updated 2/20/2013 11:24:11 AM ET 2013-02-20T16:24:11

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
February 19, 2013

Guests: David Cay Johnston, Lawrence Wilkerson, Susan Del Percio, Joan Walsh, Ryan Grim, David Corn


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

So-called "experts" call Simpson/Bowles a serious plan. Tonight, I`ll
expose how it`s seriously going to kill the economy. Liberals, hold your
ground.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you willing to see
a bunch of first responders lose their job because you want to protect some
special interest tax loophole?

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president takes his case to the people as
the two salesmen for Republican austerity are mobbed by protesters.

PROTESTER: Pay your share of taxes.

PROTESTER: Pay your tax.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, "Time`s" Michael Grunwald, Jonathan Alter and
Katrina Vanden Heuvel on how to dismantle the austerity bomb.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ll tell you what --
10,000 bucks?

SCHULTZ: The godfather of the conservative movement offers Romney
pocket change to anyone who can save the Republican Party. I`ll show you
why it`s a lost cause.

Plus, a Virginia pizza shop owner uses a sick promotion to sell pies
and push the NRA agenda.

The beltway press takes their eye off the ball, complaining about
Obama and Tiger Woods.

The country`s least popular senator is desperately attacking Ashley
Judd.

And David Corn, the co-author of "Hubris", and star of the MSNBC
documentary tells me what the movie left out.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON (RET.), U.S. ARMY: I`m sure the Bush
administration cooked the books.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Keep in mind when you hear the word sequester, the sequester cuts were
designed to be so bad, so terrible, that lawmakers would be forced to come
up with an alternative plan. Well, that didn`t work.

Well, these cuts are on the verge of happening anyway. March 1st is
the big date, a week from this Friday.

President Obama responded with a real sense of urgency today. He made
the strongest case yet about the damage these sequester cuts will do to the
country`s economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: These cuts are not smart. They are not fair. They will hurt
our economy. They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the
unemployment roles. This is not an abstraction. People will lose their
jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: People standing with the president today are among those who
will directly impacted by Congress if they refuse to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Emergency responders, like the ones who are here today, their
ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be
degraded. Border patrol agents will see their hours reduced. FBI agents
will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let
criminals go. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see
cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And it doesn`t stop there. We`re talking thousands of
teachers who are going to be laid off across America. There will be cuts
to primary health care for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Preventative care, like cancer screenings are also going to be hit and
taken off the list.

I mean, cuts to the military are also going to be job killers because
of projects. And the president isn`t giving up hope. But it`s time for
Congress, don`t you think, to get to work?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We got a few days. Congress can do the right thing. We can
avert just one more Washington manufactured problem that slows our
recovery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Kind of feels like President Obama has said all of this
stuff before. Well, that`s because he has. Four times in the past three
months, to be exact. The Republican strategy of obstruct is to delay --
and delay has really become so predictable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

OBAMA: This is something within our capacity to solve. It doesn`t
take that much work. Outside of Washington, nobody understands how it is
that this seems to be a repeat pattern over and over again.

They expect our leaders to succeed on their behalf. So do I.

Everybody here understands this. I mean, this is not a complicated
concept.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ: This is the new normal. Republicans in Congress continue to
make artificial deadlines and refuse to meet them. They also lie about
them.

House Speaker John Boehner continues to claim the Republican House is
doing its job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: For the last two
years, the house has done its work. We`ve passed legislation to tackle the
tough challenges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: OK. Let`s take a look at these important challenges that
John Boehner`s House has passed. They passed the Ryan budget, which is far
out of touch with mainstream Americans. We made that decision back in
November. The country does not want voucherized Medicare.

Boehner`s House passed 30 repeals of Obamacare. More out of touch
nonsense that the country rejected. Recently, they passed a bill
pretending to withhold pay raises from Congress, but, of course, that`s
something they constitutionally can`t do.

And President Obama says it`s time to get serious. And it is.

But Republicans show no signs of seriously addressing the pain ahead
for the middle class in this country. And it is about the middle class.

And then, there is Simpson/Bowles, which I think is a total fraud, and
we shouldn`t be listening to people who have, number one, retirement
security and health care security for the rest of their lives. They`re the
wrong people to listen to. They`re doing a lot of grandstanding. But they
shouldn`t get much attention.

More commentary coming on Simpson/Bowles in just a moment.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: will the Republicans allow the sequester to destroy the middle
class? 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 the results later on in the show.

