updated 9/24/2010 5:41:13 PM ET 2010-09-24T21:41:13

Guests: James Clyburn, Hilary Shelton, Tom Harkin, Chris Van Hollen, Laura

Flanders, Ernest Istook, Alan Grayson, Bob Shrum

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. 

How about them righties?  “The Tan Man” and the “Young Guns” unveiled what I call their “Plague on America” today.  My headline: They only mentioned the middle class three times. 

Now, folks, that ought to tell you something about how much they really care about you.  More on that, plus reaction from Majority Whip Jim Clyburn out of the House in just a moment. 

Liz Cheney, well, she‘s just like her daddy when it comes to “Psycho Talk.”  She says President Obama is unwilling to keep the American people safe?  I‘ll show you what the president really said, and we‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that. 

And aren‘t you getting kind of sick and tired of the doom-and-gloom predictions that are out there by all the experts about how bad it‘s going to be for the Democrats in the midterms?  I don‘t buy it. 

Congressman Alan Grayson, he is a loud and proud progressive, and it‘s working with voters in his district.  We‘ll tell you how he‘s doing it coming up in the “Playbook.”

But this is the story that has me fired up tonight. 

Now, after 20 months of saying no to every piece of legislation that the president put on the table for the American people and the agenda, the Republicans came out with their “Pledge to America” today.  House Minority Leader John Boehner and his cronies, they‘re pretty slick. 

Let‘s see, they took off their coats and their silk ties.  They even rolled up their sleeves just like you, the working folks.  And they unveiled their 21-page plan at the Tart Lumber Yard in Sterling Virginia.

Here‘s “The Tan Man.” 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER:  The American people are speaking out like never before.  They‘re concerned about the future of our nation and the future for their children.  And they see a government in Washington that isn‘t listening, doesn‘t get it, and frankly, the American people think that Washington really doesn‘t care. 

We‘re here today to put forth a new governing agenda built by listening to the American people that offers a new way forward. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Did you hear him say the word “new”?  All right, remember that. 

Boehner‘s new way forward is a carbon copy of the Bush policies that nearly crippled this country over the last decade.  Boehner and his crew were short on detail, high on rhetoric, and also pushing the idea that President Obama has ruined this country in less than two years. 

Well, here‘s starched shirt “Young Gun” Kevin McCarthy out of California. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY ®, CALIFORNIA:  As a result of the economic disastrous policies of the current administration, millions of Americans today are out of work.  And our children will be saddled with a deficit and debt that is, by every definition, out of control. 

We have more people depending on food stamps to feed their families than at any other point in history.  The economy is so dire, that one in six Americans has to rely on government assistance for financial support.  One in six. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And just think, that‘s all President Obama‘s fault, right? 

I mean, these folks are absolutely fraudulent.

But here‘s the thing.  See, Republicans think you‘re stupid.  Their party, they voted against everything that would have helped people in poverty.  They want you to believe that President Obama is responsible for the recession that started two years before he took office. 

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, hammered the pledge in this statement today: “Congressional Republicans are pledging to ship jobs overseas; blow a $700 billion hole in the deficit, and give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires; turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble.  Once again, subject American families to the recklessness of Wall Street and take away patients‘ rights.”

We have some clear choices here, don‘t we, folks?  There‘s no doubt the Speaker nailed it. 

Take a look at the top priorities of this new pledge.  Now, reduce spending to the 2008 levels.  Hold it right there.  You can‘t do that without cutting Social Security and veterans‘ benefits. 

Repeal or replace the health care law that just went into effect today.  OK, now think about this—replace it with what?  During the Bush years, they did nothing but let the premiums go up on American families.  Again, a fraudulent attempt to hoodwink the American people. 

And, of course, extend the Bush tax cuts permanently. 

It‘s the same old song and dance.  The pledge is nothing new to American taxpayers.  This is the same garbage that the Republicans used to get us into two off-budget wars, and an off-budget Medicare prescription drug bill, and tax cuts for millionaires that were never accounted for that drove us right into the ditch and into record debt, record foreign debt, record trade deficit, all that good stuff that they try to pin on President Obama. 

I find it more than ironic John Boehner picked a small business to break out his brand-new playbook for America.  Right after the event, the House passed President Obama‘s $30 billion Small Business Bill 237-187, and we should point out that just one Republican voted for the bill.  Just one. 

Republicans are complete frauds when it comes to fixing this economy. 

They have no plan. 

There‘s nothing more American than getting money directly into the hands of small businesses to create jobs, and they‘ve been against it.  Boehner‘s pledge is filled with tax cuts for the rich, spending cuts to the poor, and it offers nothing to the middle class in the way of job creation other than a measly tax cut. 

Republicans want to repeal health care when over 50.7 million Americans don‘t have a damn thing when it comes to health care coverage?  They want to repeal progress? 

