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The Ed Show for Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Eric Schmidt, Eugene Robinson, Al Sharpton, Stephanie Cutter, Karen Finney, Richard Wolffe

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

Polls just closed in Illinois. And NBC News is characterizing the
race as too early to call, with Mitt Romney leading.

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


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Each of these people running for
president have all given their various ideas and reforms that perfectly
jive or consistent with what we`re proposing here.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): It`s election night in Illinois and Paul Ryan
says the candidates like his radical plan.

REPORTER: You wholeheartedly believe they will accept your budget?

RYAN: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: Republicans strategist Steve Schmidt and Eugene Robinson of
"The Washington Post" on the Ryan budget`s impact on the election.

Plus, full election night coverage with Stephanie Cutter of the Obama
campaign, Democratic strategist Karen Finney, and MSNBC political analyst
Richard Wolffe.

And in the Trayvon Martin case, the FBI and a grand jury are now
involved. And now we know Trayvon Martin was on the phone with his
girlfriend while he was being stalked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said the man is watching him. He put his
hoodie on.

SCHULTZ: The Reverend Al Sharpton and "New York Times" columnist
Charles Blow on the new evidence that could lead to the arrest of George


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

In the midst of the presidential race, the Republican Party is still
trying to do a way with social programs for millions of Americans. The
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released the Republicans new
budget proposal today. It looks like the old one. It`s another attempt to
push through tax cuts, defense spending and deficit reduction at the
expense of the most vulnerable Americans.


RYAN: It`s about turning our system that has become a dependent
culture into an upward mobile society, getting people back onto lives of
self-sufficiency. We`re here to offer Americans the chance to choose which
future they want for themselves.


SCHULTZ: The future offered by Ryan`s plan is bleak for everyone
except the most fortunate Americans.

Just like last year`s plan, Ryan`s budget gets rid of Medicare as it
exists, as we know it today. Financing for Medicaid, coverage would be
reduced affecting the elderly and disabled. More than 30 million Americans
would lose their health care coverage.

The budget has substantial cuts to food stamps, housing assistance.
Listening up farmers, subsidies would be cut. The IRS and the FBI,
transportation, science programs, education services, prison, border
control, student loans, FEMA, and unemployment insurance -- all would be
reduced dramatically.

Meanwhile, corporations and the wealthy get $3 trillion worth of tax
cuts over the next 10 years. The Pentagon budget would also get a good

Ryan says the Republican presidential nominees -- well, they`re going
to be on board with the plan.


RYAN: I think all of our candidates have campaigned on these various
ideas. Our nominee owes it to the country to give them a choice of two
futures. We`re helping him do that. And each of these people running for
president have all given their various ideas and reforms with perfectly
jive or consistent with what we`re proposing here

REPORTER: And you wholeheartedly believe they will accept your

RYAN: Absolutely.


SCHULTZ: The Republican candidates need to support the Ryan plan.
Just ask Newt Gingrich.

Last year, Gingrich called the Ryan budget right wing social
engineering. He was hammered over his comments by conservative pundits and


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you just did with Paul Ryan is unforgivable.

Paul Ryan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you did. You undercut him and his allies in
the House. You`re an embarrassment to our party.

GINGRICH: I`m sorry your feel that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don`t you get out before you make a bigger
fool of yourself.

GINGRICH: I`m sorry your feel that way.


SCHULTZ: Gingrich learned his lesson. This time, he released a
statement saying, "My plan to grow the economy and balance the budget
differs in details but shares the same core principles as Ryan`s impressive
effort. As president, I would work very closely with Chairman Ryan to
reform government and balance the budget."

Gingrich maybe singing a different tune, but voters have not changed
their minds. Ryan released a very similar budget last year with the same
cuts to programs like Medicare. Democrats campaigned hard against the Ryan
budget in a New York congressional election and won the seat.

Voter attitudes have not changed. Recent polling shows a majority of
people in every political group want Medicare left as it is.

Paul Ryan says his budget is about a choice of visions for America.
Most Americans have already rejected Ryan`s vision.

Let`s bring in Steve Schmidt tonight, MSNBC contributor and Republican
strategist, who served as a senior advisor to Senator John McCain`s
presidential campaign. And also with us tonight, Eugene Robinson, MSNBC
political analyst, also an associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning for
"The Washington Post".

Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.

Steve, let me ask you first, Steve. I mean, the top 1 percent would
get $150,000 tax break under this Ryan plan. And there is no polling out
there that supports that this is where the country wants to go.

