updated 1/19/2011 12:18:12 PM ET 2011-01-19T17:18:12

Guests: Jan Schakowsky, Bob Shrum, Frank Lautenberg, Jim McDermott, Laura

Flanders, Amy Holmes

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

These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour 

Just hours from now, President Obama will speak at a memorial service in Tucson, Arizona, to try to heal this country.  He will also visit the hospital. 

But even at this important moment in our national history, Sarah Palin refuses to own up to her own incendiary rhetoric.  Instead, she‘s playing the victim, and she‘s on the offensive against the media. 

She has also invoked a highly-charged and offensive term to describe her own alleged victimhood.  My commentary on that in just a moment, as well as we‘re going to hear from folks in Congress.  Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and analyst Bob Shrum will be here. 

And there‘s a new threat against the Democratic lawmaker.  The FBI has made an arrest. 

The threats were against Congressman Jim McDermott, and they were intended to influence his vote on tax cuts.  It is incredible.  The congressman will join us live here tonight. 

And when you talk about privacy, I think we need to change the laws about mental illness and what needs to be reported to authorities.  I believe that this tragedy could had been prevented if we had connected the dots with the professionals in the arena. 

It‘s a compelling story.  We‘ll tell you about it a little bit later on.

Now, this is the story that has me fired up tonight. 

At this hour, President Obama is in Tucson, Arizona.  Two hours from now, he‘s scheduled to address the nation at a memorial service for the victims of the shooting rampage. 

This should be a day to set politics aside and focus on the victims. 

But it all changed this morning when Sarah Palin finally broke her silence.  Palin blasted out a rambling eight-minute video which did very little to address the victims.  She spent most of her time attacking the media. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR:  -- days reflecting on what happened and praying for guidance.  After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first, puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Palin is sad about irresponsible statements.  You‘ve got to be kidding me, folks.  She‘s the queen of irresponsible statements which even now she refuses to own up to. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  It‘s not a time to retreat.  It‘s a time to reload. 

We‘re not going to back off on our criticism of the problems of the health care bill, and one aspect of it is the death panel. 

Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Instead of showing any leadership or taking any responsibility for her ugly rhetoric, or talking about the real victims, Palin used this opportunity, this time to play the victim. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent.  And we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good.  And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of unimagined insults. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Listen, nobody thinks the shooter was following Sarah Palin‘s orders.  I‘ve said that all week.  But it‘s a fact, Palin put crosshairs on Gabby Giffords district.  That‘s a fact.  It‘s also a fact that Giffords wasn‘t imaging an insult when she criticized Palin for those crosshairs. 

Palin was flat-out grandstanding with this video today, political grandstanding.  Today, when there‘s a memorial service? 

She doesn‘t have the character to say that she regrets anything.  Her game plan all along has been very simple—no apology, no toning it down, just attack. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  -- and especially within hours of the tragedy unfolding.  Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn.  That is reprehensible. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, the words “blood libel” set off a firestorm of controversy.  Blood libel is a historical myth, a lie that claimed Jews kidnapped Christian children to use their blood during Passover ceremonies. 

Simon Greer, the president of the Jewish Funds for Justice, said this today: “We are deeply disturbed by Fox News commentator Sarah Palin‘s decision to characterize as a blood libel the criticism directed at her following the terrorist attack in Tucson.  Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzo from their blood, her use of the term is totally out of line.”

Well, once again, Palin is proving to be nothing more than an unguided missile in the political arena.  Many people think she‘s used the term “blood libel” as an appeal to an extremist Christian conservative base for 2012. 

Fourteen thousand people are scheduled to attend the memorial service in Tucson tonight.  President Obama is expected to ask Americans to come together to honor the heroes and the fallen. 

Sarah Palin had to make it about her.  I think that is A-1 reprehensible. 

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

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think Sarah Palin should apologize for her violent rhetoric?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. 

Congresswoman, good to have you on tonight on this issue.  This has been a very tough day at the Capitol.  There‘s been a great deal of emotion shown by Mr. Boehner, also Nancy Pelosi, and all of you in Congress because of what has happened. 

Now, this release by Sarah Palin today, how would you characterize it? 

