updated 5/9/2012 3:32:31 PM ET 2012-05-09T19:32:31

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Maxine Waters, James Hoffa, Terry O`Neill, John Nichols, E.J.
Dionne


ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW,
live from Las Vegas.

Just two days into President Obama`s re-election bid, Mitt Romney
failed yet another test of leadership. I`ll show you why America is
talking about treason tonight.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a president that`s operating outside the
structure of our Constitution. I do agree he should be tried for treason.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Mitt Romney didn`t have the guts to answer that
question until he was forced to take a side.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t correct all the
questions that get asked of me. I obviously don`t agree that he should be
tried.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Maxine Waters on the failed leadership of Mitt
Romney.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are still fired up.
We are still ready to go.

SCHULTZ: Romney has Citizens United. The president has a big
endorsement from labor. Tonight, my exclusive interview with Teamsters`
president, James Hoffa.

The Democrats are ready to pick a winner in Wisconsin. New details on
the big money and the big stakes in the Walker recall. "The Nation`s" John
Nichols is here with a primary night preview.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Mitt Romney continues to prove himself totally incapable of leading
the Republican Party and this country. Today he held another famous town
hall event near Cleveland, Ohio, where the extreme right-wingers were out
and about in full force.

Ohio state auditor, Dave Yost, got the ball rolling before Romney came
out on stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE YOST, OHIO STATE AUDITOR: All this stuff in the last couple of
weeks about the president claiming credit for killing bin Laden. It
strikes me a little weird. I mean, that`s like giving Ronald McDonald
credit for the big mac you had for lunch. I mean, everybody knows it`s
really the guy at the grill that deserves credit, right? Not the pitch man
on TV.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Comparing the bin Laden raid to fast food was really just
the beginning.

Next, the state auditor Yost attacked President Obama for going on
vacation. And the president`s family, apparently, was not off limits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YOST: March 2010, the first lady and her daughters spent spring break
in New York City. This list, by the way, doesn`t include the date night.
Anybody fly to New York just to have date night with your spouse? No, I
didn`t think so.

Mr. President, that`s not middle-class. And you stop lecturing us
about our lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: This is the guy who was the opening act for Mitt Romney and
he`s yelling at President Obama for being out of touch.

But the Ohio auditor was not the most extreme person at the event.
During the question and answer portion, a Romney supporter made an
outrageous accusation aimed at President Obama. Pay close attention to
Mitt Romney`s response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a president that`s operating outside the
structure of our Constitution. I do agree we should be tried for treason.
But I want to know what you are going to be able to do to help restore
balance between the three branches of government, and what you`re going to
be able to do to restore our Constitution in this country?

ROMNEY: Well, I`m sure you do, I happen to believe the Constitution
was not just brilliant but probably inspired. And so, I would respect the
different branches of government, if I`m fortunate enough to become
president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney supporter accused President Obama of treason and
Romney, he just lets it go. He just ignores it and moves right on and
says, I`ll work within the Constitution.

If anything, his response lends credibility to her claim. Just to
compare, here`s how Republican nominee for president responded when he ran
into a crazy supporter weeks before the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t trust Obama. I have read about him and
he`s not -- he`s a -- he`s an Arab. He`s not --

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?

MCCAIN: No, ma`am. No ma`am. He`s a decent family man, citizen,
that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.
That`s what this campaign is all about. He`s not. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: For all his faults, at least John McCain had the guts to
talk down the crazy. Four years later, the presumptive nominee of the
Republican Party doesn`t have the character or leadership skills to correct
conspiracy theories on the road at an event? Romney didn`t address the
treason accusation at an event until a reporter grilled him about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Governor Romney, do you think President Obama should be
tried of treason like the person who asked you?

ROMNEY: Of course not.

REPORTER: Why didn`t you say anything? Is there a reason you didn`t
say anything like Senator McCain did four years ago, Governor?

Is there a reason you didn`t correct her or say that you wouldn`t?

ROMNEY: I answered the question.

REPORTER: But you don`t agree with her answer?

ROMNEY: I don`t correct all the questions that get asked of me. I
don`t agree he should be tried.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Romney can`t recognize the crazy and set the record
straight. I think it speaks volumes. He has to go back and make a
political calculation about how to handle this situation.

But I think you have to judge Romney on his first instinct which was
to allow the seed to be planted that President Obama has committed treason?

