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'The Ed Show' for Friday, October 9, 2009

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guests: Ron Christie, Alan Grayson, Jack Jacobs, Mark Halperin, Joe Cirincione, Steven A. Smith, Jeremy Bird, Lizz Winstead

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW from Minneapolis tonight.  May I say, I‘m impressed?  Congratulations, Mr.  President.  But, of course, it didn‘t take long for the right wing idiots in this country to crank up the hate machine again.  In case you hadn‘t heard, the President of the United States has won the Nobel Peace Prize.  That happened today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee.  Let me be clear, I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

Throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement, it‘s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes, and that is why I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st Century.


SCHULTZ:  And, of course, there isn‘t one thing that this man can do that would make Conservatives stop the never ending stream of hate they push on this country.  He tries to shut down Gitmo, they say that he wants to put terrorists on American streets.  He loans money to the car industry, and, of course, they compare him to Adolf Hitler.  He tries to pass universal health care for all Americans, and the Conservatives, what do they do?  They show up at rallies loaded with guns and despicable signs.  He tries to get the Olympics, and the righties across America, heck, they‘re high-fiving, cheering for Rio because they won the doggone thing. 

I mean, they hate this guy because he‘s a Democrat, they hate him because he‘s a Liberal, and I‘m starting to think that they hate him because of the color of his skin.  And it‘s time somebody says that openly. 

The only people in the world that are condemning -condemning Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize are - let‘s see, Islamic terrorists, and the intellectual terrorists in the Republican Party.  I mean, there will be no bipartisan compromise on any issue until the haters merchants on the Right start acting like Americans again.  Are we against everything on the Right?

Face it, America, the world thinks Barack Obama is a tremendous guy, and you‘ll never hear that out of the Republicans.  He has a vision and it‘s not good enough for the Conservatives.

Here‘s the statement from the leader of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, today.  “The real question Americans are asking is, what has President Obama actually accomplished?”  Well, here‘s how the real leader of the Republican Party reacted to the news today.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO AND TELEVISION HOST:  He‘s basically emasculating this country and they applauded today with this award.  They love a weakened, neutered United States.  How can he confront a ruthless adversary as the winner of the Peace Prize?  He has been given the Peace Prize precisely so that he doesn‘t surge in Afghanistan, so that he doesn‘t take on Iran.

The Nobel Committee today just suicide bombed itself.  They destroyed themselves far more than we ever could with this - with this award.”


SCHULTZ:  Well, when this is all you can get from the Republican Party, it‘s no wonder that you see their undereducated followers show up with guns at town hall meetings.  This won‘t stop their greed that has turned to the ugliest kind of hate that we‘ve ever seen in this country in decades.  The greed will never stop.  The hate will never stop towards Obama from the Right, and it goes way beyond disagreeing about politics.

This underscores that the world understands that America - America, as a country, is trying to get away from the Conservative rule and misguided leadership we‘ve had over the last eight years. 

Get your cell phones out tonight, folks.  I want to know what you think about all of this.  Will Americans view President Obama‘s Nobel Peace Prize win as a good thing or a bad thing?  Text “A” for good, “B” for bad to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

All right.  Joining me now tonight is Republican Strategist Ron Christie.  Ron, good to have you with us tonight.

RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Ed, always nice to be with you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  You have said - you‘ve gone on record, saying that Obama getting the award is a serious joke.  Why is it a joke, Ron?

CHRISTIE:  Well, I think it‘s a serious joke, but I don‘t think it‘s a reflection of President Obama.  I think it‘s a reflection of the Nobel Peace Price Selection Committee.  The man had only been in office for 12 days, Ed.  The nomination deadline was February 1st.  He‘d been in office for 12 days. 

To look at the previous two presidents who were sitting in office when they received the award, Theodore Roosevelt, 1906 for mediating an end of the war with the Russians and the Japanese, and of course Woodrow Wilson for helping end World War I and the creation of the League of Nations, I sit there and think, how can these people, after President Obama has been in office for only 12 days, think that he‘s on the same stature level as those previous two sitting presidents in the office?

That‘s my problem with it.  It‘s a joke.

SCHULTZ:  So the - the process is what you‘re struggling with.  What about the response and the reasoning behind all of this, Ron Christie?  His extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples, his outreach to the Muslim world in attempts to curb nuclear proliferation - you think those kinds of things just don‘t measure up to this?

CHRISTIE:  No, Ed.  I don‘t have a problem with that.  I think it‘s important that the President‘s reaching out to different communities, different nations around the world, different peoples, and he is the President of the United States, and we have to respect him for that.

My beef and my problem, again, he hadn‘t done those things in the first 12 days, Ed.  My question is, why did they think after he had been in office for 12 days that he deserved to be nominated for such an honor, such a privilege, in the company of Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and - and whatnot after 12 days?  I just didn‘t see it.

