updated 6/15/2011 2:36:34 PM ET 2011-06-15T18:36:34

Guests: Chris Larson, Peter Barca, John Nichols, Susan Stern, Joe Conway,

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Loretta Weinberg

           

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

Breaking news out of Wisconsin where the fight for workers‘ rights has been dealt a severe blow this evening.  Scott Walker‘s budget repair bill is now the law of the land.  The Wisconsin state Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling.  It is now illegal for state workers in Wisconsin to collectively bargain.  For Democrats and the middle class and wage earners, the battle is lost, but the war wages on.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  This is breaking news now.

           

CHARLES BENSON, REPORTER:  Everything happening very quickly here.  Just before 5:00, we‘ve learned from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald that Act 10, which is known as the collective bargaining law, has been law and is law based on what the Supreme Court has ruled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That‘s the way the word came down from our affiliate, NBC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin, today.  Governor Scott Walker union busting bill is now the law of the land in Wisconsin.  Collective bargaining is now illegal for state workers in the state and, of course, Madison, Wisconsin, has, of course, been ground zero for the attack on the middle class.

Of all the broadcasting that I‘ve done for 30 years, this is the story that I will never forget.  This is the story that has left a big impression on me because these folks care about their country.  And Scott Walker scored—give him credit—a big victory.

And Republican governors, I guess you could imagine that they are high fiving one another over the phone tonight.  I mean, they‘re saying, look at Wisconsin.  We did some union-busting and we got something done that Reagan couldn‘t get done.

But this is not the end of the game.  And this is no time to get discouraged.  Let us remember, Americans, that Wisconsin is the birth place of collective bargaining.  And I can assure you that every wage earner in this country tonight is saying, OK, what does this really mean?

Well, let me tell you what it means.  It‘s just another chapter in a big book that is being written about American workers and now, it‘s up to us as Americans to decide if this was all worth it.  Look at all these voices that have been disregarded.  These people have been delivered a setback.

Supreme Court ruling after a court had overturned the law.  The Wisconsin 14, the wrangling going back and forth, the recall, the fake Democrats that are being put in—I mean, this is undoubtedly, in my opinion, the biggest story in America.  Why?  Because it‘s been an attack on the middle class for the last 30 years and now it‘s come to fruition.

These workers and this firefighter right here, that teacher right there, she is now being told that she cannot collectively bargain, why?  Because she‘s a state employee?

This is fundamental to who we are as a country.  This is an attack on democracy.  This is an attack on the middle class.  And the right wing has scored a pretty damn big victory.

Now, it was just weeks ago that the Supreme Court had a big election, right?  Well, the righty won.  It didn‘t take long for these folks to find out that elections have consequences.

You know, when something like this happens and something bad happens to you, you have to take a step back and you want to get angry.  You want to do the right thing.

And there are a lot of folks in Wisconsin tonight that I have spoken to, a few people, they‘re stunned.  They can‘t believe it‘s come to this.

And now, the question is, are these folks going to see the recall through or are they going to quit in the midst of adversity?  Are they going to say, “Well, you know, the righties won and I guess that‘s just the way it was, it‘s not in the cards, not really much we can do about it at this point”?

No, this is no time to get discouraged.  This is no time to give up. 

This is just another chapter.

In Wisconsin, I have said this time and time again, Wisconsinites, this country is watching you.  This is fundamental to collective bargaining.  This affects every worker in this country.

You have to step forward and you have to get motivated.  You have to keep the faith.  You have to keep hope alive.  You have to believe that you can make a difference.

Now, I personally think that this could be a real good thing, because if this doesn‘t motivate workers in the state of Wisconsin to recall the governor when the time comes when the calendar and the clock strikes 12:00 and it‘s legal to recall him, if this doesn‘t motivate him, nothing will. 

If this doesn‘t motivate the people of Wisconsin to go to the polls and do

the ground work and do to the due diligence to recall those six Republicans

and win the Senate back, if this ruling by the Supreme Court doesn‘t do it

nothing will.

           

So, we‘re at, I think, a critical junction.  There has been an attack on labor in this country for the last 30 years.  This is the biggest victory that they have ever scored.

Why?  Because this is the birthplace of collective bargaining, number one.  And number two, it‘s huge because the righties didn‘t give up either.  They didn‘t give up either.

They went after the Democrats.  They went after the Supreme Court.  They did what they had to do to get their guy back in there on the Supreme Court.  The governor kept his focus.

And you have to recognize what your competition is doing.  You have to recognize just exactly how determined they are to attack workers.

