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The Ed Show for Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Bob Shrum, Bernie Sanders, David Schapira, Jon Soltz, Josh Fox

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW tonight.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta just announced that the United States
will end its combat role in Afghanistan in 2013.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed the right-to-work for less into
law today.

And this was the scene on Capitol Hill this afternoon. House
Republicans had documentary filmmaker Josh Fox arrested on Capitol Hill. I
don`t know, does this guy look disruptive to you? Josh Fox joins us for an
interview tonight.

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


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not concerned about the
very poor, we have a safety net there.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Mitt Romney says he`s not concerned about the
poor and he`s getting hammered for it. Except, this was not a mistake. We
have the proof and we`ll talk about it with Bob Shrum and Eugene Robinson.

straight deal. And right now, they are not getting one from our tax

SCHULTZ: The Buffett Rule gets its day in the Senate. Vermont
Senator Bernie Sanders is here with the details.

The fight for workers rights is exploding in Arizona. Police,
firefighters and teachers are under fire in the desert, and we`re going
there for the latest.

On Capitol Hill, it`s the arrest everyone is talking about.

JOSH FOX, FILMMAKER: This is a public hearing. I`m within my First
Amendment rights. I`m being taken out.

SCHULTZ: "Gasland" director Josh Fox was arrested for filming a House
committee hearing on fracking -- because Republicans didn`t want him there.
Tonight, director Josh Fox joins me exclusively.


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

Mitt Romney won big in Florida, but he still has a major problem
connecting with regular folks. His problem got a lot worse today.


ROMNEY: I`m in this race because I care about Americans. I`m not
concerned about the very poor, we have a safety net there. If it needs
repair, I`ll fix it. I`m not concerned about the very rich, they`re doing
just fine.

I`m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90 percent, 95
percent of Americans who right now are struggling. And I`ll continue to
take that message across the nation.


SCHULTZ: So, Mitt Romney thinks the country has already done enough
for the very poor in America?

This was not a slip of the tongue or any kind of a gaffe. This is
what Mitt Romney really believes. In fact, he has said it many times.


ROMNEY: We ought to provide help to the people who have been hurt
most by the Obama economy. And that`s the middle class. It`s not those at
the very low end, certainly not those at the high end.

I`m not worried about rich people they`re doing just fine. The very
poor have a safety net. They`re taken care of.

In our country, the people that need the help most are not the poor,
who have a safety net, not the rich who are doing just fine, but the middle


SCHULTZ: Romney has said he`s not worried about the poor so many
times on the campaign trail. He was surprised when he was asked to clarify
his remarks on CNN today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just said I`m not concerned about the very
poor because they have a safety net and I think there are lots of very poor
Americans who are struggling who would say that sounds odd. Can you
explain that?

ROMNEY: Well, you have to finish the sentence, Soledad. I`m not
concerned about the very poor that have a safety net if it has holes in it,
I will repair them.


ROMNEY: The challenge right now, we will hear from the Democrat
Party, the plight of the poor, and there is no question it is not good
being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. But
my campaign is focused on middle income Americans. My campaign, you can
choose where to focus, you can focus on the rich, that`s not my focus. You
can focus on the very poor, that`s not my focus.

My focus is on middle income Americans.


SCHULTZ: Trying to steal the narrative from the Obama camp. Romney
says that he will fix the safety net if there are holes in it? He`s going
to have to fix a heck of a lot because Romney`s own policies will demolish
the social safety nets. An analysis of Mitt Romney`s tax proposal clearly
shows the poor will actually see a tax increase under Mitt Romney.
Millionaires will see taxes cut by almost 5 percent. Romney fully supports
Congressman Paul Ryan`s plan to turn Medicare in a voucher system and cut
Medicaid by billions.

And what about the safety net people with underwater mortgages? Any
plan there? Romney is campaigning in the land of bad mortgages, that`s
Nevada, where one in 177 housing units is foreclosed on -- the highest rate
in the nation. Ten million Americans owe more money on their homes, in
their houses than they are actually worth. Romney says, ah, let them go


ROMNEY: Don`t try to stop the foreclosure process, let it run its
course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in
them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up.


SCHULTZ: Where do those people go while they are out of their homes?
Just on the street? You`ve done enough for the very poor? Sure.

Romney isn`t going to focus on the poor because his policies already
leave them hanging out to dry.

