updated 8/26/2011 11:34:16 AM ET 2011-08-26T15:34:16

Guests: John Nichols, Tim Dickinson, Jim Moore, Tina Briones, Bob Shrum

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

Presidential hopeful Rick Perry has added to his poll numbers
recently in his quest for the White House. But in his home state of Texas,
he`s been subtracting from the state`s education budget and it`s brutal.
And as school districts consider raising taxes to pick up the deficit,
Governor Perry flip-flops again -- this time on the push for the
institution of a national sales tax.

Lots on the table tonight.

It`s THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Education is a
priority.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): That was last year. This year, Rick Perry cut
education funding by an unprecedented $4 billion. And budget cuts means
job cuts. This from the guy who`s running on job creation?

Republicans will do anything to prevent taxing the rich. But when it
comes to taxing the middle class and working poor, they`re all for it. Bob
Shrum is here with latest on the so-called anti-tax party`s proposed
payroll tax increase.

And in "Psycho Talk," Mitt Romney is flip-flopping again -- this time
about whether terrorist trials should be held on U.S. soil.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The United States of
America would be my first choice.

I don`t want them on our soil.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks.

I`ll tell you, down in Texas, the interesting stories just keep on
sipping out. Rick Perry has created an absolute mess for public education
in the Lone Star State.

If he becomes president, I`m convinced he`ll do the same thing to
every school in America. School districts across the state of Texas open
this week, $4 billion underfunded -- never happened in the state before.
Class sizes are bursting at the seams and children are paying the price big
time.

"The Texas Observer" reports, "It`s the first time since 1949 the
state has decreased funding for education."

Back in 2006, Perry ran for election as an education governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Public school funding, student achievement and standards are
all up. I`m proud of Texas schools. Since I became governor, education
funding has raised $9 billion. We passed a $2,000 teacher pay raise in the
nation`s largest merit pay program.

We`ve accomplished a lot, but we can still do more. That`s why we`re
directing schools to spend at least 65 percent of their money on classroom
instruction.

Education is our future and my highest priority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All right. Hell of a commercial. But is it the truth?

Education isn`t Perry`s top priority any more. Now, Perry is laser-
focused on becoming the leader of the free world when it comes to gutting
public education to pay for tax cuts for the superrich. Perry comes from
the same flock as Walker, Kasich and Christie.

Last September, Perry was asked if he could assure public
schoolteachers that they wouldn`t face cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you assure the educators of this state that
public school spending will not be cut in the next session?

PERRY: Yes, I think so. I go back to 2003. It`s a priority our
state is still rolling. As a matter of fact, we put $1.8 billion more into
public education in the 2003 legislative session for the following biannum
than the previous biannum. This at the same time we were cutting $10
billion out of our budget spending. Reducing spending.

And so, education is a priority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, this is what local Texas news looked like four months
later.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, public education cuts started at the
very top. The Texas education agency began laying off employees.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Texas school districts are tightening their
budgets. They`re going to be receiving millions of dollars less from
Austin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds of AISD teachers and staff members
learned today they`re out of a job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perry requested state agencies find a way to
shave off another 2.5 percent. And that`s directly related to the layoffs
we are seeing today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Perry violated the trust of the public schoolteachers in
Texas, and ultimately, it will damage the next generation.

Perry loves to talk about his jobs record. But $4 billion in cuts
will cost thousands of public schoolteachers their jobs.

The cuts will also hit every kitchen table in the Lone Star State.
"The Observer" reports, "To cope, some districts are implementing fees for
riding the bus or attending preschool, prekindergarten. And many are
considering tax increases."

So, where is the deal here?

Rick Perry`s refusal to raise taxes on the rich oil boys in Texas has
made once again middle class Texans shell out more money to put Johnny and
Sally on the school bus.

"The Texas Tribune" reports, "In the Keller Independent School
District just north of Ft. Worth, students will ride the bus, they`re going
to have to pay $185 each per semester."

Now, let`s do some math here, folks. A family with three school aged
children will have to pay over $1,100 a year to put them on the bus to ride
to school? This kind of money is devastating for poor, middle income and
lower class families.

And remember, Texas leads the nation in minimum wage jobs. It`s
really hard to come up with $185 a semester per kid when you earn $7.25 an
hour. I`m sure there`s a few folks like that down in Texas.

By the way, that would be working 51 hours a semester, just to cover
your kid getting on the bus.

Larger class sizes, less money per pupil. You know what it`s going
to do? It`s going to make it harder for children to graduate.