So, how are the Republicans going to be able to support this plan and
win in November?

obviously with some of your characterizations of the plan. I think that
this is a serious governing blue print for Republicans. I think it
presents a big choice, a big difference between the president`s vision and
the Republican vision.

But Republicans have to do a better job than they did last year
communicating the virtues of this. This is a revenue neutral plan. The
tax codes are flattened to two rates, 25 percent, 10 percent, so people`s
tax rates go down.

But this is plan that can encourage economic growth, that lead
prosperity and led to an economic recovery.

But the Republicans are going to have to be able to go out and to
communicate this against what I think you previewed is going to be an
effective line of attack.

SCHULTZ: Is it going to be hard for them to go on the campaign and
sell this? I mean, we`re talking about tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans, we`re talking about changing Medicare. There hasn`t been any
polling that shows this is what the American people want. There`s two
issues right there and, of course, it adds to the budget deficit but
balances it on the backs of the most as a vulnerable Americans.

It would seem to me, Eugene Robinson, that that would be a pretty
tough sell.

tough sell, Ed. And it`s interesting because this -- the House Republicans
did learn something from the first experience when they talk about tax
reform. They don`t really specify what loopholes are going to be closed
because, gee, you`re not going to come out and say let`s get rid of the
mortgage deduction.

And, you know, in terms of Medicare, they say leave the current
seniors alone and maybe and then we`ll hit them in 10 years or so.

But I think this is really tough sell. I don`t think you`re going to
see the Republican presidential candidates embracing this plan, lock, stock
and barrel.

SCHULTZ: Democrats are already hitting the pretty budget hard. Here
is a commercial from the liberal group advocacy group Americans United for


NARRATOR: Like "Weekend at Bernie`s", even when no one in America
wanted to see "Weekend at Bernie`s 2", they went ahead and made the sequel
any way. The same bad movie where Medicare is targeted for assassination
by Wall Street suits, plotting to get their hands on senior benefit,
scheming to make record insurance profits by digging deeper and deeper into
seniors` pockets.


SCHULTZ: Steve, as a strategist, from what you know of the Ryan plan
that was released today, what`s the most effective way to communicate that
you think the American people should go for this?

SCHMIDT: Look, at the end of the day, the country is on a past way to
insolvency. The question about Medicare where respondents are saying they
want no changes to Medicare, there are going to be changes to Medicare
because Medicare is going broke. And it`s going to take responsible people
from both political parties to sit in a room and to hash out an agreement
on how to restore solvency to the country, or we`re gong to hit a cliff not
unlike what`s going on in Europe.

So, I think that Republicans are going to have to communicate clearly
to the American people the consequences and the stake and the looming
insolvency of the country, and to talk about how to create jobs, how to
create economic opportunity and to cast through the prism of how a rising
tide lifts all boats.

So, Republicans have their work cut out for them on this. But, again,
I think this is a serious plan. It`s going to take a serious commitment
for people to go out and to explain it and communicate clearly and honestly
with the American people.

I would say with regard to the ad, at least it`s a step up from the ad
where the Paul Ryan actor is pushing the old lady over the cliff. So,
maybe we`re headed in the right direction a little bit.

SCHULTZ: As far as the conversation goes.

Well, some would argue going over the cliff with more of bigger boost
of military spending when we are drawing down in Iraq, we`re drawing in
Afghanistan. Gene, what about that?

ROBINSON: Yes, again, most of the American people, I think, think
it`s time for some defense cuts, and think it`s time for us to pull back to
a certain extent. They want the country to be safe, but they don`t think
we ought to be involved in simultaneously 10-year wars around the globe.


ROBINSON: Don`t think the Defense Department will need all that

So, again, that`s hard to defend. Medicare is especially difficult
because people want it fixed, but if the fix is partial, privatization or
full privatization or whatever you want to call it, that`s something people
don`t like. And I don`t think that`s going to change, frankly.

So, I think we`re going to have some different way to fix it.

SCHULTZ: Steve, on the other side of the conservative spectrum, there
are already members of Congress saying that they`re not going to vote for
the Ryan budget because they think it doesn`t go far enough.

Is the Tea Party creating a difficult situation for Republicans? Ryan
today at that press conference said everybody is going to be on board. The
Tea Partiers are already stirring about that it doesn`t go far enough.

