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The Ed Show for Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

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Date: March 17, 2015
Guest: Laicie Heeley, Bob Shrum, Shmuley Boteach, Joe Berg Marc Pocan,
Larry Cohen, Patrice Wright, Clarence Page


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... Attorney General is the mimic answer from
Charlotte`s Ritz-Carlton.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A budget is a moral document.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does is hang ups with that past of who stands...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock will resign.


SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for watching.
We start with breaking news.

The polls in Israel closed moments ago and we are getting a look at exit
polling. Local news in Israel is reporting Benjamin Netanyahu is neck and
neck with Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog.

At this hour, it is just to close to call, Netanyahu has served as Prime
Minister for the past six years and he is seeking his fourth term. It`s no
doubt Republicans are hoping for a Netanyahu win with the Iran nuclear deal
currently being negotiated political tensions here in the United States are

The firestorm over freshmen Senator Tom Cotton`s open letter to Iran that
didn`t (ph) going away anytime soon. The Iranians reportedly expressed
concerns about the letter somewhere in the letter could give the Iranians
leverage or derail the negotiations altogether.

Cotton could careless. He is making no apologies.

On Monday night, Cotton gave his first ever Senate floor speech in with
rite (ph) to fear-mongering.


SEN TOM COTTON, (R) ARKANSAS: We must not continue longer on a course in
which we alone are growing weaker while the other nation is going stronger.
I wish I could take credit for this eloquent ominous words but I cannot.
Winston Churchill sounded that warning in 1933 as Adolf Hitler had taken
power in Germany.


SCHULTZ: It took Cotton less than one minute to bring up Hitler`s name.
Cotton went on to speak about Iran.


COTTON: I simply note that the deal foreshadowed by the President allowing
Iran to have Iranian enrichment capabilities and accepting an expiration
date on any agreement to cope from Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, doesn`t
block Iran`s path to the bomb. It paves Iran`s path to the bomb. If you
think as I do, Islamic state is dangerous, a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic
is even more so.


SCHULTZ: Texas Senator Ted Cruz is also out fear-mongering about Iran.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: This deal that is being negotiated by the Obama
administration is profoundly dangerous both to the security of our friend
and ally Israel, but also to American national security.


SCHULTZ: The Republicans are out of step with most Americans.

A recent CNN Poll shows 68 percent of American support, the United States
efforts to strike a P5+1 nuclear deal with the Iranians. No matter how you
feel about this Iran deal, Republicans have definitely throwing a wrench
into negotiations and that was probably part of their plan.

The United States and five other countries have been working tirelessly
very hard on this high stakes negotiations over last year. Republicans in
the name of political theater are putting peace at risk so they could
careless (ph) if they are putting America on a path to another war in the
Middle East. At least that`s if you believe they`re rhetoric.

For more, let me bring in Steve Clemons, MSNBC Contributor and Editor-at-
large for the Atlantic, Laicie Heeley is with us tonight of the Center for
Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Founder of This
World: The Values Network here tonight, and also Bob Shrum, Democratic
Strategist and Warsaw Professor of Politics in USC.

And Bob, we`ll start with you tonight because you have worked in the past
with the labor party in Israel -- and been involved in some of their
elections in the past. How heavy a lift has this been for Netanyahu and
what do you make of these early results?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, Ed, what I make of the early
results is that, we`re going to know for sure who is going to form the
government, there`s probably an easier path for Netanyahu to put a
coalition together but there are some possibility that Herzog can.

This is not what Netanyahu expected when he called the election. He
thought it was going to win by a big margin. He forgot the lesson in 1999
when he lost the last time, and he was coupled in part (ph) because of
dissatisfaction with the economy.

I mean, we run (inaudible) set if a 100,000 people have lost their jobs.
Why should Netanyahu keep this? He forgot that.

Now, what he did in the last couple of days is that economic
dissatisfaction mounted was go to very heavy emphasis on national security
even going to the point of renouncing his own support for the two state
solution, Israel and Palestine, side by side. And if he does form the next
government and that`s his position, it`s got a really complicate Israel`s
position in the international community.

SCHULTZ: Bob, why is this close? Why is this race close? What is the
real dissatisfaction with Netanyahu?

SHRUM: Well, I think the dissatisfaction is -- economic revolves around
housing and cost of living. And so -- but he may win this because the
right is stronger and broader than it was in 1999. Partly as a result of
the fact that Yasser Arafat and the PLO rejected the offer that was made by
Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak of a peace settlement. And I think since then
people become discouraged about the idea of peace and Netanyahu in the last
several days, hit national security over, and over, and over again. Double
edge sword -- made them look like he didn`t care much about domestic issues
but it appeals to a lot of voters.

SCHULTZ: Rabbi Shmuley, what you take on the news at this hour?

to thank the Irish people for allowing the Israeli elections on Saint
Patrick Day. This is my way of saying thank you.

But you know, I wish, Bob, were correct. I wish you were right, Ed, that
all of this is just political theater and manipulation on the part of
Netanyahu to win votes.

