The Ed Show for Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Guests: Howard Fineman, John Nichols, Howard Dean, Leo Gerard, Ruth Conniff

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

The polls have closed in Indiana. NBC News declares Richard Mourdock
as the projected in the Indiana Republican Senate primary. That means the
veteran Republican Senator Dick Lugar sent packing after 36 years in the
United States Senate. And now, the Democrats have a shot at beating the
Tea Partier.

In Wisconsin, Democrats are in hour away from electing their candidate
to take on Scott Walker in the recall election in June 5th. We`ll have
results tonight.

And Mitt Romney is lying again. Detroit is roaring back and Mitt says
he`s responsible?

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


credit for the fact that this industry has come back.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Mitt Romney has reached another all time low,
lying to America about his record on the auto loan.

ROMNEY: That`s what the president did. He finally took it to
bankruptcy. That was the right course I argued for in the very beginning.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, we will end any doubt about Mitt Romney`s lie.

student loan rates for doubling for student who is are here and all across
the country.

SCHULTZ: Senate Republicans defy the will of the people and vote to
double the interest rates on student loans.

OBAMA: These young people are nodding their heads -- they don`t like
that. They`ve heard about this.

SCHULTZ: And Catholic bishops sent another letter to House
Republicans about their war on the poor. Vermont Governor Howard Dean is

And Congressman Rick Berg is running for Senate in North Dakota. He`s
rich beyond belief, but he has no idea what the minimum wage is.

REPORTER: What is the minimum wage right now in North Dakota?

REP. RICK BERG (R), NORTH DAKOTA: You know this guy would know.


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

Mitt Romney, let`s remember, wanted the American automobile industry
to lose millions of jobs and suck $100 billion out of economy. Thankfully,
the Obama administration didn`t follow Romney`s path. But now, the
candidate for the Republicans is trying to rewrite history.


ROMNEY: I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy and finally, when
that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet.
So, I`ll take a lot of credit that this industry has come back.


SCHULTZ: The Obama campaign responded with a strong statement today.
"There`ve been a lot of unbelievable statements during the campaign from
this candidate, but this may be the most preposterous of them all."

This is the first time Mitt Romney claimed credit for the automobile
rescue. But it`s not the first time he made it sound like it was his idea
all along.


ROMNEY: The president ultimately did what I suggested, going through
a managed bankruptcy process. I wrote an op-ed about this.


SCHULTZ: Romney wrote a now famous op-ed at "The New York Times," but
he`s hoping that we all forget what he actually wrote in that op-ed months
ago. Romney called for Detroit to go bankrupt and said if the government
loaned money to the automobile makers, "You can kiss the American
automotive industry goodbye. It wouldn`t go overnight but the demise would
be virtually guaranteed."

He was so wrong.

Romney wanted a massive restructuring of Detroit.


ROMNEY: There`s no question, but if you just write a check that
you`re going to see these companies go out of business ultimately.
Instead, we have to help the companies restructure the stay in business but
restructure. Shed the unnecessary costs. Make them competitive with the
transplants and foreign cars. And by virtue of doing that, make sure they
stay in business long term.


SCHULTZ: Of course, Mitt Romney wasn`t the only person saying the
automobile loan would fail. The auto loan was a major risk for the Obama
administration, but it worked.

"The Economist" magazine apologized for supporting Romney`s idea of a
managed bankruptcy. In hindsight, they realized Romney`s plan was nothing
but a flop. They wrote, "The credit markets were bone-dry, making the
privately financed bankruptcy that Mr. Romney favored improbable."

The bankruptcy judge presiding over the Chrysler loan basically said
the same thing. "The record before the court was clear. There were no
other sources of lending."

Even other Republicans have seen the light. Congressman Fred Upton of
Michigan supports Mitt Romney but he says he doesn`t agree with the
candidate`s approach to the automobile industry.


REP. FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN: There was no one that was willing to
come up with not only with the cash to keep them afloat, but also to serve
the warranties of everyone. You and I that drive all these cars, there was
no one that could have picked up those pieces other than the federal
government. And there were real strings attached -- the money be paid back
with interest. That`s still happening.


SCHULTZ: You mean it was so outlandish he was willing to laugh about
it in an answer?

Upton says no one was willing to come up with the cash to make
Romney`s plan work. That`s the bottom line, including Romney`s old company
Bain Capital. Bain turned down the chance to provide loans to General
Motors and Chrysler.

