Guests: Chuck Todd, Tom Harkin, Jared Bernstein, Ralph Nader, Christine Todd Whitman, Todd Webster, John Feehery, Sam Stein
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW.
Everybody is so uptight about Wall Street bonuses. I‘ve got a commentary coming up in just a bit on that.
If you watch this show regularly, you know that in this segment I don‘t ask a lot of questions. I‘m not a question guy in the opening of the show. I like to make declarative statements, in case you haven‘t seen.
But tonight, I want to ask you a question.
We have done a lot of coverage on health care in the last six months. OK? And we‘ve talked about a lot of different scenarios. But there‘s one question that I‘ve never asked the audience for any response, and I want you to think about this, because we‘ve got a couple of stories brewing across the country that I think are very interesting.
Would you join the United States Army to get health insurance for your family? That‘s where we are for many families in this country right now.
Here‘s a story from Wisconsin, from the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” newspaper.
A mother is fighting ovarian cancer. Her husband lost his job at the plastics factory in town. When he lost his job, you know the story, they lost their health care coverage.
Now, they had no way to pay for her chemotherapy without it, and if she didn‘t, of course, she would die. So what was he going to do?
Well, he goes off and at the age of 39 years old, enlists in the United States Army to save his wife‘s life. Now, he‘ll be gone for four years, and the wife is going to be away from him. Her treatment is going to go on, and hopefully it‘s going to be a successful conclusion, but he‘s not going to be there to support her.
Their 14-year-old daughter will be, of course, grown up and going through some critical years. Would you like to leave your 14-year-old in this day and times? Probably not.
Now, this is the current public option in this country right now.
That is our status quo. And it‘s a great example.
When you hear Republicans going on about patients‘ choice, ask yourself if that family and if that father had a choice. That‘s his public option right now—lost his job, needs money, has no other options.
At 39 -- and by the way, you can join the Army all the way up until you‘re 42 years old—he joins in the prime of his life the United States Army because he has to. This family is not alone. There are stories like this popping up all over the country.
On my radio show today I got a call from a guy in Chicago. Same situation.
Congressman Massa from Buffalo, had him on the air today. He was talking about this. He‘s getting calls from constituents who want to get back into service.
Now, we showed you a story from Grand Junction, Colorado, last week, a beautiful healthy baby boy who was denied coverage because the insurance company said he was too fat. OK? And I think the Republicans—I often wonder, do they hear these stories?
What are they blocking reform for? Why won‘t they get on board?
You know, this health care debate has raged on for months and the media coverage has been very intense, and the stories that are being told like the ones I just mentioned to you right now, this is having an impact. This is why progressives are winning on this issue for the public option in health care reform across the board. We are winning.
Support for the health care reform is growing and gaining fast. The latest new “Washington Post”/ABC News poll that came out last night, 57 percent of Americans want a public option. Fifty-six percent of Americans believe in an insurance mandate if people are given the option to get into Medicare or Medicaid.
But this is the takeaway in it all. And I hope Harry Reid and Max Baucus are paying attention to this. Americans are not willing to trade public option just so we can get a few Republicans on board. That‘s not what this is about.
The American people do not want Democrats to give away the store to get Olympia Snowe just to say, hey, it‘s bipartisan. When asked what they prefer in a bill, 51 percent of Americans say a public option. Only 37 percent say they prefer the support of Republicans.
They are insignificant if we want to make them that way. The American people cannot be any more clear on this issue.
So what are we waiting for? Even the president has stepped up his game. And it‘s making a difference.
His approval rating is back to 57 percent. With all the problems we‘ve got cooking, he‘s at 57 percent. He has shown the Republicans that he doesn‘t scare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those folks who are trying to stand in the way of progress, they‘re all—let me tell you, I‘m just getting started.
I don‘t quit. I‘m not tired. I‘m just getting started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And he‘s taking on big insurance. He absolutely hammered the insurance companies in his weekly address. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The fact is the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform, even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy, that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Tonight, the president is in New York for a fund-raiser.
He‘s going to visit with his base, the ones who put him in office.
The theme on the online webcast tonight is “Time to Deliver.” I hope the president is ready to show his hand to the Senate, because he‘s the guy we elected. Not the Republicans.
I want you to get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about this.
Would you join the—think about this—would you join the United States military to get health insurance? Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me tonight is Senator Tom Harkin. He‘s the chairman of the HELP Committee.
Senator, great to have you on with us tonight.
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), CHAIRMAN, HELP COMMITTEE: Glad to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: I mean, I‘ve been listening to radio and watching network TV today. The attitudes are changing on Capitol Hill with the public option.
Can you confirm that tonight? What‘s happening, Tom?
