updated 10/26/2010 10:06:51 AM ET 2010-10-26T14:06:51

Guests: Ed Rendell, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Tony Hopfinger, Bill Press, Joe

Madison, Michael Medved, Adam Green, Jim McDermott

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.

Shameless Republican power-monger Mitch McConnell, he‘s ripped a page out of Limbaugh‘s playbook.  He‘s made it his mission and has made it very clear to take down the president of the United States. 

Commentary on that, plus, reaction from Governor Ed Rendell, and The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel all coming up. 

Fox News took aim at NPR for firing Juan Williams, and NPR‘s president is falling for all the garbage hook, line and sinker.  She‘s apologizing for terminating a problem employee? 

Let‘s set the record straight.  This is crazy.  She needs to move on, stand up to these bullies across the street.  That‘s coming up. 

And Bill Clinton went on a verbal attack against the Tea Party queen, Michele Bachmann.  I love it.  He says she‘s so extreme, it makes Gingrich and W. look like garden-variety liberals. 

Way to go, Bill. 

But this is the story that has me fired up tonight.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has given America basically an unvarnished look and an unvarnished game plan of what the Republicans want to do the next couple of years if things go their way on November 2nd.  Now, McConnell has no plan for the 44 million Americans who are living in poverty or the 15 million Americans who are still looking for a job. 

99ers, pay attention to this.  You see, he‘s worried about paving a way for the Republican president in 2012. 

McConnell spilled the beans in an interview with The National Journal‘s reporter, Major Garrett, telling him, “The single most important thing”—now, think about that, folks—“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”  He went on to say, “Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful.  We need to work smarter than we did in 1995.” 

You know, I am just absolutely floored by that statement.  We‘ve got a lot of conversation in this country about how Washington is broken, and look at what the game plan is for the Republicans right there.  If it goes their way on November 2nd, they have no plan. 

McConnell has been on a nonstop mission to make President Obama fail since he took office.  The real leader of the Republican Party laid down the game plan for Mitch McConnell some time ago when he said this—

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I hope Obama fails.  Somebody‘s got to say it. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  One month after Limbaugh spewed that garbage, McConnell sang his praises at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER:  I mean, let‘s be honest.  Who wants to hang out with guys like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich when you can be with Rush Limbaugh? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, what great company. 

Since that speech, McConnell has led his party to a record number of over 100 filibusters.  If McConnell‘s party—if he becomes the majority leader and his party gets in power, he‘ll destroy President Obama‘s accomplishments piece by piece.  That is the goal, to rewrite history. 

Well, with unlimited financing of elections, Republicans stand the real chance at grabbing a supermajority in the not-too-distant future.  Think about that. 

If the money just keeps on rolling in, and the Democrats can‘t match the money—and I‘ve heard this in the Midwest—people cannot believe the plethora of commercials that‘s being played break after break after break.  It‘s unbelievable.  The Democrats aren‘t going to be able to match that money. 

And McConnell knows if he can put a Republican president back in the White House, he can wipe President Obama‘s legacy right off of the map.  For eight years, Republicans proved that they didn‘t know how to govern, but they also proved that they‘re pretty good at winning elections and distorting the facts in front of the American people. 

McConnell‘s quest for power will cripple this country for generations to come, because that‘s what it‘s all about.  The problems America faces right now is a heck of a lot more important than who the heck is going to be the GOP ticket holder in 2012. 

Over the next eight days, Democrats need to step up and make sure that McConnell and the Republicans fail.  That‘s right. 

If you‘re sitting on the fence tonight and you really don‘t know—you‘re not a lefty, not a righty, you‘re kind of just check into the political shows every now and then—I want you to think about this.  If Washington is broken and you have one party openly saying that they‘re going to obstruct for another 24 months and not get anything done, what does that tell you about their statesmanlike attitude?  They don‘t have one. 

If you are jobless, if you‘re on Social Security, if you really want to see this health care bill stay the way it is—because it will save lives, and it will bring down costs—then the Democrats are your choice.  No question about it, that the Democrats are the party—unquestionably, the progressive movement has done more for people, and now McConnell comes in and what do they want to do?  Well, all that they‘re really concerned about is power. 

They admit this to the American people, that it‘s all about the power. 

And they‘re going to work as best they possibly can in the next two years. 

Not on behalf of the unemployed.  Not on behalf of the seniors.  Not on behalf of public education. 

And the thing that gets me about McConnell, the single most important job—think about that.  Is that more important than maybe a Senate leader working with the president of the United States to find Osama bin Laden?  Fully resource the effort to fight terrorists? 

The single most important job is to beat the president.  How can Mitch McConnell, if he‘s in power, go over to the White House as an honest broker to do the work of the people when he‘s on record saying the most important thing I want to do, Mr. President, is to make sure you fail. 

Now, if you‘re sitting on the fence tonight and you want to know if Washington is broken, there‘s your answer.  How could you, with your vote, endorse an attitude like that? 