Joining me tonight, Michael Grunwald. He is a senior correspondent
for "Time" magazine, and author of "The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of
Change in the Obama Era."

Great to have you with us tonight, Michael.

MICHAEL GRUNWALD, TIME: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Here we are, a week from Friday and the big cuts are going
to take place. Four legislative days -- of course you have to throw in the
vacation that they`re taking right now. Can they get it done in that
window?

GRUNWALD: No, they probably can`t. I imagine the sequester will go
into effect. And then as people start freaking out and government services
that they like start getting cut, then there will be some pressure to try
to replace the sequester.

SCHULTZ: So this was Republican Senator John Barrasso who is on the
leadership team talking about the sequester their weekend. Here it is.

(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: OK, Michael. How do you walk that back if you`re a
Republican?

GRUNWALD: Well, probably you don`t. And they`ve -- you know,
remember, Republicans used to be all about stimulus. They didn`t like
austerity. In 2008, every presidential candidate had a stimulus plan. And
Mitt Romney had the largest one.

It was only -- something happened on I think it was January 20th, 2009
where suddenly Republicans decided they didn`t like stimulus anymore, and
that the way to restore the economy was by cutting things. And then, of
course, when defense was going to be cut in the sequester, that again is
terrible for the economy. It`s only cutting things that poor people like
that`s good for the economy.

So, again, they`ve strapped themselves to this kind of economic
dynamite that has caused double dip recessions in Great Britain and Spain.
But it`s not like they`re going to back off it in the next four days.

SCHULTZ: Well, liberals in this country are concerned that maybe the
president has strapped himself to doing things to the big three that people
don`t want. Is there a chance that the president would give in to
Republican demands and go the austerity route?

GRUNWALD: Well, I think there is -- look, in his first -- in his
first term, you know, he inherited this economy that was in absolute
freefall. We`re losing 800,000 jobs a month, and he passed this $800
billion stimulus that the next quarter, you had the biggest improvement in
jobs in 30 years.

And he continued to quietly push stimulus throughout the next couple
of years while he had a Democratic Congress. And that`s why we avoided the
fates that you had in Great Britain and Spain. Since then --

SCHULTZ: Well, isn`t --

(CROSSTALK)

GRUNWALD: -- a stalemate.

SCHULTZ: Isn`t that what Simpson/Bowles is throwing at us right now?
What has pretty much taken place in Europe? I mean, could we --

GRUNWALD: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: Could we stay out of a recession if we were to adapt
Simpson/Bowles?

GRUNWALD: Well, we might stay out of a recession because the economy
is a lot stronger than it was in January 2009. But there`s no question
that at this point there is still slack in the economy, and that this sort
of austerity would hurt.

Remember, the argument for austerity was that if you do stimulus, if
you run big deficits, you`re going to have runaway inflation, and you`re
going to have exploding interest rates. That`s been proven wrong.

We have low inflation and historically low interest rates. Right now,
our problem is jobs, and there is no question that cutting that sort of
spending is going to hurt jobs.

SCHULTZ: Michael Grunwald, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks
for joining us on THE ED SHOW.

Now, the poster boys for austerity jumped right back into the mix
today, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, introduced a new Simpson/Bowles
deficit reduction plan today, even though nobody asked them to do it.

The new Simpson/Bowles is worse than the old one. There is only $600
billion in tax savings less than what they proposed before.

Now, there are cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
benefits. The ratio of cuts to new tax revenue is three-to-one. Who voted
for that?

Today, Bowles and Simpson were interrupted by protesters as they tried
to pitch their new plan. This is a proper response to the latest
Simpson/Bowles proposal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PROTESTER: Pay your fair taxes. Pay your fair tax.

PROTESTER: Some cuts we don`t need. We need good jobs now. Pay your
tax. We need good jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and
columnist for "Bloomberg View", and also, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and
publisher of "The Nation" magazine.

Great to have both of you with us tonight.

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Jonathan, what do you make of this? You`ve got -- we`re
talking about austerity when it`s been proven that if we go that route,
it`s going to hurt the economy.

ALTER: Absolutely. In the short-run, you have to be nuts to want to
cut spending right now. The real question for rational people is can we do
something -- and this is what the president favors -- that tries to bring
the deficit under control in the long-term? Make some structural changes
so that down the road, we can bring that deficit down.

Because a deficit of this size that we have now, approaching $1
trillion is not healthy for an economy in the long-term, even if, as
Michael Grunwald says it doesn`t cause higher interest rates and higher
inflation in the short-run. In the long run, it causes problems.

