updated 4/5/2012 12:12:03 PM ET 2012-04-05T16:12:03

Guests: Howard Dean, Ruth Conniff, Charniele Herring, Bob Shrum, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mark Ruffalo


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

President Obama has Republicans cornered into backing the most radical
budget in the history of America. Now, Mitt Romney`s flacks are whining
about the president being a bully? Suck it up, righties.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I looked at what the
president said. There were just so many things that I find to be
distortions and inaccuracies, it`s hard to give a full list.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We`re just getting demagoguery. We`re
getting desperation. We`re getting partisan attacks from a campaigner-in-
chief.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Republicans are in the full meltdown mode after
President Obama destroyed the Romney/Ryan plan.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What is amazing is what a bully
President Obama has suddenly become.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean on the right-
wing freakout and a Democratic 50-state strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you have 101 general election and they see,
again, are reminded of Governor Romney`s real views, that gender gap will
dissipate rather quickly.

SCHULTZ: The Etch-a-Sketch candidate rides again and the Republican
disaster with women gets worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on. The vote is a joke!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plugging that thing in every day --

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- pain in the beep, yes.

SCHULTZ: Righties rooting for an American failure got some bad news
today. Bob Shrum on the success of the Chevy Volt.

And activists say hydraulic fracking is a huge problem and leading to
an environmental disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I can`t take a bath at our house because of the
gaslight.

SCHULTZ: Oscar nominated actor Mark Ruffalo has a new campaign to
stop fracking and he`s here tonight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Republicans and their nominee in waiting are on the defensive. The
president has engaged them in direct political combat and the man in the
Oval Office has defined the terms of this fight. President Obama gave us,
I think, a preview of his central campaign message.

I think this section from the president`s speech to the "Associated
Press" will be the key to his re-election effort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It doesn`t make us
weaker when we guaranteed basic security for the elderly or the sick or
those who are actively looking for work. What makes us weaker is when
fewer and fewer people can afford to buy the goods and services that our
businesses sell. Or when entrepreneurs don`t have the financial security
to take a chance and start a new business.

What drags down our entire economy is when there`s an ever-widening
chasm between the ultra-rich and everybody else. In this country, broad-
based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few.
It has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president has drawn a clear line between himself and the
Republican Party. Mitt Romney decided his best response, his best shot,
was to call the president out of touch?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: It`s enough to make you think that years of flying around in
Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers, telling
you that you`re great and you`re doing a great job, it`s enough to make you
think that you might become a little out of touch with that, and that`s
what`s happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney is playing a very dangerous game by calling
anyone out of touch. But the president is framing the election as a fight
between the protractors of the wealthy against a government for the people.

Calling President Obama out of touch might be the only trick Romney
has. Today, he was on the same stage President Obama stood on yesterday.
There was a similar blue backdrop, all very presidential-looking, and
Romney spoke to a convention of journalists, just like the president did,
but his message couldn`t have been more different than President Obama`s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: He doesn`t want to share his real plans before the election,
either with the public or with the press. He wants us to re-elect him so
we can find out what he`ll actually do. With all the challenges the nation
faces, this is not the time for President Obama`s hide-and-seek campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So President Obama is kind of spooky and scary? And he
wants to turn America into something terrible? Give me a break. Right
there proves Romney has no game.

Romney`s surrogates, what do they do? They hit the air waves to
deliver similar attacks against big, bad President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: What is amazing is what a bully President Obama has suddenly
become. Here was a man that came in with hope and change, and now he`s
bullying his way. He`s bullying his way on Paul Ryan, saying that he`s not
coming up with an adequate budget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Yes, he`s just bullying in the middle class every chance he
gets, isn`t he?

Oh, yes, the Ryan budget, that damned thing. That`s what the
Republicans are really saying behind closed doors. Now they`re stuck with
it.

The president is using this document to define Republican Party and it
couldn`t be better. Republicans, where are they? They are stuck defending
it. The best thing that they can do is say that President Obama is mean?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: He`s distorting the truth, he`s dividing the country, and he`s
becoming more bitter and partisan by the day. We`re just getting
demagoguery, we`re getting desperation, we`re getting partisan attacks from
a campaigner in chief. It`s just very unbecoming of the presidency of the
United States, if you ask me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Really? Is that why there`s a record number of filibusters
in the Senate?

President Obama has forced Republicans to throw their arms around Paul
Ryan`s radical plan for America. Not only are Republicans jumping on board
with Ryan, there`s increasing speculation that he may be Mitt Romney`s
running mate.

Man, I tell you what -- I am all for it. I hope they make that
announcement tonight, right now. Paul Ryan being the vice presidential
nominee.

