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The Ed Show for Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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Guests: Elijah Cummings, Bob Shrum, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Richard Wolffe, Joy Reid, Michael Medved, Adam Green

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

Darrell Issa`s quest to bring down President Obama and Attorney
General Eric Holder is completely full of holes. I`ll show you why

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


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: You can answer everybody`s
question but one area, and then tell the judge he`s not going to give you
that, that is contempt.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The contempt vote will go forward, even though
another investigative report exposes Darrell Issa`s witch hunt.

ISSA: I believe Mr. Cummings has not lived up to his promise, I wish
he had, to the terry family. The full truth is too painful for in fact in
to him to take on his own attorney general.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Cummings is here tonight and he`ll response to
Darrell Issa`s reckless charge.

Will spineless Democrats fold to the NRA and vote for contempt? Bob
Shrum and Jonathan Alter will preview the historic vote.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez plays "guess who`s the immigrant" on the
House floor.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: I`m sure Justin helped Gomez learn
all about American customs and felt more at home in her adopted country.
Oh, wait a minute, I`m sorry, because I`m not a trained Arizona official.

SCHULTZ: The congressman joins me tonight.

And the fate of the nation`s health care will be decided tomorrow.
But either way, single payer is making a comeback.


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

The House of Representatives will take the historic step tomorrow of
holding the United States attorney general in contempt. Congressman
Darrell Issa continued his year long campaign to smear Attorney General
Eric Holder during a meeting of the House Rules Committee today.


ISSA: Over the last year and a half, the committee has found the
Department of Justice to be uncooperative at every step of the way.


SCHULTZ: But despite the contempt charges, Republicans have not been
able to link the attorney general, Eric Holder, to any wrongdoing
whatsoever. Issa admitted it today.


ISSA: We`re holding him responsible to fix what is broken. We`re not
-- we`ve never -- I have never called for his resignation nor said that he
has specific knowledge.


SCHULTZ: Issa has no evidence the attorney general knew anything
about the controversial fast and furious case.

Last Sunday, Issa said there`s no evidence the White House was
involved either.

The lack of evidence had Democrats on the rules committee today
wondering why the House is going to go through with the contempt vote.


REP. JAMES MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: As I get deeper and deeper
into this and I go over the documents that have been released and I learn
about the willingness of the Justice Department to continue to cooperate --
I mean, this idea where in the rules committee, an emergency meeting to
rush this to the floor tomorrow, just doesn`t smell right to me.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: We`re getting ready to stain this
institution, with this particular kind of undertaking.


SCHULTZ: Darrell Issa and the Republicans are trying to nail Eric
Holder and the White House by linking them to a federal gun trafficking
operation. We know the attorney general had no involvement. We know the
president had no involvement.

And now, thanks to a report by "Fortune" magazine, we know the gun
trafficking never even happened the way the Republicans claim it did.

The investigative report is called "The truth about the Fast and
Furious scandal." It reaffirms everything we already suspected about this
bogus congressional investigation. Republicans and right wing media charge
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with deliberately sending guns
into Mexico to break up trafficking rings, but according to agents directly
involved with the case, they never purposely allowed guns to be illegally
trafficked. Just the opposite, they said they seized weapons whenever they
could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws which stymied them at
every turn.

The Fast and Furious case was one of a dozen the agency was pursuing.
They were trying to stop gun trafficking in one of the most difficult
places in the United States. One agent said buying a gun in Arizona is
like buying a sandwich. Well, what are the numbers? There are 853
federally licensed firearms dealers in Phoenix area alone. The city is
only 200 miles from Mexico.

A gun control advocacy group says Arizona has the weakest gun
prevention laws in the country. There are no waiting periods, no need for
permits, and buyers are allowed to resell their guns. Eighty-seven percent
of illegally smuggled firearms seized in Mexico are originate in the United
States. These loose gun laws are a big reason why.

They also make it harder for law enforcement to effectively stop gun
trafficking. In fact, the ATF is prohibited from establishing a
comprehensive electronic database of gun sales. Thanks to lobbying by the
National Rifle Association. The Arizona ATF agents focused on straw
purchases, people being paid to purchase large amounts of gun for illegal

Well, according to the report, by January 2010, the agents had
identified 20 suspects who had paid some $350,000 in cash for more than 650
guns. Many of these sales were clearly suspicious.

One suspect on food stamps bought 476 firearms in six months. Another
suspect with no job paid $10,000 for a sniper rifle. Go figure.