So, I think liberals need to be careful not to get themselves in a
position where in rightfully fighting these ridiculous cuts right now, they
say, well, there`s no problem at all with the deficit, because there is.

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: But to me, it`s about the
priorities of our country. America is not broke. It`s our priorities that
are broke.

And it`s a measure of how out of whack the debate in this country is
that the Simpson/Bowles 2.0 lopsidedly favoring spending cuts is treated as
this mythical arbitrary center in Washington inside the Beltway.

Do elections matter? Do what people have signaled as their
priorities?

We should be investing in job creation as the best means of deficit
reduction. We shouldn`t be cutting and bleeding our economy. And if there
was any measure of rationality in our system, we`d be having a serious
debate in Congress about the best liberal plan put forward, the one by the
progressive caucus -- raising $947 billion in revenue, cutting the defense
budget in order to not hurt the most vulnerable and the most poor, and also
treating these earned benefits in honest ways and investing in
infrastructure and jobs.

ALTER: I`m in total agreement with that. We have a Cold War defense
budget.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Higher than the Cold War.

ALTER: But there are also some prudent cuts that can be made.

SCHULTZ: Like what?

ALTER: On the domestic side. Well, are you telling me, Ed, that some
of these programs -- I`m not talking about the ones that hurt the poor. I
don`t want those touched. But some of these other government programs
couldn`t sustain a 5 percent cut, that some of these agencies?

VANDEN HEUVEL: But why begin with cuts? There are --

ALTER: You don`t begin with cuts. What the president wants which is
a balanced approach. You have tax increase --

VANDEN HEUVEL: He`s done that.

SCHULTZ: We`ve done that, $1.2 trillion. In the summer of 2011, $1.2
trillion in cuts, and Boehner is running around saying, well, we got
revenue just a few months ago. No, we didn`t.

VANDEN HEUVEL: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: We just had legislation expire. We`re not going down a tax
path that we`ve never been before.

ALTER: The Obama White House does have a list of prudent cuts that
could be made.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Elizabeth Warren has prudent cuts. But the kind of
cuts, we should be cutting subsidies to big oil.

ALTER: Totally agree.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Big pharma. We should be increasing "Robin Hood"
financial speculation taxes on the corporations. We should be closing
loopholes and deducts for the very rich.

The frame of our debate in this country is not a reality-based
discussion. Particularly, as Michael Grunwald said, you look across the
ocean, self-imposed austerity, the bleeding, the generational loss as Spain
suffers 26 percent unemployment. And in our country is similar.

SCHULTZ: And this is exactly what Boehner is going for right now.
They don`t want -- they`ve said taxes are off the table or increased
revenues are off the table, no matter where you go to get them that is a
heck of a place to be considering that you got kicked in the election.

ALTER: You know, f we do have these cuts go into effect after the
first of the month, there is going to be a really rude awakening for the
Republicans.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Yes, I think so too.

ALTER: That will move from an abstraction to this is what these crazy
--

SCHULTZ: So, they pay the price politically?

ALTER: They better pay the price. And the Democrats better be
willing to pin down the hammer to make sure that the American public
understands. This is the Republicans` fault when these cuts come through.

VANDEN HEUVEL: The president needs to use his bully pulpit to take on
these bullies, and to really speak to what the priorities of these
Republicans are.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Because you see it so clearly. And no investment in
health care or education, let`s protect the top 0.1 percent.

ALTER: If it wasn`t going to hurt people, I would almost look forward
to this happening.

VANDEN HEUVEL: No, it`s cruel.

ALTER: It`s cruel, that`s why I`ve said if it wasn`t cruel.

SCHULTZ: It is cruel.

ALTER: But we will see --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: And they were all rejected in the election.

VANDEN HEUVEL: In the election.

SCHULTZ: All of the plans that Boehner is talking about was totally
rejected by the American people.

ALTER: Yes.

SCHULTZ: They had their chance for him to say the Senate needs to go
do their work is a cop-out.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But it`s cruel. You know, 2014 is coming up. It is
cruel. It`s damaging the very ones who have already been hurt so much.
And it`s a hoax because it won`t work.

SCHULTZ: President Obama needs to hear from the public again. This
is when people need to connect with their representatives and their
senators to make sure that the Simpson/Bowles doesn`t even get into the
equation, because that`s not what we voted for in this country. We`re a
center-left progressive country right now, and the time to move forward is
right now, and not allow the Republican obstructionists to get in the way.

