updated 6/25/2012 2:45:53 PM ET 2012-06-25T18:45:53

Guests: Bob Shrum, Jose Antonio Vargas, Joy Reid, Meghan McCain, Ari Melber, Sister Simone Campbell

(OBAMA PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE)

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: That was President Obama speaking to reporters in
Los Cabos, Mexico, at the conclusion of the G-20 Summit.

I`m Ed Schultz. Good evening. Welcome to THE ED SHOW, live from Los
Angeles.

The president said the European debt crisis created a heightened
sense of urgency in the global economy. He said the most important thing
the United States can do to assist the world economy is act on a jobs plan
and the one he once talked about a year ago, and the ones he talked about
with Congress, and he talked about what Congress needs to do.

I`m joined tonight by Democratic strategist Bob Shrum and MSNBC
political analyst, Eugene Robinson, certainly two of the best.

I want to start with Syria, because the president, I thought, gave a
very interesting comment about both China and Russia.

Bob, it doesn`t sound like they`re onboard, thinking the way the
president does, that Assad has got to go in power and he doesn`t see any
path for him to stay in power.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I thought he got out the best
answer he could have to that question. Basically, the answer was: no,
they`re not with us.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

SHRUM: So, he spoke for about five or six minutes, in the end, said
they`re not there yet, but I`m going to keep pushing and my expectation is
they`ll get there. It`s going to be very tough.

SCHULTZ: Gene Robinson, what is your take on how the president
handled the Syrian question tonight? And also, he seemed to be very vague
about what he`s going to do with Russia and China other than talk to them
and try to get them onboard with a U.N. political solution?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I don`t think you can
say that he gave us any new information on Syria or any reason to be
optimistic about a coordinated international effort on Syria. He clearly
said Russia and China are not onboard. And didn`t really indicate, he said
-- we`re going to get them there, but he didn`t indicate how. He didn`t
indicate when.

And I think we have some idea now what that bad body language between
him and Putin might have been about yesterday. They -- maybe that`s the
conversation they had just had.

SCHULTZ: Well, let`s turn to the economy. The president paralleled
what`s happening in this country with what`s going on in Europe. Some real
tough decisions have got to be made, and he transitioned that into, you
know, the Congress can help a lot by passing the jobs plan, the one he`s
been talking about for months on end.

How is that going to play?

ROBINSON: How is that going to play here? I think you know, this
was only tangentially I think, Ed. And they call me Pollyanna. But I
think this is only tangentially for domestic political consumption. He,
after all, does have a role to play as a world leader, and he wanted to
strike the right note, so as not to upset the Europeans whom he`s trying to
coax into doing the right things or what he considers the right things
about their economic situation, which in turn will be good for the United
States.

So he had to really measure his words there. I think he said what he
genuinely believed, which is that, look, this is -- we have the biggest
economy in the world. We are the engine of the global economy in a lot of
ways, and if our economy gets going and starts creating jobs, that`s good
for the whole world. And so, where`s the jobs bill? Let`s act on it.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, Eugene Robinson, thanks for your time tonight.
Appreciate it so much.

Coming up on THE ED SHOW, President Obama`s new immigration policy is
a big winner with Americans, but Mitt Romney still can`t give a straight
answer about whether he would keep it or get rid of it. Jose Antonio
Vargas joins me for the story.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitch McConnell puts Romney on the spot, on his
immigration policies. We`ll bring you the details. Romney won`t give away
any specifics on any job plans, on any plans he has, actually. Bob Shrum
said he will follow the same strategy as another presidential hopeful.

And a Catholic -- group of Catholic nuns is speaking out against the
GOP budget plan and they`re taking their message on the road. I`ll talk
with the organizer with the nuns on the bus later in the hour.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

President Obama really has Mitt Romney totally boxed in by the
administration`s new immigration policy. Mitt Romney can still not give a
direct answer to a direct question.

