updated 9/24/2010 5:41:56 PM ET 2010-09-24T21:41:56

Guests: Sherrod Brown, Paul Rieckhoff, Dan Abrams, John Feehery, Bill

Press, Adam Green, Scott Paul, Rhonda Taylor

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. 

President Obama went out and sold his landmark health care bill today, and I think he absolutely nailed it.  Hours from now, America will change for the better, but of course the Republicans, they could care less. 

I‘ve got commentary on that and Senate reaction in a moment. 

Christine O‘Donnell can run from the media, but she can‘t hide from these legal issues that continue to mount.  The FEC is investigating an allegation from the Delaware Republican Party that O‘Donnell and the Tea Party Express broke the law. 

And all this talk of a Wall Streeter taking over for Larry Summers at the White House has got a lot of folks boiling, including me.  PCCC founder Adam Green sounds off in the “Playbook.”

And we got breaking news moments ago.  Well, the Republicans, they‘re calling it the “Pledge to America.”  The Republican Party is circulating this on Capitol Hill amongst GOP lawmakers. 

We will get Senate reaction on that and tell you exactly what this new contract with America is.  That‘s coming up in a moment. 

But first, this is the story that has me fired up tonight.  Just hours from now—think about all the debate that we‘ve had—America is going to change for the better.  And, of course, the Republicans, they want to stop it.  It‘s parts of their pledge. 

Tomorrow, the president‘s landmark health care reform starts to kick in.  President Obama highlighted some of the new benefits at a backyard event in Falls Church, Virginia, today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Number one Paul already mentioned, the issue of lifetime limits.  That is not going to be the rule anymore after tomorrow.  If you‘ve got a policy, you get sick, the insurance company covers you. 

Number two, pre-existing conditions for children.  Children who have pre-existing conditions are going to be covered. 

Number three, we‘re going to make sure that if young people don‘t have health insurance through their employer, that they can stay on their parents‘ health insurance up to the age of 26. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, who the heck could be against all of that?  Well, there‘s an outfit called the Republican Party. 

Now, this country was at war over health care for over a year.  And now we‘re starting to see real-life results. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I want to thank you, first of all.  I have a son with intractable seizures, and this bill is going to make a huge difference in our lives personally. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  In March of this year I was diagnosed with high-grade Stage 2 Non-Hodgkin‘s Lymphoma.  And I was uninsured.

I‘m feeling great.  And if it wasn‘t for this bill I probably would have probably not been feeling great because I would had been so stressed out and worried about paying for my medical bills.  So I personally thank all of you and President Obama so much.  I mean, you do not know what—how this has changed my life. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Voices we need to hear on THE ED SHOW.

Americans, how can you be against that? 

Republicans, well, I guess you could make the case that they just really don‘t give a damn about these people.  They would rather let these people suffer so they can make a quick buck from the high-dollar donors in the insurance industry.  I mean, that‘s what they‘ve been fighting for. 

And at this very moment insurance companies are dropping coverage for sick kids.  Is it disgusting?  You better believe it‘s disgusting.  And Fox News pastor Mike Huckabee thinks covering sick kids—well, it‘s a bad thing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS:  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.  He‘d say, tell me about your house.  Well, sir, it burned down yesterday, but I‘d like to insure it today. 

And he‘ll say, I‘m sorry but we can‘t insure it after it‘s all right burnt.  Well, no pre-existing conditions. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well I guess the Republicans just think that we‘re all a piece of material.  A man of the cloth, right there, is comparing kids to property.  And he‘s one of the top Republican candidates for president in 2012? 

Now, I took heat last year for some of the things that I said about Republicans during the health care debate.  Not taking them back tonight. 

Sickos like “The Huckster” get away with that kind of garbage every single day.  Another low-rent 2012 Republican candidate didn‘t like it when the Obama administration kept an insurance company from jacking up the rates 39 percent. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, FMR. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  When Secretary Sebelius said the other day she would punish insurance companies that told the truth about the cost of Obamacare, she was behaving exactly in the spirit of the Soviet tyranny.  And if she is going to represent left-wing thought police about Obamacare, she should be forced to resign by the new Congress. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Wow.  Republicans, well, they warned us that the health care law would turn America socialists, communists, fascists, everything else in the book.  And the last time I checked, we‘re still a democracy and we‘ve got a big vote coming up in November. 

Nobody—keep in mind, no one is going to be pulling the plug on grandma tomorrow.  And nobody is getting between you and your doctor. 

Here‘s the president again on that issue. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  You‘re going to be able to choose your doctor and not have to go through some network in an emergency situation as a consequence of these rules.  So it gives customers more choice and more options. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, that‘s the best package we can sell to the American people on this health care bill in just a short period of time here on TV tonight. 

Now, I‘ve been saying that the administration needs to go out and sell what this health care reform actually does for people.  And I think the president nailed it today.  He hit it out of the park.  Now he needs to stay on offense. 