Jonathan Alter, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.

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

So, here it comes. The Godfather of the conservative movement is
offering a whopping yesteryear $10,000 offer to save the Republican Party.
You can`t make this stuff up. That`s next and a lot more.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, the big panel and I break down the biggest
Beltway non-controversy of the Obama administration. It`s Tiger-gate, and
it`s coming up.

Liberals who question the bush administration`s cooked up intelligence
before the Iraq war are being vindicated by folks who are now going on
camera. We`ll have more on that tonight.

And don`t forget you can listen to my radio show on Sirius XM Radio
channel 127, noon to 3:00 p.m.

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

We are coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Conservative strategist Richard Viguerie is offering a whopping
$10,000 to anyone who can come up with a plan to help conservatives take
over the Republican Party and win the November 2016 elections and govern
America by 2017. For those interested in submitting ideas, the entire
$10,000 could go to one person who writes a great plan, or it could be
divided among persons who submit specific ideas to advance the project.
This is a big deal.

If Mr. Viguerie is looking for a conservative takeover, he should put
his checkbook away. Number one, it`s not a lot of money. Number two,
they`re well on the way. Not only has the extreme right wing hijacked the
GOP, they are wreaking havoc on our political system by bringing crackpot
conspiracy theories to the halls of Congress.

Let me give you a list.

Senators Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte have written a letter to
Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel asking him to clarify something he
may or may not have said back in 2007.

Well, Graham explains the letter`s content on "FOX News Sunday."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There was a blog posting
about a speech I think in 2007 or `08 that Chuck Hagel made at Rutgers
University and put on his blog the next day six points of the speech,
question-and-answer session. And point six was allegedly Senator Hagel
said the U.S. State Department was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign
minister`s office, which I think would be breathtaking if he said that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: OK. So let`s see if we`re all on the same page here and
have this correct. A right-wing Web site publishes a rumor from a blog
based on something Hagel may or may not have said in a speech over, count
them, five years ago. And now, sitting United States senators are
demanding Hagel explain himself.

Hagel provided Ayotte and Graham with a copy of the speech and notes
he does not recall making any such statement.

Now, folks, this is a pattern for the new GOP that maybe Mr. Viguerie
is looking for. Senator Rand Paul used a Senate hearing to push a
conspiracy theory about moving guns from Libya to Syria. Paul`s theory can
be traced back to -- who? Glenn Beck.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann accused Hillary Clinton`s chief of
staff of having ties to the Muslim brotherhood. Her source? An
uncorroborated report from a right wing talker Frank Gaffney.

Congressman Darrell Issa got in the act. He orchestrated an entire
circus over the Fast and Furious gun-running operation, all based on the
rambling of one paranoid blogger.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher alleged the government was able to
monitor the Benghazi attack in real time based on a made-up hunch from
right wing blogger Jennifer Rubin.

So, time and time again, we are seeing elected officials peddle rumors
and hearsay to further their agenda. They`re blocking nominations.
They`re ruining people`s reputations, they`re holding hearings, and they
are smearing people any possible way they can.

No $10,000 price can repair the damage the Republican Party has
inflicted upon itself. Let`s bring in John Nichols, Washington
correspondent of "The Nation" magazine.

John, good to have you with us tonight.

There are no boundaries when it comes to making stuff up with the
Republicans. Where is the Republican Party right now? They are baseless
in their facts and their attacks. They claim that there are massive cover-
ups of Benghazi. The list goes on and on.

Does anybody believe this is good for our political process?

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, it can`t possibly be good for the
political process, Ed. You know, the interesting thing is that the great
contribution of the Republican Party to American politics for many, many
years was moderate Republicans, responsible players who might well tell a
liberal Democrat to back off a little bit, but they would also tell a
conservative to back off a little. That has just disappeared from the
Republican Party.

And now, we have a situation, Ed, where someone like a Lindsey Graham,
who 10 years ago might well have worked with some Democrats, is so afraid
of a Tea Party Republican primary in South Carolina that he continues to
spout nonsense.

I mean, even when Chuck Hagel sent him a letter saying, look, here is
the details, here is my speech, Lindsey Graham didn`t have the dignity or
the grace to say, OK, my former Republican colleague has clarified this.
Instead he said if what he is saying is true, we`ll have to accept it.
There`s a bitterness and a cruelty.

