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'1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" for Friday, January 16

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guest: Bob Bea, Eugene Robinson, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Bernard, Jim Moran, Ken Duberstein, John Amato Head: The Hudson river crash produced a hero.  Selling the stimulus is a tough job. Interview with Congressman Jim Moran. Within hours of President Elect Obama taking the oath of office, the White House will be completely transformed with all of his furnishings and furniture.

Spec: US Airways; Transportation; New York; Chesley Sullenberger;

Politics; Barack Obama; Economy; Congress

DAVID SHUSTER, HOST:  Tonight, he is now a household name, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot and hero of Flight 1549.  As we learn more about him, the appreciation grows. 

Plus, President-elect Barack Obama.  Today he was in Ohio lobbying for his economic plan, the biggest stimulus proposal in U.S. history. 

Later, the separate pool of money that keeps going to banks.  Bank of America‘s earned a spot tonight in our “Hypocrisy Watch.”

Also, the Bush administration‘s good-bye.  The logistics involved in moving out will intrigue you. 

And finally, a controversy grows over inauguration Porta-Potties. 

And humiliation in the U.S. Senate?  One member loses a sports wager to another and pays up. 

Four days until the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. 

Welcome to the 1600 show, everyone.  I‘m David Shuster. 

As our nation prepares to witness history in Washington, we are learning some new information tonight about Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who made aviation yesterday by skillfully and safely ditching that US Airways jetliner in the Hudson River.  The man who saved the lives of 155 people was described today by friends as modest, with a calm and collected personality. 

Sullenberger has not yet spoken publicly about yesterday‘s ordeal, but a colleague says he is in good spirits and is showing no outward signs of stress.  Ironically, Sullenberger has been collaborating for three years with researchers at Cal Berkeley Center for catastrophic risk management.  The center focuses on how to avoid airline tragedies. 

Joining us is now is the co-director of that center and a friend and colleague of Sullenberger‘s, Professor Bob Bea. 

And Mr. Bea, thanks for joining us. 

The nation is so eager to learn everything it can about Mr. Sullenberger. 

Describe the Sully Sullenberger that you know. 

BOB BEA, FRIEND & COLLEAGUE OF PILOT:  I describe, David, as a quiet man.  When you meet Sully, you can tell just by his behavior on how he looks, that here‘s someone that you can trust.  And I think he proved it. 

He showed that he was able to be a good pilot and be a good leader, and the miracle I think we saw yesterday testifies to the fact he was able to keep it together.  So at least for me, I‘d say, Sully, thank you for being that quiet man. 

SHUSTER:  We know that Mr. Sullenberger is a family man.  He‘s married with two teenage daughters.  Here is Mr. Sullenberger‘s wife talking about his hero status. 



LORRIE SULLENBERGER, PILOT‘S WIFE:  I mean, the girls went to sleep last night talking.  I could hear them talking in the bedroom saying, “Is this weird or what?” 

First, to hear people talking about daddy before they knew who it was.  And then to hear them talking about daddy was weird.  For a long time, he‘s a pilot‘s pilot.  And he loves the art of the airplane. 


SHUSTER:  Mr. Bea, based on Mr. Sullenberger‘s personality, how do you believe that he is dealing with all of this? 

BEA:  Sully will handle this in stride.  I can tell you, I‘ve seen him in similar situations in the course of the work that we‘ve been doing here.  He‘ll handle this absolutely beautifully. 

He‘ll join his colleague, Al Haines (ph), who pulled off a similar miracle with United Airlines, Iowa City.  This is, as Mrs. Sullenberger said, a pilot‘s pilot.  So he‘ll handle it as he always has handled these things.  He‘s a model for us. 

SHUSTER:  And Mr. Bea, is there anything about the research that he was collaborating with you on that you think paid off yesterday in bringing the plane down as safely as he did? 

BEA:  Certainly, because that‘s the reason Sully was working with us.  He spent his lifetime learning how to be skilled in flying aircraft.  And he, like we, have discovered that the secret to flying good aircraft, good equipment, is, in fact, good people. 

So at this point, he becomes very focused on creating functional crews, creating, as he can, a functional system within US Air, collaborating with the FAA, the ground controllers, the air traffic controllers.  That entire system yesterday worked perfectly, and Sully certainly was serving as the conductor of that symphony. 

So, we‘ve been trying to learn how to make good music in these complex systems.  Sully certainly taught us how to do it successfully yesterday. 

SHUSTER:  And finally, Professor Bea, have you heard from him at all in the last—today, in the last 24 hours?  And if not, when you do have the conversation with him, what are you going to say? 

