updated 9/12/2013 11:12:57 AM ET 2013-09-12T15:12:57

THE ED SHOW
September 10, 2013

Guests: John Garamendi, Dr. James Peterson, Douglas Brinkley, Joan Walsh, EJ Dionne, Gregory Meeks


ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to The
Ed Show, live from New York. Let`s get to work. Not or (ph).

The Russians happen to have a proposal to settle all of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We accept the Russian proposal.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This represents a
potentially positive development.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I`m sure some leader somewhere of a country went to this guy
right here and said, you know what? He`s going to strike Syria. You guys
better get involved in this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: If the Russians coming to the --
bringing to the table a proposal, the President deserves a great deal of
credit for.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Turn over every single data, these
chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it
over, all of it.

OBAMA: These are conversations that I`ve had directly with Mr. Putin.

SCHULTZ: And Putin says, "Well, Monday morning we`ll probably do
something about it."

Sure enough, here we are.

PELOSI: Now, has muscle because of the prospect of a threat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re skeptical because we don`t think the
Administration have the strategy for day two, day three, and day four.

OBAMA: And I have to say that`s just not the case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should have watched Fox News to tell him what
he should have done.

SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: They`re doing their strategery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or who he should have been.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ronald Reagan, if he were president, we`d get
Assad like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Russia, and this is without question our
number one geopolitical foe.

OBAMA: You know, I think a famous American president once said,
"Trust but verify."

SCHULTZ: It`s a trust me moment.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The action (ph) is
"doveryai no proveryai". Trust but verify.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The old tape never gets old, does it? Do we trust the
Russians? Better call the NSA and ask him if they picked up anything
today. Maybe we trust our government a little bit more than they trust
theirs. I don`t know. That`s where we are.

Trust but verify. Gosh, that`s an old saying, isn`t it? Our nation
has reached that moment, a trust but verify moments. Syria has accepted a
Russian proposal to turnover their chemical weapon international monitors.
Now, let`s hold it right there.

That`s really the key in all of this. How were we going to verify?
Who are the monitors? Oh, let`s throw it to Joe Wilson and Valerie maybe
they can get the job done, you know, liberals would love to see that.

Bottom line is President Obama has agreed to work closely with Russia
and China to explore the viability of a deal. Can we really do this in the
11th hour? Isn`t the 11th hour is timing a factor here?

And earlier today, Syria said that, they will sign on to the chemical
weapons convention. Now this could work out really, really great for the
United States and the President who has been terribly vilified and hated by
the right wing. You have to give him credit so far, round one goes to the
President. His play with his card is right.

President Obama threatened military action and went to Congress for
Congressional approval. He`ll give the big speech tonight. But most
importantly, he went to Russia during the G-20, and dealt with Russian
President Puty -- Putin -- Yeah, Puty is a good guy, remember Bush said, he
looked in his eye and saw his soul.

Well, last night on this program, I said, that President Obama must
have spoken to Putin about a deal turns out I was right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The fact that the US Administration and I have said, we are
serious about this. I think has prompted some interesting conversations,
and these are conversations that I`ve had directly with Mr. Putin when I
was at the G-20.

We have some time to discuss this and I believe that Mr. Putin does
not see that use of chemical weapons as a good thing inside of Syria or any
place else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, Putin must have told President Obama that. I just
find it very interesting that the first day back as I mentioned last time
on the program. The first day back for Congress, and the first day back
from the G-20. Everybody has got a deal, the Russians, and everybody is
getting on board and President Obama just happened to sit down and do six
interviews with six different networks.

I think these guys had an interesting dinner. They must have a hell
of a cocktail hour because something got done. I think President Obama
must have laid out the hard line, that red line was put up to the Russians.

Putin knows that Obama would have acted without
Congressional approval. All he have to do is look at the track record. On
President Obama`s watch, where is Mubarak? Where is this guy at now? He`s
not running in Egypt anymore because Obama did want him in there. Gadhafi.
He`s taking a dirt nap and so as Bin Laden. He got both of those guys.
Can`t give them a phone call tonight and ask him how it`s going. So
President Obama has a track record of following through when he says his
going to do something. And there was no doubt that the Russian proposal is
a major break through to avoid military action which does this country
doesn`t want. But it`s not a done deal. And in an interview with NBC news
President Obama remain skeptical.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Yeah, I think a famous American president once said, "Trust
but verify." He have to take it with a grand assault initially, but
between the statements that we saw from the Russians, the statement today
from the Syrians. This represents a potentially positive development. We
are going to run this to ground. This could potentially be a significant
breakthrough, but we have to be skeptical because this is not how we`ve
seen them operate over the last couple of years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I remember when Reagan used to say trust but verify. I mean
that was their punch line. That -- They just love that. That had just
such tremendous credibility. See, our guy is so strong. He wants to trust
him but he wants to verify. The Republicans in caucus must be just
cringing when they hear the President say that. Republican`s on us (ph)
ought to understand it because it is Reagan talk.