HARKIN: No doubt about it. We‘re hearing from the countryside. It‘s coming in.
All the polls we‘re seeing, as you mentioned earlier, the public is now getting it. They now know what it means to have a public health option out there.
And they want it by—well, not quite 2-1, but almost 2-1. Among Democrats, it‘s over 2-1. Among doctors—get this, Ed—among doctors in this country, 3-1. They want a public option.
SCHULTZ: Well, it doesn‘t sound like Harry Reid believes that there‘s a 2-1 margin when it comes to the public option. I want to play this sound cut. He still sounds very noncommittal. And I want your reaction.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: We‘re leaning toward talking about a public option. We—no decision has been made.
We had a long discussion last night on public option. I‘ve had a number of meetings in my office dealing with Democrats and Republicans on the public option aspect of it, and when the decision‘s made to send us on to the CBO, I will have made a decision as to what we‘re going to do with the public option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, Senator Harkin, I just find this fascinating, that one man can have this much power after the American people have clearly spoken in polls and in an election. And I‘m not trying to pick on Harry Reid, but I find that this is a very interesting dynamic that‘s playing out.
And another story that gets me is that the White House has basically told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that it would be leaving most of the big legislative decisions on reform to the Senate majority leader.
What‘s happening here, Senator Harkin?
HARKIN: Well, first of all, Ed, someone wrote a book once, and they called it “The Dance of Legislation.” There‘s a little bit of a dance going on here.
But the smoke is going to clear pretty soon. We‘ll have our bill probably towards the end of this week, early next week, perhaps, that we‘ll have it ready to go.
And I can tell you this, again, Ed. I‘m telling you, we‘re going to have a public option in this bill. It‘s going to happen. And we‘re going to have it to the president before Christmas.
That story you told about the Army guy, the guy going into the Army, if we had a public option and he lost his job, he would still be able to keep his health care for him and his family. There would be no clauses against pre-existing conditions for his wife, for example. So, he might decide to go to the Army for other reasons, but he wouldn‘t have to go just to get health care coverage.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m hearing so many stories about this, Senator Harkin. I‘m starting to wonder. And I‘m not a conspiracy theorist, but son of a gun, maybe the military likes it this way because this kind of makes it easy on recruiting.
HARKIN: I don‘t think so, Ed.
SCHULTZ: I hope not.
HARKIN: I just think—I just think this person in Wisconsin, I mean, he‘s doing what he has to do to take care of his loved ones and his family. That‘s the only thing he can do. I guess his age was 39, if I‘m not mistaken.
SCHULTZ: Yes, it was.
HARKIN: And so he‘s out of work. He‘s at wit‘s end. And this is the only pathway for him to choose. People shouldn‘t be forced into these kinds of things.
SCHULTZ: And Senator, do you think the White House has been definitive and declarative enough when it comes to this part of the health care reform? Are you OK with what the White House is saying as of late?
HARKIN: Well, I want the White House to be a little bit more forceful on this, to tell you the truth, Ed. I think the president has got to come out.
We know—we know, he knows that a public option is absolutely mandatory if we‘re going to have any kind of cost controls. If we‘re going to tell the people of America that you have to have health insurance, an individual mandate, you have to have health insurance, why, then, are we going to tell them you have to buy it from a private company? Why don‘t we provide them a public option so that they have that choice?
That‘s why I hope the White House will be a little bit more forceful on this issue. The public, as you pointed out, they get it. They want that public option.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
Tom Harkin from Iowa, chairman of the HELP Committee, here with us here on THE ED SHOW.
HARKIN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much, Tom.
HARKIN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Chuck Todd, NBC News chief White House correspondent and political director, joining us tonight.
Chuck, these numbers that the president has got, 57 percent, when you think about all the Tea parties that took place, all the negative press that has gone out there, and all the problems, they‘ve got to be behind closed doors high-fiving with this kind of approval rating.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they‘re not high-fiving yet. I mean, you know, as you‘ve seen, there‘s been a fluctuation.
Look, he knows the good news is his floor (ph) is sitting around somewhere between 50 and 55 percent. On some good polling days, it gets up to 57. But we‘ve seen these numbers fluctuate.
But again, I think that they do feel like they‘ve weathered the storm on health care. And that, frankly, all of the conversation now about health care is going to be behind the scenes.
And they expect an initial bump when they sign a piece of legislation. Now, what the legislation looks like, as you‘ve been talking about with Senator Harkin, that‘s a whole other story. But when they sign something called health reform, or health insurance reform, whatever spin you want to put on it, they do believe they‘ll get an initial bump in public sport.
SCHULTZ: In the speech over the weekend on his address, the president got really aggressive. He called the insurance industry “dishonest.” I mean, that‘s the most aggressive that we‘ve heard the president.
