Guests: Arianna Huffington, Charles Melancon, Lanny Davis, Chuck Rocha,
John Feehery, Joe Madison, Rep. Jim McDermott, Brent Coon
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW, coming to you live from Seattle, Washington, tonight.
These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
The victory by a corporate Democrat in Arkansas I guess you could say motivates a White House insider to attack working families and organized labor in this country. Arianna Huffington will respond to my commentary.
The ridiculous comments out of BP are trickling down through the ranks. This time, the chief operating officer‘s mouth was leaking lies. Congressman Melancon will sound off to that.
And the “Chicken Lady‘s” goose was cooked in Nevada. Harry Reid will face a Tea Party “Psycho Talker” this November, and I think Harry‘s probably pretty happy about that.
Now, of course, oil is the big story, but this is a story that‘s really got me fired up tonight. Tonight. This just in: Lincoln beats Halter in Arkansas.
Now, in the aftermath, all of a sudden we‘ve got all these experts out there that know everything about what liberals are thinking.
First of all—first of all, this was not a crushing defeat for labor. Secondly, labor, not now or at any other time, do they ever have to apologize to anybody for utilizing their resources on behalf of working families. And third—and let‘s not forget this—and this is most importantly in all of it tonight—if it wasn‘t for labor, Barack Obama would not be the president of the United States, and all these experts would not be in the White House.
But all of a sudden, holy smokes, labor doesn‘t have any friends in the White House. Just experts.
Let‘s see. The Democrats, they don‘t like labor anymore. The media doesn‘t like labor anymore. And we all know damn well that the Republicans certainly don‘t like labor in this country.
Now a senior White House official tells Politico last night in the wake of victory, “Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members‘ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise. If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across the country, that would have made a real difference in November.”
Well, at today‘s White House press briefing, Bill Press, liberal talk show host, asked Robert Gibbs if the senior official official‘s quote was the official response from the White House.
Here‘s Gibbs‘ answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: While the president might not have agreed with the exact characterization, I think that whether or not that money might have been better spent in the fall on closer elections between somebody—between people who cared about an agenda that benefited working families and those that didn‘t, that money might come in more handy then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, please. You know, the last thing the White House should be doing right now is picking a fight with working families across this country. And to come out and to diss labor for spending millions of dollars to get rid of a corporate Democrat I think puts the White House on the wrong side of the fence.
Up front, Blanche Lincoln has never been a friend of organized labor. Labor basically saw an opportunity to take out a corporate Democrat in the Wal-Mart state, and I‘ll tell you, it was good money spent.
And I can guarantee you, I‘ve talked to a lot of labor leaders in my time, and I‘ll take the liberty to speak for labor tonight. The mission doesn‘t change.
What‘s troubling in all of this is what happened in Garland County in Arkansas last night. Now, let me ask you, what Democrat can support shutting down almost 40 polling places? No Democrat should embrace that. It sure smells like voter suppression to me.
You know, and in the last four years, I just want to tell the experts that the net roots, the organized labor folks, the progressive movement, the blogosphere, and this liberal talker, you know, I think we‘ve had quite a few victories as of late. Without that force, the Democrats would not have the White House, the House and the Senate.
And as for you corporate Democrats out there who think you‘ve got all the answers on how to shut down the progressive movement in this country, I guess the only thing we have to say to you is, we‘ll see you at the next showdown, because this mission is going to continue.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think.
Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think the White House is taking the liberal left for granted? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. And I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Arianna Huffington, co-founder, editor-in-chief of “Huffington Post.”
Arianna, great to have you with us tonight. I am somewhat—I want to point out that last night, here on MSNBC, I congratulated as other progressives did, congratulated Blanche Lincoln for her victory.
It was an upset, because it looked like Bill Halter was going to win this thing. He was surging in recent days.
But for the White House to come out and take the stick and poke it in the eye of labor after all labor has done for this White House, and for the Obama campaign, do you think that‘s fair, or is that an overstatement? What do you think?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CO-FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “HUFFINGTON POST”: I
think it‘s definitely an overstatement. And worse than that, it really goes against exactly what we need to be doing, which is holding politicians accountable.
As you said, it wasn‘t just labor, it was a lot of small donations, over $3 million in small donations, from people who felt that there has to be real change in this country. After all, that‘s what Barack Obama was elected on.
And you know what, Ed? This is not about the left and the right.
This is about what the country demands.
