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The Ed Show for Thursday, July 21, 2011

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Rep. John Garamendi, Jim Wallis, Errol Lewis, Heidi Harris, Jeff
Santos, Nicole Lamoureaux

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
According to Democratic aides, a debt deal without tax increases is reportedly moving forward. Tonight, the big three remain on the chopping block. Democrats need to understand cutting the big three in any way is a disaster.
This is THE ED SHOW. Let‘s get to work.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Time is of the essence. We are running out of time.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Democrats still say no deal without taxes. The tan man can‘t control his Tea Partiers. Meanwhile, religious and civil rights leaders are personally urging the president not to cut the social safety net.
Reverend Jim Wallis met with the president. He‘s here tonight.
In “Psycho Talk” El Rushbaugh is pushing another Democratic conspiracy theory.
And Congressman Allen West voted to cut Social Security for his constituents. And for some listen he‘s still attacking Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
REP. ALLEN WEST ®, FLORIDA: Don‘t puke in the chest.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.
From this broadcaster comes some tough love for the Democrats tonight.
Let‘s start with this number: 80 percent. Eighty percent of
Americans do not want Washington to lay a finger on Medicare and Medicaid.
That‘s a heck of a number.
You know the NFL. The NFL is about ready to do a deal. If some NFL coach said, hell, my quarterback is going to hit 80 percent of his passes this year, they‘ll say holy smokes, we‘re going to win the whole thing.
That is a huge number. This just isn‘t Democrats. It‘s Republicans.
It‘s independents—the young, the old, black, white, blue, green, center. That‘s—you can‘t have 80 percent without a strong mixture of all walks of life in America.
Now, we used this chart earlier to show you just how out of touch Paul Ryan was. And the Republicans are out of touch with America.
And tonight, I want the president of the United States to tell me what he doesn‘t understand about 80 percent of Americans who don‘t want him to lay a finger on the social safety net that‘s been around since 1935.
Democrats have to ask themselves if they‘re going to stand with the 80 percent or side with those who want the middle class again to take yet another hit.
President Obama and John Boehner, you see, they may come up to—be close to a grand compromise that will fundamentally change everything the Democratic Party has fought for, for the last 75 years—multiple polls, poll after poll shows that Americans don‘t want Washington to touch Social Security.
Well, let‘s get outside of Washington. Let‘s go to flyover country. Seventy-six percent of Missouri and Montana voters, way out there in flyover country, they don‘t want cuts in Social Security. Seventy-two percent of Minnesota voters, they don‘t want Senators Amy Klobuchar or Al Franken to sell them out on Social Security.
And in Ohio, is that kind of a big state when it comes to 2012? OK, let‘s forget the election. Eighty percent want Social Security off the chopping block. Not just this year, every year.
Social Security has been around since August of 1935. And it should not be modified. We shouldn‘t go through any modifications whatsoever or changes at all in August of 2011.
Social Security is the most effective government program in our nation‘s history. Prior to Social Security, over 75 percent of the nation‘s senior citizens, they lived in poverty. Today, the poverty rate for elderly Americans has dropped to 10 percent. And today, over 9 million disabled Americans and their families rely on Social Security benefits to make ends meet. Along with 6.5 million widowed families.
So, about 50 million Americans rely on Social Security benefits.
That‘s a hell of a number.
Every Democrat in the Congress and every Democrat in this country has an obligation to go to the firewall for these people—even if John Boehner sees the light and includes revenue increases in a deficit deal. No Democrat should sacrifice one dime from Social Security. It should be off the table totally.
There‘s no way to talk to people who want to cut the big three. Take a page from Nancy Reagan.
NANCY REAGAN, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: Just say no. I know it seems like such a simple message—just say no—but it‘s an important one. Just say no. Tell them to just say no.
SCHULTZ: That‘s all you have to do. Congressional leaders, just say no to the president. Just say no, because you see? In business, no is only the beginning of negotiations.
Republicans basically have steamrolled the Democrats for a long time. And President Obama as well into throwing away their principles to appease a group of people who have acted like they have no care whatsoever for the economically challenged and nose who live on a fixed income in this country.
They don‘t give a damn about the 80 percent number.
Listen to what Tom Coburn, the “gang of six,” has to say.
SEN. TOM COBURN ®, OKLAHOMA: I‘m willing to go out across this country, even if the polls are 70 percent against what we‘re doing. The fact is you can‘t solve our problem unless you do what cut, cap and balance wants to do.
So, it doesn‘t matter what the polls are. We‘ve got to fix our country.