SCHULTZ: You`ve been a journalist for a long time. Are we at a point
now in our news culture that if something is posted on a blog, whether it`s
right or wrong, there`s now a pretty good chance that a United States
senator might just be quoting that on a Sunday show? I mean, my God, what
are we? I mean, do they have any sense whatsoever when it comes to
information and how serious a position that they`re in to damage people?

I mean, Lindsey Graham went on a Sunday show, and he quoted a blog,
and he held it against Chuck Hagel and his reputation. What about that?

NICHOLS: Well, I mean, look at what Ted Cruz did on the committee.
Ted Cruz was saying, well, he might have thought this, or he might have
done this. They are -- they are going in to areas of idle speculation
about bizarre things.

And this roots back to something, Ed. We really have the better part
of 30 years within the Republican Party of saying that you can`t believe
any mainstream media. And as a result, there is a tendency to reject "The
New York Times," "Washington Post," CBS, NBC, any mainstream media, they
say, well, that`s just bias.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

NICHOLS: And so, they push themselves further and further to the
right for their sources of information. Even Rush Limbaugh is suspect to
some of these folks because he is too moderate.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation" --
great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

Granny, get your gun. Next, I`ll explain exactly how radical gun laws
across America have deadly consequences.

Some members of the Beltway media are flat-out bent out of shape
because they didn`t get to see President Obama and Tiger play golf. They
want full access. Tonight, the big panel exposes their hypocrisy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA CEO: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a
gun is a good guy with a gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

In the months since the shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut,
which left 26 people dead, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre has pushed the narrative
more guns means a safer America.

Gun rights activists have embraced this claim, with some going even
further than that and capitalizing on the national discussion. A youth
hockey league in Fargo, North Dakota, with players as young as 4 years old
plans to give away 200 firearms in a raffle. It`s a great fundraiser for
them.

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police is raffling off 31
firearms, including semiautomatic weapons. And the latest All Around
Pizzas and Deli in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is offering 15 percent
discount if you carry openly to the store or show them a concealed weapons
permit.

Here is a happy customer posing with her son`s semiautomatic rifle.
It`s fun for the whole family, isn`t it? Young and old.

See, in Virginia, it`s legal to carry a gun into banks, hospitals,
stores, movie theaters, restaurants. And open carry is even allowed in
bars. Sounds like a great idea. Let`s see, guns and alcohol, mix them
together, nothing is going to happen.

Here is what more guns have led to in the Virginia Beach area. I
wonder if this shooter stopped in All Around Pizzas for a discount slice or
these two charged with two counts of murder, or the person who shot this
man walking into the mall, or the man who was charged with shooting someone
in the neck just 15 minutes away.

According to data collected by "Slate," the website and also the
Twitter feed Gun Deaths, there have been at least 1,981 gun deaths in
America since the Newtown tragedy. More guns does not equal less violence.
But I sure hope they all enjoy the 15 percent discount on their pizza.

The press complains about the president and Tiger Woods. But they`re
nowhere to be found on real issues. The big panel on the Beltway
whambulance is next.

Plus, the country`s least popular senator is looking desperate with
his Ashley Judd attack ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: Tennessee is home.

OBAMA: I might just want to stop here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And last night, Rachel Maddow ripped the scab off the wound
with her document "Hubris".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is at worst lies and deception. It is at best
incompetence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Tonight, David Corn of "Mother Jones" on what the movie
couldn`t show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And we are back. The Washington, D.C. media has finally
showed some concern about a very serious issue, not having access to the
president of the United States when he played golf with Tiger Woods. Here
is Fox News` Ed Henry, the president of the White House Correspondents
Association.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This is not about a trivial issue
like a golf game. We don`t really care about the president`s score. What
we care about is access to the president of the United States, whether it`s
a Democrat or a Republican.

This is about the very serious issue of transparency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: OK. Let`s have that discussion and run the numbers. Here
are some statistics on presidential access. President Obama has held 79
news conferences in his first term compared to 89 for George W. Bush. But
according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, President Obama has
held 35 news conferences in which reporters were permitted to take
questions. OK. President Bush held 19 by this point in his presidency.

So what are we talking about here, Ed? The media frenzy over the golf
game reached Tiger Woods himself during a news conference about an upcoming
tournament today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Playing with Mr. President was
pretty cool. He is just a wonderful person to be around. And we won.
Yeah, he calls up and said hey Tiger, you want to play?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does not.

WOODS: Obviously, there is a process that is involved. And I was
invited to play. He hit the ball well and got amazing touch. He can
certainly chip and putt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Just how regular of a guy is Barack Obama? He is president
of the United States. He wants to play with the best golfer in the world,
arguably. The White House has said the golf game was played on a private
course, and therefore the press pool was not invited.

