Guests: Tom Tancredo, Jim Webb, Nancy Skinner, John Feehery, Bill Bress, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mark Ritchie, Norman Goldman
ED SHULTZ, HOST, “THE ED SHOW”: I‘m Ed Schultz. This is THE ED SHOW.
Live in the nation‘s capital, I finally get to see it: the worst president this country has ever had is now criticizing President Obama? On, of all things, the economy? Bush is out talking smack about Obama. Bipartisanship strikes again. Tom Daschle folds like a card table on health care reform. Tom, what are you doing?
The former Democratic leader says a public option has no chance. And Norm Coleman‘s Senate career is on life support. Tomorrow, the Minnesota Supreme Court may finally have a decision.
Plus, psycho-talk. Michelle Bachmann—oh, she returns. All that and a great panel.
But first tonight, op-ed. Son of a gun, he is back. The former president is out on a rubber-chicken circuit with his chicken brain. I have waited for this for a long time. I have clearly stated that George W. Bush is the worst president this country has ever had. The best thing I think Bush could do is stay in Dallas and join the SMU cheerleading squad.
But instead, he‘s sticking his toe out into the conservative fundraising circuit. He spoke at a dinner in Erie, Pennsylvania last night. What did he do? Attack the president of the United States and basically did what he does pretty well, which is rewrite history. Now Bush is babbling, trying to make sense out of the worst eight years this country has ever had since the Great Depression.
And if he‘s going to go out and do this, and I think we need to remind the American people, and I think we have an obligation to say this—Bush gave us what? Record deficits, record foreign debt, record trade deficits, butchering the middle class, letting the financial sector run wild with absolutely no oversight. Those are a just a few things—I don‘t have a whole hour to do this, but the American people are not stupid. Our new NBC News poll proves this. The American people do not blame Barack Obama for the fiscal condition of this country.
Here are the numbers. Fifty-three percent say that Bush and the congressional Republicans are to blame. Only six percent blame President Obama. Now, weeks ago, the president said he didn‘t want to second-guess the current president. That‘s exactly what he‘s doing. Bush is lying and he is setting the framework for the Republicans to make the case against President Obama at a very tough time. Gosh, how one speech can change people. It‘s almost like the state of the union address, the 16 words.
This is the last person that anybody in the Obama administration should pay attention to. Bush has no credibility. He has no authority. He has no clue what‘s going on. You see, he didn‘t stop with the economy. Brainless Bush went out and goes after, with a generic statement about health care reform. He really cared about that. He goes on to say, “There are a lot of way to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care.” He also said - “You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money.” I tell you what, just a couple of dandies out there on the rubber-chicken circuit.
This is a man who sat there for eight years—eight years—and did absolutely nothing when it comes to the number one issue in this country for families, which is health care. He told you to go out and get a private savings account. This is vintage Bush, appealing to the lowest common denominator when it comes to the problems we face as a country. I guess you could say that things haven‘t changed. They think we‘re stupid. But in the words of the former president, “Fool me once, you can‘t get fooled again, or whatever that was.”
Joining me now is Tom Tancredo, got to have the other side of the story. Congressman, is it good that George W. Bush is out there speaking against President Obama? What‘s your take on this?
TOM TANCREDO, FORMER GOP CONGRESSMAN: Ed, when I listen to you, I think you have actually got something that is quite catchy, especially traveling in the circles which you do. And that is BDS, or Bush Derangement Syndrome. I‘ve never heard anybody so intent, so concentrated on going after George Bush, who is in fact—hello—no longer president. And really, if you‘re in fact—if he is as discredited as you say, then forget about him. He‘s not relevant. What do you care what he said at some dinner at—wherever the heck it was, on the chicken circuit?
The fact is Americans don‘t agree that the economy is in good shape. They don‘t blame the president, the don‘t blame Obama, because as I mentioned the last time I was on here, he‘s a cult leader. And members of the cult don‘t blame the leader of the cult. But the reality is—when you say rearranging history, rewriting history—Ed, for a long period of time when we had Bush in office, we had a great economy. Very low unemployment. The economy was steaming. And of course, the end—the bubble burst, it‘s absolutely true, and it burst at the end of his term. And we all suffered the consequences.