This is a real weak spot for Mitt Romney and President Obama knows it.
The president unveiled a mortgage refinancing plan in Virginia today. He
drew a direct contrast to the front-runner of the Republican nomination.


to suggest that the only option for struggling responsible homeowners is to
sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom.



SCHULTZ: Of course, the president`s plan will never receive approval
from Republicans in Congress. They are against everything. But he gave a
real raw meat speech and a plan to the American middle class today.

The thing Mitt Romney doesn`t seem to understand is that there are a
lot of people dropping out of the middle class and going into poverty and
in the lower income brackets. The president offered a safety net for these
folks. Mitt Romney says he`s not going to focus on them. Which message do
you think the American people will respond to?

What President Obama did today was talk to 10 million people who were
upside down when it comes to the value of their homes. That`s a real
kitchen table problem. And they didn`t do it because it was a bad
financial deal. Somebody else did it to them.

How do you control the value of your home? How do you upgrade your
siding or your windows or paint the inside, put new carpet and the value
goes down? That`s what happened in America.

Romney doesn`t have anything for those folks?

President Obama does. He said today in his speech he was going to get
rid of the red tape. He was going to make it easy. And the wealthiest
bankers in the country were going to have to pay a little bit of a fee.

A lot of people turn away from refinancing because of the fees. The
president is going to do something about that. So, you decide tonight
who`s on your side? Is it the Republicans or is it President Obama who is
trying to save one of the most influential markets and driving engines of
this economy? The housing market.

But once again, the damn Republicans are against it. I said a bad
word. That`s just how I feel.

This is so common sense. How can you be against somebody wanting to
stay in their home?

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: will there be more very poor people if Mitt Romney is elected
president? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can always go to
our blog at We`ll bring you the results later on in the

Let`s turn to Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and professor at NYU.
And Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst, as well as associate editor
and columnist for "The Washington Post".

Great to have both of you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: Gene, let`s talk about his comment, Mitt Romney. How much
if any damage did he do to himself today or do Republicans just eat this
stuff up?

primary process, I`m not sure he did much damage to himself. But if he
gets the nomination, this is going to be on a continuous loop, I think, in
Democratic political ads.

Look, where to begin with this statement? You know, he goes on to say
that 99 percent of Americans he thinks are neither poor nor rich? I don`t
get this. I looked at the figures in 2009, 14.3 percent of the Americans
were below the poverty line. Poverty line is drawn artificially low in any

So, does he just not see these people? Does he not know they exist?
Apparently, he doesn`t.

And, of course, he caught it from both sides because he said there is
a safety net we`ll fix it. So, now, he`s catching it from conservatives,
who say there shouldn`t be a social safety net. He`s going to be talking
about that, he`s talking like socialist Obama.

This was not a good day for Mitt Romney.

SCHULTZ: Conservative commentators took Romney to task for his
comments about the poor. Even Tea Party senator of South Carolina, Jim
DeMint said Romney needs to, quote, "backtrack" and reframe his comments.
I`ll tell you what? When you got Jim DeMint telling you to pull something
back, you know you`re in trouble.

Bob, will the Romney camp shift gears or will they stick to the script

SHRUM: Well, this wasn`t the script. I mean, he may have been saying
it on the road but I`m sure Stewart Stevens, who`s -- his principal
strategist, doesn`t want him to say something like this.

What`s happened with Romney in a series of comments overtime when he
gets off the leash, he`s actually proving the point that President Obama is
trying to make, that this is an election between fairness and unfairness.
That is why I think you`ve seen the approval numbers for Romney go down,
he`s now 31-41 upside down in the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll.

There`s a new poll in Ohio today showing him losing that critical
state by 6 points to the president.

You know, they have been clobbering Newt Gingrich by saying he has a
lot of baggage. Well, the truth is, Romney has a lot of baggage, too, only
his is Louis Vuitton.


Gene, what do you think of the timing of President Obama`s proposal to
people who are struggling with mortgages and upside down situations as far
as value and what they owe on their homes? I mean, Republicans -- well,
they are in Nevada dealing with this, the number one problem every time I
jump in a cab in Las Vegas, I`m told that the housing market is just
absolutely terrible.

Is this a winner for President Obama?

ROBINSON: Well, I think the timing is obviously deliberate. He
foreshadowed this in the State of Union address but I don`t think it`s pure
coincidence that he rolls it out the day after Romney wins in Florida, his
biggest primary win. It was supposed to be triumphant day for Romney, so
Obama got to steal some of his thunder. He couldn`t have anticipated that
on his day that Romney would step in it.

