THE ED SHOW
August 14, 2009
Guests: Robert Reich, Brian Schweitzer, Adam Schiff, Steven A. Smith, Michael Medved, Stephanie Miller, Jack Rice
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: I'm Ed Schultz. This is THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Good evening, Americans.
Live from 30 Rock in New York, it's THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Tonight, the president's in Big Sky County selling his health care plan. He was all hat and plenty of cattle.
The governor of Montana will join me in just a moment.
Plus, the "Dumber Than Joe the Plumber" crazies are ratcheting up the madness. Congressman Adam Schiff, he drew a crowd of 3,000 people at his town hall. He'll join me to talk about it at the bottom of the hour, what he ran into.
And "The Newtster" has got a six-point battle plan for Caribou Barbie.
Yes, Newt, I've got one for you too. It's number seven-Sarah, stop lying to people about how the death panel is going to be wiping out the senior citizen population in America.
Stephen A. Smith is in the House tonight. The National Football League and the Philadelphia Eagles have decided to give Michael Vick a second chance.
Are you ready to give Michael Vick a second chance? Get your cell phones out right now and Text "A" for yes and "B" for no to 622639. We'll have a big discussion on this tonight.
All that, and, of course, "The Drugster" is back in "Psycho Talk."
And "Daily Show" co-creator Lizz Winstead weighs in on the Edwards' baby daddy drama. It will be a dandy.
But first, tonight's "OpEd."
All right, the president-he undoubtedly was the commander in chief on health care today. He went to Big Sky Country, Belgrade, Montana, and told the truth again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not some government takeover. If you like your doctor, you can keep seeing your doctor. This is important. I don't want government bureaucrats meddling in your health care, but I also don't want insurance company bureaucrats meddling in your health care either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Everybody got that? Conservative talkers, you got that?
Come on. The guy is so clear.
The president was in complete and total command of the facts, knows exactly what he wants to do with health care reform in this country. It was just one explanation after another today.
And when it comes to the money, when it comes to the money, you know, that money the conservatives and the Republicans just absolutely worship, the president served up the facts again and gave them some straight talk in the big country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I can't cover another 46 million people for free.
When I was campaigning, I made a promise that I would not raise your taxes if you made $250,000 a year or less. That's what I said. But I said that for people like myself, who make more than that that, there's nothing wrong with me paying a little bit more in order to help people who got a little bit less. That was my commitment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK. Two great town halls this week, one in New Hampshire and one in Montana.
Have we got all this straight now? The public option is not a government takeover.
Medicare qualifications will not change. And competition in the marketplace will be good for consumers.
There is no controversy coming out of the White House. There is no move to socialism. There is only the effort-only the effort being made by the administration to ease the burden on Americans that just can't keep up with the skyrocketing trend of health care insurance premiums and costs.
Honest Montana, I think they're going to get it.
No, Honest Montana, it's not a town, it's a way of life, the part of the country where a handshake still matters. It's a real refreshing place to be. Everybody loves Montana.
Does our first guest tonight love it? Joining me now from Montana is NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd.
Chuck, on a very light note tonight, it's been a long week. Have a big steak on "Big Eddie" tonight, will you? You're in steak country out there. OK? Can we work that out?
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Can I tell you, you bring up a good point. Everybody here is in a good mood.
We noticed that with whether they were for the president, opponents of the president. Everybody does seem to be happy to live here. And if you look at the backdrop outside of the plane, behind the plane, you can see why.
Those mountains are very refreshing. The air is refreshing. It is kind of nice. You see why everybody's in a good mood. And I'm not just saying that because the governor is watching me as I do this live shot, but go ahead.
SCHULTZ: Yes, he's known for twisting arms. He's a great guy. We've got him on the program in a minute.
Chuck, were we watching a popular president in Montana today? And I ask that because the television cameras, it looked like a very amiable crowd. They were enthusiastic. But the way the tickets were handed out, it was different this time.
TODD: It was. One of the things they did with the tickets is they handed them out in Bozeman, two at a time, two individuals that just came up, first come, first served. And people even-kind of like a rock concert, people waited in line for hours to get their tickets. So it wasn't done through the computer system that they used in New Hampshire and, actually, the computer system that they're going to use again tomorrow in Grand Junction, Colorado.
But one of the other things I want to bring up here is there were a couple of things that stuck out to me just on the political front.
Number one is you saw the president ramp up some campaign rhetoric. He almost was trying to sell the audience-I need your help, I've got to get you knocking on doors, I've got to get you fighting-he called it fighting the fear. Obviously these references to the myths.