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS:  Well, you can‘t imagine how out of step it is with the tone that‘s being set here in the Congress right now, people going to the floor, both sides of the aisle, and lamenting the loss of life, praying for the victims, and especially for Gabby Giffords, talking about our staff that also put themselves in danger.  There‘s a sense of oneness that was also reflected in a wonderful emotional service that we had that ended with a prayer, a benediction by David Saperstein, a rabbi, where we all held hands, and Republicans and Democrats stood together holding hands.

And then there is Sarah Palin making it about herself, about feeling defensive, and then accusing people of trying to muzzle her and somehow ruining our democracy by doing so.  It was so out of place, such a sour note in the midst of an effort here to really come together. 

SCHULTZ:  What are your thoughts, Congresswoman, of her using the term “blood libel”? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Well, certainly as a Jew—and the Jewish community, the organized community, has spoken out—this is one of the oldest things—ways to talk about Jews as killing Christian children in order to use their blood to make matzo. 

SCHULTZ:  Why do you think she did it? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Frankly, I think she didn‘t know what she was saying.  That‘s the most charitable thing I could say, is that she has no idea what it really means.

But does that mean that we‘re going to get an apology from her?  I doubt it. 

But it was a—it fell out of her mouth—or, actually, I think that it was a very planned speech that she made.  But she clearly didn‘t know that blood libel is something that goes back to the 12th century, was certainly used during World War II by the Hitler regime, to demonize Jews.  It was—

SCHULTZ:  Well, let‘s just say that she knows what it means, and maybe she got some help on the speech from somebody who knows exactly what “blood libel” means. 

What kind of—what kind of light does that shed this? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Well, then I guess what she would be saying, once again, is that she‘s a victim of some kind of a vicious assault, the most vicious assault, raising this specter of the Holocaust and this kind of prejudice.  That would be really a terrible for thing for her to have done. 

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thanks for joining us tonight. 

I appreciate your time on this program. 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  And the president of the United States is going to be visiting the University Medical Center in Arizona tonight.  He is going to do that first.  He‘s going to visit with Gabby Giffords, the congresswoman from Arizona who is fighting with her life, along with her husband and other victims in the hospital. 

Joining us now is veteran Democratic strategist and analyst, Bob Shrum, professor at New York University. 

Bob, your thoughts on the release of this tape on this day? 

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I think she obviously was trying to get political attention.  I think to try to make political profit out of this is obscene.  And, frankly, I think that to invoke the term “blood libel,” if she knew what it meant, is equally obscene.  And if she didn‘t know what it meant, she should have said to somebody, what is this doing in my text, what‘s the reference, do I really want to say this? 

Ed, her speech was ahistorical and completely wrong over and over again.  She accused those who have been critical of her of embracing evil and calling it good. 

That‘s exactly what‘s wrong with the tone of speech in this country and the tone of political debate in this country right now.  You can say the other guy is wrong, you can say that they got the facts wrong, they got the policy wrong, but you don‘t have to and you shouldn‘t be saying that they‘re evil. 

I have some strong disagreements with a number of people.  Some of them very conservative, some of them good friends.  I don‘t call them evil.  I just call them wrong.  But she wants—

SCHULTZ:  Was this an attempt to save the base?  Was there some strong messaging here, in your opinion? 

SHRUM:  Well, she‘s speaking to the, you know, 15 percent, 20 percent, 22 percent of people who are really bitter, really angry, who are the core of her support, and who do give her the potential to win the Republican nomination for president.  But I‘d say that at the end of today, after we listened to the president and after we listened to Sarah Palin, we‘ll know why he‘s president and why she never will be. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think some Republicans will question that terminology that she used, “blood libel”?  Should they? 

SHRUM:  They should.  She should apologize for it.  They should question it.  But I just don‘t know, because they live in terror of these Tea Party types. 

I mean, look, Tim Pawlenty came out the other day and said she shouldn‘t have put the crosshairs on Gabby‘s congressional district and the congressional district of other members, and then he‘s been backing down day after day because he‘s received a lot of blowback from people in the party that he thinks may determine the outcome of the Republican primaries.  I hope tonight, and I believe tonight, that President Obama will rise to the occasion, as he does in these really decisive and critical moments, and speak the heart of America. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

Jim Clyburn, member of Congress, today told Bill Press on his radio show that Sarah Palin doesn‘t understand what‘s going on here and doesn‘t have the intelligence to understand what‘s going on here. 

Either we‘ve got a shortage of intelligence with Sarah Palin, or we‘ve got a real dose of arrogance and insensitivity.  Which is it? 

