updated 4/8/2011 3:40:28 PM ET 2011-04-08T19:40:28

Guests: Chuck Todd, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Krystel Spell, John

Nichols, Al Sharpton

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

At this hour, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have just finished their latest meeting at the White House discussing funding of the government.  Will there be a shutdown?

Immediately following the meeting, the president spoke to the American people.  For the sake of the record, in its entirety, here‘s what the president said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

           

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I just completed another meeting with Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid.  And I want to report again to the American people that we made some additional progress this evening.

I think the staffs of both the House and the Senate as well as the White House staff have been working very hard to try to narrow the differences.  We made some progress today.  Those differences have been narrowed.  And so, once again, the staff is going to be working tonight around the clock in order to see if we can finally close a deal.

But there are still a few issues that are outstanding.  They are difficult issues.  They are important to both sides.  And so, I‘m not yet prepared to express wild optimism.  But I think we are further along today than we were yesterday.

I want to reiterate to people why this is so important.  We‘re now less than 30 hours away from the government shutting down.  That means, first of all, 800,000 families—our neighbors, our friends—who are working hard all across the country in a whole variety of functions, they suddenly are not allowed to come to work.  It also means that they‘re not getting a paycheck.  That obviously has a tremendous impact.

You then have millions more people who end up being impacted because they‘re not getting the services from the federal government that are important to them.  So, small businesses aren‘t seeing their loans processed.  Folks who want to get a mortgage through the FHA may not be able to get it.  And, obviously, that‘s not good, as weak as the housing market is.

You‘ve got people who are trying to get a passport for a trip that they have been planning for a long time.  They may not be able to do that.

So, millions more people will be significantly inconvenienced in some ways.  They may end up actually seeing money lost or opportunities lost because of the government shutdown.

And then, finally, there‘s going to be an effect on the economy overall.  Earlier today, one of our nation‘s top economists said—and I‘m quoting here—“The economic damage from a government shutdown would mount very quickly.  And the longer it dragged on, the greater the odds of a renewed recession.”

We have been working very hard over the last two years to get this economy back on its feet.  We have now seen 13 months of job growth, 1.8 million new jobs.  We had the best report—jobs report that we‘ve seen in a very long time just this past Friday.  For us to go backwards because Washington couldn‘t get its act together is unacceptable.

So, again, 800,000 federal workers and their families impacted.  Millions of people who are reliant on government services not getting those services, businesses, farmers, veterans.  And, finally, overall impact on the economy, that they could end up severely hampering our recovery and our ability to put people back to work.

That‘s what‘s at stake.  That‘s why it‘s important to the American people.  That‘s why I‘m expecting that as a consequence of the good work that‘s done by our staffs tonight, that we can reach an agreement tomorrow.

But let me just point out one last thing.  What I have said to the speaker and what I have said to Harry Reid, is because the machinery of the shutdown is necessarily starting to move, I expect an answer in the morning.

And my hope is, is that I‘ll be able to announce to the American people sometime relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted, that a deal has been completed, that has very meaningful cuts in a wide variety of categories that helps us move in the direction of living within our means, but preserves our investments in things like education and innovation, research, that are going to be important for our long-term competitiveness.

That‘s what I hope to be able to announce tomorrow.  There‘s no certainty yet.  But I expect an answer sometime early in the day, all right?

Thank you very much, everybody.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  The president just moments ago.

Joining us now from the White House, chief White House correspondent for NBC News, Chuck Todd.

Chuck, burning the midnight oil tonight.  Appreciate you joining us on

THE ED SHOW.

What do you think the president means when he expects an answer in the morning?  What‘s going to happen overnight?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, here‘s my understanding, is that there is in a loose deal on the table, that doesn‘t mean they‘ve agreed to anything.  The reason you‘re seeing another joint statement out of Harry Reid and John Boehner is they need to take it back to their own caucuses.  The biggest difference between what we saw here last night, Ed, and what we‘re seeing here tonight is that behind the scenes, you‘re quietly hearing more optimistic talk about avoiding the shutdown from the Republican side.  A couple of Republican aides from Capitol Hill I‘ve talked to seemed to think—I had one say, “It‘s within reach.”