I think “The Tan Man” and the Republicans today, politically, in my opinion, made a fatal mistake.  They just handed the Democrats all the ammunition they‘re ever going to need to win this midterm.  I mean, we knew that they had no ideas, and now the Democrats and the American people have got it in writing. 

Get your cell phones out, folks.  Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight.  The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 

Tonight, my telephone question is: Do you think Republicans have any plan to help the middle class in America?  Press the number 1 for yes, press the number 2 for no.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the program. 

Joining me now is South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip. 

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC), MAJORITY WHIP:  Thank you so much for having me back, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think of this 21-page playbook that‘s going to turn everything around? 

CLYBURN:  Well, I can tell you this: if anyone ever questioned whether or not the Republicans, especially those in the House of Representatives, has got any feel for middle-income America, I think they found out with the publication of whatever they call it, pledge, you and I call it a plague on America.  That‘s exactly what you‘ve got here. 

Let‘s look at what they‘re proposing. 

They want to repeal this bill of rights for—Patients‘ Bill of Rights.  We are trying to say to people who find themselves in need of health care, that they ought to be a response on the part of the government to you.  They want to repeal that. 

They want to reduce Social Security.  They want to repeat all the failed policies of President Bush. 

I think Boehner put out a statement today, we aren‘t going to do anything different from the way we‘ve done it before.  If that doesn‘t tell you something, and that doesn‘t frighten the American people, I don‘t know what will. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, what do you make of the fact that they did this at a small business in Virginia, when they have fought President Obama and the Democrats on every small business agenda and got only one vote on this?  I can‘t help but use the word “fraudulent.”  I mean, they‘re trying to fake out the American people on this, aren‘t they? 

CLYBURN:  Absolutely.  Today, when they left that small business, they came back to the House floor.  We had a vote for giving tax cuts and credits to small businesses, the eighth tax cut to small businesses that we have proposed and they voted against it.

Now, you go to the small business and you say how much appreciate them for the photo-op, but when it comes time to do something of substance to help them do—produce their goods for the American people, they voted against it.  This was the eighth tax cut to small businesses that Democrats have put forward, and they are not voting for it. 

Only one.  The gentleman from North Carolina was the only one on the Republican side that voted for this bill. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. 

Thanks so much for joining us. 

CLYBURN:  Well, thank you so much for having me. 

SCHULTZ:  Absolutely. 

Congressman Jim Clyburn from South Carolina. 

Now, this joke of a pledge mentions the middle class three times and says zero about the poverty rate and nothing about diversity. 

For more, let‘s bring in Hilary Shelton.  He‘s the senior vice president for policy and advocacy at the NAACP. 

Mr. Shelton, good to have you with us tonight. 

HILARY SHELTON, SR. VICE PRESIDENT FOR POLICY AND ADVOCACY, NAACP: 

It‘s great to be back. 

SCHULTZ:  As someone who has advocated for people all your life, how did you feel today?  Did you feel included in this plan? 

SHELTON:  Not at all.  As a matter of fact, what I felt is as if we were reverting back to a policy agenda that was not helpful, one that came out of an administration that actually ended up cutting programs and services not only for the poor, but actually not even enforcing the civil rights protection for racial and ethic Americans in our society.  It was a step backward at a time when our nation needs to move forward. 

SCHULTZ:  Is it something that would motivate, in your opinion, minorities and all different progressive groups across the country to realize that if the Democrats were to lose the majority, it‘s all there in writing, where are you going to be going?  I mean, wouldn‘t this be a great motivating force? 

SHELTON:  Well, absolutely.  Clearly, those who are supporting this agenda are not those who support the concerns of the communities we represent.  The diversity of people that will be participating—our big demonstration on October 2nd of 2010, the One America (sic) Working Together conference, this will only motivate people to move beyond to see that if we don‘t continue to focus and keep our eyes on the prize, then indeed we‘re going to find ourselves slipping back into that ditch that we just drove ourselves out of. 

So, indeed, I think it will motivate people to hopefully register, educate themselves on the issue, and really see what‘s at stake.  And then move beyond that to make sure that our nation becomes what it ought to be, that great vision that we all have of one nation for all of us again work together. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m curious, Mr. Shelton, if anybody is going to be pushing the Republicans early on here.  Are they for or against the pre-existing condition?  Are they for kids getting health care?  Are they for young people under 26 years old staying on their parents‘ insurance because of these tough economic times? 

I mean, all of these things, when they say they want to repeal it, then they never offer anything else up, it seems to me they‘re very vulnerable. 

Now, on this One Nation March, I am honored to be a part of it and having an opportunity to speak at the Lincoln Memorial.  The focus there is going to be jobs.  The focus is going to be health care and education. 

How much of a rallying point do you think this will be for the base? 

SHELTON:  I think it‘s a tremendous rallying point.  I think we realize how hard-fought it was for us to get a point where we‘ve now changed the policies and we‘re now seeing them implemented.  That, if we don‘t want to lose the traction that we‘ve gained thus far, we‘ve got to continue to move forward. 