Here he is with FOX News` Carl Cameron.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS: Why not provide the similar certainty by
saying, well, until such time as I pass a new immigration law to provide
that certainty, we`ll do away with or not the president`s orders?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, when we talk about
illegal immigration, I think I want to start by saying we`ve got to secure
the border, we`ve got have an employment verification system, and then with
regards with these children that came in here, brought in by their parents
who came here illegally, how we dial with them is something that deserves a
long term solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: In the rest of Romney`s long-winded answer, he still didn`t
say whether he would keep the new Obama immigration policy or get rid of
it. So, Cameron asked him again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: Executive order from President Obama stands or does not
stand?

ROMNEY: You know, we`ll see kind of what the calendar looks like at
that point. I`m not going to tell which items come first, second, or
third. What I can tell you is that those people who come here by virtue of
their parents coming here, who came in illegally, that`s something I don`t
want to football with. It`s a political matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So, is your head spinning yet?

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was asked about the Obama
policy today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I think we`re going to
wait until we hear what Governor Romney has to say on the issue. There may
be others behind me who want to address it. But my view is he`s the leader
of our party from now until November and we hope beyond, and we`re going to
wait and see what he has to say about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, there you have it. McConnell doesn`t know what to
say because Romney doesn`t know what to say. They don`t know what to say.
They don`t have a plan.

The Obama administration`s new stance is both good policy and it is
good politics, and it`s going to help a lot of Americans. Americans agree
with it. By a two to one in a new poll, independents agree with it -- 66
percent to 26 percent, a huge margin of approval. But remember, the
Republicans just don`t know what to say about that.

Let`s bring in Jose Antonio Vargas, "Time" magazine contributor,
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of Define America.

Jose, great to have you with us tonight. First of all --

JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, DEFINE AMERICA: Thank you so much for having
me.

SCHULTZ: The fact that the Republicans can`t give a straight answer
on this, how damaging is this when it comes to the Latino vote?

VARGAS: I mean, it`s not just the Latino vote. I mean, I think you
have now a generation of young people in this country, not just Latinos,
but a multiethnic diverse America who now things the Republican Party is
synonymous with being the anti-immigrant party. I mean, that`s the lasting
impression and that really is something that they`re going to have to
figure out what to do with.

But more importantly, I think we`ve approached -- you know, it`s
fascinating, I was in Washington on Friday when the order was announced
surrounded by a bunch of DREAM Act activists, like Gabby Pacheco, and to me
in just, what, three days now, there`s a new normal when it comes to
talking about immigration. There`s a noticeable shift in the way our
country and our politicians are talking about it, and they really welcome
that. It`s about time.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think you are a key to this whole story because of
your personal story. And because a lot of Americans are out there saying,
OK, who is this going to help? What does it really mean? How is this
going to unfold? Tell us your story. What happened with you?

VARGAS: Well, you know, I actually came here, was born in the
Philippines, I came here when I was 12. My mother sent me to live with my
grandparents, and it wasn`t until I was 16 when I went to the DMV that I
figured out that my green card was fake.

And what, for 14 years, I worked as a journalist for "The Washington
Post" and "The Huffington Post," and kind of lived with that lie because I
wanted to work, I wanted to pay taxes because people like me do pay taxes
and Social Security.

But inspired by a lot of the young DREAM Act activists last summer, I
actually came out as an undocumented immigrant in the "New York Times"
magazine.

If you were to tell me that, what, almost a year later, like we went
from the headline in my "New York Times" essay was "Outlaw," and now on the
cover of "Time" magazine in this essay I wrote surrounded by 35 other
undocumented people, the headline is, "We are Americans," because we are.
We just don`t have that -- we just don`t have that paper.

SCHULTZ: So, with this, the president of the United States, in a
sense, has shifted the conversation --

VARGAS: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: -- shifted the acceptance of how we should be viewing this,
which is a monumental shift for a lot of Americans, would you agree?

