updated 3/6/2012 1:08:22 PM ET 2012-03-06T18:08:22

Guests: Krystal Ball, Richard Wolffe, Terry O`Neill, Joan Walsh, Rep. Tim Ryan, Howard Fineman, John
Nichols

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

Rush Limbaugh`s fake apology was rejected by Sandra Fluke. And the
king of conservative talk is bleeding advertisers. Conservatives are
attacking me over this controversy? I`d say, bring it on. I`ll set the
record straight tonight.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Those two words were
inappropriate. They were uncalled for.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Rush Limbaugh has issued an apology and the
woman he victimized isn`t buying it.

SANDRA FLUKE, GEORGETOWN UNIV. LAW STUDENT: I don`t think that a
statement like this issued saying that his choice of words was not the best
changes anything.

SCHULTZ: NOW`s Terry O`Neill on Rush Limbaugh`s attempt at an
apology. Democratic strategist Krystal Ball on the latest on the boycott.

Plus, "Salon`s" Joan Walsh and Richard Wolffe on the sorry Republican
response to Limbaugh`s sorry remarks.

Ohio Governor John Kasich is refusing federal disaster relief for his
state and Democrats accused him of playing politics. Ohio Congressman Tim
Ryan is furious and he`ll weigh in.

And it`s Super Tuesday eve, Mitt Romney`s campaign just keeps getting
goofy.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Born on a mountaintop in
Tennessee, greenest state, the land of the free, raised in the woods so he
knew every tree.

SCHULTZ: We`ll have all the latest on the state of the race with "The
Nation`s" John Nichols, and political analyst Howard Fineman.

ROMNEY: And he killed himself a bear when he was only three. Davy,
Davy Crockett. Remember that? That`s --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Breaking news off the top: a second station has just decided to drop
the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Could it be the tip of the iceberg?

For the last three days of last week, Rush Limbaugh has had no remorse
about attacking a 30-year-old law student, Sandra Fluke. He called her
some of the worst names imaginable and assaulted her character. When Rush
started losing sponsors, he finally said he was sorry. But he didn`t
really apologize for what he had actually done.

Today, he said he attacked Sandra Fluke because he was using the
strategy of the left.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: This is the mistake I made. In fighting them on this issue
last week, I became like them. Against my own instincts, again my own
knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong, I descended to
their level when I used the two words to describe Sandra Fluke. That was
my error.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The words were slut and prostitute.

Rush is pretending these are the only two things he called Sandra
Fluke? As if it was just a slip of the tongue?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled
for. They distracted from the point that I was actually trying to make.

And I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words
to describe her. The apology to her over the weekend was sincere. It was
simply for using inappropriate words, in a way I never do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Folks, let`s remove all the political spin and look at the
facts. This was no slip of the tongue. It was not a one-time mistake.
This was a three-day attack for nine hours of broadcasting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Thirty years old, student at Georgetown law, who admits to
have so much sex that she can`t afford it anymore. I will buy all of the
women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees
as they want.

You know, people -- I offered to pay for aspirins? I -- I thought
I`ve been quite compassionate here. If we are going to pay for your
contraceptives and thus pay for to you have sex, we want something for it.
And I`ll tell you what it is. We want to you post the videos online so we
can all watch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Really? The right wing out there wants to compare my
comment last May to that? I`ll have a lot more to say about this at the
bottom of the hour.

There is a thing in radio broadcasting that we call show prep. Here`s
what happened: Rush Limbaugh went home on Wednesday, after day one.
Probably had dinner, couple drinks, cigars, whatever, he went to bed. And
then he woke up the next morning and he went right back at Sandra Fluke,
all over again, for day two.

And, of course, now for three days -- to the point where the president
thought that, you know what, I`m going to call this lady. She is under
attack.

He`s a repeat offender who deliberately mischaracterized Sandra
Fluke`s testimony. Fluke was speaking about the need for contraception to
deal with various medical issues, not just pregnancy prevention. But 23
times over the course of three days, Rush said Fluke wants contraception
because she has so much sex.

Rush is blaming others for his own decisions. He said an article by
CNS News provided him with misinformation and yes, that would be Brent
Bozell`s outfit. Of course, he repeated this misinformation for three
straight days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: I use satire. I absurdity to illustrate the absurd. The
story the Cybercast News Service, which characterized a portion of her
testimony as sounding like based on her own financial figures that she was
engaging in sexual activity so often she couldn`t afford it. I focused on
that because it was simple trying to persuade people, change people`s
minds, I`m huge on personal responsibility and accountability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, yes, he`s a guy who stands for personal responsibility
and accountability.

