Guests: Richard Wolffe, David Corn, Maxine Waters, Caroline Heldman, Van Jones, John Nichols
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW, tonight from New York.
The head of the Republican Party is calling the war on women fiction?
Tonight, I`ll show you the facts.
This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: The Democrats said we had a war on
caterpillars ands every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that
Republicans have a war on caterpillars.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): The leader of the Republican Party says the war
on women is a lie. Tonight, we will lay out the evidence and prove him
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again, that deals with a membership issue and
I`m not going to -- I`m not going to answer it.
SCHULTZ: Drama at the Masters on day one. The nation`s most
prestigious golf course discriminates against women. And today, the
president called them out.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: His personal opinion is that
women should be admitted.
SCHULTZ: Coke and Pepsi join together to take a stand against right
Van Jones on the groundswell movement to stop ALEC.
And sandwich-gate in Wisconsin keeps getting hotter.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got to tell you how much I
appreciate you`re coming by, getting a free sandwich today.
SCHULTZ: John Nichols of "The Nation" magazine has the latest on the
Romney campaign ethics investigation.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for
The Republican Party`s anti-Obama policies are costing them support of
women all across America. So now they are trying to sound bite their way
out of this huge gender gap issue they have.
The head of the party told Bloomberg TV the Republican war on women,
it doesn`t exist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRIEBUS: If a Democrat said we have a war on caterpillars and every
mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war
on caterpillars, then we`d have problem with caterpillars. I mean, the
fact of the matter is it`s a fiction.
(END VIDOE CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Fiction? Caterpillars?
I don`t think that the GOP has ever been in such a public relations
The thing is -- Republicans don`t have any policies to close the
gender gap. Reince Priebus says the war on women is fiction but there were
more than 1,100 bills introduced across the country last year to restrict
women`s health rights.
So it`s not just small time lawmakers writing these bills either.
Keep that in mind. The stars of the Republican Party are front and center
of this war on women.
Ohio Governor John Kasich signed six new abortion restriction bills
into law last year.
And, of course, in Pennsylvania, there`s Governor Tom Corbett, who
told women to just close your eyes when it comes to the state`s new
mandatory ultrasound bill.
Thirty-five anti-women`s health bills were introduced in the state of
the Virginia in the House of Delegates, and Governor Bob McDonnell -- well,
he supported medically unnecessary ultrasounds.
And, of course, there`s Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, whose
budget repeals the state law requiring insurance companies to cover
prescription birth control.
Can we go on and on? So, what, fiction? What is it? Reince Priebus,
does he know what he`s talking about?
Maybe he just doesn`t understand -- well, the Blunt amendment. Maybe
he forgot that one. That`s when Senator Roy Blunt wanted to allow
employers to refuse any kind of health care service for moral reasons.
This is fact, not fiction.
Or maybe Reince Priebus thinks all women get pay since President Obama
signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. But a new study shows, salaries
are still not equal even at the executive level. Male chief financial
officers at public firms of the United States earn on average 16.3 percent
more than their female counterparts.
Maybe Reince doesn`t understand health care discrimination. Maybe
He should have watched this program last night, THE ED SHOW, where we
put up this map. It`s getting to be one of my favorites. I`m getting a
lot of response on this. It is the truth.
Here`s the United States before the health care law is fully
implemented. Women pay -- get the number -- 100 percent more for their
health insurance than men do in the yellow, orange, and red states. It is
illegal for insurers to discriminate based on gender in the blue states, as
you see on that chart.
But when the health care law is fully implemented in 2014, look at
that. There is no more gender discrimination. And just keep in mind --
the Republicans want to Supreme Court to pull back on all of that, and, of
course, they never supported it in the Senate at all.
Now, over on FOX News, the right wing talking heads, they are also
trying to pretend that the war on women doesn`t exist.
Michelle Malkin says that she has proof and her proof is Senator Scott
Brown`s campaign against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP0
MICHELLE MALKIN, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Not only was all of this
anti-women demagoguery not working for Elizabeth Warren, but in fact, Scott
Brown is slightly ahead. It`s not only that this war on women rhetoric is
backfired on the progressive left, but in the case of Scott Brown, all of
that demagoguery didn`t work in 2008 and it`s not working now apparently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All you have to do is lie.
Malkin she was so confused she didn`t even know when Scott Brown was
elected, 2010. Not 2008.
