updated 7/23/2010 4:30:44 PM ET 2010-07-23T20:30:44

Guests: Barbara Lee, Tony Blankley, Mike Papantonio, Tom Harkin, Karen
Hunter, Heidi Harris, Bob Shrum, Brian Schweitzer

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight, live from Las Vegas.
These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
Today, the president personally called Shirley Sherrod and extended an apology to her.  But, you know, that‘s not enough action out of the White House.  I want more.
I‘ve got opinion and commentary on that in just a moment. 
New disturbing revelations about the culture of fear at the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded.  Workers were afraid for their safety, but were bullied into not speaking up. 
Mike Papantonio is here tonight.  He‘ll blast off on that one. 
And I‘m in Las Vegas, in Sharron Angle‘s back yard tonight.  And guess what?  She‘s dodging the media. 
Her campaign, let‘s see, they call a press conference today, but Angle refuses to take questions from reporters, so they‘re chasing her out of the building.  I mean, it‘s just good. 
We‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that tonight. 
And moments ago, great news.  The president signed into law an extension of unemployment aid for millions of jobless Americans. 
More on that coming up.  But the big question is, is there anything on the table in the future for the 99ers?  We‘ll touch on that. 
This is the story that has me fired up tonight.  The president and the Ag secretary and even some members of the right-wing media are lining up for their turn to apologize to Shirley Sherrod. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Look, obviously she‘s got a remarkable story.  He expressed his apologies for the events of the last several days. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM VILSACK, AGRICULTURE SECRETARY:  This is a good woman.  She‘s been put through hell.  I could have done and should have done a better job. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS:  I owe Ms. Sherrod an apology for not doing my homework, for not putting her remarks into the proper context. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  But guess what?  And guess who hasn‘t stepped up to the plate?  The guy who started all of this. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIRLEY SHERROD, FMR. GEORGIA DIRECTOR, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, USDA:  He knew that his actions would take Shirley Sherrod down.  He didn‘t mind doing that.  What he did was getting me, and that I cannot—well, he‘s never offered to apologize for what he‘s done, but that—you know, it would be hard for me to forgive him at this point. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  Don‘t hold your breath, Shirley.  Andrew Breitbart doesn‘t have the character to do the right thing.  But he‘s really not the only one who should be stepping up to the plate right now. 
The man who was obviously considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 recklessly threw Sherrod under the bus on national television with the help of “Slant Head.” 
Here it is. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH ®, FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER:  Firing her after that kind of viciously racist attitude was exactly the right thing to do.  And the fact that we have to be genuinely colorblind, you know, you can‘t be a black racist any more than you can be a white racist. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  This is a classic Newt Gingrich move in action.  Don‘t bother looking into the facts.  To hell with the truth.  Just go ahead and run-and-gun with it on Fox News with your old buddy, sidekick Sean Hannity. 
Come on, Sean.  Even your buddy Bill O‘Reilly showed some class with this one.  You know what?  You ought to follow suit on this. 
And as far as Breitbart is concerned, this guy‘s got zero credibility. 
He never had any, but now he‘s really exposed. 
But I hope the whole thing has finally exposed Breitbart and the right wing for what they‘re all about.  They shamefully manufacture deceit, and they are involved in character assassination all the time. 
The unanswered question at this hour really is what happens next? 
Secretary Vilsack asked Sherrod to come back to work to the—at the USDA. 
Here‘s what she was thinking as of this morning. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What is the job exactly that they‘d like you to do? 
SHERROD:  They talked about the Office of Outreach and dealing with discrimination within the agency. 
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And you‘re inclined to say no to that? 
SHERROD:  At this moment, I would think I would be. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  Now that she‘s gotten a phone call from the president of the United States, maybe she‘ll warm up to the idea of taking the job back.  She can do a lot of good things. 
Even if she doesn‘t, this whole thing isn‘t over, because a second phone call needs to come out of the White House tonight.  And it ought to go over to Fox News demanding that they get their facts straight before they start reporting on things that damage people. 
I doubt Fox has the journalistic integrity to do something like that. 
And I keep hearing that this is such a teachable moment.  Teachable moment.  But I‘d like to see the White House finally put their foot down with the organization that‘s been against them all along. 
Here‘s the other thing about making this a teachable moment.  This isn‘t going to be a teachable moment if the Democrats don‘t get it together and figure out what this is all about and learn from it. 
Democrats, listen to me.  Stop dealing with Fox.  Their rhetoric is driven by a mission to divide this country.  And when they can use race as a weapon of mass destruction on people‘s credibilities and their careers, you know what they do?  They pull the trigger every time and they roll Newt Gingrich out there, and he just piles on. 
And maybe we need, really, to think about this whole thing.  You k now, how did this country get along for over 200 years without Fox News?  Maybe those in the Congress ought to realize you don‘t have to go on Fox News to get re-elected. 
