The Ed Show for Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: Debbie Stabenow, Alan Grayson, Jim Moran, Tony Blankley, Joe Madison, AB Stoddard, Cornel West, Nicole Lamoureux, Bobby Kapur
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED
Tonight we‘re coming to you live from the first-ever free health care clinic in Washington, D.C.
A lot of hard-working Americans here tonight in need of basic care.
More on that in a moment.
But right now, these are the top stories that are hitting “My Hot Buttons” tonight. This is a big one.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepping up to the plate and cracking the whip. She‘s hauling the House right back from vacation in order to force a vote on a jobs bill.
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan getting after it as well. She‘s got some big news for the 99ers tonight, and she‘s going to break it right here in just a moment on THE ED SHOW.
“The Newster” has gone nuclear on President Obama, accusing him of being a radical job-killer? This guy‘s full of “Psycho Talk.”
Congressman Jim Moran and former Newtster‘s press secretary go head to head in the “Battleground” story tonight.
And Tea Partier Sharron Angle sinks to a new low in a bizarre attack on Senator Harry Reid. I‘ll show you the tape in the “Playbook.”
And a very special interview later tonight. Cornel West will be here with us in Washington.
Tonight, we are broadcasting live from the convention center here in Washington, D.C. It‘s being run by the National Association of Free Health Care Clinics and was made possible by the donations from the viewers here at MSNBC.
And I‘ve got a lot to say about these folks behind the scenes. They have had a terrific day, but it‘s also been a day that has been a real eye-opener when it comes to health care in this country.
But first, tonight, I want to start with some breaking news.
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan joins me now.
And it could be huge news for the long-term unemployed folks in this country. We refer to them as the “99ers.”
Senator Stabenow joining us, springing into action.
First of all, this is what we have been advocating on this program --
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Right.
SCHULTZ: -- that somebody step up and do something.
SCHULTZ: What have you done today, Senator?
STABENOW: Well, Ed, first let me say I‘m so glad you are here, because it‘s so important to be here. And the people are getting free health care services. Thank you for doing that.
This is important. We have people who have been, as you know, out of work the longest, who have now exhausted all of their unemployment insurance benefits. And so I‘m introducing legislation with a number of Democratic colleagues. We would love to have Republicans. Senator Schumer is my main co-sponsor.
It will do two things. First of all, extend unemployment insurance benefits for 20 weeks for those who have exhausted benefits. And secondly, increase the incentives for employers to hire them.
We would extend for one year a very successful tax cuts we passed called the Hire Act that will give tax cuts to businesses right now that—we have some four million or more, five million, I think, people that will be hired through these tax cuts this year. We want to extend it and actually increase the tax cut if you hire somebody who has been out of work the longest.
SCHULTZ: So it‘s not just helping out the 99ers who are in desperate need right now. It is somewhat of a jobs creator, because you‘re telling businesses across the country if this bill passes, that there will be tax incentives, tax breaks on the table, especially if you hire someone who‘s been in that 99er category.
STABENOW: Absolutely. And the bill‘s called Americans Want to Work Act because Americans want to work, Ed.
This is not about folks that want to be on unemployment, just barely
holding it together with $300 a week. They want to work. So this provides
it‘s a unique combination of helping people temporarily that are out of work, but also giving tax incentives, cuts to businesses.
SCHULTZ: Now, we were talking earlier. You‘re realistic about this.
You‘re probably not going to get any Republican help.
But I think the 99ers that are out there are saying, now someone is doing something. There‘s something on the table to be address this. But there‘s also an incentive out there for people to hire.
Is there a chance that you could get any Republicans to come over?
STABENOW: Well, I hope so. I mean, as you know, first of all it, took us almost three months to extend the current unemployment insurance benefits. And we finally got two members to join us, the senators from Maine. I hope we can do the same this time.
Members will be home in their states for an extended period in August. I would encourage people to contact them, ask them to co-sponsor the Americans Want to Work Act. And we‘ll come back in September and we‘ll see what we‘ve got, because it will it be tough.
SCHULTZ: So this is going to be a crucial time now. This August recess that‘s coming up is going to be a very crucial time that you‘re going to need support from the grassroots out there, from people across the country who have had long-term unemployment, to put pressure on all of the lawmakers who are going home and going, of course, to have town hall meetings.
SCHULTZ: We haven‘t seen this since the depression.
SCHULTZ: I mean, 80 years in this country, we just haven‘t seen this.
You‘ve got Harry Reid on board with this?
STABENOW: Absolutely. Senator Reid is an original co-sponsor. We have a number of colleagues that are on as co-sponsors. But we frankly need some Republican colleagues to step up.
