updated 12/2/2010 12:36:01 PM ET 2010-12-02T17:36:01

Guests: Tom Harkin, Adam Green, Leo Gerard, Jim Clyburn, John Boyd, Jack Rice, John Feehery, Luis Gutierrez, Robert Reich

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE

ED SHOW. 

Tonight from New York, these stories are hitting my hot buttons at this hour. 

Well, the Republicans took the latest olive branch from President Obama and hit him over the head with.  Such good guys. 

Minority leader Mitch McConnell, you can‘t trust him.  He came out this morning and issued a nasty ultimatum on tax cuts.  How‘s that for getting along?  My commentary on that. 

Plus, Senator Tom Harkin will be here and the PCCC will blast off in just a moment. 

And the Republicans are restoring racism in the House.  Michele Bachmann is accusing black farmers of being frauds.  While Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King is talking about how President Obama is urban. 

Congressman James Clyburn, he strikes back in tonight‘s “Battleground” story. 

And a sex offender pardoned by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is accused of molesting again.  This could crush his presidential dreams before they get started.  We‘ll get rapid-fire response. 

And is the Dream Act dead?  And the deficit commission, I think it‘s a fraud.  That‘s all coming up. 

But this is the story that has me fired up tonight.  Washington, our wonderful city of Washington, couldn‘t be more out of touch with the American people.  And President Obama is getting played by Republicans like a fiddle. 

Now this is what the president said right after his cozy meeting with Senate Republicans on Tuesday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  In a private meeting that I had without staff, you know, without betraying any confidences, I was pleased to see several of my friends in the room say, let‘s try not to do duplicate that, let‘s try not to work the Washington spin cycle. 

I think that there was a sincere effort on the part of everybody involved to actually commit to work together. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  They said, let‘s not do that.  In other words, Mr.  President, you need to be quiet while we go after it?  Well, less than 18 hours after President Obama‘s capitulation session with the Republican, here comes Mitch McConnell doing everything he possibly can to make the president look like a fool. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER:  It‘s time to focus on priorities. 

Now a while ago I delivered a letter to Senator Reid signed by all 42 Senate Republicans.  It says that every Republican will vote against proceeding to any legislative matter until we‘ve funded the government and protected every taxpayer from a tax hike.  Basically, what it means is first thing‘s first. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, the president and Mitch McConnell sound like polar opposites in my opinion.  This is the Washington spin cycle that the president was talking about?  Either McConnell talked tough to the president to his face, or he played nice.  Then left the White House and stabbed him in the back. 

I mean it‘s like they‘re living in two different worlds here.  To make matters worse check out how weak the president looked today in his response to McConnell‘s slap in the face. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I am confident that nobody wants to see taxes on middle class families go up starting January 1st, and so you know there‘s going to be some lingering politics that have work to themselves little out in all the caucuses, Democrat and Republican. 

But at the end of the day, I think that people of goodwill can come together and recognize that given where the economy is at right now, given the struggles that a lot of families are still going through right now that we‘re going to be able to solve that problem. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  We get all of that, Mr. President.  We just want to know if that ultimatum was put down in front of you yesterday in that meeting.  Give us a break. 

I mean if the president can‘t see the Republicans for who they are, and clearly he does not get it.  And you know what?  It‘s at the point now he doesn‘t need an adviser he needs a counselor on how to deal with these people. 

President Obama should have publicly jumped all over McConnell when he betrayed his trust, and instead what we get out of this is just more weakness, in my opinion.  At this point I think that the president is asking his base to make some—a real leap of faith and trust that he‘s going to hold the line on the Bush tax cuts. 

I mean, you‘re either are or you aren‘t.  Where‘s the line in the sand?  Well, it doesn‘t exist.  So outgoing governor from Ohio, Ted Strickland, I think he hit it out of the park.  He was not buying any of this, he told “The Huffington Post” President Obama is being slapped in the face by his Republican critics. 

Strickland can‘t believe the Democrats can‘t convince American tax cuts for the wealthy should expire.  To convince the American people that it‘s over with.  He says, if we can‘t win that argument, we might as well just fold up shop. 

Well, Strickland, in my opinion, he hit the nail on the head.  Liberals are ready to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the Bush tax cuts.  And they want this president to put up the fight, not cave in. 

The PCCC put this commercial out today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Also allow the temporary Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire. 

REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER:  If the only option I have is to vote for some those tax reductions, I‘ll vote for them.  It‘s the only option that I have is to vote for those $250,000 and below of course I‘m going do that. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, the liberal base, if you‘re checking the scorecard, was never at the table with single payer, the lost on public option, they didn‘t get what they wanted on Wall Street reform, for a lot of them that didn‘t go far enough, and if the president caves in on the tax cuts issue for the rich, the top 2 percent, for a lot of liberals, it‘s going to be game over. 

I mean that is what I‘m hearing on talk radio in America on my radio show, and believe me they are passionate about it.  A lot of liberals wonder if this president even wants a second term. 

Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are running circles around this president and the Democrats right now, in my opinion.  And President Obama cannot turn his back on the people who elected him this time. 