SCHULTZ: That‘s a theory. That is a theory that they‘re peddling. That we just have to go after Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or we cannot get this done. Flat-out, that‘s a lie.
OK. But I‘ll take the hook, line and sinker on this one. Let‘s play the “if game.” Let‘s say that Mr. Boehner does a deal with President Obama and says all right, I‘m going to give you some revenue but I‘m going to want the world. You‘re going to have to give me Social Security.
That‘s going to bring the Democrats across the board to a cross roads. Are you willing to negotiate away Social Security something that‘s been a bedrock of the Democratic Party and the social foundation in this country for people to live in dignity in their later life—are you willing to negotiate that away just to get a little bit of revenue, at a time in history when we can get it in so many other different ways?
The president talks about shared sacrifice. The middle class has already sacrificed. The working poor has already sacrificed. How much more sacrifice do you want from working Americans?
When does the greed stop? How many more billions of dollars do you want—to quote the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
You know, walking to work here in New York and going to the different neighborhoods in Manhattan, I mean, it‘s hot out. It‘s hot all over the country. A hundred degrees, the index is unbelievable.
There are people who have their windows open. You would think that air conditioning would be probably the right thing. And I start wondering in some of the neighborhoods—maybe they can‘t afford a $200, 5000 BTU air conditioner that you can mount right in the window. A couple hundred dollars is a lot of money to some Americans, millions of Americans, in fact.
Six hundred dollars a year is a big cut to somebody who‘s living on a fixed income.
I don‘t understand why the Democrats are almost intimidated and not to a T willing to stand up shoulder to shoulder and say what we are doing is morally wrong. We should not even be talking about the big three. The big three did not get us in this problem.
It was the Bush tax cuts, it was the unfunded wars, it was big pharma. That‘s what brought us, Mr. Coburn, to where we are right now.
It wasn‘t the elderly. It wasn‘t the poor. It wasn‘t those who are sick and need help. Those people—hell, they have nothing to do with what happened on Wall Street.
You see? They are politically vulnerable. And that‘s why easy for this infamous “gang of six” to step up and say, well, sure, they can serve it up a little bit more.
And these code sentences that are used about—well, we‘re going to try to make it stronger. You show me a cut to somebody who‘s living on a fixed income, I‘ll show you a cut.
Tonight, Mr. President, I beg you don‘t do this no matter what the cost. The Republicans have caused this financial mess. They have signatured it into the history books. Do not back down.
Take the big three off the table. Make it a nonnegotiable issue. Now is not the time. Morally, this isn‘t the time and it‘s not the right place to have this fight.
Force the Republicans to negotiate on your terms.
Mr. President, why didn‘t you tell us at Grant Park the night you won that in 30 months, you would have cuts to the big three on the table? Why didn‘t we get that part of the campaign speech? Because the campaign speech I remember was that you were going to protect all of that.
That‘s who I voted for. That was the hope and change that I was looking at.
Now this is not a hit commentary on President Obama and I don‘t dislike President Obama. I‘m being told time and time again as every other American is that we‘re in the 11th hour right now. Well, if we‘re in the 11th hour, hell, this is the time to speak up and speak with clarity across this country that we do not want these programs attacked by a radical group of politicians who want to give more breaks to the top 2 percent, who don‘t want to serve up any revenue to the Treasury. They don‘t feel obligated at all.
And they are not—don‘t insult me—they are not the job creators.
Thirteen-sixty-one Westmoreland Avenue is where George and Mary raised five kids. They lived on a fixed income. My mom was a high schoolteacher. My dad was a civil engineer, he worked for the government. They had a little retirement. But they waited for that Social Security check and they counted on it.
And Mr. President, you‘re not—I‘m not much older than you and your grandparents, you talk about your family a lot, your mom what she went through with health care. And your grandparents—were they on Social Security? Did they wait for that check?
Mr. President, you know what this is all about and you know what the Democratic Party is all about. And you know what your constituents are all about. And we know what the Republicans are all about.
It is wrong to have this conversation now, and I am begging you, don‘t do this. Don‘t do it now.
The Democrats in the House are trying to save you, Mr. President. It‘s not about your legacy. It is not about you. It is about the Democratic Party. It is about those people that live on fixed incomes.
But let‘s go back to the beginning -- 80 percent! This is where the people are! How can you turn on the will of the people?
We‘re in the 11th hour, it‘s almost midnight. Who‘s got guts in the Congress to tell the president we won‘t go there. That‘s what I‘m looking for.
