Guests: Nicole Lamoureux, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bob Shrum, Michael Medved,
Jonathan Alter, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Dr. Bruce Gould, Patricia Carroll,
Joe Courtney, Bruce Braley
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED
We‘re broadcasting live from the free health care clinic here in Hartford, Connecticut, tonight. We‘ll talk to some of the people on the ground coming up in just a moment.
But these stories are also hitting my hot buttons tonight.
AIG is doling out $100 million in bonuses. Where‘s the Obama‘s administration‘s pay czar on this? That‘s what I want to know.
President Obama takes on the Senate Democrats today. Did he convince the obstructionist to get off the fence on health care? I‘ll ask Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at the bottom of the hour.
And forget the war on terror. The Republicans are too busy fighting a war on facts.
Senator Susan Collins can‘t get over the fact that the alleged Christmas Day bomber is talking. She says it‘s dangerous.
I don‘t get it.
But first, I‘ve got to tell you what has got me fired up here today. This free health care clinic in Hartford, Connecticut, which was organized by the National Association of Free Clinics, is, again, an example of what is really happening in America.
I have to tell you tonight, folks, that I am embarrassed to be sitting here in an $1,800 suit with a $150 tie and a starched shirt. I just walked across the hall in front of Americans who would give anything to have $1,800 in their pocket. And I guess, sometimes, as you see it on television, maybe it isn‘t the way it really is. I should have worn a plaid shirt here tonight, but, you know, in the TV business, this is what we have to do.
I saw a lot of Americans today who don‘t have a job. A lot of them here did have a job. A lot of them are in their 20s and in their 30s and haven‘t seen a doctor for years.
I ran into a lady today who is in her 50s. She was an executive for a company for 16 years. She was making over $100,000 a year, has been unemployed for the last two years, has had no insurance, can‘t believe that she‘s even in this position in her life, and has a lump in her neck and has lost 40 pounds over the last month. And she heard about this free clinic on Keith Olbermann‘s “COUNTDOWN” show here on MSNBC.
So she thought she would come to the Hartford Convention Center here today and see a doctor. I‘ll have a nurse here with me in just a moment that will tell me that it was a life-saving experience for that lady.
You can‘t come to these free health clinics without being moved. And I don‘t know what they are doing in Washington. I don‘t know what they are doing in the House and the Senate.
There‘s a proposal here, a bill here, this committee here. But I know it‘s happening here. And I know that there aren‘t any House members here and there aren‘t any Senate members here. And I can tell you one piece of information here in the state of Connecticut, where the House and the Senate passed universal health care for every citizen in Connecticut, and the governor vetoed it.
The public option in this state overwhelmingly polls way. But in Washington, Joe Lieberman, not only is he not here tonight, but he‘s against the public option and any kind of competition for the private sector.
So, as a broadcaster, I‘m confused. I don‘t understand the disconnect.
But I did understand that lady today when she looked at me in the eye and said, “I just want to thank you and MSNBC for being here, because if I didn‘t get this lump in my neck checked out, I don‘t know what would have happened.”
Now, Americans, we can give all the analysis in the world about what happened in Massachusetts. I‘ll tell you what‘s happening, Massachusetts. And it‘s happening here in Connecticut and it‘s going to happen all over the country.
Washington better get it. I don‘t care if you‘re a Republican or a Democrat. If you don‘t do something, Washington, to help the majority of Americans who are seeing their insurance premiums go through the roof, who have got a pre-existing condition and can‘t see a doctor because they can‘t get coverage, if you don‘t fix that, Washington, all of you will be gone. And they will hire the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.
But, oh, wait a minute. We‘ve got this new Supreme Court ruling that says the corporations can give unlimited money to the senators that want to deny the very people that came in this hall today.
I don‘t need a script to tell you the truth. I saw it. And there‘s no politician here with Ed and team from MSNBC seeing it.
Oh, they hear, 47 million don‘t have insurance and we‘ve got to fix this and we‘ve got to fix that. Get down here with the folks who are standing in line to see a doctor. Talk to the professionals in the medical profession who say just a simple checkup could save hundreds of millions of dollars if we just have free clinics to help people so they can get some quick diagnoses. It almost makes you ashamed to say that, hey, America is a great place.