There`s no doubt about it. Mitt Romney`s proposal for Detroit was a
failure. Major economists know it and Republican Party knows it. Even his
old company Bain Capital, they know it.

But Romney says he deserves credit for the auto industry success. He
wants credit because President Obama did the right thing. And it`s really
eating Mitt Romney up.

The president knew it wasn`t a popular decision at the time, but he
knew it was the only thing to do.


OBAMA: I don`t want to run auto companies. I don`t want to run
banks. I`ve got two wars I`ve got two wars I`ve got to run already. I`ve
got more than enough to do.

So, the sooner we can get out of that business, the better off we`re
going to be.


SCHULTZ: So, you be the judge. Who was correct and who`s the winner?

The government didn`t get into car business. They floated a loan.
Not a bailout, but a loan. And it`s being paid back with the interest --
meaning the United States Treasury is going to make money on it. Don`t you
like that, Mitt?

As a result, more than one million jobs were saved in 2010 alone. The
loans were prevented nearly $97 billion in personal income losses.

And Chrysler sales, where are they? Well, they`re up more than 26
percent. General Motor sales are up more than 13 percent, 115,000 jobs
have been added.

Mitt Romney has a paper trail a mile long to show he`s not on the
right side of history on this story and now he wants to take credit for it?

Romney was in Lansing, Michigan today. He didn`t say a word about the
automobile industry. Really? In their own backyard, he didn`t have
nothing to say?

Well, he couldn`t because he knows that he`s not telling the truth and
he knows he`s -- really gets the credit on the other side of the aisle.
That`s President Obama for saving the automobile industry.

Joining me tonight is Howard Fineman, NBC News political analyst and
editorial director of "The Huffington Post" Media Group.

Howard, great to have you with us tonight.

I know that you have spent some time with the Romney campaign. How do
they expect this story to play out in the long haul? Are we going to keep
hearing Mitt Romney say it was his plan that saved the automobile industry?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, Ed, I`m here in Boston and I
was just with some of the top Romney people just a few minutes ago. And I
said, hey, I`m going on THE ED SHOW, tell me what to say. You know, tell
me what your line is?

And I think one of the interesting points you make is that -- is that
candidate Romney in Lansing, Michigan, didn`t really pursue the line that
he was responsible for saving the auto industry. After all, Ed, in terms
of the general election, what we`re really talking about are three states,
Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- the very guts of industrial America that
is up for grabs in the election.

If Mitt Romney was really going to seriously argue that he deserved
credit for the current great state of the auto industry, then he would have
done it in Lansing. Instead, all he talked about was his nostalgic
remembrance of Oldsmobile, a mark that doesn`t exist anymore.

What the people for Romney told me tonight is that look, their view
is, that he argued for managed bankruptcy and government guarantees and
that was enough to help. But what Mitt Romney said in his statement the
other day is that help was given. Remember that? You used that sound
bite, Ed. Help was given.

Well, the help that was given was government money. It was government
loans. And that specifically the part of the equation that Mitt Romney
opposed. There`s no way around it.

SCHULTZ: There is no way around it. There were no funding sources
that were out there. The economy was in the deep -- it was in peril. We
were on the verge -- I mean, it`s almost inexplicable. We were on the
verge of tipping over as an economy.

Bain capital wouldn`t do it. There were no banks out there that were
going to -- be in the position to do it.

And if the Obama administration was going to save millions of jobs and
the ripple effect that would have had it with rubber and plastic and glass,
those industries, and the electronics industry, the only person that could
step up was going to be the American taxpayer. Why is Romney in denial of
this? He wanted somebody to come in and pay 10 cents on a dollar and do a
deal while millions of middle class families would have been butchered by

FINEMAN: Well, as I say, their point of view is he did argue for
managed bankruptcy. Managed bankruptcy was in fact part of the deal. But
they are leaving the loans out of equation.

But the reason that Mitt Romney made the claim that he did is that he
can`t afford to give up on the idea that he understands the auto industry.
That he`s sympathetic to the auto industry. That his father after all was
an executive, a self-made millionaire executive in the industry. He, Mitt
Romney, understands it. He`s from it. He`s from Michigan, et cetera, et

A big part of his narrative is about his family`s background in
business, and the big part of that business was automobiles. So, he can`t
afford to be out of the discussion altogether.

I think that`s probably why he tried this ploy. Obviously, if they
felt it was a winner, they would have done it in Michigan today.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think you`re right and profoundly pointed that out
as you mentioned. But the fact is, do you think that voters are going to
see through this? I mean, are they going to buy this?

