Guests: Jack Rice, Donny Deutsch, John Harwood, Rep. Eric Massa, Rep.
Elijah Cummings, Rep. Gary Peters, Steven A. Smith, Rep. Alan Grayson
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW from New York tonight.
Well, it‘s the story everybody‘s talking about. The president can go all over the world, but we‘re not really sure if he‘s going to be safe in his own home. The crashing of President Obama‘s first State Dinner could have been a disaster, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, he took the heat today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The focus of the investigation at this point is on the fact that that name wasn‘t on the list, that name wasn‘t waved in, but that couple got into the White House. And I think that‘s what the Secret Service is rightly focused on.
I‘m simply reiterating for the three questions that I got on the same subject what the U.S. Secret Service put out on this. The president has faith in the Secret Service, always has, and that‘s not about to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK. It brings the definition of an open-door policy to a new level, doesn‘t it?
Fortunately, it just turns out to be a major embarrassment to the president‘s security detail and an unwelcome distraction to the White House at a very important time. The president‘s preparing for a major strategy speech on Afghanistan tomorrow night. It‘s a critical week when it comes to the economy. And holiday shopping upon us, and, of course, the jobs summit coming up.
But this is what people in America are talking about. How in the world did this happen?
A couple of reality star wannabes walk into the White House on—you know, the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, the one where all the presidents have been living all these years—and shakes hands with the president of the United States.
Now, look at that picture. The prime minister of India, he‘s standing just a few feet away.
Now, then they go have—well, let‘s get a picture with Joe. Joe‘s a good guy. Can I get my hands on the vice president? Apparently they‘ve been used to doing this kind of stuff.
Look, folks, let me play this for just a moment.
What if they were experts in martial arts? What if they had some kind of poison or undetectable drug on them?
The Secret Service failed big-time here. Now they‘re scrambling to figure out, oh, gosh, what went wrong?
“The Washington Post” had this report. These folks, they were allowed inside, in violation of Secret Service policies by an outside officer at the front gate who was persuaded by the couple‘s manner and insistence, as well as pressure, of keeping lines moving on a rainy evening.”
Well, I think there has to be a no-tolerance policy in all of this. You don‘t play games with the president‘s safety.
Let‘s see now. This is a president who has had a 400 percent increase in death threats. He gets about 30 a day, not to mention it‘s very disrespectful to the first family and to the country and it‘s dangerous to the commander in chief, all of the above.
You know, we need to find out where the security breach was. But also, we need to punish these crashers, whoever they are.
Set an example that pranksters are going to be dealt with. God forbid these nut jobs out there that show up at rallies with guns on, oh, that‘s freedom of speech?
You know, we‘ve got to pay attention to what‘s going on here. And I think the Secret Service let their guard down big-time.
I agree—I can‘t believe it, but I agree with the Republican senator from Arizona who thinks the crashers should be charged with a federal crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JON KYL ®, ARIZONA: I think you have to have a strong deterrent against this thing. And therefore, if it‘s a federal crime to lie to a federal agent, and these people didn‘t tell the truth about their invitation, then they should be in some way brought to justice here. Again, as an example to others not to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, so I can agree with Jon Kyl from Arizona, a staunch Republican. Gosh. It must be snowing in hell tonight.
The fact is this is an American issue. Barack Obama won‘t be the last president. What‘s happening with the next president?
This is an American issue. It‘s a security issue. Remember this war on terror?
A congressional panel has asked the couple to come to testify, which is the worst thing they should do, to give them more attention. They haven‘t been subpoenaed, but we don‘t even know if they‘re going to show up for not.
They‘ll be looking for a TV deal. Hopefully their stunt at the White House will backfire and they‘ll go into obscurity. I‘m not going to mention their name tonight. They don‘t deserve it.
But we should point out that they‘ve done this before. They‘ve had their picture taken with Bill Clinton and with Oprah.
Hey, this is their thing. In today‘s culture of reality shows, this is where we‘re at.
Should they face prosecution? I think they should.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Should the couple that crashed the State Dinner go to jail for it? Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me mow, former CIA officer Jack Rice and the chairman of Deutsch Inc., Donny Deutsch, for another perspective on this tonight.
Gentlemen, thanks for your time.
Mr. Rice, is this an issue of maybe a rookie White House not doing the due diligence, or is this just a complete failure by the Secret Service? What happened here?
JACK RICE, FMR. CIA OFFICER: This was a complete failure by the Secret Service. And I think some are saying it‘s simply one guy at the front gate. That‘s not true. You‘ve got to think about security in levels.
As a journalist covering this for year now on the national security aspects, there are levels of this. And more importantly, it needs to overlap one another. So, if they got past one level, they should have been picked up by the second level, before you get to the metal detectors.