This is time, really time, for Mr. Obama to step to the plate and say, you know what, I‘m going to get in this Washington spin cycle because this is the only way you can deal with these folks. 

We will allow the tax cuts to expire on the top 2 percent.  Do that, Mr. President, and you‘ll get more support than you‘ve ever had before.  But if you don‘t -- 

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  There‘s going to be a lot of people leaving you, buddy.  No doubt about it. 

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, do you think President Obama should stop trusting the Republicans?  Text A for yes.  Text B for no to 622639. 

We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education and Pensions Committee. 

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

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

Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Mitch McConnell says, first thing‘s first.  Is he dictating what‘s going to happen here, in your opinion? 

HARKIN:  Ed, I just got one response on that.  Have the Republicans lost all sense of fairness?  Have they lost all sense of justice?  Have they lost all sense of what‘s right or wrong? 

I mean, there ought to be moral outrage at the policies that permit million-dollar bonuses to these money manipulators on Wall Street, and yet they‘re telling the unemployed get into the soup line for Christmas. 

We ought to be outraged at this.  At what the Republicans are doing to the unemployed in this country.  And we ought to let the American people know just what Mitch McConnell and the Republican leaders are doing here in the Senate. 

SCHULTZ:  After a meeting at the White House, he comes out, short period of time later, and basically issues an ultimatum, says he‘s got a letter signed by 42 of his colleagues on the right.  We‘re not doing unless we get what we want. 

What should the president do with this kind of talk going on? 

HARKIN:  I‘ll hold up this piece of paper, Ed.  Right here it is.  This is a moral outrage.  “Luxury Spending is Back in Fashion.”  But in small print it says, “The jobless still aren‘t buying the essentials.” 

“Luxury Spending Back in Fashion.”  We had unemployed people here in Washington today and I turned to them, I said how many of you are doing your Christmas shopping at Tiffany‘s, huh?  Maybe a little jewel?  Maybe a little diamond-encrusted bubble or something like that or a $3,000 Rolex watch? 

How many of you are going to Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue?  They were all laughing.  They don‘t even have enough money to buy Christmas present for their kids. 

This is what we ought to be telling the American people that‘s going on.  And the Republicans want to give more tax breaks so they can have more luxury spending and our jobless have to go to soup kitchen for Christmas dinner. 

SCHULTZ:  So how do you deal with these Republicans who are doing everything that they can to make sure that this lame-duck session—your last four weeks in the majority—will be a disaster for trying to get something done?  I mean, the ultimatum is there.  What do you want the president to do? 

HARKIN:  Well, I want the president to do is to say, look, we‘re going to stay here until Christmas Eve.  We‘ll stay here on Christmas Day if we have to, to make sure that the people are hurting the most in this country, people who are out of work, through no fault of their own, Ed.  Through no fault of their own. 

And we‘re—and they‘re losing their unemployment benefits at this crucial time of the year.  We‘re going to stay here until we get the job done and we‘re not going to cave in and make sure that the top 2 percent get their tax breaks so they can keep going to Tiffany‘s and Saks Fifth Avenue. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator—Senator Harkin, can you draw on your experience?  You‘ve been around for a long time.  You‘ve worked with Republicans in the past.  Do you think Bob Dole would do this? 

HARKIN:  I do not.  Quite frankly, I was here when Bob Dole was the leader, even Trent Lott, Bill Frist—I‘ve been under a lot of Republican leaders in the past.  They would never do anything like this. 

SCHULTZ:  So the Republican Party -- 

HARKIN:  Bob Dole is a man of his word. 

SCHULTZ:  So the Republican Party, in a sense—and I don‘t want to put words in your mouth, but have they lost their moral fiber? 

HARKIN:  That‘s what I said in the beginning.  Where is their sense?  They have no sense of what‘s right or wrong anymore.  All they want to do is give tax breaks to the rich and everything else could just go to the Dickens. 

I mean they‘re holding up the START treaty.  Holding up the START treaty just so they can get tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.  That‘s all they think about.  It‘s—they have a very simple message.  We want the tax breaks for the richest people in this country. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Harkin, I appreciate you speaking out on THE ED SHOW tonight.  Great friend. 

HARKIN:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Always a pleasure.  Good to have with you us.  Thanks so much. 

HARKIN:  Thanks, Ed.  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Thanks for being in the fight. 

HARKIN:  I‘m in. 

SCHULTZ:  For more let‘s bring in Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. 

Do you think, Adam, that the president wants this fight? 

ADAM GREEN, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE.  Well, no, absolutely not. 

Look, I say this as someone who woke up every single day in 2008 and asked myself the question, what can I do today to elect Barack Obama president?  And what I say is, he‘s being really disappointing to millions of people like me and others who vote for him, volunteered for him, donated to him. 

SCHULTZ:  So what will it take to get this president tough?  How should he have handled that statement from Mitch McConnell today?  You heard the response. 

GREEN:  Yes, I think you put it right before.  I mean, when one side is issuing ultimatums and the other side is talking about compromise, there‘s something very skewed in a negotiation situation. 

