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'The Ed Show' for Thursday, November 19, 2009

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Carolyn Maloney, Kevin Brady, Barbara Boxer, John Barrasso, Ernest Istook, Joan Walsh, Rep. Joe Sestak, Tim Bristol, Karen Hanretty

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW from New York tonight.

There is a firestorm brewing on Capitol Hill.  Some lawmakers want Tim Geithner gone.  After 10 months and 10 percent unemployment rate, the gloves are coming off when it comes to the treasury secretary. 

Here‘s the sound bite that started it all last night, Congressman Peter DeFazio talking about it on this program. 


SCHULTZ:  Should she stay in his job, Congressman? 


SCHULTZ:  You think Tim Geithner should be gone as treasury secretary? 

DEFAZIO:  I do, especially if you look back at the AIG scandal and Goldman and the others, who got their bets paid off in full.  Instead of saying, well, you bet, you lost, they got paid back in full with taxpayer money. 


SCHULTZ:  Amen.  It‘s about time somebody on Capitol Hill spoke up to what is happening with your tax dollars. 

Now, this morning, ironically, Tim Geithner went to the Hill to testify in front of the Joint Economic Committee.  The ranking Republican on that committee, jumping off of DeFazio‘s comment, asked the treasury secretary point blank: “Should you resign?”


REP. KEVIN BRADY ®, TEXAS:  Mr. Secretary, you are the point man on the economy.  The buck, in effect, stops with you. 

For the sake of our jobs, will you step down?  The public has lost all confidence in your ability to do the job. 


BRADY:  It‘s reflecting on your president.

GEITHNER:  Congressman, if you look at...

BRADY:  Conservatives agree, liberal Democrats agree that it really is time for a fresh start. 


SCHULTZ:  Well, the Obama economic team doesn‘t understand the urgency of now.  That‘s how I see it, because none of them have ever had to meet payroll. 

There are no excuses.  Now that Wall Street has been given the farm and all the minerals to go with it, when does the clock strike 12:00 for these folks?  And I agree that it‘s starting to reflect on the president. 

President Obama has stuck with Geithner.  Good loyalty.  But the president and his party are going to be judged on job numbers that aren‘t good. 

There is no denying that Geithner has failed to deliver on that front. 

He claims to have saved the economy from a complete collapse. 

No, the taxpayers saved the economy from complete collapse.  We went along with all of this.  Geithner basically saved AIG. 

Now, I don‘t think the Democrats are willing to lose the majority over the ineptitude of the treasury secretary. 


SCHULTZ:  How many congressmen in the House do you think would go

along with Geithner‘s remove natural

DEFAZIO:  Well, when you mention either Geithner or Larry Summers, as they were mentioned in the Democratic Caucus on jobs on Monday night, there is—there are boos and cries of derision.  I think there‘s a growing consensus in the caucus we need a new economic team that cares more about jobs, Main Street and the American people than it does about Wall Street and huge bonuses. 


SCHULTZ:  All right.  That is a very good challenge. 

I‘ve got a warning for the Democrats tonight.  You can‘t circle the wagons on Geithner, he‘s not worth it. 

Democrats need to tell the president to get rid of him and the president needs to listen.  The people and the Congress have lost confidence in this guy.  Whether the president likes him or not, perception is everything. 

President Obama, I think, needs to get some new blood in his economic team and show the American people that he‘s not complacent about what‘s going on in this country when it comes to economic problems.  I think that they‘re going to have this economic summit in December.  Fine.  But do it with a new economic team or get some new blood in there that‘s willing to do something for the small businesses. 

Get your cell phone out, folks.  I want to know what you think on this issue tonight.

Should President Obama fire Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner?  Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639, and we‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.  She is the chairwoman, the chair, of the Joint Economic Committee. 

Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight. 


to be with you, Ed. 

BLITZER:  When do—when does loyalty get cut and results really matter?  Your thoughts on Timothy Geithner?  Does he still have some time to turn this thing around? 

MALONEY:  I think he does, and his record shows that.  You have to remember, Ed, when President Obama took office 10 months ago, we were shedding jobs at 700,000 jobs a month, well over 700,000 jobs a month.  And we‘re trending in a better direction now. 

We lost 190,000 jobs last month, but it‘s moving in the right direction.  The Standard & Poor‘s is up 500, the stock market was up, the GDP is up.  And we need to be more aggressive in coming out with ways to create jobs for American people, but President Obama, he inherited a financial crisis. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt about it. 

MALONEY:  With Wall Street tanking and the financial system tanking and steps we‘re taking to save the financial community, that has happened.  We have the stimulus program and the job summit coming up in December, and steps in the right direction. 

SCHULTZ:  But Congresswoman, you‘re right on all of that.  But there doesn‘t seem to be any plan in place to get us to the next phase. 

There is a discrepancy when it comes to the availability of money to the big banks versus the small banks.  People in the middle of the country don‘t go to Wall Street to borrow money, they go to their community bank and these TARP funds, and this is exactly what Peter DeFazio was talking about.  The TARP funds aren‘t being used for what they should be used for. 

Now, you‘re on the Joint Economic Committee, the chairwoman of that.  Is this it for Geithner?  I mean, are you satisfied with his plan the way things are going right now? 

