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'The Ed Show' for Friday, September 11, 2009

Guest: Barbara Lee, Bart Witherspoon, Jacob Hacker, Adam Smith, Ron Christie, Jeff Santos, Michael Medved, Stephanie Miller, Bill Donohue, Liz Winstead

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.

I‘m Ed Schultz.


Lots on the table on this Friday night.  Let‘s get into it. 

The Republicans have got a new word.  They don‘t have any ideas, so they‘re getting some new language.  It has nothing to do with the football season, but the word is “prevent.” 

They don‘t want to stop health care reform, they just want to stop—prevent death panels.  That‘s what they want to do. 

Listen to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on MSNBC today talking about what‘s not in the bill. 


GOV. TIM PAWLENTY ®, MINNESOTA:  Well, there is nothing in the legislation that directly says that.  It‘s the indirect concerns that I‘m trying to articulate, that I think are at least worth raising. 

What if it becomes so expensive and the trajectory of it is even close to what‘s being predicted 10 years out, that they can no longer afford what they promised and somebody has to scale back the care?  And the federal government is now empowered to do that. 


SCHULTZ:  If, if, if, if, if, if, if, if.  What if?  What if?  What if? 

There‘s nothing in the bill to prevent death panels, but you‘ve got to watch out for us lefties.  We might have something up our sleeve.  There‘s also nothing in the bill that, let‘s see, outlaws unicorns or something like that. 

The entire Republican Party, folks, do you understand what they‘ve done the last several months?  They‘ve spent the entire summer, the last quarter, scaring the hell out of Americans about things that don‘t even exist. 

Death panels, I guess you can say, are the new WMDs.  It‘s cynical.  It‘s transparent.  And it‘s ridiculous and it‘s a weak playbook.  And the American people aren‘t going to buy it. 

Despite this, despite all this rhetoric, the White House is still hoping for a bipartisan deal?  President Obama opened the door to the Republicans again on Wednesday night, but this time he issued a warning. 


BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead.  If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen.  My door is always open. 

But know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it‘s better politics to kill this plan than to improve it. 


If you misrepresent what‘s in this plan, we will call you out. 


SCHULTZ:  Well, the Republicans have tipped their hand again.  They are still spreading fear about death panels, illegal immigrants.  We‘ll talk about that tonight a lot, and also taxpayer-funded abortion.  We‘ll touch on that later in the program. 

But they‘re all flat-out lies.  The president knocked down every one of them in his speech the other night. 

You can‘t negotiate unless you know what the other side wants.  And the Republicans don‘t want anything except failure. 

And when it comes to pre-existing conditions, folks, when it comes to canceling coverage when consumers get sick after being healthy for so long, the Republicans, I guarantee you, they do not have the guts to do those changes.  I don‘t think they have the courage to stand up to their base. 

The right-wing fringe, all these town-hallers, all these screamers, they want failure and they are demanding it.  It‘s a hatred for Obama. 

The love that they have is that a southern white congressman called President Obama a liar during a nationally televised speech to Congress.  And may I point out, after the apology, oh, what a great fund-raiser that‘s been. 

I think it‘s time for the president to shut the door.  Really.  Shut the door. 

There‘s nothing this president can do that is ever going to win over the Republican base. 

But folks, this is what I think you need to focus on—read the Republican proposals on health care. 

Nowhere in any of them will you see anything about a mandate for change.  When it comes to a pre-existing condition, when it comes to protecting consumers, it‘s not there.  It is all driven in protectionary stuff for the insurance industry. 

Get out your cell phones.  I want to know what you think.

Do you think most Republicans are feeling embarrassed or emboldened by Joe Wilson‘s outburst? 

Text “A” for embarrassed, “B” for emboldened to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California.  She is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your time here on a Friday. 

I see that the Congressional Black Caucus and also the Progressive Caucus is demanding a meeting with the president of the United States after he gave his speech.  I mean, you met with him the other night.  What have you got to meet with him for again?  Are you not happy?  Did he not go far enough? 

What‘s this meeting and this demand all about? 

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA:  Ed, thank you for giving me the chance to be with you tonight. 

And we aren‘t demanding anything.  We have talked with the president on many occasions.  We have communicated via a letter, and we are very proud of the fact he restated his position for a public option as part of any health care reform package.  And let me just say, we also are working with all of our colleagues in Congress to be sure that we have a unified Democratic Caucus as we move forward. 

I am here in Austin, Texas, at the fall meeting of the Democratic National Committee, the DNC.  And I‘m very proud of the fact that the DNC passed a resolution that I sponsored calling for comprehensive health care reform, including a public option. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So, Congresswoman, you‘re telling us that the president did go far enough, which tells me what‘s this meeting going to be about?  Probably nothing. 

