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The Ed Show for Thursday, January 9, 2012

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Martin Bashir, Ezra Klein, Bob Shrum, Terry O`Neill

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

Republicans are doing their best to start a culture war. Lefties,
what do you say we take them head-on tonight?

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


shutter faith, privatize it, push it out of the public square.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): They can`t hit the president on the economy, so
they are starting a culture war.

administration, there is an assault on religion.

SCHULTZ: Eugene Robinson is here with reaction.

landmark settlement with the nation`s largest banks that will speed relief
to the hardest hit home owners.

SCHULTZ: Good news for homeowners who get crickets on the campaign

Ezra Klein on the policy of the big bank settlement. And Bob Shrum on
the politics.

The debate over contraception is exploding in the faces of

unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country.

SCHULTZ: National Organization of Women President Terry O`Neill joins
us with the latest.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When you have a shared goal, you
can put that and work together and compromise. But we don`t have shared
goals with the Democrats.

SCHULTZ: It was day one of CPAC in Washington and it was ugly.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Before President Obama was
elected, no president had ever gone around apologizing to the world.

SCHULTZ: We`ll debunk the lies with Joy-Ann Reid and Martin Bashir.

And Sean Hannity released his bogus evidence that the president didn`t
want to kill bin Laden. Tonight, I will embarrass him again with the


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

Republicans, they screamed bloody murder about class warfare about the
last month, haven`t they? And, of course, Americans, we haven`t been
buying it.

So, it`s time to roll out the new war, the culture war. In the past
24 hours, Rick Santorum, fresh off his three-state win, has said President
Obama is taking us down the road to the French Revolution and the
guillotine. And we`re headed into Soviet-style atheism. Really? I`m not
making this stuff up. Here`s Santorum in Plano, Texas.


SANTORUM: They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? Why? When
you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given
rights, then what`s left is the French Revolution. What`s left in France
became the guillotine.

Ladies and gentlemen, we`re a long way from that. But, if we do and
follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in
America, we`re headed down that road.


SCHULTZ: The new shiny object in this culture war is the Obama
administration`s position on birth control, requiring health care to
include access to contraception, including employers affiliated with
religious organizations. Quite a discussion going on this country about
that right now, but that`s not the only thing Republicans are screaming

Rick Santorum is tearing into the 9th Circuit`s reversal of
Proposition 8 in California.


SANTORUM: This is the intolerance of the left, the intolerance of the
secular ideology. It is the most intolerant just like we saw from the days
of the atheists in the Soviet Union. It is completely intolerant of


SCHULTZ: Are we kidding?

A couple of things are going on here, folks, in my opinion. Rick
Santorum is trying to basically drag Mitt Romney further to the right to
prove what a total phony Mitt is. But all three major Republican
contenders are realizing they can`t win on the economy, so they are firing
up the base with the old culture war.

Here`s what I`m talking about. Weekly, unemployment claims, what are
they doing? Well, they`re dropping again. In fact to the lowest level
since April of 2008. More good news -- jobless claims are starting to fall
again under President Obama.

Where do you think this puts Mitt Romney, his chief argument against
the president when it comes to the economy? It leaves him out in the
field. He doesn`t have anything to say.

Republican Senator Jon Kyl said there is not exactly Romney-mania
right now. He said Romney needs to shore up the weaknesses with the
Republican base. I`d say Senator Jim DeMint in the game said playing it
safe, which Romney tends to do, is not going to go for him.

Well, look, Romney is trying to jump on the culture war now. Here we


ROMNEY: Remarkably, under this president`s administration, there is
an assault on religion, an assault on the conviction and the religious
believes of members of our society that religious organizations like
schools, Catholic schools, Catholic hospital and so forth, have to provide
for free contraceptives and free morning-after pills. Abortive pills for
all of their employees.


SCHULTZ: I think we`re starting to get the picture here. Santorum`s
French Revolution, Romney`s assault on religion -- wait a minute, there`s
one more. Oh yes, Newt Gingrich.

Well, here he is talking about President Obama.


war on the Catholic Church. Every time you turn around, secular government
is closing in on and shrinking the right of religious liberty in America, I
think there are millions of people who are disturbed by it.


SCHULTZ: War, have any of these guys been to war? So, it`s a culture
war. And it`s back in a big, big way. This is their best play right now.

