Guests: Ruth Conniff, John Nichols, Kirsten Crowell, Lee Saunders, Lena
Taylor, Fred Risser, Joan Walsh, Howard Fineman
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW live from Madison, Wisconsin.
Political history is in the making here in the Badger State.
This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s pretty much in the hands of the people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is more than just a race. This is a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lost friends over this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had a big turnout so far. Had to call in for
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Massive turnout in Dane County, Waukesha
County, and Milwaukee County, where they needed to call in reserve poll
workers to handle the volume.
MAYOR TOM BARRETT (D), MILWAUKEE: We`re glad to see so many people
care about our democracy and care about the future of the state.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We`re not letting up until 8:00
SCHULTZ: Ruth Conniff and John Nichols will break down this historic
day in the Badger State.
Senator Lena Taylor is officially requesting an investigation into
robocalling and other dirty tricks. She`s here tonight.
This election is much bigger than the Badger State. Joan Walsh and
Howard Fineman on what the Walker recall mean for the country.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for watching.
It`s been 16 months. Let`s get it on. Polls close in an hour here in
Wisconsin. We`ve already seen a ground operation unlike anything in
Wisconsin political history.
Voting in the recall election between Scott Walker and Tom Barrett may
rival the 2008 presidential election turnout. Participation has been off
the charts for early voting, for same day registration and, of course, this
effort -- this massive get out to vote effort unlike anything we`ve seen in
this part of the country.
Voters will be in line when the polls close in one hour. And,
remember, you can still vote. You don`t have to go home. You get in that
line before the polls close, and you will be allowed to vote.
Election officials say that the turnout is somewhere between 60
percent and 65 percent. They expect around 2.8 million votes to be cast in
this state today. Turnout has been so heavy Milwaukee County has had to
call in for reinforcements at the poll.
The turnout is so important because most voters already made up their
minds according to the exit polls. Eighty-eight percent of voters decided
which way they were going to vote before the month of May. Only 6 percent
decided within the last few days.
In other exit polling, voters are about evenly split on limits to
collective bargaining by public employee unions. Fifty percent approve and
48 percent disapprove.
But more voters view public unions favorably than unfavorably, 52
percent to 43 percent. It`s also not clear if this recall election will
have any effect on the presidential election. Despite the close recall
vote, 51 percent say they will vote for President Obama compared to 45
percent who say they will vote for Mitt Romney.
Scott Walker tried to down play any expectations when talking to
reporters earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you think about writing a concession speech? I know you
said yesterday that you hadn`t yet.
WALKER: No, I haven`t thought about a victory speech. I`d just spent
my time campaigning. Maybe after the polls close, I have enough time to
kind of digest things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Meanwhile, Tom Barrett remained confident the momentum in
this race is on his side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRETT: We`re glad to see so many people care about our democracy
and care about the future of the state and want a governor who`s going to
represent the middle class of this state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Tom Barrett is counting on heavy voter turnout to push him
over the top. The national Democrats agree. President Obama may not have
come to Wisconsin to campaign, but his official campaign Web site released
this video encouraging Wisconsin voters to get to the polls.
If turnout surpasses expectations, you can expect to hear about a lot
of dirty tricks. They have already started here in the Badger State. This
vote watchdog site OurVoteLive.org posted reports of voters being turned
away at the polls, including this account. Caller saw at least 20 young
people, first time voters, turned away from the voting location because
they did not have a photo ID.
State Senator Lena Taylor wrote a letter to the Government
Accountability Board asking for an investigation into misleading robocalls
to benefit the Walker campaign. Senator Taylor will join us later on this
This is why Tom Barrett needs voter turnout to be near the 2008
levels. Back in 2008, 39 percent were Democrats. The number dropped to 37
percent in 2010. Meanwhile, the number of moderate voters decreased in
2010, while the number of conservatives jumped up 6 percent.
Young voters were also missing during the midterm in 2010. There was
a 7-point drop in the youth vote from 2008.
Now, this race is very tight. The turnout will make the difference in
Walker and his allies outspent Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, 7
1/2 to 1. In the end, the race is still about the people of Wisconsin.
And as I said, closing this broadcast last night, we`ll find out if
the people matter.
I`m joined tonight by Ruth Conniff, political editor for the
"Progressive" magazine, and also with us, John Nichols, Washington
correspondent for "The Nation" magazine.
