updated 2/28/2012 1:09:16 PM ET 2012-02-28T18:09:16

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Joy-Ann Reid, Joan Walsh, Terry O`Neill, Howard Fineman, John Nichols, Judith
Browne-Dianis, Donna Moore

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

Breaking news at this hour: a Shuttle America flight made an
emergency landing at Newark Liberty Airport. The passenger plane with 69
passengers and four crew reported a landing gear malfunction shortly before
7:00 Eastern Time.

No further details about the problem were made available. Officials
no one on board was injured. According to our affiliate, WNBC, Liberty
International has now reopened.

And in 24 hours, Republican primary voters in Michigan and Arizona
face a real tough choice: vote for the candidate who calls President Obama
a snob or a guy who proves he`s one every day?

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama once said
he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Rick Santorum is appealing to middle classers
with lies and distortions. Tonight, Rick Santorum faces up to the facts.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I speak about
higher education, I`m not just talking about a four-year degree.

SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe on Santorum`s unhinged attack on education
and Joan Walsh on his ridiculous knock on John F. Kennedy.

Mitt Romney`s days of blunder continue.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have great friends that
are NASCAR team owners.

SCHULTZ: It`s as tight as a tick in Michigan. Howard Fineman and
John Nichols have the latest.

A brand new state has declared war on women`s bodies and their law
goes farther than Virginia. "The Grio`s" Joy-Ann Reid and NOW President
Terry O`Neill are here.

And in Wisconsin, it`s the biggest victory for the recall Walker
movement to date. And the governor is not happy.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: It`s a huge distraction -- not
just for me, for the legislature. I mean, it`s $9 million of taxpayers`
money just to run this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Rick Santorum is trying to drive a wedge between wage earners and the
president of the United States. Santorum`s new attack on the president is
tailor-made for the people in the Rust Belt states like Michigan.

Here is Santorum`s pitch to a working class Tea Party crowd over the
weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: I know what manufacturing means to a community, I grew up
in one. I understand what it means to have folks who are at the bottom of
the economic ladder, folks who are struggling to pull the skills together
to be able to get value in the marketplace for their skills.

Not all folks are gifted in the same way. Some people have
incredible gifts with their hands. Some people have incredible gifts and
use and want to work out there making things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: You got to hand to it Santorum, Mitt Romney just can`t talk
like that and that`s why Santorum is making this a race in Michigan.

Santorum made a hard play for wage earners, a group Mitt Romney just
can`t seem to connect with.

Santorum followed it up by saying President Obama thinks he`s better
than them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to
go to college. What a snob.

(APPLAUSE)

SANTORUM: There are good decent men and women who go out and work
hard every day and put their skills to task that aren`t taught by some
liberal college professor and try to indoctrinate them.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: He knows how to play to the crowd. The message is clear:
President Obama has a condescending view of the working class and Rick
Santorum just knows all about their needs and cares so much more about
them.

Santorum is trying to make these folks think President Obama views
them as somewhat of a lesser people, a lesser worker in society?

We asked the Santorum campaign to let us know when President Obama
said that he wanted to send every American to college. They have not
responded and we`ll let you know if they do.

But President Obama did respond today. He was talking about
education investments at the National Governors Association.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The jobs in the future are increasingly going to those with
more than a high school degree. And I have to make a point here -- when I
speak about higher education, we`re not just talking about a four-year
degree. We`re talking about somebody going to a community college and
getting trained for that manufacturing job that now is requiring somebody
walking through the door handling a million dollar piece of equipment. And
they can`t go in there unless they have some basic training beyond what
with they received in high school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: President Obama`s opinion on college is not much different
than Rick Santorum`s. You see, back in 2006, Santorum Senate campaign Web
site said, "Santorum is equally committed to insuring every Pennsylvanian
has access to higher education." What a switch.

So, Rick Santorum has a double standard when it comes to higher
education. He`s for it unless President Obama is also for it.

Santorum`s double standard -- well, it doesn`t stop there. He says
President Obama wants to indoctrinate our youth by sending them to college.

Another person who has been accused of indoctrinating youth is a guy
named Ron Luce, president of Teen Mania Ministries. You see, in 2005, Rick
Santorum endorsed this guy named Luce, writing, "Ron Luce takes the first
important step: educating and equipping parents like me." He should know
he`s a home schooler.