Those facts mean nothing to Perry, because he`s all about the
ideology. When Perry gets confronted with the facts, you be the judge. He
has no answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why does Texas continue with abstinence education
programs when they don`t seem to be working? I think we have the third
highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, among all the states?

PERRY: Abstinence works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we are the third highest teen pregnancy -- we
have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country.
The question or point is, it doesn`t seem to be working.

PERRY: It works. Maybe it`s the way it`s being taught or the way
that it`s being applied out there. But the fact of the matter is, it is
the best form of -- to teach our children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give me a statistic suggesting it works?

PERRY: I`m just going to tell you, from -- I`m going to tell from
you my own personal life, abstinence works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That piece of video says it all, doesn`t it? Perry only
cares about himself and his political future.

Perry is the new normal in Texas and he`s the new normal in the
Republican Party. Tax cuts at all costs, warp social priorities, and I
guess you could say blank stares at the camera.

Perry`s attack on public education is dangerous -- a very dangerous
recipe for this country. Perry would end public education as we know it,
and create a generation of minimum wage careers. America, I don`t think
can afford this guy.

The bottom line here is, in Texas, property taxes pay for schools.
So, what happens in the poor school districts? They stay poor. What
happens in the wealthy school districts? They have a hell of a lot better
chance of seeing their kids succeed.

Now, you ask yourself the question tonight -- is that the America you
want your kid to grow up in? Is that the America you want to see your
grandkids navigate through? Is Rick Perry really the guy when it comes to
public education?

It`s a sweet commercial, but, gosh, there are a lot of teachers
telling a different story.

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

Tonight`s question: Are school children suffering because of
Republican priorities like tax breaks for the rich? Text A for yes, text B
for no to 622639. You can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com and make a
comment. We love that. And I`ll bring you the results of the poll later
on in the show.

Now, let`s bring in Jim Moore, "Huffington Post" contributor and
author of the upcoming book "Adios Mofo: Why Rick Perry Will Make America
Miss George W. Bush."

Mr. Moore, good to have you with us tonight.

The television commercial, I have to say, was filled with facts.
They were very positive, but it doesn`t seem to be matching up with the
story that`s being told by educators in the state. Decipher it for us.

JIM MOORE, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, one of the things that we are
number one in is the number of people over the age of 25, and the
percentage of the population over the age of 25 without a high school
diploma. Rick Perry`s been governor for 10 years, he can`t exactly say
that`s not my fault.

This guy is a guy who has gone and said, I got to take $4 billion out
of the public school system to get pressures down on the local tax
district.

You were talking, Ed, at about the way this whole thing works in
Texas. We fund it with property taxes. And so, he`s claimed Social
Security is a Ponzi scheme, but what he`s done with education is a shell
game. He`s able to say I`m cutting the budget, I`m not increasing taxes,
but it puts the downward pressures on to the local school districts. They
either have to fire teachers, which the estimate is 100,000 teachers or
they have to increase taxes, go to their local property tax owners to the
(INAUDIBLE) is going up, we got to have teachers, we`ve got to have
schools.

So, Rick Perry can walk away and say I didn`t do it.

SCHULTZ: A hundred thousand teachers. Yes, he can walk away and
saying, no, I didn`t raise your taxes, but the local school district had to
do it, or you wouldn`t have been able to make it and keep the programs and
give your kids an opportunity to advance in education. So, it`s a slick
way of passing the buck, no question about it.

But is this a bigger and a grander scheme on the part of the governor
of Texas? How does he really view education? And how should it be in
America?

MOORE: Well, I think his view of education is basically that it`s do
what you can with what you have. And the state will help out a very small
amount.

Look, this guy has been pushing charter schools. He`s been pushing
private schools. He`s been pushing Christian schools. And he`s been
saying to people, I want you to get your kids into these school systems.
How can you say that out of one side of your mouthing and turn around on
the other side of your mouth and say, I`m for education?

He has urged people over and over to take their kids in public and
private events and said, get them into private schools, that`s where it`s
going on. And the charter school program in Texas allows almost anybody to
become a charter school owner and operator.

SCHULTZ: So, they got loose rules down there?

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: I`m sorry?

SCHULTZ: They got loose rules when it comes to developing a charter
school?

MOORE: It`s almost like a signature loan. It`s almost like a
signature loan. Create a charter school, and pay yourself whatever you
want and rent the buildings and charge the building rental off to the state
tax money that comes in for each student. It`s a major scam.