I‘m not looking for someone to tell me that we have to have shared sacrifice. To hell with that. The middle class has already sacrificed. The working poor have already sacrificed. People have seen their jobs go overseas.
You know the promo I do here on MSNBC with those empty containers? That says it all. We ought to be talking about jobs, not cutting Social Security.
Where are the guts of the Democrats right now? Where‘s the heart and soul? This is about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party right now and sticking up for Americans—sticking up for fairness!
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight‘s question: should Democrats just say no to Social Security cuts? Just like Nancy Reagan said no. Just say no to drugs. Just say no to Social Security cuts.
Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. You can always go to our blog at Bring you the results later on in the show.
Congressman John Garamendi from California joins me now.
Congressman, great to have you with us.
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Excuse me, I‘ve got to text this number in.
SCHULTZ: Text that number in and what is it, my friend?
GARAMENDI: It‘s no and hell no. There is no way. There is absolutely no way we should allow this to happen.
And there‘s a very, very strong group of the Democratic Caucus that are saying, no, we are not going to do this. This is wrong, wrong to cut Medicare, wrong to go after Social Security.
Social Security is not the problem. Social Security actually is the cash cow for the budget. It‘s running a surplus and will for the next decade and beyond that. No way should we ever touch Social Security.
And Medicare—no. Not in this process. We‘re being held hostage. There‘s a simple way of doing that. Put a clean, clean, lift the debt limit and let‘s get on with dealing with the problems of America, which you said very well, Ed. It‘s jobs, it‘s jobs, and we‘ve got to create jobs in this country if we are ever going to solve this deficit program..
SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman, let‘s play out the scenario that I was just talking about. Let‘s say Mr. Boehner and the Republicans say you can have some revenue. That‘s going to bring as I see it you and the rest of the Democrats to a crossroads. You‘re going to have to make a decision.
If there are tax cuts or—excuse me, if there are tax increases on the table for the wealthy, will you still say no cuts to Social Security?
GARAMENDI: I thought I just said no and hell no. I mean it. I mean it. We have no right at this time or anytime in the future to harm those who are in Social Security. Period, ended it, no.
SCHULTZ: That‘s perfect. And I wish that all Democrats would say exactly what you‘re saying with such clarity.
Why can‘t the president say that? Why does he have such an insatiable appetite to do a deal with the Republicans?
GARAMENDI: I don‘t know. I don‘t get it. I mean, we—frankly, we‘ve ruined the message here. This is about jobs. It‘s been about jobs since 2008. It‘s about putting people back to work and somehow we‘ve gotten into this deficit issue which can only be solved when people go back to work.
We need a job agenda. We‘ve been work on that with our “make it in America” agenda. And, frankly, we‘ve got to get the president onboard.
Get this deficit thing, get this default crisis behind us. Put a clean one out. It‘s been hundreds of times over the last three decades. We have moved the debt limit up. We‘ve gone on.
We need to solve the deficit with a long term program that is based on tax increases on the wealthy. There is no way the Wall Street barons who have managed to rip this country off and put in the most harm way are getting off with a 15 percent income tax. It‘s just not right.
So, shared sacrifice, you bet. They‘re the ones that need to sacrifice.
SCHULTZ: It‘s their turn now. It‘s turn to sacrifice. The middle class and the working poor and the wage earners of this country have sacrificed for the last 10 years. It‘s up to the wealthy to do the sacrifice right now for the good of the country and not take from the people who depend on fixed income.
Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for speaking with tremendous clarity.
My next guest met with President Obama on Wednesday. Let‘s bring in Reverend Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners.
Reverend, good to have you with us tonight.
Did the president tell you unequivocally that the big three would be off the table because it‘s the moral thing to do?
JIM WALLIS, PRES. & CEO, SOJOURNER: Well, let me set the stage for the meeting. It was in the Roosevelt Room. The president and the team were there.
Across the table were the leaders of churches. And it wasn‘t the religious left. It was evangelicals and Catholics, and black, Hispanic, we were all there. What brought us together, Ed, was this crisis, what you‘re talking about.
We‘re in deep trouble right now and the poorest and most vulnerable are really at risk in this debate. As you‘re reporting by the hour, you know, a deal on this is a moving target.
I was at the Senate this afternoon. And no one know what it‘s going to happen. And they‘re terrified.
But we don‘t have any principles.
SCHULTZ: I want—did you tell the president that this—he has a moral obligation, this country has a moral obligation to take care of the poor? What was his reaction?
WALLIS: Exactly. We formed a circle of protection—we talked about—which we‘re going to circle around the programs that really are aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable. And so, we invited him to join that circle.