Great to have both you have with us.
Ruth, what`s the latest?
RUTH CONNIFF, THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: The latest is turnout. You
know, I saw a tweet that I thought was a joke from some right wing blog are
saying that Dane County is projecting possibly 119 percent turnout. I said
that`s got to be a joke.
No, it`s no joke. It`s because so many people are doing same day
registration at the polls. So many new voters are coming out. It`s really
an amazing thing to see because, of course, the Republicans have tried so
hard to suppress new voters, to suppress the student vote.
And instead, we`re seeing people coming out and registering. We`re
seeing lines so long they are returning out of registration forms. People
are waiting in line to vote. It`s turnout like we have not seen in this
SCHULTZ: John, any problems out there on this day?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Yes, there have been problems. Not the
problems that you usually look for which is huge voter suppression.
There`d been a couple of concerns. But the biggest problem has been
turnout related. That is that in some places, they printed ballots for 100
percent turnout, but now, we are talking about perhaps going above that.
In Dane County, they have printed extra ballots. They printed 100
percent. They printed more.
In Milwaukee County, they are advising voters who are coming to the
polls, if you can print out a registration form because they are literally
Now, I want to emphasize, this is really important because we have so
many listeners in Wisconsin. Nothing will stop you from voting. If you
get there by 8:00, even if they don`t have a form, they`ll find one for
you. Even if there`s a problem finding it, everything will work.
If you can go to the polls, go to the polls and participate in what
could be the highest vote ever in a gubernatorial race.
SCHULTZ: So, they had to shift some poll workers in Milwaukee because
of the heavy turnout. Ballots, of course, are being rounded up to make
sure they will be able to facilitate this whole thing. But I have to get
right to what`s been a problem area in the state of Wisconsin. And that`s
A lot of people tweeting wanting to know who is watching Kathy
Nicholas -- Ruth.
CONNIFF: Kathy Nicholas is still in charge. She says she wasn`t
going to be doing it this year, he turns out she is. It is her. It is her
appointees. And we`re going to hope that the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,"
which has reporters there, are going to tell us what`s going on at the end
of this long night, we`re not finding ballots under her bed.
SCHULTZ: John, your thoughts on watching this county.
NICHOLS: I think you got to keep an eye on Waukesha. There`s no
doubt about that.
But I want to emphasize, we should be keeping an eye on every place in
this state because while Kathy Nicholas has a rough reputation, the reality
is we have an unprecedented turnout. This is absolutely historic.
It`s going to take time to count it. It`s going to take time to get
it right. Let`s be sure we do, because I have never in my life in
Wisconsin seen democracy operating at this level. Let`s get this right.
Let`s do it.
SCHULTZ: We have been talking in recent days about where Tom Barrett
needed the turnout. He needed the turnout in Milwaukee and the turnout has
been so overwhelming it`s hard to accurately state exactly what kind of
turnout they`ve had in Milwaukee.
I talked to Reverend Jesse Jackson. He called me during the radio
show. He said, Ed, something`s happening in Milwaukee. I`ve never seen
anything like this.
Ruth, what does that say? What does that tell us? Because in 2010,
only 37 percent of Milwaukee came out and voted. Tom Barrett got 62
percent of that vote, which is big.
We have stated on this program saying that it`s got to be 50 percent
or better turnout for him to make it happen tonight.
Your thoughts on where Milwaukee County is and where this plays into
the whole mix.
CONNIFF: I think what has happened is that the people of Wisconsin
including in Milwaukee County, know what`s happening in Wisconsin and they
are coming out because they have an interest in this and they know this is
This is not about national politics. It is not the horse race. This
is not about the big group telling people what to think.
This is about our schools, our jobs, our middle class and our future
as a state. And that`s why people are coming out. They see their stake in
SCHULTZ: You know, I was talking earlier today with Gwen Moore,
congresswoman from Milwaukee. And I said, well, you know, I`m hearing so
much about get out to vote. What are you doing?
The bottom line it comes down to this, it`s the elbow grease. It`s
not the mailer. It`s not dropping something in the mailbox. It`s beyond
knocking on somebody`s door. It`s beyond making a phone call. What they
are monitoring is that they`re monitoring the polls and seeing exactly who
is voting, where they`re weak and what wards, and then they are canvassing.