MALONEY:  Well, he‘s been criticized from the right and criticized from the left.  So he is in the middle, putting this together, working, and one person doesn‘t control the economy.  He‘s part of the entire Democratic team working with the president and with Congress. 


SCHULTZ:  Well, he was influential—now, Congresswoman, in fairness, he was influential enough to get plenty of money for Wall Street, but he doesn‘t seem to be influential enough to stand up there in front of the Congress and give the talk that, look, we have to do this if we‘re going to create jobs.  I just don‘t hear him saying that. 

MALONEY:  Well, just this week he had a summit on small business and came out with a program to increase credit and access to credit for small businesses.  We certainly need to do that.  We need to take care of and take steps in the commercial real estate crisis, and we need more efforts to create more jobs and create a climate in which the economic prosperity can continue to grow.  But we‘re certainly trending in the right direction...

SCHULTZ:  Well, on the big stuff, yes. 

MALONEY:  ... and have reversed the trend of over 700,000 jobs were lost for five straight months before President Obama came in.

SCHULTZ:  But Congresswoman, respectfully, the American people know all that.  But they also know that the credit markets are unusually tight.  And the lending is extremely tight.  And the business startup numbers, nobody is even talking about that.  Those are horrible. 

And we‘re going to be sitting at 10-plus percent unemployment for a long time unless lending gets kicked into gear and the same kind of help is given to the small businesses, the under 100 employee crowd of this country, or this isn‘t going to turn around. 

MALONEY:  You‘re absolutely right.  We need more programs to get more credit out to Main Street and to take steps to help the working men and women.  And we‘ve done that. 

We past the Credit Card Bill of Rights.  It happened to have been my bill and Senator Dodd‘s.  And that restricted the most abusive, deceptive anti-competitive practices, according to the Federal Reserve.  This was the first credit card reform bill, and that helped Main Street.

SCHULTZ:  Which hasn‘t kicked in yet, but it will.  And we talked about that earlier.

MALONEY:  But we just passed legislation in the House that would have the enactment date moved up immediately.  We‘re waiting to get that passed in the Senate.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Well, I hope that helps the economy, but I don‘t know if that‘s going to get anybody a job, and I‘m talking about jobs. 

MALONEY:  It‘s going to certainly help consumers and American taxpayers and working men and women have better control over their own finances.  We‘re moving forward with an overdraft bill, again, to protect the consumers, let them decide whether or not they want these overdraft fees and charges.


MALONEY:  And we‘re having a job summit next month, and we‘re—the Speaker has said she‘s...

SCHULTZ:  Got to run, Congresswoman. 

MALONEY:  ... going to have a job creation bill on the floor next month.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  You‘re sold.  You think Geithner should stick around. 

I appreciate your time. 

Congresswoman and Chairwoman Maloney with us tonight from New York. 

Let me turn to the ranking Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. 

Joining us now tonight is Congressman Kevin Brady. 

Mr. Brady, good to have you on. 

Do you think it‘s time for Geithner to step aside? 

BRADY:  Yes, absolutely.  And if the 10 percent unemployment isn‘t enough, shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs, I think the fact that the president, this deep into his presidency, has already had to declare a new jobs summit tells you it‘s an admission of failure. 

And Secretary Geithner has been integrally involved in every step.  In fact, before he was actually treasury secretary, as a Fed chairman in New York, as part of the initial bailout.  So, from housing, to stimulus, to job losses, and now the American public has weighed in.  They‘ve lost confidence in the president. 

SCHULTZ:  In the president?  They‘re losing...

BRADY:  In the president. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, no.  Now, wait a minute now.  I‘m talking about Geithner. 

BRADY:  Well, right.

SCHULTZ:  I think President Obama needs to be given more than a year. 

Geithner has gotten everything he‘s asked for on Wall Street. 

BRADY:  That‘s true. 

SCHULTZ:  But he has not delivered the mail when it comes to creating jobs, in my opinion.  The markets and the banks are too tight with the dollar.  And this is the White House reaction tonight from Jennifer Psaki, who is a White House spokesperson.  She says that, “Secretary Geithner has helped steer the American economy back from the brink and is now leading the effort on financial reform.”

Now, that‘s not the issue. 

BRADY:  No, it‘s not.

SCHULTZ:  You know, millions of Americans are affected by the fact they can‘t get their hands on money to go do the jobs that they want to do. 

Now, this isn‘t a partisan issue.  And we just had on a Democrat, you‘re a Republican.  This is about, either you show me the money and you get it to the people who want to be the entrepreneurs, or you‘re not going to turn this around.  It‘s that simple. 

BRADY:  It is.

SCHULTZ:  Now, you want Geithner out.  Who do you want in? 

BRADY:  Well, my choice would be a conservative Republican who would let the free market work, would address the financial crisis not from a spending binge, but to get our financial house in order.  And the credit for small businesses and mid-sized businesses, it is frozen.  And I‘ll tell you, too, local businesses, small and large, they‘re deferring their key business decisions because they‘re frightened of what‘s happening in Washington, D.C. 