And so, you throw it all together and it‘s reading tea leaves which can be very dangerous at moments like this.  But there clearly seems to be a working path that they‘re on when you talk to some folks behind the scenes in this building and on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue.  The question is we know what the issue is that‘s dividing them.  It‘s this issue on abortion and it‘s this issue involving Planned Parenthood more so than it is the actual number.

No word yet on whether the number actually went up yet from $33 billion to something higher, but the biggest sticking point for the last 12 hours has been the wording of this rider on abortion and on Planned Parenthood, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Chuck, can you sense from the White House how they feel about the number of policy riders that have been attached to this discussion in the 11th hour?

TODD:  Well, look, this is—it was and non-starter—you know, they‘ve moved on this.  Remember, about four or five weeks ago, any riders on the continuing resolution were non-starters.  And then the White House loosened up on this because Boehner basically went to them and said, look, I‘m going to need something, I‘m going to need some of these policy riders.  I can‘t go to this completely clean and get anything through the House or there‘s not going to be a deal.

So, they—the White House has had some wiggle room on these issues of riders.  The question is—but on a couple of them, they are dug in and on particularly this one on abortion and Planned Parenthood.  And so, that‘s the one that they‘ve been trying to reword it, take the words Planned Parenthood out of it a little bit, seeing what they can come up with.  And that‘s what they‘re working on, that‘s what they were working on earlier and that‘s likely what they‘re still working on tonight.

SCHULTZ:  Chuck Todd at the White House—thanks for your time tonight, Chuck.  Appreciate it.

TODD:  You got it, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Joining us is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and an independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

We‘ll start with you, Congresswoman Schakowsky, your thoughts at this hour.  What does John Boehner have to do?  They‘re not saying anything.  They‘re going back to their caucus.  Where do you think it stands?

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS:  Well, I think Chuck Todd was wise to point out that this isn‘t just about money, even though they are acting as if it‘s about the budget and it‘s about the cuts, that this is the social policies, the social agenda of the Republicans.  They want to defund Planned Parenthood, which, by the way, is supported by -- 53 percent to 43 percent of Americans think it is a good idea to fund them.

And they want to defund the Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to having any jurisdiction over greenhouse gases.  Imagine, the Environmental Protection Agency can‘t protect us.

And those are the kinds of ways that they want to legislate their agenda, pretending that it‘s really just about the budget.  You know, they cannot take yes for an answer.  It‘s hard and terrible as the cuts that have been agreed to are, that it‘s really not about those cuts.

SCHULTZ:  And, Congresswoman, let me ask you, if it were put to a vote right now, would every Democrat vote for it as it stands just to be with the president to help them out?

SCHAKOWSKY:  Oh, I think we have to see what they‘re doing, particularly on those social provisions that they add.  I certainly could not vote for something that cuts Planned Parenthood.

SCHULTZ:  OK.

And let‘s go to Bernie Sanders.

Senator, as you see it right now, how much more can the Democrats give?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT:  Ed, the Democrats have already given far, far too much at a time when so many people in the middle class are hurting, when poverty is increasing—what the Republicans have succeed in doing is moving toward deficit reduction, solely on the backs of the weak and the vulnerable.  The richest people in this country and largest corporations that are doing phenomenally well have not been asked to contribute one nickel toward deficit reduction.

And now, as Jan Schakowsky just said, on top of all of that, these guys, these right wing extremists, are prepared to shut down the government because they want the city of Washington, D.C. not to be able to use their own money for abortions for women in the city, and because they want the Environmental Protection Agency—

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

SANDERS:  -- not to be able to enforce federal law with regard to greenhouse gas emissions.

SCHULTZ:  And, Senator, it‘s not only Planned Parenthood.  I mean, to the environment, the climate folks out there who are in denial, this prohibits funding for EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases, prohibits funding for the EPA to change a rule regulating water.  This list of over 60 riders, what‘s your response to this?  Is this just a blocking back for the Republicans right now?

SANDERS:  All you can say is, you know, these guys are extremists and they are prepared, as the president said, to impact negatively the lives of many, many millions of people and it‘s not only inconvenience for us.  All over the world, people are saying what is going on in the United States of America?  Our credibility goes down.

Soldiers—we are putting their lives on the line—will not get the paychecks that they should be getting.  It is insane.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  -- the president did not mention that vote in the House today.  What do you make of that, Congresswoman?