But at each turn, prosecutors blocked the ATF`s attempts to go after
the guns. At one point, the supervisor in charge of the Fast and Furious
case wrote to a colleague in frustration, "We conducted a field interview
and after calling the assistant U.S. attorney, he said we did not have
sufficient probable cause to take the firearm, so our suspect drove home
with said firearm in his car."

The Fast and Furious case led to numerous dead ends. But there is no
evidence in the entire program showing deliberate attempts by the agency to
walk guns. The Issa investigation makes great fodder for Republicans and
the National Rifle Association, but it also makes a mockery out the truth.

What the Congress is going to do tomorrow is absolutely political and
it is shameful. I think we pay congressmen to do other things than this
kind of garbage.

Get your cell phones. I want to know what think. Tonight`s question:
Will tomorrow`s contempt vote go down in history as a national

Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can go to our blog and
leave a comment at We`ll bring you the results later in the

Key player on this program tonight, joining me now is Maryland
Congressman Elijah Cummings. He is the ranking member on the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. First of all --

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Let`s talk about the vote if we can right off the top. "Politico" is
reporting that the Congressional Black Caucus plans to walk off the House
floor during tomorrow`s vote. Will you be participating in that and is
this going to happen?

CUMMINGS: That decision is still being made. There had been
discussions with regard to that because black caucus members feel that this
is such a travesty that they do not want to dignify the vote by being
present to vote for it or against it. Of course, we`re all against it, but
I think that strategy is still being worked out, Ed. But there`s a good

SCHULTZ: Congressman, what`s your reaction to this report by a
"Fortune" magazine, which is one of the most detailed pieces of journalism
we have seen so far on this?

CUMMINGS: Well, I think it really does go hand in hand with my
contentions all along that Eric Holder and the president, and -- by the
way, we`re in total agreement with Mr. Issa on this one -- did not know
about this, did not authorize it, did not condone it, this whole situation.

So, that`s why this contempt vote tomorrow is so unfortunate. Ed,
keep in mind that there`s been only -- no one has, no cabinet member in the
history of the United States of America has ever been voted in contempt.
And so, this is really sad and very unfortunate.

SCHULTZ: I want to play what Congressman Issa said about you during
today`s hearing. Here it is.


ISSA: I believe Mr. Cummings has not lived up to his promise, I wish
he had, to the terry family. I believe in spirit he thinks he has, but in
reality, this truth, the full truth, is too painful for, in fact, him to
take on his own attorney general. And I think that`s one of the problems
that goes on in every administration.


SCHULTZ: I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that.

CUMMINGS: Well, I responded in the hearing and told him, and I`ll say
it today. In my 61 years in life, I have had nobody to challenge my
integrity. Mr. Issa gets confused, when you stand up for the law and you
say that -- and I say that we should not be trying to subpoena documents
that would be unlawful for the attorney general to give us -- gives to us,
and when I say we should not be subpoenaing documents that reveal
informants, confidential informants and documents that might interfere with
the trial, he automatically thinks you`re trying to defend the attorney

I`m trying to stand up for the integrity of the House and for the
integrity of the executive branch of government. I make it clear, I hold
the executive branch to a very, very high standard, and so, I told Mr. Issa
during that hearing that I was insulted by what he said and he owes me an

SCHULTZ: Well, it`s gotten pretty personal down the stretch here
leading up to this, but it`s also personal on the president of the United
States. They seem to be ignoring the executive privilege the president has
invoked here as if it doesn`t even exist.


SCHULTZ: One can only wonder if this is all about, you know, putting
the president in a bad light, putting the attorney general in a bad light,
and I will go so far to ask the question, is there an element of racism

CUMMINGS: I`m not going to say that, Ed. I leave that to other
people to make the determination.

But let me tell you, I think what they`re doing is very political.
And I think that if you -- they need to take a step back.

One of the things I have said is that Speaker Boehner ought to get
involved in this case personally. This is a case that could easily be

And keep in mind, Ed, the attorney general has provided 7,600 pages of
documents, given another 1,300 pages of the documents that are what`s
called deliberative documents that normally are not exposed at all, not
given away at all, and he`s tried over and over again, as late as yesterday
evening, to try to work this out. Yet, it`s still -- Mr. Issa is trying to
bring him up for contempt, and the implication is that he`s not been
cooperating and not been working with us.

He has. And he`s done quite a bit to help us.

SCHULTZ: All right.

CUMMINGS: And so -- with regard to Issa, it`s always his way or the
highway. And that`s what this boils down to.