BEA:  Well, the first thing is, I got an e-mail from Sully at 6:00 a.m. at my home the day of the almost accident.  Sully wanted to have coffee so that we could sit down and catch up with each other because we‘re walking similar trails.

Then, next, I hear from my wife that there‘s been a crash into the Hudson River.  And then next, she drops the information that a pilot by the name of Sully Sullenberger was involved. 

I was sitting at my desk and behind my computer, and the first thing that I thought was, thank you, God.  Here‘s a man that has spent his life trying to do what he did.  And if he‘s not proud, I‘m proud for him. 

SHUSTER:  Well, Professor Bob Bea, thank you so much for coming on tonight. 

We appreciate it.  And good luck to you. 

BEA:  My total pleasure. 

SHUSTER:  From aviation drama now to the economic one that is confronting most Americans one way or another, there are now a slew of reports indicating that the recession is deeper and may last longer than had been predicted just a few weeks ago.  It‘s adding steam to the debate over what our government should do to try and fix it. 

Today, President-elect Obama went to Ohio to sell his $825 billion stimulus plan.  He says the plan will create or save four million jobs, and he urged lawmakers to act as soon as possible. 


BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT:  It‘s not too late to change course, but only if we take dramatic action as soon as possible.  And that‘s why I‘ve moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American recovery and reinvestment plan that will immediately jumpstart job creation and long-term growth.  And I‘m pleased that Congress has seen the urgency as well and is moving quickly to consider such a plan. 


SHUSTER:  But Republican leaders don‘t sound ready to move quickly, or at all.  House Minority Leader John Boehner was left speechless after he saw a preliminary draft of the plan yesterday. 


REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER:  Oh, my God.  I don‘t even—my notes here say that I‘m disappointed.  I just can‘t tell you how shocked I am at what we‘re seeing. 


SHUSTER:  No we bring in our panel, Eugene Robinson, columnist for “The Washington Post”; Michelle Bernard, president of the Independent Women‘s Forum; and Pat Buchanan, former presidential candidate.  All three are MSNBC political analysts. 

Pat, let‘s start with you.  Why is Boehner shocked?  Everyone knew that this was going to be at least $800 billion. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, it‘s not simply the size of it, it‘s the composition of the package.  It is an enormous bet on government. 

We have a $1.2 trillion deficit.  You add $875 billion, and it‘s been estimated we‘ll have a $1.8 trillion deficit, twice as big as the largest peacetime ever. 

It is all government.  These ideas have never before worked. 

I think Barack Obama is going to get these things, all this money, but, David, you get it one of two places.  You print money, which is an enormous risk of inflation, those enormous sums, or you go ahead and borrow it from the Chinese and others, where you take an enormous risk with the credit rating of the United states.  And I think, ultimately, nearly a default of the United States is at risk. 

I don‘t think it‘s going to work because of the composition of the package.  But it‘s going to go through.  I wish him well, because I wish the country well. 

SHUSTER:  Michelle Bernard, when you do look at the composition, only $85 billion out of the $825 billion is for infrastructure projects.  It sounds like they didn‘t have the number of shovel ready projects they wanted.  But the fact that the number is so small, that could be a political problem; right? 

MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, it could be a political problem.  I mean, all of the—the $85 billion is small, but quite frankly, all of these numbers are so enormous, that it is almost as if we are talking about Monopoly money. 

I think the public is going to be have a hard time wrapping their arms around this, understanding where the money is going.  If only $85 billion is going into—and I hate to say “only $85 billion,” but if only $85 billion is going into “shovel ready” projects, where is going, what are we going to jumpstart the economy, and how are we going to get Americans employed and keep the people in their jobs, and make sure that we continue have to the greatest and strongest economy in the world?  Because right now, I think that people very deeply question whether or not this is going to work. 

I think the polls are showing that people have felt that the first economic stimulus package has done nothing to help the economy.  So what‘s going to happen with this money in the short term and long term? 

SHUSTER:  And Eugene, given that skepticism, smart move for Barack Obama to go to go to Ohio, of all places, to try to begin this sort of effort?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes, I think that was smart.  I think it‘s smart to associate it with American jobs and with the working class, and kind of middle America.  But, you know, the real issue here is, and the underlying fact is, there are not a lot of alternatives.

It‘s not easy to spend $800 billion in the twinkling of an eye.  It‘s just not an easy thing to do.  However, economists generally agree that there has to be tried.

There‘s not agreement that it will necessarily work, but it will probably do something.  Even the president‘s economic advisers‘ own projection indicates we‘re going to have rising unemployment perhaps through 2010.  I mean, at the end of 2010 we‘re still looking at some pretty high unemployment figures.  But if this can mitigate the disaster and eliminate the possibility of just an awful recession that would just throw millions out of work... 