Rush is finding a lot of people to blame for his own words, don`t you
think? Let`s see blamed the left, he blamed a right wing column, and then
he blamed his advertisers for giving him the boot today.

So far, 12 companies have pulled their ads from Limbaugh`s show. Rush
says it`s their loss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: They have profited handsomely from you. These advertisers
who have split the scene have done very well due to their access to you. I
reject millions of dollars of advertising a year.

So what we`re going to do is replace those that leave, those that no
longer want access to you. Those advertisers who no longer want your
business -- fine. We`ll replace them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Rush may replace his advertisers but he may have to row
place his affiliates as well. Here we go.

KPUA in Hawaii became the first affiliate to drop the Rush Limbaugh
radio show. They said, "The most recent incident crossed a line of decency
and a standard we expect of programming on KPUA."

Another station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, have plans to drop the
Limbaugh program as well.

As for Sandra Fluke, she has handled herself with grace and dignity
throughout all of these attacks. She spoke about Limbaugh`s apology today
on "The View."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLUKE: I don`t think that a statement like this issued saying that
his choice of words was not the best changes anything -- and especially
when that statement is issued when he`s under significant pressure from his
sponsors who have begun to pull their support.

This was not something who made one accidental statement. This was
three days of significant portions of his three-hour show. He insulted me
and the women of Georgetown who have received no apology. He insulted us
over 53 times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Sandra Fluke is one gutsy woman, don`t you think? She`s not
going to be bullied by Rush Limbaugh.

And for the first time in his career, Limbaugh may be getting bullied
by social media, 12 advertisers and two stations said that we`re done.

You think it`s going to stop there? We`ll see.

Limbaugh arrogantly said that there will be just other advertisers
there to replace them, really, no worry about it, they`ll profit as well.

Really? At what rate? We`ll see.

I`ll have a lot more to say about this at the bottom of the hour and
something say about the right wingers comparing my issue with Laura
Ingraham last May coming up at the bottom of the hour.

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: would you listen to a radio station that continues to carry the
Rush Limbaugh show?

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 results later on in the program.

I`m joined tonight by Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization for Women and, Krystal Ball, Democratic strategist and MSNBC
contributor and also pushing a Web site boycottrush.org.

Terry, you first. Thank you for joining us tonight. Both of you.

Terry, should Rush Limbaugh be fired?

TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Oh,
absolutely he should be fired, Ed. You might want to add a third option on
your question, hell, no could be one of the answers.

Yes, he should be fired. He shouldn`t be on the air. These issues
about what kinds of services insurance companies should be required to
provide in employer-based health care plans is a serious issue and needs to
be debated in a serious way.

And when Rush Limbaugh decides to attack an individual woman in the
incredibly aggressive way that he attacked her, and really -- honestly
there were overtones of violence in this ongoing three-day attack on Sandra
Fluke. When he does that he makes it impossible to have a serious
conversation about these important issues. He should be off the air.

SCHULTZ: Krystal, what about the effort to remove Limbaugh? The Web
site that you`ve got going, boycottrush.org?

KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, we launched
boycottrush.org, which includes a petition to call on his sponsors, the
people who are spending their advertising dollars during his show and on
his Web site to support his hateful program -- just asking them to withdraw
their support. And we launched it on Friday.

We`re now coming up on 100,000 signatures. It`s been hugely
successful. And more importantly, as you have been reporting, we`ve seen
advertisers and now the affiliates starting to drop off.

So, this has had a real impact on him and forced him to give a sort of
weak half-hearted apology and also to then spend part of today trying to
walk things back a bit.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: But, Terry, isn`t it going to take more than a Web site,
isn`t it going to take the social media being organized at the local level
to go after these stations that carry Rush? I mean, if women this country
really want to change and move this kind of broadcasting off to the side --
what do you think?

O`NEILL: Yes, I think it is. And I think social media has already
played a huge role in getting the advertisers to back off. I think social
media will continue to play an enormous role in getting these stations to
begin to drop him.

You know, it also, however, would be very useful if the leaders of the
Republican Party would step up and condemn Rush in no uncertain terms.

But the problem is, and a number of senior Republican commentators
have made this point -- Rush Limbaugh is one of the most powerful power
brokers in the Republican Party.

SCHULTZ: Well, I have to say I think his ratings are overstated. And
I think you`re going to see a lot about that in the industry coming up. I
think there`s this facade surrounding Rush that he`s the big king and he`s
diminished dramatically.

