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The Ed Show for Friday, December 21st, 2012

December 21, 2012

Guests: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jim Moran, Jesse Jackson, Doug Brinkley, John Nichols

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW tonight from Minneapolis.

The Republican Party is in ruins. Maybe we can actually get a deal

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


optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): President Obama is doing everything he can to
avert a fiscal cliff disaster for the middle class. The Republican
implosion gives Democrats even more leverage in the fiscal cliff

I`ll ask DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- will this latest
move by the president be enough?

"Revolting," "tone-deaf," "disastrous" -- the NRA blames everything
but guns for gun violence in America, including 20-year-old video games.

And they reverse an opportunity to heal the country for a commercial
for more guns.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA EXEC. VICE PRESIDENT: The only thing that stops a
bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Jim Moran and Reverend Jesse Jackson react to
today`s circus.

DAVID KEENE, NRA PRESIDENT: This is the beginning of a serious
conversation. We won`t be taking questions.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Reporting for duty.

SCHULTZ: And John Kerry biographer Douglas Brinkley on the senator`s
big nomination.


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

It`s home for the holidays with no deal. House Speaker John Boehner
only has himself to blame. Boehner`s "Plan B" gimmick failed big-time last
night. At this point, a fiscal cliff deal with Boehner`s members would
probably require divine intervention.


only knows. But I`ve done is that Eric and I and our team here are
committed to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both
sides of the Capitol and the White House to address it.


SCHULTZ: After a day with dealing with humiliation, Boehner hit the
gavel and sent his members home for the holidays. There will be no deal
this weekend. Then, Boehner took the walk of shame out of the Capitol.
It`s unclear whether he will be the speaker in the New Year.

It was the same sad walk many House members took last night when they
couldn`t get their own folks to vote on Boehner`s "Plan B". Republican
leaders can`t strike a deal with their own members. How will they strike
one with the president of the United States? Boehner was scrambling for
excuses today.


BOEHNER: You know, one of my colleagues the other night had an
analogy of 100 people drowning in a pool, and that he was a lifeguard. And
because he couldn`t save any of them, does that mean he shouldn`t have done
anything? And his point to them was if I can go in there and save 99
people that are drowning, that`s what I should do as a lifeguard. But the
perception was out there, and a lot of our members did not want to have to
deal with it.


SCHULTZ: Far right members of the Republican caucus are behind this
meltdown. Other Republicans were outraged by the failure and were
defending Speaker Boehner today.


REP. BUCK MCKEON (R), CALIFORNIA: It`s just a real shame, because he
has worked his heart out to try to get the best deal he can. And to have
this happen, this is very sad for the country.

REP. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Have a vote on it tonight. You know
where I am. I say take the 250. Get it done.

REP. STEVEN LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: It`s unbelievable. This is
horrible. I`m angry. I`m sad for my friend the speaker, and I`m sad for
the country. We deserve better.


SCHULTZ: But outgoing Tea Party Congressman Allen West seemed more
than happy to blow up the big deal.


REPORTER: What did they say in there? What did they say happened?

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: Say merry Christmas, OK? Merry
Christmas. So the lump of coal is in president`s box.


SCHULTZ: It all come downs to how much they hate the president of the
United States. Republican leaders are now trying to wash their hands of
the whole thing. They know the country will blame the GOP if we go over
the fiscal cliff.


job. It`s his job to find a solution that can pass the Congress. He is
the only one who can do it.


SCHULTZ: President Obama met with Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid today, but still there is no deal. The president took to
the podium late this afternoon to explain the next step.


OBAMA: In the next few days, I`ve asked leaders of Congress to work
towards a package that prevents a tax hike on middle class Americans,
protects unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans, and lays the
groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction. That`s
an achievable goal. That can get done in 10 days.


SCHULTZ: You know, President Obama today could have come out, and he
could have just punched Boehner right in the nose. He could have come out
today and kicked the guy when he was politically down.

But the president came out today with a demeanor of, hey, let`s do a
deal. It was a rough night at the office, but let`s not give up on this.

President Obama has gone back to the basics. The days of the grand
bargain he knows are over. But the president wants an extension on tax
cuts for income below $250,000, as well as extended unemployment benefits.