You know, folks are out of work in every state, Democrats and Republicans. This is not a partisan issue.
SCHULTZ: Senator Stabenow, why 20 weeks?
STABENOW: Well, that‘s the longest we‘ve ever extended it. There are different tiers in unemployment.
The first tier extends for 20 weeks and then it goes on up. This would be an additional 20 weeks. It would parallel what we‘ve done before.
The rumor out there is—some people have mentioned to me that the 99ers are going to become very politically active until one party or another say we‘re up for sale right now. I mean, they want someone to step up legislatively and do something for them. And I think that you‘ve disarmed them tonight.
You have proven that the Democrats are the party of the people, but also the party of jobs. And this plays right into what Nancy Pelosi did today.
What happened in the Senate today?
STABENOW: Well, this was very significant, and Senator Harry Reid deserves tremendous credit for this.
We finally broke a Republican filibuster, again, with our two Republican colleagues from Maine, Senator Collins, Senator Snowe, joining to us overcome a filibuster that will allow us to pass a jobs bill for teachers, police officers, firefighters, some 900,000 people across the country that were going to get pink-slipped had in their communities. Children are not going to be stuck in classrooms with 50 kids. This is about keeping teachers in the classroom.
We passed it today. The House is going to come back into session and pass it, and send it to the president, who I am absolutely sure will sign it.
SCHULTZ: OK. The climate in this town is so biting, that no one gets along. I mean, the Republicans have staked their claim on failure. They don‘t want to help on anything.
SCHULTZ: And isn‘t this somewhat of a soft underbelly by the Republicans right now? Because Mitch McConnell has said, well, we‘re not going to tell you what our plan is until we come back in September.
I mean, isn‘t this just a golden opportunity for the Democrats to take the high road and say we‘ve got a plan, we‘re trying to do this, and paint them as obstructionists?
How aggressive do the Democrats have to be during this recess when you go home?
STABENOW: Well, Ed, we will be very aggressive, because we do have a plan. We‘ve been putting it forward. We‘ve been creating jobs with the Recovery Act and building roads and bridges, and giving tax cuts to businesses that hire people now, some—over five million people as a result of the Hire Act.
We know there‘s a lot more to do. A huge hole has been dug. But the question is, do we want to keep going, lowering the unemployment rate, or do you want to turn backwards?
And I would just leave with you this, Ed. Right now, to add insult to injury, the Republicans are filibustering a small business tax cut bill --
SCHULTZ: They‘re unbelievable.
STABENOW: -- that would give loans in small businesses. So, you know what? We‘re going to talk a lot about that in August.
SCHULTZ: What about your state, Michigan? High unemployment. I mean, this is tough.
STABENOW: Oh, it‘s extremely tough. You know, our people have been hit harder, longer, deeper than anybody else. But, you know, the president was at a GM plant and a Chrysler plant last week, a Chrysler plant that‘s adding a second shift. They‘re going to add a third shift. GM with their new products.
If we have time and we can keep focused on middle class families, working people in this country, building things again, making things in this country, we‘re going to turn this around.
SCHULTZ: “Made in America” is a big deal.
STABENOW: No question.
SCHULTZ: And I‘m glad to see the Democrats taking this on, because this is key.
SCHULTZ: Senator, congratulations. Great work. I appreciate you stepping up and answering the challenge to do something for the 99ers, and also business as well.
Coming up, Sharron Angle is really getting desperate. Her latest attack on Harry Reid is absurd. She‘s trying to scare people about coked-up stimulus monkeys?
You won‘t believe this one, folks.
And Speaker Pelosi calls the House back from summer recess to save jobs. She‘s showing some real leadership at this point, and I hope her fellow Democrats fall right in line.
I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that.
All that, plus The Drugster‘s found a dandy way to celebrate the president‘s birthday. That lands him in the “Zone.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC from the free health care clinic here in Washington, D.C.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
Alan Grayson, he has been known as a congressman who‘s not afraid to speak truth to power, and the truth is what this guy is all about.
Republicans have made it their mission to take him down in November. Now Kurt Kelly, one of the three Republicans vying to run against the congressman from Florida in this fall, is actually accusing him of wanting American troops to die.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURT KELLY ®, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: He actually missed the vote. He took a walk on the vote to actually provide the supplemental funding for our soldiers, and he put our soldiers and our men and women in the military in harm‘s way. And, in fact, maybe he wants them to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Congressman Grayson joins us now to respond to that.
Alan, good to have you with us tonight.
Your thoughts on that kind of rhetoric that was thrown at you?
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Well, it‘s nothing new. In Kurt Kelly‘s case, he‘s running in a seven-man Republican primary against me. So I think what he realizes is that the stupider he sounds, the more votes he‘s likely to get.
