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updated 2/4/2013 12:08:51 PM ET 2013-02-04T17:08:51

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
February 1, 2013

Guests: Bernie Sanders, James Oberg, Michael Tomasky, Michelle Goldberg, Eugene Robinson


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

Hillary Clinton ends her run as secretary of state by nailing
Republicans for who they really are. I love it.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I am very proud to have been
secretary of state.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Hillary Clinton gives her final farewell as
secretary of state and doesn`t mince parting words about the Republicans
refusing to face facts.

Karen Finney and Michael Steele on Clinton`s right-wing call-out.

The stock market closes over 14,000. Exxon has record profits, and
income inequality has never been worse.

Senator Bernie Sanders on the fight ahead.

Scott Brown is out, and Geraldo is in.

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: This is a real-life horror story, and it
will give small children bad dreams.

SCHULTZ: We`ve got Rivera`s first Senate campaign commercial ahead.

Michelle Goldberg, Michael Tomasky and Gene Robinson are here to talk
about the legacy of statesman and mayor, Ed Koch.

Beer prices could rise, but not if President Obama has anything to say
about it.

We`ve got the details on the next move by the Department of Justice on
Anheuser-Busch.

Ten years ago today, the space shuttle Columbia tragedy rocked the
country. Today, a new shocking story of what NASA knew has America
talking. We have the real story here tonight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

A big thank you this evening for Hillary Clinton for finally saying
what really needed to be said. Today was Clinton`s final day as secretary
of state. She begins her life as a private citizen tomorrow. And for now,
she has nothing to lose politically.

So when the associated press asked Clinton about the Republican
lawmakers who grilled her on Benghazi, this was the secretary`s response:
"They just will not live in an evidence-based world, and that`s
regrettable. It`s regrettable for our political system and for the people
who serve our government in very dangerous, difficult circumstances."
Amen to that.

The president might not be able to call out Republicans like this.
Democratic lawmakers certainly might not be able to do it, but Hillary
Clinton has no fear of speaking the truth now that she`s going to be a
private citizen.

Her appearances in front of the congressional committees on Benghazi,
the investigation turned into a complete sham because of these lies. The
most outrageous questions came from the most ridiculous sources.

Take conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. She managed to get an
absolute falsehood presented as fact by Republican lawmakers. Rubin
reported on a deputy secretary of state who testified about getting
information from Benghazi in real time?

Charlene Lamb said the information came from multiple phone calls to
communicate with the annex in Tripoli. She ended her testimony saying the
other diplomats would hang up on us and then call back.

Rubin decided to invent details just out of thin air. She wrote,
"This was the most urgent issue of the moment in which everyone wanted to
know what happened in Benghazi. So why not look at the real-time video?"

Video? There was no video. All communication was done over the
phone. But Rubin apparently imagined a scene from the bin Laden raid and
then presented her imagination as fact.

This is how it starts. One completely bogus and shoddy piece of
writing, which makes its way over to FOX News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Oh, and did I mention the State Department
was watching this unfold in real-time?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: After catching fire over at FOX News, it`s just a quick jump
away from the United States Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At any time, did you see the initial attack on a
monitor? Or the president?

CLINTON: Congressman, there was no monitor. There was no real-time.
We got surveillance videos some weeks later. That was the first time we
saw any video of the attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Even after Secretary Clinton debunked this nonsense on
camera in front of the committee, it made its way back to FOX News the very
same night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Charlene Lamb said they were watching it at the State
Department in real time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: This is not just an isolated incident, my friends. During
the same hearings, Clinton was asked about a crazy conspiracy involving gun
ruining from Benghazi. It looks like this garbage started on an extreme
anti-Islam Web site. The site claimed that Ambassador Chris Steven was
coordinating the gun running from his outpost in Benghazi.

This kind of crazy thinking is especially attractive to guys -- well,
like Glenn Beck. His Web site picked up the theory. Well, of course, they
ran with it. A headline at "The Blaze" said Chris Stevens may have been
linked to jihadist rebels in Syria. How irresponsible is that?"

It`s really scary. And here`s the scary part. Glenn Beck`s media
outfit is a trusted source of secret information by at least one Republican
senator. Here he is.

Rand Paul had no problem repeating this total rumor and asking
Secretary Clinton what she knew about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: My question is, is the U.S. involved
with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow
transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?

