The Ed Show for Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: Leo Gerard, Steny Hoyer, Wendell Potter, Dave Weigel, Steven
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Rachel. I didn‘t know that, because I watch you. Great to be with you. Thanks so much.
MADDOW: Thanks a lot, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
Well, in the State of the Union address, the president talked about jobs and education. But I‘m not sure he gave us an education about jobs. And he didn‘t talk about the corporate cancer on America called outsourcing. My commentary on the president‘s missed opportunities last night.
The most bizarre interpretation of the president‘s speech, courtesy of a bunny rabbit and Glenn Beck, not to mention a chainsaw. We‘ll sort it out.
And the health care tragedy in Arizona gets worse. First, they cut organ transplants because they said the patients wouldn‘t live anyway. Now, three medical groups have confirmed what doctors said at the time, the transplant Arizona won‘t pay for do save lives.
But this is the story that we start off with tonight and has my emotion high, even at 10:00 at night Eastern Time. President Obama gave a speech about fixing our economy and creating the 21st century jobs that we really have to have. But he didn‘t mention outsourcing once. And I‘m bothered by that.
The president needs to pay attention to the millions of Americans who have had their jobs shipped overseas. We talk about it a lot on THE ED SHOW.
When it comes to the American wage earner, competing on the global stage, President Obama says the rules have changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, in the vacant store fronts on once busy main streets. I‘ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who have seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear. Proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.
They‘re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president is exactly right. Technology has helped steel worker productivity reach an all-time high. In the last three decades, productivity in the American steel industry has gone up over 400 percent. But even with record productivity, hundreds of thousands of good-paying union steel working jobs have been destroyed by unfair competition from overseas. Bad trade agreements.
President Obama didn‘t mention outsourcing one time last night. It bothered me. He made it sound like our only problem is education.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier, and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They‘re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became the home to the world‘s largest private solar research facility and the world‘s fastest computer. So, yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m all for America investing more in education. But I think the president—I hate to say this—but I‘m not quite sure and sold that he grasps the full impact that outsourcing is having on our economy. It‘s a crisis. No amount of education for American school child will ever change the facts that countries like China and India pay their workers pennies on a dollar. How can you compete with that?
Any healthy economy needs every kind of job, doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, taxi drivers, you name it. You just can‘t expect everybody to enroll in a community college to get a training for a green tech job.
The president is convinced green technology will create the jobs and fill the gap of the future. He went to a solar technology manufacturing plant in Wisconsin today. He was trying to prove just how big government creates jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The jobs you‘re creating here, the growth you‘ve achieved, has come, I know, through hard work and ingenuity and a single-minded focus on being the best at what you do. This plant—this company has also been supported over the years not just by the Department of Agriculture, and the Small Business Administration, but by tax credits and awards we created to give a leg up to renewable energy companies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And let‘s point out, these great folks at the Wisconsin factory used government investment to create jobs. But with Boehner in the speaker‘s chair, those days could be over. Boehner and the Republicans think investment is just a dirty word. He said, “I‘m hopeful that the word investment really isn‘t more stimulus spending and a bigger government here in Washington.”
Well, President Obama can‘t let guys like Boehner off the hook on the jobs issue anymore. The president also needs to lay out a comprehensive manufacturing strategy which we don‘t have, and I don‘t think that the people around him actually get it. His new chief of staff, William Daley, was—really one of the chief architects behind NAFTA, the free trade agreement.
The president, I know he‘s a heady guy, we all know that—but I think he needs to find some people who know how to get their hands dirty when it comes to jobs, that have been down in the trenches with the folks. Now, it seems that the White House has a level of acceptance for blue-collar job losses. That‘s what it feels like.
America just can‘t be, you know, a paper shuffling economy anymore. China is building the super computers. But they‘re also building roads and schools and basic infrastructure. And they have a manufacturing strategy. And America doesn‘t have a manufacturing strategy.
Joining me now is international president of the United Steelworkers, Leo Gerard.
Mr. Gerard, good to have you with us tonight. I‘m a big fan of the president. But I‘m a bigger fan of the middle class and American workers. And last night it was very obvious to me, and I think the country, that the president really didn‘t put a big emphasis on factories. It was almost as if he was talking about them as if they were a thing of the past. And he never mentioned outsourcing.