If there is a time to get him off the air, this is the push. I mean,
if women in this country are serious about what they hear on the free
airwaves of America, there is no better time.

Now, Rush says that his comments were not so bad when you compare them
to others. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: You talk about the double standard. And one of the
greatest illustrations is that rappers can practically say anything they
want about women. And it`s called art. And they win awards for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Krystal, what`s your response to that?

BALL: Well, his whole approach is to make excuses rather than taking
responsibility for his own actions. I mean, in his apology, to say that
this was a poor choice of words and he has really only apologized for using
the word "slut" and "prostitute", which calls in to question, you know,
what alternate words would he have like to use, instead with harlot or lady
of the night have been better?

SCHULTZ: Yes.

BALL: But there`s a complete failure to take responsibility for the
hateful words that he`s been spewing not just over the past week, but
really over the past 20 years of his career.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

BALL: If this was an isolated incident, it would be one thing. But
clearly there is a pattern that needs to stop.

SCHULTZ: And he is not used to apologizing at all.

BALL: No.

SCHULTZ: In fact today on his radio show, I listen to some of it.
I`m on the air at the same time, but I listened to some of it. And he`s in
chartered territory right now.

He`s unstable how he should handle this because he doesn`t know.

BALL: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: Rush Limbaugh argued, Terry, that Sandra Fluke is a
contraception activist, and that this was an attempt by Democrats to change
the subject from religious liberty. Tonight, moments ago, Bill O`Reilly
made the same argument.

Is this new line of attack on Sandra Fluke going to work?

O`NEILL: No, it`s not. What they`re doing is engaging in the kinds
of tactics that bullies always engage in. You attack, attack, attack, and
then when you`re called to account, you back up and say, oh, gosh, I was
just joking. That`s one of the things he says.

Or, oh, gosh, look at her -- she wasn`t hurt because she is really
strong. She is an advocate. Therefore, she deserves to be attacked -- as
if she is the same kind or same level of public figure that Rush Limbaugh
is.

It`s absolutely false but it`s clearly the bullying tactic.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

O`NEILL: And you see at every level. You see it from junior high
school to high school to Rush Limbaugh, you see it all the way up and it`s
not going to work this time, I think. I think he`s going down.

SCHULTZ: Terry O`Neill, Krystal Ball, thank you for joining us
tonight. I`ll have a lot more to say at the bottom of the hour of this
broadcast.

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

Next, the Republican candidates proved once again they are not
prepared to lead. Even conservatives are asking how these guys can stand
up to Iran when they can`t stand to Rush Limbaugh. Richard Wolffe and Joan
Walsh weigh in on that.

Both Democratic and Republican governors requested federal disaster
relief after devastating tornadoes. But not Tea Party Republican governor
out of Ohio, John Kasich. Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan will join me. He`s
not real happy about it.

Stay with us. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: The Republican candidates` response to Rush Limbaugh and my
commentary on a difference between a real apology and Rush`s apology.

Later, Ohio was hit hard by tornadoes over the weekend. But Governor
John Kasich is refusing government aid. I`ll ask Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan
if the governor is playing politics.

And the Republican establishment is rallying around Mitt Romney just
in time for Super Tuesday. Howard Fineman and John Nichols will preview
tomorrow`s primaries.

Share your thoughts on Twitter using the #EdShow.

We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The Republicans running for president say Barack Obama has failed this
country as a leader. But when true leadership is needed -- instead of
rising to the occasion, the GOP is running away from the issue, literally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Governor Romney, do you have a comment on Rush Limbaugh`s
comments on contraception, sir?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Later, Mitt Romney came up with his lukewarm response to
Limbaugh`s remarks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ll just say this, which is
it`s not the language I would have used. I`m focusing on the issues that I
think are significant in the country today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Not the language he would have used.

Rick Santorum attempted to diminish Limbaugh`s enormous influence on
the Republican Party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s being absurd. But
that`s, you know, an entertainer can be absurd.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Entertainment, is what it is?

And after calling President Obama`s phone call to Sandra Fluke
opportunistic, Newt Gingrich used the controversy as an opportunity to
defend Limbaugh and attack President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Isn`t the commander-in-
chief. His apology didn`t do anything worldwide. It didn`t put any blame
on the United States. He did the right thing, I`m glad he did it. That
issue ought to be behind us.