SCHULTZ:  But, Ron, you can easily see the impact that this man had on the dialogue -the global dialogue about where we need to go in - in the human race, if I may put it that way, the response that he got overseas and all of the communication skills that he‘s got to bring people together and the acceptance after what we had been through going in - going into Iraq on false intelligence.

I mean, you know, I‘m not going to dispute the fact that, you know, there are others who may have a better resume when it comes to it, but when you look at their reasoning, only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world‘s attention and given its people hope for a better future.

CHRISTIE:  Well, it‘s.

SCHULTZ:  Why not accept - why not - why can‘t the Conservatives accept the fact that this man has grabbed the attention of the world and it‘s positive?

CHRISTIE:  Ed, I, as a Conservative, will tell you that he has captivated the world‘s attention.  I think there‘s no question about that.  But I don‘t think the Nobel Peace Prize should be an aspiration award of, well, you know, we think you‘re going to do great things.

Look back to 1997, they gave it to Yasser Arafat, for what they believed - he was going to be a man of peace and of course he turned out to be a terrorist.  I think that if they would have been wiser, let the president be in office for a couple of years, let the president try to mediate peace in the Middle East, let him try to draw down the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, let him accomplish some concrete and tangible benefits, Ed, before they give a man an award based on him having been in office for 12 days.

I just think that they made a mockery of their own process and think that people from now on are going to look and say, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King - Barack Obama?

SCHULTZ:  So what‘s the standard?  I mean, the standard is you‘ve got to be a leader for how long?  I mean, you‘re focusing on this 12 days.  I think we should point out, you know, Gorbachev was given the same award when he was in the process of perestroika.  I mean, the fact is Barack Obama has brought a great deal of sense of positive atmosphere towards the globe, his views on climate change and, of course, this is always accepted in a much more gracious manner and has much more foreign reaction than it does in the United States. 

But I do want to point out that it - it has been almost a sense of jealousy, today, on the part of the Republican Party, Ron.  I - I mean, why can‘t you just let this go?  It‘s - why - why use it as some political ladder to take down the President of the United States?  Where does that get you politically?

CHRISTIE:  Well, now, Ed, here‘s - you know, you and I always do find a way to end up agreeing.  Here‘s where I think it‘s a mistake.  I think it‘s a mistake for people to go after the president.  I don‘t agree with the award.  The president didn‘t believe that he accomplished enough.  I think it‘s a political mistake for people to attack him.

I think Senator McCain actually had it right today.  If the President of the United States has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, we as Americans should be privileged and we should be honored that our president had that award.  I don‘t agree with the selection committee, but I‘m not going to attack the president on this.  They had their selection criteria.  I respect the president, I respect the office of the president and I think those who attack him for this, it‘s a mistake.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Ron Christie, good to have you with us tonight. 

Appreciate your time.

For more on this, let‘s bring in Florida Congressman, Alan Grayson.  Congressman, good to have you on tonight.  Your response to the response of the Republican Party and how they‘ve been so negative and used this as a political ladder against the president - what do you think, Congressman?

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA:  I think I understand the disappointment.  They‘re not going to be winning the Nobel Peace Prize themselves any time soon, you know.  They probably wish that there were a Nobel Prize for fear, a Nobel Prize for hatred, a Nobel Prize for racism, you know, then they would be in the running.  But I don‘t think they‘re going to be winning the Nobel Peace Prize soon.

SCHULTZ:  This was you on the floor, talking about the president and just how much the people on this country on the Right are against him.  Here it is.


GRAYSON:  America understands that there‘s one party in this country that in favor of health care reform and one party that‘s against it, and the know why.  They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world, the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation.  They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace, they‘d blame him for destroying the defense industry.  In fact, they understand if that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon. 

But that‘s not what America wants.  America wants solutions to its problems, and.


SCHULTZ:  Congressman, I have to ask you, do you think that this story has got a life to it that may go on for weeks, that people are going to remember how the GOP has responded to the president winning the Nobel Peace Prize?  Will this hurt them even further, in your opinion?

GRAYSON:  I think it will hurt them terribly.  People are going to be embarrassed to be Republican before much longer.  They come up with their 12-day talking point, which makes no sense whatsoever.  There are over 200 nominees and the vote was actually taken quite recently. 

So we‘re talking about nine months of accomplishment, the change, the conversation that people are having all over the world about each other.  That‘s why he got the award, but they come up with their plausible lie about 12 days and they spread it as far and wide as they can.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, do you think that this is going to have an impact on the president‘s upcoming decision to commit more troops to Afghanistan?  What do you think?

GRAYSON:  I think I‘d like to see the president win three Nobel Peace Prizes.  He‘s already won one, now I‘d like to see one for Iraq and one more for Afghanistan.

SCHULTZ:  Do you - OK.  Obviously, you don‘t support the president committing any more troops there at all, but one thing is for sure, that they just won‘t stop on this president, will they?  And - and what should be the counterpunch?  I mean, you have been probably the most aggressive Progressive - aggressive Progressive that has been out there, firing back at Republicans.  Do you think that this is a strategy that the Democrats should take and maybe ratchet it up even a little bit more?