SCHAKOWSKY:  Oh, the fact that they passed $12 billion more in cuts, they have all those social agenda pieces added to their proposal and Eric Cantor stood up on the floor—and I‘m telling you, the Tea Party members, they were just frothing at the mouth.  I thought they were going to start yelling, “Shut down, shut down,” because he was saying they‘re just not going to leave until they get these additional cuts and that they‘re not going to stand for the status quo because the Democrats offered to say, let‘s just extend it for a week without any additional cuts or any additional items and we‘ll negotiate that.

They don‘t want to negotiate.  The Tea Party people want to shut it down.

But I do believe it is at their peril.  The game has changed.  The narrative is changing out there, and I think that the American people don‘t want dirty air and dirty water, and they don‘t want to have Planned Parenthood that serves one out of five American women in their lifetime to not have the funding.  They don‘t like this.

I think the Republicans have a lot to lose if they don‘t—aren‘t willing to negotiate.

SCHULTZ:  The question is, is the—are the extremists in the Republican Party guiding the ship right now for John Boehner and just how far will he go?  He surprised a lot of people today when he was talking about saying that there‘s no daylight between him and the Tea Party.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  I‘m going to fight for the best deal I can for my team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know what the Democrats say?  They say they could cut a deal with you but you won‘t buck the Tea Party.

BOEHNER:  Listen, there‘s no daylight between the Tea Party and me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  None?

BOEHNER:  None.  They want us to deal with this crushing debt that‘s going to crush the future for our kids and grandkids.  There‘s no daylight there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Senator, what do you make of that?

SANDERS:  Ed, we should be very clear, I think Boehner is right in saying that.  And everybody must understand, this is just the beginning.  If you look at Congressman Ryan‘s budget that he has proposed, we‘re talking about the end of Medicare as we know it, massive cuts in Medicaid, we‘re talking about devastating cutbacks in Pell grants and education, environmental protection.

What these guys are doing is dismantling all of the programs that were put in place in the last 70 years to protect working families and lower income people, children and the sick.

SCHAKOWSKY:  And they‘re doing that in order to be able to give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans who have been the only ones who have been benefited over the last several years.  And the tradeoff—Medicare?  Or do we give more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires.

I don‘t think that is popular with the American—we know that it isn‘t.  The American people have already weighed in on the Medicare issue and said, no way, we don‘t want that.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Finally to both of you, Congresswoman, percentage wise on a shutdown -- 50-50, 90-10 percent, is there going to be one?  What do you think?

SCHAKOWSKY:  Oh, right now, I think—I‘m going to guess 60-40 shutdown.

SCHULTZ:  Sixty/forty shutdown.  What do you say, Senator Sanders?

SANDERS:  No idea.  Your guess is as good as mine.

SCHULTZ:  Well, the president said tonight he‘s not ready to express any wild optimism although he expects an answer in the morning.  So, they‘ll be working all night long on this.  Let‘s see how far Mr. Boehner will go.  Let‘s see if the Democrats will give up anymore.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Senator Bernie Sanders, good to have you with us  tonight.  Thanks so much.

SCHAKOWSKY:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  And this just in from the White House.  The president was scheduled to go to Indianapolis, Indiana tomorrow.  Due to the ongoing discussions over the budget, he has postponed that trip.

And breaking news out of Wisconsin: the Supreme Court election takes a dramatic turn as thousands of previously unreported votes go to the conservative Justice David Prosser.  How did all of that happen?  Well, John Nichols of “The Nation” will explain, next.  Stay with us.

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  Cost and consequences.  The real impact of a government shutdown, the soldiers protecting our freedom won‘t get paid.  So much for supporting the troops.

And the jokes on Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER:  They won‘t be laughing if I‘m president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Don‘t be so sure about that, Donald.  Everybody is already laughing.

Beck gets bounced.  Soon off the air at FOX.  His delusions will have to find a new home on the dial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  This president I think has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Al Sharpton will weigh in.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  And breaking news out of Wisconsin.  The Supreme Court election takes a dramatic turn.  Thousands of previously unreported, uncounted votes now go to conservative Justice David Prosser.  Real consequences if the government does shut down.  A military spouse whose husband‘s pay could stop joins me next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight.

Obviously, we are in an economic recovery which is fragile.  We‘re in two or three wars depending on who you ask.