And I think every Democrat ought to be asking themselves a question tonight: Do we really need that outfit?  Do they deserve the sound of any elected official who is a liberal or a progressive?  Because all it is, is a hatchet job. 
This wasn‘t the first time and it‘s not going to be the last.  And they need to be reminded in caucus just who the enemy is. 
They want every Democrat to lose, to be out of a job and gone.  They want the death of the progressive movement on their watch.  That‘s what Rupert Murdoch is in business for. 
So when are the Democrats going to wake up?  Oh, but it‘s a teachable moment. 
Nothing‘s learned and until the Democrats go on the offensive with Fox News.  That‘s the bottom line.  And I guarantee you, I think our team has a pretty good pulse of where progressives are in this country. 
We‘ve taken enough e-mail, enough communication.  The American liberals are just begging for the Democrats to get a spine and quit dealing with these people, and call them out for what they are. 
I want to know what you think about all of this tonight in our telephone survey.  The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 
My question tonight is: Do you believe the Sherrod scandal will be a teachable moment for Fox News?  Press the number 1 for yes, press the number 2 for no. 
We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 
So it‘s a teachable moment. 
Joining me now is California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.  She‘s the chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus. 
Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight. 
REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA), CHAIRPERSON, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: 
Good to be with you, Ed. 
SCHULTZ:  You bet. 
Teachable moment, what does that mean to you if it‘s going to be business as usual with Fox News and the Democrats?  What do you think? 
LEE:  It can‘t be business as usual. 
First of all, we don‘t dodge controversy.  What we believe, what I believe, what so many members of Congress believe is that we just want our message to be communicated clearly and factually. 
The American people deserve the right to know.  They do not deserve what just took place with Mrs. Sherrod in terms of manufacturing and creating just the opposite of who she is as a wonderful human being, an exemplary public servant.  What they did was just despicable. 
I think though that we have to really remind the public that they can‘t believe everything that they hear.  Dig a little deeper.  Demand of your news media to put out all of the facts, both sides, and then, in fact, you can make your own decisions about what actions should take place or what course of action anyone or our government should proceed with. 
SCHULTZ:  And I think that‘s all well intended, well and good.  But isn‘t it time for maybe the Congressional Black Caucus to step up and make a pledge that you‘re not going on Fox News anymore, you don‘t need to be on any of those programs? 
I mean, it would seem to me that until you put the hammer down as a group that would stick up for Shirley Sherrod and just make the flat-out statement, we‘re done, and grow some spine—and I think it should come from the Congressional Black Caucus.
Or is that a bridge too far?  What do you think? 
LEE:  Some members don‘t go on Fox.  Some members do. 
I think what‘s important in this moment is that we look at how the media, especially the right-wing media, can try at least to destroy individuals, tarnish reputations, and really manipulate the public to the point where our own government could believe that they were making a right decision.  I think that‘s what‘s important right now, and I think the Congressional Black Caucus did absolutely the right thing. 
We talked to the governor.  We met with—excuse me, the secretary of Agriculture.  And also, we told him in no uncertain terms he should reinstate Mrs. Sherrod, that he acted too swiftly without the facts, and that we thought that this was just really a moment of pain and a moment that he needed to step up to the plate. 
And he did.  He apologized.  He did it in a very forthright manner. 
And so now we have to look at what we have to do moving forward. 
Now, I have to tell you, the United States Department of Agriculture is an agency that we talked to him about in terms of its historic discrimination, what‘s happening now with the black farmers.  They deserve some justice.  Their lawsuits need to be settled. 
You know, we look what‘s happening with USDA in terms of historically black colleges and universities.  They deserve the funding. 
So there are many issues that as members of Congress, as the Black Caucus, we have to champion.  Each member decides what media they go on.  Each member makes their own decision.  And let me tell you, there are many of us who will only go on the media that will report the facts and that will give us at least a chance to have a fair representation of the work that we do. 
SCHULTZ:  Well, I will take the liberty to say this, and I believe I‘m correct, that all of the things that you just expressed concern about Fox News doesn‘t give a damn about.  They don‘t care.  They really don‘t.
Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.  Thanks for being on THE ED SHOW.
LEE:  Thank you.
SCHULTZ:  You bet.
For more, let‘s go to long-time press secretary for Newt Gingrich and syndicated columnist Tony Blankley, with us tonight.
Tony, you heard the sound bite in my opening monologue tonight.  Did Newt Gingrich pile on without all the facts?  Does he need to apologize in this situation?
TONY BLANKLEY, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  Well, first of all, let me say I haven‘t been Newt‘s press secretary for about 12 years.  So I‘m not his spokesman, but I‘m still his friend.
SCHULTZ:  Well, that‘s good, because it‘s interesting how you want to distance yourself on the way Newt‘s doing business right now.
BLANKLEY:  I just didn‘t want to falsely cover (ph) that I‘m pretending I‘m his voice.  I‘m not.
But look, I think everybody from the president on down has been jumping the gun, and I‘m not so sure that people are still not.  Let me read two sentences from her speech that evening.
