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The Ed Show for Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guest Host: Cenk Uygur

Guests: Sherrod Brown, Gary Johnson

CENK UYGUR, HOST:  Good evening, and welcome to THE ED SHOW.

We‘ve got a fantastic show ahead for you guys tonight. 

I‘m Cenk Uygur, in for Ed Schultz. 

These stories are hot tonight.

Ninety-one percent of the country is worried about jobs and the economy.  But the only thing Republicans have been working for is failure.  The president needs to lay that out forcefully for the American people. 

My commentary on that, plus Senator Sherrod Brown, who was with the presidents talking to voters in Ohio today coming up in just a moment. 

Glenn Beck‘s finally ripped the cover of the right-wing‘s thinly-veiled hatred of Muslims.  He indicted the entire religion for the attack on 9/11. 

I‘ll get the real story of the imam behind the Islamic center, a man who‘s been helping the FBI.  You don‘t want to miss that story. 

And the doctor is out.  Dr. Laura‘s done with her radio show after a crazy rant where she used the N-word 11 times on air.  Did she quit or was she forced out? 

But I start tonight with the economy.  The president and the Democrats are in trouble.  President Obama went to Ohio today to try to sell voters that the economy is his top priority. 


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I intend to keep fighting as hard as I can, as long as it takes, to make sure this economy is working for every single payer American.  Anybody who wants a job has got to be able to go out there and get one, and we‘re not going to be done until we get that result. 


UYGUR:  But the new polls out are dire.  The president‘s approval rating on how he‘s handled the economy is down to an all-time low of 41 percent. 

Democrats are also losing to the Republicans in generic congressional match-ups, 49-45 percent.  The Democrats are losing because the economy has not recovered as well as people had hoped.  The jobs have not come back. 

So what went wrong?  How can they fix their political problem, but much more importantly, how can they fix our economy so that we as a country can get back to work? 

Well, here‘s the problem.  They forgot how they‘re policies affect the average man in the country.  They, along with the Republicans who started TARP, made a fundamental error.  They confused Wall Street‘s interests with Main Street‘s interests. 

I know it‘s a bit of a cliche, but it‘s so true here.  They forgot that eventually, this was supposed to help a guy like—I don‘t know, who do we pick?  Somebody in the audience, Bob in Iowa.  OK? 

When the economic collapse first started, the original idea was the financial industry was in trouble and if we didn‘t fix it, the economy wouldn‘t recover.  Well, that makes sense, but at some point they forgot the ultimate goal, which was economic recovery for all of us. 

Instead, billions went into TARP and trillions more went into indirect funding of the largest banks in the country.  But no one stayed on the beat to make sure they actually lent that money out so that businesses can invest and hire more people like Bob or you. 

So the bankers took the money and went back to gambling because they make more money doing that than lending out to small businesses.  Now, that‘s eventually going to lead to a second crash.  But more importantly for now, that meant that the small business in the country couldn‘t hire you for new projects. 

The people in D.C. and New York didn‘t recognize this because they live in a bubble.  Inside that bubble, their incomes are still going way up.  Over the last three decades, the top one percent of this country had their income rise by 281 percent.  They don‘t feel your pain. 

So until the elections started to roll around, the politicians didn‘t even get that the recovery plan isn‘t working.  So having realized this, the administration recently decided to give out $30 billion to local community banks so they can loan out to small businesses. 

The Republicans had pushed for this earlier, so that‘s great.  We all agree.  Let‘s shake on it. 

Well, that would have gotten us on the right road, except the Republicans flip-flopped and voted no to kill the bill.  Now, why in the world did they do that?  Why filibuster a bill that you claimed to support earlier and that helps small businesses you claim you care so much about? 

The answer?  Politics.  They figured that their best course to get reelected is to obstruct everything the president proposes, hope that the economy does not recover, and then blame the president for it. 

Honestly, that‘s sick.  But there‘s plenty of blame to go around here.