GRAYSON:  Well, sure.  I didn‘t know when I spoke last night, Ed, that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize.  That was announced this morning.  When I said on the floor of the House, if that if he brought about world peace, they would attack him for hurting the defense industry, I didn‘t know that it was going to happen today.  You know, I am often proved right, but usually not this quickly.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Grayson, good to have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW.   Thanks so much. 

GRAYSON:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, if Michele Bachmann wants me to stop talking about her, she‘s got to stop saying stupid stuff.  Wait until you hear what she‘s whining about now.  Having to read?  I‘ll show you that, coming up in “Psycho Talk.” 

Plus, Rush Limbaugh sure has been a busy guy as of late.  When he‘s not spewing hate or signing up for beauty pageants, he‘s trying to buy the St. Louis Rams, although, I guess the players don‘t want to play for him.  Stephen A. Smith, coming up on that.

Stay with us.  We‘re watching THE ED SHOW. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  President Obama held yet another meeting with his national security team today to discuss strategy options for the war in Afghanistan.  General McChrystal presented his recommendations to the group via video conferencing from Kabul. 

Now, we‘ve been talking about - in the past the general‘s request of about 40,000 more troops, but “The Wall Street Journal” reported today that he‘s given President Obama several different options, one which involves deploying 60,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan.  That would almost double the number currently that are there. 

Let me bring in MSNBC Military Analyst and Retired Army Colonel, Jack Jacobs.  Colonel, good to have you on tonight.  Where does this - how does this number of 60,000 troops strike you in all of this conversation?

COL. JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST:  Well, I - I was talking to a lot of people before the 40,000 number was released, and military people all along thought that the number was between 50,000 and 60,000, and even - I heard some folks talking about bringing the total footprint up to about 140,000. 

What‘s important, though, is not the number of troops but what they‘re going to do and what kinds of troops they are.  We do need some conventional forces, but we‘re also going to need lots of Special Forces and Special Operations Forces, intelligence assets, a lot of which we don‘t have there.

SCHULTZ:  Why 40,000, 60,000?  I mean, what would be different between the two?  You say it‘s a different kind of troops.  It would depend on what they would be doing, but we‘re in the midst of nation building, we‘re in the midst of trying to keep the Taliban, you know, from growing any more and - and to push them back, but also do a lot of human relations work.  Would this be in that area, you think?

JACOBS:  Well, possibly.  We got to remember that the president has not yet decided what strategy he‘s going to use, and - and there are two ways to look at this number of 60,000.  One is that it is based on, perhaps, another strategy that‘s already been proffered, that they‘re discussing an alternative strategy.  And the other possibility - and they‘re not mutually exclusive - is that there‘s some bargaining going on.

If he says 60,000, maybe he really needs 20,000 to 30,000, and that‘s the way to get them.  I mean, in the use of the military instrument of power, frequently there‘s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of exactly this type, especially in an election year.  So while the - General McChrystal might want a significantly larger number of troops, the president, thinking about the political aspects of it, may decide, no matter what the strategy is, may decide he wants far fewer and they‘ll strike a bargain in the middle.

Don‘t forget, by the way, that the President of the United States and

General McChrystal aren‘t the only players here.  There are congressmen and

senators who are weighing in, the Secretary of Defense, the National

Security Adviser as well.  So this is -

In the end, whatever is decided is going to be something of a compromise.

SCHULTZ:  Colonel, can 60,000 troops, an addition that would bring us well over 100,000 that would be there, in your military expertise, would that be enough to keep al Qaeda out of Afghanistan?

JACOBS:  I think if they were the proper kind of troops and if they were properly situated, that is, in specific areas where the biggest trouble is, I think it has a good chance over a long period of time, by the way, and - this - McChrystal said this, too - over a relatively long period of time of actually getting the job done.

But it all does depend on what they‘re going to do and what kinds of troops they are and it remains to be seen whether or not the president is going to make a strategic commitment to dealing with al Qaeda.

SCHULTZ:  And also, Colonel, do you think the President of the United States winning the Nobel Peace Prize puts any added pressure on him to draw down troops?  And does this come at a - a very unfortunate time, so to speak, when he‘s getting ready to make a - a big military decision here?  What did you - do you think that plays into it at all?

JACOBS:  Well, one - one hopes that it does not play into it, that - that he‘s completely forgotten about it, that it hasn‘t gotten to his head and if you take him at face value, it has not.  He can put it aside and get moving on with the business of the Union.

Having said all that, it‘s one thing to say that people ought to forget about it.  It‘s like telling a jury to disregard some testimony.  In the end, I think it is going to have an effect on it and I think that the people who want a larger number of troops and a larger range of options for the military structure in - in Afghanistan are going to have a hard time with it now.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Colonel Jack Jacobs, thanks for joining us tonight.  Always appreciate it.