I know everybody is desperate to protect Barack Obama. That`s silly.
The Republican Party has four people running for president. None of whom
are Rush Limbaugh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: One prominent conservative called out the Republican
nonsense. Here is commentator George Will.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: It`s depressing because what
it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh.
They want to bomb Iran but they`re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to Joan Walsh, editor-at-large for Salon.com,and
MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe.

Great to have both of you with us tonight.

Are Republicans afraid of Rush Limbaugh? What do you think, Joan?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Oh, I think they are absolutely afraid of him.
Ed, you know, I think Rush has been like crack for the Republican Party,
and they need more and more of it to get them high and he needs -- he
personally needs more and more outrage and more and more abuse and misogyny
to get himself excited. And they just keep tolerating it.

You know, when President Obama became president and he wished that he
would fail and he said he didn`t want to bend over backwards and forwards
and got into all sort of sexual weirdness about the president, you know,
people wouldn`t say anything about it then. And every time he says
something horrible, Republicans are asked to separate themselves and they
refuse, they need him to rile up their angry base and they have been living
with it and he`s really seriously hurting them now.

SCHULTZ: The only candidate who is calling out Limbaugh is Ron Paul.
Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think he`s very
apologetic. He`s doing it because some people were taking their
advertisements off his program. It was his bottom line that he was
concerned about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe, why can`t the Republicans unequivocally say
this was just horrific use of airwaves for nine hours? It`s not the words
I would have used. That is the words of Mitt Romney. What do you make of
that?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Because they are all
tripping over themselves in their weakened position to try to convince
their skeptical voters that they are conservatives. That what they think
Rush can bring them and it`s no coincidence that Ron Paul doesn`t need to
prove his conservative credentials, doesn`t -- isn`t so fearful about
Rush`s judgment.

And, by the way, isn`t it curious? Just to pick up on George Will`s
point, all these candidates with the notable exception of Ron Paul --
beating their chest about going to war against Iran, saying the president
is weak and yet they cannot stand up to this tin talk show guy. You know,
it`s actually pathetic and they have to understand that if you look at the
polls -- the question of leadership, look at how Mitt Romney has squandered
an advantage with women over the president, and now is almost 20 points
behind him among women.

He could have gone out there -- smart politics would have been do say
not only the words were wrong but the sentiment has no place in public
discourse or in our politics. That`s a missed opportunity, bad morality,
bad politics, too.

SCHULTZ: Here`s John McCain on Rush Limbaugh. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I`m sure he`s an entertainer, but his
remarks are totally unacceptable -- totally and completely unacceptable.
And there is no place for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So, John McCain, who`s been down this road before, running
for president, saw that obviously, you have to distance yourself from
comments like that. But none of the Republican candidates did.

Joan, what does this mean to women voters in this country?

WALSH: I don`t know. Rick Santorum should really be ashamed of
himself, because I`m sorry -- I guess I expected more. He has daughters
and talks about women. Even though he`s conservative, I always thought he
had a better heart than that.

And to just dismiss it as he`s an entertainer is so coarse. You know,
it`s just so degrading to women and to the Republican Party. And, you know,
as Richard said, the polls are devastating on this, Ed, and it`s not just
the presidential level.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

WALSH: In the last few months, suburban women have shifted from
wanting Republicans to take back Congress by about 10 points to now wanting
Democrats to run Congress by about 10 points. So it`s hurting them with
independents and it`s hurting with Republican women.

SCHULTZ: And with this Limbaugh situation, it`s amazing to me some
righties who are out there just falling over themselves trying to defend
Limbaugh. On Friday, Bill O`Reilly spent a good portion of his program
attacking Sandra Fluke and defending Limbaugh.

Here`s he had to say just moments ago on his program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: This was a brilliant maneuver by whatever
Democrat thought this up, because it was thought up, that woman, Ms. Fluke,
did not get in front of the committee by accident. Whoever got designed
that campaign is very smart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: He`s framing it as a liberal conspiracy. Richard, your
thoughts?

WOLFFE: You know, you don`t have to be that smart to outsmart Rush
Limbaugh. I mean, here is a guy who thought it was funny who have a white
comedian record a jingle called Barack, the magic Negro, and then he, by
the way, accused everyone else when they said it was racist of being racist
towards him. He has set the tone and the path and strategy, not just for
other talk show guys, not just for presidential candidates, but even for
the leaders in Congress.

When he told Speaker Boehner he should not go to the joint session of
Congress for the president`s job speech, at the end of his show, the
speaker`s office was saying they were busy.

This guy has run things at strategic --

SCHULTZ: Yes.