SCHULTZ: Well, that`s how the Republicans have been acting since this
president took the oath of office.

CUMMINGS: And keep in mind something else, Ed. This started under
the Bush administration.


CUMMINGS: And the same people that were running it under Bush in the
Phoenix office are the same folks that tried to run it with regards to this
attorney general, under this attorney general. When this Attorney General
Holder found out about it, he immediately stopped it, and ordered an I.G.

SCHULTZ: I notice you`re at the White House tonight. I understand
there`s a bipartisan picnic going on.


SCHULTZ: I understand that all of the key players are there.


SCHULTZ: What`s that atmosphere like?

CUMMINGS: You would think everything was going well. You`ve got
Issa, you`ve got Boehner, you`ve got the attorney general, the president.
You would not think that we were in the kind of situation we`re going to
find ourselves in now and tomorrow.

SCHULTZ: And yet tomorrow, they`re on the verge of doing something
very embarrassing to the country, would you say?

CUMMINGS: That`s exactly right. I think that their aim is to
embarrass this president, embarrass this attorney general, and I think they
figure that if they can do that, they`ll be able to help Romney win the

But I think Americans will see through this and see how political it

SCHULTZ: Congressman Elijah Cummings, thanks for your time tonight.
I appreciate it so much.

CUMMINGS: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: A sad day in politics tomorrow in America. That`s for sure.

Remember to answer the question at the bottom of the screen. Share
your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know what you think always.

Next, the National Rifle Association is using its political powerhouse
to bully house Democrats into voting with Republicans tomorrow. Jonathan
Alter and Bob Shrum will weigh in on that and I`ll have commentary.

Stay with us. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, the NRA is putting pressure on House Democrats to
vote for contempt tomorrow. My commentary on that and why the Democrats
should not cave to the pressure for the sake of political careers.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez gives his colleagues a pop quiz to draw
attention to immigration and Arizona`s papers please law. The congressman
will join us on THE ED SHOW later.

And a programming note: and tomorrow night on this program, Democratic
leader Nancy Pelosi will join me to give her reaction to the Supreme
Court`s ruling on health care.

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


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Well, the National Rifle Association is hell bent on selling a botched
gun running program as a left-wing plot intended to take away your
firearms. And it looks like the NRA`s snow job is going to get a boost
from some House Democrats who are pretty nervous.

The gun lobby represents just a fraction of gun owners in the country,
but it`s politically positioned to put pressure on Democrats to hold
Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The NRA is ready to
exert its political power to intimidate a whole host of Democrats. The
organization says it will track how members vote tomorrow.

I say, so what? So far, four Democrats are willing to cave to the
NRA`s power. The four have received endorsements from the group in the
past, and according to, all have accepted donations from
the NRA.

The NRA has been setting the stage for months. The NRA president,
Wayne LaPierre, was out pedaling the conspiracy theory that the Fast and
Furious program was designed to restrict gun laws back in October.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA PRESIDENT: The president and attorney general and
secretary of state would be running around going 90 percent of the guns
come from America, in an attempt to seek political advantage and in an
attempt to enact more gun control laws on honest American citizens and use
this whole issue politically against the Second Amendment of the United


SCHULTZ: That is so alien to the truth. That`s his opinion. He has
no facts to back it up.

Congressman Darrell Issa followed suit at the NRA convention in April.


ISSA: This administration has trampled on the Constitution, on the
First Amendment, on religious rights. If you don`t think that this Fast
and Furious and things like it are the beginning of an attack in the second
term on the Second Amendment, you really haven`t evaluated this president.


SCHULTZ: Just red meat to the head-shaking crowd.

The fact of the matter is, President Obama has relaxed gun laws in
this country, yet the NRA is so anti-Obama, it doesn`t matter what the guy
does. They`re going to attack him any way they can.

And now, they have managed to get members of his own country to throw
the country`s first black attorney general under the bus. And with an
election just months away, many of these Democrats are afraid of that 30-
second commercial that might show up in their backyard.

Democrats willing to stand up to the right-wing fear-mongering have a
very simple message to share with their constituents. Here it is: I`m not
going to vote for contempt and I`m not going to take away your firearms.

That`s all they have to say. And stick with the truth.

For those four Democrats to turn, and there may be more, it`s an
abomination of government in this country.

I`m joined by Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and "Bloomberg
View" columnist, and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum with us tonight.

