updated 1/19/2011 12:22:52 PM ET 2011-01-19T17:22:52

Guests: Al Sharpton, Bill Finch, Holland Cooke, Scott Hennen, Amy Holmes,

Bill Press, Joe Cirincione, Ryan Lizza

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” and on the table at this

hour 

Dr. Martin Luther King‘s dream remains unfulfilled, in part because of the Republicans‘ divisive politics and hateful tone in America.  My commentary on that, and Reverend Al Sharpton and just how important this day is in America. 

Speaker Boehner can talk all he wants about civility, but his actions don‘t show any change.  Once again, he‘s snubbing President Obama.  This time he says no to another invitation?  This time, at this week‘s State Dinner with China and the president? 

My panel responds to that tonight.  And I‘ve got commentary. 

And new information about the new oversight chairman in the House, Darrell Issa.  In his past, allegations of car theft, unregistered guns, arson.  More than interesting.  He‘s the guy the righties want to have investigate the Obama White House?  More on that later on in the show.

But this is the story that has our focus first tonight.

As America takes time to honor the 82nd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, we should take a moment to consume some of his words.

When it comes to conversation in America, let‘s look at it this way.  “True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.”

Well, America is a very tense place right now because so many people don‘t have economic and social justice in our country.  Political discourse, and the tone, well, they‘ve been at the forefront of the conversation over the last week.  And at the same time, the Republicans are whining about the media, covering the actions of those in Congress and the tone of America. 

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn put it this way on “Meet the Press”—

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COBURN ®, OKLAHOMA:  I‘ve pretty well been disgusted with all the media.  The problem I have with the premise, David, is that we‘re disconnecting what the real problems are in our country.  And we‘re spending all this time talking about political discourse, rather than talking about the real risk to our country, which we need to quit paying attention to what all the media says.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Really?  I don‘t think Senator Coburn knows the first thing about real problems in America.  Just look at his record.  His nickname in the Senate is “Dr. No.”

Coburn and the rest of the Senate Republicans have blocked help for the American wage earners at just about every level, and at record levels.  “The New York Times” reports Republicans have used the filibuster 275 times since 2006. 

Coburn doesn‘t want the media to tell you that Mitch McConnell has mounted more filibusters in the last four years than the entire Senate has in the 60 years from 1920 to 1980.  The real risk to our country is when guys like Coburn block everything from unemployment extensions to helping the 9/11 responders. 

Just say no to it all, right? 

Now, I would be more than happy to change my tone on this show.  I would do it as soon as the Republicans stop blocking policies that help working class Americans. 

I can‘t take the anti-labor stuff.  They treat laborers in this country as if they‘re some kind of disease and we‘ve got tot get rid of them. 

It‘s not just Washington Republicans preaching about tone.  The same thing goes for the governor who loves to go to Disney World.  Chris Wallace pressed Chris Christie about civility on “Fox News Sunday.”  Watch what the bully from across the river said after Wallace played a clip of him browbeating a school teacher. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, “FOX NEWS SUNDAY”:  You say that the teachers‘ union is a bully.  You talk about all the “crap,” your word, that you hear from public employee unions. 

That‘s your idea of civility, Governor? 

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY:  Sure.  There‘s absolutely nothing that‘s not civil about that at all.  What you just saw is being straight. 

I mean, you know, I had a teacher there complaining that she was compensated, this whole list of things she wasn‘t compensated for.  And I said, “Well, then, good.  You don‘t have to do it.  If you think you‘re being compensated fairly, then do don‘t it.”

And I don‘t think there‘s a thing about that that‘s not civil. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, it depends on how you view American workers, Governor. 

This guy governs like everybody‘s rich.  And I‘m sick of Republicans like acting like they just have the moral high ground on civility and tone in America. 

Chris Christie has no business talking about civility when he has been the poster child for cutting school teachers while lining the pockets of the rich in his state.  Christie loves to act like he‘s above it all and then turn around and point a finger at somebody‘s chest saying that they‘re not civil. 

President Obama, I think, has done everything in his power to unite this country and change the tone.  But Republicans keep treating him with disrespect.  Here‘s the record. 

Nobody disrespects the president more than the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner.  Just look at what he‘s done.

Last November, he turned down an opportunity to come in and negotiate the tax cuts with the president in a White House dinner.  He didn‘t want to do that.

Last week, he turned down a trip to Tucson on Air Force One so that he could attend, of all important things, a cocktail party on Capitol Hill.  Now Boehner has rejected the president‘s offer to come to State Dinner with the president of China this Wednesday? 

Now, let‘s see.  He‘s number two in line for the presidency.  There‘s President Obama, then there is the vice president, Joe Biden, and then there‘s the Speaker of the House, God forbid.