SCHULTZ: Here is President Obama talking about the difficulty of
dealing with mortgages.


OBAMA: I remember when Michelle and I bought our first condo, and
we`re both lawyers. And we`re looking through the forms, kind of holding
it out, reading it again. What does this phrase mean? And that`s, you
know, for two trained lawyers. The forms, the confusion, potential for
abuse is too great, just because the forms were too complicated.

So this is what a mortgage form should look like. This is it.



SCHULTZ: Bob, this is a real hit, I think, with Americans -- no more
red tape, no more run around from the banks. That was in the script today.
But it was a very relatable moment by the president, showing that he
understands the problem.

Is this what Mitt Romney can`t do?

SHRUM: Yes, I think he can`t do it. Look, the subtext of what the
president was doing there is to say that he understands what ordinary
people go through. Romney is coming across as a kind of callous, cosseted
cold fish who has lived this very privileged life and doesn`t understand
what is happening to ordinary Americans.

Now there is nothing wrong with him being wealthy. You know, John
Kennedy told his speechwriter, Dick Goodwin, after he was down in West
Virginia in those coal mines and those hills and valleys, that he couldn`t
believe people lived like that. And even though they seemed to be
prejudiced against him because of his religion, if he became president, he
was going to help them. Folks in West Virginia figured that out, they
voted for him even though he was Catholic.

What`s happening with Romney is he`s being figured out by the American
people and he himself is the person who is revealing what he is.

You said they weren`t gaffes, you know what they really are? They are
gaffes in what he says what he really thinks and he`s not supposed to do

SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, the more devil in the details here, in a small
fee on the largest financial institutions will make sure that it doesn`t
add to the deficit.

Gene, I think that`s the part that`s not going to fly with the

ROBINSON: Yes, nothing is going to fly with the Republicans in
anything the president proposes.

SCHULTZ: Even a small fee on the banks, my friends.

Bob Shrum, Eugene Robinson, great to have you with us. Thank you.

SHRUM: Thank you.


SCHUTLZ: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of
the screen, share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know what
you think.

Coming up next, Senator Bernie Sanders joins me, the Buffett Rule was
introduced to the United States Senate today and Republicans are going to
have to explain why they`re against it.

And Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona is pushing -- yes, pushing -- the
country`s most anti-union agenda yet. It is Wisconsin on steroids. The
Democratic leader of the Arizona Senate is calling for a Wisconsin-style
backlash. He`ll join me coming up.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Coming up on THE ED SHOW: the Buffett bill was introduced in
the Senate today. Bernie Sanders is a co-sponsor. He`ll join me next.

Massive protests today in Indiana, where right-to-work for less
legislation is now the law of the land. Is this what the people really
want? Were there demonstrations in favor of this?

And in Arizona, Jan Brewer is picking a fight with the cops,
firefighters and teachers. We know the story. One of the Democrats
fighting Brewer is here on defend the workers -- only on THE ED SHOW.

And later, an Oscar nominee is arrested on Capitol Hill -- well,
because Republicans didn`t want him there. He wasn`t going to do anything.
They just don`t like his work, I guess.

"Gasland" director Josh Fox is here and he`s joining me exclusively

Share your thoughts on twister #EdShow.

We`ll be right back. Lots more coming up.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Today, Democrats took I think the next big step in standing up to
Republicans on the basic issue of fairness -- big discussion in this
country about that.

Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse introduced Paying A Fair Act.
It`s the Buffet Rule. Anyone making more than $1 million a year should pay
at least 30 percent in income tax.

It`s not about punishing the rich as Republicans like to say. It`s
about fairness.


WHITEHOUSE: But, with all the advantages that do come with enormous
income, paying a lower tax rate than regular working families should not be
one of those advantages.


SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to independent Vermont Senator Sanders, great to
have you with us tonight, sir. One of the co-sponsors of the bill.

Senator, before we get to this, I do want to ask you, your reaction to
Mitt Romney, "I`m not concerned about poor people because we have a social
safety net for them. And if it needs fixing, I`ll fix it"? What is your

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I think it`s a horrendous and very
ugly statement, especially coming from somebody who`s worth hundreds of
millions of dollars. Ed, the reality is that poverty today is at an all
time high. We did a hearing on this in my sub committee, if you are in the
lowest 20 percent of the American people, you will die six-and-a-half years
younger than if you`re in the top 20 percent.

