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The Ed Show for Monday, January 21st, 2013

Read the transcript to the Monday show

January 21, 2013

Guests: Keith Ellison, John Nichols, Terry O`Neill

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW, live from Washington, D.C.

President Obama starts his second term in a big way.

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




ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): President Barack Obama begins four more years
with a progressive barnburner.

OBAMA: You and I as citizens have the power to set this country`s
course. You and I as citizens have the obligation to shape the debates of
our time.

SCHULTZ: It was the 57th presidential inauguration for the 44th
commander in chief, or as FOX News calls it --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most depressing day of the year.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Congressman Keith Ellison of the House Progressive
Caucus on the president`s call to arms. John Nichols of "The Nation"
magazine on his defense of the big three. Terry O`Neill on a historic
speech for women. Jonathan Alter and James Peterson on the cultural impact
of a president linking Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall.

And my thoughts on a new hope for the American class.

OBAMA: Progress does not compel us to settle centuries long debates
about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in
our time.


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

This was a big deal. In the 57th formal inauguration of an American
president, Barack Obama delivered one of the most progressive speeches ever
given by a commander-in-chief. With more than a million people in
attendance, the president took the ceremonial oath of office on the steps
of the United States Capitol.

President Obama did not set out to lower expectations of his second
term. Instead, he established the goals of a progressive agenda.


OBAMA: My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will
seize it, so long as we seize it together. For we, the people, understand
that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a
growing many barely make it.

We believe that America`s prosperity must rest upon the broad
shoulders of a rising middle class.


SCHULTZ: Themes of unity, togetherness, and helping our fellow man
rang throughout the president`s second inaugural address. He did not shy
away from our moral obligation to each other either.


OBAMA: We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the
bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody
else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in
the eyes of God, but also in our own.


SCHULTZ: That is an American value.

The speech focused on a range of American experiences with particular
attention to the peoples whose really lives are so very different from
those in the top 2 percent of this country. This is a president who
understands clearly that he represents all Americans. The connection that
he has made with the American people was obvious by the way the president
was received by this massive crowd here in Washington today.

You did not need to look very hard to find enthusiasm in the streets
of D.C. These masses, these wage earners, these Americans are the people
the president of the United States represents.


OBAMA: We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for
the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how
responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job
loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm.


SCHULTZ: The president`s commitment to the middle class was a
benchmark of his presidential campaign. He has not abandoned these
principles. In fact, he insisted on strengthening obligations to those who
need help -- the most.


OBAMA: We must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the
marginalized, the victims of prejudice, not out of mere charity, but
because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles
that our common creed describes -- tolerance and opportunity, human dignity
and justice.


SCHULTZ: And, clearly, President Obama did not ignore a policy agenda
in his speech. He also took on the position to these policies.

The president spoke at length about the threat of climate change and
the desire and the dire consequences of doing something about it.


OBAMA: We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that
the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.


SCHULTZ: He didn`t stop there. The president went after the climate
change deniers, daring them to stop progress at this point in time in


OBAMA: Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but
none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought
and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will
be long and sometimes difficult, but America cannot resist this transition.
We must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will
power new jobs and new industries. We must claim its promise.


SCHULTZ: This is not a president who is blind to the history of any
given moment.

Today`s inauguration ceremony was filled with moments of historical
importance. Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, became the
first woman to deliver the inaugural prayer. Poet Richard Blanco is the
first Latino to recite the inaugural poem, as well as the first openly gay
American to perform the honor.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic
American to administer the oath of office when she swore in Vice President
Joe Biden.

President Obama spoke with these historical moments in mind during his


OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters
are treated like anyone else under the law. Our journey is not complete
until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who
still see America as a land of opportunity.


SCHULTZ: In many ways, this speech was progressives. This is what we
have been waiting for to hear for four years. The president is older now,
and certainly wiser to the position about how Washington works.

But at least for today he will not let trivial politics derail the
progressive course that this country is on. President Obama looked out to
the crowd on the National Mall today and saw the full scope of America,
young and old, rich and poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian. He recognized
the moment. He captured it.

