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The Ed Show for Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

December 19, 2012

Guests: Jerrold Nadler, Steve Israel, Karen Finney, Sam Stein, David Cay Johnston, Douglas Brinkley

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW from New York.

President Obama wants new gun laws, right now.

This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.


things. It`s going to take a wave of Americans -- mothers and fathers,
daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals,
and yes, gun owners -- standing up and saying "enough" on behalf of our

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president lays out the way forward for
sensible gun policy.

So, why are no Republicans getting on board? I`ll ask Congressman
Jerrold Nadler.

OBAMA: At some point, you know, they`ve got to take me out of it and
think about their votes and think about what`s best for the country.

SCHULTZ: The president served up painful cuts, and Republicans are
literally running away from the table.

REPORTER: Hey, Mr. Speaker!

SCHULTZ: Congressman Steve Israel reacts to the GOP`s bizarre

Plus, today`s big G.M. news means the death of a righty talking point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Government motors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Government motors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Government motors.

SCHULTZ: David Cay Johnston on a huge success story for government

And the invisible man sitting next to Clint Eastwood wins "Time`s"
Person of the Year.

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: What do you mean shut up?

SCHULTZ: Tonight, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley on Barack
Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and Spider-Man.


SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for

The president gave all Americans a lot to work with today and a lot to
think about in the coming weeks. President Obama recognizes the mood of
the country. There is a real sense of urgency to pass common sense safety
laws in the wake of the Newtown shooting massacre. The president knows
this is going to be a heavy lift.


OBAMA: That`s why I`ve asked the vice president to lead an effort
that includes members of my cabinet and outside organizations to come up
with a set of concrete proposals no later than January, proposals that I
then intend to push without delay. This is not some Washington commission.
This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for
six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside.


SCHULTZ: One of the reasons the president is asking for action
without delay is because he knows change can be accomplished, and it`s been
done before.

The assault weapons ban signed by President Clinton reduced crime
lower than it had been in a generation. It`s been 18 years since the crime
bill was signed, and eight years since it was allowed to expire. Perhaps,
this is why President Obama is turning to the bill`s architect for


AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I want to single out for special
recognition the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has fought
tirelessly for this bill for six long years, Senator Joe Biden. Would you
stand, Senator Joe Biden?



SCHULTZ: The choice of Joe Biden to lead the current task force on
gun violence is no coincidence. The vice president fought against the odds
to get Democrats and Republicans on board for the 1994 crime bill.

Biden is also a powerful symbol on this issue. His fight to curb gun
violence helped him receive an F rating from the National Rifle
Association, which I think really makes him qualified for job.

The NRA calls Biden, in fact, the most anti-gun vice president in
history. What an honor.

By picking Biden, the president is sending a very strong message. The
task force will not roll over to play indicate the NRA.

Vice President Biden will do the job. President Obama knows it. He
did not speak in generalities today. He laid out a very clear agenda.


OBAMA: A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-
style assault weapons. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of
high capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws
requiring background checks before all gun purchases so that criminals
can`t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who
won`t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.

I urge the new Congress to hold votes on these measures on a timely


SCHULTZ: This is what leadership on gun control looks like.

The president wants Congress to hold votes on assault weapons ban, a
ban on high-capacity magazines and background checks for all guns and
owners in order to get rid of the current loopholes in the law.

All of these measures are supported by the public. A brand-new poll
on gun control shows that more than half the country favors major
restrictions on firearms -- 62 percent of Americans want to ban assault
weapons and high capacity clips, 95 percent want more complete background
checks done by law enforcement.

But the president knows it`s not just about gun laws.


OBAMA: We`re going to need to work on making access to mental health
care, at least as easy as access to a gun. We`re going to need to look
more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.
And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our


SCHULTZ: After the president laid out his plan of action, he took a
tough question about his failure to act on gun issues prior to the Newtown


JAKE TAPPER, ABC NEWS REPORTER: This is not the first issue, the
first issue of horrific gun violence of your four years. Where have you

OBAMA: Well, here`s where I have been, Jake. I`ve been president of
the United States dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great
Depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse, two wars. I don`t
think I`ve been on vacation. And so, I think all of us have to do some
reflection on how we prioritize what we do here in Washington.


SCHULTZ: It`s obvious the president has reflected on this. And so
have other members of Congress. Pro-gun Democrats like Senator Mark Warner
of Virginia have come forward supporting sensible new gun laws. Warner
said recently, "I think most of us realize that there are ways to get to
rational gun control."