And the fact that Blanche Lincoln, an established senator, first of all, had to go into a runoff, and then won just by four percent, I mean, that is really a major shift in what is happening. And if she had lost by four percent, we‘d be having a completely different conversation, of course.
But the fundamentals of what is happening in this country remain. There is a huge anti-incumbency feeling, and that‘s coming from across the board, because look at what establishment politicians of both parties have actually achieved for working families.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think when you take a look at the attitude of the White House and the way they really did a victory dance last night, explaining that labor isn‘t spending their money correctly, I mean, what is the White House doing? I mean, don‘t they know who their friends are? I mean, all the liberals in this country were trying to do last night was trying to get Barack Obama a better progressive.
That‘s all they were trying to do, and that‘s all—that‘s all labor was trying to do. And then they come back and say, well, your people aren‘t spending the money right.
What do you make of that?
HUFFINGTON: But remember, the White House tried to get Arlen Specter elected in Pennsylvania. And they tried to offer a job to Sestak to get him out of the race. So there‘s a mindset that needs to change, because otherwise they‘re really not reading the tea leaves right.
And what is happening around the country is a tremendous amount of frustration and anger at the fact that jobs are still not being created, that the fact that this financial reform Bill that‘s now in conference during the reconciliation process between the House and the Senate bills actually includes a much tougher derivatives clause, because Blanche Lincoln was actually pushed against the wall and had to do something to demonstration her progressive credentials. So that‘s how change sometimes happens, by actually making it clear that unions and progressives are not going to support a candidate just because he or she has a “D” behind their name.
SCHULTZ: Well, Leo Gerard, Steelworkers president, told me that we‘re not their ATM. That was his comment to me today.
I want to say that Bill Halter, last night in Arkansas, was absolutely total class. I asked him about the possibility of voter suppression in Garland County. He said he wasn‘t prepared to address that right now, maybe some other people will.
But what does it say, Arianna, that Democrats, in a Democratic primary, would shut down polling places in a county that just happened to be a big delivery for Bill Halter, and it wasn‘t last night? Are you troubled by that?
HUFFINGTON: Well, I‘m troubled by anything that actually pits the establishment against candidates who really want fundamental change. That‘s what they did to Barack Obama, remember? The establishment tried to tell him this was not his time, this was not the moment.
We had Bill Clinton—remember, Bill Clinton, in the Joe Lieberman race in Connecticut, he went on Larry King and said that basically, it wouldn‘t make any difference for the Democrats whether Joe Lieberman was the senator or not. Well, we saw that this was not the case. This is not what happened. Not every Democrat has the interest of middle class and working families in America in the same way.
Do you think it was money well spent by the progressives to try to get that seat last night in Arkansas?
HUFFINGTON: Oh, absolutely. There‘s no question.
I think above everything else, it‘s really important that progressives and unions do not just vote for the Democratic candidate. Remember, the Club for Growth, on the right, did that by actually picking candidates who shared their views on the free market, on taxation, and they made a big difference in what other candidates espoused.
SCHULTZ: Arianna Huffington, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us tonight.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.
And I‘ll have a commentary a little bit later on, going head-to-head with Lanny Davis, who sent me an e-mail early this morning telling me that, pretty much, the lefties are overboard. I don‘t agree with that.
Progressives just found out, really, how tough it is to win in the Wal-Mart state. And this plays right into what I have talked about, written about, in my new book, “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics are Destroying the Great American Middle Class.”
Folks, for the last several weeks, I‘ve been hosting my American Workers Tour and book tour across the country, and I‘m hosting a town hall here tonight in Seattle, and we‘re headed to Portland tomorrow night. So hopefully you can join us.
You can go to my Web site at www.ed.msnbc.com, or my radio Web site, at wegoted.com.
Coming up, BP‘s “Psycho Talk.” Well, it‘s spreading through their executive ranks. Hayward‘s right-hand man is insisting there are no oil plumes.
Congressman Melancon, he is calling for heads to roll. He will join me next here on THE ED SHOW.
Also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, well, she got heckled. Not by the Tea Partiers, but by progressives.
I‘ve got a “Rapid Fire” response to all of that.
All that, plus “Slant Head” and “Fox & Friends” land in the “Zone.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC from Seattle.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
We‘re 51 days in the oil spill, and the folks at BP still can‘t get it together.
The company‘s chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, backed off claims that the gushing oil would be down to a relative trickle by early next week. It doesn‘t look like we are even close to that to me.
