updated 2/10/2011 10:56:26 AM ET 2011-02-10T15:56:26

Guests: Robert Reich, Glenn Greenwald, Rep. Anthony Weiner, Stephanie

Miller

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:

Out-of-work Americans with no more unemployment benefits, we call them “the 99ers.”  The GOP says good rid dance.

But I‘m going to plan to put these folks back on their feet.  It‘s a solution.  It‘s socialism.  But it‘s very American.  I‘ll tell you about it.

FOX News, you remember that focus group that thinks that President Obama is a Muslim?  Well, it gets worse.  They also think that the president hates America.  First Lady Michelle Obama responds.

This is the story that has me fired up first tonight, folks.  For the second time this week, President Obama reached out to the obstructionists who were on a mission to see him fail.  On Monday, the president went over to the Chamber of Commerce and told America‘s business leaders to show some economic patriotism by creating some jobs.

Well, today, the president had House Republicans over for lunch.  He met with John Boehner, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and also House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

On Tuesday night, Cantor was talking smack.  He was talking a big game before the big lunch with the president.  Cantor took the president to task for his statement that he made on the Chamber on Monday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

           

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  As we work with you to make America better place to do business, I‘m hoping that all of you are thinking what you can do for America.  Ask yourselves what you can do to hire more American workers.  What you can do to support the American economy and invest in this nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  What you can do to help America.  It‘s a golden sound bite, isn‘t it?

Cantor didn‘t like how President Obama called his buddies on the carpet.  He told reporters, quote, “That‘s not how it works.  Washington doesn‘t just wave a magic wand and necessarily business creates jobs.”  Want to bet?

Cantor was singing a different tune after he met with the president this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER:  We did have a fairly robust conversation about the need for all of us to work together to send a signal that we‘re serious about cutting spending.  The economy is so desperately needs us to work together, to send a signal that we should start growing again as America, because that‘s what America does best.  It innovates and leads.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Generic garbage.  Mr. Cantor, the president has a great way to innovate and lead.  It‘s called high-speed rail.

On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden rolled out the president‘s $53 billion idea to create high-speed rail all over America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We‘ll develop a backbone for this national high-speed rail system, putting trains on dedicated tracks that can reach 220 miles an hour and higher.  These are real live jobs that pay real good money, so people can raise a middle class family on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That would be the manufacturing sector, like steel, like rubber, like plastics, like electronics, all of that stuff.  Well, Republicans, they don‘t know the first thing about creating real live middle-class jobs.  You know, those jobs couldn‘t be outsourced either.

There‘s no way John Boehner is going to let the president have one dime to create jobs with high-speed rail.  It‘s a pipe dream.  Here‘s Boehner‘s bright idea to create jobs in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  We‘ve got a lot of work to do.  But the American people expect Washington to cut spending in order to grow jobs in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Cut, cut u cut, cut, cut.  Boehner is completely delusional if he thinks that he can create jobs by cutting government spending.  That kind of thinking is nothing but, I guess you could say Tea Party garbage.  Boehner is now part of the flock.  This is what he said on a hard right-wing talk radio show in Cincinnati.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BILL CUNNINGHAM:  Is John Boehner a member of the Tea Party?

BOEHNER:  I should be.

CUNNINGHAM:  Are you?

BOEHNER:  I don‘t know if I have actually pay dues, but I‘m a big believer in the Tea Party.  I talk to Tea Party activists all over my district and all over the country every day.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Every day.  It‘s all about the money, he didn‘t know if he paid dues.  Leave it to Boehner to show his cards in the safe haven of conservative right-wing talk radio.

Well, Boehner and the Tea Party have done nothing—nothing—to create a single job since this country has put the gavel in his hands.  Well, today the DCCC launched a Web site, whenarethejobs.com.  Not where are the jobs, but whenarethejobs.com.  It lists the days, hours, minutes and seconds Boehner has been speaker, and the number of jobs that he‘s created, and that, folks, would be a big fat zero.

Now, the president has done everything he can to reach out to conservatives on jobs.  How they have a responsibility to really quit the games, don‘t they?  Stop all the political games.

You know, we‘ve got all these financial networks, you know, all these financial networks that are out there.  I mean, we have one, CNBC.  You know, the guys across the street, they‘ve got a financial network.  Bloomberg‘s got a financial network.