Republicans and the Tea Party are the same thing.  There is no difference, and there‘s no difference in the way they think when it comes to health care.  And they have been dead wrong about this health care reform bill from the very beginning, and they have lied.  If Republicans win the House back or the Senate, they‘ll choke off every dime to make this fail and repeal the bill. 

Now, I know that this bill isn‘t perfect.  I‘m a universal health care single payer advocate and believer that some day will get there.  I always have been, always will be.  But this is a great first step for change that you can believe in. 

That lady that was just speaking in the back yard, you think it‘s change she can believe in?  I think she said it saved her life. 

Democrats should not be running from this bill when they go home to tell their constituents that the American people will see American lives saved because of this legislation.  How in the world can that be a downer when you‘re telling the truth to the American people? 

They should be doing a victory lap.  But, of course, they‘re a little short when it comes to confidence in their tackle box as of late. 

Democrats need to go home, look at their constituents right in the eye, and say, we‘re saving lives, because that is exactly what‘s happening.  Is that restoring honor? 

Get your cell phones out, folks.  I want to know what you think. 

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do Republicans care more about saving lives or saving money?  Text “A” for saving lives, text “B” for saving money to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown. 

Senator, good to have you with us tonight.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  Good to be with you, Ed. 

You know, you save lives, you also save money if you do health care right.  I think that will probably be lost on them, but anyway, go ahead. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you‘re exactly right, because the CBO said that this would save how many billions of dollars over the next 10 years? 

BROWN:  Yes.  And look t what—I mean, there is so much preventive health care, there‘s so many preventive health care measures in this bill, in this new law.  There‘s so many things that will help people stay healthy, cutting costs. 

It keeps people home instead of in expensive hospitals.  It means you get a mother with a child with an ear infection can go to a family doctor instead of waiting until the ear infection gets worse, going to an emergency room, costing everybody more money --  

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

BROWN:  -- and perhaps costing the child her hearing.  I mean, all of those kinds of things are the—the whole thrust of this bill was in that direction. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Senator.  Here‘s the uphill battle.  The most recent polling that is out there shows that most Americans, number one, don‘t understand this bill, they don‘t know what‘s in it, but they also think that they‘re—will you be taxed more as a result of the health care reform?  And 52 percent are of the American people, according to The Associated Press poll, say yes. 

This is simply false.  Can you—

BROWN:  It is false. 

SCHULTZ:  Can you turn this around between now and the midterms?  

BROWN:  Well, it‘s hard.  I think what the president‘s doing now—

I‘ve already—since the president came to Cleveland—Milwaukee one day, Cleveland the next, a week or so ago—I already—I see a perceive difference in people‘s views towards the health care bill and towards the beginning growth in the economy. 

I mean, look a year and a half ago.  We go back to that.  You‘ve said it, I‘ve said it -- 700,000-plus jobs we were losing a month, and that number got smaller and smaller because of the stimulus package or Recovery Act.  Three million people are working now because of it.

We‘re seeing job growth every month in the private sector over the last many months.  And you know, things are starting to go in the right direction.  People are still angry, of course.  They feel betrayed by their government.  But --  

SCHULTZ:  But you think it‘s shifting?  You think attitudes are shifting? 

BROWN:  Yes, I think it is.  And I think the number that I use repeatedly, eight years of Bill Clinton, 22 million jobs created.  Incomes went up, largest budget surplus in American history.  Eight years of George Bush, one million jobs, incomes went down, largest budget deficit at that time ever in American history. 

So—and they want to go back to those—the Republicans want to go back—

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  The key here, there seems to be an information disconnect.  The folks across the street and the right-wing talkers of America have badmouthed the health care bill so bad, you‘ve got half the country thinking their taxes are going to be going up because we‘re saving lives when the CBO says it‘s going to save money over the next 10 years.

BROWN:  Yes.  It will.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BROWN:  Go ahead.

SCHULTZ:  Well, here‘s the next thing. This was just released a few moments ago from The Associated Press.  They‘re calling it the “Pledge to America.”  Back in the ‘90s it was the “Contract With America.”  This is the big Republican story this week. 

They are vowing to—and this is being circulated on Capitol Hill amongst the lawmakers and the GOP.  The “Pledge to America” is to cut taxes, cut federal spending, repeal health care, and ban federal funding for abortion. 

Nothing in there about job creation, nothing in there about saving Social Security, nothing in there about public education.  Those are the four main points in the “Pledge to America.”

Senator, you get the first shot at it. 

BROWN:  Well, and then the next level down is the effort by a lot of the Tea Party groups, the Club for Growth and others, to begin more privatization.  The Senate candidate running against Senator Bennett in Colorado, a guy—the last name is Buck, wants to privatize the VA.  The Club for Growth is telling its candidates like Toomey in Pennsylvania;

Portman in Ohio; Kirk in Illinois; telling their candidates to come out for prioritization of Social Security. 

And these guys clearly are out of touch.  They really want to complete the Bush agenda.  And you know what will happen if they have a chance at enacting more of the Bush agenda.  We go right back to high unemployment.

