Guest: Bob Shrum, Dennis Kucinich, Adam Green, Bill Press, Susan Molinari, Peter Morici
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED
SHOW, live from the nation‘s capital.
Tonight, Washington, D.C., these stories are hitting my hot buttons.
Eric Massa. I mean, he‘s going down in flames, and he‘s trying to
take the Democratic Party with him. He just wrapped up a bizarre interview
with “The Beckster.” I‘ll recap it in just a few minutes.
And Congressman Dennis Kucinich says he plans to vote against the
president‘s health care reform plan. Well, I‘ll try to change his mind and
get him to try to say yes to covering 30 million more Americans, which the
plan would do.
Plus, President Obama‘s ambitious new plan to stop foreclosures.
That‘s all coming up on THE ED SHOW.
But first, here‘s the story that‘s got me fired up tonight.
Congressman Eric Massa is going down in flames. I mean, he tried to
take the rest of the Democratic Party with him. But so far, I mean, the
only person he‘s sinking is himself.
This story gets more insane by the minute. I mean, I thought I knew
this guy. I‘ve interviewed this man dozens of times on this program and on
my radio show. But in just the past couple of days, hours, even minutes, I
mean, he‘s changed his tune and he‘s singing just a whole lot more crazier
I mean, he just got off of Beck‘s show, an interview that was pretty
damaging. Just to recap, since there‘s been so many twists and turns and
so many accusations in this story, let‘s go to the top.
First, he was accused of harassing a member of his staff. Then he
said that he had terminal cancer. Next, Massa claimed that the Democrats
forced him out the door so that it would be easier for them to pass health
That didn‘t make any sense. I didn‘t buy Massa‘s conspiracy theory
either. Neither did House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn when he was on my
radio show today. Clyburn, he‘s the guy who counts the votes.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: Nothing could be further from
the truth. He was never counted. We think of the magic number before he
resigned was 217. I was not counting him in that 217. So his staying or
going will not impact a whole lot.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, to be sure that no stone was left unturned, I asked the
congressman if anyone on the left was harboring any ill will at all towards
Congressman Massa for his believes in a single payer system.
Here‘s what he had to say.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CLYBURN: My lord, absolutely not. I remember him telling me that
that‘s what he wanted.
CLYBURN: But let me tell you something, people like John Conyers has
been around here talking about single payer for as long as I can remember.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, things have changed since then. Massa just took it to
a whole new level in his one-hour sit-down with “The Beckster” moments ago.
Changed his story again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC MASSA (D), FMR. NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN: Can I just start off with
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: Sure.
MASSA: I wasn‘t forced out. I forced myself out.
I failed. I didn‘t live up to my own codes. I own this.
I take full and complete responsibility for my misbehavior, and
goodness only knows what allegations they‘re going to throw at me. There‘s
even new ones today, and we‘ll talk about that.
BECK: The new allegations, first it was you made an off-color remark
or you hit on a guy at a wedding.
So, explain that one first.
MASSA: OK. So we‘re at a wedding New Year‘s Eve. Everyone had too
much to drink.
There were 300 people there. I went with a bridesmaid, danced with
her, sat down. I went back to my staff.
All the bachelors, they all made the remarks that you can imagine
about you ought to do this, you ought to do that. I grabbed a guy, tussled
his hair—“No, I ought to do it to you.” And there were other words and
they‘re all out there.
I gave a full and complete disclosure. And I left because I realized
the party was getting to a place that I shouldn‘t be at. And I did it.
Now they‘re saying I groped a male staffer. Yes, I did. Not only did
I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn‘t breathe, and then four guys
jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday. It was kill the old guy.
You can take anything out of context.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I think this guy‘s in crisis mode. I mean, don‘t people
resign to get out of the spotlight and end all of this personal indignation
that takes place when the media starts attacking you?
Instead, this guy‘s going full throttle. I mean, he‘s on a media
tour, guns blazing, what appears to be lies flying all over the place.
And by the way, the plot has thickened. “The Washington Post” just
reported late this afternoon that the House Ethics Committee is reviewing
new allegations that Massa groped multiple male staffers and conducted
himself improperly with interns, as well as full-time aides.
Folks, tell me what you think about this in our telephone survey
tonight. The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is: Do you believe Eric Massa is telling the
truth? Press 1 for yes and press 2 for no. I‘ll bring you the results
later on in the program.
Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Mr. Buchanan, please—good to see you, by the way. Draw on your
experience, as you always do. Have you ever seen a politician go out like
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I never have. I never have,
and it was—frankly, I thought the whole thing—I watched 50 minutes of
it. I thought it was sad, Ed. I‘ll be honest. I thought it was sad..
Here‘s a guy who says he‘s defeated, I can‘t fight the cancer, I can‘t
fight anymore the White House, I can‘t fight the leadership, I can‘t fight
the Democrats, Republicans. I think he wants out.
He says he‘s going to do one more show and this was it. But this was,
quite frankly, it was a pathetic interview.