Maybe I‘m not watching enough.  But I‘ve never seen a Republican go on any of these networks and lay out a jobs package of what we‘re going to do in America to create jobs.  It‘s always cut spending, lower taxes.  Cut spending, lower taxes.

I mean, they‘re void of any idea at all.  So, when the president puts out a $53 billion package for high-speed rail, which would make people‘s lives easier, which would save money in the long haul, which would create jobs that couldn‘t be outsourced, what do they say?  No, no, we can‘t do that.  They say no to everything.  It‘s in their DNA.

American business needs a clear road map.  At this point in time in our history, a clear road map from the government on the best way to get the money into the hands of American consumers.  That‘s kind of socialist, isn‘t it?  I love it.

Overregulation, my friends, is not the problem when it comes to jobs.  President Bush was a master of deregulation.  His policies did nothing to create good middle class jobs in this country.  Just look at the numbers.

Investment in American workers is what it‘s all about.  It is really the key to turning this new normal of 9 percent unemployment, turning it around.  But if you‘re going to say “no” to everything, if you‘re going to be afraid to try something, if it‘s all about political and the concentration of wealth, we‘re not going to get anywhere.

And here‘s what the conservatives really despise.  It worked with the automobile industry.  And it worked so good, they‘re paying it back.  And they just cannot stand the fact that there‘s a successful business story that government was involved in, to give American workers a shot in the arm.

You see that Chrysler ad just really sticks it to them, doesn‘t it?  Those are American workers who are sitting at home saying, look what we did.  And the Republicans are cursing it.  That‘s basically what they‘re doing.

See, now, we could do this with high-speed rail.  We have enough millionaires and billionaires and big shakers in this country who could be a part of a public and private investment to create jobs and go the distance with high-speed rail.

But you see—there‘s just too much uncertainty out there.  They just don‘t believe in President Barack Obama.  So, they‘re not going to do it.  They‘re going to sit on their resources until maybe somebody else gets in there to their liking.

It‘s really a sad scenario.  We‘re going to have this hang up until the next election.  It‘s unfortunate.

The Democrats and this administration are not void of ideas or passion or guts or willingness to try something.  It‘s the Republicans who constantly stand in the way of everything.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think on this subject.  The question is: Has the new GOP House majority done anything to create jobs?  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 Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary under President Clinton, currently a professor of public policy at U.C.-Berkeley‘s Goldman School of Public Policy.

Mr. Reich, good to have you with us tonight.  Let‘s talk about this.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY:  Good evening, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Let‘s talk about this high-speed rail, $53 billion.  The Republicans won‘t go along with it.  But does a project like this have merit, in your opinion?

REICH:  Well, we have a huge problem in this country of a lack of infrastructure.  Our old infrastructure, our highway system, is basically degrading.  We don‘t have a high-speed rail.  You know, most modern countries, Japan, Europe is building it, we see even China is building a high-speed rail because it is one of the most efficient ways of moving people from place to place.

So, yes, that is the future.  That‘s what we ought to be investing in.  That would create jobs immediately.  But it also would grow the economy and create jobs in the future.

SCHULTZ:  This is Mr. Boehner just hanging his hat on cutting spending.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER:  Clearly, our number one issue is getting the economy going again and getting people back to work.  And we believe that in order for that to happen, that we need to cut spending.  We need to stop unnecessary regulation that‘s hampering small businesses‘ ability to hire people.

(END VIDO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, Mr. Reich, we keep hearing that cutting spending, and getting regulation out of the way, but they never tell us what regulation is in the way of creating jobs in America.  Can you address that?

REICH:  Well, for years, Ed, they‘ve been saying health regulation, worker health, worker safety, environmental regulation—they basically don‘t like any of these regulations, and—nor do many big businesses.  But the fact of the matter is that health and safety and environment al regulations are critically important to America.  Without them, we would not only be less healthy and less safe, and our environment would be degraded, but also, we would not have the kind of jobs we do.

I mean, actually, interestingly, and this is something they will never talk about, a lot of regulations, because they force businesses to meet those regulations, like the fuel economy standards, they actually promote innovation, because businesses compete against one another to get to those low fuel economy standards.

SCHULTZ:  Why are they against every idea?  Is it all about political power?  It doesn‘t matter what Democratic president would be in there, it‘s all about the power and their ideas and they just constantly chip away and chip away with the same bullet points and no package in front of the American people to really create jobs.  Or am I reading this wrong?

