Guests: Virg Bernero, Byron Dorgan, David Pettit, Jeffrey Breit, Jack Rice,
Ron Christie, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bob Shrum
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories on the table and hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour.
President Obama vows he has faith in the American worker, but the middle class is mad as hell in this country, and they want action. My commentary on that.
And I‘ll talk to a guy who‘s cutting through all the BS when it comes to getting it done. That‘s America‘s mayor, Virg Bernero, who just won the nomination for governor for the Democrats in Michigan.
He‘ll join me right off the top in a moment.
You know, I‘m a guy from the Midwest. OK? I‘m not a big media type. All right?
So I go to the White House yesterday to be briefed on what a great job the government and BP is doing in cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf. It got a little intense, but I think they‘re just giving us a line of bull. And so do a lot of the experts.
That story coming up.
And John Boehner and Michele Bachmann, well, they would rather lay off teachers than cut into their tanning time. I‘m seeing red on this one tonight.
Thanks for joining us here on THE ED SHOW tonight.
This is the story that has me fired up tonight—the 2010 election.
Well, it‘s really all about Wall Street versus working class Americans.
The middle class is working harder, making less money, and angry as hell in this country. They‘ve watched politicians throw billions of dollars at the suits on Wall Street, and then all of a sudden get tight with the dollar for the people on Main Street and small businesses. It happened just last week.
President Obama, can we remember that he did win nine Bush states in 2008 because middle class Americans trusted him and his vision? The president and the Democrats know that they‘ve got to deliver for the American worker.
Here‘s the president at a Ford plant in Chicago today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I refuse to walk away from this industry and American jobs. I put my faith in the American worker. I believe the American worker is the best worker in the world.
If we could just get a sense of common purpose, we can once again see the best cars in the world designed, engineered, forged, right here in Chicago, right here in the Midwest, right here in the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Mr. President, you‘ve got to tell that to The Carlyle Group.
They‘re looking for emerging marks.
And it is true the American auto industry is slowly turning around despite the Republicans‘ nonstop effort to stab them right in the back. The president took it to the Republican naysayers today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And to all those naysayers in Washington, what we call the “just say no” crowd, who said that investing in you would guarantee failure, I wish they could see the pride you take in building these great cars, American-made cars.
And my message to them is: don‘t bet against the American worker, don‘t lose faith in the American people, don‘t lose faith in American industry. We are coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: This whole election is about faith, faith that Washington will quit playing games with people‘s lives, faith that politicians will fight for middle class jobs, even if it costs them their own job.
Now, I‘m putting my cards on the table tonight as I do every night. The Republican Party is on a mission to politically assassinate the president‘s agenda across the board. They want to shoot down everything.
At the same time, the Democrats have damaged the country because they‘ve refused to put the hammer down on the “Party of No.” It‘s time.
Wage-earning Americans don‘t have time on their side anymore, and they don‘t have time for promises. They need help right now.
I still think that Senator Reid needs to keep the Senate in session until they can get an up-or-down vote on Senator Stabenow‘s 99er bill. What‘s the hurt?
Nancy Pelosi gets it. She knows that there is zero political downside to working in the month of August. A lot of people in this country would love to work in August.
Harry, you need to do the same thing. America loves a fighter. The country is craving for a leader who will do more than just talk the talk.
Now, here‘s the political dynamic to all of this. If the Democrats hold the Senate in, and they take the vote on Senator Stabenow‘s bill which has incentives for businesses who hire people who have been unemployed for a long time, if they do that again, they will get the Republicans on record not wanting to help the 99ers, not wanting to move forward when it comes to creating jobs in this country, and it will politically corner Boehner and the rest of these nut jobs who want to do absolutely nothing for the American economy.
Harry, it will take 48 hours to do this. Go ahead and do it.
I mean, I think it‘s great that Senator Stabenow and a number of other Democrats have cosponsored this 99er bill, and I think it‘s written perfectly because there‘s some incentives in there for businesses. You don‘t have to go home and find out what the people think. The people have made it very clear where they are right now. And I‘ll give you an example.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero was a long shot to win the Democratic nomination for governor of Michigan. A year ago, Michigan Democratic Party insiders, they were making fun of this guy. “Virg who? He‘s going to do what?”
He proved the naysayers wrong on Tuesday night and won the nomination.
Former Gateway CEO Rick Snyder knocked off Dick Cheney clone, Congressman Peter Hoekstra. You mean Hoekstra lost? Oh yes. He didn‘t win the Republican nomination.
People want change and they want straight talkers.
This really—if you look at this race, folks, for governor in Michigan, this sets up exactly where America is right now. You now have a corporate CEO against a working class American.
Joining me now is a politician—and listen up—a guy who balanced the budget without cutting jobs or without raising taxes. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, he is now the Democratic nominee for the governor for Michigan. And I can tell you how he did it.
