Guests: Jeanne Shaheen, Bill Press, Mike Papantonio, Elijah Cummings, Sam
Stein, Karen Hanretty, Jack Rice, Cliff May, Joan Walsh
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
President Obama has finally traded in the olive branches for a big stick, and he just slammed the Republicans for block an unemployment benefits extension today.
My commentary on that in just a minute.
The Tea Partiers are in the House. “Psycho Talker” Congresswoman Michele Bachmann just won approval for an official Tea Party caucus. Now, I want to know if the “Tan Man” and Mr. Cantor, are they going to sign on to this?
And an explosive investigation into America‘s top secret counter-terrorism operation. Experts say it‘s grown totally out of control and may actually be helping alleged terrorists slip through the cracks.
Details on that coming up in the “Playbook.”
But this is the story that has me fired up to start the week.
At this hour, millions of unemployed Americans are waiting for the Senate to throw them a lifeline and not under the bus. President Obama went on the offensive against the heartless repeal-and-block Republicans this morning at a Rose Garden address.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For a long time there‘s been a tradition under both Democratic and Republican presidents to offer relief to the unemployed. That was certainly the case under my predecessor when Republican senators voted several times to extend emergency unemployment benefits. After years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn‘t have any problems spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn‘t offer relief to middle class Americans like Jim or Leslie or Denise, who really need help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president on the offensive.
Republicans, of course, have turned their backs on the middle class because they‘ve finally decided to care about the deficit.
Listen to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER: They‘ve taken, as I said, the deficit as a percentage of GDP from 3.2 percent to almost 10 percent in a year and a half.
Look, at what point do we pivot and start being concerned about our children and our grandchildren? There is no way in the world in a trillion-dollar budget this year we can‘t find the money to pay for an extension of unemployment insurance, something we‘re in favor of.
If you can‘t pay for a program that everybody agrees we ought to extend, what are we going to pay for? If we can‘t pay for a program like extension of unemployment insurance that virtually every member of the Senate—I think, in fact, every member of the Senate—wants to extend, then what are we going to pay for?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, do these people have amnesia? Who‘s paying for the wars? Was that off budget? Yes, it was. When it all started, we never had a full accounting of that.
What about the Medicare prescription drug bill? How about that?
Did you pay for that, Mitch?
The myth that, you know, the American people care more about the federal budget deficit than they will do their own pocketbook is absolutely losing steam across the country. A CBS poll shows 52 percent of Americans favor aid to the unemployed in this country even if it adds to the deficit?
The president has decided to put is the olive branches down and hammer the Republicans—and it‘s about time—for the obstructionists that they have been and who they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Over the past few weeks, a majority of senators have tried not once, not twice, ,but three times to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. Each time a partisan minority in the Senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote, denying millions of people who are out of work much needed relief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, the Republicans won‘t be able to stop this bill much longer. The Senate is expected to pass the $34 billion extension tomorrow when the new West Virginia senator is sworn in.
2.5 million people -- 2.5 million people have been stiffed by their own government since the first week in June. The bill will help them get by, but keep in mind, it will do absolutely nothing for the four million people who have been unemployed for 99 weeks or more, which is a far bigger number.
There is nothing on the table for the 99ers. They need the president to step up and share the same kind of passion he did for those folks in the Rose Garden this morning.
They also need the Republican Party to quit treating them like road kill and like they‘re scum of the earth. The un-American Republican rhetoric on this issue has been absolutely shameful.
The president put it like this today --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And these leaders in the Senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from looking for a job should talk to these folks. That attitude, I think, reflects a lack of faith in the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president is absolutely correct. This is about faith.
The Republican Party has faith in the almighty dollar and power. They have no problem building schools in Iraq, or giving tax breaks to BP or major corporations, but they just don‘t give a damn about tax-paying American who have fallen on hard times in this time of transition and world economy in which we are losing.
Who‘s going to put these folks back to work? Who‘s got the idea for that on the Republican side?
The choice could not be more clear. Either you‘re with the American worker and the American people or you‘re against them.
And today, the president looked like the fighter for the middle class, the guy that campaigned for the middle class, the one that definitely is needed at this time. Now he needs to finish the fight for the rest of the people in need.
The 99ers can‘t be left behind. They are Americans who have paid a price. Their jobs have been outsourced and now they need some help in this time of transition.
I say that everybody who is unemployed should be getting help. That will force this Congress to turn things around and start a real jobs program so we can invest in this country when this comes to energy independence. That‘s where the jobs are going to be.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about this tonight.