SCHMIDT: Well, I think one of the tensions, Ed, that you have in the
Republican primary process is you saw this fundamental abrogation of
Republican principles during much of the last decade, particularly with the
delay Congress where all of these principles of limited government, of
responsible fiscal stewardship, they all went out the window for political
expediency. And the base of the Republican Party is enraged about it.


SCHMIDT: So, there`s going to be a robust debate that takes place
about a plan that I think is a blue print of fiscal responsibility.

SCHULTZ: And, gentlemen, I`d be remiss if I didn`t ask you about
Illinois tonight.

Steve, what about -- is this going to be a big win for Romney if he
wins tonight?

SCHMIDT: I think it`s going to be a commanding win for Mitt Romney
tonight in Illinois. This is a state where they expect to do well. I
think they`re going to do well. He`ll continue to add to his delegate
count tonight.

But the race will not be over tonight. It will keep coming forward.

SCHULTZ: Too early to call by NBC News. Eugene Robinson, a close
finish by Santorum headed to Louisiana. What does it do for him?

ROBINSON: That would be a great outcome for Santorum`s point of view
to keep this close. I`m not sure he`s going to be able to do that. If he
could keep this close, he keeps the discussion going and he keeps himself,
at least technically viable as a candidate for the nomination. And more
important, he wants to deny Romney delegates.

The big question is, how many delegates does Mitt Romney come out of
this with? Does he stay on pace to win the required 1,144 delegates before
the convention.

SCHULTZ: And NBC News calling the Illinois primary too early to call.
Our coverage continues.

Steve Schmidt, Eugene Robinson, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining
us tonight.

SCHMIDT: Good to see you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter
will join me. We`re going to be talking about the Illinois primary, the
Ryan budget and Robert de Niro. You won`t want to miss it.

And later, Mitt Romney tells the women of America, they`re on their
own when it comes to health care. Karen Finney will join me with
commentary on that.

Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: And NBC News is characterizing the Illinois primary as too
early to call. Our coverage obviously will continue.

Coming up, Stephanie Cutter from the Obama campaign joins me on the
GOP field. Paul Ryan`s budget and so much more.

The Department of Justice and the FBI are looking into the death of
Trayvon Martin. And there are new details about his final moments. I`ll
talk with Reverend Al Sharpton and Charles Blow of "The New York Times"
about the latest news in the case.

And Mitt Romney`s widdles down his economic plan, let`s see, from 59
points to just one. MSNBC`s Richard Wolffe will weigh in on that.

Mitt and the state of the Republican race later in this hour.

Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The polls are closed in Illinois. And at this hour, the race is too
early to call, with Mitt Romney leading.

I`m joined tonight by Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for
the Obama campaign.

Stephanie, good to have you with us tonight.

STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Hey, Ed. Thanks for having me.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

We`ll get to Illinois in a moment. I want to talk about the Ryan
budget, if I may.

I don`t see any clamoring out there for the wealthiest Americans to
get $150,000 in tax cuts, nor do I see any march anywhere on Washington
about how we have to change Medicare, nor do I see any clamoring out there
about how we have to increase defense spending. Isn`t this budget the
golden goose being handed right to the Obama campaign? I mean, what about

CUTTER: Well, you know, a couple of things. We do have to decrease
our deficit. We do have to strengthen Medicare. But we don`t have to do
it the way Congressman Ryan or Mitt Romney has suggested that we do it,
where the middle class and seniors bear all of the burdens and nobody at --
the millionaires and billionaires don`t pay their fair share.

We think it`s the wrong way to go. It was wrong a year ago. And I
think the American people proved that. It`s wrong today.

There`s a balanced way that we can achieve these goals, deficit
reductions, strengthening Medicare, while also protecting our seniors and
strengthening the middle class.

SCHULTZ: Well, I have to ask you, what does strengthening Medicare
mean? I mean, to the consumer, strengthening Medicare means you`re going
to pay more. There`s going to be more benefit. I mean, what is
strengthening Medicare?

CUTTER: Well, look what we`ve already done under health care reform.
And, Ed, you know this -- seniors are now getting preventive care with no
out of pocket costs. They`re getting their drugs at a discount. The
Medicare donut hole will be closed over the course of the next several
years. They`re already getting a 50 percent discount.

The president put forward other proposals where we can strengthen
Medicare and extend its solvency. You know, we`re fighting fraud. We had
a record number of fraud collections of people trying to defraud Medicare,
defraud taxpayer dollars.

We want to close loopholes on drug companies and decrease those
subsidies. We want to improve quality. That`s also the benefit of
seniors. It`s not taking anything away. It`s improving their care and
ensuring the guarantee of Medicare.

