updated 3/4/2013 11:53:02 AM ET 2013-03-04T16:53:02

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
March 1, 2013

Guests: Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, Leo Gerard, Susan Del Percio, Tara Dowdell, Chris Kofinis, George Takei


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

Now, who in the world thinks that the American worker should have to
pay more? The Republicans.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s just dumb. And
it`s going to hurt. It`s going to hurt individual people and it`s going to
hurt the economy overall.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): No deal has been reached to avert the
sequester.

OBAMA: It`s happening because of a choice that Republicans in
Congress have made.

SCHULTZ: The spending cuts start today, and we all know who is to
blame.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: A discussion about
revenue in my view is over.

SCHULTZ: Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman will tell us what
this all means for middle class Americans.

As the American people face furlough Friday, Congress is headed home
for the weekend. Tonight, I`ll tell them why they should get to work.

The unemployed millionaire has finally emerged after his crushing
loss.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We were on a roller
coaster, exciting and thrilling ups and downs, but the ride ends.

SCHULTZ: The big panel will break down Romney`s roller coaster ride
of an interview.

And the president makes a devastating gaffe.

OBAMA: Do a Jedi mine meld.

SCHULTZ: Trekkies and "Star Wars" fans alike are outraged.

The legendary George Takei will tell us the difference between mind
tricks and mind melds.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

I think we should call today priority Friday. This is a day when the
rubber meets the road, where we find out where everybody is, where
everybody stands on stuff.

Today, we were left to deal with the true priority list of the
Republican Party. As the president regretfully informed America this
afternoon, the working class -- well, you just need to pay more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Starting tomorrow, everybody here, all the folks who are
cleaning the floors at the capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody
is going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the
garbage. They`re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security
guards, they just got a pay cut. And they got to figure out how to manage
that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We already know the cuts from sequestration will kill
700,000 jobs within two years. A lot can happen in two years.

Here is an example. Take a look at today`s Dow Jones Industrial
index. It closed at -- what? -- 14,090 today? I mean, this is 75 points
shy of the record; 14,165 was the number in October of 2007. But just two
years later, the Dow dropped below 6,600 points.

You know, fortunes can turn around very quickly when you`re dealing
with an unstable economy. Well, since 2009, the country has been
scratching and clawing to rebound from an economic crisis, the worst since
the depression. The growth of GDP slowed again at the end of last year.

But Republicans in Washington have different priorities. Republicans
think the wealthiest among us -- well, they`ve just done everything that
they need to do. It`s the working class that just hasn`t done enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: The president got his tax hikes on January 1st. This
discussion about revenue, in my view, is over. It`s about taking on the
spending problem here in Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: John Boehner keeps talking about more of the same, the
spending problem that simply does not exist.

Government spending actually fell rapidly after the stimulus ended.
The last time we saw spending cuts this deep was after the Korean War.
Even President Obama`s own plan to avert sequestration had spending cuts,
including the chained CPI benefit cut to Social Security.

Progressives, they don`t want chained CPI. There is no indication it
would ever help the economy. But Republicans, they don`t care. They
rejected that anyway.

Republicans are more interested in putting the burden on the backs of
teachers. You know, thousands of teaching jobs are now at risk. The
traveling public is going to see fewer people keeping our airlines safe and
controlling air traffic. Is that a good thing? No.

Forget about the tough talk on border security. Thousands of border
control agents -- well, they`re about to be furloughed. Republicans did
nothing, absolutely nothing to avert sequestration because they are
comfortable with these cuts, regardless of the outcome.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: All of this will cause a ripple effect throughout our economy.
Layoffs and pay cuts means that people have less money in their pockets,
and that means that they have less money to spend at local businesses.
That means lower profits. That means fewer hires.

The longer these cuts remain in place, the greater the damage to our
economy. A slow grind that will intensify with each passing day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: My guest tonight knows about these ripple effects all too
well. I`m joined by Paul Krugman, "New York Times" columnist, professor of
economics at Princeton University and winner of the Nobel Prize in
economics. Paul Krugman, his latest book called "End This Depression Now."

I`m honored. Great to have you with us tonight.

PAUL KRUGMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Good to be on.

SCHULTZ: How serious is this? And is it going to have the impact
that has been talked about?

KRUGMAN: Well, certainly that 700,000 job number is if anything a bit
conservative. This is not good for the economy.

This is actually not as big a deal for the economy as the fiscal
cliff, if we hadn`t done something about it would have been. And certainly
not as bad as failing to raise the debt limit, which would have been
catastrophic. But it`s bad, and, of course, it`s degrading government
services.

I mean this really is not only are cuts very much the wrong thing to
be doing right now, but these are especially dumb cuts. So this is not a
good thing at all.

