updated 3/9/2011 2:58:07 PM ET 2011-03-09T19:58:07

Guests: John Nichols, Adam Green, Tenequa Wildy, Tracy Crump, Chris Hayes

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

This is what‘s on the table:

Scott Walker‘s war on the middle class nears the breaking point in Wisconsin.  As signs indicate, the Democrats are winning the standoff.  I‘ll have commentary.

Bomb first, ask questions later.  That‘s the presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich‘s strategy for success in Libya.

And our special series continues.  Last night, we told you how Wall Street is driving up the price of gas.  Tonight, what FOX News and the Republicans want you to believe instead.  And what President Obama needs to do to stop all of it.

But this is the story that has me fired up first tonight: at this hour, there are major doubts that governor Scott Walker will win this budget battle in Wisconsin.  Governor Walker and the Republicans in the state of Wisconsin, in the Senate are starting to crack.  Over the last 48 hours, the dynamic has completely shifted in the Badger State.

On Sunday night, “The Wall Street Journal” reported Wisconsin 14, they were throwing in the towel.  Well, that report was wrong.

On Monday, Governor Walker attacked Senator Mark Miller for sending a letter offering a meeting on the state line.  Last night, Senator Miller and members of the 14 were on this program to respond.

Today, Wisconsin state Republicans broke off discussions after some of the members started back—started to back away from the Governor Walker‘s radical “budget repair bill.”

In an interview with the “Green Bay Press Gazette,” Republican Senator Bob Cowles said, “You have to be flexible because some way, some how there will be an amendment modifying the collective bargaining.  It‘s an incredible situation, the Democrats leaving, that none of us ever thought would happen.  So negotiations on this are critical to move past this and move on to the budget.”

Another Senate Republican named Luther Olsen told “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,” “They‘re in the minority but holding some cards so you‘ve got to negotiate, you can‘t give up the whole ship.”

Now, what does all that mean?  Both statements come weeks after

Senator Dale Schultz tried to push an amendment that would sunset the

elimination of collective bargaining rights.  Now, folks, you have to admit

these statements go completely against what Governor Walker has been saying about the bill for weeks.

      

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN:  The bottom line is we‘re trying to balance our budget, and there‘s really no room to negotiate on that because we‘re broke.

It‘s real simple.  We‘re trying to balance the budget.  As you mentioned in the introduction, we‘re broke.

I don‘t have anything to negotiate.  We are broke in this state.

We‘re broke.  You really can‘t negotiate when you don‘t have money to negotiate.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ:  Walker talks a good game on camera but he‘s trying to cut a deal behind closed doors.

A new development—this afternoon e-mails between Governor Walker‘s aides and the Wisconsin 14 were released to “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.”  The governor‘s office e-mailed a series of concessions to Democratic Senator Bob Jauch on Sunday night.

They include a concession to allow union bargaining over certain economic issues, including mandatory overtime, performance bonuses, hazardous duty pay, and classroom size.  The bill would no longer seek to limit public union employee bargaining over wages to the rate of inflation.

Now, these are small concessions.  Don‘t let it hood wink you.  But it proves Governor Walker is worried that the Wisconsin 14 -- they are winning this fight in the arena of public opinion.  Senate Republicans are starting to realize their jobs are in serious jeopardy unless they negotiate with the Democrats.

Recall campaigns are well under way, picking up steam and Governor Walker‘s approval ratings, well, they are dropping like a rock.

The protesters also, I think, deserve credit for a shift in strategy.  You see?  The rallies aren‘t what they were.  Rallies in Madison have decreased in size over the last few days because the mission has clearly changed.  Protesters are taking their fight back to their home districts.

Here‘s an example: Last night, hundreds of people packed a meeting room in suburban Milwaukee to attend a town hall meeting with a Republican state senator, Leah Vukmir, and also Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner.

The congressman tried to take control of the meeting early when he told the crowd just to shut up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM SENSENBRENNER ®, WISCONSIN:  You should not try to shout down people whose views you disagree with.  OK, then let‘s shut up and let her talk.

(BOOS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes.  Now, in the past, keep in mind, it was Sensenbrenner who praised members of the Tea Party for, you know, acting up, acting out during the health care town hall meetings with the Democrats.  Well, the shoe is on the other foot last night.  He shut down the meeting after only 30 minutes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENSENBRENNER:  Give her the respect to answer the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m sorry.

SENSENBRENNER:  OK, this meeting will be adjourned.

(BOOS)

(CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, so much for listening to the people.