Tomorrow is a very important anniversary.  It‘s the one-month anniversary of the 2010 elections.  And so far, to the best of my knowledge, we have not heard a single word, a single word from President Obama laying out under what circumstance he would be willing to fight these Republicans. 

Meanwhile, we have Mitch McConnell from day one after the election, saying that he‘s willing to fight this president. 

SCHULTZ:  Your organization is one of the lead liberal organizations in America now.  What if President Obama capitulates and extends the tax cuts for the top 2 percent?  How much political damage is that going to be to him and the Democrats in your opinion? 

GREEN:  Look, it‘ll be enormous.  My co-founder Stephanie Taylor said today to “The Hill” newspaper that he doesn‘t have to worry about the professional left.  He has to worry about the millions of people who vote for him who are sorely disappointed with him right now. 

And that‘s why today, so far just the last couple of hours, over 2,000 people have chipped in over $35,000 to help us air that ad that you showed before.  And it‘s up to us right now to make it very clear to President Obama that we—his base is going to push him to fight. 

SCHULTZ:  And this is the reaction from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the letter that‘s signed by 42 Republicans.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LETTER:  With this letter, they have simply put in writing the political strategy that the Republicans have pursued this entire Congress.  Namely, obstruct, delay, obstruct, delay, action on critical matters, and then blame the Democrats for not addressing the needs of the American people. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Why can‘t the president say that? 

GREEN:  Yes, exactly.  And what is Harry Reid saying will be the consequence for this obstruction.  Who is going to go to Kentucky to rally Mitch McConnell‘s voters against him?  I‘d like to know that question. 

Who is going to go to Olympia Snowe, who represent be the state of Maine that Obama won by 18 votes to rally her constituents against her?  I‘d like to know that question. 

Just expressing remorse and disappointment is not enough from Democratic leaders.  We need real action. 

SCHULTZ:  Would you—would you like to know if President Obama is definitely going to run again? 

GREEN:  I assume he‘s going to run again.  I‘m pretty sure of that.  What I liked to know is that he has the commitment to firing up the same people who voted for him last time.  And, you know, he has to know that if he‘s not going to get the job done there are now hundreds of thousands of people, 650,000, to be exact, who are signing up at boldprogressives.org, and we will take leadership at our own hands.  We will push the Democratic Party to fight. 

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

GREEN:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, that crazy Michele Bachmann and Steve King are showing their true colors on the House floor.  Bachmann‘s attacking black farmers and King is talking about how urban the president is. 

The Congressional Black Caucus will set them straight in the “Battleground” story tonight. 

Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota‘s run for the White House, well, it might be over before he gets started.  A shocking report shows he paroled a serial child molester.  “Rapid-Fire Response” on that coming up. 

Plus, Charles Barkley is trash-talking the president‘s game.  The Huckster—I thought he was a reverend—he‘s talking execution. 

And I‘ll flush Mike Pence right into the “Zone.” 

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, I‘m shocked President Obama would spend any time listening to outrageous recommendations from the right wingers on the deficit commission because that‘s exactly what they are. 

You will—you won‘t believe what these people are suggesting.  How about you work a little harder, a little longer, and give up a little bit more?  How about a 15 cent increase on taxes, do you think that might hit you at the gas pump? 

That‘s what they want to do.  It‘s a flat-out attack on the middle class. 

Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers Union, is fuming over this one, along with me.  He‘ll blast off next.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.  This is my favorite story of the day.  The Deficit Commission.  The smart guys. 

Let me tell you something, folks, they have shown their cards for what they are all about.  This is nothing but a right-wing hack job on the American middle class.  Any Democrat who would sign on to the recommendations that these folks have come up with is a traitor to American workers and is selling out like a country club elitist. 

Take a look at some of the proposals.  They want to increase the retirement age to 69, lowering cost-of-living increases, scale back popular tax credits and deductions, and limit annual cost increases for Medicare and Medicaid, and oh, let‘s not forget Social Security. 

And I don‘t see any deficit reduction in this bogus plan.  This is flat-out an assault on the middle class and I should mention they want to drop the tax rates all the way down to 29 percent—from 35 percent to 29 percent. 

Did I not say on this program two weeks ago, they‘re not going to stop at the Bush tax cuts?  They want more.  They want more.  They want to go from 35 down to 29 percent.  Their theory is, hell, if nobody‘s paying anything tax we‘ll just be able to create millions of jobs in America. 

Baloney.  They want to defund every program they possibly can and gut government and concentrate the wealth even more. 

Joining me now is Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers Union. 

Mister Gerard, good to have you with us tonight.  Based on what you saw today released by what I call “The Simpson” crowd, what‘s your response? 

LEO GERARD, UNITED STEELWORKERS:  I think, Ed, this is a—as Senator Harkin said, this is a moral outrage.  It‘s a financial outrage.  This is the equivalent of the right wingers, both right-wing Republicans, and hopefully no right-wing Democrats, but this is the extent of the right wing holding a gun to America‘s head and said, give us what‘s left of your benefits, give us what‘s left of your income, give us what‘s left of your future, social stability or else we‘re going to bankrupt this country. 