If the worst-case scenario happens and those who‘ve bane friend of justice and a friend of ethic diversity throughout our country end up losing their leadership positions, then what it means is, is that as much as we know that we can count on President Obama, who‘s been very supportive, who has led the charge for our agenda to continue to move forward, the bills coming to him from Capitol Hill, from the House and Senate, will be to repeal these measures. 

Now, he‘s not going to go for that.  He‘s going to veto any measures like that.  But it also means that when the appropriations bills come forward, he‘s going to have a very difficult time actually funding these very important new programs. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, no doubt. 

Mr. Shelton, great to have you with us tonight. 

And on my Web site, WeGotEd.com, you can see the mission statement of this October 2nd march.  It‘s going to be fantastic, and there‘s going to be a lot of voices for One Nation, the march in Washington on October 2nd

Coming up, Tea Party wacko Sharron Angle just sank to a new low.  How surprising, even for her?  She‘s turning her back on special-needs children.  This nut job is going to have to deal with me in the “Zone” tonight. 

And breaking news from “The Tan Man.”  He just spilled his tanning secrets, and you won‘t believe what he had to say. 

And how do you run a race?  Alan Grayson is proving conviction politics absolutely works.  We‘ll show you that later in the show. 

And, of course, Jay Leno lands an exclusive with Christine O‘Donnell.

Well, kind of.

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. 

Make no mistake about it, today this country is better off.  And our health care system is better off because President Obama and the Democrats passed this reform bill just six months ago. 

Today, children with pre-existing conditions are protected by law.  And today, young adults can stay covered on their parents‘ plans.  And today, it‘s illegal for an insurance company to drop you after you get sick, claiming that you‘ve maxed out your coverage. 

These changes will touch every American family in time.  Everyone is safer because of what the Democrats and President Obama did six months ago. 

But this is how the “party of no” accomplished what they really want to do and how they marked that occasion. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BILL CASSIDY ®, LOUISIANA:  What the American people have told us that they want is that we defund, repeal and replace.  What do we replace it with?  Well, we‘ve got reforms that we believe will lower costs. 

House Republicans have listened.  We have heard.  And we shall do our best to implement true health care reform that lowers cost and expands access to high-quality care. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, we debated health care for a year in this country, and if the Republicans had a solution to reduce costs and expand access, you would think they would have brought it forward.  They never did. 

For more, let‘s bring in Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate HELP Committee. 

Senator, good to have you with us tonight.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA), CHAIRMAN, HELP COMMITTEE:  Hey, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  A big congratulations.  This is the day it goes into effect. 

What would it mean to repeal this bill.  If the Republicans were to get into power, how much of a setback would it be? 

HARKIN:  Well, Ed, just think about this.  If they want to repeal the health care law—this is a law now—they want to repeal that, they‘re taking away from people all of the things that you just mentioned. 

Think about a young person with juvenile diabetes.  Right now that child is guaranteed they can get affordable insurance coverage.  Republicans want to take that away from you. 

And as you pointed out, that—no more lifetime caps.  We had a young man here today who has hemophilia, and he has hit some those caps.  And yet he needs further health care.  The Republicans say they want to take that away. 

Well, my message to the American people is, this is the law, this gives you these protections.  Don‘t let them take it away from you. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, why do you think there‘s such a disconnect between the goodness of this bill and what it can do for people and where the American people stand on it? 

HARKIN:  Because, Ed, people really don‘t know about it that well.  I tell you, we have been fighting for a long time against all the lies about this law.  Heck, we‘re still hearing from people that think that we‘ve set up death panels to pull the plug on grandma that they started a year ago.  So we‘ve had to overcome all of these lies and distortions. 

I‘ve seen polls, Ed, that show that when people know what‘s in the bill, they support it.  About 14 percent—I saw the recent poll—only about 14 percent of the American people really know what‘s in the bill. 

So our job is to make sure the people are informed.  I believe today, with now the Patients‘ Bill of Rights being a part of the law of the land, people now are going to know what they‘ve got and they don‘t want it taken away from them. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, what do you say to those who think that the health care bill didn‘t go far enough?  There‘s a lot of liberal basers out there that think, doggone it, we didn‘t get what we wanted. 

Is it, in your opinion, important to tell those supporters that this is just a start?  And is it just a start?  What would be the next move if the Democrats keep the majority? 

HARKIN:  Well, of course, Ed, I always say don‘t make the perfect the enemy of the good.  This is a good bill.  You know I fought very hard for the public option. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, you did. 

HARKIN:  And I still believe in it and I‘m still going to keep fighting for it.  And I‘m not going to give up on that.  I think that‘s something that we‘ve got to enact, and hopefully we‘ll get this done before 2014. 

SCHULTZ:  So this is a start, really? 