But as of this moment, Republicans appear willing to shut down the government.  Not over budget issues as they claim, but over issues they use again and again to pander to their base, like defunding Planned Parenthood, even though Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from spending federal funds on abortions.  Another big one—Republicans want to prohibit the EPA from regulating carbon emissions.  All part of the party‘s obsessive denial of climate change.

So, it‘s not hard to see who is playing politics in all of this.  But that didn‘t stop Congressman Mike Pence from twisting things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA:  Let‘s be clear on this point.  Liberals in the Senate are threatening to shut down the government because they want to continue to borrow money from China to underwrite the largest abortion provider in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Meantime, House Speaker John Boehner might look like a two-headed monster by the end of all of this—or maybe just two-faced.  He seems to know that a government shutdown would be bad for the Republicans.  But he is still kowtowing to many in his caucus who want a shutdown.

Here‘s Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa summed it all up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA:  Last Monday evening, Speaker Boehner appeared before his Republican caucus in the House and he said that he had instructed the administration committee to prepare for a government shutdown and he got a standing ovation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And a shutdown would have real consequences, as you heard the president say tonight.  And then there‘s the problem for the troops.  Even though military personnel are deemed essential, their actual paychecks would stop for most of them until the shutdown ended, which is a real hardship on families.  One Defense Department official put it this way, “You could have forced deployed in the field with their families back home and no one‘s getting paid.”

Joining me tonight is Krystel Spell, a military spouse who runs the Web site ArmyWife101.com.

Krystel, thanks for your time tonight.  I appreciate it.

You‘ve got to be really concerned over this.  What would it do to your family if there is a shutdown?

KRYSTEL SPELL, MILITARY SPOUSE:  Thanks for having me, Ed.

Well, the shutdown is a big concern for military spouses in general.  We‘re here, our soldiers are serving.  They don‘t need the extra stress of having a spouse at home who‘s concerned about if she can‘t buy milk the next payday or she can‘t pay her rent if she happens to live off post, or they can‘t make their basic car payments or they can‘t buy groceries.  And for me, personally, as a mom of two, I don‘t need that stress an neither does my husband.

SCHULTZ:  Have you communicated with your husband about a shutdown and what it would do to you economically?

SPELL:  Absolutely.  We have.  And we actually just arrived here in North Carolina and we chose this time to live off post and we actually have a house payment to make.

So, for us, economically, we can‘t afford to not receive pay and possibly lose our home or go into debt.  And with finances and debt being such a big part of the military and the stress of it, it‘s important that we make these kind of payments and that our soldiers do not have these type of issues.  It‘s important to their families.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Krystel Spell with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.

Krystel, have you gotten a clear answer from the military on exactly what‘s going to happen to families like yours if there is a government shutdown?  Have they prepared you for this in any way?

SPELL:  There have been several briefings.  You‘ve heard—I run a huge Facebook page and a lot of the spouses have been saying that, you know, their husbands have received briefings on what to do.  The military‘s actually been pretty good about keeping us prepared as far as resources that are available to spouses.

It‘s more so, as far as Congress or the government goes, that we don‘t really know, we don‘t have a clear answer on what‘s what.  But as far as the military goes, they have prepared us with resources.  There‘s tons of information available online on what to do.

But at the end of the day, the idea still looms about not getting a paycheck.

SCHULTZ:  And what about the soldiers?  Has your husband communicated to you what this might do to morale and what the other soldiers are talking about?

SPELL:  Me and my husband have spoke.  Thank God at this point he‘s not deployed.  But we have spoken about the whole morale situation and as well as spoken to other wives.  And right now, the biggest concern is spouses, who maybe are even new to deployments, who are home by themselves, who—you know, this is their first time dealing with this, and then have you these soldiers over there who are trying to do this mission and we talk about safety and supporting our troops.

But it‘s really hard to focus on a mission when you have kids and a wife at home, and your wife is stressed about not being able to put food on the table or not being able to pay a bill or what have you.

SCHULTZ:  Krystel, what would you say to lawmaker if you had a chance to him personally about the shutdown, what would you say?

SPELL:  I‘d say put the politics aside.  Our troops are the backbone of our country.  They are the reason why I‘m able to sit here and talk to you tonight.  And this is not, in my opinion, about Democratic, Republican, this is people‘s livelihood.  We are Americans.  And we deserve an answer.  We deserve to be paid.

SCHULTZ:  And whose fault do you think it is if this goes to a shutdown the way this has played out?