VARGAS: And I would -- and I would parallel it with the gay rights
movement, you know? To me what is fascinating is we have now a generation
of young people -- I mean, to come out, to come out about being
undocumented is a positive life affirming thing.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

VARGAS: Just in the way it`s being used in the gay rights community.
That is a testament, by the way, to the work of a lot of, you now, LGTB
leaders in the past, what, few decades now, and it says a lot about, again,
an emerging American majority.

The country is changing. We`re embracing the fact that these,
quote/unquote, "other people" aren`t really other people. They`re one of
us.

SCHULTZ: You know, Jose, it`s almost comical how the Republicans
don`t have an answer for this. I think that they despise this president so
much they can`t bring themselves to say, you know, this really is the right
thing to do. Let`s give it a foundation and move forward with immigration
reform in this country.

Your thoughts on that.

VARGAS: I mean, I want to give the Republican Party the benefit of
the doubt. I was on Bill O`Reilly on FOX News and he said he agreed there
should be a path for people like me to become citizens. I was on Mike
Huckabee`s radio show earlier today and he did the same thing, he agreed
that there should be a path for people like me.

Look, I have covered presidents -- I have covered presidential
campaigns, and I have never been allowed to vote because I can`t vote, but
I think it`s time for us, again, to come up with a solution.

SCHULTZ: So Mike Huckabee radio talk show host, former candidate --

VARGAS: Former candidate.

SCHULTZ: -- last election cycle. Bill O`Reilly, OK, we know his
position in the media in this country.

All right, but Mitt Romney can`t bring himself to saying it`s the
right thing to do or whether if he is elected, whether he`s going to keep
this policy or not. I find it amazing.

VARGAS: Well, me, too.

SCHULTZ: Jose Antonio Vargas, great to have you on THE ED SHOW,
appreciate your time.

VARGAS: Thanks so much for having me.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Up next, Bob Shrum on Mitt Romney`s failure to lead or take any kind
position on anything.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Unlike President Obama, you don`t have to wait until after
the election to find out what I believe. Or what my plans are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Now, Mitt Romney keeps telling us he`s got a plan. But he keeps refusing
to give us answers on some of the most critical issues facing this country.
Now, Think Progress went out and listed the issues Romney just keeps
dodging.

Romney won`t say whether he would undo the new immigration policy. He
won`t commit to the Paycheck Fairness Act. He won`t tell us which tax
loopholes he would close to make his budget work. He can`t name the
federal agencies that he wants to cut. He refuses to say whether he would
have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

I mean, it goes on and on. He won`t take a stand on the Violence
Against Women Act. And he won`t talk about the carried interest tax break,
which is huge, my friends. Candidate Romney, don`t you think he owes us a
few answers? But it seems like he`s just simply following in the footsteps
of another famous politician of decades ago, Republican candidate Thomas
Dewy.

Dewy, I tell you, this guy was famous for making sweeping statements,
very generic that really sounded good, but he never got into the Devil in
the detail or the specifics. It worked for Dewey, and he almost beat Harry
Truman in 1948, just like the empty speeches are working right now for Mitt
Romney as he closes the gap with the president.

Watch the comparison. Let`s start with free enterprise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS DEWEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The America that come to
pass under our free system of productive enterprise.

ROMNEY: It`s not just because I love job creators. It`s because I
love jobs.

DEWEY: The only way to win the peace is to provide strength.

ROMNEY: American strength is essential for our kids, for us, and for
the world.

DEWEY: The only thing Stalin is afraid of is strength greater than
his.

ROMNEY: I have the force for our foreign policies to communicate our
strength.

DEWEY: There will begin in Washington the biggest unraveling,
unsnarling, untangling operation in our nation`s history.

ROMNEY: We got to have people who stop thinking of themselves as just
Republicans and Democrats and think of themselves as Americans.

DEWEY: I thank you with all of my heart for your friendship and your
confidence.