He did not make one charge of credible unethical or dishonorable or
illegal behavior on the part of the White House or anybody else in
politics. The two examples he used, one guy gave him $640 and said you‘re
not being a good Democrat. What is wrong with that?
One union said, look, if you vote against this health care we‘ll never
support you again. That‘s normal politics.
BUCHANAN: And he tried to explain the groping as sort of horseplay,
you know, high school locker room stuff that guys engage in and things.
And that was his defense of this. And, you know, I‘ve got questions of its
credibility, if it‘s true, that there‘s these numerous charges by interns
and others against him.
SCHULTZ: Well, he‘ has changed his story so much. First he says that
Democratic leadership wanted him out.
SCHULTZ: House leadership wanted him out because of his vote on
health care. And now he says today he did this to himself.
It doesn‘t make any sense. There is a reversal right there.
BUCHANAN: Then earlier he said he had cancer and he‘s leaving for
that reason. So he‘s changed the story repeatedly, no question about it.
The only thing that he defended out there is the shower incident with Rahm.
SCHULTZ: Well, let‘s talk about that.
BUCHANAN: But even that is not—it‘s funny, quite frankly, for TV.
But there isn‘t anything illegal there. If Rahm pushes his finger in
people‘s chest, he did it in the shower, that‘s kind of funny, but there‘s
nothing illegal or unethical or immoral about that.
SCHULTZ: No, there isn‘t. You know, and I‘ve played basketball at
noon at the YMCA, and you‘re in a shower, and say, hey, how did the Bullets
do last night? I mean, I‘ve got all kinds of stuff going on. And
sometimes people get passionate in the locker room and start talking it
But he seems to be targeting the Democratic leadership, targeting the
White House, in this scorched-earth policy he has. He‘s going after
everybody he possibly can.
What‘s his motivation for doing that? Why would he take himself off
BUCHANAN: Now here we get to the area of surmise.
Look, here‘s a guy, a Navy guy, a congressman that‘s being charged
with basically homosexually groping people, which is an awful thing to take
home. You‘ve got a family, you‘ve got four kids, a number of kids. So
he‘s—instead of doing that, this was a matter of principle, I went out,
I‘m fighting these guys, I can‘t take it anymore, but I‘m fighting them on
He‘s one of your guys. He‘s a single payer guy.
SCHULTZ: Oh, yes. And another thing is he‘s been very critical of
Dick Cheney. Every time the former vice president comes out and is
critical of President Obama on security, it was Eric Massa who was just
taking it to him.
So he was somewhat of a hero on the left for going after the critics
of Obama. So what motivation would the House leadership have to get rid of
BUCHANAN: You know, it didn‘t make a lot of sense. But I do think
this—I think with the Beck show, I think a lot of folks watch that
thing. And when it was over, people said that‘s a sorry and it‘s a sad
case, and the guy‘s gone, just let it go, because I don‘t really—there
just is nothing there.
The guy had an hour. I mean, I think Beck does some good stuff when
he‘s up there speaking. He‘s not a great cross-examiner, quite frankly.
I think the guy should have been pressed on each one of these specific
charges harder, and just said, what about this, what about that, what about
that? And I don‘t think he was, and Beck gave him a chance to talk, but
when he talked he didn‘t say anything but the same generalities—
politics, corrupt; too much money in it; we ought to have public funding of
SCHULTZ: For more on this, let‘s bring in Democratic strategist Bob
Shrum, a professor at NYU.
Mr. Shrum, great to have you with us.
The White House reaction, this morning Robert Gibbs pushed back on it,
saying basically he wasn‘t credible.
Did they handle it properly?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure. I think this is—I‘ve
never seen anything like this, as Pat said at the beginning. And this
statement coming from me is going to be very unusual.
I agree with absolutely everything Pat said with one exception. The
groping would have been every bit as bad if it was straight as if it was
This guy is a human train wreck. You watch him on television and you
can‘t feel sorry for him because he‘s totally out of control.
He needs help. He‘s obviously lived a lie and now he‘s told a series
of lies. Even Rush Limbaugh got off this buckboard today.
The only person seems to be embracing him now is Glenn Beck. And I
suppose that‘s because it is an opportunity to tell some more lies about
the health care bill.
But look, Rahm Emanuel didn‘t do anything wrong in this, even if you
listen to what was said here by Massa. There was nothing wrong that was
done by the House leadership.
Steny Hoyer took this to the Ethics Committee right away, which is I‘m
sure what Dennis Hastert wishes he had done in 2006 with the allegations
against Mark Foley. The only person being destroyed here is Eric Massa.
BUCHANAN: Let me just say one thing. I think Beck—I think it‘s
unfair what you‘re saying about Beck.
He gave this guy every chance to say something. He pushed him and he
gave him all this time, and the guy didn‘t deliver.
I don‘t think there‘s anything wrong in giving the guy the time and
letting him be heard, because the allegations earlier on were very serious.