But she`s also using one poll by a Republican strategist where a race
in a lead has changed five times.
But there`s Malkin and other Republicans should really worry about.
According to women voters, in swing states, Barack Obama is up 54 percent
to Mitt Romney`s 36 percent. Is that fiction? No, that`s fact.
Republicans, they just can`t make stuff up enough to try to turn their
position around. The party that -- it`s interesting, ironically, you think
about it. The party that lied us into a war nine years ago, well, they now
claim there is no war on women in America. You be the judge.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: Is the GOP`s war on women fact or fiction?
Text A for fact, text B for fiction to 622639. And you always go to
our blog and leave a comment at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring the results
later on in the show.
Joining me tonight is Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California.
Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks for your
What is your response to the chairman of the Republican Party saying
there is no war on women and it`s fiction?
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: I think that -- that statement
that he made demonstrates their desperate fear about what is happening with
this war on women that they started. Everything that you said is you open
this program and it`s absolutely correct. There is a war on women.
There`s been a lot of discussion about the Ryan budget and what they
have to do to deny contraception to women. But it`s more than that. It
goes to many places in this budget, whether you`re talking about child
care, Head Start, food stamps -- you will see that there is definitely a
war on women.
But let me just tell you this, Ed. I remember what Winnie Mandela
said when we were fighting against the unconscionable apartheid in South
Africa. She said, now that you have touched the women, you have struck a
And this is what is happening in this campaign. The polls are showing
that women coming to the forefront, that they are speaking up, that they
are creating a platform. They now understand who the enemy is and why they
can`t get the kind up of support that women deserve in all of these areas.
SCHULTZ: And, Congresswoman, look at that number. Fifty-four percent
to 36 percent. I mean, if they keep making comments like this and stay in
the state of denial, and have no policies whatsoever, that favor of women
in country -- could this number get worse as we get closer and closer to
WATERS: The number can absolutely get worse. As a matter of fact,
you should hear the talk in many of the women`s clubs and organizations on
the street. Women are saying it`s our time to take charge now and speak up
against what the Republicans are doing, what they have been doing for so
long. We are going to deny them this presidency because they have rebuilt
themselves in the most profound way that could ever happen.
These presidential candidates, all of these laws that you have alluded
to in all of our states, the governors, all of them who have absolutely
created this war on women are now going to be taken to task by the women of
We`re sick and tired of them. We know exactly where they are coming
from. And Obama is going to be the beneficiary of all of the anger that
women have because we`re going to make sure that Republicans don`t win.
SCHULTZ: Is there anything that the White House needs to do or the
Obama campaign specifically needs to do at this point, or just let the
Republicans fall on their sword because they have nothing on the table that
would reverse this?
WATERS: Well, one of the things we have discovered doing these
presidential debates is that they are revealing themselves for who they
really are and what they care about and what they think. And it`s
certainly to the benefit of President Obama.
In addition to that, the president spoke up for women -- 99 percent of
the women in this country have used contraceptive at some point in their
lives, and we know it`s so important because 55 percent of the births in
this country are unintended, and with contraception, we could make sure
that women are birthing in ways that they want to, they are having their
families and they are doing the planning in the way that benefits them and
And just look at what the president did today about what is happening
in golf. He`s speaking up for women.
WATERS: So he`s on the front line for women and everybody knows it
SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, thank you for
joining us tonight. Appreciate it.
Now let`s turn to Caroline Heldman, professor of politics at
Professor, last night on this program, Howard Dean said that the
Republicans can`t fix this. This is a rather unique problem. I don`t
think we`ve ever seen this in modern day American politics where there is
such a gender gap.
Can it be fixed?
CAROLINE HELDMAN, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE: don`t think it can be fixed,
Ed. And I think what we`re looking at it something larger than 1992, the
year of the women after Anita Hill.
I actually don`t think Republicans intend to have a war on women but
the policies constitute a war on women and it`s something they can`t avoid
because they treat women like second class citizens. And you brought up
contraception, and abortion and attacks on those at the federal level and
Representative Waters brought up the Ryan plan and other plans that cut
services to women, pregnant women and low-income women.
I would add to that their opposition to the Violence Against Women Act
and also Republican attempts to redefine rape so that rape won`t be
HELDMAN: I mean, it`s undeniable that there is a war. It`s just one
that they can`t get out of because these are Republican Party policies.
