updated 2/6/2013 10:26:57 AM ET 2013-02-06T15:26:57

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
February 5, 2013

Guests: Bob Shrum, Chris Kofinis, Lawrence Korb, Robert Greenwald, Joan Walsh, Ari Berman


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

Eric Cantor has a new tube of lipstick, but it`s the same old pig.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Our solutions will be based
on the conservative principles of self-reliance, faith in the individual,
trust in family, and accountability in government.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The new and improved Republican Party takes
another crack at repackaging bad ideas for America.

Tonight, I`ll take Eric Cantor`s speech apart, word by word.

House Republicans reveal their plan to reform immigration. It`s not a
path to citizenship. It`s a path to permanent underclass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Issa is recognized for five minutes.

(CHANTING)

SCHULTZ: I`ll have all the latest on today`s big hearing.

Plus, an explosive new document obtained by NBC News reveals the
United States government`s justification for killing American citizens
without due process.

Tonight, Robert Greenwald, Lawrence Korb, and Joan Walsh on the Obama
administration`s constitutional drone crisis.

And just when you thought Republicans were done planning to steal
elections, you will not believe the stunt they are about to pull in
Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Another day, another relaunch of the Republican Party. But this time
I think the Republican House leaders showed exactly who the Republicans
really have are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORAH O`DONNELL, CBS: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will be
outlining a new agenda for his party today. He`ll call on Republicans to
focus more on issues like education and health care, and spend less time
talking about the deficit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Really? Oh, yes. Eric Cantor to the rescue. He is ready
to save the Republican image and put a stop to the Electoral College
losses, right?

Of course, this is not the first time Eric Cantor has tried to save
the party. You see, it actually is the fourth attempt that he`s had.

In 2009, Cantor held a pizza party -- remember that? -- with Jeb Bush
and Mitt Romney by launching the National Council for a New America. Well,
that didn`t work.

A year later, Cantor was back at it. He was one of the young guns
ready to take the Republican Party by storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: There is a better way, and a new team is ready to bring
America back. Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan joined by common
sense conservative candidates from across the country. Together, they are
ready to make history. Together they are the young guns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The good old days. In 2011, Cantor launched the "You Cut"
program. He wanted to get the public to vote on weekly cuts to federal
government. Another year, another failure.

So, today, Cantor launched the "Making Life Work" campaign. He is
trying desperately to avoid the Republican brand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: The average American is not thinking about and trying to
wonder about where the Republican Party is. They`re thinking about how to
make their life work, which is exactly what we`re talking about here today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So Cantor offered Americans a warmed over speech filled with
a few policy ideas.

Well, the highlights Cantor advocated were -- let`s see -- Mitt
Romney`s tax reform plan. Mitt Romney`s education reform plan, and
unworkable cuts as usual to Medicare and Medicaid. Not surprisingly,
Cantor was not willing to get specific about any legislation to make these
ideas a reality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: We do intend to follow up with some policy proposals in
legislation, working with our committees to move forward on many, many of
these issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: It`s always the follow-up, isn`t it?

But there was one thing Cantor said today that really caught my
attention. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of
self-reliance, faith in the individual, trust in family, and accountability
in government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: There`s a lot there, isn`t there? Cantor sounds like he`s
fresh off another Frank Luntz seminar.

I couldn`t believe my ears when I heard those words come out of
Cantor`s mouth. So let me make sure I got this whole thing correct.

"Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self-
reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family, and accountability
in government."

Hmm, I could diagram this on the big board. My mother was a high
school English teacher. But let`s break down this sentence piece by piece,
OK?

Based on the conservative principles of self-reliance.

Well, Eric Cantor, he must be so self-reliant that he really doesn`t
need corporate donations to get re-elected. So, he will certainly line up
to help overturn the Supreme Court`s Citizens United decision. Cantor must
be so self-reliant that he doesn`t need to rely on unlimited dark money to
his campaign.

Yes, the Republican Party doesn`t need to rely on heavily
gerrymandered districts to give them a stranglehold on congressional seats.
The self-reliant Republicans, they don`t need to suppress Democratic votes
with last-minute changes to voting rules. Nah.

They don`t need to target minority voters when they are trying to win
elections. They can just win on these big ideas that Cantor was talking
about today. This is what Eric Cantor means when he says "self reliant."

And then the next part of his quote really got me, "faith in the
individual." I wonder what the heck that means? I guess the Republican
Party suddenly has faith in women that they`re going to be able to make
their own health care decisions. Now, they have faith in workers as well
in the workplace to go ahead and organize to help raise the living standard
of wage earners all across the country. We certainly don`t want the take
away their voices in the workplace.