He also decided to play media critic. He sort of criticized all the cable television for how they've been covering the town halls.
And he thanked the one questioner who was clearly an opponent of what he was doing. He thanked him for the tone that he took.
And then the third thing that I think people ought to take away from this is, I lost count at five, the number of personal references to Max Baucus, the Senate Finance Committee chair. It is clear. There may have been about 1,500 people in that audience, but in some ways, it might have been an audience of one as far as the president was concerned.
SCHULTZ: I'll tell you what, this White House and administration is full of olive branches, there's no question about that.
But some interesting news coming out today. Just the state over, Chuck, you've got Senator Kent Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and is also on that Finance Committee with Max Baucus. He told a crowd in Carrington, North Dakota, today that he would not vote for a government-run plan.
Now, these are two allies that the president is going to need down the stretch, both Baucus and Conrad. How do you think this plays out?
TODD: Well, look, track the rhetoric very carefully from the president and the president's staff, particularly Robert Gibbs, on how they describe the public option. And it's how they describe it.
They're leaving themselves open, Ed, to make this co-op idea, which is the Kent Conrad idea, which is making it sort of-kind of like a pharma (ph) co-op. I don't want to try to explain it now. But that idea is probably what the White House will say will qualify under the umbrella of a public option.
SCHULTZ: All right. Chuck Todd, thanks for joining us tonight.
Appreciate your time. Safe travels.
TODD: All right. You bet.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Robert Reich, former secretary of labor under the Clinton administration, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley. He's also an author of the book "Supercapitalism." He has also just completed a road trip.
Now, we've seen a lot of videotape of some disrupted town hall meetings, some raucous kind of activity going on, and some very ominous signs that have been out there.
Mr. Reich, what have you seen? What's your pulse now that you've been around the country a little bit and seen these crowds and talked to the folks?
ROBERT REICH, FMR. LABOR SECRETARY: Well, Ed, first of all, it was not and has not been grassroots. The disruption, at least, has been what we might call AstroTurf. It's been artificial. It's been created by a lot of organized opponents, including those very definitely related to the Republican Party like Dick Armey, former majority leader.
And this is something that's been manufactured. We've seen this before.
In 1994, the Republicans knew-Newt Gingrich and others knew that attacking Bill Clinton's plan for health care would be a way of discrediting the Clinton administration and making some gains in the elections of 2000 and 1994. They're doing the same thing now with regard to 2010. They're looking at the midterms of 2010.
SCHULTZ: So this reaction, are you telling our viewers tonight, Mr.
Reich, that this reaction is ginned up, it's not genuine?
REICH: Oh, some of it is genuine. I think that you've got, you know, right-wing talk radio and a lot of purveyors of fear out there preying upon the fears that a lot of people have right now.
You know, America is very scared-job losses, potential loss of home, potential loss of savings. In fact, losses of savings.
A lot of people are scared. And if somebody tells them they're going to lose even the health care they have, they are going to pay attention and they're going to be very, very upset.
But it's the purveyors of that kind of fear mongering who are preying upon the fears that people already have that are really distorting what the president's proposal is all about. I think the president, by the way, is doing a terrific job trying to get things straight again.
SCHULTZ: Well, I thought the president was in total control today and has great command of the subject. But I think you're right.
For instance, over on another network you've got a former administrator, Dick Morris, who is telling supporters to go out and use the word "terrorize."
Where do you draw the line on this? The fact is there is no line. They're just trying to motivate these disgruntleds to go out there and these malcontents to disrupt as much. But I see that the president's gig is a heck of a lot different.
What do you make of that?
REICH: Well, I think the president is elevating the debate as he always has. There are going to be rabble-rousers. There are going to be people who are kooks, both right wing, and there are left-wing kooks as well. But anybody who preys on people's fears and uses lies and distortions to make people even more fearful, I think that's just plain immoral, Ed.
One other thing I hope we can get to, and that is the public option. I don't think that Kent Conrad's cooperative idea is going to have any effect on the private insurance companies at all. It's not going to keep them honest.
SCHULTZ: Well, it's not going to keep them honest, but the key there is that he said he wouldn't support the public option. So the president's got some pretty tough waters to navigate through.
Mr. Reich, appreciate your time tonight here on the subject.
REICH: Thanks very much, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who is well known for telling it like it is.
Governor, good to see you tonight on THE ED SHOW.
GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), MONTANA: Good to be back, Ed.