HARKIN:  This is a start.  It‘s a good start.  It‘s a good law. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

HARKIN:  And look just what happened today.  Think of the good things now that the people of America have to protect them and their families.  The Republicans say they want to take it away from you and give it back to the insurance companies. 

SCHULTZ:  And the Republicans are claiming that taxes are going to go up because of this.  Is that true or false? 

HARKIN:  That is absolutely false, Ed.  In fact, in 2014, because of the tax credits that people will get to be able to afford—to buy this insurance, it will be the biggest middle income tax cut in our nation‘s history.  And the Republicans want to take that away. 

HARKIN:  Senator, one final question tonight.  I know there‘s been a lot of activity in your chamber about voting for tax cuts.  What‘s happening?  Is there going to be a vote, in your opinion, before the November election in dealing with the possible extension of the Bush tax cuts, or letting that law just sunset the way it‘s written? 

HARKIN:  I can tell you, Ed, there won‘t be any action in the Senate on that before the election.  Certainly, we‘ll come back after the election, we‘ll have to do something about it then.  But here‘s what we‘re going to do next week, Ed. 

We‘re going to bring out a bill that will address, I think, the key problem we have in America, and that‘s the outsourcing of American jobs.  That bill will put penalties on people and businesses that take our jobs overseas, and it will help reward those who bring our jobs back in America. 

SCHULTZ:  Amen, brother. 

HARKIN:  We‘re going to have that bill on the floor Monday, and we‘re going to keep the Republicans here, and we‘re going to make them vote on it, and we‘re going to see who really sticks up for American workers. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. 

HARKIN:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Great senator, great friend. 

Good to see you, my friend. 

HARKIN:  Good to see you, Ed.  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

You know, that‘s long overdue.  I mean, I think it‘s absolutely fantastic that the Democrats are going to be doing this.  Outsourcing the jobs, you want to put them overseas, you‘re going to get penalized for it.  It‘s about time. 

Coming up, new video surfaces showing just how cruel Sharron Angle is.  You won‘t believe what she said about autistic children.  Her disgusting “Psycho Talk” lands her in the “Zone” next. 

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Nevada‘s Tea Party and Senate candidate Sharron Angle.  Well, I think she sinks to a new low. 

The Nevada Democratic Party has just released video of angle railing against insurance coverage for autism and maternity leave. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE:  Take off the mandates for coverage in the state of Nevada and all over the United States.  But you know what I‘m talking about. 

You‘re paying for things that you don‘t even need.  They just passed the latest one, is everything that they want to throw at us is now is covered under “autism.”  So that‘s a mandate that you have to pay for. 

How about maternity leave?  I‘m not going to have any more babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance.  Those are the kinds of things that we want to get rid of it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Yes, Sharron.  It‘s just always all about you. 

That is the cruelest and the meanest thing I think we‘ve heard from her so far.  And it just goes to show how extreme she really is. 

Her comments about autism coverage refer to a bill that passed the Nevada state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.  Only two legislators voted against it. 

For Sharron Angle to mock people suffering from autism and come out against insurance for pregnancy is cruel “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, I waited months for “The Tan Man” master to give us his master plan, and all I see is the same old recycled garbage.  Democrats need to just come out and hammer this and really go after the righties.  DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen takes some cracks at it in “The Battleground” next. 

And Liz Cheney has the nerve to say President Obama is unwilling to do what it takes to keep this nation safe.  Well, I‘ll tell you, the old apple doesn‘t fall very far from the tree, does it? 

And we‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that. 

Congressman Alan Grayson joins me for a gut check on just how to run a great race.  The Senate will not take up the Bush tax cuts—that‘s been confirmed by NBC News—before the elections.  They will not have a vote on the tax cuts before November 2nd

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The “Battleground” story tonight, Democrats need to put the hammer down on these righties.  After months of waiting, we finally have a concrete plan from the right, and I think it is a golden opportunity for the majority party.  The Republicans, well, they were pretty slick today to put on their flannel shirts and do the photo-op in a lumber yard.  This pledge was nothing but a pre-election publicity stunt.  It‘s 21 pages of talking points with no workable solutions and old ideas. 

For more on the battle plan, let‘s bring in Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the DCCC.  Congressman, I guess it‘s official now that the Republicans are in the recycling business, but I think, for the most part, doesn‘t this get the Democrats off the Bush message, get the Democrats away from saying it‘s all about Bush, because now they own it.  I mean, this is their plan.  No, we don‘t have to talk about Bush anymore.  We can talk about, this is their blueprint, what do you think?

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND:  Well, look, you are absolutely right, Ed.  This is proof-positive that they essentially took the Bush economic agenda, made a Xerox copy of it except for the front page, slap the nice-looking front page on top and are trying to sell that to the American people as something new.  It‘s not new.  It‘s the same old, same old.  And all they‘re offering is the same old economic agenda that got us into this mess.  And I‘m really glad they‘ve put this out there, because it gives us something very clear we can point to, to say, you see?

