Guest: Ada Fisher, Armstrong Williams, Jack Rice, Wendell Potter, Todd Webster, Heidi Harris, Melanie Sloan
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW
tonight from New York.
These stories are hitting my hot buttons tonight.
Ooh. An X-rated scandal at the RNC. My question is, what did Michael
Steele and when did he know it? Two prominent conservatives will join me
in just a moment. We‘ll get their take on whether Steele should stay or
The ink on the health care reform bill barely dry, but big insurance,
they‘re already looking for ways to avoid covering sick kids. Wendell
Potter will join us at the bottom of the hour.
Plus, what President Obama had to say about the Tea Party protesters
who think he‘s a socialist, a fascist, a joker. It‘s all coming up.
And more on Sean Hannity‘s alleged bogus charity. That‘s coming up
tonight. More on that.
All right. This is the story that has got me fired up tonight and
focussed. What did Michael Steele know and when did he know it?
Now, at this hour we‘re hearing increased calls for Steele‘s
resignation. The National Republican Committee announce last night that it
fired a staffer involved in an RNC-funded trip to Voyeur West Hollywood, a
bondage-theme nightclub. Not good.
According to “Hotline on Call,” Allison Meyers, the director of the
RNC‘s Young Eagles program, was fired. The Young Eagles is the 45 and
under fund-raising arm of the RNC.
And if you think it‘s easy doing this story, believe me, it‘s not. I
can‘t believe this.
Now, according to their Web site, this is how it works, folks. Now,
you get up to three national meetings each year if you‘re a Young Eagle.
And, of course, the meetings include briefings with elected leaders and
policy experts. And, of course, you have got some golf in there and some
tennis. But this is where it gets interesting—entertainment and
California GOP consultant Eric Brown was reimbursed for the expense
after a Young Eagles event in Beverly Hills. A blog reported that an RNC
staffer‘s credit card was declined at the club, so Brown, he put it on the
company plastic, for lack of a better term.
All right. Yes, I believe that.
This is about—seriously about judgment. What did Mr. Steele know
and when did he know it?
What did he know about Allison Meyers‘ activities? Did Steele just
fire her because it was a reactionary move because all this is out in the
media right now and it looks and sounds terrible? Or is Michael Steele
just doing this because he found out right away and knew this was the right
thing for the RNC to do?
His job at the RNC is to do what? Raise money. That would be the
The number one thing in fund-raising is integrity. And if you can‘t
guarantee where the money is going to the people who are giving it, believe
me it can unravel pretty fast.
This comes, I think, at a critical time for the RNC. Now, they‘re
trying to make some hay on how this health care—Obamacare, is what they
call it—is the wrong thing for the country. So this is the last thing
that they need right now, muddy waters.
Nine out of the last 12 months, the RNC has spent more than it has
brought in. How Michael Steele recovers from this really is the big
question and the issue of the hour for the Republicans.
Conservatives, well, they don‘t know what to do. Liberals, we like
this kind of stuff because we think Michael Steele can‘t win. I don‘t
think he can win, but normally someone‘s fate is determined in the
aftermath of all of this.
So it‘s what‘s to follow is what could determine whether he‘s going to
make it or not as the RNC chair. And it becomes an issue of credibility,
effectiveness, integrity. Is your word any good?
Now, I think about Michael Steele, and this is the gentleman who has
repeatedly gone out and trashed the health care reform bill that has got a
lot of good stuff in it. I saw him on one talking head show. He flat-out
lied about when this was going to be implemented.
So this scandal, coupled with all the things that he‘s put out there
already that aren‘t true, could seriously tarnish them with these very
important Independent voters and givers to one side or another. If Steele
doesn‘t step out and clear this thing up—and I think he‘s been ominously
silent today—it could destroy his effectiveness as a leader.
I want to know what you think. As head of the RNC, does he have a
Get your cell phones out tonight, folks. This is the number. The
number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is, do you think RNC Chairman Michael Steele
should resign? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no. And I‘ll bring you the
results later on in the show.
Joining is now is Dr. Ada Fisher. She is a Republican National
Committee woman from North Carolina. And also, Armstrong Williams is a
conservative radio talk show host.
Dr. Fisher, I‘ll ask you first tonight, has Michael Steele, in your
opinion, become a liability for the RNC?
DR. ADA FISHER, RNC, NORTH CAROLINA: Well, I think my record is very
clear that I did not support his election to the RNC and I have been
concerned all along about his performance, but so I have been concerned
about the performance of Mr. Obama. I think that we have a disservice
being done because the job of the RNC is to both raise money, but to
support our candidates. And we need to ask the question, how much of the
money raised is going to the candidates?
I have been very open, very forthright in making sure that those
issues are addressed at the RNC, and I‘m still waiting for my answers.
