updated 2/24/2012 2:29:49 PM ET 2012-02-24T19:29:49

Guests: Martin Bashir, Richard Wolffe, Charniele Herring, Terry O`Neill, Karen Lewis, Jitu Brown, Caroline
Heldman, Joan Walsh, Ben Jealous

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

The president was thumping Republicans about gas prices on the stump
today and nobody could have said it better.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last week the lead
story in one newspaper said, "Gasoline prices are on the rise and
Republicans are licking their chops." Only in politics do people root for
bad news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Mr. President, I couldn`t agree more.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: There are no silver bullets short-term when it comes to gas
prices and anybody who says otherwise isn`t telling the truth.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Republicans are pumping up fear on gas prices.
Today, the president let them have it.

OBAMA: The American people aren`t stupid.

SCHULTZ: Martin Bashir and Richard Wolffe are here to react.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor needs to get out of the practice of
medicine and get back to governing Virginia.

SCHULTZ: Republicans in Virginia are cutting and running in the war
on women`s health. We`ll bring you the major developments.

And last night, four white guys laid out their plans for women and
their bodies.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think we`ve seen in
the history in this country the attack on religious conscious that we have
seen under Barack Obama.

SCHULTZ: Professor Caroline Heldman and "Salon`s" Joan Walsh are
here.

The turnaround in Chicago schools continues to spark outrage, a
generation of kids are at risk. We`re going back to Illinois.

And major news on the South Carolina voter suppression story. A new
investigation says the state`s attorney general is dead wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we want to suppress anyone`s vote, we want to
suppress deceased individuals who have already passed away and continue to
vote.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

President Obama became the debunker in chief today. Republicans have
been attacking the president for higher gas prices with lies and false
promises.

And President Obama isn`t letting them get away with it. He hammered
the GOP lies during a speech at the University of Miami today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this
problem doesn`t know what they`re talking about or just isn`t telling you
the truth.

There are no silver bullets short-term when it comes to gas prices.
And anybody who says otherwise isn`t telling the truth.

None of the steps I`ve talked about today is going to be a silver
bullet. It`s not going to bring down gas prices tomorrow. Remember, if
anyone says they`ve got a plan for that --

AUDIENCE: Lie!

OBAMA: What? I`m just saying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: President Obama didn`t name names but we know who he`s
talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The decision the president is making on energy and he`s been
making since the beginning of his administration has made it very clear
that America is not interested in developing our own energy resources.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s no reason we can`t
get gasoline down between $2 and $2.50 a gallon.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They are anticipating $5 a
gallon for gasoline in Chicago, all because of the radical environmentalist
policies of this president.

The president of the United States has done everything possible to
shut down energy production.

GINGRICH: His policies has been outrageously anti-American energy.
The high price of gasoline is a direct result of Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Republicans are pretty thrilled about rising gas prices in
America. According to "The New York Times," Speaker John Boehner
instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas pump anger they find among
their constituents. He told them this debate is a debate we want to have.

Republican eagerness about high gas prices was an easy lay-up for the
president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Last week the lead story in one newspaper said, "Gasoline
prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops." That`s a
quote. That was the lead. "Licking their chops."

Only in politics do people root for bad news. Do they greet bad news
so enthusiastically? You pay more, they are licking their chops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Republican politicians aren`t the only ones licking their
chops. FOX News can hardly contain themselves over the rising gas prices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS: Here`s a guy who said, "No, I`m good for the
economy." No, he`s been nothing but bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When President Obama took office in 2009 of
January, gas prices were $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is now.

BOLLING: He can get gas price down to $2 a gallon easily.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: The Obama administration wants the price of
oil to go up as high as possible.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: What about that pesky Keystone XL pipeline,
wouldn`t that help?

DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS: By vetoing the Keystone pipeline, Obama owns
this price of gas. It`s going to be his problem.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: So long as gasoline is getting higher and more
expensive is all Republicans have to say is Keystone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, the Republican talking point that the Keystone pipeline
and more drilling would lower gas prices is flat out bogus.

The fact is American oil production has increased dramatically under
President Obama and his administration. Since President Obama took office,
the number of oil rigs, the number of oil rigs operating in the United
States of America has more than tripled. Domestic, total domestic oil
output is up 8 percent after declining under President Bush.

