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'The Ed Show' for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Bob Casey, Brian Bilbray, Leo Gerard, Robert Greenwald, James Rubin, Michael Medved, Bill Press, Jack Rice

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW on MSNBC tonight.

Here‘s some new material.  The public option is now responsible for unemployment and the never-ending war in Afghanistan.  That‘s the newest righty talking point. 

Here‘s Minority Whip Eric Cantor this afternoon on that. 


REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, MINORITY WHIP:  Health care in this building has now made it so that we cannot seem to get anything else done.  We have got burning issues out there in this country. 

First and foremost is the fact that Americans want to see job security return.  They want to see economic security return.  But somehow we‘re unable to deliver on that because of the intransigence on the majority‘s part on even discussing ways for us to agree on health care. 

We have got serious, serious challenges as far as Afghanistan is concerned.  That‘s being clouded by the rigidity with which the majority hangs on to HRR-3200 and the imposition of a public option. 


SCHULTZ:  There‘s just so much to do.  We can‘t do it. 

Eric Cantor‘s suggestion that if the public option were off the table, heck, all the Republicans, they would be on board with health care reform, another lie.  The Republicans want one thing—do not forget this, my friends—and that is failure.  They will blame the public option until the public option is dead, and then they‘ll blame something else. 

They want to dismantle reform.  They‘ll never work with the Democrats on this. 

Now, here‘s another dandy from Mr. Cantor, himself, just a couple of days ago.  The congressman holding one of his—well, his only health care town hall in the state of Virginia.  A woman named Patricia Churchill stood up and told this story. 

Here it is. 


PATRICIA CHURCHILL:  I have a very close relative, a woman in her early 40s, who did have a wonderful, high-paying job, owns her own home, and was a real contributing member of society.  She lost her job.

Just a couple of weeks ago she found out that she have tumors in her belly and that she needs an operation.  Her doctors told her that they are growing and she needs to get this operation quickly.  She has no insurance. 

CANTOR:  I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there, because if we look at the uninsured right now, there is probably 23 percent, 24 percent of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program.  Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care. 


SCHULTZ:  That is a classic, my friends.  Did you get all of that? 

A woman‘s got stomach issues.  She‘s got cancer.  She needs surgery now. 

This is a classic, because when you present the Republicans and the obstructionists with a real-life scenario, they don‘t have an answer.  They‘re still talking percentages. 

How would you like to be in the percentage where you‘re left out? 

You‘re just SOL?  That‘s their reform.  That‘s their answer. 

You know, they‘re great at holding up the socialism, the communism, the Marxism, all kinds of “isms,” but they don‘t have an answer for that woman.  She‘s just at the wrong spot at the wrong time, and we‘ve got to talk about the redistribution of wealth. 

You know, I was watching the U.N. coverage today here on MSNBC, and all the speeches that were given, and they took a wide shot of all the different diplomats and leaders of the countries that were there.  And I wish I had gone over there with a camera and done an international man on the street or leader on the street and asked them if they do health care in their country the way we do it here. 

But I know the answer.  It‘s no.  We like to butcher people who have got cancer that don‘t fall in the correct percentage point. 

So here‘s my point.  Americans, you can‘t trust Eric Cantor.  Cantor‘s response speaks volumes about how inept the Republicans are and how they are simply not solution-based. 

Charity?  Is that what he said?  This woman can‘t get a government program.  She‘s in her early 40s. 

She‘s too young for Medicare.  She doesn‘t qualify for Medicaid.  But there‘s always charity.  Or, what the heck?  You can go to the hospital and plead your case and say, you know, “I‘m broke.”

Cantor should know that there‘s no such thing as a free lunch in health care.  The hospital passes the costs on to the other patients, or they pass it on to the insurance companies, and then they pass it on to you and me in some form of a higher premium.  And that‘s how the hell we got started in this whole debate in this country in the first place about health care reform. 

Hold it right there.  The Republicans lie.  They want to see you dead. 

They‘d rather make money off your dead corpse. 

They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don‘t have anything for her.  That‘s how the insurance companies make money, by denying the coverage. 

My God, Democrats, what‘s wrong with you?  You can‘t deal with these people at all.  But it‘s socialism.  But it‘s about taxes.

Let‘s get to the larger issue here.  Cantor thinks that there are more important issues than a life or death thing for that woman.  You know, there‘s the pressing issue of amendments over on the Senate side that he hasn‘t said anything about like, hey, man, let‘s go after ACORN.  What do you say we don‘t make sure we don‘t have czars in health care reform? 