They want to deregulate Wall Street again.  I mean, they were against the Wall Street consumer issues, all the Wall Street reforms.  They don‘t like the Consumer Protection Agency. 

SCHULTZ:  But that “Pledge to America”—

BROWN:  It‘s the same stuff. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, it‘s the same stuff.  OK. 

BROWN:  It‘s exactly the same stuff.  It‘s dressed up a little, and they have some stuff on abortion to appeal to that group, and they have something else on transparency to appeal to another group.  But it‘s all about ginning up their base, raising hundreds of millions of corporate dollars, flooding the airwaves and, you know, browbeating the American public to get their way.  And it‘s not—as the president gets out more, people are beginning to see that we don‘t want to go back to that. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, Senator, based on what the president did today, you can‘t get him on the road enough. 

BROWN:  That‘s right. 

SCHULTZ:  I thought he was outstanding, and this is going to be an interesting battle down the stretch --  

BROWN:  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  -- convincing the American people that we‘re saving lives where they have got their pledge to repeal.  It‘s official, they want to repeal the health care bill. 

BROWN:  Yes.  We were—in Ohio, we‘re thinking of printing up a bumper sticker.  It says “Bring Back Pre-Existing Condition.  Vote Republican.”

And it really is—I mean, they‘re going to appeal that they don‘t want to close the doughnut hole for senior citizens?  They want to take tax breaks away from small businesses?  They want the 23-year-old who finally found a job, but there‘s not insurance with it, not to be able to go on her parents‘ plan? 

They want to do all that?  I don‘t think so. 

And already there are 400 people signed up in the plan in Ohio for people and what‘s in the plan that people that have a pre-existing condition can get on a health care plan. 

SCHULTZ:  People are signed up.

BROWN:  Four hundred people have already signed up in Ohio to do that. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BROWN:  And, you know, those are people that didn‘t have insurance, but they have it now.

SCHULTZ:  Exactly. 

BROWN:  And tell me—Republicans are going to take—just pull that away from people with pre-existing conditions, and listen to the governor of Arkansas, listen to Huckabee say that‘s like a house fire?  You don‘t insure somebody whose house has burned down?  He compares that to somebody that‘s sick? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, in the workplace the Republicans have been known to treat people like machinery, and now they have confirmed it. 

Senator, good to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your time.

BROWN:  Thanks, Ed.  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, another day, another skeleton comes flying out of the closet of Christine O‘Donnell.  Her big plan?  Run from the media.  She can run, but she can‘t hide.  Not from this broadcaster. 

And former Bushy John Bolton, he‘s back.  He tells Fox President Obama doesn‘t care about Americans dying.  The man is a reckless “Psycho Talker.”  I‘m going to hammer him in a moment. 

Plus, the not-ready-for-primetime Tea Partier Sharron Angle uses Fox and “The Drugster” to get money. 

And Rahm may be packing his bags sooner than you think.  Adam Green is here with some response to the Summers news. 

It‘s all coming up on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching. 

Veterans, pay attention to this one, my friends.  It‘s no secret the Tea Party fanatics, they want to privatize Social Security, privatize Medicare, abolish the Department of Education.  They‘ve got a list of stuff they want to do.  It‘s all part of their warped view that every entitlement is a socialist handout.

But now we‘ve got a new one.  Tea Party Senate nominee Ken Buck, this “Psycho Talker” out of Colorado, he‘s talking about privatizing veterans hospitals.  Now, the people who put their uniform on and protect this country, do they not deserve a guarantee—a guarantee—not free market stuff, deserve our utmost loyalty and respect when they come home? 

Do we want to turn it over to a corporation?  A corporation in charge of their care would be loyal to only one thing, my friends, and that is the God almighty dollar and the insurance industry. 

Joining me now is Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and executive director of Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans of America. 

If this one doesn‘t boil veterans, Paul, I don‘t know what will.  To even think about this—what if we were to privatize veterans‘ health care?  What could happen? 

PAUL RIECKHOFF, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA:  Well, it‘s not going to happen, so I think it should stop right there.  There‘s not a single veterans group in America from any side of the political spectrum that would support the privatization of VA health care.  It‘s just not going to happen.  This is a real really fringe idea that‘s dead on arrival. 

There are some problems with the VA.  It gets banged up a lot.  But the quality of care is generally very good. 

We‘ve got improve access to care, and especially in rural areas, especially in places like Colorado.  But privatizing is a crazy idea that‘s going nowhere, and no veterans organization is going to support it. 

SCHULTZ:  Veteran organizations might not support it, but an unpredictable candidate, you know, they go out and they win, and they‘ve turned some Republicans to think right with them.  I mean, if they were to get the majority, this could be a major issue in Washington.

And what would the response be?  How would the veterans group handle this if it comes up?  These are the ways that these ideas end up in the mainstream. 

