updated 1/19/2011 12:19:27 PM ET 2011-01-19T17:19:27

Guests: Jim Clyburn, Jim Moran, Jesse Jackson, Joe Madison, John Feehery,

John Nichols, Roy Sekoff

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans and welcome to “The Ed Show.”  Tonight from New York, these stories are hitting my hot buttons at this hour.  The president delivered a great speech and captured the spirit of the nation yesterday.  And today, what do we have?  Well, we‘ve got the Republican response.  Let‘s see, they‘re complaining about T-shirts, muted praise, at best, mostly silent.  My commentary on the Republicans not rising to the moment and live reaction from Congressman Jim Clyburn, who was in the audience with the president and on Air Force One.

Sarah Palin‘s blood libel speech was a flop.  Now many of her righty buddies, they‘re pretty silent.  It‘s deafening, and they‘re not defending her.  John Nichols of “The Nation,” what does that really mean?  He‘ll tell us tonight. 

Republicans‘ response to the shooting has been shocking and simple. 

Gun up.  Congressman Louie Gohmert, he wants to carry guns in the halls of the Congress.  Good idea? Congressman Jim Moran responds to that.

Plus, the Tea Party leader in Arizona had an unusual comment about Gabby Giffords today and Reverend Jesse Jackson‘s going to be here tonight talking about tone in this country and how do we change it all?

But this is the story that has me fired up, first tonight.  Republicans, you know what, they just don‘t let us down.  They just don‘t have the character to put politics aside for maybe a day and answer President Obama‘s challenge to come together as a nation.  The president did his best to heal a wounded nation in Tucson last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts.  But know this, the hopes of a nation are here tonight.  We mourn with you for the fallen.  We join you in your grief.  And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy will pull through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The president struck the right tone, proving again that he is a cut above a lot of what we‘ve seen in this country in past decades.  President Obama, a lofty thinker and has an innate ability to consume the moment and relate it to the American people and get the country focused on what‘s really important.  The president challenged the American people and challenged our leaders to let this be a turning point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  I believe that we can be better.  Those who died here, those who saved lives here, they help me believe.  We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that‘s entirely up to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  How we treat one another.  The president disarmed the critics with his tone last night.  No doubt about it.  But Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl were in attendance right behind him.  They couldn‘t even bring themselves to put their hand out and say, nice job, Mr. President.  Set politics aside and congratulate the president. 

Back in Washington, the reaction was equally as petty and cold.  Some conservatives are upset because the University of Arizona distributed T-shirts with the logo, a motivating logo that said “Together We Thrive:

Tucson and America.” 

Well, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, his speechwriter jumped on Twitter to denounce the T-shirts.  She sarcastically tweeted “I‘m having a physical reaction to the T-shirts.  I‘m tearing up.  This feels wrong.” 

Feels wrong to lift people‘s spirits? Ultra-conservative FOX News contributor Michelle Malkin tweeted “Isn‘t the churning of the instant messaging machine a bit, well, unseemly? Can‘t the Democratic political stage managers give it a break just once?”  Were you in the crowd, Michelle?

We reached out to Mitch McConnell and Speaker Boehner, their offices, for comment on the president‘s speech.  Thought it would be appropriate.  Got no response from McConnell in the Senate.  Boehner spokesman gave us this brief statement this afternoon.  “The speaker appreciates the message and tone the president delivered last night.  It‘s clear that he shares the speaker‘s view of where our focus should be this week.”

No ego or arrogance there.  Boehner thinks the president is sharing his tone while the president was out in Tucson last night trying to heal the country and heal the hearts of Americans that have been stricken.  The only thing Boehner was sharing were cocktails back in D.C.  The president offered Boehner the opportunity to join him on Air Force One and attend the memorial service.  I mean, come on, he is the speaker of the House.  Isn‘t that the appropriate thing to do?

Well, last night, the speaker was just too busy, he declined.  “Politico” reports Boehner was at a Washington reception for Maria Cino who was running for the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.  I mean, that‘s really important business, you know?

Now Boehner missed a major chance, in my opinion, to be a leader.  But you see that might have changed the tone.  Do they really want that?  He had no problem canceling a health care vote and changing business but he just couldn‘t bring himself to cancel a cocktail party the night of the memorial.  This was a real opportunity, a real moment for America and the president hit it out of the park. 

If Boehner would have been in the front row, it would have helped bring the country together.  It would have been a real message.  You know, a picture tells a thousand words.  Unity, when the country needs it.  Boehner has another chance to make things right next week.  House Republicans are bringing back the repeal of the health care bill.  They‘re planning a two-day debate on repealing, what they call the job-killing health care law act starting next Tuesday.  Republicans should change, I think, the name of the bill before it hits the floor. 