SCHULTZ: How did the president do today? And I ask that because 34 percent of residents in your state do not have health insurance. It would seem to me he's playing in front of the home team.
SCHWEITZER: Well, the president came here and answered the tough questions. There were detractors, there were supporters, but in Montana tradition, we were able to disagree without being disagreeable. So I was proud of the people of Montana.
SCHULTZ: Well, what was the president's mission? I mean, he's in the backyard of Max Baucus, he praised Max Baucus, but there clearly are differences between the president and the senator who's chairman of the Senate Finance Committee on the public option.
How is that going to play out? How do you see that?
SCHWEITZER: I don't know what the difference is there. I do know this, that the president talked about the public option and he's supporting the public option. He believes that it's a good thing to have competition.
These insurance companies that don't want competition, I thought they believed in capitalism. If they don't want competition, then what are they in the business for?
Now, a public option would be something that's voluntary. If a person would like to buy themselves into a public option system, they can. Nobody's going to hold a gun to your head and tell you you've got to.
SCHULTZ: How are Montanans responding to all of the rhetoric that's out there about death panels that's being purported by the right-wing media and also some Republican senators that have been on the stump actually scaring senior citizens?
How's that playing in Montana?
SCHWEITZER: Well, with all due respect to Mark Twain, I've been watching this stuff and I found out that there's lies, there's damn lies, and then there's health care lies.
These insurance companies and some of these health care providers, they're going to say anything, they're going to scare people. And then they're going to get people running around saying rotten things that aren't true. That happened when we passed Medicare. It happened when we passed Medicaid. It happens when we offered the health care benefits to veterans.
So, this is an old playbook. What we've got to do is grind it out, pass the ball, get it inside and put it in the basket.
SCHULTZ: All right. Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much.
SCHWEITZER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coming up, Michael Vick's getting a second chance and getting back onto the gridiron. The Eagles just signed him to a two-year deal.
Folks, I think he deserves this opportunity. What do you think? Are you ready to give Michael Vick a second chance? Text "A" for yes and "B" for no to 622639. I'll bring you the results later on in the show, and our panel will be talking about this tonight as well..
Stay with us. You're watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Last night we brought you the first exclusive video of last weekend's tragic plane crash over the Hudson River. Two air traffic controllers have been suspended, even though the FAA said, "They did not contribute to the crash." But NBC News has learned that the controller was on a personal call. Investigators are trying to determine if that contributed to the accident.
For the latest, let me bring in NBC News' Tom Costello.
Tom, a lot has been I guess speculated because of this.
What do we know 24 hours after the release of this videotape? How telling is it?
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The videotape is going to be very helpful to the NTSB, indeed. They've already told me that they're going to go over it frame by frame. But I think it's important to distinguish exactly what these controllers are in trouble for.
One controller was a supervisor. He left the building on personal business. He should not have.
The second controller was allegedly on a personal phone call, or, in the words of the NTSB, non-pertinent phone call, non-business-related phone call.
The question is, did that in any way contribute to this particular accident?
He was handing off the control of this airplane to Newark tower. There was air traffic in the middle-between these two towers. Did the pilot get proper notice that there was air traffic in the area?
We know that the Newark controller tried to warn the Teterboro controller. The question is whether the Teterboro controller was in fact too distracted by his personal phone call.
The union just called me moments ago. The union says it disagrees with the NTSB's version of events as it relates to exactly what that controller was doing and whether that phone call was personal or whether, in fact, he was distracted by it. But it all adds more as investigators try to unravel this entire problem.
Ed, I'm sorry. I've got to go. I have "Nightly News" in 10 minutes.
SCHULTZ: All right. Thank you.
Tom Costello, NBC News, with us tonight, who's been covering that.
It should be pointed out that the control tower at Teterboro passed the plane off to Newark, gave them a frequency.
Now, as a private pilot, I can tell you, when you are given a frequency to go to, to go to another tower, it is the pilot's responsibility to follow up on that. I think one of the big keys here, how much radio traffic was taking place? Because you have to pick your spots as soon as you can when you're given a command from the control tower to go to another frequency. You've got to jump in on the chatter as quickly as possible.
So that, of course, will be a big part of the investigation.
And I can say this about the controllers. This has been an issue for a long time.
The union has said that they are overworked, they've got antiquated equipment. In fact, the Bush administration fought the controllers for a long, long time and did not give them a work agreement, forced them to go to work. They've run a lot of experienced controllers out of this industry.
I can tell you that they're hard-working people, hard-working professionals. And there's no question that the union definitely will stand behind their people on this, and there will be a full investigation. And if they are wrong, they will be dealt with.