SCHULTZ: So it could get a lot worse than 700,000 jobs?

KRUGMAN: Yes. Well, a couple of things. One is -- there is a lot of
reason to believe that the numbers we`ve been using to estimate these
things -- that austerity hurts even more than the standard estimates say.
We`ve been looking at what has been happening in Europe. You say jeez,
countries that have been doing sharp spending cuts have really been
suffering badly.

So, that`s probably a number on the low side.

And then, you know, what does it do to our economy if we are
demonstrating that we can`t govern ourselves, that we can`t maintain the
central government services? Again, that can`t be good.

So, this was designed to be stupid, right? I mean, the whole point
was this was supposed to be a doomsday device that would force the parties
to reach an agreement. And, of course, they didn`t and here it goes.

SCHULTZ: And, politically, people say, well, why did President Obama
come up with this, sign on to it after they passed it in the House and
Senate? Because he wanted the country to know and his political opposition
know that he stands to lose a lot on this too. It`s not good for the
country. It would motive both sides.

So, now, here we are. How long will it take before we start feeling
the effects? How long would it take for the economy to get soft if that`s
the prediction?

KRUGMAN: Well, I think that takes a number of months. The timing is
really hard to determine. It`s not -- you`re not going to see mass layoffs
in the next two weeks. You`re not even going to see massive effects on
government services in the first two weeks. It builds.

But, boy, by late this year, you should definitely be seeing it. This
is -- this is exactly what the doctor did not order.

SCHULTZ: What`s the fix-it?

KRUGMAN: The fix-it is just repeal the whole thing. We shouldn`t be
doing any of this. I mean, the fact -- a number of people have said, the
fact that we`re talking about what will replace the sequester, what
combination of cuts will replace the sequester.

That just shows that we`re having the wrong conversation. This is not
the time to be cutting at all. This is not the time to be obsessing with
the budget deficit. The budget deficit is an issue for the next decade,
not an issue for you. And we shouldn`t be doing this at all.

SCHULTZ: You know, I know that you`re an advocate of investment.
That you think we should be spending more. The thing that I find so
amazing is that there`s actually a lot of things we can do.

We`ve got bridges that are falling down, killing people in the middle
of the country in Minnesota. We have roads that are buckling. We have
houses with sinkholes. It`s not like we would be making up projects.

KRUGMAN: Well, the fact of the matter we have actually canceled a lot
of public investment in the last couple of years at state and level year
because of the scarcity of money. So, there are potholes not being fixed,
there are bridges not maintained.

Public investment has -- you know, this -- think about it. It`s
crazy. We have more than a million unemployed construction workers. We
have capital with no place to go, which is why interest rates are so low.

This is a time when for heaven`s sake, the government should be taking
advantage of that cheap money and unemployed labor to be fixing stuff. And
instead we`ve been slashing public investment. And don`t forget, school
teachers also, that`s investment in our kids, that`s investment in the
future, and we`ve been slashing that too. So, it`s insane, top to bottom.

SCHULTZ: House Speaker John Boehner addressed the possibility of a
government shutdown later this month. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: I did lay out that the House is going to move a continuing
resolution next week to fund the government past March 27th. And I`m
hopeful that we won`t have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown
while we`re dealing with the sequester at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Does Boehner realize how a bad government shutdown would be
for the economy?

KRUGMAN: Oh, I think he mostly realizes how bad. You know, last time
we had one, it was a political disaster for the Republicans. So I`m not
sure he is thinking about what it would do to the economy. I think he is
thinking about what it would do to him.

SCHULTZ: What kind of spending would it take to keep us on the track
that we`re on right now? I mean, we`ve had 35 months of private sector job
growth without any help from the Republican Party, no jobs bill has been
passed of any significance.

KRUGMAN: Right.

SCHULTZ: Other than the stimulus package, which was in 2009. What
kind of investment do we need to keep this growth going?

KRUGMAN: We, actually, if we would stop cutting, the growth would
keep going. What we really need, if spending had grown as fast in this
recovery as it has in past recoveries, we`d be spending something like $200
billion a year state, local and federal, maybe $300 billion a year more.
We`d have another -- we`d have a million and a half more public sector
workers than we do right now because we`ve been laying them off at an
unprecedented pace.

So, I think $300 billion a year of additional spending would actually
be appropriate. And it would mean if we did it, that we would be pretty
close to full employment at this point.

SCHULTZ: So deficits don`t matter? You subscribe to that?

KRUGMAN: Not that they never matter, but they really don`t matter
right now. This is a -- we have a depressed economy. People are trying
to, you know, pull back. People are still worried about housing bubble.
They`re worried about their private debt.