Now, they‘ve said all along that this was a budget bill.  That they had to go after these workers and these state workers and now, of course, they‘re going to have to pay more for their health care, middle class cuts, kitchen table, hard-time stuff, while the top 2 percent gets the tax breaks in that state?

So, we‘re at a crossroads in America.  And if you love the fight, if you believe in the middle class, if you believe in American workers—we will view this as nothing more than a motivating moment for America to stand up and keep fighting, to believe that we have the issues on our side.

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

Tonight‘s question: Has Scott Walker won the war to deny workers‘ rights?  Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639.  And you can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  And we‘ll give you the results later on in the show.

Let‘s bring in Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson and State Representative Peter Barca.  He is joining us on the phone tonight because he is working at the capitol.

Senator Larson, this is what some people view as a real big blow to workers.  I say it‘s just another chapter.  What do you say?  Great to have you with us tonight.

STATE SEN. CHRIS LARSON (D), WISCONSIN:  Yes, thank you again for having me and thanks for bringing light on what‘s going on in Wisconsin.

I mea, look, this wasn‘t surprising.  We knew the Republicans would be pushing for this.  Just yesterday, one of the Fitzgerald brothers said if the courts didn‘t rule on this today, they would take it up in the assembly tonight and the Senate would take it up on Thursday.

So, they pretty much gave the courts an ultimatum that said, you know, look, we have the conservative majority on the courts.  Do what you‘re supposed to.  Get rid of workers‘ rights.

And this is motivating us to realize, look, elections matter and these recalls coming up in the next two months are going to be huge.  So, it‘s a huge motivating force for our state and it‘s going to set the tone for the rest of the country, again.

SCHULZ:  Set the tone.  Do Wisconsinites recognize that?  That this is a template to take down collective bargaining in America?  Because this has gotten more attention than any other state in the Union when it comes to collective bargaining.  So, stetting the tone.

What do Democrats do now?

LARSON:  Well, we look to retake the Senate.  I think that those six Republicans who are up for recalls are just reminded of the vote that they took and realize that that vote is their political epithet.  They‘re going to be done.

It reminds everyone in their districts that when the time came to choose to side with corporate interest, big business interest, or side with the workers and side with the middle class, that they made their choice, and they sided with corporations and billionaires.  And every voter is going to be reminded of that with the ruling today.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  On the phone with us tonight is Representative Peter Barca.

Mr. Barca, you were the only Democrat in the room when they passed the bill.  Let‘s go back and take a look at what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE REP. PETER BERCA (D), WISCONSIN:  The provision like all the other provisions must be construed in favor of providing the public with the information about government affairs -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Representative Barca—Representative Barca.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Quick roll call.

BARCA:  It says if there is any doubt if good cause exists, the governmental body should provide 24 hours notice.  This is clearly a violation of the means law.

If you keep shutting people down, it is improper for you to move forward while this is a violation of the open meetings law.  You‘re not allowing amendments and that is why.

Now, Mr. Chairman, this is a violation of law!  This is not just a rule.  It is the law!  There must be, no, Mr. Chairman, this is a violation of the open meetings law.  It requires at least two hours‘ notice.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFEID MALE:  OK.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  One of the highlights and a long saga that has taken place in the state of Wisconsin, the attack on workers.  “The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel” reported the Supreme Court acted with unusual speed.

Mr. Barca, do you agree with that assessment?

BARCA (via telephone):  I do agree with that assessment.  It is rare that they act this quickly.  Obviously, clean and open government with Wisconsin is always been known and took a huge backwards step.

This is a big setback as you said at the onset of the show, Ed, which we appreciate you describing for people.  But, you know, two-thirds of the people in Wisconsin strongly disagree with this idea of permanently taking away people‘s rights to collective bargaining.

SCHULTZ:  So, is this a silver lining in a sense?  Do you think this is going to motivate those who may be on the fence when it comes to the recall now that this is the law of the land?

BARCA:  I do think it will.  I do believe that people will be especially motivated now.

You know, Ed, I‘m waiting to go on the floor any minute now and we‘re about to take up our budget bill, which, of course, is a moral document to outline priorities.

And make no mistake about it—the budget is just one more assault on middle class families in Wisconsin.  They actually raised taxes on working poor people, raised taxes on seniors for their homestead credit.

At the same time, as Senator Larson said, they‘re actually given special credit tax credits and tax breaks at a time when they declared that we were broke.  It is so outrageous, their math doesn‘t add up, their policies don‘t measure up, and their value certainly doesn‘t size up to the great state of Wisconsin.

SCHULTZ:  Senator Chris Larson, Wisconsin Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, and assembly speaker, Jeff Fitzgerald, his brother, put out this statement tonight: “We followed the law when the bill was passed, simple as that.  We are finally headed in the right direction by balancing the budget and focusing on jobs, just like Republicans promised we would do.”