JACOBS:  You bet.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Michele Bachmann saying it would take her more than three days to do something that an average person could probably knock out in about 10 hours?  I‘ll explain this dandy in “Psycho Talk.”  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  “Psycho Talk” tonight - well, there you go.  It took her less than 24 hours to get back into the zone.  We‘re talking about “Psycho Talk” superstar, Michele Bachmann.  Yesterday on the House floor, the congresswoman from Minnesota - she actually whined about not having enough time to read the house health care bill.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Today the Majority Leader just committed himself and the Speaker of the House to giving the public and members of Congress 72 hours or 3 days to read the bill that will require the government takeover of health care.  They think it‘s magnanimous to give us three days to read the bill?  Please.  Three months would be a minimum.


SCHULTZ:  All right.  Now, maybe she ought to stop complaining and just start reading.  I mean, the bill is long, and it‘s going to take her about, you know - who knows how long - well, it‘s about 1,000 pages long. 

But PolitiFact looked into this, all right?  Now, they figured out that the house bill has about 163,000 words in it, and a study by the United States Department of Education found that the average person can read at a rate of 200 to 400 words per minute.  Okay?

So that means that it would take the average person between only 7 to 13 hours to read the entire bill, which means three days is plenty of time.  Also, let me remind you, Congresswoman, that during the Bush years the GOP ran things through in Washington pretty fast.  Some pretty crucial legislation was rammed right through the Congress in less than 24 hours.

Saying that three days isn‘t enough time to read something that the average person can kick out in less than a day, that is “Psycho Talk.”

Coming up, the president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, and instead of getting a congratulations he‘s getting ripped apart.  My next guest predicts, we‘ll, he‘s going to find a way to turn it down.  “Time Magazine‘s” editor at large, Mark Halperin will explain in just a moment.

Plus NASA bombed the moon this morning, and it looked like a $79 million dud to me.  “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead is going to kick some dust around on that one.  Stay with us.



OBAMA:  This prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women

·         and all Americans - want to build, a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents.  And I know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement, it‘s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. 

And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st Century.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back.  President Obama will head to Norway in December to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.  He‘s got a lot to deal with, a lot on his plate between now and then, getting health care reform passed in this country, dealing with Iran‘s nuclear program and also deciding whether to double down on Afghanistan and send maybe upwards of 60,000 troops into the war zone.

For more on all of that and today‘s developments, let‘s go to the Joe Cirincione.  He‘s the president of Ploughshares Fund, a group dedicated to peace and security around the globe.  And Mark Halperin with us tonight.  He is the senior political analyst and editor at large for “Time Magazine.” 

He writes “The Page” at 

Joe, has the president of the United States done enough to win the Nobel Peace Prize?  Is there a political downside to this, in your opinion? 

JOE CIRINCIONE, PLOUGHSHARES FUND:  Ed, I love America.  I‘m proud of our president.  I‘m delighted the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has recognized the president for his leadership in turning the world toward nuclear disarmament, away from the catastrophes that await us if we stay in our present course. 

In large part, this is what the committee was trying to do, to draw attention not to the personality of Barack Obama, but to the movement that he is now part of, a growing international consensus, a bipartisan consensus here at home, to change course, to reduce nuclear weapons, to prevent terrorists from getting them, to prevent new states from getting them, to get rid of the 23,000 hydrogen bombs we still have left over from last century. 

This is what the Nobel Peace Prize is intended to do, as the president said, to stimulate this cause, as it has so often been used in the past. 

SCHULTZ:  Mark Halperin, I guess you can say this is as much about vision as it is anything else.  How do you think most Americans are going to receive this? 

MARK HALPERIN, “TIME MAGAZINE”:  Since Joe felt it was appropriate to start by saying he loves America, I love America, too.  And I‘m proud of any president we have, and any acknowledgement the United States gets.  I think the timing of this and the nature of this award is a bit problematic and it may be somewhat premature. 

This president has talked a lot, but he‘s not accomplished very much.  Even some people around the president, close to the president were not only surprised by this, but see a real downside to it. 


HALPERIN:  Well, I think there‘s a number of potential downsides.  One is, it may not be fair, but it does cause the partisan divides in this country to go wider.  Robert Gibbs said that that‘s instant analysis.  I think it‘s a reality.  You saw it today.  The Republican National Committee and other leading voices on the right didn‘t say we‘re proud of the president.  They seemed as unhappy that he won this as they were happy that he won the Olympics. 

Again, you can say that‘s not the president‘s fault.  But that‘s a reality in this country. 

I think it will also cause resentment around the world.  Some overseas leaders, some of the most important leaders, who the president needs on his side to accomplish some of these things overseas, I think will resent this a little bit. 

SCHULTZ:  Mark, I have to ask you, do you think the president wishes maybe this hadn‘t happened?  It does put him in somewhat of an untenable position, because of the political divide.  And it‘s just another target for the antis, who are trying to bring Obama down?  What do you think? 

HALPERIN:  Also, for those who say he‘s just words, remember both Hillary Clinton and John McCain, that was their main framing, negative framing on Barack Obama.  I think the president handled it very well today in explaining why he was accepting the award.  I am a little surprised he plans to go to accept it personally. 