Is there somebody else checking to ensure that the first person did their jobs? That‘s the reason you do this, just to ensure you don‘t have a problem like this. This was a systemic failure. This was not one individual problem.
SCHULTZ: Well, if you look good, apparently, and you dress up, and you play the part, heck, you can fast-talk your way through the White House security. I mean, I went through the Minneapolis airport today. They checked my driver‘s license three times.
And the person said, “You do have red hair, don‘t you?” I said, “Oh, yes, I do. Thank you.”
But the point is this—how much money have we spent on security in this country? We have reworked the department—we came up with the Department of Homeland Security so we could have good prevention; right? So why aren‘t these threats being taken seriously?
I mean, I feel, Jack, as a taxpayer, what the heck did we do all this for if we‘re not even checking the guest list at the White House?
RICE: Yes, I totally agree with you. This was a huge mistake, not because -- thankfully, nothing happened in this case.
I mean, maybe the problem is al Qaeda was too complicated. They were approaching this in a too complicated fashion. Maybe what they should have done is just knocked on the front gate and asked if the president was home and come out and play. I mean, who knows what could have happened then?
SCHULTZ: And one final thing with you, Jack. Is this an issue of resources? Since the Department of Homeland Security, we‘ve gone through this reorganization. The Secret Service has been cut on resource.
Is this a resource issue in any way?
RICE: No, I don‘t think it was. This was basically a failure to allocate resources. This was a fundamental systemic mistake, again, as we said, and it‘s about making sure you have those multiple layers.
This is the president of the United States. It‘s not a left president, it‘s not a right president, Republican or Democrat. This is the president of the United States, the most powerful man on the face of the planet.
This should never have happened. Thankfully, nothing did. But it should never have gotten this close, and it was an embarrassment to the people of this country.
SCHULTZ: Where is the intensity? I mean, heck, they take Air Force One, they fly it over Manhattan and now this happens. Who knows what else is going to happen?
Jack Rice, great to have you with us.
Donny Deutsch, great to have you on tonight.
We‘re living in this culture of reality TV shows. In fact, we can find a star every 30 seconds in America now.
Your thoughts on this? I mean, there are thrill seekers out there that will just about go to any extent.
DONNY DEUTSCH, DEUTSCH INC.: You know, it‘s interesting. I‘m going to predict that the poll of your callers are going to be about 80 percent to 85 percent in favor of prosecuting these people.
This is—hopefully they‘re kind of the tipping point for our culture where you just go, you know—excuse me one second—enough is enough. This is insanity.
These people are vulgar. They‘re gross. It just kind of says everything -
it‘s almost a parody of itself.
And this is not funny stuff. And I hope the media polices itself and I hope the media—I was actually surprised when I saw they were going to do Larry King.
Larry, you know what? No. If everybody in the media says these people—no, theft. Enough.
You have nothing to say. You‘re scammers. You‘re bankrupt. You owe people money. We‘re not going to celebrate this one. We‘re going to take a pass on this one.
And I think this is one time where the media is maybe going to say enough is enough. These are vulgar people. These are gross people. This is not even a 15 minutes, this is not even a 15 seconds.
And prosecute them. Send out a signal here. This is vulgar behavior that puts our country at risk.
The good news here is the silver lining is maybe it woke up a little bit about some of these security possible breaches in a harmless manner. But I was incensed by this.
SCHULTZ: This is just where we are in this country right now. There are people out there who are looking for fame. There‘s folks out there who will do anything to get it. And this is a major risk-taker.
SCHULTZ: I mean, they‘re willing to be turned away at the reward of possibly getting in to do the ultimate, which they did, see the president and the vice president and everybody at the party.
DEUTSCH: This is a sickness. And you know, obviously people—you know, God forbid anything happens to the president at any point, and you kind of point back to this. Wow, did this somehow motivate somebody?
Hey, wow. I can get in closer. Hey, wow. Look at all the attention.
You know, there are a lot of sickos out there. This is not funny stuff, and these people need to be dealt with harshly.
They embarrassed the Secret Service, they embarrassed this country.
Prosecute these people.
And by the way, if I‘m Bravo—I know they‘re up for the “Housewives” or whatever the hell—a message—and I love the people at Bravo. They‘re smart people.
Don‘t you dare put these people on a show. Send out a signal. I mean, this is tough (ph).
SCHULTZ: Donny, we‘ve got to play this tape just one more time, the couple walking in. I know that we‘ve seen it 1,000 times on the networks today, but look at her—she‘s playing the part.
DEUTSCH: Look at that.
SCHULTZ: Oh, let‘s stop and take a picture. Yes, I‘ve been here before.
But wait a minute, honey. Let‘s stop one more time now.
Let‘s get a good look. And—oh, they‘re not chasing us. OK. Now we can go.
I mean, this is unbelievable.
DEUTSCH: You can‘t make it up.