LEE:  Well, I am saying to you that we are unwavering in our support for a public option.  We are proud of the fact that the president restated his commitment that he cares about a public option.  And now what we‘re doing is trying to do the work, work out the details of what this means.  And so, we‘re meeting with our leadership, with the president, with everyone to try to make sure we bring some unity into our caucus to make sure that we have the best possible bill. 

I think this president‘s speech was very clear.  It was very honest. 

It was very frank.  He told it like it is.  He helped dispel the myths. 

SCHULTZ:  Did he—did the outburst the other night by Congressman Wilson and also the people around him that were holding up a bunch of material and all the stuff that‘s been going on, the fund-raising after the apology, it looks like they jump at every opportunity they can get.  Does that indicate to you that it‘s just going to be tougher to bring any Republicans on board and this is just the way they are? 

LEE:  Well, let me tell you, Ed, we saw this lack of civility during August at many of the town meetings.  And also, I think it‘s important to try to bring everyone, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, to support comprehensive health care. 

You‘ve got to remember that in Republican districts, people are suffering.  They‘ve lost their jobs.  They, too, have little health care, no health care.  Their insurance costs are to high. 

And so, I think that this is an American issue.  It‘s a moral issue.  And I am so proud of the fact the president recalled our beloved Senator Kennedy and the fact that he called health care a moral imperative.  And that is exactly what it is. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Well, Congresswoman, I have to point out that the last 48 hours, it doesn‘t appear like there has been any liberal backlash by anybody towards the president and the administration on where they stand on any of this.  I mean, it looks like the president has totally satisfied the liberal Democrats and the Progressive Caucus and you‘re ready to move forward, and this is the way it‘s going to be.  No single payer and maybe a public option.  You‘ll push for it, but maybe. 

I mean, that‘s where we are right now.  There‘s no outcry here against what the president said the other night. 

LEE:  Let me just say, I fully support a single payer.  There‘s no backlash because I believe that we all recognize the fact that we have an opportunity to craft a comprehensive health insurance bill that will include a public option.  That is what we‘re working on.  And I‘m very proud of the fact the president has listened to progressives, to members of our tri-caucus, which is the Congressional Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific American Caucus to the Blue Dogs, to all of our caucuses and Republicans, to try to bring together the country to move forward on a good health care plan that brings down the cost of insurance and also ensures competitiveness within the insurance company so that people‘s payments and insurance premiums come down so that we‘ll have universal coverage. 

SCHULTZ:  I hope so. 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, thanks for your time tonight.  Appreciate it very much.

LEE:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  In his speech to Congress Wednesday, the president said, my doors are open if you have an idea.  Put that on the table.  We‘re thinking about that. 

He wants to hear from everyone on how to fix the health care with lawmakers, the issue, doctors, policymakers, everybody.  Well, tonight the door is open here as well. 

Joining me now, Dr. Bart Witherspoon, an oncologist from South Carolina who‘s got an idea. 

Dr. Witherspoon, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate you getting involved in the process here. 

Your plan catastrophically, explain that.  What could we do for every American in this country and also reduce costs? 

DR. BART WITHERSPOON, ONCOLOGIST:  Well, Ed, first of all, I thank you for the conversation we had on the radio today.  I thought we had a very nice visit. 

My plan would call for the federal government to furnish a catastrophic health care plan, something that would cut in at $200,000 and would cost about $60 a month for a family.  There are about 90 million family households in America, the total cost of that would be about $5.5 billion to the government. 

The shortfall from $2,000, $1,000, you pick a number, to $200,000, would then be furnished by business, the individual.  And in the case of retirees, people that were disabled or couldn‘t afford it, the federal government would pay that.  Now, that would cost about $3,000 a year. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So what we‘re looking at is...

WITHERSPOON:  If you figure that out...

SCHULTZ:  ... that you‘re trying to come up with a plan that is going to keep people from financial ruin and the federal government would be involved in that.  But below $200,000, what you would go for is the private sector would have to offer a bunch of different plans that people would have to participate in to be personally responsible to take care of that. 

Is that right? 

WITHERSPOON:  Yes, Ed.  Well, here‘s the thing.  You‘ve got to put it out for competition.

Go across state lines.  Put it out.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, let everybody have a chance. 

I called and got a $3,000 premium saying I was a company representing 5,000 people.  What kind of deal do you think I could get if I said I represent 50 million people? 

It‘s just the right thing to do.  And one thing us old southern boys know is the difference between right and wrong.  And I think we need to have some discussion about the right way to do it. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, where do you southern boys in South Carolina stand on a pre-existing condition?  Where do you stand on canceling people‘s insurance because they get sick? 

Would you put a mandate involved?  Do you think the president should go along with that?  And he has, but do you think Republicans would go along with something like that? 

WITHERSPOON:  Well, obviously, I don‘t speak for the Republican Party, but I will tell you this—I think—I think—and I also don‘t represent a caucus.  I‘m just an old country doctor from South Carolina trying to do the best I can to get sick folks well. 

