updated 2/19/2013 1:31:59 PM ET 2013-02-19T18:31:59

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
February 18, 2013

Guests: David Cay Johnston, Lawrence Wilkerson, Liz Mair, Richard Wolffe, Chris Kofinis, David O. Russell

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

The Republicans` Presidents Day sale on the economy -- a total bust.
Tonight, the truth on our spending problem.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There you go. Good job.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Four years after the stimulus saved us from
depression, Republicans are dragging us into recession.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Spending is the problem.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, the facts versus Republican fantasy on the economy and
the sequester.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We have had a massive cover-up on the part
administration.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: But a massive cover-up of what?

SCHULTZ: John McCain is at it again.

MCCAIN: Do you care whether four Americans died?

SCHULTZ: Retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson on the blind Republican rage
over Benghazi.

The Luv Guv is hitting the trail again.

MARK SANFORD (R), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: I`m a bottom line kind
of guy. It`s going to hurt.

SCHULTZ: We`ll show you his questionable ad.

Plus, Marco Rubio disagrees with his own immigration plan because the
president likes it.

Mississippi finally got around to banning slavery this month.

And the Oscar-nominated movie "Silver Linings Playbook" is shining new
light on treating mental illness. Director David O. Russell joins me
tonight for the conversation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

It`s been exactly four years since an economic disaster was averted.
Government spending undoubtedly was the key, the stimulus package. The
president of the United States signed the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act four years ago this week. It is responsible for saving
and creating 2.5 million jobs in this country at a time when the country
was on the verge of a depression.

But the stimulus did more than keep the country out of a hole. It built
the country right back up.

At the end of 2008, the nation`s domestic GDP was in dangerous negative
territory. After the stimulus package, the economy started growing. The
stock market enjoyed the effect of the stimulus as well. Four years ago
today, the Dow closed near 7,000. On Friday, it closed near 14,000.

Now, we have had and witnessed 35 consecutive months of private sector job
growth. Without the stimulus, unemployment was projected to hit 12 percent
in 2010.

Only three Republican lawmakers supported the stimulus. But as the
president points out, a whole lot of them enjoyed the benefits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And I know you want these job-creating projects in your district.
I`ve seen all those ribbon cuttings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: By 2010, there were 110 GOP lawmakers who lobbied for stimulus
money for their home states. All of these lawmakers voted to kill the
bill.

The stimulus worked.

But Republicans just can`t shake their demand for more cuts in government
spending. In fact, Republicans are committed to making sure devastating
cuts are going to kick in on March 1st.

Now, these cuts are called the government sequester, and it would hit the
middle class and the poor the hardest. No doubt about it.

Seventy thousand children will be kicked off Head Start education programs.
A hundred and nine -- actually, $902 million in loans to start businesses
will be flat-out cut out of the system.

FEMA will be forced to reduce state and local grants for emergency
management. 600,000 women and children will be cut from food assistance
programs, and Republicans are proud to let these cuts happen, and they`re
not backing down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: Let me be very clear -- and I`d say this
to the president as I say it to you. These spending cuts are going to go
through on March 1st. The -- Taxes are off the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So they lose the election. They`re in the minority in the
Senate, and they are dictating.

Harry Reid, let`s talk than filibuster again, dude.

This is just another hostage situation for the Republicans. They can hurt
the poor and the working class in this country, the sequester, no doubt
about it. Unless the president gives them exactly what they want.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you want to look at ways to
find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade, let`s look at
Obamacare. Let`s don`t destroy the military and just cut blindly across
the board.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Sure. Let`s forget about the 30 million, maybe 40 million people
who are going to get health insurance in this country because of Obamacare.

See, these Republicans, my friends, are living in a fantasy world. The
president and Senate Democrats once again have offered a plan with cuts in
new revenue. But the GOP is ready to deny history.

You see, they`re saying that spending doesn`t stimulate the economy, and
that they basically are sticking to that argument.

House Speaker John Boehner continues to say, spending? What`s the big
problem?

It`s amazing John Boehner can identify any problems considering how little
the guy works. Count `em -- 19 days. That`s how many days the House has
been in session since the start of 2013.

Let`s see. Six weeks, 19 days. Pretty good deal, isn`t it? Do the math.
These House members are only showing up for work 59 percent of the time. I
bet you could get away with that.

Meanwhile, the people who will get hurt by these cuts are the ones who are
working hard, five or six times or seven days a week.

Now look, folks. This election was about what? The middle class. That`s
all President Obama talked about on the campaign trail was the middle
class. And the middle class and the poor are the first ones who will take
a hit as long as Republicans keep denying reality.