SCHULTZ: Well, it sounds like the only way to get out of it is to lie
their way out of it, to be in denial, say that there is no war on women.
How insulting is it that women are being compared to caterpillars or
did you not take it that way?
HELDMAN: Well, Ed, I didn`t because I`m an anti-specist. So, I`m
happy to be compared to caterpillars, although I don`t think Mr. Priebus
was trying to be condescending. And I hate to bring it up. But, you know,
they actually have a war on caterpillars, too, because the EPA has been
trying for years to pass regulations against bug-killing pesticides.
So, you know, it`s a war on women and a war on caterpillars, and it`s
hurting them. Eleven percent drop amongst independent women for Romney.
That is crucial for him.
SCHULTZ: That is a big number, no doubt. And the Obama
administration has announced that it`s going to have training for women
election strategies in conferences this month. Is this the right move, do
HELDMAN: I think he should play this up as much as possible. He has
this 18-point gap now as you`ve noted with women and the fact that he spoke
out in the golf and the gender apartheid that is apparently acceptable at
Augusta National, the Masters tournament, he needs to be speaking to women
because so far, it`s a very effective campaign strategy, and it`s one that
the Republicans -- they can`t stop at this point, given the solidity of
their stances. They treat women like second-class citizens, no way out of
SCHULTZ: Professor Caroline Heldman, thanks for your time tonight.
Appreciate it so much.
HELDMAN: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: 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 won`t believe what Mitt Romney said about gender discrimination at
the Masters. Richard Wolffe will take a swing at that next.
Two of the most recognized brands in American advertising in business
cut ties with the group that supported Florida`s stand your ground law.
Van Jones will join me for that discussion.
Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. We are right back.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, President Obama takes a stand against
discrimination. This time, he`s calling out the Augusta National Golf Club
for excluding women from becoming members. Richard Wolffe weighs in next.
Right-wingers jumped in on comments made by the president`s about the
Supreme Court`s hearing on the health care law. I`ll talk with David Corn
of "Mother Jones".
And Mitt Romney`s campaign is under investigation in Wisconsin for
allegedly bribing voters with sandwiches. John Nichols has all the juicy
Share your thoughts on Twitter using @EdShow. We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
President Obama is making a stand for women`s rights against the
exclusionary policies of the Augusta National Golf Club. The 78th annual
Masters Tournament teed up early this morning. This is one of the most
prestigious events in all of sports.
And advertisers always jump at the chance to sponsor the tournament.
One of the perks of sponsorship is an honorary Augusta membership for the
CEO of the company sponsoring. This year, IBM is a major sponsor but, hold
on Houston, we`ve got a problem.
IBM`s CEO is Virginia Rometty.
The good old boys at the Augusta National Golf Club have never allowed
a woman to become a member. How about that? The leadership at Augusta is
so stuck in their ways they won`t even acknowledge a woman at the top of a
Fortune 500 company.
Today, the president`s press secretary was asked if his boss had any
opinion on the matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARNEY: Well, the president`s answer to this question is yes. He
believes, his personal opinion is that women should be admitted. Now,
obviously, it`s up to the club to decide. But his personal opinion is that
women should be admitted to the club.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I think you have to come to the conclusion this wasn`t` a
cheap political statement. President Obama has been fighting the
discrimination since day one. It was the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the
Affordable Care Act, "Don`t Ask, Don`t tell" the list goes on and, on,
President Obama is all about -- and has always been about social
justice. The president`s likely 2012 opponent unzipped his opinion on this
story this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEL CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, of course. I`m not a
member of Augusta. I don`t know that I would qualify. My golf game is not
that good. But certainly, if I were a member and if I could run Augusta,
which is not likely to happen, of course, I`d have women in Augusta.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Really? This shows what kind of man Mitt Romney really is.
His conditional statement is garbage.
Leadership is standing by your convictions and speaking out when you
Romney`s idea of leadership is buying a company and then running it
and ruining it from top down.
Augusta isn`t breaking any laws. But social mores have changed over
the years and it`s time for the Masters to join the 21st century, don`t you
Let`s turn to MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe.
Richard, good to have you with us tonight.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Was that a dicey answer for Jay Carney today?
WOLFFE: I don`t think so.