What we need to look at it, Ed, is what caused this deficit.  You look at what happened during the Bush years, the largest tax cut to the ultra rich that added trillions of dollars to the deficit, two wars that were fought off the books that add trillions of dollars to the deficit, 30 million people who are either unemployed or underemployed, or who have quit looking for work who aren‘t paying taxes, 40,000 factories that were closed during the Bush years, 8 million industrial workers who‘ve lost their jobs during the Bush years. 

This is a moral outrage, and I can‘t imagine any Democrat that‘s elected for any office that would stand for this. 

SCHULTZ:  Well -- 

GERARD:  I am so angry—I am so angry that I‘ve been pacing up and down figuring what the hell can I do to help shine some light on this financial distress?  I mean I‘m just so angry, Ed, because -- 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you should be.  And I am—I am absolutely bewildered how Senator Kent Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, a Democrat, who has been a hawk on the budget for years, is going to sign onto these recommendations. 

Now the other one that I want to bring to you is that they want to abolish taxes for multinational corporations that are doing work in the United States. 

GERARD:  Ed -- 

SCHULTZ:  In other words, they can come in and they can use our system and they can make money off the backs of Americans but they don‘t to have to pay any tax. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  This is—this is the most right-wing thing I think I‘ve ever seen. 

GERARD:  It‘s absolute financial insanity is what it is.  Let me ask you, is there anything more common sense than saying, we‘re no longer going to give a tax break to an employer who moves offshore but we will give a tax break to someone who brings a job back? 

They‘re opposed to that.  Why would we want to lower the marginal tax rate, we‘ve got hedge fund managers that are paying 15 percent on their unearned income while we‘ve got their secretaries who are paying 25 and 30 percent. 

It‘s about time that those that made all of the wealth during the last 10, 20 years -- 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

GERARD:  It‘s about time they stepped up to the plate and did something good for America besides lining their own pockets. 

SCHULTZ:  Here‘s -- 

GERARD:  This is about greed and it‘s about power and we need to be outraged.  I am just so angry.  I can‘t believe how angry I am. 

SCHULTZ:  It is about greed.  This is Senate—former Senator Simpson heading up this commission.  Here he is explaining it today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. ALAN SIMPSON, DEBT COMMISSION CO-CHAIR:  I‘ve seen on so many of these commissions in the past who come up with decisions and directives and solutions that are absolutely toothless exercises.  That are pure mush for a watery gruel. 

Not for us.  Not this time.  That denial has gone the way of the dodo bird and these are not normal times for a normal non-solutions.  That‘s what they do here.  Non-solutions. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So they are viewing it as attack Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, reduce the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, and all of this is going to be fixed.  It is a pipe dream and I hope the Democrats don‘t get hood-winked on this -- 

GERARD:  Ed, where was Senator Simpson while Bush was running up the hugest deficit since the birth of mankind?  Why don‘t we understand that if we had the 30 million people who are underemployed or unemployed back at work that would take care of some big part of the deficit? 

Why don‘t we understand that if the rich who are making it hand over fist at the expense of all us, the most wealth ever in the history of the country, just pay into their fair share? 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

GERARD:  I don‘t remember any wealthy people being in dire straits when—when Bill Clinton was president.  They were still doing pretty darn well by our standards.  It‘s about time we had some honesty in the process. 

SCHULTZ:  And he was quoted as saying—Mr. Simpson, as he said—some of his friends were saying, you son of a bitch, how could do you this? 

I‘m going to get into that crowd tonight. 

Leo Gerard, good to have you with us tonight. 

GERARD:  I‘m with you. 

SCHULTZ:  I appreciate your time. 

Coming up, Senator Mike Pence—Congressman Mike Pence is looking to Joe the Plumber for advice on the economy.  This guy Pence is clogged up with nothing but “Psycho Talk.” 

Well, you know what?  He‘s going to be praying to the porcelain god when I‘m done with him in the “Zone.”  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Congressman Mike Pence.  Well, he sounded like he‘s trying to pump himself up for presidential run, and listen to who he thinks has the answers on tax cuts. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  You‘re framing this in the context of—of saving taxes or for job creators.  Others are obviously going to frame this in the context of something very different which is that you are protecting the wealthy. 

REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  How are you going to square that circle when we effectively need to raise some form of revenue somehow? 

PENCE:  Well, you know, I think—I don‘t think we have to square that circle.  I think the American people already squared it.  I mean, Joe the Plumber proved himself to be the—you know the best political prognosticator and maybe the best economist in the last election cycle. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You‘ve got to be (INAUDIBLE) me?  Joe the Plumber?  First of all the guy wasn‘t even a real plumber, and now he‘s being the best economic mind of 2008? 

Joe didn‘t know enough about economics to understand that he wasn‘t even a top 2 percenter.  He kept saying Obama was going to raise his taxes even though he didn‘t make nearly enough money to fall into the top category. 

And of course he didn‘t pay his taxes anyway.  During 2008 campaign, we found out that he owed almost 1200 bucks in back taxes. 