Do they really want their signature piece of legislation to start the next Congress to contain the word “killing”? Do they want that in the bill?  If they do, Republicans will prove once again that they have no concept of tone.  It‘s all about the win.  This should be a great moment for America, but the ideological debate rages on.  President Obama has done all he can to take the politics out of this tragedy.  It‘s a shame the Republicans don‘t have the character to join him. 

And what are the righties talking about today? Well, Limbaugh, Beck, they‘re questioning the timing.  The timing.  That‘s their best issue? The timing, they‘re questioning the timing? What—when should they have held this? You know, even when this president in his heart, in his mind and his soul using the full force of emotion to bring this country together, even when this president is just well intended, just well intended, the righties find something wrong with him and we‘re supposed to change the tone in this country?

Mr. President, you‘re the best.  That was the man I voted for and supported.  The country needed that last night.  And I‘m so glad you did it for the families.  Because it affected so many people.  It had to really have a profound effect on the families.  They had to appreciate it.  Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight, folks.  The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 

My question tonight is, should Republicans take the word “kill” out of their health care repeal bill?  Press the number one for yes.  Press the number two for no.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining us tonight is South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn on the Democratic leadership team.  He traveled with president on Air Force One and was at the memorial service last night.  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  You have seen a lot in your career and in your lifetime.  Do you think this is a moment to change the tone in Washington? Do you think anything will change?

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA:  Well, thank you so much for having me, Ed.  I have seen a lot.  And I do believe that what the president said last night and the way that he said it gives us a tremendous opportunity to change the tone here in Washington. 

I feel very strongly, from what I‘ve heard, that the tone in the country could very well change as well.  I know that everybody always talk about when it‘s the right time.  It‘s kind of interesting, but we‘re going to be celebrating this weekend, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.  And he admonished in his letter from the jail that time is neutral.  Time is never right and it‘s never wrong.  Time is always what we make it.  And he also told us that time is always right to do right.  And so the president did the right thing last night and as King told us, the time is always right to do the right thing. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, that‘s a very profound point and I know our audience appreciates it.  That is a great starting point to try to get people to heal as a country.  But next week there‘s going to be a health care debate.  They want to vote to repeal what is going to help millions of Americans.  Will that debate be different, in your opinion?

CLYBURN:  I hope so.  I am a realist and I am a politician here and I know that politically, the Republicans need to have this vote.  They promised their constituents when they were running that this is what they would do.  They would vote to repeal it. 

So let‘s have the vote.  That‘s not the problem.  The problem is what kind of debate, what will be the tone to the debate? Will we really have a civil debate? And if you disagree with me that health care ought to be a fundamental right, then let‘s lay out our discussions.  Let‘s not have these misrepresentations.  We know that the fastest growing industry today is in fact the health care industry. 

They are creating more jobs in health care than any place else.  You talked to the hospital administrators, as I have, and they are, in fact, hiring.  And they do feel good about this bill.  So I don‘t blame them for having to vote.  But I will blame them if they have this debate that will do nothing to add to the bottom—

SCHULTZ:  They have sworn to repeal it so I‘m sure they‘re going to be passionate about it when they do it because they‘ve got to explain why they‘re doing it.  Now you were very critical of Sarah Palin.  And yesterday, she chose to release an eight-minute video trying to look presidential, in my opinion, and of course her tone was attack the media.  Your thoughts on—now that we‘ve been able to digest this for the last 24 hours, no matter what you think of her, she is a leader in the Republican Party and a leader for the Tea Partiers.  What do you think that she did or did not do to help the country?

CLYBURN:  Well, I don‘t think that she did anything to add any clarity and civility to the debate.  The term that she used—

SCHULTZ:  Blood libel. 

CLYBURN:  Blood libel, is a term that I had heard before but I have since studied its meaning and its foundation.  Its foundation is in a period of time when there was tremendous conflict between Christians and Jews in this country and something that we had long since put behind us.  And to conjure up that, I just don‘t think—

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, do you think she needs to explain that? Because if that was just a bullet point, maybe people would understand her stupidity but if she really knew what it meant, it‘s volatile, is it not?

CLYBURN:  Well, it‘s very volatile.  I don‘t know exactly who put that in her speech, whether or not she did that herself.  But I do believe that al of us ought to be very, very careful about what we say.

