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The Ed Show for Thursday, April 19, 2012

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Guests: E.J. Dionne, Martin Bashir, Jan Schakowsky, John Nichols

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

Republicans are waging a full-scale assault on millions of Americans
and nobody`s talking about it. That changes tonight.

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


REP. RYAN PAUL (R), WISCONSIN: These aren`t all the Catholic bishops.
We just respectfully disagree.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The Catholic Church says the Republican budget
is immoral and Paul Ryan gets caught lying about the bishops.

Poor people in America need help, and Republicans want to raise their

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Over 45 percent of the
people in this country don`t pay income taxes at all. We have to question
whether that`s fair.

SCHULTZ: There is a Republican war on the poor in this country and we
will prove it tonight.

TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: I feel this. I feel this. I`m not taking this
crap anymore. I`ve about had it?

SCHULTZ: The NRA is running away from Ted Nugent. They have scrubbed
his remarks from their Web site.

NUGENT: Our government is wiping its (EXPLETIVE DELETED) with the
Constitution. God bless you for being here, I feel a positive energy.

SCHULTZ: I`ll ask Martin Bashir why Romney doesn`t have the courage
to denounce Ted Nugent.

And Mitt Romney goes from candidate to cookie monster.

cookies. They don`t look like you made them. No, they came from the local
7-Eleven bakery or wherever.

SCHULTZ: "The Nation`s" John Nichols will weigh in on Romney`s latest
out of touch moment.


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

The Republicans are waging war on the poor in America. Just like the
war on women, they want to pretend it doesn`t exist.

But it`s real. And millions of the most vulnerable Americans are
being targeted.

Listen to Republican House leader Eric Cantor scapegoating poor
Americans today.


CANTOR: Over 45 percent of the people in this country don`t pay
income taxes at all. And we have to question whether that`s fair.


SCHULTZ: Cantor is complaining about poor Americans who don`t pay
income tax. But he leaves out all the tax that they do pay.

The working poor have payroll taxes. Some pay about 7 percent of
their wages to Social Security and Medicare taxes. In every state except
Vermont, the poor pay a higher percentage on state and local taxes. There
are other taxes like sales taxes, property taxes and gas tax.

But Eric Cantor still says taxes should go up on these Americans
opposed to the super rich.


CANTOR: I`ve never believed you go and raise taxes on those who have
been successful that are paying in, taking away from them, so that you just
hand out and give to someone else. Those someone else want hand-ups. They
want the ability to get up the ladder.


SCHULTZ: This war is not new. It has been going on for years.

But it really stands out this week. In a span of a few days,
Republicans chose to protect the rich by voting down the Buffett Rule in
the Senate. Now, they are attacking the most vulnerable. It`s no surprise
the Republicans have chosen this man as their standard bearer.


care about Americans. I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a
safety net there. If it needs repair, I`ll fix it.


SCHULTZ: Romney tried to say he misspoke when he made that comment in
February. But his policies prove, well, he was telling the truth. His
economic plans puts money in the back pockets of this wealthiest Americans
while raising taxes on people making less than $30,000 a year. Romney says
he`s 100 percent supportive of Congress and Paul Ryan`s budget plan.

The Ryan budget is the virtual battlefield map in the Republican war
on the poor. Ryan`s plan is Robin Hood in reverse. It takes $5.3 trillion
from programs benefiting low income people. It gives a $4.3 trillion tax
cut to the wealthiest in this country.

Here are some of the cuts Republicans want to make so millionaires can
get their money back -- $770 billion from Medicaid, $205 billion to
Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the health care law, and nearly $2 trillion to
other mandatory cuts. This includes programs like welfare, federal
pensions and food stamps. That`s right. Gather that.

The Republicans are trying to make big cuts to the federal food stamp
program. According to "The New York Times," the cuts would force 3 million
people off food stamps next year.

These cuts are so unbelievably cruel, the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops is speaking out against them. In a statement, the bishops
urge Congress to resist the proposed cuts in hunger and nutrition programs
at home and abroad.

Well, House Speaker John Boehner was quick to brush off their
concerns. Here is his response when asked if he understands the bishop`s
moral argument.


take a bigger look. The bigger look is if we don`t make decisions, these
programs won`t exist and they will really have something to worry about.


SCHULTZ: You see, Boehner says that we have to cut these programs in
order to save them.

The architect, Paul Ryan, also dismissed the bishops today.


RYAN: We`ve always said we should not be giving tax credits to people
who are not here illegally. That`s just following through on policy that`s
been pretty well responded to on a bipartisan basis. These are not all the
Catholic bishops and we respectfully disagree.