And to your point earlier, you know, if you and I are walking up there, Ed, you know, two middle-aged white guys, all right, you guys, out of here. A pretty blonde in a red dress, you know, it kind of goes a long way there.
So, they certainly looked like they belonged there. But you can‘t—Ed, every time you think, what are we going to do to top the next one? You go, here it is. And you can‘t make this stuff up.
SCHULTZ: Well, I want everybody to know the last time I was at the White House press conference in the front row, they did check my ID and my name was on a list.
Donny, great to have you with us tonight.
DEUTSCH: Great to see you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: It‘s the culture we live in now, folks.
For more on this, let me bring in John Harwood, CNBC chief Washington correspondent and political reporter for “The New York Times,” tonight.
White House reaction? John, where do they stand on this? It seemed that Mr. Gibbs kept saying there‘s an investigation going on, but behind closed doors it would seem to me that the Obamas would be furious about this.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly the White House is embarrassed and upset over this incident, but I think they‘re counting this week, Ed, on the rush of news to sort of carry them past this event, you know, once they got past today. And you‘ve got the Afghanistan speech tomorrow, you‘ve got the Senate taking up health care. You‘ve got a jobs summit that the president is holding on Thursday which is really priority number one for the administration.
And as one senior administration official told me today, the president‘s been in a lot of meetings, making a lot of phone calls today. He hasn‘t been having meetings about this issue. He‘s been talking about Afghanistan and jobs and all the other stuff.
SCHULTZ: Well, there‘s a lot of other important stuff going on, but the American people are out there saying, we were told if we didn‘t elect a certain administration the last time around we were going to get hit again. We were told that Barack Obama would be weak on security.
Holy smokes, here comes Air Force One over Manhattan. And by the way, somebody‘s right close to him who could have killed him. Let‘s just say it right now. Someone who is an expert in martial arts, someone of that ability, was just seconds away from the president.
Not expecting it in his own house. You‘d have to think that they would feel that they‘re pretty doggoned secure in their own home. What if she had been specifically trained to injure? This is serious, and it would seem to me that the guy on the left who was the invited guest to the State Dinner might be wondering, what the hell‘s going on in America?
HARWOOD: Well, look, you‘re right. And it was a major screw-up, and the Secret Service is embarrassed and the White House is embarrassed.
I will say in defense of the Secret Service, I think they‘ve got a pretty good record, they do a pretty good job, generally speaking. But you‘re only as good as your last mistake, and this was a huge mistake. No question about it.
I also think it‘s worth pointing out that anybody who, even if they‘re on a list, who gets into a State Dinner, if they decide to, for whatever reason, go after the president can do so. They were screened for metal, for weapons, that sort of thing.
But, you know, look, it happened. The Secret Service is not happy about it. I think there‘s going to be some accountability. Somebody‘s going to pay a price. And certainly the White House paid a political price in the distraction this has caused.
I think they may be hoping, by the way, Ed, that Tiger Woods takes some of the attention away given what‘s happening with him over the weekend.
SCHULTZ: Well, he‘s doing a pretty good job of that.
HARWOOD: Yes, exactly.
SCHULTZ: We‘ll get to that later on in the show.
Let‘s see that picture one more time of Vice President Biden, and let‘s look at her left hand, which is on the chest of the vice president. How do we know that ring couldn‘t be some kind of a razor, some kind of—something that you could press and all of a sudden there‘s a projectile coming out, and then just go right for the jugular?
I mean, look, the Secret—heads have got to roll for this, John. Any talk about that at the White House?
HARWOOD: Oh, I think heads may roll on this. Look, when you have somebody who appears—and “The Washington Post” reported late this afternoon that this couple had contacted somebody at the Pentagon about trying to get to the State Dinner—they will discover, I believe, at some point that there was some human connection who persuasively talked them past this checkpoint.
HARWOOD: Whoever was involved in that exchange, I think, is going to pay a price. Heads are likely to roll there.
But look, you cannot deny that if you have a couple that was not invited into the White House, and if they were intent on harming the president, they could have tried to do that. I do think that when you look at the record of how the Secret Service has done protecting the president over the last generation, they‘ve done a pretty good job.
SCHULTZ: It makes James Bond movies pretty believable.
John Harwood, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
HARWOOD: You bet.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, now that the health care debate is officially under way in Washington, Senator Richard Lugar has the audacity to recommend that, hey, what do you say we just put this on hold? Congressman Anthony Weiner is going to react to that in just a moment.
Plus, Tiger Woods sure seems to be hiding something after the weekend‘s incident. He just dropped his next tournament that he was supposed to be hosting? Oh.
Stephen A. Smith will break it down for us.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
The health care debate started this afternoon on the Senate floor. The fate of the public option hangs in the balance, folks.
Progressives, take notice. We‘ve got to engage.