“You know, I haven‘t seen such a mean-spirited people as I‘ve seen lately over this issue of health care.  Some of the reaction we thought was buried, didn‘t it surface?  Now we endured eight years of the Bushes and we didn‘t do the stuff these Republicans are doing because you have a black president.”
Now—
SCHULTZ:  I don‘t see anything wrong with that, Tony.  Hell, that‘s accurate.  That‘s not a racist comment.  That‘s very accurate. 
BLANKLEY:  Of course it is.  She‘s saying that 70 million adult Republicans in this country, and we opposed health care because the president is black?  No, we opposed it because we disagreed with the policies. 
(CROSSTALK)
SCHULTZ:  Oh, Tony, you‘ve got a United States senator who has been on the record saying that he wanted it to be his Waterloo.  The comment was, “If we can break him, it will be his Waterloo.”  If we can beat him on health care. 
So that‘s what she was talking about.  Wait a minute.  Let‘s get back
-- 

BLANKLEY:  No, no, no.  I want to get back to what -- 
SCHULTZ:  I want to get back to Newt Gingrich. 
BLANKLEY:  -- what she said. 
SCHULTZ:  No, no.  I want to get back to Newt Gingrich, because what she said and what was reported was not accurate by the conservative media.  And your ex-guy, Newt Gingrich, who wants to be president, piled on all of this without the facts. 
Will you admit that?
BLANKLEY:  The president piled on. 
SCHULTZ:  The president didn‘t pile. 
BLANKLEY:  Everybody went on with statements—
SCHULTZ:  No.  Wait a minute.  The night it was reported, Tony, it was Newt Gingrich who piled on, accused her of being a racist on tape that was doctored. 
Now, cow can you say Gingrich has got any credibility at all? 
BLANKLEY:  I‘m telling you, I don‘t think there‘s any question that when she says that 70 million Republicans opposed health care because the president‘s black, that is a bigoted statement about white Republicans. 
SCHULTZ:  And do you think it was a bigoted statement for Jim DeMint to say what he said? 
BLANKLEY:  Waterloo was a battle between Napoleon and the British. 
SCHULTZ:  “If we can break him”?  “If we can break him,” that‘s an old southern slavery term off the plantation, and you know it. 
BLANKLEY:  Come on.  No, I don‘t. 
SCHULTZ:  It‘s the truth.  You know it is.
BLANKLEY:  You guys keep picking phrases that are used generally. 
SCHULTZ:  You‘re the one that read two sentences, Tony.  You‘re the one that came on and read two sentences. 
BLANKLEY:  You break your opponent, and you break your opponent on policy grounds, on political grounds, and any kind of grounds.  But to take that phrase and say that‘s racist, the trouble is that the racism card is being played much too unfairly and inaccurately, and it‘s creating bad blood all the way around. 
(CROSSTALK)
SCHULTZ:  Yes, it is.  And your old guy, Newt Gingrich, was piling on. 
It was like a rugby match.  He piled right on without having all the facts. 
Tony, great to have you with us.
BLANKLEY:  Having seen all the fact, I agree with him.  I don‘t think he shouldn‘t be endorsed. 
Thank you.
SCHULTZ:  All right.  Good to have you with us tonight, Tony. 
Appreciate the scrap.  Always a pleasure. 
BLANKLEY:  Enjoyed it.
SCHULTZ:  Coming up, right-winger Sharron Angle just ran away from the media at her own press conference.  That camera, folks, that‘s her connection to the people.  She‘s running from the people. 
And John Boehner says if he ever becomes Speaker of the House, the first thing that he‘ll do is repeal health care reform.  I bet the second thing he‘ll do is repeal the tanning tax. 
I‘ll get “Rapid Response” on that. 
All that, plus I am busting up a Fox Business suit in the “Zone”;
Tiger Woods versus legend Floyd Mayweather in the “Playbook.” 
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us. 
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight. 
A shocking new report today from “The New York Times” reveals just how bad things were on the Deepwater Horizon in the weeks leading up to the disaster. 
In a survey done by the rig‘s owner, Transocean workers said that they were concerned about their safety on the Deepwater Horizon rig and feared backlash if they reported the problems.  Workers wrote in the survey, “At nine years old, the Deepwater Horizon has never been in dry dock.  We could only work around so much.”  Another worker said, “Run it, break it, fix it, that‘s how they work.”
The report also revealed that 26 components of the rig were in bad or poor condition, and the blowout preventer had not been fully inspected since 2000, even though guidelines require its inspection every three to five years. 
For more on this, let‘s bring in environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio. 
His firm is leading the class action lawsuit against BP. 
Mike, it seems like every day, another scab is ripped off this ugly story.  It is horrific.  Now you‘ve got people speaking up. 
Ramifications of this, Mike?  What does it mean? 
MIKE PAPANTONIO, ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER:  The good news, Ed, is every day we have new whistleblowers that are coming in with new information.  There‘s a short list of things that have come out from a congressional report just last week, and they‘re startling. 