SCHULTZ: Not only is Ryan cold-blooded when it comes to the poor.
He`s wrong when it comes to the bishops.

The spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
told "Talking Points Memo," "Bishops who chair USCCB committees are elected
by their follow bishops to represent all of the United States bishops on
key issues on the national level. The letters on the federal budget were
written by bishops serving in this capacity."

Republicans always try to link themselves with religion. They
position themselves as the party of moral righteousness. But he only
Republican religion, let`s face, is the almighty dollar.

It`s been five years since the federal minimum wage was raised. It
was 10 years before that. Take a look at this chart.

If you work a minimum wage job, this is the how many hours in a week
it takes for you to work to earn rent for a two bedroom apartment. In
Texas, it`s 88 hours. In Florida, it`s 97 hours. In Virginia, it`s 112
hours, on and on. What is it in your state?

There is no lobby for the poor in this country. The only thing that
they can rely on is a little bit of government assistance to keep their
dignity and their opportunities alive.

Republicans want to take all of this away. Democrats need to advocate
harder on behalf of the poor.

President Obama gave it a shot in Ohio yesterday.


education. I wasn`t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle
wasn`t. But somebody gave us a chance. Just like these folks up here are
looking for a chance.


SCHULTZ: It`s a start but it`s not enough. There needs to be an
advocate for the working poor in this country, like this man.


EDWARD KENNEDY (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: What is the price? We ask
the other side -- what is the price that you want from these working men
and women? What cost? How much more do we have to give to the private
certificate in business? How many billion dollars more are you asking?
Are you requiring?


SCHULTZ: The only way you can fight an attack like the Republican war
on the poor is to attack back. Ted Kennedy knew how to do that. He hit
back hard for the vulnerable in this country.

It`s time for the Democrats to step up and protect the poor from the
assault the Republicans have got going on that class of Americans. You can
call it class warfare all you want. If you want to stand up and say, well,
they just have to pay more because everybody has to pay, walk a mile in
their shoes. Walk a mile in their shoes when it comes to the kind of
opportunities they don`t have that the wealthy has in this country.

The president of this country is going around talking about shared
sacrifice and income inequality. And later in this broadcast, I`ll show
you how some very rich farmers take it to labor.

It all connects -- it all comes down to this: whose side are you on?
Do you want fairness in America? Do you believe that everybody should have
a level playing field when it comes to getting an equal shot to make it in
this country?

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: Do you think Republicans are heartless when it comes to the poor?

Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. And you can always go to
our blog at We encourage you to leave a comment. We`ll
bring you results of the poll later on in the show.

Joining me tonight is E.J. Dionne, MSNBC contributor and columnist for
"The Washington Post," and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who
in his career has written often about the poor and the vulnerable, and just
how they have no voice in Washington.

And, E.J., great to have you with us again on THE ED SHOW.

But it seems like those vulnerable have less of a voice today, the way
Citizens United is playing out. Where is this all going and how do we get
better for those in this class in this country?

E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, Ed, thank you for
doing this show and doings this segment. I must say, I`m fired up. I`ve
been upset for a long time about this big lie poor people don`t pay taxes.
Let`s start there.

I actually wrote a column about this, 10 years ago, when the "Wall
Street Journal" referred to lower income people who didn`t pay income taxes
as lucky duckies. Now, I asked the question, would you rather be rich and
pay income taxes or poor and pay no income taxes?

But they only want to focus on income taxes, which from the very
beginning were supposed to be on wealthier people. As you said at the
beginning, lower income and middle income people pay a lot more of their
income in FICA taxes, in the payroll tax, than rich people do.

Back when I wrote that column, I did some research and found that a
CEO who made $122 million a year, this was his share -- this is what he
paid in FICA tax, it was 0.00043 percent. Sales taxes -- in Illinois at
the time, if you were in the bottom 20 percent, you paid 10.8 percent of
your income in sales taxes. If you were in the top 1 percent, you only pay
1.4 percent.

This is actually much worse than let them eat cake, this is let them
eat gruel and let`s tax the gruel. It`s really outrageous.

SCHULTZ: Well, these are numbers that we don`t hear coming from
Republican leadership. All they focus on is how number of people in this
country aren`t paying any federal tax at all and they leave it right there.
You come up with the facts and argument that is very clear, but that in a
sense is hard to communicate in a 10-second sound bite across America, is
it not?