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

Tonight`s question: will Republicans hurt average Americans just to spite
the president? Text A for yes, text B for no to 67622. You can always go
to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you results later on in the show.

Joining me tonight David Cay Johnston, professor at Syracuse University
College of Law and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

David Cay, great to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time.

Isn`t government spending lower now than what it`s been in recent years?
Aren`t we really headed right down this way when it comes to government
spending?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW: Well, we certainly
are with this sequester, which will lead to a lot of loss of jobs. It will
have a very negative effect on the economy.

If you`re running a business and you have to fly salespeople or engineers
around the country, you`re going to discover with 4,000 fewer air traffic
controllers, that plane may not get there.

All across the economy, this is going to be a terrible problem because this
is government spending, Ed, that allows the private sector to prosper and
to grow. It`s commonwealth spending for common good.

SCHULTZ: Is there any way to suggest that the stimulus did not help pull
us out of a recession? Had we not done it, where would we be?

JOHNSTON: If we had not done it, we would be in a terrible disaster. You
know, we lost trillions of dollars of wealth, and yet we didn`t have
rampant homelessness. Why? Because the stimulus included money to make
sure that people who were going to lose their homes, especially with
children, didn`t end up on the streets. That`s certainly not good.

SCHULTZ: If we go down the road with the sequester, and the cuts kick in -
- I mean, are we going to go right back into a recession? And how fast
would it happen?

JOHNSTON: I think you`d see very quick effects, Ed. And let`s focus on
one piece of this -- 600,000 pregnant women and mothers of small children
will be cut from the women, infants, and nutrition program.

The Republicans are always telling us about their reverence for life.
Really? They`re going to have 600,000 poor women and children not have
proper food. There is a life-time effect on development, especially mental
development if you don`t have proper nutrition in the womb and when you`re
an infant.

But they are determined to cut those poor children who are helpless out of
good nutrition.

SCHULTZ: David Cay Johnston, stay with us, please.

Let`s bring in Sam Stein of the "Huffington Post."

Also with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-
winning columnist for the "Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst.

Eugene, what about this politically? If these cuts kick in, and as they
follow the plan that Barrasso has put out there and says, look, these cuts
are going to go in and tax increases aren`t going to happen, who is going
to pay the price politically?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: The Republicans are going to pay the
price, because when you go through something like this or go through a
government shutdown which we may have because of the continuing resolution
still being up in the air -- look, history tells us that the president
comes out smelling better than Congress does. And with Congress` approval
rating already down to friends and family, they`re certainly going to lose
more if they actually go through with the sequester.

But I think they just can`t figure a way to keep themselves from going
through this, or they haven`t figured through with this, or they haven`t
figured it out yet.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

Sam, there are senators obviously like Rand Paul of Kentucky who are
saying, hey, bring on the sequester. Are Republican leaders at the mercy
of just a few Tea Partiers on this issue?

I mean, they`ve been begging for spending cuts. Now, they have it. Now
they`re going to take the big bite. They know what it`s going to do to the
economy and then they can blame President Obama.

SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: I think you`re right. But I also think
the first chapter of this was actually the fiscal cliff deal where the
party had to swallow, the Republican Party had to swallow about $600
billion in revenue increases.

Premised on that was the promise down the road, they were going to cut.
And the first thing that came up was the sequestration, which satisfied the
very basic need to cut government spending, regardless of how it was done
or how blunt the impact would be.

Now, there are some in the party, including John McCain who say, this is
insane, we shouldn`t put some tax loophole closures on the table in
exchange for getting rid of these defense cuts. But their voices aren`t
getting through to leadership right now.

And so, what you have is a Republican Party that is welcoming sequestration
even though six to eight months ago, they were warning about the impact the
specifically defense cuts would have.

SCHULTZ: Eugene, they`re talking cuts and no revenue. Now, how can they
get away with that and do the math on it to keep this economy going?

ROBINSON: Well, this is not a party that likes math very much, because the
math doesn`t add up. You can`t move toward fiscal sanity without new
revenue and --

SCHULTZ: David, would these spending cuts actually help the economy in any
way?

JOHNSTON: No.

SCHULTZ: That`s a non-starter across the board.

JOHNSTON: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: All right.

JOHNSTON: Actually, we`re talking about having more food-borne illnesses.
We`re talking about -- the government is taking in revenue right now, and
we`re going to cut the sales force, the IRS? This makes sense because?

SCHULTZ: Good question.