Anyway—and I‘ll talk fast because I know we have time.  Here‘s the thing.  I think it ought to be—everybody should be covered, pre-existing conditions.  It ought to be portable.

Listen, everybody who walks in my office, regardless of the ability to pay, is somebody‘s mother, somebody‘s wife, or somebody‘s sister.  And I personally think they deserve the same kind of care that my wife got when she had breast cancer. 

SCHULTZ:  Dr. Witherspoon, I appreciate your time tonight on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks so much. 

There‘s a doctor in the process thinking.  I think we need to hear more from doctors across America, and we‘re certainly going to have some more on the program. 

Joining me now is Jacob Hacker.  He‘s a professor of political science at Yale University and a resident fellow at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies. 

Jacob, is there room for a catastrophic policy put in by the government that would keep people from complete financial ruin?  Does that have merit?  What do you think? 

JACOB HACKER, YALE UNIVERSITY:  I think it has a lot of merit.  But, you know, that‘s actually a key part of the proposals on the table right now in the sense that all of them would cap the out-of-pocket costs of individuals so that nobody would be allowed to go into bankruptcy. 

I mean, the real issue is, how are we going to get the costs down so that people can keep affording coverage over time?  And if the federal government just picked up the tab above a certain amount, that wouldn‘t bring cost restraints. 

So, I think it‘s great to have this discussion.  And I think the important principle is that nobody should be bankrupt from medical costs.  And we know something like 60 to 70 percent of bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical care. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Now, you have been, I understand, very critical of the Blue Dogs.  Why? 

HACKER:  Well, I think the Blue Dogs have not been consistent with their principles.  And I believe that they‘re right, that we need to do this in a way that‘s fiscally responsible.  And they need to make sure that it‘s good for the districts the Blue Dogs represent. 

But, in fact, they have been opposed to the public health insurance option that would be available to people who don‘t have coverage, and that‘s going to actually help a lot of people in rural parts of the country.  And it‘s the key to keeping the costs of the overall bill down. 

So, I wasn‘t actually calling them out.  I was just telling them that if they really believed in fiscal responsibility and helping their constituents, this was actually a good idea. 

SCHULTZ:  Professor Hacker, in all of your studies of this issue, isn‘t the key issue the pre-existing condition that people are excluded from getting any coverage in this country?  We get the idea, OK, there‘s 40-some-odd-million people without coverage The idea that some people have is, well, they‘re poor and they can‘t afford it.  But the issue is there‘s many people who are excluded because they have a bad knee, and so they can‘t get coverage. 

I had a lady on the radio show call me today, tell me just that.  She had a knee operation years ago.  She can‘t get coverage.  What happens if she gets cancer?  What happens if she develops diabetes? 

This is the issue, is it not, the pre-existing condition? 

HACKER:  Well, I think there are two key issues.  You‘re right, that not being able to get coverage because you have a pre-existing condition, or they think you‘re going to cost a lot, insurer thinks you‘re going to cost a lot, is a really big problem.  And that‘s why most people get their coverage through their employer, where they don‘t have to worry about that.  But if they change jobs or something like that, then they don‘t have their coverage. 

But the other big issue is the cost.  And even if we got everyone coverage, we still need to figure out a way to slow the rate of increase and costs.  And  I think the public health insurance plan would do both of those things.  It would give people a backup option and it would help bring cost restraint to health care. 

SCHULTZ:  Professor Hacker, appreciate your time tonight on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks so much.

HACKER:  Thanks for having me.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Coming up, Democrats are divided over Afghanistan; correct?  Well, let me tell you about Afghanistan.  The war is raging and we‘re going to be talking about that.  That‘s coming up on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.  You‘re watching MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Obvious a very emotional day across America remembering what happened to this country eight years ago today.  And the war continues on. 

There will be 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan by the end of this year.  And the top commander in Afghanistan is expected to ask President Obama to send more troops.  But some Democrats aren‘t sold on that idea. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said there‘s not a lot of support in Congress for an increase in troop level.  And the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee today, Carl Levin, thinks more U.S. troops could hinder progress. 



our own military footprint there, the more our enemies can seek to drive a wedge between us and the Afghan population, spreading the falsehood that we seek to dominate a Muslim nation. 


SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Adam Smith of Washington.  The congressman recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan. 

Congressman, good to have you on tonight.  And I appreciate it very much. 


SCHULTZ:  Tell us, what were your impressions of what you saw?  The American people want to know, are we making progress?  Are we doing the right thing? 

What do you think? 

SMITH:  Well, I think we have the right plan now, and we‘re going to start making progress.  I think it is very, very tragic that we lost six years after the Taliban were driven from power back in 2001.  We just didn‘t have the right plan in place. 

We didn‘t commit the resources to getting the governance level up in Afghanistan, to getting the development level up.  And when President Obama came into office, he had a big problem to fix. 