DIONNE: It shouldn`t be. They pay more in income taxes and poor
people pay more in sales and payroll taxes.


DIONNE: It`s very clear.

And, by the way, on the property tax, poor people pay a bigger share
of their income if they own their homes. They also pay it through their
rents if they don`t own their homes. So, poor people are paying plenty of

I note that Mr. Cantor said the poor want the ability to get up the
ladder. I absolutely agree with that. I think poor do want to rise out of
poverty, and that`s why we have student loans and that`s why we have food
stamps, so the poor kids can get a decent meal before school. It`s why we
need to spend money on K through 12. It`s why we have some Social Security
survivor`s benefits.

There`s just something nonsensical about the idea that every
government benefit only promotes dependency. I couldn`t have gone to
college without federal student loans and survivor`s benefits. There are a
lot of people like that in the country, and then you pay back.

SCHULTZ: We got a conversation starting in this country right now
that student loans are like young kids going to the bank and robbing it, or
something like that. I mean, that`s like they are vilified if they want
some college assistance to better themselves. I believe a story came out
not long ago we passed $1 trillion in college debt in this country.

Now, the new CBS/"New York Times" poll shows that 56 percent thinks we
should spend more and raise taxes to help improve the economy. Does that
number surprise you?

DIONNE: It does and doesn`t. I think a lot of Americans understand
in their guts, that there are things government does they support and are
happy about. People know we need better roads and bridges and airports.
They know that when their school budgets are cut, boy, they know that.
They see it in fewer sports teams, they see teachers cut. They see courses
taken out of the curriculum.

So, they`re very aware there are benefits they get from government. I
think they also very aware of this imbalance and these plans that the
Republicans and conservatives are putting forward, why you want to make
these cuts in order to finance tax cuts for people who are already very,
very well-off? This isn`t about promoting income distribution. It`s about
preventing further redistribution to the rich.

SCHULTZ: Bottom line is, if you are the working poor -- or poor in
this country, the guy that just held up that book thinks you`re not doing
enough. That`s the bottom line. The Republicans think that they can take
blood out of a rock. The Republicans believe that the poor people and
working poor in this country have got it too good and that wealthy don`t
have it good enough.

E.J. Dionne --

DIONNE: And thank God you showed that clip of Ted Kennedy, because I
miss that voice and I agree with you that I think Democrats and liberals
have to speak up more on behalf of the poor. We should speak about the
middle class, and obviously, that`s where the votes are.

But we have a moral obligation in the country to say that we are not
going to forget the people who are the poorest people in our society and
why the bishops spoke out.

SCHULTZ: Yes. We have always been that kind of country and, of
course, the bishops are reminding us we`re supposed to hatch have a moral
compass when it comes to the poor in this country.

E.J. Dionne, great to have you with us. Great work, as always. Thank

DIONNE: Great to be with you, Ed. Thank you so much.

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

House Democrats are introducing a bill that would allow low income
moms to stay at home with their young children. Where does Mitt Romney
stand on the legislation? Find out next. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
will join me.

And we had a lot of conversation about cuts. Cuts, cuts, cuts. Well,
sugar gets my focus and attention tonight because they haven`t cut this and
this has been around for 72 years. It`s guaranteed income to wealthy

And you know what they do? They turn right around and stick it to the
workers who have helped them live the good life. I will set it straight

We`re right back on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, House Democrats force Mitt and Ann Romney to put
or shut-up. Jan Schakowsky will tell us how that`s going, next.

The NRA tries in running for Ted Nugent`s comments by scrubbing off
the Web site. But Mitt Romney still doesn`t have the courage to condemn
him. Martin Bashir weighs in on that.

And C for clueless when it comes to Mitt Romney`s interaction with the
middle class in this country. John Nichols will join me on cookie-gate.

Share your thoughts on Twitter using #EdShow.

We are right back.


SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney believes all moms are working moms, so he should
have no problem supporting new legislation introduced by House Democrats.
It`s called the Women`s Option to Raise Kids Act, or WORK Act. It would
allow, permit low income moms with kids aged 3 and under to stay home, take
care of their kids and continue to receive government assistance. Raising
children does not count as a work activity under current guidelines for the
welfare recipients.

But as the "Huffington Post" points out, the bill would not level the
playing field. Low income moms would have to enter the workforce once the
child reaches four years of age. While moms like Ann Romney wealthy, are
still given the option to stay home. But it`s a step in the right
direction, isn`t it? In fact, it`s something Mitt Romney supported when he
was running for Senate back in Massachusetts.