They are pulling people out and say, you`ve got to get to the polls.
Now, has this been done before? To this -- I mean, this seems very,
very intense. I mean, this is elbow grease work is what it is.
NICHOLS: It surely is. You know, the highest voter turnout in an
election in Wisconsin in 1960, Kennedy versus Nixon. That was 73 percent
of the people voted. What old-timers say in those days, when Gaylord
Nelson was our governor, they used to have every precinct organized and you
polled those people. I think we have returned to a traditional Wisconsin
way of doing it especially in our cities like Milwaukee, Madison,
And I will tell you, the most important thing -- you watch all these
places we talked about. If Racine and Sheboygan go for Tom Barrett, he
will be elected governor of Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: Well, here`s the thing. Correct me if I`m wrong, Scott
Walker won Racine.
NICHOLS: He won them both.
SCHULTZ: He won Racine in 2010, that was also won by President Obama
NICHOLS: Those are the battlegrounds.
SCHULTZ: This is real dynamic here, the swing part.
Now, we talked about the Democratic turnout. The Republicans are in
this thing too. They have had high turnout as well today in the Republican
areas, have they not?
CONNIFF: They have. And they have been working on that and they have
been bragging about it for a long time. Of course, we knew it was going to
be close and it is going to be close. I mean, this thing is not won. We
are going to be here for a while.
The Republicans have an incredible ground game. They have put $3
million in the last couple of weeks, Americans for Prosperity doing a bus
tour to 10 cities in Wisconsin to do rallies, to do canvassing, to get out
the vote for their side. They did a big show of strength in the primary
when they got all those voters to come out and vote for Scott Walker who
was virtually unopposed except by (INAUDIBLE) who was a fabulous candidate,
but nonetheless to Walker.
So, they are getting people out. They have a good ground game.
They`re spending a lot of money on it.
SCHULTZ: Well, let`s talk money for just a moment, John. What`s it
say about a candidate who is out gunned by 27 million and in a tight race?
NICHOLS: Well, it says two things. Number one, Scott Walker is an
incredibly weak candidate if it takes him that kind of money. But number
two, this is most important, after the Citizens United ruling came down,
they said you could never fight money. Wisconsin may just prove you can
beat the money.
SCHULTZ: Ruth Conniff and John Nichols, great to have you with us.
We`re going to have a long night.
Coming up on THE ED SHOW, it`s all about the ground game and two
people instrumental in that will join me next. Lee Saunders and Kristen
Crowell will be coming up here on THE ED SHOW.
Republicans are playing dirty tricks with robocalls in Wisconsin.
State Senator Lena Taylor, she wants an investigation and she is here
We`ve got a lot more coming up. Stay with us. We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: Coming up on THE ED SHOW, will today`s high voter turnout be
enough to defeat the massive amounts of outside cash raised by Governor
Walker? I`ll talk with AFSCME`s Lee Sanders and Kristen Crowell of We Are
Wisconsin about the get out the vote effort.
Republicans tried keeping voters away from the polls with dirty
tricks. Now, State Senator Lena Taylor wants the state`s accountability
board to take action. She and college Fred Risser will join me here on THE
And later, a look at how Wisconsin`s election could have an impact on
the national level. Howard Fineman and Joan Walsh will join me for that
Share your thoughts on Twitter using the #EdShow. We`re coming right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My father was a teacher, and we are divided on
our votes. I respect his vote, and it`s difficult because even within
families there`s polarizing views.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Today`s recall election has split the state in two and it`s brought
attention to people power about versus the money unleash by Citizens
United, the Supreme Court ruling.
Here is a pie chart showing how much money for the two candidates came
from out of state. About two-thirds of Governor Scott Walker`s donations
are from out of state and special interests, compared to about one-fourth
for Mayor Tom Barrett. It comes down to the ground game and both sides are
turning the out today.
I`m joined by Kristen Crowell, who is the executive director of We Are
Wisconsin, and Lee Saunders, secretary treasurer of AFSCME.
Great to have you with us tonight.
SCHULTZ: All right. Kristen, explain the ground game. What`s
happened that`s not happened in the past?