The attitude that was endorsed 24 months ago was one of hope to change this kind of thinking that has permeated throughout the conservative movement in this country to try to take down other Americans, to take their thumb and hold the working man down.  That‘s right.  That‘s what this is about. 

They‘re about power.  That‘s all they know.  And ironically, that is one of the things that the Democrats never really realized when they got the White House, the House and the Senate.  They tried to be honest brokers.  They spent a year trying to get somebody on health care with them, ended up going reconciliation. 

And it will be interesting to see how the White House will broker their power after the election if the Democrats hold the majority.  Will it be the same old stuff?  When you have people saying stuff like this, our whole mission, our single most important job, is to defeat the president of the United States. 

Republicans don‘t deserve your vote.  That attitude doesn‘t deserve your support. 

That‘s why they have to go the route of corporate money, because the corporations are going to get protected by these kind of people.  It‘s not about the people for the Republicans.  It‘s about the corporations. 

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

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Should Mitch McConnell‘s number one priority be to defeat President Obama?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later in the show. 

Now, in fairness to my commentary here, the first question to our first guest has to be, has there ever been a Democratic leader who has openly said about a Republican president that our number one job, our single most important job, is to take down the president of the United States? 

No better person than to ask that question than the former DNC chair and governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell. 

Governor, good to have you with us tonight. 

GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Pleasure to be here, Ed. 

And the answer is, absolutely not.  No Democrat‘s ever acted like that. 

Think about President Bush W.‘s first term.  He got solid support from Ted Kennedy and Democrats on No Child Left Behind.  He got many Democratic votes on Medicare Prescription Part D to help seniors get prescription drug coverage.  And even on the war in Iraq, as you recall, Ed, there were many Democrats who voted to support the president. 

What we tried to did is what a responsible party should do.  We tried to make government work.  We tried to attack the problems that the country was facing. 

And what‘s so criminal about Mitch McConnell‘s statement is that America is facing tremendous challenges.  Everyone knows the challenge we face about our economy in creating jobs, but we have to do something about the deficit.  No question about it. 

We have to do something about military spending and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We‘ve got to do so many things about things that are wrong.  American manufacturing is on the brink of extinction. 

We‘ve got so many serious challenges, we can‘t spend the next two years trying to destroy the president.  It‘s absolutely outrageous. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s mind-boggling.  I mean, I know Dick Gephardt.  He was over in the House.  I know Tom Daschle. 

How about George Mitchell?  Could you imagine George Mitchell saying something like this? 

RENDELL:  Not a chance. 

SCHULTZ:  I mean, this is a mindset.  And this is what voters, I think, have to understand.  It is about power.  It‘s not about the people. 

Your thoughts on that? 

RENDELL:  I‘ve never seen anything like this.  American politics has deteriorated to this level.

And look, some our guys are to blame, too.  But it‘s mostly, as you point out, Republicans who are on this crash-and-burn type of politics. 

We can‘t wait for the next two years to begin solving America‘s challenges and problems.  And that‘s what Mitch McConnell is basically saying.  We‘re going to put everything on hold and, for two years, everything we do is not what‘s good for the American people, but to destroy this president. 

And let me give you—if our viewers think that that can‘t happen, let me give you the perfect example, Ed.

You remember back in June, the president came out with a great bill for small businesses.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

RENDELL:  Thirty billion dollars in lending lines of credit, which is what small businesses desperately needed, and capital gains investments in small businesses, non-taxable.  It‘s what small businesses wanted.

The Republicans claim they‘re the party of small business.  Well, they wouldn‘t produce one vote for it for four months.  Finally, Senator Voinovich, who‘s a good man and he‘s not running for re-election, he voted for it, to break that filibuster.

SCHULTZ:  Exactly.

RENDELL:  And we got it passed.  But for four months, this party that claims they‘re the friend of small business, to just make it seem like the Democrats weren‘t achieving anything, stopped this bill.

SCHULTZ:  And Governor, they‘re just announcing it‘s going to be the same old stuff.  In fact, it‘s going to get worse, because all they‘re attention is going to be on getting the White House. 

Governor Ed Rendell, always a pleasure.  Good to have you with us tonight. 

RENDELL:  And Ed, your message to Democrats sitting on the fence or Independents is absolutely right.  Get out there and vote.  This is disgraceful. 

SCHULTZ:  That is the name of the game.  Thanks, Governor. 

Joining us now is Katrina vanden Huevel, editor of “The Nation.”

I was wondering today, how should the White House take this kind of rhetoric from the right?  Well, this is what we have to look forward to.  Heck, we‘re trying to have olive branches all over town and get some work done on behalf of the people, and this is what we‘re met with. 

How serious is it, do you think, Katrina? 

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”:  This is no time for Kumbaya, Ed.  This is another wake-up call for President Obama and the White House. 