We do a lot of things right in this country. We offer a lot of great opportunity to people in this country. But somewhere along the line we have missed it totally when it comes to health care for all Americans.
And I can only remember the words that Senator Ted Kennedy said when he was fighting for minimum wage on the Senate floor. We asked the other side, what is it that you want? What is it that you want from these working men and women? What is it?
Why do you have such a disdain for the working people of America? How many more billions of dollars do you want? Where is the line going to be drawn?
But, you see, we‘re in the age of apology. We‘re in the age, if we say something that someone doesn‘t like, oh, we have to run to a microphone and we have to apologize.
Who‘s apologizing for the condition for these Americans? A doctor who‘s running this clinic told me—he said, “Ed, you know, a lot of Americans, they swallow their pride to come in here and do this. It‘s hard for them.”
They have known work all their life, and now they‘re in a middle age crisis, and they don‘t have a job and they‘ve been out of work for 16 months. And they don‘t want unemployment benefits. They want a job. And they don‘t have health care.
And it doesn‘t just affect the dad and the mom. It‘s the kids. It‘s the kids who get harassed at school because, ha-ha, your dad doesn‘t have a job. You don‘t have health care? We have health care.
We have two Americas.
Now, I‘m sure I‘ve got to take a commercial break in a few minutes and we‘ve got to interview people. I could go on for hours on this.
And I could look Joe Lieberman right in the eye.
And Senator, may I say this tonight—if it costs me my job, I don‘t care—you are a coward. You are a coward, Joe Lieberman, that you don‘t stand up for the people in this state and represent them and give them what they want.
So now we‘re in the age of communicating in Washington. And this guy named Obama who won nine Bush states and has been fighting obstructionists for his first year, he does this thing. He goes over and he talks to the Republicans last Friday. And he went over and he talked the Democrats, his party, today.
And here‘s what the president told the Senate Democrats today in front of the cameras about health care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So many of us looked people in the eye who had been denied because of a pre-existing condition, or just didn‘t have health insurance at all, or small business owners in our communities who told us that their premiums have gone up 25 percent or 30 percent. And we said we were going to change them.
Well, here we are with a chance to change it. And so, as we think about moving forward, I hope we don‘t lose sight of why we‘re here. We‘ve got to finish the job on health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: We have to finish the job on health care. But what‘s the price?
President Obama, keep pushing, my man. Keep pushing. These people out here, they are with you. They are with you.
Folks, get your cell phones out tonight. I want to ask you a very simple question and I want you to respond to our telephone text survey tonight.
Do you think Washington politicians really understand how bad health care is in this country? Do you think they understand how bad the health care crisis is?
That‘s the question. It will be on the screen through the show.
Text “A” for yes and “B” for no to 622639. I‘ll bring you the results later in the show.
I‘ve said it many times before. Many of us in the media, we have insurance. You have to get out and talk to the people. And you have to get the real stories of America.
And I‘m proud that our crew and I‘m proud that this network allowed me to come here today after being down in Kansas City. And I‘m proud to be associated with Keith Olbermann, who had the courage to stand out on the air and ask for donations from many Americans out there who have donated to these free clinics to make it happen.
And I report to you tonight that one life was saved today, and that should be important. And I don‘t know where the one-yard line is on health care. I don‘t know where the five-yard line is, all these analogies.
I know where Washington is. And I know what the hell they‘re not doing.
Joining me now is Nicole Lamoureux. She is the director—the national director of the Association of Free Clinics, and who is responsible for today‘s event. And Patricia Carroll is also a registered nurse who has been treating patients here today.
NICOLE LAMOUREUX, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE CLINICS: Hi, my friend.
SCHULTZ: Your eyes are wet.
LAMOUREUX: Of course they are.
SCHULTZ: Your eyes were wet in Kansas City when I saw you. It‘s the same story, isn‘t it?
LAMOUREUX: It‘s the same story. We‘ve seen it since Houston. A thousand people call in advance to come to one of these clinics.
It doesn‘t matter if you‘re in Houston or Kansas City or now in the gold coast. They are still people. They‘re people.
They‘re not a number. They‘re not a pill. They‘re not a statistic.