Coming up, "The Drugster" takes a page out of Sarah Palin's playbook, saying that ObamaCare means death panels for senior citizens. Says doctors will give them some Palin pills that will loop them out until they die. Although come to think of it, he is an expert when it comes to popping pills.
That's up next in "Psycho Talk."
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Oh, Friday nights are always good for "Psycho Talk." We've got a dandy tonight. The hits just keep coming from "The Drugster." And calling him "The Drugster" is pretty appropriate tonight.
Like so many conservatives in the health care reform debate, he knows the best way to stop it and it kill it all together is just to go out there and scare the hell out of old people and convince them that the president of the United States is going to kill them.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: People at a certain age, with certain diseases, will be deemed not worth the investment, and they will just, as Obama said, they'll give them some pain pills and let them loop out until they die and they don't even know it's happened. It will be rationed.
It's-well, you're not going to be able to choose your doctor. Probably after a while, will not be able to hold on to your private insurance or current insurance, which is all by design.
But they're going to be able to regulate-you know, call you a risk based on, do you smoke, do you not smoke? How far do you drive to work? Do you wear polyester? It's more flammable.
I mean, it can get ridiculous. But that's who these people are and that's the kind of control they want.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK, let's stop "Psycho Talk" right here for a fact check.
"The Drugster" just said that you're not going to be able to pick your doctor. That is a blatant lie. I didn't say it, he said it. That is a lie.
The president has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that you'll be able to choose your doctor. In Medicare today, you want to go see a specialist, you don't need a referral.
Once again, the undergraduate has it wrong.
First of all, you're the last person to be talking about pain pills and looping out. But that's just another "Psycho Talk" for another time.
Come on. Your insurance company already decides what doctor you can see and afford, your insurance company, and decide what kind of risk you are. They can dump you any time they want for any reason.
"The Drugster," people for the health care reform and a public option are not the ridiculous ones here. They don't control what you and the rest of the people against reform want the insurance companies to keep controlling-access to care, ruining people's lives, and pocketing billions. To make it your mission to scare old people and because you want the president to fail, yes, that is "Psycho Talk."
Coming up, the president headed to the northern tier today to talk health care. Protesters brought the debate in the country to a fever pitch.
Congressman Adam Schiff faced down a crowd of 3,000 people this week.
He'll join me with an update from the front lines.
Plus, Sarah Palin's death panel flip-flop? It turns out she was for it before she was against it.
"Daily Show" co-creator Lizz Winstead is here to explain it coming up in "Club Ed."
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Rowdy town hall protesters are posing a big challenge to members of Congress who have to figure out just how to deal with all of this. It's really a smorgasbord of what's happening out there.
Congressman Adam Schiff of California took on demonstrators from both sides of the health care issue this week when 3,000 people showed up at his town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Congressman Schiff joins me now to talk about that.
Congressman, were you surprised at the demeanor of the crowd? What'd you see tonight, earlier this week?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, I wasn't surprised, Ed, because we had a pretty good idea what to expect, judging from the calls that were coming into the office. We were getting hundreds of calls every day. I opened the town hall by asking how many were firmly for the president's proposal, and how many were firmly against. We had in excess of 1,000 yell out they were for it; in excess of 1,000 yell out they were against it.
I asked, how many of you have come undecided, want to learn more about the proposal? About five people yelled out.
SCHULTZ: Well, obviously the networks are running videotape of those who are animated, those who are carrying signs, that are threatening in many cases. But would you characterize your town hall of 3,000 people-the president had 1,300 today-that the majority of the people that are going to these town halls are genuinely seeking information and want to learn something?
SCHIFF: Well, not this particular town hall. I've had others where people do come and they want to learn and they want to hear. And we've had a good dialogue and I think a good exchange of information. But here people were more coming to be heard.
We had some conservative talk radio shows sending people our way. We had some of the folks that are organizing support sending other folks our way. It was more like a rally than a real exchange of information. I kind of felt like was at an anti-war protest at Berkeley in the '60s with all the signs and the shouting. It was really quite a spectacle.
But I'm not sure that there was really a good exchange of information.
SCHULTZ: OK. Would you consider this somewhat of a volatile crowd? Was it a boisterous crowd? Was it mean-spirited? How would you characterize isn't it.
SCHIFF: Well, it was definitely boisterous. There were certainly some mean-spirited people there calling me a Nazi or with posters of the president with a Hitler moustache. I had one woman yell out something I haven't heard since the third grade, liar, liar, pants on fire.