Look, you don`t have to go very far back into the history of
Washington, D.C., to find all sorts of golf clubs which to this day, by the
way, don`t allow women on the property and it wasn`t that long ago that
African-Americans couldn`t play, Jews, Irish couldn`t play.
So, you know, it is personal property (INAUDIBLE) plays golf. I don`t
see why at this time in 2012 this should be a difficult question to answer
SCHULTZ: What did you think of Romney`s response? This is another
Etch-a-Sketch response, isn`t it?
WOLFFE: Well, it`s curious that he fumbled and stumbled his way to
it. I think his position is genuine. He obviously thinks that women
should be allowed. The construction doesn`t open up to me the idea of
sexism so much as -- you know, he could only answer it if he was running
You don`t have to know the owners of a sports institution or manage
the company to have a moral position on something that is so clear about
equality in this country.
SCHULTZ: Critics, I can just hear them now, will probably come out
saying President Obama is using the Masters golf tournament as a prop
because we`re having this big discussion about the war on women and all the
radical legislation that is out there in dealing with health care.
Is that fair criticism?
WOLFFE: Not really. It`s a huge sporting event and it`s particularly
newsworthy because of IBM. Now, frankly, I think the lack of leadership
isn`t Mitt Romney`s, isn`t the president`s, it`s actually IBM. You know,
here you have a woman running IBM as CEO, that`s an extraordinary
situation, which should not be extraordinary but still is noteworthy. Most
blue chip of blue chip companies should be speaking out. And, in fact,
what we`re seeing is they`re declining to comment just like Augusta is
trying to dodge this question as well.
This should go out and make a stand. It`s not that difficult.
SCHULTZ: She`s the CEO. She would be the one that would have to come
out and make a stand now. This is one the big advertising opportunities
for IBM. They don`t want to miss it with the Masters. She could be seen
as somewhat unselfish to let this go by. To my knowledge, she hasn`t
commented on it at all.
But other candidates have. Newt Gingrich is desperate for attention.
His wife tweeted this today. "I`m a golfer and I`d love to belong to
What do you make of that?
WOLFFE: I think she`s right. Look, this is not a conservative or a
SCHULTZ: That`s right.
WOLFFE: This is not about Democrats or Republicans. There are plenty
of conservative women who play golf, who should be allowed to get in there.
This IBM CEO should speak out. It`s really -- I don`t know why they
are being so sensitive. You can be a sponsor at Augusta and get all of the
credits for sponsoring one of the world`s greatest sporting events and
still speak out. It`s OK.
SCHULTZ: Will any Republican be able to convince women to forget how
awful they have been during this primary season? We saw the number of the
last segment about how the gender gap is definitely having a political toll
on the Republican Party and, of course, stories like this don`t help. We
know Augusta is pretty Republican. I don`t think there`s too many
Democrats played that course quite honestly.
What about this primary season?
WOLFFE: Look, anything that keeps these issues of equality out front
and in the center of the public eye is going to clarify this debate. This
isn`t an abstract debate held by generations past. This is a live, current
issue for women today in this country.
And there are many people in the Chicago around the Obama campaign who
think that the dynamic is already set. The swing we`ve seen with
independent voters especially independent women, the most gettable of the
swing voters, independent women -- they think that actually it`s going to
be very hard for the Romney campaign to pull it back. They can pull it
back some but another 30-point swing the other way is too hard to do in the
time they`ve got.
SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate
WOLFFE: You bet.
SCHULTZ: President Obama kicked off the week with a strong defense of
his health care law. Jim DeMint says the president`s comments make him a
bully. David Corn is here and he`ll sort it all out.
And an NFL coach is caught on tape allegedly offering money to players
to injure opponents of the other team. You have to hear this tape to
believe it. It`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m confident that the
Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary
step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a
democratically elected Congress. And I`d just remind conservative
commentators that for years what we`ve heard is the biggest problem on the
bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial strength.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The president`s comments defending the constitutionality of
the health care law unleashed a torrent of attacks from the right wing.
During a speech in his home state of Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell said, President Obama tried to intimidate the Supreme Court
before a decision has been made. He went on to say, "I would suggest the
president back off."
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint echoed the governor of his state,
Nikki Haley, calling the president a bully.
