The Ed Show for Monday, April 9, 2012
Read the transcript to the Monday show
Guests: Tammy Baldwin, Terry O`Neill, James Peterson, Daryl Parks, Sam
Stein, Howard Fineman, Larry Cohen
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW tonight from New York.
Republicans don`t want to take credit for a war they started. Have we
seen this movie before? Oh, yes!
This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: They are trying to manufacture, for
example, this phony Republican war on women.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): The four-star generals and the war on women
claim there`s no war at all?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Talk about a
manufactured issue. There is no issue.
SCHULTZ: Terri O`Neill of the National Organization for Women, and
Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin are here.
The right wing smear machine is trotting out an old favorite.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They took clauses out of context to try to scare
white voters away from Barack Obama.
SCHULTZ: We`ll have the latest on the Republican effort to divide the
country by race.
There is a major racial divide in how whites and blacks view the
Trayvon Martin killing. And there is major news in the investigation of
And Karl Rove is warming up the Death Star.
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH AIDE: The record needs to be set straight
about what this administration`s policies are.
SCHULTZ: The American Crossroads attack machine is officially fired
up, and it`s going to get ugly.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for
I guess the key word here is "manufacture." It is the denial that is
The Republican leader in the Senate continues to toe the line for the
GOP. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says that there is no Republican
war on women, and believes his female colleagues in the Congress would
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Talk about a manufactured issue, there is no issue.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire and Susan
Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine I think would be the first to say,
and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, we don`t see any evidence of this.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Really. McConnell should check with members of his own
caucus before he makes that kind of a statement because Senator Olympia
Snowe has called the GOP`s battle a retro debate. Senate Kay Bailey
Hutchison of Texas voiced her support for Planned Parenthood, an
organization her party wishes to defund, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of
Alaska denounces the party`s agenda.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: It makes no sense to attack women.
And if you don`t view this as an attack on women and you need to go home
and you need to talk to your wives. You need to go talk to your daughters.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So can we come to the conclusion that the leader in the
Republican Party does not want to sit there and listen to his own caucus?
Is that what we`re going to do? Are we going to sit there and believe that
these three Republican women certainly are totally off base and have no
Well, let me tell you, Senator Olympia Snowe has called the battle a
retrofit. Fortunately, for Mitch McConnell the Republicans Party true
leader threw him a lifeline and echoed his talking points.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: They`re trying to manufacture, for example, this phony
Republican war on women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The Republicans attack on women is extending beyond health
care as DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz points out, the GOP is taking
aim at women`s economic security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: The policies that have
come out of the Republican Party saying that we should have to have a
debate again over contraception and whether we should have access to it and
whether it should be affordable, saying that, you know, like Governor Scott
Walker in Wisconsin, he tried to quietly repeal the Equal Pay Act, women
aren`t going to stand for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: In 2009, Wisconsin ranked 36th in the nation in terms of
gender parity. Then came the Equal Pay Enforcement Act. The law makes it
easier for victims of wage discrimination to take their case to court. A
year later, Wisconsin climbed to 24th in gender parity.
But wait, Thursday, Scott Walker repealed that law. There`s no war on
Not everyone thinks Walker`s agenda is a bad idea. Republican State
Senator Glen Grothman who pushed for equal pay repeal explained the right
wing logic to "The Daily Beast."
"You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy
in their first job, maybe because they expect to be is a breadwinner
someday. Maybe a little more money to attribute everybody to a so-called
bias to the workplace is not true."
Can you not believe how these folks think? And while Grothman openly
advocating to turn back the clock in Wisconsin, one prominent Walker
supporter has kept quiet. Who? Mitt Romney.
He`s called Walker, let`s see, a hero and a man of courage. He
supports Walker`s anti-union agenda and even though he backs the Ryan
budget, Mitt Romney also believes if his campaign can win on the economy,
he can win women voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Women are really struggling
in this economy. And I believe that the way we`re going to get women
voters in our side of the column is by talking about how we`re going to get
this economy going again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But now that a fellow Republican has gone after women`s
paychecks, now that a fellow Republican has made it more difficult for
women to be compensated fairly, Mitt Romney isn`t so willing to go before
the American people and advocate for women`s economic security. He`s not
willing to take a stand. Mitt Romney remains silent.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: can Republicans make the war on women go away by pretending it
Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. You can always go to our
blog, at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results later on in this show.
