updated 5/24/2011 3:29:17 PM ET 2011-05-24T19:29:17

Guests: Rep. Jim McDermott, Adam Green, Jerry Zremski, Arne Carlson, Ed Rendell, Al Roker

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

Today, a Republican senator actually said that Democrats are wasting the American people‘s time by bringing up the Ryan budget for an up-or-down vote.  Seems to me like Americans would want to know how their senator would feel about killing Medicare.

This is THE ED SHOW.  Let‘s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

           

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  The people in New York 26 care about their Medicare.  The Republican who supports Ryan‘s plan is now behind in the polls.  We‘re going live to Buffalo.

T-Paw makes it official.  Tonight, an ED SHOW exclusive: the ugly truth about Pawlenty‘s record from his Republican predecessor.

A major ruling in Wisconsin.  We are headed for a recall summer.

And in “Psycho Talk -- 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION:  I would not rule it out, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  He‘s in.  He‘s out.  He‘s in.  What is this, the hokey pokey?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  And great to have you with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW.

This is the story that has me fired up first tonight.  Now, the world didn‘t come to the end this weekend—but Republicans are facing a political apocalypse over the Paul Ryan budget plan.

This week, Harry Reid—I love it—he is going to make the Senate Republicans choose the Ryan budget or the will of 80 percent of the American people out there.  At this hour, “The Washington Post” is reporting that at least three Senate Republicans will oppose the Ryan budget plan.  Ooh, that‘s heresy in their party.

Republicans are dropping like flies because of this number behind me. 

Ryan was asked about this 80 percent on “Meet the Press.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, MODERATOR, “MEET THE PRESS”:  According to our polling, nearly eight in 10 Americans do not want to cut spending for Medicare, even in the name of cutting the debt.  You, I assume, are not doing this as an intellectual exercise.

REP. PAUL RYAN ®, WISCONSIN:  First of all, if people are describing this accurately in polls, it‘s far more popular than the poll you referenced.  Second of all, leaders are elected to lead.

I don‘t consult polls to tell me what my principles are or what our policies should be.  Leaders change the polls.

And we are leading in the house.  We are not seeing this kind of leadership from the president of the United States.  We are going to try and move these polls and change these polls because that‘s what the country wants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That‘s what the country wants.  This is wrong right here.  This—I‘ll tell you what.  We should have used this in “Psycho Talk,” this poll number right here.  This is what the country wants.

Can you believe how Republicans talk about this?  I can‘t stand the fact that Republicans talk about what the country wants.  Eighty percent of the American people don‘t want to buy what that guy is trying to sell on “Meet the Press.”  Even Senate Republicans are getting cold feet over Ryan‘s radical plan.

So, here comes Jeff Sessions, the top ranking Republican from Alabama, on the Senate Budget Committee.  He threatened to keep the Senate in session through Memorial Day recess unless the entire Senate takes a vote on the Democratic plan first.  Nice try.  You think they‘re going to stick around Washington over Memorial Day?

Sessions is freaking out because he knows just how dangerous it is for the Republicans to vote against this wonderful number, 80 percent of the American people.

Now, the senator from Alabama, what is he doing?  Well, he‘s accusing Harry Reid of playing political games.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS ®, ALABAMA:  All we‘ve seen from Majority Leader Reid, really, are political gains, cynical gains, I hate to say, distractions and gimmicks to avoid confronting the fiscal nightmare we‘re now facing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Nightmare?  It‘s a nightmare to take an up-or-down vote?

Harry knows he has the Republicans running more than scared.  His office put out this statement today: “In case anyone had any doubts, Senator Sessions just made it clear that Republicans are petrified of voting on their own plan to end Medicare.”

Reid, no doubt about it, is spot on and there are 10 very nervous Senate Republicans on the ballot this next fall, 2012, and none of them want to be seen as pushing granny off the cliff.

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown—he did a major flip flop on this.  I mean, this guy has been all over the issue.  Ten days ago he actually thanked God for Paul Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SCOTT BROWN ®, MASSACHUSETTS:  Finally, we have Congressman Ryan come forth in the budget proposal.  Thank God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Come forth with that proposal that the majority of Americans don‘t want.  The super majority of Americans don‘t want it.

Brown is up for re-election next year, so he pulled I guess you could say a Gingrich.  This morning, Brown wrote an op-ed in “Politico” titled “Why I Don‘t Back Paul Ryan‘s Medicare Plan.”

Folks, let me tell you something.  This is the vote that the Republicans fear.  Internal Republican polling shows the Ryan budget approval rating barely over 30 percent and its disapproval never below 50 percent.  It‘s a loser for them.