And while Congress and the president and everyone else is discussing how we‘re going to make this program work, these people need an answer now. And we do need members of Congress to come and see what‘s going on. And we invite them over and over and over again.
Come and see. See what these people are going through. And if you have to look at it this way, see what your constituents are going through and see what the votes are going through, and come to one of these clinics.
SCHULTZ: Not too many politicians show up here, do they?
LAMOUREUX: No, sir. They don‘t come. They don‘t talk to us on the Hill. They don‘t come to these events.
It doesn‘t matter if it‘s a Democrat or a Republican. They don‘t come.
SCHULTZ: The Washington politicians.
LAMOUREUX: The Washington politicians do not come.
SCHULTZ: Patricia Carroll, you‘re a registered nurse. I think you know the lady that I was talking about today...
PATRICIA CARROLL, REGISTERED NURSE: She was my patient.
SCHULTZ: What happened?
CARROLL: She was patient number two for us today because she called to make her appointment as soon as she heard the announcement on “COUNTDOWN.” That‘s how badly she needed care.
And she had some chronic health issues, but she had noticed that she had a swelling on the right side of her neck, and she was concerned about it. And we were able to hook her up today to get a biopsy and to get her referred.
But the problem is, should she need surgery, who‘s going to pay for it? We don‘t have surgeons and hospitals here that provide care for free for cancer patients. So now she‘s got another hurdle that she‘s got to get over if she needs treatment for a cancer.
SCHULTZ: Now, a lot of the folks that came through today and at the other clinics, it‘s just basic care could curb a big medical issue. Is that a fair statement?
LAMOUREUX: That‘s a very fair statement.
SCHULTZ: So, many times there, it‘s just a pill, it‘s basic treatment that could really stop someone from having multiple medical issues down the road in a short period of time.
CARROLL: I actually stopped counting the number of people who brought empty pill bottles from a year ago to say, this is what I was on but I can‘t afford it anymore. So we have pharmacists here today who have the lists of drugs that can be filled for $4 a prescription, or what pills can be cut in half. And there‘s a practitioner I‘m working with today who‘s been able to work with them to change their medications so that they can afford their care.
SCHULTZ: You‘re both brave, and you‘re great at what you do. And I appreciate it so much. And thanks for sharing part of your life with us.
CARROLL: It‘s not brave, Ed.
SCHULTZ: No, it is.
LAMOUREUX: It‘s what needs to be done.
CARROLL: And it‘s what we signed up for. When I got my license, this is what I signed up for.
LAMOUREUX: But we all should be doing this. There but by the grace of God go I. And every single one of us should be doing this.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney. His wife Audrey, who is a registered nurse practitioner, she volunteered at this health care clinic today.
Congressman, good to have you with us here today.
Give us an update if you can on where the pulse of the politicians is at this hour when it comes to passing getting the health care done. Now, the president went over and talked to the Senate Democrats today and pretty much said, get this thing done.
Where are we at this hour, Congressman?
REP. JOE COURTNEY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, to be honest with you, I think we‘re at a pretty precarious moment. The issue is alive. I mean, there‘s definitely work being done on it.
But I think this program, which really puts the spotlight on what the issue is about, it‘s not about this senator or this member of Congress. It‘s really about the people of this country and the people who are in Hartford, Connecticut, today at the clinic.
I mean, I want to salute you and all the staff that were there. Again, Audrey was one of the folks helping out today. And what you have done is transformed peopled lives, changed their lives. But the fact is, we need a system in place so people can take care of themselves and not rely on charity and begging to get the care that a great country should be able to figure out a way to provide.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, do you believe the Senate should go reconciliation?
COURTNEY: I do. You know, we‘ve had visits on your show, Ed, and other guests to talk about the problems in the Senate bill which is going to, in my opinion, damage the support for this legislation for working families because of taxes and because of some of these crazy add-ons that took place in December.
Once that‘s done, though, I think you‘re going to see movement in the House. And we can get this over with and get in place a system that a great country is worthy of in terms of supplying health care to all Americans.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
COURTNEY: Great work, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Well, you‘re one of the good guys that keeps fighting for what has to be done in this country.