But, of course, FOX News isn`t about facts neither are Republican
presidential candidates. Here`s Newt Gingrich`s response to President
Obama`s speech today:

"Instead of offering a real plan to lower the cost of gasoline,
President Obama offered excuses and fantasies."

The guy promising $2 a gallon is accusing President Obama of offering
fantasies? President Obama made it clear -- it`s the Republicans who are
living in a fantasy land.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And you can bet that since it`s an election year, they are
already dusting off their three-point plan for $2 gas. And I`ll save you
the suspense. Step one is to drill and step two is to drill and then step
three is to keep drilling.

Well, the American people aren`t stupid. They know that`s not a plan,
especially since we`re already drilling. That`s a bumper sticker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Drilling. Three times more on our soil more than what we
did during the Bush administration. It`s a fact you won`t hear on FOX.

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

Tonight`s question: Are Republicans licking their chops at higher gas
prices? Text A for yes, and text B for no to 62239. And you can always go
to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results later in the
show.

I`m joined tonight by MSNBC host Martin Bashir, and also MSNBC
political analyst Richard Wolffe.

Richard, you first tonight, please.

We are in this political war of words right now as to who is at fault
when it comes to gas prices in this country. Is what President Obama what
he needs to do -- what does he need to do right now to avoid the blame game
as it being on the administration`s shoulders at this point? What would be
effective?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he needs to offer some
solutions up, right? You know, there`s not a lot you can do in the short-
term, but there are a whole range of things that will lead to a longer term
solution.

And by the way, this isn`t his blueprint necessarily because his
predecessor had exactly the same challenges. President Bush saw gas prices
go up from about $2, to more than doubling, well over $4. He went into
exploring all sorts of alternative energy, all things he ridiculed when Al
Gore suggested them, whether it was those photovoltaics, solar cells, or
switch grass, all those biofuels.

I toured those plants with President Bush. Nobody in their right mind
could possibly think that President Bush allowed gas prices to go up
because he was an ardent environmentalist or he was too tough on the oil
and gas industry.

So, the president now has to say, look, we`ve been here before.
There`s a way out of it.

And, by the way, anyone who thinks this is about politics doesn`t even
remember four years ago.

SCHULTZ: And, of course, Martin, the Republicans are blaming the
president with his position on the Keystone pipeline as if that`s going to
make a big difference. How ingenious is that? How disingenuous is it?

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: Well, interesting to hear you say that
Newt Gingrich accused the president of offering fantasies. Newt Gingrich
says he`s going to take oil prices down to $2 or $2.50. The only thing
that Newt Gingrich is very skilled at doing is taking his underpants down
in the form of the number of adultery that this man commits.

Let`s think about the Keystone pipeline for one moment. First of all,
there are environmental implications that need to be considered carefully.
Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum, Mr. Romney, would just have no interest
whatsoever in considering that.

Second, there are employment implications. If you listen to John
Boehner he says 50,000 jobs will be created. Cornell University did a
study. They said they think a total of between 2,500 and 3,000 jobs.

The fantasy that Newt Gingrich beautifully uses that term is actually
theirs. It`s not this president.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Allen West attacked the president on Facebook.
He says last night, it took $70 to fill the tank of my 2008 H3 Hummer.
What does it cost you and what does it cost the president to fill his gas
tank?

Richard, what`s wrong with this statement?

WOLFFE: The guy should get a smaller car, right? Something more
efficient, something more up to date. There are a number of options out
there.

But his bigger problem is his party`s problem, right? This is a party
that says we understand the private sector. We understand business. This
president is clueless.

We could be producing any amount of gasoline and crude oil in this
country and it would not affect the price of crude oil around the world.
It is so much of a bigger market.

Saudi Arabia has more direct impact on the price of oil and even it
struggles to influence because demand is so high.

So, there is a world market for oil that is irrelevant when it comes
to American policy. We can mitigate some things. We can plan for longer
term but we could drill all down to Australia and Allen West would still
have a problem filling up his Hummer.

SCHULTZ: President Obama challenged Republicans today to defend their
support of oil subsidies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil
industry every year -- $4 billion. They don`t need a subsidy. They`re
making near record profits.

How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies?
It`s outrageous. It`s inexcusable.

Every politician who`s been fighting to keep those subsidies in place
should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of
their money, especially at a time like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Martin, that`s not a bullet point. That`s a fact. I think
that`s the best political play the president can make right now, and the
Democrats keep hammering that home because they have tried to cut the
Republicans and the oil companies off at the pass when it comes to oil
subsidies.