Tonight, the protesters and the Wisconsin 14 have the upper hand in this fight.  Can we come to that conclusion?  The polls are showing that.

But here‘s where we are at this hour in my opinion.  The 14 can‘t come back.  They can‘t come back until they know for sure that these recall efforts are real and that they will follow through on them.

The people—now it‘s up to the people.  You‘ve done the protesting.  You‘re doing the boots on the ground stuff, but put yourself if you are a Wisconsinite, in the shoes of the Wisconsin 14.  They‘re wondering, OK.  When can we get back?

Now, you got some moderate Republicans who are saying, well, you know, maybe the governor is going too far.  Now, they could be saying that in public.  They could be leaking that out to some media folks and they could be on the record saying, you know, we need to negotiate but how does the 14 really know that they‘re not going to change their position once they come back?

So, this is a crucial point.  They have to know and they have to have it in writing that these moderate Republicans aren‘t going to turn coat and go back to the governor‘s side when the 14 come back to the state of Wisconsin if they do any time soon.

The other thing is: patience.  This has ban classic lesson in patience.  And I also think that the Wisconsin 14 has shown tremendous discipline not to rush to judgment thinking, hey, look at the polls.  We have this thing won.

No, no, no.  It‘s not that easy.  This is not just about a poll. 

This is about actions now.

And you have to believe that the Wisconsin 14 is looking at what‘s going on on the ground in Wisconsin saying, OK, is this recall effort for real?  How many signatures do they have?  What kind of infrastructure is there?

Because they went there, Wisconsinites, they went to Illinois for you.  They went there to give you an opportunity to do something about these Republicans who were trying to warn the American people that more of this is on the way.

And they went there to try to tell these Wisconsinites that now is the time for you to rise up against what the Republicans are trying to do.  The protests are great.  The raising of the money is great.  You pushed off the outside influence.

I mean, if you look at it this way from the governor‘s standpoint, where are his thousands?  Where are his 10,000?  Where is 100,000, day after day after day?

They‘re not there.  They had to bus in the Koch brothers‘ fraternal order to get something going in that state.  It‘s not real.

But the assurances are crucial now for the Wisconsin 14.  They have to know that Wisconsinites are going to hold together and follow through with the recall, because these moderate Republicans need to know that they are going to be under the scrutiny of a possible being taken out of office.  That‘s what this is all about at this hour.

And, of course, collective bargaining.  The one big assurance I think the 14 are going to have to get that these moderate Republicans will put in paper and go on record with the media, so it is crystal clear that they have changed their position on collective bargaining and they will vote with the Democrats—because if the 14 don‘t get those Republicans on record, they‘re not going to be able to go back and hold them accountable in the next election cycle.

This is the greatest political story I think that we have seen in this country in decades.  I mean that.  And I think it‘s great that our network is now focusing on what‘s going on in Ohio and in New Jersey and in Michigan and in Florida, because you know what?  All politics is local.  And these radicals who have been elected have all gotten on the same page and say, hey, this is what we have to do in our back yard.

And there is going to be a price to be paid for this.  It‘s the working folk of America paying the price while the privileged get off scot-free with these Republican governors.  It is morally wrong.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s question is: do you think who—excuse me—who do you think will buckle first in the Wisconsin budget standoff?  Text “A” for the Senate Republicans, text “B” for the Wisconsin 14 to 622639, or you can go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  We‘ll bring you results later in the show.

Joining us now is John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation.”

John, good to have you with us tonight.

I understand that there is a statement that was put out today by Senator Bob Jauch and, basically, we have his statement, we‘re rolling it up for you right here.  “Since Governor Walker introduced this legislation, I have talked with Republican lawmakers and former Thompson, Governor Thompson, cabinet officials every day to seek a pathway to find common ground.  Those conservatives revealed that six or seven Republican senators hated the collective bargaining provisions but felt pressured by Governor Walker to vote for the bill.”

John, we are now seeing the truth come to light are we not?

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION MAGAZINE:  We sure are, Ed.  And I think that what Bob Jauch said there is very, very important.  Senator Jauch is one of the senior members of the legislature.  He‘s been there for a long time and he really does know all of the senior Republicans.

He is somebody who has worked across a lot of lines of party and ideology over the years.  I have talked to Senator Jauch during this process.  I‘ve talked also to a lot of the Republicans.

I know these dialogues are going on behind the scenes.  And I will tell you this.  The pressure on the Republicans has been intense.  The governor literally calls the so-called weak Republicans every day and talks to them at great length.