FINEMAN: Well, I think they`re going to have to study the details.
Probably not. But if Mitt Romney is going to make this point, he`s got to
follow up on it. He`s got to show why private capital was, in fact, going
to come in and save the auto industry. They don`t offer the -- the Romney
campaign doesn`t offer any evidence of that. Romney used the passive
terminology, help was given.

Well, yes, help was given by the federal government. It wasn`t given
by the private sector. It was given by the federal government. If he`s
going to pursue it, he`s got to really pursue it. Otherwise, he`s going to
look foolish having raised this to begin with.

So, I think the challenge to the Romney campaign, I`m here talking to
their people. I want to know what they are up to, and I want to know what
their strategy is.


FINEMAN: If they`re going to pursue this auto industry thing, they
really pursue it. We didn`t see it on day two. We`ll see if we see it on
day three.

SCHULTZ: Well, in the Rust Belt, in the manufacturing belt, the
states that you`ve mentioned, I`ve had labor leaders tell me in recent
weeks that that is the bread basket of the election. And if this is his
ploy to try to get these middle class families to see it his way, that he
really is the guy that had a plan to save the automobile industry, he`s
going to have to throw a lot of at that, but that`s going to be one hell of
a tough sale. There`s no question about it.

FINEMAN: I think you`re right.

SCHULTZ: I mean, you can`t eat P.R., you know? I mean, that`s the
bottom line.

And if the Obama administration had said, OK, we`re going to go,
somebody got 10 cents on a dollar, 20 cents on a dollar, we will absolutely
destroy and start from the bottom up. And, in fact, we might get out of
the manufacturing business when it comes to cars and we will never compete
again. That`s really what Romney wanted.

And I think the American voter is going to realize this and this puts
-- this comment today and the way the Romney campaign is handling this --
Howard, your thoughts on this -- this is just shoving people right into the
Obama camp. I mean, this is the gift that keeps on giving, isn`t it?

FINEMAN: Well, what I would say is that if Romney and his campaign
are going to raise this claim, and it`s only May, it`s so important to our
understanding of what`s happened the last couple of years, what`s happening
to the auto industry, which after all is still central to the American
economy, then they`re going to have to follow up on it.


FINEMAN: And if they don`t at least attempt to prove their case in a
serious way, then when voters really get down to deciding, then they`ll
reject it. Having raised it, the Mitt Romney campaign has to pursue it.
If they don`t pursue it they`re going to look not only foolish, I wouldn`t
use the term lie.

I would just say, if you`re going to make the claim, back it up. And
that`s what they`ve got to do.

SCHULTZ: Howard, if you could go back to the Romney campaign, if
you`re going to see them later tonight or tomorrow --


SCHULTZ: -- just say that you were on THE ED SHOW and Ed is looking
for the funding sources to be listed by the Romney campaign. The people
that got screwed that didn`t get chance to do it because the government
came in with tax dollars and saved it. I think they`d --

FINEMAN: I`ll ask them for that list. If I get from you, I`ll e-mail
to you and you can put it on the air.

SCHULTZ: All right. Howard, great to have you with us. Thanks so

FINEMAN: OK. Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Coming up, history is being made in Wisconsin today as the
state holds recall primary election to choose a Democrat to replace
Governor Scott Walker. That election coming up on June 5th. John Nichols
of "The Nation" will join me for the story.

And American manufacturing is coming back strong, but the Republican
refusal to invest in American workers -- well, has left us with a shortage
of qualified workers. United Steel Workers president Leo Gerard will join
us for that discussion and the details.

Stay with us. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up: History will be made in Wisconsin tonight. The
polls are closing soon. John Nichols is on the ground on the Badger State
with the latest.

Now, not profits, but record profits for "Fortune 500" companies were
announced today. All good. Although college graduates are facing record
debt. Now, guess which group Senate Republicans voted against. We`ll have
the story.

And the assault on public education in this country has reached a new
low. But the question is, why are there so many teachers and
administrators who were scared to speak out? My commentary ahead on that.

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



SCHULTZ: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW from
Madison, Wisconsin. Here we are because they are here. Workers,
Wisconsinites, Americans under assault, protesting peacefully in the
greatest of American traditions.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

That was the height of Governor Scott Walker`s attack on working men
and women of the state of Wisconsin. The protests were abound nearly 15
months ago.