BASHIR: And guess what? The president hasn`t been able to persuade
Congress to do anything about it. The loophole exists. The benefits for
the oil industry and the subsidies continue.

Last night was the latest addition, the 20th debate, the 20th edition
in what I`m calling "four men and a funeral" because every time these
candidates appear, they literally bury themselves by what they say and what
they don`t say.

Did anybody yesterday talk about energy and clean energy and the
prospects for employment?

SCHULTZ: They hate clean energy.

BASHIR: So, no one mentions that.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

BASHIR: What we heard was Arlen Specter, euthanasia or infanticide,
and ludicrous ideas that aren`t connected to the reality. And I think this
is why 55 percent of Republicans, not independents, not Democrats, 55
percent would like someone else to enter the race because these four
candidates are as mediocre as they come for such an important role as
presidential nominee.

SCHULTZ: Martin Bashir, Richard Wolffe, great to have both of you
with us tonight. Thanks so much.

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

Republicans cut and run in the state of Virginia. The state senate
decides to kill its so-called personhood bill. Virginia State Delegate
Charniele Herring and the president for the National Organization for
Women, Terry O`Neill, will weigh in on this stunning reversal.

And there`s an assault on education in this country and it`s all about
the money. I`ll be joined by two people who are trying to stop it as
Chicago is the example again tonight.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up: Republicans in Virginia declared a war on women.
Today, they are in full retreat. There are major developments. That`s
coming up next.

A question on women`s health was booed by an angry Republican crowd
last night and the four candidates on stage just sat there and let it
happen. Caroline Heldman and Joan Walsh are here to respond tonight.

And Republicans in South Carolina -- they want to make it tougher for
people to vote because they claim almost 1,000 dead people voted in the
election in 2010. Today, those Republicans were totally embarrassed by an
investigation that proves them dead wrong. That story ahead.

Share your thoughts on Twitter using #EdShow.

We are right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: The Republican Party in Virginia, they are running away from
their radical agenda. Today, the Virginia Senate killed its so-called
personhood bill which would define life as starting at conception. This
stunning retreat came after a Senate committee voted along party lines to
approve the bill with protesters outside of the state capitol.

A Republican leader of the Senate now says the issues raised by the
bill merit further study. A Senate panel also passed a weaker version of
its ultrasound bill mandating a transabdominal ultrasound for women seeking
an abortion.

The bill was amended after Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who
originally supported mandating a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound told
Republican lawmakers to remove the requirements.

Today, McDonnell, he attempted to explain his flip-flop.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: It should be just an abdominal
ultrasound that is mandated. I think that`s the right posture. We should
not be mandating an evasive procedure as a precondition to giving an
informed consent for another medical procedure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, what a reversal that is.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, House Democrats listened to the testimony
of Sandra Fluke. Fluke was denied a seat at last week`s hearing on
contraception because the Republican-led House Oversight Committee, the GOP
instead heard testimony from five men.

House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa says Ms. Fluke was not appropriate
and qualified to speak on the subject of birth control.

Today, she was asked about that matter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: For the benefit of those who may
not understand, can you describe your qualifications for testifying about
the restrictions on insurance coverage for contraceptives?

SANDRA FLUKE, GEORGETOWN UNIV. LAW STUDENT: Sure. I`m an American
woman who uses contraception. Let`s start there. That makes me qualified
to talk to my elected officials about my health care needs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And I`m joined tonight by Virginia House Delegate Charniele
Herring, Democratic minority whip and chair of the state`s Reproductive
Rights Caucus; and Terry O`Neill, president of the National Organization
for Women.

I think both of you are starting to get to know me pretty well and
thank you for being on the program again tonight. When I start covering a
story and I think it is dreadfully important to the American people, I just
can`t let it go and I`m not going let this one go.

This is -- we`re going to talk about Ms. Fluke`s testimony in just a
moment. But, first news out of Virginia.

Representative Herring, are you satisfied with this outcome the way
it`s unfolding?

STATE DEL. CHARNIELE HERRING (D), VIRGINIA: Absolutely not. First of
all, the personhood bill was not killed. It was actually just referred to
committee and will be taken up next year. That`s the plan. So it still
exists.