REICH:  Well, I think eventually, Ed—I mean, the American people are going to want to know where‘s the beef.  They want to know from Republicans exactly how are you going to create jobs.

I mean, the present-day Republicans have not only been saying the same thing, that is, get rid of spending and taxes and regulations, they‘ve been saying the same thing for 30 years.  But even before the Great Depression, even in the 1920s—if you go back to the rhetoric of Herbert Hoover that got us into trouble, what you hear then is exactly the same thing: cut taxes, cut spending, balance the budget, get rid of regulations.  And that was the mentality and still is the mentality of Republicans who apparently have not learned a thing in 80 years.

SCHULTZ:  Sooner or later, the president‘s going to have to fish or cut bait with this crowd.  They‘re not going to help him out.  They‘re not going to work together.  He can have them over to lunch all he wants.

The fact to the matter is, they‘re against him.  They‘re against everything he puts up there, unless they do it their way, the Republican way.

In your opinion, what should the president do at this juncture?

REICH:  Well, I think the president has to, and it‘s very important that he appears, but also genuinely holds out an olive branch, attempts to cooperate, attempts to talk with them, says, look, what do you want to do, here‘s what I‘m proposing, what‘s your idea—

SCHULTZ:  But that doesn‘t get him anywhere.  That doesn‘t get them anywhere.

REICH:  No, but here‘s where it gets him right now.  It didn‘t get him anywhere before, you know, before they elect—the past election, before the bi-election, Ed.  But it‘s going to get him places now because his approval rating keeps on going up, while the Republican approval rating keeps on going down because Americans want politicians who are going to be constructive, who are going to actually work together, who are going to build something—whether it‘s a high-speed rail or it‘s whatever other way of getting the jobs.

Americans don‘t want naysayers and people who are just going to sit on their hands and say, no, we‘re not going to cooperate, we‘re not going to do this, we‘re not going to do that.  And that‘s where the president really is gaining ground.

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Reich, always a pleasure.  Good to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks so much.

Remember to answer tonight‘s text question there at the bottom of the screen.  I want to know what you think.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  Back to the attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would just like to see him be proud of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He doesn‘t see the good that America does in the world.

SCHULTZ:  The footage you didn‘t see from that Iowa focus group.

Blind justice—the wife of a Supreme Court justice has House Dems asking Clarence Thomas to recuse himself.

And the real costs of declining federal health benefits has some freshmen Republicans seeking a second opinion.  Anthony Weiner joins me.

And when Congress and Craigslist mix, quitting comes next.  We‘ll reveal just about everything in the latest GOP sex scandal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Firefighters?  They are America‘s heroes, right?  But now, they‘re under attack.  We‘ll see who is stooping that low.  What the hell is this all about, huh?

The end of the line—Americans still unemployed after 99 weeks, and not getting any help.  Republicans say, too bad.  I say—this does not have to be the new normal.  Blistering commentary on that, and what this country needs to do about it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA:  This is the state of emergency for everyone.  And it needs to be addressed right now before millions of unemployed people fall into the ranks of the poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

This is a story that I have told the audience of THE ED SHOW for months that I would not let go.  For some it‘s already too late.  That, of course, was Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California.  God bless her for doing what she‘s doing, speaking about long-term unemployment in this country.  You and I know them as 99ers.

Today, Lee and Congressman Bobby Scott, both Democrats, proposed legislation that would extend benefits to anyone who‘s been out of a job for more than six months.  Now, it‘s up to the Republicans to allow it to reach the House floor.  Don‘t hold your breath.

Here‘s what one 99er, Rhonda Taylor, had to say to the GOP today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RHONDA TAYLOR, 99ER:  Take the politics out of this.  This is about people.  And we need to come up with solutions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Come up with solutions.  Isn‘t that what it‘s all about?

Now, earlier tonight Rachel very, very astute, academic and to the point about what the Republican agenda is all about, and the things that they‘re doing in the Congress.  That was on her show earlier tonight.  And I thought, you know, this would have been a golden opportunity for the Republicans to step up and show some leadership and actually do something for Americans who are hurting.

Hurting—you know what that means?  Hurting—to be out of a job, to be hurting.

Doing a liberal radio talk show, all you have to do to infuriate the audience is say, well, unemployment is at 9 percent.  You can‘t get any American to buy that number.  I don‘t even know where that number comes from.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics, we‘re at 9 percent unemployment?