Tonight‘s text survey question is: Are you relieved to see President Obama hammer the Republicans over unemployment benefits? Text “A” for yes, text “B” no to 622639. I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is a fighter for the American worker, former governor of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
I‘m very passionate about this. I‘m very passionate about seeing that this country has got to create some jobs whether there‘s left, right, center, blue, gray, whatever. But we are leaving four million Americans behind, and some 50,000 people a day losing their benefits.
So how can this be viewed as a big victory if this bill is passed tomorrow?
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, you‘re absolutely right to be passionate, Ed. The fact is it‘s unconscionable that it‘s taken us almost two months and four votes before we‘re going to be able to get these unemployment benefits extended.
We‘ve got 15 million people out of work in this country, five people for every job opening. And they‘re people who want to work, who are looking for work. And this is not a handout. This is an effort to help those folks get through difficult times.
We‘ve got people like my constituent Jo Ellen (ph) from Canterbury, New Hampshire. She‘s a psychiatric nurse. She was laid off almost a year ago. She‘s been looking for work every day, everything from nursing to retail. And she can‘t find a job.
And we need to help people like Jo Ellen (ph) and make sure that they‘ve got some support while they continue to look for work.
SCHULTZ: Now, once this is passed and it gets funded, will the Senate do something about the 99ers, all unemployed people? Or is that just not going to happen?
SHAHEEN: Well, I hope so. You know, I‘ve got a bill for on-the-job training that will help pay people while they‘re working, and getting paid by businesses so they can transition to a new job.
We need to get an energy bill passed, as you said, so that we‘re going to be able to compete in this country for the jobs that are being created around the world.
SCHULTZ: I‘m all about that. But the 99ers, there are going to be people left behind. And that really is what these four million people in this country want to know. Is the Senate going to come back after this and try to address this issue?
SHAHEEN: Well, I certainly hope so.
Again, this is one of the best things we can do to help stimulate the economy, because for every dollar we put in unemployment it, pays back about $1.60. And we know that people who are on unemployment are going to go out and they‘re going to spend that money, they‘re going to pay for groceries at their local grocery store, they‘re going to buy gas in their car—
SCHULTZ: They are.
SHAHEEN: -- so they can keep looking for jobs. They‘re going to pay their rent and their mortgage. So it‘s a good way to stimulate the economy.
SCHULTZ: It‘s a great start, because it‘s going to help a lot of people, because a lot of people are losing their homes, their losing their health care, the lot, their car payments. And with that goes the credit right out the door.
I mean, we are really hurting this country for years to come if we don‘t step up and help the 99ers. And I mean all unemployed people until this thing turns around, and then we have to make sure it turns around.
But one more point I want to make with you, Senator. The president was very aggressive today. Has he now pivoted to the midterm? Is this what we‘re going to see more of out of the White House?
What can you tell us?
SHAHEEN: Well, I hope so. And again, he has every right to be aggressive.
The fact is our colleagues on the opposite side of the aisle, by and large—now, a couple of them are voting for the unemployment extension, and that‘s important, and I admire them for that. But most of the people on the other side of the aisle are saying we‘ve got to pay for this unemployment extension, but we don‘t have to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest, to extend those.
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s who they are. That‘s who the Republicans are.
They haven‘t changed at all. They haven‘t come up with any solutions whatsoever to move the country forward. It‘s like we‘re going back to when McCain was running for president. Nothing‘s changed. It‘s the same old outfit.
Senator, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
SHAHEEN: Nice to be here.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
For more, let me bring in somebody who was in the Rose Garden with the president today, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and former California Democratic Party chair, Bill Press.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Ed.
SCHULTZ: -- a very aggressive president today. What did you make of it?
PRESS: First of all, let me tell you, Ed, standing in the Rose Garden today, I had to remember I was there as a reporter and not as an Obama supporter. I wanted to break out and applaud.
I mean, this was the Obama—he was on fire today. He was pounding the podium. His voice really—he raised his voice. He was angry. But it was a righteous anger, Ed.
And it‘s the Obama that you and I have been calling for, we want to see more of, we know it‘s there. And I hope we‘re going to see more of it in the future, as you just pointed out.
He really delivered the goods today. And I think it shows that the White House has had it with trying to cooperate or expect any cooperation from the other side.
SCHULTZ: Well, that‘s why I think this is a turning point, Bill.
SCHULTZ: I mean, that‘s how I‘m reading it. I mean, from the left, message sent, message received.
What do you think?
PRESS: Absolutely. No. In fact, I was thinking about you this morning, because how many times have you and I said, come on, get on fire during the health care debate?
He was today. And, you know, I think, Ed, you pointed out the American people are with him on this. And the Republicans are playing politics with real people in real life who are suffering real pain.
