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The Ed Show for Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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Guests: Eugene Robinson, Ezra Klein, Martin O`Malley, Terry O`Neil, Lt. Tim Jones, John Nichols

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

The polls have just closed in the Republican primaries in Maryland and
Washington, D.C. In the District of Columbia, NBC News is projecting Mitt
Romney the winner. In the state of Maryland, NBC News is projecting Mitt
Romney is the winner there as well.

The polls in Wisconsin close in an hour. It could be Rick Santorum`s
curtain call. Lots of details about what`s happening behind the scene.

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


Republican budget is something different altogether. It`s really an
attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president lights up the Republican budget
like a pinball machine.

OBAMA: It`s bad idea and will end Medicare as we know it. It`s
thinly veiled social Darwinism.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, the politics of the president`s epic take down with
Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley and Eugene Robinson. Ezra Klein breaks
down the policy.

Can Rick Santorum survive a defeat in Wisconsin? In North Dakota,
third is actually first. Rick Santorum thought he won the state.

Steve Schmidt and Richard Wolffe on the strong arming of the
delegates, Romney style.

An arrest is made in the connection to the Wisconsin Planned
Parenthood bombing. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney thinks he knows how to fix the
Republican problem with women.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way we`re going to get
women voters is talking about how we will get this economy going again.

SCHULTZ: And devastating tornadoes slam through north Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s throwing lots of debris, 18-wheelers. This
is something I`ve never seen before.

SCHULTZ: Entire neighborhoods in Dallas-Ft. Worth are destroyed.
We`ll go there for the latest.


SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for
watching. We`ll have full election results for you as we get them.

President Obama was the big winner today. He laid out two starkly
different visions for America. In a speech to "The Associated Press", the
president said we can choose the vision defined by Republican Congressman
Paul Ryan`s budget or we can choose the path provided by President Obama
and the Democrats.


OBAMA: I believe this is a make or break moment for the middle class.
And I can`t remember a time when the choice between competing visions of
our future has been so unambiguously clear. Instead of moderating their
views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have
doubled down and proposed a budget so far to the right, it makes the
Contract with America look like the New Deal.


SCHULTZ: The Republican budget would require vast, and I mean, vast
spending cuts and no tax increases on the wealthy. Republicans will not
compromise on the radical plan. The president is calling the budget out
for what it really is.


OBAMA: If you want to keep these tax breaks and deductions in place
or give even more tax breaks to the wealthy as the Republicans in Congress
propose, then one of two things happen. Either it means higher deficits or
it means more sacrifice from the middle class. Seniors will have to pay
more for Medicare. College student will lose some of their financial aid.
Working families scraping by will have to do more, because the richest
Americans are doing less.

I repeat what I`ve said before. That is not class warfare. That is
not class envy. That is math.


SCHULTZ: President Obama is happy to make Paul Ryan the face of the
Republican Party right now. Ryan is the architect of this plan and he
refuses to budge on massive cuts to social services.

Today, Ryan reacted to the president`s speech on Twitter. We all
thought Barack Obama would be better than this. He had potential making
his leadership failures so disappointing.

Ryan also spent the day campaigning with Mitt Romney in Wisconsin.
This is another welcome site for the president who wasted no time linking
Romney to Ryan`s radical plan.

In a rare moment today, President Obama called out Romney by name.


OBAMA: One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that
he hoped a familiar version of this plan from last year would be introduced
as a bill on day one of his presidency. He said that he is very supportive
of this new budget and he even called it marvelous -- which is a word you
don`t here when it comes to describing a budget. It`s a word you don`t
often hear generally.



SCHULTZ: Romney didn`t take too kindly being mocked by the president.
He ran to the safety of the Sean Hannity`s radio show to hit back.


ROMNEY: This is a president who so misrepresents the policies and
proposals of our party and myself as well, and then fails to acknowledge
the mistakes and the errors in his own record. It`s just -- it`s
astonishing to listen to him.


SCHULTZ: Maybe today`s speech was astonishing to Mitt Romney because
the president proved the Republicans will not work on a bipartisan budget


OBAMA: Here is what this budget does. Back in the summer, I came to
an agreement with Republicans in Congress to cut roughly $1 trillion in
annual spending. This new House Republican budget however breaks our
bipartisan agreement and proposes massive new cuts in annual domestic
spending, exactly the area where we`ve already cut the most.


SCHULTZ: I don`t think there`s any doubt. This is a fight the
president and the Democrats -- they got to want to have in front of the
American people. President Obama did not shy away from criticizing the
Ryan budget last year and it paid off politically for the Democrats.