So this was, you know, some of the content. But at the same time, Ed, one of the things I think was really positive about it is a lot of the questions were based on these myths, the euthanizing of seniors myth, the myth that you're going to be forced away from the health care plan you have now. I did appreciate the opportunity to dispel those myths, to bust those myths. In that sense, I think we had something positive and constructive come out of it.
SCHULTZ: OK. An unrelated matter, I do want to bring to our audience tonight that you are the one who is front and center of investigating Karl Rove on the Judiciary Committee. In fact, these e-mails that have been released show that Rove has got his fingerprints all over the firing of the U.S. attorneys. What is startling to you in all of this? What is most revealing from what you've been able to find?
SCHIFF: Well, the two things that really stood out from the depositions that I did of Miers and Rove over the last few weeks were that Rove was very heavily involved in pushing Iglesias out of office in New Mexico. He forwarded on complaints from Republican activists in the state. He was agitating, called Harriet Miers, wanting something done, wanted him gone and succeeded in pushing out someone that the Justice Department had rated as a star prosecutor.
So contrary to Rove's assertions that all these decisions were only the DOJ-they only learned about it after the fact-he was very involved from an early point.
The other thing I thought was shocking, Ed, in terms of Harriet Miers is that Rove asks Miers to intervene with the Justice Department, to try to clear Rick Renzi's name, a Republican Congressman under investigation. And she knows it violates DOJ policy even to confirm or deny an investigation. But she does call DOJ, and an anonymous DOJ sources or anonymous administration sources then call multiple press outlets and try to exonerate the Republican Congressman.
Totally inappropriate. And I found it just shocking.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Adam Schiff, California, with us here on THE ED SHOW. We'll follow up on that story. Lots more to talk about.
It's been quite a week. We've had quite of week of these town hall meetings. There's some really seriously scary stuff going on in this country, folks, I think. The Secret Service is investigating a town hall protester in Maryland who was holding up a sign that was reading "Death to Obama; Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids."
Then there was a guy outside Obama's New Hampshire town hall carrying a loaded gun. What are we supposed to make of that? Now, look. I'm calling them out. I'm calling out the conservative talkers of this country. You have motivated a lot of these people to do these kinds of things, and then they go there with some pretty threatening rhetoric.
Which brings us to the conclusion, what is your intent? Question mark; what is your intent? What do the conservative talkers of America want to accomplish here? We know they're ignorant in many respects to the facts, because they continue to lie about what the president is trying to do. And they've called the president of the United States a racist.
Now, how much more inciteful can they be? Let's bring in our panel to talk about this. We have got radio talk show host Stephanie Miller from Los Angeles tonight. Also former CIA officer Jack Rice. And radio talk show host and author of the book "The Ten Big Lies About America," Michael Medved. Good to have you with us tonight as well.
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Let's start with you, Michael. Has the rhetoric just gone too far? And has talk radio played a real influence on the demeanor of the people that are showing up at these town halls?
MEDVED: Well, I don't know that you can blame it all on talk radio. I think there have been some very unfortunate remarks. I don't believe that it's in line to call President Obama a racist, to say that he hates all white people. I regret that one of my colleagues made that remark.
I also-obviously, for somebody to come-the problem with that guy in New Hampshire-his name was Williams Costrick (ph). He ended up being a fairly articulate guy. He was on MSNBC with Chris Matthews. But he was carrying a loaded gun together with a sign that said "time to water the tree of liberty," which was a reference to Jefferson's line, "the tree of liberty needs to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
We shouldn't be talking about blood. We shouldn't be talking about fighting. What we should be talking about is actually coming together on the kind of health care reform the American people really do want. The key thing on that, and you and I agree on this, is making it impossible for people to have their insurance canceled because they get sick. That's the kind of reform we can do. And we can do it together.
SCHULTZ: Stephanie, is it time for those folks in the cable industry, and also on talk radio and the electronic media-for instance, Dick Morris has told people to go to these meetings and terrorize these folks. He used that word. I don't hear him saying back off. Maybe this is going a little too far and something could happen. What do you think?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, if I'm in the not mistaken, Ed, a Congressman just told you that someone yelled liar, liar, pants on fire at him at a town hall. So that is a new level of the national debate. Did anyone say, I know you are, but what am I? Or I am rubber, you are glue?
I mean, you know, this is not time for your primal scream therapy, Ed. This is time to get your questions answered. A lot of times-these guys are being instructed to just disrupt and drown everybody else out. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are absolutely right; that's not American to drown out dissent.