He‘s a congressman, Democratic Caucus, he‘s making serious charges. So you
give him time. Beck gave it to him, he delivered nothing.
SCHULTZ: Well, Beck also wanted him to rip into the Democrats, too.
BUCHANAN: Well, maybe he thought that was going to happen.
SCHULTZ: He was taking advantage of I think a guy who‘s pretty
vulnerable right now.
BUCHANAN: But if you looked, Beck was saying, look, you haven‘t
delivered any goods here for 40 minutes. It‘s the third quarter.
SHRUM: But there‘s nothing unfair about my comment that the only
reason Beck put him on the show was he was hoping that he would lie about
the health care bill and hurt the health care bill and hurt the Democrats.
Look, Rush Limbaugh, who was talking nuts about this guy yesterday, has now
moved away from him totally.
BUCHANAN: Beck didn‘t hope the guy would lie. He said, look, if this
guy‘s got some goods, I want to hear them.
SHRUM: No, he hoped the guy would propagate some of these myths about
the health care bill that Beck has been propagating.
So, moving forward, is he a story? And I have to say, beyond this segment
and a little bit more talk, he‘s not. He‘s irrelevant. And I think the
fact that Jim Clyburn came out today on my radio show saying, look, we knew
where he stood all along, he was never really a factor, he was not involved
in the headcount, when he left it didn‘t hurt the situation at all for us.
BUCHANAN: Well, I don‘t know if Clyburn was decisive. I mean, I
wanted to hear, look, does this guy really having have something?
And you listened and listened and listened, and it was over. I agree
with you when you say unless something big breaks, which I don‘t expect—
frankly, if it breaks it‘s probably going to be against Massa—we‘ve
heard the end of it.
SCHULTZ: What do you think, Bob?
SHRUM: Yes. This guy‘s a pathetic footnote, he‘s not a story.
SCHULTZ: Yes. No, I totally agree, but it‘s pretty bizarre.
Gentlemen, thanks for joining us.
Coming up, Congressman Dennis Kucinich says he does not care if he is
the spoiler when it comes to passing health care reform. He‘s a man of
principle, and I respect that. But I‘m going to try to do my best here
tonight to try to change his mind.
That‘s coming up in a moment.
Plus, Toyota‘s now got a Prius problem. A car that was recalled and
got fixed got stuck going 94 miles an hour. I‘ll tell you how that story
ends up in my “Playbook.”
And I‘ve got a turd blossom special for you. That‘s coming up. Karl
Rove is back in the zone.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Republicans say opposing health care reform will be the centerpiece of
their 2010 campaign regardless of whether the bill passes or not. Senator
John Cornyn of Texas, head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee,
says if reform passes, Republicans will run on trying to repeal it.
I don‘t think the president‘s health care plan goes far enough. You
know where I stand on all of this. I‘m a single payer guy. But if it is
going to get 30 million more Americans covered and get rid of the pre-
existing condition, I think that‘s a big step forward and a reason to vote
for it, and it‘s certainly better than helping the Republicans take down
President Obama‘s presidency.
But at some point we‘re going to have to make a real decision whether
we believe in this or not. Is this change? Is it enough? Not every
progressive is on board with this.
And joining me now is Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who voted against
the bill in November.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: Ed, it‘s good to be with you. And I
just want to say that the characterization that I don‘t care is not
correct. I do care.
I care that this bill privatizes health care, that it took out public
option, that it doesn‘t protect states that want to create a single payer
system. And that, in fact, there is no control in premiums. I care a lot
SCHULTZ: OK. Then why not give the president a victory and vote for it?
KUCINICH: Well, this isn‘t about whether the president has a victory.
This is about whether the American people are going to win.
If you give the insurance companies $70 billion, why do they have to
put the middleman in there? Why do they have to be in there at all?
Why not just create a system where the money goes right to the people
without the insurance companies getting a cut? Why do you have to give the
insurance companies a cut?
Why was the public option taken out? Why can‘t states have the
ability to create their own single payer system without getting attacked by
SCHULTZ: That‘s a great point, Congressman. And you know I‘ve got
great respect for you.
I saw the president yesterday. It‘s the most passionate he‘s been.
He admitted that they‘re going to be getting 30 million more customers.
But, you know, they‘re a big player at table and this is all a part of
Can‘t you accept some incremental steps? And the public option‘s not
dead with this letter that‘s being circulated over on the Senate side.
If you guys in the House vote yes on this and come back through
reconciliation in the Senate, we might get the public option. But we can‘t
do it if there are people on the left such as yourself—I got great
respect for you—who are saying, no way, can‘t do it.
What about this scenario?
KUCINICH: Well, you have to remember, Ed, I started out with a
compromise on the public option. I voted for it in committee.
And I also passed through committee an amendment that would protect
the right of states to have single payer. I had worked to compromise. And
I‘m not beyond trying to see if there is a way to work out a bill.