SHRUM:  I don‘t know.  I mean, look, during the campaign she was profoundly misinformed. 

I watched that speech today and I don‘t think she wrote it, but she obviously approved it, and she gave it.  But she has, it seems to me, a very clear plan, and that plan is to consolidate the far right base and use that far right base if she runs for president to win the Iowa caucuses.  She won‘t win New Hampshire, but she‘ll leapfrog to South Carolina, win South Carolina, and maybe get that Republican nomination for president. 

You know, I‘ve said on this show before, Ed—

SCHULTZ:  Yes. 

SHRUM:  -- that I endorse her because I think that she‘s a sure loser in the general election.  I retract that endorsement, because I think that it would be a terrible thing for a great political party, either political party, to nominate someone like that for president of the United States. 

SCHULTZ:  Bob Shrum, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

SHRUM:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, a South Carolina gun dealer is selling—selling a semiautomatic rifle to honor Republican Congressman Joe Wilson.  It has the words “You lie” etched on the firearm.  I think it‘s disgusting. 

President Obama speaks to a heartbroken nation in a couple of hours. 

We‘ll ask Joan Walsh how the president should handle it all. 

And a new arrest for threats against Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington.  The congressman will be here later in the show to talk about that.  And just how will Congress get along in the next session? 

Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight. 

I think this is a shocking story.  It goes beyond the pale. 

A South Carolina gun dealer has created a new weapon to honor Republican Congressman Joe Wilson.  Remember Wilson?  He‘s the guy that shouted out “You lie!” at President Obama during the 2009 speech to Congress. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The reforms—the reforms I‘m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. 

REP. JOE WILSON ®, SOUTH CAROLINA:  You lie!

(BOOING)

OBAMA:  It‘s not true. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, a gun dealer called Palmetto State Armory apparently thought that deserved a commemorative weapon.  So they started offering this semiautomatic rifle with the words “You lie” inscribed on it. 

We should say that that‘s an old picture of Congressman Joe Wilson holding a different rifle.  He is not affiliated with the “You lie” rifle, but what he said certainly motivated it.  You know, words have consequences. 

That picture was taken down after the media got wind of this story yesterday.  But I want to know, what are these people thinking? 

This country is in the midst of a conversation about rhetoric and the consequences of words, but a semiautomatic weapon branded with “You lie,” “you” being President Obama, I mean, what is the intent of the message here?  Or is that too broad a question? 

Joining me tonight is New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who is going to be introducing some legislation that deals with firearms and the high-capacity clips. 

Senator, good to have you with us here tonight. 

SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY:  Nice to be here, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  I appreciate your time. 

Your thoughts on that firearm and what was etched in it?  What are we thinking as a country? 

LAUTENBERG:  Well, it‘s another form of vigilantism.  These are provocative statements.  They‘re intended to light an incendiary path for someone who‘s particularly unbalanced, unstable, and it does call for vengeance of a type, and it‘s unacceptable. 

My God, we‘re looking now at one of the worst tragedies that we‘ve seen.  Not in numbers, but in terms of an attack on innocent people—a 9-year-old girl, the congresswoman, the judge, other visitors there doing nothing but being positive.

And this guy, this crazed man, comes along and doesn‘t have enough bullets in his first round, that he‘s trying to put more bullets in there to kill more people, hurt more people.  We‘ve got to stop this stuff.  People have to realize, words have significance. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, you want to go back to the old legislation that limits the number of firearms—or, should I say, bullets in a clip.  Is that correct? 

LAUTENBERG:  Yes, I do.  That was on the books for 10 years. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Why do you want to do that?  It expired in 2004. 

LAUTENBERG:  Yes.  Well, I want to do it because it was deliberately eliminated, and the danger it represents is what—these guns are for killing people. 

They‘re designed for law enforcement, for military people.  That‘s what they want to be used for. 

And why should people who are unstable or angry get something like that to render the kind of mayhem they did in Tucson?  We shouldn‘t allow it.

And I‘m not asking gun people to give up their guns.  Nothing like that.  I‘m saying, look, let‘s get behind this thing. 

Let‘s now be remembering what terrible thing took place here, and let‘s curb the opportunity for people to do this kind of stuff.  We just can‘t take it in our society anymore. 

SCHULTZ:  So you don‘t want to take the pistol away from Americans, you just want to limit the ammunition.  You want to limit the amount of clips that someone can have in their possession --  

LAUTENBERG:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  -- or the number of bullets that can be in the clip. 