I wish the Jewish people in this were not at risk. I wish Iran was not
threatening Israel denialation (ph). I wish Iran was not trying to build a
nuclear bomb. I wish that they were not the world`s foremost sponsors of
terrorism but they are.

So to say that none of this has any grounding in reality, and this is just
manipulation and fear-mongering on the part of Tom Cotton or Ted Cruz or
Benjamin Netanyahu, is to evade reality of who Iran is.

Now, the victory today is for the Israeli people. Israel is a democracy
with all threats, with all these genocidal existential dangers. They still
conducted a fair and open election with Arab parties and Jewish parties,
that`s astonishing.

Now, contrast Israel with Iran. Why are we sidelining our ally Israel in
this negotiation with Iran and kind of demonizing the people who want a
seat at the table to be part of the negotiations while we continue to say
Iran might walk away from the negotiations...


BOTEACH: ... Iran might be upset. Who is Iran?

SCHULTZ: For Rabbi, why -- if this hit national security so hard and this
is the position of the Israeli`s, why is this election close?

BOTEACH: Oh, because for many reasons, first of all, I think that economic
issues did play a big role. Netanyahu admitted, he did not focus on them
sufficiently. There is this great looming danger of Iran but there are
also people who want to pay their rent.

Obviously, Israel kept only deal these existential threats. It`s kind of
pay (inaudible) cheese and bread. I get that. They may also be Bibi

No one is saying Netanyahu is perfect, what we are saying is that his
warnings about Iran are not just political theater and I believe that
anyone who sits in the Prime Minister`s chair whether it`s Isaac Herzog,
profession Netanyahu or Tzipi Livni is going to be opposed to the deal.

SCHULTZ: Well...

BOTEACH: ... that President Obama striking with Iran. They`ve said so
already. They are with Netanyahu in their opposition to the deal.

SCHULTZ: Well, the fact that his gone on national security down the
stretch underscores that he feels like he was in trouble. I mean, Laicie,
how else do we read that?

the Prime Minister is the handling of this election. He certainly stacked
to national security. This is certainly his issue, this is won him
elections in the past. And so he is stacked to it even going as far as to
give a speech to the U.S. Congress on this Iranian issue. It was very

However, what was not well-received was his reaction to economic issues
such as housing. In response to -- and this is now a well-know tweet from
the Prime Minister during the campaign season on a bad report on housing
prices. He responded with a tweet online that said that yes when I think
about the housing crisis, yes, they are terrible but I don`t forget life
and the most, the largest threat to our live is a nuclear Iran.

Now, this is just where the complete disconnect with Israeli people, they
couldn`t connect to the two in the way that Netanyahu does and so this is
really something I think that has ultimately hurt his chances in effective
people`s view.

SCHULTZ: Steve, I`m anxious to get your take. Did the speech to Congress
backfire to have Netanyahu in this position at this hour?

said it well that Bibi Netanyahu calling his election two years early was
one that he expected a slam dunk and he didn`t get it because of some the
antics he pulled off, not only in Congress but after the Charlie Hebdo

And some of the things you`ve said, you know, I understand where Rabbi
Shmuley and others, you know, believe that many constituents in Israel do
buy Netanyahu`s line but there are a great number of other people that see
him as reckless, out of control and someone who is political star thrives
on fear and fear-mongering. And that, he has (inaudible) the other day
said, you know, that Herzog and Tzipi Livni would deliver a Hamastan, you
know, playing of Hamas on the border of Israel.

And someone who believe that any gestures, any direction in the
neighborhood in which Israel has to exist for many decades and centuries
ahead has to change the temperature in the region, and he just doesn`t
invest in that.

And while there are many devoted to Israel`s destruction and ill will in
Israel, there are many others that could be constructive players. And
Israel places significant role in dialing that up or dialing that down and
he sees his political -- his political assets increasing by stressing those
items whether not going well and not creating...


CLEMONS: .... the environment there.

He is now said, he won`t support a Palestinian state. What does that do
for the United States, the next time Palestine...

SCHULTZ: I`d like to ask Rabbi Shmuley that, what about that...


SCHULTZ: ... he doesn`t support a Palestinian state, a two-state solution,
what about that Rabbi? Do you think he is reckless?

BOTEACH: Well, as I said, the most important thing for me is thriving
Israeli democracy. I don`t believe in two-state solution because Hamas is
opposed to Israel existing. They have a covenant calling for genocidal
charter. Mahmoud Abbas is in the 10th year of a four-year terms. So he is
not really democratic.

I would love to see a one-state solution where all the Arabs, the
Palestinians living in the west bank have full voting rights on a timetable
for parliamentary elections so that there is Israel is fully (inaudible)

SCHULTZ: Is that realistic? Is that realistic, Rabbi?

BOTEACH: I think it`s more realistic than having Hamas who would win an
election in the west bank today which is why Abbas is not come to the
polls, is the reason Abbas doesn`t even set foot in Gaza because he is
afraid for his life that the Hamas force will kill him.

