updated 9/22/2010 3:43:45 PM ET 2010-09-22T19:43:45

Guests: Keith Ellison, Mike Papantonio, Byron Dorgan, Wendell Potter, Bill

Press, Michael Medved, Melanie Sloan, Mignon Veasley-Fields

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

These stories on the table and hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.

Glenn Beck is calling me out?  Challenging me to restore honor at the One Nation Rally on October 2nd

Here I am fighting for the middle class, talking up the stories, hoping for the American dream.  This isn‘t about a fake prophet looking at geese.  This is about getting the American people back to work and firing up the base. 

My commentary on all of that coming up. 

And big insurance.  Well, they are back at it.  They are threatening your children.  They are denying coverage for sick children to save a buck, and the Republicans are cheering them on from the sidelines. 

This story just has me fuming.  We‘ll talk about it. 

And the Republicans, well, they always preach about listening to the generals.  Well, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says gays should be able to serve openly in the military.  But today, just another big shocker.  Senate Republicans bucked military leaders and voted to obstruct.  Another filibuster. 

And we have got breaking news out of the White House tonight, a shakeup in the Obama administration.  Larry Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, is leaving the Obama administration to return to Harvard University. 

Senator Byron Dorgan will respond.  This is now the third person to leave off the economic team.  A big story. 

This is the story that has me fired up tonight.  The hate merchant across the street has October 2nd on his radar screen.  Glenn Beck is squawking about the One Nation rally that I will be speaking at on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 

Beck released this statement: “8/28 was an historic event for a lot of Americans.  I hope that Ed Schultz, the AFL-CIO, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and whoever else wants to plan a march in D.C. will have the same great success that we had with Restoring Honor.”

All right.  Now, hold the phone on this one. 

This is the guy that has been on record saying that violence will come from the left.  What in the hell is he talking about? 

Is he trying to get all the players on record here?  Is this supposed to be big setup? 

First of all, Beck, you did not restore any honor.  You were a phony where you should not have been a phony. 

Beck, let tell you something, 10/2 will be a great success because this is a well-defined mission to offer hope and motivation to a hell of a lot more Americans than your phony religious rally.  The One Nation rally was created to protect American jobs, education and our economy, not to give exposure to a multimillion-dollar TV talking head or a made-for-TV wannabe presidential candidate. 

That‘s not what this is about.  And the people that view this show and that will attend that march, some 300,000-plus, know exactly that. 

Americans are frustrated with the hate being pumped out of the right-wing noise machine.  And now, pretty much, it has paralyzed spineless politicians in Washington. 

Some of the frustration is starting to turn on President Obama openly. 

A supporter said this to the president—

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class.  I‘m one of those people and I‘m waiting, sir.  I‘m waiting.  I don‘t feel it yet. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Didn‘t I say something the other night about the confidence has been shaking the base? 

Another member of the audience has asked a question that has been drilled by the right-wing nuts on radio against the president. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It feels like the American dream is not attainable to a lot of us.  And I really want to know, is the American dream dead for me? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  How in the world do you answer that?  It feels—it feels -

this is the same Wall Street garbage that has been thrown out there as to why we can‘t create jobs.  Let me give you this for an answer—how about $30 billion to community banks around the country loosen up the credit lines, get lending going and let small businesses thrive? 

Well, of course, the Republicans have been against that, too.  So, you see, the American dream isn‘t dead, but it was on life support for a while, because, you see, the Republicans regain power, they are ready to pull the plug to on damn near everything President Obama has been able to accomplish. 

I‘m doing everything in my power to stop them, and that‘s why with I will be there October 2nd.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will flood the Mall on October 2nd and join the fight to keep the American dream alive.  And it will be more than a feeling. 

There‘s facts and figures to go along with everything that‘s going to be said from this broadcaster. 

Every American deserves an equal shot at a quality education, which, of course, they are against across the street.  They hate public education. 

How about the chance to have a good job here in America, not outsourced?  You know, homegrown stuff?  And how about that good old affordable health insurance policy that every American family should have? 

They were against reform.  Beck and his followers want to destroy that dream.  They claim to care about liberty and freedom and the Constitution.  They always hide behind that generic statement, well it‘s the Constitution. 

Is it? 

The One Nation march isn‘t about a theory.  It‘s about reality and what Americans are facing.  More Americans are worried about their jobs, their family and the roof over their heads than ever before because of the obstruction. 

We are behind the 8 ball right now because we have had to deal with Republicans.  People don‘t have time for games anymore.  This is life and death stuff, at least if you listen to the voices on my radio show, because it‘s pretty gut-wrenching stuff to hear a mother talk about how her job was outsourced, and she just happen to know her secretarial friend that was writing the bonus checks to the CEO who got millions. 

Those stories are out there and that lady will join me on this program tomorrow night. 