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

CLYBURN:  As well as the way that we say it.  And I‘m responsible for the words that fall from my lips.  I cannot blame that on researchers, on staff, on anything.  It‘s my responsibilities.  And anytime that my staff were to suggest any word or phrase and I‘m not familiar with it, they‘re going to explain it to me why that‘s there. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.  You make a great point.  I appreciate your time on this subject tonight.  Thanks so much. 

CLYBURN:  Thank you so much for having me. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Coming up, as I said, Sarah Palin‘s use of the term “blood libel” in her eight-minute video has unleashed a firestorm of controversy.  I know it is bad when bully Governor Chris Christie won‘t even defend you.

The Republican response to the shootings has been pretty simple, gun up.  Congressman Louie Gohmert wants to be armed in Congress.  Congressman Jim Moran on that next.  How tone deaf is this proposal?

Plus, Rush Limbaugh is playing the victim and our panel weighs in on John Boehner‘s cocktail party choice.  You‘re watching “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Coming up on “The Ed Show,” Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas wants lawmakers to carry firearms on the floor of the House in Washington, D.C.  This is about the dumbest idea I think I‘ve ever heard but I guess we‘re going to have to ask Congressman Jim Moran what kind of heat he‘s going to be packing if they pass this.  This is ludicrous but it needs to be exposed.  We‘re right back on “The Ed Show.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to “The Ed Show” and thanks for watching tonight.  Well, leave it to the Republicans to use a violent shooting spree to argue for more guns.  I guess you could say they just want to gun up.  They want more guns in more places, and they have no regrets about deep sixing laws that could have stopped the extent of the tragedy in Tucson.  Texas Republican Louie Gohmert says that he‘s planning to introduce a bill that will allow members of Congress to carry weapons in Washington, around the Capitol, and on the floor of the House, because folks, I guess that‘s what‘s really needed right now, more firepower.  Gohmert told “The Hill” newspaper that members of Congress ought to have the right to protect themselves from sudden acts of violence like the heartless shooting in Tucson, Arizona.  Meanwhile the Arizona Republican Trent Franks had his own gun up reaction to the shooting. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, I wish there had been more gun there that day, in the hands of a responsible person.  That‘s all I have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, there was a bystander with a loaded gun in Tucson, and he almost shot the wrong guy. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No time to think about anything.  I saw another individual holding the firearm.  I kind of assumed he was the shooter.  So I grabbed his wrist and you know told him to drop it and force him to drop the gun on the ground.  When he did that, everybody says, no, no, it‘s this guy, it‘s this guy. 

SCHULTZ:  Did you ever think of drawing your firearm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When I came through the door, I had my hand on the buffed the pistol and I clicked the safety off.  I was ready to kill him.  I almost shot the man holding the gun. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, this morning convicted criminal and former House Speaker Tom DeLay—and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, repeated the fallacy that more people locked and loaded would make everyone safer. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM DELAY, FORMER MAJORITY LEADER:  If I were still in Congress, I would welcome and urge those that have license to carry to come to my town meetings.  I‘d feel more safe having them there and—rather than shutting them out and letting some crazy come in and shoot up the place. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Sure.  Let me play that again for you, Tom. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I almost shot the man holding the gun. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Yeah.  But it would be silly to expect any self-reflection from Republicans on this, wouldn‘t it?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, TODAY SHOW:  In terms of the assault bans, the ban on assault weapons that you didn‘t allow come to a vote in 2004.  In that law would have prevented the new manufacturer of things like these extended magazines that was used by this alleged shooter in this case.  But no rethinking of your—or the philosophical idea of that?

DELAY:  Absolutely not.  And guns and people that carry guns are deterrent. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Do we need deterrence on the House floor? Joining me now is Virginia Congressman Jim Moran.  Jim, good to have you with us tonight.  I mean, if this isn‘t Tea Party legislation on steroids, I don‘t know what is.  But the scary thing is I think that this actually might have a chance to pass in the House with that many Republicans.  What do you think about this whole thing?

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  I‘m sure that President Obama would certainly not sign it if—if it was necessary. 

SCHULTZ:  But it would make a statement to the Tea Party. 

MORAN:  Well, I think that‘s what they‘re trying to do.  This was the NRA‘s reaction after a mentally imbalanced person with the same kind of gun killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus just a few years ago.  They thought that more students should be armed and I suppose they think that that little 9-year-old girl should have been packing heat. 

I can‘t understand it, Ed.  It seems to me we‘re supposed to be an example to our constituents and I would think that—that most Americans understand there are too many guns in our society.  We have over 270 million.  You know you did a terrific job last night in explaining how you go hunting with your family in the Dakotas and you know that‘s a sport and it‘s a tradition but it has nothing to do, these guns, with that kind of hunting nor does it have to do with self-defense. 