The Obama campaign responded with this statement, "Time after time, in
this campaign, Mitt Romney has had the opportunity to show that he has the
fortitude to stand up to hateful and over-the-line rhetoric. And time
after time, he has failed to do so. If this is the leadership he has shown
on the campaign trial, what can the American people expect of him as
commander-in-chief?"

You know, now, this is the key point. Today`s event displayed Mitt
Romney`s weak leadership skills. It`s become a pattern. Last week, Romney
buckled to the Christian right getting rid of a top foreign advisor because
he was gay. And a few months ago, he was all about Ted Nugent until he
said crazy stuff.

And now, he`s allowed an accusation of treason to slide by. This is
about character.

And I remember, back in the Bill Clinton days, they were talking about
character counts. That`s all right-wing radio could say. Character really
counts.

For Mitt Romney, this is all about, hey, I`m a lot better than him at
all costs. His political instinct is not to smack down the crazy on the
campaign trail, because Mitt Romney doesn`t know right from wrong. He has
a serious error in judgment. His instincts aren`t good.

No, President Obama should not be brought up on treason charges. And
you would think that the Republicans who actually are behind closed doors
going -- they are enjoying this stuff. You would think for the good of the
country they would put that kind of garbage aside. Instead, it`s really
their campaign.

Mitt Romney can`t get enough of those kind of questions on the
campaign trail. And his answer is -- well, he can`t correct every
question.

It wasn`t a question. It was a statement about the president of the
United States.

And I`ll give you an example, a parallel here. When Nancy Pelosi got
the gavel in 2006, there was a lot of liberals in this country that wanted
Dick Cheney and George Bush brought up on criminal war crimes, right?
Don`t you remember that conversation?

And Nancy Pelosi said impeachment is off the table. She knew it
wasn`t achievable. The Democrats in the past have had to take their folks
and put them off to the side and slow things down.

But today, Mitt Romney couldn`t do that. I say it`s all part of their
plan.

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, does Mitt Romney have the character to stand up to the conspiracy
theorists and the GOP?

Text "A" for yes. Text "B" for no, to 622639. And you can go to our
blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results later on in the show.

I`m joined tonight by Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California.

Congresswoman, it`s great to have you with us tonight.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Delighted to be here.

SCHULTZ: You bet. Absolutely. Thank you.

What did we learn about Mitt Romney today? And what did we learn
about the Republicans` campaign? Your thoughts.

WATERS: Well, Ed, you nailed him again. He has been consistent in
lack of being grounded in anything.

What does this man believe? What will he stand up for? What is his
leadership all about?

I think he demonstrated again today that he`s willing to do anything,
say anything, put his finger in the air and see which way the wind is
blowing. No, he did not stand up today to say that this president should
not be brought up for treason because he wanted to see which way it would
play politically.

So, after the fact, when he was off the cameras, he basically was
asked and he said, no. Well, why didn`t he say that, when the woman said
this right in front of everybody? Well, it`s because he`s not grounded,
philosophically? We don`t know who he is. We don`t know what he cares
about.

This man cannot be trusted. He flip-flops on everything. Whatever he
thinks is politically advantageous for him. So, he did it again today.

You`re right on, Ed. We caught him again.

SCHULTZ: Is he afraid of the right wing extremists? And are we going
to continue to see this to bleed into the campaign, in your opinion?

WATERS: Well, actually, he will play to whomever he thinks has the
power and the advantage. So, right now, it appears that the right wing
have been pressuring him more, have been at him. And so, he is playing to
them.

But I want to tell you, if the tables turn tomorrow, he`d go that way.
Which way, Romney?

I`ll tell you which way. Whichever way he thinks he can be advantaged
by it. Whichever way he thinks he can get another vote. Whichever way he
thinks he can get the kind of support that that will get him this
presidency.

I want you to know every time he opens his mouth, he`s revealing
himself. He`s revealing himself for who he is and what he`s about. He
simply cannot be trusted.

SCHULTZ: And finally, Congresswoman, on this subject, the Obama
campaign would not put any surrogates out today to talk about this. They
put out a new ad, which we`re going to show a little bit later on. And
they put out that statement about where Romney has failed to really lead.

But is -- are you concerned in any way that this kind of narrative is
going to take a grip and maybe the Obama people should have been out today
smacking him down on this. What are your thoughts on how to handle this
kind of crazy talk?