And as you pointed out and the president mentioned today, they voted under George Bush four times to extend unemployment benefits without worrying about adding it to the deficit. And, of course, they voted for the war in Iraq and the Bush tax cuts and Medicare Part D without worrying about it. So, they‘re phony fiscal hawks, and I don‘t think the American people are buying it.
SCHULTZ: And one final thing, Bill. Do you think there‘s a political strategy here?
I mean, the president is now able to go out and make the case not once, not twice, but three times, we‘ve been down this road with the Republicans and no help. And a lot of people are out there suffering, but it makes it easier for him to make the case to the American people that they‘re the party of wrong and the Democrats are for the people on this issue and turning this economy around. We‘ve had a few people come on the program saying they think the Republicans are trying to ditch the economy before the midterm to make their case to the people that Obama can‘t create jobs.
I think it‘s a very politically savvy move by the president, his timing is perfect, just before they go on vacation.
What do you think?
PRESS: I think it‘s a turning point, Ed. I think you‘re right.
I think the White House sees that this is a strategy to call these Republicans out and expose them for who they really are. While the Democrats are fighting for unemployment benefits for the American workers and for the 99ers, as you point out, the Republicans are saying no, we‘ve got to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Right?
There‘s a real clear choice here. And I think you‘re going to see a tougher, a more aggressive Barack Obama from now, right through the midterms, and I think it‘s going to work.
SCHULTZ: Bill Press with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much, Bill.
PRESS: All right, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, “Psycho Talker” Michele Bachmann and “Slant Head” across the street just teamed up to defend the most offensive Tea Party members. I‘ll tell what you they‘re up to at the bottom of the hour.
And calling all nut jobs. “The Beckster” wants you to come to his house for a home-cooked meal and a chopper tour over New York City. That‘s real dangerous.
He and his wife are advertising an unforgettable night. I‘d say. And I‘ll tell you how you can get in on the action.
And I guess there‘s a security check in all of this. Who gets checked, him or the people that are going to do this?
Anyway, all that plus Sarah Palin thinks she‘s Shakespeare. And Jordan‘s ripping LeBron James. And Joe Biden is talking a big game, as well.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
The righties have a nasty habit of taking other people‘s misfortune and turning it into their own talking points for slamming the president of the United States. Only the Republicans can turn plugging the damn hole into a negative.
Listen to Louisiana Senator David Vitter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DAVID VITTER ®, LOUISIANA: I hope everyone, the nation, realizes that so we just don‘t forget about this story once the flow is stopped. I also hope President Obama realizes that.
He hasn‘t been to Louisiana since June 4th. I‘m afraid he‘s decided to deal with this issue, at least politically, by not coming back here and trying to move it off the front page rather than dealing with the situation forcefully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Did you hear that? Trying to move it off the front page, out of the minds of the American people, rather than dealing with the situation forcefully?
What is $20 billion chump change if it‘s there? If they can get it out of a multinational corporation, I would say that‘s a pretty good use of force, isn‘t it? And let‘s see, four trips to the region, coordinating an unprecedented cleanup, and holding BP accountable every step of the way is also a pretty good use of force.
Meanwhile, government officials approved BP‘s request to keep the cap on today as they observe methane may be sweeping into the water near the well.
I want Vitter and other critics to realize President Obama is dealing with BP‘s mess in the face of an unemployment crisis which they helped create, sweeping financial reform, and he is doing it all while the righties obstruct him every step of the way.
For more, let‘s bring in environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio. His firm is leading the class action lawsuits.
We‘re just seeing a big tap dance here, Mike. I thought it was all about restitution and $20 billion helping the folks, but all of a sudden we‘ve got a senator from Louisiana now wanting to point the finger at Obama instead of helping those fishermen down there that you‘re representing.
What the hell‘s going on with this?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER: Ed, BP is great about finding the voice, about finding the David Vitters who will take attention away from the real issue, and that is the catastrophe they‘ve caused down here and turn it to people like the president.
Look, this is a guy who is master at prostituting his office. He understands something about prostitution. You might understand that he‘s the guy that, two years ago, was caught with a D.C. madame and a Louisiana prostitute. So, it‘s no surprise that BP and Halliburton is looking for guys like David Vitter to be their voice.
And I‘ve got to tell you something. This is a man who was paid $800,000 by this industry to go forward and talk about how BP—how the moratorium was such a bad idea, how Obama‘s moratorium was such a bad idea.
Look, people like Vitter right now are lining up all over the coast, Ed. That‘s the sad part of the story. BP, Halliburton, Transocean has the money to spread it around with politicians just like David Vitter, who will say damn near anything to take attention away from BP.