KRISTEN CROWELL, WE ARE WISCONSIN: This has been -- we`ve known from
day one that we were going to be competing with millions of corporate
dollars pouring in from all over the country. And we knew from day one
this was going to be about boots on the ground. So, in this campaign,
we`ve mobilized a massive campaign through We Are Wisconsin. That`s
anchored strongly by labor, but includes other progressive allies such as
Democracy for America, Planned Parenthood, League of Conservation Voters
and just the entire progressive movement organized into massive ground
SCHULTZ: So, what does this mean? Does this mean that what you do on
the ground can be any kind of money that shows up to support a candidate?
Because this is the tip of iceberg. This is the way it`s going to be in
2012. And what message does this send?
CROWELL: Well, it sends a message that people power cannot be
underestimated under any circumstance. And, right now, what we`re seeing
with Walker is he is trying to literally buy this election with his money.
And ever since he dropped the bomb on this state in February 2011, we have
come together in a way that this state has never seen.
I`ve lived here my entire life and I`ve never been more proud or more
in love with the people here for what we have done under massive
SCHULTZ: Lee Saunders, what has been the strategy for AFSCME? What
have the unions collectively tried to do? Has it been AFSCME doing their
thing, UAW doing their thing, steelworkers doing their thing? How have you
pulled resources? How this all come together?
LEE SAUNDERS, AFSCME: We`re coming together like never before. We`re
organizing together. I mean, this is grassroots organizing, Ed, 101. Not
only the labor unions, both public and private sector unions, together on
this, but our communities across the state of Wisconsin are together -- the
seniors, the students, civil rights organization, the faith-based
communities, women`s organizations.
All of us are working closely together to do what we must do, and
that`s going to be to beat Scott Walker tonight.
SCHULTZ: Since Scott Walker has become governor, your union has lost
thousands of members, correct?
SAUNDERS: Yes, we have.
SCHULTZ: OK. Is this the last stand? Do you have to win this thing
tonight? I mean, what does a victory mean?
SAUNDERS: A victory is going to be very, very important tonight. But
this is not a last stand. Let me tell you something, you feel the energy
in this room. You feel the energy across the state. You feel the energy
across this nation.
SCHULTZ: But how crucial is a win? I mean, how crucial is it to
unseat Walker considering what`s happened to your unions?
SAUNDERS: Well, we`re doing all that we can. But our union was here
yesterday, will be here today, we`re going to be here tomorrow regardless
of what happens.
SCHULTZ: What differently has been done? Is it just been an
intensified effort. Did you have the template to do this all along?
What`s been different?
SAUNDERS: I think that we`ve understood and we`ve gone back to basic
organizing. Organizing our members, organizing the communities, talking
about and educating and mobilizing our communities and saying what kind of
state do we want to live in? What kind of country do we want to live in?
The 99 percent who are sick and tired of being hurt every single day,
they are making their voices heard. Enough is enough, and we`re making
that statement in Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: You know, I`ve heard conservative broadcasters in this state
and FOX News trying to make the case that President Obama hasn`t shown up.
Now, I`ve been in a half a dozen cities over the weekend. I haven`t heard
one person say President Obama`s name in connection to this vote.
What are you hearing?
CROWELL: Well, we`ve always known this is about our people here in
the state. We were very pleased the other night when President Obama sent
out a tweet supporting our efforts.
SCHULTZ: But you know where the president is. But he`s kind of
saying, look, this is your game. You got to get it done. I can`t look all
I mean, that was my interpretation. I mean, he knows you`ve got the
resources. He knows you`ve got the ground game.
Maybe it was important for you to do this on your own as the state of
Wisconsin. What do you think about that?
CROWELL: I think absolutely it`s been very important for the people
in Wisconsin to make this all about our fight and make this local. You go
all across the state and one thing to answer your question about what is
different -- our communities are organized and coming together in way like
we`ve never seen. We have community labor alliances all over the state
where labor members and non-labor members are work together to fight at the
local level but also to take our government back here today.
SCHULTZ: Is it Milwaukee? Is that the key, both of you?
SAUNDERS: I think Milwaukee is extremely important. And we
understand that there`s an issue in Milwaukee right now with the voter
SCHULTZ: What do you know?
SAUNDERS: We`ve actually sent out people, people are standing in line
trying to register to vote. We have sent people with forms so they can
sign the forms so they can register to vote. Milwaukee is very, very
SCHULTZ: So, you have a lot of registration, day registrations done?
SAUNDERS: That`s exactly right.
