updated 11/4/2013 12:04:03 PM ET 2013-11-04T17:04:03

THE ED SHOW
October 31, 2013
Guest: Tom Colicchio, Ruth Conniff, John Nichols, David Cay Johnston,
Richard Wolffe


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes, the first thing they do in the morning
is wake and bake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead MSNBC, why don`t show the world what
you`re creating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 28 percent of the American people are what I would
call dependent on government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don`t you show what this President is doing to
people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That the Obama Administration is encouraging
parasites to come out.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We should be
doing everything we can to keep families from falling into poverty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that`s not putting people back in the chains, I
don`t know what is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ED SCHULTZ, ED SHOW HOST: Well, some folks just see the world
differently, don`t we? Great to have you with us tonight, thanks for
watching the Ed Show here on MSNBC.

There some things in government, there are some things in this country
that you simply cannot separate, farmers and food, real basic stuff. You
know that we have the absolute best farmers on the face of the earth, that
we can produce more. Our technology is so advanced as opposed to the rest
of the world. We are the bread basket of the world. We can produce enough
food to feed the world if we wanted to. That`s how good our farmers are.
That`s how good our universities are, our research, and our technology.
And let`s not forget the equipment that is made here in the United States.
It is the bread-basket. It is the key to America. It is the key to a
stable society.

We have seen in history, has showed us today that this is what happens
when people go hungry, when you don`t have agriculture at the pinnacle of
society. When you don`t have people producing the way they should, when
you have people who are in bread lines. These are pictures from the great
depression in America. And at that time, 1933, what we did as a country,
we adopted a policy that we weren`t going to have these lives anymore.

We made sure through the Farm Bill that there would be an abundance of
food, that we adopted a cheap food policy, that what we did as a country,
we made a decision that it was going to be much easier for an American
citizen to work and go to the grocery store and to be able to feed
themselves. What a wonderful concept.

Yes. The Farm Bill led us to this, the cheap food policy. And the
one thing that we have to remember about the cheap food policy is that it`s
still there today and it works. And part of the cheap food policy is the
Farm Bill, which, of course, is nutrition, food stamps, school lunches, and
food security for the country. We`re not going to go hungry anymore. We
can produce.

And you know what? What happens when people get hungry? They follow
extremists. That`s what they do. That`s what happened in Germany in the
1930`s. The agricultural markets collapsed. The country couldn`t feed
itself and you know the rest of the story.

This is important stuff. This is what the country needs to focus on.
We don`t ever want these days again. What we`re seeing from Republicans is
nothing but a bunch of division, a bunch of destructions. We have seen it
with their attack on the IRS.

And of course, there`s this big controversy with Benghazi, anything to
soak up the new cycle to throw something negative on the President, but not
focusing on what is so terribly important for America.

Republicans don`t want you to pay attention to the real scandal
because it is a scandal that they created. It`s called the Hunger Cliff.
And make absolutely no mistake. Republicans are the ones shoving folks
over the edge with another $5 billion cut. Why? Well, we`re just spending
too much money.

In just seven hours, that`s how much is set to be automatically
slashed from the Federal Food Stamp Program. The stamp program received a
temporary boost under the 2009 Recovery Act that increased expires at
midnight tonight.

House Republicans are basically no where to be found on this crisis.
They are off until November 12. They don`t care about the poor.

If Republicans had their way, in fact, they would go so far as to
slash another $40 billion out of the Food Stamp Program. When these
automatic cuts are implemented, benefits will fall for 47 million lower
income Americans. That`s a big a number. This is going to hit a lot of
kitchen tables in America, like 14 percent of all U.S. households. And the
worst part, Republicans see these cuts as a political win against society
stakers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: If you look at China, they
don`t have food stamps. If you look at China, they`re in a very different
-- they save for their own retirement security. They don`t have AFDC.
They don`t have the modern welfare state. And China is growing.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: This bill is designed to give people
a hand when they need it most. And most people don`t choose to be on food
stamps. Most people want a job.

And if others, and there may be some that choose to abuse the system,
that`s not out of the realm of possibility. Frankly, it`s wrong for hard
working middleclass Americans to pay for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And my motivation is only then to introduce the
blessing of work to able-bodied people.