Well, many past attendees of Ron Luce`s ministries have set up a Web
site describing -- yes, the physical and emotional abuses they experienced
while staying at a Ron Luce camp. Among the accusations are sleep
deprivation, food deprivation, verbal abuse, refusal of medical treatment,
rolling in vomit -- you got to like that one -- and crawling through the
mud. Got to toughen these kids up.

Here is how Ron Luce describes his ministry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON LUCE, TEEN MANIA MINISTRIES: You could say "Fear Factor" meets
Navy SEALs training. "Fear Factor" in that they don`t really know how it`s
all going to unfold or what the next exercise is and that kind of thing.
Meet Navy SEALs training, where it is really intense, you can wring out.
But you are required to give more than you think you can give.

It`s creating a surreal environment where you discover things in you
that you didn`t know were there like, wow, I`m a quitter I shouldn`t be, or
I can give more than I thought, with the hope of you are helping them
discover that they can reach deeper and trust in the Lord more than what
they thought.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, yes, Ron Luce gets a big thumb`s up from Rick Santorum.

But President Obama, he`s the bad guy who wants to indoctrinate your
kids.

Rick Santorum`s words need to be examined very closely as he moves
closer to the Republican nomination.

Santorum basically is telling working class Americans President Obama
thinks that he`s better than them and wants to brainwash their children.
This is 2012, can you believe this? This is the kind of talk dangerous,
has a lot of people scared.

I was in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend for a radio event at the
station there. And I asked a few people in the crowd what do you think of
the Santorum guy? The word that came out: dangerous.

Now, I want to address for just a moment this blue collar thing that
Santorum thinks he`s got going with people in Michigan and Ohio. Just
remember one thing, Rick Santorum not one time on the campaign trail has
come out and said "I`m pro-union and I`m going to stand with you, I`m going
to stand with people who collectively bargain." Not once that he`s ever
done that.

And just keep in mind, he`s a Republican. They are against unions.
They`re against your voice in the workplace. They`ve gone after your
health care, your pension, and they think you make too much and they
outsourced your jobs overseas.

So, just remember blue collar workers in Michigan, the Democrats
aren`t going to you`re your firearms. They go to church, too. And they
believe that the person living next to you can have a same sex marriage.
That`s as far as it goes, OK? Not going to be intrusive in your life
style.

The fact is that Santorum is playing the shell game.

Answer me this: if Santorum lost by 18 points to Senator Casey back
in 2006, where were all those Pittsburgh union people? They were working
to get Santorum out of the Senate because he was not union-friendly and he
was not the big wage earner supporter that he loves to pretend to be on the
campaign trail.

I give him credit -- he can talk the smoke. Oh, yes, he can talk the
smack and the smoke and everything else when he`s in front of the crowd.
He knows how to play to the crowd. But his record does not show that he`s
for wage earners. He`s playing a card right now that Romney can`t play.

Romney doesn`t know how to play, but Santorum does.

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

Tonight`s question, do Republicans prefer to have an uneducated
electorate? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. And you can always
go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results later on in
the show.

For more on this, let`s bring MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe.

Richard, always a pleasure. Good to have you with us tonight.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Ed.

Is Santorum going to be effective in winning over the middle class
voter, you know, those independents and also those Reagan Democrats? How
do you judge it?

WOLFFE: Well, I don`t think he is. I`ll explain why.

For a start, let`s leave aside the distortions of the president`s
record here for a second. When you think about the economic argument that
at times Rick Santorum has got his arms around, there isn`t a member of the
middle class who honestly thinks that their kids are going to find the good
paying jobs or this country is going to build the kind of economy to
compete with the rest of the world without getting an education beyond high
school. Nobody really believes that. In fact, education is so central to
the middle class that health care and housing and that defines what it is
to be aspirational in the middle class.

So, making the economic argument he`s saying about manufacturing, if
he thinks non-skilled lower educated jobs are the way forward for this
country, he doesn`t understand the global economy, he`s doing down the
Republican reputation, remember that pitch here is they understand the
private sector, they understand the global economy, this kind of comments
about how education, the president`s positions on community colleges, on
getting skilled jobs, isn`t working that is -- it just -- it doesn`t fit
with the world as it is today.

So, Rick Santorum may be speaking to a sliver of Christian
conservatives, he`s not making the big pitch on the economy, which is so
important in this place like Michigan.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. Santorum`s charges against President Obama are
pretty extreme. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Well, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He
wants to remake you in his image.

I want to create jobs on so people can remake their children into
their image, not his.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: What is he talking about? Remake them in his image?

WOLFFE: Well, this gets to theology, right? This is him using
biblical language again to try and suggest that there is an anti-religious
advocate who`s in the White House who is trying to revolutionize,
secularize America.