Mike Pence is off base on Joe‘s political predictions, too.  The guy‘s stumped for the losing team in 2008, did he not?  And of course, it‘s not a stretch to believe that the Republicans are getting their economic ideas from brain wizards like Joe the plumber, but calling him the best economist of the last election cycle is just plain dumb “Psycho Talk.” 

Coming up, Michele Bachmann and Steve King just sunk to a new low.  She‘s calling black farmers frauds.  He‘s talking about President Obama, saying that he is urban.  House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn responds on the racial comments next in the “Battleground.” 

Governor Tim Pawlenty is under fire for pardoning a serial child molester.  That doesn‘t sound too presidential to me.  We‘re going to get “Rapid-Fire Response” on that. 

Plus, the Reverend, Mike Huckabee‘s holiday book tour includes wishes for execution.  Joe Lieberman sucked it up to Uncle Rupert and Congressman Luis Gutierrez joins us in the “Playbook” talking about the dream act.  Is it dead?  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  “Battleground” story tonight, well, the Republicans are restoring racism in the people‘s house.  During a debate over the black farmers‘ bill, psycho-talker Steve King and Michele Bachmann freaked out on the black farmers.  They said most of the claims were bogus.  Then they showed their true colors. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING ®, IOWA:  The fraudulent claims might be, well, Johnny, yes, he was raised on a farm but he wouldn‘t help his dad.  He went off to the city and became a drug addict and when his daddy needed the help, Johnny wouldn‘t come and help his daddy.  But now his daddy‘s died and Johnny wants the $50,000 that comes from the USDA under this claim. 

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  This is just flat out wrong.  Can we say it?  Can we be gutsy enough on the floor of this House of Representatives to say, this is pure and complete fraud?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  But of course King took it even further.  Claiming Barack Obama had a racial motive because he supported black farmers as a senator. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING:  We have a very, very urban Senator Barack Obama who has decided he‘s going to run for president, and what does he do, he introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim.  We‘ve got to stand up at some point and say, we‘re not going to pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The good news is the House passed the bill.  That will give more than a billion dollars to help African-American farmers who were cheated out of federal aid because of discrimination. 

Joining me now is South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn.  The house majority whip.  Congressman, you know I didn‘t see them do this on the floor but when I saw the tape, I was thinking, gosh, right-wing talk radio has now reached the floor of the United States of the House of Representatives.  And what‘s your response to those comments?

JIM CLYBURN, HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP:  Well, Ed, thank you so much for having me on the show.  You know, when I hear those kinds of comments, I think back on another period of our history.  You and I used to teach history in our public schools and I know a little bit about that period in our nation‘s history that we have worked so hard to get behind us and to lay out a future for our children and grandchildren that we all can aspire to.  And to hear that kind of talk especially under the Department of Agriculture said that they did in fact discriminate against these people, they ask us to find a way to have some modicum justice for these people.  And they have two members of Congress stand on the floor of the House and with impunity make these kinds of charges, if makes you wonder what has happened to our great country for people like that to be represented in a segment of it.  

SCHULTZ:  It is—reparations was the word that was used.  Are you offended by that?

CLYBURN:  I am offended by that.  The fact of the matter is, Mr. King doesn‘t know much about his history.  The fact of the matter is when the whole issue of reparation‘s ever presented to this Congress, it‘s not anything that anybody has ever put forward.  What you said was, these are people who made applications for federal loans, qualified for their applications, but for the launch—but were denied.  And they were denied simply because of their race.  

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

CLYBURN:  And the department has admitted that that‘s why they were denied.  That‘s got nothing to do—that‘s making people whole who should have not been injured. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, to your knowledge, the example that Steve King just used on the House floor, was that a hypothetical or was that truly the case?

CLYBURN:  Well, it‘s some figment of his imagination.  

SCHULTZ:  That the kid left the farm, went out and got on drugs, whatever.  It‘s stereotyped a young black American that way and gets away with.  I mean, you know, I have to answer the question, if this is how they act in the minority, how the hell are they going to be in the majority? 

CLYBURN:  Well, that‘s what makes me cringe because the fact of the matter is, these kinds of thought processes will get put into legislation and we can see where the clock could get turned back on so much of the progress that we‘ve made in this, in this country.  

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.  

CLYBURN:  And we have to be very careful of that, and so I would hope, the voters out there, the public will begin to respond to some of this, react to it and let people know that you‘re not proud of this kind of talk taking place on the floor of the House.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman. 

CLYBURN:  Because we really ought to be about going forward together.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Jim Clyburn great to have you with us tonight. 

Thank you for speaking up, sir.  I appreciate your time.  

CLYBURN:  Thank you so much for having me.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s turn to John Boyd, he‘s a farmer and president of the National Black Farmers Association.  Mr. Boyd, good to have you with us tonight. 

JOHN BOYD, NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION:  Hello, Ed.  Thank you for having me.  

SCHULTZ:  If it would have been a different president, would you have gotten this decision?