And so, we have basically all these savings with no place to go. So
the government should be making use of the savings, not worrying about its
deficits. Ten years out, our debt position still looks OK. Ben Bernanke
said that in testimony that nobody paid attention to earlier this week.
You know, the 10-year outlook is OK.

We have a problem. How are we going to pay for the government we want
in the 2020s? And that`s a real issue, but it`s not one we have to solve
right now.

SCHULTZ: President Obama did not shy away from his desire to reform
social safety net programs.

Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m prepared to take on the problem where it exists on
entitlements and do some things that my own party really doesn`t like if
it`s part of a broader package of sensible deficit reduction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I mean, isn`t the president offering the Republican Party
the earned benefits programs that we would trim? I mean, that`s what it
sounds like.

KRUGMAN: No, I -- you know, we have to do something about health care
costs, which is what the main driver of stuff. But that doesn`t really
mean cutting benefits. That means cutting costs, which is -- and I have to
say the president has been all along way too eager to trade away some of
those crucial social safety net programs.

I don`t think that Republican intransigence is entirely a bad thing.
I live in a little bit of fear that one of these days they`ll wake up and
cut that deal which will actually be a bad deal for America. But the
president seems all too willing to make.

SCHULTZ: An unfair opinion here, and maybe you agree with it is that
none of these programs got us where we are. I mean, it was the round of
tax cuts we never saw create the jobs. It was wars that were unfunded, it
was big pharma.

I mean, when you look at the causes of the projected debt, it has
nothing to do with what the Republicans are trying to get at, and that`s
the big three.

KRUGMAN: And remember that the economic crisis in turn has nothing to
do with the debt, right? We`ve got this -- yes, we have a big budget
crisis, but that`s a result of the crisis, not the cause of it.

SCHULTZ: What percentage of the downturn from the housing market do
you blame on where we are right now?

KRUGMAN: The housing market drove everything. I mean, the housing
market, the combination of the bust in the housing market, which right
there has attracted a couple percent from GDP, more than a couple percent,
several percent of GDP, plus the effect of leaving all these people with
high levels of the debt and their assets just evaporated. Plus, the
businesses are not going to spend if consumers don`t have money.

That`s all of it. All of this is about the aftermath of the housing
bust. All the deficit stuff is a complete red herring.

SCHULTZ: So that takes us to Wall Street and how we got to make sure
that there is some regulation that it doesn`t happen again.

KRUGMAN: That`s right. And that`s something -- the reform we got is
better than nothing, substantially better than nothing, but inadequate. So
more of that.

But that`s -- you know, the main thing right now is keep your eye on
the ball, which is mass unemployment. Create jobs, put people to work.
Get the school teachers rehired, fix those bridges. This is what we should
be doing now.

We seem determined to worry about everything but what actually matters
right now.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Krugman, great to have you on the program tonight. I
appreciate you coming in.

KRUGMAN: Thanks.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.

Get your cell phones out. Well put our poll back after the interview
tonight. Tonight`s question, did Republicans damage the country`s economic
recovery today? 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 program.

While thousands of Americans are fighting for their jobs, Eric Cantor
sends Congress where? Home.

More on the political fallout, next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney breaks his silence. The big panel
weighs in.

President Obama offended "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" nerds today.
George Takei beams aboard THE ED SHOW tonight.

You can listen to my radio show on 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 hashtag @EdShow. We`re coming right back on this
Friday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is the agenda that the American people voted for. These
are America`s priorities. They`re too important to go unaddressed, and I`m
going to keep pushing to make sure that we see them through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Thanks for stay with us tonight.

As President Obama said, most voters support his budget proposal. In
fact, the latest poll shows 60 percent of Americans fear sequestration will
have a major affect on the economy.

Republicans will have to answer to the workers getting furloughed at
airports and air bases. The Tea Party will have to explain these cuts to
university researchers and young children in the Head Start program.

Here is the first tangible sign of sequestration. Tonight, the Air
Force cut training flights and grounded the Thunderbirds Aerial Team for
the rest of the season.

Let`s turn to former secretary of labor, Robert Reich, with us this
evening. Also, MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney. And Leo Gerard,
president of the United Steelworkers International.

Great to have all of you with us tonight.

LEO GERARD, UNITED STEELWORKERS INTERNATIONAL: Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ: Karen, politically we`re in unchartered territory with the
economy.

Political winners and losers, why can`t Washington do this deal?

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the problem that
the president has had is he is that trying to negotiate with people who
aren`t actually interested in negotiating. I mean, the president has been
very clear all along that he wanted a balanced approach. I mean, we all
know the talking points by now.

And the Republicans, though, they were pretty clear after they did
that deal in the fall where they said we`re not going to do any more
revenue.