I`m joined tonight by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, now
running for the United States Senate seat in the state of Wisconsin.
Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your
Equality. That`s really what we`re talking about, equality for women
in society. We`re talking about jobs. We`re talking about health care.
In the state of Wisconsin, they have repealed a law that would make it --
would force the state to make sure that women get paid properly in the
workplace. How can the Republican Party recover from this?
REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D), WISCONSIN: Well, it`s shocking. All these
things that we thought were very well settled, equal pay for equal work,
settled decades ago, access to birth control, settled decades ago, we see
these issues being re-litigated today. And it is shocking to me.
Women make important decisions all the time about their own health
care, about their family`s health care, about education, about their family
budget. People have to start trusting women, and I have to say these
comments you`ve been sharing with your viewers tonight from Republican
leaders show how just out of touch they are with Wisconsin women for sure.
SCHULTZ: What impression does it leave on you when you have Mitch
McConnell saying exactly opposite what three women in his caucus are
BALDWIN: Well, it just shows me how out of touch he is. In
Wisconsin, women are absolutely aghast. They can`t believe in the state of
Wisconsin that we have seen a measure to bring justice for women who don`t
get equal pay for equal work repealed by our state legislature and signed
into law by the governor.
And they look at the debates that are having -- that are occurring in
Congress and the state legislature, for example, over access to birth
control, and they say, really? We can`t believe that this is being debated
again. This is settled as far as we`re concerned.
And when are you going to start focusing on jobs and economic growth
and fairness and justice again? Speak of manufactured issues, the focus
ought to be on getting our economic growing again.
SCHULTZ: That seems to be the bullet point right now, that every
issue that`s brought up about women and equality in our society and laws
that are being proposed or being struck down, it`s all manufactured.
What`s your response to that?
BALDWIN: Well, you know, I have seen in this particular congress over
and over again partisan manufactured games-playing and manufactured crises.
I mean, look, if you look back over the last year, we see us going to the
verge of shutting down the federal government over whether to extend a
middle class payroll tax cut? We see us getting very, very close to not
making our debt obligations, making good on our debt obligations, over an
effort to gut essential programs in the federal government.
I mean, time after time we see a manufactured crisis, one that could
be completely averted. And as I said, when I talk to Wisconsin families
over and over again they say, birth control? Really? Are you seriously
debating that in this day and age?
They want us to get back to business. They want us to understand what
they`re going through right now. You know, in this tax season as people
are preparing for filing their returns, they want to see tax fairness,
which is why I introduced the Buffett Rule.
When we`re talking about getting people back to work, they want us
demanding a level playing field. That`s what they want us focusing on, is
increasing the middle class. And they see this as preposterous, and
especially when it focuses so much on women.
Trust women. Women have made responsible and important choices for as
long as we know.
BALDWIN: Trust women.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Congresswoman. Tammy Baldwin with us tonight
here on THE ED SHOW.
Now, let`s turn to Terry O`Neill, president for the National
Organization of Women.
Mitch McConnell says he doesn`t know what members of his own caucus
were saying. What do you make of that, Terry?
TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, N.O.W: You know, I guess we should be
grateful he knew the names of the women in the Republican caucus in the
Senate. He certainly isn`t listening to what they are saying. Clearly,
Senator Snowe, Senator Hutchison -- Senator Murkowski who had to apologize
for voting for restrict birth control when she voted for the Blunt
amendment. Those women really do know.
And the reason that Senator Murkowski apologized because she really
caught huge blow back in Alaska from independent women and Republican women
when she went home for the weekend after casting that vote.
Mitch McConnell is certainly not listening.
SCHULTZ: Can Mitt Romney afford to avoid this issue and just let the
sound chamber and people in the Senate say that it`s all manufactured and
it`s no big deal?
O`NEILL: No. And being in denial is not going to make the war on
women go away.
But the Republicans can make the war on women go away, and here`s how
they can do it. First of all, they can all take a birth control pledge and
say, I promise to do everything I can to enact policies that will make
birth control available universally to women throughout the entire country.
Birth control is fundamental to help preventive health care. And every
woman should have it in this country. So, take the birth control pledge.
Take the pledge not to cut Social Security or increase the retirement
age or be stingier with the cost of living adjustment on Social Security,
which is still being murmured about inside the Beltway in Washington. Take
that pledge that you`re going to protect Social Security. We know that
women disproportionately rely on it.