BOYD:  Absolutely not.  And first of all, I would like to thank the president of the United States for helping to move this bill forward, the Congressional Black Caucus, and Speaker Pelosi.  Ed, as you know, we‘ve worked very, very hard to get this bill passed.  And I don‘t understand Mr.  King and his comments have a strong racial undertone and a very offensive towards our black farmers.  This case is not about fraud.  This case is about discriminating—discrimination by the Department of Agricultural.  We have proven our case in Federal Court, we have a settlement agreement, we‘ve done everything right here and Mr. King I want to add, voted for the farm bill that I worked eight years on that reopened this segment that said, black farmers will have their cases heard based on its merits.

SCHULTZ:  So, it‘s a strategy to talk tough on the floor like that with racial overtones to set the table that the Senate will do anything with this?  

BOYD:  Well, I tell you, I think it‘s a disgrace to the American people to use the House floor in that manner.  We have proven our case and again these black farmers have been brutally mistreated by the Department of Agriculture as it relates to discrimination.  

SCHULTZ:  And this is change you can believe in and it was much needed. 

BOYD:  Yes.   

SCHULTZ:  There was discrimination.  It was proved.  

BOYD:  Absolutely.  

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Boyd, good to have with you us tonight.  Keep up the fight, thank you.  

BOYD:  Ed, thank you for staying on top of this issue for us.  

SCHULTZ:  You bet, thank you, sir.  

BOYD:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid-fire response from our panel on these stories.  Well, a pardon could sink Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty‘s presidential chances.  Two years ago, Pawlenty pardoned a sex offender who is now accused of molesting a young girl. 

GOP presidential hopeful, Reverend Mike Huckabee, says he wants any government official who leaked diplomatic cables to be executed. 

And I‘ll get the panel‘s response on Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans threatening President Obama with blocking all bills until the tax cut fight is resolved. 

Jack Rice joins us tonight, criminal defense attorney and former CIA officer.  And John Feehery, republican strategist and president of the Quinn Gillespie Communications.  Let‘s talk about Mr. McConnell first.  Jack, your response.  Were their two conflicting sound bites there earlier today, and where does that leave you?

JACK RICE, FORMER CIA OFFICER:  Ah, this is going to be brutal.  I think under the circumstances, there‘s a lot that needs to be fought here.  We‘ve got real problems here, and I think what we keep seeing, and you and I have seen this for years now.  This sort of standard sound bites without actually digging into facts to understand what it is that we‘re facing and what the true challenges are. 

SCHULTZ:  John?

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, I, of course, agree with Mitch McConnell.  I think that the tax cut fight needs to be resolved.  This is the leverage he has and it needs to be resolved for a couple of reasons.  First, this is the best way to create jobs, to create certainty in the marketplace so people know what‘s going to happen with their taxes.  And second of all, it‘s about fairness.  People, you know, are worried about their taxes going up big time on January 1st.  Get this thing resolved and. 

SCHULTZ:  But, John, a spirit of negotiation.  They have a meeting with the president.  The president comes out, they agree apparently without the aides around it, they‘re not going to do this Washington talking head circle and try to get the one-upmanship of the news cycle.  And the very next morning, Mitch McConnell‘s out with an ultimatum.  I mean, how do you -- is that in the spirit of moving forward in your opinion?

FEEHERY:  Well, I actually, I think it‘s in the spirit.  Because if you get in resolved and then you can move on to other things.  They have to get it resolved.  The economy is waiting for them to get it resolved.  There‘s too much—too much time is wasted already.  They need to get it resolved. 

RICE:  Now, wait a second, John.  Hold on a second, John.  Let‘s be honest about this.  

FEEHERY:  I am being honest.  

RICE:  This has nothing to do with resolving anything.  This is about pandering to the republican base to say, look, we‘re not going to allow the Democrats to do anything here.  They don‘t give a damn about how many people have lost their employment benefits.  They don‘t give a damn about what happens to the economy as long as it makes the Democrats look bad.  So, when they come into power in the House starting.  

FEEHERY:  Jack, Jack. 

RICE: .in January, they can do something different.  

FEEHERY:  Come on, Jack.  Who did not deal with this issue for the last two years and have huge majorities?  The Democrats.  They should have done this well before the election but they didn‘t.  They‘ve been tardy.  They need to get it done and if Mitch McConnell‘s saying, enough is enough. 

Let‘s get it done now.  

RICE:  So, Mitch McConnell says, what we‘ll do is we‘ll make sure that nothing happens?  Let‘s freeze everything up.  Let‘s make sure that we. 

FEEHERY:  Right until it all gets down. 

RICE:  And then, we come back later, oh yes, I know we‘re waiting until January because so much more is going to get done.  Come on, the Republicans have made it clear from the very beginning, they want absolutely nothing to happen.  They have done everything for the last two years. 

FEEHERY:  They don‘t want the taxes to go up.  

RICE: .to put everything in its track, including with what the Senate was doing.  

FEEHERY:  They don‘t want taxes to go up.  

RICE:  Yes, that‘s worked played very well.  Oh, I see so what they‘re going to do is, and so, they would stand aside and allow the taxes to stay where they are for the middle-class Americans.  You are suggesting, we split those two aside and they‘re going to allow that to happen?  No they‘re not because they‘re going to stand for their base.  