So, the man second in line to be president of the United States is saying no to China.  I mean, it almost seems like Mr. Boehner doesn‘t even want to be around President Obama. 

Boehner, I think, is abdicating his duties and responsibilities as Speaker of the House so he can stay connected at the hip with the super rich.  Just keep the money coming, boys.  I‘ll stay away from Obama, we won‘t get too close to him.

Chris Christie acts like a thug to school teachers, cops, and firefighters, and then expects them to show civility.  Tom Coburn wants to block money from 9/11 heroes, and he wants you to ignore what people like me say about it. 

We‘re not civil?  The hell we aren‘t. 

Republicans have no business talking about civility and tone until they change the way they govern.  The tone in this country will never change until Republicans quit the perpetual campaign cycle and start acting like statesmen. 

A great first step would be taking the word “killing” out of the health care repeal bill.  Well, no one on the right has said that they‘re going to do that.  They don‘t have the character to step up and do it.

So don‘t expect this broadcaster to show change anytime soon if the Republicans are going to keep acting the way they‘ve been acting all along. 

Now, the country likes health care.  The country was for Wall Street reform.  The country doesn‘t like outsourcing.  And, of course, the American people are now at a higher percentage than ever before, questioning the war spending and what the heck we‘re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

So is it rhetoric?  Is it not civil to question these policies?  You mean to tell me that we can go through a record number of filibusters in the Senate and nobody in the country is going to respond to that and get a bad attitude about what Washington is doing? 

Mr. Coburn, why don‘t you look at yourself, and why don‘t you go into your caucus and say, you know what, maybe this policy of saying no to everybody has something to do with the way the country is at each other‘s throats? 

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think on this. 

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think Republicans have made any real effort to change the tone? 

Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

And I‘ll reiterate before we go to our first guest tonight, I‘ll change the tone of this show.  I won‘t be as aggressive as I‘ve always been.  But I know that‘s a pipe dream. 

The fact of the matter is, the Republicans are never going to—never

they‘re never going to work in unison with the Democrats because they don‘t want to see this president get any credit whatsoever.  It‘s about power.  It‘s about the White House, the Senate and the House.  It‘s about the vilification of a man who really wants to be a pragmatic politician and is willing to take a bunch of heat from his lefties if he can find some common ground somewhere. 

But the Republicans, that‘s not in their DNA.  So, changing tone, I think it starts in Washington.  And I think it starts in the heart of those in Washington. 

There‘s an old football story.  Don Shula was coach of the Miami Dolphins since his playoff season.  I‘ll just tell you the story.

Kiick and Csonka showed up at training camp, both of them out of shape.  And they were running laps, and Kiick and Csonka, back in the old days, the running backs, after they had their great year, all of a sudden, they‘re running and they stop.  And Shula ran across the field and said, “How in the hell can two guys get tired at the same time?”

Good point.  How in the hell can the Congress just, in unison, on the right wing, just say no, no, no?  They‘re a team.  Give them credit.

Mitch McConnell has held his caucus together.  They‘re about defeating the president. 

So I‘ll change the tone when they prove to the American people that they‘re not about defeating the president and moving the agenda forward for American workers. 

Joining me now is Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network.

Reverend, good to have you with us tonight. 

REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  Happy King Day, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  What does Dr. Martin Luther King‘s birthday and this day mean to us? 

SHARPTON:  It means a lot.  I mean, it‘s a day of celebration and challenge. 

Celebration, because Dr. King and the era that he represented and those that worked with him really won some battles .  The dream that he expressed in ‘63, he fulfilled many things about it, and so has America since then. 

But then the things he outlined post ‘63 -- economic justice, criminal justice system being fair and equal, education—has yet to be fulfilled.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

SHARPTON:  So we can celebrate that we have done a lot and made a lot of progress.  And we should.  We shouldn‘t be cynical, because young people need to know you can win in struggle. 

We should not act like nothing was won.  A lot was won.  But now we still must face the challenges of today, and there are those that are doing the same kind of insensitive policies that they did in the era that Dr.  King was in. 

And I think you said it best when you quoted Dr. King saying just removing tension will not bring peace.  You must have justice to bring peace, which led to the slogan, “No justice, no peace.”  It came right out of Dr. King. 

SCHULTZ:  Would Dr. King—what would he say about the tone?  If he were with us today, what would he say?  What would his message be to America right now? 

SHARPTON:  I can only imagine he would say what he said, and that is that we must have a tone of respect, a tone of trying to deal with lifting those that are at the bottom and giving equality to all Americans.  We‘ve broke down the wall of apartheid.  We have freedom, but not equality. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

SHARPTON:  So, we can work anywhere, we just don‘t have jobs.  We can check into  hotels, we can‘t check out. 