WATERS: This is what I know. I know that Obama`s campaign does not
wish to have 100 percent negative campaign. They`re going to have to
respond to some things. They`re going to have to look at it differently
and talk about how they are not going to allow themselves to be defined by
this kind of rhetoric.

This is not what they would like to do. And certainly, they don`t
want to tie up all their surrogates going out there just simply responding
to Romney and the way that he characterizes this administration. I think
they`re going to have to do it differently.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, always great to have you on THE
ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

WATERS: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in MSNBC -- you bet.

Let`s bring in MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe.

Richard, what do you make of this unfolding on the campaign trail
today? What did we learn if anything about Mitt Romney or get reinforced?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Ed, we had this conversation
a few weeks ago. I said, look, the kind of comments that we saw the end of
2008 on the McCain campaign, that ugliness, that meanness was going to come
back and come back earlier and come back more loudly than we saw it before.

Our unhinged friends on the right wing blog said that was an
outrageous suggestion. And look, this general election campaign has been
going for a couple of weeks already and already we see this kind of
comment.

Really, it`s not just about leadership. It`s about what kind of
argument Mitt Romney wants to present to the country.

You know, one of the damaging things for Democrats in `68 was the
images of this extreme nature of the party that was broadcast across the
nation. If this kind of thing gets repeated again and again, his campaign
is going to get tarnished with it, whether or not he likes it.

That`s why he has to speak about it. That`s why if you`re going to
make the critique about the president, that he has not united this country,
you`ve got to do it yourself.

SCHULTZ: I want to ask you about the story that`s unfolding here in
this news cycle about a foiled terror plot. And once again, the forces
working together, the CIA, FBI and the terrorism units and the Obama
administration have stepped forward and thwarted another plot.

Break it down for us.

WOLFFE: Well, obviously, there are strong echoes from the last
attempts to bring down a commercial airline, of the 2009, underwear bomber,
as they call him. You know, what`s interesting is the president was
furious because there was intelligence out there that the United States was
in position of that wasn`t shared and the plot could have been foiled.

This time around things have gone much smoother. I know there`s a lot
of credit for the intelligence aspects that come into play that stop these
plots. That recognition is well deserved. This was a plot and we should
be grateful for that.

But remember, it`s also a White House that said we`ve got to do things
better. And they deserve some credit too for managing a system that
actually worked.

SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe, thanks for joining us tonight here on THE ED
SHOW. Appreciate it.

Remember to answer tonight`s question at the bottom of the screen and
share your thoughts with us on Twitter @EdShow. We always want to know
what you think.

Coming up, President Obama is making a direct pitch to the American
work force. Teamster president, James Hoffa, tells us whether the
president will have labor support.

It`s primary eve in Wisconsin. In just about 24 hours, we will know
who is facing Scott walker in the recall election on June 5th. John
Nichols previews the fight to win back the governor`s mansion in Wisconsin.

Stay with us. Lots more coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, President Obama picks up a major endorsement.
Teamsters president, James Hoffa, calls Mitt Romney dangerous for America.
My exclusive interview next.

The radicals in Arizona win another fight in the war on women. Terry
O`Neill of the National Organization for Women is ahead with story.

And austerity in Europe is failing. So, why should we try it here in
the United States? E.J. Dionne will weigh in later.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: The Obama re-election campaign kicked off in the vital swing
states of Ohio and Virginia over the weekend. President Obama told
supporters here`s the bottom line: 2012 is going to be just like 2008. The
path to victory will be achieved by putting boots on the ground and getting
out the vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We are going to win this thing the old fashioned way, door by
door, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: President Obama knows his re-election is dependent on his
ability to mobilize working-class voters. The campaign is rolling out a
new television ad to focus on the middle class. The ad highlights the
massive economic collapse President Obama inherited in 2008 with the Bush
administration. The 60-second campaign spot will play in nine major swing
states this month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Don`t bet against the American worker.

NARRATOR: He believed in us, fought for us.

And today, our auto industry is back, firing on all cylinders. Our
greatest enemy brought to justice by our greatest heroes. Our troops are
home from Iraq.

Instead of losing jobs, we`re creating them. Over 4.2 million so far.
We`re not there yet. It`s still too hard for too many.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: One of the ways to mobilize the working class is to secure
the support of labor in this country. President Obama has already been
enforced by the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the
teachers union, the communication workers union, and AFSCME, among others.