BUCHANAN:  There‘s no way you cannot have a jolt in the economy when you take 12 percent entire gross national product and shovel—so you‘re going to get a bump.  But where are the jobs of the future here? 

Ohio, Michigan have lost—I mean, under Bush we‘ve lost four million manufacturing jobs, one in every five, or something like that.  Where—how does this recreate these kinds of jobs that produce products that we can sell in the world market? 

That‘s the future.  This is—everybody out there...

SHUSTER:  He was focusing on wind technology and green jobs.  I mean, out of the $295 billion, it‘s going to food stamps, unemployment, green jobs.  I mean, a sizable portion of that is going to the very technologies he was talking about today. 

BERNARD:  And what happens if there‘s no wind?  And what is a green job? 


BERNARD:  No, I‘m serious.  What happens if there‘s no wind?  And what is a green job/?  What does that mean? 

I think these are very serious questions.  They sound funny, but they‘re very serious questions. 

And also, when we talk about the kind of jobs that people used to have, we need to question as a nation whether or not manufacturing as we knew it in the United States is the wave of the future.  And I think that we‘re going to probably see in the first 100 days of this administration a lot of talk about education reform and how we prepare American workers for the 21st century workforce, because maybe we will never have the kind of jobs we used to have. 

BUCHANAN:  You haven‘t mentioned—all right, what are the jobs of the 21st century workforce?  How can government prepare?

BERNARD:  Exactly.

BUCHANAN:  How does government know what they‘re going to be? 

BERNARD:  We need to ask the Chinese...


SHUSTER:  And yet, we‘re trying to figure this out in the next three weeks. 

The next three week is the time period they want. 

ROBINSON:  This is the problem—three weeks is not a long time to design an industrial policy.  However, Japan did it successfully, South Korea did it successfully.  I mean, it is possible to do long-range planning.  Not that we want a planned economy, but we can look forward.

BUCHANAN:  The Koreans did it over decades. 

ROBINSON:  Exactly.  No, three and a half weeks you can‘t do it, right.

BUCHANAN:  But they also controlled their whole markets and things like this.  I mean, let‘s take all this money they‘re going to get back in $1,000 checks.  People are going to go—if they go out and buy things, half the stuff they‘re going to buy is from China.  And it‘s the cars—half the cars they buy will be Japanese or German or Korean, and eventually Chinese. 

SHUSTER:  And you know, one of the hottest products that I‘ve seen right now are these Obama T-shirts and hats that they‘re selling here in Washington. 


SHUSTER:  And you look closely at them, and it says “Made in China.” 

BUCHANAN:  The Pat Buchanan brigade hats.  Clip those things out. 

SHUSTER:  Pat Buchanan, Michelle Bernard, Eugene Robinson, thank you all very much.  We‘ll see you, of course, all weekend long and leading up to inauguration. 

Thank you.

Up next, the amount of money planned for infrastructure spending is much smaller than a lot of people in Washington were anticipating.  We will ask Democratic Congressman Jim Moran about that next. 

And later, the inauguration logistics.  There may be a problem with Porta-Potties, and it could make things pretty uncomfortable for inauguration-goers. 

You‘re watching 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE.


SHUSTER:  Welcome back to 1600.

On the road in Ohio today, President—elect Barack Obama cautioned that even with stimulus spending, an economic turnaround is still going to be a major challenge. 


OBAMA:  Given the magnitude of these challenges, none of this is going to come easy.  Recovery is not going to happen overnight.  It‘s likely that even with the reinvestment package that we‘re putting forward, even with the measures that we‘re taking, things could get worse before they get better. 


SHUSTER:  In the meantime, Obama‘s now asking lawmakers to consider and approve an $825 billion economic plan, the largest in U.S. history.  And the president-elect is asking Congress to pass the huge measure within the next three or four weeks.  Obviously, the pressure on lawmakers is enormous and historic. 

Joining us to talk about the contours of this debate and help us go through the specifics is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia. 

Congressman, I want to go through the way the plan has been laid out, the way the breakdown is --  $825 billion; $295 billion for food stamps, unemployment and green jobs; $275 billion for tax relief; $170 billion for state Medicaid and education; $85 billion for infrastructure projects. 

Why is that number so small, that last one? 

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  Many of us wish it were larger.  And in fact, those in metropolitan areas wish they had put more than $10 billion into public transit, because we think that‘s the way of the future, and that‘s part of the greening of America. 