And one of the mistakes I think that a lot of us made early on in talking about this was that we focused so much energy on the 14 that we forgot about the 19, about all the Republicans.  And now as attention begins to focus in on them, where they really are being pressured to say what they think, being asked by their local papers, being asked by Democrats behind the scenes where they‘re at, what we‘re beginning to hear is a great deal of dissent, a great deal of deep discomfort with the governor.

SCHULTZ:  But what we‘re seeing I think from Mr. Jauch‘s statement is that in a round about way the Wisconsin 14 are now giving these moderate Republicans and some conservatives, according to Bob Jauch, really give them a pathway to reasonable thinking that they never really were with this governor from the standpoint and they felt strong-armed and had the 14 not done what they did, who knows where the vote of the 19 would have gone?  What do you think?

NICHOLS:  Well, you‘re exactly right, Ed.  In fact, this is—the whole thing what the 14 did was to create space for a debate.  That space allowed an immense amount of popular education in Wisconsin.  Ordinary folks, who haven‘t been involved in these issues much, maybe haven‘t thought about collective bargaining learned a lot.  They had time to go out and study, think, dialogue, and then go into the streets and build this incredible movement across the state.

SCHULTZ:  And what about the—

NICHOLS:  The other thing that happened—

SCHULTZ:  Yes, go ahead.

NICHOLS:  I was just going to say, the one other thing that happened that I think is very, very important is that these Republican senators were left with enough time to begin kind of thinking it through themselves.  I can report to you tonight, Ed, that a major labor leader spent an hour with one of these moderate Republicans just this afternoon and that wasn‘t happening two weeks ago.  They weren‘t bringing the labor leaders in to talk.  Now, there are behind-the-scenes discussions not just with Democrats but with key labor players.

SCHULTZ:  John, how damaging are these e-mails that have been revealed that the governor, his aides, have been negotiating with the Democrats and obviously the 14 have known this all along so that‘s why they‘re holding strong, saying hey we got this guy to the table but then he goes back to Madison and he holds a press conference saying that it‘s the Democrats‘ fault for stalling this whole thing.  I mean, this is very revealing.

This guy may be—he may be lying to his own people.

NICHOLS:  Well, I think there‘s very little question that that is happening and understand this.  Here is a guy who wants to get rid of collective bargaining.  He doesn‘t like having a structure for negotiation.  Well, I think we‘re starting to see why.  He‘s not very good at negotiating.

One of the things that you do when you are negotiating is you‘re honest about it.  You‘re open about it.  And you don‘t insult the other players and call them ridiculous and write them nasty letters and suggest that they‘re not just wrong but maybe losing their senses.

That‘s what this governor has done.  And I think he actually has solidified a lot of the concerns of the Democrats.  And your commentary there was spot on.  I don‘t think these Democrats are going to accept an easy settlement here because they know there are reasons to be distrustful.

SCHULTZ:  They are sitting down in Illinois asking those moderate Republicans, do you really want to get rid of collective bargaining and pay the price down the road after we‘ve had how many decades of it doing just so well for Wisconsin families over the years?  I mean, they are going—asking them if they really want to go against tradition and get behind an ideologue who is in the governor‘s chair, who is basically lying and not working as an honest broker in front of the public as opposed to what he‘s doing behind closed doors.

John Nichols, thanks for joining us again tonight.

The recall momentum is growing and—still ahead—we‘ll look into whether Wisconsin voters will recall union-bashing Republicans.  But first, remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen.  I want to know what you think.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  Gas prices, our special report.  We show you why Wall Street speculators are to blame for sky high prices.  Tonight, how FOX News has Wall Street‘s back.  And Chris Hayes on what the president must do.

Tonight‘s “Takedown”: Newt wants another war.  That he won‘t have to fight.

NEWT GINGRICH ®, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER:  Exercise a no fly zone this evening.  This is a moment to get rid of him.  Do it.  Get it over with.

SCHULTZ:  In the Georgia GOP‘s budget solution, a tax cut for corporations, a tax hike on Girl Scout cookies.  I only wish I were kidding.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Be sure to check out our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  There you will find links to WeGotEd.com, Twitter and Facebook.

The next step for political change in Wisconsin may be recall.  And right now, the number of elected officials who face the boot is historic.  Who‘s safe and who‘s not?  We‘ll tell you next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. REP. DAVID OBEY (D), WISCONSIN:  It is apparent to me that if

the governor does not engage in meaningful compromise, he will be recalled

because when you go after the jugular and try to put workers out of business, that is when they will mean business in the way they respond.