SCHULTZ:  So, Reverend, in your opinion, what obligation does the Congress have?  What responsibility does the Congress have?  Because I know as a consumer of what‘s going on, how in the world are we supposed to think they‘re honest brokers if they‘re going to filibuster everything? 

SHARPTON:  If they are filibustering everything and have formed an obstructionist type of politics, then that is the most vile use of government.  Government is to serve the public, not just to come in and say, no matter what, good or bad, we‘re here to block, we‘re here to obstruct for political points. 

And I could imagine Dr. King and every other great American that we‘ve had would say that this is the misuse of government.  I would say it if it was on the left.  You cannot say come any kind of idea, I‘m here to vote partisan, no, rather than people of America, yes, or no if I disagree.  You can‘t disagree with everything a president says unless you‘re committed to the downfall of that president rather than the uplifting of the American people. 

SCHULTZ:  Reverend Al Sharpton, good to have you with us tonight.

SHARPTON:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  I appreciate you being on with us. 

Coming up, the National Rifle Association has finally come out of hiding to speak against regulating 33 bullet clips like the one used in Tucson.  No surprise here.  But what is surprising is who‘s taking on the NRA.

The mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and other local officials are saying enough is enough. 

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa plans major investigations into the Obama presidency, but you won‘t believe the skeletons flying out of Issa‘s closet.  The dirty details ahead. 

Plus, some righties ripped President Obama for not going after Iran‘s nuclear program, but it turns out there has been a very secret and effective computer virus that is reportedly working.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  The National Rifle Association has finally broken its silence about Tucson and the move to outlaw the high-capacity bullet clips like the one used in the shooting.  “These magazines are standard equipment for self-defense handguns and other firearms owned by tens of millions of American.  Law-abiding private citizens choose them for many reasons, including the same reason police officers do, to improve their odds in defensive situations.” 

Defensive situations, folks?  I‘m not anti-gun.  I own six of them myself, shotguns and rifles for deer hunting.  But there‘s no need, in my opinion, to have a handgun with that many rounds.  Even so, legislation to ban the clips stands very little chance of passing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  Let‘s be honest here.  There haven‘t been the votes in the Congress for gun control.  We‘ve had some victories, the mental illness bill that I mentioned.  There was a proposal by Senator Thune that said if you had a concealed carry permit in one state, you could walk into another state. 

So laws like Arizona, someone could buy one there and come into New York and not even notify the police, that was defeated.  But make no mistake about it, the changes are hard. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Real hard.  Since Washington won‘t do anything, it‘s really up to the local officials to act, if they feel the need.  And they are. 

Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is calling for police to boycott the Glock until the company stops selling high-capacity 30-round magazines. 

The mayor joins us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.

Mayor, good to have you with us. 

Why are you doing this? 

MAYOR BILL FINCH, BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT:  You know, Ed, mayors are on the front line, literally, of the gun issue all the time.  We have to go to the funerals of the people who are our neighbors who are caught in gun violence. 

We‘re the ones who have—I have 406 sworn officers, and thanks to President Obama, another 20 on the way.  But they have bulletproof vests, but they get into a situation, and I don‘t want them going up against somebody who can have a concealable weapon that can shoot 30 bullets at rapid fire for no reason. 

SCHULTZ:  What‘s your response to the NRA statement today? 

FINCH:  You know, I used to be the chair of the committee in Hartford that went up against the NRA, and I believe in the Second Amendment.  I fought for more rights for hunters as part as the Democratic Caucus. 

I feel they often misrepresent the true sportsman among us who believe in getting into the out of doors and hunting and fishing.  I love to fish.  I love the outdoors.  I have many friends who own guns. 

They‘re not the problem, Ed.  I have problems in my community. 

We‘re the place that they release the prisoners who‘ve already committed violence with guns.  We need to create a violent gun offender registry and make them report to the police department every two months.  We need to keep giving local communities the ability to buy back guns. 

I only was able to raise $5,000 gun s recently to buy back guns, but every gun that we buy back is one less illegal weapon on the street.  We‘re forced to be creative at the city level in ways that the federal and state government never really have to be, but we need their help. 

You know, the ATF has been wonderful.  We‘ve got a great safe streets task force, the federal government has been a big help with that here. 

And, you know, Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Menino started us on this crusade of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  We want to be reasonable with the American public.  We believe in the Second Amendment. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Now, you‘re a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is chaired by Mayor Bloomberg.  But I understand Mr. Bloomberg is against the boycott. 

Aren‘t you concerned about—go ahead. 

FINCH:  Well, I haven‘t had a chance to talk to Mike, but, you know, there‘s always room for disagreement here. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

FINCH:  The Connecticut legislature, one of eight states in the country that has an assault weapons ban, did not have this large-capacity clip as part of its ban.  And I talked to Senator Martin Looney, who‘s going to be pushing for this again this year, as well as the registry of violent gun offenders in our community to have to report to police stations, and he‘s in favor of banning these large-capacity clips, not for police or for legitimate people, but citizens don‘t need that. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you just heard Mr. Schumer, senator from New York, saying the votes aren‘t there.  So the Congress isn‘t going to do anything. 