And this morning, Suttles kept up the company‘s denial of huge underwater oil plumes a day after federal officials confirmed oil as far as 3,300 feet below the surface, 42 miles northeast of the well site.
It may be down to how you define what a plume is here, but basically what some people have asked is are there large concentrations of oil under the sea? Those have not been found so far by us or anybody else measuring this. The oil that has been found is in minute quantities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG SUTTLES, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, BP: It may be down to what you define what a plume is here. But, basically, what some people have asked is, are there large concentrations of oil under the sea? And those have not been found so far by us or anyone else that‘s measuring this. The oil that has been found is in very minute quantities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Meanwhile, President Obama plans to head back down to the Gulf on Monday. The last time he was in the region, he spent time with my next guest, Congressman Charlie Melancon of Louisiana.
Congressman, great to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.
REP. CHARLES MELANCON (D), LOUISIANA: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
What do you make of the double talk in just the last 24 hours from BP officials when it comes to these oil plumes? Where do you stand on that?
MELANCON: Well, you know, the frustration, it begins the first day with a thousand barrels flow, then 5,000 barrels flow. And now we‘re thinking maybe it‘s 30,000 barrel flow. And what‘s a plume?
You know, it‘s—I guess you can play the semantics game. Let‘s just be honest. The people already are frustrated enough, and if they‘re knowing exactly what‘s out there, rather than an argument going back and forth either between scientists and the company, or politicians and the company, it‘s just not doing anybody any good.
SCHULTZ: But how do you explain a higher-up at BP being so inaccurate with the facts? I mean, it‘s almost constant.
He says that there‘s no oil plumes. Now we have new video that there is oil plumes. I mean, could their corporate communications be that screwed up?
MELANCON: Well, there comes a point in time when you have to just consider the source and look back and see whether you believed or you felt that they had been honest with you from the beginning. And I think that‘s what‘s happening generally. Not just from the media or the press, but from the citizens, themselves.
You know, maybe they believe that there‘s no plumes down there, but there‘s been scientists. I‘ve always been a believer in science.
I don‘t think scientists have an agenda of their own other than to document or provide that information which they find. I don‘t think that the University of Georgia, which I think has one of the ships down there, has a game to play here. So, if it‘s there, let‘s say, well, it may be there. We don‘t know, we don‘t see it, but don‘t just get into the denial mode, because all that does is fuel more confusion.
SCHULTZ: Well, it certainly does, but, Congressman, it also fuels tremendous speculation that if they‘re not even going to be honest or accurate or up to the minute on exactly what is happening with the oil plumes, how in the world are the American people supposed to expect them to be honest when it comes to the claims process?
Your thoughts on that?
MELANCON: Well, obviously I have concerns about it. I talked with the guy that runs a company that‘s doing adjustments. He‘s telling me that the company is going out of their way to try and make things right.
Now, when I look at the amount of money paid out in advertising for their image, an amount that‘s paid out in claims—and I don‘t fault the gesture, I just fault the company. Five thousand dollars doesn‘t make a fisherman whole.
MELANCON: You know, there‘s a lot of issues out there, a lot of problems. We need to work through them.
But we need to act in good faith and try and make sure that these people that are being hurt are compensated, that they know that there‘s a possibility of a future, because right now they don‘t really have a hope. They‘re convinced by the lies, I guess, that their marshes, the wetlands, the estuaries, the Gulf, itself, may be dormant in terms of production of seafood. For how long, we don‘t know.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, next week the officials with the oil companies are going to be on Capitol Hill, they‘re going to be testifying. And here we are in day 51, and the head of the Coast Guard, Thad Allen, the commandant, the admiral, is asking for more openness in the claims process.
Has anyone in the Congress thought maybe it would be a good idea to bring somebody up from the insurance industry to explain to the American people exactly what the resources are in all of this?
Tell us about that.
MELANCON: I haven‘t heard such being proposed, but that doesn‘t mean that one of the committees of jurisdiction may not. But that‘s a great question. I‘ll be happy to ask that tomorrow and see if I can get an answer to it.
SCHULTZ: Well, it would seem to me that the oil companies are probably in pretty good communication with their insurance companies trying to figure out, OK, the claims process, what can we cover, what can we not cover? And you know they‘re searching for fine print. They have got to be searching for fine print.
It would seem to me that some congressional committee should probably haul some people up from the insurance industry and ask them a few questions.
Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.
