THE ED SHOW
March 28, 2014
Guests: Gordon Johnson, Barbara Buono, Steve Cohen, Jon Erpenbach, Lena
Taylor, Jim Wallis
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Americans and welcome to the Ed
Show live from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Let`s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: The fact of the matter is that I
have nothing to do with this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cleared of any wrong doing.
CHRISTIE: You can`t make up facts.
SCHULTZ: Give me a break.
CHRISTIE: Colorful bribe. Colorful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an enemy hit piece.
CHRISTIE: Custom commentary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The criticism is that this is an inside
CHRISTIE: No matter who I chose to do this, questions would be raised
by some quarters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the equivalent of having Dick Cheney
investigate George Bush.
CHRISTIE: There`s probably not a major law firm that I don`t have
some relation to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like a whitewash if you want to be
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been whitewashed so I couldn`t demonstrate.
CHRISTIE: That`s your assumptions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says it`s definitely not a whitewash.
CHRISTIE: I told him to find the truth no matter where it led
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe him?
CHRISTIE: Stop. You have to get the facts right if you`re going to
ask me a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight folks. Thanks for
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is I guess you could say in full
whitewash mode of the Bridgegate scandal. After his office`s internal
investigation cleared him of any wrong doing, the Governor now has embarked
on a true media blitz.
Late this afternoon, Christie gave a press conference, not
surprisingly. He just touted how rock solid this internal investigation
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: It`s an exhaustive report that follows the mandate that I
set out when we commissioned the review.
One thing was clear from the beginning, I told them to find the truth
no matter where it led, at the turn of every rock that they were able to
get to in order to get to the bottom for what happened and to let me know
what the truth was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All right. Let`s put it in perspective, keep in mind this
internal investigation was done by a law firm that he reportedly has
personal ties with, the New York Times reports and his friends with a
partner at the top of the firm, many people are calling this investigation
incomplete and flawed. Christie tried to downplay this narrative by saying
the firm, Gibson Dunn, had unfettered access to his staff and documents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: No matter who I chose to do this, questions would be raised
by some quarters as to those people`s objectivity. My answer to that is
look at the report. We gave them unfettered complete access to everyone in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What does unfettered access really mean? Does that mean you
interviewed everybody involved? Not so fact. Give me a break. Gibson
Dunn never interviewed key players in the Bridgegate scandal including
Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein.
Now, how can any of us come to the conclusion that there is anyway
that you can call this investigation complete and valid until everyone is
interviewed? The state investigation could be very different, the case is
far from shut and Christie knows it.
Meanwhile, Christie was also asked if the Bridgegate scandal would
impact the possible 2016 run. He said the scandal would have very little
impact on his decision to run for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: The fact of the matter is that I have nothing to do with
this and as I said from the beginning in this report has supported exactly
what I said. And in the long sweep of things, any voters, if they consider
this issue at all in considering my candidacy if there is one. I got a
feeling it`ll be a very small element of it if any element at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What`s the bottom line here? Christie thinks that this
report is the gospel. Very wishful thinking.
The Governor -- I tell you what. I don`t think any voter is going to
consider Bridgegate a very small issue. That`s what Christie wants him to
believe. Christie`s flat-out denial of this scandal is about one thing and
one thing only and that`s him running for president in 2016. This guy is
putting every bit of credibility on the line and it`s almost a circus.
There`s no grey area. It`s out there.
Governor Christie is setting, I think, a new standard for anybody who
ever tries to exonerate themselves from anything. This is how you do it
folks. His focus is not on the people of New Jersey. It`s on himself,
And this is where the skeptics come in. Most people my age, you know,
are pretty skeptical when it comes of -- when people come out so vehemently
saying that they are innocent. I think my generation has a jaded opinion.
We`re always suspect because in my lifetime, what have we seen? Too many
powerful politicians come out and lie to the American people and you can go
all the way back to Richard Nixon in 1973.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, 37TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I welcome this
kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their
presidents are crook. Well, I`m not a crook. I`ve earned everything I`ve
RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The charge has
been made at the United States that shipped weapons to Iran as ransom
payment for the release of American hostages in Lebanon. Those charges are
BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to say one
thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I`m going to
say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But Chris Christie is totally different. We know that he
hired his buddies at a law firm to put this report together and now it`s
gospel and we all know all of those statements you just shaw (ph) were
There is a major trust gap when politicians involved with just any
kind of a scandal especially with like Bridgegate and they come out and
they`re just so adamant about the fact that they had nothing to do with it
Christie is setting the bar on how to do this. He is clearing the
beach. He`s leaving no doubt and that`s part of the intrigue to this
But I want to share a story with you tonight about our Ed Show team.