Today, House Democrats introduced legislation to ban high-capacity
clips, and will introduce a ban on assault rifles coming up in January.

But the fact remains, not one Republican in the Congress has stepped
forward to support gun control measures. Where have they been?

No Republicans have voiced specific support for an assault weapons ban
or a ban on high-capacity clips. Where have the Republicans been?

Republicans are not even clear on the definition of what an assault
weapon is, unless they listen to the NRA and the gun manufacturers.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia is the new chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee. He is the highest ranking Republican with control
over gun regulations.

Gun safety regulation -- you think it`s on his mind? No way.

Here`s what he says. "We`re going the take a look at" -- how many
times do you hear people say we`re going to take a look at it. This is
what he says. "Take a look at what happened there and what can be done to
help avoid it in the future. But gun control is not going to be something
that I would support."

So I ask, where have the Republicans been?

Meanwhile, you have state officials in states out there like Texas.
Their governor, Rick Perry, saying the solution is to do, what? Put guns
in the hands of the teachers? Just what they want to do.

Republican lawmakers in other states like Oklahoma, Nevada, South
Dakota and Texas, calling for teachers to become enforcers in the

It`s hard to imagine how meaningful legislation can be passed when an
entire political party still opposes laws to make us safer.

Time is of the essence. President Obama ended his comments today by
reading a list of Americans who have been killed by guns since the tragedy
at Sandy Hook last Friday.


OBAMA: Each one of these Americans was a victim of the everyday gun
violence that takes the lives of more than 10,000 every year -- violence
that we cannot accept as routine.

So I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts
aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. We won`t prevent them all,
but that can`t be an excuse not to try. It won`t be easy, but that can`t
be an excuse not to try.


SCHULTZ: Voters need to make sure lawmakers are clear on one thing:
there is no excuse for inaction.

But the question is, how many resources will the Republicans be
willing to commit to the mental health community to be part of the
solution? How many Republicans are going to come on board and support
Dianne Feinstein`s bill that will limit clips to 10 rounds? How many times
are we going to get caught between automatic and semiautomatic and get
caught in NRA rhetoric before we decide what we`re going to do as a

With the backdrop of funerals, we`re having this conversation. And
not one Republican has stepped forward and said, we got to do more than
talk about it. We`ve got to change some laws. They won`t do it.

And, of course, Friday, the National Rifle Association is going to
come forward, and they`re going to end up giving us more tired old
rhetoric. They`re not going to come forward with anything substantive to
changing this country that will curb gun violence. Hell, they want to arm
the teachers. It`s outrageous.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.

Tonight`s question: will Republicans block common sense gun laws?

Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can always go to our
blog at We`ll bring you relates later on in the show.

Joining me tonight is Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York.

Congressman, good to have you with us.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Good to be here.

SCHULTZ: We`re going to find out how fast the wheels of government
can turn here. Under the umbrella that you haven`t had any Republicans
step forward and say anything like what the president said today, what are
your expectations something is really going to get done?

NADLER: Well, I don`t know. That remains to be seen. I mean, right
now, the Republicans are saying nothing. They`re ducking. Some of them
are opposing any reasonable gun control restrictions.

The president is going to push it very hard. The Democratic leaders
set up a task force today under Congressman Thompson of California. There
is going to be a lot of constituent pressure on everybody, including
Republicans. And they`re going to have to either step up to the plate or
say no, and that`s going to be very difficult for a lot of them.

SCHULTZ: Your colleague, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy urged support
from Republicans today. Here it is.


REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY (D), NEW YORK: And I`m asking my Republican
friends to work with us. It shouldn`t be a Democrat or a Republican issue.
It`s all of us as Americans who are mourning the death in Newtown. And we
don`t want to see anymore of these shootings again.


SCHULTZ: So they always hide behind the second amendment. They`re
fabulous at doing that. But the Second Amendment does not give you the
right to bear any kind of arm. And technology has changed. And, of
course, the design has changed. The proficiency of the manufacturing has

Why will no Republican step forward and admit that?

NADLER: Well, I -- because of the fear of the NRA leadership, which
is fanatic, which lies to gun owners and says that any attempt to regulate
guns in any way is a prelude to taking all your guns away.

Luckily, the power of the NRA was shown to be a paper tiger in the
last election. I think that knowledge is going to have to be broadcast and
assimilated that you can take on the NRA and live to tell about it.

