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The Ed Show for Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

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Guest Host: Cenk Uygur

Guests: Ed Rendell, Joan Walsh, Mike Papantonio, Sheila Jackson Lee, Scott

Hennen, Joe Madison, Nicole Lamoureux

CENK UYGUR, HOST:  Good evening, America.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW.

I‘m Cenk Uygur of “The Young Turks,” in for Ed Schultz. 

These are the stories that are hot tonight. 

President Obama and the Democratic priorities might seem like they stand no chance next year, but believe it or not, I‘m a little hopeful, and I‘ll tell you why.  Governor Ed Rendell also sounds off on that and explains why he called us a “nation of wusses.”   


And the fat cats on Wall Street are a bunch of cry babies.  They are making money hand over fist, but they are bashing President Obama for being too mean to them.  One banker compared him to Hitler.  I‘ll explain it all in “The Battleground” story. 

And Sarah Shakespeare—I mean Palin—is the gift that keeps on giving.  She has a new lame excuse for using the nonexistent word “refudiate.”  I will refudiate her excuse in the commentary tonight. 

But we start with a little bit of hope.  Progressives might just have a fighting chance with President Obama over the next two years.  Let me tell you why.

I get that with the Republicans taking control of the House in January, it would appear that Democratic priorities have almost no chance of passing.  President Obama was nervous about taking on Republicans when he had overwhelming majorities in the Senate and the House.  So it would appear that it would be fairly hopeless against a Republican-controlled House.  But hear me out on why I do have some hope the president will get tougher over the next year.

There are three options for the president for the rest of his term.  One is a complete cave-in, where he passes largely Republican bills just so that he can say that he got more legislative victories.  I hate that.  Obama‘s unfortunately made comments that make me worry he is still looking for that common ground with the GOP, which is to say Republican ground. 


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It‘s time to find common ground on challenges facing our country.  That‘s a message that I will take to heart in the new year, and I hope my Democratic and Republican friends will do the same. 

If there‘s any lesson to draw from these past few weeks, it‘s that we are not doomed to endless gridlock. 


UYGUR:  In the next two years, in my opinion, gridlock‘s the best-case scenario.  Who in their right mind thinks the Republican House is going to pass Democratic bills? 

If you‘re still silly enough to believe that, or you‘re part of the Washington media establishment, which is pretty much the same thing, Mitch McConnell‘s going to set you straight.  He says if anything, the GOP will be even more obstinate over the next two years. 

This is what he said about the Democrats: “There‘s much for them to be angst-ridden about.  If they think it‘s bad now, wait until next year.”

Yes, you‘re going to get compromise from that guy. 

So the second option Obama has is that he can run and hit the road, which is what it looks like he is doing right now.   He knows that he won‘t be able to get any of his priorities through, so he just runs for re-election, ignores Washington, and focus on the voters.  Not so bad. 

Three, he can stay in Washington and fight for his priorities, and jam them down the Republicans‘ throats by playing political hardball.  OK.  Come on.  Who are we kidding?  There‘s no chance that the president is going to do that. 

So let‘s get back to option number two, which is the most likely.  Look, when Obama starts campaigning again, he has to woo his base back after largely ignoring them for two straight years.  Maybe we will be seeing more of this guy --  


OBAMA:  Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange, including a public option, to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest. 

We can‘t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. 

It‘s an ideology that intentionally breeds incompetence in Washington and irresponsibility on Wall Street.  And it is time to turn the page and put an end to it. 


UYGUR:  When Obama‘s campaigning and trying to get real American votes, he‘s a thousand times more progressive than when he‘s striking deals with Republicans as President Obama. 

So, look, we didn‘t get tough new rules on Wall Street.  We didn‘t get the public option.  We didn‘t get rid of the Bush tax cuts for the rich.  We didn‘t close Guantanamo.  We didn‘t end warrantless wiretapping.  And we didn‘t even get net neutrality.

And I can keep going all night long, but the show is only an hour, so I‘ve got to move on. 

Look, this might be a good time for the president to actually try to reach out to that base he has been ignoring or, worse yet, treating with disdain for the past two years.  When Obama hits the campaign trail, he will likely start talking like a progressive again.  He will have the freedom to hit the Republicans much harder because he doesn‘t really believe he can get his priorities passed. 

The principal reason why he kept giving into Republicans was so that he can say he got important bills passed.  Now with that possibly removed, he is free to swing a little harder. 

And since he is running for re-election, it‘s his ass on the line, honestly, so he actually has to make the case against the GOP so he can win.  My guess is that we are going to start seeing a tougher Obama over the next two years, and that hope is that he will accidentally hit the Republicans so hard, that they cave in when he didn‘t even expect them to.

Maybe I‘m too hopeful, but my hope is that he will see that fighting hard is not just a political strategy.  We‘re not doing it to be tough guys.  It‘s something that can actually help you pass real policy goals, progressive policy goals. 

