updated 5/11/2012 1:37:06 PM ET 2012-05-11T17:37:06

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Mahlon Mitchell, E.J. Dionne, Clay Aiken, Stephen Hill, Charles Blow, Mike Rogers

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

Mitt Romney is facing heat over his days as a prep school bully.
Tonight, we`ll show you how President Obama is helping bullied kids.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did some stupid things
when I was in high school. I had no idea what that individual`s sexual
orientation might be. Going back to the 1960s, that wasn`t something we
all discussed or considered.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president steps up for equality, while
Mitt Romney apologizes for being a bully.

Tonight, singer Clay Aiken on why the president`s remarks makes
things better for everyone. Army Captain Steven Hill, who was booed at a
Republican debate for being gay, on the president`s leadership. And
Charles Blow of "The New York Times" and Mike Rogers of "Raw Story" on all
the political fallout.

Michele Bachmann loved her ED SHOW expose so much, today she
renounced her Swiss citizenship.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I think people would be --
would love to see an expose like that.

SCHULTZ: We`ll have the latest on Swiss family Bachmann.

And Scott Walker is using taxpayer money to try to save his job.
Wisconsin lieutenant governor candidate Mahlon Mitchell is here for an ED
SHOW exclusive interview.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

President Obama and Mitt Romney couldn`t be farther apart on how they
handled the issue of marriage equality. ABC`s "Good Morning America" aired
their full interview with the this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, Malia and
Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. It wouldn`t
dawn on them that somehow their friends` parents would be treated
differently. And frankly, that`s the kind of thing that prompts a change
in perspective. You know, not wanting to somehow explain to your child why
somebody should be treated differently, when it comes to the eyes of the
law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: For young people who are gay in America, the president`s
comments could save lives. This is not the first time President Obama
stood up for people who are made to feel lesser because of their sexual
orientation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You are not alone. You didn`t do anything wrong. You didn`t
do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting
for you, filled with possibilities.

There are people out there who love you and care about you, just the
way you are.

And so if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what
people are saying that you`re getting down on yourself, you`ve got to make
sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it`s your parents,
teachers, folks that you know care about you, just the way you are, you`ve
got to reach out to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president`s message was part of the It Gets Better
project. The campaign is devoted to providing support no young people in
the LBGT community in America. Victims of bullying are between two and
nine times more likely to consider suicide than those who have not been
bullied.

The focus on the issue is real bad timing for Mitt Romney. It seems
like Romney`s campaign is getting hit by a new Mack truck every day. Well,
today`s no different. The cover story on "The Washington Post" is another
incident that they`ve got to deal with.

Former schoolmates of Mitt Romney told the paper how Romney abused,
abused classmates who were believed to be gay. The article describes how
one victim, his eyes filled with tears, screamed for help. Romney
repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

Another student who was a closeted homosexual says his efforts to
speak out in class were punctuated with Romney shouting, "Atta girl."

On another occasion, Romney walked a blind teacher into a closed door
while class mates laugh. Romney was never disciplined for any of these
incidents.

This is why I guess we vet our presidential candidates, isn`t it?
The story is now on the record and the public will just have to render
judgment on who this man is. Mitt Romney knows this story has the
potential to really hurt his candidacy.

Today, Romney, the campaign put out a call for Romney`s old
classmates to come forward and defend the candidate. Romney did some
damage control for himself on FOX News today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I don`t recall the incident, myself, but I`ve seen the
reports and I`m not going to argue with that. There`s no question that I
did some stupid things when I was in high school. And obviously, if I hurt
anyone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry for it and apologize for
it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But Romney also rationalized the behavior by saying he
didn`t know the victim`s sexual orientation. Romney and his friends were
beating up a weaker kid, just for the hell of it? Not because he was gay?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I had no idea what that individual`s sexual orientation
might be. Going back to the 1960s, that wasn`t something that we all
discussed or considered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I think we can all agree that people change throughout
their lifetimes. No one should be held accountable today for every action
he or she takes as a teenager.

But these stories, I think, give us a snapshot of who Mitt Romney is.
The guy who forced a hair cut on a helpless can kid is the same guy who
wants to force a haircut on the poor in this country, along with the middle
class, if he becomes president.

Today, the Republican House passed the Paul Ryan budget plan. Mitt
Romney supports this plan, which would cut funding for food stamps,
Medicaid, and health care in America.

When Mitt Romney was in high school, he was picked -- he picked on
the most vulnerable members of the school community. The Republican Party,
what are they doing? They doing the same damned thing.