So, poverty in many ways is a death sentence. Romney and his friends
want to cut Medicaid, throw children off of health insurance, they want to
cut Medicare, they want to cut Social Security, and they are going to war
against the poorest people in this country. I think that is an immoral,
just -- an immoral position to take.

SCHULTZ: And while they are going to war against the most vulnerable
in our society, they are defending, and they want more for wealthiest
Americans when it comes to tax cuts. So, is this a good time for the
Democrats to get behind the Buffett Rule? The president talked about it in
the State of the Union address. And, now, you`re a co-sponsor.

What do you make of it?

SANDERS: I think it`s an absolutely opportune time to be addressing
these issues. Look, this is what`s going on. We`ve got a huge deficit in
this country because of two unpaid wars brought about by the Bush
administration, huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country,
and a recession.

What the Republicans want to do to deal with this deficit is cut
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. What many of us think is that when
the wealthiest people in this country today are doing phenomenally well,
the gap between the very rich and everybody else is wider than it has ever
been. The effective tax rate, i.e. real tax rate for millionaires and
billionaires is the lowest it has been in decades, where you have a quarter
of millionaires in this country are paying a lower effective tax rate than
the average middle class person -- of course, it is proper. Of course, it
is right to ask the wealthiest people to pay more.

SCHULTZ: Every survey we`ve seen shows that the American people want
the wealthiest Americans to pay more. Why $1 million? Why 30 percent? Is
there rhyme and reason to those numbers?

SANDERS: I don`t think there`s any magical reason for it. I think
what most people perceive is that somebody making $1 million should not be
paying an effective tax rate lower than ordinary people.


SANDERS: You`ve got a guy like Romney, a multi-zillionaire, very,
very wealth person, paying 14 percent effective tax rate, most people
understand that that is wrong. So, I think the $1 million is just -- it`s
a number that people understand. I think 30 percent is a fair number to
proceed with.

SCHULTZ: Here`s your colleague, Senator Whitehouse, today on the


WHITEHOUSE: In theory, high end taxpayers are paying 35 percent and
many do. There are a lot of hardworking, high-earning really great folks
out there who are doing well and who are paying the full 35 percent. But
there`s a group that`s been able to take advantage of a loophole so that
they only pay 15 percent or in some cases less.


SCHULTZ: Both of you are singing from the common sense hymnal, no
question about it. Are there any Republicans that you think that might
say, you know what, maybe we need to do this for the country? Or all of
them in the Senate going to say, no, we`re not going to do any of this?
This too obvious is a problem. But do you think any Republicans that would
go along with this?

SANDERS: Ed, this is what I think. I don`t think there are
Republicans who will do it, quote-unquote, "for the country". They would
do it and will do it when we put enough pressure on them and when millions
of people start telephoning Congress and make their position clear.

I would not want to be a Republican defending a position that says,
not only do we think that the wealthy should not be asked to pay more, we
believe the wealthy should be able to pay less, while we cut programs that
the middle class desperately needs.

How would you like to campaign on that position?

SCHULTZ: I would not. I think it`s a moral issue as much as anything
else. That`s why we put the vulture chart up quite often here on THE ED

Estimates would be that $40 billion to $50 billion dollars in revenue
alone. That`s a big number, the country needs it. Senator, great to have
you with us. Thanks for co-sponsoring that. The country needs it.

Coming up, Republicans in Indiana score a major victory against
unions. But the workers vow to fight back. How will they do that?

Unexpected announcement today from the secretary of defense. It`s a
big one. Leon Panetta lays out a timeline for the United States to end
combat operations in Afghanistan.

We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

You know when you elect Republicans, they systematically come after
you. They come after your health care, your pension, your wages, your
voice in the work place -- anything. To depress the workers is what they
do, systematically they do it.

Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, he had once promised to keep right-
to-work laws out of Indiana.


GOV. MITCH DANIELS (R), INDIANA: We cannot afford to have civil wars
over issues that might divide us and divert us from that path. I`m a
supporter of the labor laws we have in the state of Indiana. I`m not
interested in changing any of them. Not the prevailing wage laws, and
certainly not a right-to-work law.


SCHULTZ: Well, that was the old Mitch Daniels. The new Mitch
Daniels, the guy Republicans love, the guy who gave the GOP`s doomsday
response to the State of the Union, broke the promise he made to the people
of Indiana. And today, Indiana became the 23rd right-to-work state in the

It`s also the first state to pass such legislation in over a decade.