You know what this is going to do? This is going to keep the right-
wing agenda front and center, and if the economy is the most important
issue, let`s just go to their budget every day.

If there`s a concern with Mitt Romney engaging with conservatives and
making sure that conservatives are going to coalesce behind this moderate
Republican who flip-flops all the time -- hey, Paul Ryan would be the guy.
This is a guy who goes on FOX News and they give him a birthday cake with a
dollar sign on it. That`s pretty Republican.

He is the poster boy for radical right-wing economic policy in
America. But there`s one more reason why I really want him to be the vice
presidential nominee, and on the ticket. It`s probably the timing isn`t
going to work out right, obviously. But it would really keep the folks in
Wisconsin engaged, wouldn`t it?

I think in some strange way, if he keeps his name out there, it`s
going to help the recall effort on Governor Walker. I mean, every day
Wisconsinites are going to be reminded, holy smokes, we might have another
one of these guys in power? And that`s exactly what they don`t want.

I also think that if Ryan is on the ticket, it is going to give the
Democrats a better chance to ignite the 50-state strategy, which, of
course, was very instrumental in 2008 and very instrumental in 2006, when
Nancy Pelosi got the gavel.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think -- about this
selection, if it happens.

Tonight`s question: If Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney`s V.P. selection, who
does it help? Text A for Democrats, text B for Republicans to 622639. You
can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results
later on in the show.

I am joined tonight, in honor to have Howard Dean in studio with us,
former governor of Vermont and former chairman of the DNC.

Governor, good to have you with us.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Thanks for having me on, Ed.

SCHULTZ: How big of an asset, either way, is this Ryan budget plan
that the president is really making the focal point of what his campaign`s
going to be?

DEAN: What Ryan does in this budget is shift the risk of price
increases in health care from the government to people over 65. So, this
is a disaster. This budget is a disaster. It`s a disaster in every way.

It actually increases the deficit substantially, because, of course,
he`s got tax cuts in there that aren`t paid for, just like George W. Bush
did.

So I have to agree with you, I hope he does pick Paul Ryan for his
vice presidential. First, it will show a sign of weakness, because it
means he doesn`t have his own party behind them. And second of all, every
day is a target for the Democrats because Paul Ryan really is a very nice
guy, but a member of the radical right.

SCHULTZ: Could any Democrat, anywhere, run against this budget? I
mean, I think it will ignite the 50-state strategy.

DEAN: I can`t wait to see what people say in Idaho about this budget,
one of the most conservative states in the country. But there are plenty
of senior citizens in Idaho who won`t want to have their Medicare cut and
taken away.

SCHULTZ: Aren`t the Republicans somewhat clever about the way they`re
doing this budget, though? From the standpoint, it`s almost like it`s a
generational lift. They`re saying that anybody over 55 is not going to be
affected by this.

A lot of people, I believe, in this country, in their 40s, the 40-
somethings, they`re not thinking about 25 years down the road. But what`s
happening to them right now is that they`re going to be forced into a
system that`s going to put them in the voucher, and they`re going to have
to go out on the open market and say, gosh, which insurance company is
going to be better for me.

Who wins?

DEAN: See, here`s what the big problem is. You`re right about 40 and
50-year-olds, and even 35-year-olds. But under 35, even though they have a
fiscal stake in trying to get the country back in order, this party, the
Republican Party, is gay bashing, Muslim bashing, Latino bashing, immigrant
bashing, women bashing every day.

And so, the young -- young people are just not going to vote for
Romney, because they`re not going to -- they think insurance should
actually pay for birth control, they don`t -- their friends are gay,
Muslim, Latino, and so forth and so on. They`re sick of this stuff. They
hate this kind of politics.

So the Republicans are playing to a very, very narrow audience and
they just made it a lot worse in this primary.

SCHULTZ: So, does this mean that Romney is going to have to pick a
woman or a Latino?

DEAN: I would, if I were him. I`d take a close look at Susan
Martinez, the New Mexico governor. Probably look at Rubio. A close look
at the governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval. He`s -- you can`t --

SCHULTZ: He`s got problems.

DEAN: With the numbers that he`s got in the Hispanic community, he
can`t be president, even if he could make it up to women, and women are not
going to forget that the Republican Party basically doesn`t like birth
control pills.

SCHULTZ: I want to play another part of President Obama`s speech from
yesterday and get your reaction. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The positions I`m taking now on the budget and a host of other
issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15
years ago, would have been considered squarely centrist positions. What`s
changed is the center of the Republican Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And, of course, there`s no question, the Republicans are
moving further to the far right. So where does this leave this strategy
for the Democrats? It seems like in pretty good shape.

DEAN: I think the president`s strategy has been incredible since last
August when he gave his jobs speech. He campaigns right. He`s right. He
is the campaigner in chief, and, boy, is he good at it?