I also am reminded of Mark Twain‘s statement. In his case, Mark Twain said, “It‘s better to keep your mouth closed and have people think that you‘re a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
This is somebody who‘s this odd combination of ignorant and arrogant.
He thinks he knows everything; he actually knows nothing.
And when it comes to people‘s patriotism, my God, aren‘t we beyond that yet? Isn‘t that the kind of wrong thinking that got us into these wars in the first place and has kept us there for nine years? Who lied us into these wars? Was it Alan Grayson or somebody else?
SCHULTZ: Why did you miss that vote? I mean, he‘s making that an issue. Obviously, he‘s playing it up to be a big vote.
Is he correct? What‘s happening here?
GRAYSON: I said before and after that vote that I was going to vote against the supplemental. I missed it because of a personal matter involving one of my five children.
I‘m the only member of Congress who has got five children who are school age, and I have to say good-bye to them every Monday and go back every Friday in order to make this job work. Every once in a while, something bad happens. If you‘re a parent, you know what I mean, and I had to take care one of them that day.
But I said before the vote and after the vote, I would have voted against the supplemental because these wars do not make us any safer. We have spent $3 trillion dropping into the sands of the Mesopotamia and the mountains of (INAUDIBLE), and we are no safer than we were before.
That‘s one-20th of our entire national wealth. And we have left a quarter of a million Americans with permanent brain damage as a result of serving their country. Permanent brain damage. When is enough enough?
SCHULTZ: Congressman, back during the health care debate, you were very aggressive on the Republicans, and you said this on the floor back in September of last year.
I want to play it for you. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAYSON: If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly. That‘s right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And I totally agreed with you when you did that on the House floor because they had absolutely nothing on the table for the American people of any substance whatsoever. But that piece of tape right there, do you think that that was pretty much a setup, and now they‘re coming back and trying to say, well, heck, you want to see troops do die?
GRAYSON: If that is their setup, it‘s a sad setup. Is there really no difference anymore between truth and lying?
When I said the Republican health care plan was don‘t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly, I was telling the truth. And when he says I want the troops to die, he‘s telling a lie.
So, where are we now in America? Are lies now the same as truth?
Maybe if you‘re a Republican that‘s the way it works.
Congressman, give us a sense what kind of resources are being thrown against you. We know that you‘re definitely in the top five that the Republicans would like to get away, get you out of the Congress, because you‘ve been a thorn in their side telling it like it is and being very aggressive. And you have really garnished a great deal of support in the progressive community.
How do you think they view you?
GRAYSON: Well, the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee said that I‘m their number one target for 2010. But we‘ve had almost 50,000 people come from all around the country, including in central Florida, to our Web site, congressmanwithguts.com and make a contribution. And it‘s made a tremendous difference.
We have people power on our side, we have people volunteering at our Web site, walking the district every day for us, and we‘re going to tight back. I think it‘s time a Democrat knew how to throw a punch. And I‘m that kind of person.
SCHULTZ: Yes you are.
Congressman Alan Grayson, great to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much for joining us.
GRAYSON: Thank you, too.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, “The Drugster” has proven what a big party pooper he actually is. He‘s raining on the president‘s birthday parade.
I‘ll pin the tail on this donkey next in the “Zone.” Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, “The Drugster” can‘t even let President Obama celebrate his birthday without throwing out some trademark Limbaugh venom. Rush reached into his grab bag of attacks on the president and pulled out this doozy --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Tomorrow is Obama‘s birthday.
Not that we‘ve seen any proof of that, but tomorrow is Obama‘s birthday.
And we haven‘t seen any proof of that.
They tell us August 4th is the birthday. We haven‘t seen proof of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Really, Rush? You‘re going to go with this birther thing again?
Buddy, you‘ve got to get new material. I mean, that ship left the dock a long time ago.
But, of course, “The Drugster,” he‘s not a quitter. Later in the show, he circled back around to make the comment congratulating himself on a job well done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: By the way, the folks at Mediatweek (INAUDIBLE) already have video up of me, “El Rushbaugh,” saying yes, tomorrow is Obama‘s birthday, not that we‘ve seen proof of it. They fell for it again. It‘s gone viral.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Rush, Mediatweek or not, there‘s a lot of wackos out there including elected Republicans who listen to your show and eat all that stuff up.
A new poll shows 27 percent of Americans think President Obama was probably or definitely born in another country. Among Republicans, the number goes up to 41 percent.
So, Rush, you may think it‘s all a big joke, but continuing to push the birther nonsense is nothing but viral “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, I‘ve got a huge bone to pick with “The Newster.” And Congressman Jim Moran, well, he wants in on the action. We‘re taking on a former Gingrich staffer in the “Battleground” story tonight. You don‘t want to miss it.