The mission he is charged with today is perhaps greater than his
mission of four years ago. In 2009, he was of course there to lead us out
of this economic tragedy that we were living in. In 2013, he needs to lead
this country and make it the country that we all want to achieve.


OBAMA: You and I as citizens had the power to set this country`s
course. You and I as citizens have the obligation to shape the debates of
our time, not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in
defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let us each of us now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is
our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with
passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an
uncertain future the precious light of freedom.

Thank you. God bless you, and may He forever bless these United
States of America.


SCHULTZ: We are the people, but it will take leadership to guide us
to the more perfect union we desire. President Obama today accepted the
charge for four more years. Get your cell phones out. I want to know what
you think tonight.

Tonight`s question: will the president`s goals be achieved in his
second term in office? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can
always go to our blog at We`ll bring you the results later
on in the show.

Joining me tonight is Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is
part of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Always great to be here, Ed.

SCHULTZ: We are made for this moment. What does that mean?

ELLISON: It means that we`re up to the task at hand. And what is the
task at hand? To meet the challenge of income inequality.

I mean, the president specifically mentioned Social Security, Medicare
and Medicaid, and then tied them both, all three, to income inequality and
the need to face this challenge that, you know, some of us are doing
really, really well, and some of us -- most of us are struggling to get by.

SCHULTZ: I`m saying it was a very progressive speech.


SCHULTZ: Your thoughts. You believe it was? Did you expect that?

ELLISON: As the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, it is my
considered opinion that this was a progressive speech. It was a speech
that any progressive could say that`s what I`m talking about.

I found myself spontaneously cheering in the middle of the speech. It
was the kind of speech that made me feel really good, because he combined
our common humanity, combined our need for economic fairness, combined the
idea of -- you know, better days are coming if we will step up to them and
meet them.

SCHULTZ: The Republicans are complaining, saying that he didn`t reach
out enough. What`s your reaction to that?

ELLISON: Who are they talking about? I mean, you know, this was an
incredibly inclusive speech. I mean, you know, you had -- you had him
talking to gay America, you had him talking to new Americans, you had him
talking to Americans of a diverse economic backgrounds.

Even if you are a fortunate enough to be a rich person and no problem
with that, you could feel good about this speech because it meant that this
is the land of opportunity, and that how can you climb up that ladder and
then pull it up after you. I don`t know what they meant. I mean, if they
think that he is going to somehow start catering to the Koch brothers
agenda, they`re just wrong.

SCHULTZ: Are we going to see a different Republican agenda? I mean,
it was four years of we`re against everything.


SCHULTZ: I mean, are we going to see that again, or do you see any
movement at all from the conservatives that they`re willing to work with
this president. now that he has won two elections, and clearly the last

ELLISON: You know, I hope so. You know, we talk off camera --

SCHULTZ: You don`t sound confident.

ELLISON: Well, here is the thing there are a lot of good folks in the
Republican caucus. I want to say that. And I mean that. But once they
start voting, will they vote their conscience or will they vote what the
Tea Party extremists demand. And that is the question. That`s a question
they have to answer.

Now some of their leaders said we`re going to give -- we`re going to
take him out. Our key agenda is to take out Obama and make him a one-term
president. They failed. I hope enough Republicans are out there to do
what`s right now.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, four years ago tonight, there were a group of
Republicans that met at a restaurant.

ELLISON: Yes, there was.

SCHULTZ: That set the course of obstruction. And they said we`re
going to say no to everything. What kind of dinner are they going to have

ELLISON: Is Crow on the menu?

SCHULTZ: I said that earlier today in our broadcast. They should
probably be serving that today.

But the point is, look what they have to show for it. They didn`t do
anything in the Senate, OK. They wanted to defeat President Obama. It
didn`t happen. You picked up seats in the House.

ELLISON: Sure did.

SCHULTZ: The momentum, the polls are with the Democrats on every
major issue. Would they dare obstruct the way they did in 112th?

ELLISON: Oh, yes. But I think it`s important to know if you just
left the Republicans and the Democrats in a room, we could probably come
out with some solutions. They articulate their values. We would fight for
ours, too. But you`ve got these puppet masters out there like Grover
Norquist, like the Koch brothers.