SCHULTZ: You`ve got to view that as pretty positive.
SAUNDERS: It`s very positive.
SCHULTZ: Right now, you have troops on the ground helping people get
SAUNDERS: Yes, we do. Yes, we do.
SCHULTZ: Because of the overflow?
SAUNDERS: The overflow and the issues that have been created in
Milwaukee. We were notified of that. So, we`re sending people out and
we`ve sent people there right now, signing people up, registering people to
vote so they can go on voting.
SCHULTZ: All right. Lee Saunders, Kristen, Crowell -- great to have
you with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us and thanks for the
Scott Walker is playing number games with his budget and dirty tricks
from Republicans hit a new low. State Senator Lena Taylor and Fred Risser
are going to be weighing in next.
What effect will the Wisconsin recall have on the presidential race in
November? Howard Fineman and Joan Walsh will weigh in on that and much
Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW live from Great Dane Pub in
SCHULTZ: This is THE ED SHOW live from the Great Dane in Madison,
Wisconsin. Up next, (INAUDIBLE) from the polls. You won`t believe the
Walker campaign`s latest dirty tricks. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHLEEN VINEHOUT (D), WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR: What we`re seeing
here in Wisconsin is something that`s proving to be far more powerful than
money. And that is the power of the people. This is a real grassroots
FRED RISSER (D), WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR: We`re going to return
Wisconsin to Wisconsin people. We`re going to get rid of Walker. We`re
going to get rid of a couple of senators too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Those were Wisconsin State
Senators Kathleen Vinehout and Fred Risser talking to me earlier this year.
Scott Walker could lose his job tonight. But Republicans aren`t going down
without playing dirty tricks. Reports surface yesterday of an unknown
group robocalling voters with false information.
Reports to Barrett`s campaign -- this call says if you signed the
recall petition, your job is done and you don`t need to vote on Tuesday.
We all know that this is a flat out lie.
State Senator Lena Taylor is outraged. She sent a letter to the
Government Accountability Board today. It requests immediate action, as in
today, to begin investigations and prosecutions into such person that are
committing election fraud and misdemeanor crimes. "It`s imperative that
your agency uphold the law and criminally prosecute any person that`s
engaged in voter suppression and disenfranchisement tactics."
For more on this, I`m joined tonight by Wisconsin State Senators Lena
Taylor and Fred Risser. Great to have both of you with us.
MORGAN: You`re calling for a criminal investigation into these
robocalls. What is going to come of this? How does this normally work in
the state of Wisconsin?
LENA TAYLOR (D), WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR: I`m not certain if you were
talking to me, Ed, but if you were asking about the robocalls -- yes, what
I want to say is it`s my understanding that a reporter did call and find
out, that that call came from the Republican party. And I`m looking
forward to the GAB doing an investigation. I think that the attorney
general also should have done and should be doing an investigation of
anyone who is attempting to intimidate or to give misinformation to voters
in order to suppress vote.
We know why this is. They know that the momentum is with Tom Barrett.
And they are determined to cheat and do whatever they can, but they can`t
silence the people.
SCHULTZ: Well, senator, let me make sure that we`re on the same page
here. You`re telling us tonight on THE ED SHOW that you know that these
robocalls came from the Republican party? Was it the national party? Was
it the Republican party of Wisconsin, that there was a robocall out there
telling people that if they signed the petition, they did not have to vote?
You know that that came from the Republicans?
TAYLOR: What I`m telling you is that when I did an interview earlier
today and I spoke with a reporter from WISN, Channel 12, Colleen Henry
(ph), that she had personally called that number, as well as when I spoke
with someone from "Huffington Post," and that they had called the number
that was in question. It went to the Republican party.
I personally did not make that call. However, when they made the
call, that`s what it said. I`m suggesting that if that is true, someone
needs to investigate it, regardless. Not me but the attorney general and
the Government Accountability Board, and someone needs to be held
SCHULTZ: Senator, how would you characterize this robocall?
TAYLOR: I would characterize this robocall, frankly, as a disgusting
tactic, a fear tactic. It really goes to what I`ve seen with the
Republicans my entire political career, which is they do things that
revolve around deceit in order to mislead voters, especially in situations
like this, where they clearly know that the momentum is not with them.
When you get done,, Ed, it`s no different than the voter suppression
bill that they did, the voter I.D. bill, same type of concept. They want
to reduce the individuals -- numbers of individuals who vote against them.