Do you think that‘s going to be addressed by this administration?
LEO GERARD, INT‘L PRES., UNITED STEEL WORKERS: I really believe it‘s going to be addressed by not only this administration, but by the Democrats in the House of Representatives and by Democrats in Congress.
And it‘s important to recognize that you can‘t get this economy back on its feet fast enough unless we can manufacture things, and it‘s terribly important that we take our existing manufacturing base, protect it, enhance it and grow it while we‘re looking to create new jobs in the new economy. We need to have both. There‘s not enough jobs in the so-called new economy quickly enough to put people back on its feet.
And in our union, we have the most productive rubber workers in the world, the most productive paper workers, the most productive aluminum smelter workers, the most productive steel workers, and so, what we need is to make sure we bring demand back and protect our industry and protect it against unfair trade.
SCHULTZ: But the private sector is not investing with $2 trillion on the sideline. And the money is tight as far as government funds and government investment. What‘s it going to take? What‘s going to bring—what‘s going to get these 5 million jobs back in the factories in this country, especially when it comes to what the president was talking about, energy technology?
GERARD: I think what we‘ve got to do is we‘ve got to push our employers to bring people back. We‘ve got to make sure that we put demand back in the economy.
One of the things that‘s really terrible is the lay offs, the attacks on the public sector. When we take that money out of the economy, we‘re driving down demand. So, I think we‘re going to see the Democratic House of Representatives, although they‘re in the minority, we‘re going to see them pushing for jobs, we‘re going to see them pushing to make it in America as they‘ve said.
We‘re going to continue to fight on all fronts. We need to get the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense to start having a “made in America” policy. And if you can‘t do it there, then get away and see what you can do.
SCHULTZ: Well, that is one thing—
GERARD: Let‘s put them back to work.
SCHULTZ: -- the president did not say anything about made in America. He didn‘t say anything about a made in America policy. What do you think?
GERARD: I was disappointed in that. I thought he should do that. I thought he should talk about the productivity of our existing factories and our existing workforce in this country.
And look, I‘m all in favor of education. I‘m all in favor of high-tech. Our union has led the way on renewable energy.
But the fact of the matter is, we can‘t live in a society where we think everybody‘s going to go to college and everyone is going to get a high-tech job. We still need good factory work where you can support your family. And if you come in a steel mill, by the way, it‘s a high-tech facility. You can put the inputs in at one end, take steel out at the other end with one-ten thousandth of an inch of deviance (ph). That‘s perfection.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Gerard, does it concern you that the new chief of staff is Bill Daley, who really was the architect, Mr. NAFTA, some people call him? And the president doesn‘t seem to have anybody around on his economic team or his staff that really understands labor. In fact, I can‘t think of one person that has ever been connected to labor and factories and manufacturing that‘s on the president‘s staff.
GERARD: Well, we have—let me just say in defense of the president, I think the president understands labor and the president defends labor. He gave one of the best speeches I‘d ever heard at the AFL-CIO executive council on the importance of labor, better than even FDR did.
The problem is that, right now, we‘ve got the president that‘s got to be out there dealing with the Congress that he‘s got, and we‘ve got a president that‘s got to be out there understanding. And I believe he understands it. He walked the streets when steel workers got laid off in East Chicago, in South Chicago.
I think we‘ve got to drive the message home with his staff. I think we‘ve got a guy from Chicago, in Daley—
GERARD: -- who I have some apprehension about, to be fair about it.
I have some apprehension because of his role in NAFTA.
But I think he better understand that you can‘t put this economy back on its feet unless we‘re making things again. And we‘ve got to defend our trade laws. We‘ve got to advance our trade laws. And I know that I and a whole bunch of other people are going to be yelling and screaming.
One last point, we have a person in the administration who understands labor, understands Wall Street. And that was a guy that was a key activist in trying to save the automotive industry, did a pretty damn good job, and that‘s Ron Bloom.
SCHULTZ: Well, Ron Bloom, obviously, did some good things with the automobile industry. And restructuring that, and helping GM and also Chrysler come back to where they are now. But the fact is, is that I don‘t get a real sense that the problem of outsourcing is going to be remedied in the short term by this administration. I hope I‘m wrong.