Let`s sort it out tonight, if we`re talking about transparency and
access. I`m joined tonight by Joan Walsh of Salon.com, Ryan Grim of the
"Huffington Post," and Susan Del Percio, Republican strategist and MSNBC
contributor. Great to have all of you with us tonight.

Joan, if it is about transparency and it is about access, hasn`t
Barack Obama been more than forthcoming? And why does this come up now
when President Obama is arguably on his recreational time? Your thoughts.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Well, you know, the last time the president
used the word transparency, Ed, was last week in the State of the Union,
talking about his national security policies, which have not been as
transparent as many of us want. So when I read Ed Henry`s letter, I
thought he must be talking about that. He must be talking about the drone
program. He must be talking about that white paper on targeted killings,
right?

That`s what we need transparency on. And of course, he was not. The
letter really reached a certain kind of self-satire that made me think that
it`s time for those guys to have Stephen Colbert back as their keynote
speaker at their dinner this year, because this is ridiculous, that the
most important thing, disappointing thing that the president has done is
golfed with Tiger Woods privately. And this is what they`re raising a
ruckus about.

It`s ridiculous.

SCHULTZ: Susan, a golf game. Isn`t the timing terrible for Ed Henry
if he represents the press corps?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I really think this is
unfounded. There is no reason to go after the president for not being
available when he`s playing golf, whether it`s with Tiger Woods or anybody
else. I`m fine with that on his vacation time, for the press not to have
access.

As a matter of fact, it`s probably more relaxing for the president,
which is a good thing. But there is some pushback here. And I think it
has to do with something deeper, which is the complaints the press has had
with this administration leap frogging them at times and using social media
and other tools to get their message out, which is perfectly acceptable in
this world.

I think that the press probably hasn`t caught up to it yet, the more
traditional press.

SCHULTZ: Ryan, did Tiger Woods have anything to do with any of this?
It would have been a heck of a story if somebody had gotten access and they
would have had fun with it. It would have been ratings.

RYAN GRIM, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Yes. If it was just Obama and a
staffer and two other folks out golfing, they probably wouldn`t have wanted
to go out there. They wanted to see Tiger Woods hit a drive. These
reporters are just like any man out there. But what they missed is that
the other two members of the foursome, Milton Carroll and Jim Crane, as
Lucia Graves has reported for "Huffington Post," are oil men.

So at the exact same time that there is this huge climate change
protest going on in Washington, Obama is out playing golf with Texas
oilmen. And this is just after, you know, he gave his speech on -- at the
State of the Union saying that we cannot wait. The world is being
destroyed by climate.

DEL PERCIO: That would have been really bad optics.

GRIM: Luckily for him, the press was so worked up about the fact that
they couldn`t get a photo of Tiger Woods that they didn`t Google the other
two guys that he was golfing with.

WALSH: Right. They didn`t mention it. They didn`t Google it. It
doesn`t matter. They`re not complaining about golfing with oil men.
They`re complaining about golfing with a celebrity and that they didn`t get
their time to ask Tiger a few questions.

SCHULTZ: All right. Two days ago, Senator Marco Rubio said the
president`s plan on immigration was dead on arrival. President Obama today
reached out to several Republican senators, including Senator Rubio. Both
sides have released statements saying they are committed to a bipartisan
solution, and they agree there is progress.

Joan, what is going on here? These statements are very diplomatic
given the events of the last few days. I mean, we have gone from dead on a
rival to these guys talking to one another. What does it say about the
president reaching out to Senator Rubio?

WALSH: Well, it seems like it helped. And it is also clear that
there have been staff communications all along, that the president is not
doing this in a vacuum, and that they know that they can`t do it without
Democrats either. So it`s actually a rare sign that something might get
done on this, and that they decided to dial back the insanity and not slap
him and slap him back when he called.

I think it`s a good thing from what we can tell. I think they`re
probably still pretty far apart.

SCHULTZ: It would it seems to me that the president -- I`m
speculating -- would call up Rubio and say hey, look, my plan is just like
yours. Is it really me? Is Newt Gingrich right? Am I the problem in all
of this?

Ryan, is this new President Obama in his second term, who is going to,
you know, press the Republican senators on issues like this, where he
really wants to see something get done? And we all know that immigration
reform is a big deal.