But what‘s happened is that every step that you look at to try to
improve the bill, the insurance companies keep winning. And every time
they win, their stocks go up and the American people are getting ready to
be hosed by this.
Mandating the purchase of private insurance—one of the reasons why
we have a problem to begin with is people can‘t afford insurance. That‘s
why you have 47 million people who don‘t have insurance. So, you know, I
haven‘t been convinced yet that this bill is the solution. And as a matter
of fact, I think it‘s a step in the wrong direction because it‘s a step
SCHULTZ: Congressman, you think that eliminating the pre-existing
condition and covering 30 million Americans, and the tax advantages that
are in here for small business as well, you think that‘s a step backwards
because we don‘t get single payer?
KUCINICH: Hold on a minute. We could pass legislation that protects
people on pre-existing conditions without having to get into the rest of
I mean, two weeks ago, the Congress passed legislation that removed
the exemption from antitrust that the industry has enjoyed for a long time.
We could do the same thing with pre-existing conditions. It‘s not—the
bill isn‘t contingent on—you know, pre-existing conditions should not be
contingent on the passing of the rest of the bill.
And as far as small businesses, you want to give some incremental help
to small businesses? I‘m all for that. But the big bill here—and this
is the thing I‘m concerned about, Ed—is that we are creating a
privatization of our health care system, and we‘re taking a step in the
direction of locking that in with a $70-billion-a-year subsidy to the
insurance companies in the hopes they‘re going to provide insurance to
people. And insurance doesn‘t mean health care.
They make money not providing health care to people. And I think that
we have to keep in mind that this private-for-profit insurance structure is
not the way that you secure health care for people. If you believe health
care‘s a right, we‘re going in the wrong direction with this bill.
SCHULTZ: OK. I respectfully disagree. I think at some point we‘ve
got to take what we can get, and I think we‘re at that point right now.
Because what would be the ramifications, Congressman, for President Obama‘s
administration and for the direction of the country if the Congress fails
on this issue?
KUCINICH: There are states all across this country where there‘s a
strong single payer movement that‘s percolating. And just like in Canada,
where Saskatchewan was the first province and the rest of the country
caught on, the United States, I think, eventually is going to find Medicare
through all through action of state level.
Pennsylvania is a good example. The California Senate last month
passed a bill again for the third time. They had a governor who vetoed a
single payer initiative twice.
SCHULTZ: There‘s other ways, is what you‘re saying. I got you.
KUCINICH: There‘s other ways of doing it. For those who say that the
whole roof‘s going to fall down on health care in America and any hope for
initiatives, that‘s not true. That‘s just pressure tactics. They‘re being
used to pass a bill that‘s going to benefit the insurance industry.
And frankly, I cannot be intimidated by those who are trying to force
this insurance industry giveaway down our throats.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you on, Congressman. Appreciate your time
KUCINICH: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: I know you‘ve got to go vote. Thanks so much.
KUCINICH: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Karl Rove, one of the most malicious politician masterminds
in U.S. history, is now saying he thinks families aren‘t fair game?
Don‘t worry, Karl. You‘re the only Rove who is about to land in the
That‘s next on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, the man responsible for eight
years of George W. Bush, Karl Rove, turd blossom, has a new book out, so
he‘s trying to convince people that you should shell out about 30 bucks to
read about his life.
While on “The Today Show,” he addressed the rumor that his father was
gay. He denied it, then slammed the critics for bringing it up in the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Our view on political issues, on issues
of public policy can and should be divorced from our families. And our
families shouldn‘t be used as convenient targets to shoot at in order to
get at people in politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s sure not what he thought back in the 2000 South
Carolina primary, when he reportedly came up with an anti-John McCain push
poll by asking the question, “Would you be more or less likely to vote for
John McCain if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?” That
was an apparent reference to McCain‘s daughter Bridget, who was adopted
Family sure wasn‘t off limits then, was it? It wasn‘t off limits a
few years later either, when Rove leaked the name of an undercover CIA
agent, Valerie Plame, because he didn‘t like what her husband, Ambassador
Joe Wilson, was saying about the Iraq War.
If that isn‘t using families as convenient targets to shoot at in
order to get at people in politics, I don‘t know what is. The master of
dirty politics saying he believes family should be off limits, you got it.
That‘s “Psycho Talk.” .
Coming up—today—folks, this is the best reason ever to get
health care reform passed! “The Drugster” says he‘ll leave the country if
the bill goes through.
Hey, start packing, big guy.
And imagine driving on a highway and your accelerator sticks, and
suddenly you‘re going 94 miles an hour and you don‘t have any brakes. That
just happened to a guy in a Prius Toyota. You won‘t believe how this story
All that and so much more coming up right here on THE ED SHOW.