When you just see these clips that you just put up, Barack Obama looks
like a president and Mitt Romney looks like he`s whining. You can`t --
people are just not going to vote for that. Complain he`s a bully?

I mean, the problem with the Republicans, they have no credibility.
Nikki Haley, Paul Ryan, now Mitt Romney, by his own device, so he could win
the primary, are all identified with the right, with right-wing
partisanship. So you`re going to have to find somebody a lot more
thoughtful and respected by the American public to criticize the president.

If anybody -- they know this president. They`ve seen him on TV for
four years. He`s not a bully, they know that.

SCHULTZ: And this gender gap which has unfolded in the polling.

DEAN: Right.

SCHULTZ: Is this a death knell for the Republicans?

DEAN: It is, it`s not fixable.

SCHULTZ: Not fixable?

DEAN: No. It`s not fixable, because what you`ve done, you`ve shown
women that they didn`t know before and they`re never going to forget this.
They`re going to come back, the Republicans will come back and talk about
the economy, and women buy gas too.

Women are never going to forget that the Republican Party came after
their right to make their own personal decisions about birth control. This
is not -- doesn`t have the same punch as abortion. Abortion, for the
Republicans, is a big issue. It`s a deeply felt issue. There is vast use
of birth control pills by nearly every woman of fertility age in America,
and the Republicans tried to take away their right to get it with
insurance.

They think it`s OK for men to have Viagra. It`s not OK for women to
have birth control. There`s not a woman in America that`s going to forgive
that and forget it.

SCHULTZ: Howard Dean, great to have you with us.

DEAN: Thanks.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.

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

Coming up, it`s another Etch-a-Sketch moment for Romney. Romney`s
campaign share says that women will not hear Romney`s real views until the
general election? Ruth Conniff and Virginia state delegate Charniele
Herring weigh in on that.

And Republicans are on a mission to destroy the post office. I`m
fired up about this. There is absolutely no reason why we should be
dismantling the post office in this country, which is going to butcher
economically the portion of rural America that desperately needs that
service.

But why are they doing it? I`ll tell you why they`re doing it. There
is a plan.

Democrats, you can`t let them get away with that. I`ve got a
commentary coming up. Bernie Sanders will join me, because he`s got some
solutions on how to enhance and save the postal service.

We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: The Etch-a-Sketch candidate strikes again. Coming up,
another Romney surrogate says voters -- well, they`re just going to have to
wait until the general election to see where he stands on women`s issues.
More on the Republican war on women, next.

And right-wingers out there who have been rooting for an American
failure -- well, you`ve got some bad news on the Chevy Volt today.
Democratic strategist Bob Shrum is ahead with that story.

And actor Mark Ruffalo is raising awareness about the effects of
fracking on America`s groundwater. Mark Ruffalo has a new campaign to do
something about it. We`ll visit with him here on THE ED SHOW.

Share your thoughts on Twitter, using the #EdShow. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Well, I know that our party has traditionally faced a gender
gap, but I think the Democratic Party has done an effective job at trying
to mischaracterize our views. I think that in the final analysis, I will
win by having the support of men and women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The Republican`s war on women has caught up with their nominee, Mitt
Romney. Romney knows he`s in trouble, so he`s deploying surrogates to sell
the Romney brand to women voters. Trouble is: they aren`t doing a very
good job. Romney`s Maryland campaign chair, former Governor Bob Ehrlich,
says that the gender gap is all Rick Santorum`s fault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB EHRLICH (R), FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: I think that`s the
Democrats using some of Senator Santorum`s verbiage to their electoral
advantage, to their partisan advantage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But Mitt Romney doesn`t need Rick Santorum to alienate women
voters, he`s doing a pretty good job of it himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that`s the easy one. But
there are others, Planned Parenthood, we`re going to get rid of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Planned Parenthood provides preventative care and cancer
screenings to thousands of women across this country. Mitt Romney wants to
get rid of it, plain and simple. The Affordable Care Act or what they like
to call Obamacare, would end -- would end gender discrimination when it
comes to women`s health care in this country.

Here`s the way the country looks right now, before the law is fully
implemented. In the yellow, orange, and red states, women, you know what
they do? They pay up to 100 percent more for health insurance than men do.
In the blue states, it is illegal for insurers to discriminate based on
gender.

Now, here`s what the country is going to look like when what they call
Obamacare goes into effect in 2014. No more gender description, but Mitt
Romney wants to get rid of that as well.

But according to Governor Ehrlich, it doesn`t matter what Mitt Romney
wants to get rid of or what he has repeatedly said on the campaign trail.
You see, women won`t know what Mitt Romney really believes until Santorum
and others get out of the race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EHRLICH: I think when the general election, again, when you have one
on one, general election, and you see again or are reminded of Governor
Romney`s real views, that gender gap will dissipate rather quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, it`s just another Etch-a-Sketch moment.