Jonathan, what can we expect from Democrats in tomorrow`s vote? How
many do you think will turn on the attorney general and the president?

five of them. But, you know, they should really be ashamed of themselves.
You know, Ed, if you read this article in "Fortune", it is an astonishing
piece of journalism, and what it tells you is that everything that
everybody thinks they know about this case is untrue. And they nail it.

There actually was never any gun walking program to start with. It`s
hard to believe that when you read the piece. You know, I really urge
viewers to read this article.

What`s happened here is you have a committee chairman who is basically
Joe McCarthy on steroids, who will twist any fact, bend any piece of
information he can, to try to destroy the attorney general and the
president and to get himself in the headlines. I don`t say that lightly.
You know me well enough to know I`m not a bomb thrower.

But this is really disgusting. We need somebody like a Joseph Welch
in the McCarthy era to say, have you no sense of decency, Mr. Chairman?

Presidents have been invoking executive privilege for years. Ronald
Reagan did it six times. I didn`t see them saying his EPA should be held
in contempt. This is a witch hunt of the first order.

And Democrats need to stand up and oppose it. And those who don`t
should be ashamed of themselves.

SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, Peter Welch, congressman from Vermont, told me
today that he was surprised how many members of Congress don`t even have
the facts in Fast and Furious, and some of them haven`t been paying
attention to this -- and they`re ready to vote on contempt?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, a party that has
trafficked in death panels, traveled with the birthers, I don`t think they
care much about facts. And, you know, Issa is a clown in my view. He`s a
dangerous clown, but he`s a clown.

What he offered was not an opinion. It was a lie. The fact of the
matter -- Jonathan is absolutely right. If you read that "Fortune"
magazine article, what is being alleged here is wrong. In terms of the
NRA, there was never any connection with this program with gun control.

In fact, it started under the Bush administration, all these kinds of
programs, and that administration was not exactly for gun control.

SCHULTZ: What role does the president play in this in talking to his
party members in the House to get their heads screwed on right about this?
Does he play any role at all?

SHRUM: I don`t -- you know, I don`t know that the president is going
to be persuasive of these guys, from West Virginia, this guy Matheson from
Utah. But John Dingell, who`s the dean of the House, and always stood with
the NRA, had the decency today to get up and to say, I`m not voting for
this. It`s out of bounds. This is an improper investigation.

Look, if the NRA really cared about gun walking, which didn`t happen
here, but really cared about gun walking, guns getting into the hands of
drug dealers, they wouldn`t be stopping background checks at drug shows
because an awful lot of guns walk out of those shows.

SCHULTZ: Jonathan, what is the political fallout of this?

ALTER: Well, it will be overshadowed by the health care business
tomorrow, and I`m not sure that long term, there`s a huge amount of fallout
except for people who care to take the time to look, we have a House of
Representatives that`s in the grip of extremists.


ALTER: This is not something that has really happened a lot in our

SCHULTZ: What would you compare it to?

ALTER: We`re in new territory here. Well, actually, the historians,
the congressional historians don`t really find any precedence for this kind
of behavior in the House. There`s been a lot of awful stuff in the House
over the years. You have people beating each other over the heads before
the civil war.

But this kind of -- using the apparatus of committee investigations,
to basically make stuff up, that`s what`s going on here.

SCHULTZ: I`m amazed at how intimidated they are by the National Rifle

ALTER: That`s been going on for a long time.

SCHULT: It`s been going on for a long time, but this is such a clear
cut opportunity to tell them to stick it.

ALTER: But they don`t want to tell them to stick it because they take
their marching orders.


ALTER: One of the Democratic congressmen got an A-minus instead of an
A-plus from the NRA scorecard, you know, why not -- why even be in office
if you don`t think a little bit independently? If you just take your
marching orders from interest groups?

SCHULTZ: Bob, go ahead.

SHRUM: That`s the fundamental bottom line here. I understand some of
these guys come from difficult places where the NRA has a lot of power, but
at a certain point, you have to take your oath of office seriously. What`s
happened here, the NRA should change its name to the national Republican

And they`re not the auxiliary of Republican Party that we used to
know. They`re an auxiliary of an extremist Republican Party.

Jonathan is right. I mean, you can compare it to Joe McCarthy. Some
people in the Senate were scared of him, but the whole Senate wasn`t as
crazy as this House of Representatives is.

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

Coming up, a U.S. congressman is using Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez
to make a point about immigration. The stars are part of a pop quiz.
We`ll put you to the test, next.