What`s wrong with that? Spending cuts can be dealt with later on in
the future.

And, of course, as luck would have it, there is already a bill exactly
like this sitting in the United States Senate. Harry Reid passed it back
in July, and Republicans refused to vote on it. Boehner, why don`t you
vote on that?

The time for complaining about this deal totally over.


OBAMA: Nobody can get 100 percent of what they want. And this is not
simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who


SCHULTZ: Don`t you think Republicans need to be careful about pushing
back on this for the good of the country? If no deal is struck this year,
President Obama, what does he have?

Well, he`s got the inauguration coming up. A big platform. He`s got
the State of the Union address coming up. A big platform. He is going to
have a better chance to have the American people on his side.

President Obama urged all members of Congress to get some perspective
over the holiday weekend on this.


OBAMA: Everybody can cool off. Everybody can drink some eggnog, have
some Christmas cookies, sing some Christmas carols, enjoy the company of
loved ones. And then I`d ask every member of Congress while they`re back
home to think about that, think about the obligations we have to the people
who sent us here, think about the hardship that so many Americans will
endure if Congress does nothing at all.


SCHULTZ: That is a crucial point right there, folks. Here is
President Obama. Not saying, Boehner can`t get his caucus together. I got
my folks together. We`re ready to rock `n roll. We`ve got a deal right on
the table for the American people. It`s Boehner, he is the problem.

The president didn`t do that.

Today, every American should be encouraged about the fact that there
is leadership coming out of the White House. This president has got so
many olive branches coming out of the windows of the White House, nobody
could cut them off.

The fact is, this president has done everything he can. He even put
Social Security on the table. That`s right, chained CPI. That was there.
He said he wasn`t going to do it, but he wanted a deal. And the president
is explaining not everybody is going to get what they want.

Americans are very clear on the solution they want: higher taxes for
the wealthiest Americans and sensible cuts in spending. That`s where the
country is right now. Last night, Republicans destroyed their own party
because they refused to agree with the American people.

But, of course, they think if they do something that might align
themselves with President Obama, it`s going to be their political death
knell. They have it all screwed up. It`s time to hand the keys back to
the adults.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: do Republicans want the country to go over the fiscal cliff?

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

I`m joined tonight by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: From Florida and, of course, the chair of the DNC. You bet.

This has been a real circus the last 24 hours. The president today,
Congresswoman, went back to the basics. He basically said let`s just all
get along on the 98 percent.


SCHULTZ: Let`s just vote on that.

Why won`t John Boehner go there and trust the president that all of
you can work on spending cuts after the first of the year? What`s wrong
with that?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, there is certainly nothing wrong with it.
And that`s the certainly that we should have already been able to give the
middle class. It`s what the president has been pushing for, and we have
the bill that the Senate sent us in July sitting in the House, ready to be
voted on and sent to the president.

But, you know, look -- doing the right thing, doing the right thing,
Ed, is hard. You know, it does. It carries political risk. I mean, I
know that. My fellow Democrats who voted for that debt ceiling deal last
summer, you know, where there was a trillion dollars in spending cuts only,
with no revenue, no balance. We`ve got the debt ceiling increased.

But we put our cards on the table and voted for a trillion dollars in
spending cuts. And then, you know, me and my progressive district, I had
to go home and defend it. And there were folks at home that didn`t want me
to vote for it. And that was politically risky.

But in order to make sure that we didn`t jeopardize the full faith and
credit of the country, I voted for that deal, because it was important.


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And that is what we need to do. We`ve got to come
together. And everybody`s got to give a little. We have 10 days. We can
get this done.

I share the president`s optimism. I know, and you saw some of those
Republican members that were interviewed that were disappointed at the
result last night.

We can put together a majority of the Congress, a majority of the
House, and get this deal done.

SCHULTZ: Do you think that if the Senate bill that passed, Harry
Reid`s bill, if it were put into the Congress right now over on the House
side, that it would pass? Don`t the American people deserve that
opportunity, an up-or-down vote on that bill that has already passed the
Senate? Do you think it would have a shot in the House?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I mean, if it`s on the floor, I can`t imagine that
there would be anyone who would vote against it. It`s extending tax breaks
for 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses.