It`s meant to really appeal to these folks, the social conservatives,
because on economic issues, these candidates -- well, they are flailing,
they got no name. These Republican candidates are preaching to the red
liners, the president of the United States is doing everything he can for
the blue liners and we know what they have been through over the last 30

President Obama came out with -- here he is again -- today, a mortgage
plan. Where were the Republicans? Now, I grant you it`s not perfect, but
he still is out there trying.

Here is Mitt Romney.


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


SCHULTZ: Oh, yes, it`s the Bain way.

Romney wants foreclosure process just hit rock bottom. Oh, sure, he
changed his tune in Florida, he did that, didn`t he? Because we can always
count on Romney to talk out of both sides of his mouth.

Americans understands President Obama defends the big three: Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They agree with his vision of a fair tax
rate. They get it. Americans get it. He`s trying to help the blue

Here is Newt Gingrich.


GINGRICH: The safety net in many ways has become a spider web. It
traps them at the bottom. Conservatives -- real conservatives have been
trying for years to develop a trampoline effect.


SCHULTZ: This is empty rhetoric, the best bet for these GOP
candidates is to focus less on the economic issues of America, because
things are going a heck of a lot better.

What is left? Well, they can throw red meat to the national defense
conservatives, that always seems to work.

But President Obama, the problem here is he just keeps killing
terrorists, and that kind of screws that bullet point up. But social
conservatives, they will not be denied. And it`s easy for Republicans,
well, to get ginned up in a culture war.

For the GOP, we are back to where we were in 2004. It`s gays, guns
and God and the social issues. And when Romney and Santorum and Gingrich,
they go to CPAC tomorrow, they`re going to be throwing out all kinds of red
meat and you`re just going to hear them roar about the social issues,
because they have no game and no plan for anything else.

I was at a Gingrich event the other night in Bloomington, Minnesota.
He`s going to repeal Obamacare. The crowd, oh, yes, they`re all nuts.

But he never says what he`s going to replace it with. We`re going to
have double digit increases in health care, we never hear any plan from any
of the conservatives. It`s on your own health care.

They don`t have plans on the economy, they don`t have plans on health
care, they don`t have a mortgage plan to help Americans out the way the
president did to it day.

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think.

Tonight`s question: are Republicans starting a culture war to distract
from their record on the economy? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639,
you can always go to our blog at We`ll bring you results
later on on the show.

I`m joined tonight by Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst, as
well as associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The
Washington Post".

Well, Gene, got your armor on now, we`ve got -- what we have here is a
culture war going on. They`re down to the very bottom of the list again
like they were in 2004 when it comes to turning this country around or
being a part of progress in America.

Is this the last really bullet they have in the chamber? If they want
to win in November, to just drive home these social issues. What do you

comes to making stuff up, Ed, and we`ve seen that in the past, too. I
agree with your analysis that clearly they are going to the culture war,
because the war on -- they are fighting on economic issues isn`t going to
work. It certainly isn`t going to work for Mitt Romney with all those Bain
clips we have of him giving his solution to the mortgage crisis, his
fondness for firing people and all that. That`s not going to help him,

But fighting on social issues is red meat and what we`re seeing
Santorum do, I think, is make the argument that, you know, this is what we
got this year, we got the social issues, I`m better on this than Mitt

SCHULTZ: What do you make of Santorum? I mean, this guy is out there
throwing the red meat. He`s accusing the president of leading us down the
path of the French Revolution and guillotine! That`s an hour of "Psycho
Talk" right there, but I can`t do that tonight. Do you know what I mean?

Why are they talking like this?

ROBINSON: Well, where do they have to go? First of all, remember,
Rick Santorum who in person is a genial guy, was really quite radically far
to the right when he was a senator. It`s just that the Republican Party
has moved so far to the right that he seems mainstream in the context of
today`s party. And I think this is -- he senses that this is his time, if
you are going to make a move for the nomination, he`s got has to make noise
and get attention and this is the best he`s got. So he`s going to go for

SCHULTZ: Well, here`s more from Rick Santorum. Let`s listen.


SANTORUM: We have to stop the radical, statist policies of Barack
Obama and get this country back to the founding freedoms and principles
that make this country great again.

Barack Obama has systematically in every single way tried to destroy
the very foundational elements of our country.