RIECKHOFF:  Well, I think every veterans group in Washington would hit back pretty hard and resist against this.  I mean, the VA does, again, deliver a very high-quality of care. 

This idea‘s been floated in the past.  And anyone who tries it goes down to Washington and talks to a couple of veterans groups, talks to people who are familiar with the VA system and veterans‘ issues, and realize that it‘s really a throwaway line for TV.  It‘s really got no policy or legislative oomph in it, and it‘s not going anywhere. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So we‘ll slam Buck saying he‘s a “Psycho Talker” before we get to “Psycho Talk” tonight. 

All right.  The GI bill, are there some things that are slow to be implemented.  What are they and what are you doing about it? 

RIECKHOFF:  We had a huge win on the new GI bill a little over two years ago, and it‘s a big boost for Iraq and Afghanistan vets.  But it‘s incomplete. 

Right now it doesn‘t cover vocational schools, it doesn‘t cover on-the-job training, it doesn‘t cover distance learning.  And thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are left out.  So the GI bill needs an upgrade. 

We‘ve made tremendous progress, but what we need right now is Senator Reid to send it to the floor for a vote.  In this economy, our veterans need every edge they can get.  This should cross partisan lines. 

It‘s an easy win for both parties going into an election year.  But we need everybody watching to call Senator Reid, tell him to send it to a vote.  This is something they can get done and they have to get done before they leave in a couple of weeks for election season. 

SCHULTZ:  Are you nervous that if the Republicans get the majority, that they will leave veterans behind?  Because all they want to do with their new “Pledge to America” is cut government spending, and that would be across the board.  Could the veterans hospitals, could veterans care take a cut at this point? 

RIECKHOFF:  I don‘t think so.  I think it‘s a third rail. 

I don‘t think either party would go anywhere near veterans benefits right now.  You‘ve got over two million men and women who have gone through Iraq and Afghanistan, who are coming home, who need support, who need jobs, who need serious medical care.  And anybody who wants to go near that is really, I think, going to have a challenge not just with veterans groups, but the entire country. 

I mean, we have a moral obligation to take care of these men and women, and now is not the time to start cutting their benefits.  They‘ve given enough, and they need every resource that our country has to offer.

SCHULTZ:  Paul Rieckhoff, director of IAVA.

Great to have you with us tonight, Paul.  Thanks so much.

RIECKHOFF:  My pleasure, Ed.  Thank you, man. 

SCHULTZ:  Up next, John Bolton, a guy who was all for invading a country that didn‘t attack us, says President Obama doesn‘t care about people dying?  He goes in the “Zone” with that ugly mustache next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Bush‘s U.N. ambassador, warmongering John Bolton.  Now, he hasn‘t been allowed to bomb anything for a while, so he‘s a little frustrated.  So he‘s taking out his frustration on President Obama. 

Bolton went on “Fox & Friends” this morning, where the kids were talking about a new book Bob Woodward‘s got coming out called “Obama‘s Wars.”  “The Washington Post” reported that president of the United States, Barack Obama, told Woodward, “We can absorb a terrorist attack.  We‘ll do everything we can to prevent it.  But even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever, we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

That quote has right-wingers riled up all over America.  So, of course, Steve Doocy asked Bolton about it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE DOOCY, “FOX & FRIENDS”:  Ambassador Bolton, we can absorb it? 

JOHN BOLTON, FMR. U.N. AMBASSADOR:  Well, I think that may be the most outrageous thing that‘s been reported about this book.  How can an American president say that as if he‘s a detached observer and doesn‘t care about Americans dying? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Did you hear that?  John Bolton is accusing President Obama of not caring about Americans dying? 

Bolton endorsed invading a country that didn‘t attack us at the expense of more than 4,400 American lives, and then he wanted to start another war with Iran.  For him to accuse the president of the United States of not caring about American lives is outrageous “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, Christine O‘Donnell better hide from the cameras because I‘ve got some more dirt on her.  Well, everybody does.  That‘s coming up in “The Battleground” story. 

And everyone is talking about the explosive comments in a book about the White House fighting over Afghanistan.  I say, good.  I‘m glad they‘re fighting Afghanistan and policy.  It‘s a good thing.  I‘ve got “Rapid Fire Response” coming up. 

Plus, all the Republicans have been saying for months is no.  And I‘ve got a copy of their “Pledge to America.”  It‘s my turn to sound off on that garbage. 

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The Battleground story tonight.  You bet you, Christine O‘Donnell is swallowing the Tea party playbook.  She says, she won‘t do anymore national media.  She‘s shrugging off the very serious allegation that she embezzled money from her campaign, and O‘Donnell claims that it‘s just the big bad media trying to portray her as extreme. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL, DELAWARE SENATE NOMINEE:  What they‘re trying to do is paint me as an extremist, so that people won‘t pay attention to my message, because again, my opponent is all wrong on the issues that are important to the people of Delaware.  