Or he can choose the path of political and policy disaster by cutting Social Security, cutting critical program, in a desperate attempt to appease the Republicans and get the Washington media to like him more.  It‘s his choice and his political life on the line. 

All right.  Now tell me he what you think in our telephone survey. 

The number to dial is 877-ED-MSNBC. 

My question tonight is: Do you think we‘ll see a tougher President Obama over the next two years?  Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no.  I‘m actually very curious about the results, and we‘ll share them with you later in the show. 

Now let‘s turn to a real fighter, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, who has been counseling the president to hit harder.  Counsel I agree with.

All right.  Now, Governor, from what I can see, it appears that the president doesn‘t love to challenge the Republicans unless he has got about 67 percent approval on any given issue. 

Do you think it makes more sense in the next two years to fight the Republicans a little harder, or keep trying to reach bipartisan compromise? 

GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Well, I think you can do both, Cenk.  And I think it‘s important that he does that.

Look, ,the beauty of what happened in the lame-duck session is President Obama reaffirmed in the minds of the American people, particularly Independents, that he can govern and he can lead.  And that was very, very important.  And he did it by getting some of our traditional issues like “Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell,” the START treaty approved by the Congress. 

So I think he has got to find common ground on a couple of issues.  And I think education is one; the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, but with some serious changes and some increased funding and some accountability; an energy bill that sponsors and promotes renewable and alternative forms of energy, but also reaches out to other forms of energy that are American produced; and deficit reduction.  I think we have to do serious deficit reduction, and he has to look like a leader. 

But at the same time, he should continue to draw distinctions with Republicans on issues that are important to us as Democrats, important to working Americans.  And I think the perfect opportunity is going to be in the fall of next year—not the fall of 2011, but in the late spring and fall of next year, the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  I think those are limited to two years, and I think the president should make it clear that he is going to seek the removal of those in the name of deficit reduction and in the name of basic fairness. 

So I think there are opportunities for him to do both, to govern effectively, to find that middle ground, and keep pushing the agenda forward.  Look, if we have American energy independence, all those forms of energy are going to improve the environment.  It may not be cap and trade, but it‘s a step in the right direction. 

UYGUR:  But Governor—

RENDELL:  So, we can do that. 

UYGUR:  But Governor, whenever we start talking about middle ground in Washington, that usually turns out to be incredibly Republican ground.  I mean, I‘m scared when he used to talk about reducing the deficit.  I mean, the things that have been proposed, cutting Social Security, et cetera, sound disastrous to me.  That‘s not the common ground I want. 

RENDELL:  Well, I think you have got to look at carefully what the president is going to propose.  I think in his State of the Union, he is going to propose some things that our base agrees with, like reduction in military spending, like closing tax loopholes, tax loopholes that rich people and rich corporations take advantage of—take advantage of it to the detriment of the American worker.  So it‘s going to be a mixed package.

UYGUR:  Right.  But how is he going to get that?  But, no, we‘ve got to keep it real.

RENDELL:  But he‘s going to get it—

UYGUR:  How is he going to get it?  Because the Republicans will never agree to that. 

RENDELL:  Well, he is going to have to try to forge a compromise where we give up certain things.  And look, I consider myself a strong progressive, but if you tell me by 2050 we are going to raise the age of Social Security to 69, I don‘t have a problem with that because we will all be living to 94, 95 years in life expectancy, and that‘s an elemental change. 

UYGUR:  Well, Governor—

RENDELL:  So we‘ve got to forge compromises.  We‘ve got to forge compromises and cut government spending. 

UYGUR:  No.  Look, of course we have to do compromise.  I get that.  But I don‘t want to compromise on Social Security after we just compromised and gave the rich a giant tax cut. 

I don‘t want to say, all right, look, the rich get this huge tax cut, and then we‘re going to turn around and make people work until they are 69?  No.  No deal.  But I‘m afraid that Obama is definitely going to do that here. 

RENDELL:  Well, wait.  Work until 69 in the year 2050, when the average life expectancy will have grown by 10 years.  You have got to keep things in perspective and think things through.  That‘s going to be basic and it‘s going to be elemental, and it‘s something we‘re going to have to do. 

UYGUR:  Yes.  You know what?  I will do that deal.  I will do that deal if they give us every penny of the tax cut back for the rich, but they‘re not going to do it.  They ain‘t never going to compromise.  Only we compromise.

RENDELL:  Well, and you know what we should do?  And you know what we should do?  We should do in 2012 what we should have done in 2010. 

The Congress, all of the Democrats in the Congress who bitched about the tax cut deal, we should have made that an issue to run on in 2010.  But we shied away from it.  We didn‘t want to make it an issue to run on.

We should have made it an issue to show the voters the difference between us and the Republicans.  We didn‘t do that.  We should do that in 2012. 

And if we do that, we‘ll win.  The polls show that even Republican voters think that a tax cut at that level for the rich makes no sense at all. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Governor, one last thing.  Of course, I‘ve got to bring it up.  You called the country a nation of wusses and wussies. 

That‘s funny.  OK.