You know, this attorney that had the press conference yesterday, Randy
Mastro, the guy that headed up the investigation that is a friend of
Christie, but wait a minute, he`s from the law firm that could really get
Well, our team reached out to Mr. Mastro today to get him here on the
Ed Show. I have a number of questions for Mr. Mastro. We didn`t hear back
from Mastro`s office. We heard back from the Governor`s office who
declined the invitation for Mastro to be on this show.
Now, I understand Republicans don`t like to go face to face with me
but the guy said he`s a Democrat so I thought well, gosh, let`s get him on
the Ed Show. So we put out the ask. We didn`t hear back from Mastro. We
hear back from the Governor`s office. No. They`re not connected at the
hip at all, are they?
Get your cellphones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, very penetrating I might add, "Is Chris Christie totally
impressed with himself or just partially?" Text A for Totally, text B for
Partially to 67622, you can always go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. We`ll
bring you the results later on in the show.
For more, let me bring in New Jersey State Assemblyman Gordon Johnson
and also with us tonight Former Democratic Candidate for Governor of New
Jersey Barbara Buono. Great to have both of you with us tonight and I just
-- I want your reaction both of you.
First you, Mr. Johnson, we put out an ask for Mr. Mastro. We don`t
hear back from his office, we don`t hear from the Governor`s office.
What`s your first reaction when you hear that?
ASM. GORDON JOHNSON, (D) NEW JERSEY: I mean, just as you said, this
is just a situation and they are connected at the hip, there`s only a
relationship there and I don`t know how you could say that this was a
thorough investigation when you don`t have the major suspect, so to speak,
who are involved in this.
So as far as I`m concerned, this was just a public relations stunt or
report and it`s -- the target audiences are the people in Iowa and the
Northeast and then in South for this upcoming primary campaign.
The people in New Jersey, no one in New Jersey -- a very few people in
New Jersey think that this governor didn`t know what was going on.
SCHULTZ: Barbara, your thoughts on a request going out to the guy
that was doing the investigation that we don`t hear back from his office.
Apparently, Mastro`s office can`t speak for themselves, they`ll just let
the Governor`s office handle it. How does that strike you?
BARBARA BUONO, FMR. STATE SEN. (D-NJ): It`s so clear. This guy is
the Governor`s defense attorney. He hired him to exonerate him, to absolve
him of any wrong doing, and he did it. He absolved the Governor and all of
his top aides incredulously without even interviewing most of the people
that were central to the issue.
So this is by no stretch an honest investigation. In fact, he gives
internal investigations a bad name. What it is, is it gives us a little
inkling into what Chris Christie`s defense strategy is going to be on down
And then also is a warning to people who might think that they want to
get involved and speak on some of these issues that, you know what, there`s
going to be consequences if you do and the consequences will be harsh.
SCHULTZ: You think there`s a message being sent there, Barbara .
BUONO: I sure do.
SCHULTZ: . from the Governor to stay out of this?
BUONO: Hey, look at how Bridget Kelly was treated. I mean, what this
report was successful in doing is that it honed and zeroed in on two
people, two culprits, they are the co-conspirators according to this
report, you know, Sampson wasn`t even interviewed and maybe we get to that
later as to why he says he actually resigned as the head of the Port
Authority, but he was crucial. He was the head of the authority and yet
the governor in his press conference today said he wasn`t -- that Samson
was not central to the investigation. Well, how could that passively be,
he heads up the organization, we know .
BUONO: . that he was into e-mails, talking about someone else and
then he was talking about retaliating against Mayor Sokolich. And so I
think that there`s a lot more to be said on this.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Johnson, what did you make of government`s comment today
when he said that there was some kind of traffic study going on? Your
thoughts on that.
JOHNSON: He is still pushing the traffic study. He`s -- I think he`s
just trying to run for cover. And as I said before that this is a covered
relation stunt or this is just to in somehow get more support, garner
support for himself in those areas outside to save New Jersey when it comes
to the primarily seating coming up. I mean, that`s all I can get out of
this. There is no way, after all this information has been put out that
one can believe it there was a traffic study going on.
BUONO: I mean and the timing.
SCHULTZ: Well .
BUONO: .is so key, the timing of the release and a couple days his
going out to the Shelly (ph) Adelson primary and he wants he wants to
position himself., so that he`s still seen as credible candidate for
president. And then, you know, he goes on to Diane Sawyer or the other day
for a nice puff piece, start taking about how everybody loves him in Iowa.
