The Ed Show for Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: John Nichols, Nena Taylor, Scot Ross, Larry Cohen, Mike Papantonio
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW tonight from New York.
Democrats and the people of Wisconsin scored, I think, a major
victory last night. Now, make no mistake about it -- you know it could
have been bigger. The fight for workers rights continues today in
Wisconsin. It will continue in states around the country. And the leader
of the Democratic Party I think needs to stand up and join the fight.
And Verizon versus the workers. Big story.
It`s THE ED SHOW. Let`s get to work.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think if they get the facts, cut
through all the campaign ads and the tax out there, in the end, voters want
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Last night, two of Scott Walker`s cronies were
sent packing. And Republicans are scared the governor is next. Today,
they`re plotting to change the rules of the recall. Tonight, we`ll have
the latest on Wisconsin and beyond with John Nichols of "The Nation," State
Senator Lena Taylor, and Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re asking pretty much to strip away 50 years
of union advancing.
SCHULTZ: Verizon union workers continue their strike. Last year,
the bosses made $6 billion, and now, they`re going after worker`s
disability and health benefits.
Tonight, Larry Cohen (ph) of the Communication Workers of America
tells us how his members are holding out.
And "Newsweek" magazine has forced my hand again. For the second
time in my life, I`m actually going to have to come to Michele Bachmann`s
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ll have to
take a look at that, won`t we?
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for
Democrats, all right, we`re going back to locker room. Just look at
this way. What happened in Wisconsin last night is not the end of the
fight, it`s only the beginning.
I have to tell you I am honored I have spent time with thousands of
hardworking Americans who fought the radical right wing agenda of a
governor who wants to do radically change. Teachers, nurses, snowplow
drivers, prison guards, they spend hours protesting, knocking on doors,
trying to make a difference, making phone calls, trying to recall public
officials who basically have taken money right out of their pockets.
Firefighters and police officers -- they didn`t have a dog in the fight,
but they stood shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors and did everything
in their power to stop this radical attack.
So, in the end, all right, by the numbers, it`s not the majority,
Democrats came up short. But two Republican right wing state senators are
going to be looking for work. They`re out.
Today, the so-called political experts are trying to give credit to
Scott Walker and Republicans for a win?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of Wisconsin have spoken today. And
the answer is, this is a gigantic win for the Republican Party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a resounding big win for the Republican
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I view it as a 100 percent absolute victory for
not only people in Wisconsin, but for all Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHULTZ: You two guys in Wisconsin, you don`t matter. You`re just
taking one for the team, right?
Republicans, they must think the world is stupid. Two sitting
Republicans were kicked to the curb because they voted for Scott Walker`s
dark vision of Wisconsin.
And let`s just get right to the numbers. Twelve percent? Less than
12 percent of Wisconsin voters were involved in this last night? How in
the world can you call that a major victory or a mandate? That`s a
How many people out there are ready to call an election when results
are coming in when less than 12 percent of the people have voted?
The great Americans you see behind me tonight fought against Karl
Rove and the Koch brothers and the Tea Party and, yes, on the other side,
there were union groups out there, they played a part in all of this.
But one major player that might have helped Wisconsin Democrats over
the top, I think has been absent for too long in fights like this, and his
name is President Barack Obama.
Now, I`m not here tonight to pick on the president. But, folks, I
have to tell you, the landscape and the dynamic of all of this in state
politics when it comes to power, and when it comes to going after worker`s
rights, the dynamic because of the money and Citizens United is totally
changing American politics. Today the president`s spokesman didn`t know if
the boss paid attention to this historic fight in Wisconsin last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: I stayed up late to report the results on Wisconsin last
night and was dying to know, did the president follow the results in
Wisconsin and have any opinion at all?
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I haven`t asked him, I
don`t know. So, I don`t know that he followed it last night in any case.
I`m sure he`s read the paper this morning. But I didn`t have a
conversation with him about it, so I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: President Obama is planning a jobs tour in the Midwest, I
applaud him for that. I want the president -- well, you better put
Wisconsin on the map, don`t you think? Don`t you think you ought to go to
Green Bay and talk to some of the teachers, like the teacher I was talking
to in line last night who again succumb to tears when I asked her how
frustrated she was.