ROMNEY: I love this country.

DEWEY: We`re out of time, are we?

ROMNEY: I`m getting the sign you`re ready for lunch.

DEWEY: Is our time all gone?

ROMNEY: You`re the best. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I mean, he must have gone to a football coach`s clinic and
got the old playbook. Avoiding specifics really worked for Dewey. Didn`t
it? The pollsters actually stopped polling back then because they thought
that Truman didn`t have a chance to win the election. And of course, "the
Chicago Daily Tribune" well, assumed that Dewey had won the election. But
that`s there real winner holding up the paper, Harry Truman.

The American voters saw through Dewey`s empty rhetoric in 1948. Now
Romney is really putting the American voter to the test here in 2012. I`m
joined tonight again by Democratic Bob Shrum. Bob, great to have you with
us tonight.

You wrote a fascinating article on this. When did it come to you
that, hey, wait a minute, this is a Dewey guy?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I was doing my column for the
"Daily Beast," and Romney did this thing where he wouldn`t say whether or
not he would repeal the president`s policy on young immigrants. And I
thought, wait a minute, this fits a pattern. If he gets asked about Bain,
he flees. If he gets asked about any of the details on his Medicare plan,
he doesn`t want talk about it. He`ll lie about, say it is going to save
Medicare, when it would destroy Medicare.

He wants this election, it occurred -- you know, I had a deadline for
the "Daily Beast" on Monday. He wanted this election -- he wants this
election to be a pure referendum. His question is, how do you feel about
the economy? If you don`t feel all that good, maybe you ought to take a
chance on me. Dewey`s question was -- it was a referendum -- who is more
presidential.

Now He thought he was more presidential. To me, he seems kind of
stiff there. In facts, he and Romney both resemble Alice Roosevelt
Longworth`s (ph) description of Dewey as the little man on the wedding
came.

SCHULTZ: So can Mitt Romney get away with being not specific until
November?

SHRUM: I think it`s going to be very tough. First of all, there were
no debates in 1948. There are going to be three debates this year. And I
think Romney is going to get asked the questions. And if he ducks the
questions and ducks them conspicuously, people are going to figure out he`s
not on their side. And by the way, when he asked that question could
things get worse, the answer is yes.

SCHULTZ: The dynamic in this election, as opposed to 1948, is the
money. Romney is going to be backed up with a lot of super PAC money that
is going to be able to drive up the negatives of the president. How much -
- is it really a fair comparison?

SHRUM: Actually, in 1948, the Republicans had significantly more
money than Truman did. They were scraping money together to keep that
whistle stop train on the road. And Truman, who had critics in his own
party, who said he shouldn`t be as tough as he was, he shouldn`t be as
populist as he was, he shouldn`t be negative -- there was even a dump
Truman movement in 1948 -- just took Clark Clifford`s (ph) advice, and
every single day went out there and was, quote, unquote, controversial as
hell.

SCHULTZ: Let`s get to the debates that you mentioned. John Kerry is
going to play a role in this for Barack Obama. Tell us about it.

SHRUM: Well, I think it`s a brilliant choice. I worked with Senator
Kerry in 2004. We lost that election narrowly, but he masterfully won
those three debates. What you want when you`re picking someone to play
your opponent is you want the best possible person you can get. You want
someone who is going to be a better Romney than Romney.

And Kerry is certainly capable of that. He`ll have Romney down.
He`ll understand what Romney`s going to do. And he`ll debate very, very
well.

SCHULTZ: So we`re really at a point trying to figure out whether this
is a Romney strategy to not get specific until the debates, or he really
doesn`t have answers and doesn`t have a plan.