The folks on the Senate Finance Committee, they don‘t get it either.  Here‘s Senator Olympia Snowe asking, for what?  The September stall, stall, stall again. 


SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE ®, FINANCE COMMITTEE:  If it takes two more weeks, then it takes two more weeks.  I mean, we‘re talking about trillions of dollars in the final analysis. 

I do not understand it.  What is the rush?  What is happening in two weeks? 

Is there something happening in two weeks that we cannot wait?  Is it the Columbus Day recess?  What is it?  Because I‘m not quite clear. 

I want to do my job, and our job is to sit here and do it as long as it takes. 


SCHULTZ:  Do it and watch people die.  That‘s the Republican way.  Why can‘t we delay? 

Senator Snowe, what part of this didn‘t you get? 


CHURCHILL:  She has tumors in her belly and she needs an operation.  Her doctors told her that they are growing and that she needs to get this operation quickly.  She has no insurance. 


SCHULTZ:  Two weeks matters a lot. 

Now, Olympia Snowe, I‘m not wishing bad on you at all, but if you get cancer in your stomach, Senator Snowe, what I would like you to do is wait two weeks to see a doctor.  Huh?  You‘re telling them to suck it up. 

This is a moral issue.  We‘ve got to act on this now.  There has got to be a cure for this woman in the greatest country on the face of the earth. 

Are we the greatest country on the face of the earth when it comes to health care?  I don‘t buy that.  I think we can do a lot better. 

And here‘s what the Republicans and all the righty talkers and all these psycho talkers on TV do.  What they do is they play to your fears as if somebody is going to come take something from you. 

The president of the United States is trying to make it right.  And the Republicans are fighting him tooth and nail on this. 

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

Should the Senate Finance Committee delay a vote on health care reform?  Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

A note about the Senate Finance Committee.  They‘re going to take a break for dinner, and then they‘re going to come back and they‘re going to vote on some more amendments.  One of them, an amendment today, was to delay the vote. 

They wanted to delay the vote.  Thank God we won that one 12-11. 

There probably will be a vote on Friday to stay on schedule there. 

Now, my passion on this just continues to grow and boil when I hear stories like that.  What would you say to that woman if she was your next-door neighbor, hey, when‘s the funeral, what cemetery do you want?  Or would you like to go next door to her and say, you‘ve got some hope, you‘ve got a chance at life?  Because there is something for you, even though you lost your job and even though you‘ve got cancer, this great country that those guys on Omaha beach died for and those guys in the big one in WW II over in the Asian theatre died for. 

They never thought America would be like this.  But you know what? 

The righties tell us, well, they support the troops. 

It is so convoluted.  It is so wrong.  This is not the country that I grew up in.  And I‘m willing to pay more. 

I‘m in the top two percent.  And let me remind all you wonderful viewers this: all of the people on this network, all of the people on all the other networks, all of the people that work in New York on TV, they have health care.  They have health care. 

And if they get cancer, they got nothing to worry about because they‘re going to get treated.  But when you bring a real-life scenario to the Republican leadership in the form of a Cantor or a Boehner, you know what they do?  They talk percentages with that woman with that problem. 

And how do you think her family feels?  Do they feel very patriotic when they hear that?  Do they feel better about America when they hear that that‘s the way it is?  Do you think they would like to be in that long line in Canada, if there really is a long line in Canada?

When are we as a nation and when are the Democrats as an organization going to stand up and say, you know, we‘ve done a lot of things right as a country, but this is the one thing we got screwed up, this for-profit stuff is a bad deal?  We‘ve got people dying.  In fact, we play percentages with them.  There‘s a party out there that wants to give you a number, and if you‘re in line, you‘re in line. 

I know we‘re better than this.  And I‘m not afraid of Hitler.  And I‘m not afraid of socialism.  And I‘m not afraid to make a change.

And I would rather be called all the names in the world and communicate with that lady and her family, knowing that she got help, and stand up and say, I think the guys that were on Omaha Beach that sacrificed their life for this country, I think that‘s the kind of America they would want.

Joining me now is Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.  He‘s a member of the Senate HELP Committee.

Senator, good to have you with us tonight.

SEN. BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Thanks, Ed.  Good to be with you. 

Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  I‘m looking for language in all of the Republican proposals on what will stop the gouging, because the big issue now is, you, the Democrats, you want to get a bipartisan agreement.  OK, all right.  I‘ll accept that.

You want to work with them.  I get that.  But I‘m looking for language in all of the Republican bills, and I don‘t see anything that deals with the constant gouging and the denial of (INAUDIBLE) for the American people to address this scenario that we just played out here on this show. 