My guess is this White House is smartly going to take advantage of that day to give a big speech, to try to propel forward some of these things. 

While on balance, I think they probably wish it hadn‘t happened, I think the president is personally honored, and I think they have made the best of it so far. 

SCHULTZ:  Joe, is this maybe the world community saying that we accept the fact that the United States at the polls has decided to go in a completely different direction than the eight years under the Bush administration?  You know, what do you think of that? 

CIRINCIONE:  I think they are delighted with the new direction of the United States.  I would disagree with Mark somewhat on this.  I think there has been noticeable progress over the last ten months.  Remember, President Obama made a historic speech in Prague in April, outlining his vision of a step-by-step process for eliminating nuclear weapons, preventing nuclear terrorism, preventing new states. 

By September, he had consolidated international support around that agenda at the United Nations Security Council.  I understand from the comments today that that event, that Security Council resolution was a deciding factor in the committee‘s decision. 

I think you are seeing now an historic march towards changing, towards transforming, not just tweaking U.S. nuclear policy, and in so doing, changing the nuclear policy of the world.  That I think is what the Nobel Committee is trying to reward and help propel. 

I think you will see him use this December 10th award in Oslo to recognize the December 5th conclusion of a treaty with Russia that he‘s now scheduled to do, to propel forward the next agenda for the Senate. 

SCHULTZ:  Go ahead, Mark. 

HALPERIN:  I was going to say, I agree.  I think it‘s a topic that‘s been remote from Americans since the end of the Cold War.  But if there is one area of concrete accomplishment, or at least movement toward that, it is in the area of a nuclear free world.  It is one of the few areas that Barack Obama did focus on at an expert level as the United States senator.  So that is one area where I do agree that he has made progress, even though it is remote from the lives of most Americans. 

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, you first, Mark.  Gentlemen, what about Afghanistan?  I mean, does this soften the president‘s position at all?  I mean, he‘s got a tough decision to come up with to deal with what‘s happening in Afghanistan.  Mark, does this put him in a corner in a sense? 

HALPERIN:  I think one of the great strengths of this president, he doesn‘t let things get inside his head.  If anything, I think it strengthens his hand.  It allows him to say, I‘m a peace maker through force.  So to the extent that he‘s impacted by this, I think he‘ll be impacted to say, I have a freer hand, if he wants to go with an option of a bigger troop buildup.  I think that helps him on his left flank domestically. 

SCHULTZ:  Joe, what do you think?

CIRINCIONE:  The committee did not mention Afghanistan in its remarks.  So clearly this was—we don‘t have any evidence of this being a factor in their decision.  I think it gives them latitude to really go either way.  I think sometimes in our petty political disputes here, we lose track of the historic shift that has happened with this presidency.  What the American people voted for, a shift away from constant confrontation and conflict, towards cooperation, towards collaboration. 

And President Obama has been doing this by the negotiations he started in the Middle East, by what—the move he‘s made in Iraq.  Can he do the same with Afghanistan?  That‘s probably one of the most vexing problems he has.  I think this Nobel Peace Prize increases his international standing.  Despite this out of the mainstream carping from the far right, I think it‘s going to increase his status with the American people as well. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, gentlemen, we‘re told that the meeting at the White House, with the National Security Advisers and all the players involved, just ended, and we‘re told that it was a very robust discussion.  So there‘s probably quite a bit of difference of opinion in that, if they want to frame it that way. 

Mark Halperin, Joe Cirincione, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time here on THE ED SHOW.  Thanks so much. 

CIRINCIONE:  My pleasure. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Rush Limbaugh wants to buy the St. Louis Rams and the black players want to stop him in his tracks.  Some say there‘s just no way they would suit up for the Drugster.  Steven A. Smith, he is going to weigh in on that and other issues coming up in the playbook.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  in my playbook tonight, Rush Limbaugh is currently in the running to buy the St. Louis Rams.  Pretty elite group, I have to say.  But some NFL players aren‘t just going to say, hey, I can‘t wait for this to happen.  For instance, New York Giants Defensive lineman end Mathai Kuwanuka (ph) would love to play under his former head coach of the Rams.  That would be Steve Spagnola, who is the defensive coordinator in New York. 

Yesterday, he told the “New York Daily News” that he wouldn‘t play for the Rams, and that Limbaugh‘s statements are flat-out racist.  Take a listen to what Rush said in the NFL back in 2007. 


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Let me put it to you this way.  The NFL, all too often, looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crypts without any weapons.  There, I said it. 


SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is journalist and commentator Steven A.  Smith.  Steven A., good to have you with us tonight.  Twenty four of the 32 NFL owners would have to approve anybody buying an NFL team.  Do you think this is a fraternity that NFL owners would like somebody like Rush Limbaugh, who is so politically divided? 