So, the Ryan budget has scared the hell out of almost everybody in this country but the architect of the bill.  The architect of the plan, what is he doing?  He‘s blaming the Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN:  We‘re the only ones who put out a plan to fix this problem.  We have nothing, nothing from the president or from the Senate Democrats that come anywhere close to averting a debt crisis and fixing our problem.  House Republicans put out a plan that cut $6.2 trillion over the next 10 years to get this economy growing, to save our safety net, to guarantee health and retirement security and to pay off our debt.

We‘re offering details.  We have no partners on the other side of the aisle offering anything but misleading scare tactics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  There‘s nothing scary about Medicare, something that has worked for this country for decades.

Senate Republicans, they must be buying the Democratic scare tactics.  It‘s time for Republicans to show some courage.  That‘s their new favorite word.  And give the Ryan budget an up or down vote.

And, now, I remember, I believe it was Orrin Hatch from Utah when there was a judge that he wanted.  He just said, what‘s wrong with an up-or-down vote?  Any time it‘s a judicial issue, the Republicans love these up-or-down votes.

Let me tell you what this is all about for you and your family.  If you were between the ages of 40 and 54, what‘s really bad about this Medicare shift is what I call it, is a major shift.  If you‘re between the ages of 40 and 54, you don‘t have enough years left to make up this transition.

You‘re going to get screwed by this proposal.  You‘re not going to be able to save enough money.  You don‘t have enough working years left in your career to turn this around.  And it is going to cost seniors money right now.

That‘s something that the Republicans aren‘t telling you.  And so, now, they‘re using the old term rationed care.

Here‘s Mitch McConnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER:  Let‘s just stipulate that nobody is trying to throw grandma off the cliff.  Medicare is in serious trouble, serious trouble, and soon.  The president would ration care, which will adversely impact grandma.  What Paul Ryan would do would be to empower grandma.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  He‘s going to empower grandma.  Empower grandma.  He‘s going to give grandma a voucher so she can go out and work with those good insurance companies that just can‘t wait to sign up the elderly because they‘re such a huge profit center.

I mean, I cannot believe that any American would buy this garbage.

Harry Reid is really putting the Republicans in a political corner that they‘re not used to being in.  I mean, he has got them backed up unlike any other time I think in the last 15 or 20 years in politics.  He‘s got them up against the wall.  He knows this is a scary vote for them.  But his focus is the American people.

Here‘s Harry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER:  While Republicans are tripping over themselves and trying to decide whether or not they want to kill Medicare, you know who hasn‘t changed their mind at all?  The American people.  We‘re on their side.  They haven‘t wavered one inch.  They‘ve been as constant as Republicans have been erratic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Amen to that.

Joining me now is Democrat congressman from Washington, Jim McDermott. 

He is a senior member of the ways and means committee.

Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON:  Good to be here, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Can you believe what‘s going on in the Senate?  Do you think the Republicans have the guts to run on the Ryan budget?  They‘re talking pretty tough right now.  But do they actually have the guts to run on the Ryan budget?

MCDERMOTT:  I think the Senate has figured out that Paul Ryan made a huge mistake.  He said to the old people, the seniors who have Medicare, don‘t worry.  You‘re going to have Medicare.  But I want you to throw your kids under the bus with a voucher.

And the Senate has figured out that not only do seniors vote, but so do people between the ages of 45 and 55.  They recognize that they‘re getting a terrible deal out of this bill and the Senate is scared to death that they‘re going to be forced to vote for it because they know people will remember this vote.  This is an easy one to understand because it takes away all your health security when you get to be a senior citizen.

SCHULTZ:  Well, Paul Ryan is now peddling this line, saying that the Democrats are trying to ration care.

Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN:  Choice and competition, giving the senior the power to deny business to inefficient providers.  The alternative to this, David, is a rationing scheme or the 15 bureaucrats the president is going to appoint next year on his panel to ration Medicare spending.

We don‘t think we should give the government the power to ration spending to seniors.  We want to give future seniors the ability to make choices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  To give those future seniors the choices to go work with the insurance industry that is concerned about one thing, not making people healthy, but profit.

Congressman, what‘s your response to that answer?

MCDERMOTT:  Well, the fact is that the market has never controlled costs, and everybody knows that controlling costs has to be done.  But Paul Ryan‘s way of controlling costs is to throw the responsibility on to the individual.  He‘ll give him $5,000 and then if that doesn‘t cover it—well, it comes out of your pocket.

So, he is shifting the cost into the pockets of the seniors and everybody knows who that is.  That means some people will have it and some people won‘t.  Paul Ryan‘s plan is a rationing care on the basis of how much money you have in your pocket.