MELANCON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate your time here on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, President Obama said that he wants to find out whose ass he‘s got to kick. Well, I‘ll point him in the right direction when I kick Fox News‘ backside right after this in the “Zone.”
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, well, the folks over at the right-wing network are just absolutely beside themselves over President Obama saying he wants to know whose ass to kick in response to the oil spill.
But just a few days ago, they were going after him for not being emotional enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People can remember back to other crises, and they remember George W. Bush down at 9/11 in the pit. They‘re still waiting for that picture from President Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where‘s the passion? Where‘s the emotion?
Where‘s the empathy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has our commander in chief failed the test of leadership?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, emotion, right? A little emotion.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I find it interesting. Spike Lee saying, well, the rap now is the president, he‘s so cool under pressure, that he hasn‘t been able to emote or show enough emotion to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So then President Obama goes out and shows some emotion, talks about kicking some you know what, but the psychos over at Fox, well, you see, they didn‘t like that either.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Who‘s (bleep) to kick, plug the damn hole. Is this presidential?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t really like that he used the language that he used at the end, because it just sounded more phony. And I‘m not sure why you have to use—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounded less presidential.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It did. It sounded less presidential.
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: That‘s not leadership. That‘s defensiveness. And it just doesn‘t look all that presidential.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have got the tough guy act, and you‘ve got, I‘m not a professor act, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ooh. Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s blown his top.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, this is just another example of how, you know, it really doesn‘t matter what President Obama does. Right-wingers will always hammer him for it.
Slamming President Obama for being unemotional, then attacking him when he finally does get tough, don‘t you think that‘s really unfair and unbalanced “Psycho Talk”?
Coming up, the “Chicken Lady” is gone. She can go back to bartering full time. Now Harry Reid has got a Tea Partier to take down.
I‘ll tell you all about that and all about her coming up.
And I think Bill Halter, I guess you can say, got “Bubba‘d” in Arkansas last night.
My good friend Lanny Davis is here to spike the football, razorback style. Let‘s see if Lanny can throw the bomb next on THE ED SHOW.
All that, plus Sarah “Barracuda” wants a call from President Obama?
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW, live from Seattle, here on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight. Our battleground story tonight, inside the guts of the Democratic party I guess you can say that there‘s a fistfight going on. Over here, we have the liberal left, and over here Lanny Davis and the corporate Democrats. I woke up to a 6:00 a.m. e-mail this morning from my good friend, Lanny Davis. He told me that the left has got suicidal impulses and said that there‘s a better course for progressivism to follow than the self-destructive forces that backed Bill Halter against Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas last night.
Joining me now is former White House counsel to Bill Clinton, Lanny Davis. Lanny, what—my head was shaking when I got that. I hadn‘t even had a chance to get a cup of coffee this morning and you‘re hammering me for a primary challenge. I loved it, though.
LANNY DAVIS, FMR. CLINTON WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: First of all, let me get you in trouble with all of your progressive friends. We are fellow progressives, and I love you, and you invite me on even when we disagree about tactics, but not about issues.
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. And you are dead wrong on this. This was ripe for a primary challenge. Blanche Lincoln was not a good enough Democrat for the progressive left. How is this a suicidal, you call it, impulse? I don‘t get that.
DAVIS: Let me respectfully give you the facts as I see them, and tell me if you don‘t agree that they‘re facts. Then we‘ll argue about how you draw conclusions from these facts. Her voting record is she supported President Obama on health care—a historic vote and a difficult vote in a state that went for John McCain. She supported President Obama on the stimulus package. She was to the left and hardest of all on the financial services bill that came out of her committee.
She‘s pro choice. She‘s a progressive. Where do you disagree with my conclusion that those votes show her to be a progressive?
SCHULTZ: Number one, she was not for the public option. Number two, she was not hard on Wall Street until she was backed into the corner to do something about financial services. And number three, Lanny, she‘s never been an organized labor advocate. That‘s the bottom line here. And I think a lot of media people are out there just ripping apart the unions for putting eight to ten million dollars into what they thought was a good investment to get a better Democratic. What‘s wrong with that?
DAVIS: Well, let me take issue with what you just said. She‘s from a red state, and it‘s a right-to-work state, and she may not be able to be pro union and get re-elected. But it was the red-state members of the House that you have criticized, Blue-dog Democrats, and red-state senators like Blanche Lincoln that gave us a majority. Indeed, Blanche Lincoln gave us the 60th vote to break a filibuster.