And 80 million Americans believe in UFOs. But they don`t have much
faith in Mitt Romney when it comes to alien invasion. That pretty much
covers it all, doesn`t it? We`ll show you out of the world poll numbers.

Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: You know, sometimes the best way to point out a serious
problem is to just make fun of it. This morning, Illinois Congressman Luis
Gutierrez used pictures of pop icons and basketball stars to rail against
Arizona`s immigration policy.

Here`s his "guess the immigrant" quiz.


GUTIERREZ: Let`s take a quiz together this morning and learn how to
pick out the suspects. Here are two journalists, Geraldo Rivera and Ted
Koppel. At a traffic stop, to the untrained eye, we might guess that
Geraldo Rivera, for some reason that clearly has nothing to do with the way
he looks, might not be from America. Geraldo Rivera`s mustache wouldn`t
confuse an Arizona law enforcement professional. They would that Geraldo
was born in Brooklyn, New York, and that Ted Koppel was born in Europe, in

Round two, this is for our young C-Span. Justin Bieber and Selena
Gomez. These young people have overcome their very different national
origins and become apparently a happy couple. I`m sure Justin helped Gomez
learn all about American customs and feel more at home in her adopted
country. Oh, wait a minute, I`m sorry. Because I`m not a trained Arizona

I somehow got that backwards. Actually, Ms. Gomez of Texas has helped
Mr. Bieber of Canada learn about his adopted country. Justin, when you
perform in Phoenix, remember to bring your papers.

Here are two basketball superstars. Neither one is Latino. That`s
confusing already. You have to dig deeper to figure out who isn`t the real
American. So let`s consider their names, Jeremy Lin and Tony Parker.
Clearly, Lin sounds kind of foreign, while Tony Parker sounds American to
me. But I`m not an Arizona police officer, who would know that Jeremy Lin
was born in Los Angeles and Tony Parker, oops, you`re up, Belgium, once

If these two justices step out to Starbucks, which one do you think is
likeliest to be a suspect? The Anglo male or the Latina? Neither is an
immigrant, but Justice Scalia`s father came through Ellis Island from
Italy. And Sonia Sotomayor is a proud Puerto Rican with generations of
U.S. citizen ancestors.

We could play this game all day. But the point is simple: the idea
that any government official can determine who belongs in America and who
doesn`t simply by looking them is completely ridiculous, unfair, and un-
American. And yet this absurdity is the law of Arizona.


SCHULTZ: Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez joining us tonight here
on THE ED SHOW, certainly scoring high, showing and illustrating absurdity
in the immigration laws in Arizona and in this country. Congressman, why
is Justin Bieber the face of the immigration debate right now?

GUTIERREZ: Because he`s on my nine-year-old grandson`s iPod. And we
did some research into what it is to young people -- because we wanted to
make sure that we did this from a generational perspective, too. That`s
what they are, right, pop culture.

I use them because, you know, as I look -- I looked at Justin Bieber.
I said that`s an American kid, right? He`s from here. And most people
might think with the last name of Gomez, this young romantic couple, one
might be from one place and the other from another. That`s the absurdity
of what it is we do when we assume things about people, even when I do it
or you do it, when anyone does it.

And we shouldn`t allow the government to make those kinds of basic --
because when I do it, it`s just something silly, right? But when the
government does it, it violates people`s basic fundamental rights. And you
know what? You`re a traffic ticket away from a nightmare in Arizona if
you`re under some reasonable suspicion that you`re not in this country.
It`s wrong and it`s bone headed.

I like to think that when you make fun of something, even something as
serious as this, you laugh at it and you bring a new context.

SCHULTZ: And you can learn from it.

GUTIERREZ: You can learn from it.

SCHULTZ: I thought you taught America a great lesson today. Does the
Supreme Court`s decision leave Arizona open to new legal challenges on many
respects, in your opinion?

GUTIERREZ: You know, I think it does, Ed. You know that I and others
joined an amicus brief. It wasn`t supported when the government argued
against the Arizona law. The justices -- I was there in the courtroom.
And when the justices asked is this racial profiling, is this
discrimination, they said we aren`t alleging that. We aren`t asking you to
revoke the law on that.

But there are others. And I think time is going to be very clearly on
the side of fairness and of justice, and to show how ridiculous -- and you
know, better yet, Ed, how un-American this law is. And we`re going to
challenge it. And we`re going to beat it in court. And if we don`t beat
it in court, the same way we beat Pete Wilson and Proposition 187 in the
90s in California, we`re going to beat it by taking back the government in
Arizona and putting it in the hands of people who are going to be
respectful of our Constitution and of our American values.