You know, no right is absolute. We have the First Amendment right to
freedom of speech, but you can`t get away with yelling fire in a crowded

So, Second Amendment -- the Supreme Court has ruled the Second
Amendment confers a personal right to carry arms, but it doesn`t confer a
personal right to carry machine guns or grenade launchers or semiautomatic
weapons, or --


NADLER: -- large magazine clips.

There is no hunter that needs more than three bullets in a rifle to
hunt. Anything beyond that is not only fair subject for regulation, but
absolutely ought to be banned.

SCHULTZ: But there is very few hunters out there that want to be hold
what kind of firearm they can use. This is the urban and rural divide that
the president talked about all over it today.

And, Congressman, I`ve come from the middle of the country over the
last 30 years before I came to work here in New York. And it`s two
different worlds. You go to the middle of the country and they say, don`t
you come close to me with any firearm regulation, and don`t tell me how to
use my firearm. I don`t want any regulation whatsoever.

NADLER: Well, we know --

SCHULTZ: Now, here in New York, here in New York City, the laws are
about as strict as they are anywhere in the country.

So how do we strike this balance?

NADLER: You strike a balance by saying look, anyone has a right to
firearms that are reasonably related to self-defense, there is a license
for that, and for hunting and for sports. But no one has a right to have
military-style firearms that are designed to kill large numbers of people
as rapidly as possible. Common sense says that. And I think even people -
- people in rural areas will recognize that, too. Everybody wants their
kids to be safe.


NADLER: And the fact is they`re having more and more of these
outrages. You know, as I`ve said before, we had a maniac attack an
elementary school in China last Friday, the same day as Newtown, but no one
was killed.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Nobody died. That is -- that`s a talking point that
is out there quite a bit.

The bottom line is, the American people are ready for change. Will
the Congress walk in lockstep with the American people in this? That`s the
big question.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks
so much.

Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @EdShow and on Facebook.
We want to know what you think.

Coming up, it just keeps getting tougher for the Republican speaker of
the House. John Boehner is forcing his members to vote on his plan B
tomorrow. It turns out his plan B ends up raising taxes on the middle
class if you get to the devil in the detail.

Congressman Israel reacts to the news, ahead.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, John Boehner rejects another fiscal cliff plan
from President Obama, but can the sell -- can he sell his own caucus on
plan B? And we`ve got Karen Finney and Sam Stein coming up talking about

And later, "Time" magazine names President Obama as person of the year
for a second time. I`ll discuss the magazine`s choice with presidential
historian Doug Brinkley.

And don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show on Sirius XM Radio
Channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 p.m.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on twitter using #EdShow.

We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Everybody wants a deal. Are we going to get it? Folks, I tell you,
today we may be farther from a deal on the fiscal cliff than ever before.
And the reason I think is pretty simple.

President Obama has put a deal on the table the Republicans should be
taking, but they refuse.

Today, President Obama expressed his outright dismay.


OBAMA: The Republicans in the House and I think Speaker Boehner were
in a position to say we`ve gotten a fair deal. The fact that they haven`t
taken it yet is puzzling.


SCHULTZ: President Obama`s deal would have offered Republicans a
change in the way Social Security is calculated, a big deal for the
righties. When Speaker Boehner walks away from the president`s offer to
chained CPI, that is a pretty big signal that this guy really doesn`t want
to deal. Speaker Boehner is going forward with plan B?


test that the president promised the American people a balanced approach.
And I hope the president will get serious soon. Tomorrow, the House will
pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every American,
99.81 percent of the American people.

And then the president will have a decision to make. He can call on
the Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the
largest tax increase in American history.


SCHULTZ: I think it speaks volumes that the president took questions
today, and Boehner didn`t, because Boehner doesn`t have his act together.
He is not very convincing. And that`s because plan B isn`t going to
impress the American people or the president of the United States, and the
president knows it.

Boehner`s plan would actually -- hear me out, folks -- raise taxes on
middle class Americans because it would not extend some of President
Obama`s tax credits.


OBAMA: The speaker now is proposing what he calls plan B. So he
says, well, this would raise taxes only on folks making a million dollars
or more. What that means is an average of a $50,000 tax break for every
millionaire out there. At the same time, as we`re not providing
unemployment insurance for 2 million people who are still out there looking
for work.


SCHULTZ: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Boehner shouldn`t look
for Democratic votes to help him get to 218. And she characterized Speaker
Boehner`s position perfectly.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: I think what we saw here earlier
was really an act of desperation. It didn`t look like to me a person who
had the votes.

I believe the president keeps opening doors for the speaker to go
through. With this action that the speaker announced, it just slammed the
door in the president`s face for that kind of compromise.