Do you think that that would curb gun violence? 

LAUTENBERG:  No, but I think that it would be a start. 

To me, Ed, when you‘ve got a problem the size that we have with gun violence in our country, with 9,500 murders in a year, with an additional dozen, thousands of people who commit suicide, have accidents, just to take a little piece out of something that can be done easily and quickly, and start doing the process that says, curb the gun violence.  If you‘re going to own a gun, own it legitimately, but don‘t carry weapons that you know are no good in the final analysis for anything but murder. 

SCHULTZ:  Your chances of this passing with the Republican Congress, would you get 60 votes in the Senate on this? 

LAUTENBERG:  Well, I‘m not sure, but, you know, the revulsion that the American people have now toward seeing what‘s taken place there—in every state in this country, there were people tearful, who didn‘t know Congresswoman Giffords or the child who was murdered—

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Do you think we‘re feeling different about it right now? 

LAUTENBERG:  I think so, and I think that we have to carry the message to the public so they let their representatives know what they think. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Senator Lautenberg, appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks so much. 

LAUTENBERG:  Glad to be here.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Coming up, Sarah Palin couldn‘t bring herself to apologize for anything today.  Instead, she talked about old political fights with dueling pistols.  I mean, I can‘t believe this. 

Are we moving forward at all as a country listening to this?  Dueling? 

She‘s in “The Zone” next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, well, the Republicans are scrambling to defend their violent rhetoric.  And now they‘re resorting to arguments that are completely absurd. 

Just listen to Sarah. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently, apolitical criminal.  And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently.  But when was it less heated, back in those calm days when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Sarah, if they‘re dueling with pistols, those aren‘t calm days, OK?  I think you did write this speech. 

Dueling pistols.  Palin is claiming the tone of today‘s political debate is so bad because our founding fathers dueled? 

This is outrageous and it is ridiculous.  And Palin‘s not the only one.  It‘s become, really, a talking point for the righties. 

Governor Tim Pawlenty, used to be of Minnesota, discussed our dueling forefathers this morning with the kids over on “Fox & Friends.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM PAWLENTY ®, FMR. MINNESOTA GOVERNOR:  Let‘s also remember our founders had duels.  They called each other all kinds of names.  So we‘re going to have tension, and we should have a clash and competition of ideas and policy differences. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Tim, are you dueling anybody lately? 

And here comes our buddy Heidi Harris.  She brought it up last night on this show. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  When has politics ever been respectful in America?  Give me a break.  We used to have duels, Karen.  That‘s how we used to handle things. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Are you convinced that this is a right-wing talking point? 

Yes, you‘re right, Heidi.  That is how they used to handle things. 

But guess what?  Times have evolved, they‘ve changed for the better. 

Dueling shouldn‘t even be on the radar screen or even suggested. 

Oh, the Republicans love war, don‘t they? 

Don‘t you think if, say, “The Mittster”—let‘s take a couple of candidates—Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin decided that they were going to go out and settle their differences with a duel, that maybe somebody would try to stop them, you know?  Maybe law enforcement might hear about it—there‘s a duel at Times Square. 

Well, we moved beyond duels in this country.  We should move beyond putting targets on congressional districts and telling partisans “Don‘t retreat, reload.” 

For Republicans to defend their despicable rhetoric by talking about our dueling forefathers is historically bad “Psycho Talk.”   It‘s in their talking points. 

Coming up, Speaker Boehner will reportedly host a cocktail party for the RNC at the same time President Obama will speak at the memorial service in Arizona.  Is that despicable?  My panel responds tonight. 

And President Obama is in Arizona getting ready for a big speech tonight to honor the victims.  He‘ll call for unity at the memorial. 

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The “Battleground” story tonight, the big debate, well, more threats against a member of Congress and a new arrest.  Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington was on this program on December 7th to talk about his intention to vote against President Obama‘s deal with the Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON:  I can‘t imagine how you could hold unemployed people hostage for two months right through the Christmas season and have two million people lose the ability to put the turkey on the table.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCDERMOTT:  And still say—but I voted for a tax cut for the extremely wealthy in this country who‘ve already gotten more than enough. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Just two days after that interview, Congressman McDermott received horribly angry, violent voicemail messages from a 32-year-old man who threatened to kill him.  His friends and his family, if he voted against the tax cuts.  And it wasn‘t the first time this person had gone after an elected official.  Seattle newspapers are reporting that last March, he made threatening phone calls to a California state assemblyman.  Back then he was let off with a warning.  After apologizing and telling authorities that he had been high on medical marijuana.  This time, he‘s saying that he was drinking when he called the Congressman McDermott‘s office.  He‘s now been arrested by the FBI, and charged with threatening a federal official.  After what this country has gone through, threats, like this, cannot be ignored any longer, by anyone. 