RENDELL:  The wussification of America. 

I think we have lost a little bit, Cenk, of our boldness, of our pioneer spirit, of our innovation.  And the Eagles game, canceling that game was a metaphor for that.  And it‘s permeating in a lot of what we do.

Good lord, can you imagine Vince Lombardi?  He would be rolling over in his grave if he knew we cancelled a football game when at the time of the kickoff, there were six inches of snow on the ground.  Good lord. 

Come on, America.  Man up. 

UYGUR:  I love ending on notes of agreement.  I totally agree, they should have played in the snow. 

All right.  Governor Rendell, thank you so much.

RENDELL:  Thank you, Cenk.  See you. 

UYGUR:  All right.

Now, for more, let me bring in Joan Walsh, editor at large for 

Joan, look, let me get a reality check here on me, right? 


UYGUR:  Because the Obama loyalists say that I don‘t understand politics and that we just constantly have to compromise with the Republicans, et cetera.  And that I‘m not understanding Obama‘s brilliance. 

Who‘s right and wrong here? 

WALSH:  First of all, happy holidays.  And it did sound like in your introduction, Cenk, that you were feeling the holiday spirit and trying to be optimistic about all of this.  And I can‘t decide whether I‘m going to join you to try to be the reality check.  Let me be slightly the reality check. 

I don‘t want to be—to have sweet nothings whispered in my ear throughout next year and 2012, progressive, lovely things that will never get done, like we heard in 2008.  That worries me a lot. 

Love, love Governor Ed Rendell, think he is really a fighter.  I think we just heard from him the opening salvo of the campaign to woo back progressives. 

And, you know, I‘m happy to get on board.  You know that.

I don‘t want to see a challenge to President Obama in the primaries.  I don‘t want to see any of that garbage.  But I also want to retain my ability to the think critically, and I am very frightened that we have ceded an enormous amount to the Republicans, and we‘ve really ceded this debate about taxation and this debate about the role of government by caving on the tax cuts.

Are we going to fight in 2012?  Wow.  That would be—I mean, Christmas is gone, but that would be just a fantastic Christmas gift next year or the year after.

I‘m a little bit wary of that since we didn‘t fight this year.  I‘m not sure what‘s going to change.  So—

UYGUR:  Joan, I started out hopeful, but as I talked to Governor Rendell—and I like Governor Rendell, I really do, and I think he has been a tough fighter in the past. 

WALSH:  I do too. 

UYGUR:  I got more discouraged, because it looks like they are all going to give in on that Social Security.  They‘re going to raise the age to 69.  They are not going to get any of the tax cuts for the rich back.  That‘s already out the door. 

So the rich are going to get paid and we‘re going to have to work longer.  And then they promise us maybe they will fight two years later on an issue they just chose not to fight on. 

WALSH:  Right.  I‘m very concerned about that.

Look, you know, it‘s sort of like theoretically, we can concede on 2050 because most of us probably won‘t be around at that point, and if we are, we will be getting Social Security.  In my case, if they raised it to 90, I think I would still be OK in 2050. 

So, you know, theoretically, yes, we‘re going to live longer, unless we continue to treat the poor and the working class the way we do, and then maybe life expectancy will go down.  I mean, it‘s a little bit terrifying, but theoretically, sure, push out in 2050, and then hope that our legislators in 2040 care about working class people, care about people who have to work very hard, because it‘s so easy, Cenk, for all of us, including you and me, to think about, I‘ll probably work until I‘m 69 or 70 because I love my job and I can mostly sit in a chair and do it.  You know?

People who actually have to work on their feet, with their hands, with their backs, you know, this is just so theoretical to the class of people that are making the decisions and having the debates right now, that I really think that that‘s sad.  And we need to point to that at every opportunity we get. 

UYGUR:  Joan, real quick, last prediction.  I like the poll question we are asking today, so I want to ask you.

What do you think?  In the next two years, does Obama fight harder in an effort to campaign and be more progressive, or does he keep cutting all these deals that are largely Republican? 

WALSH:  I think he will fight harder because he is going to have to.  The crazy is going to be coming at that man like you will not believe it with this House. 

So I think we are going to see the fighter because he has a conscience.  He doesn‘t like crazy.  And I think that the accommodation in this guy that has frustrated us, he‘s just not going to have that many chances for accommodation.  He‘s going to be fighting some nasty stuff. 

So I think we are going to see a fighter.  It‘s not going to be great, but it will make us happy a lot of the time.

UYGUR:  I hope so.

WALSH:  That‘s my optimism for the new year. 

UYGUR:  I hope so.  All right.  Good.  I like ending on an optimistic note, too. 

WALSH:  Good.

UYGUR:  All right.  Joan, thank you.  We appreciate it. 

WALSH:  Thank you, Cenk. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, coming up, the Wall Street banksters are very upset with Obama.  Even though they are still making record profits, they say Obama hurt their feelings.  We‘ll tell you why. 