And the thing that is so amazing, you know, if we cover every American, all of these righties in Washington running around squawking about the budget and the deficit, we‘d save money. We‘d save money. We would save money if we would do this.
Thank you, Congressman. Appreciate your time.
COURTNEY: OK. Take care, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Thank you.
Coming up, a congressman from the heartland has had it with these massive bonuses that the folks at AIG are dishing out. Populist Representative Bruce Braley will roll out his blueprint for recovery in just a moment.
Plus, the president was back in front of the cameras taking questions from Congress again today. This time, the Senate Democrats had their turn. Senator Bernie Sanders will join me at the bottom tonight of the hour to talk about a number of different issues.
Stay with us.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW from Hartford, Connecticut, here on MSNBC, the place for politics.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Well, it‘s bonus time again for the folks over at AIG. This week, the company‘s going to be doling out $100 million to the people in the financial products division. Always wanted that job. That‘s the department responsible for the risky bets that helped sink the company in the first place.
White House pay czar Ken Feinberg called the bonuses outrages, but acknowledged that they were legal, they were contractually agreed upon before AIG was bailed out and before they went in the toilet. But for taxpayers who spent $180 billion to rescue AIG, it‘s just kind of hard to reason, isn‘t it? Those bonuses are kind of tough to swallow.
Joining me now is the founder and chairman of the Populist Caucus, the Democratic Congressman, Bruce Braley, from Iowa.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
If these contracts are legal and these bonuses are legal, what is the sense of squawking about it?
REP. BRUCE BRALEY (D), IOWA: Well, one of the things that we learned loud and clear when this same financial products division drove our global economy off the cliff was that AIG needed to wake up to the reality that most middle class Americans deal with every day and start learning a lesson.
When we had a hearing on this in Oversight with the CEOs who were working at AIG when the head of that division was fired, Ed, it was shocking to learn that the day after they fired him, they gave him a severance package that included a million dollars. And each of those CEOs could have terminated those payments under the terms of his agreement and had done nothing.
Now it‘s time for Congress to teach them a lesson. And my friend Peter Welch has a plan to do that by making sure that companies like AIG that received assistance from the TARP program and who paid bonuses in excess of $50,000, those bonuses above that amount would be taxed at a rate of 50 percent. The revenues from that tax program would go back to help loan money to small businesses who are actually creating jobs in our economy.
SCHULTZ: Well, OK. So, this is, again, a political football.
Here is Senator Grassley, from your state of Iowa, blaming the Obama administration. Here he is.
And it says, “AIG has taxpayers over a barrel. The Obama administration has been outmaneuvered, and the closed-door negotiations just add to the skepticism that taxpayers will ever get the upper hand.”
Is there blame before or after this whole situation? And moving forward, what kind of legislation would you want to put in place that would change the way they do business?
BRALEY: Well, I think my colleague from Iowa is forgetting the fact that it was the Bush administration who came to Congress, Treasury Secretary Paulson demanding $700 billion to bail out these financial institutions, and gave us a three-page proposal to do it.
We took a considered, deliberate approach to try to address this enormous financial crisis, and the way we‘re going to try to make Wall Street pay for Main Street‘s rehabilitation is by reinstating a transfer fee on excessive stock trading that was in place for 60 years in this country and will generate $150 billion in new revenues, create jobs, and reduce the deficit.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. Keep on point on this. That is a populist move that you‘re talking about right there.
Appreciate your time.
BRALEY: Thanks for having me on.
SCHULTZ: The man who made the term “feminazi” famous shows how much of a dirty man he really is. That‘s next in “Psycho Talk.”
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, “The Drugster” is back, fresh off a weekend of judging the Miss America Pageant. I‘m not sure that the man who coined the term “feminazi” is the best choice to be part of an event that already struggles and tries not to be seen as sexist, although he does have plenty of experience judging women.
In fact, listen to the gallant way he referred to the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” today on his radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: CBS anchor babe and “60 Minutes” contributor Katie Couric...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Anchor babe. OK.
And if that‘s not bad, the dirty old man did an interview sitting across from a former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, and said this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: I‘m a huge supporter of women. What I‘m not is a supporter of liberalism Now, feminism is what I oppose. And feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don‘t know where this all got started. I love the women‘s movement, especially when walking behind it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So he‘s a supporter of women as long as they look good and live in the 1950s.