They want to go back to the days when the Wall Street banks, the big guys ran the show.  They want to go back to the day when health insurance companies could discriminate against your kids based on pre-existing conditions, like diabetes.  They just want to take us back and in the short term, the results of their proposal will lead to the cancellation, the cancellation of about 60,000 contracts.  It will terminate thousands of jobs that are right now in the pipeline, and in the long term, long term, they want to blow this $700 billion hole in the deficit.  

SCHULTZ:  The big question now, congressman.  

VAN HOLLEN:  Yes.  

SCHULTZ:  As far as this pew research poll is concerned, the 2010 midterm elections of where likely independent voters are going to go.  Fifty percent plan to vote for the GOP and the survey shows that 43 percent plan independent voters to go for the Democrats.  Would this—this plague for America that they‘ve put out today, would this help with the independent voters?  Is this going to make it easier for you to make the case?

VAN HOLLEN:  It should.  Yes, it will.  Because we know independent voters did not like the Bush economic policies, that we all know served big corporate interests at the expense of consumers, the expense of American jobs and so when independent voters take a look at this, they will see that it‘s just the rehash of the old stuff.  What‘s also very telling, Ed is one of the biggest hits on the so-called listening to America page that the Republicans have, one of the biggest proposals from the American people was to end these perverse tax incentives that encouraged companies to ship American jobs overseas.  That was one of the major recommendations. 

They totally ignored it.  They said that they were listening to the American people.  They totally ignored it.  Why did they ignore it?  Well, they have voted a number of times already just this session, against closing down those loopholes.  You know, we want to ship American goods overseas but we don‘t want to reward companies.  But the fact that that was such a big hit and they just decided to sweep that one under the rug, tells you that they‘re engaged, once again in an agenda that does serves this interests of some of the big money special interest and expenses of all us and the little guys. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think of him going to a small business to throw this out and then coming back to Capitol Hill and voting against the small business bill?

VAN HOLLEN:  Yes, I don‘t know—I don‘t know who was in there --  

SCHULTZ:  You miss the memo on that one.  

(CROSSTALK)

VAN HOLLEN: -- who picked to do this on the same day that they voted against the bill that provides greater credit to small businesses, they cut small taxes, it‘s something that is supported by small businesses around the country, and what‘s very clear is that their agenda is not a small business agenda unless you include, as they apparently do, some of the fortune 100 companies and their administration of small business.  Some big hedge funds and a lot of big Washington lobbying firms.  Those are so-called S Corporations or LLPs that organize themselves under that technical definition of small business.  Every American knows that those aren‘t small businesses.  So they went today and they voted for the big hedge funds.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  

VAN HOLLEN:  But then they came back, they came back here and voted against something that really helps small businesses.  

SCHULTZ:  That‘s the way—they just served you up the golden turkey.  All you have to do now is carve it up and give it to the American people, right?  Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your time.  

VAN HOLLEN:  Good to be with you.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.  I want to know if today‘s GOP publicity stunt is different from the 1994 contract with America and will it have the same impact in November? 

Liz Cheney flat out said, President Obama is unwilling to keep the American people safe. 

With us tonight, Laura Flanders, host of Grit TV on Free Speech TV, and Ernest Istook, republican strategist here tonight on THE ED SHOW.  Great to have both of you with us.  Ernest, we‘ll start with you.  

ERNEST ISTOOK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Sure, OK.  

SCHULTZ:  What‘s the difference between what we saw a few hours ago in Virginia and the contract for America that Gingrich and the guys put out in ‘94?

ISTOOK:  Well, of course, I was in Congress in 1994.  And this is what we‘re talking about.  This is a framed copy of the contract with America version talking about the size of governments, talking about the impact of government regulations.  There are certainly some similarities there.  But if you look at the plan that I think is a good start from the. 

SCHULTZ:  Is it different, Ernie, is it different from what you did in ‘94?  

ISTOOK:  It‘s different in content.  I don‘t think it‘s different in principle.  The principle being that government should get out of the way to let private sector work. 

SCHULTZ:  What content is different?

ISTOOK:  Government should quit dipping into politics.  Excuse me?

SCHULTZ:  What content is different?

ISTOOK:  Well, for example, there was a great concern about the level of law and order in the country.  And a crackdown on crime and was a part of it.  You may recall that President Bill Clinton had a soft on crime bill.  Including things like midnight basketball.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  They also put 100,000 cops on the streets too.  Crime went down there in the Clinton years.  Just thought I throw that out. 

ISTOOK:  Went down under the Republicans. 

SCHULTZ:  What‘s difference?  Well, I think President Clinton was still there.  All right, Laura, what do you make of this?  