He gave them the straight talk. He came them a vision. And he said no, we‘re not going to raise taxes on the backs of the middle class in Michigan, and we‘re going to create jobs, and we‘re going to balance the budget.
It can be done. It needs to be done in the Senate. And we need to call the bluff of the righties in the Senate.
Virg Bernero, congratulations. That‘s just my take. I think you did it with some straight talk and some straight passion about changing this thing around.
And I want to ask you, Virg, do you think that the Democrats have done enough for the middle class?
MAYOR VIRG. BERNERO, LANSING, MICHIGAN: Ed, well, the short answer is no. And thank you so much for telling it like it is. It does my heart so much good to hear those clips of the president talking about the strength of the American worker.
You and I have talked about it over a couple years now, what the American worker is capable of, if we will simply support them and let them do it. We make the greatest products in the world. We have the most productive workers in the world in places like Lansing, Michigan, and Detroit, and Pontiac and Flint.
We can do it. We were the arsenal of democracy. We made the things that made America great.
And it‘s great to hear the president get behind them. And he got behind them in their hour of need, in their time of need. He invested in the auto industry, and it is paying off.
What is it that the Republicans and Wall Street have against working people that they constantly want to pull the rug out from underneath domestic manufacturing? It‘s almost as though because some of these industries are unionized, that they will go through the American worker in order to get to the union. They don‘t mind the collateral damage.
You know, we don‘t need to debate about it. The unions helped create the middle class in this country.
But the bottom line, whether you‘re in a union or not in a union, we need to make things here in America. We need to have patriotic purchasing. We need to support our industries.
And, of course, the 99er bill makes perfect sense. And you‘re exactly right, they should stay in session. Absolutely. Let them do their job.
As you said, most people work through August, or they wish they could work because many of them are losing their homes and their benefits have run out. And it‘s a callous disregard for the average worker that these Republican senators have.
SCHULTZ: It‘s not a question of whether you‘re for or against the president. It‘s not a question about whether you‘re left, right, green, blue, center, whatever. It‘s a question about an economic class in this country that is getting absolutely butchered while our jobs are being outsourced, and that is the fundamental question here.
Tonight‘s telephone survey question is—the number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is: Do you believe Democrats, the majority party, are doing enough to help the middle class?
Press the number 1 for yes, press the number 2 for no. We‘re going to bring you the results a little bit later on.
Virg, if this is Wall Street, a CEO type that you‘re staring down in Michigan, in a state that‘s got a high jobless rate, isn‘t this election about faith, believing in an agenda? What do you think?
BERNERO: Well, of course. There‘s always an element of that. And we think it‘s exactly as you said. The question is, whose side are you on?
You know, do you trust a Wall Street insider? Look at what they‘ve done to us. Or, you know, do you want the party of Main Street and a candidate who‘s of, by, and for working people?
My dad came here in 1948 from Italy with two nickels to rub together at a time when you could make it in Michigan and in this country through hard work and playing by the rules and taking care of your family. You could have a decent life.
You might not be filthy rich. And that‘s OK. We weren‘t. But we were comfortable. You could have a decent lifestyle.
And, you know, Ed, it works, because when you create a middle class, those folks who are making a little money, have a little disposable income. Maybe they might go bowling, maybe they might take the family out to eat.
And that provides for that small business sector.
Right now, the small businesses in Michigan, they‘re also hurting. They can‘t get access to capital. Wall Street has written us off and left us for dead. I have a proposal for a state bank in Michigan, for example.
SCHULTZ: Tell us about it.
BERNERO: Well, in North Dakota, they‘ve had a state bank for decades.
They provide low-interest loans to farmers and students and small business. And they make money for the state. They contribute about $30 million a year into the state coffers, in addition to the economic activity.
Here in Michigan, the banksters have written us off, small business is drying up, they‘re calling in loans. JPMorgan Chase, even after they got help from the government, is cutting off Michigan, they‘re robbing us of our recovery.
The state bank could fill in the gap. Instead of us investing in Wall Street—right now the state of Michigan has over $1 billion in a demand deposit account with JPMorgan Chase. Why are we investing in Wall Street when they refuse to invest in us? They literally will not invest in Michigan.
SCHULTZ: You would change that?
BERNERO: They‘re taking our money.
SCHULTZ: You would change that, that investment of the billion dollars if you were governor of Michigan?
BERNERO: Absolutely. You better believe it. On day one when I‘m sworn in.
SCHULTZ: Some would say that that‘s a real radical change.
BERNERO: Well, you know what? We need bold change. And I don‘t think it‘s going to come from a corporate guy.
When this guy was at Gateway, when he was one of the directors, they were hemorrhaging jobs. They outsourced like so many companies. Instead of investing here, like you say, they went to the so-called emerging markets.