STEIN: It doesn`t make sense. But also, you should note that back during
the campaign, Mitt Romney was all for cutting. But if you got him in one
of his more sincere moments, he would warn publicly that if you cut too
fast, too quickly, you would risk a short-term recession or worse.

And that is something you don`t hear from Republicans right now. It used
to be common sense that you can`t cut right now in times of delicate
economic growth. Now, you don`t hear that that much.

SCHULTZ: Eugene, here is the new White House chief of staff, Denis
McDonough, on the Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The focus for the president,
the lens through which he is going to see this fight, is the same lens he
has seen each of these fights -- which is what is the impact on middle
class families and the kinds of investments that we expect for the economy
to grow from the middle out?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Eugene, how can the Republicans avoid being the bad guy against
the middle class here? I mean, think this is all part of the Republican
obstruction plan. We saw a record number of filibusters in the last
session of the Congress come from the Senate. And now what we`re seeing
come from the House is, first of all, we`re not going to work. We`re going
to give them a schedule that nobody is going to go along with. That`s the
first thing we`re going to do.

And the second thing, we`re going to let the sequester ride this thing out
and we`re going to blame President Obama. That appears to be the plan
right now.

ROBINSON: Well, if this is a plan, they need better planning, because
they`ve done the obstruction number before, and it hasn`t worked out very
well for them. I mean, the real issue I think is the internal dynamics
within the Republican Party, the fact that there are sensible members of
party who realize you can`t cut right now or else you go back into
recession.

But they have to deal with the Tea Party wing. And they have to deal with
the party that is angry that feels they got rolled in the fiscal cliff
negotiation and wants to roll the president, damn the cost.

SCHULTZ: Sam, would the Congress let this sequester kick in and then come
back and try to pass something their way? What do you think, just to save
face?

STEIN: That might be the case. I did an interview with Representative Jim
Moran of Virginia a couple of weeks ago where that was what he predicted
the outcome to be, where you do hit sequestration. There is an obvious and
tangible economic blowback because of it, and then Congress sort of gets
scared into acting, finding a replacement.

The concern I`m hearing now from Democrats is that sequestration will
happen, and then Republicans will introduce a bill to basically tack back
the defense cuts portion of it and leave all the social safety programs
untouched. And what you end up having there is you force Democrats to have
to vote against defense -- additional defense spending in which they can be
labeled soft on defense if they vote no.

SCHULTZ: David, what`s the worst case scenario for the economy? I mean,
$85 billion in cuts between now and September 30th would be a real hatchet
job on the economy. What would be the worst case scenario?

JOHNSTON: Well, you`re going to see unemployment tick up. Now, the
administration is going to try every way it can to not have that happen.
But you`re going to see employers not hiring. You`re going to see cutbacks
in investment and you will see the difference very soon.

And don`t forget all the seniors who won`t get meals, who are locked in,
the mentally ill who will not get treatment and be cut from the rolls.

SCHULTZ: David Cay Johnston, Sam Stein, Eugene Robinson, great to have you
gentlemen with us tonight. Thanks so much.

STEIN: Thanks, Ed.

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

John McCain must be getting his intelligence briefings from the tin foil
hot crowd again. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson is here to separate fact from
fiction.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, this is Oscar week. The movie "Lincoln" pushes change
in the Deep South, and "Silver Linings Playbook" is opening eyes on the
issue of mental health in this country. Oscar-nominated director David O.
Russell is here tonight to visit with us.

And there must be something in the water. Marco Rubio slams his own
immigration proposal? Our big panel drinks it all in tonight.

You can listen to my radio show at Sirius XM Radio channel 127, Monday
through Friday, noon to 3:00 p.m.

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

We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching tonight.

Senator John McCain is once again trying to stir up things on Benghazi,
claiming that there is a massive cover-up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: So there are many, many questions, and we have had a massive
cover-up on the part of the administration.

GREGORY: But a massive cover-up of what? I mean -- Susan Rice said there
was a lot of confusion.

(CROSSTALK)

GREGORY: I`m asking you, Senator, what is the cover-up of what?

MCCAIN: Do you care, David? Do you care, David? I`m asking you do you
care. I`m asking you, do you care whether four Americans died? The
reasons for that, and shouldn`t people be held accountable for the fact
that four Americans died?

GREGORY: You said there was a cover-up. A cover-up of what? I`m just
asking you, a cover-up of what?