SHRUM: He has a plan. His plan is to slash Medicare. His plan is to
get rid of a whole lot of government departments. His plan is to shred the
social safety net in so many different ways. His plan is to turn student
loans over to the bankers. He can`t afford to tell us. Dewey couldn`t
afford to tell the country, either.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

Coming up next, Joy Reed, Ari Melber, and Meghan McCain on the attack
on women`s rights going on across the country, including Michigan, where
this was the scene last night. Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on
MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: V is for --

CROWD: Vagina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guess what, V is also for our voice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Republicans are receiving
major pushback in the state of Michigan for silencing their state
Representatives Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum. Roughly 2,500 people gathered
outside of the capitol of Lansing, Michigan last night to listen to a
reading of "Vagina Monologues."

Now the play`s author, Eve Ensler, was in the attendance and helped fire up
the crowd. The event was held in response to Lisa Brown being censured for
using the word vagina in a debate over an anti-abortion bill. Brown had a
clear -- very clear message for Republicans yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA BROWN, MICHIGAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: We`re not going to let
legislators turn the clock back to the `60s, where women didn`t have a
right, and weren`t insured that they were going to have access to safe
health care. And in my speech, I made a few points. But I dared utter the
word vagina.

We shouldn`t be legislating vaginas if you can`t say vagina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Republicans better be paying attention. Yesterday`s event
sent a clear signal. Americans don`t want their legislators being silenced
for debating the issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To see two reps banned from speaking on an issue
of reproductive rights is outrageous. It`s outrageous. And I am not
surprised that it has sparked this kind of response.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All right, for more on this, let`s turn to our panel, Joy
Reid, managing editor of "The Grio," Ari Melber, correspondent for "the
Nation" magazine, and Meghan McCain, MSNBC contributor and co-author of a
new book with a very interesting title. All right.

All right, Joy, tell me, 2,500 people show up in Lansing to say, leave
us alone and why can`t we talk about this? How much of an outrage is this
really going to help Democrats going into November?

JOY REID, "THE GRIO": Ed, you know, in a lot of ways, I have lost my
capacity for surprise when it comes to politics. But this issue actually
is sort of surprising. There`s almost an obsessive quality to the
Republican kind of obsession with women`s health care when it comes to
abortion and legislating women`s health care issues, whether it`s Planned
Parenthood or whether it`s something like this, where basically these two
women were told, you can`t talk about this; we men are legislating your
fill in the word.

So it is sort of an infantalizing of women that I think is jarring,
particularly to a lot of younger women who are not used to this kind of
`70s era politics. But at the sate as well as at the federal level, there
is sort of an obsession with these issues among a lot of Republican men.

SCHULTZ: Meghan, do you think Republicans have to learn that when you
pick on women, you`re going to be losing? What do you think?

MEGHAN MCCAIN, AUTHOR: I think I`m a proud pro-life woman. But when
you hear that word vagina isn`t allowed to be said by a congresswoman when
debating women`s reproductive rights, I agree with Joy that you can`t help
but think that we`re regressing as a culture when it comes to women`s
issues.

SCHULTZ: Virginia -- the state of Virginia had their own heated
abortion debate earlier this year. And a recent poll shows that 72 percent
of Virginians, they don`t want government interfering with private
decisions about abortion.

Ari, I just can`t get away from this. Why do the Republicans keep
going down this road when it`s just in the polls an absolute loser for
them?

ARI MELBER, "THE NATION": I think they have some element of Stockholm
Syndrome with their base. They look at the Tea Party as having delivered a
lot in the midterms. They had a very loud, very angry primary season. And
I`m not sure that they have pivoted out and figured out what is going on in
the rest of the country.

These are missteps politically. The other big point here is that when
you control language, you control ideas. So there`s a longstanding --
basically a type of sort of reverse political correctness on the right,
where they want to say you can say this, you can`t say that, or we can talk
about vaginas as it relates to abortion and controlling things and trying
to gin up sort of pro life outrage. But you, the Republicans would say to
women, can`t talk about vaginas for your perspective.

So the fact that we have to have this language debate tells you just
how controlling the environment is. And the only other point I`ll make
about the pro-life movement is that, look, obviously, there are people who
are of good faith and have strong religious beliefs here. And that is one
element that drives this conversation.