And I`m sure President Obama has seen folks like this on the trail
before. Maybe you stop in Milwaukee and talking to a nurse would motivate
the White House to realize, maybe we should pay attention to races like
this. Maybe park the bus in Hudson, Wisconsin and meet a city worker or go
to Baraboo and talk to a farmer.
And the president needs to meet people I have seen in the Badger
State. Now, they are the fabric of the middle class, because you see the
financial make-up of that state is that less than one half of one percent
of the people that work and live in Wisconsin make over $250,000 a year.
You know what they had in 2008? The second highest voter turnout.
These are people that get into it. These are people who are the middle
class in this country.
And, President Obama -- what I saw last night, and when I saw these
election returns roll in, I started thinking about something the president
had talked about during the state of the union in 2010.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With all due deference
to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of
law that I believe will open the flood gates for special interest,
including foreign corporation, to spend without limit in our elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president was on his game that night. But what
happened to it? The man who talked about Citizens United at the State of
the Union never tried to combat it in Wisconsin?
Mr. President, 2012 is now. Those folks that were on that rope line
last night behind our broadcasts are wondering, are you going to get in the
game? And I think tonight that there are people in Ohio who are wondering
after watching the results last night in Wisconsin -- are they going to be
able to turn back Senate Bill five in Ohio, which is exactly the same kind
of stuff they were trying to defeat last night in Wisconsin, the attack on
You know, I don`t know if it`s the president. I don`t think it is.
I mean, I have visited with the president briefly. He`s an intense guy, he
knows the issues.
But I think he`s getting some bad advice right now. And, no, this
isn`t the president going out and getting involved in every race across
America from city councilman to dog catcher -- this is about power. And
this is why the Republicans are calling a major victory last night, because
they still have the majority.
OK, so they lost a couple senators. But if they close ranks, they
still have the majority, and that`s all they care about is the power.
Now, for the Democrats, this is a marathon, it`s not a sprint -- two
down, a few more to go. And it seems interesting, I think, that the
governor of Wisconsin is now making phone calls to the minority leader
saying, you know, would you like to work on jobs?
I have to ask you, Governor Walker. Where in the hell was that
attitude back in February when you were calling out the cops to go after
the Wisconsin 14? They wanted to negotiate with you back then, but you
didn`t want to negotiate.
Back to the president for a moment. It`s time to engage. Right now,
this White House is starting to develop an image amongst Democrats and I
was with them for the last two days, they`re starting to develop this image
that they don`t like to fight. That they`re just expecting the House and
the Senate Democrats to come up with all the plans, and the president will
just sign it.
Get out on the road, Mr. President, and talk more about jobs. Talk
about beating back a radical agenda that is attacking middle class workers
in this country. That is the fight. And you`re not going to be creating
any more jobs, not at a torrid pace between now and 2012 -- November 2012,
because the Republicans aren`t going to let you do it.
So, I ask the White House tonight, are you really with the workers of
America? If you are, take that damn bus to Ohio and get into it, and talk
about Senate bill five and recall that radical law.
And I can`t help but think that if President Obama had gotten some
advice and gone into Alberta Darling`s district, he could have countered
that $8 million that she got to win last night because all the Democrats
needed last night was 5,000 votes and they would have had the majority in
You mean to tell me the man who brought change, the man who brought
heart, passion and soul back to the American electorate and Democrats
across this country and talked about a generational shift in politics
couldn`t go on the road today and get 5,000 votes?
The fights in Florida, the fight`s in Ohio, the fight`s in Michigan,
the fight`s in Wisconsin, the fight`s in your backyard, it`s in my
backyard. What these righties want to do is concentrate the wealth, do
more corporate tax breaks -- and that is exactly what Scott Walker`s done.
Where has unemployment gone? Up in Wisconsin.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: Should President Obama have gotten involved in the Wisconsin
recall efforts? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. And, of course,
you can you always go to our blog, which I love, Ed.MSNBC.com. And you can
follow me on Twitter as well, off my Web site.
Joining me tonight, John Nichols, Washington correspondent for "The
John, great to have you with us. You did great work with us and I
appreciate it so much. You`re the foremost authority on Wisconsin
politics, no doubt about it.
Did the president do anything to help the Democrats in Wisconsin,
whether it`s right or wrong, I don`t want to mislead our audience tonight.