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, another Romney supporter, out
making the rounds on the talking heads. She says once the primary is over,
the real Mitt Romney will be unzipped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Polls go up, they go down, and
you have to bear in mind, we`ve been in a tough primary fight. Part of
this gap, I think, is a reflection of where we are in the primary. And
now, it`s going to turn around very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to Ruth Conniff. She is a political editor for
the "Progressive Magazine." And Charniele Herring with us tonight, she is
a minority whip at the Virginia House of Delegates and chair of the state`s
reproductive rights caucus.

Great to have both of you with us tonight.

Ruth, do you consider or do you view these positions that the
Republicans are taking as insulting?

RUTH CONNIFF, PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: Absolutely, Ed. And I`m not
alone in that. I mean, look, I mean, first of all, the best thing that
Romney supporters can say for him is that this man is not who he says he
is. So right there, you`ve got a problem. I mean, that`s just insulting
women`s intelligence.

But if they are going to try to send this dog whistle, that somehow
we`re going to get the Mitt Romney who`s actually pro-choice like back when
he was governor of Massachusetts, it`s not getting anywhere with women.
Women are not going to forget that this man came out and said, we want to
eliminate Planned Parenthood.

You know, it`s true that women care about economic issues and it`s
true that weren`t prepared to have to defend our access to birth control?
But all of a sudden we`re shocked to find that that`s where we are. That
actually the Republicans want to get between us and a perfectly legal
prescription for birth control.

And that`s really hard to get over. I don`t think they`re going to
make that go away.

SCHULTZ: Charniele Herring, you know, I have to ask -- when you look
at the map and you see what the health care act is going to do when it goes
into full implementation in 2014, everything changes for women in this
country.

DEL. CHARNIELE HERRING (D), VIRGINIA: Right.

SCHULTZ: And here are the Republicans saying that one of the first
things they`re going to do is repeal this, what they call, Obamacare. Are
they advocating for discrimination?

HERRNG: Certainly sounds like it, doesn`t it? And it`s really
shocking and sort of insulting to suggest that women can`t keep straight
which Republican candidate said what discriminatory statement, and trying
to put a bar between a woman and her access to health care. And as you
mentioned, equal access, that`s what`s key.

And it`s very insulting that the Republicans would think that women
cannot differentiate between two candidates.

SCHULTZ: Well, does the Romney camp right now, Charniele, have a
credibility problem with women? No matter who they put out there. He`s
got Nikki Haley saying that women don`t care about contraception.

How does that play? Will it be a game changer, in any way, shape, or
form?

HERRING: I think, absolutely. And it`s really ironic that they put
that out there and say that women don`t care.

It shows you a couple of things. One, they`re out of touch with
women, and I`m surprised that a woman would say such a thing. And two,
women can you not and appreciate and analyze health care at the same time
that they talk about the economy.

And what better way to have a good, strong economy than for women who
have access to health care so that they can be healthy and that we have
healthy workers in our economy. They all go together. And for them to
parse them out makes absolutely no sense, and won`t make sense to the
American voter.

SCHULTZ: I have to say, Ruth, I have never seen either political
party alienate a portion of voters in this country the way the Republicans
are doing it right now with women. I mean, Romney supporters are making
the case that they`re going to be able to get women voters back, and
they`re going to fix this gender gap, because the economy is more important
than women`s health care.

Is it fixable? Howard Dan just told us in the last block that it`s
something that they can`t fix. What do you think?

CONNIFF: They cannot fix it, Ed. They cannot fix it, because it`s
not just the rhetoric -- although that was pretty darned stunning, about
eliminating Planned Parenthood and just supporting the idea that you go
down to the corner pharmacy and maybe your pharmacist should decide if you
get your prescription. Maybe your boss should decide whether he thinks you
ought to get birth control? That`s not fixable.

Also, women are losing access to health care -- thanks to these guys.
I mean, you know, look at Governor Rick Perry in Texas, there are Planned
Parenthood clinics closing. They are the only provider of health care to
60 percent of the women they serve. They are going away and these women
are getting no health now.

And this is not about to wrap up. And on the economic issue, these
guys are for the Paul Ryan budget plan? Well, guess who that hurts the
most? If women care about economics, they want to keep things like
Medicaid, Medicare, tuition assistance for their kids to go to college.
It`s a big loser, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Delegate Herring, if it is the economy, more important to
women than women`s health care, it would seem to me that Mitt Romney and
the Republicans would be advocating for equal pay in the workplace,
wouldn`t they?