SCHULTZ:  That‘s because the government won‘t back them up.  We backed up Wall Street, but we don‘t back up the little guys.  I mean, I don‘t know how else to put it. 

BRADY:  And Ed, I should have been clear.  The public opinion polls really are reflecting, when you ask about the president‘s handling of the economy, which is Secretary Geithner‘s main job, that‘s what now is falling.  And I really think the president should have a fresh start. 

I mean, we all want the jobs to recover.  We all want the economy to recover.  But at this point, the numbers make the proof. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

BRADY:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Brady here on THE ED SHOW.

For more, let me turn to Sam Stein.  He‘s a political reporter for “The Huffington Post.”

Sam, what do you make of the growing concern on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle?  The Progressive Caucus is really stirring about this.  Where is the White House on this?  They put out kind of a lame statement tonight, but do you think that they‘re concerned at all about what‘s growing and what they‘re talking about over in the Congress? 

SAM STEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Sure.  I mean, the White House is obviously concerned about what‘s going on on the jobs front.  I think they‘re confident that Secretary Geithner will remain in his post. 

On the congressional front, I talked to a lawmaker today who lamented how absurd and shameful it was—those were his words—that the Democratic Party was now associated more with Wall Street and bailouts than it was with jobs.  And I think you saw the problem sort of exemplified in the two interviews you just had. 

Congresswoman Maloney was talking about the Standard & Poor‘s Index, the GDP and the stock market.  And Congressman Brady came on and he talked about 10 percent unemployment.  One of those people was addressing jobs, the other one was addressing Wall Street, and it‘s not the traditional setting that you usually have. 

Also, tonight, my colleague, Ryan Grim is reporting that there‘s a group of progressive House members who asked for a delay in financial regulatory reform vote because they‘re worried it‘s not hard enough on Wall Street.  This is the Obama administration‘s plan for financial regulatory reform.  That goes to show you that there is a growing schism between congressional Democrats and the White House on how tough you have to be on the economic issue. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, actually, I think the White House needs to concern itself with loosening the regulations on the smaller banks in this country, and also beefing up their balance sheet.  They can‘t get the money if they don‘t have the big resources.  The big banks have the big resources, but they do the lending to only people where they know that they can get their money back. 

STEIN:  Exactly.  Now...

SCHULTZ:  So, I want to ask you, Sam, because President Obama, smart guy, the country loves him, his approval rating personally is up there.  But when do you fish or cut bait on a deal like this? 

I think in a few months we‘re going to find out just where President Obama‘s priorities are.  Is it loyalty or is it results?  Because these numbers can‘t continue on, and it can‘t be a photo-op next month at the White House for an economic summit. 

How tough do you think Obama will be on this on his own staff? 

STEIN:  Well, you‘re right, I mean, at some point it becomes untenable.  And the president has for other officials been shown that he‘s willing to cut bait. 

With regards to Geithner, I talked to a Treasury official tonight who made a valid point, which is a lot of this is, in essence, out of his hands.  The big banks which received the TARP money can only be shamed to a certain extent to increase lending. 

If you can get money into the small businesses or small community banks, they will lend.  But at this point, you know, the TARP program has been cut off for the big banks.  It‘s primarily for the small bank institutions.  But there‘s little Geithner can really do. 

If they had started with better financial regulatory reform, if they had structured the TARP with some restrictions attached to it, maybe it could have been different. 

SCHULTZ:  Thanks, Sam.

STEIN:  At this point the Obama administration is hoping to get jobs growing.

SCHULTZ:  Got to run, buddy.  Thanks so much.

STEIN:  Of course.

SCHULTZ:  Sam Stein, “Huffington Post,” tonight with us. 

Coming up, the Senate health care bill is headed for a rare Saturday vote.  A fierce warrior for reform will tell us if Harry Reid has got the 60 votes he needs. 

Barbara Boxer is in the house tonight. 

Plus, all-American nobody Sarah Palin is tearing up the Rust Belt and spewing jaw droppers.  That‘s right, you‘ll never guess who she would consider to be her running mate. 

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


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Big news on health care.  The Senate will vote to open debate this coming Saturday. 

Senator Harry Reid says he won‘t use reconciliation, not yet.  But he also won‘t say if he‘s got the 60 votes.  Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman, of course, is out there running around shooting his mouth off, threatening to filibuster. 

Another hurdle for the Democrats will be the Stupak Amendment.  Orrin Hatch is going to introduce similar language in the Senate bill. 

For more on that, let‘s go to California Senator Barbara Boxer. 

Senator, good to have you with us tonight. 


SCHULTZ:  You bet.

New language prohibiting federal funds for funding abortions.  Are you nervous about this language in the Senate? 

BOXER:  I am very pleased, because what Harry Reid has done is to build a real firewall between, federal funds cannot be used to buy abortion coverage or for any abortion except for life, incest or rape, and private funds can be used, as they always have been, to buy insurance.  But let me just say this—I think we‘ll win that.  I‘m really not worried about it, because anyone who votes for the Stupak Amendment is basically rolling back the clock.

They‘re telling women they can‘t use their own private money to buy health insurance.  And I just don‘t see that happening in this century. 