Harry Reid is trying to juggle the public option and the demands of four Democratic holdouts, while the Republicans, they‘re up to their same old tricks.
Here he is. Senator Richard Lugar says health care isn‘t important enough to spend money on?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR ®, INDIANA: The war is terribly important. Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change, and talk now about the essentials, the war and money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yes, it‘s always about the money.
Senator Lugar, this is a Blackberry. I get this from viewers, listeners of the radio show all the time.
This is a lady named Ann (ph) in California who writes to me, “Effective January 1st in 2010, Blue Shield in California, they‘ll no longer reinstate policies that are canceled for nonpayment of premiums. This means if your premiums are not paid in full and received on the due date, your policy is going to be canceled and you‘ll need to reapply for coverage.”
It‘s all about the money, isn‘t it, Senator?
Here‘s the bottom line. The insurance industry is attacking the public right now while we‘re wasting all these games to get health care done in this country. They‘re coming up with a little bit of tactics about, OK, how can we go after the consumer? Well, let‘s see, if they don‘t pay on time, we‘ll cancel and make them reapply, then we won‘t take them and we‘ll jack the rate on them.
Joining me now is New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Congressman, this is the kind of stuff that‘s going on with all these mind games that are being played by the Republicans. It is about the money. It‘s about the money for the insurance industries.
Now that we have gone through the break and we‘ve got this short window of opportunity, how do you feel about getting the public option and some real reform in?
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Well, to one degree, Senator Lugar is right. It is about the money.
We know as a fact that if we don‘t fix health care next year, you, me, all of your listeners are going to pay $1,000 more for their health insurance. That‘s the way the insurance industry wants it. If we kick this can much longer, they‘ll continue reaping profits and we‘ll continue losing money.
It‘s interesting to hear Senator Lugar say that when we financed the entire Iraq war off budget as an emergency expense, without a dime to pay for it when his party was in charge. The fact of the matter is we are in the final stages here, and the health insurance lobby is not going to do down without a fight.
You know, my Web site, CountdowntoHealthCare.com, we were focusing on the Republicans to begin with. Repeatedly, people signed petitions saying, you know what? You‘re focusing on the wrong thing. We have to make sure that all of the Democrats understand how important it is that we have a public option and true health care reform.
SCHULTZ: And could there be some real political harm to the Democrats here for focusing on the Democrats that are really holding out, I guess, for more money or waiting to be rented or waiting to cut a deal?
What do you think?
WEINER: Well, I‘ve got to tell you something. I have no problem with individual senators advocating for their states or advocating for health care. I mean, that‘s what they‘re supposed to be doing.
I have no problem with that, so long as we understand that if you really are concerned about cost containment and choice, you‘ve got the public option. You can‘t be against the public option and then complain that, well, we‘re not containing costs enough. You can‘t have it both ways. But I‘m convinced that Senator Reid and the overwhelming majority of Democrats are going to convince their handful of recalcitrant colleagues to realize that if you want cost containment and savings, you need to have the public option.
SCHULTZ: OK. Congressman, here‘s the crucial point for you. And you have been just an absolute fighter for the people on this all along.
But are you at the point where you would vote against health care reform, the bill coming back out of conference committee, if it does not have a public option? Are you willing to go that far?
WEINER: Well, here‘s what I would say. I‘m not one that says let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But I do believe you need to have cost containment in the bill. That‘s one thing that I and the Blue Dogs and the deficit hawks all have in common.
And unless someone can come up with something that‘s like the public option, that saves us money, you know, there is just—I‘m concerned that we‘re not going to achieve our main objective here. And that is providing coverage, better care for people that have insurance, but also cost containment. That‘s why this is so important. I‘m not...
SCHULTZ: Well, that cost containment comes from competition for the private sector from a government option. And if we don‘t open that door, who knows where this is all going to go.
I mean, it‘s almost about consumer protection. We have got to be given an option to reel these kind of operations in. And I just gave you an example of one, how they‘re going to push back on consumers. That wouldn‘t happen in a government option.
WEINER: Listen, I know for a fact it‘s like herding cats in the Senate and making them all meow at the right time. It‘s difficult to do. But you put your finger on it.
If the insurance companies—if we think the insurance companies, just because we want them to, are going to stop gouging for profit the, we‘re wrong. I mean, they themselves said in their own document that they were going to raise rates 111 percent if the Senate bill passes.
You know why? Because they know that even with a weak public option they‘re going to try to raise rates. That‘s why we need the strongest one possible.
Congressman, great to have you with us. Keep up the fight. Thanks so much.
WEINER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, psycho nerd Ben Stein is spewing righty talking points faster than a speeding bullet.
I‘m calling him out next on “Psycho Talk.”
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And making his debut in “Psycho Talk” tonight, cable TV game show host and former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein.