OBAMA: There`s nothing serious about plan that claims to reduce the
deficit by spending $1 trillion on tax cuts for millionaires and
billionaires. And I don`t think there`s something courageous about asking
for sacrifice from those who can least support it ands don`t have any cloud
on Capitol Hill. That`s not a vision of the America I know.


SCHULTZ: Few weeks after the president speech, the Democrats won a
highly competitive election in New York by running against the Ryan budget.
They spelled it out to the folks and got a positive result.

The president made it clear again today -- the election in November
will be a referendum on where we go as a nation. Democrats have a plan for
all Americans not just those at the very top. You have to go back to our
vulture chart.

I mean, you couldn`t take a budget and make it anymore perfect for
this chart right here. And we will go through the budget, line by line
every night on this program and show you that the blue liners, those 99
percenters, you`re going to have to take another haircut if the Republicans
take control and ramrod this budget through.

It`s for the vultures. It`s for the top 1 percent and these cuts are
going to hurt even more and it`s going to trickle down to the states. It`s
going to make it even harder for governors to run their budgets, which
means your local taxes are probably going to have to go up or you`re going
to have to sacrifice some more.

Remember, in the Ryan budget plan, the wealthiest Americans, they get
more money back from the government. They get a tax cut.

Just like I said in the "Lean Forward" promo that we did, they`re
making the case that the rich are paying too much and they are still
putting it out in front of the American people like that.

I`m joined tonight by Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley.

Governor, good to have you with us tonight. I want to go through if I
can, quickly, your response to Mitt Romney winning the state of Maryland
tonight and with this news about the way the budget is playing out, how
will folks in your state respond to this?

GOV. MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), MARYLAND: I think that Governor Romney,
Governor Etch a Sketch is always projected to be the guy that would win in

I think that this budget underscores, though, the problem with the
Republican Party that Mitt Romney has had to run so far to the right in
order to appeal to what is now the Republican Party. They are not the
party of Lincoln.

This budget that Congressman Ryan put out and that Mitt Romney has
called marvelous is really the sort of trickle down, cut America, undermine
America, all of those sort of decisions that got us into this position of
this recession that cost the greatest amount of job losses and also the
greatest deficits.

SCHULTZ: Would it be a great pick for the Democrats if Mitt Romney
wins the nomination and picks Paul Ryan based on this budget? I mean,
would it be easy to run against?

O`MALLEY: Well, it would be a sharp contrast, wouldn`t it?

Look, Ed, I think that every election and this is certainly our
experience here in Maryland, is that when people, when Americans are given
the choice of moving forward or going back, they always choose to move


O`MALLEY: And I thought the president`s remarks today were spot on.

SCHULTZ: Well --

O`MALLEY: The truth can defend herself but she needs to be stated.
The truth about this Ryan budget is it undermines the very job-generating
core of our country, the middle class that we need to grow and expand.
This is not a vision for a growing and expanding American opportunity.

SCHULTZ: The president definitely made that case today as you said.
He went after it in a big way.

Tonight, just a little while ago, on CNBC, Paul Ryan described the
president`s speech today. Here it is.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: What I think we`re getting from here
is sort of a desperate political attack. They are so beyond the pale, it
doesn`t make sense going thereupon it point by point.


SCHULTZ: Beyond the pale. That`s Dick Cheney talk.

And he says he won`t go point by point. That fact is if you go point
by point, the 99 percent get screwed in this budget, don`t they?

O`MALLEY: They do not want a point by point discussion of the budget.

Paul Ryan, who I don`t know very well. He`s the guy that does great
with the little sound bites and the square chin and the jaw out front. But
really, the people that take it on the chin are the American people in the
middle class under this budget.

SCHULTZ: How will this affect any governor? I mean, the trickle --
there`s going to be a trickle down here. It`s going to be harder on local
taxpayers to provide if they want any services and, of course, the
Republicans seem to be bent ongoing after the elderly in this country and
the poor. In our next segment on this broadcast, we`re going to show you
exactly who`s going to be paying the price.

But as a governor, from what you know, how tough would this be?

O`MALLEY: This would be very bad for every state. I mean, look, we
are now finally as a country, we put together 24 months of positive job
growth. This Ryan budget would pull the skids right from underneath that
job growth. Maybe that`s the purpose of it.

