updated 1/24/2011 1:16:27 PM ET 2011-01-24T18:16:27

Guests: Xavier Becerra, Leo Gerard, Jonathan Alter, Mike Papantonio, Amy

Holmes, Stephanie Miller, Lizz Winstead

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour 

President Obama is keeping a focus on creating jobs, but John Boehner and the Republicans, well, they still have no plan and are planning budget cuts that is really going to hit every American.  My commentary on that, and response from Congressman Xavier Becerra and Leo Gerard from the Steelworkers.  The president will be talking about jobs.

Some Republicans are threatening a government shutdown if they don‘t have their way on health care.  Jonathan Alter with a comment on that story tonight.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is gearing up for 2012.  I love this story.  Now, she‘s speaking tonight in Iowa, and she‘s planning her own response to the president‘s State of the Union Address on Tuesday.  I can‘t wait for that. 

Plus, Rudy Giuliani says he‘s more likely to run for president if Sarah Palin runs. 

And a Chinese American congressman wants Rush Limbaugh to apologize for this—

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  (IMITATING CHINESE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Rush says he won‘t apologize.  We‘ll get after that story later on tonight.

But this is the story that has me fired up first tonight. 

In four days, President Obama will lay out his agenda for America.  Unlike the Republicans, President Obama has his eye set right focused on creating jobs in this country. 

The president was at a New York General Electric Plant, which is the parent company of this network, today, and he said this earlier --  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Millions of people are still out there looking for work.  And even here in Schenectady, as well as GE is doing, I know everybody here knows a neighbor, a friend, a relative who‘s still out of work.  So it‘s not—it‘s a great thing that the economy is growing, but it‘s not growing fast enough yet to make up for the damage that was done by the recession.

The past two years were about pulling our economy back from the brink. 

The next two years, our job now is putting our economy into overdrive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK, Republicans.  Where are you?

The president has done everything in his power to give us straight months in the private sector of job creation, but he wants to do even more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  So our challenge, especially as we continue to fight our way back from the worst  recession in our lifetimes, is to harness this spirit, to harness this potential, the potential that all of you represent.  Our challenge is to do everything we can to make it easier for folks to bring products to market and to start and expand new businesses, and to grow and hire new workers.  I want plants like this all across America. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, it takes money and access to capital to get that manufacturing going, Mr. President.  And I‘m all about it. 

On the other side, John Boehner and the Republicans, well, they have no job plan.  And they‘re on a mission, basically, to cut the social safety net right out from under millions of Americans. 

Now, at this hour, Republicans are plotting Draconian cuts that will hit pocketbooks of every hard-working American.  House Republicans want to cut $100 billion out of the budget.  They plan to vote on the bill hours before President Obama gives his State of the Union Address next Tuesday. 

Today, John Boehner tapped Wisconsin young gun Paul Ryan to give the Republican response.  But “The Tan Man” put this statement out.  He says, “I‘m pleased that Paul will be outlining a commonsense vision for moving our country forward.”

My God.  I just cannot stand how they speak in such generic terms!  Don‘t the Republicans just frustrate you?  We‘re going to move the economy forward.  We just have—I mean, it‘s just Washington speak, is what it is. 

Common sense? 

Tell me, Mr. Ryan, what is your roadmap for America when it comes to common sense for the middle class?  It‘s a nightmare, is what it is.  You‘ve got nothing for the working poor in this country. 

And of course “The Washington Post” reports Ryan‘s approach would “require cuts of about 15 percent at agencies other than the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.” 

Everybody on board with that? 

These ruthless cuts have a ripple effect for every American.  And some conservative Republicans want to cut government even further. 

Here‘s what they want to do.  They want to eliminate 4,000 FBI agents

well, what about security on that one? -- 1,500 DEA agents; 5,700 correctional officers; 3,000 food safety inspectors—oh, we don‘t care about whether food is good or not—and the Head Start Program that would be really forcing serious cuts that would affect some 400,000 children across this country. 

Now, this slash-and-burn agenda—and that‘s exactly what it is, a slash-and-burn agenda—will also attack what the Republicans call the Social Security crisis.  Everything is a crisis.  We‘ve got to cut everything!

Harry Reid dispelled that myth on “Meet the Press.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, HOST, “MEET THE PRESS”:  Senator, are you really saying the arithmetic on Social Security works? 

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER:  I‘m saying the arithmetic in Social Security works.  I have no doubt it does.

GREGORY:  It‘s not a crisis?

REID:  No, it‘s not a crisis.  This is something that‘s perpetuated by people who don‘t like government.  Social Security is fine. 

Are there things we can do to improve Social Security?  Of course.

GREGORY:  Means testing, raising the retirement age?  Do you agree with either of those?

REID:  I‘m not going to go to any of those backdoor methods to whack Social Security recipients.  I‘m not going to do that.  We have a lot of things we can do with this debt, and it‘s a problem, but one of the places where I‘m not going to be a part of picking on is Social Security. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Did you hear Senator Reid say, “Social Security is fine”? 