Rush, saying you support women in the same breath that you‘re disparaging them, well, that‘s just serious, sexist “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, the president told Senate Democrats that they need to finish the job on health care. Senator Bernie Sanders was in the room. I‘ll have him talking about that and other issues coming up in just a moment.
And the Obama administration is using its own kind of enhanced interrogation techniques on the alleged Christmas Day bomber. Instead of torture, they called his mom and dad. And it‘s working.
We‘ll show you that on THE ED SHOW right after this on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We don‘t tinker with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want; we don‘t put in place any insurance reforms; we don‘t mess with the banks—and if our response ends up being, you know, because we don‘t want to—we don‘t want to stir things up here, we‘re just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don‘t know what differentiates us from the other guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president getting after it with his own party today, the Senate Democrats. And his message was firm, very simple and to the point:
Democrats need to prove that they can get things done or the American people are going to lose in this whole deal.
Joining me now is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator, good to have you on tonight. Did the president rally the troops today? How do you feel about what he had to say?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I think he made a number of important points. And I think one of the most important points that he made is that we have got to stop playing defense and we have got to go on the offense. Ed, the idea that we are being lectured to by right wing Republicans about the deficit crisis is totally incomprehensible, because these are exactly the guys who, by and large, caused this crisis. They are the people who went to a war in Iraq which will eventually cost between two and three trillion dollars. They aren‘t paying for that war. They didn‘t put one penny into paying for that war.
They are the people who gave hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the richest one percent. They didn‘t pay for that. They passed the prescription drug bill, written by the insurance companies and the drug companies, 400 billion over ten years, they didn‘t pay for that. They are the ones who did the Tarp bailout, 700 billion. They didn‘t pay.
I don‘t want to be lectured by these guys about the deficit crisis.
They caused it.
SCHULTZ: Senator, I know you‘ve got everything together when it comes to the priorities of the American people. Somehow, it just seems that the Democrats have lost focus, that they are still the majority party. The president today, when he was speaking to the Senate Dems, he brought that up and pointed it out. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: All that‘s changed in the last two weeks is that our party‘s gone from having the largest Senate majority in a generation to the second largest Senate majority in a generation. We‘ve got to remember that.
There was apparently a headline after the Massachusetts election; the “Village Voice” announced that Republicans win a 41/59 majority.
It‘s what we‘re thinking about. We still have to lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, senator, do you believe that the Republicans will work with this president and your side of the aisle on anything?
SANDERS: No, I don‘t. I think they have a strategy, which is working very, very well for them. It‘s called obstructionism. It‘s called filibustering. It‘s called doing everything you possibly can to make sure that Obama doesn‘t score any successes.
And I think the time is long overdue for the Democratic leadership to understand that. Furthermore, the truth is we never really had 60 votes. You don‘t even have 59 votes. You‘re going to have to look at reconciliation, 50 votes, which we do have, to go forward on health care, to go forward on bank reform, to go forward on a jobs program, to go forward on those issues which are meaningful to the middle class and working families of this country. Forget the 60 vote nonsense.
SCHULTZ: Senator, I want to be very clear, what is your position on the Tarp money being used, the 30 billion dollars that would go for job creation? Are you for the Obama plan to do that or are you against it?
SANDERS: No, I‘m absolutely for it. Look, we are looking at—Ed, 17 million of our people today are either unemployed or underemployed. We‘ve got to rebuild this economy. We have got to provide jobs for the American people. One way you do it is get credit out to small business. You‘ve been talking about this. A lot of people have been talking about this.
I know in Vermont and around this country you have small business people ready to expand, ready to create new jobs. They can‘t get the loans from the banks they need. We should, in fact, provide those loans.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time. Thanks so much. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont with us here on THE ED SHOW.
For more, let‘s turn to Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. Bob, we‘re seeing a very interesting strategy being played out by the White House. First, the president goes and speaks to the Republicans, gets pretty good reviews. Then he says, you know, I think I‘ll go talk to the Democrats as well. Is the White House winging it? Are they looking for some traction here? What‘s your take on all of this?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think they are looking for traction and I think that they are going to get it. The president‘s message was pretty clear today. They have within reach one of the greatest legislative victories in several generations, which is to pass health care by using reconciliation to fix its problems, then having the House pass the Senate bill. No one can stand in the way with a filibuster. You don‘t need a super majority anywhere.