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, “THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW”:  How many debates because your opponent apparently is claiming that he offered to debate you a number of times.  How many debates are willing you to do with him or. 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, I‘m willing to do as many as I can fit into my schedule. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  What is that?  Isn‘t that the Hannity soft zone or what?  She is extreme, as in extremely dangerous if she gets elected.  Democrats and the news media cannot let O‘Donnell wink her way out of this one a bit.  She needs to answer for the serious allegations.  Here‘s what the executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington told us on this show last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIE SLOAN, DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS:  The FEC, the Federal Election Commission, has to start an investigation because we‘ve 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 out how much she‘s been stealing. 

SCHULTZ:  Melanie, you‘re an attorney.  You‘ve got her dead in the water?  

SLOAN:  We‘ve got her dead in the water. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Earlier this month, the Delaware State Republican Party, also filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging O‘Donnell had taken money from the Tea Party Express that was well over the legal limit and coordinated communications in advertising in violation of the Federal Election law. 

For more on this, let‘s go to Dan Abrams, NBC News chief legal analyst.  Dan, good to have you with us tonight.  

DAN ABRAMS, NBC NEWS CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST:  Hi, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  How big of a deal is this or is this one of these trivial complaints sort of thrown out there in a political season?

ABRAMS:  Well, you know, I would say, it‘s somewhere in between.  The bottom line is that the FEC complaint I think is going to, at least, be investigated.  I think with regard to the U.S. attorney in Delaware, in terms of a real criminal investigation, I mean, crew keeps referring to her as a criminal, which I don‘t think is useful to their cause here.  I don‘t think that‘s what‘s going to happen here.  Might she have end up having to pay a fine, maybe?  That‘s certainly possible.  But I don‘t think that this investigation is even going to be completed before the election. 

So, all we‘re going to have in terms of results are an allegation, questions about effectively, was she using her home as campaign headquarters?  Are you allowed do that?  Was she effectively having the Teddy taxpayers?  The people who are donating to her campaigns pay her rent which would not be permissible.  So those are the sort of questions that the FEC‘s going to have to tackle here.  But in the end, I think that the most severe remedy you would see in connection with all of this is a fine. 

SCHULTZ:  Does it matter that she‘s raising a heck of a lot more money now and claiming that she‘s innocent and going to continue operations as is, and you know, $2 million is a heck of a lot more than what she‘s gotten in the past.  Does the amount of money change anything at all as far as speeding up any concern or investigation?

ABRAMS:  No, because the amount that is being—the amount in question remains the same, right?  I mean, unless they‘re saying, for every dollar that‘s coming in, she‘s taking “X” more for her campaign expenses, that‘s one thing but my understanding is that the amount is fixed.  Meaning, she‘s basically saying she‘s using her townhouse as campaign headquarters.  The question is to whether that‘s permissible remains the same one.  The amount remains the same.  So I don‘t think the fact that she‘s raising a lot more money is going to change that.  

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of her strategy?  You‘re a media guy.  You know, her strategy of not doing any national interviews.  Is it to get this story out of the way and just keep it local and count on the right-wing talkers to save her as she‘s 16 points behind in the latest poll?  

ABRAMS:  Well, it‘s incredibly smart, politically, right?  I mean, why would she go on, you know, on your show or go on the morning shows?  Why would she subject herself to that?  I mean, it‘s a political matter, there‘s no question that it‘s smart.  Meaning, she‘s got her base—

Delaware is a small state.  Remember, we‘re talking about one of the smallest states in the nation with a candidate, as you point out, who‘s behind by 16 points in the latest polls who continues to get more media attention than just about any other race out there, which is kind of stunning.  So I don‘t think she needs the attention.  Most of these candidates need to get out there.  They need to get their message out.  They need to be heard.  Everyone‘s listening to everything she says.  She doesn‘t need to do it.  That doesn‘t make it right.  But it makes it a probably political savvy move.  

SCHULTZ:  Dan, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.  

ABRAMS:  All right, Ed, good to see you.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. 

Tomorrow, the House Republicans will unveil their pledge to America.  But we‘ve got an advanced copy.  And Bob Woodward‘s new book “Obama‘s Wars” says, President Obama and his White House are at odds over the war in Afghanistan. 

With us tonight, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Bill Press.  And also John Feehery, republican strategist.  Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.  Let‘s talk first about this pledge.  You see in the ‘90s, you guys, John, you had the contract with America.  Now is this a cheaper cut now that you‘ve reduced it to a pledge, or is this more serious?  I have to give a hard time about that. 

All right.  Now, here‘s the pledge, the preamble, “Regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent an arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.”  And of course, what they want to do is they want to cut taxes, cut taxes, repeal the health care bill.  The cat‘s out of the bag.  John, is this a good strategy for the midterm, what do you think?

