updated 2/15/2012 11:09:45 AM ET 2012-02-15T16:09:45

Guests: Jonathan Alter, Gary Peters, Jan Schakowsky, John Nichols, Chris Larson, Richard Wolffe, Mike Daisey

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

Mitt Romney is struggling in the polls in his home state of Michigan?
It seems like the state hasn`t forgotten that he was against the automobile
loan that helped save the auto industry in big cities like Detroit. How
can you be against jobs? Just be a Republican.

This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you just write a check
that you`re going to see these companies go out of business ultimately.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Mitt Romney is selling used cars in Michigan
and the people aren`t buying it. Richard Wolffe has the latest on the
Romney spiral and the Santorum surge.

Fifteen days before your taxes go up, the president was out hammering
Republicans today.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pass this middle class
tax cut, pass the extension of unemployment insurance, do it before it`s
too late.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Jonathan Alter will tell us
where the payroll tax cut fight stands.

Scott Walker and President Obama are set to meet face-to-face in
Milwaukee tomorrow. We`ll have a preview.

And Apple is launching an investigation into inhumane working
conditions in Chinese factories.

MIKE DAISEY, AUTHOR: I own an iPhone. And when I use it, I`m
reminded of the children who put devices together.

SCHULTZ: Author Mike Daisey`s off Broadway performance shines a light
on the problem and he`s here tonight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for
watching.

Mitt Romney is desperate to win the upcoming Michigan primary. But
Michigan isn`t about to forget how Mitt Romney wanted to deal with Detroit
back in 2008.

Romney is blanketing the airwaves with a new ad portraying him as the
favorite son of Michigan and protector of the automobile industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Now, I grew up in Michigan, it was exciting to be here. I
remember going to the Detroit auto show with my dad. That was a big deal.
How in the world did an industry and its leaders and its unions get in such
a fix that they lost jobs, that they lost their future?

President Obama did all these things the liberals wanted to do for
years and the fact that you`ve got millions of Americans out of work, home
values collapsing, people here in Detroit are distressed.

I want to make Michigan stronger and better. Michigan has been my
home, and this is personal.

I`m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Holy smokes, when it comes to the recovery of the United
State`s automobile industry, Romney still refuses to give the president of
the United States and the taxpayers any credit whatsoever.

In an op-ed in today`s "Detroit News," Romney wrote this about the
government auto loan. "Instead of the free market doing what it does best,
we got a major taste of crony capitalism Obama-style."

It`s easy to be confused. A month ago, Romney was saying the auto
loan bailout succeeded because President Obama took his advice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The president ultimately did what I suggested, going through
a managed bankruptcy process. I wrote an op-ed about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Of course, Romney`s famous advice was to let Detroit go
bankrupt. You know, back in 2008, in "The New York Times" op-ed, Romney
wrote this.

"You can kiss the American automobile industry goodbye. And it`s
demise will be virtually guaranteed."

He wasn`t shy back then about telling everyone how badly a government
loan would fail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There`s no question but if you write a check that you`re
going to see the companies go out of business ultimately. Instead, we have
to help the companies restructure, stay in business but restructure, shed
the unnecessary costs, make them competitive with the transplants and the
foreign cars. And by virtue of doing that, make sure they stay in business
long-term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All right. Let`s get back where we exactly are. Romney
said a loan to the auto industry would put car companies out of business.
That`s what he said.

He said the auto industry was eventually saved because the president
took his advice? And now he says the loan was successful in spite of
President Obama`s crony capitalism?

My friends, here are the facts. This is what you need to know.

Chrysler increased sales by 26 percent last year. Now, I don`t know
what the Bain experience here is, but 26 percent increase, that`s not even
good enough at Bain?

General Motor sales up 13 percent. By the way, G.M. is the number one
producer in the world. You mean to tell me as Americans and as a man who
wants to be president of the United States, he`s embarrassed to say that
G.M. is number one at producing vehicles on the face of the earth? Talk
about apologies.

The companies have also added 115,000 jobs. Think about how many
homes were saved that Mitt Romney is driving by in his commercial.

These are all good things for the people of Michigan and for America.

Mitt Romney`s all wrong on the auto loan and he`s suffering in his
home state because of it.

You know, Mitt, why don`t you try this angle when it comes to talking
about the automobile loan.

"I would have had some differences on how they did it. But I`m not
going to second-guess it. The most important thing is the results and the
auto industry is doing very well today."

You know, those aren`t my words, those are straight from the
Republican governor of the state of Michigan, Rick Snyder.