And, of course, Karl Rove, he didn`t want to be left out of the
action. So, he chimed in on Lou Dobbs` FOX Business show last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH AIDE: This is a bad way to start off, looking
like, you know, you`re some kind of a political thug at the White House
threatening the Supreme Court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So let me get this straight. You have the guy who said his
top priority was to make President Obama one-term president, you have Jim
"Waterloo" DeMint and you have the brains behind the worst presidency
arguably in history of the country all criticizing the president for
standing up for health care reforms to help millions of Americans? Don`t
you think that`s about as low as it gets and as weak as it gets
politically? But it sure is orchestrated.
I`m joined tonight by David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother
Jones," columnist for politicsdaily.com and author of the new book called
David, good to have you on tonight. Great to have you with us.
These coordinated attacks -- they just all happen to say something
about this at the same time. But isn`t the Supreme Court decision coming
up, at least giving the Republicans an opportunity to take whacks at the
president, that`s really what they want?
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, of course, when you say, can it get
lower? Well, it can, because this is a cavalcade of hypocrisy. You know,
when George W. Bush was president, he called judicial activism a threat to
democracy. Ronald Reagan, you know, decried abortion cases from the
Tom DeLay, when he was House majority leader, held justice Sunday
which was geared at judicial activists on the court. So the Republican
party, for years, as the president and others have noted, have decried what
they see as judicial activism and tried to intimidate justice.
So what the president did, whether it was called for or not, is
certainly not exceptional when you look at the history of politicians
dealing with the courts.
SCHULTZ: The president said directly to -- I want to remind
conservative commentators. He has heard the litany of their, you know,
talk in the past about how it`s all judicial activism.
SCHULTZ: He gave them a dose of their own medicine. But do you think
that they really are concerned that he might influence the court because
he`s so popular?
CORN: I find it inconceivable that whatever the president says can
have an impact on these folks who have lifetime jobs and who are dealing
with one of the most significant, historic cases in decades, if not
centuries. And they know what`s at stake.
They don`t have to be reminded by the president. Most of these people
were on the court during Bush v. Gore. So they know what can happen. And
the president was asked, do you think this is Constitutional? What`s he
going to say? No, I think my law is unconstitutional?
Of course he said it was Constitutional. And it`s a pretty split
decision. On the conservative side, you have people like Lawrence
Silverman, a very conservative federal court -- a federal judge here in
Washington. You have Charles Freed (ph), who used to be solicitor general
for the Republicans, all conservatives saying that this law is
And you have other conservatives who say it isn`t. So it seems to be
a close call. And if it`s a close call, shouldn`t judicial restraint, what
we keep hearing from conservatives for decades, be the -- be what breaks
SCHULTZ: Well, it`s a big play by the Supreme Court. No doubt it`s
going to affect millions of Americans. The common good, I keep going back
to that in the Constitution, the talk of the written word of the common
good. It`s going to hurt a lot of people if they reverse this.
I hope the president keeps talking about it as often as he possibly
can. David Corn, great to have you on. Thank you.
CORN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi have cut ties to the conservative policy
organization ALEC. Van Jones of Rebuild the Dream to here to tell us why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to decide on how many times we can beat
Frank Gore`s head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Disturbing audio released in the New Orleans Saints bounty
scandal. You don`t want to miss this tape.
And the Romney campaign is handing out baloney on the campaign trail.
And now they are paying the price. John Nichols of "the Nation" magazine
has the latest on the sandwich-gate investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Over the year, ALEC has been I
think a wonderful organization. Not only does it bring like-minded
legislators together, but the private sector engagement and partnership in
ALEC is really what I think makes it the organization that it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, it`s quite a partnership. Let me tell you. That was
John Boehner singing the praises of the American Legislative Exchange
Council, otherwise known as ALEC.
It`s a group designed to promote business-friendly legislation for its
corporate members. And it`s responsible for some of the most outrageous,
most anti-union, anti-immigration, anti-democratic and pro-gun measures in
this country that are on the books today.
We can thank ALEC for bringing Stand Your Ground to Florida and other
states. And we can thank ALEC for introducing voter suppression laws all
over the country.
But now two of the most recognized brands in America, Coke and Pepsi,
have had enough. Both companies have officially cut ties with ALEC. Many
of you might be thinking, I didn`t even know they were associated with
Pepsi quietly withdrew from the group in January. Coke announced it
was leaving ALEC yesterday, just hours after a civil rights group, Color of
Change, launched an online petition calling on businesses to stop
supporting ALEC`s right-wing agenda.