SCHULTZ: I want to broach a subject with both of you here tonight.
Senator Risser, Scott Walker claim -- and he`s got some pretty big time
media people claiming that the state of Wisconsin has a surplus. Is that
true or false? And explain.
RISSER: That`s false. I`ll tell you why it`s false, because to try
to balance the budget, the governor borrowed money to require future
generations to pay for it. The budget was never balanced.
SCHULTZ: I`m hearing that he took over three billion dollar budget
deficit and has turned it into 150 million dollar surplus. That`s not
RISSER: That`s not true.
SCHULTZ: So he`s lying?
RISSER: He`s not telling the truth, put it that way.
SCHULTZ: Senator Risser, this is recall night. You don`t have to be
SCHULTZ: Lena Taylor, let me ask you your thoughts. This is a major
talking point right now by the Republicans, that this guy has come in,
waved a magic wand. He`s gotten rid of a deficit and has the state in a
surplus. Is that true or false?
TAYLOR: That`s completely false. I`ll say what Senator Risser
wouldn`t say. Scott Walker lied when he told people that he balanced the
budget. He knows that he put 500 million dollars on the credit card. He
knows that he did that. He knows that it`s going to cost 150 million
dollars to our children and our grandchildren.
That is the lie that he`s told the people. And someone needs to fact
check him. Because it`s obvious and the Fiscal Bureau of the State of
Wisconsin would be able to show that what I said is true.
SCHULTZ: Senator Risser, you`re the longest serving state legislator
in American history. In 1959, you voted to give public employees the right
to join unions and collectively bargain. Can you put this battle, this
recall, into perspective?
RISSER: In 1959, we were the first state in the union to allow for
municipal employees to collectively bargain. It was passed on a bipartisan
vote, Democrats and Republicans together. Over 50 years, we`ve had
relative peace in the field of collective bargaining, bipartisan peace. It
didn`t become partisan until Walker became governor. He polarized things.
He made it partisan. And it`s -- it`s -- in his process of trying to
SCHULTZ: Lena Taylor, what senate race should we be watching tonight?
How do you feel about these four recalls? If the Democrats win one of
these four recall elections tonight in the Senate, the majority will go to
the Democrats. Give us your take.
TAYLOR: Well, I`m confident in regards to Barrett`s race. And I`m
cautiously confident also in regards to the race in Racine with John Lehman
and Wanggard. I have to say to you, outside of the fact that they ran out
of ballots down there, and Representative Peter Barka has been on top of
that with the mayor in that area -- I believe that when you get done, the
fact that they`ve had to register new voters, that truly shows that -- or
tends to lean in our direction.
So I`m confident -- cautiously confident that things are going to go
well in the Racine area.
SCHULTZ: Senator Risser, your thoughts on the senate race.
RISSER: I think Senator Taylor has it right. We`re going to win one,
two, maybe three races. We`re going to win one for sure. We`re going to
win possibly two, three, possibly all four.
SCHULTZ: OK. What would -- what does this state have to look forward
to if Scott Walker retains the governor`s chair?
RISSER: That`s where the Senate races become very important, because
if we get control of the Senate, we can stop his right wing agenda.
SCHULTZ: Well, he wants to do more.
SCHULTZ: Lena Taylor, what happens if Tom Barrett wins? Where does
the legislature move this state and how does it unfold?
TAYLOR: When Tom Barrett wins, one of the things that we have to look
forward to is an opportunity to have a governor who believes in bringing
people together, to work together, to solve problems, to make sure that we
have a table that we can go to and talk even with individuals in the
That`s important. That`s part of democracy. So I believe we have
that to look forward to. But I think we also have something else to look
forward to: solving the hard problems in Wisconsin, dealing with education
and dealing with the level of unemployment that exists around the state,
but especially in a city like Milwaukee, that has been forgotten for
several years, long before Tom Barrett was ever mayor.
SCHULTZ: Will the boots on the ground win out over the big money
spent by Republicans, Senator Taylor?
TAYLOR: Without a doubt. The boots on the ground, oh my goodness,
Ed, it`s been exciting to see the amount of work that people are doing, the
amount of people standing in line, the amount of energy that`s out there.
And I`m going to tell you something, our ground campaign has been tested.