Did he do anything to help the Democrats in this fight?
JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": No, he did not. And I think we should
be very clear about this, Ed.
The president of the United States did one interview back in February
where he was asked about the Wisconsin fight. He said he was in favor of
collective bargaining, but then he also talked a lot about austerity and
the need to balance budgets.
But the interesting thing, Ed, that President Obama was a regular
visitor to Wisconsin during 2009 and 2010. It`s a battleground state. And
yet, once this fight in Wisconsin stirred up, the president went missing.
He did not come to Wisconsin in March or April or May or June or July or
And I have to believe that while this was a Wisconsin fight, and
Wisconsin grassroots workers and teachers really let it, that a visit from
the president simply saying that he believed in fairness, he believed in
collective bargaining, and he believed that it is valuable to keep an open
and free government, not one with late night meetings and violations of
open meetings laws -- I think a statement like that while seen as partisan
by his critics would have been a rallying cry for people who respect and
value his leadership.
SCHULTZ: John, I can`t help but think there`s a disconnect between
the White House and what`s happening in the heartland. I mean, how could
they miss --
NICHOLS: It`s terrible.
SCHULTZ: Do you think there`s a disconnect?
NICHOLS: It`s a terrible disconnect, Ed. And it`s not a disconnect
purely of coming or going, and things like that. There`s also an intensity
In Wisconsin, you had people who literally couldn`t sleep at night.
They stayed up late, they made calls. They wrote letters. They knocked on
doors. They passed petitions, and they`re still doing it, still fighting
two more recall elections next week.
And out in Washington, you had the president spending so much time
trying to find a compromise with John Boehner, going golfing with John
Boehner, and then heading out for vacation this month.
SCHULTZ: I don`t --
NICHOLS: There`s a lot of Wisconsinites that would like him to
vacation in northern Wisconsin and help them get re-elected to the state
SCHULTZ: Look, I`m an Obama fan. I believe in his policies, I
believe in what he`s doing. And I`m not trying to take him to the woodshed
with this opening segment tonight.
I want to tell the president, I hope he`s not missing it because I do
believe that he is underestimating his impact -- this idea that he can`t
have an impact on these crucial issues. And Senate bill five in Ohio is
coming up. Man, he ought to be camping out that bus in Ohio in my opinion.
What -- should he do that?
NICHOLS: Absolutely. Ohio is a battleground state, as is Wisconsin,
Pennsylvania, Michigan -- states that have these fights going on.
NICHOLS: And let me suggest this, President Obama would benefit.
It`s not just him coming and giving a contribution of his time, his energy,
his great speaking skills to these battleground states. He would benefit,
I think, by seeing the intensity of the passion that these people are
SCHULTZ: Yes. No doubt.
NICHOLS: I think it would stiffen his spine.
SCHULTZ: Yes. John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The
Nation" -- great friend, great to have you with us here tonight on the
Let`s turn now to Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor, who also is a
great friend. And this has been a highlight of our coverage to be able to
meet these great senators who are so brave and stick up for democracy. She
was one of the Wisconsin 14. And speaks her mind thoroughly, I might add.
What mood can we find by liberals in Wisconsin tonight, Lena?
ST. SEN. LENA TAYLOR (D), WISCONSIN: You know, we`re excited. I
can`t tell you that there aren`t some individuals who I think look at it
honestly wrongly, when they believe that we`ve not won.
This was huge. We went in Republican`s turf, we went in their
backyard and sandbox and we took some toys and we took them home and made
them our own -- two of those seats. And that`s a victory. These are the
people who won in the Obama landslide of 200 and these are individuals who
frankly, for us to have done this was a great thing.
Would we have liked three, sure?
SCHULTZ: All right.
TAYLOR: But this is only round two.
SCHULTZ: All right. Scott Walker says he now wants to reach out and
work with the minority to create jobs. This is the same governor that had
state troopers looking for you just five months ago, six months ago. Do
you trust him? And is this a step forward?
TAYLOR: Well, it`s a step forward, but we have to see if what he
says, he puts into action.
SCHULTZ: What about the recall efforts?
TAYLOR: There`s truly some reasons not to trust it.
SCHULTZ: Where does the recall stand right now after last night`s
results in your opinion?