Here`s what a Coke spokeswoman had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANA GARZA CHARLANTE, COKE SPOKESPERSON: The Coca-Cola company has
elected to discontinue its membership with ALEC. We have a long-standing
policy of not taking positions on issues that don`t have a direct bearing
on our company or on our industry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Color of Change says Coke and Pepsi`s withdrawal from ALEC
speaks to the power of the people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RASHAD ROBINSON, DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE: The clear and simple
message was that you can`t come for black folks` money by day and try to
take away our vote by night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by Van Jones, president of Rebuild
America -- Rebuild the Dream, author of the book "Rebuild the Dream,"
Congratulations on the book.
VAN JONES, AUTHOR, "REBUILD THE DREAM": Thank you.
SCHULTZ: It`s doing well early on, isn`t it?
JONES: It sure is. It`s turning up.
SCHULTZ: This is a real sea change moment.
JONES: Big deal.
SCHULTZ: You`ve got two of the biggest brands in American history in
advertising, and the imprint in the minds of people that brand products,
saying, no, we`re backing away from ALEC. How big is it?
JONES: This is a very, very big deal. First of all, most people had
never heard of ALEC. Color of Change has done an extraordinary job of
exposing their agenda. This is the Death Star. This is a pay to play
They have pulled together -- you heard Boehner, oh, it`s a partnership
between the legislative branch and the corporate. Buddy, two percent of
their money is coming from the legislators playing dues. Ninety eight
percent is corporate cash, pay to play, to get your laws passed at the
state level you can`t get done at the federal level.
Three thousand state legislators have been participating; 12 governors
and 100 Congress people, they meet once a year. They brag it`s the biggest
gathering of conservatives.
Dick Cheney comes to speak. And they have passed now model
legislation, 150 bills. What are these bills? They are the worst ideas
going: voter disenfranchisement, coming from ALEC, anti-immigrant -- that
Arizona anti-immigrant, ALEC. Stand Your Ground, Kill at Will laws, ALEC,
the same organization.
So this Color of Change group has now driven a wedge between
mainstream corporate products, who had no idea some of what they were
funding -- they thought they were just buying normal legislation.
SCHULTZ: You mean to tell me some of these organizations are funding
ALEC and they don`t even know what they were doing?
JONES: They had no idea, I believe, how radical this agenda was.
SCHULTZ: And so now this page has been opened up to this book. Do
you think that there will be more?
JONES: I believe that you`re going to see a stampede of mainstream
corporate groups saying, holy crap, we`ve been writing these 25,000 dollar
checks to this groups and we had no idea.
Listen, Trayvon, that child died. The police said we can`t put the
killer in jail because of this Stand Your Ground, Kill at Will Law. It
came from ALEC. Trayvon`s not safe walking to the store. His mom`s not
safe walking to the voting booth, because of the voting disenfranchisement
And an undocumented worker or a Latino isn`t safe walking to work
because of the same organization. And mainstream corporations associated
with this organization I think are in grave danger of having their brands
SCHULTZ: How strong is the social media going to be in this change?
How much pressure can they put on them?
JONES: This is going to be huge. What you`re going to see now --
listen, you`ve got a perfect storm building. You`ve got all of the passion
around Trayvon, and what a horrible injustice that was. And it turns out
you can draw a direct line back to the Koch Brothers. You can draw a
direct line back to mainstream corporations.
And what`s holding it together is a group named ALEC. And nobody even
heard of this group before. And yet they are driving some of the worst
policies in America.
SCHULTZ: Now, Wal-Mart is standing by ALEC.
SCHULTZ: This is a bad move.
JONES: Well, they are the number one guns sales place in America and
also for ammunition.
SCHULTZ: What does that tell you?
JONES: Well, I think Wal-Mart will have to reconsider. First of all,
this Stand Your Ground, Kill at Will Law is getting more and more
attention, more and more outrage. NRA wrote it, but ALEC funneled the
corporate cash to spread it to 20 states. You`ve got 20 states with every
children just as in danger as Trayvon because of ALEC.
I don`t see how a Wal-Mart or any reputable company can stand with
SCHULTZ: The bottom line here is that ALEC is the corporate hammer
legislatively. This isn`t happening because there`s marches in the street,
that people want laws put on the books because of safety or advocacy or
equal rights or anything like that.