SCHULTZ: Jack Rice, how do you think the president's done on these two town halls this week, the one in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and then today in Montana?
JACK RICE, FMR. CIA OFFICER: Actually, I think he's doing a great job. The real problem, however, is if you look at the conservative right, if you look at these talk show hosts, what they're saying is that President Obama is Hitler. What we're saying is that the Democratic party are the Nazis.
And then you add this, the question of blood of the tyrants. Now you're seeing guys at some of these town hall meetings with sidearms. You have those things side by side. All of a sudden, what, we're taking down tyrants?
Isn't that what's driving this? I guess, in the end, now, if we realize that maybe the brain trust of the GOP is the likes of Sarah Palin, we know-or I should say they know, and they should know, that they are in serious trouble.
MEDVED: Let me just say, I honestly believe that the people on the fringe who are saying outrageous things-those posters of Obama as Hitler were done by Lyndon Larouche, who, by the way, is a registered Democrat. This is not something the Republican party or the talk radio in general is promoting.
I think that part of what is happening here is the attempt to jam this thing through Congress without sort of the kind of patient interchange that I think the president engaged in today in Montana. His meeting today was much better.
MILLER: Wait a minute, Michael.
MEDVED: Yes, go ahead, Stephanie.
MILLER: Rush Limbaugh absolutely compared the Democratic party to Nazis. And he absolutely compared the Obama health care-
MEDVED: No one should be comparing anybody to-
MILLER: -- radio hosts that are using that rhetoric. Don't be surprised when signs show up with the Nazi sign on the president.
MEDVED: Those signs were made by Larouche. No one should be talking Nazis or Communists. I agree.
RICE: Michael, the problem is you're saying this in a very logical fashion. You take a look at the likes of Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh are saying, and they are making these direct comparisons. They're then brining in the absolute false allegations of death panels. You roll all this together, and you add this to people who are scared now because of them, and you wonder why they're not responsible? These guys' hands are not clean.
MEDVED: OK, the key thing here is that Sarah Palin-the same day that she came up with that death panels thing, I criticized her on the air to 220 stations. OK? The point is she has walked back from that. I do believe that some of the rhetoric has been hysterical on both sides. It's wrong to call people who disagree with you un-American.
SCHULTZ: Michael, I would like to see Dick Morris back off on telling people to terrorize Democrats at these town hall meetings. That's the word he used. Now-
MEDVED: If he did, he should back off.
SCHULTZ: I don't think that does anybody any good. It leaves many of us with the impression, gosh, what's the intent here? We're trying to have an honest discussion about health care in this country. And we've got the crazies that are showing up. And of course they're going to play in front of the cameras like that.
But they're being motivated. They're being motivated by people who have got an ideological bent, that openly say they hate this president, that say these a Nazi, openly say they want him to fail. I mean, people hear that kind of stuff, the low information crowd. Who knows what the heck's going to happen. Stay with us. We've got a lot more coming up.
Also coming up, John Edwards-I guess we can call him the doctor of disappointment for Democrats-Is in some hot water. Reports say that any minute now he's going to step forward and admit he is the father of his mistress mistress' baby.
Plus a grand jury's investigating whether he used campaign funds as hush money. Johnny could use a few good friends right now. This is a new definition of two Americas, two families for sure. We'll bring you the details right here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL VICK, NFL PLAYER: Everybody deserves a second chance. I think as long as you're willing to come back and do it the right way and do the right things and that you're committed, then I think you deserve it. But you only get one shot at a second chance. And I'm conscious of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, Michael Vick's back in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles took a chance on him yesterday. He signed a two-year deal with the team. Last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell paved the way for Vick by granting him a conditional reinstatement of the league. Under that agreement, Vick is allowed to work out with the Eagles and play in their final two exhibition games. But the commissioner has said that he could be fully reinstated by week six of the NFL season.
I believe in second chances. Michael Vick has paid his debt. More importantly, his new coach, Andy Reid, thinks so too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY REID, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES HEAD COACH: We give people an opportunity. As long as they've taken the right steps, they're given an opportunity. And that's what-again, that's what makes this country such a great thing, and the National Football League such a great thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I want to know what you think. Are you ready to give Michael Vick a second chance? Text A for yes, B for know to 622639.
Joining me now, Stephen A. Smith, journalist and commentator. How big of a chance-how big of a risk are the Eagles taking on him, Stephen?