GRIM: He certainly has learned a lot from his first term. What he is
showing now is that he doesn`t want another episode where Max Baucus spends
eight months sitting around with a couple of Republicans pleading to get
one of their votes and then eventually they all trickle off. So -- and you
know, he was also not involved at all during the health care fight.
Certainly he was sending people down, but he wasn`t picking up the phone,
you know, and calling down there like he did today, though certainly he had
some phone conversations with Olympia Snowe.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

GRIM: -- that obviously didn`t pan out. But that`s what this is. He
is saying, this is not going to be a 14-month affair. We know where we
are. We`re going to do this or we`re not going to do it. But we`re not
going to drag it out for 14 months.

SCHULTZ: Susan, the president says that he`ll work with anybody. I
mean, he is calling Republican senators, trying to get something to move on
immigration. Doesn`t this put Rubio in somewhat of a box? One day he says
it`s dead on arrival, the next day he says we`re making progress, had a
good conversation with the president.

DEL PERCIO: Well, this was a great move by the president
strategically. There is no doubt about it. And he said he was open to
conversation. He didn`t say it was his plan and that`s it. They said they
were going to work together. As you said, they were both very diplomatic.
And now it is on the Republicans to show that they can work with this
administration. And they have more incentive because, frankly, it`s very
much in their own agenda.

The problem that the president potentially can have is within
Democrats in his own party who are up for reelection in 2014, on this and a
couple of other issues. So he may also have to call some Democratic
senators to get this done.

SCHULTZ: All right, Joan Walsh, Ryan Grim, Susan Del Percio -- one
final thought here, you never know on that Tiger Woods golf game. The
president might have been breaking the news to these oil guys that hey,
fellows, we`re not going to do the Keystone Pipeline. It`s your putt.

GRIM: We`ll never know.

SCHULTZ: First Karl Rove attacked her. Now the Senate minority
leader is desperately going after Ashley Judd, 20 months -- 20 months
before election day. We`re rights back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. There are signs Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is worried about losing his job. Actress
Ashley Judd is seriously considering running against the gentleman from
Kentucky. She has reportedly consulted with New York Senator Gillibrand
and hired a Democratic pollster to judge her chances in the Bluegrass
State.

Karl Rove already spent 10,000 dollars attacking Ashley Judd with this
wild and crazy commercial. And now Mitch McConnell is taking on Judd in
his first commercial of his 2014 reelection campaign. It pokes fun at the
president of the United States and other possible Democratic candidates who
might take on McConnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m going to start with this young lady right here in sort of
the pink-white blouse, right there. And wait until the microphone comes
up. Introduce yourself.

ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: From the volunteer state, I proudly stand to
nominate.

OBAMA: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

JUDD: Tennessee, the home of former Vice President Al Gore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The fact Mitch McConnell is spending time and money
attacking Ashley Judd is a sure sign he is in deep trouble. Come on, she
is a Hollywood liberal from Tennessee who might run in Kentucky?

Meanwhile, recent poll numbers also don`t look too good for McConnell.
Only 17 percent of Kentucky voters would vote for the Senate minority
leader if the election were held today. Another poll shows his approval
rating at 37 percent. It makes him the least popular senator in the
country.

And in a head to head match up against Ashley Judd, McConnell is
leading by only nine points. Now, these numbers and McConnell`s new
commercial prove the Republican minority leader is in a pretty rough spot
early on. And there is plenty of time for Ashley Judd to make up those
nine points if she, by chance, decides to run in the 2014 midterm election,
which of course is only 623 days away -- 623 days away, and Mitch, you`re
worried?

Tonight in our survey, I asked you will the Republicans allow the
sequester to destroy the middle class? Ninety six percent of you say yes;
four percent of you say no.

Coming up, David Corn joins me to discuss even more shocking details
about "Hubris." That`s next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the big finish tonight, we`re approaching the 10-year
anniversary of the war in Iraq, and we still have questions about the Bush
administration`s motives. Last night, I asked retired Colonel Larry
Wilkerson -- Lawrence Wilkerson about the run-up to the war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Do you believe the Bush administration cooked the books to
sell the war in Iraq?

LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN
POWELL: I didn`t know it at the time, and I fault 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Wilkerson is not alone. For the first time in 10 years, top
level insiders are going on the record about the Bush administration`s push
for war. Last night, my colleague Rachel Maddow aired an hour-long
documentary based on the book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn called
"Hubris: Selling The Iraq War."