SCHULTZ:  And this is the dirty little secret.  This will affect seniors immediately.  Will it not?

MCDERMOTT:  That‘s absolutely correct.  There‘s no question that if

the federal government, through the Medicare program, doesn‘t begin the

cost controls that President Obama put in, then they want to repeal all

that and just throw out this program of Medicare and put in this voucher

program, the seniors are going to get clobbered beginning tomorrow because

we put in there a provision that would say if you have preventative things

that is blood pressure and those kinds of examinations—you don‘t have to pay a co-pay.  They‘re going to be hit with co-pays immediately.

           

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Jim McDermott, great to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.

Let‘s bring in Adam Green, cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

The PCCC and other progressive groups have polled swing state voters opinion on cutting Medicare.  It‘s pretty staggering numbers.  In Missouri, 77 percent oppose cutting Medicare.  In Ohio, it‘s 76 percent.  Montana, it‘s 71 percent.  And Minnesota‘s getting a lot of conversation because of Tim Pawlenty -- 69 percent oppose cutting Medicare.

Adam, good to have you with us tonight.

What is this signal and what are these progressive groups going to do with these numbers?

ADAM GREEN, BOLDPROGRESSIVES.ORG:  Well, what it says is that Democrats are right to continue attacking Paul Ryan‘s quest to end Medicare as we know it.  And what we need to do is not screw it up by embracing what a few Democrats are talking about, which is raising the Social Security age and cutting billions for Medicare.

We need to stay really far away from those proposals and what groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, Move On and others will be doing is modeling good behavior, taking the fight to Republicans, and highlighting some of their constituents, including in TV ads, who are saying loud and clear do not cut Medicare.  We need all Democrats to be on that page.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  So, this is somewhat of a signal, these groups that are getting together, Democracy for America, MoveOn.org and your group, the PCCC, signaling to people like Claire McCaskill, don‘t waver.  Am I reading that correctly?

GREEN:  Yes.  And, look, it‘s coming from a posture of friendship.  You know, if you recall, Ed, the first time I was ever on your show, we were talking about the public option and we were talking about that there was amazingly, overwhelmingly, bipartisan support among voters for that plan.  And we were saying if Democrats don‘t fight hard for popular progressive change, those who were inspired in 2008 won‘t come back out to the polls in 2010.  And, unfortunately, that came true.

Well, we‘re early in the process again and saying to Democrats again, we want you to win in 2012, but that means no cutting, no trimming, no tweaking Medicare and Social Security.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

GREEN:  Stay far away from that and keep bashing Paul Ryan‘s plan.

SCHULTZ:  And does this become a winning issue for, say, like Sherrod Brown in Ohio where 76 percent of the people don‘t want anything changed?  Your thoughts?

GREEN:  Absolutely.  It should be.  We need people like Sherrod Brown and Jon Tester to not just say no to Medicare cuts, but go on offense and say, we‘re going to tax the insurance companies, we‘re going to tax the oil companies, we‘re going to tax Wall Street, and that‘s how we‘re going to involve this deficit problem, except that we want—

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  And what about Tester in Montana?  I mean, he is feeling the heat from Republicans out there on Medicare.  But it‘s polling pretty strong actually.  It‘s 71 percent oppose it.

Can he hang on to that seat with this issue?

GREEN:  Absolutely.  He should be out there front and center campaigning to save Medicare.  And I would also point out that Paul Ryan actually has a really progressive challenger named Rob Zerban, who is running against him.  He‘s already on the map and is going to be campaigning actively on this issue.

So, we have a good slate to run with and have to keep depending on it.

SCHULTZ:  But these progressive groups, yours included, are basically sending a message to these Democrats that, you know, let‘s not go down the road that we went down in Arkansas.  OK?  Let‘s stay on the same page.  You have the people behind you.

Which brings me to the state of Minnesota and Amy Klobuchar.  You know, she doesn‘t take many political risks.  Do you trust her?

GREEN:  She doesn‘t take a lot of political risks and what we‘re trying to prove with this polling is supporting full-throatedly Social Security/Medicare is not a risk.  But, again, I just have to say, any political benefit we get from Paul Ryan‘s plan is down the drain the second that Democrats are complicit in tweaking Social Security and Medicare, cutting billions there, raising the retirement age here.  We can‘t have any of that.

Let‘s tax the rich.  Let‘s tax Wall Street.  Let‘s adamantly defend Social Security and Medicare, and that is a recipe for big Democratic success and unity in 2012.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Adam Green, PCCC, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much for joining us.

GREEN:  Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  And if you haven‘t read the blockbuster story about Roger Ailes, the FOX boss, you‘ll want to stay tuned and get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think.