But problem is that the Republicans -- and quite frankly, we want the
same thing. We want a total package. We know we need spending cuts. We
know we need revenue. We know we need to make sure that we deal with
entitlement reform.

But, look, the speaker couldn`t even get his spending cuts piece of
"Plan B" through with more than six votes to spare. I mean, on the
spending cuts piece. So he`s got a problem.

SCHULTZ: So -- all right. So why not go over the cliff and fix it in
the New Year? I mean, it`s not -- you know, it`s going to hurt some people
for a while. Are you afraid that the Republicans would never come back to
the table if that were to happen in and the country would just suffer pain?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Ed, we don`t have to go over the cliff. It`s not
responsible to go over the cliff.

The speaker and his leadership team needs to make a decision how many
votes they can put on the table for a balanced plan. He needs to get back
to the negotiating table with the president. I was glad to see that they
spoke today. They weren`t very far apart. The president has really moved
in a significant direction towards the speaker.

And, look, the speaker put some things on the table. Putting revenue
on the table is a big deal for the Republicans. But we`ve got a little
ways to go. We can get a deal done. And it`s essential that we get a deal


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Having to deal with it after the first of the year
comes with a whole host of other complications. And we just -- we need to
-- we need to all find our political courage. We need to go see the
wizard. We need to do the right thing and get this done before December

SCHULTZ: Well, I don`t know who the wizard would be in this deal, but
-- well, I`ll tell you what.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We all have our own personal wizard, Ed.

SCHULTZ: John Boehner may not be the speaker. I don`t -- I don`t
know if he is a wizard, but he may not be the speaker next year. What are
your thoughts on that?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, I have no idea about the internal
Republican conference politics. You know, I just know that the certainty
that we have to give the middle class is essential here.

SCHULTZ: OK. All right. Congresswoman --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And I know there are good Republicans and good
Democrats that want to do that.

SCHULTZ: All right. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with us
tonight here on THE ED SHOW -- thanks so much.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks, Ed. Happy holidays.

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn now to MSNBC political analyst -- you bet. And
to you, too.

Let`s turn to Karen Finney tonight, former communications director of
the DNC.

Where are we right now? Who are the winners and losers right now? I
think the American people are big-time losers on this deal.

Particularly after the American people spoke very clearly about what they

I mean, politically speaking, obviously I think the president
continues to be a winner in that he has, you know, as you were just
discussing, he has tried to move, he has tried to, you know, many olive
branches. I think the American people have seen him working hard. And the
polls bear it out, continue the bear it out, that he retains a high degree
of confidence and support from the American people.


FINNEY: I think Nancy Pelosi actually comes out of this with a little
bit more leverage, because it`s clear that any deal that gets done is going
to need Democratic support. And as we know, she has been a far more
effective leader than John Boehner has.

SCHULTZ: Sure. Moments ago, the president and his family left for
Hawaii on board Air Force One. What does this look like to the American

I know the Senate is gone and the House is gone. Here goes the
president to Hawaii.

I mean, where is the sense of urgency here? And I blame all lawmakers
for this.

FINNEY: I agree with you, Ed. I mean, I think the optics of this is
really disturbing. If you are sitting at home, and you`re telling
yourself, OK, I`m not quite sure what is going to happen with my tax rates
and my -- you know, for next year. So how much am I going to spend now on
Christmas? How much am I getting back?

I mean, you know, those kinds of questions, that kind of uncertainty,
what`s going to happen with payroll taxes, what`s going to happen with
unemployment. And you see everybody kind of leaving town, great that
they`re willing to come back next week.

But you know what? Most of us when we have work to do, we sit there
and we get it done. We don`t get to, you know, leave and come back when
it`s convenient for us.

So, yes, I think it would be much better if these guys showed a little
more dedication and just sat here and got it done.

SCHULTZ: All right. Home for the holidays and no deal. Karen
Finney, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.

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.

One week after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the NRA`s
Wayne LaPierre calls for more guns in schools. Congressman Jim Moran of
Virginia on the gun lobby`s deep paranoia. That is next.