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I think it is, Ed, I think, I was there in 1994, I think it was very helpful when Republicans put out a game plan of what they were going to do.  It‘s good for two reasons.  A, it tells the voters you have a positive plan.  And B, it gives you a game plan once you take over and it gives you a chance to organize yourselves and have goals to pass when you‘re there.  And I think that the unique thing about this pledge is that the Republicans actually spent some time listening to what the American people wanted with their American speak out website.  And they‘ve got the input.  So I think, they feel very comfortable with where they‘re going with their agenda and their agenda makes sense.  People do want spending to be cut.  They want—they don‘t want their taxes to go up.  

SCHULTZ:  Sure.  

FEEHERY:  And they want us to take a serious look at this health care law.  

SCHULTZ:  And what do you think, Bill?  

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  All right.  I just want to remind John that Newt‘s famous contract with America.  There were ten planks in it, not one of the ten was ever adopted.  It‘s sad to say, buyer beware.  Buyer beware of anything Boehner puts out there.  And look, Ed, these guys had eight years, they didn‘t do any of this stuff.  They didn‘t ban all federal funding for abortion.  Why do you think they‘re going to do it now?  They didn‘t cut spending.  They were the biggest spenders up to that time of any government that we‘ve ever had, so you know what?  I think it‘s good for them to put something up, but it‘s totally meaningless, because they‘ll never be in power and they‘ll never be able to carry out those things out anyway.  

FEEHERY:  Bill, what you said is wrong.  It‘s actually—the federal banning of funding of abortion is illegal right now and the fact of the matter is, they‘ve balanced the budget and reformed welfare.  And they‘ve got—most of their pledges in the contract in America.  I think the Republicans will do very well.  

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS:  John, no they didn‘t.  Ed, the other thing that I want to talk about.  

SCHULTZ:  Hold on, they balanced the budget, was that with Iraq and Afghanistan in the budget or not?  And also the Medicare that they passed.  

FEEHERY:  The Republicans in Congress balanced the budget.  

PRESS:  No, no. 

SCHULTZ:  They have a lot of off budget that we‘re paying for right now and having to call for.  Go ahead, Bill.  

PRESS:  $1.3 trillion deficit, John, that‘s hardly balancing the budget.  I want to talk about this charge of Obama being arrogant.  I mean, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner who said, up front, we‘re going to oppose anything President Obama‘s for.  That‘s hardly listening to the people and trying to get some things done.  And, Ed, quick story, when President Obama went up to the hill to have lunch with the Republican caucus to talk about the stimulus, John Boehner had a news conference and said, they were against it before Obama got in the car to go to the Congress.  Talk about arrogance.  

FEEHERY:  Because they knew it wasn‘t going to work and they are right, Bill, it doesn‘t work.  

PRESS:  Three million jobs, John.  Three million jobs.  Ask the CBO.  

(CROSSTALK)

FEEHERY:  Ask the American people if they think it worked.  It hasn‘t worked at all.  

SCHULTZ:  John Feehery, would you admit that this pledge for America on its surface is exactly what the Republicans had for eight years?  Where‘s the change?

FEEHERY:  I think it‘s an updated version.  I think they‘ve—one of the things that—I think one of the things that they‘ve done is said that, you know, for three days, you‘ve got a chance to re-read every bill and I think that‘s an important change.  And I think the fact of the matter is that each time you have to update things and they are going to cut spending in a way that‘s very, very meaningful to the American taxpayers. 

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS:  John, come on, you don‘t even believe that.  We‘re not going to go backwards, John, we‘re not going to go back to the Bush years the American people don‘t want to do it.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  All right.  Gentlemen, I got to ask you about this book that‘s coming up, Bob Woodward has written “Obama‘s Wars” and I‘m glad that there is debate inside the White House.  I‘m glad they‘re swearing at each other about policy, it seems to me like President Obama is trying to do the right thing, get us out of that damn thing.  He says, quote, “I can‘t let this war, I can‘t let this be a war without end and I can‘t lose the whole Democratic Party.”  What do you make of this, Bill Press?

PRESS:  First of all, if I were President Obama, I would have paid Woodward to write this book from what I read about it so far.  Look, this is a big deal.  This is Bush‘s war.  Obama inherits it, they‘ve got to decide what do.  And the way he describes it, it worked.  The system worked.  The president brought everybody in, brought the generals in, brought everybody else in.  They discussed all of the various possibilities.  The generals wouldn‘t give him an exit strategy.  Obama says, I‘m taking charge.  I‘ll do a 30,000 temporary surge but we‘re going to have a plan to get out of there.  I mean, I got to tell you, I was impressed by that.  He took charge.  Good for him.  

FEEHERY:  Bill, Bill, I think this bill—this book is very troubling.  The fact of the matter is the Pentagon and the White House are not on the same page.  The fact that the president‘s worried mostly about politics and not about policy, he‘s worried about losing the whole Democratic Party.  Why doesn‘t he—he also does not say at all. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, hold on, John. 

PRESS:  John, John. 

FEEHERY:  No sense of winning the war. 

PRESS:  John, they are.  Wait.  

SCHULTZ:  Here‘s the bottom line here, gentlemen.