So, this would be very bad news for governors. It would be bad news
for the senior citizens who depend on Medicare and on families who are
working to join the middle class --


O`MALLEY: -- who depend on Medicaid. It would be bad mostly for our

You know, there is no progress without jobs. This Ryan budget, it`s a
job killer. It takes the skids right out from under an economy that is
only now starting to recover and grow.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley, thanks for
your time tonight. Appreciate it.

O`MALLEY: Now, let`s turn to Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst
and associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The
Washington Post."

You know, I just think Republicans would be doing the Democrats a big
favor if they took the guy with the radical budget and put him on the
ticket. What do you think, Eugene?

mean if they want to embrace the Ryan budget and if Mitt Romney wants to
embrace Paul Ryan himself, I think as the governor said, it sharpens the
contradictions. It lets the president draw a very clear bright line
between his vision of the future of the country and the Republican Party`s
vision of the future of the country.

I thought he made an impressive start on that today. But if they want
to adopt the Ryan budget as the flag they wave during the campaign, I think
Democrats would be happy.

SCHULTZ: What do you make of the president mentioning Romney today
and being so direct on exactly what this budget would do to America?

ROBINSON: I think it`s become clear that the president, and not just
in today`s speech but in recent public appearances and statements, is going
to be in your face during this campaign. And, obviously, the White House
believes Romney is going to be the nominee and Romney is out there taking
shots at the president, and I think the president has decided -- no, if
this is what you`re going to embrace then I`m going to explain what it
means, what it will do, and not let you skate on this.

SCHULTZ: And the president, today, made sure to define this
Republican budget as a right wing plan. Here it is.


OBAMA: In fact, that renowned liberal Newt Gingrich first called the
original version of the budget, radical, and said it would contribute to
right wing social engineering. This is coming from Newt Gingrich. Yet,
this isn`t a budget supported by some small romp group in the Republican
Party. This is now the party`s governing platform. This is what they are
running on.


SCHULTZ: And Paul Ryan called that a desperate speech and beyond the
pale. We`re in campaign mode, aren`t we?

ROBINSON: We are in campaign mode. And what the president did today
and I think it was right to do is, there is something fundamentally -- I
have to use the word dishonest about the Ryan budget in that it doesn`t
specify in any detail a lot of cuts that would be made. It jus says slash
this, slash that. Send Medicaid back to the states. Well, what does that

The president has laid out what that means. And provided a basis I
think for discussion that`s a more honest basis for discussion than what
Congressman Ryan provided so people can decide which vision they prefer.
That`s the way our system works. But let`s be clear on what the vision is.

SCHULTZ: Eugene Robinson, always, great to have you with us. Thanks
so much.

ROBINSON: Great to be here.

SCHULTZ: Coming up: President Obama details how the Ryan plan will
hurt the middle class. MSNBC policy analyst Ezra Klein will join me for
the break down on that.

And Mitt Romney unzips a new strategy to win female voters. Terry
O`Neill, president of the National Organization for Women weighs in on that
and much more.

Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up: the president explained how the Ryan plan hurts
the working class. You know those Americans who take a shower after work -
- the Americans the Republicans don`t have a plan for. "Washington Post`s"
Ezra Klein is here with all the details of what it means to you.

What do tonight`s results mean for the GOP candidate? Steve Schmidt
and Richard Wolffe weigh in.

And what the heck happened in North Dakota of all places?

We`ll update you on the massive tornadoes that ripped through the
Dallas-Ft. Worth area. The public information officer of Johnson County,
Texas will have a report from the ground.

Stay with us. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Today, President Obama talked about two different visions for America.
And he laid out the real effect of Romney-Ryan budget.


OBAMA: Nearly $10 million college students would see their financial
aid cut by an average of more than $1,000 each. If this budget becomes law
and the cuts were applied evenly starting in 2014, over 200,000 children
would lose their chance to get early an education and the Head Start

Two million mothers and young children would be cut from a program
that gives them access to healthy food. We wouldn`t have the capacity to
enforce the laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, or
the food that we eat.


SCHULTZ: That`s just a slice of it. The Ryan plan would be a double
whammy for states already hurting for money. When the federal government
is forced to cut back aid to states, it`s going to affect cops, fire
fighters, first responders, teachers all at the local level.

Under the Ryan plan, 37 percent, grab that number, folks, 37 percent
of the tax breaks benefit the wealthiest Americans, those making more than
$1 million a year. This sounds pretty familiar, doesn`t it?

Ryan wants to give another boost to the top 1 percent of those who
have seen their incomes skyrocket over the last three decades while wages
have been flat for the blue liners, the middle class.

Let`s turn to Ezra Klein, MSNBC policy analyst and columnist for "The
Washington Post."