Well, he went on Fox and followed the righty script word for word about Obama taking us down that scary road to socialism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN STEIN, FMR. NIXON SPEECHWRITER: This administration is about social control. It is about taking control from the individual and giving it to the state.
That‘s what the hoax about climate is about. That‘s what the hoax about health care is about. That‘s what the hoax about everything they‘re doing is about. That‘s what the hoax about America being a bad country and we‘re going to make it fixed and make it into a great socialist paradise.
That‘s what that‘s all about. This administration is about a hoax that America is not a great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, let‘s get serious on this one now, Ben.
I‘ll tell you, animal species dying off because of global warming is not a hoax. Almost 50 million Americans living without health insurance, not a hoax either. And President Obama is not leading us to a socialist paradise.
The real hoax here is treating political hacks like Ben Stein like they‘re actual experts. His suggestion that the Obama administration is making stuff up to turn America into a socialist country is flat-out “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, our commander-in-chief has already issued the orders. We‘re about to dig in to Afghanistan a little bit more. And I think it‘s a hole that we can‘t afford to fall into. Remember Vietnam?
Veteran Congressman Eric Massa, he will assess the battle plan, and Alan Grayson will tell us just how we‘re going to pay for it.
That‘s next. Stay with us.
Plus, defending his wife on paper, but I think Tiger has got to step up and answer some tough questions from law enforcement. Don‘t you think? The rest of us would have to do that.
Stephen A. Smith in the house to give us his take.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Well, Afghanistan is now President Obama‘s war. Last night in the Oval Office, the president gave the orders for 30,000 more troops. That‘s a lot of money. He‘ll explain his decision to the nation tomorrow night in a prime time speech from West Point Military Academy. You can catch that live right here on MSNBC, 8:00 Eastern time. And we‘ll have special programming to follow.
Let me bring in New York Congressman Eric Massa, retired Naval commander, and sits on the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees. Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.
I think I speak for a lot of progressives across the country. When it comes to confidence for a successful conclusion in Afghanistan, I think a lot of people are fresh out. How do you feel about knowing that there‘s going to be 30,000 more troops going to Afghanistan in year number nine?
REP. ERIC MASSA (D), NEW YORK: Well, first off, let me just say that nobody wants the president to succeed more than I do, because if he succeeds, our country succeeds. But putting 30,000 more in Afghanistan is like pouring a bag of sand in a broken New Orleans levee. Even General Petraeus, who wrote the current insurgency strategy that we‘re supposed to be following, said we should have over 300,000 more.
No sector of the American society has borne the burden of this war against terrorism more than the uniform military of the United States and their families. Yet, now we will continue to ask for no sacrifice from the American people. I don‘t understand the strategy. If it‘s to build an Afghan nation, we‘re on a fool‘s errand.
SCHULTZ: OK. so you would advise the president, don‘t to this and begin a draw down?
MASSA: Absolutely. We invaded Afghanistan with 1,000 special forces personnel over eight years ago, 2,969 Days we‘re up to. That‘ eight times longer—five times longer than World War I, three times longer than World War II. Those 1,000 special forces personnel achieved military victory unheard of in the 21st century; 98 percent of everybody that we located—these are who did us harm or would do us harm—were killed or captured.
It is time to declare victory and come home. Should terrorism and terrorists resurface anywhere in the world, let alone Afghanistan, we‘ll take the actions that are necessary. Not with the force of occupation of over 100,000 American military personnel.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, are you concerned the Taliban would get even more control of the country than they have right now, and create a safe haven for al Qaeda to set up shop, that would eventually come over here and hit us again?
MASSA: Ed, there is no safe haven should we choose a military option to make sure there is not. In fact, in a country that is built along tribal lines and tribal boundaries, for us to back one of the most corrupt central governments created since that which we saw in South Vietnam, I think is a tremendous strategic mistake.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, the president is a cerebral guy. He‘s not a military guy. But he‘s a is a cerebral guy. He‘s invested in the issues big-time. He‘s not just a quick study. He spends a lot of time. If I had to describe him, I would say he‘s a very thorough person when it comes to reasoning things out and understanding the situation. Somebody sold him on this.
MASSA: I don‘t disagree with anything you say. I congratulate the president on taking his time under political pressure. I think, however, if what we hear tomorrow is 30,000 more troops to create a Jeffersonian democracy, I believe, with all due respect to the president, that we are on a fool‘s errand.
SCHULTZ: This is more of the Bush doctrine, in a sense?
MASSA: I strongly disagree with it. I know others will talk about how we‘re going to pay for it. The ultimate payment is the sacrifices that our uniformed men and women make, up to in and including their lives, and the bereavement and hardships of their families. I don‘t see the justification in Afghanistan for continuing that.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
MASSA: Thank you very much.