Then Sarah Palin tried to explain her infamous “refudiate” screw-up, and she only made it a million times worse.  The hilarious details later in the show. 


UYGUR:  Welcome back. 

The most important issue for President Obama over the next two years is, of course, jobs.  If he doesn‘t find a way for people to get back to work, soon he will be out of work. 

So today‘s numbers from the Economic Policy Institute could not have helped.  It turns out American companies created more than two million jobs in the last year.  Fantastic!  Oh, but it turns out most of them were not in America.  Shwang (ph), wang, wang. 

1.4 million of those jobs were created abroad.  Less than one million were created right here at home, in the United States. 

If the jobs that went overseas were created here instead, the unemployment rate would drop from about 10 percent to less than 9 percent.  Hey, that would be a pretty good start. 

Robert Scott, the senior international economist for the institute, summarized it best when he says, “There‘s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy.”

Man, I could not have said it any better myself.  That is exactly right. 

This misguided idea that if we just keep giving tax breaks and subsidies to the U.S. companies, that they will create jobs here in the United States, is a myth.  This isn‘t 1950.  They can, and do go abroad to hire people at lower wages while socking up our tax dollars. 

Look, Thomas Connelly, the chief innovation officer at DuPont, explained it this way: “We are a global player out to succeed in any geography where we participate in.  DuPont‘s workforce shrank by 9 percent in America while it grew by 54 percent in Asia Pacific countries from ‘05 to ‘09.”

Look, I don‘t even begrudge them that.  I understand what they view as the business necessity, to go to emerging markets and even seek people who will work for less.  All I‘m saying is let‘s stop subsidizing it.  The American taxpayer shouldn‘t be the sucker who helps them do exactly that.

Joining me now is Mike Papantonio, host of “The Ring of Fire” radio show. 


UYGUR:  Hey, Mike. 

Mike, look, let me ask you about the Republicans first.  The Democrats actually introduced bills in the spring, in the House and the Senate, to take away tax subsidies for off-shoring our jobs.  It‘s the most logical bill I have ever heard, and the Republicans killed it.

You know, do these guys care about American jobs at all or have they just stopped pretending? 

PAPANTONIO:  There‘s nothing patriotic or compassionate about the U.S.  Chamber of Commerce and corporate America.  They are there for one reason, and that is to make as much as they can as quickly as they can. 

Look, there‘s the carrot in the club in the way that you deal with corporate America at this level.  Unfortunately, Obama is too willing to put too much carrot out there and not use enough club. 

He has forgotten, Cenk, that when American Labor Movement in America launched their “Buy American” idea—they had a whole campaign, “Buy American”—it was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it was the biggest corporations in America that spent millions to try to defeat that.  Now, that‘s a campaign that would have created jobs in America. 

But you know what?  They don‘t want to be in America.  They want to be in Saipan, in China, in India, where there‘s no rules, there‘s no regulations, there‘s no taxes.  They don‘t have to play by anybody‘s rules. 

So what they have done now, Cenk, is they are holding Obama hostage. 

And he doesn‘t understand it.

Here is how they are holding him hostage.  He is saying to them, look, if you tax us, we are going to go to India.  If you regulate us, we are going to go to Saipan.  If you do what you‘re supposed to do in protecting the American worker, we are going to go somewhere else. 

Obama, right now, believes that he can deal with corporate America by saying please, pretty please.  It is not a Kumbaya moment for Obama right now.  He needs to make them understand that he is going to sanction them this way, that he‘s—there‘s all types of things he can do, even by executive orders, things like subsidies that they receive. 

He can move—he can at least start talking about the idea of removing tax benefits for them sending jobs out of this country.  He can start closing the gap on them being able to have offshore banking, making millions without paying—billions without paying taxes. 

We have treated the American corporation like they give a damn about this country.  They are not patriotic in the same sense that you are, that most people who are watching this program are. 

They are patriotic to one thing, and that‘s bottom line.  And as long as you allow them to play by the rules they have been playing by for two decades, we are going to continue losing 15,000 jobs a month to places like Saipan. 

Tom DeLay, you talked a little bit earlier—every time Ed talks about this, he gets angry about it.  I get angry when I think about it, too. 

Tom DeLay going to Saipan, looking at those sweat shops and saying that‘s what he wants for America—and truthfully, that‘s what corporate America and the Republicans want for America.  And Obama doesn‘t understand it is not a “pretty please” moment.  The only thing they understand is the pushback. 

They‘d understand compromise.  And that‘s the problem he has right now. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Mike, you said it all, man. 

Look, these are not American companies.  That‘s a misnomer.  They are multinational corporations. 

And they are not immoral, they are amoral.  They don‘t care.  They will hire wherever they want. 

And I get that.  I get the whole concept.  We just can‘t give them our tax dollars to hire people abroad. 

That‘s crazy talk, but you and I agree on that. 

Mike, thanks for joining us, as always. 

PAPANTONIO:  Cenk, thank you. 

UYGUR:  All right.