HERRING: Absolutely. You would think they would. And, you know, you
mentioned equal pay in the workplace. It was President Obama who made it
clear to all women, and the nation, that he believes in the economy and
equity in the workplace. His first act, the first bill he signed was the
Fair Pay Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

So we know where the president stands. But this wishy-washy -- well,
we`re going to see the real Mitt Romney in the general election, doesn`t
play out. It makes no sense.

You would think that he would talk about equity during the primary
process, as well as the general election. It`s too late to start talking
about it. It obviously was not part of his agenda.

SCHULTZ: Ruth Conniff and Delegate Charniele Herring -- great to have
you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

HERRING: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: The Chevy Volt is roaring back and employees are returning
to the production line a week early. But went sales were slow,
Republicans, oh, they were cheering. They are bad mouthing this thing left
and right.

And Mitt Romney won in Wisconsin, but only after showing total
disregard for the state`s election law. Oh, yes, Wisconsin`s got some
legal issues with the Mittster. Authorities are on the chase.

We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

You know, there`s the old saying in business, sales solves a lot of
problems. General Motors will resume production on the Chevy Volt hybrid
car one week early because of incredibly strong sales in the month of
March. This is good news, conservatives!

But wait a minute, you folks were on the sidelines cheering a month
ago when GM announced a temporary hold on Volt production. But the Volt --
well, they sold a record 2,280 units in March. So, employees, doggone it,
they`ve got to go back to work a week earlier, sooner than expected.

The Volt was named European car of the year. That`s really got to
ruffle up the conservatives in America, doesn`t it? Europeans like what
we`re doing.

Republicans are happier when the American economy, and the car
industry, seem to be struggling. This is what Mitt Romney -- let`s not
forget -- this is what Mitt Romney said about the volt last December.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The Chevy Volt, a -- let`s see, an idea whose time has not
come.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, come on, Mitt. You can put your dog kennel on top of
the Volt. And here`s what Mitt Romney said Monday, just two days ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not sure America was ready for the Chevy Volt. I mean, I
hope it does well. I don`t want to disparage any product coming out of
Detroit, but -- but I think instead of having politicians tell us what kind
of cars we ought to make, we ought to let the people who are trying to
understand the market make that decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Great timing, Mittster. You`re supposed to be the smart
business guy out there, you know? You`ve done so much in the private
sector. The righties have trashed the Volt all along.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Does the car have a floor, or is it
like a Flinestone thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s loaded with taxpayer subsidies and offered
with a taxpayer bailout.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would have to give that to me for free, and
I would rather roller skate backwards in the Lincoln Tunnel than drive that
thing and break down.

CAVUTO: It is not just me, it is now official. The Volt is a dolt.
You hearing me all you bloggers? It stinks. The car you have to plug in
ain`t exactly selling out, not even close.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here it is, another Obama proposal, another plan,
give money to people without any strings attached.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oh, hecklers from the stands. Republican Congressman
Darrell Issa even held a hearing about the safety of the Chevy Volt. But
Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, he called it for what it was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: This hearing is not about safety.
This hearing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t think so?

CUMMINGS: This hearing is about an attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining me now, Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and
professor at New York University. You know, the Republicans, Bob, have
been so far off the mark on this. And they`re actually rooting against
economic success in an industry.

Professor, there has to be a lecture there somewhere.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, there`s a reality. And
the reality is, you`re right. They want the economy to go down. They want
jobs to be destroyed. Look, Mitt Romney took the position that we should
let General Motors go bankrupt.

If that had happened, there`d be no Volt, no jobs, no GM, because
there was no financing available without a government bailout. That, by
the way, is why Mitt Romney has no chance of carrying Michigan in November.

You`re also right that this issue is a symbol of something bigger.
These folks hate the government. They hate the government, whether it`s a
government that saves us from depression or a government program like
Medicare. So you have Romney who wouldn`t have saved General Motors now
endorsing a plan to privatize, voucherize, and destroy Medicare.

SCHULTZ: Here`s the president talking about the Volt back in
February. Listen up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I got to get inside a
brand-new Chevy Volt, fresh off the line. And five years from now, when
I`m not president anymore, I`ll buy one and drive it myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president shout-out may have helped sales quite a bit,
while Republicans sit on the sidelines and say that they should have let
Detroit go bankrupt. I mean, that comment right there might have been the
best sales pitch they ever had.

The fact is, they sold a heck of a lot more than they ever thought
they were going to sell. And they`re going to sell more. And GM is very
confident that consumers are going to love this car. So how big is this
come election time?

SHRUM: Well, it`s part of a whole pattern. I mean, as I said in
Michigan, I think that the state`s hopeless for Romney. But it`s part of
this big pattern of, we don`t want to invest in technology. Look, the
government`s technology investments were critical to everything from the
Manhattan Project to the Moon landing, to the foundation of the Internet.