TAYLOR: I don`t anticipate that anybody has said that they`re not
going to do a recall effort on Governor Walker right now. The issue is, if
you look at the statewide numbers, really, the Republicans should be
nervous, because no race did they win hands down easily. They had to go to
a fight, and they got some scratches and some bruises.
They were scared, they worked hard, they had to raise a lot of money
are and Walker sees that. If he doesn`t see it, he needs some different
individuals around him telling him what`s going on.
SCHULTZ: Well, you got 12 percent of the people voting last night in
Wisconsin. They lose two seats. They almost lost a third one. If that`s
not a message to the governor to get involved and work with the other side,
I don`t know what is.
But now, he`s trying to talk down the possibility of a recall, and I
understand that the Republicans in that state right now are drafting
legislation to change the recall laws.
What do you make of that?
TAYLOR: That`s my understanding as a matter of fact, I would expect
him to continue to do many other radical things, to try to make it where we
can`t move forward in the fashions we have.
TAYLOR: Redistricting, they`ve done it. Some individuals will not
live in their districts. There`s no question that the governor should be
concerned. There`s no question that people are still energetic, motivated,
we`re excited. We have a whole bunch of individuals who sign those recall
petitions, that`s going to work in a statewide race.
SCHULTZ: All right. Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor with us
tonight on THE ED SHOW -- thanks so much.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen, we want to know what you think.
Governor Scott Walker thinks Wisconsinites are tired of recalls, but
coming up -- the next big one coming down the pike could possibly have his
name on it.
And it`s the largest strike in the nation that we`ve seen in the last
four years. Verizon workers across the country are striking to protect
their health insurance, benefits and pensions. I`ll talk with the
president of the union and find out what their next step is to support the
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Governor Walker, Wisconsin, believes last night`s election results
are a vindication of his policies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think people saw the facts, and
they saw their finances are better. The economy is improving in our state
much faster pace than the national level. And then ultimately, our schools
and local governments are going to fare better. The best thing is to keep
coming back to the facts, results matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All right. Well, let`s hold it right there, let`s talk
about some facts.
As Governor Walker`s policies have begun to actually take effect, the
state`s economy, unemployment has risen. Did you get that, folks? It`s
It was 7.3 percent in April. It rose to 7.4 percent in May. And in
June, it rose again to 7.6 percent.
If you were dealing with money, would you consider that an increase?
I think so. In June ,it rose at twice the rate as it did nationally.
Wisconsin`s unemployment rate is still below the national average, but
under Scott Walker, it is going in the wrong direction.
Correct me if I`m wrong, governor`s office. Correct me if I`m wrong.
And as far as balancing his state`s budget on the backs of the middle
class, Walker will find out if voters approve of that when his name comes
up for recall. That`s next.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Verizon versus the workers, that story coming up. You won`t want to
The effort to recall Scott Walker will go forward. Wisconsin`s
Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate put it this way, "If we can do all of
this against entrenched Republicans on their own turf, imagine our success
when all of Wisconsin can have its voice heard on Governor Walker`s extreme
Governor Walker thinks everything will calm down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: I think the biggest thing, you know, with the election over,
you`re going to see a lot of the outside influence, the money that came in
from outside of Wisconsin and all the different parties from outside of
Wisconsin. They`re going to move on to other states. They`re going to
move on to other issues, whether it`s in Washington or other statehouses.
We can get back to work here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Sure they are. Funny thing hearing Walker complain about
outside money, when it was the Republican side that had the money pouring
into the state to the tune of nearly $40 million.
Walker also said, "Whether it`s a gubernatorial recall or any other
recall, I don`t think there`s a lot of enthusiasm for having a whole -- not
a wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin." Really?
But Walker now says he wants to work with the Senate minority leader,
Mark Miller, on jobs. What a shift. We weren`t hearing that from Walker
when he was ramming through the budget to slam the middle class last winter
and having the cops chase the 14, were we?
But now, Walker`s a little scared.
And there`s one more twist. Wisconsin State Representative Robin
Vos, a Republican is drafting a constitutional amendment that would make
recalls more difficult.