WOLFFE: -- and tactical level. If there`s a conspiracy, there`s
someone called Rush Limbaugh who`s been pulling strings.

SCHULTZ: Joan, what about Bill O`Reilly? I mean, he has taken it
down a new avenue by saying it is liberal conspiracy. What do you make of
it? How does that excuse Limbaugh?

WALSH: Right. We set a trap for him and he -- oh my God, he actually
departed from the normal respectful ways that he talks about women and
Democrats and he said something inappropriate. That`s exactly what
happened.

Bill O`Reilly has his own problems about women, Ed. It doesn`t
surprise me one bit.

SCHULTZ: Yes, no doubt.

No liberal anywhere, no Democrat told Rush Limbaugh what to say.

Joan Walsh, Richard Wolffe -- thanks for joining us tonight.

WALSH: Thanks, Ed.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Ed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: Building is down, trees down, power lines
down, debris everywhere. Yes, it looks like a war zone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Governor John Kasich is turning down disaster aid in Ohio.
Democrats say he`s playing politics. I`ll ask Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan
what he thinks.

In South Carolina, people who have had sex before they are married are
banned from running for office as a Republican. The political purity test
is not a joke. That report ahead.

And bad poll numbers have Rick Santorum backtracking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: It was characterized that the president said we should go
to four-year colleges. If it was an error, then I agree with the
president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And Mitt Romney back singing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: And he killed himself a bear when he was only three.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We`ll preview Super Tuesday with John Nichols of "The
Nation" and our own Howard Fineman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I`m not going to wait for
apologies from the left, ever. And you shouldn`t, either. They won`t
come. Don`t expect apologies. They`re never going to apologize to you or
to me or any of us.

That`s the difference between them and us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Really? Rush Limbaugh`s trying to defend himself by
claiming liberals never apologize? As usual, he`s flat out wrong. But
there are a lot of right wingers out there comparing Rush Limbaugh`s ugly
tirade for nine hours against Sandra Fluke to an inappropriate statement I
made for 12 seconds last year about Laura Ingraham.

Drawing a moral equivalence between me and Rush is not only inaccurate
but it diminishes the outrageous nature of Limbaugh`s prolonged attack on
Sandra Fluke. Limbaugh has completely offered -- completely failed to
offer an adequate apology.

A statement on a Saturday afternoon? A much lower profile being used.
He`s offered up a series of excuses. And his so-called apology only came
after a bunch of his advertisers cut and run.

Now the station list is going to get short. When I made an
inappropriate comment last year on my radio show, I took it to a much
higher platform. I went to management here at MSNBC and I said I`ve made a
mistake; I need to take myself off the air without pay.

And while Limbaugh apologized on a website, I apologized on MSNBC, a
much bigger platform, and where I made the -- and -- I -- I`m sitting at
home over the weekend and I`m looking at Twitter. And this is how low it
can get. People having fun in the social world, "you`ve got to drop Ed,
too, because of what he said about Laura Ingraham."

Really? This is how I handled my apology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: On my radio show yesterday, I used vile and inappropriate
language when talking about talk show host Laura Ingraham. I`m deeply
sorry. And I apologize. It was wrong, uncalled for, and I recognize the
severity of what I said.

I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness. It doesn`t
matter what the circumstances were. It doesn`t matter that it was on radio
and I was ad libbing. None of that matters. None of that matters.

What matters is what I said was terribly vile and not of the standards
that I or any other person should adhere to.

I stand before you tonight to take full responsibility for what I said
and how I said it. And I am deeply sorry. And the only way that I can
prove my sincerity in all of this is if I never use those words again.

Tonight you have my word that I won`t. Laura Ingraham, I`m sorry,
very sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: To this day, I haven`t. That went on for nine minutes. I
just played you on short clip of it. This weekend, Laura Ingraham Tweeted
she was still waiting for President Obama`s call because of a comment that
I made a year ago. Well, she got a call from me. She accepted my apology
on Fox News.

And we moved on. I did restitution. I was off the air for a week.
Now she is using it as an attack on President Obama. Once again, the right
wing is making a false comparison between myself and Rush Limbaugh.

Rush`s statement said he sincerely apologized to Sandra Fluke. A
sincere apology is unequivocal and accepts complete responsibility for the
offense. Mr. Limbaugh, we are still waiting for you to take personal
responsibility for your actions. But we all know you don`t have the
character to do it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. When a tornado or any other
disaster hits a state, a good governor gets help that is available right
away. All of it, as soon as possible. But not Tea Party Republican
Governor John Kasich of Ohio, who has so far refused federal disaster aid.
Kasich said "I believe we can handle this. We`ll have down there all the
assets of the state."