And the question is will the Republicans cut those strings and do what
is right for the American people. Will they say we`re in here to help --
to promote the common welfare?

SCHULTZ: We`re going to talk more about this later on in this
broadcast. But I want your take on this. What can be done on immigration
reform? Tell me where the Republicans are going to move on this issue.

ELLISON: Well, I tell you. They -- I think we`re going to move
forward, because I know people like Luis Gutierrez and others are
absolutely committed. He tells me that they`re working as they can in a
cooperative way.

But, you know, he is hopeful. And if he is hopeful, I`m hopeful.

SCHULTZ: Historical importance of today`s speech in your opinion.

ELLISON: It is a speech for the ages. I really believe that. It was
inspiring. It was informative. It set a bold vision.

And in my view, it is going to set a template for the next four years.

SCHULTZ: What about the progressive caucus? Are you going to hold
the president`s feet to the fire?

ELLISON: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: He is not up for reelection now. What are your

ELLISON: The Progressive Caucus`s role is not to be a cheerleader,
nor to be an opponent of the president. It is to uphold progressive values
no matter what the weather may be. And if he is doing good, we`re going to
back him. If he is deviating, we`re going to call him, just like we said
hey, man, knock off that chained CPI talk.

But now, today, we`re heaping about what he is saying about supporting
the big three.


ELLISON: So, it`s not our job to cheerlead, be it is our job to hold
him to the values. And today he lived up to our expectations.

SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman Keith Ellison, great to have you
with us tonight.

ELLISON: Any time.

SCHULTZ: Thanks for coming in. Remember, answer tonight`s question
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, Republicans say the president didn`t do enough to reach out
them today. We`ll talk about the big three and bipartisanship when we come

You`re looking at live pictures of the salute to heroes ball, where
the vice president is expected to speak shortly. And we`re awaiting the
president`s arrival at the commander-in-chief`s ball. He is expected to
speak within the hour, and we`ll bring those to you live here on THE ED

Stay with us. We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: President Obama made equality for women and immigration
reform focal points in his inauguration speech today. I`ll ask NOW`s Terry
O`Neill and Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza what they
expect in the president`s second term.

And later, President Obama gave a strong progressive speech today.
Now, it`s the Republicans turn to make what move. Will they be cooperative
or will they obstruct? My commentary on that is ahead.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show at 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 the #EdShow.

We`re coming right back.



OBAMA: We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a
basic measure of security and dignity.


SCHULTZ: Thanks for stay with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.

A big part of the president`s speech focused on the policy position
that got him reelected.


OBAMA: The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and
Medicaid and Social Security -- these things do not sap our initiative,
they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us
to take the risks that make this country great.



SCHULTZ: The president basically called out Republican Congressman
Paul Ryan, right there. Ryan accused 60 percent of Americans of being
takers instead of makers. His party campaigned on reforming Medicare,
Medicaid and Social Security, but Ryan reportedly got booed as he walked
through this morning.

Ryan`s reception is a striking reminder of why the Republicans lost
the election.

Today, the president assured groups like the AARP and labor he hasn`t
forgotten his promise.


OBAMA: We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health
care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America
must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and
investing in the generation that will build its future.


SCHULTZ: Some Republicans are complaining now that the president`s
speech was too partisan and didn`t reach out enough.

Here is a news flash: This isn`t about those Republican lawmakers.
This is about you, the American people, and the policies that the president
has put forth. It`s about fixing the budget without burdening the poor in
this country or the elderly or the disabled.

The next four years are going to be very interesting.

Let`s turn to John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation"

And, John, "The Nation" magazine was so impressed with the speech
today that there was a lot of rewriting going on.

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Yes. And I sometimes have to do a lot of
that rewriting.

SCHULTZ: Remarkably progressive today?

NICHOLS: Yes, it was. We were struck by it. We set a high standard
for this president. We don`t let him off the hook when we disagree with
him. We have editorialized critically about him.

But I think there was a pretty strong sense today that not just on
domestic policy, but even on some foreign policy, he moved. He -- this was
-- sometimes the criticism was he kept a little too much of Bush, this was
a breaking point. A lot of what lingered, some of the people, some of the
policies seem to be pushed back now.