With ultrasound bill, the governor is still saying that he wants to
mandate what happens in a doctor`s office. The reality is, in the early
stages of a pregnancy, an abdominal ultrasound absolutely does nothing.
It`s hard to detect anything that way.

So, again, not knowing science, the men in Virginia are deciding what
happens to a woman and what their relationship is between her and her
doctor in diagnostic. He`s way out of step and reaching way into the
doctor`s office and it`s unacceptable.

SCHULTZ: Terry, why did the GOP suddenly get a change of heart on
this personhood bill?

TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, N.O.W.: Because it`s the women of the state
of Virginia that are absolutely energized over this issue. You know, it`s
one thing to say -- well, we`re opposed to abortion. It is another thing
to say we`re going to humiliate and shame women -- and that is exactly what
this bill does.

And Governor McDonnell admits it`s wrong for politicians to and
mandate a procedure that`s not medically indicated. He says it`s wrong to
mandate an invasive procedure. It`s wrong to mandate any procedure that is
not medically indicated.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

Charniele, do you believe the governor when he says that or is he
saving political face here?

HERRING: I think he`s saving political face and I think that the
Republicans of Virginia basically tried to kill the bill. They didn`t kill
it as I said. They could have.

But they delayed it just because we know that McDonnell has ambitions
and it was just to take off some heat -- and they are still not listening
to the women of Virginia and men of Virginia. Again, majority of
Virginians don`t want government mandating what happens between them and
their doctor.

SCHULTZ: And, Charniele, what do you think the next step is for the
ultrasound bill?

HERRING: The ultrasound bill was delayed for one day. It`s up again
for consideration in the Senate. My concern is, is that this bill, which
is poorly written, will pass.

SCHULTZ: And do you think the governor will sign it?

HERRING: He obviously has to cater to the extreme right of his party
and he`s walking a fine line. So, it is quite possible that he will sign
this mandate on women.

SCHULTZ: Terry, what kind of pressure can be brought upon these
politicians? This is a new challenge at a higher level for women who are
dealing with these issues. I mean, how fast and furious can you organize
to make sure that this is going to be consistent pushback?

O`NEILL: You know, we are in fact organizing around the country, a
really nationwide voter education and mobilization project for the 2012
elections. Politicians who presume to try to take women`s health care
away, they are not only attacking abortion, you know, they are attacking
birth control. For heaven sake, Susan G. Komen foundation attacked women`s
access to breast cancer care.

Politicians who do that will face the voters at the polls and will
lose, and the National Organization for Women, we`re mobilizing to make
sure that politicians lose in 2012. We`re going to go beyond that and make
sure year after year after year. We need more women in the Virginia
legislature like Delegate Herring. We need more women in the United
Congress like Charniele Herring and we intend to make that happen.

And that I think is -- there is literally a sleeping giant that`s been
awakened. And I think you`re going to see the effects of that over the
next few months.

SCHULTZ: Well, today, Sandra Fluke spoke to the hardships many women
faced when birth control is not covered by insurance. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLUKE: Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can
cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who like
me are on public interest scholarships, that`s practically an entire
summer`s salary. One woman told us doctors believe she has endometriosis.
But that that can`t be proven without surgery, so the insurance has not
been willing to cover her medication, the contraception she needs to treat
her endometriosis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I have to ask both of you.

How damaging is this going to be? This kind of testimony to the
Republicans?

Charniele, what do you think?

HERRING: I think it`s very damaging. And she hits the nail on the
head. You know, there`s a perception that birth control is just used to
prevent pregnancy. But endometriosis and other ailments, birth control is
used to treat. So, she`s hit the nail on the head and I think it can be
very damaging to Republicans.

SCHULTZ: Terry, she`s probably the best spokesperson I have seen so
far telling a real life story and put it in practical terms about, OK, this
is what it means to my body. This is what it means to my friends. And
this is what it means to the expenses, which I think is obviously so
relatable.

I mean, isn`t she going to be very vital in your education process
you`re talking about?

O`NEILL: Absolutely. And, you know, Ed, there are hundreds if not
thousands if not tens of thousands of stories just like that.

I received an e-mail about a Georgetown University, which was doing a
drug trial. The woman who entered into the drug trial was told she needed
to go on the pill for purposes of the drug trial. She went downstairs to
have the prescription filled and was verbally abused by the pharmacist
there saying we`re a Catholic institution. We will not fill that birth
control prescription. So, she had the prescription filled elsewhere.

