The Ed Show for Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

January 16, 2013

Guests: Jackie Speier, Dan Gross, Stephanie Cutter, Rep. Jan Schakowsky

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

President Obama laid out bold and historic plans to curb gun violence
in this country. He needs your help.

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


as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how, we will be judged.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president lays it all on the line for new
gun laws.

OBAMA: This will not happen unless the American people demand it.

SCHULTZ: And he calls out the right wing machine that wants to kill

OBAMA: They want to gin up fear for higher ratings or revenues for

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California on the
president`s major announcement.

Dan Gross on the Brady Campaign on whether the president`s plan can

David Corn and Michael Steele on the despicable NRA ad attacking the
president`s kids.

AD NARRATOR: Are the president`s kids more important than yours?

SCHULTZ: Plus, Obama for America is getting the fan back together to
fight the NRA.

a list, then Obama for America has a bigger list. And it`s time to get
activated, again.

SCHULTZ: Former Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter joins
me tonight.

And Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky on the return of the public option.


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

There cannot be another false start in curbing gun violence in this
country. Today, the path for change was paved. President Obama announced
proposals for sweeping reforms to gun laws in this country. In the wake of
the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary -- it`s gut check time for America.


OBAMA: This is our first task as a society: keeping our children
safe. This is how we will be judged.


SCHULTZ: Horrific gun violence is not isolated to one cold December
day in Connecticut. Obama said every day wasted leads to more lost lives.


OBAMA: Keeping our children safe. Precious children and six brave
adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary. More than
900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun, 900
in the past month. And every day we wait, that number will keep going.


SCHULTZ: Over the past month, Vice President Joe Biden and his task
force is met with 229 groups from around the country. Biden`s task force
provided a road map for the long drive ahead.

President Obama is all in.


OBAMA: While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every
senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will
prevent every tragedy, every act of evil. If there is even one thing we
can do to reduce this violence, if there`s even one life that can be saved,
then we`ve got an obligation to try it. And I`m going to do my part.


SCHULTZ: The president very compelling today. He`s willing to spend
political capital in order to get something done.

Congress needs to follow his lead. Specific legislative proposals
include a system of universal background checks, renewing the assault
weapons ban from the Clinton era, limiting high capacity magazines to 10
bullets, providing more resources to states in reporting criminals and the
mentally ill. Outlawing armor-piercing bullets and funding, more funding,
for police officers around the country.

The president also signed 23 executive actions, most of them
reinforcing laws already on the books. Some actions are as simple as
nominating an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms director, which has not been
placed for six years. The president is asking the Centers for Disease
Control to study gun violence, including the effects of violent videogames.
He is calling for a report on new gun safety technologies and reports on
lost and stolen firearms -- all common sense stuff.

The proposals are about sanity, as much as anything else. And I hope
it all starts in the Senate, because I want to see the Republicans
filibuster this. I want to see them filibuster against the will of the
American people. I mean, there are sensible, reasonable things that are
out there to restrict the ownership of military weapons owned by citizens.

President Obama is not the only president who believed this.


OBAMA: Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a
movie theater. A majority of Americans agree with us on this. And, by the
way, so did Ronald Reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the Second
Amendment, who wrote to Congress in 1994 urging them, this is Ronald Reagan
speaking, urging them to listen to the American public and to the law
enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of
military-style assault weapons.


SCHULTZ: Oh, quoting their hero.

The logic is so simple, even a child can understand it. And many
children do. The president was accompanied today by young people who wrote
him letters asking for changes after Sandy Hook. You know, they witnessed
it, too.

One little boy named Grant wrote: "Dear President Obama, I think there
should be some changes in the laws with guns. It`s a free country, but I
recommend there needs to be a limit with guns.

Please don`t let people own machine guns or other powerful guns like
that. I think there should be a good reason to get a gun. We should learn
from what happened to the people at Sandy Hook. I feel really bad about
what just happened.

Sincerely, Grant.