What about the emerging workers here?
So, when he had a chance to be on workers‘ side, he wasn‘t. Like all the rest, he outsourced and downsized.
And I‘ve created jobs. What I‘ve done is create the environment in Lansing where we‘ve got job growth.
We‘re in the running right now for a new $200 million GM expansion. It‘s going to be 600 new jobs. I believe we‘re going to get that.
We‘ve laid out the red carpet instead of the red tape for business. I have no problem, Ed, incentivizing business in this country. In fact, that‘s what we should do.
BERNERO: The mistake that was made at the federal level, we‘re the only country in the world that incentivizes business to go overseas. We cut their taxes. We allow them to stay headquartered in the United States. We encourage them to move their production overseas.
SCHULTZ: Virg, I‘ve got to take THE ED SHOW to Michigan. We have got to do a town hall together. This is—it‘s a cultural fight for America. Either you believe in the American worker, you believe in investment in people in this country, or you don‘t.
It can‘t always be about the bottom line. It just can‘t be. We‘ve got to be better than that.
BERNERO: Ed, we‘d love to have you. And I‘ll tell you what—we ought to -- I‘d love to do it to invite the other guy, my opponent, and see if he‘ll come.
SCHULTZ: I‘m all about it.
BERNERO: You could moderate the debate. Let‘s invite him.
He‘s only agreed to three debates. I‘ve changed him to eight. What is three debates? This isn‘t a race for county commissioner. We‘re running for governor of Michigan, for God sakes.
We should be debating in every corner of the state.
SCHULTZ: Well, we‘re having fun programming this thing. Maybe we can get a righty talker somewhere and we‘ll balance it out a little bit and make sure it‘s right, because just remember, Virg, we have the facts and the truth on our side. And it will play out, my man.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight. And congratulations for doing what you did.
BERNERO: Thanks so much, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, thanks to W., the rich, well, they have been getting richer over the past 10 years while one in eight Americans is on food stamps.
Folks, it‘s time to level the playing field. Senator Dorgan will tell us why we need to let the Bush tax cuts die for the top two percent next. That‘s coming up next.
And “Slant Head” talks trash for a living, but now he‘s becoming actual hazard to the Earth. We‘ll dispose of him in the “Zone.”
All that, plus “The Tan Man” is whining because recess is over. And Sharron Angle just, well—well, she had a freakout.
That‘s all coming up in the “Playbook.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
The Bush tax cuts don‘t expire until the end of this year, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to go toe-to-toe with the Republicans on this issue before the November election.
The issue heads to the floor in September when the Republicans—or should I say when the Senate returns from recess. The Obama administration has been very clear—cuts for the wealthiest Americans must take place.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is driving this point home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: The policies put in place by the previous administration prior to this great recession have left us with a terrible legacy of challenges. We live in one of the richest economies in the world, but one in eight Americans is on food stamps today. And America is a less equal country today than it was 10 years ago, in part pause because of the tax cuts for the top two percent that were put in place in ‘01 and ‘03.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Here are some numbers to back up what the secretary just said.
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported that as a direct result of the Bush tax cuts, the poorest 20 percent of earners saw their after-tax incomes rise just 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, the top one percent of households got a five percent jump.
In September, Senator Reid and his Democratic Congress will have a chance, I guess could you say, to get even.
Joining me now is Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Good to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You never supported these Bush tax cuts. In fact, you were clearly on record saying that this was the wrong path to take. That, plus the wars that weren‘t paid for, plus Medicare prescription bill which wasn‘t paid for, as well.
We‘re in a heck of a mess. And the Republicans are out there right now saying that this will be a jobs killer. This is a job-killing administration.
Answer to their argument on that, that the economy is too soft right now to let these tax cuts expire.
DORGAN: Well, they all ought to know about killing jobs. They sure did a good job getting rid of jobs during the last administration. But let me make this point.
We‘re slogging through economic quicksand here. We are deep, deep in debt.
We‘ve got about 20 million people that are looking for work.
And what‘s the Republican solution? How about let‘s continue giving those that make $1 million a year an $80,000 a year tax cut? It‘s absurd.
When I hear that from them, it reminds me of that Jeff Foxworthy program on television, “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” You know, are you smarter than a 5th grader?
Listen, everybody understands what we‘ve got to be doing here. And it‘s not giving more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. They‘re doing just fine, thank you.
SCHULTZ: And Senator, do you think that this is a good issue for the Democrats? Do you think the American people get it on this, that 98 percent of American won‘t be affected by this? Is the timing of this good for the Democrats?
DORGAN: Well, I don‘t know whether it‘s a good issue for us or whom, but all I know is that most people want this country do well. They want to see an economy that rebounds, putting people back to work. How is that going to happen when people have confidence in the future?