Let`s bring in the executive director of One Wisconsin Now, Scot
Scot, good do have you with us tonight. You did some great work out
there getting the vote out. But, of course, it wasn`t enough to get the
For anyone who thinks the Walker recall fizzled last night -- set
them straight, where do you think it stands?
SCOT ROSS, ONE WISCONSIN NOW: Well, I`ll tell you this, Ed. And
thanks again for all the work you`ve done here for the people of Wisconsin.
You know, you`re a football fan, I`m a football fan.
This is about four quarters, like every football game. You got the
first quarter where thousands of volunteers went out and collected nearly
200,000 signatures to make these recalls happen. Next, last night, you had
the Republican -- the Walker six held accountable.
The next quarter is going to be when we protect the two Democratic
senators who stood up against Scott Walker and stood up for the people of
And then, the fourth quarter, and you know, Ed, that`s the quarter
where champions are made. That`s next year when we recall Scott Walker,
oust him from office, restore decency, fairness and common sense to the
public policy in Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: You don`t think he can make up to the people of the state
of Wisconsin after reaching out to Mark Miller today, the Senate minority
leader, saying, hey, let`s work on jobs? And I think it`s an interesting
point because this country is focused on creating jobs, and now Walker`s
talking about it, now that they`ve been through the recall.
Can you get 500,000 signatures need to recall this guy?
ROSS: I think absolutely. The thing is, Governor Walker promised he
was going to create 250,000 jobs here in the state of Wisconsin, and he
hasn`t done that. And as you pointed out, the unemployment rate has risen
in the state of Wisconsin in the last couple months.
What Walker has taken away the tools that create jobs here in the
state of Wisconsin, a good solid public education system which he cut by
$1.6 billion. The technical college system that he cut by $70 million.
And the University of Wisconsin system, which he cut by $250 million.
That`s not going to create jobs.
And next year -- right now, you know, massive layoffs aren`t
happening in our public schools, because there`s a lot of federal recovery
act money still in place protecting teachers, that money is gone next year.
SCHULTZ: So, you think the worst could be coming, if the state
legislature doesn`t operate quickly and fix this? There will be another
big hole coming and another wave of cuts in public education, is that what
I`m hear something?
ROSS: I think absolutely right, we`re going to see larger class
sizes. You know, sports programs gone. And we`re going to see schools
close, and that`s going to make people even more outraged than they are
about Governor Walker.
SCHULTZ: What do you say to those people who say, it was a big win
for the Republicans last night, and the Democrats didn`t get the majority?
What do you say to them?
ROSS: I think that anybody who says that last night wasn`t a big
victory for progressive values in Wisconsin simply wasn`t watching what was
SCHULTZ: Democratic pollster Nathan Henry tells "Politico," "The
party achieved a 7 percent swing in its direction last night, despite the
losses." You believe that?
ROSS: I`ll tell you this --
SCHULTZ: You think there`s a statistical advantage now leaning to
ROSS: Well, yes. I mean, I think -- Governor Walker in 2010 won by
about 100,000 votes. And last night the Republicans bled 50,000 votes from
what Walker got in those six Republican districts on their home turf in
2010. While the Democrats got the same amount of the vote out as they did
So, just think about those six districts, Walker`s already lost half
of his margin of victory that was not that much. So, he`s in real trouble
when he is held accountable next year by the people of Wisconsin in this
SCHULTZ: Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now. Thanks
for your time. Great work.
Coming up: Verizon versus the workers. We`ll talk to the president
of the Communication Workers of America.
And more hypocrisy from the Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.
I`ll tell you how to channel your anger into action.
And tonight, a Democrat gets a special place in psycho talk. Stick
around. A supposed lefty goes into the zone?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: What do you think of some of these
governors that aren`t taking some of the stimulus money. Governor Palin,
Sanford, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think it makes sense. If
they`re going to put strings on that money, tie your hands and make you
expand programs, and not be able to have the freedom of choice that the
people elected you for, then you shouldn`t take the money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, he campaigned on anti-stimulus rhetoric. And now
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is taking the credit for the success
of a health clinic that has benefited from the very money he railed
against. Christie was out promoting the success of the Southern Jersey
Health Center earlier this week, telling folks, quote, "I am proud of the
strong support my administration has provided for community health
Well, as the state`s chief executive, Christie has slashed millions
from local health centers. And as Think Progress points out, the clinic`s
ability to provide quality care to low income families has little to do
with Christie and a lot to do with the millions of dollars in federal
stimulus money it received.