STEPHEN A. SMITH, COMMENTATOR: First of all, I personally don't think it's a big risk, simply because he's already paid his debt to society; 18 months in a federal penitentiary, 23 months in prison. You're going to have animal rights activists outside of the stadium, especially when they go on the road. It's going to be some negative publicity, to some degree.
But the bottom line is any publicity is good publicity. People are still going to be patronizing your product. Combine that with the fact that Michael Vick is only going to cost 1.6 million dollars this upcoming season-there is the second year part of it that involves 5.2 million dollars, but that is at the Eagles' option. There's no guarantee that they'll pick that up.
In fact, I'm here to say it's a long shot that they'll pick him up at that particular salary. One point six million dollars is not a big risk for this organization to take.
SCHULTZ: Did he say all the right things today? On the scale of one to 10, how sincere do you think he was? I thought he was very sincere today. He's not a professional wordsmith. He normally isn't known for talking very much. He came out today and I thought articulated his position really well in a remorseful way, and wants to be part of the solution.
SMITH: Well, he said all the right things, there's no denying that. Clearly, he was coached to some degree, because he knew exactly what to say and how to come across. He knew to come across as sincere and contrite and very regretful of the actions that he committed.
But, at the end of the day, I definitely think he recognized that he made a colossal error. This is a man that cost himself approximately 130 million dollars to win a few thousand dollars in dog fighting. He spent 18 months in a federal penitentiary, Leavenworth. If that doesn't give you reason to pause and reflect upon a disastrous decision that you've made, I don't know what else would.
SCHULTZ: And Philadelphia is a tough sports town. Is this a good town for him to go to?
SMITH: You got to remember, I was a columnist for four years, from '03 to eight '07, and I worked there for 13 years for the "Philadelphia Inquirer." I'm very familiar with this city. It's going to be tough. He's going to have a lot of people coming down on him. Right now, the tenor, as I would term it, is against Michael Vick. They're not happy with the Philadelphia Eagles organization.
But that's nothing a touchdown, a sprint, assisting Donovan McNabb and the Eagles towards capturing the Super Bowl will not cure.
SCHULTZ: That is the city of Brotherly Love, is it not?
SMITH: Oh, that's what you'd like to call it. I call it a few other things. But they are one of the best sports cities in America.
SCHULTZ: All right, Stephen A. Smith, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us to be night.
SMITH: No problem.
SCHULTZ: We asked what you thought. Are you ready to give Michael Vick a second chance? Seventy five percent of you said yes; 25 percent of you said no.
Coming up, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and John Edwards; only one woman has a stomach strong enough to handle all of these topics. Liz Winstead is next on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: It's time for Club Ed. Liz Winstead with us, co-creator of "The Daily Show" and the brains behind "Wake Up World." We've got to talk about these death panels. I'm concerned about your mother. She's not frightened by all of this, is she?
LIZ WINSTEAD, COMEDIAN: No, not at all. My mother, you know, she is the epitome of rational thought because she listens to Fox News. I left her a dish of water when I left to come to the show, thinking that is the way you deal with old people. So she's fine.
SCHULTZ: All right. That's good to know. I see that Sarah Palin is kind of backing off these death panels a little bit. What do you make of that?
WINSTEAD: I think she's backing off because I think Sarah Palin's health care policy is just to shoot old people from a helicopter. I think that's how she wants to deal with the elderly problem in health care.
SCHULTZ: What about Newt Gingrich now? He's coaching her through this all thing.
WINSTEAD: He's coaching her. He's telling her she's got to memorize three speeches verbatim. I think the biggest lesson that he gave Sarah was if she decides to leave Todd, she needs to make sure that is when Todd is in the hospital, diagnosed with cancer.
SCHULTZ: All right, speaking of couples and speaking of lifestyles, what do you make of John Edwards? What's happening with that deal?
WINSTEAD: Well, you know, I don't think anyone's surprised that baby is John Edwards'. If you saw the pictures of it when it was born, it had a full head of hair and a full set of teeth. It looked just like John Edwards.
But for me, I'm excited, because now John Edwards can write his new book. And I think he should call it "From Son of a Mill Worker to Son of a Bitch."
SCHULTZ: What do you make of all these folks that are showing up at these town hall meetings and just, la la la, all the stuff that's going on?
WINSTEAD: You know, Ed, they are just machine guns of crazy. I mean,
these-doesn't anyone realize-I'm the youngest of five kids in my
family; if everyone's talking at once, no one is listening to you. It's
the worst way to get your point across. I mean, and then they're reading -
one guy is so stupid he shows up wearing a Blue Cross t-shirt.