      

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Gosh, I wish President Obama would say that, but that was former Congressman David Obey speaking with Cenk on MSNBC here yesterday.

Given Scott Walker‘s sinking popularity, it‘s not crazy to think that he may be removed from office before he can make it through his first term.  But according to the Wisconsin Constitution, an elected official must be in office for a year before a recall petition can be launched.  That means the earliest attempt to remove Walker from office would be January of 2012, which would be kind of a good warm-up to the election, don‘t you think?

But for state senators who have been in office for more than a year, the story is very different.  Every member of the Wisconsin Senate that is eligibly recalled this year is being targeted.  Can you believe it?

There are 16 formal recall petition campaigns being waged against eight Democrats and eight Republicans.  State Senator Lena Taylor, who‘s often on this program, is one of the Wisconsin 14.  She said that her fellow Democrats are confident that her recall drives against them will fail.

Well, these are the eight Republican senators who are vulnerable to a recall vote this summer.  In each district they represent, a petition must have enough signatures to equal 25 percent of the votes cast in that district in the last election, meaning last November.

So far, the Wisconsin Democratic Party says it‘s already got 15 percent of the total it needs to recall all eight Republicans.

The race to fund these recall campaigns is heating up and it may come down to outside money as a deciding factor.

For more on that, joining me tonight is Adam Green, the cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the PCCC.  He joins us from Washington, D.C.

Adam, good to have you with us tonight.

Your group has put together a pro-labor ad on Wisconsin TV and it‘s had great success.  Had this not been done, would the recall efforts be where they are right now?  Is it going to take this kind of exposure to keep people in Wisconsin motivated?  What do you think?

ADAM GREEN, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE:  Well, I do think a lot of credit goes to those on the ground, the Wisconsin Democratic Party and the literally thousands of people who volunteered this weekend in the last couple days to help accumulate those 15 percent of the signatures needed.

But what we‘re trying to do is provide air cover.  We‘re thankful to the 24,000 people who have donated over half a million dollars to keep our ad on the air going to waronworkingfamilies.com to chip in $3, $10.

And, at the end of the day, this is a very people powered movement.  This is what, you know, pro-worker forces look like.  This is what people power looks like.

And we‘re finally teaching Republicans what it looks like to be accountable when they take the pro-corporate positions against every day working families.  It‘s a pretty inspirational moment.

SCHULTZ:  And is this somewhat of a tea leaf on how the funding is going to go?  I would imagine this is going to be very intense, obviously the Koch brothers involved with the good interest of the governor.  How do you think this is going to play out?  What‘s it going to take?

GREEN:  Yes, look, let‘s be very clear.  This is—this is a movement that is grown in Wisconsin and is, you know, revolving around thousands of people who are volunteering in Wisconsin.  But there‘s a lot of solidarity—solidarity that you showed on the show and groups like ours, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, Move On, and just regular, every day people around the country—we really want these Wisconsin workers to win because this is ground zero in the fight between big corporations and special interests against every day working families.

So, we‘re willing to do our part and we‘re willing to give the people of Wisconsin the support they need to win this battle.

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Eight Democrats are being targeted.  Eight Republicans are being targeted.  But we don‘t see any Republicans out demonstrating against Democrats here in any huge numbers whatsoever.

Is this the outside influence?  And also who do you think are the most vulnerable Republicans in this?

GREEN:  Well, the most vulnerable Republicans, it‘s actually a clear set of three people.  One is a guy named Randy Hopper from Green Bay who won his last election by only 184 votes.  He‘s in the line of fire.  We‘re airing our ad in his district very heavily and the recall effort is very much under way there.  Alberta Darling, who you talked about on this show won her last election by 51 percent in the Milwaukee area.  And Dan Kapanke in La Crosse area also won his last election by 51 percent.

These guys really have to, you know, essentially pick a side.  Are they going to side with Governor Walker and big corporate interests or the people of Wisconsin?  And if they choose the wrong way, they will very easily be booted from office.

SCHULTZ:  And the way the polls are going, the way the interest is, the way we have seen this turn against the governor in the arena of public opinion—is it a slam dunk that the three that you just mentioned will probably get recalled?

GREEN:  Well, I think it‘s a slam dunk that one of two things will happen.  Either they will do what their constituents want and vote against the governor‘s budget, or they will get recalled.  It‘s one of the two.  I think that‘s a slam dunk.  We‘ll see what happens.