Thank you, Mr. Gerard. I appreciate your time.
GERARD: Thank you. I hope—I hope you are, too, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Yes. OK. Good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
GERARD: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Joining us now is House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.
Mr. Hoyer, Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC WHIP: Ed, it‘s always good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: It was a great speech, but, of course, there‘s a lot of laid-off workers across America wondering where do they go look for a job if the emphasis is not on manufacturing. Your thoughts on that.
HOYER: Well, I think we need to have emphasis on manufacturing. And we have been talking about an agenda that we call “Make It in America” agenda. Of course, that has two meanings. Number one, making it, getting your objectives; but number two, making it in America, manufacturing it in America, growing it in America, and selling it both here and around the world.
The president wants to double exports in the next five years. In order to do that, you‘ve got to make things that people want to buy overseas. In order to do that, you have to expand manufacturing capability. And you have to have a policy to accomplish that end.
We, Democrats, have been talking about the “Make It in America” agenda for over a year now. Very frankly, I was disappointed that the president didn‘t use that particular phrase in his speech. And I thought he had an opportunity to do so.
SCHULTZ: And the president—and, Steny, the president didn‘t talk about economic patriotism. We‘ve got corporations in this country that are sitting on hoards of cash. They have record profits. Yet they continue to get work elsewhere.
Why can‘t the Democrats push the White House for some type of an effort to keep the jobs here and to do the labor here? What‘s wrong with that?
HOYER: Well, let me say something, Ed. You and Leo Gerard just mentioned Ron Bloom. Ron Bloom has done an extraordinary job with the automobile industry.
I believe that in the very near future, in the next few days, in fact, Ron Bloom is going to be tasked by the White House at looking specifically at how we grow manufacturing in the United States of America - - here, employing Americans with good paying, high paying jobs and good benefits. That‘s really what we need in this country.
And Americans overwhelmingly when they are polled say that if we‘re going to be competitive society, and the kind of America that we want to be in the future, it will be based upon making things here in America.
SCHULTZ: So, you‘re saying that the president is going to go down the road of some special consultant to focus in on this issue?
HOYER: Well, I don‘t know about special consultant. I think he‘s going to have somebody hopefully in the White House—
HOYER: -- that is specifically tasked with that objective. Dan Lipinski, we‘re pushing a bill that I hope passes the Congress, which directs the administration to have every four years an updated—adopt now, and then updated every four years, a manufacturing strategy for this country.
SCHULTZ: And, finally, Steny, I‘ve got to ask you—every time the word “investing in America” comes up, that phrase, the Republicans turn it into a tax increase. What about that?
HOYER: Well, I think that‘s unfortunate. You know, the Republicans understand very well about investing in stock, investing in business, investing in small, medium, large businesses in order to get a return. They understand that concept.
Well, we need to invest in America. That‘s what the president was saying. We need to invest in our young people and make sure they get the kind of education they need.
HOYER: We need to invest in our roads and bridges and transportation.
SCHULTZ: Well, it takes money to do that. And he froze the budget for five years. So, this is going to be interesting. He‘s going to be robbing Peter to pay Paul.
And there‘s going to be a heck of a fight in the Congress over that.
The prioritization of funds, I would think.
HOYER: No doubt it‘s going to be a very tough challenge, and I‘m hopeful and believe we are up to the job. And I hope we can do so on a bipartisan basis.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, thanks so much. Thanks so much, Steny Hoyer.
HOYER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coming up: the president made a joke about the GOP‘s attitude on health care reform, because that law is here to stay.
Glenn Beck previewed the president‘s speech using a chain saw and a bunny rabbit. You heard that right, folks.
And Congressman Paul Ryan coughs up some numbers about just how much the president has spent. We‘ll truth-swab that. You bet we will.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: And the president has a message for House Republicans. That little health care repeal thing you folks got going? Well, it‘s going to be ignored.
And Glenn Beck talks about the five pillars of Islam—all because President Obama, hold on, you can‘t explain Beck‘s nonsense in just five seconds, but you‘re just going to have to stay with us. I‘ll try.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight. I want you to hear what the Republicans had to say in the rebuttal. That‘s coming up.