SCHULTZ: Doesn`t this border on calling the president of the United
States a traitor?

ROBINSON: It certainly does -- and it`s just nonsense, every single
way. Really, Rick? Really? Is that really true? And he wakes up in the
morning thinking how can I destroy America?

You know, it`s ridiculous and frankly, this is not going to strike
most voters, especially independent voters in the fall if Santorum were to
get there. It`s not going to strike independent voters as realistic or
anything but "Psycho Talk," that`s what it is.

People like Barack Obama and certainly believe he`s patriotic, he`s
president of the United States! This is crazy.

SCHULTZ: Now, Mitt Romney is in a world of hurt as I see it right
now, because he`s not as conservative as Rick Santorum. Santorum has the
momentum right now, and he`s terrible at faking the culture war stuff.


SCHULTZ: I mean, Romney just doesn`t seem like the real guy. It`s
money now, isn`t it? I mean, if the conservatives really get behind
Santorum, is it his for the taking?

ROBINSON: Well, here`s the scenario, really, and I don`t think it`s
anybody`s for the taking except maybe still Romney`s. But if Romney in the
next few contests doesn`t show that he`s still in control of this race, I
think what you`re going to see is some of the big money folks and some of
the establishment types really asking serious questions about Romney`s
ability to go the distance and whether or not he`s the best candidate to
lead the ticket.

Now, you know, let alone win the presidential election. But, you
know, a weak candidate at the head of the ticket could spell bad news for
the Republican House majority, and even in the Senate.

So, they are going to have to decide is it -- if it`s not Romney, is
it Santorum, a better choice than Gingrich? Some people think he might be
just because he`s somewhat more reliable. Gingrich could self-destruct at
any time, or -- and then we get to the whole sort of brokered convention
talk. I don`t even know if that is possible really in this day and age.

But we could get there where we have to talk about it.

SCHULTZ: We sure could.

Gene Robinson, thanks so much for joining us tonight. It`s going to
be interesting at CPAC tomorrow where the candidates show up and make their

Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know what you

Coming up, a settlement by the nation`s largest banks will help over a
million homeowners fighting foreclosure. Ezra Klein on what it means for
the economy, Bob Shrum on the politics.

And later, social issues were a big theme as we said at CPAC. We`ve
got today`s highlights, with Martin Bashir and Joy-Ann Reid.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Coming up: a settlement by the country`s largest banks will
help out homeowners fighting foreclosure. But is it enough? We`ll visit
with Ezra Klein and Bob Shrum next.

Nancy Pelosi is looking to bring transparency to super PAC donations.
And she is targeting Stephen Colbert. We got the whole story coming up.

And the fight continues between the White House and church leaders
over providing coverage for contraception. Terry O`Neill of the national
organization of women will be here to tell us what the administration needs
to do.

Share your thoughts on Twitter using #EdShow. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Today, President Obama announced five of the nation`s
largest banks have agreed to $26 billion settlement to help homeowners who
were harmed by the housing crisis. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells
Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial signed on to the agreement.

The president had harsh words for the banks` fraudulent practices.


OBAMA: Millions of Americans did the right thing and responsible
thing, shopped for a house, secured a mortgage that they could afford, made
their payments on time, were nevertheless hurt badly by the irresponsible
actions of others, by lenders who sold loans to people who couldn`t afford
them, by banks that took risky mortgages, packaged them up and traded them
off for large profits. It was wrong. And it cost more than 4 million
families their home to foreclosure.

Under the terms of the settlement, America`s biggest banks, banks that
were rescued by taxpayer dollars, will be required to right these wrongs.


SCHULTZ: So, what does it mean? The settlement could reduce mortgage
debt and lower mortgage rates for 1 million homeowners, who owe more on
their homes than they are worth. Another 750,000 people who lost their
homes to foreclosure between September of 2008 and 2011 will get checks for

In exchange, participating banks will be off the hook for certain
types of fraud investigations. But individual homeowners can still file

And prosecutors can investigate many other practices that contributed
to the housing bubble such as insurance, and tax fraud.

Forty-nine states attorney general signed on the settlement. The only
one missing was from Oklahoma, he thought the agreement was too hard on the

Joining me tonight is Ezra Klein, MSNBC policy analyst and columnist
for "The Washington Post".