FEEHERY:  What I‘m saying is.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Gentlemen, we‘ve got to get one more subject in here.  Wikileaks.  This is what Mike Huckabee says, “Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason and I think anything less than execution is too kind of penalty.  They‘ve put American lives at risk.  Any lives they endangered.  They‘re personally responsible for and the blood is on their hands.” 

Jack Rice, I remember a CIA operative that was out on it.  What do you make of this story?

RICE:  Yes, you know, I think about that whole concept.  Isn‘t it fascinating how politics plays out?  All of a sudden, when we talk about classified information, apparently if it‘s a republican who leaks it, it‘s not a problem.  But if it‘s somebody else, it is a problem, somehow it‘s Obama‘s fault now but we had it coming out of the White House before and that wasn‘t the issue.  Look, the real problem and I‘m coming at this as a former CIA officer perspective and a former prosecutor, the real problem that we have when it comes to Wikileaks and with it comes to the problems in general in Washington is that we over classify so many things.  We classified not because it‘s a sources and methods issue.  Frequently, we classify things because it‘s covering somebody‘s butt someplace because of a failure.  

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  

RICE:  And that‘s what‘s happening in Wikileaks in a big way.  

SCHULTZ:  John, is Huckabee grandstanding on this?  The Reverend Huckabee?

FEEHERY:  Well, of course he is. 

RICE:  Thank you, John.  

FEEHERY:  I don‘t necessarily disagree.  I think that there‘s over classification problem here.  And I think that it has to be, you know, resolved to some extent, I do think that the people have a right to know as much as they need to know.  I do think, though, there are some national security implications here that not only concern Republicans, but also concerns Hillary Clinton, and a lot of people. 

SCHULTZ:  Jack Rice, John Feehery, great to have you with us here tonight.  Thanks so much.

FEEHERY:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Republicans are crushing the hopes of millions of Americans have who are desperate, hard-working folks who are dreaming to become American citizens.  Congressman Luis Gutierrez has been on the front lines pleading for help.  He‘ll bring the passion next in the “Playbook.”

And President Obama is ready to get back out on the court.  That could play hurt but you won‘t believe who‘s talking smack about his game.  A former NBA great.  We‘ll show you the tape.  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 you think President Obama should stop trusting the Republicans?  Text A for yes, text B for no to 622-639, results coming up.  Stay with us.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” tonight, Senate Republicans are crushing the American dream for millions of young people across this country.  Their pledge to block all legislation until they get a deal on tax cuts could put an end to the Dream Act.  Which would provide a path to U.S. citizenship for undocumented children.  But Majority Leader Harry Reid is still trying to pursue and push it through the Senate.  The Latino community came out in full force a month ago to help him win re-election in a tough fight, and now it‘s time for Reid to do the payback for that support. 

Joining me now for more on this is Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez.  I think, you have to admit, Congressman, that Mr. Reid is doing everything he possibly can to make this happen.  But, again, it‘s the Republicans, is it not?

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS:  Yes, you know I‘m sadly and unfortunately, Mitch McConnell is saying, he will not allow a vote on anything that isn‘t a tax matter.  And that‘s his response to the efforts in the Senate to get a vote on the Dream Act.  But let me tell you, things are going very, very well in the House of Representatives, the democratic caucus, our leadership is forcefully behind this effort.  And unfortunately it looks because of the Congressional Budget Office and some numbers we‘re waiting from them, we won‘t have a vote in the House of Representative tomorrow but hopefully by Friday, we will be able to get that... 

SCHULTZ:  Will it pass, Congressman?  Will it pass?

GUTIERREZ:  Here‘s what—I‘m going to tell you something.  I think the House of Representatives is ready and willing to go first.  That is new, four years, we‘ve never been ready to go first on any immigration.  I think we should go first, we should get it passed in the House of Representatives, and then move forward in the Senate.  That‘s my opinion.  

SCHULTZ:  Will there be any Republicans on the House on board with this?

GUTIERREZ:  You know, I think, you know Lincoln—Brother Mario, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a couple of other Republicans that have sponsored, I think we can count on them but there will be few.  There will be few. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

GUTIERREZ:  It‘s going to be mostly on the back of the Democratic Party, but still you know, I‘m very positive and optimistic.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Gutierrez, is this going to satisfy the Latino community.  

GUTIERREZ:  No.  

SCHULTZ:  Does this go far enough?  

GUTIERREZ:  Can I tell you something.  Here‘s what the Latino community is going to say, they‘re going to say the blast half full.  Not half empty.  They‘re not going to say, oh thank you, but what about, no, they‘re going to say and they‘re going  see through this process who the true obstructionist, justice and fairness in this legislative process.  This should be their community.  And, so, you know, look, we‘re going to do everything we can.  You‘re right Senator Durbin, my senator from my state, I will give him a little shout-out.  He‘s the main sponsor of this bill.  The president today, let me see, secretary of labor, Solis, last week Secretary Duncan at Education was having conference calls across the country.  The administration finally, hey, what do you think, Ed, we‘ve got a game plan in which everybody‘s on the same team. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

GUTIERREZ:  And has the same objective.  We‘re acting at Democrats who are searching for some fairness and justice.  So the team is working in a coordinated fashion.  That‘s a good thing and that should give us good results. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

GUTIERREZ:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  Congratulations.  