Back then, Romney agreed with the idea of moms staying home with kids
until they reached preschool. Of course, Romney has since changed his
position, adopting a new standard as governor. He explained a few months
ago back.


work requirement. I said for instance that even if you have a child two
years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, well, that`s
heartless. I said, no, no, I`m willing to spend more giving daycare to
allow those parents to go back to work. It will cost the state more
providing that daycare. I want the individuals to have the dignity of


SCHULTZ: Still, House Democrats are optimistic Romney will support
the bill. Congressman Pete Stark tells the "Huffington Post," "I think we
should take Mr. Romney at his most recent words of changing our federal
laws to recognize the legitimacy of raise in raising young children."

THE ED SHOW reached out to the Romney campaign to see where the former
governor of Massachusetts stands on this pro-mom, pro-family measure. They
didn`t get back to us.

I`m joined tonight by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

Jan, great to have you tonight.


SCHULTZ: I mean, the cynics are going to say this is pure politics.
But it is cornering the Romneys on exactly where they stand on the
importance of stay-at-home moms. Is this the mission?

SCHAKOWSKY: The mission is not to corner Ann or Mitt Romney. The
mission is to have good policy and fair policy that says that all moms are
working moms, and that rather than send the kids to childcare, which may or
may not be available and affordable, to send them out into the workplace,
to say that these small children, up until age 4, that their moms are
working when they stay home and take care of them.

And so this was an opportunity, actually, to raise this issue, and
hopefully get some bipartisan support, including Mitt Romney.

SCHULTZ: But aren`t you saying to the Romneys, OK, you say it, now
show us?

SCHAKOWSKY: Exactly. We are. We`re saying that this women`s option
to raise kids ought to be an option that`s available to all moms. And as
you pointed out, it still doesn`t level the playing field entirely because
it`s only until they reach age 4, and then women would have to go into the
workplace in order to get some support from the government.

SCHULTZ: Where do you think Mitt Romney really stands on this issue

SCHAKOWSKY: It`s so hard to tell, isn`t it, Ed? I don`t know. It
changes by day, maybe because the political winds are going in another
direction. He certainly has said, and we do want to take him at his word,
that all mothers work -- whether they work in home to or work outside the

And so, we want to capitalize on this great moment and see if he
actually will support. I hope he gets back to you. We certainly hope that
he`ll get back us to and say that he supports the legislation.

SCHULTZ: So, what would this measure do for low income moms, single
mom, one, two kids, two jobs, working paycheck to paycheck but maybe have
some time in the morning to stay home. How would -- who -- how would this
help low income moms?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, first of all, Ed, this idea that -- well, you just
go out and find yourself a job and Mitt Romney says we`ll supply the
daycare, quality daycare is very hard to find.

SCHULTZ: It`s expensive, too.

SCHAKOWSKY: And it is expensive. And, you know, something I learned,
if you send your kids to daycare, they usually require you to send diapers
along with them if they`re little children. Do you know how expensive
diapers are? There are diaper banks not-for-profit organizations that are
helping moms get diapers so they can actually afford them, so that they can
go -- their kids can go to daycare and they can go to work.

And, you know, the hypocrisy, though, of the Republicans, too.
Yesterday, they cut $33 billion from nutrition programs, the food stamp
program, the SNAP program.

SCHULTZ: That was the House Ag Committee. I mean, they butchered it.
I mean, the good news is that Ryan plan is never going to end up over in
the Senate this year before the election. But if they were going to take
it up, they would be dealing with these cuts to nutrition that which would
just really hammer millions of families in this country and really take
away from kids.

SCHAKOWSKY: Exactly. And so, they want to cut these kinds of
programs. They think moms should go to work.

The current law says that states should have the option of requiring
job training, job -- or going out to get a job. But one of the options not
available to poor women is that they stay home with little children and
take care of them.


SCHAKOWSKY: That is not a work option for them.

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky --

SCHAKOWSKY: So, this would make it that way.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thank you.
Appreciate your time.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Next, the NRA is running away from Ted Nugent`s vial
comments about the president. Did I say that right? Yes, I did. I want
you to hear that. The NRA is running away from Ted Nugent. But Mitt
Romney still doesn`t have the courage to condemn him? Martin Bashir joins
me with the latest.

President Obama made a historic visit yesterday and the photograph has
-- this photograph has everyone talking. We`ll show you what it`s all


SCHULTZ: The Nuge is still in the news. Today was his big meeting
with the Secret Service after making these comments at the NRA conference
in St. Louis last weekend.


TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: If Barack Obama becomes the president in
November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.

We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in


SCHULTZ: After speaking with Nugent today, the Secret Service said
the issue has been resolved. Ted Nugent released a statement saying the
meeting could not have gone better. He also continued to stand by his
comments, saying, "By no stretch of the imagination did I threaten anyone`s
life or hinted violence or mayhem."

So now, Nugent and his buddies on the right, like Mitt Romney, will be
using the Secret Service as cover. Florida Congressman Allen West did that
this morning.


REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: I think he was just expressing maybe
his opinion about something. Of course, everyone wants to sensationalize
things. But let`s leave it up to the Secret Service to interview him and
get to the bottom of it.

But I don`t think the Motor City Madman has any ill will towards the
president of the United States of America.

There was a lot of people that didn`t like President Bush. And we
didn`t have to cart them in front of the Secret Service. So let`s just let
the people who are responsible for investigating take care of it.


SCHULTZ: Nugent denigrated the Supreme Court, denigrated the
president of the United States. But the Secret Service checked him out, so
the right wing says everything`s going to be fine. Although remarkably,
one major player in this story is running away from Ted Nugent`s comments.

You know who that is? The National Rifle Association. Today, the
group deleted the tape of Nugent from their website. So Nugent`s
incendiary comments were too much for the National Rifle Association, but
Mitt Romney still doesn`t have the political courage to condemn him.

He will hide behind the Secret Service instead of rendering judgment
himself. Now let me ask you tonight, folks, is that leadership? Is that
being able to make a decision on what is right and wrong and what`s decent
and what is indecent?

Let`s bring in Martin Bashir, host of "THE MARTIN BASHIR SHOW" here on
MSNBC. I think this is a big story because it speaks volumes of Mitt
Romney`s character. The question is, did he or did he not seek the
endorsement of Ted Nugent?

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: Ed, absolutely, categorically,
unequivocally, Romney sought Nugent for the endorsement. I interviewed the
local reporter who spoke to Ted Nugent immediately this happened. The
reporter said that Nugent was actually in a gun shop and his cell phone
started to ring.

So he answered. And it was Mitt Romney. And he described the
conversation as warm and cordial. And he said Romney asked him, would he
give him his endorsement. Nugent said, are you planning to change anything
in relation to gun control laws?

When Romney said, no, Nugent said, you have my endorsement. You see,
the problem is Romney not only has a problem remembering his previous
policy positions, he also can`t remember the conversations he`s had.

SCHULTZ: Righties are circling the wagons, big time. Senator Inhofe
from Oklahoma, Mike Huckabee, talk show host, Allen West is out there
defending him. What do you make of this? And are they just fronting for
Romney now?

Now that the National Rifle Association has taken the video off their
website, it kind of gives Romney cover. And of course the Secret Service
vetting at this point.

BASHIR: Right. What was interesting was the Allen West quote that
you just played, where West suggested that President Bush had exactly the
same experience as our current president.

Really? Do you recall a group being led by a vulgar Pied Piper like
Donald Trump, questioning whether President Bush was an American? Do you
remember anybody equating President Bush with Islamic terrorists, the most
hated criminals on the Earth, and repeatedly casting aspersions on his
Christian faith?

Do you ever recall that? Of course you don`t? The problem is Mitt
Romney can`t condemn them because he needs their validation. He wants
their validation more than he wants veracity. He wants their support more
than he`ll ever speak out against them.

That`s why you will never hear him offer a condemnation that, as you
said at the beginning of this segment, is the decent, right and appropriate
thing to do.

SCHULTZ: Well, he needs that head shaking crowd, because of some of
his positions on firearms when he was governor of Massachusetts. And he
needs the Ted Nugent mentality behind him. He can`t lose that crowd at
all, because President Obama has not been a gun grabber or someone who has
put restricted on firearms, as advertised by the Republicans before the
last election.

BASHIR: That`s another fabrication, because the implication is that
this president has done something in relation to firearms. Name one thing
that he`s done.

SCHULTZ: Quickly, do you think the Secret Service taking down -- or
the NRA taking down the videotape of Nugent -- do you think that`s part of
the deal here?

BASHIR: I think it`s got to be. The video itself does nothing for
the Nugent, nothing for Mitt Romney and nothing for the NRA. It is a
unhinged monologue of hatred. Basically my suspicion is -- I have no
grounds to evidence this, but my suspicion is that having heard that the
Secret Service were interviewing Ted Nugent, the Secret Service probably
said, you know what, just take this down.