But this bill, Ed, this bill saves money, it saves lives.  And immediately, when our president signs it, your insurance company can‘t rescind your coverage.  They can‘t say, well, you‘re really very sick, but 10 years ago you can‘t tell us that you gained five pounds.  And this happens. 


BOXER:  You have no more insurance.  Basically, they won‘t be able to cap your policy, so that if somebody gets a severe illness like cancer, they can‘t say, well, you‘ve maxed out your policy, no more. 

Senior citizens, they‘re going to gain a big benefit in their prescription drug plan.  And we‘re saving Medicare...

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.

BOXER:  ... for an extra four, five, six years.

So I think this choice issue, this abortion issue, is a bit of a distraction, because I think what Harry Reid has done is maintain that compromise that‘s been in place for three decades now—that a woman can use her private money, but no federal funds. 

SCHULTZ:  But, Senator, it sounds like it‘s more of a distraction over in the House.  Stupak is saying that he has the votes to kill reform.  Unless that language is similar as it comes out of the Senate.

I mean, you think that you‘re going to get over this hurdle? 

BOXER:  I really do, because I know my colleagues over in the House. 

If they read Senator Reid‘s language, it‘s very strong.  It‘s very strong. 

And it just calls for real segregation of funds, and it does it in a way that I think is foolproof.  So I really do believe my friends in the House have told me that they believe it will be OK at the end of the day. 

SCHULTZ:  All right. 

BOXER:  So listen, we take it a day at a time here, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Oh, I know.  It is a day at a time. 

Well, another day at a time is that the antitrust exemption was stripped out of the Senate bill.  How do you feel about that?  This gives...

BOXER:  Well, I don‘t like it.  I don‘t like it.  I think that the insurance companies have had it, you know, way too easy.  They‘ve been able to...


SCHULTZ:  That‘s a major concession. 

BOXER:  Yes, it‘s a major concession.  And, you know, I have to say that, as Senator Reid has told us, look, not everything in that bill is what he wanted to do, it‘s certainly not everything that I wanted to do.  It‘s the legislative process. 

At the end of the day, here‘s what we have to do.  We have to look at the status quo.

Sixty-six percent of bankruptcies, Ed, are tied to a health care crisis.  Women have been paying 40 percent more for insurance policies.  There‘s gender ratings.  That will end. 

And if we keep on going the way we are—and that‘s why my Republican friends make no sense at all, because they‘re the voices of the status quo.  They don‘t even have a bill in the United States Senate. 

They‘re more interested in bringing down, I think, this president than they are in bringing down health care costs, which will become 40 percent of our incomes.  That‘s what the studies show for an average family. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

BOXER:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California with us tonight. 

Coming up, call me crazy, but if you‘re thinking of running for president, shouldn‘t you know the difference between Iraq and Iran?  America‘s favorite author doesn‘t know the difference.  She‘s in “Psycho Talk.”  

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, who else?  Sarah Palin. 

Her book tour is hot and the TV interviews are coming fast and furious.  So fast, she got her countries mixed up, and bootlicker Sean Hannity over at Fox never corrected her, let it go by. 

Palin was showing off her foreign policy knowledge, and apparently doesn‘t know the difference between Iraq and Iran. 


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  We have a crisis now with an Iranian regime, with a Holocaust denier as president that wants to annihilate Israel and wipe it off the face of the earth. 

How do we prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons? 

SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR:  We have allies who are as concerned about Ahmadinejad‘s actions as we are.  We need to be working closer with France and with Britain and start not just considering, but seriously taking steps towards the sanctions that we hear all about but we never see any actions towards—cutting off the imports into Iraq of their refined petroleum products. 

They‘re reliant -- 40 percent to 45 percent of their energy supply is reliant on those imports.  We have some control over there.  And some of the beneficial international monetary deals that Iraq benefits from, we can start implementing some sanctions there and start really shaking things up and telling Ahmadinejad, nobody is going to stand for this. 

HANNITY:  How dangerous is it to negotiate with a Holocaust denier? 


SCHULTZ:  Did you catch that?  So, we aren‘t working with France and Great Britain.  And there are some Americans out there who think that she‘s qualified to be president? 

For Palin not to know the difference between Iraq and Iran, and to proclaim that we have some control in Iran, that‘s “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, Oprah Winfrey is cutting the microphone and turning off the lights.  I‘ll give you the details in my “Playbook.”

Plus, House Minority Leader John Boehner calls the Senate health care bill a garlic milkshake.  And my next guest compares it to a turkey dinner.

Get ready for a fight right here on THE ED SHOW.

Republican Senator John Barrasso will join me in just a moment. 

Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. 

On Saturday, more than half of the United States Senate will be trying to get health care reform done for the American people.  The Republicans will be trying to block debate on the bill.  People are being denied coverage or dropped from coverage, families are going bankrupt.  You know the numbers, and the Republicans don‘t even want to talk about it.

But they can‘t do it alone.  You see, they need Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson to break with the Democrats to come on over to their camp.  Ben Nelson is still bragging about being the lone Democrat to kill health care. 

He says today, “I‘m comfortable having my vote, whatever it is, whichever way it goes.  I‘ve been clear from the beginning that you have to see the actual language before you can make a decision on whether you‘re going to vote for cloture on the motion to proceed.  I‘m still undecided.  That‘s different than being on the fence.”  Well, actually it‘s not. 