SCHULTZ: It is. Jim Moore, great to have you with us tonight. I
appreciate your time.

Now, let`s turn to Tina Briones. Tina has taught history in
government in Texas schools for 20 years and is now the president of the
San Antonio affiliate of the Association of Texas Professional Educators.

Tina, welcome tonight. These cuts, how real are they? What does it
mean to classrooms?

TINA BRIONES, PRES., SAN ANTONIO ATPE: The cuts are very real, Ed.
They`re affecting the classrooms in the class sizes have increased -- the
elementary school and throughout the high school and so forth. They`ve
also -- they`re also going to affect the teachers. As you said earlier,
they`re going to lay off quite a bit of teachers. And that they`re going
to do.

A lot of districts were created this year. Not cutting a lot of
teachers, however, they did do that. The next year, we`re not going to be
safe. They`re going to make a lot of cuts.

SCHULTZ: But the commercial that Perry was paying throws out all
these numbers that he`s put into public education in Texas. What`s the
truth?

BRIONES: Well, I`m not going to get into what he said and what the
truth is. I think you need to ask him.

However, we are in a big shortfall. As you mentioned, we do have a
$4 billion shortfall, that we can`t tap into the $9 million rainy day fund,
which is now dwindled down to $6 billion. We can get into that, we can tap
that and help the schools out.

If they do tap into that, I assure you we won`t be in a situation.
After all, the rainy day fund was made for these situations for education.

SCHULTZ: Well, the rainy day fund. Why won`t he do that? And this
would shore up a lot of problems.

BRIONES: It sure would. And everyone has asked him, we`ve had many
people stand up to him, write to him, write to the legislatures, they had
three choices, the legislatures had three choices. One was to raise taxes.
The second one was to tap into the rainy day fund. And the third was to
cut spending.

And they chose the latter, to cut spending. So, now, we feel that.

SCHULTZ: Tina, do you think this is what Texas residents want? Do
you think this is what Americans want?

BRIONES: No, I don`t. And I think they need to keep calling and
making their voice known and heard.

SCHULTZ: And when you look at a teacher who has 40 more students per
day in some school districts, what does that do to their attitude?

BRIONES: Well, it makes it hard. It makes for a long day. Their
attitude is, it`s hard to deal with. However, most teachers in tell as are
doing the best they can. Like I said, you have the cuts are coming. And
they`re going to do their best to keep their jobs, and that`s not the right
thing to do in raising their class enrollment.

However, they`re going to do the best they can. And I don`t want to
speak on their attitude because most of them are coming in with a positive
attitude. Very fortunate to have a job right now.

SCHULTZ: So, would Rick Perry be good for America? Would he be good
for public education in your opinion?

BRIONES: Public education -- his goals and what he`s done in Texas,
it`s very sketchy. I can`t say yes to that.

SCHULTZ: OK.

BRIONES: I can`t.

SCHUTLZ: Tina, thank you for joining us tonight. I appreciate your
time.

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

House Speaker John Boehner thinks a majority of the economists agree
with Republicans on taxes. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, John, but
they actually do not agree with you.

And Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham met with Libyan dictator
Moammar Gadhafi less than two years ago. Pledging their support. Now,
they criticize President Obama for not moving fast enough to get rid of
him?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Have you read my book, "Fed Up"? Get a copy of it, and read
it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, that was the second day of Rick Perry`s presidential
campaign. And he may live to regret his demand. Since then, a lot of
people have gotten a copy of Perry`s book. They have been surprised at
what they found in there.

First, there was the book suggestion that Social Security may be
unconstitutional. Now, the focus is on part of the book where the Texas
governor suggests the possible repeal of the 16th Amendment, which allows
Congress to levee an income tax. Perry calls it "the great milestone on
the road to serfdom." And said the 16th Amendment was "the birth of wealth
redistribution in the United States."

Perry`s camp is already walking back the ideal of repealing the
amendment, saying in a statement, "We can`t undo more than 70 years of
taxation and worsening debt obligations overnight."

Perry may be running away from his statements, but it`s nothing
compared to how congressional Republicans are sprinting into the other
direction on taxes. More on that next.

And later, this man is becoming the poster boy for Republican
overreach. John Nichols tells us how Scott Walker has energized Democrats
as he`s travelled across the nation.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

When it comes to taxes, Republicans are developing a pretty
consistent strategy. Whatever the reality is, just say the opposite.