SCHULTZ: Was this the speech that liberals have been waiting for?

NICHOLS: Sure it was.

SCHULTZ: And now, is it the foundation for the next several years?

NICHOLS: Well, Barack Obama is a complicated man. We have to be
honest about him.

SCHULTZ: He is a deal maker.

NICHOLS: Yes, he is. And he also is a mediator. He likes to try --
he really does believe in trying to bring people together. So we can`t
tell ourselves that he is going to give us everything we want.

But what I thought from this speech was that he was saying, look, I
know where you`re at, the people who elected me. I know the coalition that
elected me. If you keep the noise up, if you keep talking about this, I`ll
take care of you. I will watch for you.

And he wasn`t tossing them all under the bus. This was not a "hey, I
know you elected me, but now I can`t do much for you."

SCHULTZ: Was it partisan?

NICHOLS: No. I mean, the thing is we use the word partisan in the
wrong way.

SCHULTZ: But these are clearly principles that the Republicans have
seriously opposed and struggled with throughout is -- which would bring
them to the conclusion that it was partisan.

NICHOLS: Look, the Republican Party had a session down in Virginia
last week where they were talking about how they have to change, how they
got to get their act together. They were told that by pollsters, by all
sorts of messaging people.

And so, their partisanship is not of a standard that I think even they
recognize as a wise one. They may whine about partisanship.

SCHULTZ: The president echoed another second president`s inaugural
speech, and that was FDR in 1937. Here it is.


progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have
much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.


SCHULTZ: When the president today early in his speech talked about
that little girl --


SCHULTZ: -- with a mom, who needs the same opportunities, talking
basically about the level playing field. Is that the comparison?

NICHOLS: Absolutely it is. It wasn`t just there. Roosevelt loved a
structured speech where he made a big point and then he told you what he
was trying to do. That`s exactly what Obama did when he kept saying we`re
not done with the journey on this. We`re not done with the journey on
this. He kept coming back thematically to not just the broad rhetorical
flourishes, but specifics. You saw it on Medicare, Medicaid and Social

SCHULTZ: I`m fascinated. Four years ago tonight, as I said this to
Keith Ellison a moment ago, the Republicans were plotting strategy to
obstruct. What is their dinner tonight? I`ll ask you the same thing.

NICHOLS: Look, they just had a session where they were told they have
to get their act together. They can`t be hateful anymore. And what did
the president say to them? I`ve got to do some immigration reform. I`ve
got to welcome people, not push them away. We`ve got to be nicer to women.

We`ve got to -- you know, these are -- and gays and lesbians, our gay
and lesbian brothers and sisters. He gave them some space. If they want
to show that they`re not just about saying, no, he gave them room to do
that. I hope they`re listening.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols, great to have you with us. Great work this
week. Thanks so much.

Coming up, President Obama owes a political debt to women and Latino
voters to making this second term possible. Today, he made it clear, he`s
got their back.

Terry O`Neill and Clarissa Martinez will join me, coming up on THE ED

And the president makes history in his second inaugural address and
chronicles America`s struggles for civil rights. I`ll talk about the
cultural impact of today`s speech with Jonathan Alter and James Peterson.

Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC from Washington.



OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to
welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of
opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our
workforce, rather than expelled from our country.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for staying with us

President Obama made it clear, he intends to fight on behalf of those
who made his second term possible. Free from the worry of reelection, full
steam ahead, President Obama was unapologetically progressive, pushing the
priorities of women and Latinos, two of the demographics critical to his
reelection. Issues which arguably were sidelined in the first term were
now front and center today. And he called for comprehensive immigration
reform and equal opportunity and pay for women.


OBAMA: It is now our generation`s task to carry on what those
pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our
mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.


SCHULTZ: The growing influence of Latino and female voters in this
country absolutely undeniable. In the inaugural ceremony reflected just
that. And of course it is the identified problem of the Republican Party,
no doubt about it.

I`m joined tonight by Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization for Women, and also with us this evening, Clarissa Martinez,
director of civic engagement and immigration at the National Council of La

Great to have both of you with us.