Ezra, is this a good deal? What does this settlement mean for the

EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: I know a lot of people think it`s a
good deal. I know a couple who think it is not that good of a deal. But I
think the main thing about the deal is it doesn`t matter that much. It
does in terms of the legally ability for the banks, it does in terms of the
fairly small number of homeowners who will be directly affected.

But the numbers are pretty stark. We have $700 billion in under water
mortgage debt. This is a $26 million deal. You just can`t make those
matchup in a way that we`re seeing here is a game changer for the economy.
It will help some people and it`s bigger impact might be in creating some
new ways that mortgage servicers end up interacting with under water
homeowners. So the procedural changes may end up helping a lot of people
who otherwise having a hard time a bit.

But it is not going to change the housing market dramatically.

SCHULTZ: New York`s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is moving
forward with a much deeper investigation of the banks. Is that where we
see broader action taken against the banks? Is that where we`re going to
see it?

KLEIN: We`ll see. I wouldn`t pre-judge it yet. As he said, there is
a bigger investigation going on. Schneiderman is a fan of this deal. He`s
talking to my colleague Greg Sargent about it today. He said it`s sort of
the best they can get here. But it also gave them freedom to move

And that it should be said, it`s one reason this deal is fairly
limited in terms of the money because if they didn`t take all the liability
off the table, it didn`t get the banks out from everything. It really just
dealt with primarily the robo-signing element where they essentially had
automatic signing of these mortgage documents when you needed them to be
signed by actual humans.


KLEIN: So, again, it was limited so it both means the banks will be
exposed to further legal liability going forward, although we don`t know
how much. But it also means that homeowners are not -- this is not
hundreds of billions of dollars coming at it. It`s nothing like, say, the
tobacco settlement in `90s, which would have been $350 billion in today`s

SCHULTZ: Ezra Klein, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

KLEIN: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Now, let`s turn to Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and
professor at NYU. The numbers aren`t real big, why did the president do

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think he`s being pragmatic
here. He`s learned the lesson of the 1930s, and an unprecedented
situation. You got to do what you can do, and you can`t live by the old
rules. So, just I reject the idea that we shouldn`t help some people
because we couldn`t help all people.


SHRUM: I think the president himself understood that we don`t gain
anything. In fact, we could lose the economic recovery if we launched a
big attack on all the big banks and prosecuted them into insolvency. So, I
think the deal made sense from that perspective.

Finally, I think the deal makes political sense because the president
has a big mortgage rescue package in front of the Congress. The Congress
won`t act on it. When he got up and said was we can`t wait, he knows it
isn`t perfect, but he`s saying I`m going to use executive power, executive
action, get these states attorney generals together and we`re going to do

And every day sending a message you were talking at the beginning of
the show --


SHRUM: -- the Republicans don`t have anything to say on the economy
except let the mortgage crisis hit bottom.


SHRUM: And he`s going to go out there and fight for middle class

SCHULTZ: OK. So the Republican candidates quiet about this today.
There must be something good about this deal.

But the Republicans were not at the table at any of this, does that
hurt them politically?

SHRUM: Well, no, I don`t think it hurts them politically. I think
what hurts them is the whole sense of do-nothing Congress that won`t take
on this issue, and won`t provide the kind of mortgage relief that you could
provide for folks. That`s why the president keeps saying it`s his mantra
now: we can`t wait. I can`t do everything by executive action but I`m
going to do everything I can.

SCHULTZ: Here what is Mitt Romney said about foreclosures.


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

The Obama administration has slowed up the foreclosure process that
long existed, and as a result, we still have a foreclosure overhang.


SCHULTZ: I mean, he`s saying let the ship sink. How does that play?

SHRUM: I don`t think it plays at all, which is why when he got to
Florida, he tried to talk his way out of that and say he meant the

Look, this guy over and over and over again, you can call it a gaffe,
I think it`s really a self-revelation of who he really is. He`s a guy with
a lot of money, who doesn`t understand what ordinary people are going
through, and who over and over and over again reveals that. How can this
guy sit with unemployed people and say, you know, I`m like you, I`m

SCHULTZ: Yes. Rush Limbaugh, today, he was not quiet about this,
either. Here it is.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I know what Obama is doing, when
he goes out like he did today or any other day and talks about people
getting tricked. I know exactly what he`s doing. You have to be careful
when you describe it.