I mean, the Republicans are in denial about what has happened here.
Maybe Romney would be -- wouldn`t be trailing Rick Santorum by some 15
points in Michigan in his home state if he took maybe a positive approach,
say, like -- well, there is 115 different ways to skin a cat and I would
have skinned it differently.

Well, no, that wouldn`t have been good because he`s got this dog story
out there. So, leave the cat out of it. That`s not good advice.

Maybe he should say it`s good to add jobs in America, that`s good
people are still in their homes, and we`re glad to see G.M. number one and
all the sales going through the roof, but I would have done it differently.
That`s all he had to do.

The Obama administration and American people stepped forward and saved
this industry. No question about it. Mitt Romney turned his back on his
home state, and he wants to know why he`s trailing by 15 points in his home
state.

You see, his advice was to walk. President Obama`s guts told him to
stand with the workers.

But look where we are right now. We have the Republican Party
supposedly a guy supposed to have this thing wrapped up a long time ago,
he`s out there bad-mouthing economic success in his own home state! How do
you think independent voters in Michigan are going to feel when they see
Mitt Romney saying this, that, this, that when it comes to the automobile
industry?

Look, this was good for America and I would hate to see this country
now devolve into a conversation where that`s bad when we add jobs, it`s bad
when we save homes.

I noticed that he picked on the unions in that commercial.

Mr. Romney, I`d like you to be very open and honest about what the
unions have actually done to save the automobile industry in Detroit and
other parts of the Rust Belt. They took a haircut. They took a big
haircut. And the wages they have right now aren`t anywhere near what they
used to be because they wanted to see it succeed.

They also took hits in health care and in their pension. And it`s a
little different on that assembly line than it was years ago.

The American workers have stepped up in a big, big way.

And it`s unfortunate that the Republican Party is saying that adding
jobs is a bad thing in the automobile industry because they didn`t do it
the Republican way. Yes, the Bain way.

Give me a break. Do you want to know why the guy is getting his butt
kicked in his home state? Because he`s not honest. He`s not honest with
the economic facts of what`s happening with this economy, and you can just
see the jealousy drip off him in these commercials.

You know, Mitt Romney would be a horrible candidate if he didn`t have
a bunch of money to spend on TV ads. I mean, if it was just Santorum and
Romney standing there, with nothing but what they believe in, Romney would
be out to lunch big time, and he wouldn`t know how to pay for it.

Speaking of paying for stuff, think about this -- the automobile loan
is being paid back. It`s fiscally responsible. And the Republicans are
against that, too?

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: would a loss in Michigan effectively end Mitt Romney`s campaign.
Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. You can always go to our blog at
Ed.MSNBC.com, we`ll bring you the results later in the show.

Joining me now is Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your
time.

REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: It`s always a pleasure to be with
you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Well, I want to take you back to what was written today, we
know what was written by Mitt Romney back in 2008 as we just showed it to
you, but he`s still at it. He says today, instead of the free market doing
what it does best, we got a major taste of crony capitalism Obama-style.

What`s your response to that?

PETERS: Well, he just doesn`t know what he`s talking about and he`s
really forgetting a lot of history about what was happening back in 2009,
as Chrysler and General Motors were heading towards bankruptcy, there
simply wasn`t private capital available to get out of the bankruptcy. Mitt
Romney says he should have gone to the private markets.

Well, he has to remember that Wall Street was frozen. We just got
through this debacle on Wall Street, where greed went wild, the markets had
collapsed. There simply wasn`t money available, particularly in the
billions of dollars necessary for both Chrysler and General Motors.

In fact I sat in the board room when Mr. Nardelli, who was the CEO of
Chrysler at the time. And he said, Congressman, if we don`t have federal
loans, we will not have the money necessary to get through bankruptcy and
to restructure. The private markets are simply not there for us, I`m going
to be forced to liquidate this company.

And if Mr. Romney had his way, that`s exactly what would have
happened. These companies would have liquidated. And with that, hundreds
of thousands of jobs would have been lost not just in Michigan but all
across the country. Not just the two major companies but also with all the
suppliers that supply parts to those major companies.

SCHULTZ: Is there any down side to what has transpired in the
automobile industry? Look at the other side of the spectrum, what the
Republicans are talking about. Where is the downside? I`m looking for it.
Where is it?

PETERS: I don`t see the downside, Ed. I mean, we`ve saved critical
industry, which is all about American manufacturing. And these are great
middle class jobs that are being saved as a result of that. Jobs are being
added.