STEVEN A. SMITH, COMMENTATOR:  Your initial response is absolutely not.  You would think that they wouldn‘t want to bring that kind of negative publicity upon themselves.  There are suckers born every minute in America.  And the reality is that money talks bigger than anything else.  So the opportunity, if Rush Limbaugh and his group have enough money, and somebody considers it to be their financial benefit to bring him on board, I don‘t think they would hesitate to do it, quite honestly. 

If he‘s got the money, more power to him.  It‘s the NFL.  It‘s America.  It‘s a way to make money.  So be it. 

SCHULTZ:  What about the players?  Some who have openly stated that they wouldn‘t play for the Rams if he had anything to do with the ownership.  What do you think of that? 

SMITH:  They are lying through their teeth.  I don‘t give a damn what they say, Ed .  I can‘t be more clear about that.  Their initial response may be politically correct in that manner, because obviously Rush Limbaugh has said incendiary things, and a lot of people within the African-American community are not big fans of his at all. 

But the reality is that money talks louder than anything else, especially when it comes to the players.  You‘re talking about the NFL, where the life span or the career span of a player is approximately three to four seasons tops.  You have an opportunity to make that money.  Rush Limbaugh is the guy, at the end of the day, cutting that check for you, you‘re not thinking about who‘s cutting the check; you‘re thinking about the amount on the check. 

That‘s all you care about.  And anything that says anything differently is lying, plain and simple. 

SCHULTZ:  You don‘t think that this talk is all a bunch of smoke, and, push comes to shove, these guys, if they had a chance to play for the Rams, dog gone it, they‘re going to do it, no matter who the owner is? 

SMITH:  What I‘m saying to you is that if you tell me that you have an opportunity to play for Rush Limbaugh or somebody else, and the money is the same, sure, they‘ll pick somebody else.  That will factor into the equation then.  But if Rush Limbaugh—if the check that he cuts is steeper than the check that somebody else is offering you, you‘re trying to tell me, all of the sudden, they‘re going to get an attack of conscience? 

Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Mohamed Ali, the list goes on and on, of marquee athletes from the past that have been craving for athletes to have a political conscience.  All of a sudden, now, in 2009, you‘re going to get one?  Give me a break.  Stop wasting my time. 

SCHULTZ:  Michael Vick talking about doing a reality show.  Is this going to help him, hurt him?  Does it have a chance? 

SMITH:  It can‘t hurt him.  He‘s going to be a bit open.  But understand, he‘s doing it for the check.  See how the conversation correlates with one another, Ed?  Simply put, he‘s making 1.6 million dollars this year.  When you consider the lawyer he has to pay, or the lawyers that he has to pay off, the fact he‘s got to do something for the Humane Society, Uncle Sam coming for taxes and what have you. 

Michael Vick will be lucky to get about 200,000 dollars of that 1.6 million dollar contract he signed with the Eagles for this year, according to the sources I know very close to his situation.  You combine that with the fact that he‘s getting paid less than a quarter of a million dollars to do this for BET, clearly he‘s in desperate need, because you have creditors calling in for their money. 

He‘s got to do what he has to do.  There‘s nothing but an upside for him.  He‘s got to do everything he can to get money. 

SCHULTZ:  Steven A., don‘t you think his return to the league has been a success?  All the speculation that there was going to be this big uproar and these protests and what not?  This guy has stepped back into the league and is now moving forward.  Will you agree with that assessment? 

SMITH:  No question about it.  He‘s conducting himself in a pristine fashion.  From what my sources tell me, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeffrey Loria, has taken a liking to him.  Andy Reid did a favor for Tony Dungy by going to Jeffrey Loria and asking him to bring Michael Vick on board.  He‘s been conducting himself in exemplary fashion. 

And PETA has been weeded out of the process, because he has the support of the Humane Society.  I think that‘s worked very well for him.

SCHULTZ:  Steven A., the big news today, obviously, is that the president of the United States has won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Already, the conservatives are going after the president.  What do you make of this?  How do you think it‘s going to be received?  Does the president deserve it, in your opinion? 

SMITH:  Well, first of all, I‘m not surprised at how it‘s been received, because, to some degree, you sort of understand where people are coming from, Ed.  The man was in office for 12 days.  The deadline for being a nominee was February 1st.  So he was in office for 12 days. 

I think when you push that aside, and you take into account what these voters decided to do, you were taking into account the fact that this man campaigned about change.  He campaigned about bringing people together.  You saw black, white, Asian, Latino Americans.  You saw the international community fully embrace him and look at America in an entirely different light. 

When you take those things into consideration, then you can‘t deny that he deserved this price.  If you‘re going on what he accomplished, the president, himself, would admit that, you know what?  You haven‘t really accomplished much yet as the president of the United States.  So I understand it from both sides. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  All right.  And one more baseball note.  Do the Twins have any chance against the Yankees at all? 

SMITH:  No.  Absolutely not.  I‘m from New York City.  I‘m a die-hard Yankee fan.  A-Rod actually looks like he has a pulse.  Derek Jeter is doing what he‘s supposed to be doing.  They‘ve got C.C. Sabathia, A.J.  Burnett.  Plus, you guys are tired, Ed. 