Americans, I think, who are out of work in this country, feels like it‘s more like 20 percent, the residual effect and how many people it affects in families, it goes into the millions in this country.  And we stand here as a country idle with almost no moral compass to do anything for these Americans.

I believe extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.  But you see, the culture of “no” is upon us.  We‘re really afraid to do something.

Now, we‘ve proven that we can do something.  Just like President Obama and his team led the way to save Chrysler and G.M.  Is that a success story in less than two years?  You damn right it is.  And we ought to be proud of that.

But, of course, the righties—they‘re out there beating the tar out of it.  That‘s socialism.

Let me give you a real dose of socialism tonight.  We should have in this country a transitional community works project.  Professionals that have been put out of work, people that are in the prime of their life have seen their jobs go overseas.  And they don‘t have unemployment insurance anymore, because it‘s run out.  And the Republicans will stand in the way and they won‘t give them anything.

Now, I know that there‘s going to be folks out there saying, oh, this is socialism, this is communism.

I don‘t give a damn what it is.  What it is is saving the dignity of Americans who have been stepped on like roadkill by a right-wing party that has no compassion.  And it infuriates me when constantly the Republicans use the employed as some kind of political tool to blame President Obama for not creating jobs.  This is the vicious cycle of the political turn in Washington.

We—those of us out in the heartland, and that‘s where I spend a lot of my time when I‘m not in New York—believe that we can do great things.  We can do high-speed rail.  We don‘t have to accept the new normal.  And we can do something that would parallel what happened with the automobile industry.

It‘s a transitional community works project.  Those people who have been unemployed for a long time could work through county commissioners.  Every county in America has a county board.  A lot of them sit on their fanny and don‘t do anything except read e-mails and think they know what‘s happening out there—and then run for re-election.

Let‘s put the county commissioners in America to work.  Make them responsible for helping the unemployed and get some transitional community work projects going.  Professionals who have put out of their jobs, who could do some type of work in the community for maybe 18 or 20 hours a week, and then spend the other three days looking for work.

You mean to tell me that we as Americans are going to allow these people just to sit home and do nothing when they want to engage?  They could stay professionally sharp.  They could retain their dignity.  And, you know, they could probably keep their homes and their apartments, and maybe save their credit.

Have you ever tried to get a job when your credit is blown away?  It‘s tough.

And then, of course, we have to throw in age discrimination in America.  The 50-somethings can‘t get back into the economy because they just cost too damn much.

Now, if you‘re a righty tonight and you happen to be watching, you might be saying, yes, but, Ed, how are you going to pay for it?

I don‘t care what it costs.  The same way you didn‘t care how much Afghanistan and Iraq costs.  Or your tax cuts for the rich, how much they cost.

It wasn‘t until recently we put a pencil to that.  And now look what we‘ve got.  We have no way out for millions of Americans, and all they want is a chance to get back into it.  Yet, we have this political party called the Republicans that constantly stand in the way of any kind of government help to get people back on their feet and get them directed again and back into the economy.

How heartless can Boehner and Cantor say, how rotten for them to take the time of the president to have lunch and then come out and talk about cutting spending, as if that‘s going to create jobs.

No, the high-speed rail will create jobs.  And community work projects with people who are in transition in their economic lives, that will help this country feel better about itself, will be less bitter, and we will restore the dignity of many Americans who want to be Americans.

But you have the conservatives who are standing in the way, because their love of money is unparalleled in this universe.  They think it‘s all about the money.  It‘s all about their tax cuts.

It is socialism.  And it‘s also very, very sad.  It‘s very sad.

Bear with me.  This lady, Gerry DePietro, attended today‘s news conference.  She ran out of her unemployment benefits.  And she started selling jewelry to get by.

This is what she told “The Huffington Post” at the press conference today.  She says, “We‘re just trying to let them see that we‘re real live human beings.”

Her husband passed away.  She was married to him for 37 years.

How many times do couples make love in 37 years?  How many times do they go to dinner?  How many times do they share an intimate moment?  How many times do they love their kids?  How many times did they do things together?

You do a lot with your spouse in 37 years.  Her husband had given her a gold ring.  She sold the gold ring that her husband gave her for $20.

Can you imagine being so destitute that you would sell something that your late husband gave you, your husband of 37 years, a gold ring, for $20?

Damn you, Republicans.  You have no heart.  You have no soul.

We‘ll be right back on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS:  Does it disturb you that so many people hate you?  No, I mean, it‘s a serious question.