Today, the Teamsters Union here in Las Vegas threw its support behind
the president. I spoke with Teamster president James Hoffa earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ: President Obama has really made the turn to the middle
class. I mean, he believes and his campaign staff believe they will
determine the election. You agree with that?

JAMES HOFFA, TEAMSTER PRESIDENT: Absolutely. I think that what`s
going on, there`s a war on the workers and working Americans, working
families are the middle class and they are the ones that are under attack
by this whole idea of Mitt Romney and the Republicans take away Social
Security and things that we have in this country.

And President Obama is the only guy standing up for us.

SCHULTZ: Is Mitt Romney dangerous?

HOFFA: He`s very dangerous. He`s a man that wants to roll it back.
Unfortunately, I don`t think he has any values.

You see, he vacillates on everything. He doesn`t stand up and say
this is who I am. He`s what the right wing says he is.

So, he`s got to stand up and really be who he is. He`s not going to
do that. And he`s a dangerous man.

SCHULTZ: What would labor look like if Romney were president?

HOFFA: First of all, he would come up with national right to work.
He said it. He`s already out there saying we`re going to take Davis-Bacon.
We`re going to take away minimum wage. We`re going to take away the things
we take for granted in America. That is dangerous. He would go out with
national right to work. That would be a threat to all unions in this
country.

SCHULTZ: The Republicans blame labor. You`re the reason there`s
problems in labor. What`s your response to that?

HOFFA: The answer is it`s ridiculous.

SCHULTZ: It`s all over FOX. They can`t say a positive thing about
labor.

HOFFA: And that`s because they don`t have an answer. We`re the ones
that are raising the standards and they want to lower the standards. They
want to basically have people working for almost nothing so they can make
more money.

And we`re the ones that are fighting the big corporations that`s had
the more successful and made more money than ever before to make sure to
give their fair share back to the American worker. We`re raising
standards, and they don`t like it.

SCHULTZ: Now, the Democrats did not deliver on the labor requests
that you wanted -- Employee Free Choice Act, the health care bill arguably
didn`t go far enough. And President Obama can`t win without labor support.
I mean, when we talk about Citizens United and the kind of money they are
throwing in, what kind of boots on the ground effort do you think wage
workers are ready to give?

HOFFA: Well, I think this is a dangerous situation for labor right
now. Labor has got to stand up right now because the right wing is so
extreme. The way they are coming after the president. We`ve got to stand
up with him.

I told him today we have his back. We endorsed him today. And I`m
saying we`re going to fight for the same values to make sure we keep
America strong. And that`s what we got to do. We got to go to work for
him and maybe in the next term, we`re going to get the things we need.

But he`s done some good things, the NLRB. He`s done some executive
orders which have been helpful. He`s fought for healthcare. But he needs
to more for us and listen. But we`re willing to be a team. We`re willing
to work with him for the next four years.

SCHULTZ: But do all the negatives of Romney drive wage earners into
President Obama`s camp? I mean, there`s some guys here that vote
Republican that have in the past. I mean, how much of a labor effort and a
vote is there going to be?

HOFFA: Well, we`re going to go all out. We realize we have no
choice. We`re going to go all out for President Obama.

He is the only game in the room for us. He`s the guy that`s going to
have to fight our fight. We`re going to fight it together.

We don`t get everything we want from him but we also realize he shares
most of our values and he`s there on collective bargaining. He`s there on
unions and he`s going to fight for us. And that`s why we`re going to be
for him. We`re going go all out. I think all of labor is going to go out.

SCHULTZ: Can labor deliver Ohio?

HOFFA: I think we can deliver Ohio. What`s happened, the extremism
there with Kasich, the SB5 issue has changed the dynamics of Ohio. I think
Ohio was really in play.

But people have really come together to say, this is wrong taking away
collective bargaining from public employees, policemen, firemen. And
they`re together. And I think that`s very good for the president. I think
we can win Ohio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ: Teamsters` president, James Hoffa, with me here in Las Vegas
today.

Later in the show, Mr. Hoffa weighs in on what happens to labor in the
country if Scott Walker is victorious in Wisconsin in the recall?

Coming up, Arizona defunds Planned Parenthood. What will it mean for
thousands of women in the state? Terry O`Neill of the National
Organization for Women will join me on this critical story.