SCHULTZ: Based, Terry, on what you saw today, what are your hopes for
a second term?

O`NEILL: I am very hopeful, actually. We need to pass equal pay for
work of equal value for women. We will not close the wage gap unless we
get there. You know, right now, almost two-thirds of minimum wage workers
are women. They don`t have pensions. They don`t have equal pay. And we
really need to get there.

I`m also hopeful that we`re going to get -- we`re going to really
expand health care opportunities for women. And we need to expand women`s
access to abortion and birth control. It`s unfinished business from the
first four years.

But I think that I -- I loved this speech. And I take heart from it.
And I think that we will have real leadership from the White House. It`s
not going to be an easy battle, but I think the president is really going
to be with us on this.

SCHULTZ: Clarissa, what about immigration reform? This is going to
be a signature issue for the president in the second term. What are you
hopeful for?

president has been talking a fair amount about the need to move forward on
immigration reform. And I am also very hopeful, even though I`m not the
optimist by nature, because I think that Republicans and Democrats are
actually having conversations about driving it forward. So in many ways,
and perhaps ironically, I hope that immigration may set a course where
members of both parties can come together on this issue. And maybe it
spills over into other issues.

SCHULTZ: Where do you think the Republicans are going to move on

MARTINEZ: Well, the interesting thing is this: immediately after the
election, you started hearing from significant Republican voices the need
to really tackle this issue of the population who is currently in the
country, and figure out how to do legalization with an eventual path to
citizenship. Marco Rubio -- Senator Marco Rubio has been talking about
that, and we have champions on the Democratic side.

So I think here we have a potential new dynamic, which is that rather
than one party focusing on the other, they`re focusing on what the
electorate said. And that`s the pressure and space to go forward.

SCHULTZ: Terry, what about the Violence Against Women Act? The 112th
Congress failed to pass a reauthorization of that. What are your
expectations now?

O`NEILL: I think Eric Cantor is going to continue trying to block it.
And shame on him. But I think that there are a number of Republicans --
and frankly, we have a stronger House for the Violence Against Women Act
now in the 113th. We have a significantly stronger Senate, which did pass
a good bill in the 112th Congress.

So we are going to face hurdles. Eric Cantor has simply refused to
pass it in the lame duck session because he couldn`t get past the idea that
tribal authorities would have jurisdiction over perpetrators of sexual
assault. I`ve heard it said, what does that make him -- he is coddling
rapist. I`m not going to say whether he is or not. But I`m just saying
that that is certainly an impression that he has given to some people.

SCHULTZ: The Republicans met not just a few days ago down in
Virginia. They don`t want to talk about rape, OK. They`re counseled here,
OK, on what to say. Do you think that they will change their policies
towards women at all? Or are we going to see these states run by radical
governors continue this agenda to chip away at abortion rights?

O`NEILL: Bobby Jindal, who has national aspirations, he is the
governor of Louisiana, and he has laid it out. He said we do not need to
change our agenda. We just need to change the way we talk about it.

SCHULTZ: That doesn`t work.

O`NEILL: It`s not going to work. But let him try, because we will
continue to defeat politicians who behave that way.

SCHULTZ: Clarissa, President Obama received 71 percent of the Latino
vote. How do Republicans close that gap? What do you think they`re going
to do?

MARTINEZ: Well, that`s one of the reasons that the election was a
game-changing moment in the narrative for immigration, because I think that
Republicans are realizing that Latinos are really affected by the tone of
the debate at a personal level, in an overall level. In order for
Republicans to rebuild their relationship and be able to start even a
conversation with Latinos, they must address this issue. And they must
address it in a way that really strikes at the core of Latinos` aspiration,
which is legalization with a path to citizenship.

The good news is the conversations are going there. And Democrats,
frankly need to demonstrate that they can deliver on promises made.

SCHULTZ: OK. Terry O`Neill, Clarissa Martinez, great to have you
with us tonight. Thanks so much. >

"Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall," three watershed moments in our
nation`s history get name checked in the president`s Inaugural Address.
Next, I`ll talk about the cultural impact of today`s speech with Jonathan
Alter and Dr. James Peterson.