P.S., I know you`re doing your best."

Maybe the children know more than we do, as a society.

The president has an obligation to these children and he does not take
it lightly.


OBAMA: You know, in the letter that Julia wrote me, she said, "I know
that laws have to be passed by Congress. But I beg you to try very hard."


OBAMA: Julia, I will try very hard.

But she`s right. The most important changes we can make depend on
congressional action. They need to bring these proposals up for a vote and
the American people need to make sure that they do.

Get them on record. Ask your member of Congress if they support
universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Ask them
if they support renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-
capacity magazines.

And if they say no, ask them why not? Ask them what`s important,
doing whatever it takes to get A grade from the gun lobby that funds their
campaigns, or giving parents some piece of mind when they drop their child
off for first grade?


SCHULTZ: And that cuts to the very culture of how Washington

Can a group shake you down for the vote? Or are you going to do
what`s right for the safety of our society?

This is a leadership moment. Our members of Congress going to be able
to look kids in the eye across the country and say you know, we really did
everything we could.

The public wants action. We have to count. Almost the entire country
approves of the universal background checks. A majority of people want an
assault weapons ban. These numbers have to mean something.

This time, as the president says, it has to be different.

President Obama said he was committed to change when he visited


OBAMA: Are we really prepared to say that we`re powerless in the face
of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say
that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is
somehow the price of our freedom?


SCHULTZ: Three days later, the president got the ball rolling.


OBAMA: I have 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 with studying the issue for
six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside.


SCHULTZ: Today, the president showed that he is ready to follow
through on his promise. It is a moral obligation to all of the families.


OBAMA: When I visited Newtown last month, I spent some private time
with many of the families who lost their children that day. And one was
the family of Grace McDonnell. Grace`s parents were here.

Grace was 7 years old when she was struck down -- just a gorgeous,
caring, joyful little girl. I`m told she loved pink. She loved the beach.
She dreamed of becoming a painter.

And so just before I left, Chris, her father, gave me one of her
paintings. And I hung it in my private study just off the Oval Office.

And every time I looked at that painting, I think about Grace. And I
think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her.
And most of all, I think about how when it comes to protecting the most
vulnerable among us, we must act now, for Grace, for the 25 other innocent
children and devoted educators who had so much left to give, for the men
and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless
violence each and every day, for all the Americans who are counting on us
to keep them safe from harm.

Let`s do the right thing. Let`s do the right thing for them and for
this country that we love so much.

Thank you.



SCHULTZ: Let`s do the right thing. Well, it takes courage to do the
right thing. Let`s our elected leaders can muster the courage we saw on
display today.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: will you vote for anyone who doesn`t support the president`s gun
safety proposals? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. You can go to
our blog at We`ll bring you results later on in the show.

I`m joined tonight by Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, who
is the vice chair of president`s gun violence task force.

Congresswoman, great to have you with us.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Great to be with you.

SCHULTZ: You have been touched personally. You are a victim of gun
violence. You`ve survived a massacre at Jonestown. What do the
president`s words mean to you personally today?

SPEIER: His words today said to me that it is time to do everything
in my power to make sure that the lives that were lost in Newtown, and the
32 lives that were lost each and every day in this country will not
continue to be the norm.

And I am absolutely committed to follow his lead and even go beyond
that, to making sure that we turn this society into a civilized society and
not a gun-riddled place where people have to fear going to the shopping
mall or to the movie theater, or to school.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman, what do you hear from your colleagues in
private? What`s the back chatter? Is there a chance for change that maybe
the lobbyists won`t have the influence this time around because it`s had
such an emotional impact on the country?

SPEIER: You know, I`m so concerned that the NRA bogeyman that kind of
floats around the Capitol dome is not real but is believed to be real by so
many of my colleagues. I think the American people are going to be
critical -- and I think the president is right -- if the American people
demand action, we will get action.