OBAMA:  You know, the truth is, that the people—and I‘m sure previous presidents would say the same thing, whether it was Bush or Clinton or Reagan or anybody.  The people who dislike you don‘t know you.

O‘REILLY:  But they hate you.

OBAMA:  Even—the folks who hate you, they don‘t know you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So, Bill O‘Reilly wants to know why some folks hate President Obama.  It‘s because they watch your network, Bill.  Because that‘s all the thing that spews out of your network when it comes to President Obama.

We showed you the FOX focus group last night.  The people raising their hands are Republicans voters from Iowa who think President Obama is a Muslim.

But let‘s hear some other things they think about President Obama.  It will help you remember where you may have heard this stuff before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He is Neville Chamberlain in 1939.  He is an appeaser and he will lead us down a path to destruction if we‘re not careful. 

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Obama is weak.  He is an appeaser.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think he believe that America‘s at fault for the world‘s problem.  I think the—he doesn‘t see the good that America does in the world. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He seems to have, it seems to me, some malevolence towards this country which is unabated. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would just like to see him be proud of America, represent America, our history. 

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I think Barack Obama doesn‘t want America to succeed. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What do we have to be sorry about?  He runs around apologizing, apologizing all the time.  What did we do wrong? 

HANNITY:  As he goes on his apology tour, and he never talks about the virtue and the sacrifice for the cause of liberty of freedom that America has paid—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t think we have a president that actually loves America right now. 

DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  What he likes about this country is they elected him.  That‘s about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining me tonight is film director Robert Greenwald, founder of Brave New Films.  He directed the landmark documentary “Out-Foxed.”  Robert, good to have you with us tonight. 

ROBERT GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  I think that pretty much is proof positive right there.  You‘ve been covering the lies coming out of Fox for over a decade.  Has it ever been this bad? 

GREENWALD:  Well, it seems to get worse and worse, because the echo chamber gets stronger and more limited.  They found a group of people who clearly only watch Fox News.  And study after study proves that on a factual level, the people who watch Fox News more get the facts wrong over and over and over again. 

But the really troubling part is what we‘re seeing is they have everybody who‘s running for president in the Republican party on their payroll in one way or another.  And they‘re beginning to try to build the talking points that will be used against Obama in 2012. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s almost as if those folks were brainwashed.  They were coached on what to think and how to say it.  As if they—well, couldn‘t say it for themselves. 

GREENWALD:  Yeah, well, if you watch Fox News over and over again, you get exactly the words that they were saying.  And that‘s so true.  It is—it‘s a kind of brainwashing. 

I mean, can you imagine sitting there hour after hour, and listening and watching the hate and the anger and the lies, the out-and-out lies? 

SCHULTZ:  This is a clip from your Brave New Films documentary, where Fox is attacking President Obama for smoking.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What do we really know about Barack Obama?  His team works overtime trying to hide Obama‘s dirty little secret.  He is—get this—a cigarette smoker. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s a smoker. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Would you vote for a smoker as president? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think that smoking issue comes back to bite him in the hind quarters. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What else do we not know about Barack Obama? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  But, of course, there‘s no scrutiny of House Speaker John Boehner, who is a chain smoker.  Why does President Obama even bother with Fox?  Why bother to sit down with Bill O‘Reilly? 

GREENWALD:  Well, you know, it‘s a really good question, Ed.  First of all, let me say on this show, right now, I think the next interview President Obama should do should be with you right here on this show, number one. 

Number two, he chose that particular time period because they had the huge audience for the Super Bowl.  So he was trying to reach 100 million people at that given time.  He‘s not doing the regular shows. 

But again, they made a decision for short-term gain against long-term it will hurt them, because Fox will be the single loudest audience grabber over the next year and a half, pounding and pounding him on every single issue. 

SCHULTZ:  When Roger Ailes sees that focus group reaction to the president of the United States, does he sit back in his chair with a cigar and say, mission accomplished? 

GREENWALD:  Well, I wish he had said mission accomplished, but they‘re just revving up.  The mission is just beginning.  But they know that their talking points are being effective.  They know they‘re getting through to their audience. 

The danger, of course, is it spreads beyond that audience.  And there‘s no check and balance there of any kind whatsoever.  Which means it‘s work for all of us that we need to do, and to join the folks at the News Hounds and to join Media Matters, and help get that word out there. 