This is what happens when Republicans take over state houses. Right-
to-work weakens unions by preventing them from collecting dues. I mean,
they are telling you what you can do with the paycheck.

And Republicans argue that weakened unions attract business and create
jobs. That`s their pitch.

But the facts tell a different story. Indiana was doing pretty well
in terms of job growth compared to other states without right-to-work
legislation, especially when you compare to it other right-to-work states
in the Midwest. Right-to-work states have lower wages than non-right-to-
work states.

Daniels signed the legislation with very little fanfare, probably
because the people of Indiana overwhelmingly -- they don`t want it. A
survey taken last month found that 69 percent of Indiana voters wanted more
time to debate before discussion was made -- on a decision was made on
right-to-work. Seventy-one percent did not want lawmakers to make a
decision on right-to-work, forcing a public referendum instead.

This was the scene at the Indiana statehouse earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julie, I`m standing here on the steps and I see
photographer Bill Riley (ph) is a ways back. But there is people almost as
far as you can see across the street. You get an idea of thousands and
thousands of people here for this rally.


SCHULTZ: No, that is not Wisconsin, but it ain`t far from it. The
law takes effect immediately. Daniels signed the measure in record time,
just hours after it passed the Republican controlled state senate. Maybe a
big reason, the Super Bowl.

It will be held in Indianapolis this Sunday, just blocks away from the
state house. Lawmakers don`t want union protests to overshadow the big
event. The NFL Players Union on record opposes the new law, issuing this
statement, "we`re always going to be standing shoulder to shoulder with men
and women who want to collectively protect themselves."

Do you see some kind of statement coming during the Super Bowl on
Sunday from the players? Workers are now pledging to occupy the Super
Bowl. Today, they marched in solidarity.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of protesters marched in the Super Bowl
village shortly after right to work past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This ain`t right for the state of Indiana. It`s
wrong. All the way around wrong.


SCHULTZ: Keep in mind, Indiana is the first right to work state in
the Rust Belt.


OBAMA: I think it`s always good publicity for a Republican if they`re
in an argument with me.


SCHULTZ: First, she picked a fight with the president. Now Jan
Brewer and Arizona Republicans are picking a fight with teachers,
firefighters and police. The radical Republican war on workers has a new
battle ground. We`re going to Arizona next.

Breaking news on the end of the war in Afghanistan. John Soltz of
Vote Vets is here.

The director of the fracking documentary "Gas Land" returned to
Capitol Hill today to film a hearing. Republicans objected and the film
maker was arrested.


JOSH FOX, "GAS LAND": This is a public hearing. I`m within my First
Amendment rights.


SCHULTZ: Tonight, Josh Fox is here for an exclusive interview.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Let`s go to Arizona, where
Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Republicans are on a tear. They are on
the offensive. They are on a mission to completely destroy public employee
unions. Have you heard the story before?

One week after Governor Brewer went on a media tour attacking
President Obama, she is attacking teachers, cops, firefighters in her own
state. Republicans in the Arizona state Senate are fast tracking -- and I
mean fast tracking -- several pieces of legislation aimed at just flat out
stomping out public employee unions.

The bills are going to do this: outlaw all collective bargaining for
public employees, including public safety workers. They are going to
outlaw automatic payroll deductions for union dues. Hold it right there.
You mean to tell me they are going to tell people what they can do and not
do with the money that they`ve earned? Yes.

They will outlaw the compensation of public employees for any kind of
union work whatsoever. Arizona is already a so-called right to work state,
which means unions already have a severely diminished role. Of course, the
state government doesn`t engage in collective bargaining to begin with.

So, the new legislation will affect sectors of the government where
unions still have, I guess you could say, a seat at the table and a voice.
Like local governments, like schools.

Public education has taken a hit. You know what they`ve done down
there? They`ve cut more than two billion dollars out of the budget since
2009. Over the last four years, funding for state universities has been
cut by 50 percent. Yeah, that`s right. Arizona, Arizona State, Northern
Arizona, they are dealing with half the money they used to deal with.

This is another case of the Republican agenda being carried out by a
radical governor and radical leaders. Arizona Republicans are trying to
put the final nail in the coffin of unions.

My question, did they campaign on this? The answer is no. And
Democrats are virtually, in this situation, sad to report to you tonight,
powerless to stop it. They have the smallest Democratic caucus in Arizona
state history.