But I`m not going to sit back and be a defeatist on this. We have got
to move this issue forward. We have got to show the American people that
this Congress can do something. We have a moral imperative to do

SCHULTZ: Here`s a reaction from Speaker Boehner`s office. "House
committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations and if the
Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."

What`s your response to that? Is that passing the buck?

SPEIER: Well, there`s plenty of passing the buck that goes on. There
is an effort to start it in the Senate to create pressure on the House.
And I believe that we can force a vote on the House floor, if necessary.
And, again, the American people will be a critical part of that effort.

SCHULTZ: Universal background checks, overwhelming support for that.
Is that a good start for Congress in your opinion?

SPEIER: It is probably the best thing we can do at this particular
point in time. When 40 percent of the guns that are purchased in this
country are not subject to a background check, it absolutely I think floors
the American people. Even members of the NRA, when they were polled
recently, were under the impression that everyone has a criminal background
check. But it`s not the case.

So there are many thousands upon thousands of people in this country
who illegally have guns because there isn`t a universal background check.
So, it is the number one priority in my book.

SCHULTZ: All right. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, appreciate your
time tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Thank you so much for joining us.

And I agree with her. It has to start in the Senate, because this is
really going to put the Republicans up against the wall. Are they going to
turn to the American people and say, no, we`re going to filibuster this,
too? That will be a real eye opener to a lot of people who are just novice
news consumers because this story has consumed this country.

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.

The National Rifle Association, they came out swinging today, issuing
this ad attacking the president`s children. That`s right, the two Obama

I will talk with David Corn and Michael Steele, next. Stay tuned.
We`ll be right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, President Obama calls on Americans to get
involved in the gun control debate. Former Obama deputy campaign manager
Stephanie Cutter weighs in on the president`s next campaign.

And, later, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky joins me to explain why
Republicans should be onboard with a new bill to revive the public option.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show on Sirius XM Radio
channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00. Share your thoughts with
us on Facebook and on Twitter using the #EdShow.

We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us tonight.

They are the most sweeping reforms proposed in years, four legislative
proposals, 23 executive actions. Yes, even the president acknowledged
today that getting something meaningful done on gun control would be no
easy task.


OBAMA: This will be difficult. There will be pundits and politicians
and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out
assault on liberty. Not because that`s true, but because they want to gin
up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the
scenes, they`ll do everything they can to block any common sense reform and
make sure nothing changes whatsoever.

The only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their
constituents, their membership says this time must be different, that this
time, we must do something to protect our communities and our kids.


SCHULTZ: If anyone doubts the tough road ahead, just take a look at a
few of the statements issued by top conservatives.

This one from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: "President Obama is
again abusing his power by imposing his policies by executive fiat instead
of allowing them to be debated in Congress."

RNC chairman Reince Priebus accused the president of an executive
power grab?

And several House Republicans were talking impeachment even before the
president had announced his proposals.


REP. STEVE STOCKMAN (R), TEXAS: These kind of tools are available to
us and we`re going to use every tool possible to fight an administration
which wants to abrogate the Constitution.

REP. TREY RADEL (R), FLORIDA: All option should be on the table,

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: Yes, that`s something we should
consider if the president is going to attempt to destroy the Constitution
strictly with a pronouncement from its mouth or a stroke of his pen.


SCHULTZ: Now, it`s time to venture into the despicable. Predictably,
the NRA rolled out several attack ads, including a preemptive strike
involving the president`s own family.


AD NARRATOR: Are the president`s kids more important than yours?
Then, why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when
his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?


SCHULTZ: NRA President David Keene defended the ad to NBC`s Andrea


ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Children of presidents have been off
limits for decades. There has been an understanding that we don`t talk,
particularly about the minor children of presidents.

DAVID KEENE, NRA PRESIDENT: But nobody was talking about his
children. Nobody was naming his children. Nobody was doing that.


SCHULTZ: I`m joined by MSNBC analyst David Corn, the D.C. bureau
chief for "Mother Jones" magazine, and Michael Steel, former chairman of
the RNC, and MSNBC contributor.

Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.



SCHULTZ: David, the ad that included the Obama children, how
despicable is it?

CORN: One to 10? I don`t know, 13? I mean, it`s certainly no more
despicable than people out there, you know, Michael`s side of the fence,
who claim this is an impeachment. They talk about civil war, tyranny. You
know, Rush Limbaugh makes fun of his show on kids who are freaked out by
massacres at grade schools.

And so, there`s just a lot of despicable activity going out there when
we should be having a policy debate and not getting to this. And I`m still
waiting, unlike, you know, Diogenes with a light going from show to show,
looking for a Republican who will call out this portion of the conservative
movement that have gone over the edge.

And maybe, just maybe, make our pal, Michael Steele is ready to do
that and say enough, guys. Lower down the rhetoric. If you oppose these
measures, oppose them on the merits and get impeachment and all of this
other baloney, malarkey -- as Biden would say -- off the table.

SCHULTZ: Michael, respond to all of that, please?

STEELE: Well, look, let me begin by saying straight up that I`m an
ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. I`m an ardent supporter of the
NRA, even though I`m not a member. But it is time of Republicans across
the spectrum, and particularly on issues like this to stop doing stupid.

This is -- this is one of those moments where you have to, you know,
yes, be concerned about a power grab by the government to come after your
guns. I understand that argument completely.


STEELE: But at the same time, Ed and David, in the front of your mind
are the images of 20 caskets of 6-year-old kids. And you`ve got to say to
yourself at some point, this is not about emotionalism. This is about --

SCHULTZ: But, Michael?

STEELE: No, let me finish up real quick. This is about that reality.
And the leaders in the party have to recognize that when you have 85
percent, 90 percent of American people solidified behind an issue to begin
an honest discussion about -- not debate -- a discussion how do we proceed
to keep our kids safe, we should be on the forefront of that, particularly

SCHULTZ: Well, you`re not. I mean, let`s face it. The Republican
Party is not on the forefront.


SCHULTZ: Here`s the point on the NRA ad. Many Republicans have taken
money and not one of them have come out and said that ad is over the top.
Do you think they should?

STEELE: Oh, yes, I think they should. I agree with Andrea Mitchell`s
question. Why are we invoking the president`s children here? Why are we
making a false equivalency between the protection of the Secret Service for
the president and his family and this issue? This is -- this is confusing.


CORN: I`m waiting for someone like Speaker Boehner to come out and
say, all of this talk about impeachment, civil war, this is not the
Republican Party that I want to lead. We should have honest you know, if
we have honest disagreements, talk about the disagreements. Don`t fear-
monger, don`t make common cause with Ted Nugent, as Mitt Romney did during
the campaign, and let`s -- you know, let`s not get involved here with this
sort of tactic --


SCHULTZ: They don`t happen to doing that, David. They don`t happen
to doing on it. I don`t think they`re going to be doing it any time soon.

Because the NRA -- they`re taking their lead from the NRA. And the
NRA came out at the fundraising letter and says it`s prepared to do the
battle of the century. I mean, "Barack Obama and Joe Biden and their gun
allies only want to blame you, vilify you, bully you, and strip you of your
Second Amendment freedoms."

I mean, these lines are pretty clear here. Is in where the Republican
Party wants to go?

STEELE: No, I don`t think it is. And it`s certainly not the party
that I join, you know, when I was a young man and it`s certainly not the
party that I want to be a part of in the future. That`s where the party is

I think that -- I think that, you know, what the president has laid
out is a common sense position to start with. A lot of the things the
president has talked about in his 23 points today are things that the NRA,
Republicans of all stripes have supported in the past. Let`s get beyond
this, Obama proposed and let`s opposed to it, and sit down and get
something done.