If there‘s something I‘m missing, Senator, I‘ll give you the rest of the show to explain it.

CASEY:  No, Ed, you raise a great point.

First of all, there‘s no sense of urgency with Republican politicians on this issue.  There just isn‘t, and especially when you hear what Congressman Cantor just said. 

There‘s no sense of urgency, and there‘s also no credible counterproposal to what we‘ve been talking about for months -- 44,230 people every single week lose their coverage.  And you hear this, well, let‘s think about it some more.  There‘s no sense of urgency, no sense of common purpose to get this done. 

When I hear people on the Republican side of the aisle in Washington talking about, we‘ve got to focus on the economy, I don‘t know where they‘ve been.  We passed a recovery bill that‘s working already and not a single House Republican voted for it.  And now they want to talk about who‘s working on the economy. 

Health care, unfortunately, right now is the driver of our long-term national debt.  We have got to make sure that we address this now, not only for people that you just highlighted—and I hear it every day of the week.  I sat in my office yesterday with a woman from Pennsylvania who had a similar story, has a very urgent medical need, and she can‘t get the kind of coverage even with—even under the umbrella of some kind of an insurance policy. 

This is—the sense—or the lack of a sense of urgency on their side is appalling.  And they have to be able to tell the American people, what are you going to do to make sure that insurance companies are not denying people coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or gouging them of out-of-pocket costs, or preventing people from getting mammograms, or paying exorbitant prices for that, or putting lifetime caps on your coverage? 

And they don‘t seem to have answers.  They want to talk about the politics of Washington instead of talking about what real families are facing today, not years from now. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Casey of Pennsylvania, I have got one final question I want to ask you tonight.  What about the timing of this? 

The Republicans over on the Senate Finance Committee, today, they wanted to draw it out another couple of weeks.  What‘s your counter to that?  I mean, can we have a timetable here? 

CASEY:  We‘ve been—Ed, you know better than I.  We‘ve been debating this issue for decades.  We‘ve been debating it intensively, at least since the early 1990s. 

We have got to get a bill done now, and that means in the next couple of weeks.  The Finance Committee has worked, and I appreciate the fact they‘ve tried to be bipartisan.  We have to move and get this done. 

And we can do it because we proved it in the Health, Education, Labor, Pensions Committees.  We got a bill out of our committee in the middle of July.  They can get it done in this window.  They can have the estimates on cost that they need.

We can do this.  We know what works.  And I don‘t think we should delay it any longer. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Casey, great to have you on.  Keep up the fight. 

Thanks so much.

CASEY:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  For more, let me turn back to the House side for just a moment—Congressman Brian Bilbray from California, Republican. 

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY ®, CALIFORNIA:  Great to be with you tonight. 

SCHULTZ:  I want solutions, and I want a fair conversation.  Mr.  Cantor, who‘s in a leadership role for the Republicans in your party, stood up and basically told this woman to go get charity and to go find a government program.  And she doesn‘t have either one. 

So do the Republicans have a solution for this? 

BILBRAY:  Ed, look, I‘m somebody who worked on the Safety Net for the county of San Diego, three million people.  There is solutions.  But one of the biggest challenges we have is, as we talk back and forth, what have we done in Washington to reduce the cost, the waste, the fraud?  We talk about we‘re going to do it, but we really haven‘t been willing to do the heavy lifting of actually proving that we can manage these things and eliminate the fraud and waste that exists now.

SCHULTZ:  I don‘t disagree with you on that, Congressman.  But that woman stood up and asked the Republican leadership a question, and she was told to go get a charity.  Now, is that what the Republicans are telling Steny Hoyer when Steny says, hey, come on in and let‘s work together on this?  Is that what‘s being said? 

BILBRAY:  Absolutely not.  In fact, we know that there are a whole lot of services out there that aren‘t being tapped into.  But the real big problem is the fact that both sides aren‘t willing to tell their buddies that, look, insurance companies, trial lawyers, you guys have got to give up some of your profits so that we can afford to have the type of health care that the American people would like to have. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you on tonight.  I appreciate your time.  Thanks so much. 

BILBRAY:  Thank you very much. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, two of my favorite warmongers, John McCain and Condi Rice.  Once again they‘re trying to scare us into staying in Afghanistan.  Award-winning filmmaker Robert Greenwald joins me at the bottom of the hour. 