We are saying the principle we have to really implement here—no matter what the deal is tomorrow, the next day, Boehner, Obama—the deals have to be guided by principles, which is you don‘t target those who have already suffered the most. You don‘t make them hurt more.
And, you know, the fact is that in fast deficit reduction process is we have protect it.
SCHULTZ: I understand you had a real faithful conversation with the president.
WALLIS: Yes. It was an engagement.
SCHULTZ: But he did not, at the end, of the conversation say I‘m going to protect Social Security because it‘s the morally correct thing to do. It‘s still on the premise of doing a deal.
WALLIS: Well, we said and he said back to us, it would be wrong to make the sacrifices be born by the least of these. He‘s quoting Scripture there. Matthew 25.
WALLIS: Jesus said, you know, as you treat the least of these, you treat me. And that was good.
But as he said, the devil is in the details. I‘m concerned, Ed, that even the Democrats may defend Medicare more than they do Medicaid, you know?
SCHULTZ: Reverend, good to have you with us tonight.
WALLIS: Medicaid really is for poor people and I want to push them on that as well.
SCHULTZ: We could talk for hours on this. We‘re passionate about it.
Jim Wallis, reverend, of Sojourners, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you.
WALLIS: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Remember to answer the question at the bottom of the screen. We want to know what you think.
The Tea Party Republicans are passing up a deal of a lifetime and more Republicans are calling them out for holding up a deal.
And, late, Congressman Allen West digs a deeper hole for himself.
You‘ll never guess who he‘s throwing under the bus now.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
The Republican Party is so beholden to Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, it is very big news when he gave them an out. In an interview with “The Washington Post” editorial board, he said, quote, “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase.”
But just to be clear, they asked if it would violate his tax pledge. He said, quote, “We wouldn‘t hold it that way.” This means the Bush tax cuts could expire without drawing the ire of Norquist and his crowd.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer jumped all over it.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: It is a recognition from Norquist that the House Republicans are increasingly isolated and have painted themselves into a corner. Grover Norquist, the hall monitor when it comes to enforcing the Republican Party‘s anti-tax pledge, has given House Republicans a hall pass.
SCHULTZ: But then Norquist tried to reverse himself with Chris Jansing on this station today.
GROVER NORQUIST: There are certain things you can do technically and not violate the pledge, but that the general public would clearly understand it‘s tax increase. So, I can be clear: Americans for Tax Reform would oppose any effort to weaken, reduce or not continue the 200 2001-2003 Bush tax cuts.
SCHULTZ: But hold the phone, “The Washington Post” has audio of Norquist‘s original comments. Here it is.
NORQUIST: That‘s right, not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it does not violate the pledge?
NORQUIST: We wouldn‘t hold it that way. A lot of the guys on the Hill do.
SCHULTZ: So even now he now wants to deny it, Norquist was trying to give House Republicans a way out. They certainly need a way out, for the good of the country.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
A big obstacle to getting debt a debt-ceiling deal are the Tea Party Republicans in the House. But Boehner maybe trying to send these freshmen Republicans a signal.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And, frankly, I think it would be irresponsible on behalf of the Congress and the president not to be looking at backup strategies for how to solve this problem. At the end of the day, we have a responsibility to act.
SCHULTZ: And the Tea Party freshmen continue to draw the attention of Republicans who think they are passing up a deal of a lifetime.
Former Congressman Vin Webber (ph), “It‘s an all-or-nothing strategy. You‘re likely to end up with nothing. The notion of just standing firm for your principle at the expense of achieving your goal is just wrong.” Weber says even just weaker deals with $1.5 trillion in cuts would be a huge accomplishment for the Republicans.
Let‘s bring in the managing editor of The Grio and MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid; and co-host of America‘s Radio News, Amy Holmes.
Great to have both of you with us tonight.
Amy, the Tea Partiers, are they still holding the kind of line that could stop a deal? Is there any wiggle room at all there?
AMY HOLMES, AMERICA‘S RADIO NEWS: Well, I had a chance to talk to Senator Mike Lee from Utah today. He is, of course, the Tea Party candidate. He beat out the incumbent Republican in that Senate Republican primary.
And he said that he wants to see a cut, cap and balance brought to the Senate floor and voted on. He does not support Mitch McConnell‘s plan B and would not be voting to raise the debt limit without those major spending cuts.
But, Ed, what I would tell you is there‘s news out today from Standard & Poor‘s that says even if we raise the debt ceiling if we do not get at our deficit, we could see our AAA credit rating reduced to AA credit rating.