But this is really testament to people power, to regular people standing up and saying, even though we have a Republican governor, House, and Senate, we‘re going to push back.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

GREEN:  And it‘s been a really inspirational thing and honestly people across the nation will—are taking the lead from the folks in Wisconsin and this really could usher in a new era over the next two years.  It‘s interesting to watch.

SCHULTZ:  And we can only speculate if these recall campaigns are successful, we might see people thinking twice before they start attacking unions the way they have in Wisconsin.

Adam Green, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks for your time.

The Republican fix is in in the state of Georgia.  Here we go—lower taxes on corporations, raise taxes on everyone else, including the Girl Scouts?

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich wants us to bomb the rest of the world first and ask questions later.  I‘ll tell chicken hog Newt what I think of his military strategy.  That‘s in “The Takedown” next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  It‘s time for “The Takedown.”

Newt Gingrich might want to pay attention to this quote.  It comes from Senator Frank Lautenberg, his definition of the term chicken hawk.  “They shriek like a hawk but they have the backbone of the chicken.  When it was their turn to serve, where were they?  AWOL, that‘s where they were.”  He said that on the Senate floor.

Well, Newt sure sounded like a chicken hawk saying that we should drop more bombs on the Middle East.  Making a mockery of a suspension from Fox News, the disgraced former Speaker of the House was back on Rupert Murdoch‘s PR channel last night.  Here‘s what he would do to Libya if he were president. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Exercise a no fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone and that the sooner they switch sides, the more likely they were to survive. 

The United States doesn‘t need anybody‘s permission.  We don‘t need to have NATO, who, frankly, won‘t bring much to the fight.  We don‘t need the United Nations. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Hmm.  So we‘re back to being the policemen of the world.  And Newt is going to be the sheriff to lead the charge.  But here is what the administration is already doing, in case Newt didn‘t know: flying intelligence missions over Libya, sending humanitarian aid, orchestrating military options with NATO.

And also Defense Secretary Robert Gates is calling for international sanctions.  You see, Newt would rather just gas up all the planes and go drop some bombs tonight without any allied support, because we all know how that worked out for the United States in Iraq. 

You would think that Newt would know better.  He grew up as a military brat.  He stayed in school for the duration of the Vietnam War and never served in the armed forces.  Although, wait a minute.  He did sit on the Defense Advisory Board during the George W. Bush administration. 

Nine members of that board had private business ties to defense contractors, including Bechtel, Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman and also Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin. 

You know what?  Newt, he knows a little bit about Lockheed Martin.  It‘s one of his biggest defense contractors in Georgia, with headquarters located in Cobb County.  Where‘s that?  Cobb County.  That‘s Georgia‘s sixth congressional district.  And wouldn‘t you know it.  From 1979 to 1999, the man representing that district was—you got it, the Newtster. 

So listen carefully when you hear Newt Gingrich talking about launching military strikes around the world.  He may shriek like a hawk, but he dings like a cash register.  That‘s the Takedown. 

Coming up, the real cause of high gas prices and food prices.  The truth slips out on Fox News.  Wait till you see what they do about it. 

Republican lawmakers in Georgia have a creative solution to balancing the budget in the shortfall, taxing Girl Scout cookies.  The GOP‘s war on Thin Mints, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  This is really happening.  I want you to grasp this tonight, please.  It‘s called House Bill 385 -- 385.  And it‘s how Republicans in the state of Georgia are tackling a state budget gap. 

Finally lawmakers with the guts to go after public enemy number one, the Girl Scouts.  Just look at them.  It‘s time you paid your fair share, missy. 

As Think Progress pointed out, the GOP sponsored bill would subject Girl Scout cookies to a sales tax.  Local Girl Scout leaders are worried about the significant financial impact. 

Now we get serious.  The tax would have on the program—you see, cookie sales give troops their operating money.  And they boost community service projects, which, of course, is good to teach kids what it‘s all about.  Now to be fair, the bill doesn‘t target just the Girl Scouts.  The Boy Scouts‘ popcorn fundraiser will also be taxed.  And so will working families. 

The bill raises taxes on gas and on groceries.  And, as you know, taxes on essentials are the most regressive.  Low and middle income families already spend a greater portion of their income on essentials like food.  And in Georgia, over 1.1 million kids—that‘s 45 percent—live in low income families.  Over half a million of them live below the federal poverty line. 

So let‘s really stick it to the Girl Scouts.  What do you say?  But there is some good news.  The proposal offers a tax break for corporations.  Oh, good old House Bill 385 would lower taxes on corporate income in both foreign and domestic companies. 