He put together a good plan.  He‘s put the right people in place.  General McChrystal in particular is a man I have great deal of confidence in.  And now he has got to be able to put that plan in place and implement it.  It‘s going to take time, it‘s going to be tough. 

SCHULTZ:  So, whatever General McChrystal says you‘re going to go along with.  I see that you wrote, “But my general position is we have to give General McChrystal what he needs to get the job done.”

That‘s basically what the Bush administration was saying, support the generals on the ground.  It doesn‘t seem like there‘s much difference between what you‘re saying and what we heard in the last administration. 

SMITH:  Well, in reality, actually, President Bush, in many cases, didn‘t do what the generals asked him to do, as came out afterwards.  A lot of times, right off the bat, they said in order to successfully invade Iraq they were going to need more troops and he ignored them.  So, I don‘t agree, actually.  I think President Bush did precisely the opposite. 

And I guess the point is, General McChrystal was picked to do this job.  We have a great deal of confidence in his ability.  I do, the president does.  So do many others.

So, if we don‘t agree with the direction that he‘s saying we should go in, then I guess we have to admit that we picked the wrong person for the job.  So...

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Smith, there‘s a lot of Americans who think that we are headed down the same road the Soviet Union went down in Afghanistan.  Nobody‘s ever won over there. 

What is victory?  Wiping out terrorists?  Can we wipe them all out?  Or are we doing nation building over there?  And are we in for an expense that we‘ve never seen before? 

SMITH:  Well, there‘s two things about that. 

First of all, we‘ve got to remember where we are.  And on September 11th, I think it is appropriate to really focus on what happened in Afghanistan, what is now happening also right across the border in the Fatah, and the fact that the Taliban are inextricably linked to al Qaeda.  And al Qaeda is still plotting, still planning, still trying to come up with ways to attack us here and throughout the western world. 

We cannot afford to allow them to do that.  We cannot afford...

SCHULTZ:  So, you, as a Democrat, you stand to give the president what he wants at this particular point.  You‘d go along with more troops if he calls for it.  Yet, in the most recent polling that has been out there, 57 percent of the American people oppose the situation right now in Afghanistan and 42 percent favor.  Also, it just looks like the support for this is starting to peel off. 

SMITH:  Oh, there‘s no question. 

SCHULTZ:  Go ahead.

SMITH:  There‘s no question public support is starting to peel off.  People are concerned.  And certainly, we did not do as good a job as we should have in the last six years. 

And furthermore, I think Senator Levin makes some goods points.  We have to empower the Afghans to protect themselves from the Taliban.  We have to train the army, we have to train the police corps, and we have to improve the development and the governance on the village level to keep the Taliban from being successful.  That‘s going to be very, very hard. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think, culturally—Congressman, do you think culturally we can achieve that in some measurable time without getting bogged down for another seven or eight years?  Or is this going to be just a lifelong deal for the United States? 

SMITH:  Well, I think we are going to have to be somewhat involved in Afghanistan and Pakistan in terms of offering at least financial support for development.  But hopefully, fairly quickly, we can get the Afghan security forces trained and to the level where they can protect themselves, because Senator Levin is right, it can‘t be us. 

If we look like an occupying power we‘re in trouble.  But we can‘t simply leave our allies in Afghanistan at the mercy of the Taliban. 

SCHULTZ:  So, what is the exit strategy in your opinion? 

SMITH:  The exit strategy is to get the local Afghans to the point where they can provide security and provide the basic necessities of life so that the Taliban aren‘t able to weasel their way back in. 

SCHULTZ:  And Congressman, that is the exact same strategy that the Bush administration had in Iraq, and we‘re still there. 

SMITH:  Look, I‘m not arguing about Iraq.  I mean, I‘m arguing about Afghanistan. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I‘m not arguing—but the fact is, is that what you‘re saying is the exact same thing the Republicans in the Bush administration said about Iraq.  We really have an open-ended policy in Afghanistan.  We really don‘t know. 

Isn‘t that right?

SMITH:  Well, of course we don‘t know for sure what‘s going to happen.  But I would ask you, is it OK if the Taliban take over Afghanistan and link back up with al Qaeda so that they can be safe and secure in that part of the world to plot attacks against the West?  Is that OK? 


SCHULTZ:  And you‘re totally convinced that that‘s what would happen if we were to leave? 

SMITH:  If we were to leave right now, I think there is a very strong possibility of that happening.  But again, we cannot put an endless array of troops in there because it defeats the basic effort. 


SMITH:  But we can‘t look at this part of the world and say, it‘s tough, we have to walk away.  We‘ve got to be smart about our policy. 

But again, the president came up with this strategy working with the best and the brightest minds on this issue.  I think we should give our president at least a little bit of a chance.  It‘s only been four months since he did his strategy.  A little bit of a chance to implement that strategy. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you on the program tonight.  I appreciate your time. 

SMITH:  Thanks, Ed.  I appreciate it.