What we have done in this country is wrong. We have failed in
introducing the blessing of work to able-bodied people who have the
ability, who are mentality, physically, psychologically able to work and we
have robbed them of knowing a better life that they helped create for
themselves and their families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think about that, nearly state -- every state in
America, people are getting food stamps, who are able-bodied to citizens,
not elderly, without children, able-bodied adults who don`t have to be
required to either look for work or be in a position where they`re getting
train to prepared for work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I looked at 2 Thessalonians, 3:10, "For even
when we were with you, we gave you this rule of the one who is unwilling to
work shall not eat."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Always good to throw in a little faith, isn`t it? So the
Republicans can justify their position because they`re so concerned that
the average stamp recipient receives about $133 a month in benefits.

Let`s break that down. And it`s a little more than $4 a day. Break
it down again. It`s $1.40 per meal in order to qualify for food stamps.
An individual has to make a less than $15,000 a year. And this is the
focus of the Republican Party and all of those politicians you just saw
talked? This is their focus? This is what the conservatives are all
about? They are heartless.

When Republican members of Congress are yanked at home $174,000 a year
with benefits, pension and healthcare, those folks, they say, on food
stamps, are getting too much?

These cuts are going to leave millions of Americans hungry and
potentially do some serious damage to our economy. Economists have found
out that -- and projected that every dollar of SNAP spending generates a
$1.70 in the local economy and the economic activity in America.

This will hurt the revenue of 250,000 grocery stores and supermarkets
across the country that accepts SNAP payments. It`s a domino effect. Once
again, House Republicans don`t care about small business owners either.
There`s a lot of small groceries out there that certainly worked with the
Food Stamp Program.

And you know what? This is a scandal. No, it`s not the IRS and it`s
not Benghazi, and it`s not people losing their healthcare with these
notices that are coming in. This is the scandal. This is the most kicking
the least right in the teeth for no reason at all other than unmitigated
greed.

Go back to Ted Kennedy on the Senate Forum in 2007. When does the
greed stop? I`ll answer you tonight. Never. They were concerned. These
people of faith are concerned about people who make less than $15,000 a
year. They`re the problem. They`re able-bodied. They`re fat, sitting on
the couch. They ought to get up their ass and go working. No, that is not
the case. Less than 1 percent of fraud is found in the Food Stamp Program.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, do you think this food stamp cuts are cruel or necessary? Text A
for cruel, text B for necessary, to 67622. You can always go to our blog
at ed.msnbc.com and leave a comment. We`ll bring you the results later on
in the show.

Joining me tonight is a man I really admire. He has been very
successful in the food industry. He`s a fabulous chef. He`s famous. He`s
a food activist. Tom Colicchio.

Mr. Colicchio, thanks for being on the Ed Show tonight. I appreciate
it. Food is your life. And I looked at all the different things that you
have been involved in. You and your family are so terribly unselfish. It
takes Americans like you to bring attention to this story.

You participated in a documentary called A Place at the Table, which
addresses the issue of food insecurity in America. Let`s take a look at
this clip, please.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The assistance programs in the United States are
very hard to qualify for. It`s like either your starving or you don`t get
any help, or what defines starving. But if you don`t eat for a day, are
you starving? In their eyes, no, but in your eyes and the way you feel, of
course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Thomas, great to have you with us.

TOM COLICCHIO, CHEF, FOOD ACTIVIST: Thanks for having me, Ed.

SCHULTZ: This is a moral issue, isn`t it?

COLICCHIO: It definitely is a moral issue. You know, you did mention
this, that the majority of people that receive food stamps have at least
one member of the family working. They were working the year before they
received food stamps. They`re usually working the year after they received
food stamps.

And so, this is a program that actually gets people on their feet.
And I`m not quite sure why you (inaudible) 40 million children and 70
million seniors to go out and get a job. And do want to bring back sweat
shops? I`m not -- I don`t think that`s where we want America to go.

SCHULTZ: What fixes this?

COLICCHIO: What fixes that is good programs. You know, we fixed this
back in the late `60s and early `70s. We fought a war in poverty in one
until the `80s came around. And then we started fighting a war in social
safety network and the war against the new deal.

And so, what I`m -- what I -- when I`m seeing this much hunger, 50
million Americans are struggling to feed themselves, what this tells me is
it`s really carrying the coal mine. This shows me that our democracy is
failing on some level. When you have 50 million Americans that are not
able to participate in the American dream, something has gone wrong here.

And so, we have to stop looking at programs like SNAP and WIC as a
handout. This isn`t investment. When you have children who are going to
school hungry, they can`t learn. We all know that education is the way to
sort of get -- to break that cycle of poverty. And your kids going to
school hungry, they can`t learn.