Are we going to hear more language out of the president on this, Chuck?
TODD: On health care, I don‘t think so. I would be surprised. You know, in many ways, I think they want to let things simmer down.
Now, that said, the health insurance industry, when they came out last week with that hit on the Senate Finance Committee bill—and as you‘ve done on this show, you know the Senate Finance Committee bill, to many people, is the most conservative piece of health care reform legislation that‘s out there. And when they came out and attacked that piece of legislation, it did, I think, stiffen the spine of the White House saying, OK, we‘ve got to go after these guys. If they‘re not even going to sort of sign on to this one, which they believe was a compromise, which was an attempt to try to get as many people on board with this as possible, if they‘re not going to sign on to that, then they have got to go after them again. And I think that that‘s why you saw a more aggressive president there over the weekend.
SCHULTZ: And Chuck Todd, the number one polling issue out there is jobs and the economy. Tomorrow, the president is going to be in Maryland. He‘s going to be stumping for small business. He‘s also going to be announcing some new initiatives to free up capital to small businesses.
How important is this? How do they view this right now? And why are they doing it now?
TODD: Well, it‘s a big deal. And, you know, another part of this, Ed
· and it‘s going to be one of those a lot of people are going to say, “Excuse me?” But another part of this is the TARP money, that $700 billion in bank bailout money.
Almost all of it was really for the big banks. Many of the smaller community banks didn‘t have access to it, and they‘re the ones that do a lot of the lending to small businesses.
Well, now the president is going to come out and say, look, let‘s use some of this TARP money to help local banks, regional banks get extra capital to make some of these loans, because the biggest problem is there isn‘t more credit out there, Ed. It‘s not there. Small businesses can‘t get this credit.
My apologies for the sirens, but hey, it‘s New York City, baby.
SCHULTZ: No. One more question, if I may, Todd, if you can hear what I‘m saying.
The number of fund-raisers the president has, you know, had this year is that 22, versus six for George W. Bush at this time in his presidency. Is the White House going to keep up this pace of this number of fund-raisers? I mean, is this just the way it‘s going to be for Obama?
TODD: Well, look, there‘s a little bit of darned if you do, darned if you don‘t.
You know, behind the scenes, the Democratic Party is struggling on the financial front. They don‘t have the advantages that normally when you have the White House that you get.
Part of it is the White House has put some restrictions on PAC money, on lobbyist contributions. So, it‘s made it very difficult for the president to hold huge $10 million and $15 million events that President Bush could hold. So, President Obama is doing a lot of these $2 million and $3 million events.
And, of course, what does that mean? He‘s got to do more of them. And so, look, perception-wise, it isn‘t a great picture for the president at a time when people are worried about their jobs and looking for a job.
He‘s hanging out at the Mandarin Oriental doing—hanging out with people that contributed 30,000 bucks a plate. But it sort of—it goes to this darned if you do, darned if you don‘t.
The Democratic Party is in need of that money. They‘re being outspent in these 2009 races, and they‘re the party in control of everything. It‘s perhaps one of the more stunning things going on behind the scenes in American politics.
SCHULTZ: Chuck Todd, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
TODD: You got it, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, “The Beckster‘s” latest psycho babble will blow your socks off. He‘s actually found a way to be against volunteering and community service?
I‘ll have a commentary on Wall Street.
Plus, the president‘s fast-tracked cash to Wall Street. No doubt about that. Now it‘s time to take care of small business, trying to stay alive. Right?
Top White House adviser, economist Jared Bernstein joins me live from the north lawn in just a moment here on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
I think someone in the Obama administration has been watching THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC.
Tomorrow, the president is expected to visit a small business in Maryland and announce a plan to increase credit and lending to small businesses. It‘s about time.
The proposal would increase caps on Small Business Administration loans and it would give smaller banks—smaller banks easier access to TARP funds, and this is what we‘ve been waiting for and what we‘ve been talking about for a long time.
Helping small business to create jobs is an important step in turning this economy around for all Americans. It‘s just not those on Wall Street that got $700 billion. It‘s the community banks that can get involved in this to help the small businesses out.
Let me bring in Jared Bernstein, chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.
Mr. Bernstein, great to have you with us.
JARED BERNSTEIN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, POLICY ADVISER TO VICE PRESIDENT
BIDEN: My pleasure.
SCHULTZ: I‘ve been banging this drum for a long time. Is this the planned phase to get the money out? And what will this Obama proposal and effort tomorrow spell out for the small banks in this country?
BERNSTEIN: I don‘t want to get too much ahead of tomorrow‘s announcement. I think you covered the central points in your introduction.