I think most of us thought they were going to see the light and sort
of not get us to this point. But then we realized that the Tea Party guys
think this is a great thing. And now they`ve all tried to reframe the
message as, you know, hey, these cuts, at least we`re cutting spending
without really thinking about what the impact of those cuts are going to
be.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Gerard, isn`t this the president that campaigned on
sticking up for the middle class, and did he do it this week and today?

GERARD: I think he`s been trying to do it this week and today. And
like Karen said, we`ve got an intransigent Republican Party and still, Ed,
still -- the public should know -- still after all these years trying to
have him become a failure. He is doing the right thing. He is trying to
save jobs.

He is actually talking about also investing in infrastructure, roads,
bridges, pipe. I mean, he is talking all the right things. But these
guys, the House is blocking it the filibuster is blocking it. The
Republican Party I believe, Ed, has to pay a price for putting the economy
at risk.

My wife said this to me one day. Why would you run for office to
damage your country? And that`s what these people are doing. They`re
running for office to damage the country, but they`re also damaging
millions of millions of just hardworking middle class and lower class and
poor people.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Reich, what kind of infrastructure project would be
needed to continue this economic pace that we`re on? And how damaged are
we at this point now that we go to this point in time in the budget cuts?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Ed, we have a lot of
infrastructure projects, huge deferred maintenance across this country in
terms of roads and bridges, sewers, ports, you name it. I mean, if we
actually invested in the infrastructure we need to invest in, we could have
more economic growth.

It`s not just more jobs. We could have better growth. We could have
a healthier economy overall. You know, the problem for the president right
now is that he is dealing with Republicans who have gerrymandered
themselves into safe districts where their major opponent is going to be in
the primary a right-wing Tea Partier to their right.

In other words, it doesn`t matter that public opinion has put
Republicans, particularly House Republicans, lower than snake charmers. It
is really a matter of getting to that kind of tipping point where even in
these safe Republican districts, the public just says we`ve had enough.

SCHULTZ: When do you think, Mr. Reich, the middle class will feel
these effects?

REICH: They`re going to start feeling them within the next two or
three weeks. Some people are feeling them already. I mean, unemployment
checks in certain states have been slowed. We see that there are
inspectors who are not going to be there inspecting. People are being
furloughed already.

But three weeks from now, my prediction, most middle class people in
this country are actually going to be aware that this is going on.

And, Karen, who pays the political price here? Basically, the
Republicans are making a calculation the longer this goes on, the impact
that it`s going to have, they`re going to be able to hang it on the
president.

FINNEY: Look, I think everybody takes a hit on this one, frankly.
Because at some point I think the American people, it`s all kind of
gobbledygook in Washington, right? At some point, the point is, why is
there not a deal happening? Why do we not see people sitting down?

That being said, I do think as the polls have shown, the Republicans
will take a greater hit. Because what have they heard from the president?
They`ve heard a consistent message from the president saying here is my
plan, here are my ideas, let`s sit down and talk.

And from the Republican side they have not heard that same willingness
to actually come to the table and have a conversation.

But I think it`s going to hurt everybody.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Gerard, does labor go to the streets?

GERARD: I think when you see the outcome of the sequestration, it
starts to roll out, I think what you`re going to see instead of people
going to the streets, per se, we`re going to start to develop campaigns at
members of the Republican House, members of the Republican Senate, and
we`re going to put the people in front of their offices. What we`ve got is
what Bob Reich says. We`ve got a deficit in jobs.

And if we address the jobs deficit, the other deficits will good away.
We`ve got a deficit in infrastructure. We`ve got to put that work
together.

SCHULTZ: But can you penetrate a House that has been gerrymandered
into strength?

GERARD: Ed, I`ve got more faith in the American people. I know it`s
been gerrymandered. I know they`ve tried to rig votes. They`ve tried to
do everything. I think the public sees their ideas are bankrupt.

When you`ve got bankrupt ideas, you`re trying to gerrymander and rig
the vote. And that`s not going to work.

I believe that the American public are going to make the Republicans
pay for this hostage fatigue. I`m willing to bet if you asked your
audience if they`ve got hostage fatigue by these Republicans since they`ve
come to office, that`s all we`ve had. And the American public is smart
enough to know that.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Reich, you heard that sound bite earlier this broadcast
from what Speaker Boehner said earlier today. He says no more revenue.
So, how do you negotiate with that? What else can the president do?

REICH: Well, I think the president wants to -- right now, he`s got
the make the case as strongly as he can to the American people that not
only are the Republicans willing to sacrifice the economy and jobs for the
sake of avoiding slightly higher taxes on people who are wealthier than
they have ever been in this nation`s history, more of the total income in
this country is now going to the top 1 percent than we have seen in 80
years.