SCHULTZ: So you want him to step down?
FISHER: I have written my comments to Mr. Steele on several occasions
about my lack of no vote of confidence in some of the things that he‘s
Armstrong Williams, you know how these things go in the media. This
has taken on a life of its own. And his silence, I think, is deafening
Has Michael Steele, in your opinion, become a liability for the
ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Michael Steele‘s
liability as a Republican did not start with the latest fiasco and the
credit card. I mean, from him going out, having speaking engagements which
he‘s paid for, for many gaffes along the way, he‘s alienated himself from
the leadership, Mitch McConnell and Congressman Boehner.
It‘s a serious issue with him. He‘s pretty explosive.
But I think in your earlier commentary, I think you said some things
that hold true in terms of—and I think it goes to the donor base. You
know, ousting a chairman is going to be very difficult because it takes a
two-third majority. And the full meeting I don‘t think is again until
January 2011. And when the June receipts come in, and if the leadership in
the party and the donors begin to realize that many of these donors are
withholding funds, and they‘re going directly to the candidate, or they‘re
going to the NRCC and other places to place their money, and not funded it
through the Republican National Committee, then it becomes a very serious
problem for Chairman Steele.
SCHULTZ: But Armstrong, don‘t you see this as a big break for the
Obama administration and the DNC? I mean, this is—you know, fund-
raising is not easy, especially in these economic times. And this becomes
baggage, especially when there‘s one story—I mean, he goes out to
Hawaii, he‘s always had a pretty good, say, taste for the good life. He
loves the corporate jets.
When he came in, they had $22 million, now they‘re down to $10
million. They‘re moving the money out as quickly as they get it.
Is the Republican Party gaining under Mr. Steele?
WILLIAMS: Listen, Ed—
FISHER: I‘d like to respond to that since I‘m on the committee.
SCHULTZ: OK. How about that, Dr. Fisher?
FISHER: I think you‘re being reasonably unfair, because you have to
ask—this is politics as usual. And one of the things that the
Republican Party has to understand is politics as usual doesn‘t fly. And
what we‘ve seen on the Democratic side is the same thing.
People want folks to be honest with their money. They want people to
SCHULTZ: Well, Dr. Fisher, I have to take issue with that.
Respectfully, you know, when people give $25, $50, $100, or whatever, they
don‘t think it‘s going to end up in a Voyeur Club. I mean, this is an
issue of credibility at this point.
FISHER: Well, I would agree with you. However, in the statement
released by the RNC, it says very clearly that the money for the Voyeur
Club is going to be reimbursed to the party. The Republican National
Committee knew nothing about it. Mr. Steele said in the press release that
he knew nothing about it.
And if you want answers to this, then you‘re going to have to bring
Mr. Steele in. Because I don‘t know what he did and when he knew and when
he did something about it.
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s a key point.
FISHER: I knew about it yesterday. And yesterday, when I found out
about it, I sent a response to the RNC and said this will not fly and you
need to be forthright.
SCHULTZ: Armstrong, let me ask you now, is the timing of the firing
of the assistant, did it happen right away, or did it happen after the
media got on this story and days after? I mean, I think Mr. Steele‘s
judgment has to come into question right here.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think Chairman Steele‘s judgment has been in
question since he became the chairman. And you have to also understand
that Tucker Carlson, who is no liberal icon, broke this story.
And the bottom line, this happened back in January, if you were to
believe the reports. The question you must ask is, why did it take so long
for them to realize that this was an issue? And why would someone within
the RNC approve something like this?
You must ask about their judgment. Why would you even approve almost
a $2,000 bill? You‘re right about something. If people are spending their
money to elect candidates, and there are people out there who are very
disturbed about the passage of the health care bill and other issues as it
relates to the Obama administration, and if your money is being spent on a
Voyeurs Club, I mean, people‘s money—people work hard for their money.
They believe in our cause, and the cause is not in some sex shop, or this
pseudo-sex that is being reported.
So the bottom line, this should have never happened, but a staffer was
allowed to sign this invoice in the first place.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Fisher and Armstrong Williams, I‘ve got to run. Great
to have you with us tonight.
FISHER: It was inappropriate. And I would agree that it‘s
SCHULTZ: OK. Very good.
Great to have you on, Dr. Fisher.
FISHER: Thank you for inviting me.
SCHULTZ: And Armstrong Williams with us tonight.
And, of course, we‘d like to have Mr. Steele come on this program and
explain the methodology of all of this.
For more on what this really means for the Republicans in the long
haul when they‘re supposed to be gaining ground on this terrible health
care bill, according to them, Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.com.
Joan, your thoughts? Is this big baggage for the Republicans?
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SALON.COM: I think it is big baggage.
