Guest: Bill Halter, Jane Hamsher, Betty Sutton, Ron Wyden, Sam Stein,
Karen Hanretty, Todd Webster, Heidi Bierich
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW
from New York tonight.
These stores are hitting my hot buttons tonight.
Hey, I love this one. The liberal base proves it‘s fired up and ready
to go for the right candidate now.
Progressives are mobilizing in full force for Senator Blanche
Lincoln‘s challenger, Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas Bill Halter. He‘s
going to be joining me in just a moment. What kind of Democrat is he?
Republicans continue their war on the working class. Well, Senator
Jim Bunning is still blocking unemployment benefits, while Senator Jon Kyl
claims that they provide a disincentive to go out and get a job?
Plus, a shocking new report about rage on the right. The jump in
extremist and hate groups in this country really is frightening. Details
coming up in my “Playbook.”
And one other note late tonight. There is a very prominent member on
the House Ways and Means Committee who is now saying a Democrat is now
saying that Charlie Rangel should step down.
We‘ll have that for you in just a moment.
But first, this is the story that‘s got me cranked up today—change.
Change is being forced on the ground floor in this country.
The liberal army, I guess you could say, is on the march. The very
people that got Obama elected.
Now, in case you missed the news last night, Senator Lincoln, you‘re
in big trouble.
It‘s not only Blanche Lincoln. Look what‘s happening to Senator Kent
Conrad, who‘s not up for re-election but has been really in the center of
the firestorm of health care reform. He‘s been an advocate for the people
his whole career.
I give him tremendous credit for being a budget hawk. He knows
Washington and the process better than anybody. He‘s one of the brightest
minds in the United States Senate.
But even the people in North Dakota, after what Conrad has delivered
for them, take a look at this. The latest dakotatopolitics.com survey has
Senator Conrad at a 16 percent approval rating? I mean, that number is
Conrad‘s never had any problem winning re-election. He wins by big
Harry Reid is in the same boat in Nevada. A Mason-Dixon/”Las Vegas
Review Journal” poll shows Reid losing to the leading two Republican
challengers by double digits against state GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden. He‘s
down 52-39 percent, and he‘s down 51-40 against businessman Danny
Progressives are angry. That‘s the bottom line, because Harry just
hasn‘t put the hammer down on the Republicans fast enough.
Now, on the flip side, don‘t you find it interesting? Arlen Specter
is surging in Pennsylvania after supporting the public option and the
Employee Free Choice Act, going on the record for two big issues that the
A new poll out this morning shows that Specter‘s on top for the first
time in a while in the Pennsylvania Senate race. The new Quinnipiac poll
shows Specter ahead of GOP nominee Pat Toomey by seven points.
Now, hold it right there, 49-42 percent. That‘s not knocking it out
of the park, but there aren‘t any other Democrats across the country that
are surging like that.
Guess what, folks? Progressives are alive and well. They‘re not
basically saying, hey, we‘re not against you. You just have to do what we
want you to do and we‘re going to be there for you.
Senator Lincoln, I don‘t think she gets it. Blanche Lincoln has been
against what‘s in the best interest of the working folk of America.
She‘s been a real stick in the mud when it comes to health care
reform. She really hasn‘t been anywhere near the Democratic platform.
So this is what happens. In a matter of hours, her challenger, Bill
Halter, lieutenant governor of Arkansas, he raises how much? A million
No candidate in recent history has been off to this kind of a start.
This is the fastest start by any candidate since the November election.
There is a passion for change in this country. And you know who‘s
doing it? It is the liberals.
The liberals in this country are determined to get change that we
could believe in. No Tea Party candidate has ever come up with this kind
of overnight success when it comes to the money.
The right wing network across the street, they can‘t get enough of the
disgruntled malcontents out there doing the signs of hate and everything
else when it comes to the Tea Partiers. But when middle class Americans
and the AFL-CIO put $3 million on the table right away, their silence over
there is deafening.
Oh, I just love the left. We know how to make it happen.
What is happening in Arkansas is really the story. If you really want
to know what‘s going on in this country, that‘s it.
Progressives don‘t have time to run around like psychos and protest
with signs and say we want to be free, it‘s the government! They spend
time trying to take care of the kitchen table issues that middle class
Americans are struggling with. That‘s what this disgruntledness is all
about across America.
Democrats have underestimated their base.
I believe I gave a commentary on this show talking about that, Mr.
President. Don‘t leave your base. The base is there and the base is
willing to write checks again.
Now liberal groups and the AFL-CIO have got all this money together
because they want to get rid of Blanche Lincoln and any other Democrat that
just doesn‘t get it. It‘s going to be fun in 2010 as we keep on trucking.