I mean, I don't even know what to say anymore, other than, you get these crazies. These are the ones that write in. There's 100 people, 1,000 people. They don't represent the majority of people in this country.
SCHULTZ: Liz Winstead, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us on this Friday edition of THE ED SHOW.
WINSTEAD: Thanks Ed.
SCHULTZ: Let's turn back to our panel, Stephanie Miller, Jack Rice and Michael Medved. Stephanie, I have two words for you and I need your response: John Edwards. Stephanie?
MILLER: Bastard person. I'm sorry, are we playing some sort of game? Here's a bipartisan thing, Ed. That's the thing. We're more than happy to throw our own under the bus when they do something wrong. And I just, you know-I'm a huge Elizabeth Edwards fan. This whole story has just been so sad from the beginning. I don't know what to say.
SCHULTZ: There's no doubt about that. Jack Rice, is there-this is an unfair question. But if you were in John Edwards' position, what would you do?
RICE: All I'm thinking, honestly, is I keep thinking to myself, now, she let him come home? I know your wife, Ed. I'm thinking about where my wife is right now. I don't get to sleep in the garage. I don't get to sleep in the front room. I don't get to sleep in the house. Everything I have is on a pile on the front lawn. And it's on fire. And she's literally letting me nowhere near anything. How he gets this-I don't even get it. If your wife-you don't have a chance.
SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, I have to concede to you tonight, if you ever use this as an example when we get into the family values discussion, I think you've got one up on us on this situation.
MEDVED: Glad to see bipartisanship here in the United States. John Ensign, Mark Sanford, John Edwards. We can all come together on this one.
SCHULTZ: We can come together on this one for sure.
MEDVED: The one thing that's interesting; there's a movie out today called "The Time Traveler's Wife," about a guy who keeps disappearing because he's traveling in time. Mark Sanford should have used that excuse instead of the Appalachian Trail.
SCHULTZ: All right. Let's-what did you say about it? We better not say that Stephanie. I know where you were on that whole deal. Let's talk about-let's talk about the president-
MILLER: It does sound like Argentinean tales.
SCHULTZ: I knew you'd get away with that. That's good. Moving forward to the weekend news here. The president's going to be holding a town hall meeting again tomorrow in Colorado. At this point, it's been a good week for the White House, I think, Michael Medved. What does he have to do to close out this deal down the stretch?
MEDVED: I think what he has to do is compromise. I've been saying this for a while. I don't think the American people want a government plan. They don't. What they want is they want health insurance reform. And I think it's interesting that he's changed the language on this.
I think the president also has to stop trying to demonize people on the fringe. Most of the people who are coming to these town hall meetings are not the angry fringe. Most of the people who are coming are genuinely concerned Americans. And come let us reason together. We can do that as a country. Everybody wants health insurance reform. It just has to be moderate health insurance reform.
SCHULTZ: We had a big discussion when Sarah Palin got out of the governorship of Alaska. Everybody was saying, what was she going to do. Jack Rice, as far as grabbing the conversation between her Facebook and Twitter, she's done a pretty good job of injecting herself into the dialogue in this country.
RICE: You're right. She has. As I said before, apparently she's the GOP brain trust. She's the one coming up with the ideas. She's the intellectual heavyweight. Now when the GOP is looking for answers, they actually turn to her.
How about that? Now we even see the likes of Chuck Grassley jumping on board, saying, yes, in fact, you should be afraid. This is incredible. So for the president, I think what he needs to do is, when he comes back after these latest hearings, is he needs to simply say, you know what, this is the plan. We're going to do X; we're going to do Y; and we're going to do Z.
Come up with some specifics and see if you can hammer those across.
That's what he's trying to do.
SCHULTZ: We'll close out the week with a comment from Stephanie Miller on Sarah Palin. Actually, she seems to be-
MILLER: Let me say one thing.
SCHULTZ: Go ahead.
MILLER: Let me say one thing, Ed. As you know, I'm the biggest dog lover in the world. I would vote for Michael Vick for president before I would vote for Sarah Palin. That's what I think she adds to the dialogue.
SCHULTZ: He is on the road to rehabilitation. I'm not sure she could ever be politically rehabilitated. Panel, thanks for joining us.
MILLER: She needs to stop lying.
SCHULTZ: That's right. That's THE ED SHOW for Friday night. I'm Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out WeGotEd.com. Town hall meeting coming up, University of Colorado, Sunday night, August 30th. We'll be back here on Monday night, 6:00 Eastern. "HARDBALL" starts right now on MSNBC.
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