How many times do we need to hear what Mitch McConnell did was to put words to actions we‘ve seen over these last months?  DeMint talking about health care should be Obama‘s Waterloo, Rush Limbaugh talking about he wants to see President Obama fail, this is the latest step in a campaign to obstruct and bring down a president, and it‘s obscene at a time, as you and Governor Rendell have said, this country needs rebuilding.  Skewed priorities doesn‘t do justice.

And, you know, I think it was Ronald Reagan who said it takes two to tango.  And what we‘re seeing is a GOP at every possible step knee-capping a president who has extended an olive branch, who has tried to work across the aisle, and who has tried to show America that a system can work.  And the Republicans are going to do everything they can to bring the system down, to bring people down, people who are in economic pain and need help, and bring a president down. 

SCHULTZ:  Katrina, if you take a look at the Democratic leadership and just the makeup of those who were so influential over the decades—Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd—Byron Dorgan‘s retiring, so is Chris Dodd.  Daschle‘s gone, obviously. 

Feingold‘s on the ropes.  Reid is on the ropes.  Boxer‘s in a little bit of better shape. 

We‘re really looking at a good chunk of the heart of the Democratic leadership in the Senate being gone, some real statesman, some real politicians who worked on behalf of the people.  That‘s what makes this election so crucial, in my opinion. 

What do you think? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  It is a critical election.  These are people—there are people who need to be supported, who speak to rebuilding a country that needs support at this time. 

Senator Feingold, a man of conviction, a man of principle, a true maverick.  But people like that are standing for the values of this country against those who would roll back our values. 

And you know the other thing that‘s at stake, Ed, is in Senator McConnell.  You have the Darth Vader who has tried to dismantle post-Watergate campaign finance reforms to allow covert corporate money to control our system. 

There was a man at one of these conservative groups today, American Action Network, who said, “We‘ve been carpet bombing for the last 82 weeks.  We‘re now in sniper time.”  Sniper time?

SCHULTZ:  Amazing. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  We‘ve got to keep our democracy strong.  And Russ Feingold and people like that—Senator Kennedy was one of them—understood you do that with the power of the people.  You work for the people, not for big banks, big pharma, big oil, as these corporate GOPsters (ph) are doing. 

SCHULTZ:  Katrina vanden Heuvel of “The Nation.”

Always a pleasure.  Thanks so much. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, the skeletons are starting to fly out of Joe Miller‘s closet up north.  He just confessed to ethics violations.  I bet there is more where that came from. 

The journalist who got arrested by Miller‘s goons last week, Tony Hopfinger, sounds off next on the latest. 

NPR‘s CEO just apologized for firing Juan Williams.  I cannot believe this.  I mean, this story is not going to go away, in my opinion. 

When you manage, you manage.  You‘ve got to stick to your guns.  She, of course, is being browbeaten, and we‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that.

Plus, Bill Clinton tears Michele Bachmann to shreds.  And “The Huckster” rips into “The Drugster.”  That‘s interesting.

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. 

Well, now we know why Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller didn‘t want to talk to reporters about his past.  You see, two years ago, he was cited for an ethics violation for conducting private polling using a government computer. 

At the time, he was an attorney for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  The former mayor of the borough says Miller was almost fired over the incident. 

In a debate last night, Miller finally admitted to the violation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE MILLER ®, ALASKA SENATE NOMINEE:  It is true, during the lunch hour I did get on government (ph) computers and I participated in a private poll for about five minutes.  It was a mistake I made.  I was suspended for three days, or received a dock of three days‘ pay.  And I‘ve learned from that. 

I‘m not a perfect person.  And, in fact, I think Alaskans know more about me now today than probably any other candidate. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think that that admission vindicates Tony Hopfinger

don‘t you? -- the reporter who was detained by Miller‘s thugs.  Private security guards cuffed him after he asked him a few questions about these ethics violations. 

Tony Hopfinger, the editor and reporter of “The Alaska Dispatch” joins me now. 

Tony, good to have you with us tonight. 

The way this has unfolded, do you feel vindicated in your questioning now that we know the real story about what he did when he was working for that borough? 

TONY HOPFINGER, “ALASKA DISPATCH”:  I don‘t know if “vindication” is the word.  You know, I‘m a journalist.  I‘m allowed to ask questions, as are our members of the public.  So we‘ll see—we‘ll find out tomorrow when—if whether Mr. Miller‘s going to pursue the Alaska Supreme Court to appeal his case on those records that you‘re talking about. 

We were successful on Saturday in winning a suit to get those records release to find out what activities he was doing at the borough.  He has a chance to appeal tomorrow, if he wants to.  But as far as the incident, I was just doing my job, and so I don‘t think “vindication” is the word there. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think this is a key point here.  There was a lawsuit, which, of course, you were involved in to get the records out.  You go to a town hall meeting to ask him the questions.  He doesn‘t want to answer them. 