Washington‘s broken because the Democrats haven‘t done what they were
sent there to do! That‘s it.
Now, I don‘t believe that the Democrats have been really honest with
the base. I think that they went out and campaigned on some real popular
things that Barack Obama was throwing out there. All of a sudden, he
didn‘t have the votes. But when push came to shove, yes, they didn‘t have
the votes? They weren‘t there.
So what‘s happening now? You‘ve got a lieutenant governor in Arkansas,
red state America, rattling the halls of power in Washington.
Don‘t you love this story? Tell me what you think in a telephone
survey tonight. The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
And my question tonight is: Do you think Democrats have underestimated
the power of the progressive base? Press “1” for yes and press “2” for no.
And I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, who is
challenging Senator Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary.
Lieutenant Governor, great to have you with us. Appreciate your time
LT. GOV. BILL HALTER (D), ARKANSAS: Thanks so much, Ed. Great to be
SCHULTZ: You know, I‘m so curious. Only one percent of the workers
in Arkansas are associated or members of a union. Where‘s all this union
love coming from the AFL-CIO to get you $3 million?
Are you a beneficiary of people who just don‘t like Blanche Lincoln,
or are you out there doing what you‘ve got to do and willing to do what
you‘ve got to do for the working folk of America? Which is it?
HALTER: Well, Ed, I‘ve got a history of working with the state AFL-
CIO on a very important issue. As you say, a kitchen table issue.
The AFL-CIO was the first group out to work with me in establishing a
massive scholarship program in Arkansas. The nuts and bolts of it is if
you graduate from an Arkansas high school with a 2.5 grade point average,
and you wind up going to an Arkansas college next year, you get a $5,000 a
year scholarship. And the first group out of the box to help with that was
our state AFL-CIO.
One of the things that Blanche Lincoln has not been a supporter of is
the Employee Free Choice Act. Where do you stand on that? Can you say
unequivocally tonight here on THE ED SHOW that you would support the
Employee Free Choice Act?
HALTER: Well, I can tell you this, Ed. I‘ve talked with business
leaders and labor leaders. The debate has now moved beyond the initial
card check legislation.
There‘s now conversations and discussions going on to strengthen
worker protections, to speed up Democratic elections for representation.
I‘ve spoken with labor leaders about that. And I am supportive of their
efforts to do that, because I think that it is in the context of the
history that we‘ve had for decades of allowing workers to decide how
they‘re going to represent themselves in negotiations.
SCHULTZ: OK. That sounds a heck of a lot warmer than Blanche
Lincoln. But carte blanche, you‘re not ready to support everything in the
Employee Free Choice Act, but there are some things that you would go along
with? Am I right?
HALTER: Oh, you‘re hearing that right, Ed. And I‘ll just go one step
I mean, I‘ve had discussions with labor and business leaders, and
they‘ve moved away from the initial card check bill. But they‘re moving
towards something that I think you can fashion a compromise around. And
it‘s something that people of goodwill on both sides of this issue can come
SCHULTZ: All right.
Now, Arkansas is a low-wage state. And when you say that you would
embrace certain provisions of it, what about intimidation in the workplace?
Are you for collective bargaining? Because Wal-Mart in your state is
not—I mean, they have been union-busting for a long time. And I think
this is a big issue.
HALTER: Well, it is a big issue, Ed. But I think that, yes, I can
say to you I am for the rights of workers to organize themselves in
Democratic elections without pressure. And I think you can get consensus
HALTER: But let me just push on this a little bit. I mean, the fact
is, we can bring people together to push against powerful special
interests. We‘ve got a history of doing that here in this state. And I
think that that‘s what‘s generating the excitement around the country.
SCHULTZ: All right.
The public option, Blanche Lincoln is against that. Do you support
HALTER: Ed, let me give you the answer to that question. I‘ve been
asked this all day long today.
The public option in Arkansas, if you ask 100 people what the public
option means, you‘re going to get 100 different answers. So let me tell
you what I do support.
I support the public having the ability to voluntarily buy into a
program like Medicare. That is—
HALTER: Yes, it can be government-administered, absolutely. Medicare
SCHULTZ: OK. So you believe in a mechanism put in place that people
can choose that would be in direct competition with the private sector?
HALTER: Yes. And that goes back to my business training, my
economics training. You need competition. If you don‘t have competition,
you‘re just going to have health care insurance rate increases.
SCHULTZ: All right. So there are two issues that you differentiate
yourself from with Blanche Lincoln.
Where has Blanche Lincoln gone wrong, in your opinion, Lieutenant
HALTER: Well, Ed, I‘m going to say this—I‘m running for the Senate
and not against any particular individual. There are issues that we
disagree with one another, I think profoundly. I‘ll give you one that‘s
current and it‘s coming up repeatedly.