SCHULTZ: Today, the National Rifle Association had an opportunity to
try and unite the nation around sensible gun policy. Instead, they used
their press conference to try and sell more guns.

Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, and Reverend Jesse Jackson on
today`s disgraceful sideshow.

And later, John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation" with
the latest on today`s fiscal cliff developments, and the people who will
get crushed if nothing gets done.

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

We`re coming right back. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

On a day when a community laid more victims to rest, on day when a
nation stopped just briefly to honor the dead, the National Rifle
Association came out swinging, defiant, paranoid, and utterly tone-deaf.


KEENE: This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won`t be
taking questions.


SCHULTZ: But NRA President David Keene was just the warm-up act for
the gun lobby`s number one defender, Wayne LaPierre.

Wayne LaPierre offered up a televised sales pitch to America, making
the case to expand the gun market by demanding more guns in schools.


LAPIERRE: With all the foreign aid the United States does, with all
the money in the federal budget, can`t we afford to put a police officer in
every single school? I call on Congress today to act immediately to
appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every
single school in this nation.


SCHULTZ: LaPierre failed to mention there were two armed security
officers on duty at Columbine High School. They were certainly no match
for the assault weapons that the killers carried in that assault.

There were armed police on campus at Virginia Tech. They, too, were
unable to prevent the deaths of 32 people.

In addition to advocating for more guns, LaPierre was all too eager to
dish out the blame. Let`s see, now. He blamed the media. He blamed the
president of the United States. He blamed Hollywood -- yet failed to
mention a single film made in the last decade.


LAPIERRE: We have blood-soaked films out there, like "American
Psycho," "Natural Born Killers."


SCHULTZ: And he blamed video games?

Even though the National Rifle Association produces its own video
game, and partners with a company that produces the kind of violent games
LaPierre says are the problem.

Wayne LaPierre did not, however, place any blame on guns, and he
offered no proposals to restrict firearms in any way, shape, or form.

The NRA sales pitch drew criticism from lawmakers of all political
persuasions. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the press
conference a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie told reporters that armed guards won`t make schools
any safer.

And Senator-elect Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted this earlier
today, "Walking out of another funeral," he was handed the NRA transcript.
"The most revolting tone-deaf statement I`ve ever seen." Indeed.

Right before Wayne LaPierre delivered his remarks, a gunman shot and
killed three people in Pennsylvania. One of the victims was a woman,
hanging up Christmas decorations in a church.

Let`s turn to Virginia Congressman Jim Moran.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time.
Always good to have you with us, Jim, on this program. Thank you.

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: What is -- what do you make of today`s press conference, the
reaction of the national rifle association?

MORAN: Well, Wayne LaPierre works for the gun manufacturers. He
really doesn`t represent the majority of the members who are far more sane
and responsible than the leadership is.

You know, if you -- there is 125,000 public schools in the country. A
security guard, $50,000 with benefits for a year, that`s $6.25 billion. Do
you think the NRA would be willing to tax its guns and ammunition in order
to pay that? I doubt it.

But more importantly, Ed, do we really want our children to grow up
into a world where the first thing they see when they cross the school
threshold is a military-style assault weapon carried by somebody with a
weapon, a vest and dressed in a SWAT uniform? I mean, it seems to me -- I
know that`s the world the NRA envisions. But it seems to me we`re so much
better than that.


MORAN: That`s not the world we want our children to grow up into.
And it`s time for this country to say no the NRA. The fact that you have
19 times greater likelihood of being killed by a firearm in the United
States than any other industrialized nation in the world.


MORAN: We know there is something wrong, and it`s time to fix it.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, the NRA isn`t coming out of left field with
this idea of police at schools. Polling shows that this idea resonates
with the majority of Americans. What do you have to say about that?

MORAN: You know, it`s up to leadership to explain some of the facts,
Ed. To suggest that the American people really envision what that means,
we can`t give in to the gun lobby and try to, you know, make things OK when
they`re not.

We have too many guns in this country. There is no question about
that. You know, 5 percent of the world`s population, 50 percent of the
world`s guns.