In fact, I was just at a meeting in Michigan earlier in the week, Ed,
I had auto suppliers telling me they are in a situation right now where
they can`t find enough people, enough engineers -- they are hiring people
and they can`t find enough people.

Two years ago, those same companies were laying off people. Now, they
are in the position where they`re hiring and looking for even more. This
is a great success story.

We`ve got to remind everybody of the success story about President
Obama taking a risk. He took an awful lot of heat from around the country
to make this decision, but it was the right decision and it`s always right
to bet on the American workers because every time they will do it --
especially the men and women of the UAW who made significant sacrifices and
are now building world class cars.

And in fact, in my district, they are building car that General Motors
thought they could only build profitably in China, that`s the Chevy Sonic.
It`s being built in Michigan with UAW labor and it`s being made at a
profit. It is a great American success story.

SCHULTZ: Your colleague, Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga is a
Romney supporter. But he said something very interesting about the
candidate. About Romney, he said "It would be a huge embarrassment if he`s
not able to win the Michigan primary."

Is this really going to be the thorn in his side in Michigan if he
doesn`t come to grips with how positive this has been? Because it would
seem to me the independent voters are going to be honest brokers when it
comes to what`s economically good. And now, you have a chance of seeing
Mitt Romney losing to Rick Santorum in Michigan. Sort that out for us.

PETERS: I think it would be a devastating blow. I don`t pretend to
know Republican politics and primary politics.

But here is a man who says he was raised in Michigan, he has Michigan
values, he understands the auto industry, and yet when the auto industry
really needed help -- he wasn`t there. In fact, he said, let the auto
industry go bankrupt, let it disappear, if the government supports this
industry, it would be a mistake.

Well, he was proven wrong, and had he been president at the time, it
would have been catastrophic, not just for my state but for the whole
country.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Gary Peters, great to have you with us tonight,
tell them the story. Thanks so much.

PETERS: Appreciate it, Ed. Thank you.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen, share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know what you
think.

President Barack Obama had Republicans on the ropes, and they agreed
to pass the extension of the payroll tax cut. But the fight is far from
over. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky will join me on that.

And later, the president and believe it or not, Wisconsin Governor
Scott Walker will meet in Milwaukee tomorrow. John Nichols is here to
preview Walker`s Jan Brewer moment.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up: Republicans caved on the payroll tax cut, but are
Democrats letting them off the hook too easy? Congresswoman Schakowsky and
MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter will join me.

And pressure from consumers has Apple investigating labor practices as
its -- at its factories overseas. Mike Daisey who has visited the Foxconn
plant that produces Apple products will join me later to tell us the story.

Share thoughts on Twitter using #EdShow.

We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me start with a
quick public service announcement for all the gentlemen out there. Today
is Valentine`s Day. Do not forget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

President Obama -- did he forget something in the past? Well, a
different story.

But he has reason to be happy now. Republicans have caved and said
that they would extend the payroll tax cut without offsets. The president
has kept up the offensive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Congress needs to extend that tax cut, along with vital
insurance lifelines for folks who`ve lost their jobs during this recession.
And they need to do it now -- without drama, and without delay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the party would
support the Republican plan for a stand-alone payroll tax cut extension.
But at this hour, Congress is nearing a deal on all of it. A potential
deal would include up to 75 weeks of unemployment benefits for the hardest
hit states -- an extension of 63 weeks for the other states.

House Republicans had wanted to cut benefits to 59 weeks.

Joining me tonight is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

Congresswoman, great to have you with us. What can you tell us about
a pending deal where the numbers sound pretty good?

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, so far, so good, Ed. We`re
waiting to hear that the deal gets signed, sealed and delivered, because
just extending the payroll tax is not enough. We obviously need to help
those people that if we don`t act by the end of the month, they will have
no visible means of support -- people who lost their job, mainly no fault
of their own.

SCHULTZ: So, what about the Medicare issue that needs to be taken
care of? Where are we on that? Is this part of this potential deal
tonight?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I`m hoping when they say the whole deal is being
worked on, they mean also paying the doctors reimbursement for their
Medicare patients up to the amount that they need in order to keep
accepting Medicare patients. We cannot have lots and lots of seniors going
to their doctors and finding out, nope, sorry, we`re not going to take you
anymore. This is very important.

So, those are the three pieces -- the payroll tax extension of
unemployment, and what we call the "doc fix" -- making sure doctors get
sufficiently paid.