SCHULTZ: Two hundred thirty four billion dollars, that‘s the price tag. That‘s what eight years of war in Afghanistan has already cost this country. Now we‘re sending 30,000 more troops, a nearly 50 percent increase. We have no idea how long they‘re going to be there, or how long it‘s going to take to, quote, finish the job.
The idea of a war surtax is gaining momentum in both houses of the congress and with both parties, for that matter. Joining me now is Florida Congressman Alan Grayson. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
Should we—should we make sure that we can pay for this next military increase in Afghanistan and how would you propose doing it?
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: I think we‘ve paid enough. We paid three trillion dollars already for the war in Iraq. That‘s 10,000 dollars for every man, woman and child in this country. From my family, my wife, myself, my five children, that‘s 70,000 dollars. Enough is enough.
We‘ve paid enough for Iraq in both money and blood. We‘ve paid enough for Afghanistan. Now it‘s time to come home.
SCHULTZ: So we‘re going to be there. The president is going to make the announcement. We‘re going there. What do we do for the finances of this? do we increase taxes? Where do we go to do that?
GRAYSON: No, people are suffering too much already. What we need to do is to change the president‘s mind and, if necessary, to vote to end the war. I think we need to do that. This is a war that really ended a long time ago, and not enough people have noticed that. After two months following September 11th, we had overthrown the Taliban government, and after three months expelled al Qaeda from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
General Petraeus said in May, al Qaeda no longer operates in Afghanistan. Why are we there? We are not safer because we send 100,000 of our young men and women across the ocean to a place 8,000 miles away. The Constitution doesn‘t even contemplate a standing army, much less an army standing in Kabul.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, do you think President Obama is leaving his base?
GRAYSON: Yes. I think that he needs to speak out as the moral person that he is in favor of peace. We have people now who are in first grade and second grade who have never known an America their entire lives that was an America at peace. I think it‘s time we thought about that, thought about what we‘re like as human beings and as a country. We need to pursue peace.
SCHULTZ: What do you think the progressive community should do, if anything, at this point?
GRAYSON: What we always do, organize, organize, and organize. Tell the president, tell our elected representatives, and hope that we can build bridges among enough congressmen so that we can tell the president honestly that this war should be over.
I‘ve been following the polls and I‘ve seen, in the case of Afghanistan, the polls are shifting. In the past year, more than 20% of Americans have changed their mind about the war in Afghanistan and conclude we shouldn‘t be there. And that‘s what we need to do. We need to change people‘s minds.
SCHULTZ: If the vote comes up for a surtax, would you support it?
SCHULTZ: You would not support it to be fiscally responsible, because that would be supporting the war then?
GRAYSON: The fiscally responsible thing is to end the wars that have cost us three trillion dollars and come close to wrecking the economy. We don‘t improve the economy by increasing the taxes to pay for this war. We improve the economy by bringing those soldiers home.
SCHULTZ: Do you think Barack Obama would have been elected president of the United States if he had gone around campaigning saying we‘re going to put another 30,000 troops in Afghanistan?
GRAYSON: I haven‘t lost hope. I think that if enough people change their minds about the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, in the end, President Obama will be one of them.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
GRAYSON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Alan Grayson from Florida here on THE ED SHOW.
Programming note, be sure to tune in to “COUNTDOWN” tonight with Keith Olbermann. Keith will have a special comment on Afghanistan. That‘s “COUNTDOWN,” airing tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, right here on MSNBC.
Coming up, it‘s time for Tiger to crawl out of the sand and—well, he hit one in the sand, I guess you could say. He‘s got to get out of the sand on this one. He‘s not saying anything. What in the heck happened? He‘s hurt enough not to be able to play in this week‘s golf tournament?
Steven A. Smith will bring us up to date on the latest developments in this developing story. That‘s in my playbook, next on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, if you love golf, this is a tough story. Tiger Woods is out of action for the rest of the year because of injuries from his mysterious early morning car accident on Friday. He was supposed to play in the 2009 Chevron World Challenge this week. That‘s a tournament that he hosts. He just announced on his website he‘s going to be pulling out of that tournament, won‘t be there.
And he‘s still keeping quiet about the crash. So quiet that three times he has canceled interviews with police over the weekend. The only public comment he‘s made is a statement on his website taking responsibility for the accident and for—asking for privacy. Let me bring in Steven A. Smith, columnist for “The Philadelphia Enquirer” and syndicated journalist. A lot of this, Steven A., Just doesn‘t add up. This doesn‘t sound like the Tiger Woods that sporting fans have been watching for several decades.
STEVEN A. SMITH, COMMENTATOR: Well, it doesn‘t add up for a variety of reasons. Number one, the cockamamie story that was being told. Clearly, there was an abundance of holes in that story.