The gay community is not immune from GOP attacks. Remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN HILL, SERVING IN IRAQ: In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq,
I had to lie about who I was, because I`m a gay soldier, and I didn`t want
to lose my job. My question is, under one of your presidencies, do you
intend to circumvent the progress that`s been made for gay and lesbian
soldiers in the military?

(BOOS)

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I -- I would
say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Not one candidate on the debate stage at that time spoke
out in support of the soldier, Stephen Hill. Not one candidate told the
members of the debate audience that it is inappropriate to boo a U.S.
serviceman.

Question is where is the leadership in the Republican Party and where
is Mitt Romney`s? Mitt Romney had opportunities to act like a leader and
he didn`t do it. Instead, he`s not much different than the preschool kid
who bullied his classmates.

And if you look at it, Mitt Romney was apparently raised in an
atmosphere of intolerance. This man hasn`t changed. Just look at his
position on marriage equality.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.

Tonight`s question: Does Mitt Romney have any idea what it feels like
to be bullied? Text "A" for yes, text "B" for no, to 622639, and you can
always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results later
on tonight in the show.

I`m joined tonight by Clay Aiken, singer and entertainer, as well as
celebrity spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

And Stephen Hill, the U.S. Army Reservist captain who was booed at
the Republican debate last September.

Gentleman, great to have you with us tonight.

Clay, you first, you have spoken out about anti-gay bullying and now
the president has become very involved in this issue -- obviously, in the
last 24 hours. Does he help young people who have been victims of
bullying? Where do you -- what kind of an impact do you think this will
have, where the president is now?

CLAY AIKEN, SINGER/ENTERTAINER: I think it has an incredible impact.
Being able -- being a young LBGT person, who hears your president speak out
for your rights is very empowering. I mean, we talk a lot about role
models, whether it be me or someone like Ellen DeGeneres or Ricky Martin,
or Neil Patrick Harris, LBGT individuals who are in the public eye, who
have some degree of impact for youth who are struggling with bullying or
feeling left out or ostracized.

But when the president of the country, when the person who is the
most powerful person in the world, really, speaks out and steps on to the
correct -- on to the right side of history and says, I support the right
for everyone, the freedom for everyone to marry and for every single
individual to have the rights that we all -- that many people take for
granted. I think it makes a huge statement to -- especially to youth, who
might feel left out. And I`m thrilled that he did it.

SCHULTZ: And that really is the issue.

Captain Hill, your thoughts on the president`s impact and how it will
help young people in America who are dealing with their sexual orientation
at such a young age and questioning themselves and going through the peaks
and valleys of life, now that the president has come out and made his
position known on this, how much will that help?

HILL: I mean, President Obama is one of the most influential people
that I`ve ever, ever known, basically. And when I was deployed, I was so
proud to be deployed under the first African-American president, because
that`s everything our country stands for, is, you know, anybody can become
president in the country. And I think that when he comes up and stands up
for equality for all American citizens, that`s everything that I`ve thought
for 20 years in the military for, is to have equality for everybody.

SCHULTZ: I want to ask both of you -- Clay, first you. What do you
make of the Mitt Romney story, about the incident in which he was
reportedly involved in when he was in prep school. Your thoughts on that?
Does this give us a snapshot of who he is?

AIKEN: It`s heartbreaking. It`s a little frightening, as someone
who has experience being bullied for being gay, all through school, through
high school. It`s sort of -- it sort of gives me flashbacks and concerns
me.

And, while, of course, there are people who do change through life, I
think his apology today was disheartening, because it was sort of half-
assed, if you will, to say if I hurt someone`s feelings, I apologize for
it. That`s not necessarily the type of apology that`s warranted for
something so severe. I mean, to hold someone down and cut their hair,
that`s bullying. That`s not -- that`s abuse, really.

And to kind of give a lackadaisical apology, half-heartedly, is
certainly not as strongly as I would like to see him come out against gay
bullying. I think he`s got an opportunity now to speak out and say that,
you know, that he believes that bullying LBGT youth is a problem in our
schools and if he were in a position of power, he would do something about
it. And we didn`t hear anything at all like that today.

SCHULTZ: Captain Hill, your thoughts on the Romney issue?

HILL: I have to be careful being in the military, because I can only
speak out on behalf of myself. But I would always want to treat people the
way I want to be treated. I guess that`s the lesson of life and I think
everyone should. I mean, that`s all I can say about that.