Does that make you angry? Well, put your money where your anger is.
Help us out. There are still people out there who don`t have access to
quality health care all over the country and they need your help. THE ED
SHOW and the National Association of Free Clinics are joining forces and
hosting a health clinic -- free health care clinic, August 29th in New
We`ve done this all over the country and now it`s New Orleans. MSNBC
viewers have funded seven previous clinics around the country. And your
donations will help bring vital health services to uninsured patients in
New Orleans, Louisiana.
To make a donation or to learn more about volunteering, visit their
website at FreeClinics.us.
Tens of thousands of Verizon workers are on strike. Their employer
wants more than one billion dollars in concessions from the workers. CWA
President Larry Cohen joins me next to talk about the landscape.
She says that she would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency if
she became president. Why is Michele Bachmann asking the federal agency
for money? Does that make Tea Party sense? The latest Bachmann hypocrisy
SCHULTZ: We just witnessed a big labor push in Wisconsin that could
still threaten the career of the state`s governor. Whether it`s protests
over Senate Bill Five in Ohio or unions banding together to fight cuts in
Michigan, workers across this country are realizing that the fight against
the middle class is on.
One of the biggest fights began Saturday night as 45,000 Verizon
employees went on strike to oppose more than one billion -- B, billion --
dollars in concessions the company is requesting from the union. Verizon
says its land line business is in decline. But workers say they shouldn`t
be stripped of what they`ve been promised.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IRIS BRUNSON, NY VERIZON WORKER: We want to be able to take our
pension with us when we leave. We want our health benefits to stay in
tact. And we also want to keep what we got.
We want our medical. We need our medical. We have no problems taking
a lower wage and an increase, as long as we can keep our medical in tact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: A Verizon spokesman contacted THE ED SHOW here at MSNBC
tonight, and said the company is not looking to break the union. Verizon
has also released this statement regarding the impasse over health
benefits. They say "our unionized workers are among the few in America who
pay nothing toward the cost of health care premiums. All non-union Verizon
employees do. The company is proposing that its represented workforce make
a modest monthly premium contribution, as little as 100 dollars a month."
Joining me tonight is the president of the Communication Workers of
America, Larry Cohen. Larry, good to have you with us tonight. I
appreciate your time. What`s your response to that statement that the
LARRY COHEN, PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA: First of
all, our members pay at least seven percent of the health care costs.
Second of all, this is about rights. Our members are out on strike right
now, as you just heard, to defend their rights, their rights to bargain
The company came in with a list of 100 demands six weeks ago. These
same 100 demands are here now. Nothing is off the table. We`ve said to
them since Saturday night, the members are ready to go back when you
This is exactly like Wisconsin. Don`t strip us of our rights. We`re
prepared to have a discussion about anything. But anything should also
include that you`ve moved 25,000 jobs to Asia, out of the United States.
Anything should also include that just last week, you gave a 10 billion
dollar dividend, 4.5 billion dollars of which -- that`s B, billion, as you
said -- goes to Vote-A-Phone in England.
And then they come and ask for a billion dollars in cuts, which is
20,000 dollars per worker here in the United States. So this is really
about the middle class, as you`ve been saying. The same middle class fight
from Wisconsin, or for the public workers is here now at Verizon.
SCHULTZ: "The New York Times" reporting that this is the largest
strike in the country in the last 40 years, involving 45,000 workers. The
company says the land line business is in decline, which they`re requiring
union concessions. Does that square with the company`s financials?
COHEN: No, not at all. First of all, these are the workers that
build the backbone of the entire company, wireless and wire line. They`re
also are -- the technicians in Verizon Wireless in New York are among those
They`ve had union busting at Verizon Wireless for 15 years, fired
thousands of workers, closed centers to avoid unionization on the wireless
side. So that rings hollow. All the fiber optics, the networks, the Fios
TV, these are the workers that install that, that service that. These are
the people that are proud to be Verizon every day. But they`re not proud
right now that the company is stripping them.