Take the pledge to roundly condemn Scott Walker for going after female
public employees` collective bargaining rights, right? He exempted the
state troopers, the police and firefighters from his anti-collective
bargaining law so that that law would only affect the nurses, the teachers,
the social workers, and the home health care workers.
SCHULTZ: Terry O`Neill, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so
much. The battle continues on.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts @EdShow. We want to know what you think.
And this programming note: Thursday, I`m going to have an exclusive
interview with Vice President Joe Biden in Exeter, New Hampshire. We will
be there. He`s giving a speech on tax fairness, one of my favorite
Coming up, race will be a factor in this year`s election and anyone
who denies it is ignoring the facts. Conservatives are even bringing up
Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Dr. James Peterson joins me on that.
Mitt Romney, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are just getting started
in the effort to bring down President Obama. I`ll talk about the Citizens
United election coming up with Howard Fineman and Sam Stein.
Stay with us. We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: And we have an update on the story that we told you about
last week. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced it will end
its support for ALEC -- the right-wing group pushing conservative
legislation all around the country. The Gates foundation had given nearly
$400,000 to ALEC over the last couple of years but no more. The Gates
foundation joins a long list of big name donors leaving ALEC, including,
Kraft, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Intuit.
Coming up, righties are using Jeremiah Wright again to bash the
president? I`ll ask Dr. James Peterson if it`s going to work.
And breaking news in the Trayvon Martin case: George Zimmerman is
asking people to donate money to his legal defense fund. The Martin family
attorney is here to respond to that.
Share your thoughts on Twitter using the #EdShow.
We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Jeremiah Wright is back. The birthers are back. The race, no doubt,
is going to be a factor coming up and this race is going to be a factor in
this year`s election.
Here`s what Missouri Congressman Vicky Hartzler said when asked about
President Obama`s birth certificate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VICKY HARTZLER (R), MISSOURI: I have a lot of doubts about all
that. I don`t know. I haven`t seen it. I`m just the same place as you
are on that. You read this and read that. I don`t understand why he
didn`t show that right away. I mean, if someone asks me for my birth
certificate, I go to my baby book and hand it out and say here it is.
I don`t know, but they say that it`s real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The congresswoman later tried to soften her comments saying
she was confirming this issue has been raised by many of her constituents.
Congressman Cliff Sterns of Florida has also raised doubts about the
president`s birth certificate.
The flack over the president`s birth certificate has always been a way
for conservatives to portray President Obama as the other, so to speak.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright had some controversial things during some
sermons he delivered this weekend. And conservatives are jumping all over
it. It`s an effort to inject race into the election, even though Wright
hasn`t been Barack Obama`s pastor for four years.
But when Dan Rather said race would be a factor in this year`s
election, some conservative Web sites blamed the media for stirring up the
Here is what Dan Rather said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN RATHER, JOURNALIST: Let`s not forget that race will be factor in
this presidential campaign. Yes, the country can feel good about we
elected a person of color, which I did not expect do see in my lifetime,
but race will be a factor in this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: According to a new poll, race relations are still a problem.
Eighty-nine percent of blacks and 72 percent of whites say the country is
either very divided by race or somewhat divided by race. Only 40 percent
of whites believe President Obama has been helpful in bridging the racial
Let`s turn to Dr. James Peterson, professor of Africana studies and
associate professor of English at Lehigh University. Those polls show
professor some pretty interesting numbers.
Great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ: Those polls show race as still a problem and the president
gets mixed reviews. What do you make of it?
PETERSON: Well, I think the polls are accurate, and I don`t think we
need the polls to understand the ways in which race has been rolled out
over the course of this last year. I mean, let`s take a look at some of
the big public cases.
Let`s look at the Republican presidential case, where you get N-word
head, you get to revisionist history about slavery from Michele Bachmann
and black families. You get the food stamp presidency. You get the
disrespect of Juan Williams, you get the -- I don`t care about or let`s
tell black people or black people to earn their money instead of getting
assistance from the government.
Race is already being injected here. But I take issue with the fact
that race in and of itself has to be a negative conversation. We need toe
have progressive and positive conversations around the issue of race. And
yes, we have a long way to go. So saying it`s a factor, you know, it`s so
obvious to me that I can`t imagine why anyone would try to sort of make a
big issue about it. Obviously, it`s factor.