Now, who‘s lying, Senator Reid or the Republicans? 

They say it‘s a crisis.  Senator Reid says Social Security is just fine. 

So, look, I know we‘ve got this tone thing cooking in America right now, but somebody is lying.  OK?  I mean, it‘s either a crisis or it‘s OK.

The American people, you know what they want?  Since the Republicans love to talk about what the American people want, they don‘t want anybody to touch entitlements. 

Now, according to the latest liberal “New York Times”/CBS News poll, when Americans were asked a very simple question, “Where do you want the government cuts to come?”  Well, 55 percent say the military. 

I should probably hold up another sign for Joe Klein, huh?  Fifty-five percent say military. 

Twenty-one percent say Medicare, and 13 percent -- 13 percent—a whopping 13 percent of Americans want us to gut Social Security. 

Republicans are completely, completely out of step with the American people on every one of these issues.  But they‘re determined to shrink the size of government to the point where they can—I think it was Grover Norquist.  He wanted to drown it in a bathtub.  So clever. 

This new America—and that‘s what it is—this new America means the end of unemployment benefits.  That‘s right, they‘re going to get to them.  And you boys out in the heartland, where I used to be, just wait until you try to write a new farm bill.  Just wait until you see the Tea Parties go after your farm bill.  You won‘t even recognize it. 

And, of course, securing America with law enforcement.  Well, Camden, New Jersey, just laid off a third of its police force.  How about that?  That‘s almost like Afghanistan. 

Without government aid, Detroit is going to close half the public schools in that city.  And, of course, fire departments are going to get hit.  And there‘s going to be closings of fire departments and communities all over America. 

If Republicans, if they really do get their way, these real cuts are going to help who?  The lower 50 percent income earnings in this country. 

Then you‘ve got one America over here, and you‘ve got another America over here.  And the America over here gets all the corporate money and you‘re never going to get them out of office. 

So you see where America is going?

You know, If I couldn‘t do stories like this, I would even want to do this show, because it is the truth.  Now, you‘ve got the Republicans over there tonight, are they‘re saying, well, you know what?  We‘ve got a crisis in Social Security, and then you‘ve got the Senate majority leader saying no, Social Security is just fine. 

And you want to know what frustrates America?  Is when they talk like this and they can‘t get together on anything. 

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

Tonight‘s text survey question is: Do you think the Republicans will follow through with their plan for massive budget cuts?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining us now is California Congressman Xavier Becerra.  He is the ranking member on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.

This is the hot topic amongst congressional members.  Now that the Republicans have gone after health care, now they want to go after more budget cuts. 

How confident are you that the Democrats are going to be able to protect Social Security the way it is? 

REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA:  I think we‘re going to fight for Social Security because it‘s the most successful program, private or public, that has seen life here in—not just in Washington, D.C., but the entire country. 

But, Ed, this is a fight for America‘s future and for the middle class.  Social Security isn‘t just for seniors, Social Security is the lifeblood of people who want to retire in dignity.  So we‘re going to fight. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, they‘re focused to cut it.  And you may be fighting it, and I think that‘s fantastic, but will the Democrats—can you tell us definitively tonight that they will protect Social Security at all costs? 

BECERRA:  Gosh, Ed, I can tell you what this Democrat will do as the ranking Democrat on the Social Security subcommittee.  And I will make it clear to every American who‘s willing to listen that we don‘t see 75 percent of our seniors living in poverty today because of Social Security and Medicare.  And so we need to continue to improve programs and strengthen programs like Social Security, not cut them. 

And so Republicans may want to privatize Social Security and cut its benefits, but we have a different idea. 

SCHULTZ:  OK, a different idea. 

Now, looking at the jobs picture, they want to make cuts in some areas that obviously are going to eliminate more jobs.  Are they serious about this, or is this just political grandstanding for the Tea Party, in your opinion? 

BECERRA:  Ed, it‘s like a heart attack.  It‘s serious, but you don‘t know when it‘s going to come.  And Republicans, it‘s not clear if they‘re coming out of left field or if they‘re being real serious in this case. 

What I do know is this—when you see the details of what they want to do, you begin to realize how crazy it is.  But at the same time, they try to get away with it without having to give you the details of their plans. 

We‘re going to make sure that doesn‘t happen.  They are now the governing Party in the House of Representatives, they owe the American people the truth of what they want to do. 

SCHULTZ:  Are there any cuts that you would go along with?  Is there fat you could see that could be taken out of the budget? 

BECERRA:  There is always fat, there‘s always some waste or some fraud or abuse.  We can certainly, on a bipartisan basis, go after that. 

But can you explain to me why a family about to send their youngest to college should all of a sudden find out that we‘re going to cut the support for public college education so we can pay for the war in Afghanistan and Iraq?  Can you explain to me why that middle class family that‘s struggling to hold on to the House should pay for the tax cuts that Republicans want to continue for the wealthiest in this country? 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  We had that debate. 

BECERRA:  It doesn‘t make sense.  . 