SCHULTZ:  Next up, “The Drugster” attacks the 9/11 Memorial.  That‘s about as un-American as you can get.  It‘s in “Psycho Talk.” 

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  It‘s the Friday edition of “Psycho Talk.”  And we‘re going to finish off the week with one more from “The Drugster.”

Apparently, the anniversary of September 11th isn‘t enough to stop Rush‘s hatred.  Now, I‘m not going to tell you what he‘s talking about yet.  Just listen to this. 


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  And this could be the most outrageous moment yet of the Obama presidency, twisting 9/11 into a nationalist day of service to the state. 


SCHULTZ:  Hmm.  The most outrageous moment yet?  What could President Obama have said? 

Well, here‘s what “The Drugster” was referring to. 


BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  On this first national day of service and remembrance, we can summon once more that ordinary goodness of America to serve our communities, to strengthen our country, and to better our world. 


SCHULTZ:  I guess I shouldn‘t be surprised that Rush is against serving his community.  He actually does his community a disservice every day by just opening his mouth, but—and by the way, the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance was established in April as part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. 

Twenty-one Republican senators and 26 Republican House members voted for it.  And in 2002, President George W. Bush created—Bush created a national service organization in remembrance of September 11th

Rush must have been popping a few too many pills that particular day.  Turning a hopeful message about the resiliency of Americans into a partisan attack, that‘s un-American “Psycho Talk,” which is par for the course. 

Coming up, the Drugster, OK?  Joe Wilson and the birthers are the heroes of the Republican base.  Basically, folks, the inmates are running the asylum.  I‘ll ask Ron Christie if he‘s worried about his party‘s image next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Meet the new hero of the Republican base.  Congressman Joe Wilson set a precedent when he called President Obama a liar during a nationally televised address to Congress the other day.  A historian of the U.S. House of Representatives says this has never happened before.  A party has objected to a policy.  Democrats as a group objected to President Bush‘s plan to privatize Social Security during the 2005 State of the Union Address, which I was in attendance.  And it was kind of funny to watch it go back and forth. 

But for a single voice to shout a personal attack on the president of the United States, accusing him of lying, that is a new low.  Minority Leader John Boehner was mortified, and reportedly begged Wilson to publicly apologize on the House floor.  Wilson, of course, refused.  Wilson is being met as a conquering hero for the right wing fringe.  Birthers and Tea Partiers flooded his office with support.  Liar, by the way, has become the fringe‘s new bat signal.  To the new bat call, if you want what I mean. 

Wilson wasted no time trying to capitalize on Youtube. 


REP. JOE WILSON ®, SOUTH CAROLINA:  I will not be muzzled.  I will speak up and speak loudly against this risky plan.  The supporters of the government takeover of health care and the liberals who what want to give health care to illegals are using my opposition as an excuse to distract from the critical questions being raised about this poorly conceived plan. 


SCHULTZ:  Well, the hard right‘s loving it.  But the mainstream folks aren‘t.  A new poll out shows today that Wilson is in now a dead heat with his Democratic challenger.  This is a district John McCain won by nine points in November.  Meanwhile, Democrat Rob Miller and the DNC has raised 1.5 million dollars since the incident.  Good for him. 

Joining me now is Republican strategist Ron Christie.  Ron, good to have you on tonight.  An apology?  Normally, when people make an apology, they kind of let things drift away because they‘re ashamed of what they did and they‘re trying to get some redemption for what they did.  Instead, it seems this guy is really profiteering on.  Are you OK with the aftermath of the apology? 

RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I have a mixed bag on this.  I think the behavior he displayed on the House floor was inappropriate.  I think there‘s a certain level of decorum that a member of Congress should display towards the president of the United States, whether you agree with him or disagree with him.  I thought his outburst was unwarranted, uncalled for.  And I thought it was a good thing that he apologized to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and conveyed that apology to the president. 

At the same time, though, I think there are many on the left and there are many in the media who are making far too much of this.  The man apologized.  The president accepted his apology.  We should move on. 

Representative Wilson has underscored his concern, Ed, with the fact that illegal aliens, under the current version, HR3200, in the House, there is not a strong enforcement mechanism to ensure that illegal aliens won‘t receive coverage under the bill.  That is his concern.  I just wish he had expressed that a little bit more artfully.

SCHULTZ:  Well, actually, it was Ronald Reagan who signed the bill back in the 1980s that made it available to illegal aliens.  So Ron, it‘s kind of a straw man argument there, what you‘re talking about.  But the fact is that the president made very clear the other night in his speech that illegal aliens are not going to get dollars to be taken care of. 

I want to talk about Wilson.  I mean, Wilson, is he creating an image problem for the Republicans?  Because first he apologizes.  Then he fund raises on it.  Now he‘s saying he won‘t back down.  What‘s the image here?  I mean, the level of sincerity—the bar is pretty low right now, wouldn‘t you say? 