I know you love Minnesota.  You guys are tired from that game against the Detroit Tigers. 

SCHULTZ:  We don‘t have your bankroll either.  We don‘t have your bank account, either. 

SMITH:  Listen, this is America.  Don‘t hate the players.  Hate the game.  Don‘t hate it. 

SCHULTZ:  I don‘t hate the players.  I‘m just pointing out you have to admit this is—this is rich against the poor. 

SMITH:  Hey, hey—you didn‘t say that when the Tigers went to the World Series a few years back, when the Indians beat the Yankees in the playoffs?  When the Angels beat them.  Don‘t bring up money now. 

SCHULTZ:  My team wasn‘t in there then.  You know how that goes. 

SMITH:  Give the Twins some money.  You‘re making enough money.  You give them some money. 

SCHULTZ:  Steven A., good to have you on on a Friday evening.  Thanks so much. 

Coming up, I know that—why the Miss America Pageant wants to do anything with the Drugster.  I don‘t know why they want to do that.  But he‘s going to be a judge?  “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead weighs in on that.  That‘s coming up next.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  This is a crucial moment for the lefties in this country, and all Americans, for that matter.  They need to make their voices heard. 

The Senate Finance Committee is going to vote on Tuesday, the Baucus Bill.  Then Harry Reid, Max Baucus and Chris Dodd will go behind closed doors to decide the fate of the public option.  Senator Dodd wrote this on the Daily Kos today: “first, let me be very clear about this.  I‘m going to fight for a strong public option.  It will be a negotiation, and I can‘t promise every disagreement will be resolved in our favor.  But I can promise I will walk into that room prepared to fight for a strong public option, affordability, provisions that protect the middle class, and common sense protection to keep the insurance companies honest, and guarantee that every American family can choose a health care plan that‘s right for them.

“The finish line is within sight, and I, for one, am ready to hit it running.” 

Those are comforting words and I hope it all turns out that way, Senator Dodd.  I‘m counting on you.  I know millions of Americans are. 

Joining me now is Jeremy Bird, the deputy director for Organizing For America, which basically was the grassroots group that got Barack Obama into the White House.  Mr. Bird, good to have you with us tonight.  Where do you stand—


SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Where do you think we stand on a public option?  Sixty one percent of the American people say they favor it.  How much—also, how much of a factor do you think the Obama ground forces have played in that poll number? 

BIRD:  Well, I think we‘re in a great shape, you know, on health insurance reform.  We‘re farther right now than we‘ve been in the last 60 years.  This week was a fantastic week for no momentum.  You have doctors and nurses coming out in support of reform.  You‘ve got former Republican Health and Human Services directors coming out in support reform, former House majority leaders—Senate majority leaders coming out in support of reform. 

So there‘s a ton of momentum happening across this country.  To your question about the public option, the president has said from the beginning, we need to make sure that there‘s choice and competition; we need to make sure we tackle that with reform.  As you said with Senator Dodd‘s comments there, as we get closer and closer to the finish line here, we see Americans, more and more, coming out in support of comprehensive health insurance reform.  And we‘re excited about where we stand today. 

SCHULTZ:  You‘ve been very aggressive.  You‘ve been doing a lot of boots on the ground work across the country.  I want to talk to you about where you‘re doing that, and putting pressure on conservative Democrats.  But I want to show a clip from this most recent ad you‘ve got.  Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I see it every day on the job.  Our health care system is broken. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Patients who don‘t have insurance, patients whose insurance won‘t cover treatments. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Our patients need real reform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We need to provide stability and security to those who have insurance and cover those that don‘t. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We need to reign in costs and provide affordable care to every American. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tell Congress to pass health insurance reform now. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You simply can‘t afford to wait. 


SCHULTZ:  All right.  What‘s the strategy here?  You‘re using doctors and nurses.  But are you playing this commercial in Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Arkansas?  Because that‘s where the conservative Democrats are.  What about that, Mr. Bird? 

BIRD:  Yes.  I mean, as you see in that commercial, and as you‘ve seen throughout the campaign that we‘ve run since June 6th—we‘ve had 231,000 Americans from across this country share those personal stories, like those two you hear there, about the need to get health insurance reform.  We‘ve aired those on TV across the country.  We‘ve aired those on the web.  We‘ve had those stories in talking points when people are going door to door and when they‘re talking to folks on the phone, all across the country. 

I think the one thing that‘s unique about Organizing For America is that we‘re in every state, every congressional district.  We‘ve had 18,000 local events in all 435 Congressional districts since June the 6th.  Go ahead. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Bird, if you‘re in all of these states, there‘s been no polling on the public option in Montana or North Dakota or Nebraska or Arkansas.  Arkansas with Senator Lincoln, Nebraska with Nelson, Conrad in North Dakota, Baucus in Montana.  So do you believe that the people in those states want a public option?  Are they part of this 61 percent polling number? 