The documentary compiled years of reporting to give us a fresh look at
the flaws in the decision-making process. At one point, the film showed
how personal the conflict with Iraq had become for President Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got very animated. He used
uncharacteristically profanity, and used the middle finger to demonstrate
Saddam Hussein`s disdain for the United States and for him personally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I`ve heard only one serious criticism of the documentary.
Viewers thought it was just too short. There is a lot to get in there in
the network. And Rachel did a fabulous job on this.

So we`re continuing the conversation tonight with MSNBC analyst David
Corn, D.C. bureau chief for "Mother Jones Magazine," and co-author of the
book "Hubris."

Congratulations is in order. The George Polk was given to this
journalist yesterday, David Corn, for his excellent reporting on the 47
percent in the last campaign in 2012. David, congratulations.

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES": Thanks. Thanks a lot, Ed.

SCHULTZ: There is so much to pack in one hour. But one thing that
struck me is that when it was over with, I turned to my wife and said, we
actually reelected this guy in 2004. What important facts do you think
still could have gone in that hit the edit room floor?

CORN: Well, we had lots of stories in the book that couldn`t make it
into an hour-long documentary, about dissent and disagreement up and down
the chain of command in the intelligence system that really was totally
ignored by those at the top. A real good example is people remember last
night hearing the story about the aluminum tubes. And they saw Houston
Woods, who was an expert at the Department of Energy, who said Saddam
Hussein can`t use these aluminum tubes for his nuclear weapons program.
They`re probably rocket launchers.

He was one of the top experts in the nation. Yet there was a guy, a
CIA analyst who didn`t have the same technical expertise, who kept
insisting this was the clue. This told us that he was trying to turn
uranium into the type of uranium you can use in a bomb. So that was a very
active debate. The experts knew what they were saying.

And yet Condoleezza Rice, even though this fight was going on and had
even been reported slightly in the "Washington Post," would get out there
on TV and say there is certainty here. There is no doubt he has acquired -
- Saddam has acquired these aluminum tubes to make a nuclear weapon. And
that to me still -- I mean 10 years later -- is shocking, that the national
security adviser would say such a thing and not even know there was a very
robust debate over this.

SCHULTZ: What was Bush`s personal motivation, do you think?

CORN: You know, that`s a real good question. Talking to your
producer before the show, one of the questions is what do we not know,
still not know? And I still think, in a lot of ways, we don`t know why
Bush did this. One question I have is when we came into office, had there
not been a 9/11, would he have been hell-bent on this?

I think there is a lot of evidence that the neocons around him, you
know, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, they were gunning
for Saddam Hussein even before 9/11. And they used 9/11 as an excuse to go
after him right away. Was Bush, you know, in that camp? Was it personal
because of what happened with his father? His father not finishing off the
job?

After 9/11, did he just feel the need to be proactive, to do something
to show the country he was willing to take a risk with the lives of others,
of course.

SCHULTZ: What shocked you the most?

CORN: -- and go along with the neocon plan.

SCHULTZ: I got to get this in. David, what shocked you the most
about doing your research on this?

CORN: There was one story in the book that we didn`t get on last
night because it`s kind of convoluted. There was a woman named Lori Milroy
(ph) who was an academic, but really more a conspiracy theory, who for
years had said that Saddam Hussein was the puppet master behind al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda was nothing; it was all Saddam Hussein.

And Paul Wolfowitz, the number two in the Defense Department, totally
bought her theories, even though the CIA and the FBI kept saying she was
full of you know what. And even after 9/11, he kept saying to everyone,
read this book. She knows what she is talking about. This should be the
basis of our policy.

And the fact that it actually became the basis for our policy, and a
fellow who was said to be as part as Paul Wolfowitz would really become the
victim of a conspiracy theorist is still shocking to me today. And I would
love another 10 minutes in the documentary to work through that.

SCHULTZ: Is there follow-up work here on your part?

CORN: Well, Mike and I, Mike Isikoff, we`re always talking about the
next project and what else we can get. I thought the documentary got some
new stuff in. And hopefully we can keep finding more. You know, this is
history. And history is always changing.

But I think the more we go through this, as Larry Wilkerson said in
the documentary, there is more and more evidence that this was a hoax.

SCHULTZ: And again, David Corn, congratulations on getting the George
Polk Award. The 47 percent, that tape, your story arguably turned the tide
for the Obama team in the 2012 election. Congratulations. And great work
on this as well. Thank you.

CORN: Thank you so much, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet. That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. Rachel
Maddow starts right now. Rachel, tremendous job last night.

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

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