Senator Lincoln has advocated for either the reduction or the complete
elimination of the estate tax for those individuals that have $10 million
in wealth or more. And, in fact, on one particular vote, she suggested
that in opposition to providing benefits for middle class families to help
folks afford college.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Is she Wall Street-friendly, in your opinion?
HALTER: Well, I can tell you this—I would not have voted for that
Wall Street bailout bill without stricter accountability. I mean, folks in
Arkansas are coming to me and saying, look, we put hundreds of billions of
dollars of our taxpayer money into bailing out financial institutions.
Unemployment‘s at a 25-year high, Ed. A 25-year high. Then they turn
around and what they see is headlines about investment bankers getting tens
of billions of dollars of bonuses. That doesn‘t square for Arkansans.
SCHULTZ: What about all this love and money from the progressive
organizations almost overnight? Arkansas—I mean, look at this money.
Well, they‘ve raised $854,000 for you, moveon.org. Sixty-one thousand
dollars from the PCCC and Democracy for America.
SCHULTZ: And Daily Kos has got—and this money‘s going to keep
I mean, these are pretty tough progressive groups that demand
performance. Can you satisfy them politically?
HALTER: Look, I hope I can satisfy them, Arkansans, and everybody
that‘s going to go out and vote in this election.
Look, we have been pushing on powerful special interests already. We
will continue to do that.
HALTER: You‘ve got to give me this opportunity though, Ed. I have
got to say to all those folks who have contributed that I‘m profoundly
grateful for it. I‘m humbled by it. And I‘ll say one other thing.
You know, contrast these donations where the average donation is $29.
The average contribution so far in this campaign is $29. Contrast that
with other elected officials that are getting their contributions in $2,400
checks, $5,000 PAC checks. Look, something special is going on out there,
and I‘m humbled by it and I‘m grateful for it.
SCHULTZ: All right. Are you a good Democrat, yes or no?
Bill Halter, good to have you with us here on THE ED SHOW tonight.
HALTER: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: All right.
Jane Hamsher, founder of firedoglake.com.
Jane, what did you hear there? What do you like, what do you don‘t
JANE HAMSHER, FIREDOGLAKE.COM: Well, I think that Bill Halter stands
a really good chance of beating Blanche Lincoln in the primary, and a much
better chance of beating her Republican opponent that the Democratic
challenger will face in the general. But I also think he will do an
amazing job of holding her accountable as a senator who is in office right
SCHULTZ: Well, she‘s going to have to debate him. There‘s no way
around that. And then we‘re going to find out exactly where everybody is
on the issues. And she‘s got a record in Washington that has run from the
In fact, she makes fun of, you know, folks such as yourself and me for
being extremists. Does Bill Halter deserve the kind of support that he‘s
gotten in the last 36 hours?
HAMSHER: Well, Blanche Lincoln likes to call herself a centrist. But
the center of what, K Street?
I mean, she has taken so much PAC money, so much money from lobbyists,
from Patton Boggs, from Melman, Vogel, from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, from
every corporation that wants to pick the pocket of the American taxpayers.
SCHULTZ: Does this hurt the Democratic Party, the progressives going
after centrist Democrats, conservative Democrats like this? Or is this
just needed, necessary?
HAMSHER: Oh, I absolutely think it‘s necessary. Corporate Democrats
like Blanche Lincoln have trashed the brand basically, and they‘ve given
the Tea Partiers the ammunition to run around like they own accountability.
Well, they don‘t.
SCHULTZ: And finally, Jane, the public option, did you hear enough
from Bill Halter on the public option?
HAMSHER: I did.
SCHULTZ: And I know you‘re single payer, I‘m single payer. But, I
mean, this is what we‘re dealing with, with the right. There‘s a letter
out there. You know, 33 senators have signed it.
Did you hear enough from him?
HAMSHER: I did hear enough from him. But I honestly think that the
chances of it passing—the White House passing the bill that they want to
is probably pretty limited. So I‘m not sure that that‘s going to be the
burning issue for progressives even though—so I‘d like for him to
support it, but I think that there are other issues.
I think student loans Blanche Lincoln has been terrible on. She is
right now advocating for money to be given to the big banks, ,as opposed to
students when colleges are closing, things like that.
SCHULTZ: No doubt.
Jane, great to have you with us. Thanks so much. Appreciate your
HAMSHER: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, there‘s been nearly a 250 percent rise in anti-
government militia groups this past year. I‘ll tell you who they are,
where and what they want. That‘s coming up in the “Playbook.”