So there is market pressure on both sides of this debate, to both do something, raise the debt ceiling so we don‘t default, and cut our spending so that we can be on fiscal financial firm footing.
SCHULTZ: Joy, with that kind of tough talk and that hard stance, where does that leave the Democrats?
JOY-ANN REID, THEGRIO.COM: Well, I mean, what you‘re seeing, just in the fact that Mike Lee is still talking about cut, cap and balance, which is not going to pass the Senate and would be vetoed by the president any way, and which is probably the single most radical piece of legislation that I‘ve really seen in my lifetime, the John Birch Society literally body-snatched the Republican Party.
The fact that they‘re still talking about cut, cap and balance, as if it could pass when they know it can‘t just shows you the state of unreality that we‘re dealing with among the freshmen particularly in the Republican Party.
I got to tell you, I think John Boehner, if he had his way, would make a deal of some kind to raise the debt ceiling because he‘s talking to Wall Street. He understands the catastrophe, he can‘t educate those Republican freshmen. They just will not be educated about it.
SCHULTZ: Why won‘t the president hold blind on big three? Why is he negotiating way something that has nothing to do with the financial problem that we got into?
REID: Well, I think, you know, one of the things I would say is, you know, my old boss Steve Shale (ph), when I worked used to say under react.
I think what we have in a lot of cases is Democrats on the Hill starting to panic a little bit. You have a lot of staff members, I read through “The Washington Post” and “New York Times” stories on this. And you have a lot of staffers of people who weren‘t in that negotiation speculating about what‘s in a potential deal. But no one knows what‘s in a deal.
The president has never said he‘s down for cutting Social Security, h he‘s interested in cutting Medicare. He‘s actually said the opposite. So, I think it‘s a lot of speculation about things. People just don‘t know what the president is actually negotiating.
HOLMES: I think that‘s a very good point. The president has been all over the place on this. Initially he wanted a clean up or down vote on the debt ceiling. He just wanted yea or nay to raised the debt ceiling. Now, he says he doesn‘t want that bundled with cuts.
I think the president has been shown that on his watch, United States AAA credit rating could be downgraded to AA because of out-of-control government spending.
HOLMES: That‘s from Standard & Poor today being reported by “Reuters.”
SCHULTZ: The fact of the matter is we were in deep financial trouble when he showed up at the Oval Office. I mean, we‘ve got to be honest brokers about that.
HOLMES: The buck stops with him quite literally.
REID: OK. I read through that Moody‘s report cover to cover. It‘s really incredibly disingenuous for Republicans to try to now reverse things on the president and say, oh, because of President Obama‘s inaction on the deficit, we‘re looking at a downgrade.
We‘re looking at a downgrade because people who have no experience in government and don‘t understand the markets are willing to allow the United States to default on its credit obligation for the first time.
HOLMES: We have a community organizer-in-chief with no experience.
That was the low blow.
REID: They are willing to allow the full faith and credit of the United States to actually be defaulted upon for the first time in our history. These are Republican freshmen who were ideologues. They‘re willing to let it happen.
SCHULTZ: They are willing to let it happen. They are willing to throw the country financially under the bus for their ideology.
HOLMES: They‘re not willing to let the nation default. And when you call these freshmen Republicans ideologues --
REID: They are.
HOLMES: Or as Senator Harkin did, some sort of fringe cult, that is to ignore the results of November midterm election which --
SCHULTZ: Things have changed since then, Amy. Look at Wisconsin.
Look at Wisconsin. Things have changed since then.
Joy-Ann Reid of and Amy Holmes of America‘s Radio News—thanks for joining us tonight.
It‘s not just the debt ceiling being held hostage by the Republicans. They‘re threatening to kill thousands of jobs at the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Drugster is spewing conspiracy theories on the weather. He‘s going into the zone.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Republicans in the House are holding the Federal Aviation Administration hostage and putting thousands of jobs at risk. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood says if a temporary funding measure doesn‘t pass by midnight tomorrow, the agency will partially shut down. That will cause more than 4,000 jobs to be furloughed, including safety engineers.
The FAA has no long-term funding because the House and Senate haven‘t come to an agreement on a bill since 2007. House Republicans want provisions in the bill to make it harder for aviation and railroad workers to unionize. There have been 20 routine short-term funding extensions since then.
But this time, the stop gap was hijacked by Republican House Transportation Chairman John Mica. He inserted a poison pill into the measure and admitted doing so in order to, quote, “send the Senate a message that we want this finally resolved.”