Now, you tell me if that‘s fair.  Joining me now is Tracy Crump, the COO of the Girl Scouts of the Greater Atlanta Area, and Tenequa Wildy.  She‘s a Girl Scouts training coordinator and a mom.  Her daughters, Tariya (ph) and Tyarra (ph), are both Girl Scouts.  Welcome tonight. 

You‘re beautiful, all of you.  Can I say that?  That‘s America right there.  I‘m proud that I have regular Americans on THE ED SHOW.  I‘ll tell you what, if I was in the Georgia Senate or the assembly down, there I would be screaming about this. 

This is absolutely unbelievable to the extent that the Republicans will go.  Tracy, let me start with you.  This is about more than just the price of Thin Mints, isn‘t it?  What kind of impact is this going to have on the Girl Scouts‘ program? 

TRACY CRUMP, COO, GIRL SCOUTS OF THE GREATER ATLANTA AREA:  Well, Ed, it‘s going to be a devastating impact for Girl Scouts—for the program, because this is our primary funder.  And so this directly takes money away from things that are done for girls and on behalf of girls.  And, in fact, it takes away from our ability to offer our leadership program for our—to maintain and keep safe our camps, to have safe, trained volunteers. 

It directly takes money away from our girl and our girl program. 

SCHULTZ:  Tenequa, how do you feel about all of this?  How devastating is this going to be? 

TENEQUA WILDY, GIRL SCOUTS TRAINING COORDINATOR:  Well, as a parent of two girls in Girl Scouting, I am disappointed.  I mean, to actually see how far my girls have gotten with the Girl Scout cookie program and in their Girl Scout years, it would take a lot away from them just to see their face when they‘re actually doing their planning meetings and they‘re anticipating the Girl Scout cookie program, knowing that that‘s where their income is going to come from to support their dreams and their aspirations for their troop for that year. 

SCHULTZ:  Tenequa, what about the fairness or the lack of it in this? 

Speak to that. 

WILDY:  Is it fair or is it not fair? 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah. 

WILDY:  It‘s not fair at all.  These girls depend on the Girl Scout cookie program in order, like I said, to support everything that they want to do for their troop year.  And to see on their faces when they make the decision to want to go to Florida or even go overseas or give back to the community by doing a service project or supporting Girl Scouts in other countries—this is what they depend on to do that.  And to take money away from that is devastating. 

SCHULTZ:  Tracy, have you been talking to any of the lawmakers about this? 

CRUMP:  Yes, we have, Ed.  In fact, we‘ve put out a call to action to all of our stakeholders, our girls, our volunteers, our parents, our donors, all of our folks to put out a call to action to say please contact your representatives and let them know how—again, what a horrible impact this would be on girl program—on our Girl Scouting movement, and also on our ability to offer, again, community service and do the things that scouting have been known for the last hundred years. 

SCHULTZ:  Tracy, what are you going to do to make up the revenue shortfall?  I mean, a revenue shortfall could hit the Girl Scouts of America in Georgia.  I just find it amazing.  What‘s Plan B if this goes through? 

CRUMP:  Well, we‘d have to look at the things that we do on behalf of girls.  We‘d have to look at our camp sites, our program, the different things we do.  And it‘s particularly hard because we already—it‘s been difficult through the economic downturn.  And we‘ve seen some hits on other funding areas.

So we would have to directly look at what are we going to do and what kind of choices would we have to make and what kind of impact might that have on girls in our communities? 

SCHULTZ:  Can I buy a hundred boxes because I‘m mad at the Republicans about this?  Is that OK?  Can I buy a hundred boxes? 

WILDY:  Absolutely. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, I want to buy a hundred boxes.  You have motivated me.  I just think this is just an—the Republicans will go to any extreme to do what they have to do to fit it their way.  Tracy Crump, Tenequa Wildy, thanks so much for joining us tonight.  And Tariya and Tyarra, thank you for joining us as well.  Keep up the great work. 

Still ahead, Speaker Boehner is protecting Wall Street speculators. 

He can‘t admit they‘re the ones driving up gas prices.  So what does he do? 

He blames President Obama.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  The war on working Americans continues at the gas pump today.  And House Speaker John Boehner is now on the front lines protecting his Wall Street backers and buddies.  As part of our week-long series with “The Nation Magazine,” we explained yesterday on this program how Wall Street speculators are jacking up the price of your food and gas, and they‘re getting rich off it. 

Boehner is blocking Democratic efforts to stop Wall Street speculators.  His blog now has the following quote, “it‘s time for President Obama to explain to the American people why he spent the last two years blocking new American energy production, working to raise prices on families and small businesses, and making it harder to create jobs.” 