CLINTON: To Turkey?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And, of course, the trip wouldn`t be complete if the story
didn`t wind back up on FOX News that night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I don`t have proof of this. No one has given me any
information. I have no briefing to this. But there have been articles in
the newsprint and in the press saying that there was some gun running going
on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All of those crazy theories and rumors serve one purpose for
the people who will not live in an evidence-based society, just like
Hillary Clinton was talking about. They make people think that there is
some larger conspiracy at play.

And it goes all the way to the top, the White House -- well, two can
play this game. You see, you can connect the dots to make things appear
any way you want. I think it`s only fair to connect these dots to the
Republican Party. They love to foster these conspiracies. They need to
accept the consequences. Republicans really should heed the lessons
learned by the last GOP presidential nominee.

You see, Mitt Romney frequently relied on these non-evidence
conspiracies, like the time Jeep announced it would expand production in
China due to great sales. A right wing newspaper completely butchered the
story, saying that the Jeep was considering giving up the United States and
shifting production to China. Enter Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I saw a story today
that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the
Italians is thinking of moving all production to China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: There was also the lie about President Barack Obama never
saying Benghazi was an act of terrorism.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Obama knowingly lied to the American
people. Obama created a conspiracy theory and coordinated a campaign of
deceit to distract from the truth that affects our national security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney listened to this kind of stuff for weeks. And
because he relied on this junk, he walked into the biggest trap on the
largest possible stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I think it`s interesting the president just said something
which is on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said
that this was an act of terror.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That`s what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was
an act of terror.

OBAMA: No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great
nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values we stand
for.

ROMNEY: It was not a spontaneous demonstration? Is that what you`re
saying?

OBAMA: Please proceed, Governor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Even after this, Romney didn`t learn. With polls shows
Barack Obama leading on Election Day, Romney was convinced by conservative
media that he was going to win. He was shell-shocked when he lost.

Republicans are headed down -- you know what? -- the Romney path.
They would do well to listen to Hillary Clinton`s advice and rejoin
everyone else in the evidence-based world.

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

Tonight`s question, will Republicans ever live in an evidence-based
world? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can go to our blog
at Ed.MSNBC.com. And leave a comment there. We`ll show you the results
later on in the show.

Joining me tonight is Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and former
DNC communications director, and, Michael Steele, MSNBC contributor and
former chairman of the RNC.

Great to have both of you with us on this Friday evening.

Michael, you first.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Will the Republican Party listen to Hillary Clinton? Does
she have merit to what she is saying?

(LAUGHTER)

STEELE: Well, if you put it like that, Ed, the answer is probably
not. But I think that the underlying argument that Hillary puts out there
is something that we need to pay some close attention to. You know, I
think the takeaway from the hearings the past week, and just looking at
this from a partisan political perspective was we didn`t serve our
interests very well. We never clarified the key questions that we needed -
- that I thought needed to be asked. And Hillary quite aptly as you showed
in that clip there, you know, like Turkey? Where are you getting your
facts from?

And so, from the party standpoint, I get the idea of wanting to drill
down on Benghazi and all these issues, but we`re scattered. We`re all over
the place there is no cohesion, there is no current message there is no
sense of where we`re leading with the questions we have, which, of course,
gives opportunity for you and others to look at this and go, are you
serious? I mean, here are the facts. How do you respond to the facts?

And if we`re responding in a direction different from the facts, you
get what we have of the past few weeks.

SCHULTZ: Karen, isn`t this a classic example of how something can be
made up, and then they`ll be called out on it later on when someone really
doesn`t have any political chips to lose on it.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. But a little bit of
history. You may remember, Ed, that I worked for former secretary -- I
guess now we would call her -- Clinton in the White House when she was our
first lady. And she back then talked about the vast right-wing conspiracy,
and a lot of people didn`t believe her.

Not so much of a conspiracy anymore. We have since found out she was
-- even back then, she was very correct. Watching you connect those dots
was quite a joy to actually have a venue where we could do that and push
back on the misinformation that is out there, because this is a classic,
classic thing that we`ve been seeing.

SCHULTZ: I mean, it`s amazing how a blogger can put something out, it
ends up in a hearing, it gets picked up by another senator, who goes on a
media outlet, presents it as almost fact -- has the commentator saying
there was actually a live feed. I mean, I`m pulling my hair out. Give me
a break.

FINNEY: Remember, there was one of the questioners also asked her
about why haven`t the IM messages that we`ve subpoenaed. And later, she
said, actually, we don`t allow IM at the State Department.