But there is a racial component to this, we all know it`s there.
Obama starts talking about bankers. Now, what does that Wall Street
bankers -- what does that mean to certain elements of our population? You
know as well as I do what that means. And that -- Obama`s audiences the
poor disadvantaged minorities, and the big, evil Wall Street bankers,
everybody knows who they are, and Obama is doing what? Getting even with


SCHULTZ: Limbaugh is in Florida, one of the hardest hit states during
the housing crisis. So, how does he not understand helping people at all?
It isn`t that big of a lift as far as the numbers as Ezra was saying.

But this is the Republican mantra. You`re just on your own.

SHRUM: Can we rename what Limbaugh does? Trash talk radio, because
what he was saying is absolutely out rain us. The notion that you would
connect this to race so that some how or other you could bring up the
president`s race, that`s always been kind of a sub-text of much of the
criticism of the president from the right.

You just look at those Tea Party rallies. They can`t just deal with
the fact that a black man is president of the United States. That`s why
they call him the other. That`s why they call him alien.

You know what? It makes me proud that he`s there and he is not making
racist appeals. He`s fighting for everybody.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so

SHRUM: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Stephen Colbert has the most powerful woman in the country a
little upset. Nancy Pelosi takes down the pride of South Carolina, next.

And Sean Hannity says he has tapes to prove that President Obama did
not want to kill Osama bin Laden. Hannity released his tapes and they are
a joke.

Stay with us.





SCHULTZ: Stephen Colbert used his super PAC to attack Mitt Romney and
Newt Gingrich during the South Carolina primary. Today, a very important
Democrat came to their defense. Nancy Pelosi is attacking Colbert to shine
a light on the Disclose Act. The law would forbid foreign influence in
federal elections, and make super PACs disclose their donors.

History here, in 2010, Speaker Pelosi got the Disclose Act through the
House, but Mitch McConnell killed it in the Senate. Pelosi is trying to
revive the bill by attacking Colbert`s Americans For A Better Tomorrow
super PAC.

Take a look.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: Stephen Colbert used to be my
friend. I even signed the poor baby`s cast when he hurt his hand. But
since the day he started his super PAC, taking secret money from special
interests, he`s been out of control, even using his super PAC to attack my
friend, Newt Gingrich.

And if that weren`t enough, I hear he doesn`t even like kittens.

Colbert must be stopped. I`m Nancy Pelosi and I support this ad,
because Americans deserve a better tomorrow today. Join me in stopping
Colbert and creating a new politics free of special interests money. The
first step is passing the Disclose Act. Learn more at


SCHULTZ: I love it, but I`m willing to bet that Newt doesn`t.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: If it`s halftime in America, I`m fearful
of what the final score is going to be if we let this president start the
second half as a quarterback.


SCHULTZ: The bile was flowing in the nation`s capital today.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: He`s a terrible president.


SCHULTZ: Joy-Ann Reid and Martin Bashir of day one on CPAC coming up


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: This attack by the federal
government on religious freedom in our country must not stand.


SCHULTZ: Republicans are fighting a losing cause on contraception.
Now President Terry O`Neill on the latest.

And Sean Hannity is letting his blind ideology get in the way of
facts. You don`t want to miss his bogus response to the challenge I issued
last night.


SCHULTZ: Well they gathered today at a Washington D.C. Marriott
Hotel. Right wingers joined forces at the 39th Annual Conservative
Political Action Conference, or better known as CPAC. While "the
Washington Post" noted free enterprise thriving at CPAC, it cost 20 bucks
to park. And then three dollars, going to cost you that to ride the bus
from the parking lot.

Today`s predominant themes were doom and gloom and right wing hysteria
over social issues. Senators Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell hit President
Obama pretty hard over the administration`s new health care policy on birth
control coverage.

Meanwhile, lectures -- well, they ranged in subject matter from
conservative dating to the failures of multiculturalism. And like any good
meeting of right wing minds, there was plenty of red meat. Jim Demint,
well, he threw out the first helping.


SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I can guarantee you that Coach
Tom Coughlin last week did not tell his Giants to go out on the field, and
to work with those other guys.

The reason for this -- and this really is a good analogy -- the two
teams had different goals. The Patriots were there to beat the Giants.
Compromise works well in this world when you have shared goals. But we
don`t have shared goals with the Democrats, folks.