LAURA FLANDERS, HOST, GRIT TV:  Well, you know, I wish I had a show and tell here.  You know, oh, here it is, peonage for America.  I mean, that‘s really what we‘re talking about.  It‘s very similar in the sense that there is no way, any of this is going to get paid for, any of this plan is going to get paid for without bringing us the kind of economy that we have now.  And what‘s in the so-called pledge, isn‘t as scary as what‘s not in it.  The only way any of these tax cuts for the super wealthy are going to get paid for is by eviscerating Social Security and that‘s what they‘re very quiet about. 

This, it turns out, was partly written, at least by a former lobbyist for AIG, Comcast, Exxon, and it shows.  You know, I think it is another hit for most of us, you know, to benefit a few of us and you have to think about that, watching that press conference today.  Because I think you were generous talking about that flannel and shirts.  All that I saw were those iron shirts.  Are they paying all of those people living wages? 

SCHULTZ:  Ernie, where is the new idea.  Where is the new idea? 

ISTOOK:  Ed, the thing about the ideas is, you need to look at enduring ideas.  Freedom is an enduring ideas.  So are responsibilities of freedom—is an enduring idea. 

FLANDERS:  Well.

ISTOOK:  Realizing the government has become the problem not the solution as most people do.  

FLANDERS:  But, you know, Ernie. 

ISTOOK:  I mean, we‘ve got, you know, the Heritage Foundation has proposals, you can say they‘re not new ideas.  

FLANDERS:  But let me ask you something, let me ask you something, Ernie.  There couldn‘t be a bigger—today between the stories that you heard about people being able to get health care for the very first time with pre-existing conditions and that quote from Sharron Angle, saying, “we don‘t want to pay for that person over there, it‘s maternity kid or autistic kid,” I mean, the contrast is huge.  And the message, you‘re right, from the pledge is, liberty, liberty, liberty which means, individual, individual, individual.  I talk to these Tea Party folks.  And they are all about social networking, connecting, they‘re getting a blast out of being together, working together.  These folks who actually care about social something.  They just don‘t seem to care about the.

SCHULTZ:  Ernie, you say government is the problem.  Is someone with a pre-existing condition knowing that they can‘t get dropped, is that a problem?  Because that‘s what‘s in the health care bill that the Republicans want to repeal.  

ISTOOK:  Ed, we are spending $1 trillion a year even without Obama care.  

SCHULTZ:  No, I‘m not—I‘m not talking about the money.  Ernie, I‘m going to hold you to this. 

ISTOOK:  No.  

SCHULTZ:  My friend, I‘m going to hold to this.  I‘ll give you a chance.  

ISTOOK:  On the public assistant programs and you‘re telling me we cannot find reforms in public assistance programs. 

FLANDERS:  We believe in this country.  We have eviscerated all kind of the help for those who are needy in this country but we believe in looking after one another.  I mean, let‘s look at some of the recommendations in this pledge caps on federal funding.  That‘s been tried at the state level for years.  And then a crisis happens, a fire, a disaster...  

(CROSSTALK)

ISTOOK:  And also be able to buy insurance across state lines.  That would help a lot.

FLANDERS:  And they can‘t.  

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Let‘s just focus on this one thing.  

ISTOOK:  Sure.  

SCHULTZ:  They want to repeal the health care plan.  

ISTOOK:  Yes.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, government stepped in and made sure that consumers would not lose their insurance if they get sick.  

FLANDERS:  Right.  

SCHULTZ:  Ernie, you want to roll that back?  

ISTOOK:  Ed, you can repeal Obama care and then come back and replace.  

FLANDERS:  Oh, great.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  That‘s your answer.  Repeal it and come back with your plan.  OK.  

ISTOOK:  Rather than being dictated by government telling them, you can only buy a policy where maybe most expensive.  

SCHULTZ:  All right.

FLANDERS:  Enjoy it.  Enjoy taking health care away from America. 

ISTOOK:  We have to get to this quote by Liz Cheney.  Liz Cheney says, “President Obama is reported to have said, ‘we can absorb a terrorist attack.‘  This comment suggested alarming fatalism on the part of President Obama and his administration.  Once again, the president seems either unwilling or unable to do what it takes to keep this nation safe.”  Ernie, have we been safe under President Obama? 

ISTOOK:  Well, let‘s see, we‘ve had the murders at Ft. Hood.  We‘ve had a thwarted bombing plot on Christmas Day.  A thwarted bombing plot in Times Square.  We‘ve had thwarted bombing plots, all of these by Islamic radicals in the spring.

SCHULTZ:  Keyword there, I think is thwarted. 

ISTOOK:  That‘s right and I‘m giving credit for that, Ed.  You asked me the question.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Now, wait a minute, wait a minute, so, my question is—so, my question is, what evidence does Liz Cheney have to suggest that President Obama is unwilling to keep the American people safe?

ISTOOK:  The fact that he wouldn‘t listen to the military on what we needed to do in Afghanistan and he is deliberately set far fewer troops there than our military says we need.  

(LAUGHTER)

ISTOOK:  And he‘s given a withdrawal deadline—a withdrawal deadline that just gives hope to the Taliban.  