As to the public option, I support a public option—
SCHULTZ: Time out. We all know that the health care bill—that this is a health care hangover. There‘s a lot of progressives out there that are not happy with this health care bill, and there‘s a lot of progressives out there that think that Blanche Lincoln is not going to pick up the torch and go give a government option to hold big insurance. She‘s cozy to big insurance. She‘s cozy to big oil. And she is anti-labor.
Now, whether she‘s from a red state or not is immaterial. The fact is either she‘s a Democrat or not a Democrat, and there‘s a lot of progressives out there that come to the conclusion she‘s not good enough. That‘s it.
DAVIS: You have to give me one say here.
SCHULTZ: OK. I will. Go ahead.
DAVIS: You have a right to make your own definition of progressive and Democrat. Here‘s my definition: she votes with our president, who we both like and both support, 95 percent Of the time. Fact. She‘s pro choice. She‘s pro health care. She‘s pro stimulus bill. And she—you and I disagree with her on one issue, the public option, and Barack Obama, our president, supported a bill without a public option. We can always fight next year for a public option.
She is a progressive, and therefore organized labor has a right to oppose her, but doesn‘t have a right to distort her record, and the negative ads are what defeated, more than anything else, Bill Halter, who went negative and went into the gutter, and deserved to lose for that reason.
SCHULTZ: How did he go into the gutter?
DAVIS: His ads were negative and distorted her record. I just gave you facts about her progressive record.
SCHULTZ: I gave you facts back. Lanny—
DAVIS: -- on your program last night distorted the record.
SCHULTZ: Lanny, she was not for the public option. She did not support financial reform until she got in trouble. Before the primary, she ran away from Obama. Then in the last portion of the election, the last three weeks, she ran with Obama. Now, you know that.
DAVIS: She supported health care. You and I agree that the issues that she supported Obama were the right positions. And the one position you and I disagree with her on, the public option, is the five percent. I‘m willing to support 95 and forgive five.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s finish on this note. You think that the progressives in this country are wrong headed to do these primary challenges? Is that correct?
DAVIS: I think yes they are wrongheaded to take on red state moderate Democrats who gave us a majority in the House and Senate, and they appear prefer to appear to lose the House and the Senate and get rid of the moderates who gave us that majority, which makes no sense if you want to pass progressive legislation rather than have a Republican House or Republican Senate.
SCHULTZ: All right. She‘s a corporate Democrat, Lanny. She‘s a corporate Democrat. There are more that are going to get challenged, too. You and I are friends. E-mail me any time.
DAVIS: Thank you, my friend.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much. Lanny Davis with us on THE ED SHOW. For more, let‘s turn to Chuck Rocha. He‘s a political director for the United Steelworkers of America. Chuck, your thoughts on all this criticism that‘s out there that organized labor wasted a bunch of money. How do you feel about that?
CHUCK ROCHA, UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA: Look, you‘re never going to be wasting money when you stand up for working people. The union‘s job is to invest that money to make sure our member, members of any union can keep their job. And they have security; they a safe workplace; and they have security at their job.
What we did last night was stand up. We stood up like we never had before. We had a great victory. No more will we stand on the sidelines.
I would disagree with your last speaker. The reason you have a majority in the Senate, the reason you have a majority in the House is because of organized labor. Without organized labor, you would have had none of this. We‘re not an arm of the Democratic party. We‘re not an arm of the Republican party. We‘re an arm of the working people of this country. And we will stand with them lock, stock and barrel.
Not only did we take on Blanche Lincoln last night, but we took on Walmart. We took on the CEOs. We took on the oil companies. We took on the Chamber of Commerce. Does that sound familiar, Ed? Sounds like a general election to me. We were trying to get a good guy in to help our president.
SCHULTZ: Chuck, what do you make of the reaction from a White House official who, I must say, was unidentified in the “Politico” story, about it was a pointless exercise to put all these resources into Arkansas?
ROCHA: You know, first of all, it was an unnamed source. Second of all, that money—
SCHULTZ: Wait a minute, now. Hold on a second. It was an unnamed source, but then today White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did somewhat back up the statement. So they didn‘t deny the fact that it was made, which I found to be very interesting. The source now would be Robert Gibbs, somewhat toned down. Was it a pointless exercise? If this is the way the White House feels, aren‘t they trying to draw a divide between management and labor right now? That‘s what seems like to me.