But number two, more important to me, Ed, everybody keeps speculating about Tiger Woods. When is he going to talk? I have a better question, when are we going to see him? We saw his wife because his wife answered the door when the police showed up. She also jumped in the Escalade with the dogs when she took them away from their gated community. We‘ve seen her. She looks just fine.
We haven‘t seen Tiger Woods. He‘s talking about he was bruised because of the car accident. You‘re pulling out, run into a fire hydrant and ultimately run into a tree. But obviously when you left your house, you were in poor condition. Why would you run into those things to begin with? Seems to me—like speculatively speaking, of course, seems to me as if he incurred some damage prior to leaving the house, as opposed to when he got in the accident.
SCHULTZ: Speculation running rampant. In your opinion, does this statement hold up?
SCHULTZ: He says “this situation is my fault. I will certainly make sure it doesn‘t happen again. This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way, although I understand there is curiosity. The many false, unfounded, malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.”
Well, they may be irresponsible because people might not know, but that doesn‘t mean they‘re not true.
SMITH: That‘s exactly—
SCHULTZ: Go ahead.
SMITH: That‘s exactly correct. He may have been right about everything he said prior to that point. The reality is that Tiger Woods and his camp are responsible for all the growing speculation that has evolved around this particular story. You talked about a golf club smashing the window, and then your wife going into the back to drag you out of the front. Doesn‘t seem to make much sense. Saw pictures of the accident. Didn‘t see any damage to the driver‘s side or the passenger-side door that would prevent you from getting out of the car this way.
Again, there are holes in his story. He‘s created these questions. He should have told the world, I had a situation at home. Mind your damn business. I‘m OK. He didn‘t do that. As his guy, Charles Barkley, who is a friend of his, I can assure you, if this were not a real legal matter—
Barkley would not have hesitated to tell the world to mind their business.
He should have learned from Barkley in that regard.
SCHULTZ: Here‘s the 911 call that only piques more curiosity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need an ambulance immediately. I have someone down in front of my house. I have a neighbor he hit the tree. And we came out here just to see what was going on. I see him and he‘s laying down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean there was an auto accident?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was an auto accident, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he unconscious?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell if he breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can‘t tell right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Seven A., how does Tiger Woods get away from talking to the police for three days? Is it the money? Is it the fame? Or is there somebody protecting him? Or are they afraid of him? What about that?
SMITH: It‘s all of the above. The fact is he‘s worth about a billion dollars. He‘s insulated significantly more than most other athletes. You know, you have a lot of people making a lot of money off of him. They‘re going to do everything they can to protect his image, because more than a 100 million dollars is made off the course for this man annually. That‘s a lot of money for a lot of people.
SCHULTZ: He is golf. The ratings show it. When his name was out and he was not playing in tournaments, the ratings just weren‘t the same.
SMITH: He‘s also not shy about coming after you legally if he feels the need to do so. So everybody‘s got to dot their i‘s and cross their t‘s.
SCHULTZ: What about the sponsors? Nike throws out 30 million a year. so do a bunch of other people.
SMITH: They‘re not going anywhere, because he‘s going to win. He‘s still the greatest golfer in the world, 14 Major titles, nine-time money winner, nine-time player of the year.
SCHULTZ: They‘re going after his medical records via Florida law down in Florida. Obviously the story isn‘t going to be going away.
SMITH: It‘s not going to go away. I think it‘s getting to a point where it could be a bit too intrusive in that regard. Again, he‘s the cause of it. That‘s not going to deter the sponsors. Again, he‘s not in danger of going to jail or anything like that. Worst case scenario, he was either inebriated or he got beat up by his wife. Either way, he‘s going to be fine endorsement-wise.
SCHULTZ: When the story broke the other day—someone in law enforcement ought to really clarify—because the story was pending charges. That lasted for about six hours in the media. That was gone. So somebody was mopping something up.
SMITH: They got to mop something up because you have his representation all over their back. Remember, his agent actually called the troopers while they were en route to his house. Didn‘t call the police department. They patched them and dispatched them to the troopers who were actually—
SCHULTZ: Stephen A., We‘ll follow the story, my man. Good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Coming up, President Obama‘s got to step up and get money in the hands of the nation‘s risk takers. I‘ve been saying that for how long? Now Congressman Gary Peters and Elijah Cummings are going to weigh in on that in just a moment. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight. I‘ve been saying this for months, that giving small businesses access to cheap money is going to change the entire dynamic about this economic recovery that we want. Now some members of the Congress are starting to figure this thing out that, you know, this is the way we‘ve to go. Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations met with small business leaders in Michigan, where they need help, to talk about increasing their access to loans.
Democratic Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan was at the hearing tonight, held it. Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.
REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: Great to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Does this idea of, maybe—since we‘re going to send 30 billion dollars over to Afghanistan at the drop of a hat—maybe get a few billion for small business, and maybe some type of fast-track via the Small Business Administration? Maybe even get them out of it and start something new to loosen up these credit markets? What about that?