Seniors who have to make decision -- that`s going to happen tonight.
This is what you`re seeing. After tonight, seniors have to make a decision
whether to buy medication or food. Kids are going to start going to school
hungrier than they are now. And so, this is a breakdown of not just the
social safety network, this is a breakdown of our (inaudible).

SCHULTZ: Where is the disconnect from what you can see? We have a
political party that wants to cut, if they could, $40 billion out of this.
Now, tonight, as you said, there`s going to be $5 billion, this of course
was a supplemental part of the stimulus package from 2009. But their
proposal is to gut this program. You see it, you know, on the ground with
all the community work that you do. What would $40 billion do?

COLICCHIO: $40 billion cut, that`s what the House is suggesting. The
Senate is looking at $4 billion cut. They just went to conference now.
What I`m hearing is that -- I hope it`s ever going to be out of conference,
which is actually the best thing is to not have a Farm Bill and just to do
a C.R. because the cuts won`t take place, they will have (inaudible).

SCHULTZ: To continue the resolution?

(CROSSTALK)

COLICCHIO: By next year.

SCHULTZ: The last Farm Bill wasn`t all that bad. In fact, commodity
prices have been very good. Farmers have done very well. Let`s just
continue on.

COLICCHIO: But you ask the question, "Why?" It`s an easy target.
You know, they know that people of low income don`t get out there and vote
for whatever reason. They`re starting to change. They`re starting to
vote.

When you have people that were middle income, now, actually, sort of
struggling with poverty, those -- it`ll change. And the first person that
loses an election over a vote to cut SNAP, that`s where things will change.

SCHULTZ: Well, a vote to cut SNAP in some of these (inaudible)
districts may not -- I mean our political system is starting to get rigged.

COLICCHIO: Right. But you show the hypocrisy with Steven Fincher
(ph), who`s family collected $3.2 million from the same Farm Bill that
includes Nutrition Program. So he wants to cut Nutrition Programs but yet
he still wants some foreign subsidy money for his family, $3.2 million,
that`s hypocrisy. When people see the hypocrisy, that`s when they vote
them out.

SCHULTZ: Tom Colicchio, it`s great to meet you and great to have you
on the program. My wife and I have admired your work for a long time.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And thanks for the work you
do, you know, you`re a guy who`s had so much success. You know, you could
just go home and eat dinner and not worry about this stuff.

COLICCHIO: Sure.

SCHULTZ: You have taken it upon yourself to be active in this
community, and nationally, and I commend you for it.

COLICCHIO: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: I appreciate it very much.

Remember to answer tonight`s questionnaire at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter, @Ed show, and on Facebook. We
want to know what you think.

Coming up, Michele Bachmann`s land of make believe. Plus,
conservatives are protecting garbage insurance plans, like a bunch of
junkyard dogs.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Time now for the Trenders and the social media. This is
where you can find us, the Ed Team, Facebook.com/EdShow or
Tweeter.com/EdShow, and ed.msnbc.com. And this is where you can find me on
the radio, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00, Sirius XM, Channel 127.
And great liberal talk radio stations around the country.

The Ed Show media team, the nation, you have decided and we are
reporting. Here are today`s top Trenders voted on by you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three words, (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number three Trender, Healthy Imagination.

BACHMANN: What I want is the finest possible healthcare for America
that we can have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michelle Bachmann has a fabulous fantasy.

BACHMANN: We did have fabulous healthcare and I think we can again .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, right. We didn`t have fabulous healthcare.
There were millions of people who have no healthcare.

BACHMANN: It should be voluntary. If there are people without health
insurance, we get that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get it, got it, do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number two Trender, Billing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would Jesus do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have an interesting theory as to why he was
crucified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people might be thinking your doing this as
some kind of publicity stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that a theory? It`s absolute fact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill O`Reilly (ph), thinks Jesus was a perfect fit
for the Tea Party.

O`REILLY: He interrupted the tax money flow. Times goes in, time
goes out. In the temple, when he saw the tax collectors dragging the money
out of the poor people, he overturned their table. And once we he did
that, his fate was sealed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know what that means. And today`s top
Trender, Cheap Talk.

SCHULTZ: But I can`t use the S word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sugar honey ice (inaudible).