Now, coming up, John Bolton, the man with the 1970s style moustache, is fear-mongering like the good old days.  He wants to keep pork barrel spending going in the defense industry.  You‘re going to love/hate his latest scare tactic. 

We‘ll be right back. 


UYGUR:  In “Psycho Talk” tonight, you remember John Bolton?  He‘s the guy with the funny walrus moustache.  He‘s the guy that was so extreme, even some right-wing Republican senators wouldn‘t confirm him to be our U.N. ambassador.

Bush put him in there anyway, without Senate confirmation, just to show the world how much we love war.  Bolton, of course, enthusiastically pushed for the Iraq War.  He also wanted us to invade Iran.  If he could, he would like to invade Uranus. 

Well, he‘s at it again now.  While Democrats and Republicans are now finally starting to talk about cutting the bloated defense budget, Bolton is here to stick up for the defense industry. 


JOHN BOLTON, FMR. U.N. AMBASSADOR:  I think you have got to be just as much on the outlook for waste and fraud in defense spending as anywhere else, but the fact is we‘re entering into a very uncertain period in the world.  We have got a lot of threats out there that we‘re not ready for, not just nuclear proliferation, but chemical and biological weapons. 

This is not the time to cut back.  I understand there‘s a lot of pressure to get deficits down.  I‘m all in favor of it.  But national security comes first, pure and simple, as far as I‘m concerned. 


UYGUR:  Chemical and biological weapons?  Are you kidding me? 

This is the same load of crap they used to scare us into going into Iraq.  It turned out the only thing Saddam had to attack us with was his slippers.  Just when you start talking about cutting the pork out of defense, here comes John Bolton to stick up for defense contractors.   Look, there are real threats in this world but this isn‘t about that, I think this is about people paying Bolton to scare the be-Jesus out of the public so that we will waste more money on defense contracts we don‘t need, so that the people who run that industry can get even richer.  

For John Bolton and his mustache, it is time to say that spending more on defense while our budget blows up, well, that‘s fear mongering “psycho talk.”

Now, coming up, Wall Street says, their feelings are hurt and they think the country and the president should have done them more favors.  I‘m going to be breathing fire over that in a minute.  And so is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, she‘s been a fighter against Wall Street abuse for years.  

And a week after his racist remarks, we find out Haley Barbour used his state jet to go party.  Must have been fun for him.  Taxpayers picked up his bill for football games and boxing matches.  I will get rapid fire response.  

Plus, Chris Christie is hanging out with Mickey Mouse as his residents get pounded by the snow.  You are watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  


UYGUR:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Cenk Uygur of “THE YOUNG TURKS” in for Ed Schultz.  The battleground story tonight, Wall Street cry babies.  The financial executives and their lobbyists have their knives out for President Obama.  They attacked the president and his administration anonymously to politico.  Very, very brave.  They say he hurt their feelings.  Did he?  Are you OK?  Did your feelings get hurty wurty?

An anonymous Wall Street banker complains that quote, “President Obama whipped everyone into a frenzy against us.”  Oh, are you going to be all right?  All you did was cause the great recession and nearly destroy the whole world economy.  But Obama said bad things about you?  An anonymous bank executive says, quote, “You have to understand it is very personal.  He raised money from us.  Then he started calling us bad people.  So forgive us for not wanting to buy him a drink after getting punched in the eye.”  Oh, you got punched in eye, did you?  What a joke.  Apparently, you have never taken a real punch.  Obama let them keep their banking monopoly, their fat jobs, their fat bonuses, their risky derivatives trading, their unlimited leverage and their record profits. 

Meanwhile, what did real Americans get to keep?  Nothing.  We lost eight million jobs, thanks to these bankers‘ colossal incompetence and greed.  One of the bankers told Politico that Obama doesn‘t understand capital markets.  No, you know who doesn‘t understand capital markets?  You Mr. Banker, that‘s why all went bankrupt and begged and cried to us, the American taxpayer, for help, because you suck this.  You take too many risks in your infinite greed and crash your banks and the whole economy in the process.  You shouldn‘t get our sympathy.  You should get prison sentences. 

Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide, and Joseph Cassano of AIG, all made about $600 million piece while they destroy their companies.  I wouldn‘t hurt your feelings, I‘d hurt your bank account.  I take every one of those dollars back for the American people and then you can cry from your jail cell.  You think Obama was too tough on you?  You should pray every day that Obama was there to save your hide because someone like me is next.  You want to keep crying, I will give you something to cry about. 

For more, let me bring in democratic Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas.  She voted for Wall Street reform and she‘s a crusader against Wall Street.  Congresswoman to give you a sense of how outrageous these guys are, I want to go to Blackstone Group head Steven Schwartzman.  Here is what he said about President Obama.  It says, “it‘s a war, it‘s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”  And my god, he didn‘t even lay a glove on them, and all of a sudden, he is Hitler.  What do you think?