Tonight‘s question: Roger Ailes reversed himself today and said that Sarah Palin is smart.  Do you agree?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  You can always go to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  We got the results coming up.  I‘m going to text B on that one tonight.

And the story later on in the show.  Tomorrow‘s special election in Upstate New York should be a slam dunk for Republicans, but voters don‘t like the GOP‘s plan to kill Medicare.  And now, the Republican candidate is distancing herself from the Ryan plan.

And former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, well, he is officially in the 2012 race.  He‘s running on a platform of small government and big lies.  And one of his Republican predecessors is calling him out.  That‘s coming up on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And with Republicans in Wisconsin controlling both houses, it‘s pretty much been easy for Governor Scott Walker to ram through his radical anti-union agenda.

That is until now.  Today, big news—the state elections board ordered recall elections for three Republican state senators.  It‘s official.  Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper and Luther Olsen have to go get re-elected by the people.  Those elections will take place on July 12th.

With more recalls still to be decided, Democrats need to pick up just three seats to gain the majority in the Senate.  Meanwhile, results of the hotly contested Supreme Court race, they have been certified.  The elections board declaring the conservative in the race, Judge David Prosser, the winner.  Prosser carved out a narrow victory just over 7,000 votes over JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Kloppenburg has not ruled out additional legal action.  I‘m not sure what that would be at this point.  We‘ll certainly cover it when it happens.  And, of course, we‘ll be in Wisconsin on July 12th.

We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Good to have you back with us here on THE ED SHOW.

It is really a district that has elected only three Democrats since 1857.  That‘s not a misprint, since 1857.  I mean the Democrats don‘t win in this place, right?  So, you would think that tomorrow‘s special election in Upstate New York would be pretty much a slam dunk for Republican Jane Corwin.

Instead, she finds herself trailing her Democratic opponent Kathy Hochul by just six points.  But that‘s a six-point lead the Democrats have never had.

Folks in New York 26 voted for John McCain and George W. Bush.

But they don‘t care much for this Republican-controlled Congress nor its plans to kill Medicare, a plan that Corwin—well, she endorsed it.  So, now, Corwin is taking that endorsement back?  Well, sort of.

Here is what she told folks at a nursing home.  Quote, “The Ryan plan is a terrific first step but I‘m not married to it.”

What the heck does that mean?  They voted on it.  Now, we‘ve known for a while that Medicare was destroying Corwin‘s chances for winning this election.

But another item on the Republicans‘ agenda may have added to the problem.  Two years ago, folks in this district experienced a great tragedy, Continental flight crashed in the town of Clarence, New York, killing all onboard.  An investigation found the pilots to be undertrained and overtired.

So, victims‘ families rallied together to fight for better pilot safety rules, only to see House Republicans vote against them.  It was all part of the FAA Reauthorization Bill.  In it, an amendment that would have gotten in the way of new rules on pilot fatigue and pilot training.

With Corwin slipping in the polls, the Republicans needed a—as you could say—Hail Mary.

Well, on Friday, Speaker of the House John Boehner offered one up.  He announced the amendment was dropped from the bill and gave Corwin the credit for all of it.  Cheap political trick?

Joining me now is Jerry Zremski, the Washington bureau chief of “The Buffalo News.”  He‘s been all over this story.

Jerry, good to have you with us.

Is this a race about Medicare?  I mean, is this the focal point of what people are thinking about when they go to the polls tomorrow in New York 26?

JERRY ZREMSKI, THE BUFFALO NEWS:  It‘s really a race, Ed, about a couple different things.  Certainly, the Medicare issue is the number one issue in the race.  It‘s what most voters I talked to talk about.

But I think it is also important to realize it‘s a race between three candidates who are very different, who appeal to different constituencies.  And it‘s about the voters and the fact that there have been a lot of voters who have been moving around a bit, from one candidate to the next.

And I think what‘s happened here is Kathy Hochul has pulled away partly, not pulled away but appears to be a slight lead partly on the basis of the Medicare issue, partly on the basis of the fact that she‘s run a very, very solid campaign; whereas, the Corwin campaign has run into some bumps in the road here and there.

SCHULTZ:  Will the voters fall for a move as calculated as the one that John Boehner played here with the FAA Reauthorization Bill on the wake of that tragedy and then giving Corwin the credit?  What do you think?

ZREMSKI:  Well, what I think about that is that is obviously a very important issue to a lot of people in this district.  People feel a very heartfelt connection to these families which have been extraordinary in getting this legislation passed.  But I will also say this has been a largely a one day story in this campaign.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

ZREMSKI:  When the amendment was removed on Friday, it was in the paper for a day and then it was gone.  What has been in the paper and in the news constantly for weeks now is Medicare.  So, Medicare really does trump that as an issue in the campaign.