SCHULTZ:  We had that debate, and the tax rates are the same.  Are you saying tonight that you think that we should cut military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan? 

BECERRA:  I don‘t think there‘s any doubt that we need to cut military spending.  Even the secretary of the Department of Defense, Secretary Gates, says we have to cut military spending. 

Now, Republicans may say otherwise, but if they want to see the Pentagon continue to spend $33,000 for a refrigerator, then that‘s what they want.  But that‘s not where we should go. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time here on THE ED SHOW.

BECERRA:  Thanks for having me, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Joining me now is Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers. 

Mr. Gerard, these cuts that the Republicans are talking about, if they go through with it, how much is this going to affect the job market?  It would seem to me that this would put the infrastructure upgrades on hold.

What do you think? 

LEO GERARD, PRESIDENT, UNITED STEELWORKERS:  I think this will set the job market, as you call it Ed—I think it will set it back.  You know, there‘s so many areas where we have to do the right thing. 

There‘s 50 percent of the schools—excuse me, 60 percent of the schools in America that are more than 50 years old.  You‘ve got businesses trying to get alone. 

And we talked about it once before, that they try to get a loan, but they‘ve got to be bonded by the government.  And if they can‘t get bonded, they can‘t get the loan.  And we need to work out those details. 

We need to make sure that we‘re fixing our infrastructure.  When the Republicans come and say they‘re going to cut here and they‘re going to cut there, what they‘re going to do is that they can continue their tax breaks for the ultra rich.  They‘re going to start putting more people out on the street without jobs, and we‘ got to fight that. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, this would hurt the labor movement in America, would it not, these cuts?  Because a lot of these things are dealing with, you know, obviously moving product, obviously infrastructure, and rebuilding America.  And that is going to be labor jobs, isn‘t it? 

GERARD:  It‘s going to affect the labor movement, obviously.  But it‘s going to affect all working people. 

It‘s going to affect people who teach our kids.  It‘s going to affect people who provide health care to our families.  It‘s going to provide lack of support to those that have lost their job, who use that spending to keep things moving. 

It‘s going to affect truck drivers.  It‘s going to affect every segment of our economy.

And Ed, they‘re being completely disingenuous.  And what they‘re trying to do is dismantle an already weak economy so they can try to have somebody to blame other than themselves.  And they‘re going to have nobody to blame but themselves. 

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Gerard, thanks for telling it like it is tonight.  I appreciate it so much.  And I see that you‘re telling it like it is with your Steeler jersey on tonight.  I would imagine they‘re probably going to win this Sunday, right? 

GERARD:  They should win.  They‘re the best team, and we‘ve got a song now that‘s—it‘s “Stairway to Seven.”

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  Leo, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

GERARD:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  It is going to be a great weekend of football.  We‘ll talk about that a little bit later on in the show. 

OK.  Here comes Michele Bachmann.  She‘s speaking in Iowa tonight and planning to give—get this—her own response to the State of the Union.  This is unbelievable.

And Bill O‘Reilly says liberals don‘t like Bachmann or Sarah Palin because they‘re pretty.  Well, that lands him in “The Zone.”

Plus, “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead headlines “Club Ed” tonight.  And “The Drugster” says he won‘t back down. 

You‘ve got that story coming up on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.  You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.

The Republicans control one chamber of the Congress, but they are toying with a government shutdown in order to get their way on health care repeal.  The House Republicans are plotting to create a stalemate.  They will refuse to pass any spending bill that doesn‘t also defund health care reform. 

Iowa Congressman Steve King laid out the Republicans‘ end game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING ®, IOWA:  When push comes to shove and we lock horns on this, somebody is going to blink.  It will be President Obama or it will be House Republicans.  If House Republicans refuse to blink, we will succeed.  Obamacare will never become the effective law of the land. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  They won‘t blink.  Well,  want to remind the Republicans where we are. 

Sixty-two percent of Americans say that they want to keep or expand reform.  That‘s a majority.  Just 36 percent want to shrink or repeal it. 

Now, according to an AP poll out this week, those are the numbers.  And our new poll shows that only 25 percent of Americans think the new Republican majority will bring the right kind of change to Washington. 

Joining me now is Jonathan Alter, national affairs columnist for “Newsweek” and MSNBC political analyst. 

You know, there‘s one thing—budget cuts do one thing, but when you want to shut down the government, you are instantly hurting people. 

Now, you‘ve got John Boehner over there.  He‘s got 60 Tea Partiers in his caucus.  They want to shut her down.  If he doesn‘t do that, where does that leave him, Jonathan? 

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think it leaves him in a slightly weakened position, but he‘s not going to be held hostage by the Steve Kings of the world, Ed.  It‘s important to understand that Congressman King from Iowa, the last time we heard from him, he was talking about fetuses and garbage cans, or something like that.  He‘s always saying something—

SCHULTZ:  So he‘s bluffing? 

ALTER:  -- kind of wacky.  Well, he doesn‘t have any power.  He wasn‘t given an important committee chair that he should have been entitled to. 