SCHULTZ: This is a clip from Chuck Hagel`s hearing yesterday. Listen
to Senator James Inhofe`s source for his information.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: There is an article the other day in
the "Washington Post" by Jennifer Rubin called "Our Dimwitted State
Department." It`s kind of an interesting article.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Michael, how do you get these guys to stop listening to the
same wild conspiracy theories? I mean, they just live in a different
world.

STEELE: I think it is a little bit of a different world in that
sense. I mean, I don`t get -- I don`t get the direction and the messaging
that the party is putting out there right now. I really honestly don`t.

I think that we really need to sort of step back from this thing and
really assess exactly what do we need to focus on. Is Benghazi of all the
things that are pressing the American people right now something that as a
national party we should be fixated on?

Hillary Clinton -- yes, I mean, she served as secretary of state, did
an admiral job. Most people would say that. Yes, there was this hiccup
with Benghazi. We unfortunately lost the lives of four U.S. servicemen out
there, you know, ambassador and the like. So how do we now deal with this
in the context of everything else?

SCHULTZ: You deal with it by dealing in facts.

STEELE: And I think that`s the point, Ed. I think that`s the point.

SCHULTZ: Whatever happened to the day when the United States senator
would pick up the phone and do his own information? Senators do have their
phone calls taken, OK?

Is this true? What do you know? And we`re losing that.

Karen, what about that?

STEELE: Yes.

FINNEY: Well, but remember also, as we learned from both the hearing
with Secretary Clinton and then the following day with Senator Kerry, you
had one senator who was asking Secretary Clinton several questions about,
you know, video, I believe it was and other things, and admitted that he
hadn`t actually gone to the briefing. So, part of it is, don`t just go off
of what you read on the Internet or what somebody tells you. Go to the
briefing.

Check that information for yourself.

SCHULTZ: In that same exchange, a senator who was not at the briefing
asked John Kerry if he would work with him on that. Well, I guess so. You
didn`t go to the briefing.

STEELE: Hey, Ed --

FINNEY: It`s a good start.

STEELE: Ed, what I`m curious about is Hillary Clinton, unlike a lot
of secretaries of state had a very good working relationship inside the
Senate on both the right side and the left side of the aisle. So, I -- to
your point about the phone call, I find it surprising and would be curious
to know if any of them did pick up the phone at that time, try to reach and
talk to her directly to connect their own dots as opposed to relying on
third party sources.

FINNEY: You guys, let`s be really clear about what this was about.
Benghazi, they used Susan Rice. They were trying to use Hillary Clinton to
go after President Obama. That`s what this whole thing is about.

So whether or not people went to the briefings or picked up phone
calls, it was pretty obvious from the travesty that were those hearings
that this was really about trying to come out with some gotcha information.
But ultimately to go after her president that.

SCHULTZ: That is it, gotcha information.

It would seem to me that Rand Paul would have picked up the phone and
called Secretary Clinton, and said, Secretary Clinton, I don`t want to make
you look like a fool and I don`t want to look like a fool, but I just want
to be very clear on this. This is what I`m going to be asking. You know
what? We need to get to the truth of all this. That`s really what the
hearings are all about.

STEELE: And that`s still out there to be discovered in many respects.
There are still a lot of questions that I think were missed completely in
these hearing.

SCHULTZ: Yes, I`ll let it sit there.

Karen Finney, Michael Steele, great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.

Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter, and @EdShow, and on
Facebook. We want to know what you think.

There was encouraging news in the economy today, and the stock market
just going crazy, right? But income inequality, my friends, is very real.
It plagues this country. And Senator Bernie Sanders will join me to talk
about it and how to remedy this whole thing.

Stay with us. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Big shake-up in the Senate in 2014. Geraldo in, Scott Brown
out. The big panel`s got it all covered for you tonight here on THE ED
SHOW.

And the unbelievable story of how NASA handled the space shuttle
Columbia on the 10th anniversary of the disaster, a former shuttle program
manager blogged his reflections -- stay with us -- because what you`ve
heard about it really is unbelievable.

Don`t forget, you can listen to my radio show on Sirius XM Radio
channel 127, Monday through Friday, noon to 3:00.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow.

We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

You like numbers? I got numbers for you tonight. There is big
economic news today. Records are being broken. But there is still a major
story of income inequality underneath all of this.