There‘s no mistake about why he came out with this talking point. Look, Marco Rubio, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, all of these Republicans are coming out with this same talking point: take the attention away from BP, put it on this administration.
SCHULTZ: Well, first they were all over the president for the $20 billion fund that he allegedly got out of BP. And where does that stand right now?
And also, an interesting piece of information you and I discussed—pay czar Ken Feinberg, his money, is it or is it not coming from this fund which would be BP?
PAPANTONIO: Well, it‘s coming from BP. No question it‘s coming from
The question I raise—I‘m going to meet with the Feinberg group Wednesday up in New York. And the questions I have is, who is paying you?
We know it‘s BP that‘s paying Feinberg to do what he‘s doing. That‘s to go around this coast saying everything‘s OK, the $20 billion is in place.
I want to ask Feinberg, “Who‘s going to bonus you if you save money on this $20 billion by not paying it to the victims?”
At this point, he‘s been handled like mama Teresa, like Mother Teresa.
He is not Mother Teresa.
I respect Ken Feinberg. I‘ve worked against Ken Feinberg. He‘s a great lawyer. But you‘ve got to keep your eyes on the ball.
PAPANTONIO: He is working for BP. He‘s not working for victims.
SCHULTZ: Does it hurt the president and the relief effort down there, the restitution process, the claims process, the cleanup process? Does it hurt that the president hasn‘t been there since June 4th? Is that a valid point? Does he need to be more visible down there?
PAPANTONIO: Listen, I think he‘s made the trips. He‘s done all he‘s
I don‘t know. He can‘t get a shovel and a bag and pick up oil.
David Vitter has the audacity to say Obama hasn‘t been down here?
I‘ve never seen David Vitter walking on these beaches. I‘ve never seen
Sarah Palin. I‘ve never seen Michael Steele. Marco Rubio, who‘s running
for Senate, had the decency to show up one time
But I‘ve got to tell you something. These Republican politicians that are trying to shift the blame, in the end the victims, the people who have lost their livelihood down here, are going to understand who‘s real and who‘s fantasy. And right now, the David Vitters of this world are complete frauds, and we‘re seeing it down here.
SCHULTZ: Mike Papantonio telling it like it is.
I appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so much. Keep up the fight, Mike. Thank you.
PAPANTONIO: Thanks a lot, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, a congressman from Texas says this guy‘s stock is rising? He thinks we‘ll look back at W‘s time with nothing but fondness?
Well, guess what? That boogies him right on into the heart of the “Zone “next.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Texas Senator and major Bush apologist John Cornyn, he lands flat in the “Zone” tonight.
In a Sunday interview on C-SPAN, Cornyn proved to us that he‘s not—not a student of history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN CORNYN ®, TEXAS: I think President Bush‘s stock has gone up a lot since he left office. I think a lot of people are looking back with a little—with more fondness on President Bush‘s administration, and I think history will treat him well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Buddy, I know they‘re changing the history books down there in Texas, but this one‘s really a stretch.
The latest NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll shows W with a whopping 29 percent favorability number. A mere 50 percent of Americans think that he was a miserable failure.
Last week‘s Bloomberg poll shows the American people still blame Bush more than President Obama for the war in Afghanistan, the federal budget deficit, and unemployment.
Senator, I‘m not a historian, but I know better. But there is really a reason why I was the first person in the electronic media in this country to call George W. Bush the worst president ever, and that was back in 2003.
Do you think Americans are really nostalgic for this guy?
Senator, come on. For you to believe that America wants 43 right on back, and we‘re going to remember him with great memories, that‘s Texas-sized “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, Michele Bachmann‘s leading the Tea Party straight towards what they hate—big government.
Plus, the Tea Party has found a sacrificial lamb to prove they‘re not racists. I‘ll tell you who he is and why I‘m not buying it.
Congressman Elijah Cummings is burning on all of this next.
Stay with us.
And “Caribou Barbie” just made an absolute fool out of herself on Twitter. Then she compared herself to Shakespeare. That definitely deserves “Rapid Fire Response.”
And Vice President Biden shocking the heck out of everybody. And “The Beckster” wants you to come home with him. And Air Jordan slams LeBron James.
That‘s all coming up. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, the Battleground story tonight, the forthcoming Tea Party caucus could cause a revolt inside the Republican Party. Psycho talker Michele Bachmann‘s application to create a Tea Party caucus in Congress has been approved. Elected republicans love to give lip service to the Tea Partiers. Now, they have a chance to put their money where their mouth is. I want to know if Minority Leader John Boehner really wants to put his name on all the crazy positions the Tea Partier heroes have been holding as of late.