SCHULTZ: Now, Larry Cohen, how much do these workers make? We`re
showing some videotape right now of some of the striking workers. What`s
the average pay of these workers we`re talking about? And what are they
COHEN: They`re asking to keep what they have. More and more
companies like this want to strip away not only their rights, but what
they`ve had for years. And what they`ve had in this case means decent
health care, a decent pension and an average pay of about 1,000 dollars a
This is the middle class. And we`re really asking middle class
Americans, whether they`re union or not -- all our allied groups, this is a
human rights issue. Will they bargain or will they dictate. Will they
bargain or will they dictate? That`s why our members are out.
SCHULTZ: How much did Verizon make last year? Put it in perspective.
We`re talking about employees that make between 40,000 and 60,000 dollars a
year. And from what I understand, you`re not asking for a salary increase.
You just told me that you`re asking to keep what you got and to keep your
COHEN: We will ask for a fair salary increase. But it`s all one
package with the health care and with the pension situation. But certainly
not any salary increase that`s going to go up -- that`s going to change the
standard of living. We want to maintain the standard of living.
Ed, as you`ve said so many times, if the richest companies in this
country -- this is a 100 billion dollar company, with 100 billion dollars a
year in revenue -- if the richest companies strip workers of their rights
and cut their pay, there will never be a recovery here.
It`s impossible. It`s never, ever happened. So not only do we see
this in the public sector, but now we see the richest private corporations
saying cut the worker`s pay, but raise the executives` pay.
SCHULTZ: How long are you prepared to stay out? How long are these
45,000 workers prepared to stay out?
COHEN: These workers will stay out until the company bargains
seriously. We will then go in and negotiate. The negotiations have been a
farce. We`re saying to them, unlike in a traditional strike, we go in when
you bargain with us, not when you dictate, when you bargain with us.
They`ve yet to bargain. They still have the 100 demands on the table.
SCHULTZ: How much money did they make last year? Do you know?
COHEN: Yes. It depends how you count what they made. But again,
their revenues are 100 billion. Their profits are about 10 billion. The
SCHULTZ: So 10 billion dollars in profits and they want 45,000
employees to pay a little bit more of their health care. That`s one of the
COHEN: They want 20,000 dollars from each employee in pension cuts,
health care cuts, wage cuts. They want holidays back. They want Martin
Luther King Day back. They want Veteran`s Day back. They want raises only
based on appraisals, on and on and on.
Everything that people have bargained for 50 years is here. When we
say that to them, they say, it`s not really going to be everything.
Meanwhile, nothing`s off the table.
We`re saying to them, bargain fairly. Our people want a fair bargain.
They will go back to work when you start to bargain fairly.
SCHULTZ: Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of
America, thanks for your time tonight. It`s a hell of a story.
We would like to invite a representative from Verizon to joins us on
tomorrow night`s show to talk about it.
A senator who claims to be a Democrat wants to cut off unemployment
benefits for millions of Americans. Tonight a Blue Dog lands in the zone.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in Psycho Talk tonight, Missouri Senator Claire
McCaskill. Can you believe it? The senator calls herself a Democrat, but
since she was elected in 2006, McCaskill has been talking like a righty.
On Tuesday, she really stepped over the line in my opinion. A local
television station followed McCaskill to a factory in St. Charles,
A reporter asked the senator if she supported extending unemployment
benefits to the middle class tax cuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I`m not for extending
unemployment benefits any further. The payroll tax cuts -- I`m always for
tax cuts for working folks, because I think that helps our consuming
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Senator, there`s nothing better for the consuming economy
than extending unemployment benefits. Economists say every dollar spent on
unemployment benefits creates 1.61 in the American economy. After her
heartless comment, and not very thoughtful, Senator McCaskill`s office --
well, they are on mop up duty.
They gave this lame excuse to the "Huffington Pose," quote, "Claire to
fully support unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs.
Unfortunately, expanding benefits beyond 99 weeks is unaffordable and
unrealistic because of staunch opposition in the House. Really?"
McCaskill can`t blame her comment on the House. If she really wants
to help the 270,000 people in her state who are out of work, she would
fight like hell for the 99ers in her state. For Senator Claire McCaskill
to play political games with the unemployed to score points with
conservative and independent voters before reelection in her state is
selfish Psycho Talk.