What we‘re trying to do, which seems reasonable, is to limit the number of rounds in a magazine to two.  Excuse me, to 10.  That was in the Assault Weapons Ban, which we allowed to expire.  At least 10 fewer people would had been shot had that been the case and I can‘t understand any rational argument for not, at least restricting the size of the magazines to 10.  But we‘re up against, I think, a pretty extreme ideology.  And the idea that they think that members of Congress should be packing heat when we go to discuss issues as though we—well—

SCHULTZ:  It‘s remarkable. 

MORAN:  It almost leaves you speechless.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s the most tone deaf legislative proposal I think I‘ve ever heard. 

MORAN:  But unfortunately it‘s not surprising. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah. 

MORAN:  That has been the attitude of the NRA, Tom DeLay promoted that.  Louie Gohmert was a judge in Texas before he got elected to the Congress.  There are a lot of members of the Congress that feel that way.  I can‘t believe it‘s a majority though, Ed.

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

Thanks so much.

MORAN:  Always good to be with you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Coming up, Rush Limbaugh are whining because people were blaming the ugly political climate on him.  He wants us to feel sorry for him.  I don‘t.  But he is in “The Zone” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, well the drugster celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday and we‘re going to welcome him to his seventh decade with a trip into “The Zone” tonight.  Rush has been just flipping all over the place.  He just can‘t figure out how to handle this Tucson shooting, the severity of it.  What it really means? Blaming the media, blaming the Democrats, and now he wants us to feel sorry for him. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST:  I haven‘t been to Tucson, Arizona in 20 years, and all of a sudden I read, it‘s my fault.  And I‘m hearing people say, it‘s my fault.  And that it‘s inspired by me and what I do.  I want you to put yourself in my shoes.  I‘ve the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, accuse me racism at a White House Correspondents Dinner.  I‘ve had that same president blame me for the Oklahoma City bombing and now while I‘m watching a football game last Saturday afternoon, I‘m listening to the entire Democrat Party and media complex blame me for what happened in Tucson on Saturday. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, nobody‘s feeling sorry for you, Rush.  You‘re raking in $38 million a year, good for you.  And he has no conscience to keep him up at night because he doesn‘t answer to anybody, so those are all I guess admirable things professionally, but how about this one?  Anybody feel sorry about this?  This is a billboard promoting Rush Limbaugh‘s radio show in Tucson, the city he claims he hasn‘t been there for 20 years so he probably doesn‘t know about this either.  News Talk 790, KNST.  Rush Limbaugh straight shooter covered in bullet holes in Tucson.  That billboard represent Rush‘s brand.  It could not be more clear.  And now he wants your sympathy because his hate speech is being criticized.  But Rush Limbaugh, playing the victim and asking people to feel sorry for him is actually self-centered, tone deaf “Psycho Talk.”

Coming up, the outrage over Sarah Palin‘s use of the term “blood libel” is growing.  John Nichols of “The Nation” tells us how serious it might be for her political future.

While President Obama was healing the nation last night, John Boehner was meeting for cocktails.  Habit-forming, isn‘t it? The speaker turned down an invitation from the president to fly on Air Force One to go to the memorial in Tucson.  The panel responds to that.

And an African-American Republican official in Arizona just resigned citing Tea Party threats.  Reverend Jesse Jackson has seen a lot in his lifetime when it comes to conversation and rhetoric.  He will check in on that tonight.  You‘re watching “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The “Battleground” story tonight, the violent rhetoric and the far right wing.  A republican leader in Arizona has resigned from his post because of the constant threats from the Tea Partiers.  Anthony Miller is the only African-American GOP chairman in the state of Arizona.  District chair.  He told the Arizona Republic, the newspaper that he was a victim of verbal threats and racially charged attacks from local Tea Partiers.  Miller told the paper, quote, “I wasn‘t going to resign, but decided to quit after what happened Saturday.  I love the Republican Party, but I don‘t want to take a bullet for anyone.”

Also in the news today, a prominent republican and evangelical leader, who launched a national civility project in 2007 has announced he‘s calling it quits after constant attacks from conservatives.  Here‘s Mark Demoss quoted in “The New York Times.”  “The worst e-mails I‘ve received about civility project were from conservatives with just unbelievable language and about communists.  And some words, I wouldn‘t use in this interview.  Too many conservatives can see no redeeming value in any liberal or democrat.  That would probably be true about some liberals goings other direction but I don‘t hear from them.” 