SCHULTZ: They have crappy insurance. We`re going to be getting rid
of junk insurance plans that really haven`t delivered anything for the
American people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conservatives won`t trash junk insurance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can keep the plans that you have and like.
But -- there`s a, "But," in our healthcare right now? There`s a, "But," in
the system?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a big, "But."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But one community is welcoming the destruction of
what are called, you know, the skinny plans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You find something goes wrong, so you pick an
enemy and you demonized somebody else. And this guy is -- it`s the
insurance companies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This just kills the market. We choose those
policies and yet the President says, "We didn`t choose well."

SCHULTZ: What else would you expect from the Republican Party but a
bunch of damn junk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of
Illinois. Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight. This has
really been an amazing week, the way the story has unfolded.

The Republicans have exposed themselves as the party that will
certainly defend corporations but also defend policies and lay it on the
President as a liar. It totally, put casting aside, the standards that
have been placed to protect consumers to elevate and upgrade insurance
coverage and healthcare in this country. I mean it is almost amazing how
they have handled this.

Your thoughts on -- do you find it amazing that Republicans are
defending junk insurance policies?

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well -- and you heard Michele
Bachmann say we had a fabulous healthcare system before of insurance.

You know, the number one cause of personal bankruptcy is healthcare
and the Healthcare Bills that people have wrecked up. Most to those people
are insured and that`s because they ended up with policies that don`t have
the consumer protections, that don`t have a limit on out-of-pocket cost,
that don`t have protections against (inaudible) those policies if you get
sick or cover pre-existing conditions or have a cap lifetime .

SCHULTZ: Congresswoman, is it possible that you`re colleagues over on
the other side of aisle didn`t know about these standards?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, you know, they first went after the website. I
think they figured out now that that is going to be fixed. And so, they
wanted to go after these plans that were -- that have been so bad. But I
have to tell you, Ed, it is frustrating right now even for people who
helped right and support Obamacare. What I`d like to tell those people
when they get those letters is you can go on the website and you can find
something that will be better for you.

SCHULTZ: Far better.

SCHAKOWSKY: That will actually provide you more coverage, better
coverage, and possibly, even at a lower rate than you were paying before.
And certainly, limiting the out-of-pocket cost, 60 -- about $6,500 is all
that you have to spend on this new - out-of-pocket when you get this new
policy.

SCHULTZ: I hope the Republicans don`t give up on Obamacare. I hope
they keep making fools of themselves. And, on the other hand, are
Democrats prepared to focus on healthcare between now and the midterms and
not let this go?

I mean I think this is a turning point. People get quality.
Americans get fairness, Americans get quality, Americans get a lower rate,
and that is what is happening with Obamacare.

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, it`s estimated that about 60 percent of the people
that signed up for Obamacare may be partly Medicaid as well as a private
plan. 60 percent will pay $100 or less. And if you`re talking about the
18 to 34-year-olds it`s estimated that about 50 percent of them will be --
pay $50 or less.


SCHULTZ: How do you .

SCHAKOWSKY: There are some good byes.

SCHULTZ: How do you think this will affect campaigns in 2014?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I think it`s going to matter how the website gets
fixed and how it goes after January 1st. And so, all of us are really
encouraging, trying to be helpful, in figuring out how to make this work.
And, you know, and that`s what we really need from the Republican.

SCHULTZ: What`s the buzz within the caucus about the way the media is
spinning this?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I have to tell you, you know, that members --
Democratic members are frustrated too, partly frustrated because of the
real benefit. I mean just think of it, Ed, the end of pre-existing
condition exclusion, the end of gender ratings so that it`s not a pre-
existing condition to be a woman. You know, all of these seem to have
gotten lost in all of these Republican attacks.

So, you know, the Democrats are holding firm, of course, in supporting
Obamacare but very frustrated by these attacks and frankly frustrated by
the rocky rollout that`s on .

SCHULTZ: Well, it is a keep on tracking moment. There`s no question
about it.

SCHAKOWSKY: There`s no question.

SCHULTZ: I mean I hope they keep trying to defend this and take a
part on this part of the bill because it really rips the scab off what the
Republicans are all about. They clearly favor the corporations. They are
not doing and acting with the consumers in mind.

And, you know, the party that always talks about freedom and
competition, that`s what this is about as well.

SCHAKOWSKY: Of course it is

SCHULTZ: And .

SCHAKOWSKY: And the freedom to be able to cover yourself and your
family, know that you`re going to be able to get insurance for that child,
with a disability for your wife who has cancer, you know about that, you
know, that`s freedom. That is real freedom.