And Sharron Angle must be partying really hard in Vegas. I mean, she blasted away at Harry Reid for coked-up stimulus monkeys? I‘ll explain that one in the “Playbook.”
All that, plus Mitch McConnell stumped live on TV. I‘ll show you the tape.
Plus, the one and only—the one and only Cornel West—looking forward to this—he‘s here tonight. He‘s got an incredible piece in “Playboy” magazine talking about President Obama. We‘ll ask him about it.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
Coming to you live from is the free health care clinic in Washington‘s convention center.
“The Battleground” story tonight, Newt Gingrich goes nuclear on President Obama while speaking to a group of young conservatives. This guy goes ballistic, saying the president is “the most radical president ever.”
The reason? Everything from the health care bill, to immigration reform, to national security. And the one that really gets me cranked up, Newt thinks the president is radical for not wanting to give billionaires tax cuts.
Gingrich says the president and his allies are socialist job killers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER: The job-killing nature of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi team is, in fact, the first big challenge we‘re faced with as a country. Part of it is because they don‘t know and part of it is because, frankly, they‘re socialists and they don‘t care. They would rather have a smaller economy with fewer people working, and they get to redistribute the wealth, than have a larger economy with more people working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: To fight against socialism, Newt suggests America should follow suit with the communists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: Do you want to create jobs as rapidly as China? The Chinese pay zero capital gains tax. If we had zero capital gains tax in the United States, we would be building factories, founding companies, creating jobs. We‘d be dramatically better off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining us now on THE ED SHOW tonight, Virginia Congressman Jim Moran and syndicated columnist Tony Blankley. He served as the press secretary for Mr. Gingrich when he was Speaker of the House.
Gentlemen, I‘ll tell you what—this is getting to a new level of rhetoric right now.
Congressman, your response to what Gingrich is saying to young conservatives?
REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Well, Newt has always known how to shake things up, but not how to get things done.
The reality is that President Obama is trying to be judicious, understanding that we have a serious deficit, but wanting to get the economy going again. And the fact is that people over $250,000 a year only spend 10 percent to 20 percent of tax cuts in ways that will stimulate economy.
We only got about 13 percent of the cost of the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 back into the economy. If you get it to people like those who are out here, they‘re going to spend all of it, do a much better job of stimulating the economy. And that‘s what the president is trying to achieve.
SCHULTZ: Tony, does Newt believe this stuff, or is he just trying to get attention? I mean, we‘ve never heard this kind of rhetoric at this level.
TONY BLANKLEY, FMR. PRESS SECRETARY FOR NEWT GINGRICH: Yes, he does.
I agree with the congressman that Newt knows how to get attention. I disagree that he can‘t get things done.
And when he was Speaker, the first year, ‘95, fiscal ‘95, we cut $50-some billion from spending, fir time I think since before Vietnam we did that. And working with President Clinton at the time, we balanced the budget for the first time in two generations.
So, yes, Newt has a colorful language and he knows how to get things done. But the big issue here, whatever language one wants to pick around, is whether at a time of 9.5 percent unemployment, now in a second year of that, whether tax cuts or tax increases make more sense. And let me just add one point. I don‘t think anyone doubts cutting taxes generally is good for stimulating the economy. The question is with high-deficits as we have now, should you do it if you don‘t also cut spending? And I think, the preferable thing to do would be a match the tax cut with about $150 billion here of deficit reduction in the first year. That way we get stimulation and we don‘t increase the deficit.
MORAN: You know, that‘s fine. I wish the republicans would identify areas that they‘d really like to cut and take some of the political heat for making that decision. There are areas where we should cut. Corporate agribusiness, things like that, a lot of the tax benefits to people that extracts our natural resources. But if we were to invest the same amount of money in transportation and infrastructure, Ed, we‘d get about nine times more bang for the buck. Putting the money into unemployment extension gives you three times as much bang for the buck as extending tax cuts for the very wealthy. That‘s what the president is looking at, trying to use the money most judiciously to get this economy back.
SCHULTZ: And beyond the political philosophy, what we should be doing to reduce the deficit, Tony, why is Newt Gingrich at this level of aggressiveness? I mean, this is name calling and labeling, we just haven‘t heard before.
BLANKLEY: Certainly we‘ve heard it before from most of the people who are chatting these days.
SCHULTZ: Well, from the Tea Partiers, true, but I mean, some of the former speaker of the house, this is really a new level.
BLANKLEY: I don‘t find the language particularly unusual.