On his Web site this week, House Speaker John Boehner highlighted a
report from the National Association of Business Economists claiming that a
majority of economists surveyed believe spending cuts are the key to
reducing the federal deficit -- not job crushing tax hikes.

There`s only one more problem here, folks. The report clearly states
the exact opposite of what Boehner claims.

Out of all the economists surveyed for the report, only 12 percent
said the deficit should be reduced by spending cuts alone. The remaining
88 percent said at least some amount of tax increases are necessary in an
overall deficit plan.

But there is no surprise, the Republicans love playing the opposite
game with taxes. As we reported the other night, congressional Republicans
who complain about job crushing tax hikes are opposing President Obama`s
proposed extension of the payroll tax holiday. That would amount to a tax
increase on 46 percent of all Americans, most of them poor and middle
class. Even radical anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist says he needs to
wait to see the final legislation before weighing in on this tax hike.

Make no mistake, folks, a tax hike is just that, a tax hike. If the
Republicans tell you anything differently, believe the opposite.

Let`s bring in Democratic strategist Bob Shrum tonight.

Bob, good to have with us.

Is this a fight that President Obama must see to the finish?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to be here.

SCHULTZ: Is this something that he can really put out there day
after day to fight for this payroll tax holiday, and is it a winning issue
for him?

SHRUM: It`s absolutely a winning issue. And, look, the Republicans
here have a wonderfully Republican idea -- a tax increase of $1,000 to
$2,000 a year, but only on people and incomes of $100,000 a year or less.

They hate Obama more than they hate taxes. The fact that he`s
proposing this is the reason they`re going to oppose it.

Look, these people represent the march of the economic morons.
They`ve been telling us the way to create jobs in the economy is to have
less money in the economy.

The truth is they only care about tax cut when it affects the rich.
Remember, Ed, how they talked about that waitress George W. Bush did in
2000 who was going to get a tax cut under his plan? You know what
happened? She got the equivalent of a Diet Coke a day.

Very wealthy people got millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of
dollars, sometimes billions of dollars in tax cuts and the country got a
huge deficit followed by a huge crash.

SCHULTZ: I mean, these Republican legislators, these representatives
and senators are home doing town halls. How can they stand up in front of
people and maintain their credibility when they say they`re against tax
increases when they won`t sign on with something like this.

SHRUM: Well, they won`t be able to maintain it if the president gets
out there and he makes a big proposal on this, and makes a big fight on
this. You know, all of this empty rhetoric about job-crushing tax
increases -- under Bill Clinton we had a top rate of 39.5 percent. We had
a full employment. We had a balanced budget.

It`s when we began the Bush tax cuts that we began to go into big
deficits and ended up losing millions of jobs.

So, I think the president can make his case, he can make it on both
fairness and what`s right for the economy. By the way, these folks can`t
read. If you read the report from the National Association of Business
Economists, you are absolutely right, they say we have to have tax
increases as part of the package.

Either they can`t read those numbers, those conclusions, or they`re
simply lying.

SCHULTZ: And what do you make of Grover Norquist position he has to
see the final legislation? Why do you make of it? And how influential is
he at this point on this issue?

SHRUM: Well, I don`t -- you know, look, he wants to be for tax cuts,
all tax cuts all the time. So, it`s pretty hard for him to oppose this
bill which would prevent a tax increase. At the same time, he wants to get
along with the Republican Party.

You have a Republican Party, which is as I said earlier, detest the
president, hates the president more than tax increases.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

SHRUM: That`s why they`re confused here. Norquist maybe has a
little more consistency from the cynical, political attitude of Boehner,
Eric Cantor and the rest, who just want to see to it by the way. They want
to take this money out of the economy, because they want to see to it, with
the economy`s in bad shape next year, they hope they can stall the
recovery, so that they can ride the power on economic ruin.

SCHULTZ: Do you anticipate any of the Republican candidates to come
out in favor of this? I mean, Romney loves to say he`s the job creator.
You know, Perry talks about what kind of jobs he`s created down there.

I mean, it would seem to me this is something they would be on safe
territory if they stepped up and said they were for it.

SHRUM: Yes, look, Romney`s fallen apart as the front-runner. All
the new polls show Perry moving well ahead of him. Romney is not going to
do anything to offend the Tea Party folks, although trying to kowtow to
them so far hasn`t seemed to work for him.

Perry certainly will not break with the congressional Republicans.
The Tea Party types on this.