You get handcuffed by his goons, his security guards.  Lo and behold, the legal system proves that you weren‘t just harassing him, you were doing your job.  And then in the next debate, he comes out and admits what he should have told you. 

What kind of impact do you think this is going to have on voters, if any? 

HOPFINGER:  You know, I can‘t gauge that, Ed, but certainly Mr. Miller has taken it upon himself to not answer these questions.  It‘s taken a long time to get to the bottom of these answers for these questions. 

And so I think it will resonate with some voters, but there‘s also voters who think the media is asking too many questions up here.  And so there‘s a big debate on whether the media should be asking anybody any questions, frankly.  I think that‘s probably true around the rest of the country, too, just the media doing its job. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think you are doing your job, and I think you‘re doing the right thing as well. 

Now, are you going to sue this guy, or is it over in your mind? 

HOPFINGER:  You know, for all intents and purposes, it probably is over in my mind.  But we are keeping that option out there.  We have two years to sue if we need to. 

SCHULTZ:  OK. 

HOPFINGER:  And if other reporters are getting roughed up, or members of the public who are trying to ask questions, then maybe we‘ll reconsider. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.

Your organization, “The Alaska Dispatch,” has been portrayed by Mr.  Miller as some left-wing outfit that‘s been out to get him, and so I think that this vindicates you in a big way, personally.  But also, is there—

HOPFINGER:  I hope so—

SCHULTZ:  Go ahead. 

HOPFINGER:  Yes, I hope so.  I mean, we have—we‘re not a left-wing outfit. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

HOPFINGER:  We have two Pulitzer winners on our staff.  You know, I do think it‘s upsetting that Mr. Miller spun this story the way he did. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, he not only spun it, but he didn‘t want to talk about it. 

The recent poll up there has him at 37 percent, a CNN/”TIME” poll.  Murkowski in at 37 percent.  And Scott McAdams, I don‘t know if this is going to help him or not. 

This is Senator Murkowski making her case at the debate last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI ®, ALASKA WRITE-IN SENATE CANDIDATE:  Scott is not ready to lead.  Joe is not fit to lead. 

I have been leading this state—I have been leading this state for eight years.  And I will continue to do so, bringing the seniority that I have built, the work ethic that I have built, and the passion for a state that I love. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Tony, does her write-in candidacy have a chance?  I mean, the polling numbers are good, but they have to spell the name correctly and they can‘t take any kind of material into the voting booth with them. 

What are the chances of her winning?  How does it look for her? 

HOPFINGER:  You know, I think we‘re all—we think any of the candidates, really, have a chance at this point.  It‘s a pretty exciting race in that regard. 

It‘s interesting.  Murkowski‘s—a group affiliated with Murkowski, her supporting group, I believe, they‘re handing out these tattoos that you can put on underneath your shirt, on your arm or whatnot.  So there‘s a lot of little things that are being done here to, I guess, do—you know, help her with her write-in campaign, but it‘s a long shot.  I mean, you‘ve got to fill out an oval and you‘ve got to write her name in. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

Tony Hopfinger, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

Coming up, the righty trying to unseat Barney Frank thinks being gay is like being short.  I‘ll shrink him down in “The Zone” next. 

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, well, it‘s the start of our weeklong countdown to Halloween.  And to kick things off, Congressman Barney Frank‘s opponent, short-order kook Sean Bielat.  Now, he is serving up a steaming plate of full of crazy for you.

Bielat, well, he‘s a big fan of “don‘t ask, don‘t tell.”  And in a recent interview, he said banning gay people from serving in the military was the same thing as having—a minimum height requirement? 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEAN BIELAT ®, MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSIONAL NOMINEE:  There‘s no absolute right to serve.  Men under the height of 5‘2” can‘t serve.  I don‘t see anybody protesting, or people standing in front of the White House, a short guy standing in front of the White House.  You don‘t see it. 

I mean, we understand that there‘s no absolute right to serve in all these other areas. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So, since short people aren‘t protesting in front of the White House, homosexuals should just stop whining.  This comparison is outrageously ridiculous. 

I don‘t think the military‘s height requirement is because of an irrational fear that short people will undermine unit cohesiveness.  Well, comparing being gay to being too short to serve in the military is small-minded “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, Fox News is basically browbeating NPR‘s president for firing Juan Williams, and she‘s falling right into their trap.  She needs to get some backbone on this. 

You made a decision.  Move forward.

My commentary on that in “The Battleground” story coming up. 

President Clinton went to Minnesota.  Yes, the Vikings didn‘t win, but he absolutely hammered psycho sister Michele Bachmann.  You will not believe how far he took it.  I loved it.  And I‘ll show you the tape and get “Rapid Fire Response.”

Plus, Huckabee takes a crack at “Bush‘s Brain” and a Democrat tells President Obama to shove it?