MCCAIN: Of the information concerning the deaths of four brave Americans.
The information has not been forthcoming. You can obviously believe that
it has. I know that it hasn`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: McCain wasn`t nearly so hysterical just a few days before at a
news conference on Benghazi. McCain was addressing the Republican tactic
of filibustering the Hagel confirmation to get more answers on Benghazi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: There are other questions that need to be answered, and we feel
that the intervening week and a half almost is sufficient time to get those
questions answered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So from that comment right there to "Meet the Press", something
must have happened, because McCain wasn`t talking about a massive cover-up
there. In fact, he seems confident that the questions will get answered.
Even in his interview with David Gregory yesterday, McCain admitted the
filibuster of Hagel would end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: But he will be confirmed. And we will have a vote when we get
back. And I`m confident that Senator Hagel will probably have the votes
necessary to be confirmed as the secretary of defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Round and round and -- it just doesn`t seem to add up, does it?
If McCain is filibustering Hagel to get answers on Benghazi, and if McCain
claims there is a massive cover-up, then why would McCain allow the Hagel
vote to move forward after a week and a half? Well, time`s up. Clock hit
right at the number 12, let`s move.

McCain is interested in making wild accusations, but he`s got nothing to
back it up.

Here is President Obama in this Google town hall he had last week. The
president was talking about Benghazi last Thursday. Now, do you think
there is a cover-up after you listen to this? Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We`ve had more testimony and more paper provided to Congress than
ever before. And Congress is sort of running out of things to ask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Like 10,000 pages.

Let`s turn to Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for the
State Department during General Colin Powell`s term, and currently a
distinguished visiting professor of government and public policy at the
College of William & Mary.

Colonel, good to have you with us tonight.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON (RET), FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR THE STATE
DEPARTMENT. Good to be here, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Senators Graham thanked Susan Rice. They have filibusters Chuck Hagel over
Benghazi. And now McCain still claims there is a massive cover-up.

What`s going on here?

WILKERSON: I think what is going on is a bit strange, just as you`ve
implied. Let me tell you where I was on Friday. I was out at the new
naval complex, the Bethesda Walter Reed Medical Complex, visiting with
wounded warriors. These are people who paid almost the maximum price, some
would say even more than the maximum price in Iraq or Afghanistan, triple
amputees, double amputees.

And we were talking about this. They brought the issue up of why McCain,
Graham, Inhofe, Cruz and others are opposing Hagel. The real reason, and,
you know, they dismissed Inhofe. He never saw a foxhole in his life. They
dismissed Graham. He is an Air Force lawyer, never saw combat in his life.
They dismissed Cruz. They think he`s an idiot.

But when it came to John McCain, they shrugged their shoulders, and they
looked at me and asked me why? This man is a veteran. This man was a
prisoner of war. He showed a great deal of courage under stress.

What`s wrong with John McCain?

Ed, I asked the same question. What`s wrong with John McCain?

SCHULTZ: Here are some of the Benghazi questions McCain raised with David
Gregory. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: What did the president do and who did he talk to the night of the
attack on Benghazi? And why was it? Why was it that the people who were
evacuated from the consulate the next day were not interviewed the next
day? And then they would have known that it was not a spontaneous
demonstration.

Why did the president for two weeks, for two weeks during the heat of a
campaign continue to say he didn`t know whether it was a terrorist attack
or not?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHUTLTZ: Now, after classified and public hearings, are McCain and other
Republicans still not getting sufficient answers as you see it?

WILKERSON: I don`t think so. I think they`re just trying to make an issue
out of this. I think this is all about trying to keep the president on the
defensive. After all, he won the election and they didn`t.

I think this is all about trying to find time, delay, in order to find some
kind of evidence that will keep Senator Hagel from being confirmed.

I think it`s a desperate attempt. And I tell you, Ed, I think they`re just
doing what I long have said the Republican Party seems to be doing.
They`re adding to its attempt to commit suicide. It`s certainly not
helping the United States. And the delay of Senator Hagel as secretary of
defense, it`s simply unconscionable.

SCHULTZ: Setting aside the Republican grandstanding that we have talk
about, is there anything else that we need to know about Benghazi that will
help news the future?

WILKERSON: I think one of the things we probably won`t know for a long
time is just how implicated the intelligence services, particularly the CIA
and maybe the Special Operations Command at Ft. Bragg were in this, and how
much of that was perhaps not known by the secretary of state and others.

Believe me, Ed, I`ve been there. I know how these things go down. I
wonder how fast the information did get in given that there were other
bureaucracies involved in it who may be willing to hide their dirty laundry
and even their involvement. So, this is the kind of thing that, for
example, the Bay of Pigs, you don`t find out until 1998 all the details
about something that happened in 1961. But none of this --

SCHULTZ: Yes.