For more, let‘s bring in Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington.  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  How shaken were you by this?  What kind of a chilling effect has this had on you?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, Ed, I‘ve known about this for some time and I really haven‘t changed my pattern of going out or meeting my constituents or the things that I say.  I really believe that, if you believe what you say and you‘re willing to stand with it, then you continue to do what you think.  I think all of us know who take  public office that there are risks, that there are people who are distressed by what you may say or what you may do, but that‘s part of the job and many people don‘t go into politics because they are unwilling to take that kind of pressure.  I think that, it‘s like saying to a fireman, don‘t go into a burning building because there‘s danger in there.  When you talk a job, you know what the risks are.  And maybe they‘re minor or minimal but nevertheless, you know they‘re there, and I think you don‘t—you can‘t back down.  If what you believe is what you believe, you say it.  

SCHULTZ:  You know, some folks think that maybe congressional members should be more calculated and if you vehemently disagree with something, maybe you should do it behind closed doors and maybe not out in the media.  It sounds like there‘s not that calculation being made by you.  You feel very strong that your passions have to be displayed to your constituents?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, my job as a representative is to accept the trust of 690,000 people to represent them in Washington, D.C., in the best fashion that I can do it.  And I respect that trust and I trust them.  

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  

MCDERMOTT:  And I believe that I have to be in contact with them in order to know what they think, and even if they disagree with me, and certainly some people do disagree with me. 

SCHULTZ:  Sure.  

MCDERMOTT:  I have to be open to accept that in order to be a good representative because I have to know what everybody thinks.  

SCHULTZ:  Do you think this is going to be a more intense environment for elected officials?  Over on the senate side, the sergeant of arms has told media people that in Congress, the threats over the first three months of 2010, they were up 300 percent.  And we know we‘ve got a very angry country right now.  The—obviously the debates are very heated and some of the moves coming up are very controversial from a lawmaking standpoint.  Is this just the way it‘s going to be with congressional members?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, you know, Ed, maybe the only thing you get out of gray hair is experience but I was at my training back in the 1960s when John Kennedy was assassinated.  I was in training in psychiatry in Chicago and there was a huge, huge cry at that point around how we should prevent this kind of thing from happening, and I think at this point, what‘s most important is that every public official and the people in general step back, take a breath, and think a little more carefully about what they say and how they say it.  I think toning down the rhetoric, bringing down the tension in this society has got to be done from the top but all the people in this society have got to understand.  

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, you make a great point, but it seems like there are some lawmakers that refuse to do that and the Tea Party has been on record as of late after the shooting that they‘re not going to change their rhetoric.  What are your thoughts?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, I think that‘s unfortunate because always in a society, you have people who can‘t make distinctions between words and actions.  

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  

MCDERMOTT:  I‘m talking about adults.  It‘s common with children.  We know about what violence on television does to children, but it happens in adults who have not matured sufficiently.  And you have to be careful what you say because some people take those words as directions to do something.  

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

Thanks so much.  

MCDERMOTT:  You‘re welcome.  

SCHULTZ:  Now let‘s get some rapid response from our panel on these stories. 

A South Carolina gun dealer has created a special weapon to honor when republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouted out “you lie” to President Obama at the State of the Union.  It has “you lie” branded on a semiautomatic rifle.  

The memorial service for the victims of the tragedy is set to begin in about 90 minutes.  What should President Obama say to help heal the nation?

And while the president is preparing to speak, John Boehner will reportedly be hosting a cocktail party for the RNC.  But he says he plans to leave before the president‘s remarks.  Tasteless, what do you think? 

Let‘s hear from Laura Flanders tonight, host of Grit TV on Free Speech TV, and Amy Holmes, nationally syndicated radio talk show host.  Laura Flanders, what about the actions of John Boehner tonight, is this appropriate?