It‘s more than run it, break it, and fix it.  These people had every reason to be terrified to be on that rig.  It was danger, disrepair and chaos, almost like a third world flowing deathtrap that was out there. 
Here‘s the short list.  Very early signs—very early signs there was going to be a blowup and the process and the entire thing was going to sink.  Halliburton knew it, Transocean knew it.  They kept their employees on there anyway. 
Hydraulic lines that were supposed to trigger emergency shutdowns had been failing for weeks.  No repairs, no reports at all. 
Repeated regular gas kicks.  They call them gas kicks, Ed.  It‘s where a bubble comes up the wrong side of the casing string.  And all of a sudden, you know what that is?  It‘s a red flag that this picture that you‘re looking at is getting ready to happen. 
The damage, useless untested blowout preventer, they knew it had problems.  It had hydraulic leaks.  It had been failing not just for a day, it had been failing for weeks. 
Still no report.  Nothing done.  No repairs at all. 
Here‘s the real interesting thing though.  People don‘t know the this story. 
The blowout preventer had been sent over to China to be modified. 
SCHULTZ:  Oh yes.
PAPANTONIO:  So the blowout preventer comes back to the United States.  And you know what?  When it failed on the rig, they didn‘t even have diagrams or schematics on what the modifications were. 
They had no way to fix the problem.  They were working totally in the dark. 
Now, let me just tell you something.  The people on that rig knew what was happening.  There were people on the rig that actually paid their way off of the rig, their own costs, because they were so concerned about all of these early signs of disaster. 
SCHULTZ:  You know, Mike, you take a look at these inspections—for instance, in aviation, you have got to have inspections done or you can‘t fly on the equipment.  That‘s where the oil industry has to go right now. 
But it coincides—that kind of lack of inspection and lack of oversight, all of that parallels what has been said in this report.  Some of the workers were saying this—one said, “I‘m petrified of dropping anything from heights not because I‘m afraid of hurting anyone, but because I‘m afraid of getting fired.”  Another worker said, “The company is always using fear tactics, all these games and your mind gets tired.” 
I mean, they‘re browbeating—and this is what the workers are saying
clearly browbeating these workers.  It coincides with the inspections not being done. 

So, number one, doesn‘t this really put BP behind the eight ball and Transocean behind the eight ball?  And how can there be any doubt that they are going to be major league liable for what the hell happened down there? 
PAPANTONIO:  There is no question. 
Ed, if I were just to take the report that came out—the B (ph) report that came out last week, and I were to say this is what I‘m going to present to the jury, it‘s impossible for me to believe, having tried as many cases as you‘ll ever talk to, complex cases—I‘ve tried a bunch of them—it‘s impossible for me to believe that a jury‘s not going to look at this and not just say this was a negligent company, but it was a corrupt company. 
It was a shyster company.  It was a company that simply didn‘t play by anybody‘s rules. 
Look, they started this a long time ago by deunionizing, by busting the unions of people who used to work out on these rigs, making it impossible for anybody to object when they saw that something bad was going to happen.  So now they got exactly what they want.  They get to operate in the dark.  Nobody gets to complain.  They don‘t have Minerals Management overlooking them. 
The real problem here is if you take the same scenario, you could apply it to the Atlantis that is still out there pumping, Ed.  It still has the same problems. 
We‘re still talking to whistleblowers who tell us this—they say, “You know what?  The Atlantis is just as bad a shape as the Horizon.  The only difference is it‘s about three times as big.”
And right now, Minerals Management, Salazar, Thad Allen is still asleep at the wheel.  And until he gets the message that they can‘t be trusted, the entire industry—not just this company cannot be trusted.  We need to get control of this industry. 
SCHULTZ:  This is what Congress is supposed to be doing, offering up oversight to this industry.  And it‘s been long reported that this industry was doing its own oversight. 
Mike Papantonio, you are the dude on this, and you are doing America a great service.  You keep after it, my friend.  You‘re on this program anytime you want.  You‘re always bringing it to us.  I appreciate it. 
Coming up -- 
PAPANTONIO:  Thank you, Ed. 
SCHULTZ:  You bet.
Fox businessman Eric Bolling, well, he had a great time blasting the unemployed on “Fox & Friends” this morning.  His stock is falling in the “Zone” next. 
Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, the host of Fox Business‘s show “Money Rocks,” Eric Bolling.  Well, he rolls into the “Zone.” 
You know, Fox just can‘t get it through their thick heads that unemployed people aren‘t just sitting around on their couches sucking off the government.  Bolling was hanging out with his genius friends over at “Fox & Friends” this morning. 
Take a listen. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Some economists say look, if you create a new entitlement, people will just stay home rather than going to work. 
Is that what you worry? 
ERIC BOLLING, HOST, “MONEY ROCKS”:  Great point, Steve.  Here‘s the issue. 
In New York, it‘s about $450 per week that you can apply for and get at the maximum.  In Connecticut, it‘s $537 a week.  So, you‘re out there looking for a job. 