Is this part of your motivation? 

FINCH:  You know, so much of Congress‘ inaction on so many issues—climate change, violence on the streets—mayors have to take it on our own.

SCHULTZ:  OK.

FINCH:  We‘re where the rubber meets the road.  The U.S. Conference of Mayors is meeting this week in Washington, and that‘s one of the things we‘re going to be telling the president when we meet him, is we need the community development block grant.  We need those tools.

We need the ability to give us that flexibility at the local level, Ed.  We‘re where the rubber meets the road.  You know, people come to me all the time looking for a job, looking for help in burying their loved ones from gun violence. 

SCHULTZ:  But Mayor, boycotting the Glock, having your law enforcement guys boycotting the Glock, doesn‘t that put them at a disadvantage on the street if they‘re up against more fire power? 

FINCH:  Well, let me say that we‘re not going to do anything that would jeopardize our fine men and women in blue that are so brave and supportive. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.

FINCH:  We‘d never do that.  But I have already spoken to my police chief, Chief Gaudett, and I‘ve asked him to draft a letter to Glock and ask them to not sell those to the citizenry, because it‘s putting his men and women in grave risk—

SCHULTZ:  OK.

FINCH:  -- because we saw what happened in Tucson.  It doesn‘t have to happen in our streets.  It shouldn‘t happen to elected officials.  Many elected officials are really scared these days, and there‘s no reason for this firepower to be aimed at them or the citizenry. 

SCHULTZ:  Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport, Connecticut, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks for speaking up. 

FINCH:  Thanks for having me, Ed.  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  And this programming note.  Tomorrow, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy plans to introduce legislation banning the sale of high-capacity bullet clips.  She‘ll join us live tomorrow, here on THE ED SHOW, to talk about it.

Coming up, here‘s Sean Hannity‘s brilliant plan for oil: invade Kuwait and Iraq.  Again?  And steal all of it.  Just take all the oil. 

“The Slickster” Hannity invades “The Zone” next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, “Mr. Intellectual Dishonesty,” Mr. Sean Hannity, “Slant Head.”  He got all wound up about gas prices during his “Great American Panel” on Friday night. 

Hannity is trying his best to Monday morning quarterback the economic damage George Bush did to this country by starting a war on a lie.  Hannity wants the United States to mount up, invade Kuwait, re-invade Iraq, and steal all the oil to pay for the war. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  Two things I said.  I said, “Why isn‘t Iraq paying us back with oil, and why didn‘t they pay for their own liberation?”  For the Kuwait oil minister, how short his memory is.  You know, we have every right to go in there and, frankly, take all their oil and make them pay for the liberation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, Sean, I thought you would have brought that up with President Bush when you were doing that story riding around on his ranch in that pickup truck, just kind of talking it over. 

Sean Hannity was the top cheerleader for the Iraq War.  He tore into anybody who accused his buddy Bush of invading them for oil.  It‘s unbelievable.  He‘s hammering anyone for a short memory on Iraqi oil paying for the war. 

You see, what Hannity ought to do is book his old buddy Paul Wolfowitz and ask him to explain this -- 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FMR. DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY:  The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years.  We‘re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Doggone it, it‘s amazing what we‘ve got in the file system around here. 

Sean, I‘ll get a courier to send it over to you so you can run that sound bite tonight. 

Sean Hannity made himself a multimillionaire by supporting lies just like that one.  America has spent how many trillions of dollars?  How many lives?  Over 4,000.  And now Hannity is worried about, doggone it, $3 a gallon for gas?  How come they‘re not paying for that? 

For Sean Hannity to want to steal oil from a place where freedom is on the march is intellectually dishonest “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, Speaker Boehner turns down another invitation from President Obama.  My panel will debate why the Speaker keeps saying no to the president. 

And, ,of course, it‘s your annual Rush Limbaugh meltdown because someone in Congress brought up the idea of a level playing field on talk radio in America.  He‘s going nuts. 

Plus, more Americans are against Republicans repealing the health care bill.  Did you get that? 

Republicans, this is what the American people want. 

And amazing new details about oversight chair Darrell Issa and why the only person he should be investigating is himself. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  Lots coming up in the next half hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The “Battleground” story tonight.  Well, the bogeyman is back.  It‘s fairness in the media.  Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn says some good will come out of this Tucson issue and tragedy if it leads to restoring balance on the public airwaves.  Congressman Clyburn wants to re-examine the fairness doctrine.  That‘s his opinion.  This is something that the right wing brings up every year, when they find an issue where they can play the victim. 