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The “Battleground” story tonight—NPR is caving into pressure from the conservative media.  Bottom line.  And they are backpedaling over the Juan Williams‘ firing.  NPR CEO Vivian Schiller sent a long letter to staff members.  She said, quote, “I want to apologize for not doing a better job of handling the termination of our relationship with news analyst Juan Williams.  I stand by my decision to end NPR‘s relationship with Juan Williams, but deeply regret the way I handled and explained it.” 

Excuse me?  Now, I don‘t understand why NPR IS apologizing for anything?  According to the letter, Williams had a history of bad behavior in the workplace.  His comments about Muslims were the last straw.  Schiller told the staff this—Juan Williams‘ comments on FOX last Monday were the latest in a series of deeply troubling incidents over several years.  And in each of those instances he was contacted.  That means they must have spoken to one another and the incident was discussed with him, so we knew what was going on.  He was explicitly, and repeatedly, asked to respect NPR‘s standards and to avoid expressing strong personal opinions on controversial subjects in public settings.  Well, there you have it. 

Williams had been warned by his employer.  Not a lot of Americans get a warning.  He defied the warnings.  And he faced the consequences.  Now the Republicans claim to be the party of business and personal responsibility and they‘re defending a problem employee?  What a joke.  And as for the CEO or president of NPR, stand up.  You don‘t have to answer to any of these people for anything.  But what happens is that, she has been brow beaten by Mr. DeMint, threatened with a lack of funding, told that they‘re a left-wing outfit by Boehner, and so now here comes an apology.  Folks, in business 101 and the Republicans are great at this, when you make a decision and you fire somebody, it‘s over, move on. 

Don‘t go back over spilt milk and start Monday morning quarterbacking your own decision because then people that you‘re working with are going to lose confidence in you.  And as someone who was thinking about giving to NPR I don‘t know.  I don‘t know.  I mean, I want them to run a good ship.  This isn‘t running a good ship.  This is cowering to FOX News.  This is cowering to the righties and the Congress.  And now, doing the political tap dance. 

Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host with me tonight on this is subject as well.  This is cowering to the pressure, Bill.  I think it‘s a sad day for NPR.  What do you think?  

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  No it is, Ed.  Look, first all I think what Juan Williams said was dumb.  I don‘t think he should have been fired, but certainly she has no need to apologize for having fired him.  I mean, look, you said it right, plus, Ed, I have to add this, this story would had been over today. 

SCHULTZ:  Absolutely.  

PRESS:  Everyone else was trade move on instead she has to come without this half-ass apology.  She apologized but she didn‘t change her mind and you know what, I say to Vivian Schiller, remember what happened to ACORN, remember what happened to Van Jones.  These guys will come after you and you‘re right, she‘s got to stand up and shut up would be my advice and move on.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, I‘m curious as a radio talker, as a television host.  I‘d like to know about these series of deeply troubling incidents over several years.  Because over at FOX, of course, they‘re saying, oh Juan is a great guy.  I mean you know. 

PRESS:  Yes.  

SCHULTZ:  What are these deeply troubling incidents over several years?  This is plural.  Meaning, there were a number of times he was talked to.  He‘s crying about the fact that he didn‘t get a phone call at home and they didn‘t handle it properly.  And of course, ginning up people out there, not to fund the NPR.  Your thoughts?

PRESS:  Well, first of all, let me just say, Ed, I‘ve been fired by phone.  Nobody can come to my defense.  

SCHULTZ:  I got fired by the media once.  I was watching it on TV!  I said, no that can‘t be right. 

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS:  And I got fired by e-mail once, by the way.  You know, I mean, talk about impersonal, right? But look, first, I don‘t know what all of these incidents are.  And we know about one of them.  One time Juan Williams said, Michelle Obama was doing this, Stokely-Carmichael in a dress routine and that was going to be harmful to Obama and all of that kind of stuff.  Here‘s the bottom line, Ed, you cannot serve NPR and FOX News. 

SCHULTZ:  You can‘t.  

PRESS: .at the same time.  

SCHULTZ:  You can‘t do it.  

PRESS:  Juan Williams tried for a long time.  Got away with it for a long time and it finally fell apart.  So look. 

SCHULTZ:  FOX, Bill. 

PRESS:  We don‘t have to feel sorry for him, Ed, either, he walked away with $2 million, please.  

SCHULTZ:  Absolutely.  But, basically, FOX beat the apology out of her?

PRESS:  Totally.  

SCHULTZ:  That‘s what it came and so did DeMint.  

PRESS:  Yes.  

SCHULTZ: .by talking about the funding.  Going to introduce legislation.  All of that.  This is what they want.  This is exactly what they want.  And they attack where they‘re weak, and it‘s unfortunate that she cowered to all of this.  She don‘t have to apologize to anybody for making an executive decision, because now people are going to be thinking well, maybe she shouldn‘t be running the joint.  Bill, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.  