Someone offers you a job for 600 bucks a week, and here‘s your choice
do I work 40 hours for 600 bucks a week or do I stay home for $537? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, Eric, you take the job if you know your unemployment benefits are running out and I need a job for that day. 
BOLLING:  Bingo.  My unemployment benefits are running out.  I‘m going to take the job because I have no choice.  I better take this job.
If I know I have 98 more weeks, oh, I‘ll hold off.  I‘ve got some time. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  Take some time off?  These people over at Fox who just sit back and sip their coffee and never worrying about how to make ends meet, they can‘t handle the fact that Americans are finally getting just a few hundred bucks a week so they can survive. 
This guy Eric Bolling is basically your standard 5-50.  That‘s a five-cent brand and a $50 haircut. 
For this rock head to think unemployed are just taking time off, that is just financial “Psycho Talk.”  
Coming up, Sharron Angle.  Oh, she must be taking media advice from Sarah Palin.  Angle ran from the press after her own press conference. 
Can‘t wait to get into this one with Heidi Harris in the “Rapid Fire Response” coming up. 
And I am disgusted by the flip-floppers and the Senate Democrats who once fought like hell against the Bush tax cuts tooth and nail, but now they‘re getting weak-kneed and they kind of like them. 
Senator Tom Harkin has a message for those guys in his caucus.  That‘s coming up next. 
All that, plus “The Tan Man” wants to repeal everything; Tiger loses some green; and the couple that survived the 40-ton whale jumping onto their boat is telling their tale.  I‘ll show you how the tape came out in the Playbook.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  And thanks for watching.  Tonight, the Battleground story this evening, the Bush tax cuts.  Well, they are set to expire at the end of the year.  And get this.  Some democrats who fought those very tax cuts are flip flopping.  The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, my friend Kent Conrad, has been one of the loudest voices in Washington on just how much those tax cuts gutted our economy.  And now he‘s singing a much different tune.  Conrad commented to the hill, he said the experts are predicting that the economy will be weak for the next 18 to 24 months, and, quote, “My reaction would be don‘t cut spending, don‘t raise taxes, and that would mean on anyone.”  Now, I think you Senator Conrad is caving in to the North Dakota conservative Tea Party pressure that‘s out there in the prairie.  This was Kent Conrad, the man I knew on taxes back on “Meet the Press,” June 9th, 2002 against Mitch Daniels. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENT CONRAD, SENATE BUDGET CHAIRMAN:  The administration told us that we could have a massive tax cut and they would still be able to have maximum pay down of the debt and protect Social Security.  Now what we‘re seeing is they got the massive tax cut.  But now instead of maximum pay down of the debt, they‘re asking for the second biggest increase in the debt in our nation‘s history.  And in protecting Social Security instead of protecting it, under the president‘s budget plan over the next decade, they will be taking almost $2 trillion out of the Social Security to pay for other things. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  So Kent, Senator Conrad, where do you stand on Social Security now?  The fact is the Bush tax cuts didn‘t work.  They gutted our economy.  And right now, the treasury needs money. 
Joining me now is the Chairman of the Senate Help Committee, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa.  This is going to be a big campaign issue for all of the democrats.  Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  I think the message to America, and maybe I‘m wrong on this is that 98 percent of the American people are not going to be affected when the Bush tax cuts expire and damn it, we need the money to run the country.  Am I wrong on this?  What do you think, senator?
SEN. TOM HARKIN, HELP COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Ed, you‘re right on mark on this one.  You know, the wealthy have gotten a lot wealthier over the last ten years, thanks to the Bush tax cuts.  Our economy is not suffering today because the wealthy have more money.  That‘s not what‘s hurting our economy.  What‘s hurting our economy is that people are out of work and we have this huge deficit.  I see no reason, no reason why we should extend these tax breaks for the wealthiest in our society.  It makes no sense.  
SCHULTZ:  How big of a campaign issue is this going to be?  How big of a problem might it be for the democrats?  What do you think?  
HARKIN:  Well, I‘d be glad to take on any republican that wants to go out and campaign that says the way out of the mess we‘re in is to give more money to the top two percent in this country.  And at the same time, cut unemployment benefits, at the same time, cut your Social Security benefits to the people in this country.  I‘d love to take that debate on. 
SCHULTZ:  Let‘s go over to the House side.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had these thoughts on the Bush tax cuts.  Here it is. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Tax cuts contributed to the deficit, did not create any jobs.  And that they should be repealed.  What we should though renew are the middle income tax cuts and in April, when the American people paid their taxes, because of the middle income tax cuts that we had in the recovery act, American people paid taxes an at the lowest level since the 1950s.  
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  You know, it‘s interesting, Senator Harkin, this narrative is now starting amongst the republicans just 100 days away from the midterm.  They want to preserve the Bush tax cuts.  You got the guy on the other side of the aisle, Jim DeMint, he‘s going after the death tax, the inheritance tax when that‘s only going to affect less than one percent of the people in this country.  They‘re making this thing out to be like every American is going to be affected by this.  Where does the president stand?  Do you know where he stands?  And how aggressive do the democrats have to be on this issue in the midterms?