It really is politically amazing how residents of that state have
maintained a laser focus on change. They have not lost one bit of

It`s the eye of the storm of democracy in America. And 15 months
later, we`ve seen the recall of state senators. Millions of people signing
petitions to recall Governor Scott Walker and tens of millions of dollars
pouring in from all over America to support and try to save a radical

Today, Democrats took the next big step to choose a challenger to
Walker in the June 5th recall election. Today is Wisconsin`s first
gubernatorial recall primary. In less than an hour, polls will close and
one of four Democrats will be chosen to go up against Scott Walker on June

Let`s turn to John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation"
magazine and author of the book "Uprising." He wrote a book about the last
15 months in Wisconsin. It`s a heck of a read. It`s "Uprising."

John, a lot of Wisconsinites have waited for this night. And, of
course, this starts the big ground in the next month to the recall. But
characterize what you have seen today as far as enthusiasm and as far as

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, there`s an element of poetry to it,
Ed. You`re right. I was in small farm towns and inner city neighborhoods.
I saw people coming out of polling places and pumping their fist in the
air. Many of them wore their solidarity t-shirts.

So, people were bringing this movement to the polls. And there were a
lot of them. We don`t have a clear signal on what the turn out is yet
although it`s been said to be steady around high.

But I can tell you in my own precinct where I always vote, by 3:00
this afternoon, there had been a 300 percent increase on the turnout in the
2010 gubernatorial election. So, there`s a lot of enthusiasm out there.

SCHULTZ: And this is just the Democratic primary.

NICHOLS: Well, there`s a Republican primary, too, Ed. Governor
Walker was campaigning as if it was election day for him too. He made
three appearances. Did a lot of talk radio.

I think he`s concerned that there will be a high Democratic turn out
and not so good a Republican one. So, he was really trying to pump it up

SCHULTZ: All right. Now, there`s a lot of talk about Democratic
unity after tonight and there was rally scheduled for tomorrow. What
happened with that? Is that going to take place?

NICHOLS: Yes, there will be Democratic unity events tomorrow.
Governor Walker is -- and his people have been making a big deal about some
sort of division. Let`s be honest, people are going to have to come

But it is important to understand, I was with Tom Barrett, who is the
presumed front-runner. We`ll see in sometime whether he actually wins.
But I was with Tom Barrett today and I talked to him about that. He will
be meeting tomorrow with leaders of unions that did not back him.

They have a big meeting set. They invited him. So, I think you`ve
going to see a surprising amount of unity tomorrow.

I also saw -- Ed, this is the thing. This is not merely about unions
or candidates or parties. When I walked with Tom Barrett on the street
today, coming through a neighborhood that might have been more supportive
of one of his opponents, everyone who came up to him -- and he had one
phrase, it was 110 percent. People who said they had voted for him and
people who said they voting for anybody somebody else said if you`re the
nominee, I`m behind you 110 percent.

So, I really do believe that the Democrats are going to have pretty
high level of unity.

SCHULTZ: John, I think in some strange way, that the Paul Ryan budget
and the fact the chairman of House Budget Committee is from Wisconsin and
he`s come out with a radical plan that many people are rejecting across the
country -- in some way, I think this is really helped the Democrats focus
in the state of Wisconsin on priorities.

Your take on that.

NICHOLS: It`s exactly right. It started in February of 2011. At
those rallies you saw -- those events that you saw, Ed. But it has
extended through the spring of 2011 when Paul Ryan came into focus.

And there was a dawning realization that just as in Europe where
there`s so much concern about attacks on labor unions, public education,
public services, that in America, we have politicians who really do believe
in this radical austerity agenda.


NICHOLS: And as they push it forward, I think citizens are waking up
to the fact that it`s real threat not just to their own jobs, if they are
public employees but also to growth itself, to job growth itself. And I
think it has -- there`s a realization.

SCHULTZ: And, John, I want to get your take on the breaking news
tonight that long time, in fact, the oldest and longest-serving Republican
senator for the Republicans in the Senate, Richard Lugar, was defeated
tonight in a Republican Senate primary after 36 years by some call radical.

Your thoughts on that. I know you`ve spent a lot of time in Indiana?
How big is this?

NICHOLS: Yes, this is a huge deal, Ed. And it is a huge deal for the
world. Richard Lugar was the face of bipartisan in this U.S. Senate. If
there was an issue with Africa, with Southern Asia, some part of the world
that a lot of people didn`t care about, he would step in. On nuclear
disarmament, he worked with Democrats.

Russ Feingold used to say that when he chaired the Africa subcommittee
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the person he could always go
to, the Republican he could go to was Richard Lugar.