Also, “The Beckster,” he‘s back in “Psycho Talk.”  I don‘t think he‘s playing with a full deck.  Now he‘s saying our country might not survive Obama‘s presidency.  That is definitely going to earn him a trip into the zone tonight.  It‘s an encore performance. 

And President Obama just took the world stage today and stared down the leaders of the world, Ahmadinejad, Gadhafi and Chavez.  Former assistant secretary of state Jamie Rubin will tell us how did the president do today?  Was he tough enough? 

That‘s coming up in my “Playbook.”

Stay with us.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The G-20 Summit kicks off this week in Pittsburgh.  President Obama is going to be going face to face with the Chinese president just weeks after the president ordered a 35 percent tariff on tire imports from China.  The tariff was a victory for labor unions like the United Steelworkers, who finally seem to have a friend in the White House and Obama.  But the backlash was quick from free traders worried about protectionism. 

For instance, “The Chicago Tribune” editorialized, “These tariffs will not bring our jobs home.  If anything, they might prompt some manufacturers to move lower-end tire production from China to countries that don‘t face U.S. tariffs.”

And “The New York Times” wrote that the president of the United Steelworkers, Leo Gerard, is “often viewed as the number one scourge of free traders.”

Well, I support that.  I support that scourge and all the millions of Americans that are going to be affected by this.  In fact, I‘m going to bring him in right now.

Leo Gerard, the president of the Steelworkers, with us tonight.

Hey Scrooge, how are you doing, buddy? 

LEO GERARD, PRESIDENT, United STEELWORKERS:  I‘m the voice of Christmas past. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Now, what do you expect out of President Obama, Mr.

Gerard, at the G-20 when he goes face to face with the Chinese leaders? 

GERARD:  Well, I think that this will be a very minor issue.  It‘s a small issue in the faces of the global economic collapse that we‘re still in.  And what I hope President Obama does is talk about jobs, jobs, jobs. 

We actually have a real unemployment rate in America of close to 17 percent, with people that are unemployed looking for work, people that have given up work, and people that are underemployed.  I want him to talk about jobs.  I want them to talk about green jobs.  And I started talking, Ed, about brown jobs, retrofitting our buildings, retrofitting our industries, putting people back to work. 

What we need to do is have green jobs, brown jobs, put people back to work.  And we can‘t let the bankers push us back, because there is no economic recovery for workers. 

I just finished a meeting this morning with trade union leaders from those 20 countries.  Not one of them said that there was job growth happening in their country. 

SCHULTZ:  So we‘ve got this world issue.  So here comes President Obama, fighting for the American workers.  This move on the Chinese tires looks to be a level of protectionism, but it‘s not, because you filed a lawsuit in the WTO, through the rules that were there that China agreed to, and then they cheated on it and it and got caught.  And there was a ruling on that and the president stood behind you. 

But there‘s going to be more of these.  I mean, they cheat in a lot of areas.

So, how do you want the president to handle this? 

GERARD:  Look, I think we need to think about it very smartly.  We‘re the protectors of global trade.  I don‘t like to admit that because I don‘t like the global trading system.  But here is the analogy. 

We have got certain places along the highway where the speed limit is 55 or 60 miles an hour.  I‘ve got a brand new Buick.  I think my Buick can do 70 and still be safe.  If the police catch me speeding, I pay a ticket. 

Well, we‘ve got a global trading arrangement that‘s supposed to be a rules-based trading system.  If we catch someone cheating, whether it‘s a country or another company, then they get ticketed just like I would for speeding.  In this case, with the 421 case on Chinese tires, we caught them breaking the rules. 

We‘ve had case after case where we‘ve been able to show that China has agreed to enter into a rules-based trading system but breaks the rules day in and day out.  We shouldn‘t be called protectionists, they should be called violators of the rules. 

SCHULTZ:  They are that.

Mr. Gerard, good to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks so much.

GERARD:  My pleasure.  Thanks for being with me, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, “The Beckster” must have fallen off his garbage truck and bumped his head because he‘s trash-talking now, flat-out crazy.  His dark vision of the coming apocalypse is up next in “Psycho Talk.”  

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Oh, we‘ve got, I guess you could say the most publicized psycho talker in America in tonight‘s edition.  In fact, he was here last night.  It‘s “The Beckster.”

Now, today on his radio show he warned us what would happen if President Obama fulfills his campaign promises. 


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  The country may not survive Barack Obama.  Now, if he does fundamentally transform America, we‘re done.  We‘re done.  You don‘t have to worry about a 2012. 