(ALL TALKING OVER EACH OTHER) 

SCHULTZ:  Hold it, time-out.  Hold it, we have to bring this point in.  John, this is a key point.  The Bushes always said that they listened to the generals on the ground.  Despite of what President Obama wants to do he‘s listening to the generals who are operating this war.  He gave them another 30,000 troops.  

PRESS:  Exactly.  

SCHULTZ:  How can the conservatives turn on him for that?

FEEHERY:  The implication of this book is the Pentagon does not really think that the president wants to win this war, and matter of fact.

PRESS:  That is not true.  

FEEHERY:  That is true.  That‘s one of implications of the book.  

PRESS:  Wait a minute, wait a minute. 

FEEHERY:  He doesn‘t want to win in war.  

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS:  John, let‘s get the fact on the table. 

FEEHERY:  Right.

PRESS:  Secretary Gates is with the president.  General Petraeus is with the president.  The Pentagon is with the president.  The president says, we‘re not going to be in Afghanistan forever, and by the way, may I remind you, Barack Obama is the commander in chief, OK?  He was the one who ought to make the decisions. 

SCHULTZ:  Times up.  Gentlemen, we have to run.  Bill Press, John Feehery, always a pleasure.  Great to have you guys on.

Up next, I‘m hearing all kinds of rumors about Wall Street replacing Larry Summers.  That would be an absolute nightmare.  PCCC co-founder Adam Green sounds off on this and the next best move for the president.  Next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, do Republicans care more about saving lives or saving money?  Text A for saving lives, text B for saving money to 622-639.  We got the results coming up.  Stay with us.   

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my Playbook tonight, President Obama has a big decision to make about who will replace Larry Summers as the head of the National Economic Council, the stakes are high.  There are reports the president is looking to Wall Street, a corporate America executive for a successor but liberal groups are working to get a good progressive in there. 

Joining me now is Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.  Adam, Summers‘ leaving, is this good news for liberals?

ADAM GREEN, CO-FOUNDER, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE:  It‘s great news for America, not just liberals.  Basically, the role that Larry Summers had was supposed to essentially do two things.  One, be an honest broker in the White House, making sure that the president is exposed to all economic views.  And two, be a close economic adviser to the president.  And Larry Summers had a consistent record of putting his finger on the scale for all the Wall Street views and sidelining the populists.  Those who want to fight for little guy, and he himself often waiting on behalf of Wall Street.  So, him leaving is great and a great opportunity for President Obama to appoint someone who will fight for everyday people.  

SCHULTZ:  This is the third person to leave the economic arena of the Obama administration.  Where should the president go?  

GREEN:  Well, again, this is a big moment for President Obama and he should go to someone in the mold of Elizabeth Warren, not necessarily her, but someone like her who has credibility on these economic issues and is willing to hold Wall Street‘s feet to the fire and go to bat for everyday people in our economy, someone like Robert Reich might be good, someone like Byron Dorgan might be good.  But it‘s also an interesting Republican candidate named Sheila Bauer who has background with Bob Dole and other Republican offices but has earned the reputation as been willing to challenge Wall Street as the current head of the FDIC.  So there are some great candidates out there who are very credible and this is the defining moment for him and the future of his economic policy.  Will he fight for the little guy?

SCHULTZ:  Adam Green, good to have you with us tonight.  Summers was not a friend of manufacturer.  His policies encouraged outsourcing and trade with China.  We need someone to take his place who will stand up for American workers.

Joining me now is Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.  Mr. Summers was a free trader and not a friend of manufacturing, is that a fair statement, Scott? 

SCOTT PAUL, DIRECTOR, ALLIANCE FOR AMERICAN MANUFACTURING:  I just looked at his record Ed, and his approach to China during this administration as well as his approach to the IMF and to NAFTA in the Clinton administration left a lot to be desired and in fact a lot of these decisions have cost American jobs and we‘re still digging out of that hole.  

SCHULTZ:  What would manufacturing, creating jobs, in this country like to see the president do with his top economic adviser.  

PAUL:  Well, I tell you what, I think that there are a lot of people that are very close to the White House right now who could fill in and do a great job.  I want to second the idea of Elizabeth Warren, I think, she would be terrific, Jared Bernstein who advises the vice president right now is a good choice.  Ron Bloom who is the Manufacturing Czar.  I mean, these people all get the productive economy, they understand not only how “Wall Street” works but how Main Street and factories work and how you have to piece it all together.  But I do think that it‘s an opportunity not only for progressives but also for the productive economy to have a good voice in there who‘s fighting for American production, American manufacturing which I know from hearing the president speak is a top agenda item for him.  

SCHULTZ:  What are—are there any names being tossed out there that you don‘t favor, that you think would be not be good for manufacturing?

PAUL:  Well, I do think there‘s a temptation to look at well-established economists, guys like Joe Stiglitz, Joe Stiglitz is good on many issues.  I don‘t think he‘s particularly good on the issue of China, the same goes for Bob Reich.  I think he needs someone who is a little bit of a global realist on this.  I also think that using the position as a bridge back to the multinational business community would also be a big mistake.  I don‘t think having a former executive from Xerox, for instance, or someone like that, is either going to increase business goodwill for the Obama administration nor I do think he‘s going to get the advice that he needs. 