SCHULTZ: We`re hearing about Jeremiah Wright again. I mean, I just
can`t believe that.
Does anyone care about this? I mean, I`m bringing it up because the
right wing is bringing it up.
SCHULTZ: And the reason we have to talk about how rotten and how
filthy they are and how low they`ll go and they`ll make any comparison they
PETERSON: Sure. When we talk about -- sometimes we use the euphemism
of red meat that we throw out -- that politicians throw out to the base to
get them really riled up. And because Jeremiah Wright was so electrifying
in the election season, they`re going to try to go back. FOX will
especially try to go back to him as much as possible to try to recapture
that kind of energy. They are trying to raise their base up. Get folks
interested in the election around negative politics. It`s said and
But, again, those statements by Reverend Jeremiah Wright were taken
completely out of context. Those folks on the right who say we live in a
free country where you`re supposed to be able to critique your government,
you should be able to say what you want to say in the pulpit or whatever,
they should actually be standing behind what Jeremiah Wright.
He served his country. And what he was saying there, in the context
of that sermon made a lot of sense in terms of -- if America is going to be
a certain way, then obviously God will render judgment on it. There`s
nothing more Christian than that, right?
SCHULTZ: The birther nonsense -- I mean, it just keeps coming up
again and again. But Republican Party has shown very little leadership on
You know, when it comes up, well, he says he was born in America. You
know, that`s what it says on the birth certificate, but we`re really not
PETERSON: Yes, absence of Republican leadership on this issue, they
take the same tone when they are trying to endorse or not endorse Mitt
Romney. It`s very lukewarm. It`s very -- it vacillates between what they
really think and what they`re trying to say politically.
But the bottom line is here we can`t allow the right the ways to
dictate the ways in which the discourse around race needs to move forward.
We`ve got to take control of the discourse. We`ve got to be more
In a year where we have Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin, where issues of
race are left and death, we`ve got to be able to have constructive
conversations around race, and we can`t let the folk on the right distract
us with these crazy ideas about even to mention race, or try some of these
serious issues means we`re race-baiting, or we`re using some kind of
negative way. We`re trying to make progress here.
SCHULTZ: Are we making progress? I mean, you know, we look at the
laws being passed in this country. We see the polling numbers that are out
there. We see the hatesters out and about on the president of the United
States questioning his citizenship, you know, his faith.
SCHULTZ: It`s just --
PETERSON: It`s disheartening -- it`s disheartening sometimes, Ed.
And I feel you on that.
But, yes, we are making progress. Barack Obama is the president. But
when we make those kind of huge leaps in history, there`s going to be some
backlash. And we have been dealing with a lot of that backlash in
presidential politics and in the political sphere.
And sadly, we`re dealing with some issues in the public sphere, around
police brutality, around not abolishing the death penalty because we don`t
just understand how bias and how prejudice it`s been historically.
So, we have work to do. And your show is about that work. You know
I`m about that work. We can`t allow the right to just sort of cast a
negative cloak over any discussions about race because then we can`t move
forward and move beyond some of the historical things we`ve been dealing
SCHULTZ: Dr. James Peterson -- great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
PETERSON: Thanks for having me, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up -- a new development in the Trayvon Martin case
fuels speculation about a possible arrest. But George Zimmerman is showing
he won`t go down without a fight. His new Web site highlights an act of
vandalism against a university`s black cultural center. A Martin family
attorney joins me next.
And respect I think has left the building. A sitting Republican
senator tells his Twitter followers that President Obama is stupid. You
mean the last guy wasn`t?
SCHULTZ: The special prosecutor investigating the Trayvon Martin case
in Florida has pulled the plug on a planned grand jury hearing. This means
prosecutor Angela Corey is taking full responsibility for deciding whether
or not to charge George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin. The
grand jury has been scheduled to convene tomorrow by the former attorney in
charge of the case, Norman Wolfinger.
Wolfinger recused himself last month amidst increasing public outrage
over the handling of the investigation. Corey`s decision to skip the grand
jury hearing indicates Zimmerman will not be charged with first-degree
murder since Florida law requires a grand jury in those cases. He could
still be charged with a serious felony like manslaughter.
Trayvon Martin`s family is encouraged by the development. Their
attorney Benjamin Crump released this following statement, "We are not
surprised by this announcement, and, in fact, we are hopeful that a
decision will be reached very soon to arrest George Zimmerman and give
Trayvon Martin`s family the simple justice they have been seeking all
Meanwhile, Zimmerman is reaching out to his supporters online. That`s
right, the shooter. He has set up a Web site to solicit donations for his
legal expenses and bills.