But really and truly, the bottom line is this. The president of the United States today, President Obama continually—almost daily blames George Bush for everything that is happening today. Now that‘s, I think, something peculiar, too. I don‘t remember Clinton doing that about Reagan or Reagan doing that about Carter. After a while, you know, it‘s been eight months since the election. At some point in time, it seems to me that President Obama will have to start taking responsibility for what‘s going on today—at 10 percent unemployment rate we‘re pushing, as opposed to continually blaming it on George Bush. As long as he does, frankly, I think George Bush has every right to come back and say, hey, here‘s my take on the situation.
SHULTZ: I tell you what, I am so glad I did not interrupt you on that. I am the fairest guy, Tom Tancredo. I‘ll let you roll on the worst record since the Great Depression. God bless you for sticking up for what you believe in. George W. Bush, no, he is a factor with the 17 percenters, okay?
We still have to speak reason. The fact is, is that this president butchered the middle class. He gave tax cuts to the rich. He had absolutely no oversight on Wall Street, and basically lied us into a war. So I‘m asking you, since the Republican party is having an identity crisis right now and they‘re at the worst polling they‘ve ever had—they‘re at 25 percent right now. This is the worst they‘ve ever been. This is what Bush has left your party. I‘m asking you. Do you think it‘s a good thing he‘s out there giving commentary on the president of the United States, who has an approval rating in the 60s right now?
TANCREDO: Ed, it has been worse, actually.
I remember when the Congress—I think it had about a nine percent approval rating, so it‘s...
SHULTZ: You said it, that‘s exactly the way it was, Tom...
TANCREDO: It was bad, it was pretty bad.
SHULTZ: Let me ask you. Do you think—let‘s ask a positive question here. Do you think that President Bush can reignite the base to push back against the Obama administration? Do you think in some way he could have a positive effect?
TANCREDO: I really can‘t imagine—I mean, it doesn‘t with me, but you have to understand. The base doesn‘t like George Bush. You like to hate him, they‘re not crazy about him...
SHULTZ: No, no, now, wait a minute. Now I am—Tom, wait a second.
Don‘t use the word hate. I do not hate anyone. I do not hate George W.
TANCREDO: Could have fooled me.
SHULTZ: I just think he‘s the worst president this country has ever had, and when he is going to go out and talk and render judgment on a president who‘s been handed the worst set of circumstances since anybody since the Great Depression and gives them less than six months to do something about it—these are the facts, Tom. Come on, be fair about it. What president in our history handed a worst set of circumstances to an incoming president than George W. Bush?
TANCREDO: I‘ll tell you, Carter comes close. Twelve percent interest rates, 20 percent inflation rates. We had never met that, what Carter handed Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan had to take over - now unemployment rate was not as bad, that is true, but in terms of inflation and interest rates, you couldn‘t sell a house. In 1980, when President Reagan took over, you couldn‘t sell a house unless you gave away a Mercedes with it. I remember, I was trying to sell mine.
It was a terrible economy. And everything is relative about what‘s worse and when it was worse. It‘s bad now. I‘m not going to try to gloss over that. It‘s a bad economy. The bubble burst, it is absolutely true, but you have to remember that for seven of those eight years, the economy was steaming. It was great...
TANCREDO: Unemployment was at the lowest it had ever been. If he as at fault for all the rest, why isn‘t he given credit for at least the years it was great?
SHULTZ: Because it didn‘t do anything in the long haul. He absolutely cut out the foundation of a lot of things the Clinton administration set the table for for economic growth, and then his response to 9/11 was horrific. He invaded a country on false intelligence. He lied to the country. I mean, the list is so long.
Tom Tancredo, you‘re a good sport for speaking up. You‘re probably one of George Bush‘s best friends. Good to have you on the program.
TANCREDO: You bet. You know I am.
SHULTZ: Yes, I know.
All right, coming up. The people of Iran will not be silenced. Hundreds of thousands of people march to the streets and honor the protesters who are speaking out. It‘s an amazing thing. But some Republicans are using it to take a cheap political shot at President Obama, calling him a cream puff? Saying he won‘t stand up to dictators? That‘s next on the ed show. Stay with us.
SHULTZ: Coming up at the bottom of the hour. The Democrats are getting rolled by Republicans on health care. Tom Daschle is against a public option. Tom, what are you doing? You‘re bailing out on thousands upon thousands of progressives who want health care coverage. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Today, hundreds of thousands of Iranian supporters for the reformist candidate gathered to mourn the people who have died in election protests this week. President Obama has been walking a tightrope on this all week about the Iranian situation. He says he does not feel it‘s his place to meddle in this election process.