So, you know, Boehner is focused on advancing the larger cause of the Republican Party, not just the Tea Party elements.  Right now, he got the repeal through.  He‘s going to do what he can to try to challenge some of the funding.  But he‘s not stupid enough to try to shut down the whole government over this.  I‘d be amazed if he was.

SCHULTZ:  OK.  But if they really want that health care vote in the Senate, is this a bargaining chip they‘re willing to play, do you think?  I mean, that would really be taking it to—that would be real change, would it not? 

ALTER:  Well, what they‘re going to do, as I understand it in the Senate, is that Mitch McConnell will attach repeal to some other bill when it comes to the floor.  So, at a certain point, there will be a vote on repeal in the Senate.  It will lose, and you‘ll have a situation like we have, you know, with the House, where they‘ll be able to say to the Tea Party folks, all the people who voted, hoping for repeal, the 30 percent, we did it, we tried, we put it up, we lost.  Let‘s go on to the next election. 

So I just don‘t think that they are suicidal enough in the leadership

--

SCHULTZ:  Well—

ALTER:  -- not the Steve Kings, in the leadership, to actually shut down the government over this.  And Ed, in fairness to—they‘ve indicated this.

John Boehner has been asked whether he would use a government shutdown either on health care or on, you know, the debt ceiling, or some other process.  And he has said no.  He doesn‘t want to do that. 

SCHULTZ:  OK. 

Jonathan Alter, are you picking the Bears? 

ALTER:  I am.  Of course.  Look, I grew up very close to Wrigley Field, where the Bears used to play for many years.  So, a total Bears fan. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, OK.  You grew up there, but that doesn‘t mean they‘re any good. 

(LAUGHTER)

ALTER:  Oh, come on.  Come on.  This is the first time we‘ve got a good quarterback since Sid Luckman 80 years ago. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Jonathan, good to have you with us tonight. 

Thanks so much.

ALTER:  Good to see you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Bill O‘Reilly‘s twisted logic for why lefties are going after Bachmann and Palin.  His ugly comments in “The Zone.”

And a Chinese-American congressman wants an apology from Rush Limbaugh for this—

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH:  (IMITATING CHINESE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll get after that with the panel. 

Stay with us on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Bill O‘Reilly spins his way right into “The Zone.”

This morning, he called in to talk to the kids on “Fox & Friends” and threw out this crazy theory about why certain Republicans get criticized more than others. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS:  But I don‘t get the good-looking factor.  It‘s just—the better looking these women are, like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, the more the left attacks them.  The more glamorous you are, and the more you come across as somebody who‘s appealing to the eye—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right.

O‘REILLY:  -- these people go nuts. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  What‘s your research on that, Bill? 

The reason why people go nuts about these folks like Palin and Bachmann is because they claim to be qualified to be president of the United States.  But then they go out and they talk crazy stuff like “blood libel,” and they tell people to be “armed and dangerous.”  That‘s what fires us up on the left. 

And by the way, I don‘t think you‘re the guy that should be out there getting up on his high horse on this one.  Not after you‘ve shown an unusual obsession with going after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s appearance. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  With all due respect to the Speaker, she has Botox going on.  And I‘m not saying that with any denigration at all.  Her face doesn‘t register.  It doesn‘t register.

TONYA REIMAN, AUTHOR, “THE YES FACTOR”:  But it doesn‘t register—

O‘REILLY:  Just the eyes do, but you can‘t Botox your eyes.

REIMAN:  Right.  Yes.

O‘REILLY:  Usually when you lift your eyebrows, your skin wrinkles above them. 

REIMAN:  Right.  Right.

O‘REILLY:  But not in this alien universe anymore.  She can‘t blink with all the stuff she has got in her forehead. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Hey, Bill, will you tell us that you don‘t use Botox? 

Bill O‘Reilly‘s bogus theory about how Bachmann and Palin are unfairly attacked because they‘re attractive is a load of ugly “Psycho Talk.”  

Coming up, Michele Bachmann is in Iowa tonight, and she‘s giving her own Tea Party response to the president‘s State of the Union Address.  Radio talk show host Mike Papantonio on Bachmann‘s future, ahead. 

And of course some conservative Republicans don‘t like any of their potential candidates.  They‘re begging Mike Pence, former talk show host, to run.  My panel responds to that.

And one congressman is slamming Rush Limbaugh for a fundamental lack of character after a racist rant. 

Plus, it‘s a big football weekend.  And actor Dan Lauria with us tonight, the star of the Broadway play ‘Lombardi.”  He joins me to talk football. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, the “Battleground” story tonight.  The Bears know that‘s coming up later.  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is setting herself up for a presidential run.  She‘s at Iowa tonight speaking at an Iowans for tax relief event.  And she‘s meeting with the top Republicans in the state.  Bachmann has been floated as a potential challenger to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar in 2012, but folks, looks, she wants something bigger than that.  She wants it all.  She wants the oval office. 