SCHULTZ: Martin Bashir, great to have you with us. Thank you so

BASHIR: Thank you, Ed. Great to be here.

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


ROMNEY: I`m not sure about these cookies. They don`t look like you
made them.


SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney is showing how out of touch he is once again.
"The Nation`s" John Nichols will weigh in on Cookie-gate.


ROMNEY: No, no. They came from the local 7/11 bakery or wherever.


SCHULTZ: The president sits in a bus where Rosa Parks refused to give
up her seat. Tonight, we`re looking back at our history.

And for the first time ever, I agree with the Heritage Foundation. Up
next, my commentary on sugar subsidies.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Listen carefully, because this
is one of the very few times you will ever hear me agree with the Heritage
Foundation and Mitt Romney on anything. Democrats, I think you need to pay
attention to what`s happening in the Heartland and also in Florida.

The sugar industry has one of the most powerful lobbies in Florida.
Can we just say that? It has unbelievable protections, guaranteed
subsidies. That`s pretty good business to be in, isn`t it?

It has protections like no other industry. Better than oil? Yeah.
Better than the defense industry. In a way, it`s strong. The issue is
coming up again because the farm bill is getting marked up, and the sugar
program is a hot topic.

Now conservatives, they are using the program as their latest whipping
post. They want to gut sugar subsidies across the board. They say we
shouldn`t be doing it. The Heritage Foundation has called for sugar
subsidies to be totally abolished.

They say "the U.S. sugar program is bad for consumers, bad for
agricultural, bad for America." Mitt Romney called for an end to sugar
subsidies in a debate in Florida back in January.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney, you`re getting some campaign
support from sugar growers. That`s a very influential support group in
this state.

ROMNEY: My view is we ought to get rid of subsidies and let markets
work properly.


SCHULTZ: Oh, let markets work properly. Democrats have traditionally
defended sugar subsidies, advocating for these price supports. As long --
look, as I have said many, many times before, Democrats should stand by
workers. I mean, you stand by workers, you won`t lose.

But the fight over sugar has now become not just about farmers. It`s
a labor issue. We have reached pretty much a crossroads in this debate.
Will Democrats -- will they -- will Democrats side with the wealthy sugar
beat growers of America or will they side with the workers?

American Crystal Sugar around Fargo, North Dakota, is now in its ninth
month of a worker lockout while it makes healthy profits. We talked about
this in December on THE ED SHOW.


SCHULTZ: Then here`s my backyard, Moorehead, Minnesota, home to
America Crystal Sugar; 1,300 workers have been locked out for the past five
months. Crystal Sugar CEO David Berg, well, he should have nothing but
gratitude for his workers. In 2011, he made 2.4 million dollars in total
compensation. American Crystal Sugar had a record year of 1.5 B -- billion
dollars in revenue.

The workers apparently don`t deserve to benefit from those profits.
And they`re out of work.


SCHULTZ: That was in December. Those workers are still locked out.
American Crystal Sugar has already hired 700 full time non-union workers to
replace the 1,300 locked out workers. The company hopes to have all 1,300
positions filled by next fall`s harvest, according to a local television
station, WDAY.

Now the sugar beat farmers, you know what they get? They get your tax
dollars. Sugar beat subsidies in the past 15 years total more than 240
million dollars. As I said in December, why are we giving money to sugar
beat farmers and the to the sugar beat industry while their executives make
millions and the workers get screwed?

You tell me, is that fair? All they want is the wages that they have
had and their health care and their pension. This is the difference
between supporting billions of dollars for wealthy sugar growers or siding
with labor. That is the difference. Where are you, Democrats? The
program that we`re talking about has been in effect for the past 72 years.

But now I think things have got to change. Democrats should not
support this program under these circumstances. I`m calling on Democrats
to go along with the Heritage Foundation, gut the program. In a rare
moment, I agree with the Heritage Foundation, but for totally different

It`s all about money for them. I`ve said it all along, if Democrats
stand with workers, they can`t go wrong. And if this is how the wealthy
sugar beat owners, sugar growers are going to reap rewards from a subsidy,
while screwing the workers, teach them a lesson, get rid of the subsidies.

Why should they have the guarantees if they`re going to treat people
like that? Keep in mind, the House Agricultural Committee has already
voted to make cuts in the Food Stamp Program. Let`s see, kicking out the
workers, locking them out and then picking on the poor people.