LAURA FLANDERS, HOST, GRIT TV:  Well, you know, it may be a little bit of a cheap shot.  This was a benefit clearly organized a long time ago.  I mean we know the only thing that flows more than tears around Boehner seems to be cocktails.  He‘s funded the cocktail party but it‘s an interesting situation that he‘s in because he stands to actually I think shows some courage in this moment.  I haven‘t seen it yet.  

SCHULTZ:  Well, they canceled the health care vote, why wouldn‘t they cancel the cocktail party?

FLANDERS:  Well, you know, good point, good point.  I mean, he has a chance here.  He‘s sort of inherited a party.  He‘s got a party here at his back with a lot of shouters.  He has an opportunity to rein some of that back in right now, in this moment.  And right now he‘s not showing it.  He‘s even squashing the chances of a gun bill proposed by his own side.  

SCHULTZ:  Amy Holmes, what do you think?  Amy, is this inappropriate? 

AMY HOLMES, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I don‘t think so and I think that John Boehner in fact he started Congress later this week.  He led the floor on a House resolution.  This was an event that was planned long before the tragic events over this weekend. 

SCHULTZ:  You can‘t cancel it?

HOLMES:  His RNC members are here from all over the country for this meeting this week.  So to cancel it would be, to cancel on these folks who have made a great effort to be here in Washington, and Ed, I can assure you that right behind me in the capitol, you have lots of Congress people who are burning the midnight oil, doing their work and not necessarily tuning into the president‘s speech tonight because they have a lot to do.  

FLANDERS:  I mean the point here is probably not the worst thing that Boehner‘s done this week or even today.  What we need to see is action about guns.  We need to see action about rhetoric.  We need to see action about funding for mental health care in Arizona and around this country, so, on my list of things that Boehner‘s not doing that he should be doing, canceling this benefit isn‘t at the top.  

SCHULTZ:  All right, Laura, what about the gun, “you lie” inscribed on the semiautomatic firearm?  

FLANDERS:  Well, I‘m sitting here still waiting to hear Joe Wilson to say, you know, remove this from the shelves.  I disapprove of this.  I‘m against it.  I haven‘t heard that yet and that‘s what I think we‘re waiting for.  

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  Amy, should Joe Wilson speak up?

HOLMES:  Well in fact, you know, it was an intemperate burst at the time.  Joe Wilson did apologize for it.  I don‘t know why this gun manufacturer wants to immortalize this word, that Joe Wilson himself apologized for.  So it seems a little bit juvenile to me to be inscribing these words on this gun but at the same time, I think a lot gun control advocates they‘d be unhappy if it said, you know, “to Suzy from mom” on this gun.

SCHULTZ:  What‘s the message here?  I mean, it was, “you lie,” it was directed at the president, there‘s an assault weapon now that has “you lie” written on it.  Amy, what is the message here?

HOLMES:  Well, I think it is, sort of civil disobedience that I‘m going to, you know, you‘ll not be able to pry this gun from my cold dead head.  I think that it‘s a bit juvenile, as I said, I don‘t agree with it.    

(CROSSTALK)

FLANDERS:  I don‘t think it‘s something harsh to talk about this kind of stuff as juvenile particularly in a week like this.  I think it‘s far more serious than that.  And again, it‘s not about his comment which was reprehensible enough, I‘m still waiting for Wilson to say, stop selling this gun, I absolutely renounce this.

HOLMES:  I don‘t think that he needs to be getting involved in this debate at all. 

FLANDERS:  Getting involved?

HOLMES:  If this is a gun control debate, that is something else.  

SCHULTZ:  But Amy, those are his words inscribed on a semiautomatic firearm.  

HOLMES:  That he himself renounced.  

SCHULTZ:  It‘s a commemorative gun.  The gun industry is viewing this as a commemorative gun with his words on it, and how would he feel about that?  Shouldn‘t he say, get those words off.  I apologized.  Don‘t even connect me with this? 

HOLMES:  He could say that but I don‘t think that‘s going to change the views of people who are anti-gun control, who do not like this make and model of gun and that‘s a different issue.  

SCHULTZ:  All right.  And finally Amy, I want to ask you, Sarah Palin, was her video, how would you classify it today?

HOLMES:  Lengthy.  But I think that she had every right of course to defend herself.  She‘s been dragged through the mud with this whole issue and now we learn that the shooter did not watch television, did not listen radio, did not like the news, we heard that from his friend that was reported on ABC News this morning. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  I mean, she came out on the offensive against the media playing the victim on the day that their memorial is being held.  