You‘re watch MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In case progressives needed
yet another reason to support health care reform, here‘s an incentive from
our old buddy the Drugster. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I‘ll just tell you this: if this
passes and it is five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented, I
am leaving the country. I‘ll go to Costa Rica.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Where they have universal health care. Rush says he‘ll
permanently leave the country. That would get every Democrat‘s vote, for
sure. But as it stands right now, Democrats are not united on the way
forward when it comes to health care reform. Only 37 Democratic senators
have signed a letter promising to vote yes to pass the public option via
reconciliation. Some of the names not on the list are pretty surprising,
like Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. He‘s a strong supporter of
the public option. So why hasn‘t he signed the letter?
For more, let me bring in Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive
Change Campaign Committee. You can find them online at
BoldProgressives.org. Adam, there are some names on this list—Byron
Dorgan is one of them—he is not on the list, I should say. Jay
Rockefeller. What do you make of this? Why are they holding out?
ADAM GREEN, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: First of all, we
could break a little news here tonight. Just a couple minutes ago at “The
Huffington Post,” three new senators said they would be willing to vote for
the public option in reconciliation. Byron Dorgan was one. John Tester
from Montana was another. And Daniel Akaka from the great state of Hawaii
was the third. Ryan Grimm, a fantastic reporter, tracked them down in the
hallways of Congress and got them on the record.
But as for Jay Rockefeller, he said a couple weeks ago he would be
open to any viable option for the public option to get it through Congress.
Two weeks ago, we had about a dozen people on the letter. Now we have 40.
There is no good excuse at this point for any senator to claims to support
the public option, to not stand with us and vote yes on reconciliation.
SCHULTZ: Doesn‘t this mean if that the House passes the Senate bill,
and you have all these signatures on a letter that says they will go down
the road of the public option via reconciliation, what more motivation do
liberals in the House have than to go ahead and pass this bill, which the
president has been begging for, and we all know the ramifications if we
don‘t get it passed?
GREEN: Exactly. A lot of us are on the same side here. We want a
good health care reform bill passed. And a lot of progressives in the
House would be much more enticed to vote yes if there were a public option.
What we‘re doing is carrying the burden of proof and showing one by one—
now we‘re up to 40 -- that there will be the votes in the Senate if it gets
an up or down vote.
SCHULTZ: I think President Obama isn‘t out there demanding the public
option because he wants this grassroots effect to take place across the
country to give him some political capital. In your group—you‘re—the
net-roots are giving President Obama the political capital he needs to
stand up and say, OK, let‘s go reconciliation, we‘ve got it. We can give a
direct piece of competition to the private sector. Do you trust the
GREEN: Do I trust the president? Well, let‘s put it this way:
yesterday, he rallied people actively in Pennsylvania by bashing insurance
companies who put profits ahead of patients. Now that‘s not an argument
for requiring by criminal law that people buy more private insurance.
That‘s an argument for the public option.
So I want to trust the argument he laid out. But the conclusion he
came to is a little wrong. We need him now to embrace the public option
and fight for it. We got him 80 percent down the field. We‘re at the 20
yard line, ten more senators to go. We need his help. We can do it.
SCHULTZ: You‘ve made the case all along that it is politically
popular to go down the road of the public option. Is it stronger tonight?
Now you‘re at 40. You‘re in the zone now.
GREEN: We are in the zone. We‘ve polled in state after state,
conservative state, moderate state, liberal state. In every single state,
the current underlying Senate bill that President Obama is supporting is at
about 35 percent popularity. The public option is at about 60 percent
popularity. It is a political no-brainer. Now that we‘re getting the
votes in the Senate, it should be a legislative no-brainer, too.
SCHULTZ: Senator Kent Conrad from North Dakota, who is the chairman
of the Senate Budget Committee, wrote an op-ed in the “Washington Post”
this weekend. He said reconciliation is something that could be done. Do
you think he‘s putting out an olive branch? Or is he putting out some type
of motivation, saying, look, keep pushing on this, and you may have us in a
corner? What do you think?
GREEN: I think there is a growing consensus that reconciliation will
happen. The question is what will be in reconciliation. What we‘ve been
constantly saying is the votes are there, just take a vote. Now we‘re
Again for folks who want to see if their senators have signed on yet,
our website is WhipCongress.com. Thousands of people every day are calling
Congress saying, get on this letter.
SCHULTZ: Why isn‘t Jay Rockefeller signing it, in your opinion?
GREEN: Jay Rockefeller, unfortunately, has been very risk averse
lately. Again, a couple weeks ago, he said it‘s not viable at this time.
We just made it viable. Again, if he‘s going to look the people of West
Virginia in the face and say, I want to solve your problems, I want to help
you, it is time for him to act. It‘s time for him to say one sentence: I
will vote yes if the public option comes up in reconciliation. That would
do everybody proud.
SCHULTZ: Adam Green, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so
much. Stay with us.
For more, let‘s bring in our panel. Bill Press is a nationally
syndicated radio talk show host and good friend. And Susan Molinari is a
Republican strategist and former congresswoman from the great state of New
York. How does this play out?
Susan, we‘ll as you first here. This is the grassroots pushing the
Democrats. This is revolutionary stuff, I think. What do you think?