SCHULTZ: So, is this all Barack Obama‘s fault, President Obama‘s fault, President Obama‘s fault that we are at this unemployment rate?
BLANKLEY: No, I think and I don‘t want to speak for Newt but I think he would probably agree that this has been decades, decades in the building. It‘s just getting to the breaking point now. We‘ve been taking spending more than we should have, you know, going back 50, 60 years. And now it‘s breaking the economy. And now we have to do something and Newt‘s trying to use language that catches attention because we‘re going to have to do something and start right away.
MORAN: The biggest piece of the spending is the Medicare prescription drug benefit. And the Republican Party put in that clause that we can‘t negotiate with drug companies on behalf Medicare beneficiaries that could have brought down the cost half of what we‘re spending now and of course the war. We funded two wars with four tax cuts. You can‘t do that and expect to balance the budget.
SCHULTZ: Your response to that, Tony. That is true.
BLANKLEY: I think everything ought to be on the table for cutting. The secretary of defense told the contractors, you better come up with more efficient ways to deliver weapons systems or we‘ll going to do it for you. I think, entitlements have to be there. Whether it‘s the suggestion the congressman makes or others. We‘ve got to go across the board cutting.
SCHULTZ: OK, across the board. But going across the board, they want to leave the Bush tax cuts in there.
BLANKLEY: That‘s a separate issue.
SCHULTZ: No, it‘s not a separate issue because it‘s about getting money into the treasury. The democrats want more money into the treasury and the republicans are out there saying, if you do this, the economy‘s going to get worse. But there‘s no guarantee that the Bush tax cuts are going to create jobs because they haven‘t done it now.
BLANKLEY: Well, look, there is no guarantee of anything like but the most certain thing from Jack Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, if you lower tax rates, you tend to make the economy better all things considered.
MORAN: Well, it hasn‘t happened. And the fact is that if you add up everything that the republicans say they‘d like to cut, you‘re still spending over 20 percent of GDP, the federal government. And we‘re bringing in less than 15 percent, 14.8 percent is what we‘re bringing in of GDP. And yet if you add everything up, you‘re still spending over 20 percent. That doesn‘t balance. And that‘s why we have the deficit.
BLANKLEY: Both parties and most people in both parties aren‘t yet quite prepared to say what we all know what we‘re going to do, starting next year, whatever the election results, we‘re going to be starting to have to look at entitlements because that‘s where the huge, the huge shocking deficits are. We have to do it humanely and rationally. If we don‘t do that, we destroy our economy.
SCHULTZ: You want to cut entitlements, Medicare, Social Security, two successful programs, generations proven, and yet you want to leave the tax cuts in for the top two percent? I mean, how can the republicans re-won and win on that?
BLANKLEY: What Americans want is a strong economy and a safety net.
BLANKLEY: And we‘re going to have both. The question is how do we get that strong economy and sustain the safety.
SCHULTZ: OK. All right. I want Newt Gingrich to address outsourcing because the outsourcing of jobs is what the republicans have not addressed. And this is why we have the unemployment rate in this country because we‘re just shipping jobs overseas at a torrid pace.
MORAN: Ed, the S&P 500 companies just reported their second quarter profits, 42.9 percent. Their revenue was only up six percent. What‘s the difference? They‘re making money overseas, they‘re investing overseas. They‘re making.
(ALL TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
MORAN: But they‘re firing American workers.
SCHULTZ: We got to run. Tony Blankley, Jim Moran, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight.
Nancy Pelosi is calling House members back from recess and their vacations to vote on a jobs bill that will save teachers, firefighters, law enforcement the lot. This is strong tough leadership from the speaker. You got to really praise her for this one. The republicans tried to stall this thing to death but she‘s calling their bluff. It‘s time to work in August.
Missouri issued a major rebuke of the health care law last night by a three to one margin, Missouri voters cast their ballots against the federal law that would force Americans to buy health insurance. This is going to be a battle. The republicans might take this as a sign to make the midterms all about repeal.
And here‘s proof that the Republican Party has no position except wanting President Obama to fail. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn‘t answer the question when asked what the Republican Party stands for. He told the interviewer to wait for September.
Joining us now is Joe Madison, XM Satellite radio talk show host and AB Stoddard, associate editor and columnist for The Hill. We‘ve got to start with the Mitch McConnell story. Joe, is this just evidence that the republicans just don‘t have a plan whatsoever? I mean to tell somebody, you got to wait until September until we figure out what we‘re going to do.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Again, where is the plan? And we‘ve been asking for it over and over and over again. I‘ll tell you what their plan really is, and that is it‘s not wait until September. It will be to wait until after November and I guarantee you, if they take over the House, the plan will be not to legislate as much as it will be to investigate. You‘re going to see probably a series of investigations and they‘re going to do the President Obama what they attempted to do to Clinton.