WILKERSON: -- none of this stopped the nation in the way that McCain,
Graham, Inhofe, Cruz and others want to, particularly with confirming one
of the most important ministers in the government, the secretary of
defense.

SCHULTZ: Tonight MSNBC, this network, will air "Hubris: Selling the Iraq
War." Here`s what you said the day Congress passed a resolution
authorizing Bush to attack Iraq. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILKERSON: Powell walked into my office, and without so much of a fair
thee well, he walked over to the window and said I wonder what will happen
when we put 500,000 troops into Iraq and comb the country and find nothing.
And he turned around and walked back into his office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Colonel, do you believe the Bush administration cooked the books
to sell the war in Iraq?

WILKERSON: I didn`t know it at the time, and I fought myself for that.
I`ll go to my grave with that mass failing on my part. But, yes. In
retrospect, having done all the research and work that my students and
others have done, plus myself, I`m damn sure that the Bush administration
cooked the books.

SCHULTZ: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, good to have you on THE ED SHOW
tonight. Thanks so much. Appreciate it, sir.

WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Ed.

SCHULTZ: After record droughts, freak snowstorms, and of course, Sandy, a
massive climate change rally tries to wake up Washington and the country.
That is next. Very little coverage on this.

Newt Gingrich actually tells the truth, and Mark Sanford comes to Jesus.
The big panel comes in tonight.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the
failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

In his second inaugural address, President Obama pledged to address the
threat of climate change. Well, he`s got the attention of a few folks,
because yesterday, tens of thousands of Americans gathered on the National
Mall in Washington, D.C. to urge him to keep his word. An estimated 35,000
to 50,000 protesters participated in the Forward on Climate Rally in what
was billed as the largest climate rally in American history.

Now, the crowd marched to the White House in opposition to the upcoming
Keystone XL Pipeline decision. The project environmentalists say that
would cause irreparable damage to our climate. They say the extraction and
production of tar sands oil causes actually more emissions than
conventional crude.

And public water supplies, croplands, and recreational opportunities will
all be at risk of dangerous tar sands oil spills. President Obama`s
decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline will really be his
first major climate change decision during his second term. Many of the
folks at the rally, including Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, were there to
show their support for President Obama in hopes that he will make good on
his promise and take action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: It`s not just us. There is a
man over there in the White House. He has found his voice on climate
change. Are we going to have his back?

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, the words "climate change" were not said during any of the
three 2012 presidential debates. The majority of the Republican party
refuses to accept the scientific reality of climate change. Ignoring the
issue didn`t stop record temperatures, droughts, rising sea levels,
superstorms, and extreme weather events.

And let`s not forget that Bobby Jindal says Republicans need to stop being
the stupid party, anti-woman, anti-worker, anti-science.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: If this endeavor becomes a bidding war to
see who can come up with the easiest, quickest, and cheapest pathway to
Greencard possible, this thing is not going to go well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Republican hypocrisy is on full display as Marco Rubio trashes
his own policies because the president agrees with him.

And Love Gov Mark Sanford is hitting the trail again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SANFORD, FORMER GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: None of us go through
life without mistakes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The big panel weighs in next. >

The state of Mississippi joins the 19th century, and bans slavery. The
story of their embarrassing mistake is ahead.

And director David O. Russell`s "Silver Lings Playbook" may have an impact
far beyond the Oscars. My discussion with the director about treating
mental illness is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us tonight. Republicans are proving once
again that if President Obama is for a plan, they`re going to be against
it, even if it`s their own idea. "USA Today" published a draft on
immigration reform which was supposedly leaked by the White House.
Republican Senator from Florida Marco Rubio immediately denounced the
proposal, even though it looks just like his immigration reform plan.

The White House calls for new lawful perspective immigrant visa. Rubio`s
plan calls for similar visa reform. The president`s proposal calls for
strict employment verification. Rubio`s plan does the same thing.
President Obama`s plan tightens border security. Rubio`s plan, well, it
does the same thing.

Marco Rubio should be absolutely thrilled to have the White House on board
with his plan. But he doesn`t look at it that way. You see, the core
immigration reform plan, they are so similar. But instead, Rubio called
the president`s draft "half baked, seriously flawed, and dead on arrival."
Marco Rubio wouldn`t give any real reason he is rejecting his own plan.