SCHULTZ:  So, if Obama gets what he wants, we‘re done by 2012.  So, if everyone in America gets quality health care, we‘re finished.  If labor unions are protected and working Americans get to keep their jobs, we‘re through.  In fact, if we make the world a cleaner place to live for our kids in the next generation, somehow that really is going to ruin us. 

Come on, Glenn. 

Now, remember, “The Beckster” got himself into “Psycho Talk” yesterday by saying this...


BECK:  How about this?  I think John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama.  How‘s that? 


SCHULTZ:  So, if McCain would be worse than Obama, and if under Obama we‘re going to cease to exist by 2012, does that mean if McCain were president we‘d all be toast by 2010? 

What a load of “Psycho Talk.” 

Coming up, Eric can‘t get anything done Cantor is unbelievable.  After the Republicans drag out the health care debate, he‘s got the nerve to start complaining, it‘s taking to long. 

Plus, the righties can‘t stop fear mongering.  McCain says if we pull out of Afghanistan quickly, it puts our troops in danger.  Condi Rice says it will lead to another attack on U.S. soil.  Robert Greenwald, exclusive video from Afghanistan, is going to set them both straight in just a moment.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The crowd that brought us the war in Iraq, they‘re back for more.  Now they want a surge in Afghanistan.  It‘s the usual suspects, McCain, Condi, and our old friend Joe Lieberman.  And the same old line, the war is the only way to keep us safe.  They didn‘t even change the script.  Take a listen. 


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  We need additional troops.  And the longer we wait and delay, the more Americans will be put at risk unnecessarily. 

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE:  Our national security interests are very much tied up in not letting Afghanistan fail again and become a safe haven for terrorists.  It‘s that simple.  If you want another terrorist attack in the United States, abandon Afghanistan. 

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT:  When we sent more troops in, we turned it around.  Iraq is now rising up on its own.  Now people support the war in Iraq and it‘s a much lesser concern.  We‘re capable of doing that in Afghanistan.  If we don‘t, the Taliban and al Qaeda will be back there from which they struck us on 9/11. 


SCHULTZ:  We‘ve heard it all before.  Joining me now is Robert Greenwald, director of the Brave New Films production “Rethink Afghanistan.”  Robert, good to have you back with us tonight. 


SCHULTZ:  Before we start our discussion, I do want to play this exclusive excerpt that you have made available to us in exchange here.  Here it is. 


OBAMA:  Focusing on what our original goal was, which was to get al Qaeda, the people who killed 3,000 Americans. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Al Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan.  They‘re not in Kandahar.  They are not out in the desert.  They are not in any part of Afghanistan.  They‘ve moved.  But we are still fighting a war.  The enemy is not even there.  It‘s crazy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No al Qaeda at all in Afghanistan.  Is that an exaggeration, General Petraeus, or is that true? 

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, CENTCOM COMMANDER:  No, I would agree with that assessment. 

OBAMA:  To the extent that our strategy in Afghanistan is serving that goal, then we‘re on the right track.  If it starts drifting away from that goal, then we may have a problem. 


SCHULTZ:  And the last development, latest development on Afghanistan, today, General Petraeus has endorsed General McChrystal‘s request for more troops.  Mr. Greenwald, what do you make of all of this? 

GREENWALD:  Well, it was pretty clear that was going to happen.  I mean, when you go to the military, the military is going to ask for more troops.  You go to a surgeon, surgeon‘s going to say operate.  The sad thing, Ed, and the tragic thing is, having been in Afghanistan—and you go to the third poorest country in the world—they desperately need things, but they don‘t need to be occupied. 

They need jobs.  They need schools.  They need doctors.  They need teachers.  We could supply all those things, but we‘re not going to supply them and we‘re not going to make ourselves safer by going to a military solution.  We have, as you heard in the clip, CIA experts who talk about the fact that this is not a way to make us safer. 

In fact, you can argue, it‘s going to make us less safe by encouraging terrorism and alienating the population. 

SCHULTZ:  So the three politicians and the former secretary of state we heard setting up this clip, they‘re wrong.  What do they base their information on?  If we‘re not there with a troop surge, if we‘re not there with a heavy presence, that we‘re going to get hit again? 

GREENWALD:  I think it‘s religious belief in some supernatural idea that every problem is a military problem and, therefore, everything you solve it with a hammer.  I think that—you know, I don‘t now how you could get up in the morning, Ed, with those people who you heard clips from knowing the part that they played in the Iraq war and the number of lives lost and the billions of dollars, and they advocated for it, and here they are doing the same thing again.