But, you know, everybody else wanted a piece of it.  And the fact is this is nevertheless the largest physical infrastructure investment since Dwight Eisenhower established the interstate highway system. 

SHUSTER:  And yet, a lot of economists say that the only thing that‘s a sure guarantee of creating jobs is infrastructure construction.  And a lot of these economists say the $85 billion, even though you want just shovel ready, it‘s not enough. 

MORAN:  Well, I can‘t argue with you because I happen to agree that it‘s not enough, although the school systems need money.  And a lot of the money that‘s going in to education is going to go for construction.  A lot of the green—you know, the energy block grant money,  that‘s going to be going into retrofitting buildings.  But in terms of transportation, I think it should be more. 

We have neglected transportation for much too long.  And we ought to make that investment.  But it is what it is, and it‘s the product of a whole lot of compromise.  And as you say, 19 of the 20 most respected economists in the country said if we don‘t put more than $800 billion into this economy, through the public sector, then this economy is going to shut down. 

SHUSTER:  Now, there are some Blue Dog Democrats who are suggesting the money not going to the U.S. economy, but go to war funding.  Here‘s what they wrote: “We respectfully urge you to include funds to cover expected costs for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan within your fiscal year 2010 budget request for the Department of Defense.  This would be an essential step toward restoring honesty, transparency, and accountability to federal spending.”

What are the Blue Dog Democrats, members of your own party, what are they up to? 

MORAN:  I‘m not sure what they‘re up to because we‘re going to put $457 billion more into the defense budget.  That will be...

SHUSTER:  You don‘t think the proposal is a wise idea?  I mean, adding more money into the budget you don‘t think it‘s a wise idea, do you? 

MORAN:  I don‘t think we need to increase the defense budget.  I mean, you‘ve got—you‘re funding the F-22, that no other country would come close to matching.  So we really have no opponent to use it against.  It‘s $350 million a plane, it will totally cost about $90 billion. 

Now, Lockheed hears this, and I‘m going to be overwhelmed by lobbyists.  But the reality is, we spent a whole lot of money on defense to win the last war.  And what we really need to be doing is be preparing for the kinds of wars we‘re in and that we will have to fight.  So, until we reform defense spending, it doesn‘t seem to me we need to be putting more than a half a trillion dollars a year into that budget. 

SHUSTER:  There‘s a request in this Democratic plan for $170 billion for state Medicaid relief.  Does that create jobs? 

MORAN:  No, it doesn‘t, but people are hurting.  There are so many people unemployed. 

You know, we lost half a million jobs last month, another half million the month before.  Almost two million last year. 

We expect we will lose three million to four million more jobs most—next year.  Just next year alone. 

Most of those people are not going to have health insurance.  So what this does is to raise the eligibility standard so we‘ll include more people eligible for Medicaid.  That‘s primarily children and single mothers, and they have no where else to go.  So rather than leave them in the waiting room, you know, trying to get emergency care, we‘re going to try to cover them under the state Medicaid program. 

SHUSTER:  Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

Congressman, great to see you, as always.  And thanks for coming in.

MORAN:  Well, it‘s good to be with you.  Wish us luck next week.  We‘re going to pass the bill Wednesday morning, I think, in the House. 

SHUSTER:  As Congress debates how best to save the U.S. economy, more money is headed to some key financial institutions.  And that‘s the subject of tonight‘s “Hypocrisy Watch.”

Let me start with a full disclosure.  I‘m a happy customer of Bank of America.  But consider this—if any of us were to ask Bank of America for a loan today, we would be asked to fill out a very detailed set of applications that would indicate what the loan money is for.  That‘s appropriate and it‘s fair. 

But last fall, Bank of America received $25 billion from U.S. taxpayers via the Treasury as part of the financial bailout.  And as of today, Bank of America has still not publicly explained what it did with the funds. 

I‘m sure there are valid explanations for how the money was used.  Bank of America is reportedly struggling to acquire the troubled Merrill Lynch.  But any explanation needs to come from Bank of America, nobody else. 

Furthermore, late yesterday, Bank of America asked for and received another $25 billion in federal money.  And again, there‘s been no clear public accounting of how the funds will be used. 

CEO Kenneth Lewis recently recommended his board not receive bonuses in this economic environment.  And for that he should be applauded.  However, since all of us must explain a lot to get money from Bank of America, when the bank itself takes our taxpayer money and doesn‘t explain why, that‘s hypocrisy and it‘s wrong. 

Coming up, there are some lingering questions over the Bush administration‘s torture tactics and the incoming administration‘s treasury secretary nominee.  But the mood in Washington is to forgive and forget.  We‘ll talk about that next with NBC News Washington bureau chief, Mark Whitaker. 