ROCHA: Earlier today, you said that you talked to President Leo Gerard, my former boss. What he said is exactly right. Organized labor is not an ATM for the party. Organized labor is going to put their money backing their members and making sure that we can put a worker-friendly Congress in. Just because the Democrats are in control doesn‘t mean that we can get everything through that we need for all the workers of America.
SCHULTZ: So the White House is wrong? So the White House is wrong when they say you threw your money in the toilet and—
ROCHA: You‘re never throwing your money in the toilet when you‘re putting your money behind workers every day, to make sure that there‘s no more NAFTAs and CAFTAs, like Blanche Lincoln voted for, which sends Arkansas jobs overseas. Every one of these ads that I was part of in Arkansas, that was real voters from Arkansas, working people, not people from D.C. or special interest you like to call, hard working people.
Is the rubber working down in Texarkana special interest? Is the woman who works at AT&T in Little Rock a special interest? No, they‘re workers. They‘re the ones who wanted us to come in there and let their voice be heard.
SCHULTZ: Chuck Rocha, get after it, my man. Great to have you on THE ED SHOW. We‘ll do it again.
ROCHA: Thank you, ed.
SCHULTZ: There will definitely be more progressive challenges.
That‘s for sure. Thanks so much
Let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight. Liberal activists are not happy with Congressional Democrats. At a progressive conference, a group angry about the lack of action on disability rights booed, heckled and shouted down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Tea Partiers got a big win in Nevada. Sharron Angle will challenge Harry Reid this fall.
And Sarah Palin says President Obama should call her for advice on how to handle the oil disaster?
With us tonight, Joe Madison, XM radio satellite talk show host. Joe, it‘s great to have you back with us. Also John Feehery, Republican strategist. We want to note that John is doing some PR work to support BP on behalf of the Brunswick Group. So full disclaimer there.
Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. Let‘s go right to Sarah Palin if we can. I can‘t help it. John Feehery, why in the world should the president be calling Sarah Palin for any advice on an oil disaster?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Ed, if you look at the election last night, she had a pretty good election. The people she supported won. I think she has her finger on the pulse of the American people right now better than Barack Obama. President Obama, his candidates, like Arlen Specter, they seem to be losing all these elections.
So from a political standpoint, I do think that Sarah Palin‘s on a hot streak and Barack Obama—President Obama is not on a hot streak.
SCHULTZ: Joe Madison?
JOE MADISON, XM RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know, he didn‘t answer your question. Listen to him—listen, the question was, what does she know about an oil spill that Barack Obama should call? Here‘s the deal: Barack Obama hasn‘t even talked to the president of BP. If she has a solution, don‘t wait on a call for the president of the United States. Give the solution.
The question was, what does she know? She reminds me of the Peanut character, Lucy. I mean, it‘s like holding a football and she just slips it away. The reality is, it wasn‘t a political question. It was a question about a major disaster.
FEEHERY: Let me jump in here. I think Sarah Palin does have a reputation for taking on the oil companies. She did when she was up in Alaska. And she was pretty tough on them. She does have that—
SCHULTZ: Wait a minute, john. Hold on a second. Hey, gentlemen, here‘s what she wrote on her Facebook page. She writes “please, sir, for the sake of the Gulf residents, reach out to experts who have experience in holding oil companies accountable. I suggested a few weeks ago that you start with Alaska‘s Department of Natural Resources. We‘ve all lived and worked through the Exxon Valdez spill. They can help you. Give them a call. Or what the heck, give me a call.”
What Sarah Palin needs to do is research about how bad the Exxon Valdez—how it absolutely butchered the environment, how very little of it has been cleaned up. She‘s no expert on anything. She‘s political grandstanding again, and you know it, John.
MADISON: Of course. And also let me say this—and also the people in Alaska are still suffering. They are still—
SCHULTZ: sure they are.
MADISON: -- suffering up there. The question was not a political one. And here‘s the point: if she‘s got any suggestion that can solve this problem, don‘t play politics with these people‘s lives. Put that solution out there. And I‘m certain the president of the United States and BP will look at it.
SCHULTZ: All right. Tea Partiers getting after it in the state of Nevada. It‘s going to be Sharron Angle. Sue Lowden, the chicken lady, she didn‘t make it happen. So it‘s going to be Harry Reid. Is this a gift, Joe Madison, to Harry Reid‘s campaign to be going up against what I term as a psycho talker? What do you think?