PRESS:  All right, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.  I want to get their take on how NPR‘s CEO is backpedaling over Juan Williams‘ firing after being brow-beaten by the conservative media. 

Bill Clinton slams psycho-talker Michele Bachmann in her own backyard.  He says, Bachmann and the Tea Party crowd are so extreme, they make Bush and Nixon look like garden-variety liberals.  

And the conservative backlash against Karl Rove continues.  President want to-be, Mike Huckabee, the huckster, just slammed Rove, the GOP establishment for being elitist country clubbers.  Blue bloods. 

For more, let‘s go to Joe Madison, XM Satellite talk show host.  And Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio talk show host.  OK.  Gentleman, let‘s go to you first, Mike.  Would you admit, or give us your take, should I say, on the CEO backpedaling, saying, well, gosh, I didn‘t handle it right.  What do you make of it?  

MICHAEL MEDVED, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED TALK SHOW HOST:  She didn‘t handle it right.  She handled it horribly and what she specifically referring to I think is her totally gratuitous comment that Juan Williams‘ problems are between him and his publicist and his psychiatrist implying that he was mentally deranged.  That was below the belt.  It was way over the line.  And it was wrong.  And I think that her apology is appropriate given the fact that she slandered a good and decent man.  

SCHULTZ:  What do you think, Joe?

JOE MADISON, XM SATELLITE TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, they were gratuitous comments.  There‘s no question about it.  But I think that this was for political purposes.  She also has to report to a board of directors.  So what she‘s doing is really positioning herself before they get involved in it.  The reality is that—like Bill Press and you mentioned.  Look I was once fired by WWDB in Philadelphia.  Told that I couldn‘t talk about black people and the next day, I interviewed Ron Brown, the late Ron Brown and I was summarily dismissed, people were upset about it.  

SCHULTZ:  People get fired all of the time in this business.  

MADISON:  All the time in this business. 

SCHULTZ:  And that‘s the thing. 

MADISON:  Matter of fact, if you haven‘t been fired, you really haven‘t done a good job.  

SCHULTZ:  Gentleman, why hasn‘t there been more focus on Juan Williams‘ repeated behavior, serious and deeply troubling incidents over several years?  What about that?

MADISON:  Because, well I think that is because it‘s a personnel issue, to be all—and with all honesty, Ed.  I think it‘s a personnel issue.  And you‘ve got to be very careful when you start digging into people‘s personalities.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, so, at that point, she shouldn‘t respond to any of it. 

At that point she shouldn‘t respond to any of it.  

MADISON:  Absolutely.  

SCHULTZ:  Michael Medved, this looks bad in my opinion for NPR.  That they‘re not really sure about what they should do but also it speaks to the power of the conservative media.  You know, you‘ve got DeMint down there talking about legislation that‘s not going to fund NPR.  You‘ve got Boehner saying that they‘re a left-wing broadcast outfit and now,  you‘ve got a CEO who can‘t stand up to him and say, we run our shop, you run yours.  Why can‘t she do that?

MEDVED:  Well, what she should do is she should say, look, we do not get a huge part of our funding from the federal government.  We are going to give up all federal funding.  Wash our hands of it.  We don‘t need it.  Because once you take federal funding, you of course are going to be a political football.  

SCHULTZ:  It‘s minuscule.  It‘s minuscule.  

MEDVED:  It is.  So what do they need it for?  What they need it for is they want the imprimatur.  They want the federal government to say this is official national public radio.  And frankly, the federal government shouldn‘t sanction the Ed Schultz show or the Michael Medved show or NPR.  Federal government should stay out of media.  

(CROSSTALK)

MADISON:  Hey, Michael, don‘t leave out Joe Madison.  Please.  

SCHULTZ:  If they want Juan Williams on the air, why don‘t you guys over on the right just go along with the fairness doctrine if you‘re so concerned about...  

MADISON:  No, don‘t do that.  

MEDVED:  I think that we need less government involvement in the media, not more.  

MADISON:  No.

SCHULTZ:  OK.

MADISON:  No, you need a fairness doctrine and when I started in this business, look, guys, if you had someone on the right, you had to have someone on the left.  Both sides got their issues out. 

MEDVED:  And both sides get their issues out.  

MADISON:  No they don‘t.  

MEDVED:  Why not trust the market?  

MADISON:  No they do not.  No, they do—look, I was—last time I was on FOX, I compared the Oklahoma City bomber to the Fourth Hood situation, and they damn near threw me out of that studio, and  haven‘t invited me back since.  Both sides do not get it out.  

SCHULTZ:  And with that, let‘s move to the next subject.  Bill Clinton has been on a roll supporting Democrats across country.  He was in Minnesota yesterday.  He made this comment about Michele Bachmann, at a Terrell Clark event.  “Every republican leader from Theodore Roosevelt to Dwight D. Eisenhower would be voting for Democrat Tarry Clark in this election.  Her opponent and that crown in Washington make Richard Nixon look like a member of the students for a democratic society.  They make Newt Gingrich and George Bush look like garden-variety liberals.  Michael Medved, respond to that.  Is this going to have an impact to your opinion, what do you think?