Today, the Tea Party express, announced that Bachmann will give her own response to the State of the Union address.  I think this is unbelievable.  Has anyone else ever done this?  Not only is Bachmann trying to put herself on equal footing with the president of the United States, she‘s undermining her own party.  Let the loyalty there, huh?  The Republicans already chose someone to give the response and that‘s budget chair Paul Ryan, but Bachmann is going rogue.  I guess, you could say she‘s going to rogue. 

Speaking of that, Sarah Palin‘s response to Tucson may have ended her chances in 2012.  If that‘s true, Palin‘s base, I guess you could say, is up for grabs.  Bachmann, of course, the Tea Party hero, she led the protest against health care reform at the capital last March and of course, she is a fundraising machine.  She raised more than $13 million during the midterms to win her seat back, more than any other house candidate ever, according to “The Washington Post.” Bachmann has also proven that she‘s not afraid to say what the Tea Partiers really want to hear. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  We would be foolish not to adopt the Tea Party mainstream America agenda. 

Obama-care as we know is the crown jewel of socialism.  It is socialized medicine. 

That‘s the stuff of socialized medicine. 

Grandma isn‘t shovel ready. 

And if it means repealing the president of the United States and repealing a liberal Senate, then I guess that‘s what we have to do. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”:  So, you think that Barack Obama may have anti-American views?

BACHMANN:  Absolutely, I‘m very concerned that he may have anti-American views.  I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Speaking of crown jewel, I know we played that before but that is the crown jewel comment of all of cable.  We can expect more of the same from her tonight in Iowa.  In her prepared remarks, Bachmann tells voters, quote, “the promise of America is under threat as never before.”  She goes on to say the question we need to ask ourselves tonight is, will it end with us?  Will we be the first generation to fail when it is our turn to pass the torch of liberty?  Will we allow this great experiment in human liberty called America to end on our watch?  Such a positive influence Michele Bachmann is. 

Joining me now is Mike Papantonio, he‘s a nationally syndicated Ring of Fire radio show.  I can—positive vibes in any of these republican questions.  So, Mike, Mike, seriously, if Sarah Palin has been damaged, the guys that you‘ve been talking about who are backing Sarah Palin, why not Michele Bachmann?  What do you think?

MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, yes, she‘s an easy choice, she‘s a big money raiser, like she‘s the one you organized the tea bagger caucus.  So, I mean, look, mainstream, mainstream Republicans might publicly say that she‘s a little bit edgy, but you know, what, when it comes to her getting out of there and saying the stupid stuff and raising plenty of money, they can always count on her.  The problem is this, Ed.  It‘s hurting just the visible, just the pictures of the Sarah Palin-type Bachmann out there talking her stupid talk is killing the Tea Party movement. 

Right now, they have about a 52 percent unfavorable rating.  When you drill down to why, it‘s because the American public is saying that the Bachmann stories are absurd.  The way she communicates is absurd.  Just two months ago, she was telling us that Obama had spent $200 million a day going to India.  She told the American public that Obama had 2,000 people over in India to assist him, 34 naval warships to help him, 900 hotel rooms rented.  The problem is, she has a problem with the truth. 

SCHULTZ:  She‘s got a problem with ego.  She can‘t stay away from the camera.  She can‘t stay away from an opportunity to give a speech.  I have never heard of a congressional member saying that I‘m going to give my response to the State of the Union.  And then, of course, she‘s playing to the Tea Party, which of course, which could divide the conservative movement.  I mean, they‘re going to have to make a choice.  So this could be good for the Democrats, right?

PAPANTONIO:  I think it‘s great for the Democrats.  I think it‘s the kiss of death to the Republicans because you really do have rank and file Republicans saying yes, we‘re fine with this woman.  Look, they‘re rejecting people like Lugar.  They‘re rejecting people like Orrin Hatch.  Five years ago, we would have said that was the craziest edge of the Republican Party.  But now the tea bagger movement has them moving out and has the Michele Bachmanns moving in.  And the good news to that is, as they keep moving to the crazy, crazy edge, it‘s nothing but opportunity for the Democrats.  So, I like the idea, expect to see a lot of crayolas, a lot of stick figures and a lot of incomplete sentences as Bachmann gives her response to Obama‘s speech, but the truth is, the tea baggers don‘t care. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.  Mike Papantonio, always a pleasure, good to have you with us tonight. 

Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. 

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and other conservatives are urging Indiana Congressman Mike Pence to fill the void in 2002 in that presidential field.  Even the super righties see they have a weak crowd of 2012 wannabes.  Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin may be the deciding factor in his decision to run for president in 2012.  And members of the Congress are calling for Rush Limbaugh to apologize for his racist impression of the Chinese president.  Chinese-American Congressman David Wu called it a fundamental lack of character. 

With us tonight, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Stephanie Miller and Amy Holmes.  Great to have both of you with us tonight.  Let‘s do the Rush Limbaugh thing.  Here he is on the radio mocking the Chinese president. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Hu Jintao (IMITATING CHINESE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  We get the idea here.  All right.  What do you make of this? 