Your response to that?  What is your response?  Is this a job‘s bill?

LARSON:  No, I mean, this is the—this is the opposite of a jobs‘ bill.  This is going after those people that do have jobs and saying that you‘re going to be making less and it goes after their rights to be able to fight back.

SCHULTZ:  But they‘re saying that this—but they‘re saying this is the will of the people.  This is what the people of Wisconsin want.  What do you think about that?

LARSON:  Well, I think they‘re going to find out what the will of the people is in a few weeks when the recalls start kicking in.  And I think they realize that is coming, too.  I mean, look, they‘re moving on legislation as fast as they can because they realize the door is closing on them pushing their extreme legislation.

The voters are going to be speaking out on these recalls and they‘re not going to be in charge any more.  The people are going to be in charge.

SCHULTZ:  And, Senator Larson, if you could clarify, today at 5:00 was the deadline that would put some fake Democrats into the race to force it to a primary.  What could you tell us about that tonight?

LARSON:  We haven‘t, I even haven‘t had a chance to see who is going to be in if they‘re going to go forward with that underhanded tactic and run fake Republicans in these districts.  So, we‘ll see.  I mean, there‘s nothing surprising about what the Republicans are going to do.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

LARSON:  They keep on sinking to new lows every day.  We‘ll see.

SCHULTZ:  And, finally, Representative Peter Barca who is still with us on the phone—how do you think Wisconsinites are going to respond to this?  I mean, I‘ve been told tonight that many people are stunned by this, they can‘t believe it.  They didn‘t think it was going to come to this.

How do you think they will respond to this?

BARCA:  Well, the people of Wisconsin have been extremely upset.  Make mow this take about it.  The governor‘s top aide, Secretary Mike Huebsch, represented for two decades a seat that leans Republicans.  It‘s about 53 percent, 54 percent Republican.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BARCA:  We just won a special election there by eight points.  People are on to this assault on the middle class.  They‘re on to their special interest giveaways.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

BARCA:  They‘re on to the fact that they‘re doing exactly the opposite of what they promised.  (INAUDIBLE).  They have lost the independent voters and they‘re even losing Republican voters.

Every day, we have people walking around here.  I just saw one five minutes ago saying another Republican against Scott Walker.

SCHULTZ:  Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson and State Representative Peter Barca on the phone with us—thanks so much.

Let‘s turn to John Nichols of “The Nation” magazine.

John, no one knows the story better than you do.  How are Wisconsinites going to respond to this?  How big a victory is this for Scott Walker?

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION:  Well, Wisconsinites already have responded, Ed.  There were crowds at the capital tonight.  Thousands of people out there protesting and some of the largest demonstrations we‘ve seen in quite a while and this was instantaneous.  This came literally within minutes of the court‘s ruling.

And that anger, Ed, is rooted in the fact that this seemed to be such a highly politicized decision.  And Wisconsin items aren‘t foolish.  They‘re looking at a reality here.  We no longer have any system of checks and balances in the state.

SCHULTZ:  Would you go far to say this seals the recall fate of the governor?

NICHOLS:  I think this drives the recall much closer to reality than it was before.  Because you have a situation where it certainly looks like the governor, his allies in the legislature and his allies on the court work together to push through a decision that, frankly, as the chief justice of the state Supreme Court says, appears to be in a predetermined conclusion, not based in the facts or the law.  Now, that‘s the kind of behavior that people just don‘t accept.

SCHULTZ:  But this has been a long haul for Scott Walker and the Koch brothers got to be high-fiving tonight.  They‘re probably enjoying every minute of this.

What is the landscape politically going to be like now in Wisconsin as far as outside money?  Is this going to intensify?  Will this intensify the boots on the ground, in your opinion?

NICHOLS:  Well, there‘s simply no question, Ed, that we‘re looking at an incredible fight coming.  One of the biggest political battles any state in the country has ever seen.  These nine recall elections, six Democrats and three or six Democrat challengers to Republicans, three Republican challenges to Democrats, really create a state-wide test of the governor‘s agenda.

You will see millions of dollars pour in from outside sources.  But this decision and the anger over it is going to, I think, encourage an awful lot of grassroots activists to get out and hit the streets across the state.

SCHULTZ:  We will follow the story.  John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation”—great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen.  I want to know what you think.

Next, a couple people of the frontlines from this fight in Wisconsin return to THE ED SHOW to tell us what they think.  Firefighter Joe Conway, Jr., and also elementary schoolteacher Susan Stern.  Teachers under attack in Wisconsin.