And later, I was a guest on "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday.
We`ll play the highlights. You won`t want to miss it. Stay tuned. We are
right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

From the state that brought us the papers please law targeting
Hispanics, Arizona now has its sights set on low income women. Governor
Jan Brewer has signed a law defunding Planned Parenthood. By banning state
funding for the organization, the law will deny thousands of poor women
access to Planned Parenthood services including breast examines and cancer
screenings.

The state already banned the use of taxpayer money for abortions. So,
why was this law necessary? Good question.

The president of Planned Parenthood in Arizona takes a guess.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sponsors don`t want poor women getting birth
control at Planned Parenthood. Number two, it is intended to be to score
political points.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: In fact, Governor Jan Brewer signed the law at the political
event for the Susan B. Anthony List, a group committed to electing anti-
abortion lawmakers. Brewer calls the law common sense. Yet, fewer than
one in 10 women go to Planned Parenthood for abortion services.

As "The Daily Beast" reports, the law will reduce Planned Parenthood`s
clients by about 10 percent. It will likely impact thousands more when the
Affordable Care Act takes full effect in 2014. It is a big story and it
could be the tip of the iceberg.

Let`s bring in Terry O`Neill, president of the National Organization
for Women.

Terry, always great to have you with us on the program.

Here we go. This maybe be the avalanche. You know, your thoughts on
how these House Republicans held up death ceiling negotiations over Planned
Parenthood last summer. I mean, has this battle now officially moved to
the states?

TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, N.O.W: Absolutely it`s in the states, Ed.
And, you know, one of the most interest things to me is Jan Brewer signs
this bill today, on the same day that a similar bill in Texas is suspended
by a federal court because of its unconstitutionally, on a day after "USA
Today" and Gallup released a poll showing that in swing states, the gender
gap between Republicans and Democrats is basically exploding.

SCHULTZ: Medicaid officials in Arizona are still trying to figure out
what kind of economic impact that this is going to have on women. But what
does this law really mean for the women of Arizona, especially the poor
women, and the future of their health care?

O`NEILL: It`s as many as 4,000 women will be deprived of health care
because of what Governor Brewer has done. This is exactly at a time when
more and more women are being thrown out of work because of state and local
government cutbacks. So you have women who are more and more eligibility
for Medicare -- Medicaid services are now being told they can`t get basic
health care services.

Make no mistake, defunding Planned Parenthood takes birth control,
mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, HIV/AIDS screenings, STD screenings
and treatment away from low income women. And so why would elected
officials -- why would Governor Brewer take basic health care away from
women, and think that this is going to somehow ingratiate herself with the
voters.

The fact is that any politician who attacks birth control the way Jan
Brewer has just attacked birth control, she will pay a price at the polls
and her party is going to pay a huge price at the polls this November.

SCHULTZ: All right, let`s talk more about that. A spokesperson for
Governor Brewer says that she believes that the law is going to be upheld.
But you have states like North Carolina and Kansas that have got similar
laws that they are facing legal challenges.

But in the midst of all of that legal stuff, is this going to have a
trickle down effect politically. I mean, is this just going to drive more
women into President Obama`s camp and right into the hands of the
Democrats?

O`NEILL: You know, Ed, it absolutely is. The polls are showing
increasingly that the gender gap between Democrats and Republicans is
widening in the swing states. This is being really driven by independent
women who don`t want birth control to be politicized.

I believe it`s a terrible shame that abortion has been politicized.
But that is a fact. And abortion -- albeit it is a fundamental right of a
woman to have an abortion. One in three women will have an abortion by the
age of 45. I think it`s necessary health care.

But the fact is that the vast majority of women in this country don`t
want that same politicization to hit birth control. This is what the
extremists -- and frankly, the extremists really seem to have taken over
the Republican party. It`s a terrible, terrible tragedy for that party,
which used to be a wonderful party that had many strong women right
supporters in it. You can hardly find any that are brave enough to support
women`s rights anymore.

And women are paying attention.

SCHULTZ: Well, they have to be paying attention, because number -- I
view this as discrimination. There are women, whether you`re rich or poor
or economically depressed or in the one percent, the fact is a breast
examination, a cancer screening -- I mean, how ruthless can these people be
when it comes to being ideologically? They really have no boundaries, do
they?

O`NEILL: No, you`re absolutely right. Sex discrimination is exactly
what it is, because all of these attacks are being made only on women`s
health care. There is absolutely not a single aspect of men`s health care
that these extremists are attacking. It`s only women.