There are two key facts here, Ed.
One of them is just the hypocrisy of it. And once again, we have this
party that stands for very narrow values—no gay marriage, put women back
in the home, no contraceptive freedom, et cetera. And there they are
partying at a strip club, and it‘s nothing new.
We‘ve got David Vitter, we‘ve got John Ensign, we‘ve got all these sex
scandals. So that‘s one thing.
The main thing though is the numbers that you used earlier in this
segment. He came in—Michael Steele came in with about $22 million, $24
million cash on hand. Right now they have less than $10 million cash on
So even before this embarrassment, he was not raising money. He was
spending it way faster than he was raising it. And he‘s become a complete
embarrassment to the party.
But they can‘t seem to find the mechanism to get rid of him, or they
can‘t seem to find the courage to say we made a mistake. I‘m not really
sure what it is.
SCHULTZ: He has got quite a bravado for a personality. He doesn‘t
appear to me to be a guy that would voluntarily step down.
WALSH: No. Clearly, he likes the fight. You know, every time
something like this has come up, he‘s, “Brother‘s still here. Bring it
on.” He‘s told his critics to shut up, his Republican critics, not you and
So that‘s what he likes. And that‘s his prerogative.
But now, you know, we‘ve got this example of this young woman staffer
who‘s now been fired. Now, maybe she deserves it. Maybe it was really all
her fault. But there‘s still something a little bit classless about that.
And finally, this same group, the Young Eagles, do you know what
they‘re doing for recreation next month? In April, they‘re having a
shooting party at Blackwater headquarters, Xe.
So that‘s the kind of group this is. Strip clubs one month—or
excuse me, in January. Strip clubs in January, shooting parties with
Blackwater in April. This is how they‘re raising money. And I think the
more we talk about it, the better off we are.
I‘m very grateful to my friend Tucker Carlson for bringing this story
SCHULTZ: Joan Walsh, great to have you on tonight. Thanks so much.
WALSH: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, a ninth member of the psycho anti-government hate
militia has been busted by authorities. The rising risk of far-right
violence is very real in this country. For more, we‘ve got that coming up
in just a moment.
Plus, the people accusing Sean Hannity of cheating his charity, they
are not backing down. They say the alleged scam is far bigger than
originally reported. One of them will join me later on in the show.
We‘ve also got President Obama taking on the Tea Partiers.
And a “Beckster” B-teamer lands in the zone. What a bench they‘ve got
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching
A ninth alleged member of a Christian militia group accused of
plotting to start an uprising against the United States government was
arraigned this afternoon in Detroit. Twenty-one-year-old Joshua Stone
surrendered to authorities last night after federal agents and state police
surrounded his home.
Eight other suspected members of the Michigan-based militia were
arrested last weekend after FBI raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. They
have been charged with planning to use weapons of mass destruction to kill
police officers. Their Web site claims they were preparing for battle
against the Antichrist.
For more, let me bring in former CIA agent Jack Rice.
Jack, I think there are a lot of Americans, I‘m guessing tonight, who
are out there wondering how many other groups are like this one, out there
at large that we know about or don‘t know about? This is pretty scary
JACK RICE, FMR. CIA AGENT: Without question, Ed. I mean, that‘s the
real problem here, is you never know how far this can go.
Remember, even if they work in isolation, what you can get are various
organizations of this type that work together. We even found most
recently, when some of them were on the run over the last 24, 36 hours, is
that they were reaching out to other militia groups trying to get their
involvement. So even if you grab the first nine, you never know if there
are 10, 11, 12 more.
SCHULTZ: Now, the FBI had them under surveillance for a year and a
half. And it turns out that they were planning something for next month.
Tell us about the decision to make a move on a group like this when
it‘s beyond the point of diminishing returns, that you‘ve gotten everything
you‘re going to get out of them.
RICE: When you look at something like this, you‘re looking for the
imminent threat. Obviously, you want to wrap up an entire organization.
If you only have one or two members, you don‘t want to leave the other
eight of them or seven of them dangling out there. And so you hold off as
long as you can unless you have specific intelligence that allows you to
determine that if we don‘t do anything, we could see loss of life, loss of
property, or for some reason a reason to hold back.
I think what the FBI, what the federal police and locals who were
involved in this as well, decided was if they don‘t do something right now,
this could get very, very serious for a lot of people. So they made that
call and they wrapped them up.
SCHULTZ: Weapons of mass destruction—how sophisticated were they?
RICE: Well, that‘s a good question. We know that this is more than
just your average criminal. And that is the problem.
I mean, that‘s always been the problem when I‘ve talked to police in
Los Angeles, New York, or any place else, is that sometimes you‘re starting
to see the sophistication, that these guys have more than the local police
have. And so all of a sudden, it‘s not just the police against the small
fry. It‘s a big organization.