You see, we are really at a moral crossroads in America.  Are we going to keep helping our fellow man, or are we going to surrender to the Republicans and their billionaire puppet masters? 

Are we going to surrender?  Well, doggone it, I‘m back at it again. 

I‘m asking you tonight, basers.  Are you going to quit like Sarah Palin? 

Quit? 

No.  We‘ll be there. 

Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight.  The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 

My question tonight is: Do you think the GOP and righty talk show hosts are destroying the American dream?  Press the number 1 for yes.  Press the number 2 for no.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, a member of the Progressive Caucus. 

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA:  Always great to be here, Ed.  How are you doing? 

SCHULTZ:  Very good. 

You have been a verbal target of the broadcaster that is challenging me to restore honor.  How do you—is this a big game, in your opinion? 

ELLISON:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s a game.  I think it‘s serious, because things that Glenn Beck says whip up hate and frustration. 

There was a man in lower Manhattan who was a cabby.  He was stabbed when someone asked him what his religious identification was. 

And part of the thing that I‘m concerned about is cultural and political leaders who are trying to whip up and turn Americans against Americans based on religion, and I think that‘s really too bad.  That‘s why I think your One Nation march is a great idea, bringing Americans together -- race, class, religion, ethnicity, income.

We‘re coming together to reclaim the American dream.  I think it‘s great. 

SCHULTZ:  Will Democrats in the halls of Congress, the progressives, pay attention to October 2nd

ELLISON:  We are fixated on it.  I mean, this is one of our big hopes, man. 

We‘re looking to get the base pumped up and energized, because we know that without majorities, you know, Nancy Pelosi becomes the minority leader.  We have ranking members—we have a chair go to ranking members. 

We can‘t tolerate this.  We can‘t allow it to happen.  The Republicans have done too much damage to this economy to give them back the driver‘s wheel. 

We have got to restore and rebuild the middle class, and that means we‘ve got to stay in the majority.  And that means we‘ve got to have an energized, fired-up base. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, I‘ve got to ask you, 260 obstructions over on the Senate side.  Let‘s total it up at 99 bills that have been filibustered by the Senate after you guys over in the House have done what, over 200 bill? 

ELLISON:  Over 200.  Well over 200.

But we passed great bills—bills to help small business lending get going; bills to try to put teachers to work; bills to make sure that Americans can get unemployment insurance.  And they are fighting against these things. 

Now, they are talking about deficits and all this kind can of stuff, but they‘re ready to give $700 billion back to the richest Americans, and they don‘t even want to give a few billion back so people can have some unemployment insurance and keep some teachers in the classroom.

This is hypocrisy of the highest order, Ed.  And I think that you‘re right for calling them out.  But we‘ve got to get this place engaged, because, you know what?  The people are the ones who ultimately make the decision. 

And coming out and getting involved and being jacked about, the chances for this country and the middle class, we‘ve got to excite people around. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Ellison, we will see you on October 2nd.

ELLISON:  Yes, you will.

SCHULTZ:  Great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

ELLISON:  Yes, sir.

SCHULTZ:  Mike Papantonio, host of the nationally syndicated “Ring of Fire” radio show, with us tonight.

Well, I‘ve got to get some expert analysis here, because Glenn Beck seems to be wishing us luck, Mike.  How do we take that? 

(LAUGHTER)

MIKE PAPANTONIO, ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER:  Be afraid.  Be very afraid. 

Look, his idea of honor is very different from ours.  There is no honor in the economic collapse that was caused by Republican.  There is no honor in the fact that we now have more people living under the poverty line.  Actually, that number grew under the Republicans than any time in history.  There is no honor in shipping jobs out of the country. 

Now, Glenn Beck may think that is honorable, but the average American doesn‘t. 

If progressives do what we are supposed to do, and show up October 2nd, here‘s what‘s going to happen—that media fabrication, this tea bagger tidal wave that we‘ve been led to believe is taking place in America, is going to be shown for what it really is.  And it‘s a tea bagger trickle.

The people who show up at this progressive get-together for labor, for people who understand that they‘re fighting for the last America—the last rights of America to hold things together after being hammered by Republicans for eight years, the people who show up there won‘t be fraudulent protesters.  They won‘t be paid for by the Koch brothers.  They won‘t be paid for by the Republicans.

They really are patriots who care, who understand that if we let the Republicans and the tea baggers keep the keys to the car, they‘re going to drive us into the ditch again.  They did it for eight years.  We‘re going to see it again.

The labor unions, the patriotic progressives that are there, understand that is what is going to happen is things are going to get worse if we don‘t get vocal.  The one percent of the wealthiest Americans who now own 70 percent of America‘s wealth, it‘s soon going to turn into 90 percent of America‘s wealth. 