What really got me about that story was the level of hypocrisy --
refusing to cover birth control for women who need it for their health, but
more than happy to provide a prescription so that Georgetown could maintain
its own reputation as an important research institution.

SCHULTZ: Charniele Herring and Terry O`Neill, great to have you with
us tonight. Thank you so much.

The subject of birth control, well, it gets booed at last night`s
Republican debate. Were they just protecting the candidates? Joan Walsh
and Caroline Heldman, professor from Occidental, will check in next with
us.

FOX Business Channel thinks Hollywood is brainwashing your kids. And
if anyone knows about brainwashing, well, it is FOX.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, CNN: Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which
candidate believes in birth control and if not, why? As you can see --

(BOOS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a very popular question you have.

KING: It`s a very popular question in the audience as we can see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Last night, birth control became the latest topic to get booed by an
audience at a Republican debate. The men seeking the GOP nomination used
the question about women`s health as an opportunity to lecture about
religious freedom and distort President Obama`s record. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: The legitimate question about the power of the government
to impose on religion activities which any religion opposes. That`s
legitimate. But I just want to point out, you did not once in 2008
campaign -- not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama
voted in favor of legalizing infanticide.

ROMNEY: You recall back in the debate that we had, George
Stephanopoulos talking all about birth control. We wonder why in the world
did contraception -- it`s like, why is he going there? We found out when
Barack Obama continued his attack on religion conscience. I don`t think
we`ve seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious
conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we`ve seen under
Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in professor Caroline Heldman, professor of
politics ant Occidental College, and Joan Walsh, editor at large,
Salon.com. I have to give the Republicans a lot of credit. They do a hell
of a job of distorting the facts and hoodwinking everybody that they didn`t
start this issue.

Joan Walsh, how did it play last night for the Republicans in the
debate?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: First of all, Ed, where do they find these
people ? Who are these people that boo birth control?

(CROSS TALK)

WALSH: I don`t know. They boo a soldier serving us -- gay soldier
protecting us in Iraq. They boo Juan Williams, a black journalist, who
needs to be put in his place. And now they are booing birth control.
They`re on record against birth control.

It`s ridiculous. But like you, I just sit here and I cannot believe
that they are acting as though they didn`t want to have anything to do with
the issue of birth control. Those mean old Democrats brought it up to
trick them, when they are the ones making outrageous comments right and
left about this -- about this freedom.

And I really want to single out Rick Santorum, because for the last
few days he has been even attacking "Salon" for an article that we wrote
about his views on contraception, saying I don`t want to take away your
birth control, ladies. I voted for Title 9, the Family Planning Act.

Last night, he had to go on the record saying, well, yes, I voted for
it, but I didn`t really want to and I really oppose it. So now he`s been
trapped and outed as another flip-flopper on the Republican side.

They are going up the creek without a paddle when it comes to women
voters.

SCHULTZ: It is hurting them. This chart from "Talking Points Memo"
shows Romney has a big problem when it comes to women voters. And I have
to ask you, professor, is the Republican party going to get any women to
vote for them in November at this rate?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE: Well, you know, I think the
hypocrisy of wanting small government, it sounds like the Republicans only
want government that`s small enough to fit in a woman`s private parts.
Yeah, this is going to hurt them with female voters most certainly.

And they need to keep in mind that eight million more women voted in
2008 than men, and they overwhelmingly -- the gap was for President Obama,
a seven percentage point gap. So they are losing female voters. We know
Mitt Romney`s unfavorable ratings are going up dramatically as a result of
his contraception opposition.

And in terms of President Obama, it hasn`t harmed him at all among
Catholic voters. So I think that they are really judging this wrong. They
might appeal to primary religious voters, but it is at the expense of
Republican and independent female voters in the general election.

SCHULTZ: Joan Walsh, how do the Republicans repair this? How do they
retreat back to a position that`s going to be not as radical and not as
intrusive? I mean, there`s real political damage here.

WALSH: There`s real political damage. And I guess you see some
retreat in Virginia, although I do think it`s important to say that their
ultrasound compromise is really not good for women. But it`s great that
it`s not going to be a trans-vaginal probe. Disgusting.

So you see little bits of retreat. But it`s going to be very hard for
them to retreat because they have really gone way, way out on a limb here,
Ed. And they have really staked this.