It`s true. We`re going to defeat him tonight. I feel it. I feel it, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Wisconsin State Senators Lena Taylor and Fred Risser, thanks
for coming on THE ED SHOW tonight. We`ll see you later on. It`s going to
be a long night.
Coming up, what will tonight`s outcome mean for the middle class
moving forward? Joan Walsh and Howard Fineman will weigh in on that. Stay
tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW, live from Madison, Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, live from The Great Dane Pub
here in Madison, Wisconsin.
I have to say this, I just have to. Let`s hear it for the Badgers.
SCHULTZ: How we doing tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. We`re from Pittsburgh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Council 13 in the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: San Diego.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Illinois.
SCHULTZ: All right. So these folks have come in to help out their
union brothers and sisters, because the get out the vote effort is so
terribly important. What do you think of what`s unfolding here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s great. We came here to get our
SCHULTZ: What does that mean?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means that we are not going to cower to
someone that comes in and tries to push us around.
SCHULTZ: Your thoughts. What`s happening here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. I think if we stick together, people
show up, go vote. That`s all it`s about. We can do this. This is
absolutely history making right here.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of the turnout?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the turnout is amazing.
SCHULTZ: Did you expect this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so, absolutely.
SCHULTZ: You really did?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the defining moment of Wisconsin right
SCHULTZ: What do you mean by that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where it starts and this is where it
stops. This is the defining moment of Wisconsin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only Wisconsin, all the United States. If we
stop them now, we got a chance.
SCHULTZ: You agree with that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
SCHULTZ: Why is Wisconsin important?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because if we allow the right wing to continue
to do this, it`s going to snowball, snowball, snowball. And we`re not
going to have freedoms left. It`s not going to be the United States of
SCHULTZ: Your thoughts?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s way to show that Citizens United isn`t
going to overpower us, that people are stronger than money.
SCHULTZ: There`s been a lot of reporting going on that this is a
template for how to defeat Citizens United. Do you believe that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you bring out all the people and you make
sure that they really care about the results, then things happen.
SCHULTZ: But the turnout is beyond presidential levels in some parts
of the state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s because Walker has so turned off the people
in this state that we have to make a change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
SCHULTZ: Are you sick of the TV commercials?
SCHULTZ: Up next, even if you did not vote, you will feel the affects
of this election. I`m going to have that discussion with Joan Walsh and
Howard Fineman when we come back here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The fight here in Wisconsin
tonight is bigger than Scott Walker. It`s bigger than the outside money
pouring into this state. This fight is about the middle class. When we
have a strong labor force in this country, we have a strong middle class.
It`s been proven.
Yet as union membership has dropped over the years, so has the earning
power of the middle class in this country. The graph tells the story.
Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer. So this election isn`t just about
Wisconsin. This is about America and what we must do to protect workers
and wages so the middle class cannot only survive but thrive.
One more note before we go to our guests tonight, we`re getting
reports that in some precincts in the city of Milwaukee, they are down to
as little as 10 ballots. If you were going to vote, go and vote. They
will get you a ballot. They will print the ballots needed to accommodate
you. And the polls, of course, close here in about six minutes.
I`m joined tonight by Howard Fineman, NBC News political analyst and
editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group. Also with us
tonight is Joan Walsh, editor at large, Salon.com.
Joan, you`re from Wisconsin. Can you believe what is unfolding in
your native state? Your thoughts tonight?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Yes, I can. I believe Wisconsin could do
this. But I`m so mad that I`m not there. I don`t know what I was
thinking. But I`m very proud of Wisconsin. I think this really says a lot
about November, whatever happens. And I think that Barrett has a great
chance. They have really turned Wisconsin blue in a lasting way.
But this is the beginning, Ed. This is what we`re going to face in
November. I think it`s a great test run for national Democrats. And it`s
really an example of what people can do when they are passionate and they
work their hearts out.
SCHULTZ: Howard Fineman, what are you seeing unfold in Wisconsin
tonight? It looks like a nail biter. This turnout has been absolutely
unbelievable. What happens next? What does this all mean?
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP: Since I`m from
Pittsburgh, I noticed there were some Pittsburghers there at the Great
Dane. Just send Pittsburgh people around the country, everything will be
fine. That`s the first thing.
Second thing, one of the things that interest me, Ed, is what the exit
polls are showing, how decided people were before they went into the polls.