Obama has been taking heat from the left and the right for not talking more about this and not taking more of a lead on this. It‘s getting personal. Listen to Republican Congressman Dana Rorhabacher.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DANA RORHABACHER ®, CALIFORNIA: I think that Mr. Obama, if he continues to have these type of attitudes, we‘re going to see things get very bad very quickly. Already, the North Koreans have challenged him and realized that he is a cream puff...Now if the mullahs in Iran are permitted to just roll over the opposition, somewhat like Tiananmen Square, we will have missed a great opportunity.”
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SHULTZ: Joining me now is Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Web, good to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Are you satisfied with President Obama‘s response to what is going on in Iran right now?
SENATOR JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA: He‘s doing the right thing. I think we have to be very careful. We are getting a look at a political system and a society that‘s been rather opaque to us, and we have to remember that it‘s axiomatic in autocratic systems. In order to galvanize your population, you have to have some sort of external threat to focus on them. And actually, apparently have been doing this already with some of these cuts (ph) from Fox News to try to insinuate what‘s going on somehow it involves the United States meddling.
The Republicans who are saying this, quite frankly, are the same ones who use the Axis of Evil connotation, which didn‘t help us in terms of moving forward in Iran. They‘ve been doing a lot of other things similar to that. I think it‘s very important right now to let the situation evolve and examine how the Iranian political system is handling it without the United States become the focus of what‘s going on.
SHULTZ: Now, what is your response to Dana Rohrabacher and some of the rhetoric going around, bringing in North Korea, taking a look at the North Korean situation. Are you behind what President Obama is doing in that situation as well?
WEBB: Again, I think with North Korea right now, what we are doing is properly confronting them without unnecessarily provoking the situation so that it goes off in a direction that might not be the best way for it to go. We‘re not backing away on any of these things. We‘re trying to use wide leadership, and quite frankly on these issues, we haven‘t seen that kind of leadership over the past eight years. That‘s one of the reasons we‘ve been in the situations we have been in.
SHULTZ: Senator Webb, I know the conservatives are out there trying to push the issue, saying that President Obama is showing weakness by not inserting himself, and maybe missing an opportunity at a revolution that would be advantageous to the United States. What‘s your—how far should president go with this approach? Should he not get involved at all?
WEBB: First of all, I‘ve had, you know, my points of disagreement with this administration. At the same time, I want to say, he inserted himself very courageously when he went to Cairo and made the speech he made, and I think that that had enormous impact in that part of the world. So he basically took the stinger out in terms of allowing governments such as the Ahmadinejad government to use the United States as a—some sort of a galvanizing force that in a way allowed them to continue their repression.
So I think this is a smarter approach. We will weigh in at the right time in terms of our views on how to deal with Iran, but right now we need to be careful and watch the situation as it evolves, and I think we‘re doing that.
SHULTZ: Senator Webb, good to have you with us tonight. Thank so much.
WEBB: Good to be with you.
SHULTZ: For more on this, let‘s turn to our panel. Bill Press is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. John Feehery is a Republican strategist. And Nancy Skinner joins us tonight, radio talk show host and Democratic strategist.
Nancy, we‘ll start with you tonight. Do you think the president is being too soft on this? Should he inject himself into the process?
NANCY SKINNER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: First of all, Ed, this is a tweet revolution—you know, what Mousavi is doing with Twitter. It‘s fascinating to watch, but think about the double standard here. If the Democrats had essentially called Bush a wussy in matters of foreign policy, can you imagine the uproar?
And so, no. I think Obama has handled it perfectly. He‘s looked at history, and George W. Bush did something similar in Iraq, where he got all the Iraqi citizens all enraged about this, and then didn‘t support him. We‘ve learned from the mistakes of the past. He‘s doing his plan, which is the Cairo speech, as Senator Webb said. He has a longer-term view of this. These guys should just pipe down and let the president of the United States conduct foreign policy relationships with other heads of state.
SHULTZ: John, what do you think?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I‘m not going to take the traditional conservative line here. I actually think the president is playing it pretty well, and I‘ll tell you why. We have interests in Iraq and we‘ve got interests in Afghanistan. The more the Iranians sort this out for themselves, I think the better off we are as a nation. I don‘t think that we should be meddling. I think the Iranians are going to sort this out.
I also think the president is right that neither one of these characters are that great. Both support nuclear policy, both are fairly conservative by our standards, and we‘ll see how this plays out. But I think we should by with the reformers at the right time, but I don‘t think this is about America, this is about Iran.