SCHULTZ:  This is—this is Jack Kemp‘s district.  I mean, this should be a no-brainer for Republicans.  And so, why is this close?  How could just one issue make this so close and how much is the Tea Party candidate playing as a factor, Jack Davis?

ZREMSKI:  Well, I think it‘s not just one issue making it close.  I think you start with Jack Davis as another candidate in the race.  You will talk to people, to voters, I talk to them, who are going to vote for Jack Davis because they feel he is closer to the Tea Party mode of beliefs than Jane Corwin is.  Really, he‘s not because the trade issue is his big issue and, you know, he is totally free trade which is very, very much opposite of what most Republicans would be.

SCHULTZ:  Do you think there will be a good turnout tomorrow?

ZREMSKI:  I do not think there will be a good turnout.

SCHULTZ:  You don‘t?

ZREMSKI:  No, I do not.  Special elections usually have a fairly low turnout.

SCHULTZ:  But, I mean, they have spent a boatload of money up there. 

This district has never seen this kind of outside money.  Has it?

ZREMSKI:  Oh, no.  This district has never seen this kind of outside money.  But the truth of the matter is, a lot of people have a lot of things going on in their lives other than politics.

And I was talking to a former county chairman yesterday who was telling me that he was playing basketball with some of his buddies the other day.  They didn‘t even know the election was Tuesday.  So, I think that tells you it‘s just a little different when people are going to the polls in the spring.  They‘re not used to going in the spring to the polls.

So, as much as people like you and I might be very engaged in this race, a lot of voters just simply are not.

SCHULTZ:  Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, doing robocalls for Corwin.  What do you think?

ZREMSKI:  Well, I think that appeals to a certain constituency of Republicans who pay very close attention to the issues, very close attention to politics.  He is a rock star in the Republican Party.  So, among that core base that maybe some of them weren‘t all that excite today turn out for Jane Corwin, that could certainly help.  But that‘s a fairly common practice toward the end for candidates to pull popular figures out and get them to help.

Bill Clinton today did a robocall for Kathy Hochul, for example.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Well, I‘ll tell you—this district has never seen this kind of attention before and if the Republican wins you know that the Republicans are going to come out and say, see, that 80 percent number about changing Medicare is wrong and we‘re going to be full steam ahead.  It may embolden some in the Senate.

We‘ll see.

Jerry Zremski, good to have you with us from “The Buffalo News” tonight.  Thank you.

The search for survivors continues in Missouri after the deadliest tornado in more than a half century.  The latest details on the storm‘s aftermath, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.  The massive tornado that hit southwestern Missouri last night has claimed at least 116 lives.  This evening, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said the number of people found alive in the wreckage is up to 17.  But he fears the death toll will rise. 

It is the deadliest single tornado in the United States since 1947, some 64 years ago.  NBC‘s Al Roker filed this report from Joplin, Missouri. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They got debris on the ground right here. 

AL ROKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  The eye of the storm, Joplin, Missouri. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have a large, destructive tornado on the southwest side of Joplin. 

ROKER:  A massive tornado, three quarters of a mile wide, tore through Joplin, throwing debris 18,000 feet into the air. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s tearing up the city. 

ROKER:  City streets and neighborhoods stripped bare in minutes.  Within moments, rescue workers raced to the scene, some using canines trying to find those trapped in the rubble. 

The Weather Channel‘s Mike Bettes was chasing the tornado when it hit ground.  He was one of the first on the scene. 

MIKE BETTES, THE WEATHER CHANNEL:  We just rolled up and this tornado came through maybe 45 minutes ago.  I‘ve personally witnessed injuries and fatalities here, unfortunately, in Joplin. 

We‘re just going through the neighborhood trying to figure out if anyone else needs help.  People are just scrambling right now.  I want you to take a scope of the damage—kind of taking my breath away here. 

Multiple homes, businesses, destroyed.  Cars that have been flipped, mangled debris everywhere you look.  People are trying to help people out any way they can. 

ROKER:  One of the primary sources of emergency care, St. John‘s Regional Medical Center, was also destroyed. 

DR. RON SMALLING, ST. JOHN‘S REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER:  I‘m a cardiologist. 

ROKER:  Dr. Ron Smalling was on duty when the tornado hit. 

SMALLING:  When we came out, it looked like a war zone.  It looked like we had been hit with a bomb.  And so we rushed to the patients.  Some of them were on ventilators. 