SCHULTZ:  Scott Paul, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.  It is all about China and the competition there, no doubt.  

Some final pages in the Playbook tonight, Carl Paladino, the extreme Tea Party nut job who sent out something stinks in Albany, garbage mailers is dangerously close to catching Andrew Cuomo.  A new poll shows Paladino just six points behind, independent mayor, of course Mayor Bloomberg getting a little bit nervous here?  He endorsed Mr. Cuomo earlier today.  

Rahm might be packing his bags earlier than expected, speculation of Emanuel‘s run for the mayor of Chicago is heating up and sources tell NBC News that he may step down as soon as October, when asked about it today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says, he‘s not going to rule anything in or anything out.  I think that sounds very encouraging that Rahm would be leaving.  

And finally, Michael Vick will get the starting call this weekend at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  No doubt the coaches in Philadelphia are making the call on this one.  Not maybe a popular call with many fans but the fact is, the 18 months he spent in prison certainly didn‘t hurt his football skills at all.  Whether here‘s rehabilitated in the eyes of many Americans is yet to be determined, but the fact is he‘s lived up to all of  his obligations and now he gets a chance to start in the NFL, his response was, I‘m very humbled.  

Up next, last night I introduced you to a 99er so furious with government that she says that there is a group forming that they won‘t vote.  I‘m against that.  Tonight, we‘ll meet 99er Rhonda Taylor, she thinks it‘s absolutely nuts not to vote.  It‘s more important now than ever.  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.                        

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight, this could be a very dangerous story for the Democrats.  And now I‘ve been telling you about the 99ers, the no-vote movement.  I don‘t agree with it.  This is where folks who have run out of their unemployment benefits, the 99ers are threatening to stay home on Election Day if Congress doesn‘t act to help them ASAP.  The hourglass has been turned on many of these Americans, and of course the Congress doesn‘t have much time to act on this.  But not all 99ers are on board with this, include my next guest. 

Let me bring in Rhonda Taylor.  Rhonda, good to have you with us tonight.  The no-vote movement is now into the thousands.  You tell us that you this would be the worst thing to do?  What‘s your reaction as a 99er about not being involved and not engaging in this political season?

RHONDA TAYLOR, “99ER”:  I think it would be very hypocritical to ask our government to work on our behalf, but not vote.  Vote is the number one thing that we have in America and that‘s the one thing they can‘t take away from me.  And that‘s what I will keep.  I will vote.  But I will be a very educated voter and I will pay attention, to who‘s doing right by us.  

SCHULTZ:  Has your situation changed your political thinking at all?  This is what the no-voters are saying.  They‘re saying that they feel disenfranchised, they feel like they‘ve been left behind, they want somebody to pay for it, what do you say?

TAYLOR:  I do feel left behind, however the Republicans‘ side has offered me nothing but insults and the word, no.  I have made every attempt to contact the Republicans‘ side and I‘ve gotten silence.  So, what‘s my option?  Of course I‘m going to separate—I‘m going to support the Democratic Party.  I‘m absolutely going to stand behind them, but I want them to stand behind the 99ers and step up to the plate and get the bill on the floor and show the Republicans for who they are, the heartless people that will not help the people that are truly suffering out here.  

SCHULTZ:  How do you know your attitude won‘t change between now and November?  Because it doesn‘t look like the Democrats are going to act on the Stabenow bill in the Senate. 

TAYLOR:  I‘ve been waiting seven months for some sort of help.  Two months isn‘t going to change my attitude.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  What happened to your job?  What happened to you?

TAYLOR:  My job was outsourced. 

SCHULTZ:  Overseas?

TAYLOR:  It was now in India.  

SCHULTZ:  It went to India?

TAYLOR:  Yes.  

SCHULTZ:  And you don‘t have to reveal the name of the company but do you know if the CEO got a bonus because many of your employees were let go.  

TAYLOR:  On our lunch breaks, I used to hang out with one of the CEO Secretaries and she discussed the bonus checks that use to come across your table and they were in the millions.  So now, the CEOs were not hurting then and they‘re not hurting now. 

SCHULTZ:  Rhonda Taylor, good to have you with us tonight, all the best to you and thanks for speaking up.  

TAYLOR:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our text survey, I asked, do Republicans care more about saving lives or saving money?  Forty two percent say, saving lives, 58 percent say, saving money. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  Stay with MSNBC tonight for a “COUNTDOWN” exclusive special report.  Republicans say, they want to extend all the Bush tax cuts to help out small businesses?  Keith Olbermann will introduce you to some of the small businesses that they‘re really helping and you‘re going to want to see this folks.  In fact, you‘ll meet the owners. 

“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.  We‘re back tomorrow night on THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC.  Have a great one.

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