For more, let me bring in Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, a member of The Congressional Black Caucus. Congressman, what does this mean that there‘s going to be a new caucus and don‘t you think that this will create some problems for the Republican Party or will it bring in more independent voters to their side? How do you see it?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: First of all, I think, Ed, first of all, it‘s a caucus that here in the Congress, you can create a caucus about anything. We have a bike caucus. We have all kinds of caucuses. So, it‘s a matter of people coming together to discuss different issues but this particular caucus I think is going to create problems for the republicans. Most Americans, the vast majority are not we are the Tea Partiers are and as we‘ve seen, Ed, they have gone far, far, far, far to the right, the right of many republicans. And I think this is going to end up being a pain for the Republican Party.
Basically, we‘ve had a party, the republicans already are far to the right saying no to everything that this president and this democratic caucus has proposed. And so I don‘t know—so, to go even further to the right, I guess the only thing they can get together to do is say how they‘re going to limit government even more, get rid of regulations and tell government to exit out of people‘s lives. And so it should be very interesting.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, FOX News‘ Sean Hannity says that there are no racist signs and haven‘t been any. Do you agree with that?
CUMMINGS: I can‘t say that the Tea Party is a racist party. I agree with the NAACP when they say that those people associated with them who espouse racist feelings and put up signs that espouse racism should be, you know, they should address those people. And I think that that‘s good. Now, this weekend, when they threw this Tea Party head out of the party, I thought that that was a good thing. But I agree with you, Ed. I might think that he was perhaps a sacrificial lamb and there are a lot more people that they need to be addressing and we need to get to that. Sadly, they‘ve got some people in their ranks and some people who associate themselves with them who have been using race as a negative factor. We just can‘t afford that in 2010.
SCHULTZ: Have they denounced it had enough for you?
CUMMINGS: Not at all because I think there are still things going on and they know it, that just are not American. We are better than that. We‘re a better country than that. The Republican Party is a better party and the Tea Party hopefully is a better party than that. As I‘ve said to them before, if they really care about America, they would be working harder with us to make sure that Americans who are out of jobs can get jobs. They would be calling their legislators and saying look, vote for unemployment insurance benefits to go to all of those people who have lost their jobs and who are suffering. But I don‘t hear any cries about that. All I hear is limited government and so that, you know, come on. If you‘re all-American, then, we ought to all cheer for the home team, root for the home team and support the home team and that‘s Americans.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Cummings, I appreciate your time. Thanks so much.
CUMMINGS: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight. Vice President Joe Biden is feeling good about the democrats‘ chances in the mid terms. He responded to all the naysayers saying that the democrats are going to shock the heck out of everybody?
Sarah Palin made up a new word while tweeting about Muslims and the proposed mosque near ground zero. She says, it‘s proof she‘s like Shakespeare?
And the National Tea Party Federation expelled the controversial leader Mark Williams after he wrote an outrageous hate-filled blog post full of racist references.
With us tonight, Sam Stein, political reporter, “Huffington Post” and Karen Hanretty, republican strategist. Let‘s talk about the vice president. Sam, what does he mean? Of course, all the democrats were out on the talking heads yesterday talking a lot of positive stuff about how they‘re going to get the job done in the midterms. But Vice President Biden really took it to a new level saying, we‘re going to surprise the heck out of everybody. Is this the start, I want to get some momentum before the recess, what do you think?
SAM STEIN, “HUFFINGTON POST” POLITICAL REPORTER: Maybe. I mean, I think he‘s just trying to clean up for the mess that Robert Gibbs created last week. Obviously, this is entirely speculation. What it really comes down to is how is the job market it, how is the economy looking, anything that anyone says at this point, it doesn‘t matter. It really is all about the economy. So, maybe they will shock the republicans, maybe they‘ll shock themselves. Who knows, I think it‘s just window dressing right now.
SCHULTZ: Here is the vice president talking about the midterms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don‘t think the loss can be bad at all. I think we‘re going to shock the heck out of everybody. I am absolutely confident when people take a look at what has happened since we‘ve taken office in November and comparing it to the alternative, we‘re going to be very—we‘re going to be in great shape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Karen what, do you make of that?
KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Laughter, I make so much of this. First of all, that is not a successful strategy and all you need to do is look at the Republican Party to know that. When we tried in 2006 and 2008 and we told everyone, listen, if you vote republicans out of the majority, oh my gosh, you‘ll going to be left with Nancy Pelosi, it didn‘t work. This is not a good strategy for democrats to say, oh my goodness, the republicans will be in charge. Democrats need to go out there and answer for the stimulus which a majority of Americans poll after poll shows, do not believe is working in the best interests of Americans. Poll after poll shows that national policies, they believe are not creating jobs and are not creating an environment to create jobs.