And I don`t know it governor but I think he might have read the --
misread the people from Iowa, because if you heard the governor of Iowa a
few months ago when he was talking about Chris Christie, perhaps coming to
visit the state, he said, "Well everybody is welcome, all governors are
welcome." But he had a piece of advice for Chris Christie, that he ought
to lose some of that Jersey swagger because Iowans like their public
servants, humble and hardworking.
SCHULTZ: You know one thing that struck me yesterday about Randy
Mastro`s press conference. He did not come off as an impartial
investigator and impartial observer. He came off as an advocate.
SCHULTZ: He came off as the guy who is on the payroll to do a sales
pitch. I mean, that.
JOHNSON: Well .
SCHULTZ: . his demeanor what was very clear. Mr. Johnson
JOHNSON: Is that what he`s hired to do? He`s just defense attorney.
SCHULTZ: Well, no, I thought he was hired according to the governor
today that he was told to get to the truth .
JOHNSON: Yeah, that`s right.
SCHULTZ: . to have unfettered access.
JOHNSON: I`m sorry.
SCHULTZ: But yesterday he came out and he acted like an advocate. I
thought it was just hilarious.
JOHNSON: I think that -- go ahead.
SCHULTZ: Now, what`s the new definition of unfettered access? What
JOHNSON: Are you asking me? I`m not sure. Well, I mean they have to
ask the governor of that definition. When the five and most important
people involve in this or not even questioned, not even interviewed, how do
say this is unfettered access? The five key people are not questioned.
So, I don`t understand his meaning of it.
BUONO: Access denied is what happened here with that David Sampson,
which is all the sudden he refuses to cooperate, he refuses to be
interviewed. And Governor Christie was asked at the press conference today
by reporter, "Well did you have a conversation with David Sampson and ask
him why he wouldn`t cooperate?" And he said, "Yeah," he said it was -- he
might abrogate attorney client privilege and if -- wait a minute, attorney
-- I`m attorney, attorney kind of privilege, who is he the attorney for
whose privilege he would abrogate? He`s not -- I know a lot of his clients
benefited from his work at .
BUONO: .the Port Authority. But he`s not Chris Christie
administration`s attorney, he`s not the Port Authority`s attorney so there
were a lot of questions that he could have and should had answered."
SCHULTZ: So Barbara, why do you think Sampson resigned today? And
the timing of it in the middle of this, on the heels of this report, on the
heels of an interview with Diane Sawyer, just two hours before the
Governor`s press conference, Sampson step out. What do make of that? The
timing is more than unusual and could it ...
BUONO: Yeah, you know, I.
SCHULTZ: . the heck he was 70 -- he was 74 six months ago, I mean
BUONO: Right, I was -- I can only speculate but on basing it on one
other -- the other separation shall we say of other employees. Wildstein
supposedly did it on his own volition. Baroni left of his own volition.
Bridget Kelly was actually fired. I think that, you know, this is a mentor
of a governor.
He relied on him heavily, he`s a very powerful individual, has
enormous amount of influence and I think that he was becoming more of
liability, because he would not cooperate with the investigation. And
maybe he just didn`t want to be bothered with it anymore, maybe he`s, you
know, maybe he`s in .
BUONO: . bunker himself, hiring his own attorneys.
JOHNSON: Well, he said he didn`t interview .
SCHULTZ: All right.
JOHNSON: .. he didn`t interview Kelly, he didn`t interview Wildstein,
did not interview Baroni and his people left. I mean if a person leaves
your employee like -- you just point that like, "Why are you leaving?" You
know, "Is there something we did wrong, something you did wrong? Why are
you departing?" But he never did that for some reason.
SCHULTZ: OK. Gordon Johnson, Barbara Buono, great to have you on the
Ed Show tonight. Thank you so much for joining us.
BUONO: Great to .
JOHNSON: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom
the screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @Ed Show and on
Facebook, we want to know what you think.
Coming up, Conservatives across the country are pushing to turn
schools into for-profit businesses. It is happening, you can`t deny it.
Rapid Response Panel weights in on Wisconsin`s fight for public education.
But first, John Boehner boxed at the Senate`s bill to extend
unemployment benefits. Why? If the Senate is for it, why wouldn`t the
House be for it? Congressman Steve Cohen coming up .
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. Time now for the Trenders
Social media, you can check us out on Twitter@Edshow. And on the radio
we`re there, Sirius XM Channel 127, Monday through Friday noon to 3:00 p.m.
Ed Show Social Media Nation, we have decided because you have chosen.
We are reporting.
Here are today`s top Trenders voted on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The number three Trender, Mike check.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Rogers, head of the powerful House
Intelligence Committee will not seek reelection come November.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, work is hard.
REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R) MICHIGAN: Really has been an honor and a
privilege to do what I do.