They‘ll begin spending and doing things because of that confidence. They‘re not going to have more confidence in the future if we spend money we don‘t have. In fact, if we borrow money from the Chinese to continue giving tax cuts to wealthy Americans, that makes no sense to me.
SCHULTZ: Here is Republican Leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell, his comment on these tax cuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER: They propose to raise taxes on the top two brackets, and we‘ll probably have that debate in September, which would capture 50 percent of small business income and up to 25 percent of the workforce. It will have a devastating impact by raising taxes in the middle of a recession. The impact of all of this taxation regulation and yes, increased litigation as well, has a deterrent effect on what we would all like to do, which is to create more jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What about that, Senator? Your response?
DORGAN: Well, he must have been listening to a program called “Invent Your Own Facts.” I mean, that‘s what I hear in Mitch McConnell‘s assertion here.
You never heard him talk about the deficit, did you? He wants to borrow money from the Chinese in order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, and thereby increasing the federal deficit, which is now, by the way—the debt is $13 trillion.
How about a little adult supervision? Let‘s do the right thing here.
SCHULTZ: Well, I have to agree with you, because I haven‘t seen this information anywhere. He said in that sound bite capture 50 percent of small business income.
DORGAN: That‘s absurd. That‘s absolutely absurd. Just absurd.
In fact, we had a discussion about that today. That‘s just an adventure set of facts, go say them and hope people will believe it. But it‘s just not accurate.
SCHULTZ: Well, why is it that your colleague from North Dakota, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad, and also outgoing Senator Evan Bayh, they‘re on a different page here? They‘re with the Republicans.
How much of a division is there with the Democrats on this?
DORGAN: I don‘t know. I don‘t think there‘s such a division. I have great respect for my colleague, as you know. We‘re terrific friends. But there‘s room for disagreement about this.
I would just say that I think this country is in a world of trouble from an economic standpoint, and we‘ve got to get out of it. And we have to make tough decisions.
You can‘t fight wars and not pay for them. You can‘t do the kinds of things that were done the last eight years, have the country run into the ditch by the financial interests, and then decide, what are we going do next? Well, you know what? Let‘s take a look at those that make the most in this country and have the lowest unemployment—that‘s the people at the top of the economic ladder—and give them additional tax cuts. It makes no sense to me.
SCHULTZ: Senator Dorgan, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for your time.
DORGAN: Thanks a lot, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coming up, what a rotten pair these two folks are. “Slant Head” has gotten so desperate for material, he‘s recycling “The Beckster‘s” garbage.
Well, I‘m taking out the trash in the “Zone” next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, “Slant Head” Hannity. Well, he‘s made recycling a partisan issue.
Last night on his TV show, Hannity took a principled stand against the environment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: San Francisco, they want to ban plastic bags. You know when they say “Paper or plastic?” I say “Double plastic,” just to annoy liberals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Sure. This is just a perfect example as to why it‘s totally impossible to work with Republicans. They say no just for the hell of it.
And Hannity‘s not the first rabble-rouser in the foxhole over there to fight for the rights of plastic bags. A couple of months ago, “The Beckster” and his radio show henchmen ripped off evils of reusable grocery bags.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And real men don‘t go to a grocery store with a stupid bag like a purse. Your wife may buy one of those stupid hemp bags. My wife actually got one of those stupid bags and she hid it from me. It was in the bottom of the basket, and she hid it from me on purpose because she knew I wouldn‘t approve.
So then I double-bagged every other bag that we had. I use as much plastic as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a real, man.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, absolutely, because there‘s really nothing more manly than adding to global pollution.
Beck and Hannity wanting to damage the environment just to make liberals mad? You‘ve got it, it‘s toxic “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, here‘s a new magic trick. Make the biggest oil disaster in history just go away. I think there‘s some hocus pocus going on over at the White House. I‘m going to call the bluff on this one.
This man is looking to get even. He represents hundreds of fishermen who say they‘re getting screwed by BP. That‘s next.
Plus, W‘s sitting on the sideline with his book because he doesn‘t want to hurt the Republicans going into the midterms. Interesting delay there.
And check this billboard out. No wonder “The Tan Man” is crying about going back to work. I‘ll take a swing at him in the “Playbook.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
A hundred and nineteen times?
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW” HOST: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The Battleground story tonight, well, the administration says nearly 75 percent of the oil in the gulf is gone. Poof. It‘s gone. I don‘t buy it. Now, I was at the White House yesterday for a briefing with Thad Allen, the National Incident commander handling the spill, Carol Browner, the President‘s energy adviser and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. All very professional, nice people and they were nice to me, I might say. They told me that only 26 percent of the five million barrels of oil spilled into the gulf are still in the water?