And "Think Progress" reports tonight, Zimmerman`s site features a
picture of a black cultural center at Ohio State University that was
vandalized with the phrase "Long Live George Zimmerman."
I`m joined now by Daryl Parks, attorney for the family of Trayvon
Mr. Parks, can you respond -- thank you for joining us, first of all.
DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Can you respond to that Web site of what George Zimmerman is
PARKS: Well, we`ve always believed that Mr. Zimmerman is entitled to
a full defense. You may not know this, Ed, but I`m also president of the
National Bar Association. I`m for everyone having their day in court and a
I think that this family all along has only wanted civility in this
case. They continue to want a fair, public trial. That`s what`s important
that we have in this particular case.
At the end of the day, I think you describe Mr. Zimmerman correctly.
He is the shooter. So he must stand his day in court. If he believes he
has a defense, he should put on that defense.
SCHULTZ: But he is playing on the emotion of hate on his website to
get money to defend himself.
PARKS: Well, you know, we`ve always said there`s no place for hatred
in America. This particular family, the Martin family, believes that
there`s no place for that. We should all be together. There should be
civility. These situations should be handled in a court of law. That`s
what we believe to this day.
SCHULTZ: So he wants people to pay for his living expenses, help his
legal situation financially, and he puts that up on his website. I think
it speaks volumes about how desperate they are, and also trying to gin up
emotion to get people on his side. It`s very sad.
The other thing is the cancellation of the Grand Jury. What does it
PARKS: It means that Angela Corey has taken control of the case
herself. The one thing about the Grand Jury, you never know who is on the
Grand Jury, what evidence they`re probably seeing.
With the case now in her hands, she gets to do what`s called a direct
filing. She gets to examine the evidence that her investigators have
collected since they`ve been involved in the case, along with the evidence
that may have been there previously.
Then she gets to make a decision. We have all the confidence in the
world that she is going to do the right thing and file the charges against
SCHULTZ: OK. So you think she`s going to make an arrest in the near
PARKS: Well, we -- we sincerely hope and believe that she`s going to
do just that. We believe that all the evidence in the world that she could
ever need leads directly to him being arrested and convicted.
SCHULTZ: Did you think that there was going to be a Grand Jury? Were
you surprised by this?
PARKS: I wasn`t surprised by that. As a matter of fact, if you
probably saw some of the interviews that the legal team has done in the
past, we knew that there was a real possibility that she would go ahead and
do a direct filing. In fact, if you listen to her interviews, she sort of
was hinting at that all along, that there was a real possibility that she
might do this. So when she announced that today, it was not news to me at
SCHULTZ: How soon do you think an arrest is going to take place?
PARKS: It`s hard to put a finite number of days.
SCHULTZ: This week?
PARKS: We`re hopeful it will be this week. We`re very hopeful it
will be this week.
SCHULTZ: And student protests force the Sanford Police Department to
close for a few hours today. How important are these continued protests to
keep the case moving forward and visible?
PARKS: It`s very important. It keeps the consciousness of everyone
on getting justice for Trayvon. As long as there`s a reminder there,
everyone knows that we need to move in that direction. So I think that
it`s the collective energy that we have experienced here that is helping
this thing keep its momentum and getting it to the proper day in court.
SCHULTZ: Daryl Parks, appreciate your time tonight. Thanks for
joining us here on THE ED SHOW.
PARKS: Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH: The record
needs to be set straight about what this administration`s policies are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Bush`s brain is joining up with team Romney to destroy the
president. Howard Fineman and Sam Stein on today`s big news from American
A United States senator tries to degrade the president on Twitter with
an insult and gets busted. We`ll show you the Tweet.
And Republicans in Congress take the war on workers to a whole new
level. You won`t believe who is behind this website.
SCHULTZ: The biggest Republican super PAC is shelling out big bucks
to help Mitt Romney win the White House. The "New York Times" reported,
"with an anticipated bank account of more than 200 million dollars,
officials at American Crossroads said that they would probably begin their
campaign this month."
Crossroads is co-founded by Karl Rove, who gave a sneak preview of the
coming assault on President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: American Crossroads is about to launch its first
major anti-Obama blitz this month, in terms of an advertising campaign.