This isn`t coming from the people. This is coming from corporations
that want the books written the way they want them written. And ALEC is
just the vehicle to get it done. And now you think that sponsors -- this
is the tip of the iceberg, that they are waking up to it?
JONES: I think Color of Change is going to stay on this, keep
exposing it. When you said the hammer, this is Tom Delay type politics,
pay to play politics, now taken to a much higher level of money, but under
the radar screen, going after our state and local governments. And this
has been going on.
Now it`s exposed. This group was founded in 1973 by Paul Rierich
(ph), one of the worst of the conservatives. This thing has now grown and
metastasized. Every single issue now points back to ALEC. The
corporations that are funding are -- they are sitting on a train track now.
And I believe the social movement is going to make it impossible for
corporations to continue to fund these crazy laws.
SCHULTZ: So you think the funding will be cut off? That is the next
step, to have Color of Change keep the pressure on?
JONES: I love Color of Change. I don`t run that organization.
JONES: I tell you what, I don`t know how --
SCHULTZ: But models like that?
JONES: I think Color of Change is going to keep leading the charge.
I don`t know how any corporation, once you lay out all of the laws that
this group is pushing, wants to be associated with that. Most of these
groups thought they were writing a little check so they could get their pro
business stuff done.
This is not pro business. This is anti-American.
SCHULTZ: Van Jones, great to have you with us. We will follow the
story. Thanks so much.
Coming up, explosive audio of an NFL coach offering money to his
players in exchange for injuring opponents. That`s next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The NFL`s investigation into
the New Orleans Saints` coaching staff took an ugly turn today. Last
month, the NFL gave former Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams an
indefinite suspension for giving cash to players who injured opponents.
Today, a film maker who was in the Saints` locker room before last
year`s playoff games with the 49ers released an audio recording of what he
says is Williams offering cash for injuries. The following audio has been
edited for time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGG WILLIAMS, FORMER NEW ORLEANS SAINTS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: We
hit (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Smith right there. Remember me, I got the first
one. I`ve got the first one. Go lay that mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out.
We need to first out in the first two series of the game, the little wide
receiver, number ten, about his concussion.
We need to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) put a lick on him right now. He needs
to decide. He needs to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) decide. We need to decide
whether Crabtree wants to be a fake (EXPLETIVE DELETED) primadona or he
wants to be a tough guy. We need to find that out.
He becomes human, when we (EXPLETIVE DELETED) take out that outside
ACL. We need to decide on how many times we can beat Frank Gore`s head.
Another thing we always say in this room is never apologize for the
way we compete. If you`re in this room, you understand that we don`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Saints lost the game to the 49ers. The former Saints` coach
is not appealing his suspension. It`s easy to understand why after hearing
Wisconsin Republicans are playing Otto Yonkerman (ph) style politics
again, running fake Democrats to disrupt the recall elections?
And could Mitt Romney actually be in legal trouble for giving out free
sandwiches? A Wisconsin district attorney is investigating. John Nichols
breaks it all down for us next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I`ve got to tell you who much I appreciate your coming by and
getting a free sandwich today. That is -- that`s a tough job, but
someone`s got to do it. Most you have voted already. A few of you have
And I want to make sure that people across Wisconsin get out and vote
today. Bring your friends to the polling place. Get out and vote. And if
you want another sandwich, there are more back there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I tell you what, he`s like a radio DJ doing a remote, isn`t
he? Giving out free sandwiches was a big hit with the crowd at the Mitt
Romney event earlier this week in Wisconsin. But it may have gotten the
candidate in some legal trouble.
The Waukesha County district attorney is investigating whether Romney
and Congressman Paul Ryan violated state election law when they handed out
free sandwiches at Cousin Subs. Under Wisconsin law, candidates are not
allowed to give out anything valued at more than a dollar in exchange for a
Well, the Cousin`s website tells us the turkey subs Romney was handing
out are worth four dollars and 59 cents.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin immediately filed a complaint with
the Government Accountability Board against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan,
accusing them of bribery. The Romney campaign responded by calling the
allegations ridiculous and laughable, showing a total disregard for the
states law. Violating the law could mean up to -- wow -- three years in
And Romney could get hit with a 10,000 dollar fine. But I think he
could swing it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I tell you what, 10,000 bucks? Ten thousand dollar bet?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And there`s more dirty Wisconsin Republican politics going
on to tell you about tonight. State Republicans are going to back to the
Otto Yonkerman style of polit6ics, trying to disrupt the Democratic
primaries for the upcoming recall elections.