Ezra, break this down for us. The wealthy get most of the tax breaks
but 62 percent of the budget cuts come from low income Americans. Is that

EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: You`ve broken it down fairly well.

Look, if you take a step back on the Ryan plan, here`s what it does,
put very simply. It spends trillions of dollars on tax cuts, on defense
spending and on deficit reduction and it pays for that by cutting programs
for the poor and then somewhat (ph) programs for seniors and sort of
everything else the government does which is a fairly small bit.

But the big transfer here is programs for the poor get cut in order to
fund the main priorities of the Ryan budget. And you can`t get away from
that without making very, very deep cuts into programs like Medicaid,
programs like food stamps. I thought it was really telling actually that
Ryan, when he released his, you know, his response from the president`s
speech today, he didn`t say, no, the president has my budget wrong. He
didn`t say, no, the facts on that speech were wrong.

He said, look, I`m disappointed in the president. I thought he was
better than this. He should have been nicer to me.

But he can`t really argue with the math there because the math is

SCHULTZ: Well, this budget, if it goes after the food stamp program,
will hit the farm economy because the food stamp program is in the farm
bill. And rural America is going to have to take a real haircut, and the
farming community across America, which agriculture is one of our biggest
industries, is really going to feel the effects.

Is Ryan`s budget plan, though, is it really a deficit reduction plan?

KLEIN: If he was able to follow the actual trajectory, then sure it
is. I mean, he doesn`t really explain how he would get there. That`s an
important thing to say.

When you hear Ryan give these numbers, here`s how he`s done it. He
went to the Congressional Budget Office and he said the way you will score
this plan is you follow the rules I set out for you, and the rules you will
follow is you will assume that my plan brings Medicare spending down to
this level, you will assume it brings taxes to here. You`ll assume it
brings, you know, other domestic spending to there.

He doesn`t say how he`ll get it there. For instance, in 2050, Ryan`s
plan expects that everything that the government does, except for Medicaid,
Medicare and Social Security, everything else -- defense, transportation,
education, infrastructure, food stamps, all of it -- will be less than 3.5
percent of GDP. Right now, it`s 12.5. There`s no way you could ever get

But if he somehow could, if he could cut the budget that dramatically?
Sure, it will work out fine.

SCHULTZ: The president called it a Trojan horse, the Ryan plan. I
assume he`s talking about Medicare because a lot of people are going to
take a whammy here. Are the numbers correct? We heard everything from
$5,000 to $7,000 in reduction of benefits for Medicare recipients, once
this plan, if it ever is put in place.

Is that right?

KLEIN: I think it`s important to say Ryan backed off somewhat on his
original plans, Medicare cuts, right? He used to have it at the growth of
inflation but now it`s GDP plus 0.5. That sounds technical, but it`s
actually much more reasonable growth rate.

It would cut the long term spending of Medicare. I don`t know about
$5,000 to $7,000. I haven`t seen the number. But that seems plausible.

But it should be said, the president`s April budget proposal, his
deficit reduction proposal, also has the same growth target for Medicare,
GDP plus 0.5 percent. He gets it by going at providers, by trying to get
at value base insurance design.

Ryan gets it by passing more costs onto consumers. But you can argue
which way is better. But the same ultimate target -- in Ryan`s plan the
cuts are not coming from programs for seniors. They are coming from
programs from the poor. Medicaid takes a much, much larger cut. In fact,
Medicaid and other health programs for the poor take a cut that is twice
the level of the cut to Medicare.

SCHULTZ: And no doubt, the wealthiest Americans get more money back,
correct? They have to pay in less.

KLEIN: The millionaires get a tax cut of about $265,000.

SCHULTZ: Ezra, thanks for joining us tonight.

KLEIN: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Up next, is it -- is it really all over for Rick Santorum
after tonight? We`ll ask Richard Wolffe and Steve Schmidt.

And a pair of violent tornadoes barrel through Dallas this afternoon.
We`ll have the latest update for you from the scene.

Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back.

NBC News has projected Mitt Romney will win the Maryland Republican
primary. NBC News has projected Mitt Romney will win in the District of

Polls have not yet closed in the state of Wisconsin, but Rick Santorum
has yet to prove he can do well in states with a manufacturing base. This
is a problem for him and Romney is outspending Rick Santorum by 50 to 1 in
the state of Wisconsin.

Mitt Romney is also beating Rick Santorum on process. Here is a
perfect example. In the state of North Dakota, Santorum -- well, he won
the caucus in March. But what does that mean? Ron Paul finished second.
What does that really mean?