Now, meanwhile, President Obama was on Capitol Hill today. Was he
twisting arms? No, but he was seeking Congressional approval for military
strike. And this is where the interesting dynamics starts to play out for
the Democrats. A lot of them are undecided. Half of the Senate is
undecided, most of them are Democrats. So, the President on Capitol Hill
was saying, "Look. I got Putin right where I want him. He`s got a deal on
the table, the Syrians have signed on today, we`re going to make some
movement here. How can you not give me a yes vote so I will have some
international diplomatic gravitas here? You got to give me this too. You
got to give me this vote." It`s going to be interesting tonight to see
just how hard the President sells on this.

So, imagine you`re a Congressional member and you`re getting phone
calls to the tune of 100 to 1 against military action and the President
comes to Capitol Hill and says, "I need your vote because I need
international credibility to get this done so we can show them that we`re
definitely going to hit them." OK? Got all that? And then, as a
Congressional member you have to go home and you have to say, "Well, I was
really against the strike in Syria. I really didn`t want to do that, but I
had to give the president, you know, some backing because he came so far
diplomatically." That`s not a real good place to be when it comes to
reelection because that kind of stuff can come back to haunt you if things
don`t go right, if the trust and verify thing doesn`t work out with the
Russians and the Syrians.

So, this was a huge day to day for President Obama on Capitol Hill.
And if the deal falls through, the President still wants all options on the
table. Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear today, this process has
to be fast and measurable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: This cannot be a process of delay. This cannot be a process
of avoidance. That it has to be real. It has to be measurable, tangible,
and it is exceedingly difficult. I want everybody here to know to fulfill
those conditions. But we`re waiting for that proposal but we`re not
waiting for long. A lot of people say that nothing focuses the mind like
the prospect of a hanging. Well, it`s the credible threat of force that is
been on the table for this last weeks that as for the first time brought
this regime to even acknowledge that they have a chemical weapons arsenal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Where was this John Kerry in 2004 when the rightists stole
Ohio? I have never seen Kerry fight so hard for something and sell so hard
for something. This is Democratic foreign policy at its finest, I guess.

President Obama made a great move by putting off military action and
leaving it up to the Congress for a vote. And let me be clear, if
President Obama jumped the gun and hit Syria without delay, this deal would
have never happened. So, the cerebral move was to be cool, be patient, go
to the G-20, try to get something done, and let`s work every diplomatic
channel we can. That last guy didn`t do that too well. He just went ahead
and shot and listened to the rest of the guys around him.

We would have engaged in another Middle Eastern country with
consequences unknown. Everybody I talked to in Congress wants to know
about, "OK, what happens the day after?" I think dissenting voices across
this country only strengthen this President`s position because President
Obama did not waver. Dissenting voices gave President Obama the
opportunity to show his resolve. President Obama played this perfectly.
And now that he`s put the Republicans into the corner and into a box, they
got to be sitting in caucus saying, "Oh gosh, what are we going to do?"

Well, today we heard from Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell came out
today and said, "I do not think that we should be striking Syria." They
don`t know what to do. This is going to turn out very well. This is going
to be productive and this may forge a new relationship between President
Obama and Putin. You never know, they might go fishing at Big Eddie`s
North Country Lodge.

Get your cellphones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, "Do you trust Syria to give up their chemical weapons." Text A
for yes, text B for no to 67622. You can always go to our blog at
ed.msnbc.com. We`ll bring you results later on in the show.

So, fundamentally tonight, the members of Congress are going to be
watching the President saying, "I`m a No vote, I`m undecided." Can the
President tip the balance with one speech? Can he say, "I`ve made such
diplomatic progress to the last 48 hours, you got to give me the yes votes
so we can follow through on this." I think there`s a lot of member at
Congress anywhere (ph) at crossroads right now.

For more, let me bring in Congressman John Garamendi of California who
has told me on radio and on this show that he is a no vote. Congressman,
great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, (D) CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you Ed and good
discussion. You really laid it out there.

SCHULTZ: Well, where do you stand tonight Congressman? There`s been
a lot of lobbying from the White House on Capitol Hill. Do you think
they`re moving votes?

GARAMENDI: I think what`s moving votes is this Russian overture which
is extremely important and an enormous opportunity to do a lot of good and
to avoid bombing by the United States. I think we have time in Congress.
I remain a no vote. But I think we have time. We need to keep this issue
on the table. Let it stay there. We can continue to debate and discuss
the ins and outs of it.

But really, this whole thing has now moved to the Russian court.
Putin and his administration have now inherited the Syrian problem. They
say they are going to get those chemical weapons secured. They`re going to
have them removed and eventually destroyed, terrific. Go do it Mr. Putin.
It`s in your hands and we`re going to hold your credibility up for public
scrutiny. That`s a good thing.