So we`re being asked to accept cuts in the Food Stamp Program. But
the wealthy sugar grower subsidies, they could survive? No way that should
happen, especially on the heels of sugar growers who are seeing record

Would you like to have guaranteed profits? It really makes no sense.
Another thing, Democrats have been lukewarm in their defense of the United
States Postal Service and what those workers are going through.

Now they have a decision to make, because they shouldn`t be giving
these guarantees to the rich but not protecting the workers.

This is an issue that I know is important to the economy in certain
parts of the country. But we have a president right now who`s trying to
advocate for workers. He`s going around the country talking about
fairness. He`s going around the country talking about paying your fair
share. He`s going around the country talking about being fiscally

Is letting farmers be greedy and treating workers like crap -- is that
the America we want? You know what I want these Republican farmers to do,
these sugar beat growers, who are righties who always turn their back on
the Democrats? Get your butt out on the free market and see if it can
work. Go ahead and compete with Cuba. Go ahead and compete with everybody
else who is out there doing sugar business.

Why in the hell should we protect you? Because you have never
protected the workers. The American dream, for some of those workers who
have been in those plants and worked for 25 or 30 years, have been locked
out. You know why? Because they have been too successful.

And a select few who are living and working the land are making big-
time bucks. You, the taxpayer, are subsidizing this. The sugar program
needs to go.

Coming up, a powerful moment for the president as he sits on the bus
where Rosa Parks changed the face of the Civil Rights Movement forever.
Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: President Obama took a moment to sit on a bus where Rosa
Parks changed the course of the Civil Rights Movement forever. This was
the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, where Rosa Parks refused to give up her
seat to a white woman in December 1955.

The bus is now at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. In a
speech prior to his sitting on this seat, the president said this.


here, you`ve got -- you`ve got a display of Abraham Lincoln and then you
have the bus Rosa Parks sat down in. It takes ordinary citizens to bring
about change, who are committed to keep fighting and keep pushing and
keeping inching this country closer to our highest ideals.


SCHULTZ: Later in the day, the president commented on the moment. He
said, "I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and
tenacity that is part of our very recent history, but is also a part of
that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn`t make
the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their
share of the American dream."

Pretty amazing. I think he`s pretty well-connected to folks in this

Coming up, middle class Mitt strikes again. Mitt Romney tries to be
funny but ends up insulting a major Pennsylvania institution. That won`t
win you any votes in November, dude. I can tell you that. John Nichols of
"The Nation," who has been to the bakery, examines Cookie-gate next.


SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked, do you think Republicans
are heartless when it comes to the poor? Ninety three percent of you said
yes; seven percent of you said no.

Coming up, Mitt`s cookie snub is more proof that he`s out of touch
with middle classers in America. John Nichols joins me next.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio on Sirius XM, Channel 127,
and progressive talk stations around the country, Monday through Friday,
noon to 3:00 p.m. Follow me on Twitter @EdShow, and like THE ED SHOW on
Facebook. We are right back.


SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, Mitt Romney has a real problem
when it comes to relating to the average American.


ROMNEY: I have some great friends that are Nascar team owners.

Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs actually.

I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.


SCHULTZ: So it is no surprise that Romney`s attempt at relatability
has turned into yet another gaffe. On Tuesday, Romney sat down with a
group of middle class folks from Pennsylvania, hand-picked Republicans, I
might add. They gathered around a picnic table. And according to the
"Pittsburgh Post Gazette," a local official -- a local official delivered
cookies to the group, as well as lemonade, chips and pretzels.

Pretty nice gesture, don`t you think. Mitt Romney was not a fan.


ROMNEY: I`m not sure about these cookies. They don`t look like you
made them. Did you make those cookies? You didn`t, did you? No, no.
They came from the local 7-11, bakery or wherever.


SCHULTZ: Oops. Except those cookies didn`t come from the local 7-11.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cookies actually came from the popular Bethel
Bakery in Bethel Park.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn`t hide my grief there. Those sweets
are now getting an awful lot of attention.


SCHULTZ: Bethel Bakery is a Pennsylvania institution. It`s been
around since 1955. It`s Pittsburgh`s cookie Mecca. And Mitt Romney
managed to insult it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I heard it, I thought, oh, my goodness, this
guy has no idea how beloved this institution is that provided these

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are not convenience store cookies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. They are right from the heart of Bethel Park.


SCHULTZ: The woman who prepared the tray of five dozen cookies for
Governor Romney said she was shocked by his reaction. To add insult to
injury, Romney didn`t even taste any of the food. The locals, they`re not


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While Bethel Bakery fans are mad, saying maybe
Mitt Romney is used to eating cupcakes with diamonds in them, the owner of
the store is laughing and hoping he gets another shot at pleasing the
Republican, who will be back in Pittsburgh before November.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe he`s more of a cupcake person or a pie
person. I don`t know.