SCHULTZ: Really? It`s interesting, during the Super Bowl, Clint
Eastwood`s commercial said that this wasn`t a game. I guess the
Republicans think it is. Their goal, as we all know, is not one to help
America, but to defeat President Obama and make him a one-term president.

Meanwhile, the guy who was cut from the GOP practice squad had his own
Super Bowl reference to work in.


PERRY: If it`s halftime in America, I`m fearful of what the final
score is going to be if we let this president start the second half as the


SCHULTZ: And the tan man had his moment in the sun as well, despite
his flubbed introduction. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the Honorable Steve King -
- Honorable John Boehner, speaker of the United States House of


SCHULTZ: You got to pay the speakers a little bit more. You know?
I`m joined tonight by MSNBC host Martin Bashir and Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC
contributor and managing editor of The Grio. Wow, what a funny farm that
was today.

JOY-ANN REID, "THE GRIO": Poor John Boehner.

SCHULTZ: OK, on a serious note here, today a white nationalist was
allowed to speak on multiculturalism, while a predominant gay Republican
group was not invited, because they are just too aggressive. What are we
seeing here?

REID: Yes. I think that it`s unbelievable that a party that has a
minority problem would go to a guy like Peter Brimelow, the founder of, a known white nationalist, and say, you know what, it`s OK to
give him a panel.

But what`s even more strange for me is that the American Conservative
Union who did the invite, stood behind the invites, is run by Al Cardenas,
who is Hispanic, who is one of the few Hispanic conservatives. He`s a guy
who is very close to Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is usually pretty savvy on this
issue of trying to broaden the party.

So for you to do such an obviously kind of insane seeming thing that
makes the party look like it`s coddling racists, like it`s cuddling up to
people who have really extremist views.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: And Ed, the attacks on the president
were juvenile and barely intelligent. We had Marco Rubio who in attacking
the president said "I don`t know what the South African Constitution says,
but I know what the American Constitution says," a barely concealed attack
on the president`s antecedents. But obviously Marco Rubio doesn`t realize
that the president`s father comes from Kenya, which is in east Africa, not
in South Africa.

Then we had Rick Perry who went on to say that he believed that Ronald
Reagan was looking down from heaven and might be tempted to believe in
reincarnation, because President Obama is the reincarnation of Jimmy
Carter. The last I looked, Jimmy Carter was alive.

And then the third one, if I may, was absolutely astonishing, Herman
Cain who comes out and, of course, blames gutter politics for the fact that
he allegedly pushed his hand up a woman`s skirt and ended up forcing her
head toward his groin.

So you have one guy who knows nothing about geography, another who
knows nothing about courtesy and another who knows nothing about reality.
And they have the audacity to attack the president.

SCHULTZ: Here is Rand Paul, newly elected senator from Kentucky.
Here`s what he had to say about the president.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: To be fair, the president doesn`t
really hate all rich people, just those who don`t contribute to his

I have another question, another question for the president. Do you
hate poor people? Or do you just hate poor people with jobs?


SCHULTZ: Does anybody outside this room believe this stuff, Joy-Ann?

REID: This is the problem. This is no way to broaden and build a
party. The Republican Party has a core demographic problem and it`s this:
Barack Obama won the White House in 2008 having lost the white vote by 11.6
million voters. The reason he won anyway was because he won non-white
voters by 24 million voters.

If John McCain had the same electorate that, let`s say, Bill Clinton
had in 1992, just that same composition of the electorate, John McCain
would have beaten Barack Obama. They have a problem. They can`t broaden
out if they appear to be too close with racists, insensitive to minorities
and just mean.

SCHULTZ: But there is no effort. There`s not even an effort, hey, we
have the best policies for minorities; we have the best policies for those
who are income-challenged right now. They make no effort.

BASHIR: Ed, you`re hitting on the crucial problem. And that is who
is Mitt Romney? Tomorrow, he will be attending CPAC, as we know. And it`s
the engagement party that nobody wants to attend. He`s turning up hoping
that he will receive that diamond-gilded engagement ring. The rest of them
will turn up and they`re not sure if they want to marry him.

What`s interesting about Mitt Romney now is he`s becoming so desperate
that he`s broken one of his rules this week. He`s started talking about
his Mormon faith. Earlier this week, he was talking about his experiences
as a Mormon minister, where he was caring for people with depression and
who had suffered unemployment.