NICHOLS: And Lugar`s defeat signals the real transformation of the
Republican Party where bipartisan is simply no longer allowable within that
party. It`s a big deal. It`s a troubling development.

SCHULTZ: Well, troubling development I think for the Republicans, but
maybe an opening for the Democrats which we`ll talk about later on.

John Nichols, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

President Obama is making the case to keep student loans interest low,
while the Republican filibuster the student loan bill. Former Vermont
Governor Howard Dean will weigh in.

A Republican Senate candidate is asked about the minimum wage. He
doesn`t have a clue. He doesn`t have any answers. And neither does his
staff. We`ve got the video you won`t want to miss it.


SCHULTZ: The numbers are the numbers. Big business in America is
doing just fine. 2011 was a record year -- a record year for record
profits for the top 500 companies.

The "Fortune 500" list shows corporate America`s profits increased
more than 16 percent from last year with companies raking in more than $824
billion. ExxonMobil tops the list, earning $453 billion.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans living below the poverty line has
hit a high. With 46 million Americans living in poverty, the national
poverty rate has gone up to 15.1 percent in 2010. That`s the highest it`s
been since 1993.

So, with corporate America raking in the profits and more and more
folks falling below the poverty line, don`t you think keeping interest
rates low for students would be a no brainer? Well, it`s a way to grow the
economy, grow the middle class. It`s way to grow a lot of things isn`t it?
People`s futures. Nah!

Here`s Congressman Paul Ryan explaining why he would not consider
closing corporate tax loopholes to offset the cost of student loans.


STUDENT: My question for you would be, would you support closing
corporate tax loopholes to pay for that as a revenue raiser?

closing tax loopholes for tax reform. So that`s what we want to do with
all those corporate loopholes, is do that. And with student loan bills,
let`s cut some spending, because that`s more spending. Let`s cut spending
that is lower priority spending to address this higher priority need.


SCHULTZ: Well, there you have it. There`s the thought leader of the
Republican party when it comes to the budget. He is peddling the same old
tired ideas. If Congress doesn`t do something by July, student loans and
interest rates will double, costing students as much as 1,000 dollars per
year in additional interest. Who`s side are you on?

President Obama was at the University of Albany in Upstate New York
today, making the case for students and growing the economy.


else, Congress needs to keep student loan rates from doubling for student
who are here and all across the country.

So Congress just needs to work out the details. Don`t let politics
get in the way. Get this done before July 1st. Those bills should be
passed right now.


SCHULTZ: But of course Republicans aren`t budging. Today, Senate
Republicans filibustered the Senate loans bill. Let`s turn to former
Vermont Governor Howard Dean. He`s also the former chairman of the DNC,
currently a consultant with McKenna, Long and Aldriche, as well as
Democracy for America, and a contributor to cNBC. I think that`s, what,
four jobs. Your pretty busy.


SCHULTZ: Everybody wants to know what you think and so do I. What
the heck is going on here? We have record profits in corporate America.
We`ve had 26 months of private sector job growth. But we clearly have a
lot of Americans falling below the poverty line. And yet the Republicans,
on the student loan issue, want to push people further into debt.

Your take?

DEAN: Well, look, this is what the problem is. This is why the
Republicans I think are going to lose the election. I think there`s a
reasonable chance that if the president wins fairly decently, we`re going -
- Democrats can take over the House, which is necessary.

Look, here is these guys do. They don`t care about the average
working American. All they care about is the corporations who are giving
them all that money to put them into office. Who are they going to serve?
You think they`re going to go after Exxonmobil? No, they`re going to want
to cut Exxonmobil`s taxes. But you have to pay for that, so you`re going
to make ordinary college students pay 1,000 dollars a year more, so that
Exxonmobil can continue to get a tax break.

Exxonmobil gets a huge tax break ever year. That`s paid for by the
taxpayers. There`s not enough money to help college students help pay
their bills, but there`s enough money to give Exxonmobil a tax break. That
is the Republican credo.

SCHULTZ: You have the business world blaming President Obama`s
policies. Yet corporate America seems to be doing just fine. As we move
forward, this is probably one of the best cases that the Obama campaign can
play. And they can`t make it up. It`s right there. The Republicans are
right there wanting to make it harder on the 20-somethings in this country
and throw another 1,000 dollars of debt on them a year. I mean, what an
easy case to make, isn`t it?

DEAN: Well, you know, I`ll tell you one thing, Ed, the American
voters are not stupid. And these guys are going to pay for this. They are
on the side of the one percent, and the president is mostly on the side of
the 99 percent. And the 99 percent is a lot better number than one percent
when you`re running someplace in the polls.