SCHULTZ: All of those things you mentioned very positive. But every
Republican candidate say they want to repeal all of that. I think that`s
part of that golden goose to be carved up. But it would just seem to me
that with Romney now being very supportive of this budget plan, is the
president going to attack this plan and attack his opponents for supporting
it because it`s not where the country is.

What`s the plan?

CUTTER: Well, you know, the campaign spoke out about this today. We
disagree with the Ryan plan. We actually believe that Romney`s plan is
worse than the Ryan plan.

The White House also spoke out against the Ryan budget plan. We think
it`s the wrong way to go for the country. We think it`s a wrong way to go
for Medicare.

You know, we`ve got our own plan. We`re going to continue pursuing
our own plan. I think that like last year, the Ryan plan will fall flat.
We saw Republicans even running away from the Ryan plan last year.

It`s not just bad politics, it`s bad policy, and that`s really what
matters most.

SCHULTZ: Well, I believe next week the Supreme Court will start
hearing oral arguments on the health care act that was passed. How
confident and what impact do you think this is going to have on the
campaign? How confident are you you`re going to get a favorable ruling in
the end?

CUTTER: Well, we believe that it`s constitutional. We believe the
Supreme Court will uphold the law.

You know, we`ve been following the case as it moves up through the
courts. And we believe we`re on the right side of the Constitution on
this. This is a constitutional provision.

You know, we`re going to continue talking about the benefits of the
law and ensuring that people understand how they can take advantage of it.

You know, if Mitt Romney is the nominee, this will be an interesting
discussion. He`s the one that put the individual responsibility on the
table first. He called, Ed, a model for the nation because we agree with
him. People should take responsibility for their own health care.

So, it will be an interesting discussion. We want to protect these
things that are already benefiting people and Mitt Romney wants to take
them away.

SCHULTZ: Now, I was out in the middle of the country and I heard, in
fact, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple gave the return address to what
the president had to say on a Saturday. And he said that the president is
going to raise our taxes.

Is that true?

CUTTER: Well, he actually wants to reduce taxes for the middle class
and protect the gains that we`ve made in restoring middle class security.
We do want people to pay their fair share which is why he`s put the Buffett
Rule out there to make sure that millionaires and billionaires pay at least
the same rate of taxes as the middle class.

He supports not extending the Bush high end tax cuts to make some
investments in things that we need to grow, reducing the deficit, investing
in education and energy.


CUTTER: So, if that`s what he`s talking about, you know, guilty as
charge. We want people to pay their fair share. We believe in fairness.

SCHULTZ: But that`s not 98 percent of Americans. That is the
wealthiest Americans.

CUTTER: It`s definitely not 98 percent of Americans. Right.

SCHULTZ: OK. Stephanie Cutter, great to have you with us tonight.
Thank you.

CUTTER: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Big developments today in the killing of a Florida teenager,
Trayvon Martin. A grand jury will convene in Florida. A federal
investigation has been opened. Trayvon`s final phone call just moments
before his death has been revealed. Reverend Al Sharpton joins me.

And later, as the economy gets better, Mitt Romney`s reason for
running for president is evaporating. Richard Wolffe joins me for the

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The Illinois primary, Republican primary, it is still too early to
call with Mitt Romney leading. We`ll keep you updated.

We now know what Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was doing in the
moments before he was killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch
volunteer. The 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was talking on the phone with
his 16-year-old girlfriend. He was not casing houses as Zimmerman
suggested. He was coming back to the neighborhood with a bag of Skittles
and was chased by a vigilante with a .9 millimeter handgun.

There has been -- finally been some movement from law enforcement in
this case even though George Zimmerman has still not been arrested. The
Department of Justice and the FBI are opening a formal investigation into
the killing of Trayvon Martin.

In Florida, the Seminole County state attorney has ordered a grand
jury to convene on April 10th. Florida Governor Rick Scott has asked the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement to offer resources.

Trayvon`s 16-year-old girlfriend told the Martin family lawyer about
her final call with Trayvon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said this man was watching him. So, he put
his hoodie on.


SCHULTZ: Keep in mind, George Zimmerman was sitting in the safety and
comfort of his SUV and he then decided to pursue Trayvon Martin even though
a dispatcher told him not to.

The girlfriend told Trayvon to return. Later on the girlfriend was
still on the phone with Trayvon when George Zimmerman confronted him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon said, what are you following me for?
Then the man said, what are you doing around here? Then somebody pushed
Trayvon because the headset just fell.