SCHULTZ: It is.

SCHAKOWSKY: And they want to take that away.

I said to them in committee, after three and a half years of a
consorted campaign to defund, to derail, to repel Obamacare, get over it.

SCHULTZ: They can`t. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, good to have you
on the Ed Show. I appreciate your time.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

Coming up, Scott Walker`s new book.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: And the thin red line between fact
and fiction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Plus, the original bad scene of the Cruz family tree.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

And tonight`s Pretenders Ted`s father goes on a racist wrath against
the President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But next, I`m taking your questions. Ask Ed Live is just ahead. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. We love hearing from our
viewers. There is no doubt it is Halloween.

Tonight in our Ask Ed Live segment, our first question comes from
Susan Dailey, "If you could, which member of the congress would you dress
up as and why?"

That`s easy. John Boehner, he likes to have a couple of (inaudible)
and apparently plays a hell of a lot of golf, so that`d be an easy dress
up. I got a lot of golf shirts.

Our next question is from Gary Raab. He wants to know, "What do you
believe the American dream to be?"

Well, I can tell you what I think the American dream should be, and
that is that we leave this country a heck of a lot better off than the
country we grew up in. And I think that is a pretty goal for all of us to
have as parents.

Stick around, Rapid Response Panel is next.

SCOTT COHN, CNBC REPORTER: I`m Scott Cohn your CNBC market wrap
stocks. Down across the board, the Dow loss 73, the S&P fell 6, and the
NASDAQ drop 10.

Number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits fell 2.9
percent last week to 340,000, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage
at the lowest level since June this week, slipping to 4.1 percent.

Starbuck shares reversing a drop, edging up slightly despite slowing
sales (inaudible) Asia for the fourth quarter.

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. The government shutdown
obviously has got the nation upset on edge and it`s really showing up in
some polling in the middle of the country like Wisconsin.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson, one of the most critical of President
Obama. His approval ratings have drop to just 28 percent following his
obstruction in Washington. Wisconsin fed up with Johnson. But evidence in
the polls hasn`t stopped their governor from aiming for the White House.

Scott Walker is grasping at strolls for presidential bid with the
rewrite of his governing history in the state. Walker`s book titled
"Unintimidated" would be release for weeks but for the reports of
inaccuracies between the pages are already flooding in and making the
rounds.

Walker`s signature campaign pledge was to create 250,000 jobs in four
years is notably absent from the story because Walker`s goal has fallen
miserably short.

Walker leaves out, his age criminal conviction in the John Doe trial.
The governor shamelessly twist the outcome of his on going legal battle
with the union busting law. And Walker`s most glaring cover up is his most
serious. He chronicles the protests against his union busting policies
claiming. He never considered infiltrating troublemakers amongst the
peaceful demonstrators in Madison. This tape tells a very different story.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

KOCH IMPERSONATOR: What we we`re thinking about the crowds was
planting some troublemakers.

WALKER: The only problem with -- because we thought about that -- my
only fear would be, if there was a ruckus caused is that, that would scare
the public into thinking maybe the government`s got to settle to avoid all
these problems.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, in the interview Walker thought he was speaking today
with Koch and revealed his true feelings about causing a dangerous
situation of protesters.

Scott Walker isn`t surprising anyone with the cover ups in his book.
The Wisconsin governor is just starting his campaign of denial a little bit
early.

Joining me now in a Rapid Response Panel Ruth Conniff, Political
Editor of the Progressive Magazine and John Nichols Washington
Correspondent of the Nation Magazine.

Let`s start with the polling first. And Ruth what -- I mean
(inaudible) Ron Johnson just got elected. He`s at 28 percent, what`s going
on here?

RUTH CONNIFF, POLITICAL EDITOR: Well Johnson was elected in that land
for a year (ph), you know, I think 2010 and with the backlash against Obama
and he defeated Russ Feingold our Senator from Wisconsin who, you know, may
not be done being senator from Wisconsin, we`ll see what happens.

But Ron Johnson has been virtually invisible since he got to
Washington DC. He`s done basically nothing. He`s an Anne Ream (ph) fan,
you know, he ran on a pro-business platform. He stirred up the Tea Party
based. And I don`t think that many people are expecting him to be a leader
in Wisconsin politics for very long.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols how does Johnson recover? He has been very
critical out on the talking heads about Benghazi, about the IRS, and about
ObamaCare. How is he going to recover? I mean it took him all of 34
months to get to 28 percent.