Kasich said he would not rule out asking for federal assistance later.
But Governor Kasich is missing the point. By not getting the ball rolling
now, he could be delaying or denying millions of dollars in federal aid to
local governments, small businesses and individuals, the residents of his
own state.

The Democratic party chairman of Claremont County said "I question his
judgment. It would appear at first blush he`s probably playing politics."

The Republican governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, declared 11
counties to be disaster areas. The Democratic governor of Kentucky also
welcomed federal workers into the state to make initial assessments of
damage.

But Kasich said no thanks. As one Ohio resident put it, "a normal
governor, with a minimal shred of competence or compassion, would
immediately declare a disaster area and coordinate with FEMA and other
federal agencies on the recovery. But here in Ohio, Kasich has responded
to this disaster with the type of leadership we have come to expect from
him."

Joining me now is Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan. Congressman, good to
have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time.

What is going on here? You`re somewhat -- and other federal
representatives after somewhat at the mercy of Kasich`s decision, are you
not?

REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: Well, the governor needs to ask for help.
And it`s not just me. It`s even conservative Republicans like Jean Schmidt
in southwest Ohio, who is probably one of the most conservative people in
the House of Representatives, saying governor, get on the stick here; we
have people that are hurting.

So yeah, we need -- we need to be asked by the sitting governor.

SCHULTZ: Well, this just in, we just received word late today that
Governor Kasich`s reconsidered his decision and has asked FEMA to respond.
What do you make of it?

RYAN: Well, I mean, the bottom line is leaders are paid to make those
decisions when the time is presented. And he completely dropped the ball.
How could you be in an area where citizens of your state have gotten
killed, where there has been hundreds of homes and businesses that were
damaged, and your first instinct isn`t to ask for all the help possible?

Last I checked, Ohio was in the United States of America. Ohioans pay
taxes to the federal government. And in times like these, Indiana is going
to get some help. Kentucky is going to get some help. But yet Ohio`s
going to sit there and say, well, we`re going to handle it.

Meanwhile, in Ohio, teachers, police, fire all getting laid off. And
yet we get an opportunity to get some federal help and he doesn`t take it.
But this is -- this is consistent with his behavior.

SCHULTZ: Well, it`s very strange behavior, because there`s one of two
things here. Number one, he didn`t know how bad it was. Or number two,
he`s putting his political ideology ahead of helping people who pay federal
taxes. I have never heard of a governor, where there is death and
destruction into the millions, say no, we`re not going to take the federal
help; we`re not going to do that. It`s outrageous.

RYAN: Yes, it`s mind-boggling. As that one constituent down there in
Claremont County said, it`s just mind boggling. You think of anybody,
whether they`re in a leadership position or not, your first instinct is how
do we get help to these people?

And to come out, and with the level of bravado -- we`re looking in
2012, Ed, for some mature leadership. We`re not seeing it in the
Republican primaries. We`re not seeing it with the governor here in Ohio.

You`re in an emergency situation. Take an assessment of the
landscape, look around, see what is going on, and then make a decision.

But to go down after this happened Friday night, and to go down on
Saturday, just several hours later, and say no, we don`t need anybody`s
help, there is a level of arrogance there we don`t see very often.

SCHULTZ: I was waiting for Governor Kasich to talk about offsets.
You know how the Republicans are famous about taking money. But we have to
have offsets here. So we have to go after the big three if we`re going to
help out people who have been hit by a tornado.

Before you go, I want to ask you about Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney
seems to be somewhat of a slight surge in Ohio. Number one, what is your
pulse in Ohio?

RYAN: I think Romney, at the end of the day, he takes it. It won`t
be a big advantage. They`ll probably end up splitting the delegates. But
the big winner is going to be Barack Obama. You know, they are running
around Ohio saying the same insane kind of comments that they were saying
in Michigan about the auto industry.

And someone asked Romney today about how he is going to help him go to
college. He said, don`t count on the government to help you. You know,
join the military.

Those kind of phrases in Ohio, where people are just trying to get a
hand up, not a hand out, aren`t really helpful, And so Barack Obama is
going to be the big winner in the Ohio primary tomorrow.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, good to have you with us
tonight.