SCHULTZ: Leader Pelosi is exactly right. Boehner is getting

Congressman Paul Ryan says he`ll support plan B, but other House
Republicans are in open revolt. The Club for Growth and other conservative
groups are against it. Boehner has gotten Grover Norquist`s support, but
these days I don`t know how much that really means.

Let`s turn to Congressman Steve Israel of New York with us tonight
here on THE ED SHOW.

Congressman, good to have you with us.

Let`s talk about this Norquist thing for just a moment. He is now
giving cover the Republicans in the House, saying go ahead and vote for
plan B. You`re going to be OK. What does that signal to you?

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, it signals to me that the
speaker is desperate. It also signals to me that once again the
Republicans have taken their oath to Grover Norquist.

The only seal of approval that`s necessary in Congress is the seal of
approval that your constituents give you, that the middle class gives you.
And once again, the Republicans are letting Grover Norquist call the shots.

Secondly, Ed, you know, at a certain point, these Republicans have to
learn how to take yes for an answer. Tonight, they`re going through these
gyrations, these contortions. They`re taking every step they can with head
fakes to produce a bill tomorrow, except the one step that they could take
to avoid going over this cliff, and that is meet the president in the
middle on some common sense, that they refuse to do.

They`d rather talk to Grover Norquist about how to get off the fiscal
cliff, how to fall off this cliff than talk to the president about how to
resolve this.

SCHULTZ: All right. Boehner`s plan B -- it, of course, would raise
taxes on those who make a million dollars a year and more. But it would
raise taxes on middle class Americans because of the tax credits --

ISRAEL: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: -- are not being extended. Is this going to get any
Democratic votes?

ISRAEL: Well, it shouldn`t get any Democratic votes. It is not a
plan, it is a stunt. And I don`t believe that Democrats should be
supporting a stunt like this.

Democrats have shown an ability to compromise. Democrats have shown
an ability to try and meet Republicans. And when we are met with a stunt
like this that doesn`t solve the problem but simply continues these cliff-
hangers every several weeks, we ought to say no to the Republicans.

So, this is a non-starter. And the B in plan B is just bizarre. This
raises taxes for the middle class.


ISRAEL: It is true that it raises taxes on people over a million
dollars. But you lose the earned income tax credit. You lose the child
care tax credit. You lose tuition tax credits.

It is another shot at the middle class in order to protect the

SCHULTZ: So, you know, when you take a look at how this is starting
to unfold, it doesn`t look like a deal is anywhere near close. I mean,
we`re at a stalemate with the days down to what, 18?

What does this say to the American people? Here we are, we`re having
a discussion about gun laws. If we can`t get our act together on our --
you know, fiscal house in order in any way, shape, or form, how are you
going to get anything done on gun laws?

ISRAEL: Well, it`s going to be hard to get anything done on gun laws.
It`s going about the hard to get anything done on anything when you have a
Tea Party that continues to run the House of Representatives.

The American people -- we just had an election that was about
solutions and compromise. And only weeks after this election, the
Republicans have reverted to their natural form, their fundamental DNA,
which is obstruction and cliffs.

This wouldn`t happen if we had a Democratic majority in the House of

SCHULTZ: Will plan B pass tomorrow, Congressman?

ISRAEL: I don`t know. I know that the speaker is frantically trying
to whip this thing. He very rarely goes to the floor to try to convince
Republicans to vote with him. He was on the floor tonight, whipping.

I think I hear that they`re going to go through this kind of bizarre
parliamentary procedure. They`ll have other bills on the floor in order to
cajole Republicans to support it.

They don`t need to do this. Just meet with the president. He has
compromised. He`s gone from $250,000 in net income --

SCHULTZ: To $400,000.

ISRAEL: To $400,000. He has -- he has shown an ability to
compromise. All you have to do, Speaker Boehner, is meet with the
president and work this out.

SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman Steve Israel, thanks for your time
tonight. Appreciate it.

ISRAEL: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Next, the political fallout for John Boehner. We`ll find
out who has the upper hand here, Boehner or President Obama? Which team
would you pick?

Then, it`s the beginning of the end. Big news about the auto rescue
tonight. Find out why the Republicans are still wrong about it.

We`re right back.



OBAMA: When you think about what we`ve gone through over the last
couple of months, a devastating hurricane, and now, one of the worst
tragedies in our memory. The country deserves folks to be willing to
compromise on behalf of the greater good.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

President Obama trying to get a deal. How is the president supposed
to get anything done on gun control or any changes at all with firearms
when the Republicans won`t even meet him halfway on fiscal cliff
negotiations? What is the climate in Washington?