What`s that going to look like?
ROVE: Well, it will be revealed later this week. But President Obama
took -- his campaign bought 1.4 million dollars worth of ads in
battleground states to go after Governor Romney on the issue of energy
prices. The record needs to be set straight about what this
administration`s policies are with regard to energy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: If you want an idea of the kind of ads Crossroads will run
against President Obama, look no further than the gas pump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now he`s taking credit. For which part? The
five dollar gas or the millions of American families struggling because of
it? Tell the president his oppressive energy policies aren`t working for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Of course, we know domestic oil production is at an eight-
year high. The oil and gas extraction industry has one of the best
employment rates in the country. But in the age of Citizens United,
Crossroads can be as dishonest as they want to be.
Let`s bring in Howard Fineman, NBC political analyst and editorial
director of the Huffington Post Media Group, and also Sam Stein, political
reporter for the "Huffington Post."
Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.
SAM STEIN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: What does Crossroads Super PAC do for Mitt Romney`s chance?
I mean, we look at the polls right now, heck, it`s April. We got a long
way to go, and a whole bunch of money is going to be spent.
How different is the landscape going to be or could it be?
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP: Well, I think American
Crossroads is going to go after the president`s policies, but go after them
in a personal way. You saw that they said in that ad that his policies are
not working for us. It`s going to be us against them. The them being
Barack Obama and his administration.
I think they will try to put a personal tone on it. Because if you
look at the polling, Ed, one of the places where the president remains
strong among independent voters is that they like him. They kind of trust
him as a person even if they disagree with him on policies.
Whereas Barack -- whereas Mitt Romney has a very unfavorable,
favorable rating balance with the American public right now. My sense is
what Rove is going to do with his so-called independent group is to try to
personalize it and go after the president in as nasty a way as he can,
while supposedly keeping it on the issues.
SCHULTZ: Sam, co-founder of Crossroads, Ed Gillespie, joined the
Romney campaign as a senior adviser. Is that all we need to know about how
connected the Romney campaign is to the Crossroads outfit?
STEIN: First off, let me say, who a distinguished panel to be on here
with Howard Fineman. Second, yes, I mean --
SCHULTZ: Who signs the checks in this group any way?
FINEMAN: Neither one of us, actually.
SCHULTZ: All right, just checking.
FINEMAN: Arianna Huffington does.
STEIN: Secondly, yes, you`re right to point out that there`s this
network that is clearly -- with a lot of connectiveness here. It`s not
just Ed Gillespie joining the Romney campaign as an adviser. It`s the fact
that Romney`s own super PAC, Restore Our Future, has executives who were
with him at Bain, people who have consulted with him.
You know, they know each other. They know their instincts. So yes,
they cannot legally coordinate, but they know exactly what each other wants
in terms of messaging and strategy.
One other important note on that Karl Rove clip that you played, he
was a little disingenuous there. It wasn`t -- his ad was not in response
to Obama`s ad. Obama`s ad was actually in response to an oil industry ad
that had been airing.
I think that`s important to note because the amount of money that`s
going to come into this race through these super PACs, through these third
party groups, is going to be overwhelming. It`s going to be very tough to
keep track of what originated -- who originated the attack and how much
money has been spent on it.
SCHULTZ: And there`s another conservative talker in the mix. Mike
Huckabee hit the radio airwaves today and picked up on the Crossroads
script gas prices. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Here`s what I know: gasoline is twice
what it was since President Obama took office. And so many people have
given up looking for work that it may just not matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, I just -- I don`t know if he`s reading from a script
there or if he`s actually doing a radio show. But, Howard, is Huckabee
going to be, you know, another important figure for the Republican attack
FINEMAN: Well, the way to look at this is that -- is that if Karl
Rove is really the quarterback here, and he`s got his football team spread
all over the field. He`s calling the signals in public. First of all, by
announcing that they are going to have a 200 million dollar campaign, they
are basically sending out, you know, the bat signal into the sky to all the
billionaires to come give money to American Crossroads, to double down, now
that Romney`s campaign also needs to raise more money.
And Rove is very close to the key people in the Romney campaign such
as Stewart Stephens, the message guru of the Romney campaign. Karl Rove is
the past master. He`s the architect. He`s probably the closest thing
there is to, as I said, the quarterback of what will be the opposition to
I think they are all going to key off of what Karl Rove says in public
as a, quote, independent guy. Because he can speak freely -- he can speak
more freely than anybody else, including the campaign itself.