Mitt Romney finished third in North Dakota, but when North Dakota held
its Republican convention this past weekend, the candidate walking away
with most of the delegates was Mitt Romney.

And then you`ve got the president of the United States picking them
both apart.


OBAMA: Ronald Reagan, who as I recall is not accused of being a tax
and spend socialist, understood repeatedly when the deficit started to get
out of control for him to make a deal, he would have to propose both
spending cuts and tax increases -- did it multiple times. He could not get
through a Republican primary today.


SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by Steve Schmidt, MSNBC contributor and
former senior advisor to John McCain`s presidential campaign, and Richard
Wolffe, an MSNBC political analyst.

Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.

Steve, I want to ask you first about what unfolded up on the prairie.
I mean, Mitt Romney finishes third. The Republican establishment goes to
work and Romney walks away with the delegates -- the majority of the
delegates. I understand the Santorum camp is pretty hot about this
process. But isn`t this ignoring the will of the people when they caucus?
What do you make of this?

SCHMIDT: Well, this isn`t a general election, Ed. It`s a caucus
process in the Republican party. The Romney campaign is ready for prime
time. They followed the rules. They got the delegates.

It`s just another example of Rick Santorum`s campaign not being ready
to play at this level. And that`s why his campaign is all but over as we
come to tonight, and Mitt Romney is on the edge of being the nominee.

SCHULTZ: Well, Romney did dispatch some of his attorneys to that
convention this weekend. They must have done some pretty good fast
talking. Is it, Richard Wolffe, starting to set in, Romney looks like he`s
going to be get it; we might as well go with him? Conventional wisdom,
what about that?

WOLFFE: Yes, it`s very powerful. Look, the idea of being the
insurgent is that you can steal momentum and build on it. We have seen a
number of these challengers try and get that momentum, fail to capitalize
on it, then hold out a Plan B, which was to stop Mitt Romney from getting
enough delegates to take the nomination at the convention.

That Plan B is also now collapsing. They`re not playing the state
conventions. They`re not winning the caucuses. Really there`s nowhere
left to go.

SCHULTZ: Well, if North Dakota is a model for the rest of the states
left, what`s going to stop Mitt Romney from being the man, Steve?

SCHMIDT: Nothing is going to stop Mitt Romney from being the man.
The race is effectively over. The only person who doesn`t seem to
understand that is Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Santorum is
increasingly like a guy at the blackjack table who doesn`t know when to
walk away and to cash in his chips.

He`s done a good job. But you saw today with the president, he`s
beginning to frame this race. He`s framing it in the middle of the
electorate. Republicans have made a decision not to focus the message on
the president`s economic record, but to frame a choice between the Ryan
Budget and President Obama.

Republicans are going to have to do a better job than they did today
at communicating around these issues. If you look at the damage done to
Mitt Romney in the Republican primary, you understand why the president is
trying to seize ground in the middle of the electorate, today. But you
also understand why people want Rick Santorum out of the race, so Mitt
Romney can start to merge his operation with the RNC, begin to off load a
number of overhead cash expenses, and get on into the general election.

Really a Santorum candidacy beyond this point, Ed, really doesn`t
serve much purpose, except to conflict damage on Mitt Romney in the context
of a general election. So I just think he doesn`t have a chance to be the
nominee any longer. So it will be interesting to see how long he stays in
and continues to attack the guy who is going to be the nominee.

SCHULTZ: Richard, what has happened to all this talk of a brokered
convention because they don`t like Romney. Our exit polling shows in
Maryland and also in the District of Columbia that white Evangelicals, Tea
Partiers and conservatives are starting to converge and recognize that it`s
going to be Mitt Romney, and then, of course, he wins in both of those
places tonight.

What about the brokered convention? What ever happened to all that
hot talk?

WOLFFE: Well, it does require the other candidates to get enough
delegates to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Mitt Romney to meet
the magic number. They have just failed to do that. There are going to be
surprises down the road.

I`m sure Rick Santorum will pick up a couple of states going down the
track. But it`s just not going to be enough to get him to a point where
the math works for him at the convention. By the time, as Steve points
out, the party is going to come together. The debate will be engaged with
the president, with the White House, with the Chicago campaign.

And that contrast between the two sides is going to lead to people
converging on Mitt Romney. But still, there will be those questions. I
think Santorum`s plan here, if he does have one, is to think, well, the
loser keeps getting the next shot in the next four years, so there`s a
reason to hang on, if only to sort of book a place for 2016.