Now, the fairness doctrine was started in 1949 by the FCC right after World War II.  And of course, it required broadcast license holders to do a couple of things—give time to issues of public importance and provide political balance.  It was challenged in 1969, it was upheld by the Supreme Court.  But in 1987, President Ronald Reagan had an FCC chair who simply abolished it.  The very next year, Limbaugh and the right wing mounted the charge.  He debuted his show and had tremendous success.  Good for him.  Today there‘s a steady stream of extremely conservative rhetoric that just pours into the homes and cars and work places of millions of Americans five days a week.  And of course, the right wing claims that this is all the free market at work.  I‘ve always said it‘s an ownership issue. 

Well, the truth is Americans in many markets don‘t have access to any alternative because conservative owners just don‘t want to put liberals on the air.  As of fact, that‘s where the market is.  But Limbaugh and Beck and Hannity, they are rallying their base with the old lie that returning fairness to the public airwaves is really a lefty crusade to silence conservatives and get them off the air.  For the record, not one democrat has ever said any conservative talker should be off the air.  And when the Democrats had President Obama in the White House and still do and had the Senate and had the house and had strong majorities, they never went after the fairness doctrine when they had the chance.  So who do you want to believe on this?

Let‘s bring in Holland Cooke, talk radio consultant and Scott Hennen, conservative activist and talk show host from Fargo.  Let‘s go to you first, Holland.  Holland, the other day, Beck and Hannity—Beck and Limbaugh, in fact Limbaugh is calling it the hush rush Bill, but Beck is claiming that—you know, that, you know, he‘s claiming that, well, they‘re trying to get him off the air.  I mean, come on.  What do you make of this?  Every year we visit this. 

HOLLAND COOKE, TALK RADIO CONSULTANT:  It‘s all about Rush, no matter what the topic is.  And I think it speaks volumes when he says civility is the new censorship.  Maybe he was just raised differently than we were, but Ed, back when you were lettering in football, I was one of those nerds on the East Longmeadow High School debating team.  And this is one of the oldest tricks in the book.  As LBJ said, make the SOBs deny it.  Bring it up.  And I‘ll give you a couple of recent examples.  On a couple of state referenda in this last election, there was a question about banning Sharia Law.  Who said anything about enforcing Sharia Law.  And in Delaware during that upset primary where Christine O‘Donnell beat Mike Castle, she comes out and says, I never said he‘s gay.  Who did?  This is the oldest debating trick in the book.  Hang it on the other guy. 

SCHULTZ:  Scott Hennen, what do you think?

SCOTT HENNEN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, for one, you guys have a pretty good point in this game, James Clyburn, a liberal member, democratic, you know, member of the House from South Carolina.  He‘s the guy bringing it up.  These other guys are simply addressing it.  And don‘t forget it‘s the Clinton pollster panel who said, you know, what?  Obama needs an Oklahoma.  He needs to reconnect with the American people like an Oklahoma did for Bill Clinton.  I mean, I am a little suspicious about this incident being used as it has been used—in the right.  And I don‘t for one minute think it‘s possible that a fairness doctrine can be brought up, and again James Clyburn, a democratic member who suggested it. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s his opinion, Scott, but there‘s no legislation introduced to bring it up.  But if you listen to the right. 

COOKE:  And there won‘t be. 

SCHULTZ:  And there won‘t be.  Why didn‘t Obama did it when he had the first two years there?

COOKE:  The president and the chairman of the FCC have repeatedly said there‘s not going to be another fairness doctrine.  And frankly, who could blame Rep Clyburn for being so miffed and vexed as he is after this rude racial photo shop number about Driving Ms. Nancy.  He‘s going to calm down, but it doesn‘t really matter, because the fairness doctrine is obsolete in the age of the internet, Ed.  You said it yourself.  This is circa 1949.  Most of America had one or two TV channels, maybe half a dozen radio stations.  Now there is a diversity of voices and a number of places... 

HENNEN:  Holland, Ed, I think you could solve this.  Ed, have Barack Obama on your show to denounce it once and for all, to put it to bed.  That would be a bad idea, just have him say it. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  How many times does he have to?  Scott, I wouldn‘t waste his time.  Because they had the White House, the House and the Senate and it was not a priority.  But you guys over on the right are telling—because we get e-mails saying, you communists, you want to take these people off the air.  Nobody is saying taking them off the air.  It isn‘t going to happen which you guys are... 

HENNEN:  Jim Clyburn is. 

SCHULTZ:  No, he‘s not.  He‘s saying that it might lead to a different tone.  There‘s no legislation, Scott, certainly you would understand that.  The fact of the matter is that this comes up every year when you can present yourself as a victim to the American people saying, the liberals aren‘t for free speech.  They want to get us off the air and you know it‘s not true. 