So it`s up to leaders in the Congress. And I think it`s up to each
individual member of the Congress to ask themselves is my political career
more of greater value than the lives of those children? Because that`s
what it comes down to.

SCHULTZ: Well --

MORAN: We all have to stand up to the NRA.

SCHULTZ: Let me answer that. Congressman, I don`t think you`re going
to get one Republican vote on the assault weapons ban. I don`t think
you`re going to get one Republican vote on limiting the number of bullets
that can go into a magazine.

I think that the Republican Party across the board is intimidated by
the National Rifle Association. And until that culture in congress
changes, how are we going the change the gun culture in America? Your

MORAN: Well, you`re absolutely right, Ed. There isn`t one Republican
that has co-sponsored one genuine effort at restricting gun violence. But
our only hope is their constituents pressuring them, calling them, writing


MORAN: I mean, this is a democracy. You know, I think most people
agree that you shouldn`t be selling weapons to mentally ill people.


MORAN: But the only way to do that is to have a background check.
And they oppose that. And, in fact, after Virginia Tech, we authorized an
expansion of the national criminal background check.

And then the NRA behind the scenes worked with the appropriation
members to make sure it didn`t get funded. So, in most states, you don`t
know who is mentally incompetent to be given a firearm.


MORAN: That`s what --

SCHULTZ: That is a big one.

MORAN: -- they do and it`s got to stop.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Jim Moran, great to have you with us tonight.

You know, let`s just identify. It is lax gun laws in America there is
a lot of loopholes that have got to be closed. It is the fact that the NRA
is very influential in elections.

But let`s put the cards on the table. I think we have done that
tonight. It`s the Republicans too. It is the Republicans.

They are as much at fault as anybody else politically in this country
when it comes to loose gun laws. And I think if we`re just come right out
and say that, I think we`re going to be a heck of a lot better off trying
to solve the problem. What Republican wants to stand up and do something
about what is happening on our streets and schools in this country?

Coming up, Jesse Jackson reacts to the NRA`s call to arms.

And later, President Obama nominates John Kerry for the next secretary
of state. Presidential historian Doug Brinkley on why it`s a great move
for the president.

Stay with us.



stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


SCHULTZ: That was NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, just
one week after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
Connecticut. The NRA is putting blame on movies, video games, and calling
for more guns to be placed in schools.

I`m joined tonight by Reverend Jesse Jackson, founder and president of
the Rainbow Push Coalition. Reverend, good to have you with us tonight.
Thank you for your time.


SCHULTZ: You bet. More guns in schools. Is that the solution?

JACKSON: No. He sounds as if he is tone-deaf to the cries of the
American people. We have the most guns of any nation on Earth and the
highest homicide; 32,000 Americans are killed a year, 100,000 are injured.
That`s five times what we lost in the Iraq War in 10 years.

You recall at the Holocaust Museum, the shooting, the first person
shot was the guard at the door. The break in the Capitol two years ago,
the first person shot was the armed guard at the door. So there are no
defenses against semiautomatic weapons and Glocks and these magazines.

SCHULTZ: Reverend, what hope do you see for changing the gun culture
in this country, if the forecast is you`re not going to get any Republicans
to do anything on assault weapons ban? You`re not going to get them to do
anything on the number of bullets put in a magazine and the availability of
it all, and closing the gun show loophole.

I mean, these are the main things, main problems. What hope do you
hold out for change in the culture?

JACKSON: These Republicans have been much too silent. They will not
go on shows this week even to discuss it, because they`re trying to lead by
fear, not lead by courage and not lead by hope. You know, right now we see
the massacre at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech and Aurora,
and now of course in Sandy Hook. How painful it was to see those babies
wiped out in that way.

But the next level, these guns can wipe out airplanes and
infrastructure. These are military assault weapons. And we`re all less
secure because of them. Less secure.

SCHULTZ: Press conference for the NRA angered a lot of people. What
kind of backlash do you think that they`re going to get? Do you think that
this is going to rile the American people against what they stand for?

JACKSON: You know, 25 percent of all police are called by assault
weapons, of which they have no defense. Most police chiefs are NRA
members, but they`re also against assault weapons. So I`m not sure that
LaPierre speaks for all of the NRA members.