This isn`t what they campaigned on, but this is the popular thing, for
radical governors and radical legislative bodies to go after the middle
class, because now that Citizens United has passed, heck, they can do
anything they want. They`ll get the money to keep them in office, to cut
all of these state budgets, cut the elderly, cut the public service, cut
the law enforcement, cut the firefighters, go to public education, go to
higher education, and just let the people dangle in the wind.

Let`s turn to Arizona State Senate Minority Leader David Schapira.
David, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time. You`re
kind of a young guy. How old are you? You`re in a position of leadership,
congratulations. Tell me how old you are.

I`m 31 years old and just 16 days away from being 32.

SCHULTZ: Dog gone it. Folks, we got us an a genuine American 30 some
thing right here that cares about people, a rare breed in America.

I got to ask you, David -- first of all, thanks for joining us
tonight. I`m captivated by this story. It`s coming fast and furious. It
sounds like you folks can`t do much about it.

I understand you have a petition. You want the people to respond.
Tell us what is happening.

SCHAPIRA: Yes, we have launched a petition just now. We`re
announcing it now on your show. It`s On my webpage
there, you can sign up to join in solidarity with the workers of Arizona.

As you mentioned earlier -- and you really hit the nail on the head --
Arizona is already a right to work state. Arizona is a state where workers
already have a choice as to whether or not they want to join a union And
management, meaning school districts and cities, have the right to choose
whether or not they want to allow public employees to have a seat at the

If this legislation passes, school districts and cities will no longer
even have a right to allow the workers to come to the table, because this
will completely eliminate collective bargaining. You were talking earlier
about Wisconsin and Indiana. This legislation is a far cry from those two
states, and in fact would make us the most anti-union state in the country.

SCHULTZ: Why is this happening? Is this what the people want? Do
the people of Arizona want this to happen?

SCHAPIRA: You know, in Arizona, every legislator has to run for
office every two years, House and Senate. I will tell you, having been out
on the campaign trial quite a bit over the last six years, I have not heard
from a single voter in my district that they want this, that they want --
that they want workers in our cities and in our school districts to no
longer be able to even have a seat at the table.

You know what is interesting, Ed, is -- what is great about having a
seat at the table for law enforcement and firefighters and teachers, is
that they are the ones who are on the ground. We have our public safety
professionals. We have our education professionals, who are actually there
on our streets, in our classrooms. They know what is going on there.

And allowing them to have a seat at the table allows us, as elected
officials, as leaders -- I`m also on a school governing board. It allows
us to know what is going on on the ground, and to make wise decisions that
benefit our communities and our schools. And if this law passes, we won`t
be allowed to even have them at the table to have that conversation.

SCHULTZ: You told me today on the radio that you`re calling for or
you need a Wisconsin-style backlash. What do you want people to do? I
know you got the petition tonight. But do they need to get outside the
capital? Is that what you`re talking about?

SCHAPIRA: The reason we`re launching the petition at
is we want people to sign up so that we can communicate with them, let them
know what is going on, let them know when these bills are coming up for a
vote at the state Senate and likely later on in the state House, so that
workers and those who support them can come to the capital and can fight
these pieces of legislation.

Really, what people need to know about this, it`s not just about our
public service employees, and it`s not just about labor unions. What this
is about is our communities, the safety of our communities, the education
that our kids get, that my kids get in school.

You know, we are making our streets less safe. We are making our
schools not as effective, if we disallow the people who understand what is
going on to have a seat at the table and to let us know what needs to be
changed in those segments of society.

SCHULTZ: You know, I hope I didn`t embarrass you when I asked that
question off the top, how old you are. I have two stepsons and a son, in
your neighborhood, in your age group, 30-something. I tell them -- I said,
fellows, you got to pay attention to this stuff. It`s so refreshing to see
someone of your age and demographic jumping right into public service, and
blowing the horn for Americans.

I mean, who would be -- who would be against safe neighborhoods. That
is what we`re talking about here. Who would be against teachers in the
workforce trying to do their very best? And here their wages and
everything else is going to be attacked, their voices. It`s unbelievable
what is happening.

It`s this wave that is taking place across the country. And it takes
people in your on backyard, such as yourself, to stand up and say something
about it. Arizona State Senator Dave Schapira, thank you so much for
joining us. We`re going to follow this story, once again.

I guess Arizona is Wisconsin on steroids. How else do we view it?
It`s a story to follow, just like Indiana, just like Ohio. Where workers
won in Ohio, we got to get it done in these other states to protect the
middle class in this country.