And it‘s not just righties calling for Charlie Rangel to step aside.
The Democratic tide is starting to turn on the longtime servant from New
York to resign.
Also, Democratic Congresswoman Betty Sutton will be here to tell me
why she thinks it‘s time for Charlie to hit the road.
All that, plus “The Drugster” is up to some—just some old dirty
tricks. We‘ll put him in the “Psycho Talk” zone.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel‘s fate is
hanging in the balance at this hour. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she
will wait until the Ethics Committee completes its report to make any
decisions. But the tide within the party seems to be turning on the
There are now eight Democrats who have publicly called for or voted
for Rangel to give up his chairmanship. Two have gone so far as to give
back or donate money that Rangel gave to their campaigns.
And late today, Ways and Means member Congressman Artur Davis called
on Rangel to step aside as chairman. This is growing. He‘s the first
Democratic member of the committee to do so.
For more, let me bring in another Democrat asking Charles Rangel to
give up the gavel, and that‘s Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton.
Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. BETTY SUTTON (D), OHIO: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Why is it so important for Mr. Rangel to step aside as chairman when
the House Speaker is, in a sense, defending him saying let‘s wait until we
have all the information and the Ethics Committee investigation is
Why not wait?
SUTTON: Well, you know, Ed, when I ran for Congress in 2006, one of
the promises that I made to the people that I sought to serve was that we
would change the way Washington does business, and that included banning
corporate-funded travel. And I was proud when elected that on day one, we
actually took to the House floor—and as a member of the Rules Committee
I was able to help pass that very rule. We now are at a place where
Chairman Rangel has been admonished by the House Ethics Committee for a
violation of that rule, and there are other allegations that are still
SCHULTZ: Are you concerned about his tax returns?
SUTTON: I‘m concerned about the other allegations needing to be
resolved at a time when our country is facing such strong challenges. And
I just think it‘s critically important that we be focused on the issues at
hand, because I come from northeast Ohio. And there are a lot of people
out there who need jobs, and I think that we need to be focused on getting
things done for the American people.
SCHULTZ: What does it mean that Artur Davis came out today and now is
saying that Mr. Rangel‘s got to give up the chair? What do you think?
SUTTON: Well, I think that we need to let Mr. Davis speak for
himself, but I just think that it‘s critically important that we put all of
our energy and our focus into working on things that are really important
to the American people, and that is jobs, jobs, jobs.
SCHULTZ: I got that. We all got that. Jobs definitely important,
especially in Ohio.
But do you think this creates a credibility problem for the Democrats?
Nancy Pelosi said she was going to drain the swamp. Is Charles Rangel now
part of the swamp? And is Nancy Pelosi not sticking up to her word?
What do you think?
SUTTON: No, think this isn‘t about being a Democrat or a Republican.
SCHULTZ: But it‘s about draining the swamp, isn‘t it?
SUTTON: It‘s about the American people and keeping faith with the
American people. And whether it‘s a friend or a foe, the reality is we
were sent here to get things done for the people that we serve, and that‘s
what this is about.
It‘s not about Charlie Rangel and it‘s not about any one of us
independently. It‘s about making sure that we preserve the public trust
and stay focused on getting the policies done.
SCHULTZ: Betty Sutton, good to have you on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so
SUTTON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: It takes guts to step out and say this. And it also takes
guts on the part of Artur Davis to step out.
Charles Rangel has been around a long time, done a lot of good things
for people, but this pressure is mounting. The next move I think is with
the Speaker of the House.
Coming up, “The Drugster” has got a disgusting new nickname for the
Speaker of the House—“Mullah Nancy bin Pelosi.” How nice.
That launches him deep into the zone, next.
SCHULTZ: In “Psycho Talk” tonight, “The Drugster” is lashing out at
one of his favorite targets—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Now, in an interview over the weekend, the Speaker implied that
members of Congress should worry more about passing health care reform for
the American people than keeping their jobs. Well, Rush decided that
comment meant Pelosi was a terrorist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Here‘s the way we have to start
looking at Nancy Pelosi—Mullah Nancy bin Pelosi. She‘s no different
than these mullahs and these imams who convince all these people to put
bombs on their kids and send them out there to blow up. She‘s exactly what
she‘s doing to the Democrat Party. The only thing she can‘t do is promise
them 73 virgins, or whatever it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Drugster, I don‘t think Nancy Pelosi is the one encouraging
violent self-destruction. It‘s your right wing cronies on the radio and
the tube who are egging on the Tea Partiers and other right extremists to
go take out people they disagree with.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: If I want people in Minnesota
armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to
fight back, we the people are going to have to fight back hard if we‘re not
going to lose our country.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: Progressivism is the cancer in America, and it
is eating our Constitution. It must be cut out of the system because they
cannot coexist. You must eradicate it. It cannot coexist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Wow. A triple “Psycho Talk.” Is that a first?
