTZ: No doubt.
HOYER: -- waste of fraud and abuse, and having a more transparent
process, so the public can compare price and product of insurance
SCHULTZ: Congressman, what about the pro-life Democrats? Are they
the ones that you‘ve got to win over right now?
HOYER: They still—a number of them have real concerns, although I
will tell you some of the strongest pro-life Democrats, like Jim Oberstar
from Minnesota, Dale Kildee from Michigan, very strong pro-life, have
looked at this bill, looked at the Senate language and said, there is no
spending of public funds for abortion services or for insuring abortion
services. I think that‘s the case. The Nelson language, which was offered
by Ben Nelson, a strong pro-life member of the Senate, and Bob Casey, whose
dad, Governor Casey, was probably one of the strongest pro-life people in
our country, have said they have an amendment which precludes public funds
being spent on abortion.
SCHULTZ: I want to hear you say this tonight, that deem and pass has
been used before?
HOYER: It‘s been used about 200 times by the—either Speaker
Hastert or Speaker Gingrich. But what this is not so much deem and pass.
This is voting as if it were a conference report. You vote on the Senate
bill in the rule, and then you say, as you would in a conference, but we‘re
amending it and that is the final product.
Unfortunately, the Republicans would not allow us to go to conference
in the Senate. They wouldn‘t vote to go to conference. So we need use
this procedure. It‘s been used many times before. The public will have an
absolute view of who votes for or against the Senate bill. They will have
an absolute view, transparently, of who votes for the amendments to the
SCHULTZ: Those votes will be one after another, right?
HOYER: They will be one after another. There will be nothing hidden.
SCHULTZ: OK. So what‘s the magic number, three?
HOYER: The magic number, we think, is 216. As a matter of fact, if
everybody is here, the magic number will be 216. We‘re confident we will
SCHULTZ: How many do you need?
HOYER: Good try, Ed. We‘re working towards that 216. We‘re going to
SCHULTZ: Congressman Hoyer, you are a fighter. I appreciate it so
much. In your gut, it‘s going to be Sunday at high noon?
HOYER: No, it‘s going to be Sunday. We will come back in. We want
everybody to have the opportunity to go to church. Then we‘ll come in at
1:00 and the vote will be sometime later that afternoon.
SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman, thanks so much. Appreciate it very
much. You bet.
Before we go to our panel tonight, I just want to point out to our
audience that in the last ten minutes, we‘ve had Alan Grayson and Steny
Hoyer prove that Michelle Bachmann is totally out of touch with what has
happened in the Congress, and she speaks with no credibility whatsoever.
She is absolutely distant to the facts, and not true to the people she
represents in Minnesota, when she goes on Hannity‘s show and flat out
distorts what is a procedure in the House that has happened before and has
been used by the Congress, by the Republicans.
And don‘t you just get sick of this stuff that the righties come up
with? Why do they lie? They just flat out do it.
Now, I want to get rapid fire response from our panel tonight on what
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer just said, plus these stories.
Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak is whining about how life is a living
hell ever since he launched his one-man crusade to kill the health care
President Obama gave Fox News an interview and got no respect. You
know, he got interrupted a whole lot.
Also, Elizabeth Edwards is disgusted by Rielle Hunter‘s recent photo
shoot in “GQ.”
With us tonight, as I said earlier, Democratic strategist Todd Webster
and radio talk show host Heidi Harris.
Heidi, if the CBO scores it to reduce the deficit over ten years, why
couldn‘t the Republicans, who have been deficit hawks for years, wrap their
arms around this?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I can do one better, why don‘t
they just fix Medicare fraud? The government admitted there‘s at least 60
billion dollars in Medicare fraud. So in two years we could do more than
this would do in ten years, without having to pass this. See, I just
solved your problem, Ed. Aren‘t you happy?
SCHULTZ: Glad you solved my problem. Todd Webster, Bart Stupak, why
is he in the way of this? Why can‘t he give it up?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Because he‘s making the vote he
thinks. I think he thinks—these last three Democratic hold-outs need
vote their conscience. They do what‘s the right thing in history, because
history will certainly judge them. I think the news from the CBO that this
will cut a trillion dollars from the deficit, the biggest deficit reduction
package since the Balanced Budget Act, is tremendous.