First, the numbers. The nation`s economy added 157,000 jobs in
January, and the unemployment rate -- well, it ticked up to 7.9 percent.
But the jobs numbers for both November and December were revised upwards
significantly. This means more than 2 million jobs were created last year.
The best number since 2005 and better than seven out of eight years in the
Bush/Cheney era.

Now, the economy has now gained 5.5 million jobs out of the 8.74
million jobs lost in the great recession. We got a long way to go. No
doubt about it.

Now, the stock market is on a roll. It topped 14, 000 today for the
first time since 2007, 100,000 construction jobs were added in the last
four months of 2012, and today, Chrysler posted its highest sales in five
years.

And there is another side of this story, of course. Millions of
people are still out of work. The economy actually shrank by a tenth of a
point last quarter because of what? Government cutbacks -- 2/3 of
Americans are planning to delay the retirement according to "The Wall
Street Journal" because of the financial losses, income stagnation and
layoffs over the past several years.

Now, income inequality in the United States actually, folks, has
gotten worse. And we now rank in the middle of Latin American countries,
which have historically had poor economies and high levels of income
inequality.

We got a lot of work to do.

Let`s turn to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Senator, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks for joining us.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Good. My pleasure.

SCHULTZ: There is still an ugly underbelly to this economy as it
stands right now. This past election was themed about and focused on the
middle class.

What can we do, Senator, moving forward here in the short-term? Your
thoughts?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, Ed, we have to do exactly what you were
doing now and focus on an issue that gets very, very little attention.
That is the fact that we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and
income of any major country on earth, worse today in the United States than
at any time since 1928 before the Great Depression.

Ed, from a moral perspective, moral, we have to ask ourselves whether
we think it is acceptable that the top 1 percent owns 35 percent of the
wealth in America when the bottom 60 percent owns 2.3 percent of the
wealth. Whether it is acceptable that the top 1 percent earns more income
than the bottom 50 percent. And in the last study that we saw in 2010, 93
percent, 93 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent.

Is that the kind of country that we feel comfortable living in?

SCHULTZ: I don`t think so. I don`t think the American people believe
that. And I think that`s what this election was all about. I mean, when
you look at it, middle class families earned more in 1996 than today.

I mean, it`s absolutely amazing. The middle class are still asked to
share the sacrifice with the cuts to the big three.

SANDERS: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: We have to grab this conversation.

SANDERS: That`s exactly right.

And, Ed, what this is also about, it`s not only morality and fairness,
it is about politics, because what do you think the big money folks are
doing?

The big corporations who are enjoying record-breaking profits, the
wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well. They`re not sitting on
their money. They`re putting huge amounts of money into the political
process so they get even more tax breaks, more ability to outsource our
jobs, more ability to put their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands.

And furthermore, it`s not only a political issue, it`s an economic
issue. And that is if consumers do not have the money, if the middle class
and working families do not have the income to spend, how are you going to
create jobs? How are you going to create jobs?

SCHULTZ: Well, that`s the whole thing.

Senator, your thoughts on what policies would reduce this wide gulf of
income inequality?

SANDERS: Well, let me just kick off a very few. I think what almost
all economists recognize is that when real unemployment is over 14 percent,
counting those people who have given up looking for work and are working
part-time, we need to invest significant sums of money, rebuilding our
crumbling infrastructure -- roads, bridges, water systems, mass transit, et
cetera.

Second of all, given the threat of global warming, we need to invest
very heavily and create jobs in weatherization, energy efficient and
sustainable unreasonable. That`s one area, Ed, if we are aggressive, we
can create many millions of jobs rather quickly.

Second of all, we have got to demand that Wall Street stop sitting on
the huge amounts of money they are and get that money out to the productive
economy so small and medium-sized businesses have the capital to expand and
also create new jobs.

SCHULTZ: That is a plan that needs to be discussed. And Americans
ought to get behind.

Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate
it.

Coming up, Geraldo Rivera wants to be New Jersey`s next senator. We
have an exclusive first look at his first campaign ad, next.

And our panel will weigh in on Geraldo, as well as Scott Brown`s
political future. Eugene Brown, Michael Tomasky and Michelle Goldberg will
join me.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.

Renowned journalist Geraldo Rivera made a shocking announcement today.
He`s actually considering running for the Senate in New Jersey in 2014.