The ratio of executive pay to labor pay is right now 500 to one.  For every $1 an American worker makes, an executive makes $500. 

That developed under George Bush.  The tea baggers want to take us back there.  Glenn Beck wants to take us back there. 

They want to take us back to an America where we didn‘t have health care, where the environment wasn‘t important, where workers‘ rights weren‘t important.  They want to take us back to an American where the judiciary is completely a lapdog for corporate America.  That‘s what the Republicans did for us for eight years. 

So what do we do?  We have a choice here, Ed.  We can either talk the talk or we can show up.  We can spend the $500 it‘s probably going to take to get there, we can show up, and we can make sure that Joe Barton from Texas, who actually had the audacity to apologize to BP after they destroyed an ecosystem, after they killed 11 people, that a Joe Barton doesn‘t take over the Energy Committee, as he will if the Republicans gain control. 

That John Boehner, the empty suit “Tan Man,” doesn‘t run government.  That Jim Inhofe, who says that global warming is a hoax and we should not pay any attention to global warming, that he doesn‘t take over the Senate Environmental Committee.  That Jeff Sessions from Alabama, who said at one point that the KKK is an honorable organization, doesn‘t take over the judiciary. 

Ed, this is the line in the sand.  If anybody can do it, you can get them out there.  I know you will.  And if they go there to listen to you, they are going to walk away inspired, and we are going to show up in November, and progressives are going to do what we are supposed to do and take back this country. 

SCHULTZ:  Mike Papantonio, you‘ve said it all.  You are a brother in the fight.  Thanks so much.  We‘ll do it again.  Thanks, Mike. 

PAPANTONIO:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Christine, the teenaged witch, well, she‘s in hot water.  Get this, folks—a watchdog group says she is a criminal.  The person trying to throw her in jail joins me in the “Playbook” tonight. 

And all of a sudden, the sexist “Drugster” is defending his ladies. 

He has got a date with me in the “Zone.” 

All that, plus I find it beyond disgusting that the heartless insurance industry companies are denying your kids coverage.  My commentary ahead of that in the “Battleground” story. 

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. 

Harry Reid represents the gambling capital of the world.  And with six weeks until the midterms, it‘s up to him to decide what issue the Democrats should bet the House on and bet the Senate on.  OK? 

Now, the Senate tried to move forward today on “don‘t ask, don‘t tell.”  And, of course, the Republican senators unanimously threw defense spending under the bus in order to vote against gays in the military. 

That vote also derails the Dream Act, which would give immigrants a path to citizenship if they served this country in the military.  Democratic leaders want to force a fight on the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but conservative Democrats are already threatening to break with the party and go with the Republicans. 

So, what can Reid do?  He is in a position where the Democrats are in the final stretch drive before the midterms.  Will it make a difference? 

For more, let‘s bring in North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan.

Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  And we‘re going to talk about the agenda and taxes in a moment.  But I have got to ask you about this latest breaking news tonight. 

Larry Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, has announced his resignation.  He is leaving and going to go back to Harvard University. 

This is number three, if we could just see.  As the bailout crowd is happening, Peter Orszag is gone, the budget director.  Also, Christina Romer is also out.  And now Larry Summers announcing today. 

Senator, what does this mean? 

SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA:  Well, you know what, Ed?  I don‘t think it‘s particularly surprising. 

I know it‘s big news, but frankly, a year and three quarters into this presidency, it is not unusual that at this time, towards the end of this year, people start leaving.  And these are 24/7 jobs, tough jobs.  So, I‘m not particularly surprised.  And this president will retool now and bring in some new people, but today‘s announcement wasn‘t a particular surprise to me. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s no correlation between a struggling economy?  Could this be a shift in direction on how to get the country back to where it needs to be? 

DORGAN:  Well, this president may well try some new things with respect to the economy, but let me make a point.  This economy wasn‘t brought downs to its knees overnight. 

I mean, this took a couple of terms of the Bush administration to bring it to its knees.  And this president inherited an economy—I think everybody should remember this.  The month before he took office, this country lost 700,000 jobs, and now we‘re at least starting to see some brought back.

But it‘s not going to happen overnight.  It‘s a slow, long recovery, and the president is trying a wide range of things to see, is there a way to prime the pump here and stimulate this economy to producer greater jobs each month? 

SCHULTZ:  But there has also been a lot of talk about Elizabeth Warren.  And she has been at odds with Larry Summers.  There‘s going to be a lot of basers out there, a lot of liberals who are going to say, well, maybe this is a shift in direction in economic policy and the president actually wants to do more, whereas Summers has been somewhat conservative. 

What about that? 

DORGAN:  Yes, but it‘s not particularly surprising there would be a shift in the economy.  First, you had to save the economy.  First, you had to save it from complete collapse.  And then, second, you begin a rebuilding process and you try to find out what works, what doesn‘t. 