Amy Holmes.

AMY HOLMES, RADIO SHOW HOST:  Not much.  I don‘t see the point of it.  It seems pretty juvenile to me.  I don‘t like, you know, mocking people, using that like, you know, ethnic stereotyping or ethnic slurs.  You know, a billion people speak Chinese, and China—we owe a lot to China.  They‘re holding a lot of our debt. 

SCHULTZ:  Should he apologize?

HOLMES:  Should he apologize?  You know, Rush Limbaugh is never going to apologize for stuff like that.  That is part and parcel of what you get with “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”  It‘s an element of that show that I‘d simply, I don‘t care for. 

SCHULTZ:  Stephanie?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO SHOW HOST:  Well, at least somebody on the right has finally found something they can‘t defend that Rush Limbaugh did.  It had the added benefit of not being just horribly offensive, but also incredibly unfunny, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, what began as an ugly display, this is a congressman, Congressman Wu who wants an apology.  “What begins as an ugly display quickly becomes as striking for its pathetic childishness.  Mr. Limbaugh proves once again his disinterest in civil and thoughtful discourse and in doing so, he ridicules one of the world largest, oldest languages.  Insults to Chinese-American and Asian-American communities and disrespects 1.3 billion people in China.  Now, this is exactly what Reverend Sharpton has been talking about, Amy, is this just fair game or is this hate speech?  Where do you draw the line?

HOLMES:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s hate speech.  I think as Stephanie said, it‘s just not funny.  But, you know, Rush Limbaugh is not going to apologize for his shtick any more than Howard Stern is going to apologize for his.  So, I think he‘s an entertainer.  He‘s certainly entertained his audience, a lot of people tune in for it.  This, you know, this whole side of it, the ethnic slurring, the ethnic stereotyping, as I said to me is pretty tasteless. 

SCHULTZ:  Stephanie, we‘ve got Rudy Giuliani saying that if Sarah is out, he‘s probably going to be in.  He says, “The more Republicans in which I can show a contrast, probably the better chance, the better chance that I have.  My one chance if I have a chance is that I‘m considered a moderate.”  Is Rudy Giuliani to be taken serious?  What do you think?

MILLER:  Well, you know, his run last time was pretty disastrous, Ed, but I love that they keep talking about the void in the republican, you know, group for president in 2012.  And by void is code word for Sarah Palin.  It‘s code word for anybody but Sarah Palin.  And I guess now Michele Bachmann.  For those of you that like your candidates, you know, really kind of shallow and mean but also incredibly crazy. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think, Amy?

HOLMES:  Well, you know, obviously, I don‘t agree with those characterizations, but Sarah Palin, she probably the front runner among republican voters when they‘re ask if they want to see be the 2012 nominee but I agree Rudy Giuliani wanted to throw his hat in the ring, have to throw a lot more in giving his performance spectacularly bad campaign performance in 2008.  This is someone who had a 20-point lead that he was able to fritter away and not win a single primary state.  I love the mayor, I‘m a huge fan of Mayor Rudy Giuliani‘s.  I had hoped that he would get the republican nomination, Sean, but if he really wants to do this in 2012, he‘s going to have to have a lot more discipline and a lot more strategy.  

SCHULTZ:  And what about Mike Pence, Amy.  Is he have a shot?  I mean, the hard right is really pushing him to run now. 

HOLMES:  Sure, it‘s going to be wide open field, I mean, that‘s what presidential election are for, it‘s about having options, having choices, but I think what‘s interesting there is that Mike Pence could be running against Mitch Daniels from his own state, the governor of Indiana.  So, that makes a lot of this very interesting for political watchers. 

SCHULTZ:  Stephanie, when is the mad sling and start on the right among all these candidates?

MILLER:  Not soon enough for me.  You know, I did a panel on the fairness doctrine with Mike Pence, Ed and you‘ll be surprised to know.  He thinks radio is just fair enough right now that Rush Limbaugh is on several hundred more station than you and I are because he had the really good writing for those Chinese. 

HOLMES:  What he has a lot of listeners, what he has is a lot of funs. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, when you‘re on that many stations, you can‘t miss.  Stephanie Miller, Amy Holmes, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

Coming up, Liz Winstead will he here in “Club Ed” and just in time for this football championship games, actor Dan Lauria is here to talk about playing legendary football coach Vince Lombardi on Broadway.  He joins me in the “Playbook.”  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, do you think the Republicans will follow through with their plan for massive budget cuts?  Text A for yes, text B for no to 622-639.  We‘ll bring you the results coming up.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” tonight.  We have arrived at the NFL conference championship weekend.  In the AFC, the Jets are in Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.  And over in the NFC, it‘s the oldest rival in the National Football League.  Green Bay Packers take on the Bears. 