SCHULTZ: And pretty much, the rank-and-file, the Republican
leadership shocked the rank-and-file by going this distance should we say.
As the election nears, are Republican leaders trying to move more to the
center? I mean, this is really a totally different attitude than what we
saw at the end of last year.

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, don`t you think, Ed? It`s partly because they are
getting the message that the American people want something to happen, that
they want to get these things done and they don`t want to see any more
obstruction on the part of the Republicans?

That`s what I`m thinking that they must be reading some polls or
actually hearing from their own constituents that these -- you know, get
going here.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

SCHAKOWSKY: Stop stopping things.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky -- always great to have you
with us. Thank you so much.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Now, let`s turn to Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst
and columnist for "Bloomberg View."

What do you think?

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYS: Hey, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Is this a big win for the president if it falls this way?

ALTER: It is, because it will help the economy get better. If you
look at his political prospects, you know, he needs a good economy in the
latter part of 2012.

Now, the Republicans, before this point, were kind of thinking
politically -- why do we want to help the president? And why do anything
for the economy, because that might help the president? Why get people
more money to spend at the mall which will generate economic activity if
that might help the president.

But now, as the congresswoman just suggested, they are feeling the
political heat at home. They went home at Christmas and they heard from
constituents, enough of the monkey business, get down to real business.

SCHULTZ: This is so unlike them, to give up unemployment benefits. I
mean, they -- you know, they were railing on the unemployed.

ALTER: It`s just a loser. They were in single digits in their
popularity. It`s a political loser.

And for all of 2011, they were so intoxicated with their victory in
2010 that they were not paying attention to basic political brass tacks.
Unemployment compensation, payroll tax holiday, doc fix, these are
politically, not just a little bit popular, these are extremely popular in
Republican, as well as Democratic districts.

SCHULTZ: A year ago this time, a lot of liberals were upset with the
president, extending the Bush tax cuts last year. What a difference a year
makes? He is even scoring better with independents.

ALTER: Yes.

SCHULTZ: What do you make it?

ALTER: Well, I think he`s securing his base, which you always want to
do, going into reelection fight. He`s not having any primary opposition,
which everybody takes for granted. But that doesn`t always happen with an
incumbent president. And now, he`s beginning to reach out to independents.

The Democrats had a big problem with independents in 2010 --

SCHULTZ: But he`s taken care of that.

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER: Because so many fewer voted in 2010, they tend to be more
conservative. But he`s reaching out to them.

But it`s really important not to get ahead of ourselves, there are
about, you know, eight or 10 more turns and twists in the road before this
election and I sense a little bit of cockiness now in conversation with
Democrats. They think, oh, yes, you know, we got this. We`re going to
have the better candidate. They`re going to have the weaker candidate.

I would caution them against it. As someone who has covered a lot of
elections.

SCHULTZ: Well, they got to fight voter suppression laws that are out
and a lot of states out there, voter ID is all about voter suppression.
This is no time to get a little bit too cocky.

ALTER: And billionaires who can pour in literally hundreds of
millions of dollars. And because they will buy ads that are more
expensive, the television stations will give the billionaires doing the
hate ads against Obama, they will get all the big air time just before the
election. It`s going to be a big factor.

SCHULTZ: Jonathan Alter, great to have you with us. Thanks.

ALTER: Good to see you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Next up, the story of Mitt Romney`s dog. This is -- I know
it`s out there, but, you know, since there`s protests about dogs, we`re
going to do this story.

And later, Romney versus Santorum. It`s heating up and it`s
benefiting President Obama. Richard Wolffe joins me.

Stay with us. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Thirty years ago, Mitt Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car
for a 12-hour ride. He`s still taking heat for it. The Westminster Kennel
Club is holding their annual dog show here in New York City at Madison
Square Garden.

Well, doggone it, today, a group of dogs, a group called "Dogs Against
Romney" showed up outside the arena to protest the man currently trailing
Rick Santorum in the polls. I guess you could call this a doggone man
protest.

Mitt Romney has never denied the story. He`s been laughing it off
since he has been running for president in 2007.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Back in 1983, you took your Irish setter
Seamus on a 12-hour road trip tied to the roof of your car.

ROMNEY: No, no, not quite like that.

WALLACE: Let me finish -- let me finish in a kennel. Inside a
kennel.

ROMNEY: Yes, yes.

WALLACE: OK. I have a yellow Lab named Winston, I would no sooner
put him in a kennel on the roof of a car than my children.