SCHULTZ: Do you think we can trust the Russians? I mean, is this a
new day-dawning in diplomacy?

GARAMENDI: I think we can trust them and I think we can verify that
they`re actually getting it done. We know where those weapons are and we
know that the Russians have as we have over the last 20 years destroyed
nearly all of our chemical weapons stockpile. We have more to do. They
have more to do. They know how to do it. We know how to do it. Well, OK,
go get it done Mr. Putin.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

GARAMENDI: The ball is in your court and this is a real opportunity
to protect the Syrian people from chemical weapons attack and the
neighborhood.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

GARAMENDI: And really set a much better policy in place for the whole
Middle East and move to negotiating table on the Syrian civil war.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, 63 percent of the American people are against
the strike, do you think members of Congress are willing to side with the
President and say I needed to give him that diplomatic power although I
really wasn`t for a strike. I mean, the President tonight is going to ask
for the order. He`s been on Capitol Hill and his people have been on
Capitol Hill for the last several days asking for a yes vote. He`s saying
you got to give me the yes vote so we are united moving forward in the
international community. Is it worth it to members of Congress to take
that leap of faith?

GARAMENDI: I don`t think we`re at that moment yet. I think the
President has said that this issue can go along for some while. Senator
Kerry -- Secretary Kerry said it`s got to be done quickly. Well, define
quickly. As I heard today, quickly doesn`t mean tomorrow, doesn`t mean the
next day. It really means that we have an opportunity with France taking
this issue to the United Nations Council and Russia.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

GARAMENDI: All of us working together to solve a major problem in the
Middle East. This is good. We have some time in Congress. We don`t need
to vote today, tomorrow, even next week, but we need to have this issue on
the table ready to go.

SCHULTZ: OK. And what do you expect out of the President tonight?
Do you expect him to lay out a detailed plan and a future for Syria? Does
he have to go that far? What are your expectations? What do you think he
has to accomplish tonight?

GARAMENDI: I think he needs to focus on the chemical weapons. I
think that`s the issue at the moment and the issue in the weeks ahead. He
said so when he announced that he was going to take action. When he bought
it to Congress, he said we have time. Indeed, we do have time, and now,
this very, very important issue has been passed to the Russians and to the
United Nations all of whom including Syria seen to be on board to gain
international control of these chemical weapons, and dispose of them.

And Syria apparently has agreed to sign under the chemical weapons at
court. This is really, really important. We don`t need to rush, we need
to push forward, we need to make sure that all of the steps are in place
and we need to make it very, very clear that Russia is now in the game in a
very positive way. It`s now their responsibility to make sure that Syria
carries it out.

SCHULTZ: But it`s our responsibility to make sure that his trust and
verify, the verification that this is getting done. I mean .

GARAMENDI: Absolutely. Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: . that is -- that`s kind of a heavy lift. I mean, you`re
going to have to under turn every rock in Syria to make sure they`re
telling the truth, aren`t you?

GARAMENDI: Well, we know where these weapons are.

SCHULTZ: OK.

GARAMENDI: We know them. We have some pretty good indication that
they`re secure and .

SCHULTZ: So you think the intel is tight?

GARAMENDI: The intel is in good shape and we know that there are
going to be foreign experts on the ground and quite possibly Russia getting
control of those weapons and hopefully taking them out of the country.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you with us. John Garamendi of
California, who sits on Armed Services. Great to have you on the program
tonight. Thank you, sir.

GARAMENDI: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Remember to answer tonight`s question at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter at Ed Show and on Facebook, we love
it. Just bring it on and tell us what you think. You know the
conversation in this country has been so important in the last week. It`s
moving people in Congress. Why can`t we do that on jobs?

Later in the show, Mitch McConnell revs up the Obama hate machine but
first, why Michele Bachmann is praying for some divine intervention in
2016? Stay with us, we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Right here. Check it out. This is where it all happens.
Time for the Trenders. The Ed Show social media nation has decided and now
we are reporting. Here are today`s top Trenders voted on by you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear 8-pound 6-ounce newborn infant Jesus.

SCHULTZ: The number 3 trender, Bachmann overdrive.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R), MINNESOTTA: Are you one of those who just
assumes that Secretary Hillary Clinton will be coronated? I don`t at all
because I looked at the story of David and Goliath.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The outgoing congresswoman channels a higher power
for her 2016 prediction.

BACHMANN: It wasn`t the stone. It wasn`t David. It was the strong
right arm of the holy God. If we repent, if we cry out to God, we have no
idea what the Lord God will do for us in 2016.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our number 2 trender, Baller.

DENNIS RODMAN: Is it -- is of any concern that Dennis Rodman`s -- he
has hardcore information about Kim Jong Un than the US government does?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that would be a growth assumption that
you cannot back up with any fact in that.