But outside experts say the government numbers, hey, folks, this is fuzzy math at best and even if the oil has dispersed in the water, it‘s still there. And still toxic. It‘s just too small to see. The reaction around the world and from the environmental group Greenpeace was scathing. “This overstates what they know. There really isn‘t very much data to support this. It‘s somewhere between a wild guess, wishful thinking and spin to make these claims at this point.”
Joining me now is David Pettit, he‘s a senior attorney with the National Resources Defense Council. Mr. Pettit, good to have you with us tonight.
DAVID PETTIT, NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
SCHULTZ: Is this possible?
PETTIT: Well, I think Greenpeace is right. The quote that you read from Greenpeace is right on the money. Even if you take the government‘s numbers at face value, the most that this report shows is that about half the oil that was spilled has gone away. And the other half is still in the water in one form or another. And the government report also said you know, the oil that‘s there, it‘s rapidly degrading, don‘t worry, be happy, everything‘s going to be fine. That‘s not true either. We have no idea where that oil is and what‘s going to happen to it. And I think in the best reading, there‘s still 2.5 million barrels, not gallons but barrels of oil out there waiting to do something, waiting to hit the coast, waiting to kill the sea life that‘s in the gulf.
SCHULTZ: Now, they‘re saying that a percentage of it has evaporated.
They‘ve skimmed and burned off 25 percent. And then here‘s one for you. Mother Nature has gotten the job done. Look, I‘m not a scientist, but common sense tells me that we have to question this. Their data, I mean NOAA came out with a report saying this. “Is this spin? Could the Obama White House be involved in spinning this to the American people in hopes that BP will pay restitution?” Could that be it? What do you think?
PETTIT: Well, if they want BP to pay restitution, they‘re spinning this on the wrong way rather than saying, it‘s all over and we don‘t need to worry anymore, they should be saying what I think is that truth, that we still have an extremely serious situation in the gulf. There are millions and millions of barrels of oil still out there. There‘s still damage to the coastline, there still damage to the environment and the fish and vertebras and the marine mammals that live in the gulf and that damage, all of that damage is going to be on BP‘s nickel at the end of the day. I think, that‘s what they should be saying.
Carol Browner actually said in one of her statements in this briefing yesterday, and I‘m not trying to be too hard on the White House here. I mean, you know, they‘re trying to do their very best to make this thing right down there and the money of course, we‘ll talk about in a moment. But she said that she was looking forward to going down there and eating the local seafood. Now, I found that to be a promotional statement like the government says, it‘s OK. In fact, we‘re going to eat it. What‘s the pushback on this? I mean, what can the American people do to question it? The White House is saying 75 percent of it‘s gone. NOAA says 75 percent of it‘s gone. BP says we‘ve kicked ass on this and you know, life is going to be good.
PETTIT: Well, I went down there a couple weeks ago and ate the local seafood and I‘m still here talking to you but one thing you can do is if you‘re interested in finding out of what the truth is, you can go online and look at the report, this oil budget that the government put out. And if you read it carefully, what it actually says is I think you mentioned earlier that half of the oil is still in the water and when you look at how they got to those numbers, you‘ll see there‘s really nothing in the way of actual measurements. What they‘re doing is well, they‘re relying on older studies, for example, studies of wave action and the like and how that disperses oil. But here the oil entered the environment 5,000 feet underwater. It‘s not like an “Exxon Valdez” where the oil spilled on the surface. And so, whether those older studies are applicable to what we‘re looking at now is really anybody‘s guess and to me that makes all of these numbers unreliable.
SCHULTZ: I mean, inside 120 days, only 26 percent of its left? I mean, I would have to label this as a miraculous recovery. Mr. Pettit, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you.
PETTIT: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Here‘s another bone, I got to pick with the White House over this spill. At yesterday‘s meeting I asked them, give me a date. You know, for the people down in the gulf who are going to be getting their checks. They didn‘t have an answer. When the rig blew up, the president promised everyone they‘d make everybody whole. BP promised they‘re going to make everybody whole. Yet, I just can‘t get a straight answer. Now, Carol Browner said that she would get back to me with that date and said that they are working on it.
Jeffrey Breit is a lawyer representing more than 600 shrimpers, oystermen and crabbers. Mr. Breit, good to have you with us tonight. And I want you to know that as soon as Carol Browner calls me and gives me that date, I‘m going to call you because you‘re representing so many people. It is amazing. You told our people today that they have changed the rules five times. Is that right?
JEFFREY BREIT, LAWYER FOR 600+ GOLF FISHERMAN: I was on the show last week, Ed, and since then, they have given me at least three different answers in the last six days on the claims process and the documentation. Right before I came on the air today, they told me a new rule that wasn‘t going to change anything other than the delay of the checks. And so, I think they‘re waiting for the Feinberg-Rosen team to kick into gear so they can spend the 20 billion and I think BP since July 7th has put the brakes on every claimant, not just my clients with have a lawyer but people without lawyers are not getting paid. And remember, these are the people who need the money more than anything. They promised Feinberg, they promised the White House, they wouldn‘t change the system and they‘ve done nothing to improve it. They‘ve done everything they can to slow it down. I don‘t believe a word out of their mouths.
