The Ed Show for Monday, August 29th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Monday show
Guests: Nicole Lamoureux, Rani Whitfield, Cedric Richmond, Mike Papantonio, Melissa Harris-Perry
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW
tonight live from New Orleans, Louisiana.
As people along the East Coast are either recovering or still feeling the
effects of hurricane Irene, six years later, residents in this city of New
Orleans are still dealing with the blow from hurricane Katrina. Over 1,000
patients lined up here at the convention center to see a doctor today and
get free health care. And while this free clinic is almost over, we still
need your help. And we`ll tell you how.
This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s going to take time to
recover from the storm of this magnitude.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Hurricane Irene caused loss of life and billions in
property damage this weekend. But Eric Cantor stands by his position that
any money spent on disaster relief must be offset by other cuts.
Tonight, Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond, a veteran of hurricane
Katrina, who lost his home in the hurricane, is ripping the Republicans and
taking them to task.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Yes, there is a federal role.
Yes, we`re going to find the money. We`re just going to need to make sure
that there are savings elsewhere.
SCHULTZ: Eric Cantor isn`t the only Republican playing politics with
disaster relief. Michele Bachmann says the recent disasters are God`s way
of sending politicians a message about spending. Now, Bachmann says she
was joking both times she said it -- while people were literally dying in
Rebuilding New Orleans, year six -- and still, not even close to being
done. Melissa Harris-Perry on how some volunteers are making a difference
in Saint Bernard Parish.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight, folks, from are the Ernest M.
Morial Convention Center here in New Orleans. I can tell you tonight,
there is no other place on the face of the earth that I would rather be
than right here, because tonight, and throughout the day, I have seen the
best of America, but I have also seen the worst.
You see? These health care clinics, this isn`t where you`re going to see
any politicians, because they know they can come in here and make a
difference. This is real America. These aren`t Egyptians, they`re not
Libyans, they`re not Afghans, and believe me, these folks who are here,
they know exactly where our priorities are, and they know exactly where the
billions of dollars are going.
And I can tell you that there is an undercurrent of an attitude. Everybody
that walked in this door today, they`re angry. They`re angry at
Washington, they`re angry at the bickering. And despite the fact that
there was a health care bill that was passed that`s going to help millions
of Americans, they realize it`s only a start. But the only conversation
that`s going on right now in America is how we`re going to repeal what has
already been passed to some day help these folks who were out here.
Just a couple of hours ago, the doors closed. But that means they can`t
take anymore tonight. The fact of the matter is, these patients are going
to be processed through the night, probably until about 2:00 in the
A thousand patients were treated today. It`s a great story. A thousand
volunteers from a city that was devastated six years ago, they showed up to
help. They love their city. They know what this fight is all about.
And what`s interesting about this is that usually in all of these health
care clinics, you can break down the percentages, 83 percent of the
patients that come through the door, they have a job. But today, it was a
different story -- 63 percent of the patients who came here today, they
don`t have a job. They`re unemployed. It`s kind of tough to have health
insurance and see a doctor if you can`t pay for it.
And another point is that half of the Americans that came into this
convention center today to see a doctor for the first time since our clinic
was here in New Orleans a year ago. So America, we ask the question. And
I realize that health care isn`t in the news every day. I realize that
it`s not the big story it was before the bill was passed via reconciliation
in the Senate. And I realize that this is in a sense been put on the back
burner in many cases in the minds of Americans, oh, yes, health care, it`s
still not very good, but we passed something. And the only thing we`re
talking about in Washington is how we`re going to repeal the damn thing.
Let me tell you something. The story is still the same. In fact, it`s
worse in many cases. Most of the people that came through here are looking
for a job. This was as much about a jobs fair today as it was anything
else. Because what you`re seeing right now is a residual of an economy
that is in peril, because we can`t get politicians to get together on a
jobs package in Washington.
We can`t loosen up the purse strings at the big banks to give the small
innovators in this country a loan to get started, to give those
entrepreneurs access to the cash. We`ve got everybody sitting on the
sideline, because we`re really nervous about what might happen down the
There`s nothing American about that. There`s nothing American about not
taking a chance. There`s nothing American about not getting involved. And
that`s why I would rather be here tonight than anywhere else, because this
is what America is.
And we need a real dose of this at least once a week on this program and I
want to get out and get across the country and tell the story of real
Americans who are unselfish, who know where the billions of dollars are
going, and know how sick this country is when it comes to a for-profit
health care system.
And there`s no politician in Washington right now talking about health
care. But you know what? There were several thousand people in this
facility today that have got a thousand stories to tell.