RODMAN: So why Obama are you afraid to talk to Dennis Rodman? You`re
not afraid to talk with Beyonce and Jay-Z. I`m pretty bored now right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach Rodman follows the bouncing ball to North
Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told about his idea, this amazing idea, for
basketball diplomacy.

RODMAN: Why North Korea? To open doors.

He`s my friend for life. I don`t care what you guys think about him.

RODMAN: And today`s top Trender, in command.

OBAMA: My fellow Americans .

BILL CLINTON, FMR. UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama follows in his predecessor`s
footsteps.

REAGAN: Our evidence is direct. It is precise. It is irrefutable.
Today, we have done what we had to do. If necessary, we shall do it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our goal is not the conquest of Iraq. It is the
liberation of Kuwait.

CLINTON: We act to protect thousands of innocent people in Kosovo
from amounting military offense. We act to prevent a wider war and we have
to stand united with our allies for peace.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FMR. UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The United States
military has begun strikes against the Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps
and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. We are
supported by the collective will of the world.

The Senate drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course towards
safety. We are now acting because the risks of an action would be far
greater.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Douglas Brinkley, Presidential Historian
and professor at Rice University. Professor, good to have you with us
tonight.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks for having me.

SCHULTZ: The mission tonight of the President is to change people`s
minds, and to swing public opinion. How heavy of lift is it in the context
of what those presidents were dealing with?

BRINKLEY: Well, you know, he switched now. It`s not going to be an
Oval Office speech. And usually when you`re going to have a war talk, you
do it to have the gravitas of the Oval Office. Now it`s in -- it`s going
into the East room so that`s been a recent switch today. I think this has
changed. It is now a peace speech it`s that we`ve got a window. You were
all right about that but, you know, a verification that`s important, peace
through strength and all of that.

But I think there`s a peace window here and he`s going to explore
that. He is going to tell us what is at stake with Syria and our National
Security. It`s been a bit muddled and he has an opportunity now to bring
clarity to it.

SCHULTZ: Does he have to lay out an end game tonight? How far does
the President go?

His detractors are saying he`s not going far enough by pushing for
regime change. How much can he get done diplomatically tonight? How far
does he go?

BRINKLEY: I wouldn`t go too far. I mean I`m not even sure that the
boat in Congress is something that the President wants at this point. This
is a kick the can situation.

They`ve get to wait for the United Nation`s report, you`ve got allies
about to really join us; France, and Turkey in a real way. But that
they`re still not quite on board. You`ve got this Russian, Syrian, option
of international inspectors. But can you trust Putin? I don`t. Can you
trust Assad? I don`t. So where is that window? And how many of these
weapons can you really get rid of out of Syria? How will that work?

SCHULTZ: Does he say that? Does the President have a strong language
tonight for Putin and Assad?

BRINKLEY: I would say of the chance that we`re giving peace a chance
that he has been a reluctant warrior, that he had to ring the alarm bells
about these weapons of mass destruction. He`s achieved that, the world`s
paid attention now. You don`t see anything good about Putin or Assad,
that`s not a good idea.

But traditionally on some of these clips you just ran.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

BRINKLEY: President`s get a little bit of a bounce out of these
speeches even if it`s a couple of points and I say this tonight`s a chance
to stabilize its message. It`s not noble anymore that he`s coming to talk
to people tonight. He was on shows all day yesterday. But I think it`s a
chance for like a start over, draw a new line, and say "Here`s what we`re
at today, and here`s how we are going to proceed." He needs to bring
clarity.

SCHULTZ: I just think it was just such a huge coincidence that the
Russians come out yesterday with a proposal, and, oh by the way President
Obama happens to be doing six interviews with all the networks.

BRINKLEY: Yes.

SCHULTZ: And all of a sudden this question pops up. I think they had
it, I don`t know if the word is rigged or not but I think it was pretty
well coordinated that the G-20 meeting must have been pretty productive.

BRINKLEY: Well, you know, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dean
Acheson wrote an article for Esquire and called it "A Homage to Plain Dumb
Luck." And we may in the end have been lucky that the President was at
that G-20 meeting that had his private moments with Putin which none of us
know what was really transpired there. But the President, I`m sure he said
this publicly and I believe him. He said, "We talked about this
possibility." And when John Kerry triggered in his apparent speech was
absolutely something that President did with diplomacy. That all helps the
President now repackage his message.

SCHULTZ: Does the President gain favor with the American people from
the standpoint that we had John Kerry saying that he has the legal leeway
to go ahead and strike Syria. And then the President listens to the
American voices all week long, takes a walk at 6:00 on a Friday and says,
"You know what? We`re going to take a 90 degree turn here. We`re going to
go to Congress."

And now, we`ve got a proposal on the table whether we can trust it or
not but at least it`s a different chapter, and it`s a different dynamic
here. How does that play out for the President?