Both the Obama and Bush administrations chose to support the big banks over you.  The Republicans have been in the corner of the big banks on every single proposal.  I‘ve been watching it like a hawk. 

They never wavered.  Every time, they voted with the banks.  Now they kill bills to help small businesses while pretending to be champions of them. 

So what‘s the answer?  I think the Democrats need to do a mea culpa and say look, we followed the Bush strategy of giving to the banks and hoping it trickled down to you. 

Well, that did not work.  We‘ve learned our lesson.  If we give any more money out, it will be directly to small businesses to hire Americans for projects that go to rebuilding this country.  And if the Republicans stand in our way, may God help them, because we‘re coming for them, and from now on we‘re not taking no for an answer. 

All right.  Now get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think of what I think is apparently pretty clear. 

Tonight‘s text survey is: Who do you think is to blame for the state of the U.S. economy?  Text “A” for Democrat, text “B” for Republicans to 622639. 

I understand it could be both, but you‘ve got to pick one.  It‘s a poll.  I‘ll bring you the results later in the show. 

Now, one of the most progressive senators in the country joins me from Ohio, where he was just with the president, Senator Sherrod Brown. 

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  Cenk, how are you? 

UYGUR:  Great, Senator.  How are you? 

BROWN:  Good, thanks. 

UYGUR:  Senator, a simple question for you.  You heard my little explanation there.  How are you going to help Bob? 

BROWN:  I think you painted the right picture. 

When we return in September, we‘re going to put this bill again on the floor which does several things—the Jobs for America Act.  It will provide that $30 billion to community and smaller banks and regional banks that will—with enough strings attached, we know that money will go out to small business. 

I met with some bankers today in Columbus after I saw the president, who I have a reputation of working with small businesses especially, and we‘re going to work with the SBA so that the loan limits can be higher, so that small companies, especially manufacturers who need working capital—

I mean, I talk to manufacturers in my state all the time.  Two out of every three new jobs in this country come from small business, many of them from manufacturing. 

We make things in this country, we know how to make things especially in places like Youngstown and Akron and Dayton, Ohio.  They have the customers, they have the capacity, they have the workers to begin to manufacture again.  We know that we pull ourselves out of recession by manufacturing, by making things. 

We need a small business incentive jobs bill, which is what we‘re going to bring to the floor again in September.  Senator Voinovich, the Republican—the other senator from Ohio who‘s a Republican, has supported it in the past.  We need one or two other Republicans out of 41 to join us. 

It will help to put people back to work.  It‘s exactly the way to help Bob in Iowa or Ohio, or wherever you say  Bob is, and it will make a difference. 

UYGUR:  So, Senator, one question is, how do you get past the Republican filibuster?  On that particular issue of the $30 billion going to community banks, is Senator Voinovich going to flip, or do you know if other Republicans are going to flip?  And if they don‘t, how do you make them? 

BROWN:  Well, I think they‘re beginning to feel pressure.  I mean, the country‘s catching on. 

I mean, it was 10 years of trade agreements that cost us jobs, of tax cuts for the rich that weren‘t paid for, of deregulation of Wall Street, of bailouts for the drug and insurance companies that took a budget surplus and blew a hole in it in the Bush years.  That‘s what got us where we are now. 

People are starting to understand that‘s what we inherited and President Obama inherited when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month when he took office.  And I think the public is beginning to put pressure on Republican senators, who so far have gone along with their leadership because they want Obama to fail. 

I know that senators like George Voinovich don‘t have that view of, let Barack Obama fail.  Their view is, how do we fix this economy?  I think we‘re going to see a number of Republicans split off because of public pressure and an appeal to patriotism, that, you know, now‘s the time to get this economy going, helping small business create the jobs that small business, as I said, especially manufacturers, are very good at doing. 

UYGUR:  Senator Brown, I want to see if there‘s a strategy though, because, for example, the Republicans, they zone in on an issue like that so-called Ground Zero mosque, and they all talk about it, and they hit it and they hit it until it becomes this enormous issue.  Why can‘t we do that with an issue that actually makes a difference?  Why can‘t we say, all right, look, we‘re going to put these guys on the spot until the American people are perfectly aware that they‘re blocking this bill that could actually lead to jobs? 