SCHULTZ: Clay, Dan Savage is the founder of the It Gets Better
project. He wrote this on Twitter. "Gay people better get out there and
support the president. If he loses in November, we`ll be blamed."

Do you feel the same way?

AIKEN: I definitely feel the same way about the first half. I don`t
know if we`d be blamed, necessarily. But I think that -- you look at two
candidates who have starkly different track records on the rights of all
citizens.

Mitt Romney, Governor Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts,
tried to defund the governor`s commission on I think they call it LBGT
youth in Massachusetts. He tried to defund a commission that worked to
stop the bullying of LBGT youth in schools.

And President Obama, on the other hand, is perhaps -- not perhaps,
absolutely the most the -- the most accepting and equality-loving president
we`ve had in our history. So, as a gay man myself, I certainly feel more
comfortable and more excited about President Obama today, now that he`s
stepped out and said he values equality and fairness.

SCHULTZ: And, Captain Hill, last October Mitt Romney was asked about
the incident in which you were booed. This is his response. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Oh, I have not made it my practice to scold the audience and
say I disagree with this person, I agree with that person, because it`s --
it goes in a lot of different directions. I don`t recall whether this
soldier, whether people were booing his question or just booing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Captain Hill, how do you think he handled that? Did he do
it appropriately?

HILL: I can tell you that President Obama handled it in a very
different manner. And I support -- being in Iraq and hearing the president
of the United States stand up, when it`s not politically convenient for him
and it took a lot of risk, meant a lot to me and it made me proud to be an
American and proud to be a soldier.

SCHULTZ: Clay, how do you think he handled that question?

AIKEN: You know, again, sort of half-assedly. In order to be the
president, I would you`d be able to take a stand and speak out against
things you don`t think are fair.

That was not an example of someone doing that right there, obviously.
And if someone wants to be in charge of the country, they`ve got to be able
to say things that might upset people every once in a while, and that would
be not him doing that there.

SCHULTZ: Clay Aiken and Stephen Hill, great to have you on THE ED
SHOW tonight. Thanks for your insight. Appreciate it.

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

Mitt Romney keeps tripping all over himself on this gay issue rights,
on the gay rights issue, and Charles Blow and Mike Rogers will join me
next.

And we`re 26 days away from the historic recall elections in
Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker is using taxpayer money to help him
survive. The Democrat trying to unseat Walker`s lieutenant governor will
join me.

Stay with us. Lots more coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up: the political fallout on marriage equality is
getting ugly for Mitt Romney. Charles Blow and Mike Rogers are next to
discuss it.

The president is literally laughing in Mitt Romney`s face about the
auto rescue. Gene Robinson along with the story.

And the war on the poor is getting uglier. You will not believe the
cuts Republicans voted for in the House today.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

President Obama may have given Mitt Romney a political opportunity on
same-sex marriage, but Romney -- he just doesn`t know what to do with it.
Romney is all over the place. He doesn`t even think his party should be
fund-raising on the issue.

Here`s more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I hope the issue, as tender and sensitive as the marriage
issue is, is not a source of fund-raising for either of us. There could be
domestic partnership benefits, for instance, where one state might decide
to provide hospital visitation rights. Another state might decide to
provide that as well as benefits of other kinds. I also know many gay
couples who are able to adopt children. That`s fine.

But my preference is that we encourage the marriage of a man and a
woman and that we continue to define marriage as a relationship between a
man and a woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The truth is Romney doesn`t want to talk about it, at all.

Earlier today, when he was asked about a few social issues earlier,
including gay marriage, he said this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Aren`t there issues of significance that you`d like to talk
about? The economy --

REPORTER: This is a significant issue in Colorado --

ROMNEY: The economy. The economy. The growth of jobs. The need to
put people back to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Here`s what he said right after that interview was over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not running on marriage and marijuana, those are state
issues, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

ROMNEY: Aren`t they? Really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Well, they could be federal issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Romney says they`re state issues. But he supports a
constitutional amendment banning all states from allowing same-sex
marriage. He`s not making any sense, is he?

Today, Romney`s own adviser Ed Gillespie said Romney will campaign on
this issue, because it`s another bright line difference with President
Obama. But Mitt Romney does not appear too eager to campaign on it.

Let`s turn to Mr. Charles Blow, columnist for "The New York Times,"
and Mike Rogers, managing editor of RawStory.com.

Gentleman, good to have you with us tonight.

Charles, he`s all over the map. He`s -- I mean, it`s like a train
wreck. How does he recover if he does?

CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES: I don`t know if you can recover. And
the problem with Mitt Romney is he keeps coming down on the wrong side of
the fairness issue, whether it`s policy, whether it`s the gay marriage
issue. The issue of basic fairness in this society, where do you stand and
how does that contrast with the president?

He`s really on the wrong side of that. And he keeps what allowing to
have happened is he keeps losing the week to these issue. Whether that`s
last week or the week before with student loans, and the president really
coming out and pushing on that issue, or the president coming out and
making this statement with this issue, and him kind of flip-flopping,
wobbling, not knowing how to discuss it.

And then with the discussion about him and bullying when he was in
high school, the White House couldn`t have planned this better, to have the
president say what he had and then have that story come out.

Not that what happens in high school should follow you forever, but
Mitt Romney, again on the fairness question, could not, as an adult, say, I
believe that bullying and taking advantage of someone who is weaker than
you or who is different than you is wrong, and I see how that has negative
repercussions in society. That`s the fairness issue.

SCHULTZ: Mike Rogers, it seems like Mitt Romney once again is taking
numerous positions here. This is not the man who ran for that Senate seat
back in the `90s in Massachusetts.

What do you make of all of this?

MIKE ROGERS, RAWSTORY.COM: Well, of course, in 1994, Mitt Romney
said he was better on LBGT rights then Ted Kennedy. So it`s quite
astonishing. I don`t know if that`s a flip-flop. What`s beyond a flip-
flop?

And I think with someone like him, you know, that whole etch-a-sketch
candidate thing. There`s no -- there`s never anything that is from a place
of, you know, the past where he`s coming into the future. It`s just this
whole throwback thing that they`re continuing to promote.

SCHULTZ: Well, if it affects people`s lives, then it`s worth
campaigning on. Here`s part of a web ad from the Obama campaign, which was
released today. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Same-sex couples should be able to get married.

ROMNEY: I indicated my view, which is, I do not favor marriage
between people of the same gender, and I don`t favor civil unions, if
they`re identical to marriage, other than by name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Charles, you talked about timing. You talked about
organizing and how this all comes out. I mean, it`s very clear that the
Obama campaign is fully prepared to say that we`re for equality and they`re
not.

BLOW: Right. And what a lot of people talked about yesterday was
whether or not this was a risky thing for the president.

You can see from this ad that the White House is not thinking of it
as a risky thing. They`re saying, we are going to embrace this concept and
run with it. And we`re going to see how that shakes out in the end. And I
think that in the end, because of the enthusiasm from his base, and I think
even in general, even people -- some people who go to the polls and say, if
you force me to make a decision, I will choose a decision based on
religion.

In the broader scheme of things do agree with the basic concept of
fairness, and also agree and support people who go with conviction. And
that is what Obama has that Mitt Romney does not, at this point.

SCHULTZ: And, Mike, is President Obama, is this going to be viewed
as a very genuine move, or is this a political move, or just a move with
political ramifications? How do you see it?

ROGERS: Well, in America today, of course, everybody says every
single thing is political. And I agree with Charles. I think at the end
of the day, America will step up and say, this is the right thing to do.

At the same time, I think it was an amazing mix of, you know, what
with one friend called the perfect storm. You had the vice president on
Sunday. You`ve had all the work of the community. You had the North
Carolina vote that certainly the president was going to be pressured to
address.

And he could have punted. He could have done something else. He
could have attracted news in other way.

Yet he took the risk. And clearly, it was something they knew they
were going to do. They had ads at the ready, they were really behind this.
And I think that it`s incredibly genuine. I really do.

SCHULTZ: And, Mike, Ed Gillespie says they will campaign on a
constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Here we go, 2004 all over
again.

ROGERS: You know, Ed, bring it on. Eight years ago was a different
time in America.

And young people in the Republican Party, young Republicans say, this
is crazy. We don`t want to hear our friends being beat up, our college
buddies, our friends in their 20s. This is a new day and age.

And I want Mitt Romney out there. I want him out there beating up
gay people, because you know what, it`s not 2004. It`s about being honest
and forthright. And just those eight years, we have seen America go from
vast majority against marriage equality, and now, they`re for it.

SCHULTZ: So, Charles, does Mitt Romney get off this subject as
quickly as possible?

BLOW: If I were the Romney campaign, I would get off this as quickly
as possible. This is a losing issue for anyone. People do not like to see
the little guy getting beat up. We do not like to see minority populations
in the country getting beat up, and this is a loser.

SCHULTZ: Charles Blow, Mike Rogers -- great to have you with us
tonight. Thank you.