SCHULTZ: Sam, this is the segment that aired right after Karl Rove
appeared on Fox News today. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gas price are sky high. And the folks across the
country know that. But they actually could be worse. Where some Americans
are paying seven dollars a gallon for regular.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, it`s all the president`s fault. You got Crossroads
campaign. They got their own network now. You have right wing radio, got
a new one out there reading the script. And you got Fox News just working
them over big time. I mean, seriously, will the Obama camp be able to take
all of this on, this whole orchestration and effort? It`s something that
we really haven`t seen before.
STEIN: I think that`s probably one of the top three most important
questions of this election. In 2008, the Obama campaign said, listen,
funnel all your money through us. We want to coordinate a message and we
can do it ourselves. They did.
The question now is can you survive on a campaign like that in a post-
Citizens United world? To this point, the Obama campaign has had to do it,
because their allied super PAC has raised next to nothing. How long
liberal and progressive donors are going to sit on sideline as these
segments like you just played happen is a key question to this election.
And you can already see it, that the campaign is saying, listen, it`s
not as close -- it`s not as much of a shoo-in as you all think it is. You
see David Axelrod saying complacency is terrible. You see them sending out
fund raising e-mails say the polls show us actually losing.
So I think they`re getting very, very nervous about this.
SCHULTZ: Howard, can the Obama team and their super PACs spend less
and still win?
FINEMAN: I think Barack Obama, because of 2008 and because of the
excellence of their internal organization, they`re obviously going to be
competitive. And they`re also going to raise a lot of money. The 200
million sound like a lot from Karl Rove. That`s just the beginning on the
But the Obama campaign, itself, will just be the beginning on the
Democratic side. I think union support and union in kind separate
contributions through their own efforts organizationally will be very
important. I think the president is going to need some of those
millionaires and even billionaires to pony up on the Democratic and
progressive side if they`re going to match it.
This campaign, I predict, when it`s all over, could get close to four
billion. The three -- you heard the three billion number. I think it`s
going to four. I think every big corporation in America, every interest
group in America, every sector of the economy in America is going to be in
with their own super PAC.
We`ve just begun what -- and as Sam rightly described, it`s going be
hard for anybody to keep track of, let alone to strategize in the middle
of, because the fire is going to be coming from all direction
SCHULTZ: Howard Fineman, Sam Stein, great to have you with us.
Thanks so much.
FINEMAN: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Republican Senator Chuck Grassley calls President Obama
stupid. We`ll show you why he`s Grassley is no genius himself. Stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ultimately, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Last week, President Obama gave his take on judicial
activism. This weekend, Senator Chuck Grassley scolded the president on
Twitter in a very confusing message. Let me help translate it for you.
"Constituents asked why I am not outraged at President Obama`s attack
on Supreme Court independence. Because American people are not as stupid
as this ex-professor of Constitutional law."
Grassley is the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It
was only a year ago when Grassley was preaching the virtues of judicial
restraint from the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Those who can`t get
their policy vies enacted through the legislative process, as our
Constitution requires, often turn to the courts. But I flatly reject that
The Constitution vest legislative power in the Congress, not the
courts. Judges are simply not policy makers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Grassley might wand to hold off on the name calling on
Twitter. Maybe he should stick to wardrobe advice, like this Tweet about
Mitt Romney. "Everybody asking how Romney relates to average person. Me
thinks no problem, but if so, I have answer. Just leave starch out of
Must be farm talk from Iowa. Or maybe he should stick to promoting
his interviews with Greta Van Sunshine. No, that would be Van Susteren.
But whatever. Maybe the senator had had a couple of cool ones and was jut
playing with his Twitter.
Actually, I think somebody should pull the plug on grandpa`s Twitter.
Don`t you think? That would be the smart thing to do.
In the Big Finish, anti-union Congressman Darrell Issa is trying to
dupe American workers with pictures of Roosevelt and Bobby Kennedy. Larry
Cohen, the president of the Communication Workers of America, is here to
set him straight.
SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked can Republicans make the war
on women go away by pretending it doesn`t exist? Three percent of you said
yes; 97 percent of you said no.
Coming up, Darrell Issa disguises his latest union busting tactic as a
pro-worker website shows up. Larry Cohen of the Communication Workers of
America responds to Issa`s attack and tactics on the right wing.