It`s nonsense. It`s not true, in any way, shape or form. The idea
that preparing people for skilled manufacturing jobs or non-manufacturing
jobs is a way to indoctrinate people is very curious from a guy who took
the position he took on Terri Schiavo or on Ron Luce.

This is not a libertarian form of conservativism. This is big
government conservativism where government reaches in and used to push that
social agenda forward. And, honestly, there is a huge gap between that and
the economic side of the party, between what Santorum has said about the
economy, but also with people like Ron Paul. He`s an outlier.

SCHULTZ: What about President Obama responding to these charges?
What did you make of it?

WOLFFE: I think it shows that even from the perch of the presidency,
this is a president and a campaign that is very highly attuned to the
misinformation that`s out there. You know, we`ve seen their first ad go
out there on Solyndra. And they are tracking how this stuff goes down.

Michigan is a battleground state. If he doesn`t go out and correct
this stuff, then no matter how many people he`s got in Chicago doing it,
it`s not the same impact. So, he`s got to be on top of it, very rapid
response right from the White House.

SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe, thank you for joining us tonight on THE ED
SHOW. Appreciate it so much.

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

Coming up: Rick Santorum says John F. Kennedy makes him want to throw
up. "Salon`s" Joan Walsh breaks down Santorum`s latest hysterical rant,
next.

Mitt Romney tries to win over NASCAR lovers, but they`re not buying
it. Howard Fineman and John Nichols will join me on Romney`s failure to
connect with regular folks.

Stay with us. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up: Rick Santorum isn`t just lying about President
Obama. Wait until you see how he distorts John F. Kennedy`s message on
religion. Joan Walsh of Salon.com joins me next.

Alabama has taken a page from Virginia`s radical law on women`s
health. Details on the state`s new bill and reaction from Terry O`Neill of
the National Organization of Women.

And my good buddy Rahm Emanuel, he is gutting public schools and
giving taxpayer dollars to charter schools. You won`t believe how the
charter schools are disciplining poor children.

Share thoughts on Twitter using #EdShow.

We`ll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Kennedy, for the first time, articulated a vision saying,
no faith is not allowed in the public square, I will keep it separate. Go
on and read the speech, I will have nothing to do with faith. I won`t
consult with people of faith.

It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960.

To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You
bet that makes you throw up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Rick Santorum says John F. Kennedy makes him want to throw
up. Of course, Santorum can`t run against reality. So, he`s lying about
Kennedy`s speech.

Here is what JFK actually said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I believe in an America that
is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish. I believe in an
America where religious intolerance will come to end, where all men and all
churches are treated as equals, where every man has the same right to
attend or not attend the church of his choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: At no time did Kennedy say his faith is not allowed in the
public square. He gave the speech for much the same reason Barack Obama
had to explain his connection to Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Kennedy had to reassure America that he wasn`t going to force
Catholicism on the country. He spoke about the separation of church and
states. He did not denounce faith. In fact, Kennedy defended the rights
of Catholics like Rick Santorum`s run for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNEDY: If this election is decided on the basis that 40 million
Americans lost their chance of being president on the day they were
baptized, then it the whole nation that will be the loser.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Santorum`s distortion of Kennedy`s words is very revealing.
By saying JFK`s speech on religion made him want to throw up, Santorum is
confirming he would allow his faith to determine policy in the White House
if he were to get. I guess you would call it a theocracy.

Let`s turn to Joan Walsh, editor at large at Salon.com.

Joan, your reaction to all of that sound you just heard?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Oh my God, Ed. Thanks for playing it all,
because those are really the best sound bites. There`s nothing that`s
inconsistent with that. But those clips really get at what the president
said.

First of all, can I just say it made me want to throw up, what grade
is the guy in? How juvenile is that? He wants to be president and made me
throw up. OK.

But second, as you point out, President Kennedy absolutely never said
he wanted to drive people of faith from the public square. He was trying
to make the public square safe for people of all faiths, and he`s very,
very clear about that. He was a practicing Catholic. He had close
relationships with priests, as well as with ministers, and rabbis. But it
was -- it was never about driving people of faith away.

The other thing I think people don`t understand is we all only had
one Catholic president, and it comes from a history of real anti-Catholic
prejudice and nativism in this country. And President Kennedy was speaking
about. He made it safe for Rick Santorum to be free to run for president,
as crazy as you and I might think that is.

And this is how Santorum repays him. It`s just so awful.