Now, that`s the bad part about America, is the politicians don`t want to
work together. Here`s the great part about America. I was so encouraged,
and I want you to listen to the words of the people I interviewed here
today. I was so encouraged by the volunteers who came out to do something.
SCHULTZ: Why are you here?
FREE CLINICS VOLUNTEER: Because I think it`s important, and I think that
the work done by free clinics is really important. And I also think that
at some time or another, you might need to go to the free clinic, whether
you`re a substitute or a flight attendant. Sometimes you switch jobs and
your insurance kind of -- there`s that cap and I think the work done at
free clinics fills that void.
FREE CLINICS VOLUNTEER: My name is Mary Tina Vrejas (ph) and I teach at
Thornridge High School, about 20 minutes outside of Chicago.
SCHULTZ: OK. Why are you here?
FREE CLINICS VOLUNTEER: I`m trying to pilot a program of voluntarism in
our school, because I`m trying to teach our students we do have a call to
FREE CLINICS VOLUNTEER: They`re very nervous to come to the doctor. And
for us, it`s just not that sort of experience. So to see people who
haven`t been to the doctor in 10 years -- I go on a monthly basis and it`s
nothing. But to them, 10 years and they`re so nervous to come see somebody
and talk about their problems.
SCHULTZ: Why are you here today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m here to get some medical help hopefully and see a
doctor, which is hard to do these days.
SCHULTZ: How hard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hard like never and you need it today. It`s always a
difficult thing here in New Orleans.
SCHULTZ: What brings you here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sick. I can`t afford to go to a regular doctor.
And they advertised this on TV, so I called in to get -- come and get my
blood pressure medication done, anti-anxiety medication, I can get it
SCHULTZ: How often do you go to a doctor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Least as possible.
SCHULTZ: You haven`t been very often?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, can`t afford to go to the emergency room. It costs
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I guarantee you, folks, that there are people watching this
broadcast tonight across America who are seeing those folks that can relate
to `em far more than any politician that says, hey, we`re going to repeal
Some politicians standing up saying we`re going to go backwards doesn`t
mean squat to those Americans. You know what Americans want? They want a
job. You know, they want a fair shake.
And a lot of these folks here don`t feel they`ve gotten a fair shake in
this economy and this is just the domino effect. They can`t get the health
care they need in this country, because it`s for profit.
Those folks, that mother and that daughter, she is a nursing -- she`s a
nursing student from Calgary, Alberta. They were so moved by what they
have seen us talk about on this program that they made the trip all the way
down here to New Orleans, just to help out. Because you see, to them,
we`re the -- you know, we`re the only industrialized country in the world
that doesn`t have universal health care.
To them, seeing a doctor, heck, that`s like a walk in the park. They just
call up, and they go see the doctor. But here?
There was a lady here that came here today that actually was in the
emergency room. And they told her that it was going to be a seven-hour
wait and that she should come over here to this free health care clinic at
this facility. And she did.
Joining me now is the executive director of the National Association of
Free Clinics, Nicole Lamoureux. And also Dr. Rani Whitfield is with us
tonight. He`s the medical director of the Association of Free Clinics in
New Orleans. He`s also known as the "hip-hop doc" and we`re going to get
to that in a moment.
I love both of you for what you`ve done. I`ve seen you in action today.
America loves you. We need more Americans like you.
Nicole, what did you see today?
NICOLE LAMOUREUX, EXEC. DIRECTOR, NAFC: I saw people who were waiting in
line, and they were sad, and they were angry, and they told me they wanted
a job. They didn`t want to be uninsured. They didn`t want to be
And they walked out of here feeling as if someone cared about them. They
felt as if they had a purpose and they got their health care taken care of
I saw this one woman -- this is the story that hits me the most. She
brought her mammogram here, because no one read it for her. She had been
without her diabetic strips for three years. She didn`t know where else to
go, she came here. She got the health care that she needed. She got her
free prescriptions and then she left because she was going to her part-time
SCHULTZ: And there were Americans who came in here today who found out
they had cancer, correct?
LAMOUREUX: We had five diagnoses today.
SCHULTZ: Doctor, you saw one. What happened?
DR. RANI WHITFIELD, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, NAFC: Very pleasant gentleman,
looked to be in great shape, complained of a sore on his buttocks. When I
examined him, he had a mass on his buttocks that definitely was going to be
cancerous. And, you know, sad.