BRINKLEY: Well look, there`s -- nobody`s going to be studying at the
Naval War College the Syria crisis as a textbook way to do things.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

BRINKLEY: It`s been hurly-burly, hodge-podge, helter-skelter. But
we`re moving in a better result that I would have thought we could have a
few days ago. We now are looking on a President that might be able to tell
us that we are making progress. I`m getting rid of chemical weapons from
an adversary like Syria.

If he can achieve this in the next months, the President well look
quite strong, but right now, the critics are all over out there because of
just general confusion of what we`re doing.

SCHULTZ: He went to the G-20. He had to move one person, and that
was Putin.

BRINKLEY: Yes.

SCHULTZ: And he got it done. Tonight, he has to move millions of
people and has been on Capitol Hill today saying, "You got to support me."
Is this new territory where a President would go and say, "You got to give
me the vote to give me the international diplomatic gravitas so we can do
this deal." What about that?

BRINKLEY: Well, you know, it`s -- one thing I was thinking about
today. I remember when John F. Kennedy met with Khrushchev, and Khrushchev
ended at a (ph) private talk in Vienna in `61. And then the Berlin Wall
came up and everyone thought Kennedy was weak because he didn`t go knock
that wall down, but instead he played it cool. Kennedy eventually went
back to Berlin, got a high marks and ended up flipping that Berlin was --
the wall was to side up totalitarianism.

He has brought so much consciousness to chemical weapons right now,
the President, that he might be able to get a moral high ground out of
this, that I`m the person that warned everybody. I was the Paul Revere
figure here. But this quick vote in Congress. What are we voting on and
all?

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

BRINKLEY: I think it`s going to get booted further, I keep thinking
the longer this is postponed in Congress and Senate, the better off the
President`s hand is going be.

SCHULTZ: OK. Douglas Brinkley, professor, good to have you with us.

BRINKLEY: Thanks.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.

Still to come. Home field advantage, a vast majority of Americans
want lawmakers to focus on domestic issues. Congressman Gregory Meeks
joins me for the Punch Out.

But first, as President Obama preps for his address to the nation
tonight, the Republican free bottles are already in gear. But next, I`m
taking your questions on Ask Ed Live. Stay with us. We`ll be right back
on the Ed Show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. We love hearing from our
viewers. Tonight in our Ask Ed Live segment, the first question comes from
Jimmy Bear and he wants to know how come we can mobilize Congress fast when
it comes to war, but domestic problems they move at a snail`s pace?

Well, bottom line here is they don`t have to move fast on domestic
policy especially when you`re ideologically driven and you want to control
the government. I mean, all you have to do is listen to Michelle Bachmann.
Do you think that she`ll even like the liberals? Do you think that she
wants to work with liberals? That`s really the mindset of the entire
Republican Party.

So, in answer to your question, when it comes to war, they`re easy to
move. But, domestic problems, they don`t care. They`re selfish. They`re
the top 2 percent crowd. They want to concentrate to wealth. They want to
cut government programs. And they want to deregulate and privatize
everything they can get their hands on.

Our next question comes from Richard. He wants to know what will it
take for the Republicans to understand common sense? I don`t have the
foggiest idea. I don`t.

Stick around. Rapid Response panel is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Time for reaction. Welcome back to the Ed Show. Earlier
today after the just settled with the news of a proposal to place Syrian
chemical weapons under international control, here we go Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell finally came out of his shell to let the American
people know where he stands on the issue.

In doing so, McConnell became the only leader in Congress to say that
he will oppose President Obama`s proposed military intervention in Syria.

McConnell is up for re-election next year and he`s desperate for
better poll numbers. McConnell knows the American people are against the
strike in Syria so he did what any desperate Republican would do. He gave
a speech slamming the President of United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: It is long past time, the
President drops the post of the reluctant warrior and leave. You can`t
build an effective foreign policy on the vilification of your predecessor
alone. At some point, you have to take responsibility for your own actions
and see the world the way it is not the way you`d like it to be. If you
wish to engage countries that have been hostile, so be it. But be a
realist, know the limits of rhetoric and prepare for the worst.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: McConnell is the only Republican using these events to
criticize the President in order to build political capital with their
base. Fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced that he will deliver a
video response to President Obama`s address tonight live streamed on his
YoutTube page. Paul`s office told The Hill he isn`t responding on behalf
of the Republican Party, but simply offering his thoughts as a concerned
senator and citizen.

And joining me now for the Rapid Response Panel, MSNBC contributor Dr.
James Peterson. Also with us tonight Washington Post EJ Dionne and from
Salon.com, Joan Walsh. Well, what does the President have to do tonight?
It would seem to me that maybe a few edges have been filed off a little bit
now that there`s some type of diplomatic opportunity here. Joan, how heavy
a lift is this tonight?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR SALON.COM: Well, I think it`s a very heavy lift
and it`s a lift in progress so I, you know, I`m sure they`re working really
hard as we`re working hard here, Ed to figure out what to say because
things are changing by the hour but, you know, as somebody who`s been very
critical of the notion of a military strike, I think the President actually
can take some credit and say, "Look, we had nothing going on
diplomatically".