There was no Palestinians support, barely any for two-states solution.
There is no.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, what about that?

SHRUM: Well, look, the Rabbi -- what the Rabbi is doing is parroting the
stuff that Netanyahu says. If you go down this road to a one-state
solution, only one of two -- things is going to happen.

Israel will either lose its character as a Jewish state. Demographically,
the Arabs will overtake Jews in Israel as the biggest voting block and they
will takeover. You will have an Arab Burung (ph) government. Or
alternatively, and I don`t know what the Rabbi means by a timetable for --
when Arabs could vote.

You`ll have a form of apartheid in Israel which I think would be
devastating and I`m a strong supporter of Israel. That would be
devastating to Israel`s situation with Europe and the rest of the world.

BOTEACH: Well, let me response to both. First of all, the Israeli birth
rate is now beginning to overtake to the Palestinian birth rate and there
is huge Halihan (ph) immigration. So I`m not sure that you`re right about
the demographic

SHRUM: Where is the Halihan (ph) coming -- where is the Halihan (ph)
coming from? Do you think everybody is going to leave France?


SHRUM: Are you in that (inaudible)?

BOTEACH: No. No. I don`t think that Jews should be pushed out of Europe.
I don`t believe that design stream should be eclipsed by the European
nightmare. So let`s not go there.

SHRUM: So, you`re thinking a one-state solution...

BOTEACH: Just a moment.

SHRUM:. that you would actually have an Israeli Jewish majority?

BOTEACH: The demographics that you`re quoting are outdated. The new
demographics are showing that even with the annexation of the west bank,
there probably 65-35 or 60-40 Israeli majority. Nobody wants.

SHRUM: Where do you get those at Fox News?

BOTEACH: Just one second. Nobody wants an apartheid state and so
offensive to even suggest that when you know that that`s nothing but a way
of black falling (ph) Israel, there no truth to that whatsoever...

SHRUM: No. I`m a strong supporter or Israel, I have to disagree with

BOTEACH: And well, we don`t bring up the apartheid argument when you

SHRUM: I have to disagree with you.


SHRUM: If they`re going to them into Israel and.


BOTEACH: And I just said that. And you said, you`re afraid of the
demographics and I`m telling you these very new demographic studies.


BOTEACH: And you also note that the place (inaudible)...

SCHULTZ: Everybody could find a new study. Laicie, how to you brace this

BOTEACH: But the point is nobody wants Arabs to be disenfranchised. We
want to.

SCHULTZ: Laicie, I want you to get in here. What are you thoughts on

HEELEY: I think that the Prime Minister really, importantly and with
regard to the election, and not with regard to necessarily, the -- where
would she go with regard to a two-state solution or one-state solution.

The Prime Minister`s move here at the very end of the election really
signals that this is a sign of his weakness.

This is a very close election. He hasn`t have a close election like this
in the past and it`s very interesting to see the prime minister in this

SCHULTZ: All right.

HEELEY: ... where he is gone this way, you know, disagreeing with himself

SCHULTZ: Steve, what about Tom Cotton? Are the Iranians even paying
attention to this guy?

CLEMONS: I think that right now in this fragile period as we, you know,
look in the next several weeks before the end of this month when an Iran
deal (inaudible).

Iran is shrugging him off. I think they`re very aware that there`s a
contingent of leaders (ph). What`s interesting about Cotton and Ted Cruz
is it used to be Lindsey Graham who used to be the high (inaudible)


CLEMONS: . you know, red flag waver. But Lindsey is looking very calm and
sort of poetic compared to the new breed of folks that are coming into the

And I think that Iran, at least for right now, look, I have my own problems
with Iran. My own skepticism but this is a very big important strategic
deal and I think momentum is on the side that we`re going to strike a deal.


CLEMONS: And I don`t think they want to get distracted by Tom Cotton and
these theatrics.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, what did you think of Tom Cotton`s first floor speech
in the Senate?

SHRUM: Well, I didn`t think a lot of it. I think it`s clearly an appeal
to the Republican right.

He clearly has no solution to this. I mean, the solution I keep hearing
is, let`s have more sanctions and somehow order they`ll give in. Why do we
assume that?

If you look at the history of the Islamic Republic from 1979 and on,
they`ve been willing to put enormous pressure on their own people. The
idea that there`s going to be a revolution there in the short term that`s
going to overthrow them seems to be to be completely wrong.

So you have two solutions.


CLEMONS: . that are possible. One...

SCHULTZ: That`s right.

CLEMONS: ... you do a deal, the best deal you can or two, go to war. I
think a lot of this people want to go to war.

SCHULTZ: All right. And again, the Israeli Prime Minister Election just
taking place right now as too close to call at this hour.

Steve Clemon, Laicie Heeley, Rabbi Shmuley and also Bob Shrum. Great to
have you with us tonight, I appreciate the conversation.