MADISON: Everybody thinks so. I mean, Harry Reid obviously thinks so. Right here in Virginia, our neighboring commonwealth state, they—
Tea Party got wiped off the map. So it‘s a mixed message. What I‘m hearing is that the Democrats are saying, look, bring on the Tea Party, bring them on. They‘re extremist, and that‘s—and the real test now is how they will campaign between now and November.
SCHULTZ: All right. John Feehery, is this a good omen for Harry Reid‘s campaign? Is this the best match up he could get?
FEEHERY: I certainly hope Harry Reid hopes so. I think Harry Reid is going to get cocky here. I think the people in Nevada are so disgusted with his leadership that they‘re going to support Sharron Angle, and she‘s going to win. I know that she had taken some positions that might be viewed as crazy by some people, but by—her base, they love her, and she won that election fairly convincingly. I think—
MADISON: Let‘s tell everybody—wait a minute. By some people she thinks is crazy that you give chickens to doctors for medical care?
FEEHERY: That was Sue Lowden, Joe. That was not Sharron Angle.
MADISON: I‘m sorry, you‘re right.
FEEHERY: I think she‘s going to solidify the republican base. I think she‘s going to—
SCHULTZ: John, hang on now. Hold on, gentlemen. Solidify the Republican—hold on, Joe. Solidify the Republican base? She wants to abolish Social Security. She wants to repeal health care. And she‘s against the stimulus.
FEEHERY: That‘s not true. She‘s against the stimulus. She wants to repeal the—she wants to privatize Social Security. She doesn‘t want to repeal it.
FEEHERY: I want to be accurate here, Ed.
SCHULTZ: I‘m accurate. Privatizing it is getting rid of it in its current form. That‘s what she wants to do. Joe Madison, it is great—got to run, gentlemen. We got to run. Joe Madison, great to have you back. Way to fight that cancer, my man. It‘s great to see you. John, great to have you.
Coming up, unemployed Americans who are about to lose their benefits, the 99ers, are desperately sitting on the edge of their seats. Tomorrow is a huge day. Congressman Jim McDermott is fighting the good fight for you. That‘s in the playbook next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, this is a story I hear all over the country on our book tour. It‘s about the 99ers. One Democrat is stepping up to fight for Americans who have been hit hardest in this recession. Congressman Jim McDermott will lead a hearing tomorrow on long-term unemployment. A key issue, well, the 99 weekers, people who have been out of work for nearly two years and are about to lose their benefits.
The economy is starting to pick up again, but labor market is still incredibly tough. I say we need to help these folks and keep on helping them until we retrain them back into the job market. Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, joins me now. He‘s the chairman of the Subcommittee of Income Security and Family Support.
Jim, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time. This is a very noble thing on your part to keep up the fight. I hear it all over the country. People are worried. They don‘t know what they‘re going to do. They could lose their homes. What is our obligation here, congressman, in these tough times?
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Well, I think that‘s what this hearing is really all about. We have to face the fact that we now have 6.8 million people who have been out of work for more than six months, and people are falling off their benefits at the rate—by the end of this year, we‘ll have lost three million people, who will have no way to support their family, no way to keep their mortgage payments up, no way to keep their kid in college. And we have to make a decision about that.
I think Americans are going to stand by the workers that have made this country what it is, and not let them fall into a black hole. It‘s going to take some work on the part of the Congress to get that done.
SCHULTZ: Should there be any conditions for people who get extended unemployment benefits? What do you think?
MCDERMOTT: Well, you know, that‘s one of the things I hope to hear tomorrow from experts. I‘ve toyed with the idea of saying, well, rather than hand them an unemployment check, there ought to be some kind of public employment we can put them at, and give them the unemployment check as a payment for doing that, while they continue to look for a job. No one wants to stay on unemployment. Unemployment is barely half of what you—most workers are making in this country. And so it is not something on which you can live long term.
But there‘s no reason to let people lose everything while they‘re continue to look for work. So I—I think we can come up with a public employment program if we think about it.
SCHULTZ: Is this going to be another partisan issue?
MCDERMOTT: Well, unfortunately, up to this point, Ed, it has really been. The Republicans have voted no, no, no, no, no. We still have the bill of extending this year‘s benefits stalled in the Senate. Now, if they don‘t do that by the end of this year, we will have five million people who have exhausted all 99 weeks with nothing. And to talk about an extension beyond that seems very difficult.