Mitt Romney, who used to be kind of a moderate on these issues -- his
wife donated to Planned Parenthood -- now he`s against Title 10 funding.
So they just keep outdoing themselves on the right. And when they try to
come back to the center, whoever it is, presumably Romney in the general
election, I don`t know. He just can`t scramble that fast in the summer.

SCHULTZ: Today Democrats heard testimony of Sandra Fluke. Here she
is describing a fellow student`s experience at Georgetown University. I
want your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDRA FLUKE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY STUDENT: This is the message that
not covering of contraception sends: a woman`s reproductive health care
isn`t a necessity, isn`t a priority.

One woman told us that she knew birth control wasn`t covered on the
insurance, so when she was raped, she didn`t go to the doctor, even to be
examined or tested for sexually transmitted infections, because she thought
insurance wasn`t going to cover something like that.

These are not feelings that male fellow students experience. And
they`re not burdens that male students must shoulder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Caroline, is that the message Republicans just don`t want
people to hear?

HELDMAN: Well, it should be politically a message they don`t want
women to hear. But it`s shocking to me how open they`re being. You call
it a war on women. When you look at what`s happened in recent years, we`ve
got a war against abortion, Planned Parenthood, contraception, a war
against the Girl Scouts, congressional (ph) presentation of a bill from
Republicans that allows hospitals to let women die if it requires an
abortion and a hospital doesn`t want to provide it.

At the state level, in South Dakota, presenting a law that would allow
it to be legal to kill abortion doctors. This is something that`s
happening at all levels. And it doesn`t look like they`re going to pull
back, which can only benefit the Democrats.

SCHULTZ: Caroline Heldman, Joan Walsh, thank you so much for being
with us tonight. Appreciate it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no proof that school closings is an
effective model of school improvement. There is proof that school closings
harm education.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The plan to shut down schools in Chicago is moving forward.
The people are fighting back. We`re going back to Illinois next.

And Republicans in South Carolina want to suppress the votes of
minorities and the poor. They claim it`s because dead people are voting in
their elections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we want to suppress anyone`s vote, we want to
suppress deceased individuals who have already passed away and continue to
vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Today they were proven dead wrong. Ben Jealous of the NAACP
is here with the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. You know what`s happening in
Chicago and across the country if it takes hold really threatens to make a
farce out of democracy in this country. I believe that. Strong words,
maybe. But I do believe that we are at a crossroads.

Despite protests in the Chicago Board of Education and the way they`ve
done things, they have approved a Draconian overhaul of so-called under
performing schools. Board members, got to point out they are not elected.
They are appointed by the mayor`s office.

The board voted to close five elementary schools, phase out one high
school and put ten schools into a so-called turn-around, where all the
teachers are fired and must reapply for their jobs. The plan will displace
up to 600 teachers; 6,500 students will be affected, mostly minorities from
low-income homes.

One sophomore who testified yesterday said the closing of her school
would force her to cross gang boundaries to get to another school. "They
don`t care about my education or my safety," she said. Rahm Emanuel is
behind this school board plan. The mayor of Chicago has also secured the
NATO and G-8 summits for Chicago in May.

The estimates of the cost of that is 40 to 65 million dollars.
Revenues are obviously generated from the economic impact, but it`s hard to
say if it comes away close to covering the cost. This is, my friends,
really happening all over the country. And it`s all about priorities,
screwed up priorities.

Closing schools in poor neighborhoods, this isn`t about an educational
result or to get a better result. It`s about the money. You know what the
teachers are? They are just the casualty in all of this. If we`re willing
to give up on kids and entire neighborhoods, what is the point of a
government that is supposed to serve the public?

Let`s turn to Jitu Brown, community organizer with the Kenwood Oakland
Community Organization and a school board member of Dyett High School, one
of the schools scheduled to be phased out, and Karen Lewis, back with us
again tonight, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. Great to have you
both of you with us.

Mr. Brown, can you please tell us tonight what is going to happen to
your school? How is this going to work?

JITU BROWN, KENWOOD OAKLAND COMM. ORGANIZER: Well, first, thank you
for having me on the show. I appreciate it, giving voice to our community.
If what the board voted on goes through -- and that`s a big if -- what
would happen is that Dyett High School would no longer accept freshman
students. And then the freshman that are there now would be the last
graduating class of Dyett. And when they graduate, Dyett High School would
cease to exist.