RYAN: Always a pleasure, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet. When we come back, the Republican sex pledge in
Laurens County, South Carolina. This is a brand new way to vet candidates.
You won`t want to miss it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Some Republicans in South
Carolina have put together their ultimate litmus test, and it involves one
of their favorite subjects, sex. Republican party leaders in Laurens
County, South Carolina, have written a brand new pledge for all its
potential candidates to sign.

You must favor and live up to abstinence before marriage. You must be
faithful to your spouse. Your spouse cannot be a person of the same
gender. You can`t now, from the moment you sign this pledge, look at
pornography. Wow.

Look out Republicans, Laurens County GOP, they are watching you.

A South Carolina Democratic operative responded by saying, "it sounds
like a little porn might do these folks some good."

The pledge included 28 principles, not all of it about sex. Some of
it was very predictable, like you must uphold the right to have guns, all
kinds of guns.

But the sex pledge was the biggest eye opener, especially since
potential Republican candidates must submit to an interview. Candidates
must meet in person with the Candidate Qualification Committee of Laurens
County Republican Party.

Wouldn`t you love to be a fly on the wall in those interviews? Well,
it`s probably pretty fair to say that former Governor of South Carolina
Mark Sanford -- well, he would probably have a hard time getting a stamp of
approval in Laurens County.

It`s good thing Senator David Vitter of Louisiana is not from Laurens
County, South Carolina. It`s a darned good thing that Senator John Ensign
is from Nevada, the other side of the country, and is no longer a senator
at all.

The Romneys are trying hard to appeal to Joe Six Pack. Mitt`s quoting
Davy Crockett. Mrs. Romney says she doesn`t feel rich. Howard Fineman and
John Nichols tell us all about Super Tuesday coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight I asked you would you listen to a
radio station that continues to carry "The Rush Limbaugh Show?" Six
percent of you said yes; 94 percent of you said no.

Coming up, Howard Fineman and John Nichols preview Super Tuesday, and
if Mitt Romney has the momentum for a big win. Does he? Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Mitt and Ann Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello there Shephard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks for having us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel about the Michigan win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we feel great. Michigan was just another
case of voters taking a look at Mitt Romney and saying "eh, I guess."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: As "Saturday Night Live" pointed out this weekend, Mitt
Romney is winning because Republicans are settling. They don`t really like
him, but he`s better than Rick Santorum. Former Attorney General John
Ashcroft and House Minority Leader Eric Cantor and Oklahoma Senator Tom
Coburn all endorsed Romney over the weekend.

And Fox News is doing its part. This weekend, Chris Wallace hammered
Rick Santorum in a wide-ranging interview. He pressed Santorum for saying
President Barack Obama thinks everyone should go to college.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We looked back. The president never
said that. We looked back at your 2006 website, when you were running for
reelection back in 2006. Weren`t you then right where Barack Obama is now?

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, all I can tell you
is that I support people being able to go to and have the opportunity to go
wherever they want to go.

WALLACE: That is what the president said as well, sir.

SANTORUM: Well, again, maybe I was reading some things that -- I`ve
read some columns where at least it was characterized that the president
said we should go to four year colleges. If I was in error, at least --
I`ll certainly -- if you say you haven`t found that, I`ve certainly read
that.

If it was an error, then I agree with the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So much for the snob comment. The Republican establishment
has settled for Mitt Romney. But it`s not going to be an easy sell to
voters. The latest NBC News poll shows only 28 percent of people have a
positive view of Romney; 39 percent have a negative view.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama`s negative ratings
never got that bad in an NBC poll. But Romney is plugging away. He`s out
on the campaign trail still trying to figure out how to connect with them
regular folks out there in Tennessee.

Here he is in the Volunteer State this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This place always has a
special feeling in my heart, because when I grew up, I was thinking about
Davy Crockett, all right. Remember the song "born in a mountaintop in
Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free, raised in the woods so
he knew every tree, and he killed himself a bear when he was only three.
Davy, Davy Crockett."

Remember that? That`s --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Davy, Davy Crockett, yes, I know him well. You have to give
Romney credit. At least he knows the words to a Tennessee song about Davy
Crockett. Should have put the hat on, Mitt.

I`m joined tonight by Howard Fineman, NBC News political analyst and
editorial director of "The Huffington Post," and also John Nichols,
Washington correspondent of "The Nation" magazine, and author of the book
"Uprising."

Gentlemen, I couldn`t have two better people on the face of the Earth
talking about Super Tuesday coming up.

All right, Howard, is Davy Crockett -- I mean, is this song really
working for Romney? Can it connect him to the regular folk in Tennessee?