Anyway, let‘s bring in Senator Jon Barrasso of Wyoming.  Senator, you and I have gone back and back now, I guess, for six or seven months on this.  One thing I‘ve noticed about you, you‘re - you‘re kind of heading up the Republican rapid response team.  Every time some news comes out, you‘re out there getting after it.  So I give you credit for being in the debate on all of this.

So I have to ask you, Senator, is there anything that you can embrace in this Senate bill as we move forward?

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO ®, WYOMING:  Well, not the overall bill.  It doesn‘t deal with junk lawsuits, it doesn‘t really - in - in my opinion, it really worked on preventative care.  And you see - you see what we happen - what happened just now with this rationing of care, with this preventative task force.  They‘re preventing services for women for mammograms.   I mean, that‘s really a preview into what may happen with health care in America when you get the government making decisions, standing between a patient and their doctor.  We see now where the American Cancer Society comes out to defend their position on when you should do mammograms.

But Washington, who says it knows best and published this in the annals of Internal Medicine, said no, don‘t do mammograms until age 50.  Stop after age 75.  You know what that‘s going to do?  It‘s going to cost lives, and that‘s what‘s wrong with this whole plan. 

This is a very expensive health care bill.  It cuts Medicare for our seniors that have - that need Medicare.  It raises taxes on a lot of people and there are so many financial gimmicks.  Then you talk about people losing insurance and coverage.  The benefits aren‘t even going to kick in now until the year 2014.  It used to be 2013, but Harry Reid wanted to get the cost down, so what did he do?  He said, “Well, we wouldn‘t give services for an additional year.”  But they‘re going to start collecting the taxes, raising the money immediately, but not giving care until 2014.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, OK.  All right.  You‘re leaving out that this is going to save money, $127 billion over the next 10 years.  Thirty-one million more Americans are going to be getting coverage that they didn‘t have before.

BARRASSO:  Not for five more years.

SCHULTZ:  Well, OK.  I - I agree with you there.  Heck, we ought to start it next week.  But the fact is, is that we got to have a few more election cycles and we are giving 40 million customers to the insurance industry, plus, there‘s been another cave for you guys over there in the conservative side.  The anti-trust has been stripped out of this. 

I mean, in many respects, your side - your 40 have won a lot of things in all of this.  I don‘t think this bill goes far enough, but we got to take what we can get at this point.  But I find it amazing that throughout this whole process, everything from the Republicans is anti, anti, anti, anti.  There‘s nothing you can embrace in this bill, not one thing tonight that you can embrace in it?

BARRASSO:  I think people ought to be able to shop around and buy insurance across state lines, Ed, and we‘ve talked about that before.  I think people ought to have the same tax breaks as the big insurance companies.  I mean, you talked about this as a giveaway to the insurance companies.  I don‘t - I want people to be able to shop around and get better deals, not worse deals. 


BARRASSO:  But what I see in this bill, it‘s going to drive up the cost.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  But I‘m looking.

BARRASSO:  . for people that have insurance.  They‘re going to pay more.

SCHULTZ:  But senator, I‘m looking for some common ground here.  You mean to tell me that you can‘t embrace getting rid of the preexisting condition, and I should point out that that‘s not in the House Republican bill, but maybe you would move on this.  Do you go along with the preexisting condition being wiped out so anybody can get insurance?  Do you go along with that?

BARRASSO:  I go along with what you said in that last segment with Senator Boxer about eliminating preexisting conditions if somebody that you said - you said gained five pounds 10 years ago.  But what they found in Massachusetts now is that people don‘t get the insurance and they wait until they get sick and then the next day they go and get the insurance.


BARRASSO:  So they‘re happier to pay the fine until they become - until they get a diagnosis and then they go for the insurance. 

SCHULTZ:  I - I‘m talking about—Senator, come on.  I‘m talking about somebody who‘s got MS or somebody who‘s got cancer, somebody can‘t get insured because of a. 

BARRASSO:  That should be covered.  That should be covered.  You and I agree on that.

SCHULTZ:  OK.  So I have found, Senator John Barrasso, his grand (ph) something in the Democratic bill that you can lock onto.  So we‘ve got  a start here.  We‘re together on one issue on this.

Now, the other thing that I like in this, John, is that 9.8 percent - if you‘re in a certain income level 300 to 400 percent above poverty, you can‘t - the insurance company can‘t come in and get more than 9.8 percent of your income.  Are you for or against that?

BARRASSO:  I think - I think that makes sense.  You want to limit people‘s - you want to limit taxes on people.  But you talked about this bill saving money.  It raises taxes.  That‘s what it does.

SCHULTZ:  No, it saves money on the federal budget deficit, it saves money and health care costs.

BARRASSO:  Because they‘re raising more taxes.

SCHULTZ:  Well, they‘re going to raise taxes on the affluent.


BARRASSO:  . raise taxes. 

SCHULTZ:  They‘re going to raise taxes not on the middle class.  They‘re going to raise taxes on - on the people that are making over $250,000 a year, and that‘s going to be a Medicare increase of a half a percent.  A half a percent.  It‘s going to take it to 1.95 percent, and you‘re squawking about that.  OK.