CHRISTIE:  I don‘t think so.  If we‘re going to go tit for tat for members, I‘d look at Representative McDermott and Bonior and the other gentleman who went over to Baghdad, and went on enemy territory to denounce the United States.  Look at Charlie Rangel. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘re talking about a personal insult here, calling the president a liar, and then apologizing, and then continuing on, saying he‘s not going to back down. 

CHRISTIE:  OK.  If you want to go down that road, Ed, I‘d say fine.  You look at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Harry Reid went on “Meet the Press” when Mr. Russert was still with us, and accused President Bush of not only being a liar but a loser.  He said that on national television.  He had the opportunity about a year later to apologize, and he said I shouldn‘t have called him a loser, but I still stand by calling him a liar. 

SCHULTZ:  You‘re right about that, Ron.  But he was saying that Bush was lying about the facts.  Now, if Mr. Wilson is saying—


SCHULTZ:  No, that‘s the fact. 

CHRISTIE:  I have a very strong contention, Ed, with the facts as I said to you.  Congressman Heller from Nevada had an amendment that he offered in the Ways and Means Committee that would have ensured the same strongholds and enforcement mechanisms for Medicare and welfare would be put to make sure, absolutely certain that we wouldn‘t have illegal aliens receiving benefits under the health bill.  It was shot down.

SCHULTZ:  The consensus on the GOP claim that the House bill would use dollars to provide insurance to illegal immigrants, that is false., false. 

CHRISTIE:  I read 

SCHULTZ:  The Associated Press has said that it‘s wrong.  You know they‘re not going to get it, Ron.  Why do you do that?  The president flat-out said it‘s not going to happen.  You‘re saying the president doesn‘t have any credibility. 

CHRISTIE:  I‘m saying the president absolutely has zero credibility, Ed.  You know I love you, buddy.  But I tell you, I read, and I encourage your viewers to do the same.  They specifically said the Republicans have an issue here, because Congressman Heller from Nevada specifically had his amendment defeated on party lines that would have put the enforcement mechanism in. 

SCHULTZ:  It is not in the bill, Ron. 

CHRISTIE:  That‘s exactly right.  It‘s not in the bill. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s not in the bill.  The Republicans right now are making the argument—it‘s kind of like the prevent defense, how I started the show tonight.  You want to prevent?  OK.  If it‘s not in the bill, you want to put something in there to prevent it?  Put it in there.  Put the language in there.  But the fact is the money is not going to be going to illegal aliens for health care. 

CHRISTIE:  I say to you, Ed, if, in fact, the Democrats are right—and they‘re so certain that the money won‘t go to illegal aliens—what‘s wrong with putting a safe guard and a trigger mechanism there to ensure that won‘t happen? 

SCHULTZ:  You know what?  If you did, you would finally be involved in the process.  Ron, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your discussion. 

For more, let‘s turn to our panel.  Stephanie Miller, syndicated radio talk show host, is with us tonight.  Also, Jeff Santos, radio host on WWZN, and streaming on  And also Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and author of the book “The Ten Big Lies About America.” 

Well, not to take a shot at your title there, Michael, but we could probably add a few more to that.  Why did you stop at ten?  All right.  Jeff Santos, I want your response to what Ron Christie is saying tonight about this. 

JEFF SANTOS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  This is ridiculous.  The fact is that Wilson and the majority of the Republicans are anti-Latino.  They‘ve been losing the Latino vote.  They‘re going to continue to do it with this kind of anti-immigrant perspective. 

Look, they‘re anti-human.  Every European country takes care of immigrants, regardless.  They don‘t have to check in and say, hey, I‘m a German.  I‘m a British person.  They take care of them.  It‘s embarrassing that we‘re the only country in the western world that does not have a health care system.  Embarrassing. 

The Republicans are behind the times once again. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael Medved, illegal immigrants are covered under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, signed by President Reagan in 1986.  Sort it out for us.  What‘s your argument? 

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Look, the question is not whether illegals are going to get emergency treatment.  They do.  That is a humanitarian matter.  It‘s very expensive, by the way.  That‘s why I really think it‘s important to separate as much as we possibly can the problem of illegal immigration from the problem of health care. 

The point that Ron Christie was making was exactly right.  If you really do want to make sure the president is telling the truth, and that no illegals are going to get health insurance paid for by the government, then put in an enforcement mechanism.  Why would you object to that? 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m not objecting to anything.  I‘m taking the president‘s word and I‘m reading the bill.  There‘s nothing in there that says illegal aliens are going to get coverage with federal dollars that are going to health care.  It‘s clear as can be, Michael.

MEDVED:  Totally true.  By the way, Joe Wilson was way out of line.  He‘s not a hero.  It was rude.  I was there.  Republicans cringed.  I talked to a member of the Republican leadership who said to me after the president‘s speech that he would like to remove some parts of Joe Wilson‘s anatomy. 

SCHULTZ:  Stephanie Miller, what do you make of the Republicans responses the other night? 