SCHULTZ: But we‘re not losing as many as we were.
HANRETTY: No, I‘ll grant you that.
SCHULTZ: There you go.
HANRETTY: But the American public does not—but they don‘t give you any credit for creating jobs or creating an environment that creates more jobs.
STEIN: I have to say, the republicans have to put forward an agenda too and also on the Sunday shows, you saw two republican leaders Pete Sessions and John Cornyn who literally could not name a single way that they would reduce the deficit. They were pressed three times to name a single way, they cut the deficit, they couldn‘t do it. So, worst about ways, republicans have to actually put forward an agenda, as well.
HANRETTY: Actually, they don‘t. Not in an election like this Sam.
And you know politics well enough to know that actually you don‘t.
STEIN: No, I don‘t.
HANRETTY: I mean, once you get in—if in fact they get some majority, then they have to govern and they ask to put their money where their mouth is.
STEIN: So, don‘t provide any answers until then?
HANRETTY: But that is how politics works right now. It‘s all a referendum on President Obama and the democratic agenda.
SCHULTZ: OK. Well, let‘s talk about President Obama. He was very aggressive today. What did you make of that have, Karen? I mean, he is definitely putting the Republican Party on notice with the American people that they have been the obstructionist party.
HANRETTY: Well, I think President Obama, I don‘t know if I‘d call it aggressive. I‘d say very defensive. This is a president on the defense, a president whose poll numbers cannot get above the mid to high 40s right now. And you know, even “Politico” today, this fascinating poll that shows the disconnect between the beltway elite, that‘s the three of us, and the American public. And what an incredible disconnects there is on spending and taxes and all of these national parties.
STEIN: You‘re right. The public wants more stimulus and the D.C. elite thinks that it‘s all about deficits. That‘s true. And Obama was aggressive and on the offensive.
SCHULTZ: But Sam, was the president defensive today?
STEIN: No, of course, not.
STEIN: I mean, listen. He‘s out there, he‘s trying to sell unemployment insurance. While this radical idea of helping out the unemployed who are out there, who haven‘t had a job, some of them, two millions roughly or so, haven‘t had jobs or employment benefits in six months. That‘s not a crazy idea. I mean, we are a moral society with somewhat of a moral obligation to do this.
SCHULTZ: All right. Let‘s talk about Sarah Palin‘s new dictionary. “Ground zero mosque supporters: Doesn‘t it stab you in the heart as it does ours throughout the Heartland? Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate.”
Are you guys have a good post to start using that word now, Sam? What is this all about? She said, the other part of it, she tweets again saying, comparing her to Shakespeare, refudiate, misunderestimate, wee weed up, English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too. Got to celebrate it. What do you make of that, Sam?
STEIN: It‘s complexing, Ed. I mean, it‘s very, it‘s very difficult to understand. I mean, what are we doing here? It‘s a tweet from Sarah Palin. She offers many of these. I don‘t want to chase after every one because it‘s not news. But this one is just totally confusing and perplexing. I don‘t really know where she‘s going with this. Not to mention, I think she‘s wrong on the very idea, the choice of building a mosque. But that‘s a whole another debate.
SCHULTZ: Karen, doesn‘t this put her in the stupid zone a little bit?
HANRETTY: Let‘s see. You‘ve got a vice president right now who‘s probably the single most gaffe-prone vice president in the history of the United States. And you‘re complaining about Sarah Palin?
SCHULTZ: Normally, when you write something or tweet something, you have a few seconds to think about it. Saying, it is a little bit different.
HANRETTY: Oh, I see. Yes, I might takes to travel from his brain to his mouth, yes. That‘s a long time.
SCHULTZ: I mean, Sarah Palin could hardly be taken serious anymore.
HANRETTY: But she‘s right on this issue.
SCHULTZ: All right. She‘s what?
HANRETTY: I think she‘s right on this issue.
SCHULTZ: On the mosque.
HANRETTY: I think there are a lot of Americans and I think there needs to be a much broader debate and it shouldn‘t just be a debate among New Yorkers about this mosque that is going to be built as a shrine on the site of 9/11.
STEIN: The shrine to improving Islamic western world relations. I mean, what‘s problematic about that?
SCHULTZ: All right. Karen Hanretty, Sam Stein, always a pleasure.
Good to have you with us tonight.
STEIN: Thanks, Ed.