BARRASSO:  They‘re still cutting $500 billion from services for people on Medicare to start a whole new government program.

SCHULTZ:  That‘s not what Senator Reid said last night.  He said it strengthens Medicare.  He says it strengthens Medicare and expands Medicaid, right?

BARRASSO:  Well, expanding Medicaid, of course, as you know, is an unfunded mandate on the states which is why Democrat and Republican governors alike call it the mother of all unfunded mandates.

If you get people off of the federal part of it and then make the states pay for that money, it‘s a way to lower the cost to - to Washington, but I‘ll tell you, in terms of taxpayers across the states, it‘s going to still cost more and taxes are going to go up.

SCHULTZ:  Premiums - premiums are going to go up between now and 2013.  There‘s nothing reeling in the insurance companies there.  There‘s nothing for small business between now and 2013 from what I can see.  And they‘re getting 40 million new customers, which is a pretty good deal.  Ninety-eight percent of the American people will not see their taxes go up because of this bill. 

Senator, great to have you with us.  You‘re a good sport.  I appreciate it.

BARRASSO:  The dean of Harvard Medical School said people who support this are in collective denial.

SCHULTZ:  And the Harvard Medical School also said that 45,000 people are dying every year because they don‘t have insurance and this will cut that number down.  Great to have you with us.

BARRASSO:  They give the bill an F grade. 

SCHULTZ:  I give - I give the bill about a C plus.

BARRASSO:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Thanks.  Senator John Barrasso. 

For more, let‘s go into our panel tonight.  Joan Walsh, she‘s the editor in chief of  She‘s with us.  And Ernest Istook, former congressman and Distinguished Fellow of the Heritage Foundation.  Good to have both of you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ:  Joan, does this bill go far enough for progressives in this country?  What do you think?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, SALON.COM:  You know, it probably doesn‘t, Ed.  It‘s just the beginning of a process and there‘s going to be a lot of debate and they‘re going to merge the House and the Senate bills before they‘re through.

But I just have to reply to something that Senator Barrasso said.  As a doctor, it‘s just shocking to me that he would be so ideological as to lie about - he‘s lying about that panel recommendation on mammograms.  It is very controversial, Ed.  I have friends on both sides of that issues - issue.  I know doctors on both sides of that issue.

But here‘s one thing, Ed, they made that recommendation under the Bill Clinton administration.  They made it again under the George Bush administration.  For lots of different reasons, it‘s never been adopted.  The American Cancer Society fights it.  But it is not a political decision and it has nothing to do with the Democrats or President Obama‘s health care push. 

So every time you hear that, Ed, you have to push back.  This is what we‘ve sunk to as a country, and as a Republican Party that people would scare - they‘ve lost the death panel, they gave up on the death panels because they don‘t exist, and now they‘re scaring women that Obama wants to take away their - their mammograms.  It‘s outrageous.

SCHULTZ:  Ernest Istook, what about that?

ISTOOK:  Well, I looked at some of the bill last night and I think at Section 224 of the bill, and some other sections too, actually give that very same government panel expanded power.  Now, they - they will make reports to this new health czar, this Health Choices commissioner and also to the secretary of Health and Human Services on what should or should not be covered.

So this very panel that made the controversial decision is actually going to be put in an even more important role under the Senate bill.

SCHULTZ:  Well, Ernest, insurance companies - insurance companies decide right now what should and should not be covered.

WALSH:  Right.  We already have.


SCHULTZ:  We already got that. 

ISTOOK:  Ed, you‘re right.  But, you see, insurance companies are - are making those decisions, but you‘re saying the only decision maker ought to be the government.  You know, that means whether it‘s right or whether it‘s wrong, there‘s only one decision, and it‘s the same decision for everyone.

SCHULTZ:  But as a.

WALSH:  Absolutely not true.


SCHULTZ:  As a tax paying American, I can do - I can do something - wait a minute.  I can do something about the insurance companies.  I can‘t.

WALSH:  My mother.


WALSH:  My mother died of breast cancer at 45.  Let‘s get - let‘s get into it.  I don‘t support this panel - this panel‘s decision, but they‘re not going to necessarily expand this panel‘s role.  This is a panel that has been banging away at this.

ISTOOK:  But in the bill it does expand their role.

WALSH:  There are other panels in the bill.  This is - this is not a done deal.  This has been - this has been a controversial decision going back 15 years, and to say that it‘s coming up now because of this push is completely dishonest and playing on the fears.

ISTOOK:  Actually.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Joan, hold on - hold on Ernest.

ISTOOK:  Yesterday.

SCHULTZ:  Hold on, Ernest, I want to - I want to.

ISTOOK:  . the White House is trying to have it both ways.  The White House Communications director condemned the people who condemned the panel, and then the secretary of Health and Human Services condemned the panel.  The White House is taking both sides of this issue.

SCHULTZ:  All right, what about the abortion clause right now?  I want to know what you think, Joan, about Senator Boxer‘s comments earlier.  She thinks that they‘re going to get over this hurdle and it wouldn‘t be a problem and the language will be satisfactory to the progressive people of this country.  What do you think? 