HOLMES:  Ed, you criticized her when she didn‘t say anything, now you‘re criticizing her because she said too much or you didn‘t like what she had to say.  I think you wouldn‘t be happy unless she. 

SCHULTZ:  Amy, you think this is appropriate what she did today?

HOLMES:  I think she has every right to defend herself.  She bypassed the media.  She put out her own media, we know that this is.    

SCHULTZ:  That‘s not question.  The question is, is it appropriate, what do you think, Laura?

HOLMES:  I think that it‘s appropriate for her to. 

(CROSSTALK)

FLANDERS:  Entirely inappropriate to use the word blood libel entirely problematic.  

HOLMES:  Even Alan Dershowitz would be defending that.  

FLANDERS:  And you would defend it right, Ed, that it‘s extraordinary that all of the things that‘s happened this week, this is the problem that she has picked out which is the victimization of her.  

SCHULTZ:  All right, Laura Flanders, Amy Holmes, great to have both of you tonight.  Thanks so much.  

Coming up, the warning signs on the alleged shooter Jared Loughner, they were there.  Now I want to know if this terrible tragedy could had been prevented.  If the country decided to take mental illness as seriously as we do child abuse.  There is a comparison and there‘s a difference when it comes to passing information. 

That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  We want to give you the results of our text survey tonight.  Tonight I asked, “do you think Sarah Palin should apologize for her violent rhetoric”?  Eighty two percent of you said yes, 18 percent of you said no.  We‘ll be right back.  Stay with us.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in the “Playbook” tonight, we need to spend more time on this subject.  I believe the tragedy in Arizona could have been prevented, but there was a real failure to connect the dots because of laws on the books.  So many people knew, Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old suspected gunman was troubled, very troubled, but he wasn‘t on the radar screen for officials to share information?  Now in October, Pima County college officials suspended Loughner after multiple incidents of disturbing behavior.  Two campus police officers went to Loughner‘s home where he lived with his parents to tell him the campus police spoke with Loughner and his parents to tell him that you know, you‘ve got to get a mental evaluation before you come back.  And on some secret meeting, college administrator told Loughner and his parents that he would not be allowed back unless he got a mental health clearance. 

But he never got the help that he needed.  The information about him was never passed onto local police and other authorities who could have helped if they had known.  That‘s because privacy laws and rules make it very hard to share medical information.  People with serious debilitating mental illnesses are victims of their illness.  But there should be reporting, required—to acquired authorities if people have serious concerns as this community college clearly did.  If it had happened, could Loughner had gotten help and could this killing had been prevented?

Joining me now is Dr. Jeff Gardere, practicing psychologist, MSNBC contributor, and contributor to healthguru.com.  Dr. Gardere, if—do you think in your professional opinion, had this shooter been treated for schizophrenia that the behavior would had been different?  You can‘t cure Schizophrenia but you can treat it, and you can manage it, can you not?  

DR. JEFF GARDERE, PH.D PSYCHOLOGIST:  You can treat it, you can manage it, you can monitor it.  And that‘s what should have happened here and of course, we want privacy laws to be on the side of the patient but we have to remember, Ed, some of these patients have serious mental illness, may be a danger to themselves, may be a danger to others, and therefore that supersedes the privacy issues because then the hospitals or the court systems need to be petitioned so that these people can get help, so that they can get better.  

SCHULTZ:  But the problem with that in this case is the learning institutions, the college, washed its hands of it.  Said it‘s not—we can‘t do anymore.  When they could have passed on some information to law enforcement but laws prevented that and so, while we‘re all going after gun control, how about the mental illness angle of helping people?  He could have maybe not slipped through the cracks, had there been a case worker, via law enforcement from the information from the school to help this man, what about that?

GARDERE:  Well, the problem is that large organizations, institutions they turn this over to the parents, and they basically tell the parents, listen, your kid has a real mental health issue, as you pointed out he can‘t come back until he gets a mental health clearance.  So, they figure, we‘ve dropped this in the hands of the parents.  Let the parents figure out whether if they want to petition the courts of the hospitals to have this person involuntary committed to get the help that they need.  Again, when you‘re looking at these privacy issues, yes, it is to protect the patient but if the person now becomes a danger to themselves, and again a danger to the community, then I do believe it supersedes the privacy laws and it‘s not just about the legal thing, it‘s the humane thing do for the patient.  