So I don`t think this works. They want to tell women what to do in
their personal lives. They don`t like Latinos. They want to take loans --
money out of college students pockets so they don`t have to take
Exxonmobil`s tax break away, when they made a record amount of profits.
Their priorities are not the right priorities for America.

SCHULTZ: Of course, they hate labor and they want right to work laws
all over the country. But here comes the Catholic church. The Catholic
bishops have sent another letter criticizing the House GOPs cuts to safety
net programs. And the Republicans sited the Catholic bishops when it came
to contraception.

Are they going to listen to them on this one?

DEAN: Republicans don`t give a damn what the Catholic bishops say.
They pretend they do, but they don`t. They don`t care what anybody says
except for themselves and the corporate masters like the Koch Brothers that
give them billions and billions of dollars through these shell corporations
and these PACs and all this other business.

You know, the Republicans really don`t care. They have one master,
and that`s money.

SCHULTZ: Do you think that this will help the Democrats with the
demographic of the 20-somethings?

DEAN: The demographics of the 20-somethings are never going to vote
for -- the problem we have -- they`re not going to vote for the
Republicans. The problem we have is making sure they vote for the
Democrats. The Republicans -- this is a new generation that`s grown up
with every kind of American you can think of.

So if your platform is I don`t like Muslims, I don`t like gays, I
don`t like Hispanics, I don`t like women, you`re not likely to success
among under 35s. And they`re not going to. The question is will they turn
out in the same way they have in the past. And if they do, we`re going to
win handily.

SCHULTZ: Howard Dean, always a pleasure to have you THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much for joining us.

There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.


OBAMA: American manufactures are creating jobs for the first time
since the late 1990s.


SCHULTZ: The manufacturing jobs are coming back, but now we need the


OBAMA: We`re making a national commitment to train two million
Americans with skills they need to get a job right now.


SCHULTZ: Leo Gerard on President Obama`s plan to train skilled

On National Teacher Day, the Republican war on public education takes
another ugly turn. We`ll have the latest from Pennsylvania.

Fat cats in Congress have no clue what it`s like in the real world.
Tonight, we`ll introduce you to Rick Berg.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what the minimum wage is in North
Dakota right now? Do you know what that is?




OBAMA: American manufactures are creating jobs for the first time
since the late 1990s. That`s good for you, but it`s also good for the
businesses that supply the materials you use. It`s good for the
construction workers who build the facilities you work in.

It`s good for communities where people are buying more houses and
spending more money at restaurants and stores. Everybody benefits when
manufacturing is going strong.


SCHULTZ: As President Obama mentioned at a college in Albany, New
York, today, American manufacturing is on the rebound. Since January 2010,
the manufacturing sector has added almost 500,000 jobs. And manufacturers
are adding jobs at a faster pace than the rest of the economy. But a lack
of skilled workers could stall the return of American manufacturing.

President Obama announced his solution to the problem back in


OBAMA: I hear from business leaders all the time who want to hire in
the United States. But at the moment they cannot always find workers with
the right skills. That`s why we`re making a national commitment to train
two million Americans with skills they need to get a job right now.

And we also need to give more community colleges the resources they
need to become community career centers, places where folks can learn the
skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data
management to high-tech manufacturing.


SCHULTZ: So the president wants to spend eight billion dollars to
train two million workers to help close what is known as the skill gap.
The problem is his plan needs Congressional approval and Republicans have
proved that they are not interested in investing in American workers.

Over the last 30 years, look at the numbers. Bill Clinton is the only
president who invested in education and worker training. Ronald Reagan and
both Bushes failed to do so. And today`s Republicans are no different.

Let`s turn now to Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers International
president. Mr. Gerard, good to have you with us tonight. If you could
explain this skill gap that we`re talking about. Also, does the
president`s plan -- would it fix it?

start, Ed, by saying I`m proud of the president and proud of the fact that
he acknowledges that the way out of this mess is by manufacturing and
making things. Yes, absolutely, the president`s plan would lead us in the
right direction and help fill the skills gap.