SHRUM: Thank you.

BOTEACH: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Remember to share your thoughts with us on Twitter @edshow and on
Facebook, you can get my video podcast at

Coming up, food fight. Republicans take aim at food stamps again. Plus,
why North Carolina`s attorney general is investigating the Ritz-Carlton?

Story ahead, stay with us. We`ll be right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. Thanks for watching tonight.

Washington D.C. is dressed in green for Saint Patrick`s Day but House
Republicans are including a lot less green in their new budget.

The Republicans are calling for spending cuts in making a new push to
repeal Obamacare.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I was hoping for little luck
to the Irish as the Republicans put forward to budget.

stronger America, to say it`s $5.5 trillion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No new taxes for growth (ph) economic policy, for
growth (ph) tax policy.

OBAMA: It`s not a budget that is going to help to ensure that middle class
families are able to maintain security and instability.

ROBERT WOODALL, (R) GEORGIA: A budget is a moral document. It talks about
where your values are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The SNAP Program, the food stamps program, we believe
is much better run at the state level.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R) WISCONSIN: One of the things (inaudible) food

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One in five children live in families that are on food

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the best that America can do?

effective food stamp president in American history.

OBAMA: It`s not a budget that reflects the future. It`s not a budget that
reflects growth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A time for the federal government to tighten its
belt, live within its mean just like Americans do everyday.

OBAMA: We`re going to have a robust debate.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE: President has never proposed a budget
that balances.

OBAMA: I`ll keep my four-left clover in my pocket and see if the speaker
and Mitch McConnell are interested having that conversation.


SCHULTZ: For more on this tonight, I`m joined by Tom Colicchio who is a
Food Policy Action Board Member and MSNBC`s Food Correspondent also. With
us tonight Joe Berg, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition
Against Hunger.

This is not good news but I guess I kind of feel like, Tom, that you knew
this was coming. Yes, the Republicans has don`t seem to be backing off on

TOM COLICCHIO, MSNBC FOOD CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. You know, they just can`t
keep their hands out of people who has struggle in his pockets (ph). They
just -- they can`t help themselves.

SCHULTZ: What does it mean to you when they say that they think the states
can do a better job how vulnerable that may to our people?

COLICCHIO: Well, that`s a terrible idea. I mean kicking this back to the
states. You`re going to give a Governor discretion over how they can spend
this money. So let`s take Governor Chris Christie who has a huge budget
deficit right now. He`ll be able to take this money and actually so
potholes as opposed to fill the hunger peoples` stomach. So I think this
is terrible idea.

SCHULTZ: Joe, how would this affect if they did get what they wanted and
were to allocate the money to the states if this budget were to get
through, what would that mean?

for tens of millions Americans, most of whom are working parents, children,
senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities. I can`t feel
(inaudible) understands why it seems like the only play in the entire
modern Republican Party playbook is taking food, shelter and other
necessities out of the household budget from struggling Americans including
lower middle class Americans and poor Americans.

SCHULTZ: Why are there more people on food stamps is that play right into
the income inequality which of course has been highlighted quite a bit on
this show? It is now pretty much a national conversation the income
inequality that we have seen separate over the years.

BERG: Well, it`s important to note that there are 1.5 million, fewer
people receiving food stamps SNAP benefits today than two years ago, that
is partially result of the improving economy under this presence and
partially result of the cuts that have reduce the benefit size, and
therefore have made it less helpful to apply. But the reason so many
people need these benefits is because conservative policies have wreck the
economy and 49 million Americans living households, that can`t afford
enough food.

Again, we are punishing the victims. We have members of Congress who are
crooked, Michael Grimm and Aaron Schock, who have lead the Congress who
voted to cut food stamps benefits because supposedly hungry families
weren`t virtuous enough to get his government help.

The hypocrisy here is amazing. And let me just quickly say, they`re not
turning this back to the states. The two biggest changes they passed in
the last farm bill took flexibility away from governors. Therefore more
flexibility -- for states when it hurts poor people and we`re flexibility
for the federal government when they hurts poor people. They`re only
consistency is shafting poor people.

SCHULTZ: Your response to that.

COLICCHIO: Yeah. Well, listen, SNAP is kind of circulo (ph) program, so
meaning that when the Negroes the program rises to meet it.

Now, let`s look at certain national disasters like Hurricane Sandy for
instance, when all of sudden there`s a need. SNAP rises to meet that need,
now you would need an active Congress if you kick this back to the states
and turn to a (inaudible). The only way to actually put more money into
that state program, you need act of Congress for that to happen.

This is a terrible for so many reasons. SNAP programs works, there`s very
little fraud in the program in fact under 2 percent here. Nobody runs
around saying that the SNAP programs, (inaudible) fraud absolutely not sure
at all.

And so, people really need to understand what this program does, who it
supports and that people are still struggling and desperate, you know, if
you really want to cut SNAP, let`s raise minimum wage.