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Please.  Listen, I wanted to yell liar when Ron Christie was talking, but I didn‘t, Ed, out of respect for you and the forum here.  Look, Ed, guess what?  Leprechauns and Unicorns also are not specifically mentioned in the bill not getting health insurance.  This is such a ridiculous argument.  As you said, every non-partisan fact-checking organization said that what Joe Wilson said is a complete lie. 

You are not entitled to your own set of facts.  So not only was it completely rude and just unheard of in that body, and against, by the way, Congressional rules, he absolutely could have ameliorated this by giving an apology on the floor of the House, as he should have. 


SCHULTZ:  Michael, do they have an image problem right now, the way they‘re acting? 

MEDVED:  Look, I think it goes too far when President Obama—I thought President Obama spoke beautifully today at the Pentagon.  I want to go on the record as saying that.  He spoke for me as an American.

SCHULTZ:  I‘m asking you about the Republican party and the image they‘re portraying right now. 

MEDVED:  I think it‘s a problem.  I‘ll tell you, Ed—and this is—

I think it‘s a problem for our party when we attack the president when he calls for national service on September 11th

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, Stephanie, Michael and Jeff, thank you.  We‘ll have you back for sure. 

Next up, the religious right reacts to President Obama‘s speech.  Conservative Catholic Bill Donohue says bringing up abortion would have been, quote, the manly thing to do.  Attacking the president‘s manhood?  That sounds like something Jesus would do?  Question mark.  I‘ll talk to Mr. Donohue about the Christian right‘s objection to health care coming up in my playbook coming up.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  In my playbook, the other night, the president talked about how this is a moral issue for America and he wants this to move forward, based on that and among other things.  How is the Christian community receiving all of this? 

Joining me now is Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League and author of a new book, “Secular Sabotage.”  I‘ve never met you.  Nice to meet you.


SCHULTZ:  You go at it when you get out. 

DONOHUE:  Two brawlers on the stage.

SCHULTZ:  Here we go.  Here we go.  The president says it‘s a moral issue to cover every American.  Do you agree with that? 

DONOHUE:  Absolutely.  I‘ll go further than that.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to my mind, has been the most vociferous and logical supporter for the longest time on universal health care.  They will support this bill.  They have not said they‘re against it.  They want to make certain, though, that you‘ve got to close the door on this question of abortion.  If we get abortion out of the bill, and we have health care protection, the Catholic community will be on board. 

SCHULTZ:  The president did mention abortion the other night, and you challenged him before.  You wanted him to talk about it.  He did.  He said no money is going to fund abortions.  Are you comfortable with that? 

DONOHUE:  No, I‘m not.  I‘ll tell you why.  The “New York Times” even yesterday had a strong editorial endorsing him.  Then, in their fact check, disagreed with him on that.  AP, you just mentioned them on the air.  They looked at it,, “Time Magazine.”  Forget about all them.  Maybe they‘re all wrong.

How do you explain Mike Enzi, Orrin Hatch, Bart Stupak, Sam Johnson, Eric Cantor and Joe Pitts?  Every one of them put an amendment out on the floor to get abortion out.  Why would you have an amendment to get something out if it isn‘t in there?  By the way, they lost. 

SCHULTZ:  Is the president lying to the American people the other night when he said there‘s not going to be any money to fund abortions?  That‘s what he flat out said.  It was a direct statement. 

DONOHUE:  If he‘s saying—if it‘s interpreted that he said that in HR3200, there‘s no provision for abortion, then he‘s simply wrong.  If the one he puts his imprimatur on, I‘ll give him the benefit of the doubt.  I put out a statement today, and said, all right, let‘s keep an open mind about this. 

SCHULTZ:  But the Hyde Amendment provides for abortions in case of rape, incest, or life of the mother. 

DONOHUE:  We‘re not talking about that. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s there.  Some federal money is already there.  But the president is saying there‘s not going to be any new federal money going to it. 

DONOHUE:  Then he has to disagree with all the people who vetoed the actual amendment in his party by all the guys I just mentioned to take abortion out of it.  I mean, he can‘t have it both ways.  It‘s either in there or not.  This man has a track record of being a very strong supporter of abortion through term. 

SCHULTZ:  Choice. 

DONOHUE:  We‘ll see. 

SCHULTZ:  He‘s a supporter of choice. 

DONOHUE:  We‘re not talking about choosing between chocolate and strawberries.  We‘re talking about killing a kid. 

SCHULTZ:  No, we‘re talking about a woman choosing what to do with her body, and the government not telling her what to do. 

DONOHUE:  We‘re not talking about warts.  We‘re talking about children. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s reproductive rights. 

DONOHUE:  This is Orwellian. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Well, it‘s not Orwellian.  We have laws.  You had the White House, the House and the Senate.  You didn‘t turn it over.  You didn‘t even make an attempt to turn it over.  It‘s always been a wedge issue.  So now it‘s Obama‘s problem? 