SCHULTZ: Here is the sound cut with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on this issue of having to wait until September.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOST: Do republicans need to articulate what you would do in power as opposed to simply campaigning against what the president has done?
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I think we clearly do need to make sure Americans know what we would do and we‘re going to make that announcement in late September, so the voters will have an opportunity...
HOST: But you have an opportunity right here to spell it out.
MCCONNELL: Yes, but I think I won‘t scoop myself. We‘ll be making that announcement in late September.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: AB Stoddard, he says, he‘s going to wait until September to explain what their plan is. Can they do that and get the House? In the Senate back?
AB STODDARD, “THE HILL” ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Well, republicans in the House and the Senate are coming up with a plan that they‘re going to come up with some kind of blueprint that they‘re going to reveal in September after they‘ve spoken with their constituents on the long August recess. The question really is Ed, how specific are they going to be. Many strategists are telling them, don‘t get too specific because our plans will become a target for criticism from the democrats. So, the question becomes, are they going to get specific about entitlement reform as Tony Blankley just said that he hopes that they would? Or are they going to try to stay speak in general terms about controlling the deficit, cutting your taxes, and repealing health care and sticking with a bland blueprint that they can‘t get attacked on. I think we‘re waiting for those specifics. Are they going to get into the details or not?
MADISON: And in the meantime, Joe lunch bucket and Joe the plumber, who‘s out of work and I don‘t mean the Joe the plumber but people are out of work. I mean, this the height of arrogance to tell people who are going to have to send their kids back to school, try to buy clothes, try to buy school supplies, well, you wait until September.
SCHULTZ: They seem rudderless to me. They have been criticizing this president since the day he got in. They have obstructed absolutely everything they can in the Senate. They haven‘t faithfully worked on any issues on it‘s their way or the highway. The minority party has used the filibuster as a legislative tool to stop America in its tracks and now they say, we‘ll wait until September and we‘ll try to figure out what we‘re going do. The next story is the House is going to be coming back in session. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted this, “I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers‘ jobs and help seniors and children.” Of course, what happened today on the Senate side is that they finally got something done on this. And now, Nancy Pelosi is not wasting anytime. The contrast here is no action on one side, and immediate action interrupted the vacations and having people come back.
STODDARD: And interrupting the vacations of or the campaign schedules of members who are out there trying to keep their seats is actually a little bit tough. But of course, the speaker wants to show that the democrats are hard at work on helping the unemployed and helping catch-strapped states. I would add, the jobless numbers are not going to change Ed, between now and November 2 and the democrats are shifting their message towards these packages of aid that they‘re getting through for the unemployed, for small business and republican opposition because that needs to be the focus as they head into the campaign.
MADISON: The jobless numbers won‘t change, you‘re absolutely right, that much. But what it does, it sends a very clear message to those families who do have family members and friends and neighbors out of work that we‘re not just going to let you hang out here. And this interruption in their vacation/campaigning is just a slight interruption, quite honestly, I think it‘s an excellent strategy because they‘ll go right back to campaigning and be able to say, we went back to Washington to do something for those who need the most done.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of the Missouri vote last night by a three to one dealing with health care, saying that you know, that the federal government cannot force you to buy health care? The people don‘t want it.
MADISON: Well, the people do want it. Look behind you. The people do want it.
SCHULTZ: So, this is the wedge issue. I mean, I think this is a test balloon. What do you think?
STODDARD: Ed, Missouri is the ultimate swing state. This is a really tough one for democrats politically because the mandated is the foundation of health care reform. Without the mandate to force everyone to buy insurance, then the insurance companies have slimmer pools, they‘re more at risk and they raise their prices. The problem is, those prices are going to get raised in the next months to come before the election. The mandate doesn‘t kick in until 2014. The democrats have really set backed themselves into a corner with the structure of the law.
MADISON: Yes. But there will be issues such as, can I keep my child on my health care plan that are going to resonate with people. And that‘s where I think the democrats are going to have to play to.
SCHULTZ: I think the republicans are going to try to get this on every state ballot as they possibly can. Joe Madison, AB Stoddard, great to have you with us tonight. Coming up, the race debate is always in front of the president. World renowned activist and scholar, Cornel West, says President Obama should step up and be more like Martin Luther King. He explains why, next in my Playbook here on “The Ed Show.” Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: It‘s not too late to let us know what you think. Tonight‘s text survey question is, do you think—who do you think is more radical, Newt Gingrich or President Obama? Text A for Newt Gingrich, text B for President Obama to 622639. Results coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, the Americans who flooded Chicago‘s Grant Park on election night 2008 expected President Barack Obama to usher in a new era of progressivism, giving a voice to the little guy. The president‘s plunging approval ratings suggest at least some of them may have been disappointed. My next guest says, one of them, he says, President Obama would do better if he could do more and be more like Martin Luther King. He thinks the president should be focused on the problems of the black poor in this country and he would end up helping the entire country.
Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West joins me tonight on THE ED SHOW. An honor and a pleasure. Dr. West, great to have you with us. Your article most recently in “Playboy Magazine” says that you are disappointed in President Obama. Where has he failed in your opinion or where is he lagging?
DR. CORNEL WEST, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: First, I just want to salute you, appreciate the job that you‘re doing, Brother Ed. The same is true with Brother Keith and Sister Rachel. I think you‘re all doing a fabulous job. I also want to extend a happy birthday to my dear brother President Obama. I know he‘s under tremendous pressure and it‘s always a question of trying to push him in a direction that accents the best of what progressives are all about. About progressives, I don‘t mean just some ideology. I‘m talking about those like Martin Luther King Jr. who love poor people, who love working people. And when you love folk, you hate the fact they‘re being treated unjustly.
So, the priority of jobs with a living wage, priority of homes and a priority of focusing on the new Jim Crow which is a prison industrial complex aided by a war against drugs that has led towards 72 percent of those in prison or in the soft drug convictions. We‘ve got to hit these head-on. Instead, we‘ve seen too much focus on financial oligarchs on Wall Street, corporate elites and big business. And I‘m pushing my dear brother Barack Obama in saying you‘ve got to bust the Martin Luther King Jr. in the oval when you see him. Look at the poor and working people here. Look at the war in Afghanistan and see the ways in which we‘re spending billions and billions and billions of dollars there where we should be rebuilding here.
SCHULTZ: So Dr. West, you‘re sounding as if you‘re very disappointed in the performance of the president and it‘s not even two years into his first term. What does he have to do? Where does he have to shift? You said in that article that it‘s getting late. What do you mean?
WEST: It‘s getting late because my dear brother, I want not just Barack Obama, I want Congress to treat poor brothers and sisters, not just black, not just Leticia and Jamaal, all poor people with the same dignity and support as they treated investment bankers. I want them to treat poor people the same way they treat corporate elites. We have to have a democracy in which the least of these, I speak as a Christian who wants to bear witness to truth and justice, the condition of truth to allow suffering to speak. We‘ve got too many suffering brothers and sisters of all colors who are not being treated fairly. And the jobs bill that the Nancy Pelosi is talking about, that‘s fine too, but that‘s for unemployment benefits, we‘re talking about jobs with a living wage, homes they can live in, a prison industrial complex that is fair rather than tilted against the weak.
SCHULTZ: Do you feel that President Obama has left his base? Do you think he doesn‘t appreciate what the base did for him?
WEST: I think that he believes that persons like myself who were fundamentally committed to the transforming the situation of the poor and working people have nowhere to go. So yes, I do want to protect him against the vicious attacks on the right. No doubt. I want to respect him at the same time and I want him to respect me and others. But most importantly, I want to correct him because he assumes persons like myself have nowhere to go, especially black persons like myself. So, he figures.
SCHULTZ: What should he do about the republicans? They‘re blocking everything. And here he is, a political pragmatist. Many people on the left are saying that he hasn‘t been strong enough. What should he do?
WEST: I think there are three different levels. One is just a bully pulpit, the bully pulpit. I wish he talk about taxing financial transactions. I wish he talk about taxing debt instruments, taxing stock, taxing currency. Wouldn‘t affect one working person or one poor person whatsoever. They have the money. Let‘s go where it is. I wish he would talk about the prison industrial complex, how do we make it fair so that our poor persons don‘t find themselves cannon for such a vicious system.
SCHULTZ: OK. And Dr. West, finally, you made a very interesting comment in that article about Michelle Obama. Is she underused?
WEST: Well, she‘s brilliant. She‘s courageous. She‘s visionary. And I know that she‘s in a situation which is similar to all first ladies, but I wish in fact that she were more prominent in dealing with some of these issues as it relates to poor people and working people. Of course, she comes out of a history of those who are focused on such issues. And I wish in fact that she were able to do that. But of course, I‘m not on the insight. I don‘t know what the dynamics actually are. So, we shall see.
SCHULTZ: Dr. West, great to have you with us on THE ED SHOW. We‘ve got to have you back. I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
WEST: I appreciate the work that you‘re doing, my brother.