Mitt Romney`s taking credit for the automobile industry success.
Next, we`ve got the president`s reaction. Eugene Robinson of "The
Washington Post" will join us.

The war on the poor has gotten more vicious than ever, thanks to John
Boehner, Paul Ryan and house Republicans. E.J. Dionne will break it down.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Here on this program, here we show you this chart, illustrating
private sector job growth under President Bush and under President Obama.

We show it to you all the time, because those numbers aren`t going to
change. They don`t lie. These are absolutes. This is what has happened.

Now it`s made its way into the latest campaign ad for President
Obama. Part of the reason for that is the success, is the recovery of the
automobile industry. President Obama saved the big three, yet Mitt Romney
says he`ll take credit for it.

So what does the president think of that?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC NEWS: Mitt Romney just recently said that he
deserves the credit for the revival of the U.S. auto industry. How do you
respond to that?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think this is one of his etch-a-sketch
moments. I don`t think anyone takes that seriously. People remember his
position, which was, let`s let Detroit go bankrupt. So had we followed his
advice at that time, G.M. and Chrysler would have gone under and we would
have lost probably 1 million jobs throughout the Midwest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Romney was pressed further about his auto industry remarks
on Fox News. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Former Michigan Governor Jennifer
Granholm said that you knifed us in the back for taking the auto rescue
credit. What were you really saying there? Because if my memory serves me
right, you were dead set against that rescue.

ROMNEY: No, here was what I said. And it`s written down in an op-ed,
where you can take a good look at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: It sure is. The title of the op-ed, "Let Detroit Go
Bankrupt." Romney attempted to back up his claim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: And I wrote an op-ed. This was back when George Bush was
president, and I said, don`t write them a check. They need to go through a
managed bankruptcy. The head of the UAW, he said that`s absolutely wrong.
These companies can`t go through bankruptcy. It would never work.

But you know what? That`s finally what happened. The president
finally came around and they went through a managed bankruptcy. And now
they`re back on their feet.

CAVUTO: Yeah, but they went through a managed bankruptcy with a lot
of taxpayer dollars. That`s where -- were you trying to draw the
distinction there? Because Mark Zandi of Moody`s said without all those
taxpayer dollars backing up the bailout, the bankruptcy filing that was
pretty much, as you said, the case, would have never been possible.

In other words, a bankruptcy filing alone, these guys still would have
been in deep doo-doo. Do you agree with that?

ROMNEY: Well, what I said at the time was, in that op-ed -- I said,
as they go into bankruptcy, if government support is needed, if the
government, for instance, has to provide guarantees, then that`s something
I would be open to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That is just the point. There were no guarantees. There
was no liquid money floating around to help millions of Americans. Mitt
Romney doesn`t know what the heck he`s talking about. And you know what,
this story isn`t going to go away, because there`s going to be a lot of
cars and trucks sold between now and election day. And the numbers will
keep adding up.

Joining me tonight is Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst, and
associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "the Washington
Post."

Eugene, why doesn`t Mitt Romney just surrender on this story? It`s
like he keeps talking and it gets worse. How does he handle it?

EUGENE ROBINSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, not this way. He
cannot win this, because he wrote it down. He wrote down, you know --
let`s give him credit. Let`s say he didn`t write the headline, "Let
Detroit Go Bankrupt." But read the op-ed. He says, don`t invest
government money in the auto industry. Let it go bankrupt.

And to talk about guarantees, he`s implying guarantees of backing
loans that some private capital will provide. There was no private capital
to lend to the auto industry. So GM would have gone under. Chrysler would
have gone under. And because of the disruptions to the supply chains,
Ford, which was doing pretty well, probably would have gone under too.

That`s the fact. And anything else is just incoherent.

SCHULTZ: Well, this story, I think, is going to keep going, because
there`s going to be car sales and benchmarks every month, truck sales every
month, and every time a positive number comes out, it`s going to be
resurrected by the media. I know I am. And Romney is on the wrong side of
history here. How much is this going to hurt him in the campaign?

ROBINSON: Well, I think it`s going to hurt him. It`s going to hurt
him more if he keeps trying to insist that black is white and that things
didn`t happen the way everyone knows they did happen. You know, I always
thought that Romney would have some difficulty switching from his campaign
rhetoric -- primary campaign rhetoric to general election rhetoric.

You know, that`s not brain surgery. George W. Bush did it OK. So it
can be done. But I`m surprised at really the level of -- and I said it
before -- incoherence that we`re seeing in some of these attempts to
position himself for a general election. This stuff doesn`t make sense.
And it`s going to hurt him.