In reality, Republicans don`t seem to have any faith in America. This
is why they try to consolidate wealth and rig elections. If they had faith
in America, they wouldn`t try to take way workers` rights or mandate
women`s health care measures.

Let`s skip to the last part of Cantor`s quote, which is
"accountability in government." This is the dandy. Remember this --
accountable party -- just tried to strike down the guiding principle of
"one person, one vote".

Would an accountable party let the corporate tax rate plummet like
this over decades while income inequality takes us right back to the
vulture chart, which is at an all-time high, income inequality? In fact,
the only time the Republican Party has shown an interest in self-reliance
and faith in the individual was basically last month when House Republicans
voted against a bill for relief money for the victims of hurricane Sandy.
The GOP had faith in these individuals, you see, that they could just
survive on their own.

Eric Cantor is now launching a listening tour, how about that, to hear
concerns of regular Americans. This is a total farce. I would really like
to see somebody stand up at one of these listening tour gigs and ask Eric
Cantor why House Republicans did not vote for disaster relief for the folks
in the northeastern portion of the United States.

The bottom line is -- this is just a clever way for Eric Cantor to
package the lack of vision in the Republican Party. They can`t rely on
their principles. They have to rely on empty slogans and bogus speeches,
and this is the fourth try.

Eric, maybe you can hit for the cycle. And I don`t even like
baseball.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s -
- well, I do like baseball.

What do Republicans need to fix? Text A for their policies, text B
for their image. And we`ve got a new number to text, 67622. And you can
always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the results later
on in the show.

I`m joined tonight by Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst and
associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington
Post." And Bob Shrum, professor of public policy at NYU and contributor to
"The Daily Beast".

Gentlemen, you`re the two perfect guests for this subject.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ: We`ve got to -- we don`t have to unpack the Republican
Party. We have to pack `em into a box and see if they can sell this stuff
again.

Eugene, is there any chance, or should I say is there really any
change that there is going to be a change in substance of what the GOP is
trying to repackage to the American people? It sounds like a lot of the
same stuff.

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Ed, let me start by being
as charitable as I can possibly be. The old proverb, "A journey of a
thousand miles begins with one step" -- this is one very small step. It
was a speech that had a lot of nice words.

But you`re absolutely right in that it said nothing about the policies
that the Republican Party espouses and continues to espouse that are
rejected by large majorities of the American people.

You know, people get what the party stands for, and they don`t like
it. So, it`s a step, a little step, but it has to be followed up by the
kind of action that I`m not sure Eric Cantor can bring about. I`m not sure
the sort of establishment wing of the party has that sort of juice anymore.

SCHULTZ: He just didn`t come across as a heavyweight today. And I
don`t know who that person is in the Republican Party.

Bob, how do you change a party? Who`s responsible for that? I mean,
how do you change it?

BOB SHRUM, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, look, these folks made a deal with
the devil, not just in 2010 in terms of exploiting the Tea Party, but in
2004 where they used abortion and marriage equality to turn out the
religious right. Now, the Tea Party and the religious right are less and
less powerful in America and more and more powerful in the Republican
Party.

You know, when I listen to Cantor, I thought this guy must have
majored in cosmetology when he was in college, because all he is offering
right now is a cosmetic change in the Republican Party.

You can`t stop being the stupid party if you keep standing for dumb
things. How does he explain the House of Representatives which is blocking
the Violence Against Women Act? Changing that wouldn`t be just a baby step
that would be a step that would tell us that maybe the Republican Party is
beginning to get it.

SCHULTZ: Well, he did appear to come out in support of the DREAM Act
today. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residents and
citizenship for those who are brought to this country as children and who
know no other home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And, of course, for the record, Cantor has actually voted
against the DREAM Act when it came to the floor.

Eugene, is this just political pandering at its best?

ROBINSON: Well, it sounds like it. I mean, clearly, there are people
-- I wouldn`t necessarily have counted Eric Cantor as one of them. But
there are some prominent Republicans who are arguing for some version of
the DREAM Act. So there is a faction that wants to move in that direction.

But, you know, you ask how do you change a party? Remember, there was
a time when the Democratic Party was seen as being out of the American
mainstream, and a group of centrist and moderate Democrats formed the DLC
and in many ways did succeed in bringing the party back to more of where
the American people were and had tremendous success because of that.