JOHN NICHOLS, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I`m not sure he can recover,
Ed. If you look at polls from state across the country he has one of the
lowest approval ratings of any senator, Democrat or Republican.

And the important thing to understand in this is that they also polled
on the new senator from Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin.

Now, they have taken almost opposite decisions virtually opposite
decisions on every major issue, and while Ron Johnson is at 28 percent,
Tammy Baldwin is at 47 percent.

So, I think the takeaway from this is if Ron Johnson wants to recover
he should change his positions on the issues.

SCHULTZ: So, Johnson has been anti-Obama. Scott Walker also has been
anti-ObamaCare big time. He`s up for reelection in 2014 and holds just a
2-point lead against his Democratic challenger Mary Burke.

Now, I know a little bit about your state. I`ve spent a little bit of
time in Wisconsin but I don`t know Mary Burke. How does she get in within
2 points in the first polling, Ruth?

CONNIFF: Well, I know Mary Burke. I spend a lot of time talking to
her. And the thing is a lot of Wisconsinites don`t know Mary Burke and I
think that what this poll number show is not really so much the strength of
Mary Burke who is really yet to get her campaign underway, but just up the
state is not particularly please with Scott Walker.

So, really it`s going to get a whole lot better from here if people
get to know and like her. So, you know, this is really, this is Scott
Walker versus anybody is really what this poll is showing.

SCHULTZ: John what is this mean? I mean you got a senator and a
governor not polling very well. I mean Walker should be up and incumbent.
I mean if he`s the media darling of the state and he of course is the media
or also the darling of the Republican Party the way he`s been going all
over the country.

Is this shutdown politics have an impact in the Hartland?

NICHOLS: There`s no question the shutdown has had an impact, Ed. In
fact only about 19 percent of Wisconsinites roughly 1 in 5 thought it was
good idea, according to the recent polling.

So, that is a factor, but I think you also have to take in some of the
reality that Scott Walker`s now been governor for quite awhile. He`s had a
relatively tame period of time after the recall election to show his stuff.
And instead of creating a lot of jobs, instead of achieving a lot in
Wisconsin, he`s ended up heading all over the country. He`ll be in
Virginia this weekend campaigning for Ken Cuccinelli, a very Right Wing
Republican candidate for governor.

SCHULTZ: Perfect.

NICHOLS: And I think his problem is that Wisconsinites are really
getting onto him. It`s notable that in that poll you mentioned Mary Burke
to be announced the candidate, a Democrat got 45 percent, Kathleen Vinehout
a state senator who hasn`t even said she`s going to run for governor might
get into the primary got 44 percent.

So, what you see is Wisconsinites are clearly looking for an
alternative and then my sense is that if Scott Walker keeps running around
the country campaigning for president, somebody might be able to spend some
time in Wisconsin and beat him.

SCHULTZ: He clearly wants to be president of the United States once
the nomination in his book Walker made a point of trashing Romney`s
campaign strategy. He says that Romney did a lousy job of presenting a
positive vision of free market solutions to our nation`s problem in a way
that is relevant to people`s lives.

Ruth what do you think? Do you think Walker has laid out solutions?

CONNIFF: Well, he -- maybe he presents them with a smile in his face
and it sounds positive, but the reality in Wisconsin is we lag all of our
neighboring state in job creation. Our economy is suffering while the
economies around us are recovering.

You know, we - he`s made this promise that he hasn`t made good on and
he`s been the most divisive governor in state history by attacking school
teachers and public employees who are popular with the public and really
storing up a lot of angry and resentment. And his promise to people has
not been come with me and let me show you how I`m going to do things so
that things are better for you, instead what he`ll said is look at this
public employees they have health care benefits, they have a pension fund,
and yet this (inaudible) private sector workers who don`t have that -- you
don`t have so why should they have it.

So, it`s sort of a race to the bottom. It says, nobody should have
good benefits. He`s contracted health insurance. He`s contracted
BadgerCare which is our low income health care program here that are
Republican governor Tommy Thomson was very proud of. He`s turned away
federal money for development programs like big train, high speed rail that
would`ve connected us to other urban centers. And he refused like other
Republican governors to expand Medicaid.

So, we have more people who are struggling, fewer people with jobs and
we have less health care.