BROWN:  Well, that‘s what President Obama did in Columbus today.  I think you‘re going to see House and Senate Democrats and candidates and others who care about the public interest begin to echo those comments, that, whose side are you on in the end?  Do you want to go back to this deregulation of Wall Street and tax cuts for the rich and privatization of Medicare and Social Security?  Do you want to go back to that or do you want to go forward? 

That puts, I think, increasing pressure.  And Republicans do that very well.  I mean, they tried on the 14th Amendment to—I mean, that was just a bizarre issue that came from nowhere.  They try it with this mosque.  They‘re always trying to distract people‘s attention and detract from the real issues that matter in people‘s lives. 

Bob in Zanesville, Ohio, or Dayton, or Cincinnati, or Chillicothe, that doesn‘t matter whether they build whatever they build around, or in New York City.  It doesn‘t really matter about the 14th Amendment.  What matters to them is that they can find a job with decent benefits, raise their families, send their kids to school, have a decent place to live. 

UYGUR:  But, Senator, let‘s go to the Democrats now. 

Did the Obama administration screw up by giving away all that money, whether it‘s directly the TARP money, or indirectly, all the other bailouts that went there?  Because isn‘t saying, hey, you know what, we‘re going to now give $30 billion to actually do the job, isn‘t that kind of an admission that the first several hundred billion we gave didn‘t really work?

BROWN:  Well, the first several hundred billion did work.  It wasn‘t -

as far as it went.  I mean, the money is being paid back, the financial system didn‘t collapse.  Sixty billion dollars went to the auto industry.  Now we‘re seeing three profitable American auto companies: Ford, Chrysler and GM.

Those companies are hiring people now in Ohio, in Lordstown, in Defiance, and Parma, Ohio, and other places.  They‘re beginning to pay back that money. 

If we hadn‘t done that with the auto industry, which most Republicans, again, said no to—again, Senator Voinovich an exception to that—but if we hadn‘t done that, we would have had hundreds of thousands more unemployed.  Not just auto workers, but suppliers, component manufacturers, auto dealers, all kinds of people that are part of that huge industry. 

UYGUR:  Right.

BROWN:  So those were the right things to do.  It‘s just we haven‘t gone the cooperation from Republicans, what we need to do for small business for Main Street. 

Now, we clearly—the government clearly does too much for Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.  There‘s no question about that, particularly in the Bush years.  But we‘ve got to focus more on Main Street.

That‘s where the jobs are created.  They‘re not created on Wall Street, they‘re created on Main Street, Mansfield, Ohio. 

UYGUR:  Yes.  I might agree with you on the auto industry.  On the big banks, they just didn‘t lend the money out.  We didn‘t get the jobs going.

BROWN:  Oh, I know they didn‘t. 


UYGUR:  So I think that part of it was a failure. 

BROWN:  No, that‘s right.  The mistake was not lending the money to the banks.  The mistake was, in the end of the Bush years, the last months of the Bush administration, the early months of the Obama administration, the error was not because of the speed at which we thought we had to do it.  The error, in retrospect, was we should have put more strings on the money so that the money was loaned out. 

UYGUR:  Absolutely.  That‘s exactly right.

BROWN:  That was the error, and everybody made it, frankly.  But that‘s past.  We‘re getting most of the money back, if not all of it.  And we‘ve got to the focus on small business and job growth, period. 

UYGUR:  There definitely should have been strings attached.  That is, in my opinion, the right answer. 

BROWN:  Absolutely.  Yes.

UYGUR:  Thank you, Senator Brown, for joining us.  We appreciate it.

BROWN:  Sure.  Thanks.  Good talking to you again.  Thanks.

UYGUR:  All right.

Now, coming up, Newt Gingrich has been slamming the mosque near Ground Zero all week.  Now he‘s too much of a wimp to show up at a rally. 