We`ll stay on that story.

U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan are coming to an end more
quickly than expected. The chairman of, Jon Soltz, reacts to
the news, next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: In a surprise move today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
said the United States will end its combat role in Afghanistan next year.
Panetta told reporters "hopefully by mid to the latter part of 2013, we
will be able to make a transition from a combat role to training, advise
and assist role."

This is the first time a United States official has put a date on a
draw down of troops. The time line fits President Obama`s promise to hand
over security to Afghan authorities by the end of 2014.

Jon Soltz, chairman of, joins us tonight, did a number of
tours in Iraq. Jon, good to have you with us.

Your reaction to the news? And do you believe it?

JON SOLTZ, VOTEVETS.ORG: Well, I mean, I think I`m like anyone else
who served in these wars. I think everyone is happy when you hear 2014,
because if you`re not there right now, they only have 24 months to call you
up and send you. So I think that`s great.

Do I believe it? I think there is some framing we could put on this,
so the public has a better understanding. Essentially what the secretary
of defense is saying is that in 2012, in Afghanistan, it is going to be the
way it has been in prior years. We`re going to have a lot of troops
outside the wire, a hot lot of troops in villages conducting what we call
counter-insurgency operations.

In 2013, we`re going to look a lot like what we did in Iraq last year,
which is advise, train, assist, where we`re going to have additional
officers attached to each brigade, but we`re not going to be outside the
wire very much. We`re going to be working with the Afghan military in a
role that`s more of a counter-terror advising the Iraq -- or the Afghan

So I think it`s a real shot across the bow to the COIN strategists in
this town, and the Petraeus theories about all of these troops that were
needed in Afghanistan, and certainly a victory for the vice president`s
camp, who opposed these types of tactics in a long term war.

SCHULTZ: What does this do to the troops as far as exposing them to
greater danger? And also what does it do to the budget?

SOLTZ: Well, if we`re going to go to an advise, train and assist
mission in 2013 -- to give you example, in Iraq what it looked like, we had
17 brigades on the ground in Iraq, almost 20 during the surge. When we
went to an advise, train and assist mission, largely in 2011, at the end of
2010 in Iraq, we went down to five combat brigades.

So they are wrong when they say U.S. troops aren`t in combat. U.S.
troops are in combat because people are shooting them. But they are
conducting a mission that`s safer for them. They are on the base. They`re
training mostly the foreign military.

But there is distinct challenges with the Afghan military. They`re
less trained, less educated than the Iraq military. They don`t have a
military to pull from. So the U.S. troops that will be on the ground in
2013 in Afghanistan will still -- they will still be in danger, but their
mission will be more safe than it is right now.

Then by 2014, that will look a lot like what happened in December in
Iraq, where we completely pull out and hand it over to Afghan forces.

SCHULTZ: Last summer, President Obama announced plans to speed up
withdrawal from Afghanistan. At the time, 72 percent of Americans
supported him, which suggests this policy should help President Obama in an
election year. What do you think?

SOLTZ: Well, I think the president has learned that putting all these
troops in and this counter insurgency doctrine he was really pushed into by
General Petraeus and General McCrystal hasn`t worked. I mean, he has seen
tremendous success because he had a counter terror operation in Pakistan
and killed Osama bin Laden.

Just last week, he went into Somalia and he freed an American and a
Danish citizen who were being held by terrorists in that country. So he`s
going to a lighter footprint to kill terrorists where they are at. And
that`s very popular.

I think 56 or 57 percent of Americans right now don`t think we`re on
the right course in Afghanistan. So he has created a position now that
Mitt Romney or whoever the Republican is going to oppose. So now the
Republican nominee is going to be in the less popular position going into
the election year.

But none of this will matter -- none of this is going to matter if the
president loses reelection. If the president loses reelection, the time
line is off and the COIN strategists and all these people who think we need
hundreds of thousands of troops in Afghanistan, to take a country from the
15th century to the 20th century, will be in power and we`ll see a shift

So it`s great there`s a time line. But it won`t matter if the
president loses in November.

SCHULTZ: Jon Soltz, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so

Next up, House Republicans take a stand against the First Amendment by
having a journalist arrested and led out of a hearing in handcuffs. The
journalist, Josh Fox, joins me exclusively here on THE ED SHOW, Stay with


SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey, I asked you will there be more very poor
people if Mitt Romney is elected president? Ninety nine percent of you
said yes; one percent of you said no.