There are no isolated—these are not isolated incidents.  The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that right-wing extremism has exploded in the past two years.  They count more than 309 extreme anti-immigration groups currently in the United States.  A 55 percent jump since 2008.  And more than 363 new extreme patriot and militia groups have sprung up since 2009.  A whopping 244 percent increase.  Well you can draw your own conclusions tonight, folks.  Where do you think this is all going?

For more, let‘s bring in Reverend Jesse Jackson.  President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.  Reverend, good to have you with us tonight.  We‘re seeing an African-American man, who‘s a republican, stepping away from public service and being involved.  And he‘s a good guy.  He‘s a hard worker.  And has this event been a  wake-up call, you think, for a lot, maybe some Americans out there, maybe a lot of Americans, who are thinking, you know, what maybe this isn‘t worth it?  You‘ve been through some life-changing events.  You were on that balcony with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968.  That had to affect your life.  What about this?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, PRESIDENT, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION:  Well, it‘s painful to see him he have to resign.  And we all feel so much pain about what happened in Arizona.  I thought President Barack was comforting and healing and yet he‘s still being challenged about what he did yesterday.  Often this hateful rhetoric becomes flesh and grows among the people.  Now, the king was called by Hoover Dam, liar.  He was said when he took the Vietnam—the anti-Vietnam war position, he was engaging in treason against a nation.  The climate was set.  He eventually was killed because that was a very poisonous—a very poisoning climate.  

SCHULTZ:  So do you think the president did all he could last night?

And now is it really up to the Congress to lead the way in this country?

JACKSON:  Well, it is.  I think one part in which we must (INAUDIBLE) on the assault weapons.  Even Congress people take their gun to Congress, take their gun to office, anybody has 12 to 30 rounds in the semiautomatic weapon there‘s no defense against that.  I mean this guy could have been in a church or temple or synagogue or at a public park.  (INAUDIBLE), against this weapon.  No they‘re not use the deer, rabbit, to kill people and we have the strong antiterrorism position in the Congress but these are weapons for terrorism, they use them in just that way.  

SCHULTZ:  Reverend, we got some tough issues.  They are going to vote to repeal health care next week.  We‘ve got Social Security recipients out there worried about a decrease over the years because we know the conservatives are going to go after it, Medicare, Medicaid, public school funding, the lot.  I mean these issues aren‘t going to go away.  How does the rhetoric change?

JACKSON:  Well, it‘s not—it‘s just the action, it‘s not just the rhetoric.  I mean when people don‘t have a job and you repeal the health care with the pre-existing condition, that‘s a kind—a kind of violence and so today, as the wealth, it get wealthier subsidized by the government, they have 39 million Americans without health insurance, what is that like for poverty, minimum work every day and can‘t afford to pay rent.  

SCHULTZ:  That‘s the whole thing, you know, what are the boundaries of conversation and rhetoric when the boss comes in and says, your job‘s going to China, and you‘re in your late 40s or 50s and we know there‘s age discrimination taking place in this country when it comes to hiring.  How was people supposed to feel?

JACKSON:  Well, I hear the words rang out between the poor, the needy

how to treat the least of this.  I‘ve been dismissive of the poor.  In fact, suggest that they‘re poor because they don‘t care.  They don‘t work.  You know, Ed, we love soldiers, we don‘t love veterans, we love models, we don‘t love marchers.  As a kind of pervasive meanness and what makes me feel so anxious about this is that, what we focus on—on Gabby and her recovery, we hope to God that she will recover.  But about 30,000 Americans were killed by gunfire each year.  About 100,000 are injured.  We make the most guns and we shoot them.  We make the most bombs and we drop them.  We‘re the most violent purveyor, the most violent nation on earth.  We should do better and we deserve to do better than to go another way.  

SCHULTZ:  Reverend Jackson, good to have you on with us tonight. 

Thanks for joining us. 

JACKSON:  Thank you, sir.  

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s get some rapid response from our panel on these stories tonight.  House Speaker John Boehner is offering excuses for why he attended a republican cocktail party instead of the memorial service in Tucson.  

And the morning after the president called for the country to rise above the pettiness to honor the victims, the conservatives are complaining about the fact that a unity t-shirts were given out at memorial. 

Joining us tonight, Joe Madison, XM Satellite radio talk show host and John Feehery, republican strategist and president of the Quinn Gillespie Communications.  Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.  

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thank you,

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  Joe, is it your estimate—your analysis Mr. Boehner‘s choice, the cocktail party over the memorial?