Let`s turn to Sam Stein of "Huffington Post", and Karen Finney, MSNBC
political analyst and former communications director of the DNC.

Karen, you first. How is anything going to get done on gun
legislation or any kind of changes at all with firearms when they can`t
even get together on the fiscal cliff?

like the president said today. He needs help from the American people and
from the outside. I think it`s so important, the activism that we`ve seen,
I mean just in the last few days over this sort of chained index on Social
Security. I think it`s for the American people to make it clear what is
acceptable and what is not acceptable, and to raise the stakes for members
of Congress who fail to act.

That is the only way we`re going to get anything done.

SCHULTZ: And if the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder, we`ll be
right back here talking about it for a long, long time. They haven`t moved
on anything else. On budget negotiations, Sam Stein, this is the second
time the president has offered John Boehner a grand bargain of sorts. And
it`s the second time he has rejected it. Why is this happening?

SAM STEIN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": You know, it`s a great question. I
was going back to some of the clips from that summer of 2011 deal, looking
at what exactly John Boehner turned down. And I was struck by what he
actually passed over. I mean it was a much more generous deal than what he
is being offered now in many respects.

I think Boehner is really torn here. I think Boehner is worried about
his speakership in some respects. He has a faction of his caucus that will
never vote for a tax increase whatsoever. But he has to pass one if he
wants to get anything done.

So Boehner is in a much more difficult situation than the president.
The problem with the president is that he didn`t realize that in some
respects, and he is negotiating against himself, especially with this
chained CPI, which they went out there and they promised people very
deliberately they weren`t going to cut Social Security benefits. They put
it on the table, expecting for Boehner to come at them with another offer.

Instead he went with this plan B approach.

SCHULTZ: What about that, Karen? The president said that he wasn`t
going to get it off the backs of the middle class or the elderly.

FINNEY: Right.

SCHULTZ: And then chained CPI is on the table.

FINNEY: Right. Chained CPI shouldn`t be on the table. Let`s be
clear about that. I also think we need to sort of restate the fact that
what the president has been proposing previously is to actually bring
things into balance. Because if you look at what has been going on, the
wealthiest people in this country have already been doing very well. Low
income and middle class people have already been paying more than their
fair share.

SCHULTZ: But I`m getting calls from the elderly saying that, gosh,
you know, this is not what I voted for. And I`m starting to think that
maybe the president put it on the table because he knew Boehner wasn`t
going to take it anyway.

FINNEY: That`s right. That`s what I think, actually. Think about
where we are today. The president puts that on the table. Boehner can`t
even say yes to -- as Sam pointed out, now he is trying to lose less. I
mean that`s basically his strategy.

Tomorrow is going to be more gimmicks and gamesmanship. I think as
the president pointed out, people are sick and tired of that. Polls
already show that a majority of Americans believe that it`s going to be the
Republicans` fault if this deal falls apart.

So I actually think it`s possible that the long game here for the
president is you can take the chained CPI back off the table and some other
things back off the table and say hey, look, I tried. I tried to come to
the table with some seriousness.

STEIN: That could be the case. But I just want the make two points.
The first is this: if Boehner were to step back and look at this soberly,
he could very well argue, legitimately I think, that he is getting a great
deal in this; 99 percent of the income brackets will not experience a tax
hike in this deal, in this latest proposal.

He will have changed the benefit structure for Social Security. He
will have achieved about one trillion dollars additionally cuts, on top of
the trillion dollars in cuts that they already got as part of the first
deal to resolve the debt ceiling. Those are very big substantial
conservative victories.

The problem that Boehner has is that they`re not enough. Now I trust
the Obama administration to a certain extent that they`re going to do
things to protect beneficiaries with this chained CPI. But they need to
produce more information to explain exactly why that is the case.

SCHULTZ: I`m at the point right now, I do not think that the White
House is going to sign on to a deal that we`re not going to like.

FINNEY: I agree.

SCHULTZ: At this point, Boehner has been so obstinate. Here is
conservative Brett Bozell attacking Boehner`s plan B. Here it is.


is a terrible box Republicans have painted themselves into in this corner.
Real fiscal conservatives would simply walk away from this mess.


SCHULTZ: Karen, does plan B pass tomorrow in the House?

FINNEY: Barely.

SCHULTZ: Barely? You think it will pass?