CORN: Michael, you`re like a minority of one. The whole Republican
world, I`m waiting for others to come out who are still elected
representatives of the party. One, to say, hey, let`s have a real
conversation here and not just hide behind the NRA and its rhetoric of

SCHULTZ: Michael, do you think there are any Republicans that will
vote for any of the proposals that were put on the table today?

STEELE: I do. In the end, Ed, I really there are. And I`ll tell you
why, because it`s the number that you showed in the first segment today,
those poll numbers. That`s where the rubber meets the road here. This is
beyond the NRA at this point, where you have NRA members themselves siding
with the majority of Americans, that it`s time to do the proper gun checks
and background checks. And it`s time to take these large magazines off the
market. That`s a turning point and one that the party better get in front
of, otherwise, they`ll get roll over.

CORN: Well, at this point in time, the only voice the GOP is really
hearing are the crazy ones. And, so you maybe be right, Michael, Susan
Collins, maybe any other Republicans out there who vote right, but as the
debate is being framed, we don`t see any real Republicans in leadership
positions taking a moderate --

SCHULTZ: Michael, I hope you`re correct.

CORN: constructive position.

SCHULTZ: I hope you`re correct.

STEELE: I hope I am, too, Ed.

SCHULTZ: And thanks to both of you for joining us tonight -- Michael
Steele and David Corn, thank you so much.

CORN: Sure thing.

SCHUTLZ: The Obama campaign apparatus is going to take on the NRA.
We`ll ask Stephanie Cutter if the president will hit the road to make his
case directly to the American people.

Then, find out how survivors are reacting to the president`s plan.
Sandy Hook`s top educator gives an emotional response to a question about
semi-automatic weapons. The truth about changing the culture, that`s



I`ve got into this, and so will Joe. But I tell you, the only way we can
change is if the American people demand it. We`re going to need voices in
those areas and those congressional districts where the tradition of gun
ownership is strong, to speak up and to say this is important.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. President Obama wants direct
action from the American people, because it`s the only way sensible gun
legislation will pass. Today, former White House Press Secretary Robert
Gibbs said the president`s campaign organization must be fully activated.


the most exciting campaign apparatus ever built. It`s time to turn that
loose. It`s time to turn that loose for something more than just an
election, right. If the NRA has got a list, than Obama for America has a
bigger list.


SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight on THE ED SHOW, Stephanie Cutter, former
Obama 20120 deputy campaign manager. Stephanie, good to have you back with
us on the program.

Ed. Good to be here.

SCHULTZ: You bet. That`s a heck of a sound byte, I mean, to engage
the effort of the Obama campaign. Is there a plan, now that the battle
lines have been drawn on what the president wants to do on gun control and
gun measures? Is the Obama team going to be engaged in this?

CUTTER: You know, I think you can expect to see President Obama
provide some leadership here. He said the American people have to speak
out and make their voices heard in this debate, just like the NRA is doing
with their membership. And President Obama`s network across this country,
grassroots individuals who organized, volunteered their time to get the
president reelected, are much more powerful than the NRA lobby.

And I think that you can expect to see that network activated very
soon, and for good reason. We need to pass common sense legislation to
keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who shouldn`t be carrying
guns. And that`s the common sense nature of this. It`s not about
infringing upon the Second Amendment. It`s about making sure that gun
owners are responsible gun owners and we`re not giving guns to criminals.

Even Justice Scalia said in his opinion in the Heller case that the
Second Amendment doesn`t apply to regulations on other types of weapons,
like weapons of war, assault weapons. So their argument is not going to
stand up. We have to make sure the American people know what the argument
is, that we need to keep our kids safe. We need to keep our guns out of
the hands of criminals and those that shouldn`t be carrying them, and make
sure that they`re making their voices heard.

SCHULTZ: What about the president now? I mean, I remember the last
two weeks of the campaign. I mean, he was all out. He got after it big
time. And now he says that he`s going to give this everything he`s got.
What does that mean to you?

CUTTER: Well --

SCHULTZ: I mean, is he going to go out on the road? Is he going to
really take the case to the American people, really going after the gun
lobby and really trying to make change? Is this going to be a campaign?