SCHULTZ: Intel Committee Chair Mike Rogers is leaving Congress for
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Michigan Republican says he`s leaving to start
a national radio show.
ROGERS: This was an opportunity hard to pass up. Having a bigger
platform to talk about the things I care about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s have a tune. I`m sick of this silence.
ROGERS: I do believe it`s important to have a dialogue that believes
in the productive conservatism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up the filth up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great, good stuff. I think people are getting
SCHULTZ: The number two Trender, high roller.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republican presidential candidates for 2016 are
making a pilgrimage to Las Vegas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Road trip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to go piss the ring today if Sheldon
Adelson trying to get some his money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think we can get there by midnight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honey, we`re going to be at Five Hundy by
SCHULTZ: Republican 2016 hopefuls, bet it all on Sheldon Adelson`s
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what`s really going on out here is a Sheldon
Adelson beauty contest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not to look (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is going crown a Miss. Republican.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Iraq, everywhere like such as.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is looking this weekend to find the most
electable mainstream Republican candidate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
SCHULTZ: And today`s top Trender, unsure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unemployment, insurance has stopped for two
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John Boehner and Eric Cantor are refusing to
extend those benefits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn`t a game, they`re hurting people.
Unemployment insurance moves forward in the Senate, but faces a dead-
end in the House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an effort to provide an essential lifeline.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) OHIO: I don`t see how it`s workable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I`m not doing that. I`m sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a concern about the people with no
cash in their pockets while you fight it with (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are driving me nuts.
SCHULTZ: By the end of this year, we could be looking at over five
million people if the Congress doesn`t act.
BOEHNER: Well, let`s just wait and see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.
We`re bringing you on here because we want to know what the folks back
home are saying, Tennessee, middle of the country, southern portion of the
United States. Let`s talk about the folks who have a job. Congressman, do
you think the folks who have a job feel that this is fair play for those
who are faced in long term unemployment? Sort it out for us.
REP. STEVE COHEN, (D) TENNESSEE: Well, it`s good for people who have
a job because if we put the unemployment insurance money out there and give
people basic necessities, they`re going to spend that money because they
don`t have any money. They`re going to spend that money and it`s going to
help the economy in general. And so for those people that don`t have jobs
they`re going to get the unemployment insurance to help put food on the
table and maybe help with their housing expenses and with their children.
But at the same time, it`s going to put money into the economy, help
improve the economy, create jobs and help those who already jobs. You
know, when they buy groceries or they buy retail or whatever they buy, and
somebody who`s got a job who`s going to make a little bit more maybe or be
it a little bit more secure in their job. This is good for the economy and
the Congressional Budget Office has always said that. Yet this House
leadership doesn`t understand that, it doesn`t care.
Just this week, they came .
COHEN: . out and said, "The immigration reform will bring $900
billion reduction of the deficit." They just can`t take yes for an answer.
SCHULTZ: Well, what about people in your district in Tennessee? Is
this upsetting them? Did they -- the sense of fair play has to come in
here. Do you hear people come up to you anywhere and say, "You know, I
really think Boehner is doing the right thing here." What about that?
COHEN: No, I don`t hear that. And I hear a lot of people who are out
of work who want jobs. Lots of people want jobs and they just -- they`re
not available. In Memphis, my home, we`ve had layoffs at banks, we`ve had
layoffs at FedEx even. There are people desirous of work and they have to
have those jobs available. And the jobs that the president is trying to
get through infrastructure which is so important the Memphis haven`t been
So it`s not -- throw a no fault for their own, that some of these
people who need the unemployment insurance to get them through tough times.
People understand that it`s the fair and right thing to do. And then also
it`s good for the economy.
COHEN: But, no, I just -- I can`t see this and nobody thinks Boehner
is doing right.
SCHULTZ: Well, Boehner says it`s unworkable. Is it up to the
Democrats to prove that it is workable? What`s the hold up? What is the
big logistical nightmare here that we can`t do unemployment benefits for
the long-term that are retroactive to when these all started that the end
of December 28th? I mean, what is the big intellectual lift here that
can`t be accomplished?
COHEN: I don`t know if there`s an intellectual lift. I think it`s
political. And I think that because it will help the economy. And it --
that will help the Democrats in 2014 and it will help the Democrats in
2016. And the Republicans came in office, Mitch McConnell said it back in
2009, their first job was to that President Obama didn`t get reelected.
Well, they failed in that.
Now, the big job is to see did they take the Senate, keep Mitch
McConnell in office and hopefully make him the majority leader in their
perspective and they want to maintain the House and get a big lead, because
they know they`re going to get cut December 2016 if we have a big year with
a big presidential turnout.