SCHULTZ: So, what would a Santorum presidency look like? Would this
be the closest thing you states would come to a theocracy or would it be
one?

WALSH: I think it would be very close.

You know, the thing about Santorum is he is slightly cagey, I don`t
know how smart he is.

SCHULTZ: Oh, he`s cagey, all right. I get it, yes.

WALSH: Right? So, you know, when he gets challenged on these
things, he says, well, I`m not saying I would want to impose my values on
others.

Of course he does. He crusades against contraception and tries to
say, well, I never said that I would really outlaw it and I voted for Title
X. And then a few days later, he says, I hate Title X and I want to outlaw
it. The guy is as much a flip-flopper in certain ways as Mitt Romney is.

So, we don`t know what he would do. But we have plenty of reason to
fear it.

SCHULTZ: All -- well, fear. That`s the perfect word. I mean, it
just seems to me that Rick Santorum is doing everything he possibly can to
get conservatives to not only support him but to fear the president. The
more they fear the president, the more he can demonize him, the better
chance he`s going to have in the long run politically.

But who does it really play to? Who is he really talking to?

WALSH: You know, I think -- the ironic thing, I think he is talking
to the old prejudiced nativist Protestant, evangelical crust, you know,
which is a very small group of people. Catholics have it great in this
country, I don`t know how to complain.

But there are those people out there, that`s what`s so ironic about
it. I -- you know, I always say and I think you say this, too, I can`t
root for Santorum to win the nomination because it`s possible that a
Republican could get elected. I love my country, I can`t wish it on my
country.

However this, made me feel like President Obama couldn`t lose against
this guy.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

WALSH: Can you imagine the ads in Catholic places, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, the swing states -- just saying President Kennedy makes me
want to throw up? I would love to see that campaign. I would love it.

SCHULTZ: You think that Santorum is deliberately lying about the
meaning of Kennedy`s speech?

WALSH: Yes.

SCHULTZ: Or do you think he believes it?

WALSH: No, I think he`s lying. I mean, OK. Come on, the guy has
three degrees, he`s a snob, he`s gone to a lot of college. He`s not
stupid. I don`t think he`s stupid.

It took -- he says you know, it`s a provocation, it reminded me of
Gary Hart saying, oh, you think I`m cheating, follow me around -- and
people did.

He tells you to read the speech. OK, I`m sitting there, I`m like --
OK, I don`t remember it being that way, let me read the speech. Let me
Google speech.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

WALSH: I find. And it doesn`t say anything of the kind.

So he`s got to know that. He just is saying whatever it takes to win
this election. And as you put it, whatever it takes to rile people up, and
scare them about President Obama. It`s that simple.

SCHULTZ: I would love to see him win Michigan. I would really love
to see him win the nomination, too, for the Republicans, because we would
have a clear contrast and a real debate which way to want to take this
country which I think would be pretty healthy for America.

Joan, great to have you with us always. Thank you so much.

WALSH: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: It`s not just Republicans in Virginia who want to call the
shots on women`s health care. New states have declared war on women`s
bodies. Joy-Ann Reid and Terry O`Neill weigh in next.

And later, Scott Walker folds. His campaign says it will not
challenge any recall signatures. We`ll tell you their bogus excuse.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s invasive. I think it`s almost an
assault. If it`s not medically necessary to do the ultrasound, no one
should be forced to undergo a medical procedure like that by government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Sound familiar? This time, it`s happening in the state of
Alabama. State Republican lawmakers who have introduced their own
mandatory ultrasound bill. Senate bill 12 would require -- require -- a
physician to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the
ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing
an abortion.

The legislation passed committee last week in Alabama, the
committee`s chair, State Senator Greg Reed thinks it`s a good bill.

He also happens to be an executive at preferred medical systems, a
company that sells ultrasound equipment. The bill would not exempt victims
of sexual assault.

Physicians could face up to 10 years in prison and $15,000 fine if
they don`t administer the medically unnecessary ultrasound first. The
physician could also require a woman to under go an invasive internal
ultrasound instead of external one. That part of the bill prompted the
most public outrage.

Late today, the bill`s sponsor, Republican State Senator Clay
Scofield says he will amend the legislation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE SEN. CLAY SCOFIELD (R), ALABAMA: The portion that I want to
clarify that I think that people say that this is infringing on the rights
of women is the vaginal transducer because of the language either/or.
However, I do need to make sure that we leave that up to the woman`s
choice, just clarify that language.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC contributor and managing
editor of "The Grio"; and Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization for Women.