MADISON:  Well, it‘s his choice but I think it was a very poor choice.  Not only did he—he should have been there like most, but then it was my understanding that at this reception or event as the president was about to speak to the nation, Mr. Boehner left the room and was in transcend and didn‘t even hear what the president had to say, and I think all three of us would agree that it was remarks worth hearing.  It was very healing.  It was needed.  He did a masterful job but I think that Mr. Boehner really showed disrespect, not just to  the president of the United States, but I think quite honestly, he should had been there united with Republicans  and Democrats. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think, John?  John, he‘s not your ordinary congressman anymore, he‘s a speaker of the house.  

MADISON:  Yes, he‘s a leader. 

FEEHERY:  Ed, this is a complete cheap shot at Speaker Boehner, who has handled this whole thing masterfully in my view.  He has been a healer.  The fact of the matter is, the House of Representatives... 

SCHULTZ:  He wasn‘t there, John.  

FEEHERY:  He had a resolution... 

SCHULTZ:  He wasn‘t there, John.  

FEEHERY: ...on the house floor.  He was supposed to be there.  There was a formal invitation, he wasn‘t—no one expected him to be here.  There‘s a cheap shot from a democratic strategist.  

SCHULTZ:  He wasn‘t there, John.  He is speaker of the house.  He was asked to go on Air Force One.  

FEEHERY:  Ed, you know what?  You talk about healing and then you won‘t let me finish.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  

FEEHERY:  Would you please let me finish?

SCHULTZ:  You said twice it‘s a cheap shot.  

FEEHERY:  It a cheap shot.  He was not supposed to be there.  It was a formal invitation given by the president.  He didn‘t know—he knew that the speaker was not going to come, and in the fact of the matter is, the speaker was presiding over the House of Representatives and in a moving tribute to Gabby Giffords and let me say one thing about the president‘s speech, I thought it was brilliant.  I thought it was a fantastic speech.  I said it in my blog and I think that we could learn, all learn a few lessons from what the president said.  

SCHULTZ:  I don‘t disagree with that but I think that he abdicated his responsibility of leadership, by turning down an invitation to go on Air Force One and recognize that he was the speaker of the house, and you know if Nancy Pelosi had done that, the criticism would have been flying.  You know that.  

FEEHERY:  That‘s not true.  That‘s not true.  

MADISON:  And he wasn‘t—with all due respect—he wasn‘t presiding over the House of Representatives.  

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

FEEHERY:  He was having—at a GOP fund-raiser.  

MADISON:  He was at a fund-raiser and I imagine that that fund-raiser...

FEEHERY:  Would you please get your facts straight?

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

MADISON:  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. 

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, let me clarify...

MADISON:  The funds raiser went on without him.  

SCHULTZ:  Let me clarify.  Officially, it was not a fund-raiser.  It was an organizing meeting for different Republicans that had come into Washington and their schedule was that they couldn‘t change it, they couldn‘t delay it, 12 hours.  I guess they couldn‘t stay another night.  Here‘s the point, big events such as this capture the attention of the country.  He is now in a position of leadership.  I personally think he abdicate his responsibility as a leader, and take himself out of the debate.  I know he did all of the stuff in Washington.  But being there is terribly important.  That‘s like—that‘s like President Obama, John, just phoning it in.  What about that?

FEEHERY:  Well, I completely disagree.  I think that the president knew that the speaker was not going to come.  I think the reason is, because he was presiding...  

MADISON:  How did he know it?  

FEEHERY: ...because if Air Force One left at 1:00, they were doing the resolution on the house floor, Joe.  The scheduling was not going to work out.  The fact of the matter is...  

MADISON:  He wasn‘t the only one with a schedule, John. 

FEEHERY:  Unnamed democratic strategist.  

MADISON:  Come on.  He‘s not the only one.  

FEEHERY:  Listen to the speech that the president gave.  

MADISON:  He wasn‘t the only one on the schedule.  You‘re making excuses for him.  

SCHULTZ:  OK.  All right.  Gentlemen, let‘s talk about the unity t-shirts.  Is it a cheap shot to go after the people that were doing the memorial service because they put unity t-shirts over some of the chairs there, it says, “Together we Thrive: Tucson and America.”  What‘s wrong with that, Joe?

MADISON:  I wouldn‘t have done it.  If you really want to know the honest truth.  I don‘t know where they came from.  I don‘t know how they were paid for.  There‘s a contradiction here.  A memorial service and then t-shirts?  I personally would have maintained it at a much higher level and it would had been a memorial service.  So I‘m not certain where this all came from.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, I disagree with that.  But go ahead, John.  