SCHULTZ: Cupcakes with diamonds? Let`s turn to John Nichols,
Washington correspondent of "The Nation" magazine, and author of the book
"Uprising." The bakery is running a Cookie-Gate special in honor of Mitt
Romney. You can buy a half-dozen, get another dozen free. You know how it

How badly did he screw up on this?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Pretty badly. In fact, this is the funny
thin: there`s a conservative congressional candidate out there in southern
Allegheny County who Tweeted "huge mistake," that -- and he said Bethel
Bakery is the biggest institution in this region.

SCHULTZ: You were a reporter for the "Pittsburgh Post Gazette?"
You`ve been to this Bethel Bakery.

NICHOLS: Oh yes. Yes, yes.

SCHULTZ: It is an institution. I mean, you get stuff from Bethel
Bakery, holy smokes, they`re the best on the Earth.

NICHOLS: I`ll tell you what, reporters who cover politicians -- and
politicians have gone into Bethel Bakery. In fact, I wouldn`t be surprised
if President Obama goes there some time soon.

But reporters who go in there, you star looking at those cases and you
think, maybe I`ll take home a box. It`s good -- it`s a good, good bakery.

SCHULTZ: What does it say about the guy, that someone made the
cookies, went to the effort to bring this to the table? It was not
campaign staffers. The guys is just made for insults.

NICHOLS: Well, what -- ask yourself this, Ed, if your small talk is
picking on people`s cookies, I mean -- what`s wrong with a guy who can`t
just have an open conversation and say, if he`s got a problem with the
cookies, why doesn`t he at least think for a second and say, well, where
did these come from? Ask the question.

SCHULTZ: This is a nice gesture, thank you. Where did these come
from? He`s ripping on 7-117.

NICHOLS: I know. Which is no great shake either, because there`s
many people at 3:00 who have liked a 7-11 cookie.

SCHULTZ: Well, I mean, here is a guy who just doesn`t say thank you,
this is a nice gesture.

NICHOLS: Or just -- or use it as a place for conversation. I`ve been
with President Obama when he has walked into places where he`s seen some
pretty wild things put in front of him. He starts a conversation about who
made this, what`s this?

SCHULTZ: This is part of the pattern. He mocked Nascar fans` rain
ponchos back in February. His quote was I like those fancy raincoats you

NICHOLS: Teasing them.

SCHULTZ: Really sprung for the big bucks. You know what? Some of
those fans that go, they can`t afford -- seriously, they spend their money
going to Nascar. They don`t spend their money on nice rain equipment.

NICHOLS: Some people in a backyard, at a picnic table, appreciate the
cookies and pretzels that are put out for them.

SCHULTZ: Is it a snapshot? Or is this who the guy is? And does it

NICHOLS: It is who the guy is. We have seen it again and again and
again. And it does matter, because when we choose a president, it`s a
little different than a lot of other things. This is not a legislator.
This is somebody who is supposed to talk to the whole country and be able
to talk to the whole country.

A guy who can`t go into a backyard in Allegheny County and have a just
normal conversation, he has a little problem.

SCHULTZ: Another part of that conversation was, you know, the people
were talking to him about raising taxes. They were hand-picked
Republicans, middle classers that were sitting in there, telling him that,
you know, it`s OK to raise taxes, because we don`t want to gut the
educational system.

He had no reaction whatsoever to any of that. That`s when he should
have started eating the cookies.

NICHOLS: He should have filled his mouth with the cookies at that
point, or offered some to them.

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

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m ED Schultz.

But before we go, I just want to note something that happened on
television last night. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rachel and her colleagues at MSNBC are always
working around the clock to bring you breaking news. And they`re all
really talented anchors and journalists. But we wanted to get to the heart
of the matter.

Tonight`s poll question, here it is, who is the hottest MSNBC host,
Rachel, Willie Geist, Joe Scarborough, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews or Mika
Brzezinski. Who do you think is going to win?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Whoever loses should be killed on sight,
obviously. I -- I -- I assume that Ed will win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think Ed is going to win?

MADDOW: Ed has a heartland, barrel chested virility that cannot be



SCHULTZ: You know, Rachel, thank you. I have wanted to show my chest
for a long time on TV. But I have a confession to make tonight, the
belly`s a little bit bigger than the chest, but I`m really working on it.

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


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