Blah, blah, blah.  How generic can you get? 

Well, last week, we told you the right wing was going to try to pin this on President Obama.  And sure enough, that very day Fox News came out calling for an end to gas tax.  Watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Gas prices soaring and this guy ain‘t leaving.  The price at the pump hopping four cents in just the past day.  My next guest says cut the gas tax now to get these gas prices under control now. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, guess what?  Cavuto‘s own guest comes on and says he doesn‘t think cutting the gas tax will do any good. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It would only save you about 48 cents a gallon.  And the way things are flying in crude, you‘ll lose that 50 cents a gallon almost immediately at the pump.  So I‘m not sure that it will do any good. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Ah, so here comes the good part.  Cavuto‘s own guest blames it on future speculators.  And Cavuto doesn‘t say a word about it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know they‘re going to gauge because they buy futures when it comes to gas.  And the futures price they expect to be higher.  So they‘re hedging the higher prices by pumping up the price now, but that doesn‘t help the consumer slightly. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  In fact, in the very next segment, Cavuto brings on a baker to talk about food prices.  And when the baker blames high food prices on speculators, Cavuto doesn‘t just ignore it, he ends the whole interview. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘ve got to have policies coming out of Washington that are flexible, that when there is a flood or a freeze or something, they allow people to be able to move.  And then, you know, speculators—they do the same thing to the grain market that they‘re doing to our fuel market right now. 

Farmers are not getting rich.  We‘re not getting rich.  But somebody is making a lot of money. 

CAVUTO:  You hang in there.  Guys like you are the salt of the earth. 

I guess in your case the sugar of the earth.  I don‘t know. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Neil, you got to screen those guests, big guy.  So even guests on Fox News know this is all about Wall Street.  They‘re even admitting it.  But yesterday, we asked the White House whether they said anything about Wall Street‘s role in high gas prices and no answer yet. 

Stay with us, as Chris Hayes of “The Nation” weighs in on how the White House is fumbling gas prices and the political price President Obama might pay for it, if he fails to take on Wall Street and Republicans over gas and food prices.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight, gas prices have gone up 21 straight days.  And with Wall Street driving up gas and food prices, the big question is, where is President Obama?  Can he do anything about it?  The White House has spent lot of time talking about Libya and OPEC and the strategic reserve.  I want to point out tonight not one word about Wall Street speculators. 

President Obama campaigned in 2008 on cracking down on Wall Street speculators.  And his Wall Street reform law, it does just that.  But Republicans have blocked the funding for both the SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the CFTC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to enforce it. 

So, as we reported last night, one of the CFTC members, Michael Dunn, has been a skeptic on position limits, which cap how much commodity trading Wall Street speculators can do.  So the big question is now, how does the White House get this issue?  Do they get it well enough both to call out Republicans for blocking the funding and to appoint a replacement for Dunn, who supports position limits that would reduce Wall Street manipulation of gas and food prices? 

It‘s a big deal.  Our week-long series on this issue is being done in conjunction with “The Nation Magazine.”  Washington editor Chris Hayes wrote about it for TheNation.com today. 

Chris, great to have you with us tonight.  Does the White House get it or do they just want to pick another—they just probably don‘t want to pick another fight with Wall Street.  How do you see this coming down? 

CHRIS HAYES, “THE NATION MAGAZINE”:  I think the White House has not

messaged on this particularly effectively, particularly, as you noted

before—I mean, we saw—we know how this is going to go.  We all saw—

lived through the 2008 campaign, in which on the right the Republican party

there is a very kind of pat, ideological, cause and effect they can point to any time gas prices rise, which is they can say we need to expand supply; drill, baby drill.  Of course, that phrase was coined amidst four dollar gas in the summer of 2008. 

           

There is no coherent vision from the White House so far, from the Democratic party about what to do about gas prices, particularly gas prices when they‘re spiking with the kind of volatility we‘re seeing now.  And this is the place to look. 

Unfortunately, I think there is a real tentativeness because, as per usual, the people that are sort of overseeing the speculation in these markets are the big Wall Street donors and the people that have kind of outside influence, not just in terms of donor dollars but sort of intellectually and cognitively in the Democratic party. 

SCHULTZ:  So what does the White House have to do to rein this in? 

What happens if they don‘t? 

HAYES:  Well, what‘s interesting here is that actually, unlike a lot of things that can be stonewalled by Republicans and blocked by them, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission has the statutory authority, but since the New Deal to rein in what‘s called excessive speculation.  And they are instructed explicitly by the Dodd/Frank bill, the Wall Street reform bill, to promulgate—to put forward position limits. 