FEEHERY:  Joe, Joe, you know, the fact of the matter is this was a brilliant speech, as I said I really thought he made some extraordinarily important points.  The one thing that criticism that I would have and this is not about the president.  The crowd was at times inappropriately rambunctious and applauded at times that I didn‘t think that it was completely appropriate.  It was a very somber speech, a very important speech.  I wish it didn‘t have the pep rally atmosphere hanging around it.  That‘s my own personal opinion.  But I did think the words, I did think the words of the president were extraordinarily important.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s freedom of speech, they were expressing themselves how they felt.  That was their way of grieving in the community at the time.  

MADISON:  And they needed...  

FEEHERY:  Well, that‘s right.  

MADISON:  And they need to be uplifted.  I think that there is going to be plenty of time in Tucson with the funerals that they‘re going to have to attend like the one today, where people will properly mourn.  I think folks needed it.  And quite candidly, as we sit here inside the beltway, I don‘t hear anybody in Tucson complaining about last night.  

SCHULTZ:  Or the timing.  Joe Madison, John Feehery, great to have you with us tonight.  

FEEHERY:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Great to have both of you on.

Coming up, Sarah Palin‘s big video gamble, well, it was a big failure.  She‘s getting slammed by both sides for using the term “blood libel,” more on Palin ahead.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s still not too late to let us know what you think.  The number to dial tonight is 1-877-ed-msnbc.  Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, should Republicans take the word “kill” out of their health care repeal bill?  Press the number one for yes, press the number two for no.  Again, the number to dial is, 1-877-ed-msnbc.  We‘ll be right back.   

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” today, as whining itself server, right wingers have been noticeably silent in the last 24 hours especially when it comes to Palin‘s disgusting use of the term blood libel.  I don‘t blame them.  Palin could not have been less presidential.  Playing the victim, going after the media, and making it all about her in her big eight-minute presentation yesterday.  Even the overly opinionated New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dodged a question about it this morning. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ANCHOR, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”:  Sarah Palin, coming from some criticism today after using that term “blood libel,” do you think that she knew what she was getting into with that? 

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, NEW JERSEY:  I don‘t know.  I have no idea.  But what I would say is I think that, you know, I think anybody really believes that you know Governor Palin was trying to make—make someone get hurt or bring violence on and I think she should have just said that and left it at that.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Sarah Palin seems to recognize she‘s in trouble.  She is going at a damage control mode.  “The New York Times” is reporting Palin will give her interview—first interview, since the blood libel comment to Sean Hannity on Monday.  Slant head show is the safest place for just about any conservative republican or Tea Partier to go.  She‘s got a lot of work to do.  Some people think the video could end Sarah Palin‘s political career.  My next guest is one of them. 

Let‘s bring in John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation.” 

John, does this politically damage her, what do you think?

JOHN NICHOLS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  I think the damage is severe, Ed.  And let‘s put it this way.  In this country, we make a big deal about debates between candidates for president.  They prepare for weeks, they get their talking points right.  Generally, they don‘t really dress the fundamental issues that people care about.  But yesterday, the most dynamic figure, the most talked about figure in the Republican Party was Sarah Palin and the most dynamic figure, the most talked about figure in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama.  Both had a chance to address the same issue.  They both took their best shot.  They did lots of preparation.  They really focused on it.  And I would dare say that if you asked the first thousand people on the street in any community in America, they would say that Barack Obama did a dramatically better job, and most of them will tell you that Sarah Palin was just embarrassing.  

SCHULTZ:  Does she lose supports from maybe, staunch reporters playing the role of a victim?

NICHOLS:  Well, her most staunch reporters will stick with her, because they can hear no criticism of her that would matter, but I think you have to recognize that not all Republicans are so crazy they would give up the presidency to support someone they know can‘t win.  Yesterday‘s performance by Sarah Palin was a performance of someone who can speak well to the fringe but really is not speaking in any kind of realistic way to the mainstream concerns of the United States.  

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of her next interview, going to Hannity, where it‘s safe haven, no tough questions.  It‘s going to be an opportunity spoon-fed, really tell them what you think.  Is this a defense mode?

NICHOLS:  It‘s an absolutely defensive move.  I mean, you know, look, Sarah Palin could have had a grace moment here.  She could have really done something remarkable.  If, say, on the Sunday afternoon shooting, if she‘d go on “60 Minutes” or some program like that and spoke it from the heart, but that‘s not what she‘s doing.  She‘s continuing to play, really pretty cheap political games here.  

SCHULTZ:  John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation.” 

Thanks for joining us.  