I think what the—that excerpt you had of the president, just before the interview with Bernie Sanders, he was answering a question from Blanche Lincoln, the senator from Arkansas, who basically said, please, can we stop trying to do things, and then maybe—she‘s behind—maybe I‘ll get reelected. Well, she‘s not going to get reelected as a pale carbon copy of the Republican party and it‘s not in the national interest.
There‘s an old line from Ted Kennedy, “the last thing this country needs is two Republican parties.” The president was saying today, we need Democrats to move ahead. We have to move ahead on health care. And then we‘re going to have to move on jobs and a whole set of other issues. Financial reform is going to be more difficult. A whole set of other issues through the reconciliation process. That‘s the message I think the White House is sending to Congress.
SCHULTZ: So, Bob, as a political strategist and consultant, what would be your advice to the White House and to the Democrats, now that the president has spoken to both bodies, and he‘s spoken to the nation? He‘s got olive branches all over the place. He wants people to come together. What if the Republicans continue their stall tactics and their obstructionist behavior? What is the next best move?
SHRUM: They will continue their stall tactics. I think what has to happen is you have to fix health care in the way I suggested, pass that bill.
By the way, the minute the bill passes, the demons begin to pass. People find out there‘s no rationing; there are no death panels. Instead, insurance companies, for example, can‘t tell people in the middle of their chemotherapy for cancer, oops, you hit your upper limit for the year, so no more chemotherapy. Those benefits come about immediately.
I think if we do that, if the president is fighting on jobs, if the economy continues to improve, that‘s the best prospect Democrats have for doing well this year, and doing the right thing for the country.
SCHULTZ: Finally, Bob, do you think the president has passed the test with the American people on being an honest broker with both sides?
SHRUM: Yes, I certainly do. And I think—look, the frustration and dissatisfaction out there is expressed in a lot of ways. If you ask people in a poll, do you want everybody to work together, sure. But mostly what people want is they want movement and action. They want to see this economy improve. And Democrats are going to get all of the blame for health care and none of the credit, unless they get this bill through.
SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us tonight. Thank you so much.
SHRUM: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: I want to turn now to terrorists. The Republicans used their weekly response to attack President Obama for coddling terrorists, because the alleged Christmas Day bomber was read his Miranda rights. Now top security officials say the suspect is providing valuable, usable and actionable intelligence to authorities.
But that‘s not stopping the Republicans. Senator Susan Collins, who delivered Saturday‘s address, doubled down today, saying the following:
“the law is dangerous.” She‘s quoted as saying, “we will never know whether the quality and quantity of information might have been superior had he not been given a lawyer who is now guiding him on what to reveal and what not to disclose.”
This has become a political football. Who do you believe? Let‘s bring in our panel tonight. Jonathan Alter is columnist for “Newsweek” and also MSNBC political analyst. Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio talk show host with us tonight.
Jonathan, what should be the president and the administration‘s response to all of this rhetoric in the wake of getting what they say is actionable intelligence from this alleged bomber from Christmas Day? What do you think?
JONATHAN ALTER, “NEWSWEEK”: Well, we‘ve seen over the course of many years now, as FBI Director Mueller reiterated the other day, that using the civilian courts, using our criminal justice system, upholding American values, actually works. We have 100 percent conviction rate on terrorists in this country. By using the civilian system, they convinced this guy‘s father to come over from Africa, where he convinced his son to spill the beans on all kinds of different terrorist operations. Had these been military authorities, their chances of getting a father to come here and convince his son to cooperate much, much less.
So there‘s more than one way to get information. The idea that water-boarding is the best and only way is absurd. You want to have a lot of different tools in your tool box. There‘s been a lot of success using the system that they use in this case.
SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, why are the conservatives—why are the Republicans taking this position against the president when actionable intelligence is being forwarded up by this suspect? What do you think?
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think it‘s very suspect that they announced that the actionable intelligence has been revealed. This is just political posing, it seems to me. And, again, it probably makes that intelligence less useful that you‘ve told everybody that it‘s there.