SHULTZ: And instability, Bill Press, has got to be an issue right now. This could really evolve into a full-fledged revolution over there. We don‘t know. Should the president be engaging in a full range of diplomacy with surrounding countries? What do you think?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think he is, Ed, but I‘m glad to hear John say that. I really think—look this is a tightrope walk right now. Right? And, I think the President is handling it right in two ways. Number one, he‘s refused to recognize this allegedly reelected government, and secondly he‘s expressed his concern as concern that there could be a lot of fraud and not an honest count there. I think the last thing you want is for the great Satan to step into the middle of this mess and to say—right now it‘s Iranians verse Iranians. We make it Iranians versus the United States, everybody loses.
PRESS: And, the chance for reform is lost.
SCHULTZ: So this is a big opportunity here?
PRESS: It‘s a huge opportunity, as long as we play it right and let it play out. I think this could play out to, as Nancy said, a peaceful Twitter revolution in Iran.
SKINNER: Well, and it‘s just the idea that these guys, as the Senator said, they‘re playing clips form FOX News and they‘re trying to intervene in an international, very volatile situation, Ed. This is where, I think, the Democrats have to say, listen, shut up. It‘s time for you to—this is foreign policy relations, a potential revolution, this is not time for you to call the President a cream puff, and really fight back.
SCHULTZ: Panel, stay with us. Next up on THE ED SHOW, “Psycho Talk.”
Michele Bachmann is back and leading a revolt against the Census Bureau. Too bad what she‘s pushing for is actually illegal. That‘s next in “Psycho Talk”. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Well, she‘s back. A, “Psycho Talk” favorite, Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Now, I‘ve been telling you for some time that she‘s a psycho talker. Here we go again. But now, she wants to be a lawmakers. The Congresswoman from Minnesota says she‘s not only—to give limited information to the next census. Bachmann says she‘s afraid of how they‘re going to use that information. Now, we‘re talking about the census here. It‘s a civic duty to fill out the census, when the United States government sends you a census form. Take a listen to this.
(VIDEO CLIP BEGINS)
MICHELE BACHMANN, ® CONGRESSWOMAN, MINNESOTA : We think of the census as just counting how many people live in your home. Unfortunately, the census data has become very intricate, very personal - a lot of the questions that are asked. And, I know for my family, the only question that we will be answering is how many people live in our home. We won‘t be answering any information beyond that because the Constitution doesn‘t require any information beyond that.
(VIDEO CLIP ENDS)
SCHULTZ: Wow. That would be the Bachmann constitutions. Congresswoman, here‘s where it gets a little bit tricky. The US Census Bureau has clearly stated that you will be breaking the law if you do not fill out the census completely. Bachmann seems to think the census will be used to data base Republicans and eliminate them from the voting process. That, my friends, is actually paranoid psycho talk.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I got to tell you, I‘m on fire about this one today. I did three hours of radio on this, and I am trying to restrain myself right now, because my friend Tom Daschle is saying that a public option must be scraped. Daschle is pushing a bipartisan compromise. It‘s a plan cooked up by himself and former Senator Bob Dole, of course. This is what he says about it, “we‘ve come too far and gained too much momentum for our efforts to fail over disagreement over one single issue.”
Tom, what in the heck are you talking about?
I‘m biting my tongue right now. Here‘s the deal, the American people want this. There‘s no—how can there be disagreement on a public option when the people have already spoken with an election and in the latest poll.
Look at the latest poll new NBC News poll; 76 percent of American think it‘s important for people to have a choice of both a public and private health care plan.
Now hold it right there. If it‘s the day before the election, and you hear on the news that 76 percent of the people favor this candidate, and then that candidate doesn‘t win, are you going to think there‘s something fishy out there? Seventy six percent of the people think a public option has to be a part of this package.
Here‘s my question: are the Democrats going to be this spineless all the time? Are they going to have weak knees until they get maybe 65 or 70 votes? When you talk about percentages, give me a number. Do you need 80 percent or 90 percent or 99 percent before you decide that hey, maybe we better do this for the people? Maybe the people really have spoken.
I‘m telling you, the inside the beltway folks are really misjudging what the people want. And the Democrats have got to get their act together and recognize the American people want this. They don‘t care about insurance companies. They don‘t care about big Pharma. They don‘t care about HMOs. They care about coverage.
I tell you what, I could be really done with the Democrats if they cave. And I‘m starting to think, they don‘t want 60 votes. They don‘t want Al Franken in the United States Senate. Because you see then, they might actually have to do something for the people.