SCHULTZ: What`s going to happen to the community when that happens?
What happens to a community when the school is gone?

BROWN: Schools are one of the few stable institutions in working and
low-income African-American and Latino communities. So to give you a good
example, in the community I live in, the broad community is called
Bronsville (ph). Bronsville has 66,000 residents.

In 1999, one of our neighborhood high schools called King College Prep
was closed and turned -- it was called King High School. I`m sorry. It
was closed and turned into a college preparatory high school, and received
a 25 million dollar investment from Chicago Public Schools.

That now meant that students that lived right across the street from
King could not go to King. Now they students were shipped to Dyett, which
was a middle school. And then they were transformed into a high school in
order to receive the students that would no longer be welcome at King.

They were so under invested that when I joined the local school
council in 2003, they had their first graduating class and those students
never even had honors classes, let alone a functional library. There was
seven books in the library when I joined the local school council.

SCHULTZ: Karen, how do teachers fight this?

KAREN LEWIS, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: Teachers fight it by with
working with community members like Jitu and parents. I mean, we`ve been
trying to work something out for the last few years. And the problem is
we`ve never had the opportunity to come together as a community and as a
school community.

So at this point we are looking at joining with local school councils
from the other schools that were also shut down or given over to the AUSL
model. And we want to reach out to those local school councils. We`ve
actually been doing this for some time, since we knew they were on this hit
list.

SCHULTZ: Is this an attack on classism, racism? Why is it always the
underprivileged kids that get targeted in stuff like this? This is a model
for making money, is it not?

LEWIS: It is. It`s also a model for making sure that certain
children know their place in this society. I think we haven`t had honest
conversations about that.

SCHULTZ: Do you believe that, Mr. Brown?

LEWIS: And this is nothing new.

BROWN: I believe that 100 percent. I mean, not only -- you know,
there`s a perception, and it`s a horrible perception, that low-income
children don`t want to learn, that they don`t want to succeed. Well, we
can prove that there have been successful schools in our community, schools
where over 80 percent of the children were meeting and exceeding the state
standards.

SCHULTZ: Where they are resourced, they do well.

BROWN: Yes. And -- but not only do they do well, when they do well,
CPS or Chicago Public Schools would implement actions that destabilized
those schools. So there`s a school in our neighborhood called Beethoven
that was at almost 85 percent of the students meeting and exceeding state
standards. CPS closed a school called Farren (ph). They moved Farren
inside of Beethoven.

Three years later, they are at about 57 percent. And there`s no
accountability for that. So they destabilized that schools and several of
the schools in our neighborhood.

SCHULTZ: Karen Lewis, quickly, is the public with you? I get sick
and tired of this attitude about people, well, they come from low income,
they really don`t have good parents. These parents care, do they not?

LEWIS: They absolutely care. They have come together. And not only
in the past, you know, schools have come out for their particular school.
This time, we saw people come out from all schools from across this city,
because this old status quo way of doing things is wrong. It does not
work. And it`s dangerous.

SCHULTZ: We will do it again. Karen Lewis and Jitu Brown, thank you
for joining us tonight here on THE ED SHOW. It`s a store we can`t let go.
It`s happening around the country.

"The Lorax" is making Lou Dobbs just flat out freak out. Why are the
folks on Fox Business Channel going nuts over a cartoon? I`ll tell you
why. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are those?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are trees. They used to grow all around
here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, that`s a scene from the new animated movie "The
Lorax." "The Lorax" and its message of environmentalism gives Lou Dobbs
some serious high blood pressure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: So where have we all heard this
before? Occupy Wall Street forever trying to pit the makers against the
takers, and President Obama repeating that everyone should pay their fair
share in dozens of speeches since his State of the Union Address.

The president`s liberal friends in Hollywood targeting a younger
demographic, using animated movies to sell their agenda to children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Yeah. Conspiracy theorist. Leave it to Lou Dobbs to think
that a kids movie about caring about the environment is about Occupy Wall
Street. He also thinks "The Lorax" is a conspiracy by President Obama`s
Hollywood friends?

Hold on a minute. The movie is based on a Dr. Seuss book written 41
years ago. It`s been a best selling book for kids ever since. The only
agenda Hollywood has is making money. And making a "Lorax" movie is a
smart bet by our parent company, NBC Universal.

People on the Fox Business channel should love this type of business
decision. This isn`t the first strange crusade Fox Business waged against
children`s movies. Eric Bolling recently went on a tirade against "the
Muppet Movie."