And the Tea Party folks, leadership, who in essence are really
conservative Republicans, who don`t care about those ordinary middle class
folks -- there are members of the Tea Party who do, and who are middle
class, but the leadership is exploiting those people. They really care
about tax cuts for the wealthy.

Maybe Jon Huntsman will do it, but he`s already so popular for
telling at least some of the truth, that he probably has nothing to lose.

SCHULTZ: So far, I think Huntsman has been dry toast except when
he`s gone after the other candidates in recent days. That`s the only time
he`s gotten any pub at all.

Bob Shrum, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us.

SHRUM: Great. Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Next, one of Rick Perry`s cronies is shooting for a job in
Congress. And the Perry charm is clear. His new campaign video compares
welfare recipients to donkeys.

And Mitt Romney went on FOX and flip-flopped again. This time it was
about terrorism. He`s going in the zone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching
tonight. Here`s how the dance goes in Texas. They`re going to be getting
four more Congressional seats in 2012, which means we`ll have four more
Texas Republican candidates to deal with. Like this dude, Roger Williams,
for example.

Thing guy was Rick Perry`s secretary of state for a few years. Now
he`s running his daddy`s car dealership and gunning for a seat in the
Congress. Until recently, he seemed like a typical anti-government, tax
cutting Texas Republican who thinks President Obama is a socialist.

But he`s kicking up the crazy a little bit, folks. The centerpiece of
his campaign is a video where he refers to himself as the "Donkey
Whisperer.` He claims the video is aimed at Democrats in general, but it
sounds like he`s making fun of welfare recipients.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER WILLIAMS (R), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS IN TEXAS: All these guys
want is they want more shelter. They want more feed. Yet the government`s
making it harder on me. They`re taxing me to death. I can`t afford to
build that.

When I don`t build it, they think I owe it to them. All you guys want
-- you want a handout. I don`t have something in it, and now you`re
getting mad again, OK.

Years ago we, had didn`t have this problem. But now it`s just a
hassle to get them to do anything. These donkeys don`t live in the United
States of France. They live in the United States of America.

They`re going to have to get with hit. They keep thinking that Obama
is going to take care of them, that Obama is going to feed them, Obama`s
going to build their barn.

Look it, if I can get OBama out of health care -- will you accept that
-- I can get these teeth fixed that you got, OK. I can get them fixed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All geared towards low information voters. So Roger
Williams either thinks all Democrats are lazy and want a government
handout, or else he`s comparing welfare recipients to donkeys. I can see
the Rick Perry influence, can`t you? We better watch this guy.

Coming up, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have been quick to
criticize President Obama`s strategy on getting rid of Libyan Leader
Moammar Gadhafi. But they met with the Libyan dictator just two years ago,
pledging their support. What happened?

And Wisconsin`s recall summer is just the start for progressives.
Will the White House take notice of what`s happening? John Nichols of "The
Nation" later in the show. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. As Libyan dictator Moammar
Gadhafi`s reign seemed to be coming to an end, it was Senator John McCain
and Senator Lindsey Graham offering criticism on President Obama. They
complained it took the United States too long to employ the full weight of
our nation`s air power.

But just 18 months before the United States` effort began, McCain and
Graham and Senator Joe Lieberman were meeting with Gadhafi to off the
dictator their support. In August of 2009, when Obama was in office, the
three senators met with Gadhafi as well as his son, who was Libya`s
national security adviser.

According to documents released by Wikileaks, they offered to help
Gadhafi get C-130 transport aircraft and equipment needed for his own
security. Quoting from the document, "Senators McCain and Graham conveyed
the United States` interest in continuing the progress of the bilateral
relationship and pledged to try to resolve the C-130 issue with Congress
and Defense Secretary Gates."

They even gave Gadhafi advice on how to handle bad public relations as
a result of the Pan Am bombing coming home -- Pan Am bomber.

Let`s bring in national affairs correspondent for "Rolling Stone
Magazine," Tim Dickinson. Tim, good to have you with us tonight. I
appreciate your time now.

This criticism that these senators were laying on President Obama
comes after they were meeting with Moammar Gadhafi just months before.
What do you make of that? What should we take from the story?

TIM DICKINSON, "THE ROLLING STONE": Sure. All this has gone down the
memory hole. Gadhafi was our man in North Africa. The signature of
success, diplomatic success of the Bush administration was we hit Saddam
and we scared Gadhafi straight. He had pledged to give up his weapons of
mass destruction programs and rejoin the community of nations.