So they don`t want the economy to improve. They put party and power
ahead of country. And that`s really unfortunate.
SCHULTZ: Well .
COHEN: They also say they want their agenda. You know, Boehner`s got
to deal with Tea Party people who are more concerned about the deficit and
don`t want to see this go through without a pay for and they`re concerned
about passing their bills which reduce a lot of regulations that can hardly
harm the American public in terms of workplace safety and in the
environment and other places.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Is this is an election mover? Everybody wants to know
what going to motivate the Democrats in 2014. Is this an election mover?
COHEN: Well, the party obviously thinks so, because that`s what we
hear in caucus, that`s what we hear the president talk about. We hear
Hillary Clinton who`s a kind of our heir apparent (ph) speak about it. So
the pollsters and the Democrats obviously think is going to be move. Well,
I think we would need more than that. And I think we need jobs, we need
infrastructure spending and we need some technology movement and some
intellectually property laws. And we need some things that will move the
economy where we`ve got opportunities to, you know, maybe track people in a
But the Republicans obviously think not. And they`re not interested
SCHULTZ: All right.
COHEN: . people who are not at the top.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Steve Cohen, good to have you with us tonight.
I hope life in Tennessee is good .
COHEN: Always good to be with you Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.
COHEN: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Coming up, Scott Walker`s push to expand charter schools in Wisconsin.
More on the fight for public education with our Rapid Response Panel.
And later, revelations about President Obama`s meeting with Pope
But next, I`m taking your questions, Ask Ed Live just ahead on the Ed
on MSNBC. We`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. Love hearing from you
wonderful viewers out there. Tonight in our Ask Ed Live segment, our first
question comes from Don. He wants to know, "Why do Republican lead states
refuse Medicaid when it cost them nothing?"
This is one time Dan where it`s not about the money. It`s about their
view of government and the federal government they want no involvement.
Medicaid is the threat to the for-profit system which the Republicans don`t
want anything to with. And besides that it would make the president look
good, it will make the Democrats look good, and there going to walk hand in
hand with them especially on healthcare.
Our next question is, Mr. John John, "Why do people want to privatize
the post office when they complain about the price of a letter today?"
That is a great question because I think a lot of people don`t understand
that if we do go down the road of privatization of a delivery service in
this country, the prices are going to go through the roof, you`ll be
begging for stamp price the way we`ve got it today. The fact is no federal
dollars go into moving letters and packages with the post office.
That`s all money that you pay to use to send those packages. No tax
dollars are used. The only reason why the Republicans want to get rid of
the post office is because they want to kill the voting block, they are
anti-union and they want to privatize this for the corporations. But
what`s its going to do to small business in rural America? It`s going to
destroy them because their shipping and delivery services, on the bottom
line they`re going to go through the roof.
And so the price of a stamp today, you know what it is? It`s a deal.
And if they get rid of the postal service and they`re going to privatize it
you`re going to be paying through your teeth, big time.
Stick around, Rapid Response Panel is next. We`ll be right back on
the Ed Show.
HAMPTON PEARSON CNBC CORRESPONDENT: And I`m Hampton Pearson with your
CNBC Market Wrap.
The Dow adding 58 points, the S and P gaining eight, the Nasdaq up
four. Consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in February as Americans spend
more on healthcare and utilities. Meantime consumer sentiment fell in
March to its lowest level in four months. Nasdaq consumers are concern
about the economy. Starting Monday, McDonald will give away free cups of
coffee to its breakfast crowd. The deal will last for two weeks.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. New York City Mayor Bill de
Blasio has caved on his mission to protect public education of sorts.
State leaders reached a tentative deal in budget negotiations for charter
school protections which advances the Conservative mission to privatize
The deal is a big win Success Academies CEO Eva Moskowitz. The City
of New York will provide space for three success academy schools.
Moskowitz wanted to open an already established public facilities, public
Moskowitz`s lobbied hard, spend a lot of money in Albany after Mayor
De Blasio acts three of her plan charters last month. Governor Andrew
Cuomo made fighting for charters one of his key priorities, putting him at
odds with the Mayor of New York.
Here`s a bottom line when you start picking and choosing kids to go to
this school, that school, whatever school, public education ain`t going to
get the resources and it`s going to suffer.
New York is not the only region or the only state fighting for public
education, it`s happening all over the country. I was in Florida couple a
weeks ago, they`ve been fighting to keep resources in public schools since
1995. Now in Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, he wants to be
the hero to charter schools as well. In fact he`s one of the biggest
proponents of charter schools in the country.
He of course is for school vouchers and he is cut over a billion
dollars from public education. Joining me tonight from Wisconsin, we`ve
got State Senator Jon Erpenbach and also State Senator Lena Taylor, great
to have both of you with us.