Don`t forget to listen to my radio show, Sirius XM channel 127, Monday
through Friday, noon to 3:000. Follow me on Twitter @EdShow, and like THE
ED SHOW on Facebook. We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, Congressman Darrell Issa is
taking union busting to a new level and a new tactic. The richest member
of Congress is using your tax dollars to fund a program to eliminate the
voice of workers in politics.
Issa has set up a new website run by the House Oversight Committee.
He is selling it as a way to listen directly to the rank and file union
workers. The project is called Protecting Our Workers.
At first glance, it looks like hey, we got a pro-worker website out
there. The homepage features a picture of Bobby Kennedy. That`s pretty
union. Another page shows FDR. That`s really union.
But the purpose of the website is to attack unions and demonize their
participation in politics. Issa encourages workers to blow the whistle on
union political spending. Darrell Issa wants you to think the website is
all about freedom.
But really it`s all about Issa`s desire to eliminate the voice of
working men and women in the workplace and from the political arena.
Joining me tonight is Larry Cohen, president of the Communication
Workers of America. Larry, I`m sure you`re aware of this. Your thoughts?
This is a tactic that we`ve never seen before. They`re going right to the
workers, trying to let them tell their story about how poor life is in the
LARRY COHEN, COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: Yes, well,
first of a all, obviously they`re not going to the workers that I see and
hear from every day, workers that are fed up with the policies of this
Congress, workers that are fed up with the destruction of bargaining rights
in the public and private sectors across this country.
But also, as you pointed out, he takes Franklin Roosevelt, the first
president who said if I was a worker, what I would do is join a union. He
takes Bobby Kennedy, who assassinated supporting the progressive movement
of 1968. And even Abraham Lincoln is there, who was the president, and
ironically a Republican, who specifically talked about the rights of
workers, iron molders and others, at that early time to organize and form
So why should the facts matter, Ed? But I think, more importantly,
this is the beginning of the 99 percent spring training. It`s our spring
training. The baseball spring training is over. And this spring training
is progressives across the country, 100,000 of us, started today training
each other on the economic issues of our time, on our own narrative about
how we talk about the economic issues of our time.
This is 100,000 working people, and about how we will take collective
SCHULTZ: As far as Darrell Issa is concerned and what the Republicans
-- the union busters out there a doing is that they`re trying to present
the picture that union management is shaking down workers in the workplace
to create this political fund that could go out and spend it any way they
want. I need you to respond to that.
COHEN: Yes, first of all, we totally oppose Citizens United and that
Supreme Court decision. We need to get the money out of politics. We need
to restore the democracy to where every vote counts, not every billionaire
counts. So that`s the root of the problem. That problem can be fixed.
And we support the Constitutional amendments that would do that.
Again, that democracy is critical to why we`re seeing the 99 percent
spring training now. So we oppose any use of that kind of money in
politics, no matter who it might be. But in our union and in all that I
know of, that`s a separate fund. People give it if they want to give it.
They don`t if they don`t.
SCHULTZ: So they`re not forced to give?
COHEN: They`re not forced to give. More importantly, let`s get all
the money out of politics and restore the democracy that we all believe in,
including his money, as you said, the richest member in Congress.
SCHULTZ: Why is it that the Republican party, collectively, is so
anti-worker and anti-union? You`ve heard some of the things that Mitt
Romney has said on the campaign trail, Santorum, Gingrich. I mean, they
can`t stand what you stand for. How is that playing with workers?
COHEN: I think it`s playing badly, this kind of economic
polarization. It`s their class war. I think that we`re going to send them
a message this spring that this goes both ways. But also, as you said, if
you went back to the presidency of Gerald Ford, Gerald Ford actually
extended the National Labor Relations Act to health care and other workers
who weren`t included in it.
And all through American history, starting with Abraham Lincoln, until
that point, many Republicans, if not a majority, supported workers` rights,
even though they were economically conservative in other ways.
If workers don`t have bargaining and organizing rights in an economy
like ours, what rights do they have? And how do you restore demand in the
SCHULTZ: Larry Cohen, great to have you with us tonight. I
appreciate your time.
COHEN: My pleasure.
SCHULTZ: We will continue to expose the way they are going after
organized labor in this country. They say it`s an unfair playing field.
Not a chance.
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
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