Basically to say you cannot make bets bigger than this, and to rein in the excessive speculation.  So what is remarkable is that this is one of those rare cases in which actually the authority is already there.  There does not have to be a political fight to grant it.  All that has to happen is the commissioners—there‘s five of them.  Three have to vote to put in place position limits. 

Now, as you have pointed out, Michael Dunn is sort of the swing vote on this, has expressed skepticism of the wisdom of it.  He is up for reappointment in June.  He is the swing voter.  He‘s like Anthony Kennedy is on the Supreme Court.  He said that he was to see more evidence.  He can go either way. 

The White House has to choose someone who is going to be good on this issue, as Commissioner Gary Gensler, who they nominated, has been.  They need to choose someone who is going to be good on this issue if we‘re going to see action in the near term. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think President Obama is politically afraid to do this, to put someone on that commission that would definitely favor position limits?  I mean, Dunn I understand.  You know he casts basically a procedural vote to allow discussion of position limits.  But, you know, who knows where he‘s going to end up on this? 

It sounds like he won‘t be for it, which of course would be a big disappointment to working families in this country and small businesses.  And I thought the Republicans were all about small business. 

But back to my point about President Obama.  He seems to be politically scared on this one.  What do you think? 

HAYES:  Well, I think, look, they can make the argument at the White House that they are worried that anyone who is too aggressive isn‘t going to get through the Senate.  And that‘s—obviously these are confirmed positions to the board. 

But the fact of the matter is actually one of the things we saw in 2008 that‘s interesting was broad bipartisan support for these kinds of regulations.  There was a very, very restrictive bill that got 53 -- 54 votes I think it was in the Senate in 2008, and got a lot of Republican support, because when gas prices hit four dollars, the country‘s politics go haywire. 

I think if you‘re in the White House right now, you have to understand that the volatility in the oil markets right now, combined with what is going on in the Middle East, combined with the massive influx of capital in the commodities futures markets, means you‘re going to see increased volatility.  Things are going to go up. 

You need to get ahead of it, because once they go up, that‘s when there is this sort of panic that besets the entire political atmosphere.  And then you start talking about really stupid solutions.  So you need to start making the case now for an explanation of this, so you can get to a sensible solution. 

SCHULTZ:  This is not a supply issue.  I mean, there‘s been reports out there—

HAYES:  Exactly. 

SCHULTZ:  -- that we are at an 18-year high when it comes to the supply of petroleum.  Shouldn‘t this be the fight the Democrats want?  Shouldn‘t this be absolutely right up their alley? 

HAYES:  That is exactly the point.  If you say, well, the Republicans will stone wall our nominee if we put forward the nominee who is aggressive on this issue—the fact of the matter is you want to kind of draw attention to it because there is really good evidence—and it was a little murkier in 2008.  But as time has gone on, it‘s harder and harder to make sense of the volatile swings we‘ve seen in commodities prices broadly, oil specifically, without looking directly at what Wall Street is doing, and the amount of money they‘re pouring into these markets. 

Of course, they‘ll tell you that they had nothing to do with it.  But if you go to the end users, if you go to the bakers, if you go to Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines, if you go to people that are actually using the fuel, they‘re also sort of kind of a surprising ally for the White House in this fight. 

You can draw the line and you can use a Senate confirmation for the CFTC for the commissioner chair—the commissioner slot.  You could use that as a kind of instructive moment to lay out exactly what is going on with oil prices, rather than allowing yourself to be demagogued on drill baby drill.

SCHULTZ:  Chris Hayes, your piece on this issue is up at the Nation.com.  Thanks for your time tonight.  Great work. 

HAYES:  Appreciate it.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  and join us tomorrow when our series on Wall Street and gas prices continues.  We go straight to the source.  CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton will be our special guest on the series tomorrow night.  And you‘re going to want to hear what he has to say. 

Tonight in our survey I asked, who do you think will buckle first in the Wisconsin budget standoff?  Ninety percent of you said that the Senate Republicans will buckle first; 10 percent of you said it would be the Wisconsin 14. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information on THE ED SHOW, we‘d like to take you to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  Twitter, Facebook, all that stuff.  Sign up.  Yeah, I play around with that stuff. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow night from Norfolk, Virginia, my home town.  “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copyright 2011 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.  All materials herein are protected by

United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,

transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written

permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,

copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

PASTE THE TRANSCRIPT HERE