But I think the broader question we should probably be thinking about
is this idea of a Christian warrior. To me, this highlights one point that
you and I have discussed in the past.
Some have talked about racial profiling when it comes to terrorism-
related cases and going after Muslims. And I said that that was completely
ridiculous, frankly stupid. I mean, if we‘re going to use that same logic,
then I guess the argument now would be, what we‘re going to do is start
targeting all Christians? Well, that would be equally as foolish.
You look at the acts. And in this case, these are bad acts. Go after
them for what they do, not for what they think.
SCHULTZ: Jack Rice, always intelligent insight. Very informative.
Appreciate your time tonight, Jack. Thank you.
RICE: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Up next, it makes sense that John Boehner opposed the
tanning salon tax in the health care bill. After all, it‘s going to cost
him big bucks.
But get a load of this. The Beckster‘s understudy says the tax is
racist? You know where that lands him. That‘s right, in the zone. That‘s
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, the Beckster‘s on vacation
this week, so they‘re bringing out the Beck B-team to host his radio show.
Now, yesterday we showed you fill-in Joe Pagliarulo hollering about
how President Obama is purposely keeping us in a recession so he can win
the next election.
Well, today, psycho sub Doc Thompson managed to out-crazy Beck‘s
comment about how Obama is a racist and has a deep-seated hatred for white
people. He thinks the health care bill is racist toward light-skinned
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DOC THOMPSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Racism has been dropped at my
front door, and the front door of all lighter-skinned Americans. The
health care bill the president just signed into law includes a 10 percent
tax on all indoor tanning sessions starting July 1st.
And I say, who uses tanning? Is it dark-skinned people? I don‘t
Why would the president of the United States of America, a man who
says he understands racism, a man who‘s been confronted with racism, why
would he sign such a racist law?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Beck, you must have run an Internet contest to find that
Anyway, of course the real motivation behind the tanning tax is to
discourage a harmful activity. Or maybe it‘s Nancy Pelosi‘s way of just
sticking it to John Boehner because he likes to tan.
Regardless, Glenn Beck is giving no-name righty nut jobs like Doc
Thompson a platform to spew their crackpot conspiracy theories. Saying
that a tax on tanning is racist, it is “Psycho Talk” big-time.
Coming up, insurance companies thought they were, you know, going to
be able to pull a fast one on kids with pre-existing conditions. But team
Obama made them think again. Cigna whistleblower Wendell Potter will join
And Sarah Palin just took her hopey-changey thing joke way too far,
and we‘re going to call her out on it.
Plus, Obama rips the Tea Partiers.
And Shep Smith doing it live! I‘ll show you that in the “Playbook”
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
Earlier today, President Obama put the finishing touches on the health care
reform bill by signing the reconciliation fixes bill into law. But big
insurance companies are already trying to get around one of the central
provisions of the law, providing health care to kids with preexisting
conditions. As of September, insurance companies will no longer be able to
deny sick children coverage of their parents‘ plans. But lawyers for big
insurance say that rather than cover the child, the companies can just
refuse to sell coverage to the entire family.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a very
blunt letter to the insurance umbrella AHIP yesterday saying, quote,
“health insurance reform is designed to prevent any child from being denied
coverage because he or she has a preexisting condition. Now is not the
time to search for non-existent loopholes that preserve a broken system.”
The insurance companies quickly responded, saying that they will
comply with the new laws. I‘m sure that‘s why they‘re paying all those
lawyers. For more, let me bring in Wendell Potter, senior fellow on health
care, Center for Media and Democracy, and he‘s a former president of
insurance giant Cigna.
Mr. Potter, you had predicted on this program some time ago that the
battle would continue. Can they be trusted now that they‘ve been smacked
down early on in this? Will they continue their efforts to wiggle through
this whole bill?
WENDELL POTTER, CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY: No, they can‘t be
trusted. Yes, they will continue to try to wiggle through this. These are
the same people, by the way, that a year ago promised the president that
they would be allies with him in fighting for reform. At the same time,
they were planning to launch their deceptive PR campaign to influence
public opinion against reform.
They‘ll continue to do this. Just because the trade association said
that they‘ll play nice and they will do as the law says they should do,
each one of these companies will bear watching. We need to watch them like
hawks to make sure they do do the right thing.
SCHULTZ: Does this mean that consumers are going to be treated the
same way they were treated before, and consumers ought to be ready to fight
for everything and challenge everything and challenge the authority? Is
that what it‘s going to take?
POTTER: There will be more regulations. That will be helpful. But
consumers really will need to be vigilant to make sure that they are
watching these companies, and making sure they‘re not being mistreated and
abused, and that their claims are being denied inappropriately, or that
procedures are being denied that they should have. Consumers and doctors
and all of us will have to be watching that very, very closely.