We have got a skills gap because certainly as Ronald Reagan, as you
mentioned, Republicans have been cutting back on training, cutting back on
community college funding, cutting back on that kind of support. And we`ve
had almost 30 years of people on Wall Street, the already elite, the
already powerful saying that manufacturing didn`t matter. The future was
in banking. The future was in services. The future was in that kind of

We found with the `08 collapse that that just wasn`t true. The future
is in creating real wealth by making things, giving people real skills so
that they can make things. I think the president is in absolute the right
agenda. You hit it right on the head when you pointed out that the
Republicans have done everything they can to keep the 20-somethings and the
30-somethings and the 40-somethings and the 50-somethings from having good

SCHULTZ: Well, technical schools should be booming with the kind of
jobs that the president is talking about. Of course, Congress has not been
eager to help him out. That is -- you can go right to the interest rate
situation on students. You would think that if they lower the interest
rates, it would encourage students to enroll and make it a heck of a lot
easier and speed this economy up.

Do you see Republicans in the next few years turning their attitude
when it comes to manufacturing?

GERARD: I think what you`re going to see, Ed, is that when this
election cycle is over later this year, I think you`re going to see
Republicans taking a very heavy toll at the ballot box for the kind of
things that you and Howard Dean were talking about. On top of it, the way
they`re treating students, the way they`re treating the young people that
want to get the skills, that want to go to school, refusing to cut their
interest rates -- you know, again, remind people that it was President
Obama that took the student loan business away from the banks and saved
billions of dollars.

And let me make this point. The reality is that when I was in high
school, we had vocational shops. We were told when we were in high school
that if you wanted to go in to work with your hands, you can make real
living. When I travel around the country and ask our members, are your
kids in vocational school, are your kids getting training in high school,
most of them say, no, the high schools have eliminated those kind of

We laid off 300,000 teachers that we need to give those kids the
schooling, the math, the science, the skills so that they can become
skilled tradesman and skilled workers. You can make money operating a
backhoe. You can make money welding. You can make money in being a
machinist. You can go from being a machinist to being an engineer.

So those skills have to be brought back. And the Republicans, Ed,
much to I think everyone`s disappointment, are doing everything they can to
try and make sure this president isn`t able to win by creating jobs. You
know what, he`s winning in spite of them. We`ve had more job growth in the
manufacturing sector under his leadership than we have had since the early
to mid `90s.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Mr. Gerard, good to have you with us tonight. Great
to have you on board. Thank you so much.

GERARD: Thank you. Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ: You bet. A millionaire Republican congressman is asked
about minimum wage and he doesn`t have any answers. We`ve got the video
you won`t want to miss. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Now maybe I`m assuming a
little too much here. I really believe that if you`re running for the
United States Senate, you ought to know what the current minimum wage is.
Don`t you think? Well, meet Rick Berg. He`s a Republican running for the
Senate in North Dakota.

When asked what the current minimum wage is, Rick Berg didn`t have an
answer. Worse yet, neither did his staff. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the minimum wage right now in North

guy would know. I think it`s probably seven something.


BERG: It depends what -- they don`t have minimum wage for waitress.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what the minimum wage is in North
Dakota now? Same as federal. Do you know what that is?

BERG: Put it back on my shoulders.


SCHULTZ: You know, up on the Prairie, they just hate those trick
questions. For the record, Rick, the current federal minimum wage is 7.25
an hour, which is also the current minimum wage in the state of North

But Berg didn`t always lack knowledge on the subject matter here,
because as a state legislature he voted against raising the minimum wage,
count them, three times. He also voted against a bill that would require
government contractors to pay workers a living wage.

But Berg isn`t completely against the idea of wage increases. In
fact, Berg has repeatedly voted to raise salary of state lawmakers.

God forbid if Romney gets in, but don`t you think that this guy would
probably be good for a Romney administration official? They sure think
alike, don`t they? And they know about as much.

Next, radical Republican governors aren`t letting up on their assault
on public education. Ruth Conniff of "The Progressive Magazine" joins me
to talk about just how they are getting away with it. That`s next.


SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, more on the Republican
assault -- and that`s exactly what it is, an assault on public education in
this country. Last week, we told you about Pennsylvania`s York City School
District, which is struggling of course to close a 19 million dollar budget
deficit, thanks to Governor Tom Corbett`s billion dollar cuts to public

Earlier this year, we talked about Pennsylvania`s Chester Upland
School District, where teachers volunteered to work for nothing when their
schools ran out of money. One of those teachers ended up in the State of
the Union Address, as invited by the First Lady. People are paying
attention to what`s happening in public education.

I have communicated with the teachers and administrators in these
districts to do the story, trying to bring you the very latest on what`s
happening. We`ve had difficulty getting people to come on this program and
talk about the effects of Tom Corbett`s Draconian cuts. Teachers and
administrators, they seem reluctant to talk.