COOKE:  It‘s a hobby horse. 

HENNEN:  Just have James Clyburn stop saying it.  By the way, for all about civility, maybe we can start by not accusing people we disagree with of causing murders to happen.  That will not be a bad place to go if you want to change the tone.  Start there. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think you shout start.

COOKE:  And who brought that up?

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Go ahead, Holland. 

COOKE:  Who brought that up?

SCHULTZ:  Fair enough. 

HENNEN:  The entire left wing machine immediately after this tragedy in Arizona. 

SCHULTZ:  Oh, the machine. 

HENNEN:  That‘s where it started. 

COOKE:  Yes, the machine. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Holland Cooke and Scott Hennen, good to have both of you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.  Another snub by new Speaker of the House John Boehner.  He turned down President Obama‘s invitation to attend a state dinner this week with Chinese President Hu.  Why did he do that? 

And tomorrow, the House Republicans start their health care repeal stunt even as support for it plummets.  A new poll shows nearly two-thirds of Americans want to keep or strengthen the reforms passed by the democratic Congress. 

Joining us tonight, Bill Press and Amy Holmes, both nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts.  Great to have both of you with us tonight. 

Amy, why is Mr. Boehner—he‘s got a pattern now.  I mean, three strikes and you‘re going so start thinking that maybe he doesn‘t want to hang around the president.  Don‘t you think it‘s rather curious that the second guy in line to be president got tragedy in this country, doesn‘t want anything to do with the state dinner and the Chinese?  Amy, what about this?

AMY HOLMES, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  You know, Ed.  I never thought I would hear a politician being accused of not going to enough parties.  There‘s a far less—I hate to disappoint you.  There‘s far less than meets the eye with this story.  Harry Reid when he was Senate majority leader declined to go to a state dinner that George Bush invited him to, to honor the Queen of England.  And Harry Reid wants again declined to go to a state dinner with Barack Obama.  That famous Salahi infamous party crashers state dinner, Harry Reid didn‘t go to it.  He said, you know what, he had other things to do.  So, listen, people are busy in Washington.  It happens on both sides of the aisle.  I think this is much to do about nothing.  

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Ed, you know, two wrongs don‘t make a right here.  Let‘s talk about John Boehner.  I mean, I think Boehner is making a huge mistake.  First of all, I don‘t think he realizes that he‘s speaker now.  He‘s no longer sweeping floors in his father‘s bar, OK?  And as a speaker, there‘s certain places he has to be or should be.  He should have been in Tucson last week.  Gabby Giffords is a member of the House, that was his place to be at that memorial service, not a republican fundraiser across the river from Washington.  And on Wednesday night—if I can just—on Wednesday night, this is the leadership of the United States welcoming the leadership of China.  As you pointed out, Ed, he‘s number two in line.  He should be there alongside of the president. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s a pattern.  I mean, I can understand missing a dinner.

HOLMES:  Would you think Harry Reid had a pattern?  Would you say Harry Reid has a pattern—United States President George Bush hosting the queen of England, one of our closes political allies, and Harry Reid said, I had other things to do. 

PRESS:  Let‘s talk about John Boehner. 

HOLMES:  I did not blame Harry Reid at the time and there was no controversy.  This is an attempt to just, you know, pick, pick, pick, and John Boehner and take shot... 

SCHULTZ:  So China is taking all our jobs.  They are basically lending us all the money to do all this stuff that we‘re doing.

HOLMES:  And John Boehner going to the state dinner is going to solve that?

SCHULTZ:  For him not to show up I think is really abdicating his responsibilities, that the Congress hasn‘t even started.

HOLMES:  Sit around with a black tie, eating off of White House China? 

And that is going to solve our debt problems in China.  That is ridiculous.  

SCHULTZ:  Amy, she should be there.  And also Ed, as you point out, it‘s a direct insult and a denial of any attempt to bipartisanship when the president invites him on Air Force One.  Boehner said, no, I‘m too busy. 

HOLMES:  Do you apply the same standard to Harry Reid?

PRESS:  Let‘s go to the state dinner, no, I‘m too busy.  I mean, come on, the message he‘s sending is he doesn‘t want to be seen anywhere close to President Obama.  That‘s bad news.  

HOLMES:  You apply the same standard to Harry Reid when he declined to put.

PRESS:  Forget Harry Reid.  Talk about John Boehner.  You can‘t defend your guy. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Let‘s go to health care.  All of a sudden the American people, that‘s what the Republicans love to say.  There‘s a number out there, 47 percent back in November said that they opposed repeal, now it‘s only 41 percent.  Bill, what do you make of that?

PRESS:  Well, I got to tell you, Ed.  I think again, Republicans are making a big mistake, they have no agenda of their own, so they come in with this repeal. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, there is a shift here.  Isn‘t there, isn‘t there a shift.