Question, what were you thinking?

ROMNEY: This is a completely air-tight kennel, and mounted on the top
of the car. He climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So does that mean he would do it again? In fact, Romney`s
dog enjoyed himself so much in that kennel he crapped all over himself in
the crate, and all the way back in the back of the windshield of the car.

The bad news for Mitt Romney is that this story is now officially in
the pop culture bloodstream. "Saturday Night Live" picked it up over the
weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sure wouldn`t want to be Rick Santorum right now
with all that pressure and expectations and the attention and so on, be
more popular with the party`s base than the other candidates, et cetera.
No, thank you.

Baron knows what I`m talking about.

Hey, Baron, isn`t that right?

(DOG BARKING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does this with me.

Good dog. Oh, good dog. (INAUDIBLE) barking, Baron.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, I guess it`s tough passing yourself off as a dog lover
when you`re out there protecting the fat cats.

Mitt, I`m with the protesting pooches on this one. You got to let
your dog right inside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Hello, Wisconsin!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president returns to the Badger State tomorrow, this
time he`s got a meeting with Governor Scott Walker.

John Nichols of "The Nation" and State Senator Chris Larson are here
with the latest.

Rick Santorum keeps surging, and this time he has back-up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I will preserve and protect a woman`s right to choose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe has the latest on the race.

And author Mike Daisey is pressuring Apple to improve the working
conditions in their Chinese factories.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I met workers who were 13 years old. I met workers who were
12. Do you really think Apple --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: -- here tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. President Obama is making a
trip I have been waiting for a long time. The president is going to
Wisconsin for the first time in over a year. Air Force One will touchdown
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon.

The president will tour Masterlock, a manufacturing company he
highlighted during the State of the Union for bringing 100 jobs back from
China. It will be an interesting stop for the president for a number of
reasons.

Scandal-ridden Governor Scott Walker, who is under investigation,
plans to meet the president on the tarmac and tour the Masterlock plant
with him. This might be Walker`s Jan Brewer moment, question mark. How`s
he going to be received?

A few days ago, Governor Walker bragged how he schooled the president
of the United States on labor rights during his CPAC speech in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Because I`m sure that the president of the United States is
not getting his talking points from the big government union bosses in
Washington.

I think Hannity ran that quote 50 about times that night. That is the
last we heard from the president. I think the reason why is because the
facts are clear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Quoting Hannity? There is a good source. Did you ask him
about bin Laden, Scott? That is a different story.

I doubt Walker has the guts to say the same things to the president
face-to-face. At the same time, President Obama has a golden opportunity
here. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of 3,000 people protesting in the
Wisconsin capital and 20,000 on the capital grounds.

When the president goes to Masterlock, I want him to talk about more
than just insourcing manufacturing jobs. I want the president to speak
about the importance of education, which Walker has cut by almost a billion
dollars in Wisconsin.

The president needs to look Walker in the eye and explain how
Masterlock is making money with, you know, working folk that are union
employees. I want the president to talk about how government can help
companies who keep jobs in America.

This is a swing state stop for the president. I hope he makes the
most of it and brings the house down.

I`m joined tonight by John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The
Nation" magazine and author of the book that just came out today,
"Uprising," which is in stores right now. Congratulations.

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Thank you, my friend.

SCHULTZ: It is about what has transformed and transpired in Wisconsin
over the last year, is it not?

NICHOLS: It is a book that starts a year ago and comes to today, and
celebrates what I think is the most transformational movement I`ve seen
certainly in my life as a reporter.

SCHULTZ: The president making his first trip since all of this, good,
bad, indifferent, what do you think?

NICHOLS: I think the timing is quite interesting, isn`t it? He`s
coming on the day -- the one year anniversary of the first really large
demonstration at the capital. And that won`t go unnoted. He will also be
speaking to an audience at Masterlock, United Auto Workers Local 469.

And this is one of the United Auto Workers locals in America that is
growing. Its membership is going up. And so he has a message for them.

But I do hope that he takes off on where you were talking about,
because unions have been battered in Wisconsin. They haven`t heard an
executive come in and say they are good, they are useful. Governor Walker
hasn`t done that.

I hope President Obama takes an opportunity to, at the very least, say
"thanks" to these union workers for sticking it out for their company and
helping to rebuild it in Wisconsin.

SCHULTZ: The president`s for education. He`s in a state where they
are making massive cuts. If he`s for collective bargaining, if he`s for
worker rights, I mean, this is where it`s got to go.