MEDVED:  Yes, it will rally even more support for Michele Bachmann.  Michele Bachmann is popular, precisely, because she speaks for the kind of anger and the kind of disgust that is out there in the American people about the continual growth of government and the continual expansion of federal power.  Nixon didn‘t stop it.  George W. Bush didn‘t stop it.  There is a hope, at least, that a new generation of republican leaders, conservative leaders, like Michele Bachmann who can.  

SCHULTZ:  Joe, what do you think?

MADISON:  Oh, I think the Eisenhower‘s and the Rockefellers and the William Milliken‘s are probably—some of them are still alive but William Milliken is I believe.  But these others are turning over in their graves.  If this is the best that the republicans can do, Michele Bachmann, O‘Connell—O‘Donnell in Delaware, and then this nut case down in Dallas, Texas, who wants to overthrow the government if he doesn‘t win?  I mean, this is the Republican Party?  I mean, but this is also vintage Bill Clinton.  And he is right on target.  She‘s an extremist, and there‘s no ifs and buts about it.  

SCHULTZ:  It is the most expensive house race in America.

MADISON:  Yes.

SCHULTZ:  No doubt about it.  

MEDVED:  And she‘s going to win.

(CROSSTALK)

.that‘s how extreme she is.

SCHULTZ:  I haven‘t visited there Mike, you never know.  

MEDVED:  I have.  I have.  I‘ve done fund-raisers for Michele Bachmann.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, they‘ve got the highest foreclosure rate in the State of Minnesota, in her district.  You didn‘t help that.  Good to you have on, Michael along with Joe Madison.  

Up next, righties are in for a rude awakening next week.  President Obama‘s whipping the base into a frenzy, and this thing is far from over.  PCCC co-founder Adam Green sounds off in the “Playbook.”  Just how many Americans have made up their mind?  That‘s next.                                           

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)                                

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, should Mitch McConnell‘s number one priority be to defeat President Obama?  Text A for yes.  Text B for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results coming up.  Stay with us.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in our “Playbook” tonight, well the Tea Party could go down as one of the great fake outs in American politics, that‘s right.  The “Washington Post” checked out hundreds of local Tea Party groups and found 70 percent have not done any political campaigning this year.  “The Post” reports, “as a whole Tea Party groups have not rallied behind any particular national leader, have little money on hand, and remain ambivalent about their goals and the political process in general.”  This election, my friends is far from over.  President Obama has been firing up crowds and drawing big crowds across this country.  And Associated Press poll shows those eight days out from the midterm election, 1/3, one in three of the voters still haven‘t made up their minds.  Bottom line, Americans are nervous about the state of the country, but they are not convinced that Republicans have all of the answers. 

For more, let‘s bring in Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.  Adam, good to have you with us tonight.  

ADAM GREEN CO-FOUNDER, PCCC:  Good to be here.  

SCHULTZ:  The hype, the hype to this has been amazing.  If you‘re a liberal or a democrat, you think, lights out now, don‘t even show up.  Are you concerned about the affect that might have on some people?  What do you think?

GREEN:  We‘ve been concerned, but I think these numbers are very indicative of what‘s really going on here.  Which is that even some people who don‘t normally vote in off-year elections are realizing, it would be a disaster if the Tea Party were to take over Congress.  And that‘s why our organization along with our friends at democracy for America, are making over 500,000 phone calls to voters to make sure they vote in key progressive districts.  And the center piece of our program calloutthevote.com is a brainchild of Stephanie Taylor, my co-founder.  And basically, every night, people across the nation are going online, signing up and just last night, we made 48,000 phone calls for people like Russ Feingold.  So, we are trying to get out of the vote and hopefully people will wake up and definitely make sure, they vote for Election Day. 

SCHULTZ:  What are your phone workers hearing?  Are they hearing a disgruntled American out there? An angry American or an anxious American?  How would you describe what kind of research you‘re coming back in sense of demeanor of the voices?

GREEN:  Probably more anxious.  Look, I don‘t think that those who don‘t vote are politically engaged folks who are making some kind of political statement by not voting.  It‘s more people who works full-time jobs are hard hit by this economy and honestly politics aren‘t the top thing on their mind.  And that‘s why we‘re making all of these phone calls to make sure that people get out and vote for people like... 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of the turnout for the Democrats in the millions?  Early on, out doing the Republicans?

GREEN:  It‘s a great sign.  You know, Democrats have people power.  Republicans have corporate power.  And the fact that we‘re actually turning out our voters is a great sign, and it‘s really what we need to be doing more of this next week and that‘s why what we‘re doing.  

SCHULTZ:  Good to you have with us tonight, thanks so much.