What I like about this clinic most is the heart felt feeling you get from
the individuals that work it. So, my nurse that was working with me, gave
him some support, got him set up, and he`s going to be taken care. But
it`s very unfortunate, because he says the only reason he didn`t get
checked out because he didn`t have access to a doctor and couldn`t get that
SCHULTZ: I`m not here to sell anything. I`m here to tell it like it is.
SCHULTZ: And are people angry, doctor? Did you sense that?
WHITFIELD: People were angry. I saw more men than I normally see, partly
because they didn`t have jobs. Last year, there was more women than men I
saw. But these guys saying, hey, I had nothing to do today, so I decided
to come out, because I didn`t have a job to go to.
SCHULTZ: What else did you see today?
WHITFIELD: Ah, a lot of diabetes, a lot of hypertension, a lot of high
cholesterol -- people that had not seen doctors in some years. Also saw
patients that came back from the previous clinics because they were so
pleased with the care they got, but had not seen doctors since the previous
clinic. So, o they had gone a year, year-and-a-half that they`d seen a
SCHULTZ: Nicole, you had a great story here of a donation of $250,000 that
there was a company that was so moved by what is happening with your
organization, they committed to give every patient that came in here today
90 days, three months of prescription drugs. Tell us about it.
LAMOUREUX: RX Outreach has decided because they saw this on THE ED SHOW,
they wanted to be part of this event. Their medical director, Dr.
(INAUDIBLE), has been with us. They came to us and they said, you know
what, we want to pilot a program with you. We want to be in New Orleans.
So, we`re going to give $250,000 worth of medication to every patient that
walks in the door.
And I got tell you, we have patients who can`t afford a $4 medication -- to
have that 90 days frees up so much.
SCHULTZ: Why do you do this? The National Association of Free Clinics --
why do you go to different cities? And I will say there is no picking on
New Orleans here, OK? They have been through a lot. But you know what?
So have other cities in this country when it comes to health care.
And I could take this show on the road. I`ve been with you a number of
different clinics. It`s the same story. It hasn`t changed. OK?
So why do you go on the road and do this?
LAMOUREUX: Well, the 1,200 clinics across the country have seen a 40
percent to 50 percent increase in patients in the last two years. We knew
we had to do something. We had to go to the clinics and have these clinics
across the country to show what the face of the uninsured looks like.
Because so many people think, oh, that`s not me. It`s not anybody I know.
But I`ve got to tell you, Ed, it`s there but by the grace of God go I.
Each and every one of us could be in the situation at any point in time
where we`re uninsured. So, we go to all cities to show that there is a
problem for the working poor.
SCHULTZ: And these free clinics aren`t free. I mean, you need donations
to make this work and do the next one.
LAMOUREUX: We do.
SCHULTZ: Where can people go to help?
LAMOUREUX: They can go to freeclinics.us and make a donation. And we
really hope that they will. We still need $95,000.
SCHULTZ: So, I want people to look to look at this website,
freeclinics.us, and I want you to know that your money, if you donate is
going to five people who found out today they had cancer.
SCHULTZ: Five people. OK. The other 995 people that came in here haven`t
been to the doctor sometimes in five years. Ten years.
Doctor, it`s really amazing. It must give you a real warm feeling inside
to know that everybody you see, you`re helping. And I sense that with all
of the volunteers here as well.
WHITFIELD: Ed, if for those that don`t believe that we need health care
for all, if they would ever come and work one of these clinics -- like you
mentioned, the politicians who come here, if they ever work to these
clinics and touch these people, I think it would change their lives and
their lives and how they would approach how we handle health care in this
SCHULTZ: I don`t think politicians come here, because number one, none of
these people here are going to line their pockets, OK? There aren`t going
to be any donations coming out here to a politician.
And most politicians, they don`t have an answer on which way to go next.
And the only thing they`re doing is getting pounded by the media, because
you know, we have to repeal what was passed. I mean, it`s garbage what`s
In the meantime, we have Americans who are suffering, and it`s not the lead
story every night on broadcasts across America. But it`s happening.
LAMOUREUX: It`s happening. You know, thanks to you, this new story
doesn`t fade. But everywhere else, the headline is gone.
I`ve got to tell you right now, if we think this fight for health care is
over, we`re sorely mistaken. It has just begun.
SCHULTZ: I had people today say -- come up to me from Indiana, Wisconsin.
LAMOUREUX: Right. All over.
SCHULTZ: Ohio, Washington, D.C.
SCHULTZ: Chicago, Indiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Colorado. I mean, people
from all over the country have responded to this. And all of the
volunteers here know that if everybody in this country were to have their
attitude, we would turn this thing around.