I think people who pave for diplomacy can also say, "We told you there
was still some talking to be done". So both sides who`ve come to this --
who come to this with some sincerity can take a little bit of credit.
People who come to it with no sincerity and no integrity like Mitch
McConnell should really go away and hide because I`ve never seen something
as hypocritical as what McConnell said today.

SCHULTZ: EJ, how is he be the tough guy on the block hold him
accountable and take the high road?

EJ DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: With his whole argument all along was
that if we want willing to be tough on this with Assad, you`d never move
the Russians and they said over and over again we went to the UN and every
time we went there, they blocked us and I think he can make the case that
only after he got tough and said, "We`re going to do this. We`re going to
go after Assad" did you suddenly have this proposal materialized. You
know, first, miraculously from Kerry`s lips and that the Russians picked it
up right away.

So I think he, as obviously in a much stronger position than he was a
couple of days ago, but McConnell`s speech showed something which is an
awful how the Republicans and I exempt Rand Paul from this by the way.

WALSH: I don`t know.

DIONNE: He is a consistent anti-war libertarian.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

DIONNE: But there are a lot of hawkish Republicans who would have
voted for this if somebody named Barack Obama were not President of the
United States .

SCHULTZ: That`s right.

DIONNE: . and I think they got to explain them.

SCHULTZ: Do you believe that Dr. Peterson?

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I do. I mean that`s the sad state
of our political sort of processes here.

SCHULTZ: It`s a still beat Obama scenario.

PETERSON: It could be of no matter what the states are, no matter
how, you know, the American people have sort of come out and express their
views authentically about not wanting to make a military intervention.
You`re still going to have some foe in this case on the right playing
politics with it.

I agree with Joan here as well that the President has somehow
miraculously maneuvered through this situation in a way that was EJ saw it,
but I didn`t see it has had this unforeseeable outcome where we know have a
viable diplomatic solution when at first in the House I don`t even think we
all thought it was that viable but now it actually is a viable solution and
at moment like this where diplomacy can actually win out, I think we`re all
winners. I think we`re all.

SCHULTZ: What are you making the role of John Kerry has played in all
of these and moving forward he plays a very vital role I think when it
comes to verification?

PETERSON: He`s wearing a very different hat than he was as a
presidential candidate and we talked about this a minute ago.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

PETERSON: You know, John Kerry has become a soldier and again and as
he`s, you know, he`s got his orders and, you know, I don`t know if it was a
mistake for him to rhetorically sort of let it slip that this Russia-Syria
peace was a possibility but it did and I think when you look at the whole
picture it just seems like an amazingly for all of this to resolve itself
especially if we don`t have to make military interventions.

SCHULTZ: Are we making too much out of the fact that Mubarak is gone,
Gadhafi is gone, Bin Laden is gone? He said he would get him in the
debate. Running up to the election, he said, "If we have actionable
intelligence and the Pakistanis won`t act, I will. We`ll take Bin Laden
now." I mean, somebody must have told Putin of the weekend, you know, "You
guys better get involved in this thing. I mean he`s -- he means it." What
about that?

DIONNE: Well, I think in -- clearly Bin Laden is his doing. I think
some of this was on the ground in the Middle East and they came from the
bottom up, but I think you`re right. In this case that the United States
stand toward Assad changed after the word of the use of those chemical
weapons came out. And I think the Russians looked at this and may well
have said, you know, "We didn`t have to worry yesterday, but we got to
worry now."

SCHULTZ: Yes.

DIONNE: And we don`t want those strikes coming on Assad because they
could weaken him.

SCHULTZ: Joan, a lot of liberals are out there saying that the
President is spending a lot of political capital on this, it steal jobs,
it`s the economy, it`s the austerity fights that we`re having in state
levels in this country.

WALSH: Right.

SCHULTZ: I mean, how does he pivot back to that? I mean this is
sucking a lot of air out of the room.

WALSH: I don`t think there`s any way around that. I want to pivot
back as much as anybody else, but I think this is what is on his plate
right now. And I think he`s done a very interesting job. It`s not over
yet. I think the question of what happens if this diplomatic solution does
not materialize and he`s got to go back and make the case for a strike and
a strike that doesn`t -- to stabilize Assad and .

SCHULTZ: Yes.

WALSH: . give the rebels the upper hand. All of that .

PETERSON: Possible (inaudible)

WALSH: . it`s still .

DIONNE: And it`s still .

WALSH: ... it`s still very difficult and very scary but this is
what`s going on right now.

DIONNE: No. I think that`s right. And this actually does have the
potential of keeping the story more dominant for awhile. One of the
resolutions of the Senate is all right let`s give diplomacy 45 days .