SCHULTZ: What are the next two years going to be like, do you think?
POTTER: I think we‘ll be seeing the insurance companies will be
trying to do everything they can to circumvent the law. One of the things
that we need to keep on eye on coming up very soon is how they‘re going to
managing to operate under this new requirement that they have to spend so
much of premiums on medical care. Already, we‘re seeing one of the
biggest, in fact the biggest, Wellpoint, trying to reclassify its expenses,
and move them over into the medical care side, so that its medical loss
ratio looks like it‘s better, and more in compliance with the law.
They‘re simply moving some expenses from one place to another, almost
like lawyers do—bankers do when they‘re shifting bad loans from one
place to another, to hide it from regulators.
SCHULTZ: Yeah. You know, one thing I noticed in this bill is that
there are no prohibitions on brokers. I mean, brokers can go out—and
this is probably one of the best things private business has ever seen in
insurance. I mean, if you‘re an insurance agent, there‘s no limits to what
you can do, what you come up with, what kind of concoction you can make for
the consumer when it comes to an exchange plan. That‘s how I read it.
That‘s about as free market as it gets. Isn‘t it?
POTTER: It‘s very free market. This is certainly not a government
takeover of the health care system. This is a very free-market act by all
measures. And, yeah, the brokers, their lobbyists, the underwriters have
been treated very well with this legislation. But again, there are good
things in this bill. We‘ll just need to make sure that the law is followed
by these companies.
SCHULTZ: Do you think the insurance industry has the message now?
There‘s a lot of Democrats out there, lot of progressives that want to go
further with a government plan. Now, what could happen here, as I see it,
Mr. Potter—correct me if I‘m wrong—all this talk about the exchanges,
some of these companies might not get into that business. Some of these
companies might just defiantly not offer the kind of plans to create the
competition and choices that we think they‘re going to do. What about
POTTER: That could, indeed, happen. I think most of the companies
probably will want to be a part of the exchange. They will certainly be
able to operate outside the exchange as well. We‘ll have to see how that
works. Plus, a lot of people will continue to be enrolled in their
employer-based plans that are exempt really from state regulation. And
that‘s another area that we‘ll need to be mindful of in watching.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Potter, always a pleasure. Great to have you on with us
tonight. Thank you.
POTTER: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Now let‘s turn to our panel for rapid fire response. One
story, are Democrats and the president getting a post-health care bounce?
Two polls show conflicting results.
President Obama says he doesn‘t think all Tea Party protesters are
part of the fringe.
And the RNC‘s latest sex club scandal may be the last straw for
Chairman Michael Steele.
With us tonight, Democratic strategist Todd Webster and also radio
talk show host Heidi Harris. All right, Heidi. I guess what went on the
road didn‘t stay on the road when it comes to what the Republicans were
doing with their money. How do you think Michael Steele is going to
navigate through this, if he is at all? What do you think?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, listen, he‘s going to have
to find a way. Nobody wants to see them spending their money on things
like that. You have a responsibility, whether it‘s any corporation or any
group‘s money, to spend it the way you‘re supposed to.
SCHULTZ: Should he quit?
HARRIS: No, he shouldn‘t quit. You can‘t be responsible for
SCHULTZ: Well, I can understand that. He can‘t be responsible for
everybody. But if you‘re not bringing in the money, and you‘re loose with
the expenses, and you have a PR issue on your hands right now, and this is
a time when Republicans are supposed to be gaining on this horrible bill
that Obama‘s gotten through with the Democrats, wouldn‘t this be the time
for Republicans to kick it into high gear, Heidi?
HARRIS: Well, listen, Michael Steele has changed things from the get-
go. Remember when he got in and got rid of a bunch of people that had been
around a long time and he wanted new ideas? He‘s shaking things up from
the get-go. There are going to be people who are not happy with what he‘s
done, and there are going to be people who are happy with what he‘s done.
He‘s not condoning that kind of behavior or those kind of expenses. Why
should he resign?
SCHULTZ: OK. What about it, Todd? What about the timing of the
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Keep Michael Steele around for
as long as possible. Let‘s also remember that the candidate who was
challenging him for the RNC chairmanship was Katon Dawson, who was a South
Carolina country club, whites only, kind of a lily white, typical
conservative person who would have been even probably less able to reach
out to other people that wanted—the Republicans want to bring into their
So I think this is obviously very, very bad for the Republican party.