HARKIN:  Ed, I don‘t know where the president stands exactly but I‘ll tell you where he ought to be standing, he ought to be standing on the side of working families in this country.  He ought to be saying, it‘s time for those at the top, those that have made a lot of money over the last ten years, we‘ve had a recession, a lot of working families have lost their homes, they‘ve lost their jobs.  Yet, the top two or three percent in this country have done very, very well.  It‘s time for them to belly up to the bar.  It‘s time for them to help pay their fair share of the load in this country.  That‘s what the president ought to be.  That‘s where we democrats ought to be.  
SCHULTZ:  And I think, we ought to point out that there was a pretty good expansion of the economy before the Bush tax cuts were enacted.  I believe during the Clinton years, there were 22 million jobs that were created back at the old tax rate.  And, of course, you know where we are now.  Senator Harkin, great to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.  
HARKIN:  Thanks so much, Ed.
SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight. 
The Justice Department‘s challenge to Arizona‘s harsh anti-immigration law had its first hearing in a federal court in Phoenix, Arizona, today.  It ended today without a ruling while the law is set to go into effect in just seven days. 
Minority Leader John Boehner vows that the first thing he‘ll do if republicans win the House and he becomes the speaker of the House is he‘s going to repeal the health care reform bill. 
And another disastrous media appearance for Tea Partier senate nominee out of Nevada Sharron Angle.  Her campaign announced a press conference on the trail here in the state, but Angle refused to take any questions. 
With us tonight, Karen Hunter, journalist and publisher and also Heidi Harris, radio talk show host here in Las Vegas.  Let‘s talk about Mr.  Boehner first.  Karen Hunter, does it help the democrats when Mr. Boehner goes out there saying the first thing he‘s going to do is repeal health care because the most recent numbers that are out there show that the American people like this?  What do you think?
KAREN HUNTER, PUBLISHER:  Well, I think he‘s posturing actually to his base.  And it helps him probably get elected.  But I pray, I pray, I was like yes, thank you that this is his undoing and we make sure that he‘s not going to be the Speaker of the House maybe, maybe.  
SCHULTZ:  He was saying, quote, “I guarantee there will be a bill on the floor that will repeal the health care bill and replace it with common sense reforms.  The Obama administration is not going to get one dime from us to hire these new federal employees to run this.”  Heidi Harris, is this going to motivate the base on the republican side, and is this a good tactical move for John Boehner?  What do you think?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think it‘s a great idea because every study I‘ve seen shows the majority of the American people don‘t want this, they‘re very concern, they don‘t know what‘s in it.  I think it‘s great that Boehner is doing it because no one talked about some of the major reforms, Medicare fraud and tort reform and some of the major things that could have been done that would have made a bigger difference for health care than Obama care.  And a lot of people see it that way, they see this is too far reaching even though they will see problems in the medical system in the country.  So, I think it‘s a great idea that he‘s doing it.  
SCHULTZ:  Heidi, I got the—that.  Here you‘ve got the pre-existing condition is gone, insurance companies can‘t dump you anymore and the republicans want to hurt American families that don‘t have insurance right now.  How can that be a positive position to take with working families?
HARRIS:  Well, because if you tell insurance company they have to insure people regardless of their ability as far as their health, you‘re going to wind up making them broke.  You know that and I know that.  If my car insurance company had to insure everybody even if they had repeated DUIs and wrecked 15 cars, they would go bankrupt.  That‘s the way insurance companies function.  They make money hoping not to pay claims and they have to limit who they insure.  
HUNTER:  But the American people do want this.  So, I think you should read something beyond the drudge report.  
HARRIS:  Oh, stop it.  I read everything.  
SCHULTZ:  Well, did you read, Heidi, I got to ask you, did you read that United Health Care in the last quarter had a 31 percent increase in business?  Doesn‘t look like the enactment of this law is going to hurt them too much. 
HARRIS:  Well, a lot of it hasn‘t gone into effect yet.  That‘s the problem.  Ultimately, once companies are forced to take everybody, they‘re going to go broke and people are going to go on Obama care.  That‘s the only thing they‘ll going to be able to have.  And that‘s the goal of the people who crafted Obama care.  
HUNTER:  And the sky is falling. 
(CROSSTALK)
HARRIS:  -- Any kind of private insurance.  That‘s right, it is falling quickly. 
SCHULTZ:  Karen?
HUNTER:  Chicken little.  That‘s it. 
SCHULTZ:  All right.  Let‘s go to Sharron Angle.  What do you make of Sharron Angle calling a press conference, Karen, and then she runs from the reporters who want to ask her questions?  I mean, does she have a clue what she‘s doing at all?