SCHULTZ: What if, Steve Schmidt, Rick Santorum wins Wisconsin
tonight? What if that happens? Does that really change anything?

SCHMIDT: Well, it would be -- you know, it would be the past is
prolonged once again, where Mitt Romney stood right at the edge of the line
of being the defacto nominee of the party and getting knocked backwards,
though I don`t suspect that is going to happen tonight.

I think Mitt Romney is going to sweep it tonight. And if Mitt Romney
sweeps it tonight, I really don`t understand how Rick Santorum continues to
make the argument offering a going forward rationale. The brokered
convention has collapsed. The ability to deny Mitt Romney the number of
delegates that he needs to be nominated has been collapsed. And his
rationale that he could be the nominee, it seems to me, has collapsed as

SCHULTZ: Steve Schmidt, Richard Wolffe, great to have you with us.
Thanks for your time tonight.

An arrest is made in the Planned Parenthood bombing. We`ll go to
Wisconsin for the latest.


GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Women don`t care about
contraception. They care about jobs and the economy.


SCHULTZ: Women are running away from Republicans thanks to comments
like that one. Now Terry O`Neill on the Republican war on women.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s throwing lots of debris, 18 wheelers. This
is something I`ve never seen before.


SCHULTZ: And an epic storm rips through North Texas. The devastation
is widespread. We`ll have a report from Dallas-Ft. Worth.


SCHULTZ: And our election coverage continues here on MSNBC. You`re
looking live at a Rick Santorum event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where
the candidate is tonight, and is expected to speak to his supporters in
just a moment. Mitt Romney has won Maryland and also the District of
Columbia tonight. Wisconsin, those polls will close at the top of the

Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Mitt Romney knows he has a problem with
women voters. Polls don`t lie. Romney is trailing President Obama by 18
points with women voters in swing states. This morning, Romney, well, I
guess you could say he shook the Etch a Sketch and explained his new
strategy to tackle the gender gap.


ROMNEY: I believe that the way we`re going to get women voters in our
side of the column is by talking about how we are going to get this economy
going again. It`s not going to be by attacking the economy and attacking
business and attacking success, like this president is doing.


SCHULTZ: Romney is clearly looking for an avenue to win back women
voters. Romney`s surrogate, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, didn`t do
him any favors today on "The View."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of times people associate women`s rights
with liberals, right, and not Republican women. So how do you say yes, we
are here representing women?

HALEY: All of my policy is not based on a label. It`s based on what
I lived and what I know.

Women don`t care about contraception. They care about jobs and the
economy and raising their families and all of those thing.

JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": They care about contraception too.

HALEY: That`s not the only thing they care about. The media wants to
talk about contraception.

BEHAR: But when somebody like Rick Santorum says he is going to take
it away, we care.


HALEY: While we care about contraception, let`s be clear, all we`re
saying is we don`t government to mandate when we have to have it and when
we don`t. We want to be able to make that decision. WE don`t need
government making that decision for us.


SCHULTZ: Elizabeth Hasselbeck couldn`t save Haley from that flip-
flop. Polling shows that women do care about contraception. And
Republicans, the their war on women has only hurt them in the polls. Yet
the GOP continues to support radical, mandatory ultrasound measures and is
preparing to rally around a presidential candidate who vows to defund
Planned Parenthood.

Governor Haley should be more aware of which party is making women`s
reproductive health choices for them.

Let`s turn to Terry O` Neil, president for the National Organization
for Women. Terry, good to have you with us tonight. What is -- what is
more important? Maybe the governor from South Carolina is right. Do women
care more about the economy or do they care more about their personal
health care?

really intertwined. And what women really don`t want is Catholic bishops
telling them when they can and can`t take birth control. It`s not about
whether the government does.

And this whole notion that somehow contraceptive access is not about
women, it`s about a bunch of male hierarchical religious leaders is really

SCHULTZ: What would you have said to Governor Haley if you had been
sitting there? What would have been your counter to her?

O`NEIL: Well, I would have said women very much care about birth
control, because that is key to their -- to the economic health of their
families, as well as their own personal health. It`s fundamental to
women`s preventative health care to prevent pregnancies.

Think back to the days when women were have 12, 13 and 20 pregnancies.
In childbirth, they died younger and lived sicker than women do today. And
their families were poorer than families are today. So I`ve heard from so
many men thanking me and our allied organizations for standing up for birth
control, because what these men say is it`s not just about my wife or my
partner`s health care; it`s also about our family finances.