So it`s not just attacking women`s fundamental rights, but it`s also
sex specific. So it`s absolutely discriminatory.

SCHULTZ: Well, it`s going to be interesting to see if Jan Brewer can
hand Arizona to President Obama, because I know the Obama team feels pretty
confident about the fact that Arizona could turn. I really think that this
is one that the Republicans are going to have a hard time defending in that
state.

Terry O`Neill, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much for
joining us.

There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL MAHER, "REALTIME WITH BILL MAHER": When Mitt Romney gets a
deduction for giving to charity, the rest of us taxpayers have to cover the
loss.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Bill Maher takes Mitt Romney to task over his charitable
donations. That`s ahead.

Austerity in France did not work and it sends shock waves across the
ocean. Tonight, E.J. Dionne on why austerity won`t work in America.

Tomorrow, Wisconsin will pick a Democrat to run against Scott Walker
in his recall election. The stakes have never been higher. John Nichols
has the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Good to have you back with us. Well, tomorrow, Wisconsin
Democrats will pick a candidate to challenge Governor Scott Walker in the
June 5th recall election. Recent polls show Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
with a slight lead over the other components, former Dane County Executive
Kathleen Falk, Wisconsin Secretary State Doug Lafollette, and also State
Senator Kathleen Vinehout, one of the famous 14 that left the state.

Of course, Scott Walker and the Republicans, they haven`t wasted any
time. They haven`t waited until the primaries are over to start pumping
money into TV ads. Here are the numbers: since the beginning of the year,
18 million dollars has been spent on political television ads in Wisconsin.
And 78 percent of that money was spent by Republicans.

And hold it right there. Yes, the numbers are astonishing. Every
time Scott Walker gets interviewed over on Fox News and everywhere else,
he`s always complaining about union bosses coming in from out of state that
are trying to get rid of him, when he and his party and his advocacy people
are the ones that are spending all the freaking money.

Seventy eight percent of the 18 million dollars has been spent by
Walker. Republicans are spending an unbelievable amount of money on a
gubernatorial election. They know what is at stake. They know this is
going to have national ramifications.

But the latest polls out of Wisconsin show that money, well, can only
take Scott Walker so far. Since the spending blitz began at the beginning
of the year, Scott Walker -- look at this -- has gone from 51 percent
approval rating down to 47 percent approval rating. Who in politics has
that happen after spending that kind of money?

Wisconsinites aren`t stupid. They know what this radical agenda is
all about. And we`re about ready to turn the hourglass to the 11th hour.

I`m joined tonight by John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The
Nation" magazine and author of the book "Uprising." John, great to have
you with us tonight. First of all, I want to say that the numbers that
have been thrown out -- and I don`t say this lightly -- Scott Walker is
lying when he goes on national television and says that there`s union money
that`s coming in from all over the country that`s trying to unseat him.

Earlier today, I had a conversation, I want to play this. This is
with James Hoffa, who I asked about the Wisconsin recall. This is what he
had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES HOFFA, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS: I
think -- number one, I think that Scott Walker can get beat. I think we`ve
got to do everything we can. The Teamsters and organized labor do
everything we can to beat him, because he`s an extremist. He`s dangerous.
He wants to take away everything from everybody, so that corporations can
make more money.

That`s dangerous. We`ve got to beat him there. If we don`t, it`s not
the end of the world, because this battle goes on. The extremism that we
see in Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan, now in Pennsylvania, in Virginia, is
forcing people -- some people who are independents, are forcing them over.
And they are moving to Obama.

So I think it looks very, very good. But these are fight we have to
fight. You know, you don`t win every battle. If we don`t beat Scott
Walker, that`s not the end of the movement in Wisconsin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: John Nichols, your response to that?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Well, President Hoffa is right that
people aren`t going to fold the tents across the country if Scott Walker
somehow succeeds. But the truth of the matter is that this Wisconsin fight
has become both symbolic and practically important for the labor movement
and I think, to a very large extent, for the Democratic party.

Governor Walker is really the face of austerity in America. He`s the
guy who has tried to balance budgets by attacking union, cutting wage,
cutting public education, cutting public services. If he is defeated, as
now seems genuinely possible when you look at the polls -- if he is
defeated by a people power movement that overcomes the money power that
he`s put into this thing, I think that message will energize movements
across this country, both on the street and at the polls.

So I think Wisconsin is a very big deal.