And so the Bush policy and the Obama policy, up until the Arab spring,
was one of engagement, one of offering inducements and sweeteners to get
Gadhafi to live up to his commitments to give up his WMD and crackdown on
insurgents. We call the rebels today in Benghazi and eastern Libya.

This was part of that effort. So there`s plenty of hypocrisy to go
around. But certainly the Three Amigos went off to Gadhafi`s ranch and had
a grand old time conveying what just you were saying, an offer of military
support, perhaps some civilian nuclear support, in hopes of getting -- in
hopes of sweetening the relationship.

Far from standing up for American families who lost loved ones in the
Lockerbie Bombings, they were offering public relations advice to Gadhafi
on how to play it cool when the bomber came home, so that Americans
wouldn`t get upset, and the relationship wouldn`t be jeopardized.

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ: Let me ask you, what would motivate a United States senator
to serve up PR advice to somebody like Moammar Gadhafi?

DICKINSON: Again, this is somebody who had been our enemy, mortal
enemy, and now is an important strategic ally in the region. He was
cracking down on these insurgents in Eastern Libya, where a lot of people
were coming -- going from there into places like Afghanistan and Iraq, and
injuring our troops.

This was an important relationship. It`s gone down the memory hole,
but this all switched 180 degrees once we went to -- once the Arab spring
went into progress.

Lindsey Graham is almost sociopathic, though. Because it went from
let`s all meet with Gadhafi at his ranch to, hey, the world wouldn`t mind
if we blew up Gadhafi, would they? Just this is really kind of bizarre.

It`s one thing to say, we think that we ought to be more aggressive,
Obama, in waging this war and going after Gadhafi once they`ve committed to
it. But once it works out, once Tripoli seems to be falling without any
real bloodshed, to the kevetch (p) -- basically they said, thanks NATO,
thanks to the brave Libyan people. We`re sorry the American president is
such a pansy and wouldn`t break out the daisy cutters. It`s just sort of
deeply bitter partisanship. Makes you wonder what ever happened to country
first.

SCHULTZ: Let me get this in. Just five months ago, Senator Graham
criticized the Obama administration`s strategy for helping the rebels.
Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The strategy`s confusing to
the American people. Only 21 percent believe President Obama has a clear
view of how to handle Libya. It`s demoralizing to our allies, particularly
people on the ground that we`re trying to help. I think it`s encouraging
to our enemies.

This strategy is going to lead to a stalemate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Where do they stand tonight?

DICKINSON: They just want to criticize Obama for leading a successful
campaign, that was a minimum of American blood and treasure. It`s just
sort of baffling to me that this -- you couldn`t just embrace this as a
good outcome, having disagreed with it at the beginning.

SCHULTZ: Tim Dickinson, "Rolling Stone Magazine," good to have you
with us tonight. Thanks so much. >

DICKINSON: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Consistency is not one of Mitt Romney`s strengths. But this
time his flip-flopping went too far. Psycho Talk is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: As Americans along the East Coast prepare for a possible
visit from Hurricane Irene this weekend, residents of the Gulf Coast are
still dealing with impact of Hurricane Katrina six years later. Even as
the Department of Veterans Affairs broke ground earlier this month on a new
medical center in New Orleans to replace the one destroyed by Katrina,
there is still a desperate need for medical care in the city.

Next Monday, August 29th, the National Association of Free Clinics,
with the help of THE ED SHOW and MSNBC will hold its third free clinic in
New Orleans. Your donations of time and money make these clinics a huge
success. To make a donation or to learn more about volunteer efforts or
attending the New Orleans clinic, visit their website at FreeClinics.us.

Coming up, the Mittster says terrorists should be tried on U.S. soil,
but only the pre-9/11 ones. He`s going in the Zone. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in Psycho Talk tonight, Mitt Romney`s flip-flopping
streak, well, it continues. The Mittster has changed his position on
everything from health care to the NRA. Now he`s changing his tune about
whether terrorists should be tried on U.S. soil.

The last time he ran for president, he had this to say about trying
terrorists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m glad they`re at
Guantanamo. I don`t want them on our soil. I want them at Guantanamo,
where they don`t get the access to lawyers they get when they`re on our
soil. I don`t want them in our prisons. I went them there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Pretty clear position, isn`t it? And he doubled down on it
earlier this year when he called President Obama inexperienced and naive
for wanting to try terrorists in the United States. But this week, Romney
sang a different tune when he was asked about the Lockerbie Bomber, who has
been hiding out in Libya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If indeed Gadhafi goes down, do you
think the new government should over Magrahi to whom?