SCHULTZ: White House officials were saying yesterday to reporters at this briefing that Mr. Feinberg is working through the legal wrangling of all this and now get a date to us. But they could not specifically tell us when the checks are going out. And I said, well, September 1st to the 15th? Maybe October 1st, they couldn‘t do it. They‘re working on it. Now, if—and I guess I kind of thought, well, if they‘re so sure that 75 percent of the oil has been cleaned up, how can they be so unsure about where the money is and when it‘s coming? They‘re exact on one point and very inaccurate or not ready to commit on another end of it. How do you read that?
PETTIT: Well, I‘ve had a number of meetings with both Feinberg and Rosen with a group of people. And I give them a lot of credit for trying to work through the problems. They‘re not rushing forward to put out a plan unless they‘re comfortable with it and they want to make sure the people who are most involved with it, which would be my clients and everybody else‘s clients, understand the process. I would anticipate tomorrow or the beginning of next week that the interim payment plan will be released by Feinberg and Rosen. We will then be able to see money flow, we would hope within two to three weeks. The permanent damages and what‘s going to happen in the future, I think is going to take a lot longer.
I don‘t want to throw stone at Feinberg and Rosen‘s team because they‘re trying very hard. I just don‘t believe anything that BP has said. Remember last week when they said the oil was disappearing and they were cutting back on clean-up. My clients who are commercial fishermen went out there with cameras and took photographs of the oil sheer on the gulf‘s water surface. And it was everywhere, Mississippi, Louisiana, and they were out there telling people that it was clearing up and it was just not true.
SCHULTZ: Yes, Thad Allen did say there are some real bad areas, south eastern Louisiana, the gulf of Mississippi, there are some really hard areas but he says that they‘ve made the tremendous progress.
PETTIT: Well, we hope they do. We‘d like to see some progress and I‘d like to eat some Louisiana seafood. Right now and my clients I don‘t think they want me to, they want me to be around next year.
SCHULTZ: Yes. OK. Jeff, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate it. We‘ll stay on the story.
PETTIT: Thank you, look forward to it.
SCHULTZ: It is interesting how they continue to get writer‘s cramp when it comes time to write the check.
Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. As I mentioned earlier, experts say the White House is way off with their rosy numbers of the oil clean-up. Could President Obama actually be spinning this?
Republicans think health care referendums really could be the hot ticket to mobilize conservative voters to go to the polls in November. Missouri did it on Tuesday night and now Arizona, Oklahoma, they are considering putting a health care question on their ballots.
And President Bush pushes the release date of his book until after the midterms, so he doesn‘t hurt the republican chances. Hmm.
With us tonight, Jack Rice, criminal defense attorney and former CIA officer and Ron Christie, republican strategist who just can‘t wipe that smile off his face because he worked in the Bush White House and he gets the first question tonight. How come the president, former president is not going to release his book before the midterms, Ron? What‘s going on here?
RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well Ed, sometimes I think truth gets in the middle of a very good story and the fiction of this is really what we‘re talking about. You know, I sat down with President Bush in October 21st, 2009. That was last year. And we talked about my book which by the way comes out October 12th of this year and when we talked about my book, he said, oh, my book comes out about a month or so after yours. And then, earlier today Ed, I looked on the MSNBC website at 4:30 and I looked down and I reviewed a sentence. This is the MSNBC website. And it says, the publisher of former President George W. Bush‘s book “Decision Points” on Sunday set a November 9th release date.
So, for all these people to say that the president is somehow now pushing back his release date, he told me personally almost a year ago that his book was coming out in November and MSNBC and the Todayshow.com website said, his book is going to be released on November 9th, I think this is much to do about nothing, yet again another attempts to try to demonize the former president.
SCHULTZ: Do you know for a fact that he has not changed any of the interviews that were scheduled before the election?
CHRISTIE: Well, from one offer to another Ed, you know as well as I do that we get our release date and we look at our pre-publicity. I do know for a fact that when we spoke almost a year ago, he said that his book was coming out in November and the MSNBC website said that his book was coming out November 9th. That‘s what I know. That‘s why I found this is very interesting of people trying to say that he‘s trying to switch his release date to try to help republicans in Congress. It is much to do about nothing. Again, another attempt of people trying to make things up to demonize the former president and try to do in my opinion to press turn out.
SCHULTZ: Jack, what about this?