Joining me now is independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders. Bernie, obviously, I‘m boiling about this. And I know you‘re a single payer guy. Let‘s put that aside. But how do you take Tom Daschle, who was going to be the secretary that deals with this—but he had some issues, of course. His statement, does it have any impact at all? Does this mean it‘s over for the Democrats when it comes to a public option?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Ed, you didn‘t have to have me on the air. You have already said it all. I have nothing more to add. You‘re absolutely right.
The fact of the matter is, A, if you really want to solve this problem, you need a single payer system. B, if for whatever reason you can‘t do that, at the very least, you need a strong public option in 50 states in this country, in order to keep the private insurance companies somewhat honest, in order to give the American people a strong set of benefits they can afford.
SCHULTZ: Senator Sanders, what is wrong with President Obama? And I‘m asking that up front tonight. He has a high approval rating. He‘s got 76 percent of the American people that want a public option. I haven‘t heard one Democrat in the Senate come out and say, damn it, we‘re going to get this, because this is what the people want. What‘s wrong with the Democrats?
SANDERS: No, no, no. Well, remember, there are two committees dealing with it. One is the Finance Committee, and I‘ll leave Mr. Baucus to explain his position to you.
On the Health Education Committee what you are saying is what the vast majority of us absolutely believe.
Here‘s the bottom line: we have, with Al Franken coming on board, 60 votes. We can kill a filibuster. And we can come up with a strong piece of legislation which covers all the American people, which has a public option. And that‘s what we have to do.
What some people are saying, is we need a bipartisan piece of legislation; we have to tone it down; we have to make it more conservative, despite what the American people want. That makes no sense to me at all.
The question is, can we get the 60 votes for cloture? And I think if the American people demand it, we certainly can. And then we have a strong piece of legislation.
SCHULTZ: I have to ask, senator, can you give us an idea what life would be like if the Republicans had 60 votes? If the Republicans had the White House, if the Republicans had the House and if the Republicans had 60 votes in the Senate? What do you think the country would be like? It just seems to me that the Democrats are afraid to take the Republicans to the fire wall on the most important issue to American families. I don‘t know, do they need 80 percent, 90 percent, 95 percent?
SANDERS: I think, Ed, you‘re asking exactly the right question. But I think it‘s not that they‘re afraid of the Republicans. The real issue is the power and the money of the private insurance companies, of the drug companies, of the medical equipment suppliers, which then takes you right into the issue of the need for public financing of elections.
But having said all of that, in terms of public policy, a strong public option is absolutely right. In terms of politics, of doing what the American people want, a strong public option is what we‘ve got to do.
SCHULTZ: Senator Sanders, great to have you on. You speak clarity where it needs to be spoken, my friend.
SANDERS: Keep up the good work.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
For more on this, let‘s turn to our panel. I want to congratulate John Feehery here tonight, because I have never seen 40 votes in the Senate be so powerful. You guys have got the potion over there. You can intimidate the Democrats with 40 votes.
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it‘s less to do with 40 votes and more to do with CBO. The real reason they‘re having such trouble, the Democrats are having such trouble, is they have no real way to pay for it. The public option you‘re talking about is going to cost over a trillion, maybe two trillion dollars. They have no way to pay for it.
And that‘s why Max Baucus, to his credit, is trying to say, hey, listen, we have to scale this back. We don‘t have the money. That‘s the big problem for the Democrats.
SCHULTZ: Don‘t worry about the money, John. What we‘ll do is we‘ll call it the Iraqi Health Plan, because that was a trillion dollars, too. And then everyone will sign off on it.
FEEHERY: You‘re not talking about the out years. The reason we have such problems with entitlements, we‘re going over a financial cliff. Max Baucus understands that. He‘s trying to find a way to scale us back.
SCHULTZ: John, I don‘t think Max Baucus understands anything about the American people; 76 percent of the American people want this. Bill, why do the Democrats have weak knees?
BILL PRESS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Because they‘re—look, they‘re just a spineless bunch of cowards, Ed. I‘m with you. If they don‘t take this opportunity to pass the strongest universal health care plan, with universal coverage, mandatory coverage, not taxing the health care benefits, and at least a public option, they deserve to lose in 2010.
Here‘s what bothers me: you‘ve got Harry Reid, who is in charge of the Senate, and he‘s divided this up into two committees. One of them, Bernie Sanders and Chris Dodd, and, god bless him, Ted Kennedy, they‘re going in the right direction. And Max Baucus is working for the insurance companies and in the opposite direction.