FINNEY: I think it could pass. Look, I think that Boehner has the
same problem that he has had all along. He can`t get anything done without
Democrats. And that is the dirty little secret.

STEIN: First of all, I love the sirens in the background of that
press conference.

SCHULTZ: Well, it is an alarming, no question about it. Does plan B
pass tomorrow in the House?

STEIN: You would have to think they won`t bring to it the floor
unless they know that it passes.

FINNEY: That`s right.

STEIN: We`re getting word tonight that they`re trying to get some
spending cuts attached to it to make it a sweeter deal for Republicans. So
I think it passes, yes.

FINNEY: But it won`t matter.


STEIN: Ultimately it`s theater, right?

SCHULTZ: Sam Stein, Karen Finney, great to have you with us.

STEIN: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

FINNEY: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: There is a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE
ED SHOW. Stay with us.


OBAMA: The American auto industry is back.


SCHULTZ: The auto loan worked, and the Treasury starts to close the
books on General Motors. Tonight, David Cay Johnston deconstructs one of
the greatest government interventions in history.

Can a night at the movies bring the Senate together? Will Republicans
pay for the popcorn? We`ll tell you about the senators` night at the

And "Time Magazine" announces President Obama as the person of the
year. His story and Douglas Brinkley on what the honor really means,


SCHULTZ: Good to have you back with us tonight. Thanks for staying
with THE ED SHOW. This is big news for the automobile industry. The
government is winding down the automobile rescue loan. That`s right.

We`ve talked about this for the past five years. Now General Motors
is ready to stand on its own. The United States Treasury announced today
that it will sell its entire 32 percent stake in General Motors. The stock
will go up for sale over the next 12 to 15 months.

The United States government is expected to lose 12 billion dollars in
the deal. Now it`s a lot of money, isn`t it, for us taxpayers, 12 billion
dollars? But the investment preserved the automobile industry. Put a
price tag on that.

Despite all the Republican nay sayers, the automobile rescue saved
over a million jobs. The industry also added 250,000 new jobs since 2009.
The auto rescue did exactly what it was designed to do.


didn`t make this investment to make a profit. We made it to save the
American auto industry, which was on the verge of a collapse and would have
resulted in a million jobs being lost. And the investments were incredibly
successful in that regard.

We recognize that there are costs to this investment. But, you know,
let`s remember, the costs are far less than the costs had we not acted?


SCHULTZ: And that is the key. Republicans aren`t talking about the
recovery of the automobile industry. Instead, they`re whining that the
government didn`t make enough money on the deal. These same Republicans
have been attacking the deal for the last five years.


Government Motors, because it`s owned by the American people. It`s been
nationalized. There is no private corporation the way we used to think of
GM. Now the main stockholders is the American government.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We`ve wasted a lot of money. We`ve
done that in other areas in the federal government. It`s yet one more of
the many indictments against this president and his administration, and why
we need to move forward.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: An unprecedented violation of
200 years of bankruptcy law by Barack Obama to pay off the UAW at the
expense of every bondholder.

DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You can`t go around picking
winners and losers.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The only people that were truly
rescued were the unions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And whenever big government and big business and,
for that matter, big labor get in bed together, you better believe that
taxpayers and consumers are both going to you know what in a very
unpleasant way.


SCHULTZ: And I am joined tonight by David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer
Prize winning journalist and authority of "The Fine Print."

So the bottom line is the United States government invested 49.5
billion dollars in General Motors. The United States Treasury predicts
that it will get back 28.7 billion dollars from General Motors. David, is
this a losing proposition for taxpayers?

Think of the costs if we had allowed General Motors to fail. We would have
lost literally a million jobs. We would have huge costs for disability,
for welfare, for probably crime, with young people who can`t find any kind
of work. Enormous costs.

So this was a very cheap bargain. And don`t forget, we gave 13
billion dollars to bail out an AIG/Goldman Sachs deal, to Goldman Sachs.
And in my book, "The Fine Print," I tell about another five billion dollar
gift we made to Goldman Sachs that nobody else has reported on.

SCHULTZ: OK. Now GM stock had a pretty good day on Wall Street
today. General Motors closed at 27.18 dollars per share. It gained 1.69
dollars during the trading after the government`s announcement. So -- and
here is a look at General Motors earnings over the past two years.

David, is General Motors recovering?

JOHNSTON: Oh, absolutely. General Motors in 2008 was out of cash.
They`ve now got 32 billion dollars of cash. So they`re doing very well.
And going forward, they should do well.