Plus, what do Obama‘s basketball skills have to do with Eric Holder‘s confirmation to be the country‘s next attorney general? 

You don‘t want to miss tonight‘s “Briefing Room,” ahead on 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE. 


SHUSTER:  Welcome back to 1600. 

In tonight‘s Smart Takes,” we‘re turning the page.

As President Bush‘s administration boxes up its records and prepares to leave Washington behind, some on the left say it‘s too early to forgive and forget.  They‘re urging Obama to hold Bush‘s inner circle accountable for policies from discriminatory hiring practices to torture that they say broke the law. 

And with a Wednesday hearing set for treasury nominee Tim Geithner, will Washington and America‘s taxpayers turn the page on his tax problems? 

Joining us now for his take, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Mart Whitaker. 

And Mark, first explain the impulse by the Obama administration towards the Bush administration and by Republicans toward Geithner to move on. 

MARK WHITAKER, NBC NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  You know, I‘ve been joking, only half joking, actually, that there is now a New Testament wing and an Old Testament wing of the Democratic Party.  The New Testament wing wants to show mercy, if not forgiveness, for the abuses of the Bush administration.  The Old Testament wing wants justice, if not vengeance. 

But look, for Obama, this is a political calculation.  He‘s got a big agenda he wants passed.  He wants Republican support.  He doesn‘t think that‘s going to be helped by trying to revisit these issues. 

But, you know, Paul Krugman, who wrote about this in “The New York Times” this morning, I think, has a bit of a point.  These are not just policy differences that you can wipe away with an election.  The issue of our fundamental views on civil liberties, on issues like interrogation, torture, and so forth, really go to the heart of who we are.  Whether—I don‘t know whether it‘s by putting Bush administration officials on trial, but it would be nice, whether it‘s with commissions or reporters or something, that we can look back at this period and reach a national bipartisan consensus about where we stand. 

SHUSTER:  You mentioned Paul Krugman.  There was also an exchange in a hearing yesterday with Eric Holder and Russ Feingold over the damage that a lot of Democrats feel has been done, in terms of politicizing the Justice Department.  Watch this exchange. 


SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN:  What will you do to make sure justice is truly served, and that those who engaged in wrong-doing don‘t, in effect, have the last laugh? 

HOLDER:  One of the things I‘m going to have to do as attorney general, in short order, is to make—basically do a damage assessment. 


SHUSTER:  Is an assessment though about as much as Democrats who are really angry about this can expect? 

WHITAKER:  Probably, realistically.  But this is why it‘s important.  All of this traces back to the Justice Department, because when you go to the CIA and the intelligence agencies, and you say, well, why did you carry out these policies?  They‘ll say, well, we had legal justification.  Where did that come from under the Bush administration?  It came from their Justice Department. 

So it is very important that Eric Holder, at least within the halls of the Justice Department, take a serious look at this.  And that there is, you know, a new policy on these issues. 

SHUSTER:  Finally, as far as Tim Geithner, the reaction has been mixed to his tax issues.  The “New York Times” writes “Geithner‘s skill may trump tax issue.  If Timothy F. Geithner were a bank, he might well be considered too big to fail.” 

Conservative website says, “Leona Hellmsely went to jail.  Will he go to Treasury?”  They go on to talk about average Americans do not get to cheat the tax system and become Treasury secretary.  For the Republicans looking at Geithner, is it because we‘re in such an unusual economic environment and, by all accounts, he‘s skilled, a good man for the job, that it can just be written off as he made some mistakes? 

WHITAKER:  Politically, I don‘t think there‘s a will on the Republican side to take Geithner down over this.  But it is troubling.  There‘s been a lot of emphasis on his failure to pay withholding taxes as an IMF official.  That‘s a little technical.  But, you know, he did something else, which is he claimed the Dependent Care Child Credit for sending his kids to summer camp. 

Anybody who does their taxes with an accountant knows that‘s a no-no.  What it really sort of says to me is there are a lot of people who are involved in—who have been involved in the Bush administration, will be involved in the Obama administration, with spending taxpayer money to fix the economy who, frankly, in terms of their own lifestyle, have been very out of touch with how ordinary Americans live. 

So, you know, I don‘t know whether there‘s a disqualifier or it means that they‘re going to set good policy.  But it is a little troubling. 

SHUSTER:  That is the smartest take of all.  NBC News Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker.  Mark, thanks as always. 

WHITAKER:  Good to see you.