It doesn‘t give their donors any faith in the organization that they‘ll be
able to spend the money wisely. Frankly, for a party that wants to take
over all federal spending in the federal government, to be this loose and
irresponsible with private jets and limousines and sex clubs, I don‘t think
it gives Americans a lot of—
SCHULTZ: I hope he sticks around for a long time. I‘m with you. I
think he‘s great for you guys over there, Heidi. All right. There‘s a
couple numbers out there showing conflicting signs about whether President
Obama is going to be getting a bump out of this. The Obama job approval
according to the Gallup and “USA Today” is at 47 percent approval, 50
percent disapprove. A CNN post health care poll has president at 51
percent—that‘s up five—and 48 percent disapprove.
Heidi, which one do you want to pay attention to?
HARRIS: Well, you know what, I think a lot of people are upset. Our
Tea Party last week in Searchlight, as you know, had about 20,000 people,
despite what they try to tell you. They try to make the number low.
People are upset about it. A lot of people are upset about the health care
bill. I would go with the higher disapproval rating. I think that‘s more
SCHULTZ: OK. Todd?
WEBSTER: It‘s a snap shot in time. The more important thing is the
trajectory. If you look at the two weeks that Obama has had, in the last
two weeks, passing historic health care reform, landmark student lending
reform, a major arms deal with Russia—arms limitation deal with Russia,
he‘s in the driver‘s seat and success begets success. It puts him in a
better position for Wall Street reform and financial regulation.
SCHULTZ: I want you both to respond to this. The president speaking
to Matt Lauer on the NBC “Today Show” talked about the Tea Partiers. I
can‘t remember the last time the president got this detailed when it came
to talking about the Tea Parties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There‘s a part of the Tea Party movement that actually did
exist before I was elected. We saw some of it leading up to my election,
where there were some folks who just, you know, weren‘t sure whether I was
born in the United States, whether I was a socialist.
Then I think that there‘s a broader circle around that core group of
people who are legitimately concerned about the deficit.
So I wouldn‘t paint in broad brush and say that everybody who‘s
involved or have gone to a Tea Party rally or meeting are somehow on the
fringe. Some of them I think have some mainstream legitimate concerns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Todd, what do you think of that answer?
WEBSTER: You know, he is truly a transformative leader. He is
gracious and classy and magnanimous. He is showing something that
certainly Republicans have not seen in 30 years, which is real leadership.
He‘s not impugning the motives of his political enemies. He‘s trying to
see the best in them. He‘s actually trying to change the tone in
Washington. It speaks to the same way he‘s reaching out for bipartisan
consensus on health care and other issues. It‘s real leadership.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, did the president just describe the 20,000 people in
HARRIS: No, not really. He‘s trying to, what, placate us? We‘re not
going for it. I want to tell you something, Ed, there were 20,000 people
out there, probably 40,000 guns, not one arrest, not one citation, not one
SCHULTZ: I‘m not talking about arrest. I‘m talking about what the
president said about the core group of the Tea Partiers. Do you think he
described and has a good grasp on who these folks are out there? Did he
HARRIS: No, I don‘t. No, I don‘t. I think he‘s trying to placate
us. I think he‘s upset about the fact so many people are gathering who are
not happy about him. He ought to be thrilled. This is a guy who made a
living—or did he make a living—as a community organizer. He ought to
be thrilled with the Tea Party. It‘s just a community organization, right?
SCHULTZ: OK. The ones that go around threatening people. All right.
Now, this is a—
HARRIS: Who threatens people, Ed? Nobody. Stop. Nobody does that.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, wait a minute. Did you hear some of the phone calls
that were made to Bart Stupak‘s home? Did you hear and see on the news how
this guy in Virginia put the dress of a brother of a congressman out and
then the pipe was cut going into his home? Propane? That‘s violence. You
can‘t get around that.
HARRIS: Were those people—
SCHULTZ: They were Tea Partiers. They were Tea Partiers and—
HARRIS: The only people, Ed, at the Tea Party—no, the only people
in Searchlight who were violent or did anything wrong, vandalized property,
were Harry Reid supporters, who threw eggs at the Tea Party Express bus.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, you cannot deny the Tea Partiers have gone over the
top. Here‘s another classic—
HARRIS: No, they have not.
SCHULTZ: OK, that‘s your opinion. If I come cut the propane—if I
come cut the propane line into your home, you‘re going to think that‘s
HARRIS: OK, there‘s not one nut in every crowd? Give me a break.
SCHULTZ: OK, one nut in every crowd. It just so happens they had
posted it on the Internet. Come on, Heidi.
HARRIS: Yeah, right.