SCHULTZ: John, there`s no question that Scott Walker has used
organize labor as the crutch to try to raise money around the country, and
has painted seriously a false picture as to what is unfolding in the state.
How much more money is going to be spent to save him?

NICHOLS: Well, you can bet that anything that has been spent so far
will certainly be doubled and probably significantly more than that.
Remember that in just the last quarter, Scott Walker raised more money than
any candidate for governor of Wisconsin in the entire history of the state
in a whole campaign.

So he has an almost unlimited base of donors. The interesting thing
about it is when I dug into those numbers, some of the figures you showed
today, Scott Walker and his supporters have out-spent labor in the first
four months of the year by a 20 to one ratio; 20 dollars spent by Walker
and his backers for every one dollar spent by labor and its allies.

So when that equation starts to equalize a little bit, I think Walker
is going to have trouble.

SCHULTZ: John, what`s going to happen tomorrow night in the
Democratic primary? And are you concerned that there might be some
consternation depending on who wins and maybe the Democrats won`t come
together? What do you think is going to unfold?

NICHOLS: You know, I was at the Walter Ruther Memorial Hall, Local 95
UAW, in Janesville, last night with hundreds of folks backing all four
candidates. I talked to every one of them. I said, what if your candidate
doesn`t win. To a person they said, I just don`t care. I mean, I like my
candidate. I favor this person. I favor Falk. I favor Barrett. I favor
Lafollette or Vinehout. But they all said that on May 9th, they are ready
to take on Scott Walker.

I just don`t think there`s going to be a lot of unity trouble.
Although I do think it`s important that the nominee -- and it does look
like Tom Barrett is ahead at this point -- that the nominee work hard to
unite the whole of the many movements that have come together, not just
labor but also women.

SCHULTZ: Of course, tomorrow night, as we`re talking about, will be
the Democratic primary. We`ll have full coverage here on THE ED SHOW, and
an update at 11:00 with interviews from Wisconsin, as that, of course, will
turn the hourglass, as we all head to the recall coming up on June 5th.

Great to have you with us tonight, John. Thanks so much for joining
us, John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation" magazine.

I was a guest on "Real-time With Bill Maher" over the weekend. We`ll
show you some of the highlights. Stay tuned. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Where does Mitt Romney stand on marriage equality in
America? The Mormon church has spent millions of dollars lobbying against
marriage equality in the state of California. Should it be a charity?
That was the question Bill Maher asked on his HBO show "Realtime" on Friday
night. Should Mitt Romney or anyone, for that matter, be able to get a tax
break for giving money to a house of worship? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAHER: The real issue is when Mitt Romney gets a deduction for giving
to charity, the rest of us taxpayers have to cover the loss. Charitable
deductions reduce the public coffers by about 60 billion dollars a year.
They take more out of our budget than enforcing the Buffett Rule would put
back in.

So it is fair to ask what should constitute a charity.

Look, I`m not saying the Mormon church doesn`t do some good things.
They provide food during famines and wheelchairs for the lame. But that`s
not their main concern, which is, like any business, growing the business.

Real charities only care about the charity. This is the Hollywood
Sunset Free Clinic, which provides health care to poor children. From an
architectural, not much to look at.

This is the Mormon Temple in San Diego. Either that or Superman`s
Fortress of Solitude.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I was a guest on Bill Maher`s show Friday night. We
discussed a wide range of topics, from national security to health care.
But what really got me going was the Republican argument that President
Obama is some kind of a left wing radical extremist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: This Republican party is totally off the map compared to
what Ronald Reagan did. This outfit would never raise taxes. Reagan
raised taxes 11 times, nine times on the middle class. Reagan actually
wanted amnesty in illegal immigration. He wanted to attack that and try to
fix it. This party will never do that.

He also sent aid to states. That`s something that this party will
never do right now.

So President Obama is doing the right thing. He`s out on the campaign
trail saying, whatever happened to this Ronald Reagan guy? He`s a
socialist now. He said that to a union group the other day. I think he
brilliantly is out there saying really, Reagan is your guy? I don`t think
so.

This party is so far off the right, right now. I think it`s a great
way to --.

And in the Big Finish, a major rejection of austerity measures, the
same thing Mitt Romney wants to bring to the United States. E.J. Dionne of
the "Washington Post" joins me. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked does Mitt Romney have the
character to stand up to the conspiracy theories in the GOP? Two percent
of you said yes; 98 percent of you said no.