Senate Democratic Transportation Chairman Jay Rockefeller fired back to Mica in a letter saying, “you need to think about this very, very carefully. Any consequences resulting from such an action will fall squarely on your shoulders. Right now, you are in control of the agency‘s immediate future.”
If the agency has no funding by tomorrow night, John Mica will be responsible for putting thousands out of work.
After sending a scathing e-mail to a female colleague, Congressman Allen West is not backing down. In fact, he‘s doubling down.
The right wing assault on health care reform won‘t stop. There‘s no propaganda out there, and we will debunk it tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that you said you would not apologize. Is there anything you want to clarify or any part of your statement that you want to take back here today?
REP. ALLEN WEST ®, FLORIDA: Not a chance.
SCHULTZ: Republican Congressman Allen West is not backing down despite the uproar over his comments to Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. After Wasserman-Schultz took issue with West on policy, West made it personal. He sent the congresswoman an email, cc‘d the House leadership and called her vile, unprofessional, despicable and, quote, “not a lady.”
He has since refused to apologize. In fact, he‘s fundraising off his comments and taking a victory lap with right wing talkers. Early on Mark Levin‘s radio show, West claimed that the reason why people are so upset over this e-mail is because he‘s a black conservative.
WEST: What we do is we totally invalidate the liberal social welfare policies and programs. And you know, I‘m the threat because I‘m the guy that got off of their 21st century plantation.
SCHULTZ: And on Fox Business Network, West was offered several opportunities to walk back his comments, but he wouldn‘t take the bait. Instead, West, a former lieutenant colonel, booted from the Army for beating a man in Iraq, blamed the military for his behavior.
WEST: There are certain ways that we speak in the military. And I guess I have not learned the D.C. insider talk that maybe some of these people are used to. Don‘t poke me in the chest.
SCHULTZ: Wow. Congressman West, are you going to apologize to the brave men and women serving our military for that comment? Or are you just going to fundraise off it? Don‘t use our troops to justify your lack of decency.
Time now to bring in Jeff Santos, host of the “Jeff Santos Radio Show” in Boston, Massachusetts, Errol Lewis, host of the “Inside City Hall” on New York One. And from Las Vegas, Heidi Harris, host of “The Heidi Harris Show.” Great to have all of you with us.
Errol, I want to go to you first. How does he balance the comment he made about race when he insulted Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, saying that she is not a lady. Where is the connection here?
ERROL LEWIS, NEW YORK ONE: Well, the connection is he‘s trying to change the subject, obviously. He wants to blame it on the military. He wants to blame it on the insiders, the outsiders, racial politicks, anything to distract from the fact that he made what is simply a political gaffe.
And there‘s just no getting around it. The sooner he apologizes, the better. You alienate so many people, young people, women, people who like civility in politics. Where do you go after you call somebody vile and despicable? What do you do the next day?
So I think he‘s in a dead end. He may not realize it yet. But I guarantee you anything, Ed, that the leadership is quietly pulling him aside and saying look, you‘ve got to walk this back. We can‘t do this every day.
SCHULTZ: Heidi Harris, is he right not walking it back and sternly saying that he won‘t apologize? Your thoughts?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Of course he is. I love Colonel West. He‘s been on my show a bunch of times. I think he‘s terrific.
The problem the left has with him is he‘s not your typical right leaning weeny who backs off the first time somebody pulls the race card, the woman card and cries. He stands by what he said.
Remember that Debbie what‘s her name Schultz stood there on the House floor and bashed him when he wasn‘t in the room. That is gutless. That is rude. That is despicable.
Then she‘s crying about. You‘re not allowed to hit the boy first and run back in the house crying when he hits you back, especially the House of Representatives.
SCHULTZ: But wasn‘t she talking about policy of Medicare and supporting a program that would affect lives?
HARRIS: No, she was not. She was trying to characterize Colonel West as trying to starve the old ladies, which is her opinion, but that is not the fact. That‘s not what Colonel West is advocating. So she is trying to characterize it—
SCHULTZ: So what has Debbie Wasserman-Schultz done that makes her not a lady? .
HARRIS: She was rude about the fact that she bashed him on the House floor when he wasn‘t in the room. That point that he made in his email was, you want to talk to me face to face, we‘ll talk face to face. But she was gutless in her approach. He called her on it.
Then she tried to play the girl card and he‘s not going for it. Good for him.
SCHULTZ: Jeff, how do you measure this?
JEFF SANTOS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Look, he‘s not ready for prime time, first of all. First of all, he doesn‘t even live in the district that he represents. He lives in Debbie Wasserman-Shultz‘s district, number one.