As we have broken down walls across the years, we always had to lead
by courage forward and not backwards, by fear. So whether you`re a
Democrat or Republican, those children were not killed in Sandy Hook based
upon their ethnicity or their religion or their politics. It was human
beings shot by madness, and the combination of a mental depression and that
of post-traumatic syndrome.

I even put politics -- in Chicago, for example, 49 people have been
killed by December 10th of this year, 175 this under the age of 18. So we
look at 27, which was such a gross situation there in Sandy Hook, but in
Chicago -- that`s why I wish at some point the president would come and
speak in Chicago and right here in Inglewood, because it`s different down
there. But here it is not just about mental illness. It`s also about
politics of war, drug war, guns, and drugs in and jobs out.

We have a different warfare seen in a place like this.

SCHULTZ: What would you do to protect school children right now?

JACKSON: I think, first, the ban on assault weapons is a step in the
right direction. Secondly, stop gun trafficking across state lines, second
thing. The third thing is you must -- we have more police patrols around
schools in Chicago, in Inglewood, for example. Shootings are down because
more police patrol.

But these are official police patrolling, as opposed to having armed
bandits traveling. You really want to arm your police and your official
militia, not have armed bandits driven by some form of drug warfare or
something else of the sort.

SCHULTZ: All right, Reverend Jesse Jackson, good to have you with us
tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks for your time. I appreciate it. There is
a lot more coming up in the next half hour on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.


OBAMA: I think it`s fair to say few individuals, presidents and prime
ministers, will grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry. This
makes him a perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.


SCHULTZ: Big news for the senior senator from Massachusetts.
Tonight, Kerry biographer professor Douglas Brinkley on the president`s
nominee for secretary of state.

Bad news for Red Lobster and Olive Garden after they come out against
Obamacare. We`ll tell you how people are voting with their dollars.

And you won`t see the real victims of the real war on Christmas on the
curvy couch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you make of the political correctness
part of our culture?


SCHULTZ: John Nichols of "the Nation" magazine on people who stand to
suffer the most when we go over the fiscal cliff.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
President Obama made history tonight as he nominated our nation`s 68th
secretary of state. .


OBAMA: I`m very proud to announce my choice for America`s next
secretary of state, John Kerry. So John, I`m very grateful that you have
agreed to take on this new assignment. I`m confident that the Senate will
confirm you quickly.

But I know that you are going to be an outstanding secretary of state.
Thank you so much. Congratulations.



SCHULTZ: The president went on to praise Senator Kerry as the perfect
choice to take over for Secretary Clinton.


OBAMA: In a sense, John`s entire life has prepared him for this role.
As the son of a foreign service officer, he has a deep respect for the men
and women of the State Department. Having served with valor in Vietnam, he
understands that we have a responsibility to use American power wisely.
And as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, John`s played a central
role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly 30 years.

I think it`s fair to say that few individuals know as many presidents
and prime ministers or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry.
And this makes him a perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the
years ahead.


SCHULTZ: And there is no doubt Senator Kerry is the right person for
the job. He has already traveled the globe on behalf of the Obama
Administration, helping mend strained relationships with Afghanistan and
Pakistan. His 27 years of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee put him in the perfect position to tackle ongoing struggles in
the Middle East.

Senator Kerry is expected to breeze through the confirmation process.
And a number of lawmakers are already eyeing his Senate seat. I`m joined
tonight by Doug Brinkley, professor, president historian, author and
professor of history at Rice University. Doug, good to have you back with


SCHULTZ: This would probably make one of the strongest picks that the
president could have gotten in this country, or am I wrong on that?

BRINKLEY: Oh, absolutely, Ed. And he is replacing Hillary Clinton.
To replace her is tough. But the world community is looking for somebody
from America who is well-known. And John Kerry, by virtue of being part of
the foreign affairs game for so many decades now, and also just being
respected all over the globe -- he has made about 10 visits to Afghanistan
and Pakistan, working for Barack Obama.