But there are others who are backing things like saying women can`t
make these decisions until they`re briefed or given certain operations or
sort of instructions by their doctor, or women should have to check with
their husbands. That`s been an issue in state laws. I don`t look at that
as simply pro life. I look at that as, quite frankly, sexist.

SCHULTZ: Meghan, what do you think about that?

MCCAIN: I agree. There`s a difference between being pro choice and
pro life. And I remember in this past few months this debate over vaginal
probing, which was a pleasant thing for us all to be talking about in the
media. There`s a difference between humiliating a woman and belittling her
that -- I don`t believe that there`s any woman out there that is pro
abortion. It`s an incredibly personal and complicated decision for any
woman.

And I just think we`re, like I said, regressing as a culture when you
can`t even say the word vagina. And I would like to point out, would it be
such an issue if a male congressman had said the word vagina?

SCHULTZ: Romney was campaigning in Michigan today. And he had this
to say. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We`re going to do it with your help. I`m going to win
Michigan with your help. We`re going to take back the White House. We`re
going to get America on track and keep it the hope of the Earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joy, what does the abortion debate mean for him in Michigan?
He says if he wins Michigan, he wins the White House.

REID: First of all, for Romney, he should be competitive in Michigan.
His father was the governor there. But again, this illustrates the extent
to which Romney has failed to exercise leadership over the party, really
because he can`t. The sort of three wings of the party, two out of the
three were never really that -- they didn`t really like Romney during the
primary. So you have the Evangelical wing, which may not trust him for a
lot of reasons. One reason because he is a Mormon.

You have the business wing that is all in for him. And then you`ve
got the Tea Party wing, which never really had a lot of trust in him. Mitt
Romney does not like to talk about these issues. It`s not what he wants to
talk about. He just wants to talk about the economy. But in Michigan, the
other problem is he was against the auto bailout. So that`s his economic
issue in that state.

SCHULTZ: Meghan, your father ran for president. He was pretty direct
on where he stood on issues, but we`re not getting that out of Mitt Romney.
Is this going to be his Waterloo?

MCCAIN: I think as long as Mitt Romney talks -- just keeps
concentrating on the economy, he doesn`t really need to talk about anything
else. Because at the end of the day, that`s the only thing Americans are
going to be concentrating on. Right now, we have almost nine percent
unemployment rate, and Mitt Romney really doesn`t have to talk about
anything else if he wants to become president at this point.

SCHULTZ: All right, Joy Reid, Ari Melber, and Meghan McCain, great to
have you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

Coming up, today in Wisconsin, a bus full of nuns protested the
Republican Ryan Budget. Tonight, the nuns on the bus are on THE ED SHOW.
Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIR: In this coming election,
we`re going to make a choice. What kind of country do we want to have?
What kind of people do we want to be?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. That was Congressman Paul Ryan
at a rally along the Mitt Romney bus tour, making the case that the
Republican presidential nominee is the guy to go with. Well, Romney fully
embraces the Republican budget plan proposed by Ryan, a plan that really
guts the safety net programs for the poor in this country.

Ryan himself credits his Catholic faith as the justification for the
devastating cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: A person`s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in
public and in private. So to me, using my Catholic faiths, we call it the
Social Magisterium, which is how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching
into your everyday life as a layperson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But a group of Catholic nuns are questioning Ryan`s
interpretation of social justice. They are embarking on a bus tour of
their own across nine states, protesting the Ryan Budget Plan. The tour
launched yesterday in Iowa where the nuns visited the office of Congressman
Steve King. The sisters say they made an appointment with the congressman,
who is a Catholic. But when they arrived at the doors of Congressman Steve
King, the office appeared to be closed.

Today, the group moved on to Janesville, Wisconsin, the home town of
its main target, Paul Ryan. Let`s turn to Sister Simone Campbell,
organizer of the Nuns On a Bus Tour and executive director of Network, a
national Catholic social justice lobby.