SCHULTZ: They‘re all on the take. They‘re all on the take. Nancy Skinner, what do you make of Tom Daschle just, you know, saying that the public options have to be scrapped. Isn‘t he just fueling the conservatives in this debate?
NANCY SKINNER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I‘m out there with you on it, Ed. I think we all are. This is the thing, we‘ve got to say I don‘t even like the word public option, because it‘s defining the debate as like public welfare.
Call it what it is, competition. Let the government compete with private insurers to lower the overall cost so that we can pay for it. Let‘s drag Harry and Louise, those TV actors in those commercials that undid Hillary-care. Let‘s drag them out. They‘re probably unemployed with no health insurance now.
Why aren‘t we Democrats better at the propaganda. We have the votes, and Bernie Sanders took it out of my mouth. Public financing is what we‘ll need. If they‘re worried about the checks that are getting written to them, that‘s the cure. But let‘s do better at the debate, Ed.
SCHULTZ: I think Harry Reid is getting weak, Bill. Harry Reid has to get it together.
PRESS: We‘ve been waiting 45 years for this moment. The Democrats have the House, the Senate and they‘ve got the White House. If they can‘t deliver now, Ed, they can‘t deliver.
SCHULTZ: You have this issue down. I mean, the conservatives are winning on this.
FEEHERY: I think, first of all, a lot of people don‘t want to lose their health care. They have health care.
SCHULTZ: Lose their health care? How are these going to lose their health care?
FEEHERY: Sixty seven percent of the country has health care and they don‘t want to lose it. They‘re worried with a public option, they‘ll be forced into a government run health care.
SCHULTZ: The president said, if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.
FEEHERY: I know that‘s what he said. But he also said that poor people won‘t pay higher taxes, which is what they will do if this thing goes through. They‘re already talking about ways to raise taxes on beer and soda. I‘ll tell you what, people don‘t want to pay more for beer and soda. That hits poor people hard.
SCHULTZ: We‘ll talk more about it. I say repeal the Bush tax cuts and we‘ll get this thing paid for.
Coming up, we could get a decision on the Franken/Coleman race tomorrow. And I‘ll get the latest from the Minnesota secretary of state.
Plus, you know, I‘m not sure the Democrats want 60 seats, because then they may have to do something. That‘s in my playbook next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, tonight the Minnesota Senate race—yes, it‘s still going on. And now I think it‘s really hurting the country.
Folks, it has been more than seven months that this Al Franken/Norm Coleman post-election battle has been raging. This is now in the hands of the Minnesota Supreme Court. It‘s been almost three weeks since their lawyers made their final arguments. So what are these justices doing?
I‘ll tell you what, I‘m starting to think—because I haven‘t heard anyone in the Senate really speak out or try to get this into over-drive to get conclusion on this. I‘m starting to think that the Democrats don‘t want 60 votes, because then, if you‘re a liberal, and you‘re a progressive and a strong Democrat out there, you‘re going to say, gosh, maybe they‘ll do something for us now. Maybe we can go to the fire wall. Maybe we can play the game the way they played the game.
We‘ve got to fix health care in this country. We need 60 votes to get it done. Franken is the man for the job. He was elected fair and square, 312 votes ahead. Let‘s end this so the country can move forward.
Joining me now is Minnesota secretary of state Mark Ritchie. Mr. Ritchie, good to have you with us tonight. Are you convinced that Al Franken won this election?
MARK RITCHIE, MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I chaired the state canvassing board. We recounted all the validly cast votes in the state. And the voters on November 4th last year did give the most votes to Al Franken.
We have a law in Minnesota that lets the loser of a recount appeal it to a three-judge panel. And if they lose again, they can appeal it one more time to the Supreme Court. And we‘re almost at the end of that process.
SCHULTZ: Are you getting any indication how Governor Pawlenty will handle this? Let‘s say the Supreme Court makes a ruling tomorrow. You know, they can‘t rule or they rule that Franken wins, and then does the governor have to certify this?
RITCHIE: So there is no debate about the state law. The state law says clearly the appeal ends in the state courts. And so our expectation is that when the Supreme Court does rule—and frankly, I‘m glad they‘re being careful, because this ruling will be precedent for 100 years or more, so I want them to get it right.
But once they‘re done, that‘s the end of the process. And we expect everything to move very quickly once they issue their ruling.
SCHULTZ: OK. So do you expect Governor Pawlenty to certify the election, and we‘re done with it? Then Coleman has to make up his mind whether he wants to go to the United States Supreme Court. Correct?