Geraldo is considering running as a Republican for Senator Frank
Lautenberg`s seat.

THE ED SHOW has obtained an exclusive copy of Geraldo Rivera`s first
campaign commercial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD NARRATOR: In a topsy-turvy world, with more questions than answers
--

RIVERA: A massive concrete vault has been discovered.

AD NARRATOR: New Jersey needs a man unafraid to suit up for battle on
the greatest issues facing America. Issues such as racism, Satanism --

RIVERA: Many of the things about Satanism are offensive.

AD NARRATOR: Or I`m in love with a transvestite hookerism.

RIVERA: I went to journalism to become a lawyer.

AD NARRATOR: Geraldo Rivera is that man whom. Better to clean up
Washington, D.C., than the man who cleaned out Al Capone`s vault.

RIVERA: It seems up to now we have struck out with the vault. I`m
disappointed about that.

AD NARRATOR: A man who can reach across the aisle to find bipartisan
solutions.

RIVERA: What I want is fairness.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fairness, bull!

AD NARRATOR: And a military genius, who only once gave up the
position of our fighting troops in a war zone.

Geraldo for Senate in New Jersey. This is not a joke.

RIVERA: This is a real-life horror story that will give small
children bad dreams.

AD NARRATOR: Paid for by oh-please-oh-please-oh-please-oh-please do
this, Geraldo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So are you going to do it? Seriously?

RIVERA: I very well may.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Geraldo Rivera talks Senate. Michelle Goldberg, Michael
Tomasky and Gene Robinson join our panel to talk statesmen of old and new.

President Obama puts the Department of Justice to work on beer prices.

New allegations arise about the tragedy of NASA`s Columbia crew. How
much did Mission Control know?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERA: I am and I`ve been in touch with some people in the
Republican party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for
Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, come on, Geraldo. Give us the audiotape of the
conversation. That was Geraldo Rivera, considering a run for a Senate seat
currently held by Democrat Frank Lautenberg in the state of New Jersey.

Let`s go to our big panel tonight, MSNBC political analyst Eugene
Robinson of the "Washington Post." Michelle Goldberg and Michael Tomasky,
both of "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast."

Michael wrote this week`s cover story on "Newsweek." Great to have
all of you with us tonight.

Well, Eugene, you first. Is this good news for New Jersey Democrats,
or is it great news for New Jersey Democrats?

EUGENE ROBINSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It`s great news for
journalists. And so I want to know where I can write a check to the please
oh please oh please oh please, Geraldo, do this PAC. Because nothing but
stories there. It`s hard to imagine that New Jersey Republicans would
actually nominate him. But if they did, sure, it`s great news for New
Jersey Democrats because I think they basically get a Senate seat.

SCHULTZ: Chris Christie`s top strategist tells the "New Jersey Star
Ledger" that Rivera hasn`t called me. Will we see Governor Christie giving
his blessings to Geraldo, a candidacy by Geraldo, or is that just fat
chance, Michelle Goldberg? What do you think?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, "THE DAILY BEAST": I would be surprised because
Chris Christie, for all my disagreements with him, does seem to love the
state of New Jersey. But I`m not sure how much Chris Christie`s
endorsement matters compared to Fox News` endorsement. Should he run, it
will be just another step in the consolidation of Fox News and the
Republican party.

SCHULTZ: Michael, you know, name recognition, he could probably raise
a little bit of money. He can handle the media. He is an advocate for
people in a sense. Journalistic credentials a little shaky at times.
Would he be a potential winner, do you think?

MICHAEL TOMASKY, "THE DAILY BEAST": You know, Ed, I think Geraldo is
a smart guy. I do his radio show sometimes. And, you know, I`ve talked
with him. He knows issues. He knows policy. He is pretty moderate. He
is pro-choice, which a lot of people may not know yet. Now, that may kill
him in a primary, even in New Jersey. Republicans around the country --
Republican primary electorates are pretty conservative.

So that issue alone may do him in. I also remember being on his radio
show once when we he did this odd endorsement. I think he said I will vote
for Romney, but I personally support Obama, or something odd like that.
People will have to look that up, and they will. And then, of course,
another thing with people who have never run for office is they`re going to
be subjected to a new level of scrutiny.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

TOMASKY: His personal finances, his personal -- you know, his
personal life and so on and so forth. So all that is going to have to hold
up. And then the final question, can he campaign?