ROMNEY: Well, the United States of America would be my first choice.
We would try him here and see that justice is done. This is a person
responsible for the lives of hundreds of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So in 2007, Romney didn`t want terrorists on U.S. soil. But
now the U.S. is the first choice to try a terrorist who blew up an airplane
killing hundreds of people. Romney tried to weasel out of his flip-flop
with the following statement: "a pre-9/11 terrorist who was not associated
with al Qaeda cannot be detained at Guantanamo or tried by our military
commissions. Should the law change and allow other forms to be used,
Governor Romney would explore those options as well."

Pretty weak stuff, don`t you think, for a guy who wants to be
president of the United States? The bottom line is, if the American
justice system is strong enough to try a Lockerbie bomber, then it is
strong enough to try the terrorists being held in Gitmo, don`t you think.

And for the Mittster to support a terror trial on U.S. soil after
saying President Obama was naive for wanting to do the same thing is pretty
sleazy Psycho Talk.

Democrats all across the country running on economic issues and
workers` rights. You know what? They`re winning. John Nichols explains
why President Obama needs to adopt the same strategy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Libya in turmoil, a hurricane targeting and bearing down on
the east coast. Fortunately, with all that`s going on in the world, the
gang at "Fox & Friends," they found time for this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to win the 2012 race you need one
thing. Here it is, great hair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The scientific data is undeniable. The guy with the best
hair wins. Guest Peter Funt providing the analysis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama versus McCain.

PETER FUNT, WRITER AND TV HOST: Well, you know, that was a bit of
history being made, as we all know. 2008, the first time Americans elected
an African-American haircut.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But McCain is old news. Fortunately, the current crop of
Republican candidates, as Bush might say, they`re not folically challenged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have two guys in the GOP, I mean, with
serious beautiful hair, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.

FUNT: Well, I mean --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You cannot get -- it`s Superman hair is what it
is.

FUNT: No kidding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Will Rick Perry`s Superman hair prove to be Obama`s
Kryptonite?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FUNT: If it comes down to health care versus hair care, gosh, Obama
could be in trouble, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was hilarious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was very good. I thought so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, I said hair-larious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn`t you? Never mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: How in the world do you top that.

You know what, Donald Trump, you have to get back in this race. All
the scientific evidence is right there with you, dude. John Nichols of
"The Nation" will try to top all of that. He joins me next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: It`s been one hell of a summer for progressives all across
this country. And while President Obama and Congressional Democrats
disappointed folks over the debt ceiling debacle, it`s not all bad news.
In fact, outside of Washington, D.C., it`s quite the opposite.

People are fed up with Republican overreach. That`s plain and simply
being told to those on the campaign trail. Last year`s midterm elections
ushered in governors like Walker and Kasich, governors who started slashing
services and really went after collective bargaining rights the moment they
could.

Those Republicans are now experiencing the backlash from the recalls
in Wisconsin to the special elections in Maine. Progressives have been
fighting back and they are winning, winning on economic issues and winning
in rural areas, places where Democrats experienced big losses in the last
election cycle.

If this kind of momentum keeps up, well, it could mean big
implications in the 2012 election. President Obama, are you listening? I
think he is.

Time now for John Nichols to check in with us tonight, Washington
correspondent of "The Nation Magazine." John, good to have you with us.

I want to focus in first on Wisconsin, if I may, because Governor
Walker made an interesting comment the other day that not many people
picked up on. He was talking about the recall effort. He said that we
keep hearing from the White House that they`re not for it.

Did I hear that correctly? And what in the hell is he talking about?
Does that mean that he`s hearing from the White House that President Obama
and his team don`t want to see a radical governor get recalled? Take us
down that road. What`s the story?

JOHN NICOLS, "THE NATION": Sure. Look, the first thing is I can
assure you that the Obama White House is not in regular conversation with
the Scott Walker state house. And so that`s the governor doing what he has
a tendency to do, which is sort of take the partisan spin and add a little
bit of his own salsa to it.

SCHULTZ: He says we keep hearing from the White House that they`re
not for the recall. That`s a pretty clear statement that there`s been some
communication.

NICHOLS: I don`t buy it. I think that it is again the governor
playing games politically. But I can tell you this: there is a lot of
internal debate in Wisconsin about when and how to do a recall of Scott
Walker. Remember, no matter what you`ve heard from all the national spin
and the spin of the Walker supporters, the reality is that Governor
Walker`s approval rating is dramatically lower than that of President
Obama.