PRESS:  Yes, well, oh no.  A huge shift.  The American people don‘t want—you know, why Ed? Because now that health care has kicked in, people see that all these dire predictions from the Republicans haven‘t come true.  No death panels, but instead, people are seeing some real benefits here and only 25 percent of Americans today want repeal.  They‘re the Tea Partiers and John Boehner is serving them.  

SCHULTZ:  The other number is 19 percent of the American people say, leave it alone.  Forty three percent want to make it better.  Add that up Amy, that‘s 62 percent.  Are the Republicans making a mistake by taking this vote in the House on Wednesday if the American people say, keep it stronger, keep health care they wanted.  What do you make of it? 

HOLMES:  Well, Republicans campaigned explicitly on repealing health care and scored one of the biggest landslides in congressional history in November.  But Ed, I would say this to you.  If you think this is a mistake, if you think this is a political stinker that‘s going to put the Republicans on other side of public opinion, then you should welcome this four vote and you should welcome having them go on directly and have to defend it to years from now. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s easy to defend, Amy.  It already passed!  It passed the health!  It passed the Senate! We‘ve been down that road before.  Your party wants to take health care away from millions of Americans with a pre-existing condition.  If you can campaign on that, if you think that‘s a good place to be, then so be it.  I just showed you the numbers, don‘t be in denial.  The majority of Americans does not want the republican House to take this vote, yet they run around saying the American people want it. 

HOLMES:  And the poll that matters was in November when the American people voted. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Well, things shift.  We‘re going back over spilt milk. 

We‘ve got to run now.

PRESS:  All right.  Good night.

SCHULTZ:  Bill and Amy, good to have you with us tonight. 

Coming up, inside the secret plan to attack Iran‘s nuclear program.  Without using bombs, and folks, it is working.  And something surprising about the new republican chairman.  It‘s all coming up in the “Playbook.”  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 Republicans care about social or economic justice?  Text A for yes, text B for no to 622-639.  We‘ve got the results coming up.  Stay with us.                            

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” tonight.  President Obama is proving brains, not bombs is the way to handle the nuclear threat from Iran.  The Republicans have hammered this president nonstop over his Iran policy. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN:  While the president works to limit America‘s freedom of action, the Iranian Mullahs are making steady progress towards acquiring nuclear weapons. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  If you read the speeches, they‘re very, very I think confused about the nature of the world and I think somewhat dangerously confused.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Confused?  Conservatives accused this president of being naive, while pushing a paddle and say, that essentially boil down to this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  You know the old beach boys song, “Bomb Iran.” 

Bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, that is hinged.  Once again, President Obama has refudiated the righty attacks.  And is getting the job done.  The president accelerated a major secret—top secret computer attack against Iran.  In “The New York Times,” reports it has succeed.  Iran‘s ability to make a nuclear bomb has been set back years.  Did you hear that righties?  Iran‘s nuclear ambitions have been set back years under this president and his leadership.  And all hinge on a top secret computer virus that attacked into the Iranian‘s computer system. 

Here to explain how it worked and why this president deserves the credit is Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund and Foundation that works on preventing the spread in use of nuclear weapons.  Joe, good to have you with us tonight. 

JOE CIRINCIONE, PLOUGHSHARES FUND AND FOUNDATION:  My pleasure.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s very complicated, but tell us essentially, this is cyber war, is it not that worked against the Iranians and slowed their program down.  

CIRINCIONE:  This is the most sophisticated cyber weapon every deployed.  It was according to “New York Times” worked on jointly by the United States and Israel.  It was a computer virus that was inserted into the Iranian machines and alternately sped up and slowed down the machines until they broke, destroying about,  according to the story, 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, about a fifth of what they‘ been using to enrich uranium.  And while they was doing this, it also sent a false signal to the Iranian operators saying that everything was OK with the machines.  And the damage may not be over.  It looks like there‘s a sleeper component to this and this virus may kick in again in a few months. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, how do we know this couldn‘t happen to us?  Obviously, we have plenty of nukes, but what about our delivery system?  What about the protection of our computer system?

CIRINCIONE:  Well, this is the down side of starting a cyber warfare.  The United States has far more computers than any other country.  We used them for everything, from ATM machines to nuclear weapons.  So, the United States is vulnerable to a response in kind by Iranians.  Unlikely they could do anything this sophisticated, but it does open up that vulnerability window. 

SCHULTZ:  Is there a risk in the public knowing about this?  You know, it‘s the old military on a need to know basis.  What do you think?