We`re waiting comments from Vice President Joe Biden at the Heroes
Ball. And the president has arrived at the site of the Commander in
Chief`s Ball. He is scheduled to speak within the hour. We`ll bring you
those comments here on MSNBC. Stay with us. We`re right back.



OBAMA: We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths,
that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still, just as
it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It was a historic day and a
historic speech. The Second Inaugural Address of America`s first black
president included references to three cultural milestones in our nation`s
history, . The first women`s rights conversation, a watershed civil rights
march, and the first public battle for gay rights in this country.

By including the Stonewall Riots alongside the events at Seneca Falls,
New York and Selma, Alabama, the president classified the struggle for gay
rights as a broader struggle for civil rights. And President Obama went
even further and made history by becoming the first president to mention
the word gay and recognize the issue of gay rights in an Inaugural Address.


OBAMA: Our journey is not compete until our gay brothers and sisters
are treated like anyone else under the law.


OBAMA: For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we
commit to one another must be equal as well.


SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to MSNBC political analysts and "Bloomberg View"
columnist Jonathan Alter. Also with us tonight, Dr. James Peterson,
director of Africana Studies and associate professor of English at Lehigh
University. Gentlemen, great to have you with us.

Jonathan, you first. Quite the social contract that the president
made today. Your thoughts?

JONATHAN ALTER, "BLOOMBERG VIEW": It did. He was able to both look
back and connect what we`re doing now in this country to the whole history
of what we owe each other, going back not just to the Declaration of
Independence, but the American social contract of the 1930s with these
insurance programs that, as he indicated, allow people to do more with
their lives if they know that they`re insured against real poverty.

But by talking about gay rights, I think this is one of the things he
will be remembered for. I don`t think he assumed when he ran for president
that this would be -- loom as large as it has. The country has come a huge
distance in a fairly short period of time. And instead of it just being
another interest group, it`s now in the American grain, along with civil
rights and women`s rights. This is a hugely important day for gay

SCHULTZ: Where does he go with marriage equality on this, on the
heels of this speech?

ALTER: Well, I think he tries -- the government has already under
Obama intervened against the Defense of Marriage Act in court and filed
briefs against it. There is only so much that he can do. A lot of it is
up to the Supreme Court. But at a symbolic level, which is tremendously
important in these things, he has elevated it to a place it has not been
before in this country.

SCHULTZ: Professor, you`re thoughts on the speech today. How did
this speech differ from the one he gave four years ago?

were a few more shout outs to policy. It was less rhetorical and more
about the sort of vision that he has for what he wants to try to get done
in this term, but also acknowledging, at least a little bit, the coalition
of people that put this reelection in place. You know, to really address
women directly, and to talk about Seneca Falls, and to have that as a sort
of centerpiece that we`re talking about tonight is very, very important.

Remember, women voters, not only do they vote somewhat overwhelmingly
for this president, but as we look to the future, women voters will become
more and more important in the electoral process at the presidential level,
and also at the state level. And so President Obama understands the role
that women play, the role that the LGBT community plays, not just in his
reelection, but in American electoral and presidential politics going

So those shout outs, like you`re mentioning here, Ed, are actually
extremely important to understanding how this coalition of voters will
work, and also beginning the process that the Democratic Party has to do in
terms of wrestling with the coalition they put together.

SCHULTZ: OK. Gentlemen, let`s go live now to Vice President Joe
Biden delivering his remarks at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball. Here
is the vice president.

good evening.


BIDEN: I am -- I am Jill Biden`s husband. And I came along with my
whole family, which is standing over there in the wings. Major Beau Biden
spent a year in Iraq, and his wife Halle. My -- we have a lot of -- please
be seated, please be seated.

My -- we have a lot of bad judgment in my family. My son, who is over
40, just joined the United States Navy, is about to be sworn in as an
officer, Hunter Biden.


BIDEN: And Kathleen. And the love of my life and the life of my
love, my daughter, Ashley Biden and her husband Howard. And we`re all
delighted to be here with you.

And Bernie, it`s good to be with you, senator. And Congressman Jeff
Miller and commander -- and our national commander and all the dignitaries
that are here.