I think the country is evenly divided. Wisconsin is pretty evenly divided.
So what that may mean is tens of millions of dollars worth of TV ads, money
that was spent in a place like Wisconsin don`t necessarily turn the tide.
It`s more a matter of turning out the people who support you, which is
why the ground game that`s been run in Wisconsin is so important. If the
country is so divided, if there are very few truly independent voters, then
what matters is turning out your people. So that`s number one.
Number two, there are other states besides Wisconsin that are
battleground states where union membership is still strong. Pennsylvania
is one. Ohio is another. So if the unions and the rest of the progressive
movement can turn the tide in Wisconsin, that gives the Democrats and
Barack Obama great hope in Ohio, always the swingest of the swing states,
and to protect Pennsylvania.
I think beyond that, what the Republicans were trying to do here, what
Scott Walker was trying to do, what other Republican governors were trying
to do here, is divide the labor movement between public employee unions and
what`s left of the rest, and somehow rob the union movement as a whole of
its legitimacy in representing working people around the country.
That`s one of the things that`s at stake here. And that I think is
one of the things that has allowed the movement to be so strong in
Wisconsin. A lot of people I talked to, Ed, including some Democrats have
been skeptical about whether this coalition can get over the hump in
Wisconsin, in part because there`s a percentage of people who just don`t
like recalls as a matter of procedure. But I think the overwhelming size
of the turnout here has got to be good news for the people who going to be
fighting Karl Rove and company in the fall.
SCHULTZ: Joan Walsh, it seems to me that the Obama campaign is really
focusing on the issues that these Wisconsinites have been focusing on as
well. They really parallel one another. This has been about the middle
class in Wisconsin. This has been about collective bargaining. This has
been about education. We know how the president feels about education.
What does that say about where President Obama takes his campaign?
What about all that?
WALSH: I think the people really learned a lesson in 2010, Ed. That
lesson is that voting really matters. Some people either stayed home or
maybe they took a chance on a Republican. Nobody campaigned on this
extremism. And people were surprised when they got it.
On the flip side, I think the president has really been strengthened
and encouraged and his agenda has been made more populous by the uprisings
in Wisconsin, in Ohio, defeating Measure 5. So I think there`s a kind of
feedback loop here, where people energize this president and the president,
in turn, energizes the people.
Howard`s right. This bodes really well for Ohio and some other states
where labor is strong. And the cooperation -- you heard earlier, We Are
Wisconsin was with Planned Parenthood. There`s a coalition that`s building
that`s going to work nationwide.
SCHULTZ: Howard Fineman, what do you think it means for labor if
Scott Walker wins? He`s not going to back off. If he`s put right back in
the gubernatorial chair, he`s going to keep on driving. And a lot of
people think that they are doing everything they can to make this a right
to work state, right in the birthplace of labor. What does it mean if he
stays as governor?
FINEMAN: If he manages to stay, if he hangs on and wins, first of
all, what that means is that Karl Rove -- I keep mentioning him because
he`s such a key figure. Karl Rove and company will go to other big
contributors around the country, Millionaires and others who want to
bankroll conservative causes, and say, look, it worked in Wisconsin. We
beat back the unions in Wisconsin. Give us more money.
So however much money Karl was thinking he was going to get, he`ll get
more if Scott Walker wins. That`s number one.
Number two, I think if Scott Walker wins, you can expect Mitt Romney
and people around him, surrogates and so forth, to carefully but
systematically move out onto the labor argument, the public employee
argument, which Mitt Romney has kind of avoided, at least so far, making a
major theme of his campaign.
And I think it will put the union movement -- I think it already is.
What remains of the union movement, it seem to me, Ed -- and I began as a
reporter covering the labor movement -- is that even though it`s dwindled
in percentage, I think middle voters are reluctant to give up on and
reluctant to buy the argument that the union movement has somehow been
discredited by public employees.
They may have some disagreement with public employees. They surely
worry about the budget, like all Americans do. But they don`t want to give
up the leverage. Whatever leverage the middle class has left in a
corporate world, they are reluctant to give up. That`s why I think they
are rallying behind this movement in Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: Yes. David Axelrod just Tweeted out that the exit polling
is showing that President Obama is leading Mitt Romney. Howard Fineman,
Joan Walsh, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it so much.
That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>