Thanks to both of you for joining us tonight.

Joy-Ann, your response to this?

JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s unbelievable that he would
even -- that this state representative would even introduce the word
"choice" into what he`s doing, and say, oh, well, you know what, the state
has the right to literally invade you bodily, but we`ll give you a choice
how that`s done -- whether it`s, you know, from the belly or vaginally.
We`ll just give you that choice.

There is no choice here. This is coercion. This is essentially
state, and this is not just Alabama. Same thing is happening in
Pennsylvania, Texas has passed a law, extremely onerous and making it
difficult for women to make this decision on their own without essentially
being sort of coerced by saying, well, you have to watch this image, you
can look away and close your eyes, but you have to listen to the heart
beat, you have to do all these things to sort of shame and coerce women
into giving birth.

SCHULTZ: Terry, your thoughts on what is happening with the medical
community here. A doctor could face a jail sentence if he didn`t perform
the procedure, that`s a mandate. And what doctor is going to perform
abortions with those kinds of penalties which obviously is going to be more
restrictive when it comes to choice? Your thoughts?

O`NEILL: You know, the purpose of this bill is simply to stop women
from exercising their constitutional right to have an abortion. And Joy-
Ann, I could not agree more. To use the word choice in this context -- in
fact, there are a number of people who are beginning to call these bills
the Ritual Humiliation Laws.

That is the their actual purpose, is to ritually humiliate women, by
acting as if the woman doesn`t know the choice that she is making. All
women do. Many women feel enormous relief after an abortion. For many
women, it`s a wrenching decision. Every woman`s abortion is her own.

And Matisco Field (ph) needs to understand that he should have nothing
to do with it. It`s between her and her doctor and the people who love her
and the ones that she depends on the most for her own support. That would
not be the legislature of Alabama.

SCHULTZ: Politically, this just seems to be happening all over the
country. It`s -- legislatively, it`s picking up like a fire storm. The
Virginia Senate has been pushed back big time. They have delayed a vote on
the ultrasound bill once again.

Do you think Republicans know that this is a loser, Joy-Ann, but they
just want to do it anyway?

REID: You know, it`s hard to tell. There have been something like
1,100 of these kind of bills introduced around the country since the 2010
midterms. About 130 of them have become law. It`s in all states. It`s in
swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. It`s in red states like Texas
and Alabama.

I really think that what you`re seeing is that that wing of the
Republican party, the Evangelicals, have decided that they`re not going to
wait anymore. They were disappointed by George W. Bush. He never
fulfilled the promises of enacting this sort of religious based legislation
when he was president.

SCHULTZ: So they are ready for the generational fight.

REID: They want it now. And I think they feel like this is their
time to do it and they`re running out of time.

SCHULTZ: Of course, in the middle of the country, in Kansas, here is
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who used to be in the United States Senate,
offering a solution to women for working in religious institutions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: That is not denying women`s rights.
If a woman wants birth control, go work somewhere else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: What do you say to that, Terry?

O`NEILL: I think that Mr. Brownback needs to be working somewhere
else. Look, the women of Alabama are again mobilizing like the women in
Virginia did. It`s happening now. The Republican politicians who are
aggressively going after women`s birth control, who are aggressively going
after -- like the Susan G. Komen, going after breast cancer patient --
they`re going after women`s reproductive rights in this extremely,
extremely abusive and invasive way.

Those politicians are not going to hold their jobs much longer. It is
absolutely mobilizing the base of women who -- who support women`s rights.
And they are going to lose.

SCHULTZ: And if there is no push back, who knows if the language in
that bill would have ever been changed at all.

REID: Right. The thing that is incredible, I mean, for those of us
who grew up in an era where contraception was never illegal, where abortion
has been legal, this is a shock. To younger women, this is shocking to
find that we`re in this sort of 1950`s era debate.

Women are not accustomed to these kinds of assaults on their liberty.
So I think Republicans are committing a fatal political error with younger
women, who are not only the voters of 2012, but 2014 and `16 and beyond.

SCHULTZ: Joy-Ann Reid, Terry O`Neill, thank you for joining us
tonight. I appreciate it.

O`NEILL: Thank you, Ed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: If people think there is something wrong with being
successful in America, then they better vote for the other guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Can Mitt Romney keep his mouth closed long enough to hold on
to his slim lead in Michigan? I`ll ask Howard Fineman of the "Huffington
Post" and "The Nation`s" John Nichols next.