I think phase two is probably an appropriate characteristic if phase one is the Recovery Act. Because, Ed, I want you and your listeners to recognize that we‘ve done a lot for small business in the Recovery Act—loan elimination—I‘m sorry, fee elimination, loan guarantees up to 90 percent in both the 7A and 504 programs to take you right down in the weeds. That‘s over $10 billion of small business lending.
There‘s the ARC loan, the American Recovery Capital program, in the Recovery Act. That‘s a total deferral of payment, loans up to $35,000, 100 percent guarantee.
So, the Recovery Act actually was trying to go a good part of this distance. I think what you just talked about, though, in your introduction does characterize a phase two.
SCHULTZ: But Mr. Bernstein, I am hearing too many stories from small businesses where banks are tight with a dollar. They have got their own credit restrictions, and they‘re not participating the way the administration thought they were going to. It‘s very clear.
BERNSTEIN: Well, Ed, President Obama, Secretary Geithner have heard those same stories. And as you just announced, they‘re reacting.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m glad of that. That‘s for sure.
I mean, because, you can‘t have two different recoveries. I mean, the American people are out there saying these guys are celebrating with bonuses on Wall Street and you‘ve small businesses out there, there are community bankers looking at them different when they start talking about a loan.
And the rates are high, too. You have to admit that. The rates are high.
BERNSTEIN: Look, I‘m with you on many of these points. Credit constraints are one of the factors that have really held down this recovery from the perspective of small business. That‘s very much embedded in what we‘ve tried to offset with the Recovery Act and the kind of announcements we‘re talking about for tomorrow.
We know that some of the bigger firms are able to go into capital markets, borrow at favorable rates. But creditworthy small businesses are facing a kind of constraint that‘s blocking them. And we need to help them overcome those barriers.
SCHULTZ: All right.
This is one of his closest advisers, Mr. Axelrod, talking about this situation earlier. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA SR. ADVISER: The most offensive thing is we haven‘t seen the kind of increase in lending that we should. There are a lot of small businesses, creditworthy businesses around this country, who still can‘t get the capital they need to grow, which is important for our economy. And you‘ve seen these same institutions spend tens of millions of dollars lobbying the Congress to try and stop financial regulatory reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That, obviously, is where Americans are. It speaks to the obvious, but the small business person feels like they‘re being left behind in many respects.
I know you mentioned a couple of programs there that are out there, but the banks still call the shots. And until the administration and until the White House starts dictating what to do with this government money to make it accessible, Mr. Bernstein, how is this going to turn around?
I mean, nice guys lose when it comes to finance. Somebody has got to step up and tell these bankers what to do with this federal money.
BERNSTEIN: I think the way to accomplish this goal is really twofold. One is precisely the kinds of programs through the Small Business Administration that I mentioned earlier. You know, when you‘re talking about a 90 percent loan guarantee, when you‘re talking about fee eliminations, the kind of principles that are in the Recovery Act...
SCHULTZ: They‘re good.
BERNSTEIN: They‘re good. They‘re helping. And if you talk to SBA, they‘ll document the extent to which folks are taking advantage of those.
But I grant you that that‘s a smaller segment of the pie. We also have to—now, you can go after some of these small commercial banks, but the fact is, Ed, that many of them are sitting on some troubled balance sheets, and one of the ways we can help them is by boosting their capital with some of the TARP dollars.
Now, by the way...
BERNSTEIN: ... that‘s happened. That‘s already been part of the
SCHULTZ: That‘s true.
BERNSTEIN: What you‘re hearing about tomorrow is ratcheting that component up. That should really help.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m not disagreeing with you on that. I‘ve got to make one more point here.
But I think to stimulate the job, you‘ve got to dictate where this money is going to go and stop letting the bank be the middleman and making the money. That‘s my whole point, because we‘ve let Wall Street go do whatever they wan to do with the money. They haven‘t created the jobs.
And until we get it into the community banks and say, look, community bank, we‘re going to give you so many millions of dollars, and this is what you‘re going to do with it, and we are going to back it up, what‘s wrong with that?
BERNSTEIN: Ed, the way this is supposed to work is a creditworthy borrower comes into a bank, sits down, tells the loan officer about a plan to expand, about a plan to maybe roll a loan over, about a plan to fulfill their inventory or payroll. And that loan officer looks at the books, makes an objective call as to whether this is a...
SCHULTZ: It shouldn‘t be his call. That‘s the whole thing, Mr. Bernstein. It should not be his call. This is taxpayer dollars to start jobs in this country.
Hey, look, I‘m for you. I mean, I‘m rooting for you. You know, I want the Obama administration to kick some ass and take some names and create some jobs. I mean, I want that.