SCHULTZ: Well, true. The farm community doesn`t complain about SNAP at


SCHULTZ: And it`s been part of the farm bill for decades. You warned us
about another Tom, Tom Cotton. I mean, this is now a cultured that they
just will not back off on food stamps or -- and cutting these areas of the
budget. What`s your response to the news that Cotton has been involved in?

COLICCHIO: What really amazes me is that, if you look through the south
and if you look for all the (inaudible) red states that`s where the need is
the greatest.


COLICCHIO: And yet, these guys still want to cut as much as they can. And
it just always surprised me how people will vote against their own self-
interest time and time again.

Tom Cotton when his campaigning, was talking about cutting SNAP and he got


COLICCHIO: And, you know, we just have to do better. We have to hold our
elected officials accountable and we have to call them out when they`re
trying to take food off of hungry peoples` plates. And again, we`re not
talking about, you know, deadbeats (ph). We`re talking about seniors,
we`re talking about people with disabilities, 16 million children relay on
SNAP. This is not something we really want to mess with now.

SCHULTZ: Joe Berg, what changes would you make if any to the SNAP program?
Reversing the conversation here, what would you do? What would you do to
enhance it?

BERG: I would increase coordination between SNAP and other federally
funded programs. I would say every working poor family that`s eligible for
earned income tax credit as you apply for that earned income tax credit,
you automatically get SNAP benefits. And I would dramatically reduce the
bureaucracy but instead of putting that money into tax cuts for the mega
rhetoric (ph). Ever more or worse, I`d spend that money on feeding more
hungry families and particularly ensuring that working families have enough
benefits to be able to support work.

SCHULTZ: All right. Tom, your thoughts on that.

COLICCHIO: I agree. You know, Joe (inaudible) run ahead. And so, your
not love to see -- and see if you lost SNAP benefits, you are enroll to
vote because that`s what needs to happen. Your people need to get out
there and exercise their right to vote. Too many people are not voting and
this is something that people we send to Congress, we elect them into
Congress. And they just make decisions.


COLICCHIO: And so, we need the whole leaders accountable and I think if
more people get out there and vote around this issue, this one single
issue, we can change what`s happening.

SCHULTZ: Tom Colicchio and Joe Berg, great to have both of you, gentlemen,
with us tonight. Thank you so much.

Still ahead, a Republican Congressman with an expensive lifestyle is
resigning. We`ll have the latest on that. Plus, a luxury hotel is under
the microscope for a mysterious service charge, some say there is a racial
overtone to the tax.

Keep it here, we`ll be right back.


SCHULTZ: And we are back.

We`re getting word at this hour that Rand Paul is ready to officially
announce his campaign for President and seek the Republican nomination.

MSNBC confirms the Republican Senator from Kentucky will declare on April
7th, the announcement is set to take place on Louisville, Kentucky. Paul
will take the unusual step of campaigning for President and for re-election
of Congress at the same time.

In other news, we are following the breaking news out of -- on the
resignation of Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock. He is stepping down over
scrutiny of his spending habits.

The 33-year-old Republican will step down effective March 31st. Just a
short time ago he released a statement in part saying, "The constant
questions over the last six weeks approved in a great distraction that has
made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District."

The questions he is referring to started when the Washington Post reported
a story allegedly spending of $40,000 to turn his office into "Downton
Abbey" replica.

A few weeks later, Schock reimburse taxpayers more than $12,000 for the use
of a private jet and according to the Chicago Tribune, it was a trip from
Peoria, Illinois to go attend the Chicago Bears football game. The
spending didn`t stop there.

For more on this, let`s turn to Clarence Page, Chicago`s Tribune Columnist.
Clarence, good to have you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: The guy is 33 years old. I think there is a level of immaturity
that has been on display here. Your take on this.

PAGE: Well, he has indeed and the darling of the JQ seat (ph), you could
say. His instagram pictures have trilled us all, with his adventures on
mountains and surf and everything else. But it get serious when you look
at what`s been (inaudible) for some of his travel. And as well as the
office decorations which he reimburse the government for that after a
Washington Post reported that lavish spending.

And serious question is being raised about the Mayor`s reimbursement for
mileage on his last (inaudible) before he brought us more recent one. He
pay or claimed something like, well, over $100,000 worth of miles on the
vehicle. You know, he`d signed papers indicating, it only had a little
over $80,000 miles on it.


PAGE: That`s a sort of thing that apparently drove him to decide to

SCHULTZ: So is the Republicans saying, get out of here or is this his
decision you think?

PAGE: Well, it`s been pretty -- the party had been pretty consistent about
nudging people ever more strongly by the day. It`s hard to say, I exactly
-- what was a tipping point for him. But this comes less than a day after
some -- and the most recent disclosure from Politico so apparently, were
just too much.

SCHULTZ: And where does this lead the investigation? Is he in potential
trouble here?

PAGE: Not from Congress. By leaving Congress, this drops that
investigation but he can still be allowable for prosecution or
investigation and possible prosecution by outside of federal officials,
federal authorities.