SCHULTZ:  Robert Greenwald, always a pleasure.  Great work again. 

Thanks so much. 

GREENWALD:  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Chris Lee resigns after allegedly looking for a date on the Internet with his shirtless photo and all.  Just call him Congressman Craigslist. 

Conflict of interest?  Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will get to rule on the health care reform law, while his lobbyist wife campaigns against the health care reform law.  That‘s next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIRGINIA THOMAS, WIFE OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS:  From the front lines, I‘m telling you, we need your help.  We‘re at risk of losing the country.  We have 61 days to put the brakes on this train that‘s heading for the cliff. 

And they thought we weren‘t going to wake up in time.  But they were wrong.  Join me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That was Virginia Thomas, the lobbyist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, rallying Tea Parties last year.  Now she thinks Obama‘s health care law is unconstitutional.  Her husband is probably going to have to make a call on that. 

Democrats, well, they think that‘s not right.  Today, 73 House Democrats signed a letter asking Justice Thomas to sit out a future health care ruling because of his wife. 

From the letter, “your spouse is advertising herself as a lobbyist who has experience and connections and appeals to clients who want to overturn health care reform.  Moreover, your failure to disclose Ginny Thomas‘ receipt of nearly 700,000 dollars from the Heritage Foundation, a prominent opponent of health care reform, has raised great concerns.” 

The “L.A. Times” reported last October “Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is working to repeal what she believes is President Obama‘s unconstitutional law regulating health insurance. 

Democrats say that represents an appearance of conflict of interest. 

Well, take Ginny‘s word.  The Tea Party‘s influence begins in the home. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS:  Remember, we don‘t need to ride a horse around Boston at midnight while others are sleeping to warn them, as Paul Revere did.  We can remain in the comfort of our own homes to make a difference, with like-minded people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is the Democrat who wrote that letter to Justice Thomas, Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York.  Congressman, thank you for your time tonight. 

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK:  My pleasure. 

SCHULTZ:  Why can‘t Ginny Thomas just speak her mind and go make a living the way she wants to?  What‘s the problem here? 

WEINER:  Well, she certainly can.  And none of the 75 members of Congress or the hundreds and hundreds of people that have signed a petition at ConflictedClarenceThomas.com, think that she shouldn‘t have a right to earn a living. 

But the law is clear when a judge must recuse himself from consideration of a case.  And it‘s when you have a financial interest in the outcome of the case.  And it specifically refers to your spouse. 

I think that this is really a fairly bright line test here.  When you have someone who‘s already made close to 700,000 dollars trying to defeat health care, is advertising to this day that she has influence over things in Washington, and has advocated so fiercely for this being deemed unconstitutional, I think it‘s a pretty clear case that Justice Thomas should recuse himself from consideration of the appeal of the Health Care Reform Act. 

SCHULTZ:  But couldn‘t this be a situation where Justice Thomas could have integrity and distance himself from the way his wife thinks, and make an unbiased ruling on this and one that is within the law?  I mean, this is really an attack on him as much, isn‘t it? 

WEINER:  Well, here‘s the situation, is that the recusal laws are all about the appearance that the court is on the level.  You know, I can disagree with Clarence Thomas.  And I think that, frankly, he‘s probably gotten just about every case wrong since he‘s been on the bench.  But this is the case of what the appearance is. 

And particularly in this health care case, where everyone agrees this is going to wind up in the Supreme Court, where there are widely divergent views, and there are legitimate points on either side.  Frankly, if the American people are going to have confidence in the Supreme Court, to see that he failed to disclose on his filings that his spouse had earned this income, to see that she still, to this day, is advertising she has influence over these decisions, the appearance is obvious. 

And so all we‘re saying is he should recuse himself. 

SCHULTZ:  Orrin Hatch has asked Justin Kagan to recuse herself.  In your opinion, which is more likely? 

WEINER:  Justice Kagan, frankly, was asked on a questionnaire had she had any dealings with the Health Care Reform Act.  She said it was only mentioned at one meeting.  She was a part of none of the judicial proceedings.

Frankly, Justin Kagan, to her credit, has already recused herself from several cases that were in front of her when she was solicitor general.  Look, what people are saying at ConflictedClarenceThomas.com, are we the American people want the Supreme Court to be on the level.  And it is clear, at the very least, the appearance is that it‘s not.  That‘s what‘s important here. 