LAMOUREUX: Hands down.
SCHULTZ: We would turn it around.
It`s a story near and dear to my heart because this is the best of America
when I see the volunteer effort. I want to thank both of you for doing
what you`re doing.
WHITFIELD: Thank you.
LAMOUREUX: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: It`s really what this country is about and the people that are so
moved tonight to give clinics really will be doing great things for people.
I appreciate it.
LAMOUREUX: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Nicole Lamoureux and also Dr. Rani Whitfield. These are
Americans that you can count on.
Congressman Eric Cantor says disaster relief most offset by more spending
cuts. There`s a Democratic congressman who did show up here today who I
had a one-one-one interview with who says that what has happened in New
Orleans is getting turned around but he says that Mr. Cantor`s view of all
this is, quote, "sinful." That`s next. You want to hear the interview.
And later, Michele Bachmann says that God sent hurricane Irene. Rick Perry
said Texas should pray for rain. But this weekend, both Democrats and
Republicans use the tools of government to save live sand minimize damages.
You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: The levees protecting New Orleans from flooding are not yet ready
to handle another deadly storm. Billions of dollars were spent to rebuild,
and four to five levees after hurricane Katrina. But according to
preliminary rankings ordered by Congress in 2006, levees on the Mississippi
River and on the east and west banks were rated class 2 -- urgent, unsafe
or potentially unsafe. That`s one step away from complete failure on the
The rating could improve after further reinforcements are done by the Army
Corps of Engineers. Corps officials say the improvements will take
Louisiana`s rising sea levels into account.
House Republican Leader Eric Cantor is playing politics with hurricane
Irene, saying that relief money must be offset about spending cuts. That`s
And later, Melissa Harris Perry joins me to talk about another group that
is changing lives here in New Orleans on the sixth anniversary. Stay with
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.
The House majority leader, Republican Congressman Eric Cantor is still
insisting disaster relief funds be offset by spending cuts before any
funding is approved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You believe that any federal money that comes out for
hurricane Irene needs to be met dollar for dollar with spending cuts? Is
CANTOR: Well, yes. And the House has already acted and has already funded
over $1 billion for additional disaster relief money. That money has been
offset by savings elsewhere -- again, just like any family would operate
when it`s struck with disaster.
Unfortunately, the government continues to borrow money, and to spend money
it doesn`t have. As you know, over the last seven months, we`ve been
trying to address that situation, so we can turn the economy around.
But in instances like this, yes, there`s a federal role. Yes, we`re going
to find the money. We`re just going need to make sure that there are
savings elsewhere to continue to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Cantor referred to a disaster relief bill for $1 billion that was
passed in June. It was offset by cutting a loan program for fuel-efficient
But that money was a response to the disastrous tornado in Joplin,
Cantor expects Congress to find still more cuts to provide funding for this
disaster. If he sees a moral imperative to provide disaster relief, you`d
never know it.
Earlier today, I spoke with Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond from the
second district of Louisiana right here in New Orleans.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, the attitudes of Americans in the midst of a
disaster, have we become a different country? I mean, we`re having these
conversations in Washington now about we`re only going to help people in
disaster as if we can offset it with cuts. And you, of course, were very
vocal about that. You said it was sinful for Eric Cantor, and I commend
you for that.
Why did you say that?
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D), LOUISIANA: Well, I think it`s shameful. We as a
country come to the aid of everyone in the world. In fact, we`re the 911
for the world.
But if American citizens suffer a tornado or earthquake or a forest fire,
we need to be there for them just like we would for anyone else. And as a
beneficiary of the goodwill of this country, when Katrina hit, and rocked
our world down here, I just think it`s wrong for me not to stand up and
say, we -- you all helped us when we needed it and we should be there to
help other Americans.
And if it takes Republicans and Democrats agreeing, you know and I know
that`s not going to happen in a quickly manner to help the people when they
SCHULTZ: And we`re really seeing the country right now fight with
SCHULTZ: And have we gotten to the point where we`ll do anything to make
the budget work? I mean, you`ve got a hurricane that`s bearing down on the
East Coast the last few days, and we`re talking about cuts to see if we`re
going to help our people. What`s that say about the country?
RICHMOND: Well, I think it`s worse than that. I don`t think the true
motivation is about cuts or anything else. I think the true motivation is
this war between Republicans and Democrats. Those who want to win the
White House and those that are in the White House.
And I think that that`s -- when I call it sinful, it`s because I think
we`ve put politics ahead of people.