So it`s like Congressman Jessie Jackson, you know, the other Illinois
Congressman to resign in the last decade and he was sentence serving time
for improper spending of campaign funds.

SCHULTZ: So I guess, we`ll never know if he really wanted to be a
Congressman or he wanted to be a rock star. We`ll have to leave it there.

PAGE: Good question.

SCHULTZ: Clarence Page, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you so

PAGE: Thank you. Ed.

SCHULTZ: Up next, some African-Americans are wondering why their bar tab
(ph) was increased. A lot more ahead, stay with us.

Market Wrap.

Stocks sink and worries about the fed. The DOW falls 128 points, the SAP
shed 7, the NASDAQ gains about 8 points.

Fed policymakers begin a two-day meaning today, its statement a news
conference is expected tomorrow afternoon.

Meanwhile, February housing starts sled a 17 percent last month due to
harsh weather across much of the U.S.

And Oracle shares are rallying after hours, the company`s earnings came in
line with estimates, the revenue was light.

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


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show.

The North Carolina attorney general wants answers on a mysterious service

Two African-American, Charlotte North Carolina residents, received a $10
"CIAA service charge" on their Ritz-Carlton bar bill.

Then the married couple is frequent to the bar for some time but had never
seen a charge of this nature before.

Patrice and Tony Wright were aware of the popular basketball tournament
being held in Charlotte. It`s the Central Intercollegiate Athletic
Association. But they were not attending the event.

Patrice Wright posted the bar receipt on Facebook to see if anybody else
found the charges somewhat suspicious.

Attendees of the CIAA events are predominantly Africa-American. Facebook
comments field speculation, the charge was racially motivated.

Hotel official say that they added 15 percent service charge due to the
size of the CIAA event. The event places extra demands on their servers.

The CIAA tournament is a big money maker. According to the Charlotte
Regional Visitor`s Authority, the event has generated over $40 million
annually to the city of Charlotte. The state Consumer Protection Division
sent a letter to the Ritz looking for an explanation.


on the tab. If there are other events being held in town, what`s done with
the money, our consumers given noticed that this is going to occur.


SCHULTZ: The Ritz-Carlton said in the statement that they`ve received the
inquiry notice from the Attorney General`s office and will be cooperating
with response in due course.

The company has 10 days to deliver answers.

The Ed Show has reached out to the Ritz-Carlton but we have yet to receive
a response.

Joining me tonight, Patrice Wright who received the CIAA charge on her bar
bill, and Dr. James Peterson, Director of Africana Studies at Lehigh
University and MSNBC Contributor.

Ms. Wright, you first, I appreciate your time tonight. You`re brave in
stepping up and questioning this hotel. There is no doubt about it and
now, you`re getting quite a bit of response from this, have you heard
anything from the Carlton-Ritz people at all?

PATRICE WRIGHT, RECEIVED CIAA CHARGE: They called me last Tuesday and
wanted to offer an apology. And they said that they were sorry that I was
charged this and that it was a mistake and it was wrong. But they also
said that many of their other patrons knew about the charge and understood
and didn`t make a big deal about it which kind of make me feel like my
concerns were a petty and not justified. They did offer me lunch but I
didn`t need lunch.

SCHULTZ: Do the give you an explanation for the charge?

WRIGHT: No, they didn`t. Not at all.

SCHULTZ: So, they said they were -- go ahead.

WRIGHT: We paid the CIAA surcharge plus a tip.

So we were not under the impression that it was a gratuity, an addict
gratuity but they did not give us any explanation for what it was.

SCHULTZ: Dr. Peterson, what do we looking at here? Is this economic

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It looks that way to me, Ed. I mean,
there is a long history of these kinds of tactics.

I mean number one, with the question we`d ask, there is culture folks is --
is there an NCAA service charge for the folk who were in Charlotte for this
round, the NCAA is coming this week.

I don`t think there is one. But that the -- question they have to answer.
And I know a lot of -- there`s been a lot of studies, Ed, about black folks
tipping versus white folks tipping.

But at the end of the day, those studies don`t account for two very, very
important things. Number one, they don`t account for (inaudible)
understand the incoming and wealth gaps, we`re seeing black and white which
is a little structural issue that we can have a longer conversation about.
And then number two, there is sort of vicious cycle here between the
service industry and black folks.

This is not just that black folks don`t want to say, (inaudible) don`t know
what`s tipping percentages are. But you have to understand the history of
this nation of how black folks have been treated (ph) in the service
industry whether we work there or not.

And so, there is a long history of being discriminated against by
restaurants. In fact, in the south, as we all know, there were some
restaurants that black folks couldn`t even eat in. And we`re still
recovering from that. And so, some of those gaps are explainable by that
but the behavior of business, business has to be leaders in this situation.

And Mrs. Wright...


PETERSON: . is right and she`s took to courage to sort of step up here.
But the businesses have to be leaders on some on these issues and it
doesn`t seem that Charlotte Ritz-Carlton is doing that right now.