SCHULTZ: She called right back but he didn`t answer. He had died
from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Here is the Martin family lawyer, Benjamin Crump.


Martin. And how do we know? Because this young lady connects the dots.
She connects the dots. She completely blows Zimmerman absurd self-defense
claim out of the water.

We`re going to turn this over to the Department of Justice and they`re
investigation because the family does not trust the Sanford Police
Department and anything to do with the investigation.


SCHULTZ: And there is more. NBC News believes Zimmerman use a racial
slur on the 911 call.


OPERATOR: Which entrance is that he`s heading towards?



SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in Reverend Al Sharpton, host of "POLITICS
NATION" here on MSNBC, and Charles Blow, columnist for "The New York

Gentlemen, thanks for your time.

Reverend, a lot of things have changed in the last 24 hours. The
racial slur would be relevant to motive, particularly a hate crime. What`s
your take on this in what transpires?

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Well, I think the racial slur as well as the
phone calls that the -- Mr. Zimmerman, the killer in this case, had made
several reports over the last several months, all of which he identified
race. It seemed as though there was always this preoccupation with race
even some people have said to know him, he seemed to really be obsessive on
fighting crime and focusing on young black males.

All of this would be part of a consideration on a hate crime. And I
think that clearly as you said, that the statements by the young lady blows
any self-defense -- I think it was already blown because he says on the 911
tape that he was pursuing Trayvon. That Trayvon was not pursuing him. So,
how is that self-defense?

But with this young lady and the phone logs showing the times she was
speaking to him will give real credence to her testimony because they will
try -- in a trial to cross-examine her and her statements out, how do they
explain the phone logs and the fact he was talking to her at this time?

How do you talk to your girlfriend if you`re casing out houses to rob
and you have no tools, no weapons, nothing to do a robbery. I think this
is devastating for Zimmerman`s story.

SCHULTZ: Charles, if you could compare the girlfriend`s account with
all the other witnesses who said they heard someone crying for help. Put
this all together for us. What do you think?

BLOW: Right. Her statement is prior to the other 911 calls. So
there is no overlap between the 911 tapes that we`ve already heard and the
statement that we`ve heard from the young lady. However, there is -- there
does appear to be some overlap between Zimmerman`s 911 call and what this
young lady describes.

Some of it is not necessarily Joshing the way that it should. For
instance, she explains that Trayvon notices Zimmerman watching him before
he puts on his hoody. Well, what you hear Zimmerman saying, this guy has
on a hoodie and there`s some kind of equivocation on whether or not he can
identify race.

Well, if the kid had his hooded sweatshirt down, you would definitely
know that he was black before -- when you called 911.

SCHULTZ: So based on these phone calls, it is very clear that this
man pursued the victim? Absolutely pursued him. How much more evidence
does the district attorney need?

BLOW: It`s absolutely clear, if you`re to believe this young lady`s
testimony, and if you listen to what Zimmerman is saying himself, he is
pursuing Trayvon. And this child is trying to get away from him and the
girlfriend is trying to help him figure out a way to get away, whether he
will run or whether he will walk fast or whatever the case may be.

What happens is -- and this is very important, Ed. There becomes an
exchange, according to this young lady, where Trayvon turns to Zimmerman
and says, why are you following me?

That is the opportunity for Zimmerman to say, I`m in charge of the
neighborhood watch. I just want to make sure you belong here or something
to that effect, to identity yourself as the authority and what you`re doing
following him. Because to that child, like any other child, you are a
stranger. And we have all taught our children to stay away from strangers
and to get away from them if they are following you.

He does not seize that opportunity? That`s a big problem.

SCHULTZ: The young Martin teenager might have thought he was a sexual

BLOW: Anything.

SHARPTON: Could thought he was anything.

SCHULTZ: Reverend, you`re going down there. I`ve asked the question
on radio, the city commissioners, the mayor, the county commissioners, the
police chief, where are these folks?

SHARPTON: That`s a good question that we`re going to raise. Not only
where are they, if you have 911 tapes where he is saying he`s pursuing
Trayvon. If he himself did not do what he said he would do to the
dispatcher -- not only did the dispatcher, when he called 911. tell him we
don`t need you to follow, he agreed and then did the opposite.

Then how do you at any point, if you`re the police, let him go with
self-defense claim, when you have 911 tapes that does the opposite of that?
That is why he should have been arrested and should still be arrested right
now, because there is no evidence to support self-defense, even under
Florida law, because the evidence they have says he was the one that was
pursuing. He was not under threat.