All of that came about because the government invested money in
research and development. And of course not everything you invest in is
going to work. There were plenty of dead ends in the Manhattan Project.
There were things that didn`t work out in the space program.

But if you don`t have a government that does that, that provides seed
money, either directly or through universities or to companies, you`re not
going to invent the future, which is America -- what America`s always been
good at.

The other reason, by the way, they hate the Volt is because they hate
anything that`s good for the environment.

SCHULTZ: That is for sure. Here`s Congressman Darrell Issa, who`s
been against it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Do the American people really
think that we should have put 375 million in subsidies into GE into buying
these electric cars, so that everyone could make a statement about the
future with a really bad car.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Now, why doesn`t Congressman Issa have a hard time with
subsidies for the oil industry? Issa held a hearing about Volts catching
fire, even though no Volt had caught fire on the road, and there were no
recalls.

SHRUM: Right. Look, he`s --

SCHULTZ: Go ahead.

SHRUM: Issa`s the richest guy in Congress. And his mission in
Congress is to protect the wealthy, to give them huge tax breaks, to
protect big oil and big gas, to make sure that we don`t move in the
direction of renewable fuels, that we don`t move in the direction of
alternative technologies like the Volt.

The Republicans are just on the wrong side of history. They`re on the
wrong side of the future. And by the way, Ed, as this economy gets better
-- because we not only heard about the Volt today, we heard about probably
200,000 new jobs last month in the economy. We heard the Fed`s view that
we may not need another stimulus, another easing from them, because the
economy is doing well.

What`s Mitt Romney going to say? The guy who destroyed jobs had a
message that said, I`m Mr. Fix-it, I`ll create jobs. They`re being
created.

SCHULTZ: Twenty five months of private sector job growth. And I
would really like to see the Obama campaign challenge Mitt Romney or any of
the other Republicans to go test drive a Volt and give some testimony on
just how bad it is, right?

SHRUM: I`m going to buy one.

SCHULTZ: Sold. Bob Shrum, great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks.

SHRUM: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: The Republican war on workers is coming for your letter
carrier. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on the latest effort to save the
Post Office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I got to tell you how much I appreciate your coming by and
getting a free sandwich today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney got busted passing out sandwiches for votes.
Now the Waukesha D.A. is investigating the matter. That report is ahead.

And hydraulic fracking poisons water supplies and tears communities
apart. Actor Mark Ruffalo has a new campaign to stop the dangerous
practice. And he`s here tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: This doesn`t get enough conversation. I want to talk about
the Republican mission -- and that`s exactly what it is -- to take down the
Post Office. Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Government
Oversight Committee, is leading the charge.

He says he`s trying to save the Post Office, but in reality he is
pushing a bill to absolutely destroy it. This is just the beginning. If
Darrell Issa has his way, more than 3,000 Post Office branches will be shut
down across the country, most of them in rural communities where they need
the service. And 200,000 Post Office jobs would be lost.

Yeah, they kind of like that too. And there really is no reason for
any of this. Republicans will tell you that the Postal Service is just in
huge trouble because they`re losing money, about 20 billion over five
years. But here`s the thing that they`re not telling you: the reason the
Post Office is losing money is because of a 2006 law passed in the lame
duck session of a Republican Congress. They stuck it to the workers one
more time before they left.

The law requires the Post Office to pre-fund employees` retirement
accounts for the next 75 years over a little 10-year window. So they are
doing the burden for the future right now. It costs them 5.5 billion
dollars a year to fund those pensions. What for? Hell, they`re funding
people that aren`t even working for the Post Office yet.

Maybe Congress should have to fund their retirement for the next 75
years in a 10-year window. See how well the Tea Partiers can balance the
budget then. They couldn`t. No one can. No business does it this way.

I want to show you exactly how much your money, your taxpayer dollars
go to fund the Post Office this year. Zero. That`s a zero. You got that?
That means none of the tax dollars out of your pocket go to the government
to fund the Post Office.

So what the heck is this all about? This is what pays for the Post
Office operations right here. It`s these things called stamps. They still
work in America, I use them damned near every day.

Here`s why Republicans want to kill the Post Office. They want to
privatize everything they can get their hands on. They want to privatize
the Postal Service so their corporate boys down the street here can make
more money.

They want to destroy union infrastructure. They hate unions any way,
shape, or form, because it`s a dues thing. And they want to destroy a
voting bloc. They want to pit worker against worker. They want to
disenfranchise people.

They want to get them out of work and get them upset, so they won`t
vote for the Democrats. And they are on a mission to get rid of any
government job they can.