SPELL:  Honestly—I don‘t know.  I would have to say I think it‘s both—both sides‘ faults.  Because I feel like when it comes to people‘s livelihoods, you need to put the political rhetoric to the side.

SCHULTZ:  Krystel Spell, thank you for joining us tonight.  God bless you, for you and your husband and what you do.  Good luck to your family.

SPELL:  Thank you for having me.

SCHULTZ:  ArmyWife101.com is the Web site.  There‘s a lot of information there.  Thanks for joining us tonight, Krystel Spell here on THE ED SHOW.  Krystel Spell, thank you so much.

You know, this is just amazing the way this is unfolding right now. 

You have the Republicans—and I‘m partisan on this, because this doesn‘t

have to happen.  This is happening because there‘s a group of Tea Partiers

this new group of 87 really is controlling what Boehner‘s thinking right now and he‘s going to—he‘s not going to cave in to them, he‘s going to hold the line, I think.

           

But you‘ve got the Republicans who have gone around this country and campaigned about how they support the troops, they wrap themselves in the flag, campaign after campaign, they‘re more American than anybody else.  But they would rather put their social agenda out first instead of supporting the troops.  And then they have this phony vote in the House today just so they can turn political blame on the president.  That‘s the game playing that‘s going on in Washington right now and it is really sad.

We are in how many conflicts?  We‘re deployed in how many countries around the world?  And I think that‘s a real story that could be told by every military family tonight—all of the consternation that they‘re going through and the concern that they have for their families.  And they‘re just not but what?  A political football.  It is so sad.

Coming up: breaking news out of Wisconsin.  The latest twist in the Supreme Court, an election that is disastrous for Scott Walker‘s political future.  “The Takedown” is next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Time for the Takedown tonight.  The results of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, they‘re still up in the air?  Fishy county, fishy vote total.  Don‘t you think? 

But no matter who winds up winning this election, the final numbers, they‘re not real pretty for the governor of the state of Wisconsin, Scott Walker.  Almost 1.5 million voters turned out for what should have been an easy reelection for conservative Justice David Prosser. 

The last time he ran, Prosser, get this, won 99.54 percent of the vote.  He was, of course, unopposed.  During an open primary in February, Prosser received 55 percent of the vote.  Unknown Assistant State Attorney General Joanne Kloppenburg, coming out of nowhere, was the closest remaining vote getter in that election with only 25 percent. 

In just six weeks after massive protests of Scott Walker‘s budget busting bill, the Kloppenburg/Prosser race, I mean, it came front and center, became a full blown referendum on Scott Walker and what he was trying to do.

And here we sit with the outcome still disputed.  According to Scott Walker, this election wasn‘t about him.  It was about those rabble rousers in Madison. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN:  We have two very different worlds in this state.  You have a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All right now, we got that?  Wisconsin, you got it?  If you voted for Kloppenburg, no matter where you‘re from, or no matter what your ideology is, you‘re just part of that world that‘s driven by Madison, you know, those socialists.  You‘re not part of the majority of Wisconsin. 

Tea Party back Congressman Sean Duffy, the guy who says he‘s struggling on 174,000 dollars a year in a federal salary from the Congress, took Walker‘s premise even further after that statement.  He told “Slate‘s” Dave Weigel, quote, “look at the end result.  What does that & say about where Wisconsinites are if that‘s where all the motivation was, but that was the vote total.”

So Duffy believe that an unknown candidate closing a 30-point gap in six weeks against a candidate who won 99 percent the last time out is no big deal.  Really?  How about the 19 counties that went for Scott Walker in 2010 flipping over to Kloppenburg?  No big deal there either, right? 

And what about Democrat Chris Abole winning the Milwaukee County seat

the executive seat in that county by a margin of 61 to 39.  We should point out that that‘s the job Scott Walker left to become governor.  I guess that really doesn‘t mean anything either, does it? 

           

According to Brennan Center, 3.5 million dollars of special interest money was spent on the race; 1.4 million  went to Kloppenburg, 2.1 million went to Prosser.

Walkers‘ allies outspent the Democrats nearly two to one and the result was still a 50-50 election.  No matter what the Republicans say, Scott Walker knows that this race was bad news.  If a conservative supreme court justice can lose nearly 50 percent of his voter base from the last election, imagine what‘s going to happen when the recall elections get under way later this year.  That‘s the Takedown.