SCHULTZ: We are seeing some of the best debate material being put in
front of us. I mean, when these two guys get together in debate, and this
subject comes up, I would imagine Romney`s probably going to have another
version. But he took credit for it. But then when he campaigned earlier
this week in Michigan, he didn`t say a word about that, which is kind of an
admission of a mistake, or do -- are you reading it differently?

ROBINSON: Yeah, I don`t read it differently, Ed. I do think that at
some point, he`s going to have to say, you know, I opposed the bailout of
the auto industry, but the president did it, and it worked out fine, and I
was wrong. You know, he did the right thing. I congratulate him.

But this trying to have it both ways on a black and white issue, in
which he`s written it down, is never going to work.

SCHULTZ: What he is admitting to is the story in "the Washington
Post" about him bullying a perceived to be gay student at his school. And
actually as the story read, leading a posse down the hall to go give this
kid a haircut. Now, this -- Romney is saying that this happened 48 years
ago. But if you look at his positions, he was intolerant then -- he was
intolerant in his actions then. He`s intolerant in his political positions
today. What do you make of it?

ROBINSON: I found it a fascinating story. I`m still trying to figure
out exactly what I think of it. Frankly, I think we are responsible for
our actions, even if they took place long ago. And you take that into
consideration.

He was a kid. He obviously didn`t know as much about the world as he
knows now. And he`s not necessarily a bully now. But imagine if it
emerged that, say, President Obama had done such a thing when he was a
teenager. And I`m just imagining how that would get played.

SCHULTZ: Well, they would have probably reported him to be a gang
leader.

ROBINSON: Of course. Of course.

SCHULTZ: I mean, he would have paid a severe price for that. Eugene
Robinson, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The news media should do a
penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Michele Bachmann`s story on her dual citizenship keeps
changing. Today she dropped another bombshell. We`ll have the latest.

Scott Walker is running scared. He`s using taxpayer money to try to
save his job. Wisconsin lieutenant governor candidate Mahlon Mitchell will
way in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Well, after spending 15 months saying the state of Wisconsin
is broke, Governor Scott Walker suddenly found 100 million dollars to fund
economic development in a very important city of Milwaukee. And a month
ahead of the recall election, he thought the timing was just great.

Here`s what Walker`s Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
had to say about Walker`s wonderful change of heart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR TOM BARRETT (D), CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF WISCONSIN: We would
be pleased to have the governor and the state be a true partner. But I
have to tell you, I question the sincerity of that when it comes 36 days
before the recall election.

The timing, one week, basically, after the state of Wisconsin was
identified as the only state in the entire country that had a statistically
significant decrease in jobs, raises the question of whether this is about
creating jobs in Milwaukee or this is about saving Scott Walker`s job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: OK. So what`s happening here? Scott Walker is trying to
cash whip voters in Milwaukee with taxpayer dollars. He`s trying to make
people forget that he was the worst jobs record in the country. That`s
what he`s come up with.

Meanwhile, Walker is blaming Milwaukee`s economic problems on you know
who, the mayor of that city, Mayor Barrett. Even though "Forbes" pointed
out, "the ability to make the types of investments that can help lift areas
of the city out of poverty rests with the county and the state
governments."

Scott Walker was the Milwaukee County Executive from 2002 to 2010. He
didn`t do anything about poverty then, and he didn`t do anything about it
for the first 15 months as governor of the state. The recall election is
the only reason he`s helping Milwaukee now.

Of course, Walker is not the only Wisconsin Republican facing a recall
election on June 5th. Four state senators and the lieutenant governor,
Rebecca Kleefisch, also have Democratic challengers.

Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Firefighters of
Wisconsin, won the Democratic nomination to challenge the lieutenant
governor. He joins us here tonight.

Mahlon, good to have you with us. What do you make of --

MAHLON MITCHELL (D), CANDIDATE FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF WISCONSIN:
Good to be here, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Well, I say he`s cash whipping the folks in Milwaukee
County. How do you see it?

MITCHELL: Well, you`re exactly right, Ed. What we`re seeing is
reactive approach to everything in government. If you just go back to last
year, you talked about the job creation. We didn`t actually have a special
session to create jobs until October of last year, because we didn`t
apparently need jobs in January of 2011, but we needed jobs in October.

But if we go back to just that special session, again, rubber stamp,
we didn`t do anything to create jobs. What he talked about was concealed
carry. We talked about abstinence sex education only in schools. He
talked about our deer season. They talked about how to define a bicycle.
Nothing to create jobs.