I mean, actually Scott Walker politically is totally opposite from
President Obama. How is this conversation going to go on the tarmac?

NICHOLS: Well, Walker is a politician. He`s a career politician.
So I can`t believe that he will lose this opportunity. I think what he is
going to try and do is be as nice to the president as ever, try and get his
arm right around him and get a photograph, because Scott Walker is polling
at about five percent among Democrats right now. He would love to be
photographed with Barack Obama.

It doesn`t help Obama at all to have Scott Walker next to him. It
might help Scott Walker a little bit to have him with the Democratic
president.

SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson. Chris,
good to have you with us tonight. What do you make of the president`s
visit to this Masterlock facility tomorrow that is bringing jobs back from
China?

CHRIS LARSON (D), WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR: Well, I think it`s a
fantastic message for Wisconsin and for all the country. I think
Masterlock embodies the American spirit. They`re making an American
product with union work. They have insourced the jobs back from China.

It really tells a story of what we would like to see from
manufacturing not just here, but across country. I can see why President
Obama wants to highlight this as a contrast, and wanting to see this move
forward across the country.

So we are really excited to have him here.

SCHULTZ: Senator, other companies like Briggs and Stratton, they have
left Wisconsin. How can the president turn that around? What do you want
to hear from him tomorrow?

LARSON: Well, I mean, I think it`s important to say that we`re
looking to build middle class jobs, working class jobs, and making sure we
have a pathway to do that. And I think highlighting companies that are
doing just that, like Masterlock, is the key way to do it.

Not companies that are looking to say where can I save a dollar by
cutting workers` rights, by cutting the union and by shipping jobs
overseas, as a lot of tax breaks do; of saying we want to make sure we`re
investing properly in our country, in our state, and highlighting that.

So I hope that that message is taken to the people and to Scott Walker
and to Republicans in the House, and move forward with that.

SCHULTZ: Do you think he should say to Walker, how is that recall
thing working out for you? I`m just -- I tell you what, President Obama
has a sense of humor. You never know what he is going to say in that
regard. He`s a jolly kind of guy when he visits with folks.

But here is the thing: this is a governor who turned down stimulus
money that would have put in a rail system in that state that would have
created a lot of jobs. This is a governor who had his budget passed and
you have lost jobs every month since that budget has passed.

How aggressive should President Obama be?

LARSON: Yeah, I mean, it`s a tale of two leaders here, where you have
the president, where we`ve seen 23 consecutive months of job growth in our
country, compared to a governor who has seen six consecutive months of job
losses. You`ve seen a president who is willing to work with the working
man, willing to work with unions, and you have a governor who is striking
them down and trying to work against them and not willing to collaborate.

It`s really a huge contrast. What is really interesting, though, Ed,
is I think the thing that they both have in common is that they both really
motivate the progressive base. President Obama got everybody going in
2008. And now in 2012, Governor Walker has gotten the progressive base
going in Wisconsin.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols and State Senator Chris Larson, great to have
both of you with us tonight. I think the significance of his visit one
year ago to the day of the protests is more than interesting. Great to
have you guys with us tonight. Thanks.

A new super PAC is going after Romney on his pro-life credentials.
Romney will have to move farther to the right. Richard Wolffe joins me
with that discussion. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Mitt Romney is vulnerable and
some conservatives are ready to pile on. But Romney has plenty of money to
keep fighting. Romney`s super PAC is now extending its air war to at least
eight states holding upcoming contests, including the big one, Michigan.
An anonymous Romney aide told "Politico" that they will hit Santorum hard.

"The expectation is that Santorum, just given his personality, is
going to whine like crazy about this." Romney is trying to stress his
conservative credentials, telling an Arizona audience that he vetoed an
embryo bill as governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There was a provision that said that life would no longer be
determined as having begun at conception, but instead at implantation. And
the idea there was that that would allow for embryo cloning and embryo
farming. I vetoed that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But a new pro-life super PAC has a different idea of
Romney`s position on abortion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I will preserve and protect a woman`s right to choose, and am
devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Nationally syndicated conservative talk show host Steve
Deace Tweeted this: pro life super PAC is formed to finish off Mitt Romney.

In another poll, Santorum holds a slight lead over Romney. It is the
fourth national poll to give Santorum the lead.