Folks, I want to thank you all. It`s truly, truly a great privilege
to be here tonight with so many -- and I don`t use this phrase lightly --
brave women and men who have served our country with such extraordinary,
extraordinary valor and distinction.

The Greek historian -- yeah, right -- Thucydides -- it is Thucydides,
but I have trouble saying it -- Thucydides could have been writing about
the people in this room when he said, and I want to quote him -- he said,
"the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is
before them, glory and danger alike, and yet go out and meet it."

That`s the definition of all of you in this room. You have met every
challenge this country has faced. And you have done it in every generation
with such extraordinary bravery and skill. Our veterans -- our veterans
are I think unique in the world in that every single generation has risen
to the occasion, from World War II to Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq,
Afghanistan, and lots of places I didn`t even mention.

And in each and every circumstance, the next generation that comes
along astounds the one that went before it. You`ve met danger and glory
with equal measure. And you`ve always, always not only won, but made our
country proud of you.

It`s a real honor to be here tonight with I`m told 25 Medal of Honor
recipients. As a matter of fact, it`s not an honor. It`s literally

You are such incredible soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines. You`ve
served with -- I thought so! You`ve served -- although my son doesn`t
share your view, either one of them. But I want you to know that.
Although I admire you.

You`ve served with such amazing distinction, from Iwo Jima to
Afghanistan, the Arganda (ph), all the way up into the Kunar Valley. I`ve
watched you with such admiration. You fought decades apart, but there is
one incredible connection. It`s like a -- it`s like a blood vessel runs
through you from generation to generation, your devotion to your country,
the full measure which you give that devotion.

It`s a commitment that defines everyone in this room, and every man
and woman who has put on a uniform to serve this nation. I know you know
this, commander, but just since 9/11, over three million -- 3,000,300 women
and men have joined our military with the near certain notion -- knowledge
that they would be called to serve in a battle zone, with the near certain
knowledge; 1.7 million brave women and men have walk across those God awful
sands of Iraq and those God forsaken mountains and plains in Afghanistan.

Tougher terrain, none of you, none of you, no matter what war you
fought in, have matched, have met. You have matched, but not exceeded.
This generation has met every single challenge that has been put before it
with incredible bravery. I think those that have gone before you would say
what I say, and I think it`s a fact. You are the finest warriors the world
has ever seen. The finest warriors the world has ever, ever, ever, ever


BIDEN: And it`s because --

SCHULTZ: -- Biden speaking at the Heroes Ball. We are awaiting
comments from the president of the United States at the Commander in
Chief`s Ball. And of course we will join that when we come back and
continue our discussion with Jonathan Alter and Dr. James Peterson. Stay
with us. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ: President Barack Obama arriving at the Commander in Chief
Ball. And let`s pick up the president`s comments here on MSNBC.

OBAMA: Let me begin by just saying you all dress up pretty nice.


OBAMA: I hope everybody is having a wonderful time.


OBAMA: Now those of you who are in uniform, you look outstanding.
Your dates do look better, though.


OBAMA: I just want to point this out. I`m not going to give a long
speech. What I really want to do is come down and express the
extraordinary gratitude not just of me as your commander in chief, but more
importantly, the thanks of all the American people.

I want to start by thanking some of our outstanding leaders who are
here, our hosts, our senior enlisted advisers from all five branches of our


OBAMA: The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Marty
Dempsey, who promised --


OBAMA: -- who promised to sing some time tonight. So you should hold
him to it. The vice-chairman Sandy Winifield, and all our outstanding
members of the Joint Chiefs, our secretary of veterans affairs and Vietnam
veteran Rick Shinseki, who is here.


OBAMA: And we`re honored to be joined by some truly extraordinary
Americans, our wounded warriors who inspire us with their incredible
strength and resolve.


OBAMA: Our enlisted men and women and junior officers, the backbone
of our military.


OBAMA: Our amazing military families --


OBAMA: -- including the families of the fallen, our Gold star
families. We will stand with you always.


OBAMA: The members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen in the house.


OBAMA: And the recipients of our nation`s highest military
decoration, the Medal of Honor. We are honored by your presence.