SUSAN MOLINARI, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I say, as a Republican, bring
it on. I think this—these are still numbers overwhelmingly in some very
difficult districts for moderate Democrats that won the majority for the
Democratic party to vote for health care in general. You want to go public
option? I think it‘s already starting to look like the Republicans can win
the majority. The more that the Democratic party moves to the left, the
more danger they‘re going to have of losing that majority.
And now to introduce the public option on reconciliation, at a time
when there‘s still going to be a lot of debate—so now we‘re going to go
into the next few weeks with a debate over the public option on
reconciliation. Reconciliation being dangerous to do for any type health
care bill. And we‘re going to have a debate over—the Democrats are
going to have a debate over the public option and abortion on something
called reconciliation. I think it is a very dangerous political ground for
the Democrats to be on.
SCHULTZ: Bill, is pushing for the public option moving to far to the
left when the majority of Americans want it?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: No way. I say to Susan the same
thing that you said: bring it on. First of all, I got to say, the idea
that the grassroots have kept this alive—Adam and his organization have
kept this alive and have 40 senators now signed up—and you know what?
You and I know there are more senators there. Tom Harkin hasn‘t signed
yet. He‘s going to be a vote for reconciliation. So is Jay Rockefeller, I
believe, eventually, and others.
They have got the votes now. We‘re going to get a strong bill. And
in the fall when the Democrats go out and say, if you have insurance now,
we‘re going to protect you from these insurance companies jacking up your
rates 50 percent every time you turn around, and if you don‘t have
insurance now, we‘re going to give you the opportunity to buy it, and the
Republicans have nothing to offer—
MOLINARI: The Republicans are going to say, we spent two years with
the Democrats controlling the White House, the House and the Senate,
talking about health care for people who do not have jobs. When do we have
a discussion about lowering the deficit, creating jobs—
PRESS: That‘s going on. That‘s going on at the same time.
MOLINARI: There has been absolutely no movement. And that‘s been the
biggest miscalculation of this administration.
SCHULTZ: Susan, what do you say about the preexisting condition? I
mean, Americans that would be able to get insurance coverage that they‘ve
never had before? How can that be a safe position for the Republicans?
MOLINARI: It is a position for the Republicans. The republicans have
about four health care bills that if the Democrats ever entered into an
honest negotiation with the Republicans, they would find that there are
bills out there that include crossing state lines, covering preexisting
SCHULTZ: That‘s in there. That‘s what the president has embraced, to
make it bipartisan in theory, even though there‘s not going to be any
republican votes here.
MOLINARI: There are some things in the bill that Republicans do
support and have supported.
SCHULTZ: Why wouldn‘t they vote for it based on the preexisting
condition and expanding the coverage for 30 million more Americans? The
Republican plan does three million. The democratic plan does 30 million
MOLINARI: Well, because—number one, because there‘s a whole bunch
of other things that are in there. The Republicans have never supported a
SCHULTZ: Public option‘s not in the bill.
MOLINARI: OK. Either way.
SCHULTZ: Not in the Senate bill.
MOLINARI: Either way. They‘re talking about increasing the deficit.
They‘re not talking about—what are we even debating in terms of how we
pay for this? The Democrats haven‘t told us yet. Have they come to an
agreement as to how they‘re going to pay for this. Cadillac plan? Labor
unions in or out? We don‘t even know exactly what the final plan will look
PRESS: The president made it very clear how he‘s going to pay for it.
I‘m not particularly happy with the excise tax, but that‘s what it is going
PRESS: If I may, here‘s the thing, I thought the president said it
very well yesterday. All these Republican complaints sent back and forth,
they had ten years. Where were they? They did absolutely nothing. And
now where are they? Nowhere.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s move to the midterm quickly. John Cornyn, the
Republican who heads up the Senate Campaign, reelection campaign, he says
he wants to run against health care reform. I say bring it on, because if
we pass this bill, and that‘s what the Republicans want to run on, here we
go. The people get to decide.
MOLINARI: You‘re absolutely right.
SCHULTZ: So that, I think, gives the Democrats even more reason to
pass this bill. Adam, your thoughts.
GREEN: Sure, bring it on seems to be the phrase of the night.
MOLINARI: Let me quote ex-Commerce Secretary William Daly, who said
today the Democrats have miscalculated on health care. This last election
was moving to the center left, not to the left. That‘s a Democrat in the
SCHULTZ: But if the majority of Americans want a public option, how
is that moving to the left?
PRESS: Ed, in these midterm elections, the Democrats, once they get
out selling the product—and it is going to be a good product—they‘re
going to be way ahead of the game. The Republicans have nothing to sell on
SCHULTZ: Spirited discussion. Great to have all of you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.
Coming up, defectors from the Church of Scientology are now coming out
of the shadows. They‘re telling stories that just will knock your socks
off. A special NBC report is up next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, the Obama administration has a new
plan to help some five million homeowners still at risk of foreclosure.