WEBSTER: There is a problem here of a rise of right wing militant
extremist groups who are resulting to real violence. It happened with
Timothy McVeigh, killed 160 people 15 years ago. It is now on the rise
HARRIS: Did Timothy McVeigh go to a Tea Party? I must have missed
SCHULTZ: Heidi, is it normal behavior for crowds to spit on a
HARRIS: One person maybe. We‘re not even sure that happened. Is it
normal behavior for Harry Reid supporters to throw eggs at the Tea Party
SCHULTZ: Your answer again is one person. Is it normal behavior to
take money out and mock a man who has a disease that put him in a
wheelchair, which happened in Ohio? Is that normal or is that over the
HARRIS: I‘m not defending that. I‘m telling you that our tea party
had 20,000 people with no arrests, no incidents of any kind.
SCHULTZ: That‘s good.
WEBSTER: You should be congratulated for that, for nobody shooting
anybody at a rally? That‘s the bar that you have set for the—
SCHULTZ: I want to play this sound bite of Sarah Palin. Here‘s what
she says about the bumper sticker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FMR. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: Or that bumper sticker that
maybe you‘ll see on the next Subaru driving by, an Obama bumper sticker,
you should stop the driver and say, so how is that hopey changey thing
working out for you? And I shouldn‘t be disrespectful. I don‘t have
anything against Subarus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The story last week was a man was in his car with his 10-
year-old daughter and had an Obama sticker on his bumper and he was rear
ended and harassed. Now here‘s Sarah Palin, with all this visibility,
making a joke out of it. I suppose that‘s probably the high road too as
well, Heidi. How do you view that?
HARRIS: How is that a Tea Party thing, Ed? How do you make that
leap? What does it have to do at all with all the people at the Tea Party
who are not doing anything violent? There are wing nuts on the right.
There are wing nuts on the left. I can‘t be responsible for everybody.
Boy, I‘d like to be in charge for one day, but I‘m not.
SCHULTZ: OK. You think it‘s OK for Sarah Palin to tell people to
challenge other drivers because they have a bumper sticker on their car?
You don‘t think that‘s inciteful at all?
HARRIS: Come on. She‘s making a joke. Did she tell people to rear
end drivers with Obama stickers? I didn‘t catch that part of the speech.
I was there, by the way.
SCHULTZ: Your thoughts on that, Todd.
WEBSTER: Sure, there are left wing activists and right wing
activists. The left wingers tend to chain themselves to old growth trees.
The right wingers go out and blow up buildings or shoot people. It is a
HARRIS: Give me a break. The left blows up buildings and sets things
WEBSTER: -- when you have elected leaders inciting violence, having
people target Nancy Pelosi and calling for Armageddon, they are inciting
right-wing militants to take to—
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, Heidi Harris, time‘s up. Great to have you in
rapid fire tonight. Tomorrow night here on THE ED SHOW, we‘re going to
talk about right wing talkers and what is their responsibility and what are
they actually saying? Is anybody paying attention to them when it comes to
responding to some of the hateful stuff they have been saying out there?
That‘s tomorrow night on THE ED SHOW.
Up next, nine teenagers have been charged with a multiple felonies for
bullies a student to death. School officials knew a 15-year-old girl was
being tormented, but authorities are not pressing charges against any of
the adults. Is that right? We‘ll talk about it next in the playbook.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook, nine Massachusetts teenagers have been
charged with multiple felonies after being accused of taunted a classmate
so severely that she committed suicide. NBC‘s Rehema Ellis has the
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Hadley High
School is in a Massachusetts college community known for good schools. But
today people are asking why the school failed to protect one student from
being tormented to death by several others. Fifteen-year-old Phoebe
Prince, an Irish immigrant, was found by her younger sister hanged in a
closet in her home. She committed suicide after months of what prosecutors
called unrelenting bullying that became intolerable.
ELIZABETH SCHEIBEL, MA NORTHWESTERN DA: From information known to
investigators thus far, it appears that Phoebe‘s death on January 14th
followed a tortuous day for her, in which she was subjected to verbal
harassment and threatened physical abuse.
ELLIS: Now, nearly 11 weeks after her death, nine teenagers including
a group of girls, have been indicted and charged with stalking, criminal
harassment, and violating Phoebe‘s civil rights. Two boys face charges of
(on camera): On the day of her death authorities say the bullying
following phoebe from the halls of the high school and into the streets as
she made her way home. At one point a can was thrown at her from a car.
It may have been the final straw.
(voice-over): Authorities speculate Phoebe was targeted because she
was the pretty new girl at school. She had gotten attention from a popular
football player, and one of the alleged tormenters was jealous. Despite
pleas of help from Phoebe‘s parents, she was harassed on Facebook, her cell
phone, but mostly at school.
SCHEIBEL: Phoebe‘s harassment was common knowledge to most of the
South Hadley High School student body. The investigation has revealed that
certain faculty, staff and administrators of the high school also were
alerted to the harassment of Phoebe Prince before her death.
ELLIS: Experts say it‘s painfully familiar.