Let`s turn to MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe. Richard, always
a pleasure. What is going to turn it around for Mitt Romney right now? Is
it just the negative ads? Is he going to be able to do that and turn this
around the way he did from South Carolina to Florida? Can he do damage
control with big money super PAC ads in Michigan? What do you think?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, to be simplistic, he
has to win Michigan and win big. The numbers right now -- you know, just a
couple weeks ago, he had a 15 point lead in Michigan. Now that is gone.
If you look at the national polls, he`s not faring any better than Rick
Santorum, maybe by a point or two, but really not substantially better in
the head-to-head with President Obama.

Remember, electability was the cornerstone of his argument. Now the
economy is getting better, people feel more positive -- although there is a
long way to go -- but those numbers are working against Mitt Romney just
when he needs the most. So he has to win in Michigan. It`s not clear that
he can run the same playbook against Santorum that he won against Gingrich
with, which is the whole Washington corruption insider dealing.

SCHULTZ: The new Romney super PAC ad calls Santorum a big spender
when he was senator, you know, with the pork barrel earmarks and all that
stuff. Is that going to work?

WOLFFE: Republicans have not shown a great distaste for earmarks,
politicians who were lobbyists. That kind of messaging just hasn`t gone
down well with Republicans. So yes, they don`t like out of control
spending when it`s associated with this president and with Democrats.

Their own spending, their own earmarks, they have no problem with
that. Mitch McConnell has not lost any ground being the biggest proponent
of earmarks out there. So yes, they changed their tune because of the Tea
Party. But none of that has continued forward.

And really, it`s down to a partisan difference. They don`t like
Democrat spending. Republican spending is just fine.

SCHULTZ: Obviously, in Michigan the automobile story is a big one.
It saved a lot of jobs. And it`s going to be there for a while. And the
president is polling better right now on the economy, because it`s making
progress. Here you have Mitt Romney well on the record, all over the place
on the automobile issue. Is this going to hurt him in Michigan?

And what if he doesn`t win Michigan, Richard? How tough is the
landscape going to be post-Michigan?

WOLFFE: He`s contorting himself into a pretzel right now, trying to
explain away that "New York Times" op-ed when he said, in fact, there
should be no bailout and Detroit should go bust. By the way, that op-ed
made a big argument for where the government should spend money. He said
it should go into alternative energy, just the kind of things that he`s
railing against when it comes to things like Solyndra.

So he`s trying to justify what he did before. It is not going to work
in Michigan, both because he is going to lose conservative voters that he
got last time. Michigan really propels them into Super Tuesday.

He needs this one. He goes out there saying he is the son of
Michigan. He grew up there. If he loses it, the media is going to turn
very hard on him.

SCHULTZ: Richard, great to have you on. Thanks so much. Richard
Wolffe with us here tonight on THE ED SHOW.

Coming up in the Big Finish, an apple executive said customers don`t
care about workers` rights in China. He was wrong. Author Mike Daisey
explains how customer outrage got Apple to change course.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked you would a loss in Michigan
effectively end Mitt Romney`s campaign? Sixty four percent of you said
yes; 36 percent of you said no.

Coming up, customers put Apple on the spot for labor practices in
foreign countries. Author Mike Daisey joins me for the Big Finish, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, customer outrage, that is what it
is -- customer outrage is forcing one of the biggest companies in the world
to crack down on labor violations at its overseas factories. You know the
story about Apple? Well, Apple is a huge company. They have announced
that an audit by a third party organization at factories where its products
are made.

IPhones, iPads and Apple Computers are assembled mostly in China.
Apple says its suppliers will give the auditors what they say unrestricted
access to their operations during the inspections. Since 2007, violations
include excessive overtime, under-age workers, improper hazardous waste
disposal and falsified records.

There have been more than 200 worker injuries, and more than 20 deaths
from accidents and suicides. An unnamed Apple executive told the "New York
Times" "customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in
China."

But customers started caring when the labor abuses became public. One
of the people responsible for exposing this story is Mike Daisey. Daisey
is an author, and monologist who traveled to China and witnessed the
working conditions at the Foxconn Factory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE DAISEY, AUTHOR "THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS: But I
do know that in my first two hours of my first day, at that gate, I met
workers who were 14 years old. I met workers who were 13 years old. I met
workers who were 12.

Do you really think Apple doesn`t know?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We are joined tonight Mike Daisey. Great to have you with
us. His monologue called "The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." And
it`s performed at the public theater in New York City. For 18 months you
have been doing this, 19 cities across the world.

First of all, I`m intrigued, congratulations. I have not seen your
performance, but you come to us tonight with absolute rave reviews. I`ve
talked to people who have seen you. And you just sit down at the desk and
you tell it like it is about what you saw in China. And I`m intrigued what
motivated you to do that?