HUNTER:  No.  That was the smartest thing she‘s done so far during her campaign.  I was like—I‘m standing there watching this tape and I said wow, that was brilliant.  She can‘t field questions because every time she opens her mouth to answer something, she puts her foot in it.  So, this was probably a great move.  Whoever told her should get a raise.  
SCHULTZ:  What do you think, Heidi?
HARRIS:  Well, I think she should have talked to people.  I mean, after all, I‘m coming here to battle you every week and I‘m not afraid to do it.  So, she should have taken the questions.  I don‘t think, to make sure to look good to do that, but let‘s be honest, Harry Reid is not doing a lot of interviews.  And the last time he spoke to a reporter, he actually told the reporter that illegals were not taking construction jobs in Nevada.  So, Harry puts his foot in his mouth every chance.  
(CROSSTALK)
HUNTER:  Yes.  That‘s why most...  
HARRIS:  Sharron should have taken the questions.  
HUNTER:  But you have a brain.  So, you obviously can battle.  She has not proven to be battle tough at all.  So it was a good move.  
HARRIS:  Well, I agree with what you said, Karen.  They should keep their mouth shut.  The less they talk, the less stupid they seem to us, right?  
HUNTER:  That‘s right.
SCHULTZ:  Well, Harry Reid is now leading in the polls, isn‘t he Heidi?
HARRIS:  Just barely but I think Sharon is coming back, she‘s got her team, she‘s got her feet under ahead on my show yesterday.  And she‘s feeling better about it.  She‘s got some new ads running that I think are very, very good.  So, you know, it takes sometime.  
HUNTER:  Oh, Heidi.  
HARRIS:  But while people on vacation on summer and they‘ll pay attention later on in the summer.  I‘m feeling confident about Sharron Angle.  I am.  
HUNTER:  Wow.  
SCHULTZ:  All right.  Karen Hunter, Heidi Harris, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much for being in rapid fire. 
HUNTER:  Thank you, Ed.
HARRIS:  Thank you.
SCHULTZ:  Coming up, I‘ve been telling you President Obama now is the time to communicate with the base.  If he lets things continue to deteriorate, it‘s going to kill his chances for re-election. 
And guess who wins this presidential popularity contest?  Bubba or Obama?  It‘s all coming up next in my Playbook.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC live from Las Vegas.  I‘ll be speaking tonight at the Netroots, tell you more about that in a moment.  Stay with us. 
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHULTZ:  It‘s still not too late to let us know what you think.  The number to dial tonight is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you believe the Sherrod scandal will be a teachable moment for FOX News?  Press the number one for yes, press the number two for no.  Again the number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHULTZ:  And in my Playbook tonight, today marks the kick off of the Netroots Nation Convention here in Las Vegas.  And the progressive army is pretty much frustrated.  They voted for real change, but what they got was a lot of compromising.  Health care reform without a public option, Wall Street reform with a lot of teeth taken out.  And nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan without a clear achievable goal. 
For more, let me bring in democratic strategist Bob Shrum, Professor Shrum and—Shrum should I say.  I‘m having a hard time reading tonight, Bob.  Sorry about that, professor at New York University.  I‘ve had you on a thousand times, we‘re good friends but it‘s a long flight from New York to Las Vegas, OK?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  It‘s hot out there. 
SCHULTZ:  Hot?  Let‘s see.  There‘s hot, there‘s real hot and then there‘s Las Vegas.  OK?  I found that out today. 
All right.  We‘ve got the Netroots Nation Convention going on, and the base has been frustrated with the Obama administration on a number of different fronts.  Will Obama‘s team pay attention to what‘s going to come out of this convention over the next couple of days?  What do you think?
SHRUM:  Well, I hope they do.  Look, there‘s no way that the president‘s going to satisfy the entire base on every issue.  But the truth is that the way to appeal to the base and rally the base is also the way to reach the middle and to do a lot better in this midterm election.  What do a lot of people worry about that Obama‘s part of the establishment now that, somehow or other he‘s for Wall Street, not Main Street.  So what he needs is a story and a narrative about how he and the democrats are standing up for ordinary people, republicans are standing up for vested interests. 
That‘s what he tried to do on the unemployment compensation issue the other day saying, the republicans are against helping the jobless but they‘re for giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy.  You know, I was accused of writing a phrase once which I actually did write, that I think sums up what this president has to do right now.  He has to convince people that he‘s standing up for them against powerful interests that stand in their way.  That he‘s for the people and the democrats are for the people, not the powerful in this society.  
SCHULTZ:  What do you make of the recent numbers out there, “The Wall Street Journal” poll showing that one-fifth of the country is willing to identify itself as liberals and one-third conservative?  Does that kind of stuff matter in these tough economic times when you‘ve got high unemployment?  Isn‘t it about the jobs, left, right, center, blue, green, whatever?  I mean, it‘s about jobs, isn‘t it?