And Michele Bachmann is getting rave reviews for her debate performance last night.  I‘ll give you my take later on in the show.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  The thunder bolt out of Wisconsin may fire up the next phase of this fight.  A Wisconsin teacher and firefighter join me next.

And from last night‘s Republican debate, a big winner has emerged, and it‘s Congresswoman Michele Bachmann out of Minnesota.

And later in the hour, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sounds off about that helicopter ride, again.  I‘ll have something to say about that.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN:  We will not give up until this law is reversed.  However they try to pass it, whether they try to do it illegally by violating the open meetings law, where they try to do it inappropriately by sticking it into the budget—in the end, we will get this back and I‘m willing to work with it with everybody else in the state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  That was former Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, speaking two days ago obviously before today‘s developments in the state of Wisconsin.  Their hopes are high.

Let‘s welcome back two people from the front lines of this fight.  Elementary schoolteacher Susan Stern, and the president of the International Association of Firefighters local 311, Joe Conway, Jr.

Susan, nice to have you with us, again, tonight.  You, too, as well, Joe.

Susan, you were out there protesting with your fellow teachers right from the beginning.  How do you view tonight‘s ruling?  How do you view the situation workers are in right now?

SUSAN STERN, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER:  You know, on an immediate level, I think people would find it very dismaying and depressing thinking about losing collective bargaining rights.  But I look at it as an invitation, and invitations come in a lot of different forms and this has just been the last of a series of invitations—invitations for people to come to the capital, invitations for people to rally, invitations for people to work on recalls for senators and for the current governor.

And people were out there today and we‘re not giving up.  So, I look at this as an invitation to further our work and it‘s going to further the resolve of the teachers and the other workers that this affects, which is most of the people in the state.

SCHULTZ:  Joe Conway, what is the real world effect on people in Wisconsin now that this is the law of the land?

JACK CONWAY, JR., PRES. LOCAL 311 INTL. ASSN. OF FIREFIGHTERS:  They have to readjust their budgets, their family budgets.  They have to put off purchases.  This is reality now.  This isn‘t a game any more.

You know, everybody thought this is a made-for-TV movie where the good guys win in the end.  Right now, the good guys aren‘t winning, and people need to realize this is no longer just a game.  It‘s not a lot of salt.  It‘s a war.

And they have to get more mobilized.  I know they‘re very angry out there.  I saw it today.  I saw the signs out there.  That people are looking for a general strike and things like that.

We got to have those discussions, again.  We have to up the ante.

SCHULTZ:  Well, let‘s talk about that.  A general strike—do you really think, Joe, that is a possibility?

CONWAY:  You know, I don‘t know.  I mean, we‘re getting ready to march this afternoon when we got the news of the Supreme Court decision, which was just—you know, it was telegraphed by Fitzgerald.

And so, in talking to the labor leaders out there, they‘re still stunned.  They‘re still shocked.  There‘s—you know, in addition to the labor leaders, there are a lot of activists out there that are a little bit more aggressive and, you know, we‘re calling meetings.  We‘re sitting down.  We‘re having those discussions.

Obviously, there‘s the issue of the recall elections that nobody wants to jeopardize the recall elections.  But you really have to have honest discussions.

People are getting hurt here and there needs to be something done other than coming to the capital, coming to the march and singing kumbayah.  We really need to take these Republicans on.  They are destroying our state.

SCHULTZ:  Susan, how do you feel about that—what Joe just said—that this may go to another level?

STERN:  I agree.  I agree.  Things definitely need to go to another level.

There‘s already people working on the recalls—the recalls of the senators, six senators.  Six Republican senators for this summer and there‘s people who are organizing for the recall of Scott Walker.  And I think this is just going to step that up and that‘s just one of the—one of the steps that has already been put into place.

But I think Joe is right.  More steps need to be taken, and they need to be, they need to be escalated.

SCHULTZ:  Susan, is anger the correct word here?  I mean, what do your neighbors say?  What do your friends say?  What do your colleagues in the school say?

STERN:  You know, they are angry, Ed.  But it‘s anger also mixed with a lot of resolve and stamina, that we‘re not going to stand for this.  And that‘s really exciting to see.

You know, when Michael Moore was here earlier, he talked about awakening the sleeping giant.  And it‘s not gone back to sleep yet.

And I think what Joe said is right.  It needs to—we need to awaken even further.

But we‘re not sleeping.  And, so, along with anger and sadness you hear, you hear this resolve and you hear stamina from people.  They‘re willing to stick it out.

SCHULTZ:  Joe, will there be an organized effort by the firefighters to recall the six Republicans?

CONWAY:  Oh, absolutely.  We have that in the works now.