DAISEY: I have always loved technology. I have loved Apple,
actually. I loved the devices. And I knew a lot about them, because I`m
kind of a tech geek that way.

I realized on day that I didn`t actually know -- I knew how to take my
computer apart, but I didn`t know how it had actually been made. And I
started researching it.

And a lot of these stories that are coming out now, human rights
groups have been reporting on them for the better part of a decade. So
none of this is actually controversial. This is actually how things are
done across the electronics industry.

So I felt compelled to go to China and actually dig in the story.

SCHULTZ: And you went there in 2010, correct?

DAISEY: Yes.

SCHULTZ: OK. What did you see?

DAISEY: I saw all the things that everyone has been reporting on. I
saw under-age workers. I talked to workers who were 13, 14, 15 years old.
I met people whose hands have been destroyed from doing the same motion
again and again on the line, carpal tunnel on a scale we can hardly
imagine.

SCHULTZ: Making Apple products?

DAISEY: Yes. And making products across the electronics industry.
All our electronics are made in this fashion.

SCHULTZ: Now did you get Steve Jobs` attention? >

DAISEY: Oh yes, yes, because all people who had come to see the show
-- there`s been over 70,000 now -- I would give them Steve Jobs` e-mail
address. And many of them would write to him. Every once in a while, he
would respond and they would forward those emails to me.

SCHULTZ: What was the most interesting e-mail that you saw from Steve
Jobs once you went to Apple and started this presentation, what, 18 months
ago? What was the most interesting email you got or you saw from Steve
Jobs on this issue about under age workers and the way they were being
treated?

DAISEY: Well, across the spectrum, you know, he gave a lot of
responses. But one that sticks with me is that he -- someone wrote to him
about the excessive hours and how people often work over 100 hours a week.
They work these incredible hours until they are just driven in the ground.

They were advocating for reasonable work week, like our work week of
40 hours. And Steve Jobs wrote back one line e-mail saying "I work a lot
more than 40 hours."

SCHULTZ: What do these people get paid in China to do this? What
does Apple pay them? I mean, this is all about cheap labor, isn`t it?

DAISEY: It is. Cheap labor is the engine that fuels this entire
enterprise. It should be said that there is a different standard of
living. And it`s one of the reasons that all this industry goes to the
area. That said, it`s still true that the amount people are being paid is
low enough that they feel like they need to work that incredibly excessive
amount of overtime. And then they`re practically required to do it until
they drive themselves into the ground.

SCHULTZ: What is your response to the unnamed Apple executive who
told the "New York Times" that the American people don`t care about the
working conditions in China; they just want a real good piece of equipment?

DAISEY: That is not true. I think we`re seeing that. I think that
we all have blinded ourselves for a long time to how manufacturing is in
China. The truth is that these conditions exist across manufacturing in
China. We don`t want to look at them.

But when we start looking, when we actually get called to attention,
people react.

SCHULTZ: What do you make of Apple`s sudden shift on this issue?
They say that they are going to have an audit go in there -- an auditor go
in there. How does that hit you?

DAISEY: Well, I`m glad to see them actually starting to react. The
last thing Apple did is that Tim Cook sent out an e-mail saying how furious
he was with the "New York Times" story, even though he couldn`t contest any
of the actual charges in it. So it`s good to see them reacting.

At the same time, I have real questions about the ability of the FLA
to be independent of Apple, when they receive so much money from Apple and
the other corporate members in them.

SCHULTZ: Unions are not legal in China.

DAISEY: That`s correct.

SCHULTZ: Moving forward, what more are you going to do? Are you
going to continue your presentation as a monologist here in New York? But
what are your future plans?

DAISEY: The future plans are we`re going -- we`re this week releasing
the text of the monologue online. And it`s under an open license. Anyone
in the world who wants to perform this show in any way, if they want to
film it, if they want to put it on Youtube, they want to do it in their
communities, can do it anywhere, whenever they want, free of charge.

SCHULTZ: Where do they find that?

DAISEY: They`re going to find it at my website. It`s MikeDaisey.com.

SCHULTZ: Mike Daisey, you`re doing great work. Congratulations.
It`s the story in the world when it comes to labor.

That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. You can listen to me on Sirius
Radio XM, Channel 127, Monday through Friday, 12:00 to 3:00. Follow me on
Twitter @EdShow. And like THE ED SHOW on Facebook.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

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

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