REP. SHELIA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS:  You know, the absurd becomes more absurd the more you hear it and that is absolutely absurd.  The president has a responsibility to the American people to create jobs.   Does the industry recognize that we gave $800 billion to save them?  Does the industry recognize that they have record profits and much cash?  And little access to credit for many, many businesses?  That the doors to businesses closed because they could not get access to credit, the job creators of America are small businesses.  

Listen to a group of them on a street corner or a downtown in any city or any rural area and find out how much access they have had to the nation‘s banks in getting credit to expand their business.  So, I would simply say this, trillions of dollars of derivatives, they do need regulating and the president doesn‘t have a personal axe to grind.  He is visiting with businesses all over America and I will assure them that they will have their time but when then do have their time in coming to the White House, it really shouldn‘t be about a Tea Party, it should be about what are they going to do to stimulate the economy and create jobs?  What small businesses are they going to help fund?  What individuals are they going to help refinance their mortgages?  What mortgage foreclosures are they going to stop so that people can hold on to the very last asset that they have?

This is not personal, it‘s not personal for the president.  He has to lead a country into an economic rebirth, if you will, and the bankers can be a part of it but when you continue to have big bailouts, big bonuses and little access for the little guys in terms of getting resources to rebuild this nation, it makes for a very, very unsettling condition.  Let me just say this, do they know how many tax cuts they got in the last tax bill and do they know one in particular, which I‘m looking at very closely, Cenk, and that is a tax cut for banks and businesses that invest overseas.  Now, how that got in, I don‘t know.  What but what I‘m saying is there‘s.

UYGUR:  I know how the Republicans—no, but congresswoman, the Republicans put it in there and the president agreed to it look.  I mean, look, some think that this is strategy by the banking system.  Oh, no, Uncle, why are you are hurting us too much, Barack, ease up on us.  And then the president‘s playing into it, that he does ease up on them.  He met with, you know, the top CEOs again, and promised them more and more, he gave the tax cuts.  Is the president being too soft on these guys?

LEE:  You know, I think the president was trying to be fair and balanced and you know, he has explained over and over again why he had to make the decision to sit down with the Republicans and try to make a decision to move forward.  Some of us disagreed, but we understand, we disagreed, we don‘t want to go that route again but it makes no sense for those who have got the greatest bounty, the greatest trinkets, Christmas gifts and what they don‘t understand is what makes and turns the American economy is the American people.  It‘s the mom and pop that opened their businesses, the medium-sized businesses that make things. 

I‘m in the business of making things, manufacturing, how many loans have they given to guys who are making things, who are opening new businesses, who are creating opportunity for the college students of the 21st century?  That is what we want to hear from the financial markets, the capital markets, the big banks.  And when the big banks have their opportunity to visit with the president, which they will, as he‘s meeting with everyone, I hope they will come in with a plan that not talks about hurt feelings but talks about, Mr. President, here is an agenda that is going to create 30 million jobs, 20 million jobs.  Well, you know. 

UYGUR:  They‘ll never going to do that.  They are going to do their derivatives trading. 

LEE:  Then they have no reason criticizing. 

UYGUR:  Step in there and regulate.  All right.  Congresswoman, it‘s. 

LEE:  Well, I would say this, the bonuses have to end and when they come to the table and say, we are  regular guys and ladies and we‘re ready to work on behalf of the American people with the president. 

UYGUR:  Never. 

LEE:  That is when I think that timeout will end.  

UYGUR:  And they‘re never going to do that, we got to regulate right now.  But congresswoman, it has been a pleasure talking to you.  I really appreciate you coming on here to talk with us.  

LEE:  Thank you.  I look forward to hearing from the banks real soon. 

UYGUR:  OK.  Let‘s see how that turns out.  All right.  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. 

Just a week after saying he didn‘t remember the civil rights year being that bad, political reports Haley Barbour has been living the good life at the expense of Mississippi taxpayers.  Barbour reportedly spent $500,000 over the past three years on air travel in a private Cessna jet.  Woo. 

Newt Gingrich‘s daughter says, her father is very serious about running for president.  She says, he is concern about the direction the country has taken since President Obama was sworn in, oh, is he?

And snowstorms are big tests for politicians and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie failed that test.   He is getting hammered for staying at Disney world as his residents recovered from an enormous snowstorm that paralyzed the entire state. 

With us tonight, Joe Madison, an XM Satellite radio show host, and Scott Hennen, a conservative radio show host.

Scott, let me start with you.  Come on.  Haley Barbour goes to, you know, football games, goes to his own fund-raisers with money that was taken from Mississippi taxpayers to go on his private jet.  That is outrageous hypocrisy, isn‘t it?

SCOTT HENNEN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, first of all, we ought to pass the smell test here and say if you are outrage about the spending of Mississippi taxpayers on Haley Barbour‘s travel, are you also outraged that for instance the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, couldn‘t wait 48 hours for her husband, who ultimately delayed his travel to Hawaii for their Christmas vacation, takes off on a separate flight at additional taxpayer expenses and I think.


UYGUR:  Was she going to a fund-raiser?

HENNEN:  We all going to be looking at. 