More bad news for the Wisconsin governor has Scott Walker whining.
Democrats are going up with a new ad. We`ll bring you the latest.

And the public school disaster in Chicago keeps getting uglier. One
school is forcing students to pay fines for breaking rules. Parents are
outraged. That report is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Mitt Romney just can`t be a
regular guy. So maybe he ought to just stop trying. He pulled another
classic at Nascar yesterday, when he tried to mix it up with the regular
folks.

He saw a group of Nascar fans wearing rain ponchos, so he said, "I
like those fancy rain coats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks."

When a reporter asked him if he was a Nascar fan, he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have
great friends that are Nascar team owners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: He knows the owners but not the guys who change the tires.
Romney recently claimed to remember the 50th anniversary of the American
automobile.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I think my dad had a job like being the grand master or
whatever of the 50th celebration of the automobile in Detroit. They
painted Woodward Avenue with gold paint. My memory is a little foggy here.
I was probably four, something like that. But had the cars go down the
Woodward Avenue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, the Golden Jubilee was in 1946. Mitt Romney was born
in 1947. So yeah, I guess the Mittster`s memory is a little bit foggy.
Romney screwed up big time on the automobile loan program and Rick Santorum
is trying to take advantage of it.

Santorum`s campaign has apparently put out this robo call in Michigan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street
billionaire buddies but opposed the auto bailouts. On Tuesday, join
Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts Mitt Romney
by voting for Rick Santorum for president.

This call is supported by hard working Democratic men and women and
paid for by Rick Santorum for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining me now are John Nichols, Washington correspondent of
"The Nation" magazine and author of "Uprising," and Howard Fineman, NBC
News and editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group.

Howard, great to have you with us, along with John tonight. You know,
I got to ask you, Howard, does Rick Santorum have some sort of an Operation
Chaos of his own going on in Michigan?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP: Well, Ed, I talked to a
prominent Democratic labor union official just a little while ago, before
coming on the show. And I said what about Santorum`s appeal to Democrats
in Michigan? And he said, well, you know, if Rick Santorum wanted to
appeal to Democrats in Michigan, it probably wasn`t a great idea to say he
wanted to throw up when he was reading a speech by John F. Kennedy.

That really wasn`t a great introduction to seeking Democratic votes in
Michigan.

SCHULTZ: Well, the rain coat comment -- Howard, the guy just can`t
connect with working folk. This is a problem.

FINEMAN: No he can`t. He said as much. I think he said the other
day on TV, when questioned about the two Cadillacs and so forth -- he said
look, I am what I am. This is what I am.

The problem is whenever he tries to be something else, which is every
day, he gets it wrong. And it just feeds into the ongoing narrative of a
guy who not only can`t connect to working people, but who somehow seems
fundamentally ungenuine, seems fundamentally phony.

And that is a theme that he is going to have to deal with if he`s
lucky or unlucky enough to actually get the Republican nomination.

SCHULTZ: Romney tried to defend himself this weekend on his gaffe
about his wife having two Cadillacs. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I can`t be perfect. I just am who I am. If people think
there is something wrong with being successful in America, then they better
vote for the other guy, because I`ve been extraordinarily successful. And
I want to use that success and that know how to help the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, that must be playing well down in Arizona. In Tucson,
Arizona where John Nichols is, it seems that Mitt Romney has a pretty good
lead. John, how do you figure?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": I think Mitt Romney has a lead in Arizona
because the conservatives here, social conservatives especially, who are
dominant, are split. The remarkable thing in Arizona is that while Romney
leads and Santorum is in second, Newt Gingrich is running way stronger than
in a lot of the rest of the country.

The recent polls have him in some cases over 20 percent. That 20
percent is coming right out of Rick Santorum. So the fact of the matter is
you are going to probably see a situation in Arizona where Mitt Romney wins
because of that divided opposition, but doesn`t get anywhere near a
majority.

SCHULTZ: As I said, the polls are tightening in Michigan and Romney
has a lead in Arizona. Michigan, Howard, I got to ask you, is this a must-
win for Mitt Romney tomorrow?

FINEMAN: Of course it is. It`s his home state, I know there are
jokes he lives in various other places, in California and Boston. By the
way, he explained that the two Cadillacs were one each, in California and
Boston. But of course he has to win it. And even though -- you know he
has to win it because his people are saying that he will win it.

And the fact that they made that prediction shows just how important
they think it is. If they were going to try to downplay it, downplay the
significance of it, you wouldn`t be hearing them say that.