So assuming that the debt and the deficit is the real issue, we still
shouldn`t put that above disaster aid for American citizens when we will
spend unlimited amounts of money to help all around the country, whether
it`s an earthquake in Haiti, whether it`s anything. I just don`t think you
make American citizens second-class to everybody else in the world.
SCHULTZ: Had the federal government and this country, I mean, the country,
the federal government, the taxpayers, had we not done what we did in the
aftermath of Katrina -- we`re six years after the fact now -- what would
have happened to this whole region?
RICHMOND: It would have been a disaster. In fact, I think that if the
government wasn`t here to help, even though the response was too slow for
most of us, but if that response didn`t come when it came, New Orleans may
not even be back like it is right now.
I mean, we lost it all. And it felt very comforting to know that the
federal government came in and said you know what, we`re going to put up
$14 billion to redo these levees. We`re going to do X, Y and Z to make
sure that people are able to come home to a safe environment. And it made
all the difference in the world.
One, you know the country you pay taxes to every day has your back. That
they`re going to be there if you need them. And the disheartening part
today was when they issued an advisory that they may have to cut funding to
Joplin to pay for Irene damages.
Now, that`s just not right. We should never have to pick between tornado
victims and hurricane victims all within the United States. This fight is
an artificial fight that is made up by Republican leadership in the House.
And to this day, John Boehner, nor any of the House leadership that run the
House has said Eric Cantor, you`ve overstepped your bounds, this is not
what we`re going to do. I just think the Republican leadership is missing
the pulse of the country on this one.
SCHULTZ: Do you think there is a hesitation amongst maybe some other
colleagues in Washington to say it like it is? Are we -- do we have -- do
our politicians today too worried about what might happen to them if they
talk straight the way you just did?
RICHMOND: Well, I think that there`s -- some have hesitation. But some
people are still optimistic that people will have an adult moment or their
common sense will prevail. And I just don`t think that we have the luxury
to wait for common sense to prevail. People need help tomorrow, they need
help today. So at some point, you have to call it for what it is.
And I think that it`s the climax of foolishness for us to require offsets
and Democrats and Republicans to agree to help people who are in need that
pay taxes every day.
SCHULTZ: I just wish every politician would talk straight just like that.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey says the evacuations ahead of a storm
were a huge success. And he praises FEMA? In other words, government
And Vermont is experiencing hundred-year floods because of hurricane Irene.
But George Will overhyped the storm? He`s going into the zone. Stay with
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.
Here`s what Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey had to say
about the response of his state and the federal government to Hurricane
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We`re coordinating well with the
federal government. We have FEMA folks right here on site in the
operations and intelligence center you see here. They`re working
incredibly hard and providing things to us that we need.
Our own team at the state level has put aside everything, except for
saying, listen, how do we best serve, making sure that human life is saved
and then try to minimize property damage?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know what, folks? I just want to make sure I got that
comment right. "We have FEMA folks right here on site. They`re working
incredibly hard, providing things that we need, our team." Our own team at
the state level has put -- I mean, it just goes on and on.
Governor Christie, I give you credit, because at a time of life or death,
you put left, right, blue, green, center, Republican, Democrat -- you put
it aside. And you admitted to the country that government has a function.
Government has a positive function.
And those are government employees that you have attacked. Those are first
responders who -- you have gone after their health care. You`ve gone after
their pension. You`ve gone after their wages. You`ve gone after their
collective bargaining. But all of a sudden, when our hurricane is bearing
down on the Jersey Shores, damn it, you stood up and you said they were
You said that they were working together. In fact, you said that they`re
on your team. This is how it`s supposed to work. Governor Christie,
instead of vilifying workers all of the time at the negotiating table, I
want you to think about Hurricane Irene every time you think about those
workers who need to respond.
And think about how important they are to saving the lives. And I give you
credit, governor. You did save lives. You did show leadership. Now you
can show leadership by stepping up with those hard-working, middle-class
families and stop trying to take everything from them every time there is a
negotiation to be made.
How about just asking the top two percent of the country clubbers to pay
just a little bit more to help out the finances of New Jersey? And I
commend you for now disqualifying yourself as a possible Republican
candidate. Because none of the Republican candidates thinks the government
does anything worth a damn.
Michele Bachmann says Hurricane Irene and the recent earthquake were part
of God`s wrath over government spending?