SCHULTZ:  Another story breaking out of Congress today, was in “Politico,” is that there are 16 freshmen in the Congress who refuse to take the government health care program, which is offered to the members of Congress.  And they‘re finding it not so easy-going.  They‘re out in the open market, 1,200 dollars a month as far as a premium is concerned. 

And some of the members of Congress who went in well intended are finding out that there is such a thing as preexisting conditions.  What‘s your thinking on this?  Is this a real opportunity to get the attention of Republicans, and to maybe change the thinking of some? 

WEINER:  Perhaps it is.  The fact is, you said 16 members.  That‘s over 250 of them.  They apparently—or many of them are on Social Security and Medicare, something I‘ve talked about on your show before.  I don‘t see them turning back that. 

One of my colleagues from New York even said—when asked whether he‘s taking the insurance, he said, of course, what‘s going to happen to me if I have an accident and I need health care. 

Look, the fact is that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy among my Republican friends.  They want health insurance.  They want the benefit that comes with being employed on the job.  All we‘re saying is we want to extend all Americans essentially the same plan that we members of Congress have.  That‘s what this is all about. 

And I think that when people understand that, they support this health care act.  The irony is, essentially what the Republicans wanted to do in the first week they came in office is take away from the American people the benefits that members of Congress get every day. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Anthony Weiner, great to have on.  Thanks so much for being with us tonight. 

Firefighters under attack because the righties see them as union workers.  And we know what the right wants to do with unions in this country.  They want to crush them.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Thanks for watching us tonight.  Thanks for staying up.  This is THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  We owe a lot to our nation‘s rescue workers, don‘t we?  Politicians are always the first ones to stand up next to these heroes, put their arm around them and tell us how valuable they are.  Until it comes time for taking care of their retirement.  That‘s a different story. 

As part of the Republican war on unions, rescue workers are being attacked for their pension packages.  These workers put their lives on the line, and take pay cuts, in order to be taken care of when they decide to hang it up, after they‘ve paid their dues and they retire.  They‘re after their pensions too?

Politicians like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, they‘re making it harder for them to get a good retirement.  Christie is trying to roll back pension increases, despite making a campaign promise that he would leave firefighter pensions alone.  He has the support of his fellow Republicans. 

Well, the union is fighting back, and they should.  The International Association of Firefighters released this full-page ad in the “USA Today,” asking for public support.  You got mine. 

And soon they plan on running this television ad in several markets. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Police and fire are not in the top dozen dangerous jobs.  Most of the time they don‘t have very much to do. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s like you unions are robbing our future. 

BECK:  How many firefighters do you need, America? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  I don‘t know, Beck, you tell me.  How many firefighters were needed down at ground zero?  How fast did they get there?  They weren‘t asking about their pension then.  They were thinking about saving lives.  I think it‘s absolutely despicable that politicians talk about how they‘re New York‘s finest, and America‘s finest, yet in a time of negotiation they treat them like dirt. 

They want to take their pensions so they can look good to those folks who might vote for them because they balanced the budget.  Unions in this country and firefighters have taken cut after cut.  They‘ve done their part.  And of course, conservatives are now showing America that the only time they care about firefighters is when their damn house is on fire. 

Let‘s check back in with this website, WhenAreTheJobs.com.  Come on, Speaker Boehner, since the show started, you haven‘t created any jobs, buddy.  There it is, 35 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes and 12 seconds and counting. 

Just hours ago, a Republican congressman resigned.  Busted for allegedly trying to get hooked up on the Internet.  And yes, the congressman is a married man.  Oh, those Republican family values.  That‘s next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s almost 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.  The question tonight is, do you know where your Republican congressman is?  The party of family values lives up to its name again tonight, as one House lawmaker resigns abruptly. 

Here‘s why.  Meet Congressman Christopher Lee, when he is representing New York‘s 26th District.  Chris Lee is 46 years old, married and has one child.  When he is trolling personal ads on Craigslist, Chris Lee is 39, divorced and a lobbyist.  At least that‘s what he allegedly told one woman who he had placed an ad seeking a financially and emotionally secure man. 

The two engaged in a few e-mails.  Lee told the woman he‘s a “very fit, fun, classy guy.” 

And to make sure she believed him, she—he sent her this.  Well, isn‘t that special. 

Now we can‘t say for sure if this picture is authentic.  OK?  A little disclaimer there.  The woman eventually Googled Lee and found out, well, he just wasn‘t the guy that she was looking for.  She forwarded the e-mails to website Gawker.com.  Dog gone it, they‘ll get you every time. 