CUTTER: Well, I think that you can expect to see him traveling the
country, talking about the proposals that he put out there today, not
necessarily to take on the gun lobby, but to talk to the American people
about the need for them to make their voices heard. And we know what the
gun lobby is going to do. They`re going to scare the American people and
say, Barack Obama is trying to take your guns away from you. That`s not
the case.

Law abiding citizens who have guns -- I got a gun when I was 12 years
old. I know what gun safety is. And I would have no problem going through
a background check or a waiting period before I got my gun. And I think
most Americans across this country understand that those precautions are a
good thing. We`re keeping guns in the hands of responsible gun owners, not
in the hands of criminals.

SCHULTZ: Here`s more from President Obama today.


OBAMA: Ask your member of Congress if they support universal
background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Ask them if they
support renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity
magazines. If they say no, ask them why not? Ask them what`s more
important, doing whatever it takes to get an A-grade from the gun lobby
that funds their campaigns, or giving parents some piece of mind when they
drop their child off for first grade?


SCHULTZ: I mean, that cuts right to it. Will President Obama do more
of this, calling out lawmakers when necessary?

CUTTER: Absolutely. I think the argument -- what we need to put in
place here is for lawmakers to explain why people should have assault
weapons, why people should have 30 rounds of bullets for their guns. They
need to explain why they want to protect these things, rather than
protecting children. That`s the argument here. And that`s the argument
that the president was making.

SCHULTZ: Stephanie Cutter, great to have you on THE ED SHOW.
Appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW,
Stay with us.


OBAMA: Mental health professionals, no other options for reporting
threats of violence. Universal background check for anyone trying to buy a
gun. Restore a ban on military-style assault weapons.

We`re responsible.


SCHULTZ: The president isn`t pulling any punches. But is the country
ready for a change in culture? Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign on today`s
big news.

And for Republicans who love to crow about cutting spending, Democrats
have the answer. The public option is back. And I`ll tell you why we need
it now more than ever.



OBAMA: We don`t live in isolation. We live in a society, a
government of and by and for the people. We are responsible for each


SCHULTZ: That might be the most powerful thing the president said
today. We`re responsible for each other. Parents of the first graders
gunned down in Newtown showed their support for the president today. Just
hours later, those same parents endured an emotional hearing on gun policy.
Newtown`s superintendent was asked if she wants a ban on semiautomatic
weapons. Her answer got straight to the point.


one of these little six-year-olds three to 11 times. That wasn`t
necessary. They didn`t have a chance with a semi-automatic weapon. And
little six-year-old bodies have no chance.


SCHULTZ: Tonight, parents with the Sandy Hook Promise say "we
appreciate the president`s decisive action. However, a solution won`t just
happen in Washington."

Let`s turn to Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent
Gun Violence. Dan, good to have you back with us tonight. How satisfied
is your organization with what unfolded today? Is this what you wanted?

exactly what we wanted. We couldn`t be more satisfied with this as a first
step. But what the parents in Newtown are saying is exactly right. It`s
just that. It`s a first step.

And as the president said himself, if we`re going to be able to create
change, it`s going to require the support of the American public. And now
the White House has done right by us in terms of putting together a
comprehensive set of solutions that has the potential not only to prevent
tragedies like Newtown, but the tragedies that happen every day in our
nation. Now it`s up to us to have their back, to push these through, to
change the conversation in Congress, to bring the conversation that`s going
on in the American public to Congress, to have these solutions come to

SCHULTZ: The NRA is not backing down. Their ad campaign is certainly
very telling. Is this going to play all the way into 2014? And do you
think firearms will be a bigger issue in the wake of Sandy Hook in 2014, in
the midterms?

GROSS: I`m hopeful we`re going to be able to get this done more
quickly. And I`m hopeful, as it relates to the midterms, that we can
create such a public outcry for change that we`re actually able to
demonstrate the extent to which we`re prepared to support the elected
officials who do right by us and hold accountable, from the American
public, the elected officials who don`t.