BERNSTEIN: Ed, let me get a word in here. Look, that‘s the way it‘s supposed to work. And when it doesn‘t work that way, because the bank is either too risk-averse, is misjudging that creditworthy borrower as someone who‘s a bad risk because they‘re just too nervous...
SCHULTZ: But I‘ve got people coming to me telling me that they‘re not a bad risk. I can show you examples of people who have got great credit.
BERNSTEIN: Exactly. I agree. And that‘s the problem that you heard David Axelrod identify, the president, Secretary Geithner. And what we need to do is to make sure that these banks are starting to lend to these creditworthy borrowers in the small business sector so they can get over this hump.
SCHULTZ: All right.
Mr. Bernstein, we‘ve got to continue this discussion.
BERNSTEIN: I‘d be happy to.
SCHULTZ: I‘m on the team. I just think the method needs to be steroided (ph) a little bit, so to speak.
Good to have you with us. I appreciate your time tonight.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, the good news about “The Beckster” is that he‘s laying off the Obama/Hitler comparisons for a minute. The bad news is that he‘s now comparing the president to a Chinese communist leader.
That‘s next in “Psycho Talk.” Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I guess you could call it supreme Psycho Talk tonight. We‘re going back to the Beckster. He proved once again that if President Obama is in favor of something, no matter what it is, he‘s going to be against it. This time, Beck decided that an entertainment industry initiative to promote volunteering is actually a part of an Obama administration conspiracy to turn America into communist China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: When you‘re watching TV this week, you might notice a common theme on some of your favorite TV shows, service and volunteerism. It‘s almost like we‘re living in Mao‘s China right now. But doesn‘t it seem a little bit convenient that all of this comes out now at the same time the Obama administration is calling for it?
Obama controls the message through the media he holds in his pocket.
Or his little hand that soon, if you disobey, he‘ll just go—
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So if you‘re coaching little league football out there in small town America, quit. You could be, you know, a communist. Glenn, nobody is forcing you to volunteer. You‘re perfectly free to keep on as a self-invoked jerk. By the way, the idea for this initiative came from a bipartisan call to action from Barack Obama and I think his name is John McCain.
You‘re on your own on this one, buddy. Even the righties are going to say you are nothing but Psycho Talk.
Coming up, two Republican leaders invoke an anti-Semitic stereotype as a compliment to Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina? I‘ll ask former Republican Governor Christine Todd Whitman what she makes of all of that in my playbook.
Plus, while bonuses and back slaps are being doled out on Wall Street, the middle class in this country continues to suffer. A true crusader for change, Ralph Nader, will join me to talk about Wall Street next on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Wall Street is declaring war on the Obama White House. The Chamber of Commerce has launched 100 million dollar ad campaign to oppose financial regulations. Banks that got bailed out with taxpayer dollars are reporting billions in profit. Wall Street bonuses are expected to be higher this year than they were at the height of the bubble. Wall Street firms will pay out 26 billion dollars in bonuses in the next six months, if you can believe it.
The American people got the hose on this one. We gave them a check, 700 billion dollars. Then we just said, OK, go ahead and spend it any way you want. We were told that we had to do it to save the financial system. This is the way Wall Street saves itself? It pays itself? For more, let me bring in Ralph Nader, former presidential candidate, consumer advocate, author of the new book “Only The Super Rich Can Save Us.”
Mr. Nader, good to have you with us. What does that mean? “Only the Super Rich Can Save Us?”
RALPH NADER, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It means whether it‘s the right kind of health insurance or financial regulation, Ed, it‘s going to take a number of elderly, enlightened multi-billionaires to support the investors and the patients and the consumers of America, and organize the grassroots in every single Congressional district, to overcome this Wall Street control of Washington, and bring the people back into their sovereign role.
A managing director of Goldman Sachs, Nomi Prins, right out of Goldman Sachs, has just put an expose called “It Takes a Pillage.” Her analysis is it‘s going to happen again. Everything‘s in place. Their derivative speculation is expanding. Their bonuses are expanding. Geithner, Summers and Bernanke are not going to reform the system.
SCHULTZ: OK. So the Obama administration, I take it, you think made a vital mistake when they handed the money over to Wall Street with no regulation and no stipulation on pay scale or anything. They just let them have it and they were told, if we don‘t do this, our whole financial system is going to collapse. We were duped. Is that what I‘m hearing?
NADER: Of course. Washington had Wall Street over a barrel last September, you know, 13 months ago. Instead, Wall Street comes to Washington and stuffs it in a barrel, along with hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer obligations, and even another layer of trillions of dollars further obligations.
SCHULTZ: How do we fix this?
NADER: That‘s what‘s happening.