CIRINCIONE:  Well, this was kind of an open secret.  As soon as people started to understand that this virus was out there, they started doing analysis of it and the story in “The New York Times” on Sunday was the most detailed yet.  We‘re still not sure of all the facts who exactly correct, but it does appear that this was a deep operation, started by Barack Obama, even before he took office.  So while he‘s extending the hand of friendship to Iran, he‘s also starting this computer virus program in case they didn‘t cooperate.  They didn‘t cooperate so he hit them with the virus. 

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s no doubt President Obama‘s gig on this, right?

CIRINCIONE:  There‘s very little doubt.  It‘s clear that this was a program begun before the president took office, but according to the “New York Times,” he accelerated the program when he heard about it.  And all the while, keeping quiet about it, holding, playing a very deep game here. 

SCHULTZ:  And quickly, how far does that this set the Iranians back, two years, five years?

CIRINCIONE:  Well, let‘s take the Israeli estimate, Israelis who‘ve been urging for years to strike Iran because they said, they were months away.  Now, estimated Iran can build a bomb until 2015, according to the retired intelligence chief with 2013 according to the deputy prime minister.  So several years have been handed to the Iranian time clock. 

SCHULTZ:  Joe Cirincione, always a pleasure.  Good to have you with us.  Thanks for your time for us tonight and expertise. 

CIRINCIONE:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Final page in the “Playbook,” as leaders of the Republican Party, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is the public face of the GOP.  It‘s up to him to spend and make the case to be credible and convincing. I think our audience knows but anyway, Houston, I think we have a problem here.

All right.  Now, it‘s too Big Eddie‘s world jumbo, I guess you could call it.  Check out what one of my radio listeners pointed out to me today.  There‘s a new chairman‘s name, here it is.  If you take all the vowels out, you‘re left with what?  Rnc Prbs.  I‘m just pointing it out. 

Coming up, Darrel Issa‘s secret history.  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. 

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight, new oversight committee chairman for government affairs, Darrel Issa has promised to go after the Obama administration.  In October, he called the president, quote, “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.”  That‘s what he said to the drugster on his radio show.  On Wednesday, Issa plans to announce his first investigation, but it turns out that maybe Issa ought to be investigating himself or at least coming clean to everybody on his past.  A great new peace in “The New Yorker,” looked deep into Issa‘s checkered past and of course, it‘s motivated by everything all over the internet, it turns out that he‘s been arrested for stealing a car, carrying a concealed weapon, and he was also indicted for grand theft. 

He was also involved in a hit and run accident that permanently damaged a middle age woman.  And how‘s this for strange, years, ago, the building from Issa‘s company went down in flames and an insurance investigation determined that the fire was deliberately set, although no charges ever followed.  I want to be clear, Issa was never convicted of a crime in any of those instances.  He claims its ancient history. 

Reporter Ryan Lizza interviewed Chairman Issa and he wrote the profile on him on the “The New Yorker.”  Ryan, good to have you with us tonight.  I think most people are curious about Mr. Issa‘s demeanor when you were interviewing him?  What do you think?

RYAN LIZZA, “THE NEW YORKER”:  Well, I‘ll be very honest with you, Ed.  He was very open.  He gave me a lot of time.  I spent about five hours interviewing him and about two hours talking about, you know, the sort of difficult questions from his past.  And we do have to be really car careful about this stuff.  Very serious allegations.  A lot of brushes with law enforcement, but it‘s sort of the five big allegations that are out there.  Only one of them resulted in any conviction.  He pled guilty when he was in college to a gun charge.  He was carrying a concealed weapon and he pled to a lesser charge of possession of an unregistered firearm. 

SCHULTZ:  Is this fair to him, you think?  Do you think this is fair to him?

LIZZA:  I think it‘s fair—look, he‘s one of the most powerful people in Washington.  You know, he‘s got this subpoena power that no one else in this country has.  His committee has very unusual rules.  Its charter says that it can investigate any manner, and with that kind of power comes scrutiny.  And I think it‘s important to look at these things.  I wanted to go back and get all the original documents on all of these previously reported cases.  Found some new things and sit down with him and go through it all.  Because, you know, this stuff is not going to go away.  The last two times, he sort of had a national profile.  These stories basically undid his political career.  And so I thought, you know, having his response in one place going through it all would be a benefit for everyone involved. 

SCHULTZ:  Did he knowingly drive around in a stolen car, yes or no?

LIZZA:  Well, his line about this—look, his brother was a car thief.  There‘s no doubt about that.  His brother served a few years in both state and federal prison.  And Issa has—the furthest he‘s ever gone to admitting anything like that was yes, his brother stole cars.  And I think the exact, I‘m not going to get the line exactly right, but essentially, he drove around in cars that he perhaps knew his brother did steal.  And that was wrong. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.

LIZZA:  There‘s a clear line he says between his brother‘s criminal activity and his own. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Ryan Lizza, “The New Yorker,” great to have you with us tonight. 

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