HOWARD FINEMAN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Ed, first, I have to say you
look remarkably comfortable in that -- in that coon skin cap there.

SCHULTZ: We used to put that on to go out get squirrels and such.
But whatever.

FINEMAN: Yeah. Well, look, Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney. And he`s
equally sort of plastic and impenetrable wherever he goes. But he`s
running a big machine that is like Wal-Mart compared to the mom and pop
operations he`s up against.

You saw Rick Santorum in a classic example of amateur hour there, back
pedaling and basically giving up on what had been a central strategy --
rhetorical strategy of his recent campaign, with the four year college
comment.

Similarly, he doesn`t have a staff to really go carefully looking at
delegates. He didn`t file all the delegate slates in Ohio. It`s sort of
he`s making it up as he goes along, whereas Mitt Romney, as mechanical as
he is, is consistent and strongly organized and on the attack everywhere.

And he`s basically forcing the Republican party to surrender to him.

SCHULTZ: I want to play Ann Romney`s response to a question about
whether she and her husband are out of touch with middle class Americans.
Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: We can be poor in spirit. And I
don`t look -- I don`t even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting
thing. I -- it can be here today and gone tomorrow. And how I measure --
how I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and
the people that I care about in my life. And that`s where my values are,
and those are my riches.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: John, how well does that play for the Romneys?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Well, when you have to say it`s an
interesting thing that you don`t consider yourself wealthy, you`ve probably
got a problem in connecting with ordinary folks, because obviously she is
wealthy. And every time the Romneys try to reach out to ordinary folks, to
sort of play it real, if you will, it always comes apart.

Can you imagine going to Tennessee and saying, yes, I really know this
state. I feel for it. I used to watch a TV show about it. This guy does
not connect.

SCHULTZ: In Ohio, Howard Fineman, is so big tomorrow night, is it
not? I mean, if Mitt Romney wins Ohio, he will have won Michigan, Florida,
Ohio and Arizona, and probably win Virginia as well. How could he not get
the nomination with those?

FINEMAN: I think it will help him enormously if he wins Ohio. I was
in Ohio yesterday, in Steubenville, an industrial town along the Ohio
River, where, by the way, Rick Santorum is going to watch the Tuesday --
Super Tuesday results tomorrow night.

And in Steubenville, I talked to a lot of conservative Catholics
before mass at the big conservative church -- conservative Catholic church
there. They are all for Santorum, but they said look, we`ll accept Romney.
We -- if it`s him or Barack Obama, we`ll accept Romney. And we know that
Rick Santorum has his flaws. We like how strong he is on our issues.

I think they will turn out for Santorum, but I didn`t detect the sort
of fiery passion that is going to necessarily be enough in enough places to
carry Rick Santorum in Ohio against the withering barrage he`s under from
Mitt Romney.

SCHULTZ: John, I don`t hear the rejection type comments about Mitt
Romney that I used to hear after Michigan. As Howard says, there seems to
be somewhat of a level of acceptance. Can he win a southern state?

NICHOLS: Romney will win southern states. It is just going to take
him until November to do it. The problem that Romney`s got is that people
still -- Republicans still want to get their real desires out before they
have to settle for him. And so in Georgia, they will vote for Newt
Gingrich. And they may vote for Newt Gingrich next week in Alabama and
Mississippi.

But at the end of the day, you`re right. There is this sort of great
settling going on. And I think it has much more to do with the fact that
the wheels have come off Santorum`s campaign. It really looks like amateur
hour at this point.

And Newt Gingrich just is not transferable beyond the south. So
Romney`s on a very good roll right now. But it`s more of a roll because
the other guys have sort of collapsed and fallen off to the side, than
because he`s really accomplishing anything.

SCHULTZ: And quickly, Howard, is it a given that Newt stays in it by
winning Georgia?

FINEMAN: Oh, I think he will stay certainly at least through those
other southern states. I agree with John. Rick Santorum had his big
chance. He blew it in the debate earlier, two weeks ago. He didn`t win
Michigan. He`s had no theme, no comebacks, no endorsements, no nothing in
Ohio.

He`s doing it all on his own and is going to go out in a blaze of
glory.

SCHULTZ: Howard Fineman, John Nichols, always a pleasure. Great to
have you with us.

That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. You can listen to me on Sirius
channel -- XM 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 PM. Follow me on
Twitter @EdShow and like THE ED SHOW.

We do play "the Davy Crockett Show" every now and then, that song, you
know.

Rachel Maddow, her 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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