And six years ago today, the city of New Orleans changed forever. How
volunteers are helping the city get back on its feet. You`re watching THE
ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you back with us here on THE ED SHOW. Thanks for
watching tonight. You know, when it comes to handling disaster relief,
some conservative presidential candidates would rather turn to God than
government. At campaign stops in Florida this weekend, Michele Bachmann
said Hurricane Irene was a message to get politicians to cut spending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t know how much
God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We`ve had an
earthquake. We`ve had a hurricane. He said, are you going to start
listening to me here? Listen to the American people because the American
people are roaring right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Bachmann`s campaign downplayed her comments today, saying the
remarks were just in jest. Well, joking about God sending a hurricane
isn`t funny to the people who lost property or to loved ones in the storm.
But Bachmann herself couldn`t seem to decide whether her so-called joke was
actually serious or not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: This isn`t something that we take lightly. And my comments were
not meant to be ones that were taken lightly. What I was saying in a
humorous vein is that there are things that are happening that politicians
need to pay attention to. It isn`t every day that we have an earthquake in
the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So she was being humorous, but at the same time, we shouldn`t
take her comments lightly. It`s not hard to see why Bachmann is so
terribly confused. Her Republican opponent, Rick Perry, has a similar
problem, being an anti government crusader who asks God to solve his
state`s problems. Because back in April, Perry used his power as governor
of Texas to issue a 72-hour period of prayer for rain to combat wildfires
taking place in Texas.
Perry and Bachmann might want to look at what happened in New Jersey this
weekend. Chris Christie is being praised today for his approach to the
storm that relied on all the tools of state and federal government.
Let`s bring in Mike Papantonio, host of the syndicated radio show "Ring of
And I`ll tell you what, we`ve got a three-ring circus with the three
candidates I just talked about on that one. I`ve got to ask you, Mike, is
Bachmann just trying to appeal to religious conservatives? Or does this
tell us about her governing philosophy? What do you think?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, both Bachmann and Perry right
now, Ed, are trying to out-pious each other. You recall Perry announced
his candidacy for president by calling together 30,000 Evangelicals down in
Texas, where he basically -- his message was if I`m elected, we`re going to
have government more intertwined with politics.
Bachmann is still trying to deliver that same message. But both of them
understand this, Ed. Both of them understand the average American
understands there is a difference, that we should separate religion from
government. And both of them are very careful not to go as far as their
biggest supporter, Pat Robertson, who said that the Washington Monument has
a crack in it because God was punishing America.
Look, every couple of years, every time there is a natural -- a disaster,
we see the Perry`s and the Bachmanns trying to blame that disaster on the
sinful liberal or the immigrant or the Mormon or the big city sinner, who
is causing God to punish America.
I think Americans are a little bit tired of that. That`s why Bachmann
backed off on that position a little bit. She realized how ridiculous she
sounds. And unfortunately, we`re going to see this throughout the entire
campaign. Who can out-pious the other. Because you know what, they`re
after the Tea Party vote. And the tea party vote has now become that new
SCHULTZ: Well, I think the American people want to know, if Bachmann was
president, if Perry was president, what would they view the federal
government doing, if anything, in the role of disaster relief? And it
sounds to me like it`s get down on your knees and hope for the best, and
grab your plastic Jesus. And I don`t mean to be sacrireligious in any way,
shape or form.
But they have seem to have a philosophy right now that no matter how bad it
is out there, the only thing you`ve got is a hope and a prayer. Or am I
reading that wrong?
PAPANTONIO: No, you`re reading it right. Here`s what they have -- when it
comes to natural disasters, they have to live down Michael "Brownie" Brown
is doing a heck of a job kind of problem. I guess the only way you can
answer that is through mystical language about things like religion.
Listen, Ed, I was down -- I`m down from that area around New Orleans. I
remember when Brownie -- Michael Brown came down and said I`m doing a heck
of a job. That`s while people were still living on the roofs of their
house. They didn`t have food. They didn`t have water.
And the thing they were hoping, the thing that scared them the most is that
Republicans were the last people to have control of how they were going to
get the heck out of there. And so as I listen to Perry and as I listen to
Bachmann talk about disaster relief, they have a lot to overcome.
SCHULTZ: They really do. Now, Ron Paul, this weekend, he was telling
reporters that if he were around -- and back in the day, FEMA didn`t play a
very good role, and in fact, didn`t even exist, and they recovered back
then. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I live on the Gulf Coast. We
put up with hurricanes all of the time. I have Galveston in my district.
And FEMA is only about 30 or 40 years old. I don`t know exactly how old.
But the worst disaster we`ve ever had was in my district in Galveston in
1900, before FEMA. The local people rebuilt the city, built a sea wall,
and they survived without FEMA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So Mike, there`s the Republican philosophy right there. Let`s
just roll all efforts back a little over 100 years. What do you think?