If he has any other evidence, than he has to present that at a trial.
They can`t take his word for that and say, no, let me explain that, because
then they are now allowing him to do what they`re not allowing others to
do, and that is testify without a trial.

SCHULTZ: Here is more from the family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, today
at the press conference.


CRUMP: Why didn`t the Sanford Police Department do a drug and alcohol
analysis on him? They did one on Trayvon Martin, who was dead on the
ground. Why didn`t they do it on George Zimmerman? You ask yourself, why
didn`t they take a background check on the man who had just killed this kid
in cold blood? They did a background check on Trayvon Martin.


SCHULTZ: If this is true, what does this say about the police
investigation, Mr. Blow?

BLOW: Well, it really does raise a lot of questions. It`s very
unsettling to hear that. Like you say, if that is true, it points to the
idea that you are assuming that the person who is the victim and is dead is
somehow the aggressor in this case, based only on the person who pulled the
trigger`s word. That is a very, very disturbing precedent to set.

That says a lot to the community as a whole, to say if you are killed,
we will take the killer`s opinion over yours even in death. That is a
very, very interesting kind of comment to make about a dead child.

SCHULTZ: We should point out that ABC News reporter that the
neighborhood watch -- Zimmerman`s neighborhood watch was not registered and
neighborhood watch volunteers are not supposed to be carrying firearms.

SHARPTON: No, I think that that -- the last two things that you said
and that Charles Blow said are important. One, I think the Department of
Justice has to also investigate the role of the police and how they behave
and what they did and did not do and why.

And second, you would have to question in the Justice Department
investigation if the neighborhood watch was not registered, then why were
they treating him like he was an official neighborhood watch person? And
why was he even treated in interrogation in that way?

SCHULTZ: Do you see that this redefining the rules of neighborhood
watch and responsibilities -- it would seem to me that there`s going to
have to be a full examination of exactly how that program works.

SHARPTON: Hold up it works and how the police department with an
unregistered, self-appointed neighborhood watchman.

SCHULTZ: Reverend Al Sharpton and Charles Blow, we`ll do more. I
appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so much. Both of you have been
fantastic on this and I appreciate it.

As another mandatory ultrasound bill passes in Idaho, one Republican
legislator suggests women don`t understand the difference between
consensual sex and rape. Karen Finney will weigh on that and much more.

In Illinois, Republican primary taking place. It is still too early
to call, with Mitt Romney leading. Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In the Illinois Republican
primary, it is still too early to call, with Mitt Romney leading. While
establishment Republicans on the national stage are publicly wishing the
GOP`s war on women would just go away, state Republicans, well, they`re not
giving up the fight.

Yesterday, the Idaho State Senate passed its own mandatory ultrasound
bill, forcing women who are considering an abortion to undergo an
ultrasound first. Opponents say the bill makes no exceptions for victims
of rape or incest or women in medical emergencies.

The bill`s sponsor, State Senator Chuck Winder, suggested that woman
might use rape as an excuse to get an abortion. "I would hope that when a
woman goes into a physician with a rape issue that physician would indeed
ask her about perhaps her marriage. Was this pregnancy caused by normal
relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape?"

Meanwhile, a man who says he will defund Planned Parenthood if he
becomes president of the United States, Mitt Romney, told a crowd in
Illinois that women are on their own when it comes to health care.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve made it very clear that you`re not in
support of Planned Parenthood. But I`m just wondering where you would
suggest that the millions of women who receive their health services, such
as mammograms and HPV vaccines, go?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, they can go wherever
they would like to go. This is a free society. But here`s what I say,
which is the federal government should not tax these people to pay for
Planned Parenthood.


SCHULTZ: We have breaking news here on MSNBC. NBC News projects Mitt
Romney is the winner of the Illinois primary. Mitt Romney winning Illinois

I`m joined tonight by Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and former
communications director for the Democratic National Committee, as the news
comes in, and also Richard Wolffe, MSNBC political analyst with us tonight
here on THE ED SHOW.

Great to have you with us. Karen, first of all, your thoughts on Mitt
Romney. He seems to be the tortoise that Newt Gingrich was talking about.
Again another state and more delegates.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Again another state and more
delegates, and millions of dollars spent to get those delegates. Remember,
the cost per delegate seems to be going up for Mitt Romney, if I`m not
mistaken. My calculations are right here.