GUTIERREZ:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  I hope that the vote goes through in the House this week.  

GUTIERREZ:  So do I.  

SCHULTZ:  Final pages on the “Playbook.”  Charles Barkley, former NBA great, showed up on one of the late-night shows last night.  They talked about President Obama catching an elbow on the court and getting 12 stitches, and then the former NBA star, well he kind of ripped his buddy on his game. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O‘BRIEN, HOST:  You‘ve watched him play and you‘ve analyzed his play.  

CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL:  He is a one-handed basketball player as we say.  There are certain guys who could go either way to say ambidextrous.  But he‘s a one-handed basketball player.

O‘BRIEN:  OK.  And so you‘re pretty confident you would do well in a game on a one on one against the president of the United States.  

BARKLEY:  Oh, yes.  Come on.  I mean, I‘m an old fat guy but I‘ll kick his ass. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  I would think so.  

Coming up, President Obama is in the fight of his political life.  With his base over these tax cuts for the top two percent.  Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says, it‘s time for the president to start swinging.  He sounds off next, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight, President Obama is facing his biggest fight yet over the Bush tax cuts with his base and it‘s about time, many liberals are thinking that he should punch back on the Republicans.  Mitch McConnell is making them look like a fool vowing to block everything.  John Boehner‘s not compromising. 

For more, let‘s bring in Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration, and of course professor at UC-Berkeley, he‘s also the author of the book, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America‘s Future.”  Well, I tell you what, that‘s got to be a good book.  You got a lot of material to write about there.  

ROBERT REICH, AUTHOR, “AFTERSHOCK”:  Certainly.  I hope that you read it.  

SCHULTZ:  I will do that.  Robert, what‘s the president‘s best play right now in the midst of what‘s unfolded today with the hard-line stand of Mitch McConnell?

REICH:  Well, I think he‘s got to take—the president‘s got to take a very hard-line in response and I think Mitch McConnell and in fact open the door to the president to take a very hard-line and showing whose side he‘s on.  The president should simply say, look, I am not going to extend the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.  They don‘t deserve it.  They‘re already taking home a quarter of all national income.  They‘re going to break the bank.  It‘s going to cost huge amounts in terms of budget deficits.  Also, they‘re not going to stimulate the economy.  

SCHULTZ:  So, how are the Democrats lose this argument?  Mr. Reich, how can the Democrats lose this argument?

REICH:  Well it‘s a good question.  I mean, look what they ought to do

and this is what Harry Reid and also Nancy Pelosi ought to do, put a very simple bill right there, in the House, in the Senate, saying, look, we want a vote up or down on whether the bottom 98 percent, 99 percent of Americans are going to get an extension of the Bush tax cut.  That is it.  If you vote against this, Republicans, you are saying to the effect—you are telling America, you don‘t believe most Americans should get an extension of the Bush tax cuts because you are standing up for your constituency and that is the people at the very top.  

SCHULTZ:  I want your respond to this.  This is Republican Leader John Boehner in the House just moments ago.  Responding to the vote that‘s coming up this week in the House on the middle-class tax cuts.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, MINORITY LEADER:  The House leaders are going to go down this path of gerrymandering the process so that members only have one option, and that‘s to vote only—providing some tax relief to the American people.  I think it‘s wrong, it does undercut the conversation we had just yesterday—

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  He‘s saying that he thinks that undercuts the conversations they had with the president yesterday and they should even have the vote on the middle-class tax cuts.  I mean, I read that as it‘s all or nothing for the Republicans.  What do you think?

REICH:  Well, it is all or nothing for the Republicans.  But that all or nothing means essentially, they want tax cuts for the very rich in this country.  And that‘s ridiculous.  At the same time, they‘re saying we‘ve got to close the budget deficit.  We cannot possibly afford they say, let‘s stand unemployment insurance benefits for people who‘ve been jobless for a long time.  Well, how can they have it both ways, Ed?  You can‘t stay.  You are in favor of fiscal austerity and at the same time say, we‘ve got to extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest people in this country.  

SCHULTZ:  And finally, Robert, if the president doesn‘t draw a hard-line and hold the line on the top two percent, what‘s the political downside?

REICH:  Well, the political downside for him I think is very, very large.  Because this is his last stand.  I mean, he‘s going to have a Congress coming January that is not going to be nearly as cooperative at this Congress.  He‘s got to send a message.  This is his last opportunity to send a very clear message to the American people about whose side he‘s on and whose side they are on.  

SCHULTZ:  Robert Reich, always a pleasure.  Thanks for telling it like it is. 

REICH:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  I totally agree with you.  Tonight in our text survey I asked, do you think that President Obama should stop trusting the Republicans?  Eighty eight percent of you said yes.  Twelve percent of you said, no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to ed.msnbc.com or check out my radio Web site, wegoted.com.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.

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