SCHULTZ:  Laura, you‘ve got last word.  

ISTOOK:  That‘s not good for our people in uniform.

FLANDERS:  The Cheneys are in no place to talk about sending two few troops to a place given what they did in Iraq.  Let‘s talk about why so many people want to attack this country, if you believe there are attack that is out there.  It‘s because we‘re more hated than ever because of the war policies of the Bush/Cheney administration.  That‘s what‘s got to be put on.

SCHULTZ:  President Obama has not done anything to lead any American to believe that we are less safe and by the way we haven‘t been hit on his watch.  We got hit on the last one.  Laura Flanders, Ernest Istook, good to have you with us tonight.    

ISTOOK:  Thanks, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  Thanks so much.  

Up next, I‘m hearing a lot of doom and gloom these days.  The stories about the democrats aren‘t going to get it done in November.  Here‘s some advice, be more like Congressman Alan Grayson, he speaks with conviction and the polls are showing he‘s doing what you need to do to win. 

And Christine O‘Donnell says, she‘s done with national interviews but Jay Leno got a real scoop last night.  Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  The number to dial tonight is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you think Republicans have any plan to help the middle class in America?  Press the number one for yes.  Press the number two for no.  Again the number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  We‘re right back.          

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my Playbook tonight, I think its gut-check time for the Democrats across the country.  Stop running from health care reform.  New polls showed Democrats are trailing in three states President Obama won in 2008.  Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, he‘s down by six points.  Senator Michael Bennett is trailing by five in Colorado.  And Congressman Joe Sestak is down by five in Pennsylvania.  But there‘s still hope for Democrats this year, down in Florida, maybe this is the way to do it. 

Congressman Alan Grayson, he‘s a strong liberal.  He‘s sticking into the progressive principles and so far, my friends, it is paying off.  Today, “The Nation” reported Grayson‘s pollsters have him up by 13 points against his Republican challenger, Daniel Webster.  And keep in mind, it‘s in a district that was represented by a Republican for 25 years before Grayson took office last year.  Grayson has been successful by going after it, by sticking right with his gut instincts and just hammering the Republicans with videos like this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  What‘s the Democratic defense play on that?  

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  Tell the Republicans, stop lying. 

SCHULTZ:  This guy is what it‘s all about!  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida joins us here on THE ED SHOW.  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  First of all, I admire your tenacity, your honesty, and your fight when there are a lot of democrats that are lacking confidence right now.  How is this being received when you go out and about and meet people?

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA:  It‘s great.  You know, Ed, the most inspiring thing is that it‘s not just me, it‘s all of the people who are behind me.  All of the people who support me, that‘s why they‘re with 13 points up on the polls, that‘s why 50,000 people have come to the website, congressman.com and made a contribution to our campaign.  It‘s not me, I‘m just saying what everyone else is thinking. 

SCHULTZ:  Do they appreciate this aggressive style?  I hear it on my radio show a lot.  A lot of Americans are saying, you know, I wish that the Democrats would get out there and get fight.  And really get after it and fight harder and stick up for the accomplishments that have taken place in the last 23 months. 

GRAYSON:  I‘m just telling the truth, Ed.  That‘s all that there is to it.  I mean, how did that get to be if that seemed to be aggressive to just simply say the truth?  It‘s like Harry Truman said, you know, I‘m not giving them hell, I‘m just telling the truth, they think it‘s hell.  

SCHULTZ:  What do you say about health care reform?  Are you proud to go out on the campaign trail and say, look, this is good stuff, are you using that?

GRAYSON:  I systematically tell the people who I‘m talking to, why it‘s good for them.  I tell people, without insurance, you‘re going to get coverage.  You‘re going to be able to see a doctor when you need too.  I tell people with insurance that the affordability credits are going to help to pay for their insurance.  And they won‘t be paying any longer indirectly through the emergency room care for the people who don‘t have care.  And I tell seniors that there are going to be able to be better off because finally once and for all, the Medicare advantage scam artists will have to at least give them 85 cents on a dollar on their care instead of taking all that money and putting it in their own pockets.  And they won‘t have to pay any longer for the doughnut hole, and they won‘t have to pay any longer for co-payments for ordinary care.  I explain it to people, they understand it.  What you‘ve seen in the polls over and over again with people who don‘t like health care reform, don‘t understand health care reform.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, is—are the Democrats making—let‘s say, some Democrats are even running ads against it.  Are they making a mistake?  Is there enough—are there enough great things in this bill that Democrats should be proud of?

GRAYSON:  I think we have to be proud.  The first TV ad that I ran in this campaign in my district was an ad explain—but I brought home 200 million to keep our schools opened.  We have to explain to people the benefit of what we do, why we had a recovery plan, why we had Wall Street reform, why we did all these different things, why we had health care reform.  We explain it to people and my district understand it.  That‘s why I‘m 13 points up.  