Pay them. Pay them to sell their homes at a loss. The process is called a
short sale, and requires the lender to forgive the difference between the
selling price of the house and the balance of the mortgage. As an
incentive, the government will pay out 1,000 dollars to the bank holding
the mortgage, and another 1,000 to a second lender if there is one. The
borrower will get 1,500 dollars in relocation assistance.
This program starts on April 5th, and it could rescue hundreds of
thousands of desperate homeowners. But lender concerns about fraud may
make the plan a real tough sell.
Joining me now for more on this is Peter Morici. He is an economist
and professor at the University of Maryland. Peter, nice to have you with
us tonight. Good plan? What do you think?
PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: I think it‘s a great plan. You
have a lot of people who might have spent 150,000 dollars on a house, have
a mortgage 120,000. Now the house is only worth 90,000. They can‘t get
out. If they ultimately end up in foreclosure, the cost to everybody but
the guy who works the deal is tremendous. This will reduces costs to the
banks. It will the give the homeowners a chance to get out of town, so to
speak, with decent credit. It works for everybody.
SCHULTZ: The bank doesn‘t want the house back. The bank doesn‘t want
to be shuffling the paper. This is a real helpful thing the Obama
administration‘s doing for the banking industry.
MORICI: Absolutely. In a lot of cases, there is a second trust or a
second mortgage. And homeowners are afraid to walk away from those because
that lender can come after them, after their salary and so forth. The idea
would be to forgive that as well.
If you don‘t forgive that, those guys are going to lose all their
money in the end, anyway. This is a way of accelerating the process and
keeping homes from having foreclosure signs on the front lawn.
SCHULTZ: Whose idea is this? Has it ever worked?
MORICI: We really haven‘t been down this path before. I think it is
a very innovative idea. And I think this is an example of the Obama
administration being flat-out pragmatic in an effective and positive way.
SCHULTZ: The market re-adjustment, people just can‘t handle it. OK?
Now if you got a job, you can handle it, because you wouldn‘t move out of
your house if you could make the payment. This really stems from massive
job loss in this country. Does it not?
MORICI: Absolutely. Massive job loss, people can‘t make the
payments. Also, people borrowed under the assumption they‘d be able to
borrow again, these adjustable rate mortgages. Now they can‘t. The
Interest rates are ballooning. Also people need to be able to move so they
can get another job. You have to be able to sell to do that.
SCHULTZ: All right, I respect our conversations a lot. I revere your
opinion. I‘m a construction guy. OK? I think these job numbers this
summer—I‘m switching subjects—I think these job numbers this summer
are going to turn around. I think that along the northern tier, you‘re
going to see a lot of infrastructure projects. The stimulus package is
going to kick in. And I really believe that we‘re going to see the job
numbers really turn. Your thoughts?
MORICI: My view is we‘re bottoming. I‘ve been tracking private
sector jobs. We‘ve gone from 80,000 to 35,000 to 18,000 lost.
Manufacturing‘s getting some ginger. The real question isn‘t whether we
bottomed and whether we‘ll add some, whether we will add enough, that 1.3
million a year we need just to stay even with new high school graduates.
We have to get back nine million jobs over the next couple of years?
SCHULTZ: Do you think we could go nine percent unemployment before
MORICI: The election this fall? No, I don‘t believe we can. I think
it is going to be very tough to do.
SCHULTZ: OK. Peter, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
Another page in my playbook; the Church of Scientology is getting more
controversial than ever. Now former members of the church‘s elite
management team are speaking out, saying that they were abused, severely
underpaid, and trapped. If they wanted out, they had to pay the church
thousands of dollars and then were completely cut off from the family and
friends who remained in the fold. NBC‘s Kerry Sanders has more.
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Business as
usual, it seems, for Scientologists at the organization‘s expanding world
headquarters in Florida. But for 33-year-old Christine Colbrane (ph), once
a member of Scientology‘s elite corps, life is anything but.
She was born into a family of Scientologists. But since Christine and
her husband, Chris, also a member of the church, broke away and started
speaking out against Scientology, as they did in a recent “New York Times”
article, Christine says the church has cut her off from her family.
CHRISTINE COLBRANE, FORMER SCIENTOLOGIST: They have to make a choice
between their daughter or their eternity, what they think is their eternity
as far as their salvation goes spiritually.
SANDERS: Spokesman Tommy Davis says the church denies interfering in
her family, but does say members are taught to cut contact with so-called
suppressives, people who viciously attack the church.
COLBRANE: I‘ve been labeled a suppressive person because I basically
no longer support the church.
SANDERS: Her decision to leave, she says, was emotionally and
financially costly. Christine says every member signs a so-called eternity
contract to remain a Scientologist for a billion years. When she broke
that contract, she says the church, which had paid her 50 dollars a week,
handed her a 40,000 dollar bill for counseling services the church had
given her over her lifetime.