RITCHIE: I don‘t speak for the governor, but I‘m all set to sign it.
I think it will go very quickly.
SCHULTZ: Are you getting any indication from Pawlenty what he‘s going to do? Is he going to be an obstructionist? Or is he going to move forward with this?
RITCHIE: You know, he‘s been positive about once the Supreme Court is over, that‘s the end of the process. But again, I don‘t speak for the governor, but I believe we‘re going to move very quickly.
SCHULTZ: All right. Mr. Ritchie, thanks for joining us tonight.
Let me bring in now Norman Goldman, an attorney, a Democratic strategist. Maybe he can help us understand why the Minnesota Supreme Court has been dragging their feet on this decision.
Norman, what is happening here? What is taking so long, after an exhaustive process? Are they fighting behind closed doors, Norm?
NORMAN GOLDMAN, ATTORNEY: Ed, I think they are. Typically, cases in Supreme Courts take a long time, like a year or more. The Minnesota Supreme Court set this for a very short round of briefing, and then an oral argument. I, and a lot of the lawyers who do appellate work, thought they would come out with a quick decision.
The fact that they‘re taking weeks tells me that they‘re having fights about it behind closed doors.
SCHULTZ: OK. So could they come out with no decision? Or do they have to make a decision?
GOLDMAN: Well, Ed, I think what‘s going on back there, is they have two different issues that they need to deal with. The first one is deciding whether Al Franken won or not. And then the second decision may be actually the more meddlesome one, which is if they decide that Al won, do they then explicitly order the governor to sign the certificate?
The secretary of state said he‘s ready to sign, but the governor needs to sign as well. There may be arguing about whether to explicitly order the governor to go ahead and sign it.
Something is holding them up, Ed. I think they should have been ready to rule about a week and a half ago.
SCHULTZ: OK, because they were just so thorough in this entire process. But Norman, as long as this is strung out, would this empower the Coleman camp to maybe take it to the next step if they don‘t get a favorable ruling?
GOLDMAN: Ed, I think they‘re going to take it to the federal courts kind of no matter what. They‘re looking for a signal from the Minnesota Supreme Court. If the Minnesota Supreme Court says, and they may, that they‘re going to stay or freeze their decision for a period of time, like 30 days, to allow Mr. Coleman to go into the federal courts, that‘s a clear signal.
But if the Minnesota Supreme Court comes out and says clearly, Al Franken won; he needs to be seated right away, that should give the Coleman campaign pause as to whether they go any further?
SCHULTZ: All right. Norman Goldman, our legal analyst here on THE ED SHOW, on MSNBC, thanks, buddy.
I have one more page in my playbook tonight. It‘s a good idea, I think, to give some kudos to the president of the United States. A member of the insect world learned that it‘s pretty tough this way. Watch this. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The signature characteristic of our—sorry, I‘m going to start over. I‘m going to start at, I will contrast. Get out of here.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC ANCHOR: That‘s the most persistent fly I have ever seen.
OBAMA: Now, where were we?
HARWOOD: Right there.
OBAMA: You want to film that? There it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All right. PETA was all over this one. They even released a statement. I‘m not kidding, folks. PETA released a statement on this, quote, “he isn‘t the Buddha. He‘s a human being. And human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act.”
Mr. President, I just want to say I think you kicked butt on that fly.
Here‘s my playbook. Sorry, PETA, my position is all flies should die.
Coming up, W hits the rubber chicken circuit. He‘s attacking President Obama and doling out advice about the economy, of all things. They called Bush because Herbert Hoover wasn‘t available. Next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I told you about Bush‘s speech last night to a friendly crowd in Erie, Pennsylvania. Bush‘s spokesman declined to say how much the president was paid for trotting out on the rubber chicken circuit to criticize President Obama. We do know that Bush let cameras into the auditorium for approximately three minutes. And then they were they were told, get out of here. Just for the sweet talk at the top.
When it came to criticize the president, the cameras were, of course, kicked out. They have good experience doing that. Keep in mind, Bush said that he wasn‘t going to second-guess President Obama. So we have another lie here, because he is second-guessing him. Here‘s how White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded to Bush today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Obama inherited an economic catastrophe, massive unemployment, a huge deficit, insolvent banks. I think we‘ve had a debate about individual policies. We kept score last November. And we won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Time to bring back our political panel, Bill Press, John Feehery, and Nancy Skinner. Bill, what do you think? Are we going to see more of this?