But Newt Gingrich confessed the truth Sunday morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: An Obama immigration plan is not
going to pass the House. An Obama plan, led and driven by Obama in this
atmosphere, with the level of hostility towards the president and the way
he goads the hostility, I think it`s very hard to imagine that that bill --
that his bill is going to pass the House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to our panel tonight with Democratic strategist Chris
Kofinis, Republican strategist Liz Mair, and also Richard Wolffe, MSNBC
political analyst and vice president, executive editor of MSNBC.com. Great
to have all of you with us. Liz, welcome to THE ED SHOW. Good to have you
with us.

We`ll start with you first tonight. How accurate is Newt Gingrich when
he`s saying that an Obama plan has no chance?

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He is accurate. And actually, I think
it`s important for people to think through the process on this a little bit
and recognize that both what the White House did in leaking this and the
way that Marco Rubio has responded to it might actually be productive in
terms of getting immigration reform done.

SCHULTZ: How so?

MAIR: Well, there is a very good piece that Benji Sarland wrote at
"Talking Points Memo" today. And I would urge people to go have a look at
that. But the simple fact is that by President Obama releasing something
that Marco Rubio can describe as unacceptable and to the left of things,
that makes the Senate bipartisan approach with which Rubio is involved look
a lot more palatable to Republicans.

And the more palatable that looks, the more likely it is to pass.

SCHULTZ: Your thoughts on that, Richard? What do you think?

RICHARD WOLFFE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: I think Newt Gingrich had it
right. There are lots of ironies involved in this. Of course, just a few
months ago, Republicans said that this president needs to lead. He needs
to put out his own proposals when it came to things like deficit reduction.

Yeah, I understand the politics of this. If the president comes out with
something, then Rubio has to go to another place. And if that helps the
end result, the White House is going to be happy. They get to sign this
thing at the end. The president is going to get plenty of glory.

But they need the Senate Republicans to come together on this one.

MAIR: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: But they`re so similar. They just can`t bring themselves to say
you know what? We`re going to work with the president on this. Marco
Rubio says it`s dead on arrival. Chris Kofinis, this is just an R identity
crisis problem, isn`t it?

CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think it speaks to the fact
that there are major divisions within the Republican party seemingly on
every issue. But on immigration no less. Rubio has been obviously out
there speaking about immigration, the need for immigration reform. But
there are members of his own party and other Republican voices that have
been condemning him for it.

I think the problem here is the Republican party has not come to terms with
the fact that the president is president. President Obama got reelected.
He is going to be there for the next four years. And they have to come to
terms with the reality of what are they going to address politically in
order to solve their long-term problem.

And one of their long-term problems is a demographic one. They`re
alienating Hispanics. They play this game where they think they`re going
to position themselves in a smart way against the president. What they end
up doing is further damage with a key demographic group that they need in
order to be electorally successful in the future.

SCHULTZ: Liz, how do you anticipate the president doing anything to fight
the obstruction?

MAIR: I think actually the president is very cognizant of what the
obstruction -- or I should say the obstruction, in inverted comas, was
going to look like. And I think actually that`s part of why this leak
occurred. I think that this is something that while it looks as though
this is contributing to nothing getting done, I think this is actually
going to move the process forward and enable that Senate bipartisan plan to
get more support than it otherwise would have.

SCHULTZ: Gosh, I respectfully disagree with that. I think this is all
about making sure President Obama just doesn`t get anything done.

MAIR: But I`m --

SCHULTZ: Go ahead.

MAIR: But I`m sure that you and I both hope that I`m right and that you`re
wrong about that, right? Because this is an important issue, and we do
need to get something done on it.

SCHULTZ: I do not think that the Republicans in any way, shape, or form
are going to go with any type or form of amnesty.

MAIR: I hope you`re wrong about that, but we shall see.

SCHULTZ: I just- - we`re going to have to come to grips with the fact that
we have 11 million undocumented workers in this country. We got to do
something about it. You can call it amnesty. You can call it grace,
whatever. It`s something that is going to have to be done.

Another subject tonight, disgraced Republican governor from South Carolina
who lied about hiking the Appalachian Trail, got caught with his mistress,
is asking for a second chance. Check out his new ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANFORD: More recently, I`ve experienced how none of us go through life
without mistakes. But in their wake, we can learn a lot about grace, a God
of second chances, and be the better for it. In that light, I humbly step
forward and ask for your help in changing Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All right, mark Sanford is running against 15 other Republicans
to replace current Senator Tim Scott. Richard Wolffe, is this going to
work?

WOLFFE: Well, I think you have to give him some credit for confronting
this head-on. I think the Aaron Sorkin stirring music behind it was a
little bit too much. But, you know, the question for him is, in a crowded
field, given the strength of Christian conservatives in South Carolina, are
they actually willing to say this guy is not going to embarrass us again?
We trusted him before.