But even before the speech started, the Tea Party favorite Glenn Beck did some prop comedy about five pillars of the president‘s speech. Now, here he is ignoring the real issues so he can blow a dog whistle to anyone left out there who still thinks the president is Muslim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIE JARRETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: The entire message of his speech is about winning for America and all of the pillars that we have to put in place that are going to create an environment where we can jumpstart the economy.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: OK. I‘m like a really crappy evil villain, aren‘t I? Yes, me and my bunny. And you notice there, she also said—this looks so funny—she also said that they‘re focusing on pillars.
You‘ll never guess how many pillars the president is going to focus on tonight. Yes. Yes. Five. Five. Five pillars. You see, I mean, you‘re upsetting the bunny, really.
Has anybody ever heard of the five pillars of Islam? Here, will you take—our little experiment here. Five pillars of Islam.
Mr. President, I mean, come on, now you‘re just poking people. Because they know it has nothing to do with that. But you know you‘re just poking people. It would be like if I came out with a chainsaw and a bunny rabbit.
Now, am I going to cut the cute little bunny rabbit in half? Might.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: In one of my books, I talked about the four pillars that we need to have a great country. So maybe that makes me one pillar short of Islam.
But in case you‘re wondering, the five pillars of Islam are faith, prayer, tithing, fasting, and making a pilgrimage. Do you know what other religion does all of those things as well? Glenn Beck‘s religion.
Mormons have faith, prayer, Beck himself does tithing, his church requires fasting. And maybe they don‘t make pilgrimages to Mecca, but they do make pilgrimages.
Here‘s one pilgrimage story we found. The headline says, “For Mormon Pilgrims, a New York State Mecca.” And if you‘re thinking, well, that‘s Beck, at least he‘s consistent.
Keep in mind just two weeks ago, he sang a much different tune.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Thank you, Mr. President, for becoming the president of the United States of America last night. It was needed. And you accomplished the job. And you did it expertly. Thank you, Mr. President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Coming up: the GOP‘s economic guru, Congressman Paul Ryan, wants to fix America. But he can‘t even get his facts straight.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann gives the Tea Party response with charts and graphs. But she‘s looking into the wrong camera. Over here. Over here.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Obamacare, as we know, is a crown jewel of socialism.
REP. LOUIS GOHMERT ®, TEXAS: Once we get this disaster out of the way, no matter how many times we have to send it, it will be time to pass a bill that gets real health care reform.
REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA: Today, House Republicans are going to stand with the American people. And vote to repeal their government takeover of health care, lock, stock and barrel.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHULTZ: What is it about these Republicans that they just don‘t like people? I mean, it‘s repeal, repeal, repeal. Republicans want to get rid of health care reform so badly they made it their number one priority in Congress.
But the president‘s message last night was very clear. Repeal is not happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now, I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law. So, let me be the first to say, that anything can be improved. So, I say to this chamber tonight, instead of refighting the battles of the last two years, let‘s fix what needs fixing and let‘s move forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That‘s pretty progressive, isn‘t it? “Anything can be made better.” I like that.
But, of course, today Senator Jim DeMint pushed back against the president‘s intention to sideline the anti-reform movement, introducing a repeal bill in the Senate. But apparently his own party isn‘t so sure it‘s even worth fighting for because only 35 Republicans support DeMint‘s bill.
Now, the American public is also ready to move ahead. A new poll showing large majority here, 62 percent saying leave the funding for health care reform alone.
Joining me tonight is Wendell Potter, former communications director and vice president of Cigna. He‘s now a senior analyst at the Center for Public Integrity. His book is called “Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.”
And, of course, there is a brutal snowstorm along the East Coast, Mr. Potter could not get to a camera tonight, but he is kind enough to join us via the telephone tonight.
Mr. Potter, we just can‘t get the weather in the way of what is vital information. Thanks for joining us tonight.
WENDELL POTTER, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY (via telephone): My pleasure, Ed. Thank you very much.
SCHULTZ: You know, this is—they want to repeal everything. Now, politically, I think the president clearly put them in a box last night because it appeals to the common sense of people. But what is the mission, do you think, of the Republicans in paralleled effort with the insurance companies here?