We had a state firefighters‘ convention this week.  We‘ve met with every local in the state.  Huge resolve there.  We‘re all onboard together.  We‘ll be putting our money down on this.  We‘ll be putting our bodies out on the streets.

The yellow—the golden and black or the IFF and the firefighters in Wisconsin will be there supporting our candidates in these recall elections.  This is an assault on many fronts.

SCHULTZ:  Joe, how do you feel personally?  You can‘t collectively bargain any more.  You are at the mercy of politicians right now.  You can‘t step in and these teachers, should I say, can‘t step in and collectively bargain.

I mean, this is really is a bellwether moment for the fight in the middle class in this country, don‘t you think?

CONWAY:  I do.  But firefighters still have the right right now.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

CONWAY:  I mean, they may change that in the budget.  We‘re sitting there negotiating contracts, but the contracts they‘re putting forward to us are the same rollbacks that Scott Walker took away from everybody else.

And so, the bottom line here is that they have every part of this legislature, the courts wired.  I mean, it‘s bizarre to think that Fitzgerald is telegraphing that the Supreme Court was going to decide today.  And they did.  It‘s an orchestrated move.

And so, why they are moving their chess pieces around, we‘re trying to counteract that and we‘re trying to catch them off guard.  And, obviously, we‘re going to have problems at the contract tables, and we need to decide to do something else and we just need to decide to mobilize our people as soon as possible.

We‘re going to be in a holding pattern until we get the Senate back. 

We‘re going to be in a holding pattern until we get the governorship back. 

But as soon as we get that stuff back, we can correct these wrongs.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

CONWAY:  But we‘re going to make sure our people aren‘t going to suffer.

SCHULTZ:  Susan Stern, Joe Conway, Jr.—thanks for joining us tonight.  We will stay on the story and we‘ll visit again.

Tim Pawlenty had his chance to make his mark in the 2012 race last night by basically taking on Mitt Romney on his health care policy.  But he wimped out and blew his opportunity, in my opinion.  I think Pawlenty may be done.

And Republicans will make the 2012 campaign about the economy, but the two so-called serious Republican candidates were wrong about the economy more than they were right last night.  We‘ll fact check that, coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Out of all the candidates at the Republican debate last night, I think the biggest loser may have been Tim Pawlenty.  He had a chance.  There‘s always a moment in a debate.  I think he had his chance to make his mark in the 2012 race by telling Mitt Romney in a very professional way, to his face, that he disagreed with the Massachusetts health care plan. 

But what happened?  He blew it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR:  If it was Obamney care on “Fox News Sunday,” why is it not Obamney care standing here with the governor right there? 

TIM PAWLENTY ®, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  President Obama is the person who I quoted in saying he looked to Massachusetts for designing his program.  He is the one who said it is a blue print, and that he merged the two programs. 

And so, using the term Obamney care was a reflection of the president‘s comments that he designed Obamacare on the Massachusetts health care plan. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  He‘s slick, isn‘t he?  Pawlenty could have stood his ground and turned to Mitt Romney and said, you know what, I respect you, but I disagree with you.  And it‘s not the Republican way. 

But instead, he wimped out.  He back pedaled.  Then he spent all day today trying to bridge the gap with wishy-washy statements like this one. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY:  I said, essentially, the same thing in that clip as I did on Sunday morning, which is President Obama used the Massachusetts health care plan as the blue print.  That‘s how I dubbed it Obamney care.  I used that same term last night.  So I don‘t understand what the kerfuffle is about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Some people are saying, governor, that you‘re just too nice to be president.  What do you say? 

PAWLENTY:  Gretchen, of course, as I mentioned on Sunday, President Obama said they‘re the same plans.  That‘s why I used the term Obamney care on Sunday.  And I said essentially the same thing on Monday. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  What he should have said today is that, you know what, I‘m a party boot licker and I can‘t be my own man.  Folks, let me tell you something.  This is who Tim Pawlenty is.  He‘s great talking about you behind your back, but he just can‘t do it face-to-face, meaning he‘s not really principally principled in any way, in my opinion.

I think Pawlenty pretty much is done.  Is this what Republicans are looking for, somebody that‘s going to wimp out?  He has low name recognition.  He doesn‘t have a lot of money to work with.  He‘s not going to win Iowa.  So last night was his shot.  His only shot was to go for the jugular and he just didn‘t have the guts to do it. 

It looks like he‘s playing for second, maybe VP.  Tim Pawlenty laid an egg last night, but the other Minnesotan hit it out of the park.  Michele Bachmann might just be what the doctor ordered for the righties.  More on Bachmann‘s big night. 