SCHULTZ: Ms. Wright, what`s your analysis of the fact that first, they say
they had to do it because their servers are working harder, because of the
number of people that attend the tournament but then, they say to you that
we`re sorry, which is it?

WRIGHT: You`re exactly right. And from my understanding, the service
didn`t even get the additional surcharge. So I don`t know what it was for.
Nobody knows what it was for and nobody can answer that question.

SCHULTZ: So, Patrice, what are you expectations from the attorney general?

WRIGHT: Just to get this -- these questions answered because if there is a
surcharge, we need to know why there is a surcharge.

I was on the impression that no additional gratuities could be added after
I think, last year because of tax purposes. So why is this being added in
our service, not getting it and are they filling it on their taxes, how is
this working?

SCHULTZ: And Dr. Peterson, this is just tax in the black folks, isn`t it?
I mean, how -- I mean, come on, how else do you read those?

PETERSON: How else do you explain...

SCHULTZ: You know.

PETERSON: ... the CIAA is a sports event that is for SPCUs. You already
know that the dollars that it brings into the Charlotte.


PETERSON: ... in the Charlotte region community every year. And again,
here`s the question, I want Ritz-Carlton to answer. Are the folks who are
going for the NCAA, the NCAA this week for the first round are -- is there
a surcharge.


PETERSON: ... for -- is there an NCAA surcharge? If there is not, then, I
think we could argue this is discriminatory.

SCHULTZ: Well, is this the only Ritz-Carlton that`s every done this? I
mean is this an isolated incident or they do this with other tournaments,
they do with minorities across the country?

I mean, their silence is deafening. And I do give them credit for calling
you Patrice but their answers sounds inconsistent with what they were
saying the reason for the surcharge was.

So, I`m curious. Did the bartender say anything to you about it? Did any
of the hotel personnel say anything to you about it, Patrice?

WRIGHT: We were actually sitting in the lounge. We were in the lobby
lounge. We were not at the bar. But no, no one said anything to us about
it. And I questioned it but my husband said, "Let`s go. I wasn`t feeling
well." So he just paid the bill and we left.

SCHULTZ: The CIAA is a conference that is made off of predominantly black
colleges. There is a North Carolina A&T, there is Virginia.

PETERSON: Hampton, Howard...

SCHULTZ: Yeah. Virginia Union, I think is still in that league. And, you
know, $40 million is a lot of money. I mean, this is been a big economic
boom for the city of Charlotte.

Dr. Peterson, do you think that there should be some conversation? Maybe
they should hold the tournaments somewhere else?

PETERSON: Well, the officials of the CIAA have they realized that
Charlotte is a great place for them to have it. And I think, before they
will consider moving it, Ed, they will first want to get some sort of
reconciliation around this particular piece. What are the answers here
from Ritz-Carlton? Are there going to be any kind of legal sort of access
that need to be taken?

But at the end of a day, it seems that this is discriminatory. And CIAA...

SCHULTZ: No doubt.

PETERSON: ... has great leadership by the way too, Ed They have great
leadership, so they`ll figure it out. But Charlotte is a great region for

SCHULTZ: I tell you it`s....

PETERSON: ... because of where the schools are located.

SCHULTZ: I`ll tell your showing great leadership and that is Patrice

PETERSON: Mrs. Wright.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: And thank you for stepping up because this is going to get an eye
on them that they don`t want. There`s no doubt about it. And this has to
be corrected. This is unfair and isn`t right and it`s unjustified.

Patrice Wright and Dr. James Peterson, great to have both of you with us
tonight, thank you so much.

Coming up, another close door meeting on the TPP. President Obama knows he
don`t have the support. We`ll be right back.


SCHULTZ: And tonight, the two-minute drill March madness. You got your
bracket (ph) fill out yet. Well, we got a couple of playing games that on
the schedule tonight.

Manhattan will take on Hampton later this evening at 6:40 P.M. Eastern
Time. Manhattan is an eight-point favorite in the game and neither team is
expected to make the tournament with their (inaudible) right now.

BYU will play Ole Miss tonight at 9:10 Eastern Time. Brigham Young is a
three-point favorite in the game. They`ve been on roll as of late.
They`ve only lost one game in the last month. Each one will officially
advance in the tournament.

Mitt Romney into the ring, that`s right. He`s heading into the boxing

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports Romney will fight heavyweight boxing
champ Evander Holyfield, the champ of yesteryear, for charity good for

It`s going to be a friendly sparring match, Romney and Holyfield are
raising money to help poverty in the Philippines.

Mitt jokingly told a reporter quote, "it will either be a very short fight
or I will be knocked unconscious."

Either way sounds pretty sure to me, not sure if you took a shot on the
head before you said that or not but whatever.

The event will take place and good for them at the Rail Event Center in
Salt Lake City on May 15th.

We`ll be right back on the Ed show after this.


SCHULTZ: Welcome to the Ed show. This is the story for the most who take
a shower after work.