I can tell you now, Ed, the vast majority of Evangelicals in that
building tomorrow believe Mormonism is a cult.

SCHULTZ: Absolutely.


SCHULTZ: They will not vote for a Mormon, although they won`t say it

BASHIR: They share Mark Twain`s view of "The Book of Mormon," which
in 1861, as you probably know, he described it as "chloroform in print."
That is what many of these people believe. That is why there is a problem.
How do you win anybody when you can`t win the party?

SCHULTZ: Well, Santorum is moving in the polls. We`ll have that a
little bit later. Martin Bashir, Joy-Ann Reid, great to have you with us
tonight. I appreciate your help.

Coming up, Sean Hannity says it was Bush era enhanced interrogation
techniques that got Osama bin Laden. He`s wrong again. Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: Well, Sean Hannity is still blowing smoke about President
Obama and his role in the killing of Osama bin Laden. Last night on the
show, I challenged Hannity to explain this quote.


HANNITY: The president will say we got bin Laden. Putting that

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The public gives him credit for that.

HANNITY: They do. The public does give him credit for it. But it
wouldn`t have happened if he had his way. I think that can be proven as
well on tape.


SCHULTZ: We showed you tapes proving Hannity wrong. Today, Hannity
brought it up on his radio show. He insisted we would not have found bin
Laden without the use of the Bush era enhanced interrogation techniques,
which President Obama opposed.

His evidence was a tape of Brian Williams, an interview with former
CIA Director Leon Panetta.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Can you confirm that it was as a
result of water boarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go
after bin Laden?

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: You know, Brian, in the intelligence
business, you work from a lot of sources of information. And that was true
here. We had a multiple source -- multiple series of sources that provided
information with regards to this situation.

Clearly some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of
detainees. But we also had information from other sources as well.

WILLIAMS: So finer point, one final time, enhanced interrogation
techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post
9/11 years, that includes water boarding?

PANETTA: That`s correct.

HANNITY: That`s correct, including water boarding, the very enhanced
interrogation techniques that Barack Obama himself opposed.


SCHULTZ: Nice try, Sean. But John McCain, a victim of torture
himself, went to Leon Panetta behind closed doors to find out if enhanced
interrogation techniques specifically led to finding bin Laden. Here`s
what he learned.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: With so much misinformation being fed
in to such an essential public debate as this one, I asked the director of
central intelligence, Leon Panetta, for the facts.

And I received the following information. The trail to bin Laden did
not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Muhammad, who was water
boarded 183 times. The first mention of the name Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, as
well as a description of him as an important member of al Qaeda, came from
a detainee in another country.

The United States did not conduct this detainee`s interrogation, nor
did we render him to that country for the purpose of interrogation.


SCHULTZ: No torture, no rendition. And I have more proof for you.
Ali Soufan was an FBI interrogator who questioned dozens of al Qaeda --
members of al Qaeda. Here is what he told "The New York Magazine" about
the intelligence leading the United States to bin Laden: "this case is the
biggest proof that water boarding and enhanced interrogation techniques did
not work at all. I saw it firsthand. It actually delayed the hunt for bin
Laden. A name of his courier came up in 20002,before KSM was arrested.

"He knew everything about the guy. And he lied about it. If water
boarding worked, KSM would have said the guy`s real name back in March of

These are facts, Sean Hannity. Your blind ideology and flat out
hatred for the president of the United States, Barack Obama, is clouding
your judgment. This isn`t about enhanced interrogation. It isn`t about
Gitmo. It isn`t about rendition.

It`s about you, Sean Hannity, saying that you had tapes proving that
President Obama didn`t want to get Osama bin Laden, that President Obama,
if he had his way, would have never happened. If you ever have any doubts
about whether Obama had his way, remember what the president said.


OBAMA: Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al Qaeda leaders
who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or
whoever is left out there, ask them about that.


SCHULTZ: Hannity, even you can understand who really got the job


SCHULTZ: ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked are Republicans starting a
culture war to distract from their record on the economy? Ninety four
percent of you said yes; six percent of you said no.

Coming up, with the fight over a new birth control policy raging on,
what part will women`s health play in the November elections? I`ll ask the
president of the National Organization For Women, next.



REP. NITA LOWEY (D), NEW YORK: It is time for the extreme right wing
to stop playing political football with women`s health.