SCHULTZ: How do we fix this? You want regulation. What about small business? What‘s the formula in your opinion?
NADER: First, the mutual funds and the pension trusts, representing trillions of dollars of worker and small saver investments, have to rev it up. They got to poor the lobbyists in to counteract the Wall Street lobbyists in Congress. They got Elizabeth Warren‘s, professor of law at Harvard, scheme of consumer financial regulatory watch dog. If they don‘t do that, it‘s not going to happen. Barney Frank is shredding this proposal that Obama says he wants. It doesn‘t look like it‘s going to be any better with Senator Dodd.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Nader, can I get you on with Barney Frank later this week or maybe next week? I would like you two to go at it on this, because the American people think hey, reform is on the way. The House is all excited that this is going to happen.
NADER: Of course, Barney Frank is not even proposing a financial consumer association, where people can join their own non-profit group and fund it themselves to watch dog their investments and pour the pressure on Washington.
SCHULTZ: So what does Obama have to do? What does the president have to do right now?
NADER: Let me tell you, he has to read this book. This is a narrative on how to turn this country around, because there are millions and millions of people that are sick and tired of big business‘ rape of the public trust and the public government. If it takes people like Warren Buffett and George Soros and Ted Turner and William Gates Sr. to put the money in, and organize the grassroots, that‘s what‘s going to happen. That will give the backbone to Obama and those Democrats who somehow had their backbones surgically removed, as Bill Moyers said recently.
SCHULTZ: And you think this is going—what we experienced a year ago, you think it‘s going to happen?
NADER: Absolutely. There‘s nothing in place.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t want to be too negative. But if you think it‘s going to happen again—
NADER: Look it, unless they separate commercial banking, which is main street banks, from investment banking, which is betting and betting on life insurance policies and speculation on derivatives, it is definitely going to happen again.
SCHULTZ: All right. Mr. Nader, the book is “Only The Super Rich Can Save Us!” Thanks for joining us tonight.
NADER: Thank you. The pride of North Dakota.
SCHULTZ: That‘s—well, I don‘t know—you probably have a few people that would counter you on that one. Thank you, Ralph. Appreciate your time.
Coming up, a lot of Republicans want you to believe that global warming just doesn‘t exist. But they‘re, you know, not as psycho as the former EPA administrator and Garden State governor. She‘s coming up. It‘s going to be Christine Todd Whitman. She‘ll join me to talk about the future of energy next in my playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, the fight over how to fight global warming. Legislation is inching its way forward in the Senate, months after the House of Representatives passed their climate change bill. Next week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold hearings on a bill authored by Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts. But the five other Senate committees have yet to weigh in, and a lot of conflicting views out there.
Climate change legislation has a long way to go. Let me bring in Christine Todd Whitman, chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. It doesn‘t look like we‘re going to get there this year. Or am I too pessimistic?
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, CLEAN AND SAFE ENERGY COALITION: I don‘t think we‘re going to get it next year either, because that‘s an election year. With the economy the way it is, I think that will be enough to stop it next year.
SCHULTZ: Clean energy would create a lot of jobs.
WHITMAN: It would. It would. Particularly nuclear energy, which is what we‘re talking about and what I‘ve been talking about. Those are good-paying jobs that are not going to go anywhere. Once those jobs are here, they‘re going to stay.
SCHULTZ: What about the environmental waste issues that go along with nuclear energy. There are a lot of Americans that I think probably aren‘t completely schooled up on it and are scared about it.
WHITMAN: It‘s perfectly understandable, which is why you try to get facts out. If you took all of the spent nuclear energy, the nuclear rods that we have today from the 104 nuclear reactors we have, they‘d fill up one football field to the height of the goal post. So it‘s not something the size of the state of South Carolina that many people think.
We have—they‘re stored right now on site, perfectly safely in holding pools that are above ground, heavily reinforced concrete bunkers. But that‘s not ideal. There should be a national repository. Congress called for one. It‘s in Nevada. As long as Harry Reid is president of the Senate, it‘s going to be very difficult to get that done.
SCHULTZ: What should we accomplish at the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen coming up in December? What should be the goal?
WHITMAN: I think what Copenhagen will be is going to be a weigh station on the way to the next round. We‘re not going to have, as you pointed out—we‘re not going to have a bill done. The United States is not going to go there with anything firm. Maybe the president will get something from China that he can talk about. But that‘s, again, going to be principle—
SCHULTZ: The Chamber of Commerce isn‘t helping. They‘re calling it a hoax. I mean, every country on the face of the Earth except the United States is totally sold on this. They‘re a road block, are they not?