SCHULTZ:  Go get them my friend, keep going.

GRAYSON:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  Alan Grayson with us here on THE ED SHOW tonight.  This is how you fight, Democrats.  

Couple of pages—final pages in “The Playbook” tonight.  The tan man told “The Wall Street Journal” that his orange glow is 100 percent natural.  I didn‘t know that.  Boehner said that he‘s never used a tanning bed.  I don‘t know about that.  Or a tanning product and that four of his 12 siblings also have the gift of naturally tanned skin.  Good to know that.  

And finally, Jay Leno somehow got an exclusive interview with Christine O‘Donnell last night.  Take a look at this.  It‘s amazing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW”:  You see dabbled in witchcraft, will you be asking Satan for any help with this campaign?

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL, DELAWARE SENATE NOMINEE:  I‘m hoping to get his endorsement, it would mean a lot.  

(LAUGHTER)

LENO:  Is it true, you attended satanic rituals and even disembowel the classmate? 

O‘DONNELL:  Who didn‘t do some impressionable things in high school?  

(LAUGHTER)

LENO:  Well, how are your opponents treating you?

O‘DONNELL:  They‘re attacking me personally.  They‘re not attacking where I stand on stimulus. 

LENO:  Obviously we all know you‘re not for any kind of stimulus because you‘re against masturbation, are you telling me that you have never masturbated?

O‘DONNELL:  Watch this, watch how this.

LENO:  I don‘t need to see that.  Thank you.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  Up next, Harry Reid and the Democrats are putting on the Bush tax cuts on hold.  Until after the election.  Democratic strategist Bob Shrum sums that up, next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.                          

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that they will not take up the Bush tax cuts until after the midterm elections.  But Reid promised the Senate will act before the end of the year. 

Let‘s bring in veteran democratic strategist and NYU professor, Bob Shrum.  Bob, the White House wanted to vote before the election, they‘re not going to get it.  What does this mean?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, it means that Harry Reid had too many Democratic defectors and those Democratic defectors are not only disloyal to the principles of the Democratic Party, they‘re dumb.  The Republican leaders, the last thing in the world they wanted, they moved heaven and earth to prevent it, was to vote on a bill that would have made the tax cuts for the middle class permanent and ended the tax cuts for the rich that George Bush passed.  Every single poll shows the Democrats have the advantage on this issue.  That‘s all Democrats should needed to know.  They need to go out there and fight. 

In fact, there‘s even a Democracy Corp poll from Stan Greenberg that show, if you build a message for the midterms around this and add things like, tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, which the Republicans are all in favor of, do you turn a seven-point democratic deficit  into a nine-point democratic advantage?  Now, it wouldn‘t that big, but we‘ve got to go out there and we‘ve got to fight or Democrats are just going to get rolled over.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, the vote after the election, if it doesn‘t bode well for the Democrats, it means it would be a bunch of lame duckers in there probably voting their conscience and not to protect their jobs, fair enough?  

SHRUM:  I don‘t know if that‘s the case.  Look, Blanche Lincoln is a lame duck.  She‘s so far behind in Arkansas, it‘s ridiculous.  She can‘t possibly catch up and yesterday she voted with the Republicans to prevent the repeal of Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.  She somehow thinks that she‘s going to scramble her way back.  I don‘t rely on these Democrats to do the right thing after the election, some of the defectors.  You have a lot of pseudo Democrats who are trying to run a pseudo Republicans, who as you pointed out earlier, even running ads against health care in some of their districts, and by the way they are the ones who are going to lose.  The Graysons are going to win.  You know, Teddy Kennedy once had a line, he said, the last thing this country needs it two Republican parties.  And if a Democrats are going to go out there and act like a Republican, voters are probably going to vote for the real Republicans.   

SCHULTZ:  You think this has anything to do with Harry Reid being a really tough race in his state?

SHRUM:  No, I think if he could have done it, he would have brought the bill to the floor.  I think you just got too many defectors.  Look, Nancy Pelosi wants to bring this bill to the floor.  She‘s got the same problem in the House.  Maybe these guys should just go home, get out of the way, and let Barack Obama go out there and carry the message.  It‘s time for him to step up to the plate.  Him to say, this is the difference between us and them.  We‘re for the middle class.  They‘re for the powerful.  We‘re for a tax cut for the middle class, they‘re for a big tax cut for people who ship jobs overseas and for the wealthiest folks in this society.  We ought to draw those lines, fight those lines and I think we could do pretty well in this election.  

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Bob Shrum, always love your take.  Great to have you with us tonight.  Thank you.  

SHRUM:  Thanks, Ed.  I love it.

SCHULTZ:  Tonight, in our telephone survey I asked, do you think Republicans have any plan to help the middle class in America?  Five percent of you said, yes, 95 percent of you said, no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.  You can go to my website at wegoted.com and find out everything you need to know about the One Nation march on October 2nd.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night. 

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