All right.  The Packers, Bears rivalry, I‘ll tell you what, it goes all the way back to 1921.  The two teams have played 181 times.  The Bears have the slight edge, winning nine more times.  This time, they‘re playing for a shot at the Lombardi trophy.  Named after legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi.  Lombardi‘s life story has now made it all the way to Broadway.  My wife and I, we went to see the show.  We thought it was fantastic.  Actor Dan Lauria plays Lombardi.  It really captures the role and I had an opportunity to talk with him earlier today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And Dan Lauria plays Vince Lombardi in the play on Broadway, “Lombardi,” I know you hear this a lot, not only do you look at him, but you nailed it.  Is this been a hard personality to do?

DAN LAURIA, STAR OF BROADWAY‘S “LOMBARDI”:  Actually, it‘s been rather easy to come here because of the NFL, I‘ve had access to so much footage.  And for the players, you know, if I need to talk to Jim Taylor, I can call him.  And it‘s been great.  I‘ve had a lot of help.  I played Hoffa two years ago, nobody wanted to talk about it. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  You‘ve done almost 140 shows on Broadway.  You‘re signed up through June.  The reaction in the NFL has been really pleased with the reaction, the pr for them. 

LAURIA:  Oh, yes.  I mean a lot of young people today know the name Lombardi because of the trophy, but they don‘t really know about the man.  So I think Roger Goodell and the NFL is very happy with the way the player has been received. 

SCHULTZ:  He was a complex man, wasn‘t he?

LAURIA:  Yes, he was, by his own admission.  You know, he‘s very religious man, went to mass every morning, prayed for patience and understanding, you said, but it‘s not working. 

SCHULTZ:  What about the reaction?  You‘ve had a lot of former players, Frank Gifford, Sonny Jurgensen, and Sam Huff, Paul Hornung has been deceived, Don Shula.  

LAURIA:  Jerry Cramer, Andy Reid, you know, a lot of the coaches today.  And their reaction to see how a man who‘s been gone 40 years now, the affect it still has for the people who played for him and with him, it‘s amazing to see.  Sonny Jurgensen, he just started crying right in the middle of the show, Sam Huff has to put his arms around him.  And Frank Gifford right in-front of—instead of talk back, he just broke down. 

SCHULTZ:  And what was it about Lombardi that drew that out, and grown men, that they would be so loyal that it would bring them into tears?

LAURIA:  Well, he brought the best out of them.  He pushed them and he drove them.  And everybody knows about that.  But, you know, for every second that he pushed you, he had his arm around you also telling you how good you can be. 

SCHULTZ:  Judith Light plays Maria Lombardi and there‘s a lot of home life of the Lombardi‘s.  Tell us about it. 

LAURIA:  Oh, yes, I really think the key to the success of the play is that the women who‘ve come love the play.  And that‘s really Judith.  She‘s wonderful.  And, you know, it‘s hard for her.  Like she said in many interviews living with coach, was you were walking on eggs.  You didn‘t know if he was going to come home and hug you or if he was going to bring, you know, the frustration of the day with him. 

SCHULTZ:  The judgment could have been made that Vince Lombardi brought his job home and it affected his home life.  And I think you depict that very well in the play. 

LAURIA:  Yes, that‘s a major part of the play, and by the coach‘s own admission.  You know, he was not the best father.  But he was a very good teacher.  I think his relationship with his daughter was more as a teacher.  And she was there opening night and she hugged Judith and said, you are my mom. 

SCHULTZ:  And what a lot of people may not know is that Vince Lombardi was a coach who went to the Washington Redskins because he could get an ownership, part of the team, but he was also very active in civil rights and helping the black athlete move forward in the NFL, right? 

LAURIA:  Oh, Big Dave Robertson who‘s one of the characters in the play, played by Rob Reilly (ph) does wonderful job.  Big Dave has been to a number of the rehearsals and talk backs.  It was incredible what Coach Lombardi did for the black athletes.  Two years before Lionel Aldridge married a white woman, Cookie Gilchrist was blacklisted from the NFL.  He went to the AFL because he was told, you have an affair with a white woman, you‘re out.  Coach Lombardi not only said to Lionel Aldridge, you do it, he wanted an invitation to the wedding. 

SCHULTZ:  And he drafted the first black linebacker, did he not?

LAURIA:  Yes, which was a big day.  Perhaps, and who was the defense -

college at Penn State.  But when he went to the package, he said, you‘re out.  We all hear about there were no black quarterbacks.  There were no black linebackers. 

SCHULTZ:  And what about the players who see the play and the question comes up, could Vince Lombardi coach in the NFL today?  What do they tell you?

LAURIA:  Well, it‘s amazing.  Younger players said, well, I don‘t know if he would get away with that today, but every person who played for him said, are you kidding?  The coach is so far ahead of the game.  Sonny Jurgensen said, four days before he died, he was working on a new offense who is going to put end to the Red Skin‘s and it was the west coast offense. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

LAURIA:  And you realize, I mean, you played the west coast offense really the power sweep on a passing option. 

SCHULTZ:  He was the NFL.  His name is on the trophy. 

LAURIA:  Yes.

SCHULTZ:  You do a great job.  Dan Lauria is the Broadway play “Lombardi.”  It‘s a great play.  Thanks for joining us. 