You know, the one thing that‘s important to understand is none of us have been here before.  There is no economist or politician that‘s ever walked in these woods.  This is a very different time. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

DORGAN:  So I know the president going to reach out, bring in some new people.  And then we need to figure out, what do we do to put this country back on track? 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, there is a poll out there by CNBC.  And after a very hot debate about the Bush tax cuts, the most important issue facing the country, four percent of Americans say it‘s taxes.  It‘s jobs and the economy at 42 percent, then spending and the deficit, health care and taxes. 

So, why have the Democrats done such a poor job of just pushing back on the righties on the other side of the aisle when they are saying the top two percent can save this economy with more tax cuts? 

DORGAN:  Yes.  I mean, obviously, the right has a pretty big microphone out there, but we‘re trying.

You know, I would say to those that believe that the most important thing for our country is to give additional tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, don‘t ever lecture us about deficits again.  You want to given a additional trillion of deficits to saddle the American people with so you can give $80,000-a-year tax cuts to somebody that makes $1 million at a time when we have a $13 trillion debt?  Are you nuts?  Don‘t ever give us lectures again about deficits. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, about the agenda and tax cuts, why don‘t the Democrats just say we are going to let the Bush tax cuts expire and we are going to start all over, and we are going to do even better for the middle class?  Wouldn‘t that be a good political strategy? 

DORGAN:  Well, you could do that, and we have a very short time between now and the election.  The discussion is, whose taxes are going to increase? 

But let‘s remember also how this got set up.  It was George W. Bush who decided they should expire at the end of this year, all of them should expire at the end of this year.  So, that‘s why we are in this fix. 

This isn‘t something of Barack Obama‘s doing or the Congress‘s doing.  George W. Bush says let‘s give some tax cuts and have them expire at the end of 2010. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Byron Dorgan, great to have you with us tonight. 

Thank you. 

DORGAN:  Thanks, Ed.  Good to be with you. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Up next, chivalry must be dead.  Of all people, “The Drugster” is sticking up for his conservative women.  America‘s top conservative ladies‘ man bounces his way into the “Zone” next. 

Stay with us

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, well, “The Drugster” is sticking up for his latest Tea Party crush, Christine O‘Donnell.  He is following the Palin playbook: If you don‘t like what folks are saying about you, accuse them of sexism. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  The Democrat Party, liberalism, they are the ones that are viciously attacking this woman.  They are the ones who viciously attacked all of Bill Clinton‘s babes. 

If you happen to be an attractive, conservative Republican woman, then they really are going to go after you.  It‘s open season on attractive conservative women. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Really?  Rush Limbaugh is railing against sexism?  Do I have that right? 

Limbaugh is the guy who referred to Chelsea Clinton as the White House dog.  He is the guy who coined the term “feminazi,” and that‘s just the tip of Rush‘s sexist iceberg. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH:  The second Republican senator signaled yesterday—actually today—that she is open to voting for a sweeping health care bill this year.  Dare I say, women, damn it? 

Health and Human Services Sexretary (ph) Kathleen Sebelius—

Commerce Department‘s Undersexretary (ph) Economic Affairs—

Sexretary (ph) of State Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s face-off—

To me, it‘s a phenomenon to watch liberal info-babes report this story.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH:  I‘m a huge supporter of women.  I love the women‘s movement, especially when walking behind it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s amazing that this guy got four women to marry him. 

“The Drugster,” sticking up for attractive Tea Partiers after a career full of blatant sexism is hypocritical “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, the Tea Party queen, Christine O‘Donnell, was just called out for embezzling from her campaign?  What?  That‘s right.  The person trying to prosecute her joins me in the “Playbook.”  Is she a crook? 

And just days away from the new rules being created by the government for health care reform, that law the health insurers are denying your kids coverage to do what?  Save a dollar.  This is sickening, and I think it‘s the golden goose for the Democrats politically. 

All that, plus Republican filibuster of “don‘t ask, don‘t tell”;

Murkowski needs spell check for sure; and the Tea Party, they canceled their convention in Las Vegas?  Now, why in the world would they do that?  Because they got the Republican Convention. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, the Battleground story tonight?  Well, as predicted, big insurance has declared war on sick kids and the Republicans, well, they have got their back.  On Thursday, the health care reform law will go into effect, that‘s the day after tomorrow, making it illegal for insurance companies to drop coverage for children, get this, with pre-existing conditions.  Forty eight hours before the deadline, insurance companies in at least four states are reportedly saying that they are dropping children‘s coverage, well, all together. 

The group, health care for America now, broke the story, saying this, “If the insurance companies can casually turn their backs on sick children now, who will they abandon next?  This offensive behavior by the insurance companies is yet another reminder of why the new law is so important and why Republicans‘ call for repeal is so misguided.”  There are children in this country who are fighting for their lives.  The president and the democrats are fighting to help them and the Republicans?  Well, they are fighting to help the insurance companies‘ bottom lines and it really is sickening, isn‘t it?