Number two, this is a guy who thinks he‘s an outsider and he wants to play for this. Yeah, he was part of the military, the inside part of American foundation. It‘s just laughable. He‘s trying to basically back pedal on everything right now.
SCHULTZ: Why is he trying to do that? Why does he think he‘s right?
SANTOS: I think he lives in his own planet. I don‘t know. I think that he is—he‘s somebody—at some point, Boehner—they‘re obviously a little busy right now. They‘re going to bring them together and say look, just stop this, I think.
LEWIS: -- another congressman that we‘ve talked about on this program, Ed, named Anthony Weiner, ex-congressman. It‘s easy to fall victim to. You‘re the darling of the talk shows. You seem to raise a lot of money. People think that you‘re bold. You seem to be unique.
And the reality is you‘re just out there in la-la land. What seems to work for a while can really backfire. This kind of talk just doesn‘t work.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s talk about the debt ceiling for a moment. Is the president going to cave? And what would you constitute as a cave, Jeff?
SANTOS: Well, if any of the three, the big three, as you say,
Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, are touched at any significant level -
I‘m not talking about something, a half a percent here, and you take out some dollars that save some money off of companies who provide an x-ray machine.

Outside of that, if he destroys it in any form, in terms of the foundation that was done in the 1960s with LBJ and FDR in the 1930s, it‘s a bad day for the Democratic Party and a bad day for America.
SCHULTZ: And Heidi, why don‘t the Republicans go along with what the American people want. Clearly, every survey out there shows they don‘t want the big three to be a part of this.
HARRIS: Well, there are plenty of Americans who understand that the big three are not sustainable. The only way to fix the problem in America financially is to make changes to the big three. We‘re not talking about decimating them. We‘re just talking about making changes.
Anybody who tells you those programs are sustainable is a liar. And a lot of Americans are not that stupid.
SCHULTZ: Social Security is not sustainable?
HARRIS: Of course not. Absolutely not. If it was sustainable, why would the age have been 65 to begin with. Why? Because you weren‘t expected to live long enough to need it. Duh.
SCHULTZ: Errol, What about the surplus in Social Security that we borrowed against?
LEWIS: Look, if you compare it to any other program, it is far more stable than almost anything else. You don‘t find other program where they say, well, there might be a problem in 20 and 30 years, so let‘s fix it today. The reality is it‘s fine for now.
I think what you are going to see, to answer your question, Ed, is if they change it in such a way that the change comes in 10 or 20 years, like maybe the eligibility level goes up to 67 years, not with anybody who‘s alive now, but starting in 10 years, starting in 15 years, that‘s not a cave. That‘s actually a structural reform.
If something like that is being considered, I think the president gets away with it. If they take away things that people have now, then there‘s going to be a political price to pay.
SCHULTZ: Switching subjects again. Heidi, I want to ask you, is Michele Bachmann fit to serve with her headaches?
HARRIS: Absolutely. I get migraines. I feel for her. I was reading all the things that have been said about her, being sick on a plane, being sick in offices. I‘ve been there, done that. I function fine at my job. I think she‘ll be fine.
If you want to go back and look at all the past presidents, all the health problems they‘ve had? They‘ve served correctly.
One other thing, I want to get a point in here about Harry Reid. He said Social Security was good for 20 years. Now we‘re not even sure it‘s good for 20 days. So that‘s just another lie for Harry Reid.
SCHULTZ: Well, you are wrong on that, Heidi. It‘s good for the next, actually, 26 years. It‘s—
SCHULTZ: But that‘s OK. I understand how you Republicans think on stuff. So you think that Michele Bachmann is just fine. This should not be an issue. Then why did Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, go after her? And why did Karl Rove go after her?
HARRIS: Well, I think people have brought it up and then Tim Pawlenty tried to walk it back a little bit. I still think it‘s unfair. I think a lot of presidents have had a lot of health problems over the years.
She‘ll be fine. I don‘t see why it‘s a big issue. I think in a way -
you know I never play the girl card myself. But I think it is kind of a swipe at women because more women than men get migraines. I think it‘s some kind of subtle way to go after her because she‘s a woman.

SCHULTZ: I think the Republicans have got a war on women. And I also think that she is scaring the hell out of the establishment. I give her a lot of credit for the way she stood up to them and didn‘t back down to the attacks.
Jeff Santos, Errol Lewis and also Heidi Harris, great—thanks for having—be here tonight. I appreciate your time.
Rush Limbaugh cranks up the heat on the climate change denials.