What`s the deal with these guys over at fox? Maybe they`re just upset
that these kids movies are more realistic than the cartoon characters in
front of the cameras on Fox.

Republicans said dead people were voting in South Carolina. Did you
know that? Turns out the only dead thing is the bogus story from the
Republicans. Stay tuned. An investigation next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked you are Republicans licking
their chops at higher gas prices? Ninety nine percent of you said yes.
Come on. That should be 100 percent. One percent of you said no.

Coming up, South Carolina investigates hundreds of claims of voter
fraud and finds zero evidence of it. Ben Jealous joins me next. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, a bogus -- and I say bogus report
of voter fraud in South Carolina has been exposed. But Republicans are
still pushing, of course, the voter I.D. laws because they are so concerned
about voter fraud. The state was forced to investigate allegations of more
than 900 dead people casting votes in state elections in 2010.

The accusations were raised by Republican Governor Nikki Haley`s hand
picked -- I might add -- DMV director. South Carolina`s Republican
Attorney General Alan Wilson was cautious about the investigation at first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN WILSON, SOUTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL: If there`s some
discrepancy or some glitch or some mistake, we`re going to look at it. And
before I start throwing out the idea that there is fraud going on, I want
to know. I want facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But once the bright lights of Fox News came calling, Wilson
changed his tune.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILSON: We know for a fact that there are deceased people whose
identities are being used in elections in South Carolina. We found out
that there were over 900 people who died and then subsequently voted. That
number could be even higher than that, Bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We know for a fact, the number could be higher than 900.
Turns out that those facts are simply not true. Not true. The state`s
election commission reviewed more than 200 names and found no instances of
dead people voting.

Most cases were human error. In three cases, absentee ballots were
received from voters who later died. OK, the commission said continuing
the review would be costly for the state. But Attorney General Wilson`s
office released a statement saying we can`t simply rely on the review of
some 200 of 950 records. That is unsatisfactory.

Let`s turn to Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP. Ben, good
to have you with us tonight. Are you satisfied with this, I mean, stopping
at 200? Or should they do the whole 950? Who`s telling the truth there?

BEN JEALOUS, NAACP PRESIDENT: They should just keep on going. This
is like a bad Monty Python skit that just keeps on giving. We saw George
Bush do this. He spent five years, looked at the entire country, found 81
cases in the entire country in five years.

Then we saw the Republican Lawyers Association say that they were
going to look across 15 years at 50 states. They found 350 cases in 50
states across 15 years. Maybe two dozen cases a year in the entire
country.

So then we have this governor go and she looks in her state across an
entire year. They find zero cases. I mean, stop crying wolf and start
governing.

SCHULTZ: They are just constantly throw this voter fraud stuff up
there when the facts just aren`t there to support it, only so they can gin
up public support for suppression of the vote and voter I.D. laws.

JEALOUS: Fear. They are just trying to make people afraid, so they
get behind their push to suppress the vote. It needs to stop. They need
to stop crying wolf.

For those two dozens cases in the country in a given year, or those
zero in this state in a year, we have prosecutors who can handle that.
They should handle that. We do not need to push five million people in the
country out of the ballot box, which is what they are trying to do, tens of
thousands of people in this state by itself.

That`s not how we fix a problem. Look, you have 20 cases in the
country of voter fraud maybe in a given year. You`ve got 350 reports of
UFO sightings. If you are going to push five million people out of the
ballot box over 20 cases in the entire country or zero in your given state,
then what are you going to do about those 350 UFO sightings?

SCHULTZ: How are you going to combat this? There are other states
going after the voter I.D. laws.

JEALOUS: In all seriousness, we got to keep telling the truth. We
need to keep pointing out that every time that a governor does this or a
president does this, as George Bush did, you got to follow the story to the
very end. They start off with a bunch of bluster and hyperbole, and they
end up with nada.

And the reality is that the truth is on our side here. That`s why you
have seen these things begin to stall in Virginia, begin to stall in
Pennsylvania. You know, it`s just running thin on the public. And the
only thing that they have on their side is to keep crying wolf, keeping
scaring old people.

They need to stop it and tell the truth.

SCHULTZ: The facts are the facts at this point. Ben Jealous, thanks
so much for joining us tonight. We`ll follow this story.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.

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

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