SCHULTZ: There are a lot of campaigns that we`ve seen in this country
when it comes to societal changes. I mean, the Mothers Against Drunk
Driving have had a huge impact. Anti-smoking campaigns. You can even
throw in seat belts. Now, we`re going through texting and driving. It
seems like every state is doing something about that. Do we need a similar
anti-gun campaign? I mean, would you say that this is an anti-gun

GROSS: No. I mean, that`s an important clarification. This isn`t an
anti-gun campaign. It is not an anti-gun campaign. And we don`t need an
anti-gun campaign.

What we need is an honest conversation about both the benefits of gun
ownership to law-abiding people, and that`s amply discussed in public
discourse in terms of recreational purposes, hunting, protection of your
home. But, at the same time, we have to have a conversation about the
dangers associated with access to guns by people with certain mental
illnesses, by kids.

And you know, if we can have that conversation regarding the 300
million guns that are already out there and law-abiding citizens who are
considering bringing new guns into the home, and then use policy to talk
about what we can do to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,
that`s a comprehensive solution. And all that, very heartingly, is part of
the White House`s recommendation today.

SCHULTZ: The police chief who testified at the hearing today said
this is about legislators who are afraid of the gun lobby. Here it is.


inconvenience. That`s maybe a little heartburn. Fear -- fear is what went
through the hearts and minds of those 20 first graders in Connecticut.
That`s fear, ladies and gentlemen.

And the suggestion that people should be afraid of the gun lobby,
when, in fact, you know America is behind you on the gun background checks
and all of these other issues, where -- how is that fear? It is just
becoming educated.



SCHULTZ: Do you think the country`s attitude toward the pro-gun lobby
has changed? That maybe that fear is wearing off? And the key is with
lawmakers. Your thoughts?

GROSS: Yeah, I think the gun lobby has done a good job demonstrating
just how out of touch they are not only with the American public, but with
NRA membership. The American public is clambering for solutions; 74
percent of NRA members, 82 percent of gun owners, 92 percent of Americans
support universal background checks.

SCHULTZ: You have the public on your side? You believe that?

GROSS: You got it.

SCHULTZ: I mean, I`ve heard the Brady Campaign labeled by those on
the right as a radical group that`s just after firearms. You have the
people on your side.

GROSS: Right. And that`s using that fear and paranoia, that
mentality, you know, to kind of rile up an extremist base, as well as to
give kind of the party lines to the politicians that do their bidding. The
American public can`t accept at face value that this is a debate between
the Second Amendment and sensible things that we can do to save lives,
because the reality is that those two things can co-exist.

The American public knows that they can co-exist. We have to hold our
elected officials accountable.

SCHULTZ: Dan Gross, good to have you with us today. No question
about it.

Coming up, House Democrats are putting the public option back on the
table. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky will tell us why her bill is good for
all of America. Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: And ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked you will you vote for
anyone who doesn`t support the president`s gun safety proposals? Five
percent of you say yes; 95 percent of you say no.

Coming up, House Democrats are brining back the public option. And
I`ll tell you why Republicans should absolutely love this. Congresswoman
Jan Schakowsky introduced the bill, and she will join us next. Stay with


SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, health care is back in the
news. For the last seven months, it`s been our life fighting Wendy`s
ovarian cancer. She has been absolutely unbelievably strong. There is no
greater news than to find out that you are cancer free. This has been
quite an experience, especially when the bills have come in the mail.

We were lucky. We had insurance. I asked one medical professional
here in New York what do the poor people do? She just shook her head. I
don`t know what that meant. I don`t know, do they just go home and die?
Do they not get treatment at all?

But having been here at MSNBC for four years and talking a lot about
health care when I first came here, when we were covering the health care
bill, it`s surreal to go through what we, as a family, have gone through.
And I just know that as a country, we can do a much better job.