WALSH:  Well, it probably wouldn‘t be satisfactory to the progressive people, but it will probably get enough progressive votes.  There will be a compromise. 

You know, the caps amendment in the House always, always made sure to stick to the letter and - and the spirit of the Hyde amendment, preventing federal funds from being used.  The Stupak amendment was just a - a bait and switch at the last minute that really will not stand.  We will not have health insurance with a Stupak amendment. 

They‘ve worked out a compromise.  I‘m not crazy about it, but I - I think it will get progressive votes.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Got to run.  Thank you, Joan.  Thank you, Ernest.  Appreciate your time tonight. 

Coming up.

ISTOOK:  Yes.  Let‘s talk about that abortion language another time then. 

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll have you back. 

Coming up, under the Bush-Cheney administration, nearly 200 terrorists have been tried, convicted and locked up in high security US prisons.  I want to know why now, all of a sudden, the Republicans are outraged about trying KSM here in New York. 

Congressman Joe Sestak will check in next.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  It‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey, should President Obama fire Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner?  Text A for yes, B for no to 622639. 

The results coming up later in THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  And in my Playbook tonight, House Minority Leader John Boehner is playing politics with national security and a group of retired generals are calling him out on it.  Boehner is trying to force a vote on legislation to stop the transfer of prisoners from the - KSM from Guantanamo Bay to the United States, which he creatively named the “Keep Terrorists out of America Act.” 

But the national campaign to close Guantanamo, led by former Congressman Tom Andrews of Maine pointed out this very simply, “Since 2001, 195 terrorists have been tried, convicted and locked up in federal supermax prisons on this soil under the Bush-Cheney administration, [but Boehner and other GOP leaders] never uttered a word of concern and opposition.”

Let me bring in Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, Retired 3-star Admiral, highest-ranking military officer ever elected to the branch of the Congress and also former Head of Naval Intelligence.  Congressman, good to have you on tonight.

Are you in any way concerned that some information might come out in this trial that would jeopardize how we go after terrorists in this country?

REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  Absolutely not, Ed.  The Classified Information Procedures Act gives all the control to the government to issue a protective order to hold - withhold information in redacted summaries in order to protect our classified secrets.

I was on the ground early in the war in Afghanistan, as you know, Ed, headed - Head of the Navy‘s Anti-Terrorism Unit Deep Blue for a short period of time, then came out and helped shape the policies to continue to pursue those perpetrators of those outrageous acts.  I was stationed at the Pentagon when it happened. 

I want them brought to justice.  We‘ve waited too long.  We tried twice to bring them forward under military commissions and the Supreme Court said no, they didn‘t meet the rule of law.  We wouldn‘t be bringing them forward right now to the courts if we didn‘t have the evidence, and we have to be about our business and with the greatest resolve show the world that our strength is our ideals.

SCHULTZ:  Well, this is.

SESTAK:  We can‘t let these - Ed, we can‘t let them bend our principles, these terrorists.

SCHULTZ:  Well, Joe, this is the big talking point by the Conservatives, that we‘re going to be less safe, that there‘s going to be some information come out of the courtroom that‘s going to alert the terrorists on how we operate.  Isn‘t that just unfounded?

SESTAK:  Absolutely.  Without a question. 

In fact, as we have redone twice now, and actually I was involved in the third, the military commissions, they go under the same types of classified procedures that the civilian courts do.  They‘re also open to the public.

So people tend to forget that, the Military Tribunals.  No, we have the absolute capability to protect classified information.

SCHULTZ:  Republicans are grandstanding, that‘s the bottom line. 

Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. 

SESTAK:  Absolutely.  Thanks for having me, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Thank you so much.  You bet.

It‘s Green Week here at NBC - the networks of NBC Universal. 

The world‘s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska could be in danger, thanks to a plan that the Bush administration cooked up right before leaving office.  The plan removed protections for fish and wildlife and now a mining company wants to build a giant golden copper mine right near the head waters of two major salmon rivers that run into Bristol Bay.  That means toxic waste could drain out into the bay, destroying the salmon population and the livelihoods of people who live and work in the area. 

Joining me now on this is Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited Alaska, a fishery conservation group that is working to stop construction of the mine - of the mine, M-I-N-E.  Of course, I was talking about Republicans, I would say the mind, M-I-N-D. 

Tell us how severe is this when it comes to taking out the salmon population if these mines are developed?

TIM BRISTOL, TROUT UNLIMITED ALASKA:  Well, the proposal itself is so enormous.  It would be possibly the largest open pit gold and copper mine in the world and it‘s all about location.  It‘s the same thing as real estate. 

Mining is an - an inherently bad thing, but when you try to locate it at the head waters of the greatest remaining salmon fishery in the world, you‘re just asking for trouble.  And you add to that the fact that the pebble mine would be located in an area that has incredibly active earthquake.  It‘s a very seismic - seismically active area.  Just a really terrible idea, the worst place that you could possibly imagine for a - a mine of this scale and this size. 

SCHULTZ:  Now your - your organization has testified in front of the Congress and you‘ve also asked Secretary Salazar to get involved and also have the Bureau of Land Management to protect Bristol Bay Watershed.