Until that sort of organizational or systematic effort inside the
Republican Party to move it away from the far, far right, I`m not going to
believe that -- in this rhetoric.

SCHULTZ: I think they could work on their sincerity. And they could
show up in prime time on MSNBC on any of the shows and try to win over the
folks that don`t believe them. That would probably be a good start.

One person who liked Cantor`s speech was Karl Rove. He promoted it on
Twitter as it was all unfolding.

Bob, is Rove trying to become the architect of the party again? And
of course he is going at it on the right wingers as well.

SHRUM: Well, he doesn`t have much choice, you know. He set up this
new effort in American Crossroads to try to influence GOP primaries. And
I`m not in the business of defending Karl Rove. But if I could take a leaf
from Gene Robinson`s book and say this is a kind of step that makes sense
if you want to elect Republicans.

But the problem is, with the dominance of the Tea Party types, the
religious right, in a lot of these states, you`re going to see more
Republican nominees who are going to lose winnable races. Rove wants to
change that, although he is the one who contributed to creating it at
almost every level over a long period of years.

SCHULTZ: Eugene Robinson, Bob Shrum, great to have you on the program
tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.

Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow and on Facebook. We always
want do know what you think, and appreciate that.

Massachusetts Republicans, let me tell you, folks, they are so
desperate to win John Kerry`s Senate seat, they might even give Glenn
Beck`s TV psychiatrist a shot. That`s next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Tonight, major fallout following the bombshell reflation of
a Justice Department document that gives legal cover for the targeted
assassination of American citizens using drones. Republicans aren`t
backing off their attempts to rig the next election. Now, Pennsylvania is
in their crosshairs.

And House Republicans are stalling on immigration reform. I`ll
explain why their plan would create a permanent underclass in this country.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using the
#EdShow.

We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Well, the first big test of the new Republican brand party is just
around the corner. And folks, it really isn`t looking too good. The
filing deadline for the special election to fill the seat of Senator John
Kerry is February 27th.

Now, this was supposed to be a real good opportunity for the
Republicans to get a pickup here. Former Senator Scott Brown picked up the
seat of deceased Senator Ted Kennedy three years ago. But what a
difference a few years makes.

Brown has since been defeated, and he says, well, he is not interested
in this special election thing.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, he has also said no.

Tagg Romney says I`m making too much money. The son of the former
gosh and the former presidential candidate says no, it`s the cash.

These are not the only Republicans who have passed on the opportunity
to pick up a Democratic seat. Former state senator and a former lieutenant
governor have also said no.

The latest entry is FOX News personality Keith Ablow, who is probably
best known as Glenn Beck`s TV psychiatrist.

Here`s an example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. KEITH ABLOW, FOX NEWS: I did not evaluate Joe Biden, but if
someone said to me, listen, we want you to do what is really required to
know what happened there, you have to put dementia on the differential
diagnosis.

Get your own white board like Glenn Beck, right? Because you`ve got
to immunize yourself.

Because when I was on his show back at CNN when we first met, I was
amazed by how willing he was to come forward with his pain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Pain! That`s the key.

Dr. Ablow says he will only declare his candidacy if no other
Republican challenges him. He wants a clean slate.

State Representative Dean Winslow says he is forming an exploratory
committee.

Massachusetts Republican strategist says "I think it`s close to a lost
cause. Most people, including the B tier candidates, felt Scott Brown had
a chance to win the special election, but no other Republican probably
did."

Let`s turn to Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis.

Chris, great to have you with us tonight.

CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ: It`s just a good collection, isn`t it?

KOFINIS: Dr. Ablow, I think he needs a psychiatrist.

SCHULTZ: Well, he would be interesting on the Senate floor if he ever
got that far.

KOFINIS: Oh, not going to happen in this lifetime.

SCHULTZ: All right. Is this the Republican Party can do? Or is
there somebody really waiting in the wings and it`s a timing issue and just
hasn`t stepped out saying hey, I want this seat?

KOFINIS: This is the best they can do. It`s a reflection of where
the party is.

By the way, in the Northeast of the United States, California, the
Republican Party is a dinosaur. It`s extinct. And it`s becoming more so
because their policies and their national message is alienating the very
voters they need to win in places like that.

But they`re actually having bigger problems in places like Iowa, which
I would consider a toss-up, or places like Alaska where in that Senate race
it looks like -- Joe Miller is going to run again. And you have -- he is
going to go up against a senator, Senator Begich, who is very popular, and
he is already behind in the polls that have come out.

So they`re having problems all over the place, even in states where
they arguably should be very competitive, if not leading.