HANRETTY: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, top secret classification has a safe ring to it, but a shocking report from the “Washington Post” shows hundreds of thousands of people have this level of clearance to our country‘s biggest secrets? I‘ll get the lowdown from a former CIA officer, next. Plus, Alvin Greene just gave his first speech, and the Beckster is throwing a dinner party and you could be the guest of honor. I‘ll explain it all coming up in the Playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s not toot late to let us know what you think. Tonight‘s text survey question is, are you relieved to see President Obama hammer the republicans over unemployment benefits? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. We‘ve got the results coming up.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, in the aftermath of the September 11th, the United States has been an explosion in top secret counter-terrorism and homeland security programs. A two-year investigation by the “Washington Post” reveals just how out of control things may become. The report shows over 3200 government and private organizations do work related to the homeland security of this country. An estimated 854,000 people hold top security clearances. And since 2001, 33 buildings in Washington, D.C. have been built for intelligence work. That‘s the same as the three Pentagon buildings. But let‘s be clear. This expansion of government did not start under President Obama. The hands-off government republicans ramped up the spending in counter terror programs.
For more, let me bring in Jack Rice, former CIA officer and criminal defense attorney and also Cliff May with us tonight of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Gentlemen, we‘re spending an awful lot of money on protecting this country. It‘s like it‘s a whole new industry, counter-terrorism. Jack, the numbers are staggering. What do you make of it?
JACK RICE, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, you‘re absolutely right, Ed. I mean, that‘s the problem is that both sides, all parties were lining up together saying, let‘s get tough on this and everybody said, you know what, if two works, let‘s do 20. And so, this is what we have seen. We‘ve seen it at the Pentagon, we‘ve seen it at CIA. We‘ve seen it at Lockheed, we‘ve seen it at contractors. We‘ve seen it everywhere. Everybody is lining up, everybody wants a piece.
SCHULTZ: The map is very telling. Cliff May, do we need 1,931 government programs and private companies to keep this country safe? Is this necessary? There‘s a lot of the redundancy, there‘s a lot of overlap. In fact, we‘ve got Robert Gates, he says, there‘s so much growth, “There has been so much growth since 9/11 that getting your arms around that, not just for the director of national intelligence but for any individual, for the director of the CIA, or for the secretary of defense, is a challenge.” What do you make of all this?
CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Well, I think all of that is quite correct. The problem is as long as I‘ve been in Washington, and that‘s a pretty long, I‘ve never seen any bureaucracy successfully reformed. And the hardest bureaucracy to successfully reform probably would be the Intel community if you were to take that on because these guys do know how to protect their turf. Now, what do you do about it? Every time we have reform of the Intel community or any bureaucracy, usually that means, we add a couple more layers of bureaucracy. Nobody gets fired. There are no metrics. Nobody gets told us, if you don‘t reach these goals, we‘re going to let you go. This is a governmental problem as well as an Intel problem. But because this is America‘s national security, it should be taken seriously if you want to fix it, the president has to make it a high priority. There‘s no other way.
SCHULTZ: Jack, I think he has done that.
MAY: No, no, no, you can‘t say that.
SCHULTZ: Yes. He‘s protecting the country is still a high priority.
MAY: No, no. That is, but reforming the Intel community and reforming this bureaucracy, if that were to be made a priority, the president would have to not just make speeches about it but find somebody very determined, very talented, put him in-charge give him a lot of power. Talk to Congress and you‘d have to find out where you can cut.
SCHULTZ: Jack, don‘t we have those kinds of people in place right now?
RICE: Well, see, but here‘s the problem, and with all due respect, Cliff, what we‘ve seen after 9/11 was this. We decided the FBI and CIA couldn‘t connect the dots. We all remember that. And so, the response from everybody involved was, let‘s create the Department of Homeland Security, which was a debacle and a monumental level. We brought all these organizations together. They made such a huge disaster and they made things almost unworkable. And then you add to that was the likes of Donald Rumsfeld who said wait, everything should be over at the Pentagon. So, he started taking from the intelligence community, taking from state department, pulling it into the defense department, and then militarizing it. And you get all of this stuff combined, than everybody else wants a piece back and now we‘ve got what we have because everybody has caused this.
SCHULTZ: Cliff, is it overkill?
MAY: Yes, it is. It‘s dysfunctional what we have right now because we have all of this bureaucracy and all of these intelligence analysts.
SCHULTZ: So, what do you say to Dick Cheney? He had his mitts all over this. He was involved in this.
MAY: Yes. If you want to fix the problem which has grown up under at least two presidents, obviously under two presidents, then you have to make it a presidential priority and you have to put somebody in charge of one of the toughest things you‘ll ever see in Washington, reform of the bureaucracy. Until you do that and unless you do that, nothing will change for the better.
SCHULTZ: You just won‘t say, the last administration ran wild with security. The patriot act, the explosion of government.