POTTER: Well, I think what they want to do is make this health care reform more palatable to the insurance companies so that they can make more money on Wall Street. That‘s the real objective here. They want to pass the reform measures that will actually strip away the protections that were in the bill that‘s passed.
So, the real objective is to strip out the consumer protection and the regulations that are in the bill that make a lot of practices of these insurance companies that have been engaging in for many years illegal.
SCHULTZ: A lot of small businesses have called my talk show and said that, you know, the bookkeeping issue is something that they really want to see erased. And the president addressed that last night in the State of the Union. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better, or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Mr. Potter, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Should it be left in or taken out?
POTTER: Well, when they take it out, it‘s going to rob the Treasury of quite a few dollars that were going to be set aside to pay for the expansion of health care. So, in that regard, it‘s a shame. The IRS has said that billions of dollars go uncollected every year because they‘re going to have inadequate reporting requirements. So—but the small business community, and the big business community spoke and they listened.
SCHULTZ: So if this happens, the Congressional Budget Office may have to re-score this bill. Or am I overstating that?
POTTER: Well, to a certain extent, because they were counting on this additional revenue. There‘s no doubt about that. We‘re talking about billions of dollars over the course of several years.
SCHULTZ: What about tort reform, as Republicans have proposed, since it doesn‘t work.? A 2008 study by Pacific Research Institute actually says that states with tort reform laws really have not brought down costs. What can you tell us about that? Is that accurate?
POTTER: Well, it‘s very accurate. Take Texas, for example. They passed a law—tort reform law in 2003. In Texas, both the overall health care spending and individual health insurance expenses have risen faster than the national average over the past decade.
Texas has the highest number of uninsured in this country. One out of every four Texans is uninsured. And Texas ranks 41st in the number of doctors per capita. So it surely hasn‘t been anything that‘s helped consumers in Texas, by any means.
But it surely has helped insurance companies. They were behind getting this passed. Insurance companies really are more behind this, frankly, than doctors are.
SCHULTZ: Well, they like the 32 million customers, don‘t they?
POTTER: They absolutely do.
SCHULTZ: So this repeal basically is a smoke screen. Lobbyists want Republicans to keep the pressure on health care, so they can eventually strip out consumer protections and regulations that the industry doesn‘t like.
POTTER: That‘s exactly right. It‘s a smoke screen. It‘s plain and simple what it is. The Republicans know that there‘s not a chance this is going to be repealed. While everybody‘s talking about that, the lobbyists are working behind the scenes with lawmakers and their staffers to try to strip out the consumer protections.
I‘ve worked there long enough to know exactly what‘s going on. I worked in the industry to know what they want.
SCHULTZ: What can we hear from a PR standpoint, Mr. Potter? You were in that part of the business. How are the big insurance companies going to be playing it right now? Because a lot of rates are going up across the country right now, including mine, I might add.
POTTER: Well, yeah. I know exactly what‘s going on. What they‘re going to do is saying that these consumer protections are going to be costing us additional dollars and causing them to raise their premiums. They‘re going to turn it around to make us think—believe that these consumer protections are costing us money.
They‘re going to use it as an excuse to jack up our rates. They‘re very clever.
SCHULTZ: Wendell Potter, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you for joining us. I‘m sorry we couldn‘t get you to a camera. But I can‘t control the weather.
POTTER: I can‘t either.
SCHULTZ: I know you can‘t.
POTTER: Thanks for working it out.
SCHULTZ: You bet. You‘re a good man for working with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
POTTER: Thank you. Take care.
SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is angling for the presidency? I think she‘s doing more than that. If only she angled towards the right camera, don‘t you think? It would probably be a little bit better? She‘s camera friendly, ain‘t she?
How about those charts. Are they accurate? That‘s coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for staying with us tonight. Today, a reporter asked John Boehner if he watched Michele Bachmann‘s Tea-buttal to last night‘s State of the Union Address. He said, quote, “I had other obligations.”
Well, in the Playbook tonight, Michele Bachmann has made more obligations to speak in Iowa. And we‘ve got the lost footage of Michele Bachmann‘s speech last night. See, the “Minnesota Independent” reports that Bachmann is gearing up her operation in the Hawkeye State. She‘s going back to Iowa for several speaking engagements in March and in April. Kind of a schedule, isn‘t it?