PAPANTONIO: Well, I think -- you know, that is classic Ron Paul, because
he lives in a world that`s about 100 years old. But the truth is, I was
here in one of the worst hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast. And I
understand that without FEMA, and without the government, Ron Paul and all
the other cook Republicans could have come down here in droves.
And they couldn`t have rebuilt our houses. They couldn`t have rebuilt
business. They couldn`t have put us back at work again. So Ron Paul is
being Ron Paul.
SCHULTZ: All right. Mike Papantonio, "Ring of Fire" radio host, great to
have with you us, Mike. Appreciate your time tonight.
PAPANTONIO: Thanks a lot.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist George Will says the
media`s coverage of Hurricane Irene was manufactured hysteria? I don`t
think it`s hysteria to be worried about a storm that ends up causing
massive flooding and dozens of fatalities. I`ve got a new prize for Mr.
Will. He`s in the Zone. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We`re here at the free clinic in
New Orleans where over 1,000 uninsured patients have received care this
day. One surprising thing to me about this clinic is that the trouble that
we have had raising money to fund the selfless work of these amazing
I know these times are tough. But in the past economies, you know -- we
have tried to do things in the past to help people out. And I want you to
do a little bit more.
Every little bit helps. If you would like to contribute to this very
worthy cause, donation information is there at the bottom of the screen. >
Coming up, New Orleans is still fighting its way back from the devastation
caused by Hurricane Katrina. We`ll have the latest on that, the city
efforts to rebuild. And next, Psycho Talk, conservative columnist George
Will downplays the effects of Hurricane Irene. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in Psycho Talk tonight, Hurricane Irene affected almost the
entire eastern seaboard, but conservative columnist George Will doesn`t
think it was that big a deal. On Sunday morning, he went on ABC and
slammed the media`s coverage of the storm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Florence Nightingale said whatever
else you can say about hospitals, they shouldn`t make their patients
sicker. And whatever else you want to say about journalism, it shouldn`t
subtract from the nation`s understanding and it certainly shouldn`t
contribute to the manufactured, synthetic hysteria that is so much a part
of modern life.
And I think we may have done so with regard to this now tropical storm, as
it now seems to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So we`re seeing 30-foot waves out of the ocean, headed towards
our shores, and that`s manufactured hysteria? What kind of surfboard does
George Will have, anyway? Hang ten, buddy.
And even though some places like New York City were spared the worst of the
storm, Irene did plenty of damage. Areas to the northeast are experiencing
hundred-year floods. The state of Vermont has been declared a federal
And Irene killed at least 37 people, making it the fourth deadliest U.S.
hurricane in the last 30 years. But George Will thinks the media overhyped
Well, six years ago, we saw how bad it can get when we`re under-prepared
for hurricanes. And this time, the preparations and evacuations ahead of
Irene likely saved lives. Likely saved lives.
There`s nothing manufactured about that. So for George Will to downplay
this storm is disastrous Psycho Talk.
It`s been six years since Katrina struck. Some have yet to return home.
What is next for one of America`s most beloved cities with Melissa Harris-
Perry? Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Here at the free clinic in New
Orleans, hundreds and hundreds of folks have donated their time and
expertise to help the people they don`t even know. In my opinion, that`s
what America is all about. And just as a small token of thanks, THE ED
SHOW has launched Driving Progress. It`s a truck filled with all kinds of
goodies for volunteers.
And I got a tour of it earlier today. I`m proud to say that over the past
two days, we have fed over 1,000 volunteers. THE ED SHOW thanks Americans
who are making a difference. And you are what makes America great. Thanks
so much. >
Tomorrow, Driving Progress will say thanks to the volunteers at St. Bernard
Project. It`s a nonprofit organization that has been rebuilding homes for
folks displaced by Katrina. The group changes lives, no doubt about it.
And Melissa Harris-Perry spoke to a few people who can attest to that. She
will join me next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight, a great story. You know, Katrina was a failure
of government to its people. The government failed to keep people safe.
It failed in its response effort no, question about it.