I‘m going to tell you why this guy is just a total fraud.

And conservative talker Dr. Laura is out of a job after her N-word tirade.  Was she really being racist or is she a First Amendment hero? 

I doubt it. 

All that, plus I‘m actually going to agree with Rand Paul.  Kind of. 

And Mike Tyson speaks out on what really happened at Senate hopeful Jeff Greene‘s crazy wild yacht parties. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


UYGUR:  Welcome back.

We have a shocking development tonight.  I actually agree with Rand Paul.  The Republican senatorial candidate seemed to hint at his support for legalizing drugs in an interview with a local news station in Kentucky. 


RAND PAUL ®, KENTUCKY U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE:  I personally think we‘ve been trying the federal solution and there may be some good aspects to it, but it‘s also, we‘re still failing.  We‘re not getting rid of the drug problem. 


UYGUR:  Well, that seems pretty clear.  In the immortal words of Cypress Hill, he seems to be saying, legalize it.  That‘s my best Cypress Hill. 

And that‘s the principal libertarian position, don‘t get me wrong.  Get the government out of our lives.  And he has a compelling case that the federal government has screwed this one up entirely. 

It‘s not like we‘re winning the war on drugs.  We were so close to completely agreeing, until he came up with this bizarre explanation of what we should do instead about the drug problem. 


PAUL:  You want rich people because they create jobs.  If you punish rich people, they won‘t expand and create jobs. 


UYGUR:  Give money to rich people?  What does that have to do with drugs?  Unless Rand Paul is on some. 

That‘s also the problem with libertarian ideology.  It usually devolves into let the rich get richer and everything will magically fix itself.  But his comments do lead to a discussion of the larger issue at hand.  Should we legalize it? 

Joining me now to talk about that issue is former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.  He‘s the honorary chairman of Our America Initiative. 

Governor, should we legalize it? 

GARY JOHNSON, OUR AMERICA INITIATIVE:  We should legalize marijuana.  I think that 90 percent of the drug problem is prohibition-related, not use-related.  And when I talk about legalizing marijuana, it‘s never going to be legal for kids to smoke marijuana.  It‘s never going to be legal to smoke pot, become impaired, get behind the wheel of a car. 

I think that we should make the same comparisons to alcohol that exist with marijuana.  And regarding all the other drugs, I would suggest that we adopt harm reduction strategies, which is looking at the issue first as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. 

Half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts and the prisons is drug-related.  And what are we getting for all that?  Well, we‘re arresting 1.8 million people a year in this country on drug-related crime. 

UYGUR:  But Governor, the issue seems to be that if the Democrats ever proposed this, the Republicans would demagogue it, honestly. 

Is that false, or is there any way that might change, or Republicans will come around to it? 

JOHNSON:  No,  that‘s not my experience.  My experience is this is not a party issue. 

It‘s an issue with everybody that‘s in elected office.  Everybody that‘s in elected office won‘t touch this. 

This is the emperor that has no clothes, and nobody wants to touch it.  But I think the people are way ahead of this.  And, of course, it‘s on the ballot in California, to legalize it this fall, control it, regulate it, tax it.

The Pew Foundation estimated that the cost of marijuana would drop from $380 to $38 an ounce with a 50 percent tax on that.  So, I look at this from a cost-benefit analysis.  What are we spending and what are we getting?

And, of course, there the human toll involved in this.  The situation with drug abuse is that it‘s always made worse because it‘s criminal. 

UYGUR:  So how do we get the politicians to flip?  Because you‘re right, the whole country‘s getting there.  California is there.  Many other states are beginning that process. 

But we just can‘t move the politicians.  They won‘t—look, prohibition didn‘t work for alcohol, and we realized that fairly quickly and changed it.  But now we have this mindset in this country that if we‘re going down the wrong path, we have to stay there. 

How do we change there? 

JOHNSON:  You know what?  I think the issue is at a tipping point. 