Chris Christie is making no apologies for his adventure in the state helicopter.  So is he running for president, question mark?  We have all the details from the latest interview coming up in my commentary.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Thanks for staying with us here on THE ED SHOW tonight.  Twenty four hours after seven Republican presidential wannabes debated in Manchester, New Hampshire, one of them has, in my opinion, come out a clear cut winner, clear winner. 

The conservative media elites believe Michele Bachmann absolutely mopped the floor with the other candidates. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann turned in a breakout performance. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Michele Bachmann, she‘s sharp.  She‘s smart. 

She‘s focused.  She‘s engaged.

STEPHEN HAYES, “THE WEEKLY STANDARD”:  The real winner was probably Michele Bachmann.  I mean, she introduced herself to the country in a way that I think people will remember.  Her answer—I mean, answer after answer, both on substance and stylistically, were pitch perfect. 

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOWH OST:  It was a good night for conservatism in terms of the cogent way it was expressed.  Michele Bachmann did really well, I thought. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The speaker of the House is also proud of the Minnesota congresswoman and the way she handled herself. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, SPEAKER:  I think she did a really good job last night.  I think she‘s a bright member of our caucus.  It‘s one of the reasons why I appointed her to the Intelligence Committee. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Do you understand, Tim Pawlenty, why I say you missed your moment?  You got all these people lining up for Michele Bachmann right now.  You had your chance last night to tell Mitt Romney you were wrong on health care, but for some reason, you didn‘t have it in the cards. 

Bachmann, for that matter, is exactly what the modern Republican party is all about.  Bachmann has never voted for a tax increase.  She believes government is the problem and the free market is going to save everything in America. 

Facts and logic have no place in the Republican party.  That‘s why Bachmann,, I guess you could say, is the perfect fit.  Republican policy has systematically destroyed the middle class in America for years.  But Bachmann is her party‘s biggest cheerleader, as well. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Republicans have an awesome story to tell.  We need every one of us in a three-legged stool.  We need the peace through strength Republicans.  We need the fiscal conservatives.  We need the social conservatives.  We need everybody to come together, because we‘re going to win. 

Just make no mistake about it.  I want to announce tonight, President Obama is a one-term president. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And there are times when you can‘t get too deep with Republicans.  They like a little cheerleading every now and then.  She can raise money like a bandit.  And every conservative radio talk show host in America just loves the way she loves the microphone. 

If Republicans really believe in everything they have stood for over the last several years and decades, for that matter, Michele Bachmann is their only choice. 

Let‘s bring in editor of “The Nation Magazine,” Katrina Vanden Heuvel. 

Katrina, good to have you with us tonight. 

:  Thank you, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Your assessment of Michele Bachmann?  She‘s capable of the crazy comments.  She wants to see Minnesotans “armed and dangerous.”  She wants an investigation of the Congress.  We know what kind of things she has said. 

But last night, it was an intelligently presented, refined, congressional member who wants to lead the country.  What do you think? 

KATRINA VANEN HEUVEL, “THE NATION”:  I think we need to look beyond the image.  We‘ve seen in these last years a stampede of pink elephants.  And it is interesting as a woman to see these Republican women.  But they don‘t offer any answers, in my view, for this country‘s future. 

Michele Bachmann was so extreme that she was rejected by the House Republican caucus.  What struck me as a woman last night, Ed, when she talked about her five children and 23 foster kids, she then went on to talk about abolishing the agency in this country that helps keep our water, our air, our food safe. 

What kind of mother would do that?  That, I think, isn‘t about bringing people together in this country.  It‘s about what she said.  When I was on with her in 2008, October 2008, Ed, on “HARDBALL.”  She said very clearly that she was very concerned about Obama‘s anti-American views. 

I felt the spirit of Joe McCarthy.  And you listeners who don‘t remember Joe McCarthy, go check him out.  Traipsing around a land full of economic anxiety, at a moment, Ed, as you said, we‘re at a crossroads—crossroads in this country. 

We need a credible conservative candidate for an intelligent campaign and election in this country.  She‘s not it. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of the rave reviews?  I mean, it was one debate.  It was one night.  But there just seems to be a litany of right-wing talkers that have already—

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Anointed.  Last night‘s debate was—you know, let‘s all be anti-Obama.  Let‘s all be Romney.   People are seeking the anti-Romney as well as obviously the anti-Obama.  And she‘s fitting that bill.  And her sister nemesis, Sarah Palin, has to be out somewhere on the van or the bike wondering why she isn‘t in there, because she outplayed Sarah Palin last night in her views and her polish. 