SCHULTZ: Well, that depends on how hard he wants to work. But he is
going the Al Franken route. He`s got the radio show all squared away early
on. Meanwhile, in other Senate news, polling earlier this week had former
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts actually leading Democratic
Congressman Ed Markey in a hypothetical match up to fill John Kerry`s
Senate seat.

But earlier today, Brown announced that he won`t be entering the
special election race, paving a clear path to victory for the Democrats.
He said something pretty interesting. "I was not at all certain that a
third Senate campaign in less than four years and the prospect of returning
to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left was really the best
way for me to continue in public service at this time."

Eugene Robinson, isn`t that somewhat of a surrender, that, you know,
this is just a mess? Why should I even deal with it?

ROBINSON: Well, I think a lot of people kind of feel that way about
Congress these days, and certainly that way about the Senate, which is even
more sort of paralyzed than it usually is. But Scott Brown, we do have to
keep in mind that he lost his last campaign for Senate. And he might have
been making a calculation there. Polls were showing him ahead. But there
is no guarantees, and it would be his third campaign.

So why go through it again?

SCHULTZ: Michelle, this leaves the Republican party in Massachusetts
kind of scrambling right now, doesn`t it?

GOLDBERG: That`s what is so interesting, I think, is that they have
essentially no one. I mean, it`s amazing to have kind of a major political
party with a bench with basically nobody sitting on it. I mean, one name
that I`ve seen floated is William Weld, who -- I mean, it would be
fascinating to have somebody who was a Republican who was an outspokenly
pro-choice politician.

But I can`t imagine him -- I can`t imagine him winning. And it`s hard
to imagine him as part of the kind of contemporary Senate Republican
caucus. This is just further evidence of the complete collapse of old
school northeastern Republicanism.

SCHULTZ: Along those lines, Michael, you know, there is one guy that
still has got a lot of time on his hand. His name is Mitt Romney.

TOMASKY: Yes, there is. There is also a guy named Tag Romney. You
know, maybe it`s time to pass the torch to the next generation. Look, in
addition to all the reasons already put forward or all the explanations
already put forward, I also think that this is a Tea Party setback. Brown
as a senator, as voting senator didn`t always vote with the Tea Party, by
any stretch of the imagination. But he was a Tea Party darling in a big
way in 2010.

SCHULTZ: Yeah, he was.

TOMASKY: In a big way. And so now he`s gone. And it`s just another
setback for that wing of the Republican party and that movement. And as
everyone says, it`s clearly going to be a Democratic seat.

SCHULTZ: We all know this man was larger than life, a man with keen
political instincts. Above all, he was a New Yorker. Former New York City
Mayor Ed Koch died early this morning of congestive heart failure. He was
88 years old. After serving in Congress, Mayor Koch was elected to three
terms in city hall from 1978 to 1989.

Koch never married and had no children. But as his "New York Times"
obituary put it, he was survived by New York itself. Koch liked to ask
people, you know, how am I doing? Eugene Robinson, what`s his legacy?

ROBINSON: Well, as a practical matter, he improved the city`s
finances tremendously. But really what he did was personify the city, in
my view, at a time when it could use that sort of larger than life figure.
And he kind of -- his ebullience and determination and drive I think gave a
boost just in and of themselves to a city that was in pretty bad shape.

SCHULTZ: Michelle, this was a man who was not afraid to infuriate
liberals.

GOLDBERG: Yeah. I think he seemed to delight in it. In some ways,
he was kind of like the prototypical neo-conservative, somebody who started
on the left, who started out very liberal, and then made his political
career being tough on crime, being kind of insensitive to minorities, and
then later on being sometimes crazily Islamophobic and really vicious to
anybody who disagreed with the Likudnik line on Israel.

SCHULTZ: Is New York a better place, Michael Tomasky, because Ed Koch
was the mayor and served for so long?

TOMASKY: Generally speaking, yes. I`ll add this point. I knew Ed.
And I covered Ed. I lived in New York in those days. And this is one part
of his legacy that doesn`t get mentioned as much, and it`s a good part. He
undertook in the 1980s a 5.2 billion dollar housing program for the city.
And people who ride say the number six train up through the Bronx, up
Westchester Avenue, and you look out and you see all that housing, still
pretty new, from the 1980s, that was Koch`s housing program, and a whole
lot else besides.

So that was one very good thing he did. You know, he was a
combustible guy. And a lot of people really didn`t like him. But on
balance, he did more good for the city for sure.