SHUSTER:  Up next, transition logistics; in the course of a few hours, how do you move one president‘s things out of the White House and get the new president‘s things in?  We‘ll talk with Ken Duberstein, chief of staff for Ronald Reagan.  They had their final staff meeting with no furniture. 

Plus, final farewells.  Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden say their good-byes to colleagues in the Senate, while President Bush says good-bye this weekend to Camp David, ahead on 1600. 


SHUSTER:  Welcome back to 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE.  More transition hellos and good-byes today.  This afternoon, President Bush took his last ride on Marine One to spend a final weekend at Camp David.  As the Bush family is packing up, the Obama family is unpacking, moving into the new temporary residence, the Blair House. 

The Obamas will stay at Blair House until 12:01 Tuesday, when the president-elect is sworn in and 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE officially becomes their new digs. 

It can‘t come soon enough, apparently.  In-coming Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says his boss has been, quote, discombobulated by the move to Blair House, because he doesn‘t know where his stuff is. 

While the transition of power is fluid and peaceful, the transition of stuff not so much.  Joining us now to take us through how it will all work over the next 90 hours is Kenneth Duberstein, former White House chief of staff to President Reagan. 

OK, so the morning in 1981, you‘re having your final staff meeting with President Reagan—


SHUSTER:  1989, I‘m sorry.  What happens?

DUBERSTEIN:  I insisted he come to the office on January 20th, one last briefing in the Oval Office.  What I hadn‘t realized is that when we walked into the Oval Office—and Colin Powell was national security adviser, I was chief of staff, doing the briefing.  And there was nothing in the Oval Office.  It was absolutely barren.  All the furniture and furnishings were gone. 

I said, I never should have asked him to come for one final briefing.  We should have done it over in the residence.  He came in off the colonnade, the famous walk in the White House, and he was startled, because all of a sudden the center of all power in America, the Oval Office, is absolutely bare.  And he reached into his pocket and he said, well, here, guys, I don‘t need this anymore.  And it was his nuclear code card. 

We said, no, no, no, Mr. President, put it back in your pocket.  It will be deactivated at 12:01.  OK.  We went on with the briefing about what was going to happen for the rest of the morning.  Colin said the world is at peace.  And the president took one final look around the Oval, empty that it was, waved and turned around and walked back through the colonnade and we had the always uncomfortable tea and coffee with the incoming. 

SHUSTER:  They have the tea and coffee.  Then the president and the president-elect take the motorcade up to the Capitol.  While this is going on, sometimes you can actually see the moving vans on the south lawn of the White House. 

DUBERSTEIN:  Coming in from the south lawn.  The motorcade departs from the north portico, up Pennsylvania Avenue.  And, you know, I went with John Sununu Sr., who was the incoming chief of staff.  Colin went with Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser.  Usually, it‘s only a small contingent of the White House staff who goes with the president and the first lady and the incoming. 

SHUSTER:  Now, after the inauguration itself, the new president is sworn in.  The ex-president, in your case Ronald Reagan, as George H.W.  Bush is the new president.  They say their good-byes on the east side of the Capitol.  In your case, Ronald Reagan and you got on board a helicopter.  Tell us about that. 

DUBERSTEIN:  The Bushes and the Quayles, vice president, came to the steps of the east side of the Capitol and saluted Ronald Reagan one last time.  Reagan saluted back to the new president of the United States.  He got on the helicopter, Nancy Reagan, Secret Service, the medical—the doctor.  We took that ceremonial trip around Washington.  And as we got over the White House, Ronald Reagan looked down, patted Nancy on her knee, and said, look, dear, there‘s our little bungalow. 

And that‘s the moment that all the tears started flowing, not just with the president and Nancy or me, but even the Secret Service.  It was over.  It was—that was it.  You know, when you did the intro and you said that George Bush was taking his last ride in Marine One—On Tuesday, when he lifts off from the Capitol grounds, it‘s no longer Marine One, because that belongs to whatever helicopter the president of the United States, not the former, is in. 

SHUSTER:  The same thing, we‘ll see the picture of him getting on the aircraft formally known as Air Force One, the same aircraft, but it will have a different call sign. 

DUBERSTEIN:  Yes, 47,000, right. 

SHUSTER:  Ken, thank you so much for coming in and sharing these stories.  It‘s just incredible, incredible to imagine the logistics and the moving and how quickly they get the furniture out and in.  We look forward to talking to you again. 

DUBERSTEIN:  And by Tuesday afternoon, when the inaugural parade is over, the Oval Office will be totally full of the furniture and furnishings of Barack Obama. 

SHUSTER:  Amazing.  Ken Duberstein, chief of staff for Ronald Reagan, Ken, thanks so much.  Good to see you. 