But our media, Ed—you know this so well.  We have to get beyond the image.  It‘s hard in this country.  But look at the views.  This is a women who has said that we can end unemployment by abolishing the minimum wage.  What does this offer for a country in economic crisis or for women who are bearing the brunt of job losses and state budget cuts. 

I think, you know, she‘s going to play her thing.  And I will be very good to her because of the Evangelical conservatives.  But I don‘t think it goes that far. 

Listen, the Republican governor of Minnesota, former Governor Arne Carlson, after her appearance on “HARDBALL” in October of 2008, endorsed Obama and said he didn‘t like the strange views of this woman in the state I love, Minnesota.  I think that says a lot.

SCHULTZ:  What about Sarah Palin?  What about Rick Perry?  Will they be factors? 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Sure, I think all of them are factors.  I think it‘s still a fluid race.  I think—

SCHULTZ:  It‘s still early.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  It‘s still early and I think it hasn‘t come together.  And everyone is trying to find the candidate who can—you know, you‘ve got two sets of candidates.  You have the establishment.  You have the Tea Party.  You have the libertarians, two and a half sets. 

But Rick Perry has four percent popularity ratings among Republicans in the state and his views are so extreme.  Ed, last night on that stage, there wasn‘t a credible moderate conservative, so out of step with the views in this country, and to the right. 

I can‘t believe they say this.  George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan—this country doesn‘t—this country is a, I would argue, center progressive country.  You got on that stage extremists who want to roll back the 20th century. 

SCHULTZ:  Tea Party influence very clear here and I think—

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And corporate.  Very powerful corporate interest.  And I think Romney coming off of Wisconsin tonight is going to look out there, see Scott Walker at 97 percent among Republicans in the ratings.  They‘re going to run a war on the middle class, on the working class that we haven‘t seen in this country in decades. 

It is a fight for the soul of this country. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.  Katrina Vanden Heuvel, great to have you with us. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  “The Nation,” a great magazine.  >

The Beckster‘s days are numbered over at Fox.  But he‘s not slowing down on the violent rhetoric.  He points to President Obama as a reason why you need a gun.  That‘s some serious Psycho Talk.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGNI VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY:  We‘re proposing to cut taxes, reduce regulation, speed up the pace of government, and to make sure that we have a pro-growth agenda. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Pro-growth.  Going into last night‘s Republican debate, Tim Pawlenty was one of the two candidate the Republican leadership considered serious.  But his big idea for creating jobs is to cut taxes, even though taxes are currently, my friends, at the lowest level since the 1950s. 

The other serious candidate didn‘t sound much better on the economy, especially when attacking President Obama. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY:  What this president has done has slowed the economy.  He didn‘t create the recession, but he made it worse. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Okay.  Now, listen up, folks.  The nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research said the recession ended in June of 2009.  So, it‘s hard to see how President Obama made it worse if it‘s actually over. 

The stimulus bill increased the number of people working in this country by as much as 3.3 million and lowered the unemployment rate.  Got that, Mittster?  Those figures are from another nonpartisan group, the Congressional Budget Office. 

That wasn‘t even Mitt Romney‘s laziest attack on the president. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY:  He delegated the stimulus to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. 

And then he did what he wanted to do, Card Check, cap and trade, Obamacare,

re-regulation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Romney, do you watch the news?  Employee Free Choice Act got very little conversation and that‘s why union heads in this country are upset with the president.  Card Check?  The Employee Free Choice Act?  Cap and trade? 

They weren‘t high priorities for the Obama administration.  It was health care and the economy.  In fact, they didn‘t even pass those in Congress. 

So it‘s hard to argue that they hurt the economy.  I‘m biting my tongue about what I think of your brains, Mitt. 

The Republican candidates need to start offering real solutions to tough economic questions.  I wouldn‘t hold my breath waiting for them, would you? 

Stay with us.  Psycho Talk is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in Psycho Talk tonight, Glenn Beck has less than three weeks left to spew his nonsense on Fox News.  Can‘t wait to see him on cable.  Then he‘s making the most of his remaining shows.  That‘s basically what he‘s doing. 

The Beckster telling as many dooms day stories as he can come up with. 

But last night, things went way too far. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  The U.N. is also working on a small arms treaty, which purports to be a handy tool to fight terrorism.  But if implemented, Second Amendment proponents like me believe that it will only enforce rougher licensing requirements, create more red tape, and possibly an international gun registry.

This will do nothing but make it harder for you to get a gun.  Why would you get a gun?  To prepare for tough times.  That‘s why. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Pointing to a photograph of the president of the United States after asking “why would you get a gun” is absolutely unacceptable and being a first class idiot.  By now Glenn Beck should know better than to pedal that kind of violent rhetoric. 