PETERS: You‘re absolutely right, Ed. That is the way we have to proceed. It‘s—small businesses create most of the jobs in this country. It‘s certainly going to be how we‘re going to get out of this economic problem we have in Michigan right now. It‘s going to be driven by small-business owners. Small businesses are particularly hurt with the credit crunch, because they rely on banks more than anybody else. The big businesses, they can go to the capital markets. They can go to the stock exchange. They can issue corporate debt.
Small businesses need to go to banks to get those loans. If we‘re going to create jobs, and if they‘re going to create jobs, they need to have access to credit. And quite frankly, they‘re not getting it.
SCHULTZ: How do we fix that? Congressman, how do we fix that? The banks aren‘t going to change the way they do business. Is this going to take nationalizing and having a United States Bank that works directly with small business?
PETERS: Well, I think part of it—what came out very clear in our hearing today—we had small business-people, but also the small banks, the community banks, the credit unions that are in the communities. It‘s really very clear, the big-money center banks, those banks that have been getting billions of taxpayer money, are abandoning areas like we have in Michigan and other high-unemployment areas. They‘re taking our deposits but they‘re investing it somewhere else.
However, it‘s the community banks, they have nowhere to go. They‘re in the community. They‘re local business-people, themselves. That‘s where the help needs to go. And there needs to be infusion of capital to help those banks. Instead, we have regulators now making it very difficult for those community banks, actually making tougher standards for them, forcing them to call in their credit lines at a time when we need to be putting money into the hands of small business-people. The strategy involves the SBA. It involves community banks and credit unions.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, what you said in the last 30 seconds is exactly where America is right now. It‘s part of a double standard. There‘s a different set of rules for the community banks. They‘re being just absolutely lassoed by the regulators. The only way that‘s going to turn around is if somebody in the federal government frees up the money and changes the regs and gets this on the fast track.
SCHULTZ: That is it. That is it.
PETERS: Absolutely, Ed. You‘re absolutely right. It was very clear. We‘re going to be coming back in the next couple weeks with a variety of policy options, right as a result of what was very good testimony in the hearing today.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you on. Thank you.
PETERS: Great to be with you, Ed. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: In advance of President Obama‘s big jobs summit this week, the White House is trying to show that they‘re paying attention to this economic crisis on Main Street. The administration announced today that they‘re going to start cracking down on mortgage companies. They‘ve threatened imposing fines or sanctions unless lenders permanently reduce payments for troubled homeowners.
Joining me now for more on this is Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland. He is a member of the Joint Economic Committee. Congressman, thanks for your time tonight. What has to happen, congressman, for people who are really struggling with their mortgages? How do we turn this around?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Well, as I‘ve written to Secretary Donovan and Secretary Geithner, what we have to do is create a situation where people can get short-term loans and—so that they can have a bridge to keep their houses. By the way, a lot of people are saying that these were the risk takers. Most of the people nowadays, Ed, are losing their homes, Ed, are people who have prime loans and they lost their homes in large part because either they had health problems or they lost their jobs. That‘s the most of them.
So what I‘ve asked them to do is look at using some of these funds, these Tarp funds, to give people—to create a revolving type of loan program, whereby people can get short-term loans just to be able to make their mortgage payments, and so they can stay in their homes. We have to do it. It is estimated that in five years about 13 million people will have lost their homes. Now, we talk about sales of new homes and used homes. But what about the people who already have their homes, who worked hard and have done the best they could and simply lost them through no fault of their own?
SCHULTZ: We just need a major grace period until this economy turns around. Is that—that‘s what it comes down to.
CUMMINGS: Exactly right. It seems to me—you know, the other thing, Ed, that really upset me, we could not get legislation through the Senate so that we could have the bankruptcy courts addressing the issue of foreclosure. So the banks cannot—and the banks fought that with everything they had.
So they can‘t have it both ways. On the one hand, they‘re foreclosing on folk and then, on the other hand, they don‘t want u#us to have a situation where bankruptcy courts could address this issue. We have to look at those kinds of things, because I‘m telling you, a lot of people are suffering.
SCHULTZ: We‘re talking about millions of people living on the brink.
Congressman, keep up the fight. Thanks for your time.
CUMMINGS: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Congressman—then, of course, earlier tonight, I asked the question, should the couple who crashed the state dinner go to jail? Eighty nine said yes, 11 percent said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. Chris Matthews and “HARDBALL” is coming up right now in the place for politics. Keith Olbermann with a special comment tonight on Afghanistan, 8:00 Eastern time. You won‘t want to miss it. Also, we‘ll have special coverage after the president‘s prime time speech tomorrow night when he announces a troop increase in Afghanistan. “HARDBALL” is next. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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