There is literally no compelling reason to vote against this bill and
it will be a historic achievement.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, the interview that President Obama did on Fox
yesterday, was it disrespectful or was it right for someone who holds the
office of the presidency of the United States.
HARRIS: I don‘t think it was disrespectful. But you and I do the
same thing for a living, Ed. You know how it is. You can‘t get them to
answer the questions. You can ask them as many times as you want to.
SCHULTZ: We‘re not talking about a city councilman here. We‘re
talking about the president of the United States. No, I‘ve never done that
to Barack Obama. Maybe you have. I haven‘t. Was it disrespectful?
HARRIS: I don‘t think it was disrespectful. Barack Obama is a master
at just going on and on and not asking the question. If you ask him, he
gets prickly and holds his hand up, wait, wait, hold it. He‘s very
condescending in the way he‘s interviewed, as you‘ve seen.
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, your thoughts on the interview?
WEBSTER: Fox kept coming back to process, right? When you don‘t have
the facts on your side—when you don‘t have the issues on your side, you
pound the facts. When you don‘t have the facts on your side, you pound the
table. He was going back and back because there was literally no good
reason to oppose this health care bill.
This health care bill does everything but make chicken soup for the
sick. It‘s very positive piece of legislation. I give him credit. I give
the president credit for going on Fox News, as he has reached out to
SCHULTZ: Did he gain anything by it? What do you think?
WEBSTER: I think it‘s showing himself as the transformational leader
he has pledged to be.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, did he gain anything by it?
HARRIS: No, he didn‘t. He showed himself, once again, to be very
condescending, how dare you question me? It‘s a—
SCHULTZ: How come Fox didn‘t treat George Bush like that?
HARRIS: Come on.
SCHULTZ: I‘m not coming on. I‘m asking you. They never treated
George Bush like that.
HARRIS: It depends on who is interviewing who.
SCHULTZ: Oh, OK. Watch out for Brett Baier, I guess. Good to have
you with us. Thanks so much.
Coming up, incumbent Democrats are about to get a wake-up call if they
don‘t listen to their base. Progressive poster boy—that‘s what he is, a
hard charger—Andrew Romanoff is setting the standard for the 2010
elections. He joins me next in the playbook. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, progressives are starting to rev up
for this year‘s mid-terms. In Colorado, former Statehouse Speaker Andrew
Romanoff is running to the left of incumbent Democratic Senator Michael
Bennett. So far, it‘s working. Romanoff defeated Senator Bennett 50 to 42
percent on Tuesday night in Colorado caucuses, which is the first step
towards getting the Democratic nomination.
Andrew Romanoff joins me right now. Andrew, how energized is
Colorado? What does this signal, in your opinion?
ANDREW ROMANOFF, CANDIDATE FOR SENATE FROM COLORADO: We feel great
about this victory. We were out-spent probably ten to one. We won, as you
said, by almost 10 points. I think what Coloradans, Democrats of this
state, are saying in we‘re not satisfied with the pace of progress in
Washington D.C. We don‘t like this pay to play culture that has been
corrupted by corporate cash. We think we can do better.
SCHULTZ: Why are you ahead of him in the caucuses? Do you think it
signals you will be the favorite in the primary?
ROMANOFF: I do expect we‘ll win the primary. I‘m certainly the
favorite in the general. The last poll says I beat every single one of the
leading Republicans in this race.
Folks recognize I‘m the only candidate running for the US Senate, in
our state today, who is refusing to accept contributions from special
interest groups. They don‘t want our judgment to be clouded by the money
that comes in from the insurance lobby or the pharmaceutical industry or
the big Wall Street banks, which, by the way, have made my opponent the
fifth biggest recipient in Wall Street money. That‘s a conflict of
SCHULTZ: Over the past 40 years, only three state-wide candidates who
have won in caucuses have turned out to be the nominee. What‘s different?