Yes, I would imagine when we see the results -- it will be
interesting, obviously, when we kind of get -- dig a little deeper into the
data, I imagine we will see the same pattern appearing, where Mitt Romney
has been winning in the more urban areas and Santorum has been doing better
sort of on the suburban areas or more rural areas.

So it will be interesting to see that pattern, because again, what it
says is Mitt Romney`s argument about the number of delegates stays intact,
but he still has not shown the ability to win across the Republican party,
across different groups within the Republican party.

SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe, this is supposed to be Santorum territory.
And I`m not just talking about Illinois. We`re talking about a Wall
Streeter in Mitt Romney, coming into Ohio and in Michigan and in Illinois.
There`s a lot of lunch bucket workers in those states, a lot of middle
classers who work with their hands, that are wage earners, connected to
labor as well.

This is supposed to be Rick Santorum`s strength when he talks to the
middle class. Yet he can`t win those states. It would seem to me that the
Romney team would be playing this up big.

early in the counting for this result to come through. It`s a big win for
Romney. And it`s a bigger state for delegates. So they should be crowing
about it.

If you look at the exit poll data, he won among women. He won among
Catholics. Those Chicago suburbs, by the way, going a long way. If you
can rack up the vote in those Chicago suburbs, and in low turn out
election, Romney could easily get over the top just by pulling out the turn
out operation there.

One interesting number on the exit polls, though, even on a big night
for Mitt Romney, he still lost among Republican voters earning less than
100,000 dollars a year. It wasn`t by much, because otherwise Santorum
would have had a closer night.

But if you lose Republicans under -- earning less than 100,000, you
are -- what`s your message to the general election audience, especially
those independent voters, those working families who are up for grabs this
time around?

SCHULTZ: Not only that, but if you`re also supporting the new Ryan
Budget Plan, it would seem to be doubly tough in that regard as well. When
it comes to electability, again, there`s polling out there saying that this
is what helped Mitt Romney. What about that, Karen?

FINNEY: Well, that`s right. I mean, look, Ed, the more this contest
goes on, I think obviously the Santorum campaign is trying to make the
argument that hey, I can really be in the hunt here if you give me a
chance, right? Because he wants to stop folks who have already made up
their minds, who have said, you know what, Romney is the more electability
one. I might like Santorum, but I`m going to go to Romney.

That`s kind of the dueling narratives that we have here. Clearly
people think that Romney is going to be -- one of the reason I think they
think he is the more viable candidate, he`s got the money and he`s got the
infrastructure and organization. I think we have seen over the last few
days even some of the mistakes that Santorum has made and his inability to
kind of recover from some of that is because he`s run such a, quote
unquote, lean and mean campaign.

There is something to be said for organization.

SCHULTZ: You just saw that number up there about electability. It
looks very strong for Mitt Romney. Polling also -- there it is, Romney at
71 percent; Santorum at 17; Gingrich at 10; and Ron Paul almost

When you look at some other polling that`s out there, the dog story on
top of the car doesn`t seem to be registering with anybody other than just
being entertainment for some. But when you look at Romney, he -- just as
the story we played before we broke the news that he has won the Illinois
primary, he`s telling women that they are on their own when it comes to
health care.

Richard, how does he get around this? How does he sure up the women
of this country who are in major question about where the Republican party

WOLFFE: He`s got a lot of work to do to get back to those women
voters, where he actually used to perform very well. We`re not just
talking about Republican women. He`s got to get back the suburban
independent women who really are critical. They`ve been critical in cycles
past and they will be in the future.

Actually for a lot of those people, the dog story does resonate. So
it isn`t -- it`s health. It`s character. It`s leadership. By the way, I
just want to come back to the electability question. There`s a very cold
approach to electability going on in this race. Because if you look at the
exit polls, none of the candidates get more than 40 percent enthusiasm.

So they`re supporters do not feel that strongly about them.
Republican voters want this race to continue because they`re really not
that satisfied. When they look at electability, it`s not a judgment of
passion or heart. It`s one about the head. That`s not really -- that
doesn`t bode well for turn out in the general election.

SCHULTZ: Karen Finney, Richard Wolffe, always a pleasure. Karen,
we`d like you to stay with us so that we can come back and get to you on
the war on women`s health and how that will play out in the 2012 race.