But guess what, the number of one group of people hired by the Post
Office are military veterans. Issa won`t tell you that either. I expect
this kind of action from Republicans. But what bothers me is that
Democrats, you`re not fighting hard enough.

You know, you`re doing a great job of going after the Ryan Budget.
We`re going to help you do that. I will on this show. But you`ve got to
step up and do something big time to save the Post Office from utter
disaster. This is a real opportunity for the Democrats to correct a
terrible injustice on workers in America.

It makes absolutely no sense, and has been totally -- totally
manufactured by the right-wingers like Darrell Issa. This is a less --
there is, of course, I should say, a less aggressive bill before the Senate
that would alleviate some of the pension problems. But you`ve got to hit
it out of the park on this one, Democrats.

My guest on this has a better solution for all of it. I`m joined
tonight by Bernie Sanders, independent senator from Vermont. Senator, good
to have you with us tonight.

This is one of these stories that I think I have to tell maybe every
three weeks or once a month before the election, because I`m hearing on the
radio, well, gosh, I didn`t know that stamps pay for everything. I`m
hearing on the radio, well, I didn`t know about this 75-year thing into a
10-year window. No business could do that.

So I ask you, senator, what is Congress going to do? What do you
think they should do to reverse all of this?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, there`s a lot we should do.
The original plan, as you indicated, Ed, that came from the Post Master
General, would have shut down 3,700 rural Post Offices, which would have
been devastating to rural America.

I mean, many, many small towns exist around their Post Office. So it
really would have been a terrible thing. The Post Master General
originally wanted to shut down half of the processing plants in America,
about 250 of them.

All told, he wanted to shrink the workforce by over 200,000 workers in
the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,
wanted to end Saturday mail delivery, wanted to slow down mail delivery
standards.

What happened is Senators Lieberman and Carper introduced a bill that
certainly was a heck of a lot better than what the Post Master General had
proposed. In my view, it did not go far enough.

I brought together two dozen members of the Senate. We are working on
now what`s called a manager`s amendment that would go a long way toward
protecting the Postal Service.

SCHULTZ: Senator, all of that is great. And I appreciate you doing
it. But shouldn`t the Democrats be making a commitment to American workers
that, look, if we get the White House, the House and the Senate back, we`re
going to change this 75-year thing. Because this is the crippling
financial stipulation that has been put on the Postal Service, that is
going to destroy businesses in rural America that need this service.

It`s the funding of the pension. And will the Democrats turn that
around?

SANDERS: Well, I hope so. That`s what we have, for all intent and
purposes, in the manager`s amendment that I and others have worked on.
There is no entity in America, not any agency of government, not any
private corporation, that has anything near this kind of onerous
requirement in terms of funding --

SCHULTZ: Nobody?

SANDERS: -- Future retiree --

SCHULTZ: No private business would run like this.

SANDERS: Now, here`s -- here`s what`s interesting, Ed. The inspector
general wrote to me -- of the Post Office, wrote to me and said, hey, they
got 44 billion dollars in that account right now. And when they compound
interest, the three or four percent a year, that`s all they need. They
don`t need anymore.

So you`re absolutely right that one of the important steps forward is
to end this 5.5 billion every single year.

But the second thing we have to do is we have to give the Post Office
a lot more freedom and flexibility to go out and bring in new revenue.
There are real restrictions. You walk into a Post Office right now, you
want to get a letter notarized, they can`t do it. You want to get letters
copied --

SCHULTZ: Let them compete.

SANDERS: You want to get a hunting license -- that`s right. And
we`re working on that as well. But the goal here is that in the middle of
a recession, you don`t downsize by 200,000 good-paying jobs, including, as
you indicated, many veterans.

SCHULTZ: Forty five billion dollars in that fund right now. Let me
see, the Republicans want to get rid of the Postal Service, is what they
want to do. So when they get rid of it, there`s going to be all this money
there. That would be just another fund that they`re going to be able to
raid and do something else with it.

You mark my words, that`s exactly where it`s all going. Senator, I
appreciate your work on this. Keep going after it. It is an issue, a
winning issue for Democrats and workers in this country.

Great to have you with us.

Coming up, Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo has a new campaign to
stop hydraulic fracking. He`s coming here to tell us all about it. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Tonight in our survey I asked you, if Paul Ryan is Mitt
Romney`s vice presidential pick, who does it help the most? Ninety five
percent of you say the Democrats; five percent of you say the Republicans.