PARRY AFTAB, BULLYING EXPERT: We consider it a rite of passage.
Everyone says it‘s just bullying; it‘s words; who cares if someone shoves
you into the locker? We‘re now seeing more and more teens who are taking
their lives as bullying becomes constant.
ELLIS: Sadly, even after her death, officials say Phoebe‘s bullies
persisted, sending disparaging remarks to her Facebook memorial page, an
unthinkable last torment.
Rehema Ellis, NBC News, New York.
SCHULTZ: The Massachusetts legislature is working on a new law that
would require school staff to report cases of bullying. Let me bring in
Dr. Joseph Wright, senior vice president of the Child Health Advocacy
Institute at Children‘s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Wright, you know, how can school officials not know this is going
on? Every parent in America is asking that question tonight.
DR. JOSEPH WRIGHT, CHILDREN‘S NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, Ed. This
is a very troubling situation in South Hadley. And the problem is that we
are at a cross roads where the issue of bullying is one that is based on a
generational experience. And many adults have grown up where bullying was
considered a normative right of passage and the behaviors that constitute
bullying were really not addressed. And—
SCHULTZ: Do we need a law to take care of this, doctor?
WRIGHT: Well, you know, many states are, Ed, seeking legislative
solutions to begin to track and to really force the issue of monitoring
what‘s going on in the schools with regard to bullying behavior. That‘s
certainly a first step. But really it‘s an issue of awareness and
acceptance that this is a big problem.
SCHULTZ: Should students take a role coming forward?
WRIGHT: Oh, absolutely. There has to be engagement by everybody in
the community environment. Most of these behaviors do go on in the school
environment, so it takes students, school personnel, teachers and parents
to be involved in order to make headway with this issue.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Joseph Wright, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate
it very much.
WRIGHT: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Up next, the latest on Hannity‘s charity scandal. Stay with
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, it‘s been 12 days since Sean
Hannity still hasn‘t answered the questions about possible fraud and misuse
of funds from his charity. He may have to answer to the IRS and the
Federal Trade Commission. Hannity claims all the proceeds from his Freedom
Concerts go to a scholarship fund for the children of fallen troops.
But look at these numbers. In 2009, two freedom concerts brought in
more than one million dollars. There have been more than 18 concerts since
2003. Assuming each of those 18 concerts, say, brought in a half a million
dollars, the Freedom Alliance should have raised a total of nine million
dollars for the cause. The other night at the talkers convention, Hannity
said they had 15 million dollars in the bank.
Except for those tax forms, the Freedom Alliance reports it only gave
2.5 million dollars to the scholarship fund. So Hannity‘s charity efforts
brought in nine million dollars, but only 2.5 doled out. Which makes me
ask, where‘s the rest of the money? The millions of dollars? Why is it
sitting in the bank? Blogger Debbie Schlussel, she reported that Hannity‘s
personal expenses in each concert—around each concert are about 200,000
dollars per even event, for private jets, hotel suites and luxury cars.
Folks at the center for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington are also asking where is the money going? Joining now tonight
is CREW‘s Melanie Sloan.
Melanie, are these normal expenses for most groups like this, most
organizations like this?
MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON:
No, their expense ratio is way out of proportion. That‘s why the American
Institute of Philanthropy has given them either an F or a D since 2006 on
the way they spend their money. They have very high programmatic—they
put things like fund-raising in a programmatic cost. They spend a huge
amount of money on fund raising.
Also, I think it‘s important here that the concerts are actually put
on by a group called premiere marketing, a for-profit entity. They‘re the
ones who collect the money and then give some small portion of those
proceeds to the Freedom Alliance for the college scholarships. We don‘t
actually know how much money. In 2007, it was reported that it was four
dollars a ticket. We haven‘t seen any kind of numbers since that time.
Whatever it is, it‘s some tiny amount.
Most of money goes to Premiere Marketing, a for-profit company. That,
by the way, is run by Dwayne Ward, who runs the Premiere Speakers Bureau,
which just so happens to have Oliver North, Freedom Alliance‘s chairman,
and Sean Hannity as major clients.
SCHULTZ: What would they be doing with 15 million dollars in the
bank? Why aren‘t they getting it out to the students?
SLOAN: They say they‘re saving it in a trust fund because there are
so many kids of wounded veterans who aren‘t college age yet, and they want
to grow the money.
SCHULTZ: OK. That is normal with some charities that are out there.
We‘ll have more on this story again tomorrow night. Thanks, Melanie.
Tonight in our phone survey, I asked do you think RNC Chairman Michael
Steele should resign? Seventy seven percent of you said yes; 23 percent of
you said no. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “HARDBALL” with Chris
Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you
here tomorrow night.
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
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.>