Gawker verified that the shirtless picture came from Lee‘s blackberry and the e-mails came from Lee‘s gmail account, after Lee‘s office claimed the congressman‘s e-mail had been hacked. 

At 5:00 p.m. this evening, the congressman resigned.  Quote, “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff, my constituents.  I deeply and sincerely apologize to all of them.  I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.” 

Now let‘s give the poor guy a break.  Well, wait a minute.  Maybe he just didn‘t know about the Internet.  Well, here‘s an op-ed that he wrote for Tawanda (ph) News back in 2009; the title, “Teen Internet Safety Must be a Priority.”  “Responding to what may seem like a friendly e-mail or appealing marketing offer, it can have serious consequences.  Private information and images can so easily be transmitted to friends and strangers alike.”  You think? 

To help me make sense of this honky tonk, let‘s bring in Stephanie Miller, nationally syndicated radio talk show host of “The Stephanie Miller Show.”  Help me out on this one with some family values, will you? 

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, he was right about one thing, Ed, he is classy with a K.  And I also understand that he‘s for Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, probably because in his own family he‘s for don‘t ask, don‘t tell your own wife what you‘re doing on Facebook. 

SCHULTZ:  Here we go again.  He represented a district adjacent to former Congressman Eric Massa.  Do you think it‘s something in the water up there or what? 

MILLER:  Yes, I love the whole I‘ve been hacked.  If I could count the

number of times that someone has said that I was a 39-year-old congressman

with a shirtless photo on Facebook, you, too?  And I think there was

another thing where he said that, oh, the only time he‘s been on Facebook -

he and his wife were selling furniture.  I don‘t think that‘s the kind of wood he was selling, Ed, if you don‘t mind my saying so. 

SCHULTZ:  And he also voted against Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell,” which I find that interesting. 

MILLER:  Yeah. 

SCHULTZ:  After Gawker, the website contacted Lee‘s office about the e-mails.  Lee‘s Facebook profile and gmail account were taken down.  Can we give the guy credit for not prolonging the agony of having to watch a scandal play out for days on end, defending himself?  He just resigned.  What about that? 

MILLER:  Well, you do have to give him points for that, Ed.  If you don‘t have to give him points for being stupid enough to be a congressman that put up a topless picture of himself on Facebook while trolling for chicks.  I mean, seriously.  Is that somebody that‘s really smart enough to be in Congress? 

SCHULTZ:  Well, he was warned.  John Boehner, during the 2010 midterm campaign—Boehner warned House Republicans not to get caught up in personal issues that could reflect poorly upon the party.  Does this reflect poorly upon the Republicans? 

MILLER:  Well, it depends on what you think of the “National Enquirer” story about John Boehner.  But we don‘t know if that‘s true or not.  We will see if there‘s any women that have a lot of orange on them that are found in the Washington, D.C. area. 

SCHULTZ:  Oops.  Let‘s see here.  It‘s not good when the “National Enquirer” is reporting that you‘re having affairs with at least two women.  That is the report on John Boehner.  One of the women is a lobbyist.  The “Enquirer” was first to report this, of course, on the infidelity of John Edwards. 

Do we believe the “National Enquirer”, Stephanie, about John Boehner? 

MILLER:  They were certainly right about John Edwards.  I hate to say it.  And I don‘t know if it‘s true.  I think we already know he‘s in bed with lobbyists.  We just don‘t know if he‘s in bed with lobbyists, Ed.  I think we just have to see if there‘s—

Like I say, I don‘t know how you tell.  Does a woman look like she‘s been sleeping with a Cheeto?  Is there some sort of bronzer all over her?  I don‘t really know how you prove it for certain.  But I guess we‘ll tell.

SCHULTZ:  Stephanie Miller, always great to have you with us.  Thank you for joining us tonight. 

MILLER:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  In our text survey tonight, I asked you, has the new GOP House majority done anything to create jobs?  They got a loyal constituency out there.  Seven percent of you said yes; 93 percent of you said no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  Thanks for staying up tonight in our new time slot here on THE ED SHOW, 10:00 Eastern time.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com.  Tell me what you think on Facebook.com/EdSchultzShow, or talk to me on Twitter, at Twitter.com/WeGotEd.

Lawrence O‘Donnell has “THE LAST WORD.”  It starts right now.

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