Next, the latest on the Wisconsin election.  Where is it?  Republican stronghold finds thousands of previously unreported votes.  Hmm.  Interesting, huh?  How‘s this going to affect the outcome.  John Nichols will help us make sense of it all. 

Last night, we were with the president at the National Action Network‘s Keepers of the Dream Awards.  Tonight, Reverend Al Sharpton is here.  He‘s going to let me know what he thinks about Glenn Beck getting canned.          

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight.  Of course, we‘re following the breaking news out of Wisconsin, and the latest twist in the supreme court election. 

Let me tell you, folks, it is a dandy.  Late this afternoon, Waukesha County, a Republican stronghold, corrected its vote count, giving Justice David Prosser an unofficial 7,500-vote lead over Joanne Kloppenburg.  Prosser‘s surge could potentially end a recount effort before it even starts. 

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus says more than 14,000 votes were not previously recorded due to, quote, “human error.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATH NICKOLAUS, WAUKESHA COUNTY CLERK:  This is not a case of extra votes or extra ballots being found.  This is human error, which I apologize for. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  The AP reports that Nickolaus forgot to save vote totals from suburban Milwaukee.  Nickolaus has been criticized for lack of oversight in the past.  Interesting.  An audit of her handling of the 2010 election found she need to improve security and—what do you know—backup procedures. 

Prior to getting elected clerk, Nickolaus worked for the Assembly Republican Caucus.  And the “Wisconsin State Journal” reports Nickolaus worked for the caucus when David Prosser was speaker of the caucus.  Are we making this up?  No. 

The caucus is controlled by the speaker.  Meanwhile, the Walker administration is asking the state supreme court to halt a restraining order barring the enforcement of their anti-union law. 

The state attorney general alleges Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority.  His petition asks the high court to immediately stay the restraining order, citing lost saving to the state. 

Time to bring in John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation.”  Good to have you with us tonight, John.  I cannot believe that we‘ve just reported on this program the last three minutes.  Can you believe?  is this really happening?  This is crazy.  What do you think, John?

JOHN NICHOLS, “THE NATION”:  It‘s pretty incredible, Ed.  Imagine this, a county clerk forgets the second largest city in her county, a county of 40,000 people.  This clerk, a former Republican staffer, as you‘ve reported, has a long history of secretive and erratic activities. 

She finds precisely the number of votes that David Prosser needs to avoid an official recount.  And then the information doesn‘t come out in major media in the state, the newspapers, television stations, that have been covering this story from the start, but rather on right wing blogs and right wing talk radio. 

SCHULTZ:  Where does this take us, John? 

NICHOLS:  It takes us to a point where Wisconsinites are justifiably skeptical about what has happened.  Recounts often produce unexpected twists and turns.  Votes turn up.  But this is an unprecedented number of votes. 

So former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlogger (ph) has said that this needs an investigation and inquiry.  There‘s a lot of questions about how you would investigate.  The Kloppenburg campaign has this evening mounted an open records request, looking for all the computer data and communication information between the county clerk and outside parties. 

Also, the group Citizen Action has asked that the U.S. attorney impound the ballots in Waukesha County and also seek the phone and computer records of the county clerk, particularly for those communications with outside actors. 

SCHULTZ:  So the wheels are in motion to make sure this is all on the up an up.  The Kloppenburg camp on the move right now and also the activist group that you just mentioned.  This could stop the recount, or stop the process before it even gets started. 

And it would seem to me, with the Republicans in power and the governor where he is right now, he might be on solid ground to just move forward and implement this bill.  What do you think? 

NICHOLS:  I think this is so very controversial, Ed, that we‘re going to have to watch as the rest of the counties in the state go through their canvas.  David Prosser is right on the edge of being outside the official recount number.  But if those ballots are impounded, and also, if the right demands are made, the Kloppenburg campaign can force a recount of those Waukesha County ballots. 

They would have to pay for it.  But frankly, I think at this point there would be plenty of Wisconsinites who are willing to put down the money to pay for a ballot by ballot count to make sure that this election has not been messed with. 

SCHULTZ:  This is an absolutely amazing development.  How do these votes just fall right out of the sky or all of a sudden get picked up off the floor like this?  It is an amazing story, especially with Kathy Nickolaus‘ history of having some issues in the past.  Will anything come out of the latest move by the Walker administration on this, do you think? 