There have been way too many instances of violence in the last few years for anyone to go on television and talk about arming themselves because of politicians and their views.  But the Beckster doesn‘t seem to understand his words can have consequences. 

Asking the question, “why would you get a gun” and then pointing to a picture of the president of the United States is flat out dangerous Psycho Talk. 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still defending his spin in the state helicopter.  He makes no apologies for his arrogance.  We‘ve got the tape and we got commentary, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  He was noticeably absent from last night‘s Republican presidential debate.  And tonight, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey says he‘s 100 percent certain he‘s not getting in the race.  We‘ll see about that. 

Once again, he is making no apologies for his spin in the state helicopter.  Last month, the governor flew from the state capital in Trenton to his son‘s baseball game in New Jersey.  From there, Christie flew to the governor‘s mansion in Princeton to meet with political fund-raisers from Iowa trying to convince him to run for president. 

Christie eventually paid the state over 2,100 dollars for his trip.  And at Christie‘s request, the state GOP kicked in an additional 1,200 dollars for the political leg of his journey. 

Christie sat down for an interview with CNN and defended his actions. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR:  Do you regret it? 

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW JERSEY:  No.  I make no apologies—

MORGAN:  You paid the money back. 

CHRISTIE:  I paid the money back because I thought it was important to let the public know that I wasn‘t using this as a perk of office.  If the public perceives for a moment that I‘m using that as a perk of office, that I want to take that away from them right away. 

But I would not make a different decision if I had to do it again, because it was important for me as a father to be there for my son. 

MORGAN:  You would do it again? 

CHRISTIE:  I probably would.  I probably would.  But I‘d pay for it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Joining us now is New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg. 

Great to have you with us. 

LORETTA WEINBERG (D), NEW JERSEY STATE SENATOR:  Thank you.  Great to be here. 

SCHULTZ:  Isn‘t that somewhat of a reversal by the governor?  It wasn‘t until there were people talking about the use of the helicopter that he was willing to step up and pay for it? 

WEINBERG:  He wasn‘t using it as a perk of office?  Tell that to any other parent who has to rush home from work and maybe even give up an hour or two of pay in order to get to a child‘s baseball game, football game, dance recital, whatever. 

You know, he didn‘t pay for it until he was found out and that‘s the problem.  If he needed to get to his child‘s baseball game, and he‘s got the perk of office known as a state helicopter, then pay for it before people start talking about it. 

And to keep saying, I‘m not using it as a perk of office.  He wasn‘t on state business.  He wasn‘t on state business going, and he wasn‘t on state business coming back. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator, what do you make of him saying that he would do it again? 

WEINBERG:  It‘s typical Chris Christie.  He doesn‘t take responsibility for anything he does.  And he never admits he made a mistake. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you have a hard time him using the helicopter, if he pays for it? 

WEINBERG:  No, I don‘t, actually.  I don‘t have a hard time for him.  If that‘s the best transportation, he is the chief executive of the state of New Jersey.  They decide for security reasons or any other reason that he should be on that helicopter.  If it‘s for personal business, reimburse the taxpayers. 

He‘s asking for sacrifice from everyone else in the state of New Jersey. 

SCHULTZ:  But he didn‘t step up and say, hey, let me pay for this. 

WEINBERG:  Absolutely not.  Not until he was discovered. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of him repeatedly saying that he is not going to run, but there are so many political people that are, you know, courting him to run.  Do you think he‘ll change his position and get in the race? 

WEINBERG:  Well, I don‘t know.  You‘re going to have to ask somebody in the Republican party about that.  But I think he‘s enjoying the courtship.  And why entertain a group of people from Iowa that you had to rush back by helicopter to meet to tell them you weren‘t running? 

They just had to pick up any newspaper in the state of New Jersey and see your quotes. 

SCHULTZ:  On another story, senator, we saw what happened in Wisconsin today.  What do you think of the stand of collective bargaining right now?  Where are we? 

WEINBERG:  Well, I think we‘re having a difficult time in New Jersey.  Maybe not the same way that they did in Wisconsin.  But I think we‘re trying to work our way through it.  And I hope that we might—I‘m not confident, but I‘m hoping we might see a better outcome. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s an attack on labor by all these Republican governors. 

Do you agree with that? 

WEINBERG:  Right out of the Republican playbook.  It‘s an attack on the middle class, an attack on labor unions, an attack on women, a war on women and on women‘s health care. 

SCHULTZ:  New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg, great to have you with us tonight.

Tonight in our survey, I asked has Scott Walker won the war to deny workers rights in Wisconsin?  Twelve percent of you said yesterday; 88 percent of you said no.

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  “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.

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