Rush, you better take a look in your own back yard before you start
throwing out anymore of those accusations. Comparing Nancy Pelosi to a
terrorist is beyond “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, Republican Senator Jon Kyl jumped on Jim Bunning‘s
bandwagon. He seems to think that people just love being out of a job.
Senator Ron Wyden will respond to that next, right here on THE ED
Stay with us. You‘re watching MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
After all their phony populism talk, the Republicans‘ true colors are
finally coming out. Aren‘t they? And they are just as out of touch and
insensitive to the plight of the American families as ever before.
Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky is still on a crusade to
block out-of-work Americans from getting their unemployment benefits. Such
a nice guy. Other Republicans, like Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona—here‘s a
dandy—he‘s defending the obstruction, but he goes so far as to say, you
know, that unemployment checks make people not want to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JON KYL ®, ARIZONA: One of the subject of unemployment
extension coverage we‘ve just been debating—that doesn‘t create new
jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment
compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work. But you can‘t
argue that it‘s a job enhancer. If anything, as I said, it is a
disincentive. And the same thing with the Cobra extension, and the other
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Senator Jon Kyl apparently thinks people out of work are
just living large on unemployment. In his state of Arizona, the most a
person can receive is 240 dollars a week. That‘s less than 13,000 dollars
a year. Thirteen thousand dollars a year? That‘s barely above the federal
This is what the late Senator Ted Kennedy was talking all about when
he accused the Republicans of having a disdain for the working people of
America. Unemployment benefits are a mechanism to help Americans preserve
their dignity while in economic transition, especially in a devastated
economy. Jon Kyl makes roughly 200 grand a year as a United States
senator. He has the best health care in the country, and no chance of
losing his job any time soon. He‘s not up for re-election until November
So for him to broad-brush Americans receiving unemployment as
unmotivated to work underscores the insensitivity of the Republican party.
I wonder if Mr. Kyl has ever run a business, if he‘s ever met payroll.
Well, I don‘t know his full background, but I did Google him today. Uh,
no. No, he‘s never broken out in a sweat in the middle of the night
thinking about how am going to make payroll tomorrow? He‘s never had to
worry about how many families are responsible for his performance. He was
an attorney that worked at a law firm where he just, you know, did cases.
Then, of course, he worked for our friends over at the Chamber of Commerce,
who rely on memberships.
And this is a guy who just harshly says, hey, people who don‘t have a
job? They get on unemployment, and they really don‘t want to go—the
really don‘t want to look for a job, they just sit home on under 13,000
dollars a year. This is the Republican party. They haven‘t changed, have
Joining me now is Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Senator, good to have you
with us tonight. Let me know, senator, if I‘m overboard on that. What do
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: I think this is basically a question of
right or wrong, Ed. This is about standing up for the most vulnerable
people in our country. The fact of the matter is, if you make 250, 300
bucks a week, you are not living some life of leisure. You are not part of
the lifestyles of the rich and famous. You are walking on an economic
tight-rope. You‘re trying to pay the food bill, the rent bill. You‘re
trying to put the essentials for your family out there so they can survive.
This is, in my view, just a fundamental question of getting done
what‘s right for folks who are hurting.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s talk about Senator Bunning. What‘s this guy‘s
program? And why not make him stay up all night? I mean, you‘ve been down
that road, Senator Wyden. You were filibustering. You had to go through
all that. Of course, over on the right, they‘re abusing it like crazy.
We‘re on pace for a record number in this session of the Congress. Why not
make him stay all night and make his case?
WYDEN: We are going to do that. We are going to insist that this get
done, Ed. We had a good session with Senate Democrats today. The bottom
line here is we are going to get this done because there are—
SCHULTZ: When is the all-nighter?
WYDEN: We‘re going to get it done tonight. We have been pushing all
through the day to work out an agreement. Fortunately, a number of
colleagues on the other side of the aisle are trying to get to Senator
Bunning and convince him that the logic here is just so obvious. I mean,
you‘ve got economists, for example, people who are advising the
Republicans, like Mark Zandy, saying that for every dollar of unemployment,
you get 1.64 in return.
The point that Senator Kyl made about how unemployment, in some way,
is a disincentive, that‘s just flat-out wrong. To get unemployment
benefits—this is important for viewers—you have to prove that you are
out looking for work or losing those benefits. This is a lifeline. And
we‘re going to make sure people get it.