Coming up, as Europe rejects austerity measures, Republicans are
trying to push the same plans here. E.J. Dionne joins me on why it simply
will not work.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show on Sirius XM Channel
127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 pm, and follow me on Twitter,
@EdShow. Please like THE ED SHOW on Facebook. We are coming right back.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, voters soundly rejected austerity
measures, but Mitt Romney, he just doesn`t get it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to take America
in a very different place. He`s talking America on a path towards Europe.
And Europe`s not working there. It`s not going to work here. Europe`s in
real trouble, as their debts mount, as people demand more and more from
government and government has to borrow more and more to satisfy their
demands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, Mittsters, here is the reality. In two elections,
voters have experienced the most severe austerity measures, said no more .
In France, the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, lost and voters there elected
the first socialist in two decades.

In Greece, neither of the two major candidates could get 40 percent of
the vote. Both of those candidates supported austerity measures.

Mitt Romney, he has got it all wrong. It`s not President Obama taking
us on a path toward Europe. Hell, it`s Mitt Romney. If he`s elected
president, Europe has instituted extreme austerity measures, the same kind
of severe cuts Republicans want to make here in America.

I`m joined tonight by E.J. Dionne, MSNBC contributor, columnist for
the "Washington Post," and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
D.J. -- E.J., great to have you with us tonight. You know, really you
couldn`t write a better script against what the Republicans want to do. Is
this not just a perfect example, with two elections in Europe and a double
dip recession, tells us really what we could be in for if the Republicans
really get ahold of the budget? What do you think?

E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think that`s true, Ed. I mean,
if you take Britain, for example, the conservatives took power and they had
a more moderate brand of austerity than what our conservatives would
probably do here. At the end of this austerity program, they have just
thrown Britain back into recession. That does not seem to be where we want
to go.

The voters in France had a choice in this election. And Hollande ran
very hard against the austerity program that Mr. Sarkozy and Chancellor
Merkel have put in place. And on election night, when he won, he said
austerity need not be Europe`s fate. And it need not be our fate either.

I think the results in Greece should really scare people a little bit
about what happens when you drive the living standards of average working
people down. It`s not only that the Greeks rejected the two moderate
parties of the left and right. They actually gave a lot of votes for the
first time to a kind of neo-fascist, neo-Nazi party called Golden Dawn.

We don`t want those kind of movements arising in the world. I don`t
think conservatives do anymore than progressives do. But if you really
grind down people`s standard of living, you get all kinds of reactions.
And that`s one of them.

SCHULTZ: Well, E.J., I really think that this is a push back and a
big statement against greed. I think that we have an undercurrent of that
taking place in America right now. You have got a budget that`s being
presented and a blueprint that is being presented by the Republicans that
goes after the poor, that goes after low income women, that goes after wage
earners, and very similar, very parallel to what has happened in Europe.
And here we go.

I mean, I think that the Obama team could not have a better script
written for them or a better example out there. Isn`t this about greed?
Your thoughts?

DIONNE: I think that`s some of it. If you look at France, Hollande
sort of relatively late in the campaign called not for the 30 percent rate
on the rich. He called for a 75 percent tax rate on the really, really
rich in France. I think he did that because he was responding to a sense
that a lot of French voters had, that there was something unjust about the
economy.

But the other thing that struck me today, paradoxically, is a lot of
people said, well, the socialists are going to win in France and the
markets are going to go kablooey. Guess what. The markets didn`t go
kablooey. I`m starting to think that a fair number of rich people who are
in those markets realize that the -- if you continue with austerity, you`re
going to hurt the economy.

They are actually glad that some people are talking about putting
money in average people`s pockets, because that`s what gets the economy
moving again.

SCHULTZ: Political question: do you think the Obama campaign should
point to what has unfolded in Europe and use the word austerity?

DIONNE: I think they should use the word austerity. Of course, lord
knows what would happen to them if they ever praised the victory of a
socialist in France. The truth is Hollande is a very moderate, kind of
center left sort of figure. So I don`t think they are going to be pointing
to France, but I would, because I think what happened there is very much
the kind of center left coalition that came together, that President Obama
needs to put together here, without the socialist label, of course.

SCHULTZ: E.J. Dionne, always great to have you with us on THE ED
SHOW. Thanks for your take and insight again tonight. Appreciate it.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now. And Chris Hayes is sitting in for Rachel tonight. Good
evening, Chris.

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

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