LAURIA:  Thanks for having me.  I‘d really appreciate it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Dan Lauria, great guy.  A striking resemblance to the two men.  Vince Lombardi and Dan Lauria, Judith Light and the cast do a great job in that play.  “Lombardi,” it‘s on Broadway.  Here are the Big Eddie picks for the championship weekend.  I‘m taking the Jets to knock out the Steelers.  I‘m sorry, Leo.  I just think the Jets are on a roll.  And the Bears over the Packers.  Why?  You know, they‘re at home.  We‘ll see them in Dallas for the Super Bowl. 

Coming up, Rick Santorum, well, he has no apologies for playing the race card against President Obama.  “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead, we‘ll get to that, next in “Club Ed,” stay with us.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  If it‘s Friday, it‘s time for “Club Ed” with “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead.  Lizz, always a pleasure and great to have you on a Friday.  You‘re in Minnesota, you‘re not in Iowa, OK?

LIZZ WINSTEAD, “DAILY SHOW” CO-CREATOR:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  All the action is down in Iowa tonight.  Michele Bachmann is going to give her own response to the state of the union.  What do you make of all of this?

WINSTEAD:  Michele Bachmann is just unavoidable for comment.  I think if you go home tonight Ed and open your fridge, she‘s going to be in there spewing about Obama-care, watch out, she‘s going to fly back from Iowa.  And while Republicans and Democrats are giving their big speeches about, how they‘re going to, you know, restore civility and sit next to each other at the State of the Union.  Michele Bachmann‘s goal I think, is to restore imbicivility (ph).  I think—I invented the new term, imbicivility.  She‘s just spreading imbicivility.    

SCHULTZ:  She wants to be president, let‘s just come out and say, she doesn‘t want to be senator for Minnesota, she wants the whole enchilada, doesn‘t she?

WINSTEAD:  Well, Ed.  And I‘d like to be Ms. America.  Some things just aren‘t possible to Michele Bachmann, she just doesn‘t have the set that you need to be president.  She shouldn‘t be president of the sorority. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of Bill O‘Reilly saying that liberals, the left, we go after Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann because they‘re good looking. 

WINSTEAD:  Oh, that‘s what it is.  Because when I hear I think oh, how pretty.  And, you know, that‘s not what comes out, I mean, they are both lovely women, but they‘ve both also bags of hair.  They are just both dumb as bags of hair.  And that has nothing to do with their sex, their gender or how pretty they are.  They‘re just both are hammers, hammers, hammers, hammers, political hammers. 

SCHULTZ:  Rudy Giuliani, what kind of campaign is he going to run this time around?  He hang out in Florida last time, he went anything.

WINSTEAD:  Ed, doesn‘t he have anything else he can do?  I mean, did he lose the primary for “Dancing with the Stars” too?  I mean, he‘s got to stop.  I mean, you literally look at this group of people running and it‘s sort of like having to choose between which package of expired meat won‘t kill you to eat it.  You know, I just don‘t know what to say anymore.  And, you know, Mike Pence and Newt is going to run.  I mean, it is really—if I had to be on that side of the aisle and make that choice, I don‘t know what I would do. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, let‘s not forget Rick Santorum, what do you think of him?

WINSTEAD:  Well, first of all, let‘s not forget that he lost by 19 points in his election.  And now, who‘s putting him on television.  Did some news intern see him out on the street holding a sign that said, will work to spew nonsense, you know, they just out there, and they brought him in from the cold.  Because what he said was so insane, I think you guys have a clip, it‘s crazy, what he said about the president. 

SCHULTZ:  Here it is, let‘s play.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”:  The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn‘t want to answer, is that human life, a person under the constitution.  And Barack Obama says no.  Well, if that person human life is not a person then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say no, we‘re going to decide who are people and who are not people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Wow.  What do you think?

WINSTEAD:  Well Ed, you know, it‘s not a black man who said it.  I believe it was science that actually said it.  Science actually determined when human life begins.  Maybe it was a black scientist, I‘m not sure.  Still being black has nothing to do with it.  That‘s the thing about the GOP, it‘s a science issue.  It‘s not a thing.  You know, that he doesn‘t want to make it that.  And I don‘t even know the point he was trying to make.  But it was all in all rather insulting.  It feels like the GOP race, it‘s kind of like wow, just like baby Ruth in a swimming pool, all of these people are floating out their chances to run for president. 

SCHULTZ:  Lizz Winstead, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us tonight.

WINSTEAD:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our text survey, I asked, do you think the Republicans will go through, follow through on their plan for massive budget cuts?  Sixty two percent of you said yes, 38 percent of you said no.  That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  I want to hear from you.  There are a lot of ways to get in touch with the show.  Go to ed.msnbc.com.  Or check out my radio Web site at wegoted.com.  Tell me what you think on facebook.com/edschultzshow and talk to me on Twitter, at twitter.com/wegoted. 

“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.  We‘ll see you Monday.  

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