updated 5/24/2012 3:04:28 PM ET 2012-05-24T19:04:28

Guests: Keith Ellison, Charles Hample, Bob Shrum, John Nichols; Krystal Ball; Steve Deace; Bob Shrum; Kris Kofinis


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

Elected officials in the Republican Party -- they just cannot hide
their hatred for the president. And I say their leadership needs to step
up and do something about it.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: I do know this, that in his heart,
he`s not an American. He`s just not an American.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): A Republican congressman is caught on tape
telling constituents the president is not an American.

REPORTER: Do you feel like voters are owed a better explanation of
just, I misspoke?

SCHULTZ: Republicans cannot control their hatred for President Obama.
Their leadership needs to stand up and do something about it. My
commentary is ahead.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The teachers unions don`t
fight for our children. That`s our job.

SCHULTZ: The Republican assault on public education has gone national.
We will dissect the Romney education plan he unveiled today.

Paul Ryan has some new fighting words for the president.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We face not just a failed president,
but a failed ideology.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, we`ll remind the congressman what failure really
looks like.

And the countdown to recall continues. The race in Wisconsin is
tightening. We`ll go live to the Badger State for the latest.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

The Republican strategy of casting President Obama has un-American is
going strong. Yes, it`s a Republican strategy. This is not just the
Birthers. This is not just the Tea Party. This is the Republican Party.

The GOP can`t run away from this pattern.

The latest example comes from Congressman Mike Coffman in Colorado.

Coffman presents himself as a moderate Republican. But earlier this
month, he told conservative fund-raisers that he thought -- what he thought
about President Obama.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

COFFMAN: I don`t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United
States or not. I don`t know that. But I do know this -- that in his
heart, he`s not an American. He`s just not an American.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: "In his heart, he`s not an American."

Coffman didn`t know he was being recorded. Four days later, he
released this statement. "I misspoke. I apologize. I have confidence in
President Obama`s citizenship and legitimacy as president of the United
States. I don`t believe the president shares my belief in American
exceptionalism."

Exceptionalism? Don`t you have to have the facts to be exceptional?
Or that`s gone too?

Oh, he misspoke. How do you misspeak when you say, "I do know this --
he`s not an American"?

It sounds like Coffman said exactly what he wanted to say. Coffman
laid low after releasing this statement. He just kind of wanted the whole
thing to go away.

But a reporter from Denver`s KUSA Television won`t let the story die.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: The congressman as usual, is willing to talk about
anything. He`s been on 9 News 16 times in the past year, weighing in on
everything from wildfires to Memorial Day celebrations. Seems the only
thing he didn`t want to talk about is what he said at a fund-raiser in
Elbert County, May 12th.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Reporter Kyle Clark tracked down Congressman Coffman
yesterday. The result is one of the most stunning political videos of the
year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: I apologize for showing up unannounced. I`ve been trying
to call your staff. They won`t return my phone calls.

Let me ask you. After your comments about the president, do you feel
that voters are owed a better explanation other than just, "I misspoke"?

COFFMAN: I think that -- as -- I stand by my statement, that I
misspoke and I apologize.

REPORTER: OK. And who are you apologizing to?

COFFMAN: You know, I stand by my statement that I wrote, that you
have, and I misspoke and I apologize.

REPORTER: I apologize. We talk to you all the time. You`re a very
forthcoming guy. Who`s telling you not to talk and to handle it like this?

COFFMAN: I stand by my statement that I wrote, that you have, and I
misspoke and I apologize.

REPORTER: Was it that you thought it would go over well in Elbert
County, where folks are very conservative and you`d never say something
like that in the suburbs?

COFFMAN: I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.

REPORTER: Is there thing that I can ask that you`ll answer
differently?

COFFMAN: I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.

REPORTER: Thank you, Congressman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: He speaks like a prisoner of war, name, rank, and serial
number.

Folks, this goes beyond birtherism. This is an elected official
saying that the president of the United States is not an American, in his
heart, he`s not an American. This is not just a fringe element of the
Republican Party.

In fact, he`s representing a prime congressional district. Colorado`s
sixth district is one of the wealthiest districts in the country, with a
median income of more than $73,000 a year. This isn`t just the middle of
nowhere.

Mike Coffman is silent. He won`t say anything other than he misspoke.
His silence is bad. But the silence from the leaders of the Republican
Party is deafening.

Last year, House Speaker John Boehner was asked why he won`t speak out
against people who think the president isn`t an American. Boehner repeated
the same thing over and over, just like Congressman Mike Coffman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s not my job to
tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen
to the American people. The American people have the right to think what
they want to think. I can`t -- it`s not my job to tell them. It really is
not our job to tell the American people what to believe and what to think.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Now Boehner has a member of his caucus who says the
president isn`t an American and Boehner is nowhere to be seen on this
issue.