Sister, good to have you with us tonight. I want to get your reaction
of what you just heard from Paul Ryan, his justification for these cuts
through his faith as a Catholic. What do you make of that?

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK: Well, it may be
what his faith tells him, but he certainly doesn`t know the fullness of
faith. He only talks about individual responsibility. And that`s only
half the story. The rest of the story is that we know we can be
responsible but only in community. We have to have each other`s backs.
That`s what the Christian faith is about.

And so I like to say that because Congressman Ryan only has half the
facts, he`s 100 percent wrong when it comes to interpreting his faith.

SCHULTZ: So is the Ryan Budget Plan, in your opinion, immoral? And
it doesn`t measure up to his faith?

CAMPBELL: I, like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the
bishops -- all of the bishops in -- Catholic bishops in the United States,
agree that it is wrong-headed. They call it immoral. And we`re standing
with our bishops. It devastates those at the margins, while giving further
benefits to those at the top of our society.

That`s the wrong way. They`ve got it backwards. It`s not what Jesus
would do. And it`s against all of the social principles we hold dear.

SCHULTZ: "It`s not what Jesus would do." That`s a big statement.
Are you willing to tell the congressman that to his face?

CAMPBELL: Oh, absolutely. In fact, we have tried to have meetings
with him, but I haven`t been successful so far. I have talked to some
other of the members of Congress, and specifically raised up the gospel
questions. The fact is, I mean, a lot of people can have different
opinions. But when you break open the gospel and you look at where Jesus
was, Jesus was always at the margins of society.

And the fact is people worry about making people dependent on
programs. That`s true. But the fact is our programs, responsible programs
lift people out of poverty. And what our bus trip is showing is
illustrating at every stop the wonderful work that is done by Catholic
sisters, the success stories that responsible programs can point to.

So that programs are required -- community is required to help people
make change. That`s why we`re doing this bus trip.

SCHULTZ: So how can Republican Catholics support this budget and be
good Catholics?

CAMPBELL: Well, I don`t quite know. I think there are good Catholics
because they try to follow their conscience. But the fact is, if their
life experience is only with people at the top, if no one -- if they have
not had the experience of -- like I just did at St. Benedict`s food serving
place up right here in Milwaukee, if they haven`t sat next to Billy, like I
did, and found out his struggle -- he moved up here from Chicago for his
kids, a four-year-old and a 13-year-old, because he knew Chicago was a bad
influence for them. He`s having a really hard time because the economy cut
his job. And so he`s coming to the food serving most nights in order to
get food so he can serve his kids food at home.

This guy is struggling. He`s working really hard. But if you don`t
have a chance to talk to folks like that, then you think, oh, they`re just
lazy. You can make all kinds of excuses. But we as Catholics know you
have to put yourself in relationship with folks who struggle.

SCHULTZ: Well, you`re heading to the offices of Speaker John Boehner
in Ohio. He also is a Catholic. What kind of response are you expecting
to get from the speaker?

CAMPBELL: Well, we`ll be meeting with his staff. We met with his
staff in D.C. And they have a tendency to get focused on specific details
about specific programs. Our message to the speaker is that there`s an
alternative. We have worked very hard in the interfaith community in
Washington to create a faithful budget, an alternative that is responsible,
raises responsible -- reasonable revenue for responsible programs. That`s
what we`re about.

We have to take care of the debt situation in our nation, but that`s
not because of social services. That`s because we went to war and then we
slashed taxes. It`s the first time in our history we have done that. So
now we need to make up for lost time. That means we need to pay our just
debts. We also need to make sure we invest for the future.

That`s the way forward. A faithful budget is an alternative and we
want to talk to John Boehner about it.

SCHULTZ: Sister Simone Campbell, thank you for your time tonight. I
appreciate it.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts
now. Good evening, Rachel.


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