Fortunately, groups like St. Bernard Project fill in the gaps that
government sometimes creates. It`s a nonprofit organization that helps
people displaced by the storm. Melissa Harris-Perry spoke with some of the
folks that St. Bernard Project has helped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is home. This is home. When we had to leave
for the storm, all I thought about, all our good food down here. This is
home. So I had to get back here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That was Mary Jones. She and her family have moved ten times
since Katrina for the past -- and for the first time in six years, they get
Cindy Dellaveja`s (ph) house was destroyed when the levees broke. Six
years later, she has been living in Mississippi, hoping that one day she
could return to New Orleans. Last Christmas, she got a phone call from St.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called my daughter up. I said guess what we`re
going to be doing next Christmas. And she is like what? And I said we`re
going to be having Christmas dinner at my house. And she was so excited.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Our differences are less important in the face of disaster. A
storm like Katrina, like Irene does not discriminate. But people come
together in this city, despite that gulf of difference. Here, the spirit
of volunteerism is alive and well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are working in here and taking pride in what
they`re doing. And I was just amazed that these young kids could care so
much about, you know, someone they don`t even know. It`s amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got to think, you know, if something happened to me
and I lost everything, to have people from wherever coming in and not only
spending their time and rebuilding my home for me, but putting their love
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is MSNBC contributor, columnist for "The Nation"
magazine and professor at Tulane University, Melissa Harris-Perry. Great
to have you with us tonight.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, TULANE UNIVERSITY: Hi, Ed. Thanks for being here.
SCHULTZ: You`ve done great work for these folks and seeing it happen,
seeing it unfold. And I saw it here today. The volunteerism has been just
absolutely outstanding. Howl how long of a road has been it been for these
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s a long road. We`re six years into the storm and I`m
honestly -- I`m pretty emotional today. I think everyone here, because
August 29th, 2005 changed all of our lives. I was not living in New
Orleans at the time that it happened. My husband was living here.
The home that we now live in and share was destroyed in the storm. And we
made a decision to stay in this city, in part because the spirit of New
Orleans is such an extraordinary spirit, one that you don`t find just
everywhere. I was talking to some of your volunteers from the health
SCHULTZ: Aren`t they amazing?
HARRIS-PERRY: They are really amazing people. So there`s always that
sadness and that hope that are happening at the same time.
SCHULTZ: And New Orleans hasn`t been in the news. You know, the recovery
has been really in the back page, so to speak.
SCHULTZ: Yet the effort has gone on. And what we just talked about there
just underscores just how you`re affecting lives.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, I mean, St. Bernard Project, many projects that are
here in the city working every day, for no headlines. Not for the
headlines, just to do the work.
SCHULTZ: You say this is a call for public officials to be public
servants. What do you mean?
HARRIS-PERRY: Indeed. Look, one of the things that struck me so much in
the coverage post-Katrina, during the storm, while people were waiting for
rescue, there were so many New Orleanians who had American flags. And they
were waving them for rescue.
Where do you think those flags came from? Where could a flag in an
American home come from? They came from the caskets of veterans. These
were American citizens, and they were calling for their government for
And no one came. And the people who filled that gap were the church
ladies, and they were Republican women and men and they were conservatives
and they were Democrats and they were black and white. And they were
across all those differences. But they showed up because they saw that
So what we need public servants to do is they can`t just see the big
picture, just the aerial shot. We need them on the ground in the health
clinics, rebuilding the houses and experiencing those one-on-one stories,
so they understand policy is house by house, family by family, life by
life. And I feel like the Katrina stories really give us that in a way
that the failure to make that kind of policy has been very clear in the
past six years.
SCHULTZ: And how do you think the people are responding when they hear
politicians say that any disaster relief has to be offset by cuts? And I
had an interview earlier tonight with Congressman Richmond. And I brought
up the point, I mean, America is really changing its soul if we have to put
every dollar bill, which the project you`re talking about -- it ain`t about
the money. It`s about the people and what you can do for people.
Are we seeing America change?
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, yes and no. Because what I know is that the actual
American people are not changing. They are here and doing it. Again, for
no cameras, for no special privileges, for no profit of their own. That`s
what makes them these nonprofit civil society organizations.
But are we seeing our government change in it`s notion of what its
responsibility is? Absolutely. And this sense that basic care for
American citizens, those who have paid taxes, those who have voted, those
who have owned homes, those who have died and contributed military service,
there is no offset. It`s already been offset. It`s been offset by their
Now in the context of disaster, you go -- you put your hand under your
SCHULTZ: Well, I think if there is one thing to learn about New Orleans is
that people have a tremendous heart, no matter how bad the disaster is.
Melissa Harris-Perry, great to have you with us tonight. You`re doing
great work. Great to have you on the team. Thanks for your time.
That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. You can listen to me on Sirius XM
Radio, Channel 127, Monday through Friday, Noon to 3:00 pm.
And you can follow me on Twitter, @EdShow and @WeGotEd. "THE LAST WORD"
with Lawrence O`Donnell starts right now. We`ll see you tomorrow night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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