SCHULTZ: And our final topic tonight, have any of you figured out
just how close John McCain and Chuck Hagel actually are? I mean, are they
really good buddies, Eugene Robinson?

ROBINSON: It`s a bromance, a bromance for the ages.

SCHULTZ: OK, is that what that is? I tell you what? Who needs
enemies with friends like that? I mean, what a -- I think, Michael
Tomasky, I think that Chuck Hagel was just taken by it all.

TOMASKY: Yeah, well, he was something. You know, I hope he is better
prepared for the issues he is going to face as secretary of defense than he
was for those questions.

SCHULTZ: I think stunned would be the right word. Eugene Robinson,
Michelle Goldberg, Michael Tomasky, great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks for joining us on THE ED SHOW.

Coming up, be sure to enjoy your beer this Super Bowl Sunday, because
next year it could cost a little bit more. Actually, a whole lot more.
But not if President Obama and the Justice Department have anything to do
with it. Stay tuned. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW . Be honest, President Obama
is the guy -- kind of guy that you would probably want to have a beer with.
At least I think that. In his first term, President Obama held beer
summits, shared a beer with a Medal of Honor winner, knocked back a couple
of cool ones with constituents on the campaign trail.

Heck, under -- the Obama White House began brewing its own beer, which
was so popular that a Freedom of Information Act was submitted just to get
the recipe. So I`m guessing on Super Bowl Sunday, the president will join
Americans as they consume millions of cases of beer on, of course, the big
day for the big game.

But in the meantime, President Obama is looking out for you, to make
sure that next year you don`t have to pay more for that six-pack. You see,
on Thursday, the Justice Department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to
block a merger between two beer industry giants. The lawsuit challenges
Anheuser-Busch Inbev`s attempt to buy 50 percent of Mexico`s Grupo Modelo
that it doesn`t already own.

ABI is the ruler of the U.S. beer market, no doubt. Modelo is ranked
third. The Justice Department believes that the merger could create a beer
monopoly. If ABI buys their direct competitor, it could easily change
market forces and raise the prices of beer everywhere. It`s estimated that
if the deal goes through, a six-pack could end up costing 25 to 50 cents
more.

Sure, now that doesn`t sound like a whole heck of a lot. But when you
start adding it up, it could cost beer drinkers in this country billions of
dollars. Now, they haven`t gone after Wall Street, but when you crack open
that cool one on Super Bowl Sunday, know that the president of the United
States and the Justice Department, well, I tell you what, they are looking
out for you, for more beers.

And as for the game, I`m just not high on this one, the 49ers and the
Ravens. You see, I`ve been mad at Baltimore ever since the Colts left. I
grew up thinking Johnny Unitas was the greatest of all time. When the
Colts left, I never paid attention to Baltimore.

And then when the 49ers` Bill Walsh and Montana and all that crowd, I
just thought they won too much. They were awful good, though. I just
can`t warm up to San Francisco this year because of the way they trashed
their first quarterback, even though the guy they got in there right now is
really entertaining and good.

And then this two brothers thing into the Super Bowl. I`m still mad
the Vikings aren`t there. Must be a conspiracy there or something.

Anyway, tonight in the survey, I asked you will Republicans ever live
in an evidence-based world. Two percent of you say yes; 98 percent of you
say no.

Coming up, stunning new details about the Space Shuttle Columbia
disaster. The NASA manager in charge admits what really went wrong 10
years ago. Find out what he regrets most, when we come back. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in tonight`s Big Finish, there is a story making the
rounds on some news sites that shocked my staff and got all of us talking
today. The headlines say NASA knew the Space Shuttle Columbia was doomed,
but decided not to tell the astronauts. The story is loosely based on a
blog post by a former NASA flight manager.

The story is sensational, but it`s not really true. The stunning
claim comes on the 10th anniversary of the Columbia disaster. NASA held
this remembrance service in California for all astronauts killed over the
years. The fate of the Columbia crew members was sealed January 16th,
2003.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one. We have booster ignition and
liftoff of Space Shuttle Columbia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: From the ground, this looked like a perfect launch. But
close-up video showed a chunk of debris slamming into the shuttle`s left
wing. No one was sure how bad the damage was, and they believed that they
couldn`t do anything about it. Mission control discussed hypotheticals.
Former flight Director Wayne Hale quoted a colleague who said, "I think the
crew would rather not know. Don`t you think it would be better or the them
to have a happy, successful flight and die unexpectedly during reentry than
to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done until the air
ran out?"