Well the fight continues. Now, Andrew Cuomo in New York is an
exception. There`s not very many Democratic Governors up and down of the
line who were saying, "Yes let`s go charter schools."
It really seems to me coming from these radical Governors who can`t
get enough of privatizing everything they can get their hands on. Now my
position on this is that I think that this is the big mission. That they
want to privatize all of education, and they`re going to take what they can
get early on. Senator Erpenbach, Scott Walker has been pushing forward a
bill which would force low performing public schools to be closed or turned
them into independent charter schools.
Correct this for me, what is unfolding here? Because I think that
this is a major push to slam the doors on public education and only offered
up to the elite. What`s the situation here?
STATE SEN. JON ERPENBACH, (D) WISCONSIN: Right. Well I agree with
you Ed. And he actually have to go back to act 10, when you go back to act
10 and you take away collective bargaining rights, the next step is then to
cut public education funding. And you do through vouchers schools or
charter schools, you -- as you say you take away form public schools.
And where I grow up, the Middleton Cross Plains school district may
not someday have a choice accept to become the Middleton Cross Plains
school district incorporated. So anytime you siphon away money from public
schools, it`s not like we`re putting more money in, we`re actually taking
it away. But when you take away what we`ve already taken away and then you
give it to private schools we have a real issue with our public school
SCHULTZ: You know, Senator Taylor, what I`ve noticed is that every
time they get one charter school that does better than a public school,
they try to make that the conversation, "Oh charter schools, they out
perform the public schools. We got to keep going in this direction." Why
do you think these corporate reformers think that they`ve got the formula
to fix education?
STATE SEN. LENA TAYLOR, (D) WISCONSIN: I can`t really speak to why do
they Ed, but I can tell you living in a community where 85 percent of the
kids can not read, parents even teachers in the public schools are sending
their kids to charters as well as to other schools. We`ve have these
schools in our system for a long time. So Erpenbach is right, Sen.
Erpenbach is right.
First Walker defunded education tremendously, the biggest cut we ever
had in the history of our state. He then wanted to expand the voucher
program with out necessarily giving the kind of accountability that needed
to happen to some of those places. But the piece that I disagree with Sen.
Erpenbach on is right now the way our system is set up we have eight
different alternatives, so to say to the education for parents in
That schools that are not traditional schools get less dollars. But
those dollars going to pot where Sen. Erpenbach, Republican legislators all
over the state get those dollars instead of Milwaukee. Our kids are
suffering the most. So this is about quality education and it`s about fair
funding. But I don`t know if we can use the cookie cutter approach that
we`re talking about right now.
I agree that there is a concern when you have so many people feeding
of the trough (ph) of the education dollar. But the issue is we still have
to get to quality.
SCHULTZ: Well so Lena, you`re making the case clearly that there is a
resource shortage in certain districts in Wisconsin and our charter schools
TAYLOR: Well across the board it really is the funding formula that
we use in Wisconsin so, for example Ed a kid that`s in a public school we
might get a about to 10 to 15,000 depending on who you ask for that kid.
In charter school about eight, in a voucher school about seven, well that
7,000 and 8,000 difference, that`s from the charter and the voucher, it
goes back in a pot that all of the other districts benefit from except my
So in the end, you know, I hate to say it but it`s everybody. Seeing
not for the kids from Milwaukee and we have 85 percent of our kids across
the board, Public Charter, Voucher, you name it, that can`t read on grade
level. That is the standard of failure and that is not acceptable, that`s
a status quo I will not stand for.
SCHULTZ: Sen. Erpenbach, your response to that?
ERPENBACH: Well Lena is right, it`s not acceptable but at the same
time we`re comparing the apples to oranges. Public schools have to take
single kid who walks through that door. Voucher schools don`t, charter
schools don`t necessarily either. And Ed, I have to tell you anytime
someone from a for-profit company show up at your door step at says we have
a better idea as to how to teach kids, they`re in to make money first and
That their job. That`s what corporations do. At the same time in
order for Wisconsin and Wisconsin communities to maintain their own
identities. Public schools are key strong public schools are extremely
important. Overall our public schools produce wonderful kids, they`re
ready for college technical schools or wherever else and maybe going on the
We have some real issues in Milwaukee and other pockets of the state
and we need to address those issues. Lena is absolutely right. But at the
same time across the board, when you`re going for a state wide voucher
program, even though the numbers of students that can go to that program
are kept, the point is the state wide system is already in place for
privatization that happen all over Wisconsin and we can`t have that.
SCHULTZ: Yes. What about -- go ahead, your respond to that.