Boehner‘s not the only one who wasn‘t pleased with Bachmann‘s speech last night. Monday, the Tea Party Patriots of the Twin Cities sent out a very interesting e-mail saying this about Bachmann: quote, “one person has no right to speak for the whole organization.”
Say, Michele, did you do it on your own? The only network to cover Michele Bachmann‘s response to the president teased her speech with Wolf Blitzer standing next to an oversized countdown clock. What for?
When CNN took Bachmann‘s address live, it looked like she was—well, she was talking to the wrong camera. Dog gone it. How did that work out. It looked so bad that even David Axelrod poked a little fun at her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Joining me now, President Obama‘s senior adviser, David Axelrod. David, thank you very much for making the time to join us tonight.
DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Am I looking at the right camera?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Today, the version that was supposed to go out to the Tea Party Express website—well, it did turn up. Better camera angle now. But the address still sounded like the one Paul Ryan gave, with some particularly bad facts sprinkled in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which light bulbs to buy, and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama‘s health care bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s a bit of a fib, folks. FatCheck.org says the claim of 16,500 new agents stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by overnight misrepresentation—outright misrepresentation.
Now, today, we found out that while Bachmann was ripping the president, she sent her pal to get his autograph. Isn‘t that cute? “The Hill” reports that Bachmann asked Jean Schmitt, another righty from Ohio, to stay after the president‘s address to get his John Hancock on Michele Bachmann‘s speech book.
If you can‘t beat them, get their autograph.
Joining me now is MSNBC contributor and “Slate” political reporter Dave Weigel. Good evening, Dave. Good to have you on THE ED SHOW tonight.
DAVE WEIGEL, “SLATE”: Good evening.
SCHULTZ: How angry are the Republicans that Michele Bachmann pulled this stunt? I mean, Paul Ryan was the guy that gave the official response. And here comes Bachmann. She‘s popular, stealing the thunder. What do you think?
WEIGEL: I think their anger was very well controlled. It was very Zen. Their response, every time a reporter asked them—and lots of us were asking them—was that the official response was Paul Ryan, and Michele Bachmann is allowed to respond to this speech. Rand Paul responded to this speech. Lots of people responded to this speech.
But it was annoying because Capitol Hill, rightly or wrongly, sometimes exists in the world of cable news. And cable news, as we‘re seeing right now, not to get too meta about it, was wondering why this was happening.
So it was really annoying. They thought there was a nice moment here for Paul Ryan, who is legitimately considered a rising star, the budget chairman, to explain what Republicans thought. Michele Bachmann‘s speech, as you pointed out, wasn‘t very different. It was just this distraction that created a fight where there wasn‘t a fight, where there didn‘t need to be a fight.
SCHULTZ: She was kind of dissed by the Tea Party in Minnesota, wasn‘t she, with that statement. But how many people are actually on her bandwagon with the Tea Party in the caucus? What do you think?
WEIGEL: Not too many. The Tea Party Caucus was sort of—joke‘s the wrong word, but it was not taken too seriously by the grassroots from the inception. It was seen as a way for members of Congress who did not have amazing records to sort of Tea-wash themselves and become Tea Party friendly, even though I think it was Reed Wilson of “The National Journal” pointed out, if you added all their earmarks up over the course of a while, they have requested a billion dollars worth of them.
So she is really respected for how combative she is. Remember, her sort of career as a firebrand began on this network, when she said that Democrats need to be investigated for their relative sympathy to America, their relative American-ness.
So she‘s always been just somebody who is extremely good at rallying the base, not very well respected within her conference, and not really seen as presidential material. It‘s sort of—people in the Tea Party mention her as a possible presidential candidate as almost a lark. Wouldn‘t it be great if she was president.
But they do the same thing with Sarah Palin. They don‘t really take her seriously as a potential president.
SCHULTZ: Well, the armed and dangerous comment kind of disqualified her in a number of arenas, I think. Jason Chaffetz in Utah, who was not in Bachmann‘s Tea Party caucus, even though he‘s a proud Tea Partier, once said, “if any one person tries to co-op it, the Tea Party will lose its identity and effectiveness.”