SCHULTZ: It certainly opens up the door for law enforcement to make a
lot of on the street mistakes that could have some pretty serious
ramifications down the road. But not to disappoint you, congressman, we
have our own pick the immigrant quiz for you tonight. Eva Mendes or Ryan
Gosling, what do you think?

GUTIERREZ: Eva Mendes is the American.

SCHULTZ: Mendes is of Cuban American heritage, but she was born in
Miami. You`re exactly right. Gosling was born in Ontario. There`s
another one. Here`s for sports fans, Alex Rodriguez or Jason Bay?

GUTIERREZ: Jason bay?

SCHULTZ: All right, A-Rod was born in New York City. Jason Bay is a
Canadian. I didn`t think we would stump you. That`s how easy it is and
that is the point. And to put a law enforcement official in that untenable
position I think is really something we have to think hard about in this

GUTIERREZ: You know what, Ed, you`re absolutely right. And one of
the -- when you think of the police, you think of their radios, you think
of their cars, you think of their guns, you think of their training. But
you know what? One of the most important, if not the most important assets
that the police have in defending us and protecting us, and serving and
protecting us are the eyes and ears of the American people, of the public
that`s out there.

You cannot break down that trust. There`s limited resources. And I
want the police going after drug dealers, gang bangers, murderers, rapists,
bad people, not the Windex wielding lady cleaning some window at midnight
at some store.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, good to have you with us on THE

GUTIERREZ: Thank you so much, Ed.

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



It is great to be back in Cleveland.

It`s good to be back in Philadelphia.


SCHULTZ: It don`t mean a thing if you ain`t got the swing.


OBAMA: Let`s get to work.


SCHULTZ: The big panel weighs in on the new huge poll numbers for the
president in swing states.

House progressives make a push for universal health care ahead of
tomorrow`s big decision on health care.

And which candidate for office is better suited to handle an alien


OBAMA: I felt like the guy in "Star Trek." I was being beamed


SCHULTZ: An actual poll from "National Geographic" has the answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interesting concept.


SCHULTZ: We`ll bring you the results.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think man is the most interesting insect on
Earth, don`t you?


SCHULTZ: Well, folks, Mitt Romney has a problem on his hands. It
ain`t looking too good for him in a number of key states. The numbers are
brutal for him. The latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows the
president is gaining traction in battleground states. President Obama
leads Mitt Romney with voters in those states 50 to 42.

Why? Well, the attacks on Romney`s record at Bain are starting to
stick. Swing state voters are more likely to view Romney`s business record
negatively than voters nationwide. And among Romney voters in general,
most say their vote is against President Obama rather than for the
Republican nominee.

Also working in the president`s favor, his position on immigration.
It has energized Latino voters in Florida. The latest polling from
Quinnipiac gives the president the advantage over Romney in the Sunshine

In Pennsylvania, the president tops Mitt Romney as well, 45 to 39.
And in Ohio, the president is enjoying a whopping nine point lead over the
former Massachusetts governor.

Let`s turn to MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe tonight, along
with "The Grio`s" Joy Reid and syndicated radio talk show host Michael
Medved. Great to have all of you with us tonight.

OK, we`re down to four months to go, July, August, September, October.
And I mean, there`s not a whole lot of days left. Richard, can he fix this
in four months?

are going to tighten up because if the negative attacks on Mitt Romney have
worked to a degree, then when Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers get spending
their money on the president, as we expect them to do, and outspend the
president`s campaign, you`re going to see the negative numbers for the
president rise, too. So I think some of these numbers are going to narrow
a little bit.

But you have also got an economy, especially in a place like Ohio --
that`s the eye popping number there. In Ohio, where the unemployment rate
is now lower than it was when the president took office, that`s a difficult
message for Romney to overcome because his core message is the economy is
doing badly.

SCHULTZ: Joy, what does Romney have to do?

JOY REID, "THE GRIO": And Richard makes a good point, Ed, also in
Florida, where the unemployment rate went down to the point where allegedly
the Romney campaign started telling the governor, Rick Scott, stop talking
about the improving jobs numbers; that`s not helping us. I think the
problem for Romney is that he hasn`t given voters enough data points
besides his business record to really peg him on.

So since he is the more unknown quantity, people are just going with
what he has given them, which is his business record. It`s left ample room
for the president to attack him. I think the only thing Romney could do at
this time would be to fill in more data points. Since he`s so reluctant to
give anything about his personal life or to give more than just Bain and
the economy, he`s left himself really vulnerable.

SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, Rush Limbaugh said that Romney was not ready
for prime time on his immigration answer. What does Romney have to do to
turn this around?

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: First of all, I would agree
with what was said before. I think he has to lay out a very direct,
specific, constructive, moderate immigration reform, and the kind of
immigration reform that frankly President Bush tried to do, and where
President Bush was deep sixed by a number of Democrats, including Senator
Barack Obama.

Look, the nation needs an agenda for reform. The one thing that Mitt
Romney has going for him is that most people are still convinced that the
country is headed in the wrong direction. There is absolutely no
reasonable basis --

SCHULTZ: But not in the swing states.

MEDVED: -- if you want to change direction, you`re going to get a
change of direction with the same president.

SCHULTZ: We say it`s a national election, but it comes down to swing
states. We all know that because the country is divided red and blue
states. Right now, the country being headed in the wrong direction doesn`t
mean anything in Ohio, because those people are with Obama right now. And
if Romney can`t do something, maybe start giving some direct answers on the
economy, on how he`s going to fund education, on what his health care plan
is -- maybe he`ll tell us tomorrow on the heels of the Supreme Court
decision -- and immigration. The guy just is not definite on anything.

MEDVED: I agree with you. And by the way, one of the things that you
hear from the Romney campaign, and I think is interesting, is that they may
get the vice presidential pick out there early, so that the convention can
be focused on precisely that specific agenda.

SCHULTZ: What about that, Richard?

WOLFFE: You know, you get a small pop for the vice presidential story
and then it disappears because the focus goes back to the top of the
ticket. And that`s why people like to do it just before the convention.

SCHULTZ: Joy, what does President Obama need to do to keep this
momentum going?

REID: Basically, the thing is that fundamentally a re-elect race,
right, is that you have to convince people to change from what they have
now. As long as the economy tends to trend generally more positive and
things get generally better, particularly in the swing states, as you just
said, Ed, then the president has to keep pretty much hammering Romney.

This is a replay of the 2004 election, when essentially the Bush
campaign made John Kerry unacceptable as a replacement. That`s what the
Obama campaign is doing. Unless Romney does something to erase that -- and
Michael Medved spoke a little untruth there about immigration. I mean, the
president, when he was a senator, voted for immigration reform, and it`s
Republicans who filibustered the Dream Act.

And Romney was against the Dream Act. He stuck with those positions.
He can try to move off them I guess, maybe try to put an Hispanic running
mate on. I don`t know what he can do now to fix it because he`s being
defined negatively.

SCHULTZ: All right, Richard Wolffe, Joy Reid, Michael Medved, great
to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

Coming um, you won`t believe what a new poll shows about Mitt Romney
and aliens. Maybe he can get this right. We`ll bring you the numbers


SCHULTZ: Could that really happen? Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. You
know, we give you a lot of reasons on this program to vote for President
Obama. But tonight, we have one that`s out of this world. A new poll from
"National Geographic" shows that 65 percent of Americans think that
President Obama is better suited to handle an alien invasion over Mitt

And as you can tell by this photo of President Obama in March, they
made the right choice. The poll also reveals the American people have some
interesting views on alien life; 36 percent of the American people believe
UFOs exist; 22 percent say they would try to befriend the aliens if they
showed up at the front door; and 21 percent would call on the Hulk to deal
with them if they got violent.

It turns out President Obama has actually addressed the issue of alien
life before. During the 2008 campaign, he had this to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are elected and you learned that the
government knew aliens had visited Earth and the public didn`t know, would
you want the public to find out?

OBAMA: It depends on what these aliens were like, and whether they
were Democrats or Republicans.


SCHULTZ: Funny story, but it does drive home a pretty serious point.
When things go really wrong, when the completely unexpected happens, a
large majority of the American people would turn to President Obama over
Mitt Romney for direction. This poll proves that Americans think that
President Obama is a much stronger leader than Mitt Romney.

Tonight in our survey, I ask you will tomorrow`s contempt vote go down
in history as a national embarrassment. Ninety four percent of you said
yes; six percent of you said no.

Coming up, if health care law -- if it fails, the big push for single
payer or Medicare for all is what`s on the docket. Adam Green of the PCCC
joins me for the discussion next. What`s the plan?


SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, tomorrow`s decision day for
the health care lay. It would be, in my opinion, an absolute travesty if
all or even part of the law is overturned, because it`s going to hurt a lot
of people if it is, because it`s obvious also that the Congress has the
right to do this under the Commerce Clause.