OBAMA: You know, today we experienced the majesty of our democracy, a
ritual only possible in a form of government that is of and by and for the
people, a day made possible because there are patriots like each and every
one of you who defend our freedom every single day. So this little party
is just another way to say something we can never say enough, thank you.


OBAMA: Thank you for volunteering. Thank you for stepping up. Thank
you for keeping us strong. Thank you for always making us proud.


OBAMA: I have no greater honor than being your commander in chief.


OBAMA: It`s because of you that with honor we were able to end the
war in Iraq. Because of you that we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.


OBAMA: Because of you that it`s even possible to give Afghans a
chance to determine their own destiny. We are going forward. And we`ll
keep our military the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.


OBAMA: Now, tonight we`re also joined by some of our service members
in Afghanistan. They can`t see us, but we can see them on this monitor.
Who we got there, general? Are you there, Abe?

Mr. President. Congratulations on your inauguration. It is Major General
Abrams, commanding general 3rd Infantry Division in Regional Command South.
We`re honored to be able to join you there this evening.

Sir, I`m joined tonight by some fantastic airmen and noncommissioned
officers and soldiers serving here in Kandahar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulation, Mr. President. Sergeant First
Class Orlando Jackson, Lake Charles, Louisiana, 3rd Infantry Division, Task
Force Light Horse. I want to congratulate you on a job well done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, Master Sergeant Robert Strosky
(ph), superintendent, 807th Expeditionary Air Support Operation Squadron,
hailing from Detroit, Michigan. I want to say go Tigers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, Mr. President. My name is Sergeant
First Class David Wood. I`m out of Monument, Colorado, Third Infantry
Division, Falcon Brigade, Task Force Light Horse. Thank you very much for
having us here at your party. Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, Mr. President. Master Sergeant
James Delusky (ph). I`m the operations superintendent, the 807th
Expeditionary Air Support Operation Squadron in the world`s greatest Air
Force. I want to say congratulations on tonight. And you guys have a
blessed evening.

ABRAMS: Mr. President, we`re honored to be able to join you tonight,
and we`ve got one more thing for all of you there.


OBAMA: Listen, to all of you there, we know it`s tough being away
from your families. We know the incredible sacrifices and challenges that
you meet every single day. But I can tell you that you`ve got a room full
of patriots here.


OBAMA: And although I`ve got to admit that they`re a little spiffed
up right now, their heart and soul, their dedication, their sense of duty
is at one with every single one of the folks who are in Kandahar right now.
And I want you to know that when I was standing on the steps of the Capitol
today, looking out over close to a million people, the single biggest cheer
that I always get -- and today was no different at my inauguration -- was
when I spoke about the extraordinary men and women in uniform that preserve
our freedom and keep our country strong.


OBAMA: So know that every single day, we are thinking of you. We`re
going to make sure that you`ve got the equipment, the strategy, the mission
that allows you to succeed and keep our country safe.

Know that we are going to be looking after and thinking about your
families every single day, and that when you get back home, you`re going to
be greeted by a grateful nation, and that you will be on our minds tonight
and every single night until our mission in Afghanistan is completed.

Can everybody please give our comrades in arms a huge round of


OBAMA: And please all of you give our very best to your families back
home, because I know it`s just as tough, if not tougher for them to see you
in harm`s way and away from the family. God bless you. God bless the
United States of America. Thank you.


OBAMA: Now there is one last thing I`ve got to do. I`ve got a date
with me here.


OBAMA: She inspires me every day. She makes me a better man and a
better president.


OBAMA: The fact that she is so devoted to taking care of our troops
and our military families is just one more sign of her extraordinary love
and grace and strength. I`m just lucky to have her.


OBAMA: I said today at the lunch over at the Congress that some may
dispute the quality of our president, but nobody disputes the quality of
our First Lady.


OBAMA: Ladies and gentlemen, my better half, and my dance partner,
Michelle Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, please welcome Grammy and Academy Award
Winner, Jennifer Hudson.


SCHULTZ: The commander in chief ball in Washington, D.C., on this
Inauguration Day. The president and First Lady dancing. And that is THE


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