I—the Senate really puzzles me, how they expect to go home and run for re-election and not do anything for the workers in this country. You do things for Afghanistan and Pakistan and all these other places, and not take care of the workers at home. That‘s wrong. That‘s the wrong priorities.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Jim McDermott, thanks for your time tonight. This is something we have to address. There‘s a lot of people who are suffering out there in this country, that are locked in a really tough situation, that have not been able to get back into the economy. Appreciate your time, congressman.
MCDERMOTT: You welcome.
SCHULTZ: Couple final pages in the playbook tonight. The judge has already made a ruling in Rod Blagojevich‘s corruption trial. He banned Blago from Tweeting in the courtroom. The impeached Illinois governor is allowed to speak to the press, but anything he says can be used against him. He faces as much as 20 years in prison.
The New Orleans Saints are marching in to help the people of Louisiana again. Players visited the Gulf Coast to lift the spirits of the locals and tour the destruction. The team is hoping to raise one million dollars for the Gulf Coast Relief Fund by raffling off a Super Bowl Ring. Really, really a classy move by the Saints.
Coming up, Admiral Thad Allen is demanding more detail and openness from BP on claims. The lawyer that sued BP five years ago will tell you how tough that‘s going to be. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen is demanding answers from BP. He just got out of a meeting with BP officials, telling them he wants more detail and openness about how the company is handling damage claims. Outrage is growing. Fishermen, shrimpers and local businesspeople want to know how they‘re going to get paid. Admiral Allen told BP the American people need to be very clear on how this process actually works.
For more, let me bring in the attorney Brent Coon. He sued BP in 2005 after a refinery explosion in Texas. And he‘s also involved in current lawsuits against the company. Mr. Coon, good to have you with us tonight. Let‘s start with the openness of BP. What‘s your anticipation? What are your expectations in the wake of this oil spill and their openness? What does it say about the admiral of the Coast Guard has to order them to be open about their process?
BRENT COON, SUED BP IN ‘05 AFTER EXPLOSION: That‘s just it, Ed. The government is always having to intercede and demand that they do the thing that they say they‘re going to do voluntarily, and that is be transparent. They‘re about as transparent as the oil coming out of that well right now.
SCHULTZ: Well, there‘s a hearing next week on Capitol Hill. Do you think they‘ll be evasive? Do you think the oil officials are going to serve up anything that could come back to haunt them?
COON: Well, we found out from the Texas City explosion in 2005, as well as research on the Alaskan pipeline, that they lie a lot. These guys lie a lot. The good thing about it is they lie under oath and then we get them for perjury later.
SCHULTZ: The claims process, what role do you think—well, I guess my question on this is, how tight do you think the insurance industry is going to be working with BP to wiggle out of this thing?
COON: Well, you know, that‘s another interesting fact in the case, that BP, for the most part, is a self-insured company. So we really don‘t know how much insurance is going to have a role in the case. It may be that the taxpayers are going to be the bailout for them.
SCHULTZ: Well, the transparency seems to be something that the American people want, but it doesn‘t look like BP is forthcoming. When you sued them way back when, did you get a lot of misstatements? A lot of things they were saying that never jived? I mean, we have oil—we have video of an oil plume, then we have an executive saying there isn‘t any oil plume. I mean, come on.
COON: You know, it is outrageous, Ed. It‘s insulting to the public, insulting to the government, insulting to the investigates, and it‘s insulting to the victims in these disasters that are caused by BP that they lie so much about what happened. They lied all over the place this time. They‘ve been called out on a number of these lies very early on. In our case, they blamed operators early on in our case. We found out from the seven million internal documents we had and the corporate depositions that we took, that it was the budget cuts coming from London, at the very top, that caused this.
And during the course of our discovery, they actually fired all of these executives that made those decisions, and they gave them a lot of hush money to go away.
SCHULTZ: Interesting. We have to look for that parallel now. Brent Coon, great to have you with us on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.
COON: Always a pleasure, Ed. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Tonight, in our text survey question, I asked, do you think the White House is taking the liberal left for granted? Eighty one percent of you said yes; 19 percent of you said no.
folks, I‘ve been on my book tour the last couple weeks. We‘re in Seattle tonight. The name of the book is “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics are Destroying the Great American Middle Class.” I‘m at the Seattle town hall tonight, starting at 7:30. You can get tickets—they will be available at the door.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. We‘re on our way to Portland tomorrow. We‘ll be broadcasting live from there. We‘ll be at the Baghdad Theater tomorrow night. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC. Have a great one.
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