SCHULTZ: And that is the story. Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The
political firestorm over women`s health signs shows absolutely no sign of
dying down. At the center of the controversy is a new Obama administration
policy requiring religiously affiliated hospitals, schools and charities to
provide birth control coverage in their employee health care plans.

The rule exempts churches. And it does not mandate any person to
violate religious believes. If a person does not want to use birth
control, they don`t have to. No government official is going to force them
to. What the policy does is give employees of their religious institutions
the same access to birth control as every other woman.

Also, the new policy applies only to insurance carriers, not health
providers. So if a Catholic hospital objects to providing birth control to
a patient, it is not required to. The law already exists in 28 states.

Yet Catholic leadership says this violates the church`s teachings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can`t compromise on principle. That is almost
rewarding bad behavior.


SCHULTZ: Predictably, the right wing sees a window of opportunity
here to attack women`s health.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: If the president does not
reverse the department`s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress,
acting on behalf of the American people, and the Constitution, that we`re
sworn to uphold and defend, must.


SCHULTZ: Yet majority of the American people and Catholics are siding
with the White House on this issue. People want access to birth control;
99 percent of women use it. Not only is this a health issue, it`s a labor

As our friend Joan Walsh points out on, what if Catholics
didn`t believe in child labor laws? Would we let church run agencies flout

Vice President Joe Biden says the White House is trying to address
concerns. Earlier, he told a Toledo, Ohio, radio station "I`m determined
to see that this gets worked out. And I believe we can work it out."

Terry O`Neill is the president of the National Organization For Women.
She joins me again tonight. Terry, thanks so much. A lot is in the news.
I appreciate you coming back.

Is the White House caving on this? What do you think?

certainly hope not, because, you know, the Catholic bishops don`t have to
worry about getting elected or reelected. But the fact of the matter is
that a politician who actively works to restrict birth control will pay a
heavy price at the poll.

SCHULTZ: Some Democrats are breaking with the White House on this.
For instance, John Kerry and some others are urging the president to
compromise. Now why is women`s health being politicized? Why is this
happening in the year 2012?

O`NEILL: You know, it`s really striking to me how many male
politicians are willing to use women`s health as a political football. I
really would like to have a meeting with Senator Kerry and find out what
he`s thinking about. My understanding, in fact, is that Catholic bishops
have been in the capital, meeting with elected official.

Elected officials have not been meeting with the heads of women`s
organizations. I think that any senator who intends to support any kind of
legislation, for example, to restrict women`s access to birth control in
their health insurance plans needs first to meet with the women`s

It`s -- it`s -- and what they really need to understand is that it`s
not just women who will not support them at the polls. It`s women and men.
Birth control is a fundamental part of a woman`s health care. And men rely
on birth control as much as women do, to prevent pregnancies.

SCHULTZ: Are we casting aside the fact that the Catholic Church is an
employer? They hire people. They pay people. They don`t force people to
come to work for them.

But if they are going to be an employer, don`t you think they have to
abide by the laws? Isn`t this a labor issue as well?

O`NEILL: You know, Ed, I think it really is. I think it`s important
to remember that, of course, a religious organization has a First Amendment
right to religious freedom. So does an individual woman. And whenever
fundamental rights clash, as they do frequently in a democracy, we have to
weigh the rights against each other.

Now let`s take a look at the rights of women that are being -- that
would be deprived or violated by a rule that says employers are free to
keep birth control away from women. It violates her right to religious
freedom. She has a right not to have somebody else`s religion shoved down
her throat.

It violates her right to privacy under Griswold versus Connecticut.
It violates her right to the equal protection of the laws. It violates her
right not to be discriminated against under Title VII of the 1964 Civil
Rights Act. And it violates her right not to be subjected to pregnancy

So when you look at all of the -- if you are going weigh the rights,
clearly women`s right to birth control outweighs the religious institutions
religiously-inspired need to, frankly, subordinate women.

SCHULTZ: Well, I believe that this is probably going to be a big
campaign issue, because the conservatives are big time on the social issues
right now. So we`ll talk more about it.

Terry O`Neill, thank you tonight. I appreciate it.

That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. You can listen to me on the
radio, Sirius XM Channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00 pm.
Follow me on Twitter @EdShow and like THE ED SHOW on Facebook.

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


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