NICHOLS:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  One final page, a big development of the story that we told you about in “psycho talk” tonight, this billboard in Tucson.  Advertising Rush Limbaugh as a straight shooter put up by Newstalk 790 KNST has just been taken down.  Clear Channel Company that manages the space has stepped in and gotten the job done.  It was the right thing to do.  

Coming up, the Tucson Tea Party has refused to back down since the tragedy.  But their leader just came out with some pretty unusual words about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.  Roy Sekoff, “The Huffington Post” will weigh in on that, next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight, Tea Partiers just keep digging themselves deeper into our hole trying to defend their violent rhetoric.  Co-founder of the Tucson Tea Party has a very unusual comment about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.  Here‘s what he told a British newspaper about Giffords and the threat she‘s received, quote, “If she lived under this constant fear of this rhetoric and hated that was seething, hatred that was seething, why wouldn‘t she attend an event in full view the public with no security whatsoever?”

Those kinds of comments, it‘s been impossible to have a rational political debate with these folks.

Joining me now is Roy Sekoff, founding editor of “The Huffington Post.”  Roy, what do you make of that comment in the light of what has unfolded?

ROY SEKOFF, EDITOR, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Well, Ed, you know, the one-word response is wince.  Man, that is just a ridiculous comment right there.  And, you know, what we‘ve seen right here from the Tea Party and from Sarah Palin is that they excel at playing the victim and the danger there is that they feel so victimized, they‘re just going to get louder and they‘re going to ratchet it up and they‘re going to make more outrageous comments like we just saw right there.  And I think this really speaks to the identity crisis that the GOP is facing rights now. 

You know they‘re trying to figure out, we‘ll going to be sort of the old school traditional Republican Party of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who‘s basic job is to get the rich people, make them richer or they‘re going to have to follow the path of the Sarah Palins and the Jim DeMints and kinds of the much more outrageous radical fringe that the Tea Party I think represents.  And I think the problem that they‘re facing is that the energy and the dynamism is all with the Tea Party but so is all of the crazy and the outrage and that‘s where the danger lies.  

SCHULTZ:  So, you know, we get the constitutional guideline that they want to follow.  We get the low taxes, small government.  But why go down this road?  Why in the midst of this tragedy, this is classless is what it is.  Now...

SEKOFF:  This speaks of a huge cynicism, Ed.  I mean, the bottom line is—you know, we always have to say that there is a legitimate anger in the country towards many of the things that you mentioned but there‘s a cynical playing on that anger and trying to turn it into this completely partisan kind of outrage and I think that‘s what the Tea Party has also excelled at to the detriment of the country.  

SCHULTZ:  And in the midst of the president asking the country to come together, they just recently said that they‘re not going to tone it down.  They want to be radical, it seems like.  They make no bones about it.  So will this attract more people, or do you think it will hurt them?

SEKOFF:  I think it hurts them in the end, Ed.  I think this is—this is the—you know nitroglycerin that they‘re playing with.  Like I said, the energy, and the passion and the dynamism is all coming from the Tea Party base, but I think once we see what happens when it goes national it‘s very hard for them to appeal to the full spectrum of voters.  I mean, we saw that happen with Sharron Angle and Christine O‘Donnell and Joe Miller.  When it comes to a general election, it‘s very hard for them to attract where I think most Americans stand and I think at the end of the day, that‘s going to go down to the benefit of President Obama and the Democrats come 2012.  

SCHULTZ:  So outrageous rhetoric in a time of healing in this country and outrageous proposals in the Congress by Louie Gohmert of Texas, a republican, he‘s about as Tea Party as you get, saying that he wants to reduce the gun laws in D.C., and even have lawmakers carry firearms at the capitol and on the house floor.  Your take.  

SEKOFF:  Not helpful, Ed.  Not helpful.  I mean, obviously this kind, you know, rhetoric is—you know, is crazy and it‘s taking really bad advantage of a tragic situation.  And I think we do have to listen to what the president said.  And you could see the difference there as you were just talking about with your previous guest.  I think President Obama brought a you know, a nonpartisan approach to yesterday to where Sarah Palin took the opportunity to ratchet it up, play victim, and play right into the fears and angers of her base.  

SCHULTZ:  Roy Sekoff, always a pleasure to have you with us from “The Huffington Post.” 

SEKOFF:  Good talking to you, Ed.  

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  

Tonight in our telephone survey I asked, should the Republicans take the word “kill” out of their health care bill, repeal bill?  Ninety eight percent of you said yes.  Two percent of you said no.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now, on the place for politics, MSNBC.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.

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