Coming up, the hazard of fracking have caught the attention of the
White House and actor Mark Ruffalo. He joins me to talk about his
organization, Water Defense, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Good to have you with us as we
close in on a very big story. The mining process known as fracking is once
again under scrutiny thanks to a new advocacy group. Oscar-nominated actor
Mark Ruffalo will join me in just a moment.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a way of mining natural gas.
But critics say it causes all kinds of environmental and health problems.
An organization called Water Defense is trying to raise awareness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn`t really think anything about our water.
And we just started getting sick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For 11 months now, I`ve been dealing with
contaminated water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can`t take a bath at our house because the
gas water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`d have a lot of aches and pains and a lot of
headaches and fevers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The oil and gas industry has directly lied to my
family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re selling it and making money. And we`re
losing our homes and our water supplies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Fracking has gotten the attention of the Obama
administration. This is what Vice President Joe Biden said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Shale oil, below the
surface of the continental United States. We know we can get it, but we
have to do it environmentally soundly. There`s a thing called fracking.
They`ve got to go crack the rock in order to get it out.

You can environmentally do that well and you can environmentally do it
poorly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by Oscar nominated actor Mark Ruffalo,
co-founder of WaterDefense.org. I urge you to go this to website and view
this trailer. It is very effective, Mark. Nice to meet you. Good to have
you with us.

MARK RUFFALO, ACTOR, CO-FOUNDER WATERDEFENSE.ORG: Great to be here.

SCHULTZ: What about the vice president. Was he right in what he just
said, in your opinion?

RUFFALO: Well, the question is, if we can do it safely. That`s been
the question. What my experience is, and people who have been following
this, is everywhere they`ve done it, there`s been contamination. And you
have to ask yourself, if we could do it safely, why aren`t we doing it?

Why is this industry asking to be exempted from the Safe Drinking
Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Hazardous Waste Act, the Super Fund Act.
They`re saying that because they can`t make money. They can`t make it
economically profitable to do it safely, to do it the way -- and we haven`t
seen any scientific evidence that it can be done safely.

They haven`t provided the evidence yet that it can be. And if it can
be, they`re not doing it.

SCHULTZ: What do you say to those companies that say, well, we`re
really down thousands of feet, and it`s -- none of this is going to get
into the water supply?

RUFFALO: Well, what they do is they pull -- they have the backwash,
what`s coming out of the back flow. And that`s almost -- at least a third
of the water they put down there has got to come out. That`s filled with
radiation, with the chemicals they`ve put in there, the fracking chemicals,
and with salts and heavy metals.

That`s being deep well injected in Ohio, which is why we`re having the
earthquakes there now. There is nowhere to put this stuff when it comes
out. Each one of these well sites has spillage. And the casings are not
holding the gas that`s migrating up beneath the casings and into people`s
homes.

All over P.A. right now where they`re doing gas drilling, people are
having gas migrating into their homes at explosive levels. Gas is in their
water. You can see it.

SCHULTZ: So the public`s at risk right now?

RUFFALO: This is a public health issue. There`s been no credible
public -- long-lasting public healthy studies done on this. And it hasn`t
even been brought into the conversation.

SCHULTZ: What do you want the Obama administration to do?

RUFFALO: I want them to think before they jump. Right now, what
we`re doing with Water Defense is we`re starting an education campaign.
And it`s a people-powered education campaign.

What we can`t forget as a people is when we see Exxonmobil playing
their fracking is the greatest thing since Asbestos adds, we`ve got to
remember that it`s an ad, that we`re being sold something that`s being kind
of played off as a public service announcement, that`s teaching us about
hydro-fracking.

They are selling us a product. And that product is another 30 years
of a carbon-based energy source. It isn`t going to last 20 years at
current consumption. Our own Energy Department came out the day after
Obama`s State of the Union Address and said, there isn`t 100 years of gas
in this country; there`s 20 years of gas at the current levels we`re using
it. It`s going to cost 700 billion dollars to change our infrastructure
from coal-burning power plants to natural gas.

It`s a bridge fuel to nowhere. If we`re investing in fossil fuels,
it`s an investment that`s taking us nowhere. We have the technology right
now. You`re seeing it with the Volt, with Teslas, with the -- with the
innovations that are happening in water, air and sun, in renewable energy.
We can be moved to renewable energy in this country by 2030.

SCHULTZ: WaterDefense.org.

RUFFALO: That`s right. We`re telling the people. It`s a people-
powered education system. They`re spending millions of dollars against us.
And we`re coming out with the other side of the argument, the people`s
version of the argument.

SCHULTZ: OK. You`re getting ready to go on an international tour
with the movie. How`d you like playing "the Hulk"?

RUFFALO: It was great. I got to channel my 10-year-old boy.

SCHULTZ: You`re a busy guy.

RUFFALO: Thank you, yes.

SCHULTZ: Mark, nice to meet you.

RUFFALO: Thanks for having me.

SCHULTZ: First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, although I
went to Mary (ph) in Norfolk. We`ll talk about that.

RUFFALO: First Colonial.

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

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

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