Is she doing damage to the Tea Party?
WEIGEL: Yes. I think that was a savvy thing for him to say, because whenever somebody takes up a mantle like this, we all rush to them. We all ask what they think the Tea Party stands for. And the Tea Party succeeds because it‘s this brilliant rebranding of various conservative positions, that fell out of favor when George Bush was president. It‘s good for it to be amorphous. You know, it‘s good for them to say we‘re for these very popular cuts. We‘re not for any of the unpopular things, the social issues that you don‘t like.
It‘s not good to have it embodied in a politician with a lot of controversial views, who can go on the radio and make gaffes, and then have those gaffes applied to everyone with any connection to her.
SCHULTZ: But she can raise money. She raised, what, 13 million dollars in the most recent election in November against Terrell Clark in Minnesota. Won by 10 percent. Your quick opinion, do you think she can take on Amy Klobuchar in that Senate seat?
WEIGEL: We‘ve seen polls on that. This is a pretty high water mark for Republican support right now. Michele Bachmann does not come close to winning.
Again, Sarah Palin can raise a lot of money, a lot of support. She doesn‘t come close to winning. That‘s the problem. You don‘t want the Tea Party to be identified with an unpopular politician like this.
SCHULTZ: Dave Weigel, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
WEIGEL: Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, the official Republican response, what they didn‘t want you to hear. That‘s coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Well, for two years, it has been really their battle cry:
Mr. President, where are the jobs.
Well, last night, Republicans could have given the American people a solid, specific jobs plan outlined in their response to the State of the Union Address. You would think it would be coming, right? Well, instead, they gave us Paul Ryan, the chair of the House Budget Committee.
I mean, this guy didn‘t offer any kind of concrete solutions for jobs. I was disappointed because I want to hear their plan. He offered the generic budget talk. We‘ve got to cut everything. And of course, he didn‘t get his facts right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN ®, WISCONSIN: There‘s no doubt the president came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation. Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on his promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Hmm. You know what was interesting about the front of that sound bite, it‘s that Ryan admitted that when the president came in, the economy was lousy. Did I hear that correctly? Because you see, it was President Bush and his economic team that left that for President Obama.
But, of course, Paul Ryan left that out. But you see, the stimulus package, it didn‘t fail. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports it saved jobs. It created jobs. It lowered the unemployment rate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. And the president‘s law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Hmm, bankruptcy, doom and gloom, fear and everything else, but they want tax cuts. You see—but the CBO also says that the health care law will reduce our budget deficits.
The Republican from Wisconsin then did a little fear mongering, predicting a financial day of reckoning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: We are at a moment where if government‘s growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America‘s best century will be considered our past century. This is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, I‘m sorry. Oddly enough, Ryan did not talk about his own plans for that safety net, his so-called Road Map that he‘s got, the whole reason why the GOP picked him to give this response in the first place. As Ezra Klein the “Washington Post” points out, “it was like watching Colonel Sanders give a speech that never mentions chicken.”
Well, Mr. Ryan never mentioned Social Security or Medicare. Probably because he doesn‘t want you to know about his plans to cut the whole damn thing. He also doesn‘t want you to know that the CBO says that his plan would add—and I choked when I read this earlier tonight. His plan would add at least 62 trillion to the debt. It would not balance the budget until 2063.
Oh yeah, the Ryan Road Map, that‘s what they call it. It would raise taxes. It would raise taxes. It would raise taxes on nine out of ten taxpayers, the richest paying the least.
It‘s hard for me to warm up to the Republicans when they just get on the air and say things like that. You know, the last month, they have ignored outsourcing. They have ignored job creation, because they haven‘t told us what they‘re going to do.
They have vilified the Congressional Budget Office, saying that their numbers are totally phony when it comes to health care reform. Do you know these jokers over in the House, they voted to repeal health care. That‘s going to add a trillion dollars to our money problems in this country over the next 20 years.
And so how did the president respond to that last night? You know, what a classy guy. He goes up, instead of saying, you know, you‘re wrong, you‘re lying—the president goes to the State of the Union and he says, let‘s fix it. You know, if you don‘t like it, if there‘s something in there you don‘t like, let‘s fix it.