That`s why we were number one in job losses last year, with 23,900
jobs lost in our state.

SCHULTZ: Now, you going up against Rebecca Kleefisch, she has taken
out an ad already. And I want you to respond to this. Here`s what she`s
running, part of her ad. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REBECCA KLEEFISCH (R), LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF WISCONSIN: Hi, I`m
Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Last year, I heard that a high-tech
company from Illinois loved by its employees was fed up with their state`s
new taxes. So I called them up and told them why they should move to
Wisconsin and they did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Politifact rates that claim as mostly false, since the
company was already looking into moving to the state of Wisconsin. And
Kleefisch played a minimal role at most in all of that. Is that how you
understand the situation? Is that the way it unfolded? Is she really
stretching the truth there?

MITCHELL: It`s so misleading, Ed, that I don`t even like to look at
it. I mean it`s just deceiving the people of our state. But we know the
numbers. We lost 4,300 jobs just last month. So it`s not working. And
what she`s saying is misleading.

Like you pointed out, Politifact already said that it`s wrong, mostly
false. So she needs to stop running misleading ads and run on their
record. Be honest and run on your record and then we`ll let the people
decide in the election.

SCHULTZ: You were the president of the Professional Firefighters
there in Wisconsin. And you`re actually the kind of worker in a kind of
career that Scott Walker has really attacked, teachers, firefighters,
police officers, public sector workers. And you were really a real product
of all of these protests in this movement that has taken place.

You never really thought about running for political office before.
What has motivated you? And I`ve seen the people in Wisconsin respond to
you when you walk down the street. I mean, they were really encouraging
you to do this. How did this all unfold for you?

MITCHELL: Well, the movement last year, Ed, touched me in my heart.
And you look at, I have a family. I have two kids. And this is about
their future. But this is about the movement. This is about the people of
our state. And it`s about bringing our state together.

I have the unique ability as a firefighter. I`ve been a firefighter
for 15 years. What we do is we respond to emergencies. Right now, we have
an emergency in our state at the capital house. And I`m responding to an
emergency. And we`ve got to bring our state together, so we can get back
working to all the citizens of our state, and make sure that we`re doing
what government is supposed to do. That is to take care of people who
cannot take care of themselves so much, and to look out for all people, not
just a select few.

That`s what we`re seeing with Governor Walker and his policies.

SCHULTZ: Mahlon Mitchell, good to have you with us tonight. Good
luck to you. We`ll visit again. Thanks so much.

How long has American-loving Michele Bachmann been a citizen of
Switzerland? According to the congresswoman, over three decades. We`ve
got the latest update to this dazzling story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Last night, we reported on
Michele Bachmann`s defection to Switzerland. Bachmann`s husband, Marcus,
is of Swiss decent, making his family eligible for Swiss citizenship.
According to Bachmann`s office, the Bachmann clan applied for dual
citizenship as a family. And as "Politico" reported on Tuesday, Bachmann
officially became a Swiss citizen on March 19th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he goes, on his way up the -- do you want to
dance? Do you have a card stick? Do you want to do the Polka with me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But that`s not the whole story. Bachmann released this
puzzling statement last night saying she`s been enjoying European style
socialism for 34 years. "I automatically became a dual citizen of the
United States and Switzerland in 1978 when I married my husband, Marcus.
This is a non-story."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to dance until we get to the end of
the mountain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, Bachmann`s office told "Politico" disclosing the
congresswoman`s citizenship was not necessary. But there`s yet another
twist to this story. I am sad to report that this afternoon, Bachmann
officially cut ties with Switzerland, Tweeting, "today I requested the
withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship. I want to be perfectly clear. I
am a proud American."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. Are you kidding me?!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked, does Mitt Romney have any
idea what it feels like to be bullied? Three percent of you said yes; 97
percent of you said no.

Coming up, we`ll tell you what program Republicans want to cut to keep
the defense budget intact. E.J. Dionne weighs in on the GOP`s war on the
poor.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show on Sirius XM Radio,
channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 p.m. Follow me on Twitter
@EdShow and like THE ED SHOW on Facebook. We are coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the big finish tonight, House Republicans take the
war on the poor to a whole new level. Republicans don`t want automatic
cuts in defense spending over the next 10 years. After the failure of the
super committee, it`s called sequester. So they`ve proposed Draconian cuts
to domestic spending instead, cuts to the elderly, children, the poor, and
unemployed.