SCHULTZ: The republicans have all been getting it down into a bathtub, but on their turf, they just can‘t spend enough money on this. It‘s out of control.
MAY: There‘s a difference between the patriot act which is a law, which helped people connect the dots and building dozens of new buildings and dozens of new agencies.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, we‘ve got to run. South Carolina—thanks so much Jack Rice and Cliff May for joining us tonight. South Carolina‘s once unknown Senate Candidate Alvin Greene made his first public speech yesterday in his home town of Manning, South Carolina. He managed to steer a clear of any major gaffes in the 6 ½ minute speech but did he appear to be a bit nervous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALVIN GREENE, SOUTH CAROLINA‘S DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR SENATE: Good afternoon to everyone. OK. I‘m the best candidate in the United States senate race here in South Carolina. South Carolina and America cannot afford six more years of my opponent. We cannot let my opponent keep this country hostage. Let‘s reclaim our country from the terrorists and the communists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK. Greene reportedly wrote the speech by hand on double-lined notebook paper. But give the guy a credit. At least he didn‘t put it on his hand.
And Michael Jordan arguably the best NBA player of all time just slammed LeBron James in an interview with “NBC Sports,” Jordan bashed James‘ decision to play for the Miami Heat saying, he never would have joined forces with other superstars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JORDAN, NBA PLAYER: There‘s no way that you know, just hindsight, I would have never called up Larry, called up magic and say, hey, Larry, let‘s get together and play on one team. I mean, but things are different, you know, I can‘t say that that‘s a bad thing. I mean, that‘s an opportunity these kids have today. I mean, you know, in all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And finally get out the Kleenex. The Beckster is auctioning joining off what he calls an unforgettable night. For over $75, 000, you get a home cook meal at his house and a helicopter ride from New York City. Glenn promises to point out historical buildings and sights. But you‘ll have to come to a completed—you‘ll have to submit to a complete and extensive background check. The proceeds will benefit Special Operations Warrior Foundation but I‘m sure the Beckster will find a way to make sure to make some money of this deal.
Coming up, President Obama showed the country how heartless these republicans really are. Today, but some say, it took him way too long. Salon.com Joan Walsh should—and she‘ll join me next on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It‘s time to stop holding workers laid off in this recession hostage to Washington politics. It‘s time to do what‘s right. Not for the next election, but for the middle class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That was President Obama who I think hit it out of the park today. My next guest doesn‘t see it quite the same way.
Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor in chief, Salon.com. Joan, I thought he was outstanding today but a little slow to the punch. What do you think?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, EDITOR IN CHIEF: Exactly, Ed. I feel churlish to criticize him right now. It was a great moment. That‘s the guy that we both voted for, I was happy to see him, but it was a little bit strange, Ed. Come on! He did it and he‘s made a good speech again on Saturday but he did it after he got finally got the 60 votes because we now have a new West Virginia senator, Senator Goodwin and so, now it‘s sort of like it‘s politically safe to go out and say, I want Congress to do that because they‘re going to do it. And a lot of the democrats have been saying for a little while, why won‘t he use the bully pulpit to come out and say hey, America, we need these benefits and the republicans are cynically, politically, cruelly blocking them.
SCHULTZ: Do you think there‘s a pattern here that President Obama only jumps out like that when he‘s politically safe?
WALSH: I do. Yeah, I do. I think he really doesn‘t go far enough in being the populist fighter especially when he‘s not sure he‘s got the votes. I don‘t know that he could have scared up or invent that had 60th vote, Ed. But he could have heightened the differences between the parties and he sometimes seems a little bit unwilling to do that.
SCHULTZ: Is he politicizing the unemployment benefits?
WALSH: I think, you know, the republicans have been politicizing it.
WALSH: You know, this is something that used to be a bipartisan kind of thing in a recession. And the republicans see this, I think they‘re wrong but they see this as an opportunity to kick the unemployed to say that they‘re lazy. We‘re seeing this, they‘re using it. They‘re choosing to use this in some campaigns to say these people can find jobs even though there are five unemployed people for every open job in this country. So, there‘s a really clear—there‘s going to be a very clear choice in November, Ed.
WALSH: And it would be great to have democrats be the party that is both trying to create jobs, put people back to work, but also extend a hand when our neighbors really need one. That‘s who we are.
SCHULTZ: Joan Walsh, always a pleasure. Good to have with us tonight.
WALSH: Thanks, Ed. Likewise.
SCHULTZ: Thank you. Tonight in our text survey question, I asked you, are you relieved to see President Obama hammer the republicans over unemployment benefits? Ninety three percent of you said yes, seven percent said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. Chris Matthews with “HARDBALL” starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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