The top 1 percent, the top 1/10 of 1 percent has more of the wealth.
The 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million
put together.

Now, if we can`t raise taxes on those people somehow to start paying
our bills, to have better schools, to have better roads, to have better
opportunities for people, then this country has no fundamental principles
left.

SCHULTZ: Well, we --

GERARD: Ed, if I can just say, Ed, agree with most of what Bob said.
I just think we ought to not say raise tax. What we ought to say is close
loopholes. Why should a guy that is a billionaire get a tax break for his
new private jet? Why can he get a tax break because he can hide his money
in the Cayman Islands?

We`re talking about closing loopholes so we`re all paying fair share.
And why would you get a tax break for a jet when you`re going to cut
student loans for a kid.

SCHULTZ: And, Karen --

REICH: Absolutely. We went through this with private equity. We
went through this with Mitt Romney. We saw that those private equity guys,
and hedge mutual funds guy are actually getting income, millions and tens
of millions of dollars and talking about it and treating it as capital
gains. That`s --

(CROSSTALK)

GERARD: That`s what they think their entitlement is as opposed to --
sorry.

These guys see this as an entitlement. We ought to cut their
entitlements, not cut the earned benefits of retirees.

SCHULTZ: All right. And, Karen, your final word on this is I don`t
believe the Republicans have identified any loopholes, have they?

FINNEY: No, they haven`t identified any loopholes. You know, Ed, the
other political losers in this potentially, although you`ve got Republican
House members who are in gerrymandered safe districts, remember that you
have got some folks, Republicans running for senate statewide, and
Republican governors who are going to have some trouble --

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINNEY: -- as the Republican brand continues to plummet.

SCHULTZ: Backyard budgets are going to be in this equation, no doubt
about it.

FINNEY: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: Robert Reich, Karen Finney, Leo Gerard, great to have you
with us. I think you could fill an hour if you had.

If you work 40 hours a week, this next story will blow your mind. I`m
going to show you exactly how little your member of Congress actually
works.

The loser of the presidential election sits down with FOX. Big panel,
they explain tonight.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Americans are wondering why
the two sides can`t stay in Washington and cut a deal. President Obama was
pressed on that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say we need to
go to catch a plane, I can`t have Secret Service block the doorway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: You know, President Obama may have been joking, but
Congress` habit of taking off isn`t a joke. Most working Americans are
kicking back tonight after putting in a full five days on the job this
week. But not the House of Representatives. You see, they were off again
today. In fact, they have a whole lot of days off if you want to look at
the calendar.

Take a look at the House calendar for 2013. Wow. There is a whole
bunch of white spaces there, ain`t it? That`s because House lawmakers are
scheduled to work a whopping total of 126 days this year. That`s an
average of 2.4 days a week.

Now, the House doesn`t have a single work week that exceeds four days.
You got to admit, it`s nice work if you can get it. Even better, under the
grueling schedule, House Speaker John Boehner is set up to make 223,500
dollars this year. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, he is the one that is
responsible for the schedule. He is going to haul in 193,400 dollars.

Now considering those numbers and the work schedule, would you like to
have that deal? When he released the calendar, Cantor said this, "part of
our goal in scheduling the House is to ensure that we never lose touch with
the constituents we each represent while completing our work in
Washington."

I would argue the House hasn`t completed much work in Washington at
all. And Cantor went on the say "time spent in the District between Monday
and Friday is essential for meeting with small businesses, employees,
seniors, veterans and other local communities during working hours."

If Eric Cantor cared about those constituents, he would have been at
work today trying to strike a deal to prevent the sequester, which will
affect small businesses and seniors and veterans. If they really want to
help their constituents, I can think of better ways the House can be
spending those 239 days off this year.

Get your ass back to Washington and get to work, because that`s what
you`re getting paid for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can`t we be on a roller
coaster the rest of our life? It`s like, no, that ride is over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Middle class Mitt is back again. He is speaking out for the
first time since his loss. The big panel will take apart his wild ride.

I`ve got the week`s wrap-up of highs and lows. Your good news and the
bad news ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and
convince them to do what is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: President Obama has outraged nerds around the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These aren`t the droids you`re looking for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These aren`t the droids we`re looking for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: George Takei breaks down the mind tricks and the mind melds
ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Breaking news here on THE ED SHOW tonight. This just in,
the Associated Press reporting that President Obama has signed the order
implementing the sequestration cuts. The president was required by law to
sign the order by midnight tonight. And the White House had previously
said that he would wait until the last minute.