SCHULTZ: Would you go so far as to make the case that Republicans are
advocating for gender discrimination? I mean, they`re against the
Affordable Health Care Act. It`s going to fully enacted, if the Supreme
Court leaves it alone, by 2014. It`s going to prohibit health insurance
gender discrimination.

I mean, this is a great economic argument for Democrats. But it is
also very personal to people when you start talking about who can get what
kind of insurance and why should be -- why women should be discriminated

O`NEIL: You know, that`s the thing that I think a lot of people
perhaps have not grappled with, is that the claim of religious liberty that
the religious leaders, the Catholic bishops and so forth, are saying about
birth control -- yes they have a religious liberty in the Constitution.
But women have the right not to be discriminated against.

And when Constitutional rights are in conflict, the courts have to
balance them and weigh them. And by the way, women not only have a right
not to be discriminated against, but we also have a right of religious
freedom. And if our religion say it`s OK to use birth control, the
Catholic bishops have nothing to tell us.

SCHULTZ: And Senator Olympia Snowe voted for the Blunt Amendment.
Now she says the Republicans are engaged in a retro debate when it comes to
contraception. Are we going to see more Republicans with buyer`s remorse
on this war on women? We`re seeing that in the polls right now. We`re
seeing it in Ohio, in that Senate race, and also in the Senate race in
Florida. And of course, President Obama leading Mitt Romney in women.

But now you`ve got a Republican senator who is retiring saying, you
know what, there`s going to be buyer`s remorse. What do you think?

O`NEIL: I think there`s definitely going to be buyer`s remorse. Lisa
Murkowski, senator from Alaska, has already had to apologize to her women
constituents, who were furious with her for voting for the Blunt Amendment.
But I think it`s important to recognize what some people will be saying,
which is, oh, women don`t care about it. That`s the bully`s response.
That`s the oh, I was just joking.

SCHULTZ: She says that the economy is more important than women`s
health care. Women don`t care about contraception. If that`s going to be
the Republican line, take it all the way to November, please.

O`NEIL: Yeah. Ed, if -- women do care about jobs, in which case Mitt
Romney needs to completely disavow the Ryan Budget, which kills jobs for

SCHULTZ: Terry, always great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
Terry O`Neil here on THE ED SHOW.

A terrifying storm system left a trail of destruction through the
Dallas-Ft. Worth area this afternoon. It was a dandy. The public
information officer for Johnson County Sheriff`s Office will bring us the
very latest next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: At least two massive tornadoes ripped through the Dallas-Ft.
Worth area this afternoon. The twisters tore roofs off houses and tossed
tractor trailers into the air. The storm system was slow-moving, about 25
miles per hour, which means it had more time to cause damage. Golf ball
sized hail was reported near the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.

Hundreds of flights were canceled and airlines are reporting more than
110 aircraft were damaged. So far, more than a dozen injuries have been
reported, but there are no reports of fatalities, which is, I think,
nothing short of a miracle.

Joining me tonight by phone is Lieutenant Tim Jones. He`s the public
information officer for the Johnson County Sheriff`s Office. Lieutenant,
good to have you with us tonight. Is that the case, there are no
fatalities? Bring us up to date.

were blessed. We had no injuries at all. And from what I`m hearing on the
local news, there are no fatalities at all in the DFW area.

SCHULTZ: What was the response? How did that all work out? This is
the most horrific tornadoes you folks have seen in years.

JONES: Yes, it was. We`re kind of in the southwest part of the
metroplex. The tornado started to spin up over our area and went towards
the DFW area. We had about nine agencies that responded to the area that
we had our tornadoes in, probably about 45 or 50 people.

SCHULTZ: What`s the extent of the damage, lieutenant? I mean, this
is so widespread, isn`t it?

JONES: It is very widespread. In our county, we`re very lucky. We
only had it drop down and hit four homes and a bunch of out buildings. But
it was a rural area. It wasn`t a residential area.

As it traveled toward Dallas-Ft. Worth, it ended up into residential
and business areas.

SCHULTZ: When the tornadoes were coming through and coming through
slow and doing a lot of damage, how was the communication systems? And how
did the people respond?

JONES: In Johnson County, to my knowledge, the sirens were going off.
We knew the sirens were going off. The alerts were going off the radio.
People were taking shelter, as much as we could tell. The biggest thing is
when those do happen and you hear those alarms, don`t take them for
granted. They go off for a reason.

SCHULTZ: If you had to characterize the response, what would you say?

JONES: In our area and what I`ve seen in DFW, I think, so far as
public safety, we did an excellent job.