TAYLOR: I was just going to say, I don`t disagree with Jon that state
wide system that the Republicans put in place is not a system of fairness.
I mean, once you are eligible you then never have to have your income
examine begin. You don`t get to do that for W2, you don`t get that do to
do that for food stamps or child care.
So that`s a system that`s not fair. However the piece that I think
Jon missed is anywhere else the voucher program in the state doesn`t feed
off the TRAF in the same way it does in Milwaukee. So what I need is my
Democrat and my republican colleagues to stand up and say to Milwaukee
needs fair funding because our kids are being treated the worst and have
the worst outcomes.
TAYLOR: So in the end I refuse to continue to be this box that says,
it`s just one issue, this is larger than just funding, this is about
quality, what that standard will be.
SCHULTZ: Well OK, separating charter and public school that
conversation and debate, give a solution for Milwaukee Sen. Taylor. How
would you turn around those test scores in performance that you just talked
TAYLOR: I think one of the main things we have to do is create a
reading program across the board, first of all that is not only in our
after school programs but it`s in every component of the curriculum. We`ve
got to put reading everywhere. When 85 -- well you could argue that it`s
money Ed, but some of those things are not. Some of those things is just
getting the math teacher to engage reading differently for everyone to
engage things differently.
And I think that that`s key number one. Number two, I think we need
one ecosystem. We have eight different options and nobody has to answer in
one place. It`s very difficult if you are married and you got married
eight times and divorce seven times and you`re taking care of seven
different families, then you don`t have communication, your not going to
have a very active parenting plan and your wallet is going to be pretty
So I think we need one ecosystem again and being able to do that is
going to be very difficult if we continue this -- everybody`s in their
separate corners. We got to talk about what`s going to work for our kids
to get us the quality education, what outcomes are working and we need to
start doing those things across the board. And that`s not happening.
SCHULTZ: Well I think you`ve just described that there`s a very
different learning environment in inner city versus for the rural area of
Wisconsin. And I think it`s a same way in every state in America.
TAYLOR: You know, something else Ed? You know something else Ed?
TAYLOY: We`ve got to make sure that we can require a lesson plan.
How can you not require a consistent lesson for teachers? So those
SCHULTZ: Yes, OK.
TAYLOY: .are some things in Milwaukee that will make a difference.
But I agree, we can`t have eight different systems and expected it we`re
going to be able to make our dollars go the way they need to.
SCHULTZ: What about that Jon, I want to quick response from you on
that, the eight different systems. What about that?
ERPENBACH: Well, Lena`s right, the biggest problem we have in the
state of Wisconsin is funding our schools, it`s a not a fair funding form
that we have at all. But at the same time.
ERPENBACH: .what`s going on in Milwaukee is extremely difficult to
deal with, there`s a lot of successes in Milwaukee, there`s a lot of
successes around Wisconsin. We need to build on that, there are really
good things happening in our public schools and we need to build on that.
TAYLOR: I`m a product of the public schools.
SCHULTZ: Wisconsin State Senators Lena Taylor and Jon Erpenbach.
Great to have both of you with us tonight, thank you so much.
Coming up, the Conservative radio host who says "God designed us for
Pretenders is next. Stick around, we`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: And in Pretenders tonight, design flow, Bryan Fischer, the
right winger thinks he`s starring in his own episode of Mad Men.
Fischer says he likes to put women in their place right at the
secretary`s desk. The Conservative radio host says, it`s all part of God`s
design. Discrimination laws are just getting in the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN FISCHER, AMERICAN FAMILY RADIO, "FOCAL POINT" HOST : I think
God has designed women for their primarily outlet, for their creativity,
their energy, their love, their personality to be in making home for their
husbands and children. Are their obligated, are they commanded, ordered by
God to do that? No. But I believe that is God`s basic design. That`s how
we designed male and female to work together.
When I went to hire a receptionist, when I went to hire a secretary,
when I went to hire somebody who is going to answer the phones for a church
and I said, "Guys, don`t bother replying." I absolutely discriminated them
on the basis of gender. You want to and sue me? Equal Opportunity
Employment Commission, knock yourself out
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I wonder if Mike Rogers` talk show is going to be like that.
Anyway, Fischer couldn`t be prouder of his backward behavior.
Bryan Fischer doesn`t know how to run for office, he`s just running
his mouth. If Bryan Fischer thinks being Godly means being gross, he can
keep on pretending.
SCHULTZ: Welcome to the Ed Show. This is the story for the folks who
take a shower after work.
President Obama made his second visit to the Vatican on Thursday where
he met Pope Francis. The Vatican described the meeting as cordial and it
make sense. These two men have a lot in common. President Obama blazed
the trail as the first black President. Pope Francis is the first Latin
American head of the Catholic Church.