WHITMAN: You know, they‘re a road block. Yes, they are and no they aren‘t. Don‘t forget, when Kyoto was first negotiated by the Clinton administration, they never took that up to the Senate for ratification, because when they had taken up the preliminary, it was voted down 95 to nothing. This was bipartisan.
It‘s now very convenient to say it‘s all the Chamber of Commerce. But it‘s more than that. Part of it is the rhetoric I think.
SCHULTZ: The rhetoric is that there are Republicans out there that are absolutely deniers of global climate change.
WHITMAN: There are. The thing I keep saying to people is, first of all, don‘t say humans cause it. That‘s an arrogance that we don‘t deserve. The Earth has been changing since it was formed. Human activity is so exacerbating that change that nature can‘t absorb it, and we can‘t deal with it. We better start doing something about it to slow it down.
To say that we can stop it, that‘s not going to happen.
SCHULTZ: Is coal a part of the equation? I come from part of the country where there‘s enough coal in the Dakotas and Minnesota to power America for the next 900 years. There are those out there that say it‘s dirty, even though the scrubber technology has come a long way in the last five years. But they‘re just not sold on it. They say, it‘s not pure and it will never be the way to go. What do you say?
WHITMAN: All fossil fuels release greenhouse gases when they‘re producing energy. That‘s why nuclear becomes an attractive option for base power. Coal will always be part of the mix. There‘s no one easy solution. That‘s the problem.
SCHULTZ: Do you think President Obama is on board with nuclear expansion?
WHITMAN: He certainly said that in New Orleans last week. He was very clear about that.
SCHULTZ: Christine, great to have you with us.
WHITMAN: It‘s a pleasure.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you on. Thanks so much.
Final page of my playbook tonight. My favorite Monday Night Football highlight, Denver against San Diego. Check this out, kickoff return, Eddie Royal of Denver, the Broncos. OK, they‘re undefeated. OK, this is awesome. He goes 93 yards for a touchdown. He also ran a punt back for a touchdown, and they won the game, and they‘re six and zero.
But look at these uniforms! They are the worst looking socks. How do you run that fast with those ugly socks? I just thought I‘d throw that in there tonight.
By the way, the Vikings are undefeated as well. But they haven‘t played anybody. I thank they‘re collectively—the teams they‘ve beaten have only won 11 games.
Coming up, Harry Reid says he will vaporize his Republican challengers before the 2010 election. I am starting wonder if the party of no will have vaporized itself by then. We‘ll put that to our panel next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. You know, righties have always lived in something of an alternative reality. You know, to hear them tell the story, you‘d think the Republicans were polling at all-time highs and President Obama was as unpopular as George W. Bush. OK? Now, here in the reality-based world, the president‘s polling in the high 50s, which is pretty good considering all the problems on the table.
In the new “Washington Post” poll, only 20 percent of people identify themselves as Republicans. That is the lowest number in 26 years. Democrats, by the way, are out-raising Republicans across the board. In the House, Democrats raised double what Republicans did, seven million to 3.5 million. Same story over in the Senate. Democrats raised almost six million dollars. Republicans are at three million, when it comes to raising money in the Senate.
The Democratic National Committee beat the Republican National Committee in the third quarter fund-raising for the first time since 2004.
Let‘s bring in the panel tonight, Democratic strategist Todd Webster with us, also “Huffington Post‘s” Sam Stein, and Republican strategist John Feehery.
Gentlemen, before we get to the numbers, I want to talk Wall Street/Main Street. The president, tomorrow, is going to announce a new program, some new initiatives that‘s going to loosen up some money to small business. John Feehery, from what you know of it, can you get on board with this?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don‘t know much about it. I do think it‘s interesting he‘s going to Wall Street to raise money, getting back to the fund raising thing. I think it‘s interesting he‘s raising money from Wall Street, and then trying to regulate them at the same time. I wonder if Tim Geithner knows about the fund raising.
I‘ve said this so many times to you, Ed, that small business is the key to job creation. Anything you can do to help small businesses, especially getting loans to small businesses—all the people I know in the small business community, that‘s the thing they‘re most complaining about, they can‘t get access to credit. If they can somehow get access to credit, I‘m all for it.
SCHULTZ: Sam, if they don‘t do this, where are the jobs going to come from? Obviously, the numbers are not good right now. I know we‘re coming out of this recession and what not. But people are getting a little antsy. The job numbers are not where we want them to be. It‘s at 9.8 percent unemployment. The president has to cook something up here between now and the midterm.
SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: Yes, that‘s the big concern in the White House. It‘s one thing to have the Dow over 10,000. But if unemployment is at 10 percent, it‘s not going to do you good in 2010. This second Tarp initiative is designed, essentially, to get more money into small business and small business communities, to spur job growth. There‘s a real concern on Democrats that any reform that you‘re talking about in terms of jobs stimulation isn‘t going to come into effect until after 2010 starts heating up. That‘s where all this talk of a second stimulus package is sort of stemming from, is that there needs to be job creation. Otherwise, there‘s going to be real political problems for Democrats at the polls.
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, should we be surprised that billions of dollars are going out, bonuses are going out like crazy? I mean, we—when you give money to Wall Street, it‘s like a welfare recipient. We‘re just glad that we gave them the money and we don‘t tell them what to do with it. That‘s exactly what we did with Wall Street. We gave them the money, didn‘t tell them what to do with it. Now we‘re afraid to tell them what to do with it. They‘re back making money. This could be a real problem for the Obama administration if they do not get some regulatory reform passed, because there‘s a lot of people out there, like Ralph Nader earlier tonight, saying we‘re going down the same road. What do you think?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think the Bush Tarp bailout and the 700 billion dollars that was passed last October, before Barack Obama became president, was invested. The Wall Street guys made a ton of money off of it. I think the administration is now out there, using the bully pulpit on the Sunday shows, trying to shame them into doing the right thing. Some of these guys are trying to debate how many zeros to put at the end of their bonus at the end of the year, while there is 10 percent of the public that is still unemployed.
I think the stimulus bill that was passed earlier this year was designed with enough oversight and regulation so that the funding would be out and is now only—only now is starting to hit job makers and small businesses that can now start producing the jobs. So I think we have that to look forward to. That should help turn things around.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, I want to talk about the new stars in the Republican party. They come from South Carolina. To their credit, they have retracted the statement. In an op-aped on Sunday, in the state‘s largest newspaper, some Republican chairmen, Edwin Merwin and Jim Ulmer, said this. They were trying to give a compliment to United States Senator Jim DeMint and they wrote, “there is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way by not watching dollars, but instead by taking care of pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina, and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation‘s pennies and trying to preserve our country‘s wealth and our economy‘s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.”
Now, they sound pretty smart when it comes to creates jobs and allocating money and everything else. But John Feehery, what is happening to the Republican party, sitting at 20 percent, and the leader of the Republican party has not bounced back on this, saying, you know, that‘s not who we are. They‘ve allowed this to go by.
FEEHERY: Well, first I want to say, Jim DeMint had nothing to do with this. I want to make that clear. Second of all, it‘s fascinating to me, Ed, that they wrote this down and got through to the editors and got through to the newspaper. I‘m shocked by it. I‘m absolutely shocked by the process. Someone had to say, listen, you can‘t write that. Don‘t write that. Don‘t be stupid.
SCHULTZ: You‘re not blaming the media, are you?
FEEHERY: NO, I‘m blaming the guys who wrote it. I think it‘s silly.
I don‘t know why they wrote it. I think the process is weird.
SCHULTZ: Sam Stein, your reaction to this? No wonder they‘re at 20 percent and in the toilet.
STEIN: As a Jew, I didn‘t know if they were trying to be complimentary in such an offensive way. It was very confusing to me. Obviously it‘s unfortunate. I think it‘s an outdated stereotype. I don‘t understand how it made it to print.
DeMint wasn‘t involved in the publication, but he did take a little while to repudiate it. I think you‘re right. It goes back to this whole thing where the Republican party is—you know, they just—it‘s not that they‘re tolerant of this. It‘s that they‘re not showing enough intolerance.
SCHULTZ: At all. Todd Webster, where‘s Lindsey Graham on this?
Where‘s Michael Steele, the head of the party on this?
WEBSTER: The problem is a much bigger one. It goes to the Republican brand right now, that they‘ve got—their spiritual leader is Rush Limbaugh. They‘ve got the birthers and the tea baggers, who are out there supporting them in August, when they need their grassroots support. so the problem is much bigger.
I think the 20 percent in the polls is reflective of a much bigger branding problem that the Republicans have. There are not a whole lot of ideas. What they‘re doing in Congress by opposing the health care reform bill and siding with the insurance companies isn‘t winning them any favors with the public either. It‘s a much bigger problem. This is one latest example of the bigger problem.
SCHULTZ: John Feehery, five seconds. Do we get the public option, yes or no?
STEIN: We get a variation of it, Ed. It‘s going to be something of an opt out or an opt in.
SCHULTZ: That makes me sick. Todd?
WEBSTER: You‘ve got 60 percent of the public supporting it. That number has grown over the last three months.
SCHULTZ: Earlier, I asked our audience, would you join the military to get health insurance? Look at this, 50 percent say yes, 50 percent say no. That‘s THE ED SHOW. We‘re back tomorrow night. Chris Matthews next and “HARDBALL.”
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