SCHULTZ: They should be doing better in Iowa. Republicans were
pretty excited about Iowa, Senator Tom Harkin leaving. But polls show the
leading Republican Congressman Steve King gets beat by any likely Democrat.

Is this a surprise? What do you think?

KOFINIS: It`s a surprise in terms of Iowa, having done some work
there, it`s a rural state. It`s not the northeast of the United States.
It`s not Massachusetts. But they`re also very progressive, and they`re
also a good judge of character. They kind of see through the game, if you
will.

And I think the state has changed over the last four or so years.
It`s kind of moved if you will more to the center, more to the center left.
And candidates like Congressman King and others just don`t I think reflect
the values of the preferences of the state.

SCHULTZ: Now, on the national level, there is New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie. Let`s take a look at his appearance on David Letterman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST/COMEDIAN: I`ve made jokes about you, not
just one or two. Not just ongoing here and there, intermittent but --

(LAUGHTER)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I didn`t know it was going to be
this long.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joking aside, Christie has an innate ability to know the
room and be the regular guy. And isn`t this what the Republican Party is
lacking right now?

I mean, they`ve got an identity crisis. Why not start with the
regular guy next door? Is he the best bet they have?

KOFINIS: To some extent, the problem is how does he get through -- if
he runs for president, how does he get through that Republican primary?

The party right now is dominated by a clear faction on the right that
thinks their policies are the right ones for the country. There`s no
negotiation, no compromise whether that`s on immigration, whether that`s on
taxes, whether it`s on social issues.

The problem that they ignore and the groups in the Tea Party in the
far right ignored is the country has moved. It`s moved more to the middle.
It`s moved in a more progressive direction. And they don`t want to change.

And the mistake the Republicans keep making at the national level is
they think this is a branding problem.

This isn`t a messaging problem. They have the wrong policies for the
country. And until you come up with new policies, they`re going to
continue to be in this tortured state.

SCHULTZ: But wouldn`t Christie be their best chance? I mean, if you
wanted to get some moderate voters or possibly some independent voters -- I
mean, self-deprecation goes a long way in politics.

KOFINIS: If you want to win at the national level and have a guy that
can go into, you know, all walks of life and meet all different types of
people and be able to connect, Chris Christie is a very charismatic guy.
He knows how to talk to different folks. He would be their best bet.

But I think he`s got about as much chance as I do of winning the
Republican nomination.

SCHULTZ: OK. I think they`re doing all this playing around with
gerrymandering and also electoral colleges because they know how strong
Hillary would be to beat. The only way they would even have a chance is to
rig the field.

That, of course, is a different subject we`ll do another day.

KOFINIS: I know. I think you`re right about that.

SCHULTZ: Chris Kofinis, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so
much.

Coming up, House Republicans held a hearing on immigration reform
today. Folks, it wasn`t pretty. One of their ideas could create a whole
new underclass of Americans. I`ll bring you the details.

And later, a look at the government document making the case for
killing Americans suspected of terrorism. Our panel weighs in. Robert
Greenwald just back from Pakistan, Joan Walsh with us tonight, and Lawrence
Korb. We`ll talk about President Obama`s drone war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Since the November election, one thing everything in Washington agrees
on is that something has to get done on immigration reform. Last week, we
did see some consensus in the Senate on a path to citizenship for 11
million undocumented workers in this country. Today, we found out what the
House Republicans want to do, and folks, it isn`t pretty.

They`re considering creating a permanent underclass of Americans who
are not entitled to the same rights as everybody else in this country.

Now, the Republican judiciary chairman, Robert Goodlatte, made it
clear that the House is in no rush to pass immigration reform. Then, he
asked what he called the question of the day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: Are there options that we should
consider between the extremes of mass deportation and a pathway to
citizenship for those not lawfully present in the United States?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas had a similar
question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LAMAR SMITH (R), TEXAS: Do you see any compromise area between
the current status quo and a path to citizenship for virtually all the 11
million or more illegal immigrants in the country today?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So House Republicans are floating the idea of a permanent
working underclass in this country. They don`t want to deport undocumented
workers, but they also don`t want to grant them citizenship. Republicans
think this idea is middle ground.

But it`s really a scam to keep labor and wages really cheap and votes
off to the side.