SCHULTZ: Which is going to help them invest in an infrastructure and
development of better product.

JOHNSTON: Creating more jobs.

SCHULTZ: Of course, product is not their problem. Worldwide, they
have really taken some strides.

Now, let`s talk about AIG, which you mentioned. The government says
that it made 22.7 billion dollars on the AIG bailout. And that was a
bailout. Some Republicans say the unions kept us from making money on GM
as well. Is that a fair comparison?

JOHNSTON: No, not at all. In part, look at the size of the risk we
took for AIG versus the return we got. We got a return, but commensurate
with the risk, it wasn`t even close. By the way, if the unions are doing
so well, how come everyone at GM took a pay cut, from the CEO down to the
janitors? The UAW just had this law taking away their organizing power in

So to argue that this is some giveaway and sop to the unions is

SCHULTZ: The Treasury posts this TARP Tracker on its website, says
that it`s recovered 89 percent of the money invested in the automobile
industry, AIG and the banks. Generally good news here?

JOHNSTON: Oh, yeah. Well, we`re getting out of this stuff, which we
should be out of. What we need now is to have a real discussion about do
we get economic rules that provide viable companies, so we don`t have this
happen again. The problem with that, it`s not going to be GM. It`s going
to be Wall Street.

SCHULTZ: Here is what I think is being lost in the whole conversation
here, is that what we went through in 2008 and early 2009, we hadn`t seen
that since the Great Depression.


SCHULTZ: These are inordinary circumstances and inordinary measures
to be taken by any government. Would you agree?

JOHNSTON: And a lot of it brought about by government policies that
helped competitors of GM and made things more difficult for GM. So it`s
not like the government comes with clean hands to this.

SCHULTZ: All right, David Cay Johnston, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.

Coming up, Lincoln fought -- you know, President Lincoln, he fought to
preserve the union support. So can Lincoln inspire our divided Senate?
Stay tuned. Great story coming up.


SCHULTZ: And of course we always love hearing from our viewers on our
Twitter and Facebook page. Many of you are weighing in on some of the
Republican proposals to arm teachers in the classroom to protect our
children across America from mass shootings.

Jeffrey Hames Tweets "the GOP wants to cut teachers` pay and jobs, yet
wants to arm them in schools? Insane."

Rick Staniflow says "people who want to arm teachers also think
teachers are overpaid and incompetent."

And David Tweets "Republicans call teachers lazy, incompetent, and a
drain on society with their retirement and unions. Now they want to arm
them? Crazy."

Really. Keep your thoughts coming to us on our Facebook and Twitter
page using the #EdShow.

Still to come, "Time Magazine" names President Obama their person of
the year and shares some never before seen pictures from the first term in
office. Stay with us. We`re right back.





SCHULTZ: You never know, this might be the ticket. Abraham Lincoln
had a historic task of bringing a divided nation together. And I hope
Lincoln can do it again. Really?

You see, tonight a divided Senate will come together for a screening
of Steven Spielberg`s film. Spielberg, a fabulous producer and director.
Senators and their spouses will be joined by Spielberg, actor Daniel Day
Lewis, screenwriter Tony Kushner and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose
book the film is based on.

In a joint invitation for tonight`s event obtained by the "Hollywood
Reporter," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell wrote
this: "the film depicts the good which is attained when public servants put
the betterment of the country ahead of short-term political interests. We
believe that viewing this film would provide all senators with a positive
opportunity to gather and reflect during the holiday season."

The movie`s themes should hit pretty close to home, don`t you think,
for senators still struggling to find common ground on the brink of this
fiscal cliff we`re talking about. Bitter partisan divide, gridlock. The
clock is ticking.

But Lincoln offers us a powerful message about democracy. The
question is will the Senate be moved by this movie the way the rest of
America has been moved by this production? Will it shake their
sensibilities in the Senate to compel them to compromise for the good of
their constituents and the country?

Let`s hope this movie night inspires the party of Lincoln to quit
voting against the interests of the American people. I hope it works.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you will Republicans block common sense
gun laws? Ninety five percent of you say yes; five percent of you say no.
That`s a high number, I think.

"Time Magazine" announces President Obama as their person of the year.
We`ll talk to presidential historian Doug Brinkley about what it all means,



CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: And I think if you just kind of stepped aside
and Mr. Romney can take over, you could still use a plane --


EASTWOOD: Though maybe a smaller one.