So this is a statesman. He is like one of the great wise men that you
hear about during the Truman years of George Kennan and Dean Acheson.
Kerry is part of the foreign policy establishment in the best sense of that

SCHULTZ: You wrote a book, a biography on Senator John Kerry. Why is
he uniquely positioned to do well? I mean, I know the experience. But his
approach towards terrorism and his forward-thinking approach of
negotiations and diplomacy seems to make him above the rest in so many
ways. Is he respected around the world?

BRINKLEY: Very much respected around the world. And remember, when
he was a young man, his father was a diplomat. So he grew up in Berlin,
was in Normandy, Oslo. He speaks four to five languages quite competently.
He is a global thinker. But on the war on terror, he has been -- he is
tough. I mean, he is a great friend of Israel, but yet he wants to see the
peace process continue.

And he is going to be the person who is going to have to start getting
us out of Afghanistan. I think he is right for that. He was tough on
Libya, calling for the no-fly zone before anybody else. He had called for
Mubarak to step down before anybody else.

So John Kerry is somebody who is a war hero from Vietnam, I mean, a
bronze star, silver star, three purple hearts. So he is a warrior, but yet
he is somebody who truly believes in negotiation and trying to have a
peaceful world. And he also has great friendships on Capitol Hill. He is

So people like Lindsey Graham and John McCain know him and respect
him. So I think he will breeze through the confirmation.

SCHULTZ: Well, with that, I want to play a sound bite of both those
two senators that you just mentioned, their reaction today to the choice.
Here it is.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We have known John Kerry for many
years. We have confidence in John Kerry`s ability to carry out the job.

SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think Senator Kerry was a
very solid choice by the president. He has a lot of experience. He has
been on the Foreign Relations Committee for a very long time. He knows
most of the world leaders.


SCHULTZ: The Susan Rice/Benghazi witch-hunt, what is your reaction to

BRINKLEY: Keep in mind, John Kerry is Barack Obama`s first choice.
Susan Rice wasn`t a choice. She got tied up into the politics of Benghazi.
But this is who the president like, believes in. Kerry gave Obama that
great nominating speech slot in 2004. But Kerry has been able to be
bipartisan in the true sense.

He has been able to cut deals and work with senators -- Senator
Murkowski is a friend of his from Alaska. This is going to be one of the
best appointments, selections that the president could have made. And most
people on Capitol Hill feel the same.

SCHULTZ: Quickly, will he go through confirmation easily?

BRINKLEY: He will go through. I think Vicki Kennedy will come in and
be the senator for that interim period. It`s 145 to 160 days until
Governor Deval Patrick is going to set that up. I think Patrick,
incidentally, Ed, is probably going to run for the Senate.

SCHULTZ: OK, interesting. Doug Brinkley, great to have you with us
tonight, professor. Thank you so much.

Coming up, the owner of some big-name chain restaurants sees profits
plunge. After they attempt to skirt Obamacare. Stay tuned. That`s next.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Nobody likes a Scrooge, and
I`ve got the numbers to prove it. Darden Restaurants, ever heard of them?
The umbrella corporation behind chains Olive Garden and Red Lobster, well,
they did their best to avoid providing their workers with health care. Now
they`re paying the price.

Here is the story. Back in October, the company launched an anti-
Obamacare experiment. Darden quietly started putting more workers on part-
time status. Under Obamacare, Darden wouldn`t be required to provide
coverage for its part-time workers who make up 75 percent of the company`s

Fewer full-time employees, fewer people to insure. But once the media
caught wind, so did the consumers. And karma comes in the form of a income
-- net income drop of 37 percent. The American people are speaking with
their wallets, and Darden numbers tells us the American people don`t like
CEOs who screw their employees out of health care.

`Darden now claims that their actions were misinterpreted. But this
isn`t the first time the company has tried to shortchange its workers. A
restaurant workers organization found that Darden pays as little as 2.13
dollars an hour. By the way, that is the federal sub-minimum wage for
tipped employees.

That number hasn`t changed since 1991. And Darden has lobbied against
minimum wage increases over the years. In the meantime, the CEO pay has
increased 23 percent per year, on average, since 2005, to 8.5 million
dollars in 2011, 539 times the average annual compensation of restaurant

`In other words, Darden could have its very own vulture chart. We
might have to make that one up. I don`t know about you, but a never-ending
pasta bowl isn`t worth supporting a selfish, low-wage, low-benefit company.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you do Republicans want the country to
go over the fiscal cliff? Ninety five percent of you say yes; five percent
of you say no.