Joining me now is Wendell Potter, senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy and he is the author of the forthcoming book, “Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.”  Mr. Potter, good to have you with us tonight.  

WENDELL POTTER, CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Who‘s doing it and what are they doing?

POTTER:  Well, the insurance companies are showing their true colors.  You might remember that soon after the president signed this bill into law, they were tripping over themselves to, as part of their pr charm offensive to say that they would be accelerating one part of the bill to be sure that they were covering young people up to the age of 26 on their parents‘ policies, which the new law requires and that, too, will take effect this week.  That was—they are not even making good on that promise, but what we are seeing now is what  they are doing is showing that they have the interest of Wall Street more at heart than they do the young people of this country. 

SCHULTZ:  OK, so, does the bill have teeth?  What can the government do?  What can Congress do?  The law has been passed and now you have got complete defiance by these insurance companies?

POTTER:  The democrats need to point to this as—to remind voters, frankly, that—of the importance of passing this bill in the first place.  We need it to rein in this industry.  This industry is dominated by a cartel of big insurance companies, big for-profit insurance companies that are more beholden to Wall Street than they are to us and certainly to our own children. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, I expected the fight back, but I didn‘t expect them to go after the pre-existing condition.  That this voter values summit, this is Mike Huckabee, I thought it was a preacher but this is what he said about pre-existing conditions.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR:  It‘s such a warm message to say and we‘re not going to deny anyone from a pre-existing condition.  OK fine.  Then let‘s do that with our property insurance.  And you can call your insurance agent and say, I‘d like to buy some insurance for my house.  They say, tell me about your house.  Well, sir, it burned down yesterday, but I‘d like to insure it today.  And he will say, I‘m sorry, but we can‘t insure it after it is already burned.  Well, no pre-existing conditions.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Doesn‘t that pretty much speak volumes of where they are, Mr. Potter?

POTTER:  It does and shame on him for making that analogy.  We are talking about human lives here, we‘re not talking about property, we‘re talking about the lives of our children here and that is just—that is just astounding that he would do that.  First of all, let‘s take a step back and look at the health care system we have now.  We have a system that really penalizes people when they get sick, the very people who really need to have insurance and who need care are often the very people who can‘t get it. 

SCHULTZ:  But the legal recourse here, it sounds like it is limited at this point.  I mean, you say the Congress, the democrats ought to go out there and make the case to the American people, but, you know, if I break the law, you break the law, well, there‘s ramification.  Here are big insurance companies not adhering to a law that was passed.  What‘s the ramification?

POTTER:  The only ramification is that they have to, at least on Thursday, begin adhering to the law because that‘s when this provision takes effect.   The only thing that we are—the thing that we should learn from this is you cannot trust these companies.  Do not believe anything they are saying.  We have a very evil system and a system that these companies really can‘t do the morally correct thing. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Mr. Potter, good to have you with us tonight. 

Congratulations on your book.  You‘re truth-teller, I appreciate your time. 

POTTER:  Thank you very much, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Big shakeup in the Obama administration late this afternoon.  Larry Summers, one of the president‘s top economic advisers, will leave the White House by the end of this year.  Summer, a controversial figure, especially with many liberal activists.  

For more, let‘s bring in Joan Walsh, editor and chief of Salon.com.  Joan, the list is now three, Orszag, Christina Romer and now Larry Summers, what does this mean if anything in your opinion?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR AND CHIEF, SALON.COM:  Well, you know, Christina Romer was somebody, Ed, who was perceived as a friend of more progressive legislation and as a friend of a more aggressive response to our ongoing recession.  And Summers was perceived as a little bit too close to the banks and a little bit too conservative around the idea of a second stimulus.  Orszag was a little bit like that, too.  So, you know, two out of the three people who are leaving have been somewhat more conservative than we hope the president is, Romer not so much. 

So, you know, I think it gives him an opportunity to send a very different message to learn from the mistakes of the first half of his term, the perception mistake.  But I think also, some of the policy and reality mistakes that he really bailed out the people who got us in trouble while the rest of us are still struggling with the results of a crashed economy. 

SCHULTZ:  We all know how liberals have been pushing for Elizabeth Warren to have a role in financial reform, and with her hawkish view of protecting consumers.  

WALSH:  Right.  

SCHULTZ:  Both she and Summers have been at odds.  Summers also against helping out the auto industry.  Summers also light on the fact that, well, the bonuses that went to these big executives.  

WALSH:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  He damn near defended it.  Is this a victory for liberal groups out there?  Adam Green of the PCCC, releasing his statement tonight saying that those people who voted for change, this is the change they can believe in, “This is a big victory for anyone who voted for change in 2008.”  What do you think?