He is down in the mid-30s. And so Governor Walker`s got a real
problem. If there is a recall, he`s very, very vulnerable. The question
is, do you go immediately or later?

SCHULTZ: I see a sea change taking place. I sense it out there when
we go back to the Midwest quite often. You have been out and about. What
I laid out before I brought you in on this interview is in your work in
"The Nation Magazine." What have you seen? What are you hearing? What
are you feeling on the ground?

NICHOLS: It`s pretty remarkable, Ed. I think this is one of those
stories that an awful lot of the national media that doesn`t pay attention
to the states is missing. I even think some of the political class in
Washington is missing this.

But across the country, not just in Wisconsin, but in New Hampshire,
in Maine, in other states across the country where there have been special
elections and, of course, the recall elections in Wisconsin, where
Democrats have been in the field, running often in very Republican leaning
districts, but running on economic populous messages, challenging the
attacks on labor, supporting public education, supporting local services,
saying that billionaires and big corporations ought to pay their fair share
of taxes.

When that message has been put out, Democrats aren`t just winning.
They`re winning by dramatically improved margins. In fact, what I found
across the country as I looked at these special elections and recalls is a
number of places where Democrats not only improved on their 2010 numbers,
which they needed to. They have to do better than 2010. There were cases
where Democrats were improving on 2008 numbers. They were doing better
than in the Obama landslide.

SCHULTZ: What makes you think that this momentum is going to last
more than a year. Here we are in August of `11. We got quite a ways to go
before November of `12. Obviously, there will be a big turnout for the
general.

But what makes you think -- I guess I see the Republicans doing
nothing on jobs, so I don`t think the economy`s going to get a heck of a
lot better. These cuts by these radical governors, we have to keep this in
the news, because I think this is what people are really concerned about.
I think that Perry out there would be the perfect candidate for President
Obama to go up against, because of the things that he has done in Texas,
because they pretty much emulate what the Republican philosophy is all
about.

Can this momentum on the lift with progressives maintain for that
long?

NICHOLS: It`s a choice that the president and national Democrats have
to make. When I talked to state-based and local Democrats across the
country, I asked them that exact question. They said, look, these issues
aren`t going to go away. Unemployment, unfortunately, is not going to go
away as an issue in 2012.

And neither are these concerns about local schools, about public
education, public services, about whether we`re going to have a middle
class. But it is how these fights and these issues are articulated. The
president and national Democrats need to learn the language of Wisconsin
and Ohio and Maine, where Democrats are taking economic populist messages
into the field and winning.

SCHULTZ: We`re going to Ohio with THE ED SHOW. And I`m looking
forward to it, because Senate Bill 5 is really part of everything we have
been talking about. And they want to, of course, recall it. And they have
over 1.3 million signatures to get it on the ballot.

It`s going to be a heck of a story next month and in the following
months up to the November election. I want to talk about former Vice
President Dick Cheney. He is out today with an exclusive interview with
NBC`s Jamie Gangel, says that his book will have heads exploding in
Washington.

What is he -- what can we anticipate that he`s going to reveal that`s
going to make our heads explode, if we`re in the nation`s capitol?

NICHOLS: Well, look, you know, the one thing to remember is that
everyone`s out of Washington for the break, for the recess. So my sense is
the only thing that would actually make anybody in Washington surprised
coming from Dick Cheney would be the truth, because he very rarely goes
near it.

The fact of the matter is that Vice President Cheney -- former Vice
President Cheney is trying to sell a book. So he`s saying, this is going
to have all --

SCHULTZ: Even after all the money he made with Halliburton? Even
after all the millions he`s got? He`s still concerned about selling a
book? I find that interesting.

NICHOLS: It`s a funny thing about wealthy people. They like to get
wealthier. The one thing to remember about Dick Cheney is that he is
desperate to remain in the limelight. He`s not just trying to sell this
book to make money. He`s using this book as a vehicle to, you know, get
that prime time slot at the 2012 Republican convention and get the standing
ovation that he lives for. He is a politician after all.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols of "The Nation Magazine," always great to have
you with us. Thanks so much. Is there a sea change taking place across
America? I think so.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you, are school children suffering
because of Republican priorities like tax breaks for the rich, Ninety five
percent of you said yes; five percent of you said no.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. You can listen to my radio show
on Sirius XM Radio channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 p.m.

And you can follow me on Twitter @EdShow and @WeGotEd. "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.
END

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