If the Supreme Court overturns the law, the court is once again
showing its hand as a radical branch of government, full hard, right wing
activists. The conventional wisdom has been the individual mandate will be
overturned, but there is a strong minority predicting that the entire law
will be upheld. Respected law professor from Harvard Lawrence Tribe, court
watcher Tom Goldstein of SCOTUS Blog, and our frequent guest on this
program, Robert Reich, former labor secretary, all predict that the health
care law will live.

Listen up, progressives, if the Supreme Court rules against the
Affordable Care Act, it clearly reopens the debate and discussion and
effort about health care in this country, and gives progressives another
good shot at making their best case for single payer. The Congressional
Progressive Caucus co-chair Congressman Keith Ellison is prepared to line
up behind single payer if the court strikes down all or part of the health
care law tomorrow.

Seventy five members of the caucus already support Congressman John
Conyer`s singer payer bill. Of course, it`s a tough fight but it`s one
worth fighting. And Congressman Gerald Nadler explained many Americans may
not fully understand what single payer means, but they understand Medicare
for all and they like it.

Even after millions of dollars were spent to denigrate the health care
law, 35 percent of Americans think it`s a good idea, compared to 41 percent
who think it`s not a good idea.

So a clear argument for single payer is possible if the whole thing
gets reopened. Let`s turn to Adam Green, co-founder of the PCCC,
Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Adam, I know that you have been
waiting for this for a long time. What is the game plan if the mandate is
struck down by the Supreme Court tomorrow?

the Supreme Court strikes down all or a significant part of the health care
law, progressives will say this, that the court`s decision joins Bush
versus Gore and Citizens United as one of the most political decisions in
American judicial history, clearly defying past legal precedent.

But the net effect will be that millions of people will be without
health care, and millions more will be at the mercy of private health
insurance companies that profit by denying people care. And that`s why
progressives across the board will be lining up behind Medicare for all,
saying that every American should have access to this super popular program
called Medicare.

SCHULTZ: A number of congressional members have told me that if the
mandate is struck down, it`s the fundamental part of the law, because it
gets everybody into a pool and makes it possible to bring in better health
care outcomes and bring down costs. If they don`t have the mandate, many
think that this law is going to fall apart.

Does this open the door? What avenue are you going to follow to get
to single payer or Medicare for all?

GREEN: No matter what, whether it`s a full strike down or a partial
strike down, there will be a natural question of, well, what is next for
health care. That`s a galvanizing moment. That is a moment for
progressives to step in to the debate and say we have a solution. That`s
Medicare for all.

SCHULTZ: How do you think the Democrats will react to that?

GREEN: As you said, Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, have been
absolute champs for Medicare for all. We, as well as our friends at
Democracy for America, Crado Action (ph) and other grassroots groups, will
be organizing hundreds of thousands of people tomorrow if the court goes
the wrong way. And we`ll make sure that they have the wind at their back.


SCHULTZ: Let`s say they strike it down. Will this force Democrats on
the campaign trail to embrace single payer?

GREEN: Well, that`s the key question. And our argument to Democrats
on the campaign trail will be this: what could be a more clear contrast
going into November 2012 than Democrats standing proudly for Medicare for
all, while Republicans are left standing with Paul Ryan`s plan to end
Medicare, Medicare for none?

Nothing could be a better contrast for voters. Every voter knows what
Medicare is. Their grandma, their grandpa are on it. That would be a
winning, possibly game changing momentum moment for Democrats. So
hopefully everybody will follow the lead of the Congressional Progressive
Caucus and get behind this, if the court decision goes the wrong way

SCHULTZ: Do you think that they will uphold the law, that nothing
will change?

GREEN: Honestly, I have no idea. We`ll see. But we need to be
prepared either way. If they do uphold the law, then that means that
they`re saying that the government has the ability under the Commerce
Clause to help people. And that would be a great thing.

But if they don`t, we need to stand strongly for Medicare for all.

SCHULTZ: Adam Green, PCCC, thanks for joining us. And a reminder, be
sure to tune in tomorrow night. I`ll speak with Democratic Leader Nancy
Pelosi about the Supreme Court`s ruling on the health care law.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, That`s great to hear that
you`re going to have Nancy Pelosi on tomorrow. Tomorrow is just going to
be a huge day. It`s going to be one of those days we live for in this

SCHULTZ: No doubt.

MADDOW: Thanks, man. I`ll see you tomorrow.


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