SCHULTZ: John what are the numbers? And we`ll give him the recall,
OK, because he was saying that .

NICHOLS: Yeah.

SCHULTZ: . you know, the economy in Wisconsin was stagnant because of
the recall and then after the recall he said things are going to pick up,
have they? I don`t know the numbers. What are they?

NICHOLS: They have not picked up particularly much. Sometimes the
numbers are varying of course, but Wisconsin as Ruth mentions continues to
lag behind neighboring states that`s really your test.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

NICHOLS: How does Wisconsin compare to a state like Minnesota.

SCHULTZ: What did he do to BadgerCare?

NICHOLS: Well, BadgerCare is a really significant issue. The
governor refused to buy into the expansion of Medicare and he`s also been
tinkering with these things in a way that actually throws tens of thousands
of people off programs that are working and forces them to go find
insurance in other places.

This is a hugely problematic thing in Wisconsin because the governor
hasn`t created jobs, yet he is making access to health care harder. If you
understand rural Wisconsin especially that`s a very, very tough
circumstance and I think that`s one of the reasons why when people get to
talk about the governor it`s not just this pairings for a gubernatorial
race in 2014.

The polling that`s come out has also looked at him as a potential
presidential candidate and that`s where he bring the federal issues and
things like ObamaCare, things like health care.

What`s notable on that is that roughly 60 percent of Wisconsinites in
a pairing with Walker versus Hilary Clinton say that they would not be
inclined to back Scott Walker for president. He gets beat very, very
badly.

SCHULTZ: Well, it`s going to be interesting. You got Kasich in Ohio.
You got Snyder in Michigan. You got Scott down in Florida. All of these
governors including Walker have been awfully tough on wage earners and
labor.

It`s going to be interesting to see how employees out in the midterm
if it has any effect at all in November. The new NBC News Wall Street
Journal poll shows that the publics view of the Republican Party has
reached another all time low in the survey with 22 percent seeing the GOP
in a positive way, 53 percent viewing it negatively.

And then, if you look at inside the numbers in Wisconsin it`s got to
be having an effect. Ruth how else do you read it?

CONNIFF: I think you`re absolutely right. And I think another issue
that you might want to bring in is Walker`s visit to Virginia which John
mentioned trying to assure Cuccinelli. Remember he was the Republican
governor who brought us the transvaginal ultrasound not a popular program
with women voters.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

CONNIFF: And Walker here in Wisconsin has done the same thing. We
closed Planned Parenthood clinic. We`ve rolled back accurate (ph) access.
We close down access, not just to abortion to birth control in the state.

Very, extreme anti-woman polls agenda and I think if you`re looking at
these female candidates who are looking at running against Walker for
governor that is going to play into this election in a big way.

SCHULTZ: Well, health care shutdown politics and polling by the
Republicans I`d thought I`d check in with the middle of the country to see
how things are going in Wisconsin.

Ruth Conniff, John Nichols great to have you with us tonight. Thank
so you much.

Still ahead, the S word why Republicans cling to their superstitions
on spending?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in Pretenders tonight daddy dearest Rafael Cruz. The
preacher has been bearing false witness while trying to boost junior`s
political career. Raffy Sr. called President Obama an outright Marxist who
seeks to destroy all concept of God. We now know where Ted -- daddy`s
issue started.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFAEL CRUZ, FATHER OF SENATOR TED CRUZ: We need to send Barack Obama
back to Chicago. I`d like if we sent him back to Kenya.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Oops, Senator Ted Cruz often praises his father as a symbol
of the American dream for coming from Cuba to the United States. Maybe we
should send both Cruz`s characters back to Cuba by way of Canada. Here`s a
trip for you.

Rafael Cruz thinks if he thinks bashing the President of the United
States is living the American dream, he can keep on pretending.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. This is the story for the
folks who take a shower after work. For the first time in five years, mark
it up folks, the US government has a budget deficit below $1 trillion.
That`s good news. Republicans refused to admit President Obama was able to
cut the deficit in half and he is not the big spender so-called
conservatives have accused him of being.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama called out for being a big spender.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the budget of Bush they were both big spenders
but Obama was way more of a big spender.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are the biggest spender in Congress under
President George Bush?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under Bush ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Barack Obama was the biggest spender in
Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang on, he`s a big spender. And that to me is
the heart and soul of the argument against Obama.

(ENDVIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: New numbers from the treasury department show that there was
a combination more revenue and less spending leading to a gap of $680
billion that`s billion with a B it`s the lowest level since the recession
now a bipartisan of House and Senate negotiators are working on writing the
first overall budget blueprint since 2009.

It all comes down to how they decide to generate revenue and we know
the Republicans have said, "No new taxes." And the Democrats have said,
"No, you`re not getting the big three." Let`s sort it out.

I`m joined tonight by Richard Wolffe, Vice President Executive Editor
of MSNBC.com and also Tax Specialist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
David Cay Johnston. Gentlemen great to have you with us tonight.

David Cay you first what does this mean these numbers on the heels of
a huge stimulus package what does it say?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, TAX SPECIALIST: Well, the President has cut the
deficit spending more than half which certainly puts the light of what
you`re hearing various Republicans say and when you adjust for inflation
significantly more so. And in 2017 his last budget it should be down to 2
percent of the economy from 10 percent that he inherited. We would,
however, be better off if we have little more deficit spending right now
because we`re short 9 million jobs and jobs reduced demand for government
services and increase revenues.

SCHULTZ: Unless you have corporations invest a bunch of thing but
bunch of investment in human capital and create jobs to expand their
business which is not their character, it`s cut to the bottom line.

Richard Wolffe what does this mean for the politics of all of this? I
mean, this is a great number on the heels of the President having his
lowest approval rating that we`ve seen in one poll as of late. But this is
good, this is what the Republicans have been crying about all along.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC.COM EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Right, which makes it
very hard for them to accept this reality that`s why they say, "It was the
Obama sequester and he`s caused all this pain." But actually the Obama
sequester is what has brought down this budget. You know, the hard thing
for them is that they`ve repeated some of this lie so often that admitting
through reality is a bit like election night itself becomes very, very
painful.

So, they want to say this is a budget crisis and maybe longer term
when you`re looking at the, you know, two decades down the road, you`re
going to say, "Yeah, this whole system breaks." But if you got a President
who`s willing to talk about some of the changes to calculations of Social
Security, you got a President who is saying, "Yeah, we need to make smarter
cuts but we also need to have some stimulus spending to get those jobs
back." Then you got a -- have someone on the other side that is willing to
face up to what the real numbers are, and right now this Republican Party
much prefers them this.

SCHULTZ: David Cay, federal employees are going to be getting their
first raise in three years coming up here in January and of course the GOP
play makers they want them to pay more towards their retirement benefits
and continue deficit reduction. Why don`t Republicans realize what a bad
idea that actually is that these federal workers who President Obama was
praising after the shutdown, you know, they`ve really bit the bullet pretty
hard here and is it imperative that they contribute more to their
retirement?

JONHSTON: Well, first of all the only source of money for the
retirement is from the workers, what they`re really talking about here, Ed
is reducing the cash wages that federal workers get and converting more of
their total compensation into pension money. And that`s a reasonable issue
to discuss, but for three years they have no pay raises to slash the staffs
tremendously. I`ve been talking to IRS lawyers who tell me that they are
being required now to put in 60 and 80-hour work weeks because of the
demands that are placed on them by the system and that`s not going to be
sustainable.

That`s really at the core problem. Government is essential to a well-
running economy and the big businesses in America and many small businesses
know that. And so, starving the government is a damn policy.

SCHULTZ: And quickly the word is no grand bargain in these budget
talks. What are your expectations?

JOHNSTON: We`re going to go through run crisis after another because
we have a group of people who speak as authoritatively about economics, but
clearly have no idea what they`re talking about.

SCHULTZ: And Richard Wolffe, how can that not hurt the Republicans
because every poll out there shows that the American people want the big
three protected and here we`re not going to get, you know, more revenue it
sounds like.

WOLFFE: Yeah. Look, everything that reminds voters of the shutdown
and that whole mess is bad for Republicans, they set this up that we going
to be talking about these same issues for many, many months. So, I think
it is a bad prospect for the Republicans every time we talk about the
budget right now.

SCHULTZ: What we saw of the President yesterday on health care, does
he going to do more of that? Does he need do more of that?

WOLFFE: He needs to do much more of any to explain ways done on the
budget, on health care, he needs to go sell that still today.

SCHULTZ: OK, Richard Wolffe, also David Cay Johnston great to have
you with us tonight. Gentlemen thanks so much.

JOHNSTON: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: That`s the Ed Show. I`m Ed Schultz. Politics Nation with
Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now. Good evening, Rev.

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

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