DUBERSTEIN:  Thanks a lot, David. 

SHUSTER:  Up next, there is no better sports bet than one that involves a payoff humiliation.  More of what happened when Senator Tom Coburn lost big to Senator Bill Nelson. 

And the president-elect‘s biggest fan, Oprah Winfrey, announces the lineup for her inaugural shows.  Wait until you hear who is involved. 

Plus, the growing controversy over inauguration porta-potties.  I promise, you don‘t want to miss that story. 

But first, a look at a week of good-byes. 


BUSH:  I‘m going to give a farewell address to the American people. 

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  So much history has happened at the White House. 

BUSH:  It‘s going to be a short one. 

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT ELECT:  Except for the title father, there is no title including vice president that I am more proud to wear than that of United States senator. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We gathered at Hillary‘s house.  We had great food, a couple of drinks that made us feel even better. 

CLINTON:  Eight state fairs, 45 parades, 62 counties, more than 4,600 events across the state.  I look back wistfully and I look forward hopefully. 

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK:  Hillary looks great from far away. 

But the closer you get, the better she looks. 

CLINTON:  I know that whenever I‘m missing Chuck, all I have to do is turn on the television. 

BIDEN:  Our proceedings in those days were not televised.  We didn‘t have fax machines, let alone e-mail. 

PERINO:  Friday, I finally cleaned out my inbox, got it down to 997 e-mails. 

BIDEN:  That makes me a pretty old dude, as the kids would say. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Richard Ben Cramer said, quote, as a kid growing up in Scranton, there was, to be perfectly blunt, as Joe would say, a breath-taking element of balls.  By the way, this is Richard Ben Cramer, not me.  

BUSH:  She‘s been an awesome first lady.  I‘m proud to have been here in Washington.  You‘ve been an awesome friend and a great secretary of state. 

PERINO:  I wish my successor, Robert Gibbs, all the very best.  Please go easy on him for a week. 

BIDEN:  So, although you‘ve not seen the last of me, I say for the last time—

BUSH:  My fellow Americans, for the final time—

BIDEN:  -- I yield the floor. 

BUSH:  -- good night.  May god bless this house and our next president. 


SHUSTER:  We‘re back with a look inside the briefing room.  We begin with the fact that your nation‘s capital is about to become celebrity central.  Yes, it‘s true; Oprah Winfrey is bringing her show to Washington, DC for the inauguration.  We‘ve confirmed that Oprah will broadcast Monday‘s show from the world famous Kennedy Center Opera House.  Guests will include Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, with performances by Bono,, Faith Hill, Seal, David Foster and Mary Bleuge (ph). 

Wednesday‘s show will be broadcast from Chef Art Smiths‘ Art and Soul, DC restaurant, will include celebrities like Forest Whitaker, Jon Bon Jovi and Gale King. 

Next up, America‘s most famous celebrity portrait photographer is already in town.  Annie Leibovitz was spotted in the Obama transition headquarters Thursday, taking picture of Obama aides for a magazine shoot.  She had her entire crew with her, complete with portable fans, so the Obama staff could get that wind-blown look.  Yes, to the victors go the spoils, which now include getting your picture taken by Annie Leibovitz. 

Next, most of us have made bets in our lives on the outcome of a big sporting event.  The wager I like the most is humiliation, particularly as it pertains to college football and my beloved Michigan Wolverines.  For example, just Google “Shuster eats his words.” 

Anyway, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida recently engaged in their own college football humiliation wager.  They bet on last week‘s BCS game.  The Florida Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14.  So this week, it was time for Oklahoma‘s Coburn to pay up.  In front of Senator Nelson and Nelson‘s staff, Coburn made good on his promise to publicly sing the Elton John song “Rocket Man.”




SHUSTER:  Nelson chose “Rocket Man,” because he‘s a former astronaut who flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in the 1980s.  If Coburn won, Nelson would have had to sing in front of Coburn‘s staff the title song from the musical “Oklahoma.”  Humiliation indeed.

Finally, nobody should have to bet or worry about something like timely access to porta-potties.  But fears are growing about inadequate services for the huge crowd expected on the mall for the inauguration.  Here‘s why: at the New York City Marathon, the ratio was one potty per 17 runners.  At your standard night club, it‘s one per every 40 patrons.  In an office building, one per 50 workers. 

The minimum crowd standard, one potty for every 100 people.  Somewhere between one and two million people are expected on the mall in D.C. on Tuesday, which means, according to sanitation experts, there should be a minimum of 10,000 to 20,000 porta-potties.  But Tuesday‘s inauguration plan calls for only 5,000.  Maryland Professor John Banzep (ph) is the so-called father of potty parity.  He says traditional usage estimates are based upon indoor need or outdoor events in moderate weather.  He points out that cold weather, like what‘s expected here on Tuesday, pressures people to go more often. 