I actually think, though, it‘s a very important moment, because the president is being pushed on the right by those.  And it‘s important that those of us who don‘t accept that speak up loud, and very clear and very strongly. 

SCHULTZ:  “Rethink Afghanistan.”  You‘ve got experts in there who say al Qaeda in not in Afghanistan.  Well, where are they for sure?  And why aren‘t we going after them there? 

GREENWALD:  Well, one of those experts is General Petraeus, who we used the quote from.  The reality is that Afghanistan—that al Qaeda is around the world in different place.  They have to be.  Again, progressives need to take a strong position about this, finding them, hunting them, capturing them. 

The way you do that is with international cooperation across countries.  They don‘t stop at a border.  The way you do that is working with police forces around the world.  That‘s where there‘s been the most success.  The notion that you go in and you occupy a country, and then people are going to cooperate with you?  It makes no fundamental sense, which is why we‘re so pleased to see that the president is rethinking the policy.  He‘s going to take a lot of heat for it.  It‘s an important time to do it. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Greenwald, your website, so folks can see “Rethink Afghanistan.”  What should they do?

GREENWALD:  They should go to  They can see the clips, which are free.  They can get the DVD.  We‘re having hundreds and hopefully thousands of screenings around the country.  And we‘re asking people to invite a member of the House or their senator to see the film and ask the questions.  How many troops, how much money, how long, what‘s an exit strategy? 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Robert Greenwald, great to have you with us tonight. 

Thanks so much. 

For more on this, let‘s bring in our panel, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Jack Rice, former CIA officer and radio talk show host, and also nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved, author of the book “The Ten Big Lies About America.”

Gentlemen, I want your take on the latest news this afternoon, that General Petraeus is endorsing the request for more troops by General McChrystal.  Michael, what do you think of that? 

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think that President Obama should take that more seriously than advice from Joe Biden.  The reports being that he‘s listening to the vice president rather than the military commanders in the field. 

Look, I think conservatives deserve credit for supporting the president on this.  One of the first things he did when he came into the White House was to send 20,000 more troops.  He also campaigned very clearly on more focus on Afghanistan. 

SCHULTZ:  But if al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan, why stay there?  Why send more troops?  It might be the wrong mission. 

MEDVED:  It‘s precisely the same reason President Obama gave during the campaign.  Because we went into Afghanistan, set up a new government, because al Qaeda was there originally, with the training camps.  And now to abandon that government under pressure would be disaster for the United States. 

SCHULTZ:  Jack Rice, how credible would Mr. Bair‘s information be at this point, as a former CIA expert? 

JACK RICE, FMR. CIA ADVISER:  I think it‘s quite credible.  The first thing we have to consider here is Iraq is not Afghanistan.  Afghanistan is a completely different animal.  If we turn around and assume that we roll more troops in, that‘s going to make a difference? 

Contemplate how much landscape we have to deal with.  We have to contemplate just the fact the Karzai government maybe questionable at best, illegitimate at worst.  Then we‘re trying to separate the question of Afghanistan.  I‘m thinking about this as a former CIA officer.  We have to separate this question of Afghanistan from Pakistan.  And we can‘t do that.  They must be looked at as a whole. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  The latest NBC/”Wall Street Journal” numbers are this: 51 percent of the American people oppose a troop surge in Afghanistan.  And also 66 percent of Democrats oppose Afghanistan troop surge.  Take us down that road, Bill Press.  What do you think? 

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think for Barack Obama, this is the toughest decision he‘s going to face if he‘s there eight years, Ed.  Look, I think this is his LBJ moment.  I wouldn‘t pay attention to the polls.  I would pay attention to what the strategy is and whether the strategy is working, were I President Obama. 

But he‘s either going to be remembered for delivering universal health care that‘s going to protect all Americans, or he‘s going to be remembered for delivering this country, taking this country into another unwinnable war. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill, let me ask you this.  We know, or at least it‘s been talked about by former Senator Bob Dole, that General Petraeus may have political ambitions.  Here he is calling for more troops.  Doesn‘t this box President Obama in, if that‘s the case? 

PRESS:  You know, the worst thing that could box him in, Ed, would be to take what the generals say and run with it.  That‘s what George Bush said.  He didn‘t think it out.  He didn‘t see whether the strategy was working.  He just kept sending young men and women to their deaths.  At least Barack Obama is stepping back and saying, wait a minute, before we go anywhere, is this strategy working? 

It‘s not working.  He‘s got to see that and shut it down. 

SCHULTZ:  What do—you‘re not agreeing with that, Jack Rice? 