SCHULTZ: This is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talking about his
friend over on the right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: My friend talks about the
debt. He wants to make sure that the debt doesn‘t go up. Where was he
during the Bush years? Unpaid wars—two wars unpaid for, taxes unpaid
for. He‘s talking about Pay Go now? He voted against it. He voted
against it right here on the Senate floor.
If he‘s so like Pay Go, why didn‘t he vote for it? He‘s throwing
around words like hypocrite. People can make their own decision as to who
is a hypocrite. I‘m not calling anyone a hypocrite, although I‘m just
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Come on, Harry! He‘s a hypocrite. Of course he is.
Senator Wyden, I just—that kind of stuff frustrates me. But I realize
you have to be polite and everything else in the Senate. You have to get
along, at least try to. But what is Bunning doing here? Is this a guy—
is he being put up by the conservatives? Did they take him behind closed
doors and say, look, you‘ve got nothing to lose; you‘re getting out of
here; go ahead and stick it to him? What do you think?
WYDEN: I believe they underestimated the force of the American people
for justice. And they certainly underestimated how strongly we feel in the
Senate Democratic caucus. We‘re drawing a line in the sand here. This is
about a 30-day extension. We‘ll have plenty of big-budget debates, Ed. I
sit on the Budget Committee. We‘re going to have a debate about the ten-
This is going to be essential for the well being of millions of
people. You talk about losing your Cobra, for example, in the middle of an
extended health care treatment? People are going to suffer here. Families
are going to do without. Kids are going to be deprived of the essentials
they need, food and energy for their homes during a cold winter? This is
about right and wrong.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for
signing on to that letter about the public option. You and two others,
Senator Casey and Senator Udall, signed on to it. I appreciate that.
WYDEN: Voted for the public option twice. We‘ll make sure we hold
those insurance companies accountable.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Ron. Good to have you on. Appreciate it. For
more, let me bring in Sam Stein, political reporter for the “Huffington
Well, Sam, we‘ve got news there. They‘re going to pull an all-
nighter. Does Bunning have it in him to stay up all night, every night, to
get this thing done? What‘s going to happen?
SAM STEIN, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: Probably not. All indications
right now point to a deal being hashed out, essentially, where they‘ll have
a vote on what Harry Reid wants, and then it will be followed—
SCHULTZ: What‘s his mission, Sam?
STEIN: I‘m not quite sure. It looks like he caved on this one.
Initially, Jim Bunning wanted the money spent on unemployment insurance to
be offset by money from the unspent stimulus funds. They said, sure, we‘ll
do a vote for it, but he wouldn‘t let a vote happen because he knew his
amendment would be defeated.
Now it seems like that‘s exactly what‘s going to happen. It looks
like it was a huge waste of time. It looks like a lot of people were left
scared, probably, that they weren‘t going to get the unemployment check.
Luckily, these are going to go in retroactively. But what a distraction.
SCHULTZ: All right, Sam, top story tonight; Bill Halter, lieutenant
governor of Arkansas, on our program exclusively tonight, talking about the
primary challenge. Where‘s the White House reaction here? This guy has
got three million dollars from the AFL-CIO, in a state that‘s really not
known for union membership.
SCHULTZ: This is going against the White House. Here we have the
White House supporting Blanche Lincoln. And 15 months after putting Barack
Obama in office, here‘s the union giving three million dollars to somebody
that the White House supports? What do you make of it?
STEIN: I think the story is beyond just the simple Senate campaign in
Arkansas. There are real divisions within the Democratic party where the
progressive base and the labor community is fed up with the direction of
legislative activity. The White House has a policy of supporting
incumbents, as does the party committees.
But the real enthusiasm is not with Blanche Lincoln, that‘s for sure.
You see it with the donations. You see it with the coverage. People are
upset with the role she played in the health care debate, as well as the
role she‘s playing with the Employee Free Choice Act. And they‘re going to
take it out on her.
SCHULTZ: OK. Sam Stein, great to have you with us. Always a
STEIN: Thanks, Ed. Take care.
SCHULTZ: For more, let‘s bring in our panel tonight. Democratic
strategist Todd Webster is with us, also Republican strategist Karen
Hanretty. Tomorrow, President Obama will—I don‘t like this term because
it is a Bush term—we‘ll get the way forward in health care. Karen, stop
smiling. This is a serious comment.
KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I‘m sorry.
SCHULTZ: All right, what‘s the president going to do, Karen? Is he
going to give another olive branch to the conservatives, to try to get
something going on health care? What are your expectations?
HANRETTY: I have no expectations for tomorrow. What on Earth is the
president doing going out and holding yet another press conference? He
held more speeches last year than any other president in his first term.
He holds town hall meetings. He brings them all together in this boring
summit last week, and now he‘s going to go out there and talk again.