Both men have put a focus on income inequality highlighting the need
for economic justice and both men have highlighted the need for immigration
reform. Both have been called progressives. That common ground doesn`t
sit too well with the folks across the streets. So they found something
else to focus on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did these two men actually have more in conflict
than they do in common? Many are saying they`re more different than they
are a like. I mean, look at the issues that the Catholic Church believes
in. Not exactly the same platform as the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re completely against each other on all three
of them. Pope Francis is very favorable. Look at that, he`s at 76 percent
approaching 80 percent. Meanwhile, when you look at the president -- our
president`s approval rating, he`s close to 60 when it comes to disapproval.
So you can see right now you`ve got somebody who is ascending and somebody
else is descending in the polls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Catholic Church and President Obama are very
different with their beliefs and what they agree on. Pope and the
president do not always see eye to eye especially when it comes to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners.
Reverend, great to have you with us tonight.
I thought there were a lot of parallels between president Obama and
Pope Francis especially when you focus in on the social teachings of the
Catholic Church. Sort this out for us, Reverend.
JIM WALLIS, PRESIDENT SOJOURNERS: Good to see you, Ed.
First of all, it`s important not to try and put the Pope into our
political paradigms and categories left and right, liberal, conservative.
His job title as the Vicar of Christ, I think he`s doing his job
pretty well. He`s asking what would Jesus say to all of us. And that
probably will make all of us a little uncomfortable. Jesus said how you
treat the poor, the hungry, the homeless is how you treat me.
They talked about that apparently for a long time in the meeting about
the poor, about how politics and economies are judged by how we treat the
poor, and about economic equality all over the world growing. They talked
about war and conflict in Syria refugees being killed. Jesus calls us to
be peacemakers. They talked about war and conflict and the poor for most
of that meeting as far as we can tell.
SCHULTZ: Well, according to a statement from the Vatican, the two did
discuss "The exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and
conscientious objection" that`s obviously alluding .
SCHULTZ: . to the contraception mandate. Do you think it was as much
a focus as Conservatives would like you to believe?
WALLIS: Well, as -- what`s clear on the visual you showed. He was
the first African-American President of the United States and the first
Pope from the developing world. And the Pope is not as interested in
religious wars and culture wars. He is committed to a culture of life and
many of us faith community are. But he wants to talk about the consistent
ethic of life. He doesn`t focus on just one issue. He`s talking about how
the poor and vulnerable are being treated.
And so that religious and liberty and healthcare shouldn`t be at odds.
Both are very important and we can find ways to resolve those questions.
But to try to make the Pope sort of put him into our political wars as I
just saw happening here, this would -- this is really a distortion of what
the Pope is saying. The Catholic teaching that the pope is talking most
about is called the preferential option for the poor.
Now, a preferential option for poor people is something that neither
of our political parties really demonstrates day to day. So we`re all
going to be challenged by the prophetic where the Pope and the Vicar of
Christ should do that and shouldn`t be trying to squeeze him into our
SCHULTZ: And finally, Speaker Boehner has asked the folk to address a
joint session of the Congress during his expected visit to the United
States next year.
What do you think the Pope would have to say to the Congressional
Republicans? I mean, you know, I know you don`t want to get political on
it but the fact is they would be sitting right there, he would be speaking
to a political body. Would this be good?
WALLIS: It`d be wonderful. The president invited him to the White
House as well. I hope the Pope would come.
A Bishop yesterday brought a 10 year-old little girl to see the Pope.
Who said to the Pope, "Please save my father. Tell to them to save my
father who`s up for deportation." I want to see the Pope talk to us about
welcoming a stranger. Yes, he`d speak about fixing a broken immigration
system, about protecting the poor, about protecting vulnerable life
wherever it`s vulnerable. I think he challenged Democrats and Republicans.
I love to see him come and then we should all hang on to our seats.
WALLIS: Because we`re going to hear about what Christ might think
about how we`re living and even doing our politics.
SCHULTZ: All right Jim Wallis, Reverend, great to have with us
tonight, President of Sojourners here .
WALLIS: Good to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: . on the Ed Show. Thank you so much for joining us.
I`m off to Madison, Wisconsin tonight, a rally to remember. I`ll be
speaking at the alliance center tonight.
And then tomorrow, I will visit the Rosebud Sioux, a Native American
reservation in South Dakota to follow up on their story about the Keystone
XL Pipeline. The Sioux Natives say that their story has not been told. We
will tell it next week on the Ed show.
That`s the Ed show. I`m Ed Schultz.
Politics Nation with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now. Good
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