SCHULTZ: What do you make of his good polling in Ohio? And also in
Wisconsin? John Nichols, your thoughts?

NICHOLS: Well, Romney`s good polling.

SCHULTZ: No, Santorum`s, I`m sorry.

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ: Santorum seems to be doing pretty well in Ohio. And a lot
of favorable comments that I heard over the weekend, that people on the
other side think he`s very dangerous. But he seems to be appealing to the
radical. And that is the wing that he`s grabbing right now.

NICHOLS: I think there is something else that`s very important.
Santorum at this point is appealing in both Wisconsin and Ohio for two
reasons. Number one, Mitt Romney has not been in with negative ads. So
people are just expressing their real views, which is they have no taste
for Mitt Romney. And Rick Santorum has emerged as the alternative.

But the other thing that ties them together -- and I think it`s why
Santorum remains genuinely viable in Michigan -- is that Wisconsin and Ohio
are manufacturing states. They are auto states by tradition. And these
are places where I think that the Mitt Romney opposition to the auto
bailout is almost as big an issue in an Ohio or Wisconsin as it is in
Michigan.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Howard, if Mitt Romney barely wins in Michigan, isn`t
that a big statement by Santorum in and of itself? Because he really
didn`t have the resources to do the kind of campaigning he wanted to do in
Michigan early on. And this wasn`t supposed to be this tough for Mitt
Romney in Michigan.

FINEMAN: That`s right. That is one reason why Mitt Romney has to win
it, if he`s going to try to impress the people who matter here, which are
the Republican establishment or what is left of it. I think, first of all,
if Romney wins Arizona, as he is expected to do, that is a winner take all
state, to win a big bunch of delegates there.

Michigan is proportional by congressional district, I believe. So
Santorum is going to get some delegates regardless. What it will do if
it`s very close, and looks like it will be, it is going to set Santorum up
for a really strong race in Ohio.

Now, again, as John said, the Romney campaign hasn`t done its carpet
bombing work yet in Ohio. So we`ll see how that works. But I think what
this all is going to mean is that we are really in for a very long,
complicated campaign here. Newt Gingrich is probably going to win in
Georgia.

I think we`re looking now at May, maybe even the end of May before we
have -- if we have a Republican nominee.

SCHULTZ: I just want to point out, that would really cut into fishing
season for me. I wish they would get a decision here.

SCHULTZ: Howard Fineman, John Nichols, always great to have you with
us. Thanks so much.

Scott Walker slashed education funding while giving tax breaks to
corporations, but he`s blaming the recall campaign for hurting Wisconsin
children? Really? The latest Walker nonsense, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: The effort to recall Governor Scott Walker is moving full
steam ahead. Today was the deadline for the Walker campaign to challenge
recall petition signatures. The Walker camp announced that they will not
be filing any challenges. The campaign complained that there wasn`t enough
time to review the petitions, even though the judge had given them an extra
20 days.

But timing isn`t the only thing Scott Walker is complaining about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: It`s a huge distraction, not just
for me, but for the legislature. I mean, it`s nine million dollars of
taxpayers` money just to run this. Think about the number of kids we
could help. Think of the number of seniors we could help in our state with
nine million dollars that we didn`t have to waste on this frivolous law --
frivolous recall election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Really? Walker`s arrogance is just amazing, isn`t it? He`s
referring to the democratic process as frivolous. It`s interesting Walker
is suddenly really concerned about seniors and children.

Last year, the governor cut almost 900 million dollars from education,
but he did give corporations 140 million dollar tax break. Think about the
number of kids and seniors that could be helped with that billion dollars.

Scott Walker`s policies are failing and he has the worst job records
in the country, but he`s still playing the victim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: After a year of being attacked by out of state special
interests, the tens of millions of dollars that were poured in, that fact
that we`re ahead of any of the Democrats in the race I think bodes well for
the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Scott Walker is whining about out of state money? The Koch
Brothers are bankrolling his recall campaign. They spent 700,000 dollars
on pro Walker ads recently. The Koch Brothers, I don`t think they are
Wisconsinites.

Meanwhile, the Democratic party in the state is are using in state
money to fund this campaign commercial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Walker`s aides were charged criminally
yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police arrested five men in the Watergate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Embezzled money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Misconduct in office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Felonies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: High level campaign political sabotage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigation is getting closer to Governor
Walker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did the president know and when did he first
know it?

SCHULTZ: What did Scott Walker know and when did he know it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I`m just asking the question. If the Walker campaign
continues to back down, a recall election could happen as early as May
29th.