But Hale told us today no one believed the mission would end like
this. The shuttle disintegrated 16 days after it launched, killing all
seven members and raining debris over Texas. President George W. Bush
ended the shuttle program two years later.

Hale told me -- our staff today, should I say, that "there was no
concern for reentry. The crew was given a summary of the issue with the
conclusion of no concern."

Hale says NASA told crew everything, but everyone agreed there was
nothing they could do about the damage. Hale says that`s the tragic lesson
of the Columbia disaster. Quote, "we will never again say that there is
nothing we can do."

I`m joined by NBC News space analyst James Oberg. Mr. Oberg, great to
have you with us here tonight on THE ED SHOW.

JAMES OBERG, NBC NEWS SPACE ANALYST: Good evening, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Good evening to you, sir.

OBERG: I know Wayne, because Wayne and I trained together on the
first shuttle flights 32 years ago. So when he talks, we listen. And he
made some comments that, as you explained, did get taken in the wrong
direction. But it didn`t get to the actually most serious question, which
is why didn`t they know the shuttle was damaged? Did they deliberately or
unconsciously not look very hard? And why were they caught by surprise?

SCHULTZ: Would NASA ever keep vital information from a crew during a
mission?

OBERG: Everyone I`ve talked to and my own experience in mission
control is no, because if you start doing that, you start developing a
distrust between the ground and people in space. And that communications
barrier leads -- will lead to all sorts of trouble. So all this
conversation was in the hall after they had already decided there was no
danger.

But the decision was wrong, as Hale points out. And what Wayne was
objecting to -- what Wayne was regretting was not slapping this guy down
right away saying that is crazy. He didn`t do it. It turned out he didn`t
have to because they never would have told. They never felt it was lost.
But they missed the chance to find the mistake. They missed the chance to
at least go down swinging, go down fighting, trying to fix the hole, trying
to get a rescue ship up, trying to get international aid to resupply the
shuttle.

All those things would have been at least tried. Whether they worked
or not, we still don`t know. But dying out of nowhere, totally out of left
field, blind sided by reality, that`s a way no one really wants to go.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Oberg, how much have we learned from this tragedy, in
your opinion?

OBERG: Ed, what we have learned, unfortunately, is what philosopher
Hagel said is that we don`t -- all we learn from history is that we don`t
learn from history. The biggest tragedy of this disaster and some of the
earlier ones was it taught NASA nothing that they hadn`t already learned
during Apollo and other projects and had forgotten, or had overlooked or
had gotten off target.

So a lot of the safety issues -- space flight is unforgiving. It`s
inherently dangerous if you`re careless. If you get careless, it will kill
you, more so than most other activities on Earth, except maybe underwater
caving. But it`s dangerous. And if you get slipshod, even if a few people
get slipshod, these catastrophes will happen.

But they`re not accidents. They`re consequences. That to me is what
is the greatest thing it taught us, is we shouldn`t have had to kill seven
more people to learn what we already knew and had forgotten.

SCHULTZ: Could the Columbia crew have been saved just somehow? And
in your mind and heart and professional opinion, was every available option
exhausted? Like -- and when I say saved, I mean like Apollo 13.

OBERG: Ed, that`s what people were hoping for. After the disaster,
my colleagues -- and I had left mission control at that point. I had
already left and gone off into private consulting on space flight safety,
because I was tired of the way NASA safety was decaying. But people who
were still there told me that they wished they had the warning. If they
had 10 days warning, early in the flight, had seen the hole in the wing,
they would have mobilized all their energies and the whole countries in the
world`s energies.

They would have tried to find ways to MacGuyver the wing and find
something on board to stick in the whole. They had to find ways to get the
other ship that was being canted down into space sooner. And if they
didn`t have enough air on board, they would have found ways to get other
rockets from other countries -- and there were some available -- to throw
supply canisters up into space, where the shuttle could have chased them
down and grabbed them before the shuttle`s own power ran out.

Those things might have happened. In hindsight, the accident
investigation board looked at them and couldn`t really figure out any way
that was surely going to work. But they would have tried.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

Well, a story that surrounds American heroes who were lost doing their
best for America. James Oberg, thank you so much for your time tonight. I
appreciate it.

OBERG: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW
SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
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