President Obama always rises to the occasion to take the high road. And that‘s why the big story today in all the media has been just how wonderful his speech was, and how it got high marks. So the president last night where he didn‘t hammer us on tone, he did show us a path. And it‘s called leadership.
We can disagree, but we can still get along. And he‘ll always be the first one to put out his hand to shake your hand. He‘ll always be the one to put out the olive branch, to a fault, in my opinion, in many respects.
But this president gave a great speech last night because of that, because of the response. And the president went first.
I learned a lot. I will fight for Obama to get reelected in 2012.
Arizona Republicans said they cut funding for organ transplants because the transplants never work. Well, the facts are in. And the truth is out. I‘ll tell you about it next.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, last October, the state of Arizona cut funding for some kinds of organ transplants from its Medicaid budget. Think about that. It‘s pretty severe, isn‘t it? That left 98 people unable to afford transplants that could save their lives.
Now, two of them have died so far. Do we care about that? Republicans justified the cuts by saying that these transplants, well, they almost never worked. Well, now some actual experts have studied that the claim is absolute bull.
Last year, Republican State Senate President Russell Pierce said about those 98 people, and I‘m quoting, folks, “most of those will die anyway.”
Arizona transplant experts said even then that they had plenty of patients who survived. And now the actual data has been reviewed by three big groups that deal with organ transplants, and they say the studies behind the Republican claims are, quote, “flawed and outdated.”
In a statement this morning, they said these transplants, quote, “represent the best treatment option for patients with end stage failure of these particular organs, and are more cost effective than alternative therapies because they can prolong a patient‘s productive life and significantly reduce his or her hospitalization rate, thus enhancing the number of quality adjusted life years.”
Well, Republican Governor Jan Brewer, she has a plan to pay for these transplants, you see. But she‘s cutting 280,000 people off state Medicaid to pay for it. And it wouldn‘t even kick in for another eight months, even if that means more of those 98 people have to die.
Well, a Cook County Republican named Steven Daglas heard about the transplant issue. He found 26 ways the state budget could pay for them and started Arizona 98 to help those patients. Steve joins us tonight. Steve, thanks for being with us. I appreciate your time.
STEVEN DAGLAS, ARIZONA 98 FOUNDER: Thank you for having me, Ed. It‘s a privilege.
SCHULTZ: You bet. You started Arizona 98 to advocate for people who can no longer pay for transplants due to state budget cuts. What‘s your reaction, hearing that the data wasn‘t true?
DAGLAS: Elation at first. I can tell you it‘s been a very long process thus far. It started off when the governor and a number of individuals said the money‘s just not there for the transplants. I went through the budget line by line, went through thousands of pages of documents, came up with 26 different ways to fund the transplants that don‘t take away from anyone else.
They don‘t increase taxes, don‘t increase spending, don‘t cut state services. We thought we made a break through. We felt fantastic. We showed where the money comes from.
Then we started being told the medical data does not support the transplants. So we went out, we asked a few experts to look at the data. They came back and they told us that‘s absolutely incorrect.
Not only do the transplants work, if you go back and look at the data we found from 2005 through 2008, Access, the Arizona Medicaid program, has conducted 129 transplants. The numbers we show that only ten folks have passed away after those transplants. That‘s an incredible success rate.
Now, we‘re working with other medical groups to push this to get the word out. But it looks like they‘re running out of excuses, Ed. And the families and I are just hoping and praying that finally we‘re going to make a break through here.
SCHULTZ: Quickly, Mr. Daglas, how does it feel to save lives? How does it feel save lives?
DAGLAS: I‘ll tell you what it feels like once it‘s done. Hopefully we‘ll wake up tomorrow, Governor Brewer makes this right. And you can have me on for a second and I‘ll tell you exactly what it feels like.
SCHULTZ: All right. Steven Daglas, you are a model citizen, to care about other people, and to take your time to do this and bring it to light. Good to have you with us tonight.
DAGLAS: Thank you, Ed. Thank you. It‘s been a privilege.
SCHULTZ: You bet. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com, or check out WeGotEd.com. Hey, that‘s my radio website. I‘m on XM167, noon to 3:00, Monday through Friday, when I‘m not battling a cold. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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