Look, President Obama has a problem here. He has a problem with the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial, which even his fellow Democrats don‘t want in New York City. He has a problem with the broken promise on Guantanamo. This has been amateur when it comes to the president‘s announced intentions on handling the war on terror. Then the collision with reality that the Obama administration has faced in its first year, where it‘s been shown to be anything but competent or thorough or consistent in dealing with this issue.
ALTER: Michael, that‘s just really kind of silly. I mean, reasonable people can disagree over where KSM should be tried. He‘s not going to end up getting tried in New York.
MEDVED: No, of course not.
ALTER: So he could be tried on a military base. But the facts are these: the reason he‘s only being brought to trial now is because the military tribunals have failed. They allow so many appeals that it‘s a much slower way of achieving justice then the civilian courts, which is a point that your side of the debate never acknowledges. Your side of the debate arguing, absurdly, that this president is soft on terrorism has neglected the fact that he‘s killed twice as many terrorists as President Bush did using the Predator drones. That‘s something you don‘t want to acknowledge, because it would wreck your argument that somehow he was soft.
That argument, by the way, that he is soft is hurting our country.
MEDVED: I think the term soft on terrorism is unfortunate, and I wouldn‘t use that term. I give President Obama all kinds of credit for sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. It was a courageous decision. In my opinion, it was the right decision. Good for the president on that.
The problem here is not that he‘s soft on terrorism. It‘s that he‘s inept and indecisive. You see that, again, with two of the most high profile decisions that he‘s made regarding terrorism. Number one, to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York, and number two, to close Guantanamo. He made that promise a day after he became president. The promise is already broken. It was ill-advised. And, again, this needs to be more consistent and more capable.
ALTER: Michael, I have a book coming out that details some of how they did blow that decision. Just for the record, President Bush also called for closing Guantanamo. So it‘s easier said than done.
MEDVED: So did John McCain.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. Jonathan Alter, Michael Medved, great discussion. Appreciate your time.
President Obama met with some of America‘s governors today to talk about this support for clean coal. Nobody knows more about that issue than our buddy from Montana, Governor Brian Schweitzer. The cowboy Democrat rides into THE ED SHOW next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, President Obama met with a group—a bipartisan group of governors from coal producing states at the White House this afternoon to talk about energy. He wants to get them on board with his climate bill. So he emphasized the clean coal part of his energy plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: One of the things that we‘re going to be talking about today is investing in the kind of technology that will allow us to use coal, our most bountiful natural resource, here in the United States, without polluting our planet. If we can develop the technology to capture the carbon pollution released by coal, we can create jobs and provide energy well into the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: For more on this, I want to bring in someone who is an expert on clean coal technology, the governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer. He is the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and was in the meeting with the president this afternoon. Brian, it‘s great to see you again. I appreciate your time this afternoon. I‘m going to play devil‘s advocate here for just a moment. There‘s no such thing as clean coal technology. Your response?
GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), MONTANA: Ed, you wouldn‘t say that if you were from North Dakota, would you? You know that there‘s been a coal-gasification plant built in Beulah, North Dakota since 1984. For a dozen years, they have been capturing the carbon monoxide and piping it into an oil field in Sasquatchuan, where that CO2 is stored geologically in that oil zone, and is producing more oil.
We can capture CO2 and we can store it geologically. The people who say it doesn‘t exist, well, they‘re just not paying attention.
SCHULTZ: Well, the technology has come a long way in the last ten years. The scrubber technology has been absolutely phenomenal. Is this a heavy lift for the Obama administration with his base? What do you think?
SCHWEITZER: I don‘t think so. The base understands that we need to decrease CO2 emissions, that Greenhouse gasses are creating climate change. So that means we need more wind, more solar, electric cars. It means that we have to remove the Carbon Dioxide from coal that we are using. Fifty percent of the electricity in America comes from coal. We‘re rapidly moving towards electric cars. We‘re going to actually increase our electricity demands by double, then triple in this country during the next 40 years. We‘re going to need all sources, nukes, gas, oil, clean coal, wind, solar.
We need it all. We need battery technology and we need it now. American engineers designing American energy, in American, built by American workers, beat that.