I tell you what, man, if I were the Democrats—Ed, it was boring!
It didn‘t accomplish anything.
SCHULTZ: It might have been boring. That‘s not what they were there
for. They weren‘t there for entertainment. They were there to get
HANRETTY: But they didn‘t get anything done. Why are they still
talking? Why doesn‘t Obama just get Reid out there and say, listen,
reconciliation; you guys call a vote, get this thing done. This is talk,
SCHULTZ: Because the conservatives have been complaining about the
fact that this is going to get ram-rodded. Todd Webster, what do you
think? What‘s the president doing here?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, I think if he
extends another olive branch, there‘s not going to be a tree left in the
country of Greece. He continues to—we‘ve given away single payer, the
public option, the Medicare buy-in. I think he is genuinely trying to get
bipartisan support, right? He spent a year trying to get Olympia Snowe and
Susan Collins. He went to talk to the House caucus in Baltimore, had the
bipartisan town hall meeting on health care.
I think he is genuinely, to his great credit—and he‘s a bigger man
than me for doing this—he does want to make it bipartisan.
SCHULTZ: He is trying to do that. Let‘s go to Arkansas politics,
Todd. What do you think of this challenge? Bill Halter‘s not the most
liberal guy on the face of the Earth. All of a sudden, these liberals
groups are forking out all kinds of money. Is the public option alone?
What do you think?
WEBSTER: Look, the reality on the ground in Arkansas is this: Blanche
Lincoln has a 27 percent approval rating, 59 percent disapproval rating.
If Bill Halter is not on the ballot in November, then Democrats are going
to lose this seat for sure. So I think that what he‘s doing is giving
Democrats in Arkansas and giving voters in Arkansas a real opportunity to
support somebody who will do the right thing for ordinary Americans, for
ordinary Arkansans, for working families.
Blanche Lincoln has been a corporatist Democrat and has taken more
money from insurance companies and utilities and medical companies—
HANRETTY: We all agree, Blanche Lincoln needs to go.
SCHULTZ: I knew you‘d say that.
SCHULTZ: GOP is loving this. You got to admit one thing, Karen, none
of the Tea Partiers have raked in the kind of money this guy did in 36
hours, and it‘s still going to happen. This is a grassroots getting after
it. This is change we can believe in, trying to get somebody in there that
will do health care reform and the public option. I think Blanche
Lincoln‘s in big trouble.
But I want to ask you, Karen, is Senator Bunning—is he a hypocrite
to vote against Pay Go and now do this on the unemployment benefits?
HANRETTY: Yes, I‘m going to call Reid a weanie, because I think
that‘s really what you were thinking, Ed. That‘s really what you wanted to
SCHULTZ: I‘m asking you, is Jim Bunning a hypocrite?
HANRETTY: Yeah, I think this whole thing is a complete waste of time.
I think Sam Stein is right. They are going to get this passed. This was
not the hill to go run up today. You know what this—this is just a
ridiculous episode. It‘s like Dwight Shrute setting the office in a fire
to prove a point about office safety.
WEBSTER: Why aren‘t any Republicans calling him out?
HANRETTY: The republicans are calling him out.
SCHULTZ: Wait a minute, Todd.
HANRETTY: Hold on. Susan Collins—
SCHULTZ: What Republicans are calling him out, Karen?
HANRETTY: Susan Collins is the Republican who called for consent.
You‘ve got Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans, who is out there
trying to get some deal for a consent vote. You know, if Harry Reid—
here‘s the talking point on the right—OK, the talking point on right is
they don‘t have to do this through consent. Right? If Harry Reid really
wanted to call up a vote, he could call up a vote right now.
SCHULTZ: They want to see them pull an all-nighter.
SCHULTZ: I got to go. Right wing extremists are on the rise across
America. They‘re more armed, more organized and more dangerous than ever.
Shocking new details are out. That‘s coming in the playbook, next on THE
ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, if you think righty wackos like
Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann are just harmless idiots, think again.
Some scary folks really listen to them. A new study from the Southern
Poverty Law Center found that the number of militias and extremist anti-
government groups shot up 244 percent last year. These guys aren‘t your
average Tea Partiers. In the 1990s, some of them were responsible for the
Oklahoma City bombing. But unlike the 1990s, one of the factors fueling
today‘s rise and organized extremism is public fear-mongering about how
President Obama is taking us towards socialism.
Joining me now is Heidi Bierich from the Southern Poverty Law Center,
the organization that conducted this study. Heidi, what constitutes a
patriotic group that would be viewed as a hate group by your organization?
How do you qualify this?