But there have been no talks with Republicans, who have left
Washington after adjourning the house. This was his party`s standard
bearer -- he was this party`s standard bearer just a few short months ago.
With the GOP grappling with a leadership void and political infighting that
has taken place just about everywhere, is there a place for Mitt Romney,
question mark?

The former Republican presidential nominee is speaking out for the
first time since the election. And he is wasting no time questioning
President Obama`s leadership skills. Shockingly, Fox News got the first
interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: How do you think the president has
handled the sequester, the 85 billion dollars in automatic spending cuts?

ROMNEY: Well, no one can think that`s been a success for the
president. He didn`t think the sequester would happen. It is happening.
But to date what we`ve seen is the president out campaigning to the
American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the
country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing.

Now, what does that do? That causes the Republicans to retrench and
to put up a wall and to fight back. It`s a very natural human emotion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in Democratic strategists Tara Dowdell, also
Chris Kofinis with us tonight, and Republican strategist and MSNBC
contributor Susan Del Percio. Well, we`re back on the campaign trail.
Familiar faces all of a sudden.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Just when you thought it was
safe.

SCHULTZ: That`s right. We`re back to swimming big time. Tara, you
first tonight. What do you make of now Mitt Romney coming right out and
going right after the president?

TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the best way to ingratiate
yourself with the Republican base is go right after the president. And so
Mitt Romney is on what I call, hey, look, I`m not bad as I came across on
the campaign tour right now. So as he is on this tour, how does he go
about getting back into the good graces of the party, which clearly he
wants to do, which is why he is speaking at CPAC, which is why he is doing
this interview, which is why, if you notice, his wife is doing the
interview with him.

By having her at his side, that softens him. It also makes it a
little harder to ask him some of the more hard-hitting questions. So this
is a rehabilitation tour.

SCHULTZ: In the midst of all the fighting, Susan, that has taken
place with the Republican party right now, Christie not being invited to
CPAC -- and there hasn`t been a lot of positive news for Republicans. What
does Mitt Romney bring to the table?

DEL PERCIO: Right now not much. I think the Republican party is
making a mistake if they want Mitt Romney to be their spokesperson. He
lost. He should move on. And the party should move along as well and
realize that what cost us the election and that it`s time for a new leaf.

I mean, I understand the fact that he wanted to do this interview.
And it is important to kind of close it all up and do the closing interview
to, you know, a year on the campaign trail, some say five. But he really
should have been a little more cautious in his tones towards the president.
I think, you know, you want to go out as a class act, I think, especially
when you know you`re not running for office again.

SCHULTZ: Was it not classy what he said?

DEL PERCIO: I just think he could have had a little -- shown a little
more grace like he did when he actually joined his concession speech.

SCHULTZ: Chris, what do you make of it?

CHRIS KOFINIS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s D-class, to say
the least. It`s very strange for a candidate who just got beaten and
beaten badly in his first major interview to come out and hit the
president. I mean, what I would have liked Mitt Romney to actually do is
something unique, which is tell the truth about why he lost. And be honest
about the fact that as a Republican standard bearer from the last election,
we`ve got to change. We can`t keep running elections where we alienate
Hispanics or we ignore immigration issues and think we`re going to win
elections.

SCHULTZ: Do you think he will do that at CPAC?

KOFINIS: No, I don`t think he`s going to do it. I think -- and you
saw that I think in that clip, is that he is going to come out there and
say why he would have been a better president. The problem is the American
people clearly did not agree. And I don`t think he does himself a service.
And I think he doesn`t help the Republican party, which I actually am very
ecstatic about.

I think this just adds to the turmoil the Republicans find themselves
in.

SCHULTZ: Tara, you have New Jersey roots. This whole week ordeal
with Chris Christie, is this a Republican mistake?

DOWDELL: I think it`s definitely a Republican mistake. I mean, Chris
Christie, for better or for worse, is extremely well liked in New Jersey,
which is shocking considering that we have 10 percent unemployment in New
Jersey. But despite that, he has a 72 percent approval rate.

SCHULTZ: Could we be looking at the new Republican leader right this?

DOWDELL: I think you could. But he`s got a battle. I mean, the
Republican party -- there are lot of people -- there is a lot of infighting
going on. And there are a lot of people vying for that spot. And I think
CPAC not inviting him was a mistake. And Christie --

DEL PERCIO: It was great for Christie. The fact is, as he is going
into an election year, he is getting support from Democrats now. They are
lining up to endorse him in New Jersey, as Tara said. But the problem is
that we put too much pressure, whether it`s on the Democrat or the
Republican side, to be the standard bearer when you`re governing.

And the fact is that they shouldn`t -- like we shouldn`t have done it
to Marco Rubio. You can`t do it to Chris Christie. Let him do what he
needs to do. Let him get reelected.