RICE:  No, I absolutely agree.  The bottom line is you ad 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 more troops, it is not enough.  This is going to be a failed policy. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael?

MEDVED:  Then the president should have spoken about that in the campaign. 

SCHULTZ:  Things change.

MEDVED:  You become president and you take responsibility.  Part of taking responsibility means—we heard just a few weeks ago all the confidence he had in General McChrystal.  I think it will be a disaster for this country and this president—


SCHULTZ:  We had a president—we had a president that would not change strategy based on conditions.  And now we‘ve got one that will.  We‘ll see how it works out.  Gentlemen, stay with us.  We‘ve got you coming back. 

Coming up, the president changed a diplomatic playbook for delivering a blunt message to the world today.  Don‘t expect us to solve all your problems.  Former Assistant Secretary of State Jamie Rubin weighs in next.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, President Obama ran his first big play at the United Nations today with a speech to the General Assembly.  The president called for unity and cooperation among nations.  And he also made it clear that there was a new guy in the White House. 


OBAMA:  I have been in office for just nine months.  The time has come for the world to move in a new direction.  In Iraq, we are responsibly ending a war. 

We‘ve also reengaged the United Nations.  We have paid our bills. 

The old habits, the old arguments are irrelevant to the challenges faced by our people.  The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation. 


SCHULTZ:  Let me bring in Mr. James Rubin, adjunct professor, Columbia University, and former assistant secretary of state to the Clinton administration. 

JAMES RUBIN, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE:  Good to be with you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Olive branches, they are all over the place today.  Is that a good interpretation? 

RUBIN:  Absolutely.  This speech was President Obama‘s opportunity to show the ways in which things have changed.  We now have a president who‘s supporting international law, who believes in treaties to pursue arms control and non-proliferation, someone who wants to be a leader rather than stay out of the climate change problem, someone who has changed our policy on prisoners and torture. 

So he‘s taken all of these things over the last nine months that were things that the rest of the world criticized America for under President Bush.  And said, OK, the changes have come.  We‘ve moved in the direction many of you wanted.  Now—and this is where he‘s trying, I think, to get some more support from the rest of the world. 

OK, we‘ve made these change, but now all of you can‘t expect us to solve the world‘s problems.  You have to contribute.  You have to do your part, whether it‘s climate change, seeing China and some of the other countries make their contribution, whether it‘s non-proliferation, getting Russia and China to agree to punish those who won‘t abide by the non-proliferation treaty. 

He was cataloging all the ways in which this presidency is in sync with the rest of the world, but saying we need all of you to do your part. 

SCHULTZ:  And the president addressed North Korea and Iran.  Here it is. 


OBAMA:  The governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards.  If they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people, if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in north Asia and the Middle East, then they must be held accountable. 

The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty president. 


SCHULTZ:  Mr. Rubin, what‘s that mean?  Must be held accountable? 

RUBIN:  I think in this case what he‘s talking about are the consultations that have begun and will come to a head soon on Iran.  That is whether China, Russia, some friends in Europe, other countries that are going to realize that if Iran won‘t stop its enrichment or come to an agreement about nuclear enrichment activities, then there must be a price to be paid.  I think hold accountable—

SCHULTZ:  Sanctions? 

RUBIN:  Sanctions, and his—Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, has said crippling sanctions.  China and Russia, so far, have been reluctant to do that.  Today, we have a hint from the Russian president that they wouldn‘t rule out sanctions.  But I think it‘s going to be a long, long hard slog to get those countries to support us. 

SCHULTZ:  What about Mr. Gadhafi?  A 96-minute speech, rambled a lot.  He did refer to the president of the United States as our son.  Was that a strategic move to make opposition in this country nervous about the president? 

RUBIN:  That speech was, for people who follow the UN—they told me they‘ve never seen anything like it in 30, 40 years.  He had the Kennedy assassination in there.  He had conspiracy theories about 9/11.  The whole package of I guess you would have to say unusual diplomatic views. 

SCHULTZ:  Looked to me like he had a lot of bar notes on him.  He kept pulling out these bar notes and stuff.  This tent thing. 

RUBIN:  You know, it‘s a strange thing.  I live in New York.  New Yorkers can‘t decide sometimes whether they want to be the capital of the world and like the UN here or they want to be able to, you know, complain about the UN diplomats.  The fact is this guy lives in a tent.  And now some people in New York are trying to prevent him from putting it up.

Whenever you‘re dealing with Moammar Gadhafi, you‘re going to have some loony aspects. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.  James Rubin, good to have you with us. 