WALSH:  I think it‘s a good thing.  I like it but I don‘t really know.  I don‘t have the fact yet, Ed.  I don‘t think any of us do as to why he‘s leaving.  I don‘t know that he—you know, he maybe kind of getting a nudge, he may not be.  But I think, whatever the reason, I think it gives President Obama a chance to reassemble an economic team that is more, more aggressive in dealing with the banks, more aggressive in dealing with unemployment and in job creation and perhaps a second stimulus and really listening to the problems that he has been hearing out on the campaign trail so eloquently from even some of his supporters.  

SCHULTZ:  Another story out there today, and a big one, yet another filibuster, another gridlock in Washington.  Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, the Republicans are questioning the timing of the vote.  Your thoughts on this.  I thought the Republicans were masters at listening to the generals in the field.  The top military commander in this country was for Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell but we can‘t get any Republicans to get on board with it.  Your thoughts?

WALSH:  Ed, you know, John McCain said the same thing years ago on MSNBC, that he was going to listen to the generals and when the time came, the time has so clearly come, Ed, and the fact that they, you  know, 60 is the new 50 and they can tie this up.  And they can‘t prevent this from happening.  You know, it will happen, it‘s a matter of time but it is hugely depressing for people who just want to serve their country and help out with you know, a very tough international situation who are facing discrimination and even our—you know, our top military leadership has come around, but our Republican senators, not so much. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Joan Walsh, always a pleasure to have you with us. 

Thanks so much. 

WALSH:  Nice to be with you, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight.  As I said, Republican senators thumbed their nose at America‘s military leaders blocking their chance for an up or down vote on Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.  

And the conservative columnist caught my attention, saying that the Tea Party is a reaction to all those elected Republicans who are voting with democrats? 

With us tonight, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and Michael Medved, also a nationally syndicated radio talk show host.  And I must say, between the three of us, I bet we have 10 million listeners.  All right.

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  All right.  You got it.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, let‘s play this sound bite.  This is Admiral Mullen on Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADMIRAL MICHAEL MULLEN, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF:  It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Bill Press, I thought the righties always listened to the generals in the field, that is the top guy in uniform in this country.  Why can‘t we get a vote on Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, a favorable vote?

PRESS:  Hey, look this is really sad, Ed.  Number one, the American people are all for this right now.  The military leadership is all for this and not one Republican would vote for today, forcing those men and women who are willing to, one, to put on their uniform, put their lives on the line, defend our country, forcing them to live a lie, it is a bad policy.  I don‘t blame George Bush for this one, this is a Bill Clinton policy, but it is long time to go.  But you know, Ed, the other thing is this was—it‘s not just that this was a bad vote but this was a filibuster again.  As Joan just pointed out, this was not a vote on the policy.  This was a vote to vote, which I think makes it all the more clear, we‘ve got to change the rules in January to limit the use of the filibuster.  If not get rid of it. 

SCHULTZ:  So much for those old up or down votes, huh, Michael?  What do you think?

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Yes, right.  Listen, this was not an up or down vote on Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, this was an up or down vote on trying to insert it into a defense authorization bill where it didn‘t belong and to insert the dream act which is also controversial.  Now, I support parts of the dream act and if President Obama and the Democrats cared so much about these reforms, why not introduce them in the middle of your term?  Toward the beginning of your term, as Bill Clinton tried to do?  Why not go ahead and have this as an open debate rather than sticking it in five weeks before an election in a cynical ploy to try to arouse the base.

SCHULTZ:  What about that, Bill?

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS:  You know what?  Here is the thing, here‘s the thing, a weak excuse.  There‘s always an excuse for not doing right thing.  Is it right or wrong?  It‘s right to get rid of Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.  No excuses.  

SCHULTZ:  Why are we having—why are we having a conversation.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Go ahead, Michael.  Go ahead.

MEDVED:  Why not wait for the certification?  That is what John McCain was fighting over.  Basically according to what has already been passed, already there, you supposed to get certification from the heads of the individual armed services.  They haven‘t provided it yet. 

PRESS:  Michael, Admiral Mullen didn‘t wait for the certification.  Admiral Mullen says that is wrong.  Again, that is a weak-ass excuse, do the right thing. 

MEDVED:  OK.  There is no question.  You and I both know, we all three know, we know that sooner or later, there will be a change in policy. 

SCHULTZ:  Why not have it now?

PRESS:  Why not now?

SCHULTZ:  Military needs the personnel. 

PRESS:  Because right now, the question—right now the question is with Congress running up to an election, they have to pass an authorization bill for defense.  And why not, by the way?  I had Dick Durbin on my show, who is a sponsor of the Dream Act.  There is one aspect of the Dream Act that we all support, which is if someone was brought here as an illegal immigrant as a child. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael, I want to tell you something, buddy, for you to question the timing of a vote after George Bush took air force one back to Washington to pass a special offer, one person, Terri Schiavo, I mean, let‘s talk about.