JACK RICE, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I don‘t know about that, Ed. I look back at the RNC back in 2008. I still remember talking to republican who did not want to see President Bush at that place. He never actually showed up. He pushed back for a lot of different reasons. And I think because they didn‘t want to tie themselves around this president. Look, for the last two years, what we‘ve been hearing from republicans is that we‘re all about no when it comes to Obama, not about ideas but about no. I think the fear for a lot of republicans now is that they will be tied back to the policies of President Bush. They don‘t want that. And I think they want him to stay as far as away from them as possible. So I don‘t know. There may be something else going on here.
SCHULTZ: All right. Let‘s talk oil. The White House is now on board with a NOAA report saying 75 percent of the oil has been cleaned up. Jack Rice, do you believe that? And I pointed out.
RICE: No, I don‘t.
SCHULTZ: You know, back in June, there were hoards of experts out there were saying that this is absolutely the worst thing, this is going to be going on for decades. Are we getting spun here by the Obama White House?
RICE: Yes. I have a bad feeling we may be. This sounds like something that BP would be spinning out there and that the White House is pushing this, too. I understand he wants to push this away. But, you know what? I don‘t care whether this is left or right, we‘re still talking about tens of millions of gallons of oil. Nobody really knows where this is going. How bad this is going to be but to turn around now and say, it‘s all good baby, it‘s all good. That‘s not good enough. It shouldn‘t be good enough for anybody.
SCHULTZ: Ron, you worked in the Bush White House. You know a little bit about spin.
CHRISTIE: Go ahead, ask your question. I‘m ready for you.
SCHULTZ: Well, do you think the Obama administration is spinning is the oil numbers here? Because—if tell you what, if it turns out and some experts come out and they counter the report that‘s out, this could be politically damaging. I think that they‘re going out on a limb on this one.
CHRISTIE: I agree with you and I agree with Jack on this. I think that it could be the case that 75 percent of the oil that is on the surface of the water has dissipated.
SCHULTZ: They‘d better be right.
CHRISTIE: But what I‘m concerned about Ed and I think Jack would agree with me on this, I‘m worried about the marshes, I‘m worried about the ecosystem, I‘m worried about the environmental damage that we don‘t understand the consequences of this. And I want to know where this 75 percent number came from. It seems to be an arbitrary number when you look at your last segment. They can‘t even get the checks out to these poor fishermen and these poor small business people who have been impacted. Where did this 75 percent number come from? I think this could come out to haunt them because the facts are going to come out and it very well might differ from 75 percent.
SCHULTZ: And Ron, the next subject tonight is the health care question on the ballot in states to get conservatives out there dealing with the Federal government telling people that they‘ve got to buy health care and get involved in the program. Do you think that this is going to be a hot issue to get conservatives out to the polls?
CHRISTIE: I do. I think not only for conservatives Ed, I think it‘s going to be for all Americans. I mean, you look at Missouri, Missouri was a state that John McCain only one by one tenth of one percent yet by an over three to one margin, 70 percent of the people in Missouri said, we don‘t want this. I think this is something that we will mobilize conservatives and independents and democrats.
SCHULTZ: Jack, this is the—all of a sudden? What do you think?
RICE: Oh, come on, let‘s look back. The individual mandate back in 1993 when the democrats were coming up with health care reform, you know what the alternative from the republicans was? That‘s right. It was the individual mandate. Now all of a sudden, the individual mandate is some lefty, pinko, socialist Obama approach? Come on, let‘s be honest.
SCHULTZ: Jack Rice, Ron Christie, always a pleasure. Good to have you with us tonight.
Coming up, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is stepping up to help Americans in need. He‘s joined the mission to fight for the 99ers. He‘ll give us a report on that on the frontline, coming up in the Playbook. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think. The number to dial tonight is 1-877-ed-msnbc. Tonight‘s telephone survey question is, do you believe democrats are doing enough to help the middle class? Press the number one for yes, press the number two for no. Again the number to dial is 1-877-ed-msnbc. We‘ll right back.
SCHULTZ: And in my Playbook tonight, Senator Debbie Stabenow broke news on this program last night when she announced the democratic bill to help the 99ers, it‘s called the Americans want to work act. People who have exhausted their unemployment benefits could get them extended for another 20 weeks. But most importantly, the legislation addresses the real issue and that‘s getting Americans back into the labor force. The Americans want to work act, “doubles the general business tax credit for businesses that hire and retain for 52 weeks someone who has exhausted all unemployment benefits.”
Joining me now is another senator fighting and a cosponsor of the 99er bill, Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a cosponsor of the legislation as I said. Senator, good work.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: But this isn‘t going to get down until September.
SCHULTZ: And these folks need help now. Why not do it before you go home?
WHITEHOUSE: We‘d like to, but we‘re up against an absolute wall of republican opposition as you‘ve seen in the last few weeks, we‘ve been trying to get through the small business jobs bill which is supported by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, supported by the community bankers who are the ones who are be able to get the funds out to their small business customers. Complete shutdown. So, it‘s a very difficult situation.