Psycho Talk is coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In Psycho Talk tonight, Rush Limbaugh thinks this summer‘s sweltering temperatures are being manufactured by the government. He‘s targeting the Heat Index, which combines the air temperature with humidity to tell you just how hot it really feels.
Forecasters say the Heat Index could be above 115 degrees tomorrow in some parts of the country, way past the danger zone. Heat related sickness and death starts to rise significant when it hits 95.
But from where the Drugster sits in his climate-controlled studio, it‘s just a liberal government conspiracy.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They‘re playing games with us on this heat wave again. Even Drudge—Drudge getting sucked in here. Going to be 116 in Washington. No, it‘s not. It‘s going to be 100, maybe 99. The Heat Index, manufactured by the government to tell you what it feels like when you add the humidity in there, 116.
When was the last time the Heat Index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn‘t been. But it looks like they‘re trying to get away with doing that now. It‘s going to top out at 102, 103. It does this every year.
SCHULTZ: Rush, I know you‘re not big on science, but the weather does not do this every year. Take a look at this map from real professional scientists. All those red dots represent record temperatures set this month. There are 1,289 of them.
As for the Heat Index, the concept has been around since the early 1900s. The National Weather Service has used it for more than 30 years. And all you have to do is step outside to figure out humidity makes it feel hotter.
So for Rush Limbaugh to say the Heat Index is manufactured by the government is a steaming pile of Psycho Talk.
Lots of people are out of work, but a conservative think tank wants you to believe it‘s because of health care reform.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight, leave it to a right wing think tank to link health reform with job loss, even though the exact opposite is true. The conservative Heritage Foundation released a report claiming the passage of the Affordable Care Act caused private sector job growth to stall. But as the “Washington Monthly” points out, private sector job growth has been on an upward trend since health care we form passed.
But the uninsured continue to struggle. An Americare report says the majority of free clinics have had to turn away eligible patients because of the lack of staff and funding. That‘s what it‘s all about.
This is one reason THE ED SHOW continues to support the National Association of Free Clinics, along with MSNBC. To donate or learn more about volunteering, visit You can text 50555 to make a 10 dollar donation by phone.
Joining me tonight is Nicole Lamoureaux, the executive director of the National Association of Free Clinics.
Nicole, great to have you with us tonight. What do you make of the conversation that I just mentioned about some of the talk about the health care bill and affecting job loss. What about that?
NICOLE LAMOUREAUX, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE CLINICS: Well, what I can tell you right now is that free clinics have seen a 40 to 50 percent increase in patient demand. That‘s a lot of patients that need our help.
We‘ve seen a 20 percent decrease in donations. We‘re turning away more and more patients because they do not have access to health care. But yet, we still know that 63 percent of those patients have some sort of job or come from a working household.
SCHULTZ: What kind of impact—as political groups work to undermine the health care reform bill, what impact does it have on the free clinics? What have you seen?
LAMOUREAUX: We‘ve run the gamut, from people saying health care reform has passed so we don‘t need free clinics anymore, which is not true at all, to people then saying oh, my goodness, where am I going to go.
We know that I don‘t have any access right now. I better get to that clinic and I really need some help. So we‘re just overwrought with patients, as you‘ve seen at some of our large scale clinics across the country. People need help. And they don‘t know where else to go, so they come to our free clinics.
SCHULTZ: How tough has this been on your resources with the number of people coming in?
LAMOUREAUX: It‘s amazing. We have, as I said, a 20 percent decrease across the country. We take no state or federal money at these free clinics that are across the country.
So we know that our patients need help. But we‘re really trying to do more with so much less.
SCHULTZ: And in New Orleans, we need some help. Let‘s just be right up front about it. We want to raise as much money as we possibly can. Folks, I have been at these clinics. I have seen some fabulous stories.
I‘ve some unbelievable stories. They‘re really gut wrenching.
And this is really helping Americans. What do we need, Nicole?
LAMOUREAUX: We need 350,000 dollars for us to hold this clinic. And we‘re right about 126,000 dollars now. Your viewers have been incredibly generous. We really need the help. New Orleans really needs volunteers and donations. And people can go to to help us out.
SCHULTZ: Nicole Lamoureaux of the National Association of Free Clinics, thanks for your time. We will see you in New Orleans.
And again, if you would like to donate, visit, or text HEALTH to 50555 to make a 10 dollar donation by phone.
Tonight in our survey, I asked you, should Democrats just say no to Social Security cuts? Eighty four percent of you said yes; 16 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now. We‘ll see you Monday night. Have a great weekend.

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