That in a crowded field might just squeak him through. On the other hand,
they may not think that actually these words mean anything.

SCHULTZ: What about it, Chris? He is on bended knee. Does it work in the
south?

KOFINIS: It probably won`t work. This whole thing kind of makes me feel
sad for the guy, in this sense: I mean, you have to be I think kind of
almost pathetic. At this point, you have put your family through this.
You have put your constituents through this and your state through this.
And you want to come back to be a member of Congress.

I mean, I have to imagine there is better things to do in life than put
yourself through this. But I think it just shows for some people, they
just can`t get away from politics. And I`m not sure that the people in
south Carolina are going to let him get away with what he is trying to kind
of remake himself into.

SCHULTZ: Liz, what do you think the Republicans` opponents will do with
this? Will they go after his character? Will they go after his past?
Will they remind people just what happened in 2009?

MAIR: I think this makes it a little bit hard for them to do that directly
and sort of, with attributions, to use the phraseology that we do in
politics. Ultimately I think that people are probably more willing to be
forgiving in the instance of this scandal as opposed to other scandals
we`ve seen.

This a guy who fell in love with somebody and is still in a relationship
with that person. This isn`t a guy who was paying prostitutes. This isn`t
a guy who had a bunch of money in his freezer. It`s not a guy who was
using campaign funds to go buy Rolex watches and Michael Jackson
memorabilia. This is kind of a sadly tragic human thing that a lot of
people do go through. Some people may find that it`s too much for them to
overcome.

But I think that there are people who will be forgiving. And ultimately in
a 15-way primary, he doesn`t have to get a lot of votes in order to make it
through there.

SCHULTZ: OK, Liz Mair, Chris Kofinis, Richard Wolffe, great to have you on
with us tonight. Thanks so much.

The Oscar buzz around "Silver Linings Playbook" is shedding light on the
issue of mental health. Director David O. Russell is here tonight.
Looking forward to that. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Time heals all wounds, right? A hundred and forty eight years
after the Civil War, Mississippi finally ratified the 13th Amendment.
That`s abolishing slavery. And it`s all thanks of Steven Spielberg`s film
"Lincoln." After watching the movie, Dr. Rajan Batra (ph) of the
University of Mississippi got inspired to go do some research. He wanted
to know more.

He found out that after the Civil War, four states actually rejected the
13th Amendment. All four states eventually ratified, but Mississippi was
the last to do so in 1995. However, Mississippi never officially ratified
the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. Their former secretary of state,
Dick Malpass, failed to send a copy of the resolution to the Federal
Registrar.

Why the copy was never sent simply unknown. After figuring this out, Dr.
Batra teamed up with his colleague Kevin Sullivan. They brought the error
to the attention of the current Mississippi secretary of state, Dilbert
Hoseman. Hoseman agreed to send the resolution to the Federal Registrar,
and finally, on February 7th of this year, not long ago, Mississippi became
the last state in the Union to ratify the 13th Amendment.

They were only about 150 years late. It`s amazing when you think about it.
A century and a half after his death, President Abraham Lincoln is still
fighting slavery. If it wasn`t for the film "Lincoln," the 13th Amendment
may have never been ratified in the state of Mississippi.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you will Republicans hurt average Americans
just to spite the president? Ninety nine percent of you say yes; one
percent of you say no.

Coming up, a brilliant -- and I mean brilliant movie about an American
family has received eight Oscar nominations. Oscar-nominated director of
"Silver Linings Playbook" David O. Russell will join us next. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTO DE NIRO, ACTOR: Maybe I didn`t spend enough time with you growing
up. I spent too much time with your brother. It might have made you feel
worse about your behavior. But I didn`t know anything. I didn`t know how
to handle it.

I mean, that`s what all this stuff is about. It`s about us spending time
now. I want to do everything I can to help you get back on your feet.
That`s -- that`s the whole point here. Yeah. I wish you watched these
games with me, so then we could talk. We could get into things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That was Robert De Niro playing the father of a man suffering
from bipolar disorder in the film "Silver Lings Playbook." The film is
nominated in all seven major Oscar categories, including best picture,
director, adapted screenplay, and all four acting categories, the first
film in more than 30 years to achieve that distinction.

This is going to be a tough one to beat on Sunday night at the Academy
Awards, folks. I was very impressed with it. It was very entertaining,
informative. It has it all. The film stars Bradley Cooper who plays a
bipolar man recently released from a mental hospital, attempting to put his
life back together.