In the big finish tonight, film maker Josh Fox joins me to give us his
side of the story after his arrest at a Congressional hearing today. We`ll
tell you who Josh Fox is and his great work. Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In the big finish tonight,
Republicans violated basic free speech rights by making a --just making
sure that a journalist was arrested and led out of the public hearings in
handcuffs. The journalist was Josh Fox, who has gone a long way in
exposing the truth about fracking, the toxic extraction of natural gas in

Fox was arrested after Republicans at a committee hearing insisted on
enforcing a rule that is routinely ignored for journalists.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Come on, Mr. Chairman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, can we discuss this before --

FOX: This is a public hearing. I`m within my First Amendment rights.
And I`m being taken out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move that he be allowed to film this --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is the transparency?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is the transparency?


SCHULTZ: Fox was arrested on a charge of unlawful entry. Maybe
Republicans just don`t like what Josh Fox stands for. Here is a clip from
"Gas Land."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: it was the same story, water trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We never had a problem with the water. After they
drilled, the water was bad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health problems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m never healthy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hazardous explosive conditions inside the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa. Whoa. Jesus Christ.


SCHULTZ: Joining me now exclusively on THE ED SHOW, Josh Fox, Academy
Award nominated documentary film maker, who directed "Gas Land," and is
currently working on "Gas Land II." Josh, good to have you on THE ED SHOW
tonight. We saw the video of your arrest. But we want you to describe it
from your perspective.

What happened. What went down?

FOX: Well, I didn`t expect to be arrested for documentary film making
and journalism on Capitol Hill today. I was prepared for it, but I didn`t
expect it. I did think that they would come to their senses and just let
us film the hearing.

We were there covering a very crucial hearing about a case of ground
water contamination in Pavilion, Wyoming, a three-and-a-half year
investigation by the EPA, which shows subjects from the first film "Gas
Land" from Pavilion, with ground water contamination, resulting in 50 times
the level of Benzene in ground water.

And EPA has pointed in this case that hydraulic fracturing is the
likely cause. What was happening on the Hill today is Republicans have
called in the Science and Space and Technology Committee a hearing to
challenge science. Their panel was made up of gas industry lobbyists.

We were there to expose what I believe is actually rather ugly and
brazen attack on science itself, on what is happening across the country
with hydraulic fracturing and water contamination. So we were there
actually doing our jobs as journalists.
was not interested in disrupting that hearing. I was not charged with
disrupting the hearing. I was simply interested in capturing on film, in a
broadcast quality camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right
there, putting the EPA and the citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the
nation who is complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on

We wanted to make sure that people knew that that was happening.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, fracking is getting a heck of a lot more
attention because of you. And it`s very dangerous and it needs to be
monitored big time. How did the Republicans know it was you? They just
know who you are because of the work you`ve done. I heard on the tape
there that there were -- seemed to be some Congressional members that were
arguing that you be allowed to stay.

FOX: We went through the proper channels to request permission to
entering the hearing. Now there are some rules about being a credentialed
-- Hill special credentialed journalist. But you can ask the chair of the
committee or the committee for permission to film. We have had that
successfully in the past when the Democrats were in control of the House.

Since the Republicans took over, we have had obstruction after
obstruction getting into Congress. This time, this was something that we
have been covering in a very personal way for three-and-a-half years. And
felt look, I`m going in there because this is the First Amendment. This is
freedom of speech.

The amendment is "Congress shall make no law which infringes upon the
freedom of the press." That`s an abridged part of it. But that means
Congress can`t pass a law or a rule or a regulation in a subcommittee
hearing to obstruct journalists from coming in and exposing to the American
people what they are doing.

SCHULTZ: Are you going to go back?

FOX: Am I going back where?

SCHULTZ: Well, back do more hearings? Are you going to do whatever
you can to get in there?

FOX: Our film is about the influence of oil and gas -- gasoline too -
- on the United States government. I`m sure that we will be back at other
public hearings. We are very close to being finished with the film. And
this is incredibly ironic that all these strands have come together.

And they are kicking science out of the House of Representatives.
They are kicking science and journalism out of the Science and Technology
Committee. And it`s really a brazen attack on American civil liberties,
and frankly on our ability to investigate the truth.

SCHULTZ: Josh Fox, great work. We`ll do it again with you. Thank
you so much for joining us. It`s a story that every American needs to

FOX: Thanks, Ed. It`s great to be out.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz,

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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