And leave it to the progressive movement, House Democrats are putting
the public option right back on the table. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
and 44 other House Democrats introduced the Public Option Deficit Reduction
Act. The bill would offer the choice of a publicly run health insurance
plan. And get this, it would save 100 billion dollars over the next 10

This bill is a win for everybody. The poorest Americans will have
access to affordable health care, so they won`t go home and die if they get
cancer. And it will reduce the deficit. Obamacare has brought the number
of uninsured Americans to the lowest level since 2008. However, the law
won`t fully be implemented until 2015. And of course, health care costs
are on the rise.

The public option would put pressure on all insurers to lower their
premiums in order to compete, a real competition. It would also provide
immediate relief to small businesses and the federal government and all
parts of the economy.

For example, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has warned the
rising -- he has warned of rising military health care costs for years.


costs are consuming an ever-larger share of this department`s budget,
growing from 19 billion in 2001 to 52.5 billion dollars in this request.


SCHULTZ: That number will choke you. Military health care costs have
gone up 300 percent in the past decade. 2012 was the first year since 1995
military personnel saw an increase in health care premiums. Now, there are
two things Republicans love: the military and reducing the deficit.

Republican should be thrilled with the public option. How can you
make a hundred billion dollar mistake? Who`s doing the math? Will it save
or won`t it save?

Let`s turn to the author of the bill, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of
Illinois. Congresswoman, thanks for doing this.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Ed. And I`m so happy
that Wendy is doing well.

SCHULTZ: Thank you. We have appreciated your phone calls through all
of that. I appreciate it very much. Congresswoman, the math, will it
really save 100 billion dollars?

SCHAKOWSKY: The estimate is that it`s 104 billion over 10 years. It
saves the government money. In terms of the subsidies, in the exchanges,
this would be one option that Americans could choose. The cost would be
five to seven percent less. And it would be an anchor pulling down,
because of competition, the cost of the private sector plans as well.

It is a win-win, as you said, for small businesses, for consumers and
for American taxpayers. It would bring the deficit down. Now, don`t you
think that this would be something that the Republicans would want to
embrace? And, yet it seems as if when it comes to maybe taking a penny
away from private insurance companies, that`s not the kind of deficit
reduction they want.

SCHULTZ: Republicans love deficit reduction. That`s all they want to
talk about right now. Do you think that any of them are going to get on
board here? How can they come out and say, well, these numbers aren`t

SCHAKOWSKY: No, the numbers are right. You know, I am still hopeful.
If they are serious, this is a serious proposal about how to reduce the
deficit. It seems too often that what they want is the prize, the trophy
of actually reducing benefits. And the beauty of a public option is that
it doesn`t do that. It offers the same kind of plan that all the private
insurers would have to offer, but at a reduced cost.

And the other great thing about a public option, which you may
remember, Ed, actually did pass the House of Representatives but never
appeared again in the Senate. It doesn`t disappear. The insurance company
may say, well, we`re not going to cover you anymore. We`re going to drop
our plan. But a public option would always be there at a lower cost. What
a great deal.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think the public would be behind it. There hasn`t
been any recent polling on this at all. But if it`s going to do what they
say it`s going to do, I don`t know how they would not get behind it. I
find it very interesting that during the campaign and during the primary
season, all the Republicans talked about was repealing Obamacare. Yet I
see that Michele Bachmann can`t even get support or any sponsors of her
bill to repeal Obamacare. Do you have a comment on that?

SCHAKOWSKY: Isn`t that interesting? Fewer and fewer people, it
seems, by the week, by the month, are interested in repealing Obamacare,
because as it rolls out, more and more people are actually gaining the
benefits. But even when we first introduced a public option, a number of
years ago, it had overwhelming public support. And we polled in the Blue
Dog districts, the more conservative districts. And a vast majority of
Americans want a public option.

SCHULTZ: That is the bottom line. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky,
thanks for joining us tonight. That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE
RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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