COLBRANE: I signed a contract that said I was going to be there for
the rest of my life and beyond. So I didn‘t fulfill that contract and they
SANDERS: That bill was later reduced to 10,000 dollars. But still,
Christine claims the church made leaving so difficult, she made an extreme
choice. The C-ORG does not allow members to have children, so she got
pregnant and hid it until it was too late for an abortion.
The church denies putting any pressure on members to have abortions.
Scientology boasts millions in their congregation, including high-profile
movie stars John Travolta and Tom Cruise.
TOM CRUISE, SCIENTOLOGIST: It is—being Scientologist, people are
turning to you.
SANDERS: -- whose Scientology video on Youtube has been viewed more
than five million times, a testament to the public‘s fascination with this
secret religion. But “the New York Times” reports members are walking away
in increasing numbers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now there is the sense that people who do leave
have company. They‘re not alone. And that‘s what‘s contributing, I think,
in some ways, to this flood of people who are kind of stepping out of the
SCHULTZ: “The New York Times” reported that, according to the
American Religious Identification Survey, the numbers of Scientologists in
America has plunged from 55,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2008.
A final page in my playbook tonight, another out of control Toyota
carried its driver on a terrifying 94-mile-an-hour ride down a California
highway. How‘s that for California dreaming and driving. The driver
called 911 while his 2008 Prius sped down the road. Twenty minutes later,
and 35 miles later, with the help of the highway patrol, he was able to
slow down the car and turn off the engine, and the car coasted to a stop.
Toyota says they will investigate the incident. The car is not one of the
more than eight million vehicles included in the recent Toyota recalls.
Coming up, in case you missed it, Eric Massa is talking again, this
time with Glenn Beck in the same room. Whole lot crazy stuff being said,
really. We got to talk about it with our panel in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASSA: Everybody loves an independent member of Congress until you
are one. And the minute you step out of the mold, then the whip starts
cracking. Within 15 minutes of me deciding to leave, “Politico” published
a full story on this, complete with anonymous sources and time-lines that
obviously have been in development for goodness only knows how long. Who
knows where—don‘t you find that kind of odd?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, that was former Congressman Eric Massa on Glenn Beck‘s
show just an hour ago, trying to take all of Washington down with him. For
more, let‘s bring in our panel again tonight, Bill Press and Susan
MOLINARI: Start with Bill this time.
SCHULTZ: OK, I‘ll start with Bill. He was not an independent in
Congress. He was a single payer advocate. He was a staunch critic of
President Obama when it came to the Afghan policy. He just did an
interview with Robert Greenwald and “Brave New Films.” The guy was solid.
He‘s unraveling. I‘ve never seen anything like this.
PRESS: I wrote a book about this. It‘s called—the name, “Train
Wreck.” That‘s exactly what we‘re seeing. Ed, you and I had Eric Massa on
our shows many times. He was one of my favorite guests because, on the
single payer, great, from our point of view. On the public plan option,
great. On the Iraq war, on Afghanistan, on Don‘t Ask Don‘t Tell.
SCHULTZ: He wasn‘t independent.
MASSA: No, right down the line, he was as liberal as you can get. He
was a Kucinich, Maxine Waters liberal. Suddenly, he‘s just seems to have
flipped out. I got to tell you, I feel like I should be angry, but I‘m
really sad about him, because I just think he‘s done. He‘s ruined.
Tomorrow, nobody‘s going to be talking about him. And he‘s just gone. He
could have been a good vote.
MOLINARI: I don‘t know what else to say about this that hasn‘t been
said. It‘s a sad story.
SCHULTZ: You know who‘s happy this is happening? Charlie Rangel,
because Rangel‘s off the front page now. Rangel‘s not getting talked
about. This story has captured any kind of scandal that‘s out there for a
PRESS: The other thing, Ed, OK, I don‘t know about these allegations.
Right? He says—
SCHULTZ: Why do you take yourself off the payroll if you‘re a man of
conviction and you‘re for health care reform?
MOLINARI: Let me tell you something—I‘m speaking as a partisan
Republican. I know Speaker Pelosi. I know Leader Hoyer. They don‘t do
these—the allegation that people in—this is a tough game. People do
not set out to do this to people, you know. I mean, I just can‘t believe
that they would do this. That‘s what he‘s inferring.
PRESS: My point was, why quit? If, as he told Glenn Beck tonight, he
never did anything sexually, never did anything criminal, then why not stay
The other thing is, I just—you know, to see this guy who had so
much going for him, and had run before, and then he turns around and
finally gets the seat—he‘s there 431 days and he walks off.
SCHULTZ: Bill Press, Susan Molinari, thanks for being here tonight.
Appreciate it tonight. Tonight, in our telephone survey, I asked you, do
you believe that Eric Massa‘s telling the truth? Eleven percent of you
said yes; 89 percent said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews
is up next, live from Jerusalem. Chris has an exclusive interview with
Vice President Joe Biden. That starts right now, here on the place for
politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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