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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

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<BR>MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

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SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Rowdy town hall protesters are posing a big challenge to members of Congress who have to figure out just how to deal with all of this. It's really a smorgasbord of what's happening out there.

Congressman Adam Schiff of California took on demonstrators from both sides of the health care issue this week when 3,000 people showed up at his town hall meeting on Tuesday.

Congressman Schiff joins me now to talk about that.

Congressman, were you surprised at the demeanor of the crowd? What'd you see tonight, earlier this week?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, I wasn't surprised, Ed, because we had a pretty good idea what to expect, judging from the calls that were coming into the office. We were getting hundreds of calls every day. I opened the town hall by asking how many were firmly for the president's proposal, and how many were firmly against. We had in excess of 1,000 yell out they were for it; in excess of 1,000 yell out they were against it.

I asked, how many of you have come undecided, want to learn more about the proposal? About five people yelled out.

SCHULTZ: Well, obviously the networks are running videotape of those who are animated, those who are carrying signs, that are threatening in many cases. But would you characterize your town hall of 3,000 people-the president had 1,300 today-that the majority of the people that are going to these town halls are genuinely seeking information and want to learn something?

SCHIFF: Well, not this particular town hall. I've had others where people do come and they want to learn and they want to hear. And we've had a good dialogue and I think a good exchange of information. But here people were more coming to be heard.

We had some conservative talk radio shows sending people our way. We had some of the folks that are organizing support sending other folks our way. It was more like a rally than a real exchange of information. I kind of felt like was at an anti-war protest at Berkeley in the '60s with all the signs and the shouting. It was really quite a spectacle.

But I'm not sure that there was really a good exchange of information.

SCHULTZ: OK. Would you consider this somewhat of a volatile crowd? Was it a boisterous crowd? Was it mean-spirited? How would you characterize isn't it.

SCHIFF: Well, it was definitely boisterous. There were certainly some mean-spirited people there calling me a Nazi or with posters of the president with a Hitler moustache. I had one woman yell out something I haven't heard since the third grade, liar, liar, pants on fire.

So this was, you know, some of the content. But at the same time, Ed, one of the things I think was really positive about it is a lot of the questions were based on these myths, the euthanizing of seniors myth, the myth that you're going to be forced away from the health care plan you have now. I did appreciate the opportunity to dispel those myths, to bust those myths. In that sense, I think we had something positive and constructive come out of it.

SCHULTZ: OK. An unrelated matter, I do want to bring to our audience tonight that you are the one who is front and center of investigating Karl Rove on the Judiciary Committee. In fact, these e-mails that have been released show that Rove has got his fingerprints all over the firing of the U.S. attorneys. What is startling to you in all of this? What is most revealing from what you've been able to find?

SCHIFF: Well, the two things that really stood out from the depositions that I did of Miers and Rove over the last few weeks were that Rove was very heavily involved in pushing Iglesias out of office in New Mexico. He forwarded on complaints from Republican activists in the state. He was agitating, called Harriet Miers, wanting something done, wanted him gone and succeeded in pushing out someone that the Justice Department had rated as a star prosecutor.

So contrary to Rove's assertions that all these decisions were only the DOJ-they only learned about it after the fact-he was very involved from an early point.

The other thing I thought was shocking, Ed, in terms of Harriet Miers is that Rove asks Miers to intervene with the Justice Department, to try to clear Rick Renzi's name, a Republican Congressman under investigation. And she knows it violates DOJ policy even to confirm or deny an investigation. But she does call DOJ, and an anonymous DOJ sources or anonymous administration sources then call multiple press outlets and try to exonerate the Republican Congressman.

Totally inappropriate. And I found it just shocking.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Adam Schiff, California, with us here on THE ED SHOW. We'll follow up on that story. Lots more to talk about.

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