HEIDI BIERICH, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Yeah. Well, we don‘t
call them patriotic groups. We call them “patriot” groups, and we put it
in quotes, because it is really a bit of an oxymoron. What these people
believe is that the federal government is evil, that it‘s our enemy, and
many of them are involved in efforts to somehow protect themselves or to
warn others from sort of impending doom coming from the federal government,
like the idea that you might be rounded up into concentration camps.
That‘s just one sector of the radical right that we‘ve been tracking
lately. Hate groups remain at an all-time high. Those are racist groups.
We had 932 of them this year. But the real explosion was the sector you
were talking about, where we saw a rise in patriot groups from 149 last
year to 512 this year. That‘s like more than 240 percent. It‘s huge.
SCHULTZ: Well, patriot groups, meaning what? I mean, they want to
overthrow the government? They just hate Obama? I‘ve seen Tea Party
videotape. I‘ve never been to a Tea Party rally. But the videotape has
signs of President Obama with a Hitler mustache on. Is that a hate group?
BIERICH: Yeah. Well, you‘re tapping into it. These are groups that
might not be overtly racial, meaning that they‘re not white supremacists.
They‘re not neo-Nazi types or people who hate Jews. Those we count as hate
SCHULTZ: Are they active? Are they potentially active and dangerous.
BIERICH: There is no question. The patriot groups are actually—
have a track record of violence that is longer than even the white
supremacist groups we track. We‘ve already had, just in the last year, six
law enforcement officers murdered by people who were motivated by either
hatred for Obama or other kinds of hate doctrines. We also had even a guy
who tried to do a dirty bomb because he hated Obama so much.
SCHULTZ: OK, 932 Hate groups. The number one state is Texas. They
have got 66 hate groups identified by your organization. California with
60, second. Florida with 51. The source, the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Heidi Bierich, appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so much.
We have breaking news to report. The Senate stand-off with Senator
Bunning is over. Kelly O‘Donnell will join us with details in just a
moment right here on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We have some breaking news to
report. The Senate standoff with Senator Bunning is over. Kelly O‘Donnell
joins me now with the latest from Capitol Hill. What happened here, Kelly?
KELLY O‘DONNELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ed, we‘ve been
scrambling to nail down the details and the standoff is over. How did they
fix it? Well, Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, has agreed to
allow a vote on one amendment that would pay for the cost of the 10 billion
dollar package, that includes jobless benefits, some of the highway
projects, all the things we‘ve been talking about. By doing that, he will
not object. That will allow this to go forward and presumably be passed.
He will also get the opportunity to have two amendments on the larger
package that they are preparing. That would cover unemployment benefits
for the whole year of 2010, and a lot of these other kinds of important
spending and really human service type benefits that we‘ve been talking
So it started Thursday night, where he said “I object.” It has been
kind of a brutal political battle on the floor of the Senate. There‘s been
Republican resistance, lots of Democrats. But it‘s over. They found a way
to solve it.
SCHULTZ: We were told just moments ago on this program from Senator
Wyden that they were going to stay all night. So did the Democrats call
his bluff? Is that basically it?
O‘DONNELL: Well, they were lining people up to do just that. He had
said he would be prepared to stay late as well. But with the threat of a
late night and seeing where this was going, they finally figured out a way
to get it done.
Now remember, Bunning says he was always for the extension of the
jobless benefits, just wanted to insist that the Senate pay for it, find a
way to offset a cost somewhere else, find the money someplace, and that he
would support it. It was a standoff that got a ton of attention, as you
well know. They‘re going to try and sort it out now.
SCHULTZ: Quickly, Kelly, tomorrow, the president is going to talk
about what he‘s going to accept as far as a compromise in health care
reform. What is it?
O‘DONNELL: Well, the president‘s going to encourage the adoption of
four ideas that were really promoted by Republicans. Today, Republicans
are saying they appreciate that, but that doesn‘t do enough to solve some
of their concerns. Democrats are saying that they are ready to move
forward, that they see that there are some in the House who are perhaps
more willing to vote with this now than they were back during the holiday
Still some questions about how to bring about a simple majority vote.
Not easy, not clear. But Democrats are looking more encouraged.
Republicans are saying they still believe that the general public doesn‘t
like this form of the bill enough. So their disagreements go on.
SCHULTZ: Kelly O‘Donnell with us tonight on Capitol Hill, thanks so
Tonight in our telephone survey, I asked you, do you think Democrats
have underestimated the power of the progressive base? Ninety four percent
of you said yes; 64 percent said no. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz.
For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com, or you can check
out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. You‘ll find my radio show on XM 167,
noon to 3:00, Monday through Friday.
“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now. You‘re watching the
place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night for THE
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