SCHULTZ: Well, it turns out the invisible man Clint Eastwood spoke to
at this year`s RNC convention was given a major honor today. President
Barack Obama was named the magazine`s person of the year. "Time
Magazine`s" editor gave his reasons for the choice on "The Today Show" this


despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody has had to face in 70
years. He is the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with
over 50 percent of the vote. That is something we haven`t seen since
Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

And he is basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind of new
America, a new demographic, a new cultural America, that he is now the
symbol of.


SCHULTZ: This is the second time President Obama was named person of
the year. Time wrote up a great piece on the president. But everyone is
really talking about these pictures. "Time" showcases a number of stunning
images taken by White House photographer Peter Souza. He captures behind-
the-scenes pictures like this one, so unbelievable. This is the president,
seen here writing the Newtown speech he gave on Sunday night. He worked on
it during his daughter`s -- Sasha ballet rehearsal.

Then there are the lighthearted moments in the White House. This
photograph here, this picture shows the president of the United States
pretending to be caught up in Spiderman`s web while being greeted by the
son of a White House staffer. That`s being a dad right there.

And this one shows some family time. President Obama is seen here
playing in the snow with his daughters at the White House. They need to
put more snow on him, don`t you think?

Anyway, "Time`s" article paints a very clear picture of the president,
who works awfully hard for this country, but is also revealing a very
personal side of the president everyone should see.

I`m joined tonight by Doug Brinkley, presidential historian, author,
and professor of history at Rice University. Every president, you know,
has the family, has those special moments. But it just seems that they are
so much more intense with this president. What is your response to what
you see?

Remember, just a decade ago, people were debating what is family values.
And Republicans were claiming that term. Well, Barack Obama exudes family
values. He is an extraordinary father, which comes out in some of thee
photographs, and a great husband. And even he makes us all look ashamed as
how he takes care of his mother-in-law also.

But in this photographer, Peter Souza is one of the great ones. He is
like David Kennerly (ph), who was with Gerald Ford, Bob McNeeley (ph) with
Bill Clinton. But these are some of the iconic images of our time.

SCHULTZ: These obviously stay with -- as an illustration of the
legacy in a sense, doesn`t it?

BRINKLEY: Big time. I mean, some day there will be an Obama
Presidential Library, probably in Chicago. And these photos will be all --
one of the key parts of the exhibit. I think it`s been -- the story of
White House photography has just improved. I mean, we talk about Lincoln,
Matthew Brady, and you remember a couple of photos of Lincoln back there.

But with Obama, it`s becoming very Kennedy-esque, the Obama White
House. Jody Kantor wrote a very good book about it. What is really going
on in the White House has been kept quite private. I think these photos
open it up in a new way.

SCHULTZ: He has not been a president that has forged a lot of
relationships with legislators. What about that?

BRINKLEY: I think that`s true. I think he is a very private person.
I think we have to take him at his word. He has wanted to be a good dad,
first and foremost. I think it was the deal he made with Michelle that he
was going to do that. He doesn`t spend a lot of that free time eating
popcorn and watching movies.

That may be a negative on his part. Maybe he has needed to do a
little more back slapping. Jimmy Carter didn`t do a lot either. But I
think these photographs in "Time" are only going to make people like the
president more.

SCHULTZ: What about "Time`s" explanation as to why they chose the
president to be man of the year? "Finding and forging a new majority, for
turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to
create a more perfect union." That`s a mouthful. That`s a lot. What
about that?

BRINKLEY: I think we had lived in the age of Franklin Roosevelt from
1933 all the way to 1980. I think there was a Reagan revolution that went
all the way up until 1916. Obama, we didn`t know what `08 Obama meant,
because the economy had tanked and the war was bad. Now, with this
election in 2012, it looks like Barack Obama -- we`re living now in the age
of Obama, which is a new kind of American open heartedness, the bringing in
of Latinos, guy marriage, marijuana even.

And a lot of the progressive programs of the `60s he has been able to

SCHULTZ: Would you parallel him to Abraham Lincoln?

BRINKLEY: He -- that is the president -- I know a group of
historians, we visited with him some in the White House. He loves Lincoln.
He can`t get enough of Abraham Lincoln. Doris Kearns Goodwin I believe is
his favorite historian. And that book "Team of Rivals" I know meant a
great deal with him. And he is very Lincoln-esque in the sense he is very
good with words.

And this "Time" article points out, he writes a lot. He came to the
White House as a writer. I think there`s -- he is also a great
Constitutional lawyer. And Lincoln was too.

SCHULTZ: Professor Brinkley, great to have you with us tonight.
Thank you so much.

That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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