SCHULTZ: You bet. A couple of final pages in my Playbook tonight, after another disasters, TV appearance, Tea Party nut job Sharron Angle do just about anything to bounce back. Check out the title of her latest press release. “Harry Reid‘s Plan to Save the Nevada Economy, Coked-up Stimulus Monkeys.” Angle is going after Reid for voting for the stimulus package because some of that money goes to drug testing on monkeys. But Sharon just doesn‘t get it. This is a real need for this testing, no question about it, so that‘s it. That‘s how it‘s done. And it‘s not done on humans. Keep it up, Sharon. It‘s going to be a fun campaign season.
And Brett Favre soap opera. Well, it takes a new twist. The 40-year-old quarterback tells ESPN, he will play if healthy. Favre said he has not made a decision about returning this year. Meanwhile, the star-tribune reports that the team offered him $7 million more. Favre tells ESPN this is not about money. I said it before. I say it again. He is coming back. Yes.
Coming up next, I‘m going to tell you why I took this show on the road today. You need to hear the stories of the folks sitting right behind me here at this health care clinic. Don‘t go away. I can‘t wait to introduce you to my next two guests. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Tonight, our own location story here at the Washington Convention Center, here in Washington, D.C., the Nation‘s Capital. The National Associations of Free Health Care Clinics at it again, doing the fabulous work for Americans. But the sad note to this today is that 500 Americans were turned away because there is an overwhelming need for health care for the uninsured in this country. The bottom line is, things haven‘t gotten any better. And the fact is we‘ve got a long road to go in this country to help people who are in need. It‘s quite a story.
Joining me now is Nicole Lamoureux, she is the lead organizer for the National Association of Free Clinics and Dr. Bobby Kapur, who is an emergency room doctor directing the clinic here today. Nicole, it had to be pretty tough for you to see people thinking they were going to come here today for free health care and an opportunity to get some assistance and then the doors were closed because you‘re overwhelmed. What was that like?
NICOLE LAMOUREUX, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE CLINICS DIRECTOR: It was heartbreaking. And as I‘ve done before, many tears, tears with the patients, tears of frustration of anger that we couldn‘t do more and then joy that we could help over 1200 people today as well.
SCHULTZ: The volunteer effort has been fantastic over 1100 volunteers, 400 medical personnel. You opened the doors today at 11:00. You had to close them at 1:30. There were people lined up all the way down the street. Doctor, your impressions of this.
DR. BOBBY KAPUR, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: Well, it‘s been very heart warming, it‘s been an amazing experience to be able to get all these volunteers together and these health care providers and just dedicating their efforts. But it‘s also quite frustrating to see that the large need out there and the demand there is for health care. We are still have 50 million people uninsured.
SCHULTZ: What did you see here today?
KAPUR: I saw a lot of hardworking Americans, men, women and children here who have either lost their jobs and have been unable to get health care insurance and access to health care that they had previously. Had one gentleman lost his job about six months ago, he‘s in his early 60s, has diabetes, arrived here, his blood sugar was sky high and he told me, he hasn‘t been able to get his prescriptions filled and hasn‘t able to afford health care.
SCHULTZ: A lot of these Americans haven‘t seen doctors in years. Did you save lives today, Nicole?
LAMOUREUX: We did, we saved lives today. There‘s no question. I had a woman 42 who came up to me and told me two days ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctor told here, no one is going to help you. She came here to a free connect, she got a connection with an oncologist.
And on Friday, she‘s going to have a surgery and treatment all for free.
SCHULTZ: She recently lost her job. I met her.
SCHULTZ: I mean, every one of these Americans here have been displaced in the economy because of what‘s going on. They‘ve lost their insurance. You folks are absolutely fantastic for what you‘re doing. It‘s the most unselfish thing in the world. The volunteer effort has been fantastic. And there‘s more testing and lab testing at this one than in other ones. Is that correct?
KAPUR: That is correct. We expanded our ability to do EKGs, and expanded labs, we actually can do cholesterol testing, urinalysis, a whole host of lab testing, we‘re also providing screening for cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, providing eye exams and we‘ve had an additional mental health providers to be seen today also.
SCHULTZ: Nicole and Dr. Kapur, you are what America is supposed to be. What a great example.
KAPUR: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Thank you for your unselfish dedication to these Americans who really need help. You did save lives today. And I hope you open up a lot more eyes across the country because we need to continue this. Thanks so much for joining us.
LAMOUREUX: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: And thanks for your work. Tonight, our text survey question is I asked, who do you think is more radical, Newt Gingrich or President Obama? Eighty three percent of you said Newt Gingrich, 17 percent of you said, President Obama. We‘ll see you back in New York tomorrow night and we‘ll tell you about our free health care clinic that‘s going to be in New Orleans later on in the month. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now. See you tomorrow night.
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