PETERSON: Right.

DIONNE: . and then if that doesn`t work, we`re going to give the
President the authority to strike. So, this could -- this story could
dominate you at a time when a lot of people want to talk about health care
and some of this other ...

SCHULTZ: I find it interesting that the President was able to go over
and work with Putin without his number one ally .

PETERSON: Right.

SCHULTZ: . British Parliament giving him a stamp of approval.

PETERSON: Right.

SCHULTZ: I mean, this was a going alone situation. I mean, I thought
the President was under the pressure here to deliberate the G-20 without
his main ally.

PETERSON: He ultimately may have had a little more leverage in doing
that. And I think for tonight, people expect the President -- now I would
love for him to do this, just address the fact that look how quickly our
government assemble to engage, to be sincere .

WALSH: Right.

PETERSON: . to offer opinion, to work around a military intervention
or crisis in Syria. The question is can our government do that for crisis
here at home.

SCHULTZ: OK. What is Rand Paul trying to prove?

WALSH: Look. I don`t like Rand Paul very much, but I`m going to give
him some credit here. He has been a consistent voice against intervention.
And I think going forward as we try to figure out what is our role in a
post superpower, post 9/11 world, I think that consistent Republican anti-
interventionists are important potential allies with consistent Democratic
skeptics of intervention. So, I`m, you know, he`s going to have a party on
YouTube but I`m going to give him credit for integrity and for consistency
that Mitch McConnell doesn`t deserve.

DIONNE: I think he is sincere. I think he is a sort of an antiwar
libertarian, but I think one of the things we got to settle after this is
how many Republicans are really in that camp?

WALSH: Right. You`re right there.

DIONNE: And how many are just opposing the President.

PETERSON: Not so many.

DIONNE: And I also think one of the things the President has to do
tonight is lay the ground work for a long-term margin and then say, "Look.
Nation building begins at home .

PETERSON: Exactly.

DIONNE: . but we still have international responsibilities.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

DIONNE: Here`s how I`m going to square them." And I think we need
that big conversation.

SCHULTZ: OK. And also, finally tonight, Dr. Peterson, the President
has -- he has given some huge speeches that have moved a lot of people. Am
I expecting too much tonight to wake up tomorrow and maybe tomorrow
afternoon seeing that the polls have changed and all of a sudden this
country says, you know, (inaudible)

PETERSON: You know what you`re not, Ed. But what his speeches work
both ways though. He moves a lot of people and sometimes and also incites
and angers a lot of people as well. I expect the exact same result
tonight.

SCHULTZ: All right. James Peterson, EJ Dionne, and Joan Walsh.
Great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

PETERSON: Thanks Ed.

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ: Up next, leading role how Erin Burnett`s leading line of
questioning makes even Marco Rubio look reasonable. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And the Pretenders tonight. The grand inquisitor Erin
Burnett with a solution and the worst to see Syria`s chemical weapons,
Burnett tried to bait Senator Marco Rubio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN BURNETT: Do you think these ideas the President`s way of backing
down from a strike, I mean, does that look -- I know you`re not for a
strike and you`re for, you know, you`ve been for, for example helping the
rebels instead. But, does the way this has been handled, you know,
building up to these interviews and then address to the nation to justify a
strike and instead saying, "I`m open to not striking." Does this make the
President look unsure or ambivalent or worst, weak?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: Well, look, again, I don`t want to say
anything that undermines the US`s position globally on national security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, you can leave Marco Rubio to water, but, you can`t
make him drink it.

Erin Burnett posed the question, if a settlement that puts lives in
treasure, out of danger makes the President weak. Not even Marco Rubio
will going to touch that one. If Erin Burnett wants us to believe that
that is journalism, she can keep on pretending.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. This is a story for the folks
who take a shower after work, the workers of America. New York City voters
are heading to the polls today for the mayoral primary. New Yorkers are
looking for a candidate that addresses issues that they really care about
like a living wage, a lot to talk about that in the city, affordable
housing a big issue, a good education, and social justice in the realm of
stop and frisk.

Well, President Obama is going to be making his address to the nation
tonight about Syria the eve of the 12th Anniversary of attacks on 9/11. 12
years later, New Yorkers remain focused on security. New NBC Wall Street
Journal Poll shows only 22 percent of Americans think this country should
promote democracy and freedom internationally in an effort to ease national
security. Nearly three fourths, 74 percent say the United States should do
less around the world and focus more on domestic problems.

Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York joins me tonight. Congressman,
good to have you with us.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS, (D) NEW YORK: Good being with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You`re just off being at home in your district the month of
August, back to work now in Washington, what did you hear the most when you
were boots on the ground in your district, Congressman?

MEEKS: Well, of course a lot of it has to deal with education of our
young people and try to make somebody have jobs. His job, his education,
and getting people back to work. I mean, that`s the main thing that people
are focused on. And of course, recently when the question of Syria came up
and what the President was going to do and was not going to do. That also
became an issue that the people are talking about while I was home.