RUBIN:  Nice to see you.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, we‘ve got the gang warfare over health care.  Let‘s see, there‘s the gang of six.  Now we got a gang of seven.  Gang of 40 has done a lot of damage.  None of them can be trusted.  What we need is a gang of 60.  We‘ll stand that up to our panel next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 



SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER:  Who makes more money than anyone else in the health care field?  Insurance companies.  Right?  The people have been losing their jobs and losing their homes, losing their health care.  Insurance company profits continue to skyrocket. 


SCHULTZ:  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a rally with nurses today on Capitol Hill.  The insurance companies, obviously, gouging consumers.  He‘s got it right.  Public option is the only way to guarantee competition.  I just hope Reid is serious when he says he‘s willing to use reconciliation. 

Let‘s go to our panel on that tonight.  Bill Press, what‘s the downside of 51 people? 

PRESS:  Hey, listen, Ed, I think Harry Reid gave the best argument for single payer I‘ve heard in a long time.  What do you think? 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m all about it. 

PRESS:  Let‘s start over again.  Look, Ed, one more minute wasted in the Finance Committee—any minute spent in the Finance Committee is a minute wasted.  Republicans don‘t care.  They don‘t want health care reform.  Democrats have to realize that.  Go to reconciliation.  Get the strongest bill they can get, Democrats only, and put it on Obama‘s desk. 

SCHULTZ:  Jack Rice, what do you think?

RICE:  I totally agree.  You might as well not waste your time anymore.  I think they made it clear in the Senate Finance Committee right now.  They‘ve already decided.  The Republicans have no interest.  Notice, they have pulled the public option off the table, and they did not get one Republican who lined up with them. 

This is very clear now.  Drive forward, get the Democrats, line them up, and put this bill on the president‘s desk. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael Medved, in the town hall clip we showed earlier tonight, Mr. Cantor, one of the leaders of the Republicans over in the House, was confronted with a real-life scenario, woman has cancer, lost her job, doesn‘t have insurance, doesn‘t qualify for Medicare, Medicaid.  There‘s no program out there.  He told her to go get a program and check out charity. 

Now, do you go along with that?  Do you think the Republicans have to do a better job than that? 

MEDVED:  Absolutely.  I haven‘t heard the clip.  You know and I know, Ed, that there are 14 million people out there who don‘t have insurance right now, who are already eligible for Medicaid.  One of the things that Republicans support is an expansion of Medicaid eligibility.  There are—half the Republicans in the Senate are supporting that. 

So this is—this is clearly the point.  I mean, there‘s no question at all President Obama could go ahead and get his 51 votes in the Senate, and he can get his votes in the house.  The problem here is the economic recovery.  We are not in recovery yet.  There is still a recession out there.  Any hint of a recovery would be strangled in its cradle if we move forward with a radical expansion of government debt. 

PRESS:  Michael, with all due respect, you have it backwards.  Health care is the number one driver of our deficit today.  You cannot fix the economy without fixing health care.  It is bankrupting so—

MEDVED:  -- by spending more on it. 

PRESS:  Bankrupting businesses large and small. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt, got to fix it.  Gentlemen, I want to pose this to you, Jack Rice.  The point here is that when Mr. Cantor was delivered to him right there a real-life scenario, he didn‘t have an answer.  Go get a charity?  I mean, she‘s going to die of cancer.  She needs surgery.  This is one of the problems, I think, that the Republican party has.  When you ask them, what do you do for people like that, they come out with, hey, you‘re in a percentage.  Go get a charity. 

Why should the Democrats mess around with people like this? 

RICE:  There‘s no point.  The Republicans are the party of status quo.  They want nothing to happen.  They—I mean, they‘ve become the party of no.  The American people are looking for answers.  They‘re looking for results right now.  The Republicans have come up with nothing legitimate.  When you put them in a corner, they simply turn around and say, we‘ll get back to you.  And then they throw out a couple numbers.  Then they—

SCHULTZ:  Quickly, Michael Medved, do we really need more time?  The Senate Finance Committee voted on an amendment today to draw it out another couple weeks.  Do you really need more time? 

MEDVED:  When you‘re talking about changing one sixth of the American economy, yes, talking about more time to get more consensus is a good idea for the country. 

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, good to have you with us. 

Earlier, I asked our viewers what you thought.  Should the Senate Finance Committee delay a vote on health care reform?  Eight percent of you said yes; 92 percent of you said no, absolutely, drive it on and let‘s go.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to or check out our radio website at  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC.  



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