Now, meanwhile, some Republicans want to separate highly skilled
workers into a separate bill. Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus said this
has a better chance of surviving at the Republican-led House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. SPENCER BACHUS (R), ALABAMA: My point is, and I think each of
you would agree, it`s going to be a much easier lift to solve the problem
with highly skilled workers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Then you have Republican Congressman Kerry Bentivolio who
wants to do nothing. He sent a letter to supporters saying, "What you`re
seeing here is a shameless political ploy to buy voters. Democrats want
the votes and Republicans the cheap labor. Immigration reform shouldn`t be
about buying off law breakers so they`ll consider becoming Republican."

The GOP, what they are, folks? At this point in time, OK, you got a
little bit compromise in the Senate, but basically over in the House, they
are all over the map, and that`s their plan because they don`t want
immigration reform, because that would make President Obama look good. It
would help out the Democratic cause.

And, of course, the Republicans are all about having everything tied
to elections.

There is a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These strikes are legal,
they are ethical and they are wise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: NBC News blows the lid off the Obama administration`s drone
policy. Up next, Robert Greenwald, Joan Walsh and Lawrence Korb on the
White House`s justification for killing American citizens without due
process.

The countdown to recession is on. And Republicans are perfectly happy
to let it happen. We`ll take you inside today`s war of words between
President Obama and Speaker Boehner over the sequester.

And just when you thought Republicans were done planning to steal
elections, you will not believe the stunt they are about to pull in
Pennsylvania.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They have been very precise precision strikes against al Qaeda
and their affiliates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That was President Obama last month defending the country`s
drone program. In his four years in office, the president has made
unprecedented use of this weapon, with more than 400 CIA strikes against
targets in Pakistan and Yemen. That`s eight times as many as under
President George W. Bush.

And now NBC News`s Michael Isikoff has obtained a 16-page Justice
Department memo that makes the legal argument to justify this
administration`s use of drones to kill terror suspects, including American
citizens. The government can order the killing of its own citizens without
due process if those citizens are believed to be senior operational leaders
of al Qaeda or an associated force, even if there is no intel indicating
they are involved in an active plot to attack the United States.

Today Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We only take these kinds of
actions when there is an imminent threat, when capture is not feasible, and
when we are confident that we are doing so in a way that is consistent with
federal and international law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Yet, according to the memo, the government gets to define
the word "imminent" in a very broad way. "The condition that an
operational leader present an imminent threat of violent attack against the
United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence
that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the
immediate future."

For the feasibility of capture, that too is broadly defined by the
government. The decision to capture or kill can be made in a case-by-case
basis.

Today, the White House declined to discuss the memo in detail. And
Spokesman Jay Carney defended the drone program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARNEY: These strikes were legal. They are ethical, and they are
wise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to our panel tonight, Robert Greenwald of Brave
New Films, Joan Walsh is also joining us tonight, Salon.com, and Lawrence
Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

I have to say, as an American citizen, we are all entitled to due
process under the law. And this document gives the president the ability
to act as judge, jury and executioner. I`m troubled by it. It doesn`t
meet the moral or the Constitutional standard that we expect of any
administration.

And I have to say that liberals have come certainly a long way to
crying about the FISA court and the Patriot Act and listening in on
conversations to literally taking out innocent people around the world.
We`re losing the moral high ground by doing this.

And even more troubling is that there are people in Washington who are
ominously silent and not questioning this process and willing to stand
behind the legal opinion of the Justice Department. This is President
Obama`s legacy right now. It is dangerous.

Reaction to the memo. Let`s turn to Joan Walsh tonight. Joan, your
thoughts on this.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Ed, I think you pointed to the section of the
memo that really is the most troubling, that this idea of imminent danger,
which you could imagine as in our own country a hostage situation or a
terror threat, where a police officer -- really it`s OK that he, last
resort, killed someone. But when you see it defined as you don`t need
clear evidence, it doesn`t have to be an actual specific attack, and it
doesn`t have to be in the immediate future, it really could justify just
about anything.

And you know, I`m somebody who voted for this president twice. And I
think a lot of liberals have -- one reaction is, well, I trust the guy.
But we can`t allow our presidents to be judge and jury like this.

And the other thing, I think the bottom line here for virtually
everybody would have to be that there is no real either judicial or
legislative review, not even after the fact.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

WALSH: We can`t even get those memos or white papers from the
government. It was leaked to Michael Isikoff. So, you know, I think there
is going to be a lot more questions about this in the days and months to
come.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. Mr. Korb, your thoughts on what Eric Holder,
attorney general, said today. He said that it`s consistent with federal
and international law. Are we sure about that?

LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, it is because I
don`t think you can U.S. citizenship as a way to hide behind planning a
terrorist attack on the United States. Now one can argue what is an
imminent threat. The fact of the matter is that people who are with al
Qaeda or associate groups are planning attacks on the United States.