But they were all—some of them were cut up with glass.  All the windows in the 12-bed CCU were all blown out.  And the ceiling tiles were all down.  So we began to mobilize and get the patients out of the rooms. 

ROKER:  The raw emotion of the moment was difficult for everyone witnessing it. 

BETTES:  It‘s tough.  No question about that. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  NBC‘s Al Roker and the Weather Channel‘s Mike Bettes Reporting from Joplin, Missouri.  Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty left his state‘s budget more than five billion dollars in the hole.  Now he wants to be in charge of the nation‘s budget. 

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes helped turn the cable news channel into a cash cow.  But his on air circus may have ruined the Republican chances to take the White House in 2012.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  This is another story that has me fired up tonight.  Minnesota governor—former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty officially jumped into the ring today.  He jumped into the 2012 presidential race.  And he didn‘t waste any time before going on national television and flat out lying through his teeth. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM PAWLENTY ®, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA:  America is in big trouble.  Our finances are out of control.  The debt and the deficit are not being tackled by the current president. 

I‘ve got experience in Minnesota as governor in tackling spending.  I balanced budgets. 

President Obama, unfortunately, doesn‘t have the courage to look the American people in the eye and tell them the tough truth, the things we‘re going to need to do to get our spending under control. 

When it comes to getting the federal government spending and deficit and debt under control, I have a record in Minnesota of actually doing that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Really?  I pay a lot of taxes in Minnesota and I got a different story for you, former governor.  Saying that you can balance a budget—telling the American people that is a flat out lie.  The Minnesota Taxpayers Association also says that Pawlenty balanced the state budget last year with budgetary duck tape, which means he used accounting tricks like borrowing a billion dollars that was designated for health care for Minnesotans who had paid into it.  He robbed it. 

Borrowing 1.4 billion from education funding.  Property taxes, have they gone up?  You better believe they have.  And borrowing more than 400 million from health care fund for low income families. 

Then he delayed 152 million dollars in sales and corporate income tax refunds.  And he took 2.3 billion dollars in federal stimulus funds after criticizing the president, but he did use it to try to balance his budget. 

The end result?  Tim Pawlenty left Minnesota to deal with more than a five billion dollar budget deficit, which of course the Republican controlled legislature still hasn‘t resolved.  In fact, at midnight tonight, it‘s going to be the last day that their legislative session was going to meet.

So Governor Dayton, the Democrat now who inherited all this garbage, will have to call a special session, which will cost more money, and try to pass a budget.  And of course the state could be facing a government shutdown.  That‘s what they‘re talking about in Minnesota. 

Pawlenty didn‘t balance the budget.  He just kicked the can down the road and tried to take credit for accounting tricks.  And now he wants to be president of the United States?  And he calls that leadership? 

The position of Pawlenty‘s campaign announcement in a local paper I think sums it up pretty damn good, his chances for 2012.  The “St. Paul Pioneer Press” put him on the obituary page. 

I want to bring in former Republican Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson. 

He wrote a piece today nailing Pawlenty for his terrible fiscal record. 

Mr. Carlson, great to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time. 

Why did you feel compelled to come out and say anything about Pawlenty wanting to be president of the United States? 

ARNE CARLSON, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA:  Well, I‘ve been alarmed for the better part of two years that the national media has not been paying sufficient attention to these governors relative to the records that they formed as governor. 

And I‘m glad now that the spotlight is starting to turn on them.  When I listened to what Governor Pawlenty said about the presidency and what he did in Minnesota, I thought the mess he was referring to was the one he left behind in our state. 

SCHULTZ:  This morning on “the Today Show,” Tim Pawlenty was asked about your criticism.  I want to play what he said.  Here it is.  It‘s about balanced budgets. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY:  Arne Carlson had become an Obama supporter and a John Kerry supporter and said he had left the Republican party some years ago.  So I don‘t think he is an actual neutral or honest broker of anything. 

It‘s not accurate.  Every time during my time as governor, eight years, four budget cycles, two years each, I balanced the budget every time.  And in fact, the last one ends this summer.  And it is still going to end in the black. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Carlson, is he telling the truth there?  I mean, there is the direct quote.  Now whether - who you supported for president or where you stand politically, I mean, the numbers are the numbers.  Is he lying? 

CARLSON:  The numbers—yeah.  Right.  Well, first of all, I did not support John Kerry for the presidency.  I did support Obama.  But he also fails to mention that I supported Tim Pawlenty when he first ran and I appointed his wife to the bench. 

So this isn‘t personal.  This is about competence.  I just happen to be an old fashioned Republican who thinks the White House should be occupied by our nation‘s best and our brightest.  And I think our party should nominate our best and our brightest.