We`re coming down to the wire and TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Now,
we all know that the President wants fast-track authority, the Congress has
to give it to him.

The Obama administration is holding yet another close door classified
briefing. House Democrats, not real happy about it.

On Wednesday, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and also U.S. Trade Ambassador
Michael Froman are going to meet with House Democrats to discuss the TPP.

Do you know what this is all about? This is all about President Obama
knowing that he does not have the votes and does not have the support and
this is your last minute arm twisting and deal cutting to try to get him
fast-track authority.

What these meeting signals, the President is nervous about his own party.
And he knows he can`t get this through and he really wants it and some
other countries are waiting for this to happen.

I`m joined tonight by Congressman Marc Pocan, Congressman from Wisconsin,
also with us tonight Larry Cohen, President of Communications Workers of
America. Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.

Congressman, you first, is this a last minute sell (ph) job by the
President because he knows he doesn`t have the votes?

REP. MARCH POCAN, (D) WISCONSIN: Well, you know, he`s finally
communicating with Congress. We`ve been complaining that we don`t know
what it`s in this law only about 600 people largely corporate CEO`s have
been involve in drafting of it. And yet, we`re suppose to somehow give up
our responsibility, our constitutional responsibility to have oversight
over this. And if we vote on fast-track, we take aware ability to amend
and we greatly limit our ability to debate this.

So I think they`re finally coming to realize that they haven`t sold this
deal is something that we think is going to protect American jobs and help
wages, and we`re highly skeptical on it. They`re right now, I think, in
clean up mode.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Cohen, you met with House Democratic leaders today and met
with the caucus to understand, what concerns did you raise and how do you
feel we`re -- they were receptive your concerns?

super and in fact it`s clear that I`d say 80 percent of House Democrats are
going to vote no. And it was great thing with them. And in terms of what
I talk about, the disparities and enforceability when the CEO`s that
Congressman Pocan when they have a problem with the trade deal, they get a
sue with a secret tribunal, and we get -- and they get reparations if their
profits are hurt. And what we get is a report.

Six years after it complains about Guatemala, we got a report. Last week,
three years after complaints about Honduras, we got a report. I met on
Friday with Mexican leaders and 20 years after NAFTA things are much worse
there than before. So the disparity on enforcement is a disgrace.

SCHULTZ: OK. Congressman, what would turn the Democrats to support the
President on fast-track which we give him the authority to do this trade

I mean, what do you need to hear? OK. So there`s a secret meeting OK so
you haven`t seen the whole thing but we all know what these trade
agreements do, what about that?

POCAN: Yeah. We want to see that this going to create fair trade not just
free trade. We want to make sure that we`re protecting American jobs. We
want to make sure that we`re helping wages in the United States that have
been stagnant during this recovery. We want to know that you don`t have to
secret tribunal through the investors states dispute settlements that
takeaway our ability to have the U.S. court systems takes something up.

We can be sued by a foreign multinational corporation and have the tribunal
run by corporate lawyers who, when are doing the tribunal, are representing
the corporations...


POCAN: ... which is hardly a very fair system.

We want to know that we`ve got a trade deal that works for all hardworking
Americans and not just for the big multi-national corporation. If he can
address those issues we can have real conversation.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Cohen, why is the president putting so much stack in Michael
Froman? Who is this guy?

COHEN: Well, Michael Froman has been around. He worked in treasury. He
was at the National Security Council. They went to Citibank and now he`s
back as the U.S. trade representative. And our overall problem is that,
deals can work well for Wall Street, they don`t work for Main Street.

As the Congressman just said, we want deals -- fair trade means there at
least job neutral not that the imports way, you know, are much greater than
the exports and so we lose jobs. And them, our pay gets hell them by
comparisons with trade and what cause in countries like Vietnam...


COHEN: ... at $0.75 an hour. We want a deal that benefits Main Street,
not Wall Street.

SCULTZ: And Mr. Cohen, do you think that the now it`s out there that every
union in America is on board to say no to fast-track? You think that`s
having an impact on the President?

COHEN: I think it`s having an impact on the Congress. I hope on the
President. It`s every union. It`s every major environmental group.

Last week 138 law school professors said that this investor`s stake dispute
settlement does not cut it. It`s every immigrants group of consequence.
It`s basically the entire base of Democratic Party and all of those who
believe in national sovereignty.

SCHULTZ: So it`s not just manufacturing, Congressman, the service industry
is going to get here, the call centers are going to be gutted. I just
don`t -- I don`t how the Democrats and I can say that there for the middle
class and then even think about giving this to stamp of approval. And
that`s really where we are on all of this.

Congressman Marc Pocan, Larry Cohen, President of Communication Workers,
great to have you with us tonight, I appreciate your time.

We will follow the story as we have as it`s in the 11th hour, going to be a
big story in April.

That`s the Ed show, I`m Ed Schultz.

PoliticsNation with Reverend Al Sharpton start right now. Good evening,


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