The film`s director, David O. Russell, this movie is personal. Russell has
watched his own son struggle with bipolar disorder. And earlier this
month, Russell and the actor Cooper met with Vice President Joe Biden to
discuss mental health care in this country. Biden`s office noted the trio
agrees, quote, "on the importance of acceptance, understanding, and access
to treatment for those with mental illness."

Russell and Cooper also met with Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and
assisted her in introducing the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act.
The bill would expand access to federally qualified mental health centers
and order the facilities to offer a standard range of services, including
support for families and 24-hour crisis care.

Joining us tonight on THE ED SHOW, David O. Russell, the Oscar-nominated
director and screenwriter of "Silver Linings Playbook."

Mr. Russell, great to have you with us tonight. My wife said we were going
to this movie. I went. It was very, very important. And I use the word
"important" because I think when I saw this, I thought I bet is there is a
lot of Americans, a lot of families out there that know someone like this
or know of a family like this.

What was -- your inspiration, your son in this, and how did this all play
out for you, putting this together?

DAVID O. RUSSELL, DIRECTOR, "SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK": Well, Ed, I want to
thank you for having me on the show. I`m a fan of the show, and I
appreciate you having me.

SCHULTZ: Thank you, sir.

RUSSELL: You know, our family has lived through this for, you know, going
on 18 years. And you know, you feel isolated, you know. And when you go
to a school like the Glen Home School in Connecticut, you can meet other
families who have been through this. You can share stories. You can share
emotions. You can also share strategies and solutions.

Since the film`s come out, I`ve had many, many people that I never realized
were all around me come up and tell me their stories. And I now realize
that it`s everywhere.

SCHULTZ: It is in a lot of places in our society. And now you`ve touched
so many people. A bipartisan bill is now working its way through. You`ve
got to feel really gratified for that.

RUSSELL: I think the timing of it was good for the legislators. I mean,
I`ve been working on this for a long time before I ever made this film.
The legislators in Washington have been trying to get parity for mental
health with heart disease, diabetes, other treatments that people need
preventative health care for, and often is not included in their health
care. So it was good timing that at the same time that Debbie Stabenow was
trying to -- who has a personal experience with this.

Almost everybody involved has a personal experience. It was her father.
And the guy across the aisle, Senator Blount from Missouri, he has personal
experience with it. She said she knew when she looked in his eyes. You
can tell. You look in someone`s eyes, and there is a human compassion that
knows. And they have been working on this.

So they grabbed on to the dialogue about the film, and they said this can
help us, you know. And so me and Bradley were glad to go down there to
Washington, anything we could do to try to help. I mean, I`ve seen so many
families try to put together the funding or to find the right programs
locally or anywhere. It`s not easy.

SCHULTZ: How hard was it to bring this to the screen?

RUSSELL: Well, it took five years, you know. Sydney Pollack -- the late
great director Sydney Pollack, and Anthony Minghella, the great director,
they both died the year they gave me the book. I wish they were here to
see the movie. Sydney gave me this book by Matthew Quick, who wrote a very
beautiful novel.

I love specific places, Ed. I love this neighborhood in Philadelphia, as I
loved the neighborhoods in "The Fighter," as I loved the neighborhoods that
Martin Scorsese has done. I love those places. And this is set in that
place. He gave me the book. And I wrote it for many years. And couldn`t
get the financing until after we had made "The Fighter."

And finally Harvey Weinstein helped us put it together. And I was so glad
that by that time, Jennifer Lawrence had graduated high school. She was
perfect to play the role of this woman fighting her own mental health
issues. And Bradley Cooper just totally inhabited the spirit of my son,
which I knew he could do when I looked in his eyes and I met him, and I saw
that he had had his own challenges in his own life that he related to this
picture.

And Robert De Niro also knows people who have faced this. So he brought it
all. But Robert De Niro brought his soul to the picture. Our picture is
about that emotion.

SCHULTZ: It was amazing. And it has some very entertaining moments in it.
It was very -- there are some funny moments in there too. I mean, I think
Bradley Cooper, when he was doing that script, I was wondering, this guy`s
got to be winging this a little bit. He has so much passion. He is so
into this. This can`t be just a memorized script.

But I was just really live fascinated by the movie. It was great work on
your part.

RUSSELL: No, it was dialogue. It is scripted dialogue that those actors
inhabited.

SCHULTZ: Wow, terrific. David O. Russell, great to have you with us on
THE ED SHOW. I appreciate your time tonight. And good luck to you. Thank
you. Great work.

RUSSELL: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

RUSSELL: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. Up next, tonight`s premier
"Hubris: Selling The Iraq War," narrated by Rachel Maddow.


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