And I do not believe that Tim Pawlenty‘s record in Minnesota warrants any kind of advancement.  When you look at what he did—just take the property tax.  In the prior eight years to Governor Pawlenty‘s arrival property taxes rose 716 million dollars. 

During Pawlenty‘s years, they rose 2.5 billion dollars.  No matter how you read that, that‘s an enormous increase.  And to run around saying he balanced the budget without raising taxes is not true.  What he did was cut spending on the state side, push the responsibilities to local governments, and local governments raised the property tax to pay the bills. 

That‘s not solving the problem.  That‘s just pushing the problem down the pike.  And as a result, Moody‘s gave warnings every single year about Minnesota‘s financial mismanagement.  And ultimately they lowered our credit rating, which means we have to pay millions of dollars more in interest costs than we normally would when we had the AAA bond rating. 

SCHULTZ:  And Mr. Carlson, why couldn‘t the legislative session, you know, come to an agreement on the budget?  I mean, if Pawlenty put out a plan of how he wanted the state to go, and if the Republicans were with him, there shouldn‘t have been any problem here because they have the majority.  Do they not? 

CARLSON:  Well, you‘re absolutely right.  The truth is the legislature in 2009 passed a bill, and Governor Pawlenty signed it, requiring him to submit a balanced general fund budget for the out years of ‘12 and ‘13.  When he realized how difficult that was going to be as a result of this growing deficit, he simply chose to not obey the law. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, he flip flopped. 

CARLSON:  For him to complain about it is a bit disingenuous.  But suffice it to say—

SCHULTZ:  This comment—this comment—“every time during my time as governor, eight years, four budget cycles, two years each, I balanced the budget every time.”  I mean, that‘s either true or false. 

CARLSON:  Well, what he did do was technically bring it into balance.  He borrowed 4.4 billion dollars.  He engaged in accounting shifts.  He advanced payments on taxes.  He delayed paying bills and he pushed a bag load of spending down to local governments. 

But each and every year he was governor, we ran deficits and the deficits kept accruing each and every term.  We were in a deficit position from 2003 on, long before the recession. 

SCHULTZ:  Arne* Carlson, great to have you with us tonight.  Thank you for speaking up. 

CARLSON:  Always a pleasure.  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Donald Trump chose cash over country when he dropped out of the 2012 race.  But now he says he may reconsider.  I‘m not buying it.  He‘s in the zone, next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in Psycho Talk tonight, Donald Trump doesn‘t seem to enjoy being out of the presidential spotlight.  One week after slamming the door on running in 2012, I guess you could say he nudged back open today on “Fox & Friends.” 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  You give up so much when you do this. 

And I‘m not just talking about a top television show.  This is a top show.  You give up so much when you do this.  And you know it was just a decision I made.

But who knows?  Stranger things have happened.  I look at these Republican candidates and I‘m saying what‘s going on? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You would not rule out a late entry if nothing pans out for the GOP. 

TRUMP:  I would not rule it out, no.  I would not rule it out.  I can‘t rule out anything.  The country is so important.  It‘s so vital that we choose the right person.  And at this moment, I don‘t see that person. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Not going to run, but won‘t rule it out.  First of all, for Trump to think that he is the guy to save the Republican party after his candidacy went up in flames is delusional. 

And second of all, there is no way Trump‘s getting back into the race.  He made his loyalties clear when he dropped out saying, “business is my greatest passion and I‘m not ready to leave the private sector.” 

You mean you‘re lying before you‘re in the Oval Office?  So Trump chose money over country.  And now, well, he has—he knows his price.  He reportedly was offered 120 million dollars to keep “The Apprentice” going for two more years. 

Donald Trump already made his decision.  A boatload of cash is more important than America.  So to now say he can‘t rule out jumping back in the race and to think that he can be the savior of the Republican party, high priced psycho talk. 

Does the chairman of Fox News really think Sarah Palin is an idiot?  Ed Rendell joins me to talk about the backstage fighting on Fox News and what it means for the next presidential candidate for the Republicans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight, Fox News is fuming over a “New York Magazine” cover story about Chairman Roger Ailes.  One of the revelations is that Ailes allegedly doesn‘t think very highly of some of his highest paid contributors, including Sarah Palin. 

The article quotes an unnamed Republican who is close to Ailes saying, quote, “Roger thinks Palin is an idiot.  He thinks she‘s stupid.  People like Sarah Palin haven‘t elevated the conservative movement.” 

Well, Fox News vice president Bill Shine rushed to defend his boss today, saying, “I know for a fact that Roger Ailes admires and respects Sarah Palin and thinks she‘s smart.” 