DONOHUE:  First of all, I‘m not a Republican.  Let‘s get that straight.  All I am simply saying is this, Obama should come out and say, I agree with all the people who want the amendments out there to get abortions out of.  I‘m not going to sign anything like that. 

SCHULTZ:  You are supporting the president on preexisting conditions, and also not denying coverage.  If you‘ve got coverage, insurance companies can‘t cut you. 

DONOHUE:  Right.  I also the think the language about death panels—

SCHULTZ:  You‘re with him. 

DONOHUE:  -- hyperbole.

SCHULTZ:  Say that? 

DONOHUE:  It‘s all hyperbole.  We looked into it.  There are no death panels. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you.

DONOHUE:  Just get the abortion out and you‘ll get the Catholics in. 

SCHULTZ:  Are you a Patriots‘ fan? 

DONOHUE:  I‘m a Giants fan and a Steelers fan. 

SCHULTZ:  Played well last night.  Mr. Donohue, my pleasure.  Come back and let‘s do it again.  Thanks so much. 

Up next, Club Ed with Liz Winstead.  Now, Liz‘s mom has been brain-washed by the right.  She keeps talking about socialized medicine.  I‘m going to try to get her back from the dark side.  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  It‘s Friday, and that means it‘s time for Club Ed with Liz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” and the brains behind “Wake Up World.”  Liz joining us from the great state of Minnesota tonight, where the president‘s going to be tomorrow holding a rally.  So I‘ll be anchoring tomorrow between 1:00 and 3:00 on MSNBC. 

Liz has been talking to us constantly about, you know, counseling her mother, trying to get her over to the good side.  I‘m curious, Liz.  I know you had some conversations with her.  Did the speech the other night have any impact on mom? 

LIZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”:  Ed, it had zero impact on her.  I was like—I have been listening to her rhetoric over and over and over.  Just to give you an idea of who my mom is, she‘s 88 years old.  She‘s half deaf and watches Fox News, which means she gets half of half of the truth. 

Now, she has had her five children try to explain to her that when she watches Fox, she doesn‘t get the truth.  We can‘t get it out of her.  I actually videotaped her last night to show you what I‘m talking about.  Here‘s my mother‘s take on Medicare and socialized medicine. 


WINSTEAD:  What is it that you think is the scariest part of health care reform? 

GINNY WINSTEAD, LIZ‘S MOM:  Well, socialized medicine.  I have enjoyed Medicare.  I know there‘s a lot of waste in it.  Socialized medicine does scare me.  The government taking over that worries me.  Social Security has been screwed up and so has Medicare and the Post Office and so many things run by the government, that it scares me. 


SCHULTZ:  You know, Liz, she‘s got all the bullet points down.  I mean, everything‘s just so terrible.  Come on, now. 

WINSTEAD:  I know.  She‘s been spoon fed.  Here‘s the deal.  It‘s clear—her five rational children can‘t convince her.  My nephew‘s getting married tomorrow a half a block away from where President Obama is speaking.  I am imploring President Obama to come to the wedding and talk to my mom, one-on-one.  It‘s a half a block away.  Please come.  The only death panel that‘s going to happen is going to be her five children trying to get her to shut up about the death panel. 

He needs to come and talk to her.  I‘m freaking out.  Ed, she doesn‘t listen to rational news.  Listen to what she says about you. 


WINSTEAD:  Where do you get your news? 

G. WINSTEAD:  I get my news mostly from cable on TV. 

WINSTEAD:  Do you watch MSNBC? 

G. WINSTEAD:  Never. 

WINSTEAD:  Do you watch Ed Schultz? 

G. WINSTEAD:  Only when my daughter‘s home.  And that‘s just to see how her hair looks or if she looks good. 


SCHULTZ:  Liz, you look great.  Your hair looks fantastic.  So mom is happy. 

WINSTEAD:  President Obama, come and save me.  You can find me. 

You‘re the president.  Come and save me. 

SCHULTZ:  Liz Winstead, I have to ask you before you leave us, quickly, what do you make of this Wilson dude at the speech the other night, and kind of called out the president? 

WINSTEAD:  Well, you know, is he the same Wilson that played the basketball on the Tom Hanks movies?  I think he was.  I think he is the same Wilson.  As I said, Wilson!  Join the Wilson ticket.  That‘s what I keep saying.

SCHULTZ:  Liz, great to see you.  Have a great weekend.  Thanks for joining us again on a Friday. 

WINSTEAD:  Thank, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

Earlier in the show, I asked you what you thought.  How do you think most Republicans are feeling about Congressman Joe Wilson‘s outburst?  Thirty two percent of you say embarrassed; 68 percent of you say emboldened. 

Dave Schultz, eight under, 63 today.  Way to go, buddy.  In third place at the Nationwide.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “HARDBALL” is next with Chris Matthews.  Have a great weekend.



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