SCHULTZ: -- with the Republicans. The female vote in this country,
they have a problem with that. Latino vote, the minority vote, the black
vote. I mean, there are so many areas that the Republicans have to work
on.

KOFINIS: It`s a demographic mess across the board. And listen, when
you have people like Christie who is an unorthodox candidate, who
definitely appeals I think to different classes of voters that Republicans
like Mitt Romney clearly didn`t, and he shunned from CPAC and basically
conservatives are out there hitting him, it tell where the Republican is
and where it`s going to continue to go.

(CROSS TALK)

DEL PERCIO: The problem with the Republican party right now, is that
we require a litmus test. We shouldn`t. We`ve got to have a broader tent.
We`ve got to be more inclusive. Just because we disagree on 10 percent of
the issues doesn`t mean we can`t get along on 90.

SCHULTZ: I think Christie gives them that opportunity to do that.

DEL PERCIO: Yes, he does.

KOFINIS: But he`ll never get the nomination because the same reason
why they have come out so hard against him right now.

SCHULTZ: So you think they`ll pick somebody much more further right?

KOFINIS: Absolutely. They are looking for another Reagan. And the
funny thing is even Reagan could not have won the Republican nomination.

SCHULTZ: Tara, how important is it for the Republicans to have their
hands on immigration reform before 2016?

DOWDELL: It is so important. And I think they know that. But the
problem is the Republican party stoked up their base, and threw all this
red meet out, you know, race baiting and all these different things. And
the problem with that I now they`re trying to walk the base back and get
them on board with something that is still not very popular amongst
Republican activists.

DEL PERCIO: I`d argue they need it by 2014, not 1016.

SCHULTZ: Quickly, winners, losers, Woodward or the White House?

DEL PERCIO: White House.

SCHULTZ: What do you think?

KOFINIS: Well, it was starting off to be Woodward. But when the
emails came out, it was the White House.

SCHULTZ: Tara?

DOWDELL: I would have to say the White House. I could take that guy
--

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ: Tara Dowdell, Chris Kofinis, Susan Del Percio, great to have
you with us tonight. Thank you.

George Takei gives President Obama pointers on melding Republican
minds. That`s coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Love to hear from our fans on Facebook and on Twitter
tonight, in response to President Obama`s statement today about the
sequester. We asked you to finish this sentence. "If I could Jedi mind
meld the Republicans, I would --"

Kim Schultz says that she would "make them realize how much they`re
hurting the middle class by being such jerks."

Daniel Gross says that he would "reawaken their souls and hearts."

And Ms. Sitzman, she says "that implies that Republicans have minds."

Go to our Facebook page right now and you can look for the picture of
President Obama with "Star Trek" actress Nichelle Nichols and join the
conversation. And don`t forget to like THE ED SHOW when you`re there. We
appreciate that.

Tonight in our survey I asked, did Republicans damage the country`s
economic recovery today? Ninety five percent of you say yes; five percent
of you say no.

Coming up, Carl Paladino, ketchup and horse meat. There is good news.
But there is also bad news. I`ll tell you which is which, next. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And we are back with good news. Well, there is good news
and there is bad news. We begin with good car news out of Detroit, where
today General Motors went beyond growth estimates with sales rising seven
percent in the month of February. Chrysler also announced that it will
invest 400 million dollars into transmission plants in Indiana. They say
it will create over a thousand new jobs. That is good news.

But there is also some bad car news. This is in Argentina, where a
massive hailstorm is just pounding the streets. And look at this guy.
This guy is trying to keep his black sedan from getting all geeked up and
scratched up. Good luck, dude. I don`t know if that`s going to work.

More bad news out of Buffalo, where Carl Paladino, he is running for
office again? You remember old Carl. Carl Paladino, he was the Tea Party
candidate who was destroyed in his bid to become governor of the state of
New York. Then he brought a baseball bat to his concession speech.

Carl announced on Thursday that he is running for a seat on the
Buffalo School Board. Apparently Carl has had some issues with the school
board as of late. The Associated Press reports Paladino was escorted by
security out of Wednesday`s school board meeting after telling the board
president she was out of line.

Allowing Carl Paladino around children sounds like bad news to me.

Good news in South Korea, where a bunch of teens are supporting the
local economy. This is what 250 dollars worth of McDonald`s French Fries
look like.

In unrelated bad news, 21 tons of ketchup splattered all over the
highway when a truck turned over on Interstate 80 near Reno, Nevada.
Luckily it only looked like a gruesome bloodbath. No one was injured. I
just hope the truck wasn`t headed for Korea.