NICHOLS:  I think the Walker administration is certainly going to feel empowered by this.  But again, this piles on to a host of incredibly scandalous and controversial developments.  Some of them may ultimately turn out to be legitimate. 

But when you put this into the pattern of what we‘ve seen, violations of Open Meetings Law, late night votes, 17 second votes in the state assembly, again and again, things that are so controversial.  Wisconsinites have a right to be skeptical.  They have a right to say, look, we need a recount.  We need to look at all these ballots and make sure that our supreme court, no matter who goes on to it, is legitimate. 

SCHULTZ:  And the Kloppenburg camp will move quickly on trying to get as many records through the Open Records Law as possible.  That will probably be the next chapter in this unbelievable story. 

John Nichols, thanks for joining us tonight.  I‘m going to be holding a town hall—radio town hall meeting in Madison, Wisconsin at the bar Barrymore Theater from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  It is free and open to the public, next Wednesday, April 13th.  Looking forward to it.

This Donald Trump Birther nonsense needs to stop now.  I‘ll tip my cap to the unlikely person who spoke out against the Trump for president farce today.  That‘s next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Are we sick of Donald Trump yet?  I am.  For the past two weeks, the reality TV show host has been playing king of the Birthers on any television show that will have him.  We debunked every single thing he said about President Obama‘s birthplace last week.  And yet again here is he saying the same thing every day. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  It‘s one of the greatest scams in the history of politic and in the history period. 

Honestly I hope he‘s born here.  If he wasn‘t, it‘s the greatest scam in history, not political history, in history. 

If that were true, it would be the greatest—greatest scam in the history of this country.

Then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics. 

If he wasn‘t born in this country, it‘s one of the great scams of all time. 

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Absolutely. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Don‘t we have pool cameras for stuff like this anymore?  Same thing on every show?  But if Trump wants the air time, of course, he gets it.  And then news outlets run flashy headlines like this: “Donald Trump Runs Second in Poll.  Can He Win Republican Nomination?”

Now look at these numbers.  Mitt Romney has the lead with 21 percent, followed by Trump and Mike Huckabee tied at 17 percent and all the other Republicans trailing.  Only 17 percent of Republicans say they would vote for Trump. 

Yet he still gets promoted as a serious candidate.  This isn‘t a serious campaign.  Trump, he can‘t be serious about all this.  Is he?  Trump doesn‘t care about being president.  I don‘t think he does.  Trump is just doing a lot of self-promotion.  He‘s a self-promotion machine that only cares about getting ratings for his television show. 

So it was very refreshing to hear some sanity this morning.  Here‘s Bill Cosby on “The Today Show.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEREDITH VIERRA, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  Donald Trump has just on the show. 

He‘s mulling over—

BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN:  Oh please with Donald Trump.  Take him home with you. 

VIERRA:  Why do you say that? 

COSBY:  Because he‘s full of it.  You can run.  You can run now. 

Start running now.  The only thing he‘s running is his mouth. 

VIERRA:  Well.  On that note, Bill Cosby, we‘ll see if he runs. 

COSBY:  I don‘t care. 

VIERRA:  But if he runs you‘ve got to take it seriously. 

COBSY:  No, I don‘t.  Not him.  Not him. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Amen, Bill Cosby.  Absolutely amen. 

Up next, Al Sharpton is here to talk about Glenn Beck‘s departure from Fox News and also the National Action Network, a big night last night.  We‘ll recap.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Thanks for joining us tonight.  Thanks for staying with us.  So, Glenn Beck, he‘s going to be leaving Fox some time this year.  You may not see the mission accomplished banner on the Fox building across the street, but the Fox executive front office, they sure see it and the employees feel it. 

The mission was to put unusual heat and cast unparalleled doubt about the first black president of the United States, coached by Roger Ailes and quarterbacked by Glenn Beck. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  This president I think has exposed himself a as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep seeded hatred for white people. 

I‘m not saying that he doesn‘t like white people.  I‘m saying he has a problem.  He has a—this guy is—I believe—a racist. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You see, that really was Beck‘s mission from the front office all along.  Just say stuff.  Just nail Obama.  Beck says Ailes told him “I see this as the Alamo.  If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we‘d be fine.”