GREEN:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Final page of the “Playbook” tonight, it was another weekend to forget for Brett Favre in the meeting with the NFL Favre reportedly admitted sending sexual voicemails to former jets‘ employee.  But he denied sending naked pictures.  Last night, he came up short in the loss of the Green Bay Packers and “Saturday Night Live” also had some fun at his expense. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON SUDEIKIS, AS BRETT FAVRE:  I‘ve tried all kinds of jeans, button fly, zipper fly, you name it but for me nothing works better than the all-new open fly jeans from wrangler. 

ANNOUNCER:  Introducing the first open fly jeans from Wrangler.  The first jeans with no fly whatsoever. 

SUDEIKIS:  Wrangler Open fly jeans feature an ultra relaxed fit, right where you need it most, the fly.  Why let zippers and buttons slow you down?  With open fly jeans, it‘s always out and camera ready.  I‘m ready for my close-up. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  I just want the guy to start winning some football games.  Being a big Viking fan, I have to say this, Brett Favre put it on the line last night would not come out of game despite his ankle, we should have won that game and that was a bad call in the end zone, too.  The tight end caught the ball. 

Coming up, I could go for hours on this, you know?  Coming up, just in time for Halloween comes this freak show.  Speaker Boehner on the cover of “Newsweek,” Congressman Jim McDermott shreds into it, next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and finally tonight, it‘s Halloween week so here‘s something to scare you.  This is the latest cover of “Newsweek,” it has the tan man dressed up as change that you believe in.  If you think that‘s frightening, imagine waking up on November 3rd and seeing presumptive Speaker John Boehner gloating, as he lays out new republican majority‘s agenda.  Privatizing Social Security, repealing the health care bill, and making sure President Obama is a one-term president.  That is the future we‘re facing progressives and Democrats and liberals, if you decide to stay home in this election cycle. 

Joining me now is Washington Congressman Jim McDermott.  Jim, good to have you with us tonight.  

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON:  Good to be back, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  On the heels of what Mr. McConnell said over in the Senate, the single most important job is to defeat President Obama.  What are you going to get out of Boehner, if he‘s the speaker?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, as I look at that picture of John in “The Newsweek,” I thought of Harry Truman and a guy named Dewey in the Chicago Tribune headline, Dewey wins. 

(LAUGHTER)

This guy better enjoy it because if he doesn‘t win, he‘s going to eat

crow.  If he does win, he‘s going to have to face things, and this guy is

promising to end the mortgage deduction and he‘s promising to end private -

you know he‘s going to privatize Medicare.  He‘s going to make Social Security benefits reduced.  This guy is going to destroy—and Gingrich is right behind him saying, what you should do is shutdown the government.  Show them that they can‘t—we don‘t need the government, and there is no understanding in this country what it will mean if John Boehner winds up on the 2nd of November as our speaker.  

SCHULTZ:  Very few Americans know who this guy is.  What is he like? 

What will he do?  

MCDERMOTT:  Well, he‘s—that‘s the problem, people don‘t listen to politicians.  He said what he‘s going to do.  He‘s going to go back to Bush and Reagan.  Now, the reason we‘re in the mess that we‘re in today is because of what Bush did.  And he‘s saying, we‘re going to go right back there.  He has no job plan whatsoever.  The only thing he talks about is tax cuts.  We‘ve got to have tax cuts for people above $250,000 to $10 million, if we don‘t have tax cuts for them, the economy‘s going to collapse.  That‘s no plan.  

SCHULTZ:  I want to ask you about a comment that was made on this network last week by the senator from New Hampshire, Judd Gregg.  He said that the health care bill is going to cost taxpayers in this country billions of dollars.  I about fell over when I heard it.  Correct me if I‘m wrong.  Did the CBO not come out with  its final report, saying that the health care bill, what the righties like to call Obama-care, is going to save this country over a trillion dollars over the next 20 years?  Who‘s right?  The senator or me.  

MCDERMOTT:  You.  Ed is right in this case.  They‘re never inhibited by facts or the truth.  They will say anything to make their political point.  But the facts do not bear them out.  And we all know that more and more people are losing their health care benefits and if you have to go out into the private market, you will not be able to afford it.  

SCHULTZ:  No.  

MCDERMOTT:  You‘ll have everybody going to the emergency room because they don‘t have health insurance.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Jim McDermott, great to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks so much.

MCDERMOTT:  See you again.

SCHULTZ:  Tonight our text survey question, I asked, should Mitch McConnell‘s number one priority, to be to defeat President Obama?  Sixteen percent of you said, yes, 84 percent of you said, no.  We must have a lot of righties watching tonight.  And our director Jeff is a huge Dallas cowboy fan.  They‘re one in four.  Jeff, good luck tonight.  The Giants, they‘re probably going to win. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place of politics, MSNBC.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night and the cowboys are OK, they‘re just not going to win tonight.  Have a great one.  

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

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