Unfortunately, this is how Republicans get away with vilifying
teachers and attacking public education in this country. Radical governors
like Tom Corbett know that they can get away with targeting educators. You
see, teachers, they`re not generally experts at, quote, working the media.
Their profession is to help people, to teach people, to teach children, not
to go on television and wage public fights or advocacy work against
seasonal political professionals.

Plus, thousands of teachers are losing their jobs because of these
cuts, so they become even more reluctant to speak out for fear that they
won`t get hired back some day. The problem is the bottom line. Education
is easy pickings for the GOP governors. If you are a governor of a state,
and if you really want to change the bottom line, if you really want to
affect the budget, where do you go? Public education.

Here`s how you do it. You go on TV and you beat the hell out of the
teacher`s union. And you beat the hell out of the product. And you say
that teachers are failing and schools are failing and public education in
America has absolutely no success stories, and we`re throwing way too much
money at it, so we got to cut it.

The key word here is furlough, to give some hope to teachers and
administrators that maybe we`ll bring them back if things get better. And
with that, they become afraid to talk, because of professional
repercussions and maybe it will just cause too many problems for them down
the road. It`s really sad.

It`s really a safe haven for Republicans to go attack workers.
Joining me now is Ruth Conniff, political editor for "The Progressive
Magazine." She joins me from Milwaukee, Wisconsin tonight. Of course, in
your state, Ruth -- Wisconsin is another state where teachers have been
targeted by the Republican party.

Do teachers you`ve spoken with feel like they are under attack?

demoralized by that storyline you`re talking about, that bad teachers are
the problem, that somehow younger teachers who are paid less could do a
better job. Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. So your timing is
wonderful, Ed.

I just think we should give a shout out to all those great public
school teachers out there who are bearing up under these tough budget
environments. They`re digging in their own pockets to buy supplies. And
they`re still teaching our kids and doing a great job.

SCHULTZ: Well, we`ve had several hundred thousands of those wonderful
teachers lose their job. Leo Gerard, earlier on this broadcast, said that
we have lost 300,000 teachers in this country. I find it hard to believe
that they all are incompetent. I find it hard to believe that these
teachers are the problem.

The fact is that there are massive cuts being taken in public
education, vilified by these radical governors. They have become political
pawns. Who is speaking up for these teachers? How do they fight back?
How do they get it done?

CONNIFF: Here in Wisconsin, of course, we saw the teachers marched
out first to oppose Governor Scott Walker`s Draconian politics. They were
the ones who came out. My kids marched with their public school teachers
on the capital in Madison. I think it`s really changed the story line a
little bit.

We heard a lot about school choice. We heard -- the school choice
lobby is very powerful. We`ve heard a lot about how bad teachers are the
problem. I think the more they beat up on teachers, the more people
started to say, wait a minute, we love our school teachers, and they don`t
live a very luxurious life.

So I think in some ways public opinion is beginning to turn, because,
as you point, there are these Draconian cuts. They affect all of us. In
Pennsylvania, 860 million dollars in cuts, another 100 million coming down
the pike this year. In Wisconsin, nearly a billion dollars in cuts. They
are talking about now cutting -- they`re going to cut baseball, volleyball,
freshman track.

Next year, they are looking at guidance counselors, the football team
and the basketball team. Communities don`t like that. We start to look at
this and say hey, we value our schools. We value our teachers. We want a
better future for our kids.

SCHULTZ: Public education has been an American value. But for some
reason it has become a political football and a target for one party that
wants to give tax breaks to corporations, to give tax breaks to the
wealthiest one and two percent in this country. They got to find the money
somewhere. And they got to reduce the obligation, so they might as well go
to the poor school district in this country.

I mean, what are poor school districts going to do? Go raise the
property taxes? They can`t do that. The funding source of education is
going to be really in the balance here in this next election cycle in the
next two-year political cycle, don`t you think?

CONNIFF: I do. As you point out, in Pennsylvania, the poorest school
district in the nation, in Redding, Pennsylvania, is taking the biggest cut
per pupil, about a thousands dollars per pupil in that district under the
governor`s plan there. The wealthier school districts are looking at more
like 100 dollars per pupil.

That`s because the Republicans have specifically eliminated the
formula for more equitable distribution of funding to schools. So the
people who need it the most are paying the most dearly for these cuts.
It`s really just morally wrong.

SCHULTZ: Ruth Conniff, good to have you with us tonight here on THE
ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

CONNIFF: Great to be here, Ed.

SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.


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