UYGUR:  Was she going to a fund-raiser and was she going to a fund-raiser and was she claiming to be like Haley Barbour, oh my God, I care so much about the people‘s money unless I‘m using it on my own private  jet?

HENNEN:  Well, first of all, this is obviously an issue for Mississippi taxpayers, so they are going to need to decide this.  I think the reason Politico is making a dig big deal out of this is that Haley Barbour is a prime candidate for president in 2012.  But in reading from the article in Politico, Barbour‘s travels, Mississippi state business is used to justify nearly every flight.  Now, nothing against Mississippi but they have a rock star governor who is in demand.  I think the best thing for Mississippi‘s bank for the buck is to have Haley Barbour go anywhere he is asked to go and spread the news of Mississippi.  I was down there recently.  Their gulf coast recovery is coming along, pretty darn good despite the heat from the Obama administration on the gulf drilling moratorium.  


UYGUR:  I don‘t get it.  All right.  We are not talking about. 

HENNEN:  I think Haley Barbour does a nice job of spreading the message for Mississippi and it‘s get a good bang for the buck for Mississippians. 

UYGUR:  All right.  A good bang for the buck?  What do you think, Joe?  

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, I think that what the American people just heard is what conservative does all the time.  You didn‘t have asked him about the first lady.  You asked him about the governor of Mississippi, so he deflected.  The reality is, I don‘t just visit from Mississippi.  My father and my grandfather from Mississippi.  I have got a lot of people down there who are, in fact, hurting.  The reality is, this is a once again a double standard.  There are politicians who have lost their jobs for doing the same exact thing, what upsets me most about Haley Barbour though is him saying, the civil rights movement was no big deal.  Well, tell that to Myrlie Evers.  Tell that to the Moore family who on Christmas day were slaughtered in their own house. 

HENNEN:  We‘re talking about. 


MADISON:  I‘m not finished and I did not interrupt you.  So don‘t start with me this morning.  So, the reality is he made two mistakes in one week and you‘re right, he is a rising star and he is about ready to fizzle out if he keeps making these bone-headed mistakes.  

UYGUR:  All right.  Guys, I got to move on, on Newt Gingrich.  Let me give you a quote from his daughter and then I will have you guys respond, she says, “He is very serious, much more serious than he ever has been and I can tell that because we actually sat down, the two of us, for two hours recently and I don‘t think that‘s happened since I had children.”  It‘s kind of depressing, if you ask me.  She continues, “All my life, he has always done what he thought was best for our country and I think that he‘ll take all of that into consideration.  So we‘ll see in February or March.”  Scott, what do you think?  Is he definitely running and is it a good idea?

HENNEN:  I think Newt Gingrich is definitely running.  And look, this is going to be a strong field, it‘s partly a result of the miserable failure of the Obama administration that you have, the Haley Barbour, the Newt Gingrichs, and Sarah Palins, and Mitt Romneys, and Tim Pawlentys and some of the other folks who are throwing their hats in this ring, there‘s going to be a robust dialogue among conservatives who the standard bearer is, interview process if you will and I don‘t think it‘s a big surprise that his daughter says, he is seriously considering this given the condition of the country. 

MADISON:  All right.  And the reality—and the reality is that if you add them all up together and did a  comparison of who would you rather have as president of the United States, any of those and Barack Obama, guess who comes out on top in almost every poll?  Thank you. 

UYGUR:  All right. 


HENNEN:  New pollster out there, Joe. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Listen, we are out of time for Chris Christie, unfortunately, but, you know what?  I‘m going to give him a bye on that, Scott.  So, don‘t worry about it. 

MADISON:  People have lost their jobs for what he did. 

UYGUR:  Well, I hear you, Joe, we disagree on that one.  But thank you guys for joining us.  We appreciate it.  We got to go.  Thank you.  

Now, coming up, over 50 million Americans are without health insurance, 50 million.  Yet Republicans are bound to repeal Obama‘s health care reform.  We‘re trying to figure out if you have to be sick in the head to vote for the GOP.  

And get ready America, Alvin Greene is making a political comeback. 

Oh, no.  The playbook is next.  Stay with us.  


UYGUR:  It is still not too late to let me know what you think.  The number to dial is 877-ed-msnbc.  Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you think we will see a tougher President Obama over the next two years?  Press one for yes, press two for no.  Again, the number to dial is 877-ed-msnbc.  Very curious on what you think.  We will be right back.  Stay with us.  


UYGUR:  In the playbook tonight, the health care disaster continues.  President Obama was proud that his health care overhaul would cover 30 million insured in this country.  Well, there is a new number out from the Kaiser foundation on how many are uninsured now, 50 million.  Oops.  Meanwhile, Republicans want to go on the opposite direction.  They are vowing to repeal Obama‘s health care law.  

Joining me now is executive director of the National Association of Free Clinics, Nicole Lamoureux.  Nicole, talk to me about how bad it is out there.  Why are so many more people uninsured than just a short time ago?