And what this memo does -- and the attorney general mentioned it I
think today, over and above previous attempts to define this. They said
not just the laws of war, not only does it have to be imminent, but there
has to be no other way to get them. In other words, that you can`t capture
using Americans. And this is mainly for people in foreign countries.
We`re not talking about the United States.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

KORB: And when you`re waging war in a foreign country -- and remember
that the Congress authorized the use of military action against al Qaeda
and its affiliates back in 2001. The Justice Department or the courts
don`t review your acts when you`re waging war in a different country.

SCHULTZ: But this can be done and ordered on people who do not sit in
the Oval Office, by people who -- you know, Mr. Brennan -- and how far down
does it go? To a general? To a colonel? And there is no due process here
whatsoever. And I`m curious as to -- Robert Greenwald, your thoughts? Why
wasn`t this memo released to the public by the Obama administration?

ROBERT GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS: The Obama administration is doing
everything in its power to keep every single aspect of this disastrous and
horrific policy of assassinating people in other countries -- they`re doing
everything they can to keep it hidden.

SCHULTZ: Assassinating? You`re saying -- you`re saying
assassinations are taking place? Is that what you call it?

GREENWALD: Yes, that`s what I`m calling it, with people around the
world who have not been tried by a jury. There has been no evidence
against them. And we are guessing. Remember this, we are guessing this
and accusing them of things that we have absolutely no firm evidence about.

I was in Pakistan. I spent a lot of time talking to people, Ed.
We`ve talked about this. It`s heartbreaking on a moral level. And it`s
absolutely disastrous on a security level.

SCHULTZ: I`m surprised that there are veteran senators that aren`t
troubled by this. Joan Walsh, where is the chairman of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, Pat Leahy. It seems he would take great interest in
what is unfolding here, because we`re losing the moral high ground by doing
this. You could argue that.

WALSH: Well, I think this is going to be a subject for the
confirmation hearings of John Brennan, certainly. And I think one of the
other issues that the white paper brings forth is that it doesn`t have to
be the president making this decision. It just refers to an informed high-
level administration official. That`s worrisome too.

So I think that this white paper just makes it seem as though the
standards that even we -- even that we thought existed for this program
don`t really exist. And I think, you know, as Mr. Korb suggests, we face
enemies and the Congressional authorization of military force really did
give the president a lot of latitude, President Bush.

But it`s been unfortunate to see a Democratic president who actually
opposed the authorization himself, though he wasn`t in the Senate, use it
and take it farther than his predecessor. Because this is way further than
anything President Bush did, that we know of.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Korb, what about the oversight on this? I mean, Mr.
Greenwald says that we`re assassinating people. Your thoughts.

KORB: First of all, I think the attorney general made that very clear
today. Acting in self-defense is not an assassination. The other thing
is, yes, the president has the authority and he can delegate it to other
people in the chain of command. But what we do know is the president has
been intimately involved in making all those decisions, at least, you know,
every time that something comes to light, whether it`s bin Laden or al
Awlaki. He has been right up there doing it.

So he is very much involved.

SCHULTZ: But the administration makes it sounds like there is no
innocent people being killed. On one hand, the president is ready to pass
gun control legislation in this country, if we can save one life. But yet
it just seems like this administration is very callous and liberals are
being dumbed down by this, saying it`s OK, we`re fighting terror, when
we`re kill mortgage than one person around the world with drone attacks.
What about that?

KORB: Well, again, I think there is collateral damage. And that`s
why this memo talks about the laws of war. Before you use military force,
you have to look at whether in fact it`s justified and the possible
collateral damage. That`s an issue that`s -- no matter you are using
drones or you`re on the battlefield, that`s a decision that you have to
make.

SCHULTZ: Where is the oversight? Where is the oversight on this, Mr.
Korb?

KORB: Well, I think basically Congress ought to get more involved. I
want all this stuff to be released. You know, I wish it didn`t have to
come out the way that it did. Congress ought to step up. If they don`t
like it, they ought to repeal or put a time limit on that law they passed
back in 2001. You know, I think that that`s where we really have got to
get it.

SCHULTZ: Well, one thing that jumps at me, is our security so fragile
that we have to say hey, look, if you take out the bad guy and a few people
on the side, don`t worry about it. Robert Greenwald, that`s what it sounds
like the policy is.