ROMANOFF: First, I‘ve got a record of legislative leadership, unlike
my opponent. I‘ve run for office and been elected four times. I‘ve built
a Democratic majority in this state twice and advanced progressive ballot
measures. I‘ve produced the largest investment in school construction in
state history, and economic recovery plan to help lift Colorado out of a
If you like the way Washington works, I‘ve told voters across the
state, please, by all means, vote for somebody else. Most Colorado people
aren‘t buying what Washington is selling.
SCHULTZ: I tell you what, I think this is a signal all over the
country of what could be coming in these primaries. Andrew,
congratulations. We‘ll stay in touch.
Next up, my final thoughts on the president and his health care bill.
We‘ll be right back on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. President Obama has postponed
his trip abroad until June. It‘s an extraordinary gesture that proves he
is going to the firewall for health care reform. Tonight, in our telephone
survey, I asked you: do you think President Obama‘s presidency is riding on
this health care bill? Seventy two percent of you said yes; 28 percent
For more, let‘s bring in Laura Flanders, author of “Blue Grit” and
host of GritTV.org, and also David Frum with us tonight, former Bush speech
writer, and founder of the politics website FrumForum.com.
David, how critical is this political moment for President Obama, in
DAVID FRUM, FRUMFORUM.COM: It‘s critical for everybody, and not just
the president. It‘s critical for us on the Republican side, too. If this
thing passes, there is going to be an accountability moment on the
Republican side. We had a choice, do we negotiate and try to get some of
our values in the bill? Or do we go for total defeat of the president and
bet everything on that?
I was one of those who said negotiate. That advice was rejected. We
went for total defeat of the president. If he prevails, it is going to be
a shutout of Republican views in one of the most important pieces of
legislation ever passed in the United States.
SCHULTZ: Laura, do you think the Democrats who are holding out
understand the urgency of this? Or are they just going to ride on their
LAURA FLANDERS, GRITTV.ORG: I think we understand the urgency, Ed. I
have to disagree with both of you in the sense that it‘s not about the
president. It‘s about the people. Will more people end up with health
care at the end? That‘s the question. It looks like 32 million may get
insurance. Will they be able to afford it? That‘s still—
SCHULTZ: I don‘t disagree with that. But don‘t you think that if
they don‘t close the deal on this, that this is going to hurt the Obama
agenda and set back the progressive movement?
FLANDERS: No, you‘re absolutely right. But the presidency rests on
the ability to move beyond this, and the same, too, for the fate of those
Democrats. You have to say this is the first step. The question is what
happens next? I‘m not seeing the protections against premium gouging that
I‘d like to see in this bill.
SCHULTZ: David, put in perspective, what if the president gets the
votes and then some? How big is it for him?
FRUM: It‘s big for him. It‘s big for the country. We‘re going to
have a big new tax burden on small business. We‘re going to have a big new
tax burden on productive enterprise. We‘re going to have no cost controls.
We‘re going to have a Democratic plan, when we could have had a balanced
plan. It will be a big defeat for those who said go for all the marbles on
the Republican side.
FLANDERS: We have a way too bipartisan plan, Ed, if you ask me.
Again, going back to this, we love to say, this is the moment, this is the
point in the sand. You‘re right on one level.
But this is still the very beginning of the presidency. There is a
lot else on this presidency, from Iraq, banking, insurance, housing, you
name it. There is a lot riding here. I think we have to keep focused on
the bigger questions, which go back to the little guy that you‘re always
talking about, and woman. Will he or she end up better off?
SCHULTZ: I find it hard to believe that every Republican doesn‘t have
any kind of majority in their district that would favor this health care
bill. I will tell you one thing, when the Republicans line up, they
definitely hold the line. I appreciate your time tonight, David and Laura.
Appreciate it so much. Thanks, panel. Thank you so much.
And, of course, THE ED SHOW is going to be right back here tomorrow
night. I‘m Ed Schultz. Chris Matthews with “HARDBALL” starts right now on
the place for politics, MSNBC.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by 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.> transcript
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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.>