SCHULTZ: It`s interesting. This mayoral primary race has had a lot
of dynamics to it but one of the things that hasn`t been talked about too
much is security of the city. You know, it`s education, it`s the things
that I had mentioned, housing education, stop and frisk, all of those
things, very little conversation I think about keeping this city safe. Are
New Yorkers beyond that? I mean, do we really feel and you get a sense in
this city that we have done the job here in New York and there is no doubt
that we are safe?

MEEKS: No. I think that, you know, we are -- you`re never safe 100
percent, I think the President has said that already. And I think that New
Yorkers are keeping their eyes open, and their ears open, and, you know, I
think the message has gotten clear if you see a package and you don`t know
who it belongs to, call someone. If you see .

SCHULTZ: Yes.

MEEKS: . that`s looking suspicious, call someone. So I think that
we`re doing that but people are focused on what is important to them on a
day-to-day basis.

SCHULTZ: Sure .

MEEKS: And how they feed themselves and how they pay their rent.

SCHULTZ: Are you supporting a candidate today -- tonight?

MEEKS: Yes. I`m with the person who I think will be the next mayor
of the city of New York, Bill Thompson.

SCHULTZ: Bill de Blasio is bringing attention to stop and frisk.
What are your constituents telling you about this practice?

MEEKS: Well, I think that everybody has brought a tiff (ph) to stop
and frisk. I think that if in fact Bill Thompson was elected mayor four
years ago, we wouldn`t be talking about it today because Bill Thompson as
mayor would have stopped it and will stop it, and make sure that as you
liked it appropriately, and not inappropriately.

So it is something that`s being reported on largely right now, but
this is something that Bill Thompson has been focused on for a long period
of time. And he will stop stop and frisk because he knows -- he`s lived it
everyday, if you been an African-American male in this city of New York,
you know about stop and frisk.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Why do think de Blasio is ahead of Thompson and the
polls when Thompson barely lost to the mayor the last time around, Mayor
Bloomberg it was very close race.

MEEKS: Well I think there`d be a run off this time. And then the run
off, people would be able to focus on the issues that are important. I
think that there was a lot of distractions in this campaign. When you talk
about some of the candidates on both, you know, on a number of races, and
so those distractions I think took New Yorkers away from issues. And in
this run off will be focused now on two people and it`ll be issues that the
citizens of New York City will be voting on. I think then Bill`s message
will resonate, Bill Thompson`s message will resonate.

SCHULTZ: Let`s talk about the President`s speech tonight. You told
me today on the radio that you are undecided. Have you moved it all in the
last 24 hours? Because you`ve met with the President, you`ve talked to the
Vice President. There`s been a lot of lobbying going on on Capitol Hill,
how do you assess the situation right now?

MEEKS: Well, I understand the President`s position much better, and I
think that the President needs a lot of credit for the leadership that he
has showed. Number one, you know, the President couldn`t easily height
this, you know, if a President wants to sell a war, we`ve been sold one
before; he could have tried to sell it.

What the President did was tell us the truth. And the truth is that
there was no imminent threat right now from these Syrians and that what we
need to do though is to send a message by a small strike so that everyone
will know that there`s a price to pay for utilizing chemical weapons.

Now, the problem that I have had is that I believe that since it was
an international norm that was violated, this should have been an
international .

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

MEEKS: . reaction and I`m starting to see that take place right now.

SCHULTZ: So Congressman do you foresee being in a position where
you`re going to have to go home and tell your constituents, "I know you
don`t want a yes vote, but I got to do it for the President."

MEEKS: Well if the international community comes on board, then my
first hope is that we have a diplomatic solution which what I think we have
a window of accomplishing. So I`m hoping that we don`t have to go to
actual having something fired over there. But I have to vote, you know, my
conscience and I believe that my constituents sit me to Congress so that I
can get all of the information that I could possibly could, and so that
they can`t -- information that they don`t have that I may have and I can
vote accordingly.

SCHULTZ: Quickly. Was the President work in the Hill hard today?

MEEKS: The President and his team (ph) they`ve been working very hard
to try to get the message across, yes.

SCHULTZ: OK. Congressman Gregory Meeks, great to have you with us
tonight, thanks for joining us on the Ed Show.

That`s the Ed Show, I`m Ed Schultz. And a reminder, you can watch the
President`s address on Syria right here on MSNB, join me and colleagues for
all the live coverage of the address starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Politics Nation with Reverend Al Sharpton and starts right now, in
fact he`s sitting right here. We have actually solved the housing, for
starting to solve the housing problem here in New York because there`s two
shows in one studio.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: Al you take it away.

SHARPTON: And is not charging in extreme run, Ed. Good to see you
and thanks a lot.

SCHULTZ: Thanks Rev.

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

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