GREENWALD: Well, unfortunately, again, the problem is they`re hiding
the policy in every possible way. Look, we have killed 178 children --
children -- with the drone strikes. Over 4,000 people have been killed.
And a reminder to everybody, we`re not at war with Pakistan. So the war
analogy is not a direct and possible one.

I spoke to Miran Khan (ph), who is running for president of Pakistan.
He said yeah, there are 100 bad guys and fanatics. You now have a million
people in the tribal areas who hate you because you`re killing their
brothers and their sisters and their cousins. So I would argue on a
security level, in addition to a moral level, this is disastrous policy.
And it`s going to haunt the administration until they change it and until
we get the elected officials to change it.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think Democratic senators need to step out and
answer if this was the Bush administration, would they be so silent.
Robert Greenwald, Joan Walsh and Lawrence Korb, thanks for the conversation
tonight.

Up next, less than four weeks until sequestration cuts into effect --
goes right into effect. Could we be looking at another recession? We just
might be if John Boehner gets his way. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And of course we love hearing from our viewers on Facebook
and on Twitter. Many of you are responding to Eric Cantor`s attempt to
rebrand the unpopular Republican party.

On Facebook, John Harper says "rebrand the GOP? Changing seats on the
Titanic?"

Ron Rhodes writes, the last time I looked, "the GOP platform hadn`t
changed a bit."

And Lynn Duckett says "vote Cantor out in 2014, and any other Tea
Party members. That is the answer."

You can go to our Facebook page right now and join in on the
conversation. And don`t forget to like THE ED SHOW when you`re there. We
appreciate that.

Still to come, Republicans can`t win by rebranding themselves, so
they`re trying -- still trying to rig the vote. We`ll look at the GOP`s
new plan and what it could mean for Democrats in 2016. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our economy right now is headed in the right direction. And
it will stay that way as long as there aren`t any more self-inflicted
wounds coming out of Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, get ready, America. It look like the Republicans
would rather throw us into a self-inflicted recession rather than work with
the president and raise new revenue. In less than four weeks, 85 billion
dollars of across the board cuts -- spending6 cuts are scheduled to kick in
under the sequester. That`s if President Obama and Congress fail to reach
a budget deal.

Today, President Obama urged Congress to pass a balanced short-term
package to prevent the sequester from taking effect on March 1st.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans who
work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the
growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy just because folks
in Washington couldn`t come together to eliminate a few special interest
tax loopholes or government programs that we agree need some reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And the president is correct. There is no reason to put our
fragile economy, our recovery in jeopardy. But before the president had
even delivered his remarks, some Republicans were out launching a
preemptive strike. Speaker John Boehner issued a statement that seemed to
take new revenue right off the table. "We believe there is a better way to
reduce the deficit, but Americans do not support sacrificing real spending
cuts for more tax hikes."

once again, Republicans are willing to hold the fate of our economy
hostage to protect the interests of who? The wealthiest Americans. In the
midst of a Republican effort to rebrand, they`re reminding the American
public one more time exactly what and who they stand for. >

Tonight in our survey, I asked you what do Republicans need to fix?
Ninety four percent of you say policies; six percent of you say their
image.

Coming up, we`re learning more about a new Republican election
strategy. Find out which state could change the election rules and how it
could hurt the Democrats in 2016. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, Republicans are proving once
again they can`t win with their ideas, so they`re changing the rules of the
election instead. You see, you do this when nobody is paying attention.

President Obama won six states controlled by Republican governors and
legislatures. As we reported last month, all six of those states started
talking about reallocating electoral college votes. They wanted to
redistrict their way to victory. Easy way to do it, right?

But the national attention just scared them off. Republicans in
Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Ohio and Virginia all backed down from
reallocating their votes. Pennsylvania is the lone wolf. They are the
lone holdout.

The state`s Senate majority leader plans to introduce a bill to
distribute the electoral votes based on the percentage of the popular vote.
Here is how it would help Republicans. States like, for instance,
Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas could adopt this electoral vote plan
and stay completely red.

But look how the plan would have changed the blue votes for President
Obama in the last election. The Republican plan would have grabbed six
votes for Romney in Michigan, eight of Pennsylvania`s 20 votes would have
gone to Romney, and Wisconsin`s votes almost cut in half. Well,
Pennsylvania Republicans are doing exactly what their national chairman
wants them to do. They want to change the rules of the game, no doubt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Being a blue state is not a permanent
diagnosis. No state is that reliably a blue state. But it`s up to all of
us to decide if we`re willing to fight for these states.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Yeah, fight for them, you know, the good old-fashioned way,
voter by voter. Reince Priebus believes voters shouldn`t get to pick their
leaders. Instead, he wants Republican leaders to pick their voters.
Pennsylvania`s plan is the perfect solution for the Republicans. And it`s
different from the last attempt.