Michele Bachmann wants to abolish the EPA. Why is she asking them for
money? That`s coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Well, when the cameras are turned on, Michele Bachmann likes
to attack government spending. When the cameras are turned off, she likes
to request it. "The Huffington Post" filed a Freedom of Information Act
request with three separate federal agencies. It turns out the
congresswoman from Minnesota`s Sixth District petitioned the federal
government for money at least 16 times.
In the past, Bachmann has gone after President Obama`s, quote,
"gangster government" and called his spending program "fantasy economics."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: I voted against the stimulus. And they didn`t even get the
ink dry and they were talking about another stimulus. I`ll vote against
that one too. During the last 100 days, we have seen an orgy. It would
make any local smorgasbord embarrassed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But just weeks later, Bachmann wanted her own no guilt
feast. As Sam Stein reports at "The Huffington Post,", "a large chunk of
Bachmann`s requests were for funds set aside through President Obama`s
stimulus program. Bachmann put in multiple requests for federal money
through the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation."
Now the Tea Party queen may not think her DOT requests are entirely
hypocritical. She has previously said that transportation projects should
be exempt from any ban on earmarks. Her feelings toward the EPA, however,
are another story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: And I guarantee you the EPA will have doors locked and the
lights turned off. And they will only be about conservation. It will be a
new day and a new sheriff in Washington, D.C..
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But she asked for money from them too, dog gone it.
Congresswoman Bachmann put in two requests for money from the very agency
President Bachmann would abolish.
Time to call in radio talk show host and nationally syndicated "Ring
of Fire" host Mike Papantonio.
Mike, you get the 64 dollar question at the end of the program
tonight. Is Michele Bachmann a socialist in disguise?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What she is, she`s a perfect
reflection, Ed, of the Tea Party mind. It is this. She tells other people
that they need to make sacrifices. She tells other people that they should
do without. But Bachman doesn`t want to do without.
She doesn`t think Obama`s stimulus program, for example, that that
money was a good idea until she needs it. When she wants to fund her rail
park in Minnesota, while she`s out attacking Obama, she`s secretly asking
for money to fund her rail park. She`s just like her Tea Party followers.
They want government out of their lives, but they -- they don`t want
government not to pay for their Medicare. They don`t want government not
to pay for their Social Security.
They want another generation affected, but they don`t want to be
affected. This is a woman who constantly talks out of both sides of her
mouth. It`s become clear. She said she didn`t want government subsidizing
health care while her peculiar husband in his peculiar clinic has been
receiving loads of money from the federal government for a long time.
She says that federal subsidies are a bad idea while her private farm
is receiving 300,000 dollars worth of federal subsidies to keep their doors
open. Ed, there`s always been this quiet back story that follows Bachmann.
It is that she`s a sophisticated grifter. She`s a sophisticated fraud,
both in her political life and in her private life.
I have to tell you this. She is perfect for the Tea Party. She`s the
upcoming queen of the Tea Party. The Tea Party deserves Michele Bachmann
with their 55 percent disapproval rate. I have to tell you, they certainly
deserve her, and she certainly deserves them.
SCHULTZ: Do you expect anybody in the Tea Party to call her out on
this? I mean, they`re all about --
SCHULTZ: -- fiscal responsibility and cutting down government. Do
you think she`ll get any push back from the party on it?
PAPANTONIO: Ed, they have become masters of doing the same thing
Bachmann does. Again, this is a party that says, keep government out of
our lives, but don`t let it affect my money. Don`t let it affect my Social
Security. I want that money. But I don`t want it for anybody else. It`s
OK for our generation, but make sure the next generation doesn`t get it.
They think exactly like Michele Bachmann. She`s a perfect fit. She`s
simply a a reflection of everything that Tea Party stands for. They won`t
criticize her at all.
SCHULTZ: No doubt about it. Mike Papantonio, always a pleasure.
Great to have you with us tonight. Tonight in our survey, I asked you,
should President Obama have gotten involved in the Wisconsin recall
efforts? Eighty three percent of you said yes; 17 percent of you said no.
Next question should be about Ohio, don`t you think? That`s THE ED
SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. You can listen to my radio shows, Sirius XM Radio,
Channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00. You can follow me on
Twitter at WeGotEd.Com and at THE ED SHOW.
Lawrence O`Donnell next up with "THE LAST WORD." We`ll see you
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