During the last general election, Massachusetts voted to decriminalize pot by a vote of 65-35.  I‘ve smoked marijuana.  I‘ve drank alcohol in my life.  I don‘t do either today, but I will tell you from my own experience that marijuana is safer than alcohol. 

Citizens of Denver got to vote on decriminalizing marijuana on the basis of marijuana being safer than alcohol.  Six hundred thousand Denver citizens agree with me on that one. 

So I think it is at a tipping point.  And people are ahead of the politicians on this one, and it‘s still going to happen.  It‘s going to happen. 

I think, statistically, we‘re about 2.5 years from 50 percent of Americans actually understanding this.  From my own experience, it‘s really thin ice, that with just a little bit of knowledge on this issue, people seem to move on this issue. 

People seem to be embracing this notion of gee, it‘s not working.  We really have to do something different. 

UYGUR:  Well, it‘s good to see former politicians getting on board for that, and Republicans, et cetera.  So thank you for joining us.  Really appreciate the conversation. 

JOHNSON:  Well, and I‘ll just tell you, too, in office, I espouse this.  I looked at it hard in 1999 and really came to this conclusion while in office trying to implement this change then. 

UYGUR:  Yes.  That makes sense.  Thank you, Governor. 

JOHNSON:  Thank you. 

UYGUR:  Coming up, “Caribou Barbie” endorsed candidates are zero for five in August in primaries.  Do you know who that is?  Her latest loser tops her when it comes to bigoted ignorance.  How‘s that possible?

I‘ll show you what I mean in the “Zone” next. 


UYGUR:  In “Psycho Talk” tonight, we have a Palin-approved congressional candidate, Florida‘s own Allen West.  Sarah sure knows how to pick them. 

Think Progress has uncovered a video of a speech he gave earlier this year.  Buckle up.  He gets all worked up about a bumper sticker. 

Watch this. 


ALLEN WEST ®, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:  It‘s the bumper sticker that says “co-exist.”  And it has all the religious symbols on it. 

And the reason why I get upset, every time I see one of those bumper stickers I look at the person inside that‘s driving, because that person represents something that would give away our future, would give away who we are, our rights and freedoms and liberties, because they‘re afraid to stand up and confront that which is the antithesis, anathema to who we are. 


UYGUR:  Just to be clear, this is the bumper sticker he‘s saying represents the antithesis of who we are. 

This sentiment is exactly who we are in this country.  We‘re a nation of diverse backgrounds who get along together by respecting one another‘s faiths and beliefs.  That‘s what the founding fathers intended. 

So why does Allen West think religious freedom is a threat to America? 

I‘ll give you one guess.


WEST:  Islam is totalitarian, theocratic, political ideology.  It is not a religion. 

People are looking for principled leaders and courageous individuals that will stand up and will protect the American people from this very vile and very vicious enemy that we have allowed to come into our country because we ride around with bumper stickers that say “co-exist.” 


UYGUR:  Yes, I didn‘t see that coming.  He attacked Muslims.  Really?

Look, this is the kind of bigoted ignorance that‘s taken over the Republican Party with the help of Sarah Palin.  If you‘re a Republican, you have to be embarrassed. 

The inmates have taken over the asylum.  It‘s incumbent upon you to take your party back from these guys. 

Being against religious freedom is the exact opposite of what America stands for and the exact definition of “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, a man who said he hates 9/11 families can‘t shut his trap over the Ground Zero mosque.  I‘ll show you that Glenn Beck doesn‘t know what the heck he‘s talking about. 

And Republicans are using the disgruntled JetBlue flight attendant to slam President Obama.  I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response” on that.

All that, plus the bin Laden hunter is flying back to Pakistan.  And Mike Tyson and Lindsay Lohan might actually determine the result of an election in Florida. 

I‘ll tell you why when THE ED SHOW continues here on MSNBC. 


KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  We interrupt our regular programming to report that as of later this evening, all American combat troops will have left Iraq.  Thousands have already left the country by air, and the remaining few hundred will be traveling by land. 



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