SHRUM:  It sure is.  And the problem is that the jobs are lagging the recovery as they always do.  They‘re lagging even more now because the stimulus was too small but it was the biggest stimulus the president could get through the Congress.  That‘s why I think he has to got out there and put a really stark choice in front of the country.  And one way to do it, for example, is to send another jobs bill up to Congress, say we need to create more jobs faster and let the republicans oppose it.  And it is certainly not going to take us anywhere for us suddenly to flip-flop and say we actually want to extend all of these big tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country.  We either going to have a consistent message about fighting for people, about fighting against republicans who stand up for big oil, for the big insurance industry, for big recession or we‘re not.  And if we don‘t, we‘re going to get shellacked in the midterm election.  
SCHULTZ:  Bob Shrum, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us. 
You always tell it like it is with insight.  
SHRUM:  Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Some final pages in the Playbook tonight.  Tiger Woods is still on top despite all the personal issues, Tiger is once again the world‘s highest earning athlete.  “Sports Illustrated” says, he made about $90 million last year.  But he did lose $22 million on endorsements from the year before.  Phil Mickelson, Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James and A Rod of the Yankees round out the top five highest paid athletes.  
And Bill Clinton is more popular than President Obama.  A Gallup poll released today shows that 61 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of former President Bill Clinton while 52 percent view President Obama in a favorable light.  Both are pretty good numbers.  It is the first time in Gallup polling that Clinton‘s favorability rating exceeded President Obama‘s.  
Coming up, here in Las Vegas, it‘s all about gambling.  But when it comes to America‘s energy future, all bets are off.  Governor Schweitzer of Montana tells me how we can beat the House.  That‘s next.  Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Live from Las Vegas tonight, where I‘m going to be speaking at the Netroots Nation Convention here in Vegas.  There is one thing you noticed before even you get out of the airport.  This city uses a lot of power, it‘s cranking 24 hours a day here and so are the people.  But many of them are finding it hard to find a job right now.  This state has an unemployment rate of 14 percent.  President Obama is serious about jobs and he‘s serious about clean energy.  They go hand in hand.  If we as a country can harness the wind power right out of the sky, it means hundreds of thousands of jobs and green jobs.  What a win for everybody. 
No one knows more about that than Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, he‘s the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Committee and Association.  Governor, good too have you with us tonight.  I know you‘re going to be talking about this in your speech to the Netroots.  Are we missing the boat when it comes to energy independence, are we moving fast enough with all of these people out of work in this country and the Chinese are again eating our lunch in this area of the economy, as well?  What do you think?
GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), MONTANA:  Not even close, Ed.  We have to be very aggressive.  You know, recently there was a study conducted by Harvard University that found that Montana rates second to Texas in our potential of producing electricity with the wind.  You know that, can‘t be true.  Don‘t believe what they say at Harvard.  We‘re clearly number one because if you take the BS out of Texas, they‘re smaller than Rhode Island.  But what we do know is just the wind power of Montana could run every car like track, an SUV in America if they just had a battery on board, they could run the first 40 miles.  There is no shortage of alternative energy in this country.  We have a shortage of resolve.  I‘m not asking this country to do something that‘s never been done before.  These kinds of cars exist and this kind of energy can be produced cleaner and greener and in America.  And we will not be beholden to petrol dictators.  
SCHULTZ:  Governor, I hate to cut you short but I have to, we‘ve got some breaking news at this moment.  President Obama just made an on camera remark about how the White House handled the Shirley Sherrod incident.  Let‘s take a look at this. 
(BEGIN VIDEOC LIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES:  He jumped the gun partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog, and everybody scrambles.  And I‘ve told my team and I told my agencies that we have to make sure that we‘re focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment.  We have to take our time and think these issues through.  
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ:  Governor Schweitzer, I‘m going to let you way in on this because you come from a part of the country where people speak with clarity and honesty is just part of the culture in the high plains.  What do you make of this?  What has turned out to be a real circus for the administration?
SCHWEITZER:  Well, she didn‘t say anything wrong.  They took a clip that what was 180 degrees from the point that she was making and virtually anybody who speaks for 20 minutes when they‘re making a point can get a clip like that.  Look, here‘s what we do in Montana.  When something like this comes up, I say to my stuff, why don‘t we sleep on it.  We‘ll talk about it tomorrow.  And that might just be kind of prairie pragmatism but it seems to work for us in the square states and maybe they ought to try some of that on the east and west coast.  
SCHULTZ:  I think that‘s great advice and I also think that that it‘s always good to check sources which I know you are absolutely outstanding at.  You‘re a foremost expert on energy.  We‘ve got to have you back talking about it.  I‘m looking forward to your remarks tonight to the Netroots Nation.  Thanks so much for joining us, governor.  I appreciate your time. 
SCHWEITZER:  See you later.
SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Tonight in our phone survey, I asked you, do you believe the Sherrod scandal will be a teachable moment for FOX News?  Eight percent of you said yes, 92 percent of you said no.  That‘s where I was. 
That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to ed.msnbc.com or check out my radio website at wegoted.com.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics MSNBC.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night. 
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