Coming up, students are fined? Yes, fined for minor offenses in
Chicago charter schools. And it is affecting their ability to afford an
education. This should not be happening in a so-called public school
system. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Ed show survey tonight, I asked do Republicans prefer to
have an uneducated electorate? Ninety seven percent of you said yes; three
percent of you said no.

Coming up, is a Chicago charter school`s policy of fining students for
misbehavior going too far? I`ll speak with a parent of a Noble Charter
School student, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Big Finish tonight, the
Chicago School Board may have rammed through an unpopular, unfair overhaul.
But the discussion is far from over.

Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of the city, is a big fan of charter schools,
calling the results incredible. But the Noble Street Charter Schools are
coming under increased scrutiny because they are charging parents fees for
student misconduct. The fees are based on demerits and detention, for
minor offenses like chewing gum, not looking at the teacher when you are
supposed to, or not sitting up straight.

I`d have had real problems in school if those were the rules. Anyway,
the Noble Charter Network has collected 387,745 dollars in fees over the
past few years. "Chicago Tribune" editorial described it this way: "many
Noble students leave the school before their senior year, some forced to
choose between bus fare and there education, by a discipline code that
fines them for bringing chips to school or chewing gum." Believe it or
not.

I`m joined tonight by Judith Browne-Dianis, co-chair of Advancement
Project, a generation civil rights organization focused on issues of
democracy and race, and Donna Moore, whose son attends Noble Charter School
in Chicago.

Ms. Moore, I want to ask you first, what have you experienced with the
Noble Charter School? And is it the right way to go?

DONNA MOORE, PARENT OF CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENT: It is not the right
way to go for many of the students. What I`ve experienced is punishment,
robbing not just my pocketbook for paying fines, for minor things such as a
shoe untied or falling asleep in a detention.

I mean, it`s -- the things that are happening does not make common
sense in terms of discipline for high schoolers getting to college, on
their way to college. A shoe untied? Slouching? Those are the things
that are holding kids back from being able to even move forward and have a
future.

SCHULTZ: Judith, is this for profit or is this to make it a better
environment, what do you think?

JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Clearly they
are ling their pockets of this school. It`s a non-profit organization.
But to have over almost 400,000 dollars that they have collected in three
years from low income families for minor conduct -- and it`s not effective.
It`s not that it changes the behavior. But it is about padding the pockets
of this school.

SCHULTZ: How much of an impact has this had on your sibling, Donna?

MOORE: On my son, it has had a tremendous impact. Being told that
you are undisciplined because you have a button unbuttoned, or a shoe
untied, that has really totally undermined his self-esteem, his self-worth.
Because he`s constantly reminded that he`s bad because of these very minor
things that have nothing to do with education, that have nothing to do with
anything egregious.

SCHULTZ: Judith, what do you think of Mayor Rahm Emanuel`s response
to this? He says it`s incredible.

BROWNE-DIANIS: Yes. Basically Mayor Emanuel has said that this is
the school with the secret sauce. But, in fact they actually have a dirty
secret. That is secret is that they are double taxing parents. Not only
is that school getting money through taxes, but then they are charging
parents who can`t afford it.

Parents have to make choices about whether or not to pay for the bus
ride to school, or are they going to pay the fine. And guess what? If you
do not pay the fine, the policy allows them to keep your child back in
grade or not allow your child to graduate. This is what he is holding up
as sound education reform? He`s absolutely wrong.

SCHULTZ: Donna, how is your son`s attitude going through this?

MOORE: It is very disheartening. He has -- his whole dream of
becoming a drug enforcement agent has been totally undermined because of
suspensions and fines for nothing that has to do with anything egregious,
for slouching, not sitting up straight, for not tracking the teacher. So,
yes.

SCHULTZ: Quickly, Judith, it would seem to me that personalities can
become involved. I have to admit tonight that not every teacher loved Big
Eddie. You know, I mean, there are some things -- there are personalities
that come in to play here, which I think could be pretty dangerous. And
it`s a system where a kid could get picked on. What do you think about
that?

BROWNE-DIANIS: That is right. This is the problem with what is
happening here, is that it`s totally subjective. And so you might get
written up all the time. And that is really not fair to parents. And then
they are having to pay for it.

Instead, why don`t we nurture children and teach them right from
wrong, and use common sense discipline, instead of fining and punishing
parents that way.

SCHULTZ: Judith Browne-Dianis and Donna Moore, thank you for joining
us tonight. We`ll do more on this story. I don`t like what`s happening in
Chicago.

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

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