Where does that stand?  Do you feel confident you can win this battle?

BRISTOL:  I feel confident we can win this battle, but it‘s going to take everyone and, you know, we‘re working very closely with Alaskan native leaders and commercial fishermen and sport fishermen and just average Alaskans from every walk of life, you know, potentially even Sarah Palin down the road.  She fishes out there every year and she named her daughter after Bristol Bay.

SCHULTZ:  Where does she stand on this?

BRISTOL:  She hasn‘t really come out with a position yet.  We remain hopeful. 

You know, when she resigned and she was at - at a tough juncture, she went out to the Bay and got back to what was important to her, you know, fishing and family, and, you know, we‘re - we‘re holding out hope that, you know, there‘s a place for everybody in this - in this battle, and.

SCHULTZ:  Is she a player in this?  Can she sway some people?  I mean, she‘s no longer in office, but her popularity and celebrity status?  What do you think?

BRISTOL:  I think so.  You know, she‘s very influential.  A lot of people really do still like her and I think this is a place where she can be above partisan politics and really focus on what‘s right and what‘s good and what‘s good for the people of Alaska.

SCHULTZ:  Jim Bristol, good luck to you.  I know that the restaurants in Seattle this week are serving special salmon dishes to kind of get everybody fired up to fight this thing.  It - it really is. 

And I should mention - thank you for joining us.  And I should mention that there are two sides of this story.  The mining company, we‘re going to ask them to come on and tell us how they can protect the environment and mine.

One last page on my Playbook tonight, Oprah Winfrey is calling it quits, but not for another two years.  Her last show will air September 9th, 2011.  That coincides with the show‘s 25th anniversary.  Employees got the news in a meeting this morning.  Oprah will make a public announcement tomorrow on her show.

Coming up, if there‘s anything worse than imagining Sarah Palin on the ticket for 2012, it‘s having the Beckster right there with her.  You wouldn‘t believe what‘s coming up.

We‘ll talk about that next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  It‘s Green Week here at MSNBC. 

Small things can make a big difference when it comes to saving our environment.  For easy ways to make your life and our planet a little greener, go to  Green matters here.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. 

Sarah Palin‘s book tour continues in Ft. Wayne, Indiana today.  She‘s still being coy about 2012 and a run for the White House, but in an interview with NewsMax - here‘s a dandy - she hinted at a possible running mate that would really thrill the Tea Partiers of America - Glenn Beck. 

She said this, quote, “I can envision a couple of differ combinations if I were ever to be in a position to really even consider seriously running for anything in the future.  Glenn Beck, I have great respect for.  He‘s a hoot!  He gets his message across in such a clever way and he‘s so bold.  I have to respect that.  He calls it like he sees it and he‘s very, very, very effective.”

Let me bring in Karen Hanretty, Republican Strategist and former Communications Director for the Republican Congressional Committee.  Karen, can that comment be taken seriously?

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I love it.  You know, sometimes I think Roger Ailes from FOX News just dangles shiny objects at the people at MSNBC and the Liberals just to watch them jump at it.

SCHULTZ:  She says she reads - she reads “NewsMax” and is considering

I mean, what if Barack Obama come out, Karen, and said, “You know, I think this Ed guy would be a pretty good running mate.”  I mean, what would you be thinking about that?

HANRETTY:  Oh, I wish he would.  You would have been a great running mate. 

Listen, like it or not, people connect with Sarah Palin.  She definitely has a group of people who connect with her.  I don‘t know if she‘s going to be a candidate, but she‘s a force on the political scene.  You know, maybe she goes and runs a powerful and influential pack or a non-profit. 

But I have to tell you, Ed, if I was going to commandeer your show today, “Psycho Babble” would have been dedicated to the Obama campaign, for putting out a fund-raising e-mail calling Sarah Palin, this mother of five, who doesn‘t hold political office, “dangerous.”  It‘s like the Left continues to concede power to this woman.

SCHULTZ:  Well, she does have crowds showing up.

HANRETTY:  She does.

SCHULTZ:  And she is, say, camera friendly.  She‘s got tremendous moxie, and she‘s unorthodox, and people are attracted to that. 

But she doesn‘t know the difference between Iraq and Iran, and she would actually consider a - a talk show host who‘s never done anything in public service, as possibly being one heartbeat away from the presidency.

HANRETTY:  I know but.

SCHULTZ:  I mean, I.

HANRETTY:  But, come on!  Come on, Ed. 

Look, you‘re a salesman.  You know how this is done.  This is great publicity for her on this book tour, who‘s - you know, who has great ratings?  Glenn Beck has great ratings.  He‘ll probably have even better ratings now. 

She knows how to sell herself.  You have to give her credit for salesmanship,  if nothing else.

SCHULTZ:  That‘s the bottom line.  If the Republicans want to take somebody that can sell themselves, that‘s fine, but when it comes to policies, she‘s weak (ph).

Karen, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

HANRETTY:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Earlier I asked you, should President Obama fire Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner?  Seventy percent of you said yes, 30 percent said no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to or check out our radio website at

Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  It starts right now on MSNBC.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.



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