PRESS: Oh, yes. I think he has a bad chase of Cheney envy. Cheney was getting all the headlines, so he‘s got to get out there and get some of them. The best part of that speech to me, Ed, you didn‘t mention, was he talked about how now in Dallas, a lot of days, he‘s just left to picking up Barney‘s poop off the lawn, which I think is fair, because we‘re still picking up his poop in Washington, D.C.
SCHULTZ: John, you‘re not smiling. Have some fun with this.
FEEHERY: I tell you, I do think that President Bush has a right, and I think from his own perspective, a duty to defend his record. You might disagree with that. But he has a right, and certainly under the Constitution, he has a right to express himself. He has been very cognizant of being careful of what he says about the president in public.
PRESS: Until now.
FEEHERY: That was not in public. That was a in speech. He kicked the cameras out. I think to say somehow that he cannot stick up for himself is absolutely outrageous.
SCHULTZ: Nancy, what do you think?
SKINNER: He‘s either just plum run out of brush to clear in Crawford, Ed, or—the idea that he was outraged over the deficit deserves a comedy channel show, because he got an 800 billion dollars surplus his first year and gave us 1.2 trillion in debt. That‘s the economic record that he‘s so outraged about, that he says the government spend the money. He did pretty well when he was in government, spending our money.
SCHULTZ: You know, John, the conservatives are doing a pretty good job of sticking it in the ears of the American people that it‘s the Democrats‘ faults, all these financial problems.
FEEHERY: Yes, I think there‘s a lot of blame to go around. The fact
of the matter is that now the president owns the economy. President Obama
SKINNER: No, John.
FEEHERY: I did not interrupt you? Did I interrupt you. Did I interrupt you?
SCHULTZ: Hold on. You make that point again. You‘re saying that the president owns this economy.
FEEHERY: Well, President Bush is not going to be on the ballot ever again. President Obama will be in three years. So it‘s his economy now. He‘s running it. Yes, absolutely.
You know what? If in three years his economy is fine, he‘s going to win. If it‘s not, then it‘s his fault. That‘s my own point.
PRESS: John, look, he comes in with a surplus, he takes us in a doghouse, and then he hands us the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and you want to blame it on Barack Obama.
FEEHERY: I‘m not blaming anything on Barack Obama.
PRESS: George Bush is.
FEEHERY: He‘s not. George Bush—I hate to agree with Tom Tancredo
but for seven years, we had a pretty good economy.
SKINNER: Ed—Ed, last point, look it, in the “New York Times,” June 10th, they broke it all down. Fully 90 percent was Bush‘s fault. Seven percent stimulus, three percent health care, your issue, energy my issue. This is not Obama‘s economy.
SCHULTZ: I‘m surprised the president last night talked about Gitmo of all things. Here‘s what he had to say, “there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at the drop of the hat and I don‘t believe that persuasion is going to work. Therapy isn‘t going to cause terrorists to change their mind.”
That‘s in a roundabout way, John, saying don‘t close this facility, because it serves a big purpose.
SCHULTZ: Why would the president weigh in on this? This is major second-guessing after he said he wasn‘t going to do it.
FEEHERY: I think there is a policy here that—this great debate on Gitmo. Most polls show that most Americans don‘t want the Gitmo terrorists in America. I think that President Bush has an absolute right to point this out.
PRESS: Of course he has a right to say stupid things.
FEEHERY: It‘s not stupid things. He agrees with the American people on this one.
PRESS: A little reality check here, John, George W. Bush said he wanted to close Gitmo, but he doesn‘t have the gonads to do it.
SKINNER: He‘s a cream puff.
SCHULTZ: Yes, he‘s a cream puff. Nancy, there‘s a good number of Americans that do not want Gitmo closed. What‘s your take on that?
SKINNER: Well, the president said he‘s going on do it, and he‘s followed through on every one of the things he said he was going to do. This is a determined president that‘s going to get it done—
FEEHERY: Nancy, what do you mean? What do you mean he‘s followed through. We just talked about health care.
SKINNER: We‘re working on it. Ed, with your help in mind, he‘ll follow through. This is what we do, public financing.
FEEHERY: Oh, come on.
SCHULTZ: We‘ve got so many problems. We got to come back tomorrow night. John Feehery, Bill Press, Nancy Skinner, thanks for being here tonight.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more on THE ED SHOW, go to ED.MSNBC.com, check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. We‘ve got a couple of town hall meetings coming up. Going to be Madison, Wisconsin on July 19th, and we‘re also going to be in Portland, Oregon on July 31st. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on MSNBC.
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