Well what we know is that this economy has dramatically impacted how people can afford health care.  We have seen across the country, through the free clinics that we have done, 12,000 people have to come to convention centers to get the health care that they need.  Our free clinics are struggling to keep up with how many people are coming to their doors.  We know that this economy has really impacted how people can make decisions when it comes to their health. 

UYGUR:  You know, I was reading a story about a woman who cracked her teeth and she didn‘t have the money for it she just had the teeth pulled instead, because we are all—this is a disaster, 50 million uninsured.  Now the republican plan during this whole debate was, let‘s insure only three million of those.  I mean, isn‘t that a joke?  Isn‘t that an insult to the American people?  That would leave 47 million uninsured.  

LAMOUREUX:  What we know right now is this, is that we have a health care bill that has passed, correct?  But we know that‘s still going to leave 20-plus million uninsured.  And now, the Republicans want to repeal that health care bill.  Really?  Our challenge to Congress is start working together.  Start showing some respect for those working Americans that really have no place to go.  Give us the respect that we need. 

UYGUR:  Yes, well, I hope they are listening to you, but if you are asking for the Republicans to care about those uninsured, you are going to wait a long, long time, unfortunately.  Nicole, thanks for joining us, we appreciate it and we appreciate the work do you at the Free Clinics.  

LAMOUREUX:  Thank you very much.  

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, one final page in the “Playbook.”  After getting blown out by Jim DeMint in the Senate run, Alvin Greene is making a comeback.  The unemployed man indicted by a South Carolina jury for allegedly showing pornography to a college student, whose platform included making action figures of himself to create jobs, who claimed to be the greatest person ever is running for office again.  If he were the greatest person ever, couldn‘t you have easily won that Senate seat?  But I digress.  He‘s not trying to win a special election for a South Carolina house seat, he said that he‘s running because Jim DeMint started the recession.  He didn‘t actually say that but put him on Lawrence O‘Donnell‘s show and he will soon enough.  

All right.  Now, coming up, Sarah Palin refudiates all her critics. 

Wait until you hear how she explains her screw-up.  It is a classic. 

That‘s next.


UYGUR:  In this holiday season, Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps on giving.  Over the summer debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque, when that was a hot topic, Palin sent out this now-infamous tweet on July 18th, quote, “Ground Zero mosque supporters: Doesn‘t it stab you in the heart as it does ours throughout the heartland?  Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate.”  Well, since refudiate is not a real word, a fire storm of mocking ensued which I rather enjoyed and participated in.  Refudiate was then named Merriam Webster‘s word of the summer, since it is a new word that didn‘t exist before but it‘s now used by so many people to make fun of Palin. 

Palin then claimed she was being Shakespearean.  She tweeted this. 

“Refudiate, mis-underestimate, wee-wee‘d up, English is a living language.  Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too, got to celebrate it.”  What exactly was she celebrating?  Being a national embarrassment?  There‘s one thing if your neighbor down the street misspeaks, but this lady is trying to become leader of the free world.  That‘s why, I‘ve got to refudiate her.  Since, people weren‘t minding that she‘s a modern day Shakespeare, Palin just came up with a new excuse for the screw-up.  In a reality show, she explains it was all a typo. 


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR:  Oh, geez, yesterday I twittered the word with refudiate instead of repudiated, I pressed an “f” instead of a “p,” and people freaked out, so, now we‘re saying, no, no, no, the English language is a living, breathing, evolving art.  I can invent a word.  So now, guess what refudiate is now the number two searched term on Google trends.  Make lemonade out of lemons.  


UYGUR:  Seems like she is saying, oh, geez, people know me for being dumb, but at least they know me, voila, lemonade.  But my favorite part was the typo excuse.  Now, let me show what you a keyboard looks like and let‘s see if your finger could slip and accidentally hit “f” while typing “p.”  The “f” key is nowhere near the “p” key.  It‘s miles away.  She would have to have the world‘s largest fingers for that to be a slip of the finger.  I love that she didn‘t even look at a keyboard before she came one that excuse.  But if you are still not convinced.  Let‘s take a look at the Palin appearance on the Sean Hannity show before her infamous tweet.  He asked about an NAACP vote on a resolution to condemn the Tea Party movement for explicitly racist behavior.   Here is what Palin said. 


PALIN:  And the president and his wife, you know, the first lady, spoke at NAACP so recently, they have power in their words.  They could refudiate what it is that this group is saying and they could set the record straight. 


UYGUR:  Wait a minute, did you hear that?  Let‘s play that one more time. 


PALIN:  They could refudiate. 


UYGUR:  Yes, that would be Palin using the word refudiate before accidentally slipping on the keyboard.  When told about this, Palin refudiated her earlier comments. 

Tonight on our phone survey, I asked you, do you think we will see a tougher President Obama over the next two years?  Sixty five percent said yes, 35 percent said no.  That‘s THE ED SHOW. 

I‘m Cenk Uygur.   You can always catch me on and on  Thanks for watching.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now. 



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