SCHULTZ: You‘ve got Nancy Pelosi bringing them back in the House to do something on the bill that passed in the Senate last night. I mean, the timing is right. It could be done. Why not take the stay-in, take the vote, get the republicans on record again and then go home? Doesn‘t the Senate know where the American people stand on this?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, I think we know that the people of America are tired of this recession and we‘re working as hard as we can to try to get this done. But, you know, there are some things that you just can‘t get around and that‘s the blockade in the procedures. If we tried to call this up, it would be a full week of time before you got through the filibusters and I think there are a number of us who would like to stay but there are also a lot of people who have races, and it‘s part of the American process to get back and see your electorate and go to your home state and prepare for your races and you know, it‘s a difficult situation.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Do you think that the provision in there that would give tax cuts, tax credits of several thousand dollars to business owners that get someone on the payroll and keep them for 52 weeks that have gone through and exhausted their benefits, do you think any republicans, that will swing them your way?
WHITEHOUSE: It‘s hard to tell. I mean, if you look at the small business jobs bill, every single element of it except one was either a republican piece of legislation or a bipartisan piece of legislation.
WHITEHOUSE: It‘s about as bipartisan a piece of legislation as you can get, again, supported by all of the big business organizations of the country, the National Federation of Independent Businesses which really represent small business and they still won‘t budge. So, I think they‘re just in lockdown right now and they don‘t want a single thing to pass and they‘re just going to be that way until the elections are done.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
WHITEHOUSE: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Nancy Pelosi is ruining Michele Bachmann‘s summer vacation. And I kind of love it. The speaker is trying to pay our nation‘s teachers and mad Michelle is calling it a government worker bailout. You teachers need to be bailed out? That‘s next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight, republicans are already wondering about Speaker Pelosi‘s decision to call the House back from recess to pass a job-saving bill. House Minority Leader John Boehner lashed out in a tweet saying it‘s official, Dems to call House back on Tuesday to pass more stimulus spending paid for with new job-killing tax cuts on U.S. job creators.
And psycho sister Michele Bachmann follows her tanned leader today saying, it‘s time to mobilize against what she calls a government worker bailout. For more, let me bring in democratic strategist and professor at NYU, Bob Shrum. We don‘t point out the Palm Sunday of 2005, Tom DeLay called the House back for one American and that was the Terri Schiavo case. What is the political ups and downs of this, Bob?
BOB SHRUM, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Look, well, first of all, I just listened to Senator Whitehouse ad the truth is democrats would be a lot better of staying in Washington and fighting for America‘s jobs than going back to their districts and campaigning for their jobs because there are still so many people out of work in this country. These so-called government jobs are teachers and cops and firefighters who put their lives on the line everyday. What the republicans really object to is first, the so-called tax hike that‘s going to pay for it, isn‘t a job killer. It closes a tax loophole on companies that keep profits overseas. Second and even more shameful, the whole republican strategy here has been to slow down economic recovery as much as possible. They want these people laid off. They want that anger out there in November. They want to get more republican seats in Congress by keeping more Americans out of work.
SCHULTZ: I want to show you this billboard near Dayton, Ohio. And it‘s pretty aggressive and I think it‘s funny as can be. It shows John Boehner with a golf club. Beatboehner.com. When was the last time you golfed 119 times in one year? Bob, that‘s a classic, isn‘t it?
SHRUM: It is. And, you know, he‘s tan all year round. He‘s tan in the middle of a blizzard. He‘s a guy, by the way, who does need to come back here and does need to work. But when he comes here, the only work he does is to try to stop other Americans from going back to work. He opposed a stimulus that we found out in a report last week saved eight million American jobs. I only wish it would have been bigger and it would have been bigger if the republicans had not done everything they could to stop it.
SCHULTZ: Am I misreading this? Or am I totally wrong, whatever, but isn‘t there enough material out there for the democrats to just take it to them in the midterms? I mean, they‘re home now. They‘re going to come back, they‘re trying to do it on behalf of the American people. It would seem to me that this is easy messaging time for the democrats.
SHRUM: Well, look, it‘s not an easy circumstance. But there‘s a very clear message which is who‘s going to stand up and fight for you and who is going to stand up and fight for special interests? And we get example after example after example of that day after day. You know, Harry Truman did this in 1948. And you know how they did it in 1948? He didn‘t let the Congress go home in August. He said, stay here and pass these bills. The country watched. They got the point.
SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, always a pleasure to have you with us tonight.
SHRUM: Thanks Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much. Tonight in our telephone survey, I asked you, do you believe democrats are doing enough to help the middle class? Fifteen percent of you said yes, 85 percent of you said no, the democrats aren‘t doing enough. That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz.
Chris Matthews up next with “HARDBALL” right here on the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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