(CROSSTALK)

MEDVED:  That was also—that was also ridiculous in an attempt to play politics but that doesn‘t change this. 

SCHULTZ:  It changes a lot.  Cal Thomas, a conservative writer, put this out.  He says, conservatives and one of the reasons why the Tea Partiers are getting support, he says, “Conservatives are tired of being taken for granted.  Their agenda ignored by the Republican establishment, especially when those they vote for to get in power and too often vote with democrats.”  Tell me, Michael, how.

MEDVED:  I don‘t know what.

SCHULTZ:  How many Republicans have come and voted with the democrats in the last 22 months?

MEDVED:  OK.  I don‘t know what Cal is talking about.  There were eight Republicans who voted—eight out of 177 in the House, who voted with the president on Cap and Trade. 

SCHULTZ:  No, this was about the Senate.  

MEDVED:  One of them was Mike Castle.  What‘s that? 

SCHULTZ:  This was about the Senate.  His talk was about the Senate.

MEDVED:  Yes.  And there are very few Republicans who have voted with the president. 

SCHULTZ:  So he lied?

MEDVED:  I actually think that President Obama‘s greatest achievement as.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  So Cal Thomas lies on paper?  Cal Thomas is lying on paper, trying to create the image that he sends all these Republicans to Washington and they vote with the democrats?

PRESS:  Hey, Ed.

MEDVED:  I don‘t think he is lying, Ed.  I think he is making a mistake. 

SCHULTZ:  All right. 

PRESS:  Let me get in here, Ed.  Listen, let me tell you something, they are moving the goal post.  That is the problem. This is not conservatives sorting moderates out, this is extreme right-wing fringe throwing conservatives out.  Bob Bennett of Utah had an 84 percent conservative voting record.  Lisa Murkowski, 68 percent.  Come on!  

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, we got to run.  Bill Press, Michael Medved, great to have you with us, tonight.

Coming up, it is a witch hunt, a watchdog group says, Christine O‘Donnell is a criminal.  The person cracking the case joins me with the shocking details, next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s still not too late to let us know what you think.  The number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you think the GOP and the righty talk show hosts are destroying the American dream?  Press the number one for yes.  Press the number two for no.  Again, the number to dial, 1-877-ed-msnbc.  We are right back.           

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my Playbook tonight, a watchdog group thinks Christine O‘Donnell is a criminal.   Citizens for responsibility and ethics in Washington filed complaints alleging O‘Donnell‘s misuse of more than $20,000 of campaign funds.  The organizations executive director said, “Christine O‘Donnell is clearly a criminal, and like a crook, she should be prosecuted.  Ms. O‘Donnell has spent years embezzling money from her campaign to cover her personal expenses.  Thieves belong in jail, not the United States Senate.”  O‘Donnell responded to the accusation last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL ®, DELAWARE SENATE NOMINEE:  Why are you listening to a liberal organization in the first place?  They are scared that the person that Harry Reid called his pet is not going to get the seat.  The momentum surrounding this campaign is obvious.  That‘s why they are creating baseless accusations.  I am confident that we have been ethical.  We have not—I personally have not misused the campaign funds.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Melanie Sloan, Executive Director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.  She wants O‘Donnell prosecuted.  Melanie, what specifically did you find that concerns you?

MELANIE SLOAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND

ETHICS:  Well, we found combing through Christine O‘Donnell‘s campaign finance reports that she repeatedly used campaign funds for personal use.  Particularly in 2009, she had March and April rent payments that were made out, checks made out to a guy named Brent Basher, her landlord and those, we have learned, were rent payments and she called them expense reimbursements.  And that is just one example of the many, many expenses Ms. O‘Donnell claimed to be campaign expenses but were really just expenses of her lifestyle, that she had no other income so she was treating her campaign account like it was her personal piggy bank. 

SCHULTZ:  And this happened in 2009?

SLOAN:  2009 and 2010. 

SCHULTZ:  OK. 

SLOAN:  And Ms. O‘Donnell had really no oversight.  There was no campaign treasurer, as the law requires, for over a year and a half.  So she had a Wachovia bank card that she used to wiped whenever other people would use their debit card.  

SCHULTZ:  Who do you have sworn statements from that will back up this allegation? 

SLOAN:  We have a sworn statement from David Keegan, who was a former campaign staffer for Ms. O‘Donnell back in 2008.  And in addition, there was another person, a campaign manager, who made recorded calls the night before the election, or the week before the election, another conservative who talked about the problem with O‘Donnell routinely using campaign funds for personal use and at the same time not even paying her campaign staff.