But according to the article, Ailes is fed up with Palin and other top Fox personalities because they failed to become a viable presidential candidate.  After President Obama‘s election, Ailes spent millions of dollars hiring contributors who he hoped would kick off presidential campaigns on air. 

So far, their poll numbers have been pretty much a bust.  One of them, Mike Huckabee, ultimately decided he would rather keep collecting a Fox paycheck than run for higher office.  That‘s why Ailes is now trying to get New Jersey Governor Chris Christie into the race.  Christie says he‘s not running.

But Ailes personally called Christie and met with him a few months back and urged him to reconsider.  Let‘s bring in former Pennsylvania Governor, NBC news political analyst Ed Rendell. 

Ed, good to have you with us tonight.  This article tells us a lot about Roger Ailes.  It‘s not a news organization.  It‘s a political machine that he would hire people that hopefully would end up wanting to run for president.  What do we make of that? 

ED RENDELL, FORMER GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA:  Well, no question.  It strips away any thin veneer of impartiality that Fox may have, simply because it admits that this was a proving ground, sort of a training ground for presidential candidates. 

And a number of them signed up, not just Sarah Palin, but Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum even.  And as you said, they all haven‘t panned out.

But worse for the network is that I think it really damaged their credibility.  That and the decision to elevate Glenn Beck, which as you know, Ed, had a tremendous uptick in ratings for Fox at the beginning.  But he became so over the top, so clearly off the charts in his comments about President Obama, that I think it‘s also hurt their credibility and really turned off independent voters as well. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, the article quotes a Tea Party leader saying that there would not have been a Tea Party without Fox.  What do you think? 

RENDELL:  No question.  Absolutely no question.  Fox gave the Tea Party coverage early on, when it wasn‘t much of a movement, when they couldn‘t get more than 600 or 700 people to come to Washington in the middle of the health care debate.  And it gave them credibility. 

SCHULTZ:  So has that hurt the Republican party in your opinion?  In retrospect, has Ailes shot himself in the foot so to speak? 

RENDELL:  I think it helped them in 2010, because certainly the Tea Party brought people into the political system to vote for the first time.  But I think in 2012, it‘ll be disastrous for them.  They‘re losing independent voters.  They‘ve—as you know, because you said it many times.  They‘ve stimulated the Democratic base, which was really down in the dumps after the November 2010 election, stimulated in a way that we couldn‘t do ourselves.

So I think in terms of Roger wanting to win elections, it‘s going to turn out to back fire dramatically. 

SCHULTZ:  What about Chris Christie?  Number one, do you think he‘ll get in?  What do you make of now there are some pretty big Republicans who are actually trying to recruit him to get in? 

RENDELL:  Well, I think Chris Christie is a smart guy.  I think he knows that everything changes when he becomes a presidential candidate, that all of a sudden he‘s going to have to deliver on foreign policy.  All of a sudden, he is going to have to talk about issues that are more broad than just saying we can‘t spend money anymore. 

I think he believes he‘s not ready.  Does Chris Christie want to run for president some day?  Heck, Ed, we all do.  Anybody who got elected governor—there‘s an old saying that there are 50 presidents in waiting.  But I think Chris Christie is smart enough to figure out what the best time for him to run is.  And I think if he‘s looking at it at all, he‘s looking at 2016. 

SCHULTZ:  They‘re all afraid of President Obama.  They‘ve got all the criticism in the world, but nobody wants to run against him.  At least it seems that no one is going to be able to mount a big charge against him, in my opinion anyway. 

RENDELL:  Well, one because he is just a prodigious fundraiser, like nobody in the history of politics.  Number two, because he is a great campaigner.  He can deliver a message like nobody else can.  Number three, when you strip it down, he has a record of achievement.  That was topped off by the bin Laden assault. 

SCHULTZ:  And it seems like Ailes is just absolutely engrossed in making sure that President Obama is not re-elected.  That‘s what I took from the article. 

RENDELL:  Yeah.  I think, look, Roger is a partisan.  He came into Fox as a partisan.  And there is nothing wrong with being a partisan.  That‘s what makes our political system good.  But query whether that‘s the way a news organization should be run. 

And when you—on top of it, you think about the million dollars that they gave to the Republican Governor Association, that‘s really hurts their credibility. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  NBC political analyst Ed Rendell, great to have you on the show tonight.  Thanks so much. 

Tonight I asked you in our survey, Roger Ailes reversed himself today and Sarah Palin is smart.  Do you agree?  Two percent of you said yes; 98 percent of you said no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  You can listen to me on Sirius XM Channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to three.  “

“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.

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

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