We‘ve registered our concerns about the 400 to one ratio that you may see on inauguration and we‘ll let you know what the inauguration organizers say. 

Up next, our Muckraker of the day is stirring the pot with his analysis of President Bush‘s farewell speech.  You‘re watching 1600.


BUSH:  And I will always be honored to carry that title that means more to me than any other, citizen of the United States of America. 


SHUSTER:  Welcome back to 1600.  There‘s a great tradition here in Washington of presidential farewells, the chance for the president to finally catch his breath, reflect and remind the nation of his accomplishments. 


RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  My friends, we did it.  We weren‘t just marking time.  We made a difference.  We made the city stronger.  We made the city freer, and we left her in good hands.  All in all, not bad.  Not bad at all. 


America has been a force for peace and prosperity in every corner of the globe.  I‘m very grateful to be able to turn over the reigns of leadership to a new president with America in such a strong position to meet the challenges of the future. 


SHUSTER:  Last night, it was President Bush‘s turn. 


BUSH:  Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks.  And there are things I would do differently, if given the chance.  Yet, I have always acted with the best interest of our country in mind.  I have followed by conscience and done what I thought was right. 

You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree I was willing to make the tough decisions. 


SHUSTER:  Critics argue that is an awfully low standard.  And our Muckraker of the day has gone a step further.  He writes of President Bush, “finally his reign is coming to an end.  He looked haggard and old after never fulfilling his promise of eight years of compassion.  Instead, we got corruption, cronyism, unaccountability, wars, lies torture, and a virus that has infected the entire government that leads us.” 

Joining us now, John Amato, our Muckraker of the day, and the man behind one of the most influential progressive blogs around,  John, some people thought, you know, let‘s just ignore President Bush.  Why did you think it was important to weigh in and also in that sort of tone? 

JOHN AMATO, CROOKSANDLIARS.COM:  Hey, David, It‘s great to be with you.  You know, it‘s important because this is his farewell speech.  You have to listen to what the president says.  This has been the most incredibly destructive presidency probably in the history of our nation.  And what it has shown is a repudiation of the movement conservatism that was started by Reagan. 

When you look, the stock market—you know, he came in and it‘s like thousands of points lower.  So it was important to see what his parting words were.  What it really was is like General Custard‘s last stand of propaganda, to try to say, you know, I was there and I actually made the big decisions.  That‘s what he‘s supposed to do.  He‘s supposed to make decisions. 

Just look at the result.  Look at what Obama has inherited.  I say, David, that, again, what America has done now is repudiated conservatism in its entirety. 

SHUSTER:  Many progressives called—for all their criticism of President Bush, they did say that his speech last night was at least gracious to Barack Obama.  Would you agree with that? 

AMATO:  Yes.  In one sense, he was.  He said he met him and he‘s a nice guy.  Then he throws the caveat in there about 9/11 and about warnings and about, you know, he better not turn his back, because we‘re going to get hit again.  I always sense that there‘s this 9/11 -- you know, he‘s trying to protect his legacy by saying that we didn‘t get hit again by almost kind of ignoring that we were hit and setting up a fact with Obama that, you know, you better not turn your back. 

That just is really upsetting to me, because if you notice on a lot of the right-wing sites and some of the other networks, they‘re constantly bringing up that since Obama‘s coming in and he has stated that he is against torture—by the way, another legacy Bush has given us, torture, American torture—that somehow we‘re going to be less safe.  I didn‘t think he was that gracious. 

SHUSTER:  John Amato from  John, your site—all of us in the business consider your site perhaps the best place on the net to catch up on what‘s happening on our channel and some of the rest.  Congratulations on your success.  Thanks for coming on.  One of these days, you‘ll have to tell us the secret to getting all the traffic that you get.  John Amato, good to see you. 

AMATO:  Same here.

SHUSTER:  That is the view from 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE tonight.  I‘m David Shuster.  Thank you for watching.  Be sure to tune in all weekend and on Monday night, when I‘ll be broadcasting live from the mall at 6:00 p.m.  Eastern here at MSNBC.  A lot of events happening in this city that you‘re going to want to watch throughout the weekend.  It‘s going to be unbelievable. 

Remember, you can get the latest political news and a sneak peek at what‘s coming up on our 6:00 p.m. show sent straight to your inbox with the 1600 briefing.  We‘ve got a lot of fun content and a great community that is building there. 

I‘m David Shuster.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.



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