The Republicans in Wisconsin -- the party is running fake Democrats in
the May 8th primaries for each of the six recall elections. It didn`t work
when they tried it last summer and I don`t think it`s going to work now.
That state very focused right now.
Let`s go to John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation"
magazine, and also the author of the book "Uprising," which is doing very
All right, I mean, to get in trouble for sandwiches -- and it`s just
unbelievable. Is there any chance this could be a real big problem for the
Romney campaign, John?
JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Yes, there is. This evening, I consulted
with the former attorney general of Wisconsin, Peg Lautenschlagger (ph).
And I said, look, should we take this seriously? And former Attorney
General Lautenschlagger said, let`s be clear about the facts. Number one,
this is a state law that`s been on the books for decades.
Number two, every candidate for office is informed about this law. It
is no secret. It`s been well publicized.
Number three, candidates who run repeatedly for office, folks like
Paul Ryan, who has run in a dozen of primaries and general elections over
the years, are well informed and well aware of the law, should know it by
There have been criminal prosecutions under this law in recent years.
And finally, perhaps most importantly, several of the prosecutions have
been for amounts of less than the value of a subway sandwich, and people
have been convicted. So it is a serious matter.
SCHULTZ: Well, some might say the Democrats are getting a little
picky over this thing. But you say --
SCHULTZ: -- that this is pretty tight. So they have filed this
complaint. How seriously is it being followed up on?
NICHOLS: Well, we`ll see. Waukesha County is a very Republican
county. And the D.A. there is certainly going to be under pressure to
dismiss this. I have to be honest, we can`t be too picayune about
politics. We should always recognize that mistakes can be made.
But it also important to remember that a dozen years ago, in a similar
circumstance, when Al Gore`s campaign was accused of giving away something
of less value, cigarettes, a young state legislator argued that the Gore
campaign and even former Vice President Gore ought to be prosecuted for
this, criminally prosecuted.
That young state legislator was Scott Walker.
SCHULTZ: Wow. Best thing Romney could probably do is just write the
check and get it over with. Who knows, he may just do that. All right,
what about the Republicans running these fake Democrats in the recall
elections? It hasn`t worked in the past. But is there any chance of this
NICHOLS: No, it will have less traction this time. Remember, the
state Senate races occurred in individual districts. They were the only
races on the ballot.
This time, in the May 8th election, you`re going to have a hotly
contested Democratic campaign for governor, with multiple candidates. And
so Democrats are going to be out en masse. Nobody is going to get fooled.
And there`s also the reality that there will be a Republican primary as
well. So I don`t see that kind of cross over.
SCHULTZ: John, in the state of Wisconsin, no doubt, ALEC has been
very involved in the legislative process, as they have been in some other
states. The story we carried earlier in this broadcast is that Pepsi and
Coke have pulled their sponsorship from ALEC.
Van Jones thinks it`s going to be an avalanche. What do you think?
What are you hearing?
NICHOLS: It is an avalanche already. This story broke out of
Wisconsin. The Center for Media and Democracy did the ALEC Expose project
last summer. Color of Change has picked it up. And this evening, we learn
from Reuters that Kraft Foods, one of the big food producing giants in
America, has announced that they are not going to renew their membership in
This thing is moving literally hour by hour.
SCHULTZ: Well, what is this going to do to ALEC? Is it going to
legislatively slow them down? Obviously they need money to function. How
much money do they need? Does this mean that they are not going to be able
to cash-whip legislators to get them to vote the way they want them to?
NICHOLS: The key thing is putting these legislators together in the
same room with representatives of major corporations. Money doesn`t
necessarily pass across the table in that room. But those legislators get
to know very powerful players in very powerful corporations.
And that -- obviously that can play out in politics later on. If you
get the corporations away from ALEC, the legislators are going to leave
pretty quickly as well. This organization will not have the influence that
SCHULTZ: Social media is very, very strong. It`s going to be
interesting to see how this turns into a real economic tornado for ALEC.
John Nichols, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks for your time.
That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
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