Does that sound like a mission statement?  Beck agreed to keep the heat on.  Don‘t give the president an inch of credit and just feed those radicals out there, feed them the raw meat they want.  Of course, the economics of all of this never really worked out.  A bunch of advertisers fell off, bunch of lists got put together.

People didn‘t want anything to do with Fox or his program when it came to advertising.  Employees at Fox hate the guy.  And there is relief that the chalkboard crazy talk is getting shipped out. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You got these guys haggling now over—I don‘t know, seven billion, however you want to put but the math—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Maybe we need a chalkboard.  I don‘t know.  It‘s not usually my thing. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Where can we get one? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  One may be coming available. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network.  Reverend, good to have you with us tonight.

AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ:  What is happening here?  Is it the economics?  Is it beyond the point of diminishing returns?  Is this a mission accomplished?  How do you view Beck‘s departure? 

SHARPTON:  I think all of the above.  I think it is a mission accomplished.  He was there to say the most absurd and outrageous things and try to paint a picture to put the president in a Catch-22. 

You must remember the strategy of trying to falsely accuse the president of being racist is to try to also make the president, if he did anything that was pro African-American or pro-Latino or pro-Asian—they‘d say, see, we told you so. 

If he didn‘t, then he‘s neglecting his base.  So they were trying to use the Beck hysteria to cut off the ring politically.  What they didn‘t count on is the effective use of some groups in terms of going after his advertisers. 

Let‘s remember when you and I were in Washington standing up with Dr.  King‘s dream on the anniversary of the speech of Dr. King last August, it was Beck who was trying to distort what that day was about.  And that really started a major move by a lot of groups on advertisers. 

I think the economics kind of caught up with their strategy.  But you must admit that they tried to cut off the ring and use Beck in a kamikaze mission to do it.  I think, as most Kamikaze missions, sooner or later you get sacrificed. 

SCHULTZ:  Beck always seems to have a habit of straying off into subjects that he doesn‘t really know anything about.  Let‘s take you back to this May 26th comment when he was talking about civil rights, as if he‘s lived it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECK:  We are on the right side of history.  We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties.  And damn it, we will reclaim the civil rights moment.  We will take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Your response to that, Reverend Sharpton?  Are you offended by that? 

SHARPTON:  Very much so.  We were the people that did what?  We as right wingers?  We as people that stand against a lot of the principles of the civil rights movement, that blacks and whites fought in?  It wasn‘t about we as a race, because the civil rights movement was engaged by everyone. 

But certainly the politics that he represented and the morality that he claimed to represent was not at all akin to fighting for rights and liberties and fighting for the poor.  It was an outrageous claim that was very offensive to people that have legitimately fought for civil rights. 

SCHULTZ:  You can‘t deny the fact that the guy had a lot of viewers.  But do you think that this was part of a big mission and a big political strategy by Roger Ailes to put the first big torpedo in the water against the Obama administration? 

Because when President Obama took over after his inauguration, he had such popularity, such momentum, a great feeling in the country, yet facing big problems.  Beck really was the first voice out there against the president.  What do you think? 

SHARPTON:  I think that you‘re right.  He was the first big voice.  He was the first one that would make the most outrageous claims and he poisoned the atmosphere that people that tried to raise facts or sane points appeared to be moderate or just speaking from the White House playbook, rather than say, wait a minute, this is absurd. 

And yes, he had a lot of viewer.  But I mean people watch car crashes and I think that we‘ve finally seen the crash. 

SCHULTZ:  Reverend Al Sharpton, congratulations on last night‘s dinner and 20 years at the National Action Network.  It was great to be a part of it. 

SHARPTON:  Great to have you a part of it.  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Recapping our top story tonight, President Obama expects Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to give an answer to him tomorrow on a possible government shutdown.  That answer possibly coming in the morning.  Here‘s the president tonight. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Because the machinery of the shutdown is necessarily starting to move, I expect an answer in the morning.  And my hope is that I‘ll be able to announce to the American people some time relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted. 

That‘s what I hope to be able to announce tomorrow.  There‘s no certainty yet, but I expect an answer some time early in the day. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And the president has postponed a trip to Indianapolis, Indiana tomorrow to try to avert our first government shutdown since the mid ‘90s. 

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.  Our live coverage of the possible government shutdown continues on THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O‘Donnell right now.

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