SCHULTZ:  It is.  Dr. Gardere, I mean, I think this is really something that Congress needs to look at.  There are education professionals that are in that facility, that made the professional determination, this guy can‘t come back here unless he gets a mental checkup.  There were so many complaints from the classroom, from the staff, from fellow friends, and all of that.  And the information can still be not made public.

GARDERE:  That‘s right.  

SCHULTZ:  There are professionals that can handle this that are trained to this handle that would not injure the family or the kids‘ reputation or however it‘s viewed in society, I think.

GARDERE:  That‘s right.  I agree with you, they didn‘t have to, they wouldn‘t have to oust him if you will as far as his mental health issues.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

GARDERE:  But they could have said, instead of making him a public enemy, saying, he‘s a nuisance, he‘s a danger to our school, they could have reached out to the parents and said, we‘re going to offer you social workers if you‘re having a problem getting him treated.  

SCHULTZ:  Exactly.  

GARDERE:  Who can help because we care about him.  

SCHULTZ:  And I think it needs to be pointed out tonight, in child neglect cases mandated by law, schools and also hospitals are mandated by law to report if there is any child abuse or any child that is in danger but when it comes to mental illness and it comes to the safety of the public, there is not the same standard.  I think that need says to be addressed by the Congress.  

GARDERE:  Absolutely.  They could have acted behind the scenes to help him more.  

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Dr. Gardere, good to have you with us tonight.  

GARDERE:  Thank you.  

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, the eyes of the nation will be on President Obama tonight.  He‘ll be speaking at the memorial service in Arizona, trying to help heal our country.  We‘ll preview it, coming up.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.                        

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear when there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it.  When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That was President Bill Clinton in 1995, following the Oklahoma City bombing.  In that speech, he helped unite the country and let the healing process begin.  In less than two hours, President Obama will try to bring the country together.  The president will deliver a speech at the memorial service in Tucson, Arizona.  We‘re told at this hour that he is expected to visit the University Of Memorial Hospital—the university hospital, and visit with Gabby Giffords, the congresswoman, who is fighting for her life, and her husband.  And also the other victims as well. 

For more, let‘s bring in Joan Walsh, editor in chief, salon.com.  The president is going to speak tonight, Joan.  This is a tall order, obviously, the way the country‘s feeling right now.  What do you think he‘s going to say, and how is he going to say it?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, SALON.COM:  You know, Ed, I expect him to say that what happened on Saturday was tragic, but the most important thing to remember is that what happened there before  the tragedy is so American.  The people are coming together with their congresswoman to bring her their concerns and their thoughts.  You know, we had at least two Republicans murdered at that event, Judge Roll as well as a woman named Phyllis Schneck who was a republican who loved Gabby Giffords, so this is the best of America, Ed.  That‘s the best of America and I think he will point to that.  I think that he will point to the people who jump out of the crowd, to save lives, I think he‘ll point to Daniel Hernandez, the wonderful hero who saved Gabby Giffords life, who happens to be a gay Latino.  I think that he‘s going to remind us that we‘re stronger when we pull together and that what happened there was really a terrible aberration and that recall us to our common bonds.  

SCHULTZ:  It seems like every president has to go through a moment like this. 

WALSH:  Yes, there‘s a—you know there‘s tragedy in our country.  The challenger tragedy was not about violence but was shocking and horrible and Ronald Reagan pulled us together.  Sadly, President Clinton had to deal with a similar situation.  Not identical.  We still don‘t know if Jared Loughner was really influenced by the climate of hate and fear in our country.  It may have been unrelated, except for one thing that we do know, Ed.  It was a political act because he tried to murder a congresswoman and he murdered a federal judge.  It was an assassination attempt and when you bring your craziness and your grievances into that realm and make it dangerous to be a public servant, that diminishes America and I think that‘s what the president‘s going to talk about tonight.  

SCHULTZ:  Joan Walsh, thank you for joining us tonight.  I appreciate it. 

WALSH:  Sure.  

SCHULTZ:  That‘s THE ED SHOW, I‘m Ed Schultz.  You can watch the memorial service, including the president‘s speech live here tonight on MSNBC.  The coverage starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern with Keith Olbermann right here on MSNBC. 

“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics MSNBC.  We will see you back here tomorrow night. 

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

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