SCHULTZ: Lieutenant Tim Jones, it`s a miracle no one lost their lives
tonight. We can always replace stuff on the ground, but lives cannot be
replaced. Thank you, lieutenant. I appreciate your time.

SCHULTZ: We`re just minutes away from the polls closing in Wisconsin.
Mitt Romney has high hopes for a victory. But an election day campaign
event at a sub shop may have violated election law. John Nichols has the


SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish, Wisconsinites hope tonight`s election
will put an end to the robo calls that have been bombarding residents over
the last few weeks. Some residents have reported getting up to 10 calls a
day. That`s fun.

And the Romney campaign`s robocalls have relentlessly tried to connect
Rick Santorum to union leaders.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The union bosses are trying to influence the
election today by having Democrats vote for Rick Santorum, so the
Republican primary will last even longer. Santorum and his cronies tried
this trick in Michigan and it didn`t work there. Don`t let them do it
here. Vote against the union bosses and vote for Mitt Romney.


SCHULTZ: Santorum supporters are getting into the robocall wars as
well, focusing on social issues.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you vote tomorrow, please vote for social
sanity in Rick Santorum, not for homosexuality and Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick Santorum is the only candidate who can be
trusted to uphold traditional marriage, a straight military, and the rights
of American children to have both a mother and a father.


SCHULTZ: And in the midst of all of that, there`s been one mayor
player missing from the campaign events in Wisconsin, Governor Scott
Walker. Romney and Santorum are more than happy to run on Walker`s anti-
union agenda. But they don`t want to be seen with him on the campaign

Scott Walker could become the Republican party`s biggest loser if he
loses his recall election in June. Plus, he`s the first governor to set up
a criminal defense fund. And no candidate wants to risk having his or her
photo taken next to a guy who could turn out to be a felon.

Let`s turn to John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation"
magazine and author of the book "Uprising."

John, I got a sense in Wisconsin yesterday that they just want to get
all this Republican shenanigans out of way and get with the recall. But I
want to talk about this story first, about what happened with the subway
sandwich today. Apparently, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan handed out free subs
at a campaign event today.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party -- the Wisconsin Democratic Party is
filing a complaint tonight against them for violating state election law.
What do you know about this?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Well, Wisconsin`s a pretty old school.
And it has always had a law, going back the better part of a century,
against giving away free food or free drinks on election day. We didn`t
want to have what some people referred to as that Chicago style politics.

And so it`s a very purist state in that regard. And there are strict
laws. To be honest, I find it hard to imagine anybody would decide to vote
for Mitt Romney in return for a subway sandwich. But Ryan, himself, should
have known better.

I mean, this is something every political figure in Wisconsin knows.
You don`t give away fry food on election day.

SCHULTZ: Well, there`s got to be a commercial here with this video
somewhere that the Republican party is at the head of a bread line giving
bread out to people. There`s got to be a message there, because that`s
exactly what maybe Ryan`s budget is going to do to some people.

That might be a little bit of a stretch, but I think you know where
I`m going. You think --

NICHOLS: You take away their Medicare and Medicaid.

SCHULTZ: Well, that`s very true. That`s very true. It`s a ruthless

NICHOLS: Give them some free food.

SCHULTZ: What about Scott Walker not appearing with either one of
these guys? Who is doing this? Is Walker doing this or is Romney and
Santorum doing this?

NICHOLS: That`s a really good question. At this point, I think
Santorum is so desperate that he would have been glad to appear with Scott
Walker, to be face-to-face with the guy.

For Romney, it`s a much more complicated issue. He loves being next
to Paul Ryan because Paul Ryan is going to be around no matter what. He`s
a steady figure. Walker a much more volatile player. Romney and Santorum
are glad to talk about how they agree with Walker. They are big for the
anti-union stuff. They`re big for the cuts.

But to actually be photographed with Scott Walker at this point is a
rather dangerous thing. And I think Walker and Romney both understand
that. That picture comes back to haunt both men if, by chance, Walker is
defeated in a recall. Or if he runs into big legal trouble, that`s
embarrassing for Romney.

By the same token, Walker is going into a recall election where he`s
going to desperately be trying to present himself as a moderate figure, so
he really doesn`t want a picture of him next to a presidential candidate
who has had to run hard, hard to the right.

So bottom line is, I think they have sort of decided to keep their
distance, but they have talked each other up in all these cases.

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

In the news tonight, Mitt Romney has won the state of Maryland and the
District of Columbia.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. We`ll have a live update coming
up at 11:00 Eastern.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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