Again, breaking news, NBC projects Mitt Romney the winner of the
Illinois Republican primary. We`ll be right back here on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It`s primary night in
Illinois. And NBC News project Mitt Romney will win the state. Coming up,
Idaho passes a new mandatory ultrasound bill. Karen Finney joins us on the
war -- the GOP war on women. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney wants to defund Planned Parenthood and told a
crowd in Illinois that they are on their own when it comes to health care.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You made it very clear that you`re not in
support of Planned Parenthood. But I`m just wondering where you would
suggestion that the millions of women who receive their health services,
such as mammograms and HPV vaccines, go?

ROMNEY: Well, they can go where ever they would like to go. This is
a free society. But here`s what I say, which is the federal government
should not tax these people to play for Planned Parenthood.


SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst
and former communications director for the Democratic National Committee.
Well, being the former communications director, it would seem to me that
Mitt Romney and the Republicans have got quite a heavy lift right here
explaining to women across the country.

Do you think, Karen, that women want to be on their own when it comes
to their health care?

FINNEY: No, absolutely not. I think women were very encouraged to
hear from President Obama that -- essentially what he said is we believe
that there are a basic level of services that should be -- in terms of
preventative care, that should be covered for women and for men, and that
contraception for women should be part of that, that there`s a whole suite
of services that we believe are good -- that`s just good medicine, right,
for women.

Essentially what Mitt Romney is saying, I don`t really care about
that. I don`t care about you. I don`t care about your health. You`re on
your own, and we`ll figure something else out.

That`s obviously I think going to be very distressing to a lot of
women in a general election. I notice both he and Santorum have had their
wives at their sides quite a bit over the last several weeks, I suppose in
an attempt to appeal to women.

SCHULTZ: Well, Romney has also called for Title 10 funds to be cut,
which allocate, of course, federal money for family planning. He endorsed
the Blunt Amendment. Can he continue to go down this road? How does this
play in the general, do you think?

FINNEY: Well, it`s certainly going to hurt him in the general. This
is part of his attempt to prove to those folks on the right in the primary
that he`s really with them, because there`s all of this -- there`s this
whole record that`s sort of trailing him, that suggests he`s been on the
other side of the issue.

So now he`s trying to double down and really prove himself to this
audience. It will be interesting, let`s say, he`s our general election
candidate, which I think all of us believe that he will be -- let`s see
what kind of contortions he goes through again to try to have it both ways
in a general election.

SCHULTZ: In the sound bite that we just played, it`s very clear that
he was more concerned with this persons taxes over here than he was for the
health care of the woman what was asking the question. Here is another
woman confronting Romney at the same rally.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re all for like yay freedom and all this
stuff and yay pursuit of happiness. You know what made me happy? Free
birth control.

ROMNEY: Let me tell you. No, that`s -- look, look -- look, let me
tell you something. Let me -- if you`re looking -- if you`re looking for
free stuff -- if you`re looking for free stuff you don`t have to pay for,
vote for the other guy. That`s what he`s all about.


SCHULTZ: How does that play? Notice that both of the women were of a
younger demographic that asked the questions.

FINNEY: That`s right. It`s a couple of things. I mean, younger
voters in particular really don`t like this idea that -- of the government
telling them what you can and can`t do with their bodies. None of us like
that, but younger voters in particular. That`s that sort of libertarian

But in addition to that, really, Ed, it will come back down to our
president -- our current president believes there are some basic services
that we know are good medicine for women for preventative health care, that
he believes women ought to have access to without a copay.

Mitt Romney doesn`t believe that. Now that also shows, frankly, as
much as he knows that he owns -- knows owners of football teams and Nascar
teams, how out of touch he really is with how women are living their lives.

SCHULTZ: Here is Karen Santorum on her husband`s plan for women`s
health. I want to play this.


KAREN SANTORUM, WIFE OF RICK SANTORUM: He`s completely supportive of
women. He`s surrounded by a lot of very strong women. I think women have
nothing to fear when it comes to contraception. He will do nothing on that


SCHULTZ: That clearly contradict what the candidate has said. How
does it play?

FINNEY: Well, it absolutely does. And as I mentioned before, I mean,
he`s had his wife pretty much at his side in the last few weeks, in
particular, ever since he started getting himself into trouble with women

Look, I think he`s going to have to explain himself. You`ve got these
guys out there talking about these measures. Then you have these state
measures that you alluded to earlier, that really undermine women as
fundamental human beings. And I think they are looking for candidates who
are going to treat them like adults.

SCHULTZ: It is a movement. There`s no doubt about it, on a federal
and state level. Karen Finney, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks
so much.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel. It looks like it`s Mitt in Illinois.


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