SCHULTZ: This is what the president had to say at your meeting today on the bipartisan effort. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I‘m convinced that America can win the race to build a clean energy economy. But we‘re going to have to overcome the weight of our own politics. We have to focus not so much on the narrow areas where we disagree, but on the broad areas where we agree. And I also think it‘s important for us to understand that in order for us to move forward with a robust energy policy, we‘ve got to have not an either/or philosophy but a both/and philosophy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Governor Schweitzer, we have enough coal in Montana and North Dakota to power the lights in this country, coast to coast, for the next 1,000 years. There‘s been a lot of studies done about how this resource could really help America get energy independent. For some reason, we have lacked the infrastructure and the real federal investment to get it done. Are we at that juncture now, where maybe we might see a real commitment to get that done?
SCHWEITZER: Ed, we don‘t lack energy in this country. We lack resolve. We lack the resolve to break that addiction to foreign oil. Yes, we can clean up our coal, remove the carbon dioxide, and that‘s just one step. Montana alone has enough wind power to power every car in America, if they were electric cars. Add North Dakota and Wyoming, we can probably do most of the world.
You see, we have the energy. We just haven‘t had the leadership and the resolve. I‘m heartened that this administration is finally seeing the necessity of breaking our addiction to foreign oil, and creating a new American energy system that‘s cleaner and greener.
SCHULTZ: Governor, great to have you with us. Good to see you again.
Appreciate your time.
SCHWEITZER: Good to be back, neighbor.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Brian Schweitzer, governor from Montana, with us here on THE ED SHOW.
Coming up, I got some amazing stories and some heart wrenching stories from this free clinic in Hartford, Connecticut, when we come back right here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, coming to you live from the Free Health Care Clinic here in Hartford, Connecticut. I want to bring in the medical director for the clinic, Dr. Bruce Gould, who is the medical director for the Hartford Department of Health and Human Services. He‘s the associate dean for primary care at the University of Connecticut Medical School.
Dr. Gould, great to have you with us tonight. thank you for what you‘re doing. Why are you here?
DR. BRUCE GOULD, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, my day job is running a clinic in Hartford, in the north end, for both the university and St. Francis Hospital. And day to day, I see the carnage of a broken health care system, of a health care system—I think most doctors agree the health cares system just isn‘t working for a lot of their patients. And if you‘re uninsured, you don‘t have access to anything.
SCHULTZ: What‘s the common denominator for the people you saw today and have seen at other free clinics?
GOULD: They‘ve lost their job. They‘ve come on hard times. Some of them are just ill. Preexisting conditions, all sorts of reasons why they‘re uninsured. They are working. They‘re just trying to make their lives better. And yet they really have no access at all to any health care. Some of them have preventable diseases, hypertension, things that we can treat. Yet, I‘ve sent several people to the emergency room today with uncontrolled hypertension.
SCHULTZ: Where do you think most providers are in this country when it comes to reform? Do you understand what‘s going on in Washington?
GOULD: I think most doctors—and I think polls have supported this
that most doctors are in favor of broad health care reform, really retooling the whole system. Those of us that are in the trenches realize that it‘s just not working.
SCHULTZ: Do you think that this clinic has a profound affect on people that come in and see what‘s actually going on?
GOULD: I think that it just tells us. Today, I have actually a patient waiting for me from Woodstock, New York, who came all the way New York State to get health care. How sad is that? In a country as wealthy as the United States—we still are a wealthy country—that we somehow have lost the caring for our neighbors that I think we once had.
SCHULTZ: Do we have a shortage of doctors in this country, if everyone were to be covered?
GOULD: I think if everyone were to be covered, and looking at both the retirement rates of existing doctors and the aging of our population—
I think we need more doctors across the board, as well as other providers. And we also need a redistribution of those doctors into primary care and generalism.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Gould, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate your time.
SCHULTZ: Tonight, our text survey, I asked the audience do you think Washington politicians understand how bad the health care crisis is in this country? Nine percent of you said yes; 91 percent of you said no. They don‘t get it.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now. Keith Olbermann will be up with more coverage from this free health care clinic at 8:00 Eastern time. Chris Matthews is next with “HARDBALL.” We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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