And finally, bad news for Bob Woodward. First, the legendary
journalist got busted exaggerating about getting threatened by the White
House. Then last night Woodward sullied his name and reputation appearing
on Fox News with Sean Hannity. Now pay attention to the technical
difficulties they had at the beginning of the interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Joining me now with reaction is the
author of "the New York Times" best-seller, "The Price Of Politics," the
one and only Bob Woodward. Bob, as always, welcome back to the program.

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "THE PRICE OF POLITICS": Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Did you see Hannity speak without opening his mouth? Good
news. It`s proof Sean Hannity, he can talk out of his rear end.

Coming up, the great George Takei is here tonight. Stick around.
We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, President Obama became the
center of the universe when he tried to explain a special power to get
Congress to take his deal to avert a sequester.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The fact that they don`t take it means that I should somehow,
you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what
is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Jedi mind meld? The reaction, ooh, was swift. Here is a
sample. "No, Obama, no! Committed the ultimate nerd sin and mixed up
"Star Wars" and "Star Trek." Jedi mind meld? Why, God, why?"

The "Star Trek" nerds and the "Star Wars" nerds and also a few
political nerds, well, they went absolutely nuts on this one. This is the
Vulcan mind meld from "Star Trek."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does your telepathic mind tell you now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: As you can clearly see, the Vulcan mind meld is all about
reading people`s minds. Spock can also allow others to read his mind.
Now, this is the Jedi mind trick from "Star Wars."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see your identification.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t need to see his identification.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t need to see his identification.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These aren`t the droids you`re looking for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These aren`t the droids we`re looking for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: With the Jedi mind trick, you can literally change someone`s
mind. Now clearly this is what the president of the United States was
going for. But he kind of messed it up. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy
weighed in. He Tweeted "only a Vulcan mind meld will help with this
Congress."

The White House turned the controversy to its advantage, Tweeting "we
must bring balance to the force." The White House also Tweeted this
picture. It links to the president`s plan. Clever.

Joining me tonight, actor and activist George Takei. George, great to
have you back on THE ED SHOW tonight. Thanks so much.

GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: Good to be here.

SCHULTZ: You bet. Now, with all due respect to the president of the
United States today, he did kind of mess up a little bit, didn`t he?

TAKEI: No, I don`t think so. You know, not too long ago, Bill
Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, tried to foment some adversarial
situation between "Star Wars" and "Star Trek." Well, they are opposite
shows. But I agree with the president. You know, I recently brought Bill
Shatner`s confrontation to a star peace. And that`s what the president is
trying to do by merging the "Star Wars" Jedi with the "Star Trek" word mind
meld.

Now Jedis are the guardians of peace and justice. And mind meld is
the Vulcan way of having the force of pure, clean communication between one
mind and the other. Well, that`s what the president is trying to do, bring
those two forces together. And with that kind of guardianship of peace and
harmony and justice and bringing powerful minds together and communicating
purely, you can find the rational answer.

And that`s finding common ground. And that`s what they`ve got to do.
Unfortunately, we have the Republicans, who are comparable to Klingons, to
deal with. But the force of the mind meld and the force of Jedi power will
eventually bring that common ground. I predict it.

SCHULTZ: That brings me to this question. If you could perform a
mind meld with anyone in Congress, who would it be?

TAKEI: Mind meld with anyone in Congress? Well, the real challenge
would be Eric Cantor. But I think he is a pure Klingon. I think the mind
meld probably will come from someone like -- now let me think of some
Republicans.

SCHULTZ: Michele Bachmann?

(LAUGHTER)

TAKEI: I think she is a female Klingon. Give me some help here.
What kind --

SCHULTZ: Well, Louie Gohmert.

TAKEI: What?

SCHULTZ: Louie Gohmert.

TAKEI: There you are.

SCHULTZ: It is -- I think the president very worldly ahead of his
game today when he did that. I think he connected with a lot of people
around the country. And I thought it was very interesting. Now, here is
the president. I want to get your reaction on the Supreme Court prop 8
case. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The Supreme Court asks me or my attorney general or a
solicitor general do we think that meets Constitutional muster. I felt it
was important for us to answer that question honestly. And the answer is
no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: George, is it something the president clearly got correct
today?

TAKEI: I think so. Again, bringing in my "Star Trek" colleague Mr.
Spock, he would say that gays and lesbians are the children of
heterosexuals. We are literally brothers and sisters of -- blood brothers
and blood sisters of heterosexuals. We are literally members of the
family.

And why those heterosexuals would want to deny the same rights and
responsibilities that they enjoy just doesn`t make sense. It`s illogical.

SCHULTZ: All right. George Takei, great to have you on THE ED SHOW
tonight. I appreciate your time and your insight. Thank you so much.

TAKEI: Good to be here.

SCHULTZ: You bet. That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL
MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

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

Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>