Coming up, while Congress heads home for the holidays, millions of
Americans are wondering, hey, what is going to happen to me? My taxes, my
unemployment checks coming up in the new year. John Nichols spells it out
next. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand you don`t like to say happy holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, actually, I wish people always
have happy holidays, but I tend to be a little bit more specific. I can`t
find any reference where Santa has ever said anything other than Merry


SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish, "Fox and Friends" took its coverage
of the war on Christmas to a whole new level the last couple of days. And
while Fox spends its time covering an imaginary war, let me tell you, there
is a real war going on this holiday season, affecting millions of out of
work Americans.

Over two million Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits
just days after Christmas. Benefits will end December 29th if Congress
does not act on the fiscal cliff. And according to the National Employment
Law Project, another one million jobless Americans will also exhaust their
state benefits early next year.

Karen Duckett (ph) is just one of the folks who will be affected. She
survived breast cancer, yet doesn`t know how she and her grandson will make
ends meet once their benefits run out. "The checks keep a roof over our
head. I can`t even imagine what we`re going to do without that check."

The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, says extending benefits
another year will cost 30 billion dollars, a small price tag when you
consider other costs like extending tax cuts for millionaires.

I`m joined tonight by John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "the
Nation" magazine. John, great to have you with us. You know, we focus on
the deal, you know, who is going to get the tax break, where is the
spending cuts, where are they going to come from. But in the backdrop of
all of this, millions of Americans have no security this Christmas. They
don`t know whether their benefits are going to be extended.

There is a lot of pain out there. Who are these people? What should
they do?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": These people are folks we know. My
sister was unemployed for the better part of 10 months this year. She just
found a job. And there are two million people, many of whom had decent
jobs before the recession, mostly folks who live in rural areas and tougher
cities, places that have been harder hit, where there just aren`t jobs
available, at least not quickly.

One of the things to understand, Ed, is that before this recession
hit, if you were unemployed, your chances of getting a job in six months
were pretty good, very good. Now since this recession, you`ve just seen an
explosion in the timeline. And also, in many parts of this country, the
recovery has been very slow to come. It`s a really tragic situation.

And the one thing that people really need to understand here, Ed, is
that this money -- putting this money into the pockets of the long-term
unemployed does not harm the economy. It helps it. According to the
Congressional Budget Office, you actually end up with a 1.10 dollar in
economic growth for every dollar that goes to a person who is long-term

SCHULTZ: Well, why is this -- it`s a no-brainer. Why won`t the
Congress move on this? Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody`s, says that
extending benefits will keep the recovery going. So it just it seems to me
that this is all upside for politicians who refuse to vote on it, who
refuse to make a deal. Your thoughts.

NICHOLS: This is really hardcore ideology in play, folks who, I think
like Mitt Romney when he was talking about the 47 percent, like Paul Ryan
when he was talking about makers versus takers. There are an awful lot of
people in Congress who believe that folks are unemployed because they want
to be unemployed, because they`re lazy or something like that.

It`s simply false. I hate to go too far on a holiday metaphor, but if
you go back and you read Charles Dickens, you see where the two gentlemen
come to visit Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve and suggest to him that he
might want to give a little bit to charity. He says they`re not my

I think we have a Congress full of folks like Ebenezer Scrooge, who
say that the long-term unemployed are not their problem. In fact, this
country was founded on the principle that we elect a Congress to make it
their problem, to make it their concern and to go out and do something
about it.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols, you and your family have a great Christmas.
Great to have you with us here tonight.

NICHOLS: And to you as well.

SCHULTZ: I`m going to be taking a few days off next week. You bet,
my friend. Michael Eric Dyson will be doing the show. And of course, we
will be having a wonderful Christmas at the Schultz household. My wife
Wendy has finished her chemotherapy. She is on the road to recovery, or
should I say she is cured. And we are so thankful. It`s been a rough six

But we are together, and that is the main thing. This is THE ED SHOW
for this year. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.


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