SCHULTZ:  What do you say to those—well, that sound bite that we just played of her, was she lying?

SLOAN:  She was lying.  But what do you expect her to say now?  Yes, you caught me, I was stealing on my campaign money?

SCHULTZ:  And when you look at the way she has handled this, how sure are you that you are going to be able to get a prosecution here and that authorities will respond to this complaint?  

SLOAN:  Well, you can never be 100 percent sure that the Department of Justice, which doesn‘t have an amazing track record recently of taking on public officials, you can never be sure but certainly there is enough evidence that they ought to be looking at this and the FEC, the Federal Election Commission, has to start an investigation because we have sent a complaint there.  So, sooner or later, people are going to be going through Ms. O‘Donnell‘s campaign finances with a fine tooth comb and they will find how much she has been stealing.  Today, she, through her lawyer, threatened to sue crew and I welcome such a suit because then we would be—get discovery and we get to go through her campaign finances and we would bring that out to the American people. 

SCHULTZ:  Melanie, you are an attorney, you got her dead in the water?

SLOAN:  Got her dead in the water, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.  It‘s going to be an interesting story to follow.  

Up next, I refuse to give up on my mission to help the 99ers.  Nearly four million unemployed Americans are not getting any help and they need it to survive.  Mignon Veasley-Fields, she‘s one of them.  You‘ll need to hear her story, next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.            

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, I will not let this story go away, the 99ers.  We have an election coming up, we have, what, over 10 million unemployed people in this country, 3.8 99ers.  Those are people who have had their benefits exhausted?  Many of them are frustrated, they feel politically left behind.  And now, a group of them are saying that they will be 99er, no votes, meaning, that they will not show up and support either political party in November. 

Mignon Veasley-Fields joins me now.  She is a 99er and is part of this group.  Mignon, thank you for joining us tonight.  Isn‘t this somewhat un-American to stay out of the voting process?  You can lose a lot of things but not your vote.  Why are the 99ers are group—I understand there is over 100,000 of you now, going down this road and promoting all 99ers do this?

MIGNON VEASLEY-FIELDS, 99ERS:  Because, Ed, we are frustrated with Congress.  We are so frustrated with them.  We have called, knock on doors, e-mailed, tried to meet with the representatives.  We can never get to our Congress House of Representatives.  We have to go through their people.  We tried to meet with them in their offices, they don‘t show up.  We have tried to sent letters to our president who has never acknowledge the work 99ers to us. 

So therefore, we are frustrated and the only power that we have left is a power of our vote.  They have taken our homes, our cars, our children cannot even get new things to wear to school.  We are worrying about Christmas, we‘re worrying about whether we will have a place to live.  The shelters are booked.  We can‘t even get into shelters any longer.  And so, therefore, we have had it.  We need for Congress to listen to us.  We hired them, we voted them in and we expect them to do their job.  We expect them to vote for Senate bill 3706, which is the Debbie Stabenow‘s, Americans Want to Work act. 

SCHULTZ:  So, you feel politically disenfranchised, to the point where you are not going to be in part of the process and the conventional wisdom is, this is going to hurt the majority party and you‘re OK with that?

VEASLEY-FIELDS:  Well, I don‘t feel good about not voting.  I have been voting for almost 40 years of my life.  But this is only—this is the only tool, the only power that we have now, Ed, we are going to be asking our families, five of our families, five of our friends not to vote.  We‘re going to ask them to ask five of their family and five of their friends not vote. 

SCHULTZ:  But Mignon, you can make the argument that if the democrats were to have more seats and more support, that it would be easier for job creation and to help those who were falling on hard times.  

VEASLEY-FIELDS:  Well, Ed, that may be true, but we have listened and we‘ve watched hearings after hearings.  We‘ve watched Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi not even try to get their committees and their Congress back in order, in order to even bring the House thing—the House bill to the floor.  Right now, the bill is in the Senate committee.  It is just locked away.  It was never intended to come out to vote for us.  

SCHULTZ:  Do you really think there is going to be millions of 99ers that wouldn‘t vote because the Democrats can fix this before October, can they not?

VEASLEY-FIELDS:  Yes, they can fix it.  All they have to do is to pass this legislation.  

SCHULTZ:  All right.  

VEASLEY-FIELDS:  That is all we are asking and they will—they will win, I guarantee you.  They will win.   

SCHULTZ:  Mignon Veasley-Fields, I appreciate your time tonight. 

Thanks so much for joining us. 

Tonight in our telephone survey, I asked do you think the GOP and the righty talk show hosts are destroying the American dream?  Ninety three percent of you said yes, seven percent of you said no.  Tomorrow night, we will have a 99er on the program who says, the last thing she would ever give up would be her vote.

That‘s the ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on the One Nation rally, go to wegoted.com.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts now.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night.

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