Let`s bring in Ari Berman, contributing writer for "The Nation"
magazine. Ari, good to have you with us tonight.

ARI BERMAN, "THE NATION": Hi, Ed. It`s good to be back.

SCHULTZ: How effective is this? How different is it?

BERMAN: It`s a little different. Instead of having electoral votes
based on gerrymandered congressional districts, they would be based
proportionally on the popular vote. It`s the same outcome, right? Instead
of Barack Obama getting all 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, he is going
to get 11 or 12 under this new Pennsylvania plan.

So it has the same effect. They`re trying to accomplish through
legislative trickery what they couldn`t do at the ballot box.

SCHULTZ: Are they trying to disguise this as totally different from
the last way? Like this actually is a lot more fair? They`re going to
make that case, I would assume?

BERMAN: Yes, they`re going to say it`s not based on gerrymandering.
Everyone should have a say. Listen, if every state did this, that would be
one thing. But we`re talking about doing it only in states like
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, and not in state likes Texas and
Georgia. So this is a recipe for keeping the red states red, but splitting
the blue states.

And that`s what is so fundamentally unfair about this plan. It`s not
something that is being considered all across the country. It`s only being
considered in states that Republicans control and that the president won in
2008 and 2012.

SCHULTZ: It could have changed the dynamic of how they campaigned if
it was this way as well, too, wouldn`t it?

BERMAN: Absolutely. Pennsylvania wouldn`t have been a swing state in
the same way. And that`s what Republicans have to consider, is do they
want to give up their status as swing states by implementing these plans.
You just heard Paul Ryan in Wisconsin say, I like the fact that Wisconsin
is a swing state.

So Pennsylvania Republicans are basically admitting they can never win
all those 20 electoral votes. The best they can do is get to eight or ten.
And that`s really an admission of defeat by the GOP.

SCHULTZ: How does this match up with the demographic problems that
the Republican party has right now, with the African-American vote, the
Latino vote?

BERMAN: Well, what we`re seeing is that the conservative response to
demographic change continues to suppress their votes. We thought after the
2012 election, we might see a rethink. They might introduce some new
policies. That hasn`t been what we`ve seen. Instead, what is happening is
Republicans are trying to dilute the votes of African-Americans, Hispanics.
They`re trying to make them count for less. And they`re really trying to
say to those voters, instead of trying to get their votes, they`re
basically saying to those voters they don`t matter.

SCHULTZ: Now, Pennsylvania has the political muscle, the votes to do
this. They`ve got three that -- Republicans that would have to turn on
this. With the likely of that is not very good. What are we going to see
happen to Pennsylvania here? What will this do? This will not make it a
critical state in 2016?

BERMAN: I think it`s very likely that if candidates know coming into
it that they`re not going to get all of those 20 votes, that they`re going
to focus their attention elsewhere. So Republicans have to think, will
candidates bypass Pennsylvania? They have to think of the blowback here.
Like we said earlier, this is the same strategy they were pushing before.
There is going to be significant public pressure against them. It`s going
to seem like they`re changing the rules in the middle of the game.

They`re going to seem like a sore loser strategy. There is going to
be a lot of blowback if they try to do this.

SCHULTZ: Democrats tried similar voting changes. Does that make it
right for the Republicans to do it?

BERMAN: No. The only reason we should be doing this is if everyone
does it, if we say every state does a proportional vote or every state
abolishes the electoral college. We can`t have some states that do it
proportionally and some states that do it winner takes all. It just
doesn`t make any sense.

SCHULTZ: Well, they`re getting ready for Hillary. They know they
can`t beat Hillary Clinton. So they have to do it in the best way they
can.

BERMAN: They don`t seem too confident right now.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. Ari Berman, thanks for joining us tonight. I
appreciate it very much. You bet.

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

Good evening, Rachel. Great story you broke last night. It`s got the
country rethinking a lot of stuff.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thank you very much. We have actually
got a follow-up on that scoop tonight that I`m really looking forward to,
Ed. Thanks a lot.

SCHULTZ: It`s got a lot of liberals troubled. There`s no question
about it.

MADDOW: And I also think in the business that we are in, I spend a
lot of time defending us from people who say that we`re just like Fox.
There`s a lot of criticism from the left of this administration from I
think people who see themselves as principled liberals.

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

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