Today`s vote passed with no support from Democrats. Here are the
details of what Republicans would do: tighten eligibility for Food Stamps -
- that means cuts -- repeal block grants for Meals on Wheels -- I say
that`s heartless. Child care programs will be a thing of the past. And
assistance for the elderly, well, they`re going to cut Medicaid and cut
federal retirement benefits. You name it.

This legislation came from Paul Ryan`s Budget Committee and is called
a reconciliation budget. I`ll show you something that needs
reconciliation. The nation`s wage earners need an hourly compensation to
match their productivity. The nation`s middle class deserves a wage that
doesn`t stay flat over three decades while the vultures at the top get
rich.

There is a need for reconciliation in this country, but not the kind
Republicans have got in mind for America.

Joining me tonight, E.J. Dionne, MSNBC contributor, "Washington Post"
columnist, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Heartless is what I call it. I can`t think of a better word. But,
E.J., this is going to hurt people. And they want to give breaks to the
wealthiest Americans. I mean, how do you describe what`s unfolding here?

E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST" You know, Ed, I respect the
conservative tradition. I have a lot of conservative friends. But
conservatism right now has really been degraded and narrowed. Its only
principle right now in American conservatism is never, ever, ever, ever
raise taxes on the rich, even if it means slashing programs for the
neediest people.

You look at what they did today; 40 percent of the total cuts came in
programs for low and moderate-income people, Food Stamps, Medicaid,
children`s health insurance. Two hundred thousand low-income kids would
lose school meals.

And you know what? If they want to raise the defense budget, if they
want to sort of get rid of some of those cuts that are online, Senator
Schumer and the Democrats over there said, look, put some revenue on the
table. If you really care that much about defense, can`t you tax some of
the very well-off people that are being protected?

But they`re saying no. And as you pointed out, not a single
Democratic voted for this. And there are about two dozen moderate to
conservative Democrats who often vote with the Republicans. And 16
Republicans couldn`t bring themselves to vote for this thing.

So 16 Republicans defected. This is a terrible thing.

SCHULTZ: In some strange way, the Republicans think that taking this
vote in the House, when they know it has no chance in the Senate, no chance
of the president going along with any of this -- in some strange way, they
think that this is going to politically help them. How do you figure?

DIONNE: Well, I guess they figure people won`t look much at the cuts
or they figure most of their constituents aren`t affected by these cuts, or
most of the people who vote for them aren`t affected by these cuts. And
look, a lot of people want to offset those Pentagon cuts, especially people
with defense industries in their districts. And that`s probably why they
thought they might get some Democratic votes on this.

But, you know, I think that if people sort of take a look at what kind
of government this is going to create and where is the balance of
government at a time when there`s rising inequality. It ought to be
pushing a little bit in favor of the people who aren`t doing so well.

SCHULTZ: And the chart that we show, and we`ll show it again -- I
mean, this is only going to feed into this separation. We`ve showed how
productivity has gone up over the past years, but wages have not kept up.
Wage earners, they`re not getting their fair share. And Republicans want
to make it even harder for the poor to stay afloat.

It plays right into the what the Obama campaign is all about right
now.

DIONNE: I want -- I thought tonight of an old Mario Cuomo line, who
said, this is based on the philosophy that God helps those whom God has
helped. And so you`re just going to do more for the people who already
have more. The other line I thought of tonight is from scripture. You
know, Isaiah said, "we shall beat their swords into plow shares."

This is beating plow shares into swords. This is just taking from the
very needy and giving it to the Pentagon.

SCHULTZ: Well, we just don`t want to be our brother`s keeper anymore.
That is where the Republican party is. E.J. Dionne, great to have you with
us tonight. Thanks so much.

And a quick note before we go tonight. THE ED SHOW is losing one of
its members this evening. You have never met her, but you have seen her
tireless work on a daily basis on this program. Kelly Long (ph) has been a
valued member and a very loyal member to the Ed team. She was with me at
6:00 and then followed to the 10:00 show and now at 8:00.

She is making a career change. She is going off to work for the State
Department. We know that she`s going to make a world of difference there
and represent the United States of America at the utmost very best.

Kelly, just remember, you can always come back. A big thank you from
me and our team.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. That was really sweet
of you. And that`s exciting about Kelly. State Department, huh?

SCHULTZ: It is. And you know, people -- someone was telling me once
that you have four careers in a lifetime. So, you know, this is a great
opportunity for her. And she can always come back. She`s been absolutely
fantastic. And we`re going to miss her, for sure.

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

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