BIRD:  Yes.  I mean, you see—we see across the country, when we go every night, like you said, boots on the ground, door to door, talking to folks on the phone, they want to see this.  They want to make sure there‘s competition and choice.  They want to make sure that if they have health insurance, they‘ve got stability and security.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  I get all that.  I want to know, does Organizing for America believe that these conservative senators who are Democrats are wrong?  That they‘re not representing the views of their constituents?  Is your organization ready to say that? 

BIRD:  Well, what we‘re doing out there is making sure our supporters,

our volunteers on the ground have the opportunity, which has been so much

lost in our democracy, if you look back on how we‘ve been organizing—

they have an opportunity to have their voice be heard.  So we‘ve made sure

·         there were 65,000 of our supporters in one week in August who went to their local office—

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Bird, Organizing for America, it doesn‘t sound like you‘re ready to take these guys to the firewall in their own backyard.  You‘re a PR arm for the president, but you‘re not willing to call them out. 

You won‘t call them out on this program, will you? 

BIRD:  We‘re not a PR arm, though, Ed.  We‘re a grassroots arm.  What we‘re doing is making sure that our volunteers on the ground have the opportunity to have their voices heard in Washington, to make sure, as you said earlier, that those conversations don‘t happen just behind the scenes, that they make sure that people on the ground have an opportunity to have that conversation with their member, with their member‘s staff, so that they can be heard. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Well, I have to tell you that if you‘re afraid to call these senators out, I don‘t know who‘s going to put pressure on them.  I tell you, in the states I mentioned, there‘s very little, if any, progressive media out there at all.  These guys are going home.  They‘re getting absolutely no pressure whatsoever.  And I thought your organization would be in those states giving them pressure. 

Mr. Bird, good to have you with us tonight. 

BIRD:  Ed, what you saw in Arkansas this week, for example, the ads that you saw.  We had doctors and nurse out there having those conversations to make sure those stories are told, to make sure in those states, people are hearing the need and the desire to make sure this gets done and gets done this year. 

SCHULTZ:  I agree with you.  And I know you‘re not trying to make enemies within the Democratic party.  But sooner or later, you‘re going to have to tell these conservative Democrats that you‘re not representing your constituents; you‘re protecting your backyard with this Medicare reimbursement thing, and for the good of the country, it could end up holding up public option.  We‘ll see. 

Mr. Bird, good to have you with us.

BIRD:  Ed, thanks for having me. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Thank you. 

It‘s Friday.  Time for Club Ed with Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show” and the brains behind “Wake-Up World.”  Lizz, good to have you on tonight as always. 


SCHULTZ:  What do we make of the president of the United States winning the Nobel Peace Prize and this wonderful reaction that‘s coming from conservatives? 

WINSTEAD:  Well, you know, I mean, it is kind of weird.  I think it‘s really valid to say, really?  This soon?  Wasn‘t he just yesterday trying to make a plan about how much money we‘re going to spend, you know, to escalate the war in Afghanistan?  It‘s bizarre. 

But, again, they don‘t fight fair.  The voices from Glenn Beck-istan are pretty soon going to be saying Acorn funded the voting committee.  I just can‘t wait.  It gets worse and worse. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Isn‘t it kind of funny that Bush was never nominated for this, or never considered? 

WINSTEAD:  Yes, shocking, isn‘t it?  I think part of the problem is the only thing Bush ever united was al Qaeda.  Maybe that‘s not so much fun. 

SCHULTZ:  And Taliban and Hamas, they certainly didn‘t deserve it, did they? 

WINSTEAD:  The poor things, they were very upset.  I just want to say to my friends in Hamas and in the Taliban, you always have next year.  You were so close this year.  Just keep doing what you‘re doing. 

SCHULTZ:  Did you get up early this morning to watch the Moon blast? 

WINSTEAD:  Ed, I don‘t understand the Moon blast.  I don‘t.  It‘s like, are we going to start calling it nation building pretty soon?  Then we didn‘t get to see the Moon blast.  You know, there was better pictures of Moons, you know, in Afghanistan at the embassy, quite frankly. 

SCHULTZ:  And, of course, the footage was pretty much a big disappointment, that‘s for sure. 

WINSTEAD:  Huge disappointment. 

SCHULTZ:  Rush is going to be judging the Miss America contest.  Your thoughts on that? 

WINSTEAD:  Well, you know, it‘s so—I‘m not a big fan of these meat parades they have for women anyway.  I think really the only reason Rush is probably judging is that the pageant committee got wind of what happened with Obama and said, how can we assure Obama won‘t win Miss America?  That is if we put Rush in as a judge. 

SCHULTZ:  Lizz Winstead, always a pleasure.  Good to have you on Club Ed tonight on a Friday night. 

WINSTEAD:  Have a good weekend. 

SCHULTZ:  You too. 

Earlier, folks, I asked you will Americans view President Obama‘s winning the Nobel Peace Prize as a good thing or bad thing?  Ninety three percent of you say it is a good thing; seven percent a bad thing.

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.



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