Where is RNC Chairman Reince Priebus on this? He spent the last week
saying President Obama is engaged in dishonest attacks about Bain Capital.
But he wouldn`t say anything about the attacks from his own party on
President Obama`s citizenship.

Oh, by the way, where`s Mitt Romney? Has he been around on this?
Romney says the campaign shouldn`t be about character assassination. But
apparently, he`s only talking about his time at Bain Capital, not the
president`s status as an American citizen.

Romney said it meant a great deal to have this man, Donald Trump,
endorse him. Never once did Mitt Romney say anything about Donald Trump`s
crusade on behalf of the birthers. Now trump is trying to secure a major
speaking role at the Republican convention. There`s been no condemnation
of Trump`s birther talk from the Republican leaders.

Republicans, they don`t condemn this because they want it to continue.
This Republican Party strategy is very plain and simple. They are not
going to hide it. They pretend that it`s really no big deal. They deny it
when it gets into the mainstream. And then they turn their backs on it
when it happens right in front of them.

If you think that this strategy is going to be going away anytime
soon, you better think again. Have you noticed that the more success that
the country has, the more success that President Obama has, the more
radical these people get?

Let me tell you about Mr. Coffman from Colorado. He`s not only a
phony, he`s a coward. To hide behind a statement like that and then to
treat a reporter and not have the guts to answer the question speaks
volumes of who this man is in the Congress. And the people of that
district ought to rethink the brains between this guy`s ears before they
send him back to Congress.

But the sad thing is, and there`s some sick way about all of this, is
that the Republican Party is going to prop this guy up to be some kind of a
freaking hero. Oh, he had the guts to come out and call Obama what he is.
He doesn`t love America.

That`s how these head shakers think and that`s how they raise their
money. But this is who the Republican Party -- this is what the Republican
Party has evolved to. They don`t have the character to stand up and speak
the truth to the American people. And they complain about bipartisanship
not being there?

Get the facts straight. This president is an American citizen, this
president loves this country. And there is one party in this country that
won`t stand up and admit that. How sad is that? How could anybody vote
for these people?

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

Tonight`s question: will Republican leadership ever condemn birther
talk in this party? Text "A" for yes, text "B" for no to 622639. You can
always go our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com and leave a message there and I`ll bring
you the results later on in the show.

Joined tonight on this program by Keith Ellison of Minnesota, co-chair
of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congressman, good to have you with us. You know --

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESTOA: Always a pleasure, Ed.

SCHULT: You know, it`s pretty frequent, in fact, it`s almost weekly
that some jug head of the Republican Party comes out and makes a statement
like this and then hides behind his statement.

Is this part of their plan? Am I off-base when I say that this is no
longer the Tea Party or the fringers, this is the Republican Party strategy
and it goes all the way to the top?

ELLISON: I think that they have a strategy to try to convince the
American people that the president is not one of us. One of us is said
with a wink and a nod. And it has to do with feelings of people`s latent
fears about immigrants, about Kenyans, about people of color. You know,
income issues and class.

I think, basically, they`re in a very difficult position, because if
they were being forthright about their economic policy, what they would
have to say is that we believe that rich people don`t have enough money and
poor people have too much. They can`t say that.

So what do they have to do? They have to whip up people`s latent
fears and anxieties about the changing demographics of America and so they
say the president`s emblematic of that, connect him to those fears, and
then try to get votes that way, basically by dividing an alienating
America. It`s just Willie Horton, 2012.

SCHULTZ: Let me say this. In this broadcast right now, this segment
on THE ED SHOW is a classic example. I should not have referred to the
congressman from Colorado as a jughead, I should not have done. But this
is who I am, I`m passionate, I love the country and I get involved in the
issues.

But I`m not alone. This is what other Americans do. This is how
other Americans respond when they hear people come out and say outlandish
things about our president, our elected president, our legitimate
president.

I spoke with Bernie Sanders today. He says that the counteroffensive
has to continue for the Democrats. Well, do you think that the Democrats
have to answer to these folks every time that they hear something like
this?

ELLISON: You know, Ed, I think we`ve got to talk about solidarity as
Americans. I think we`ve got to talk about how we as Americans -- all
colors, all cultures of faith, no matter when we got here, if we are
Americans and legally engaged in American activity and we`re doing what
we`re supposed to do as Americans -- then we all count and we all matter.

And I think that this message of trying to divide people based on, you
know, all kind of factors that people like the congressman don`t want to
actually say. He doesn`t really want to say he was caught pandering to
people`s ugliest impulses, so he just hides behind that statement. But the
reality is, is that it`s divisive and he`s trying to divide Americans and
therefore distract Americans.

But I think Bernie`s right. We`ve got to take this thing forward. We
can`t just counter what they say, we have to make an affirmative argument
that we are together, we are Americans, we are proud of our country, and
that we`re not going to throw anybody under the bus.

SCHULTZ: But, Congressman, isn`t it hard to get together? Look at it
from their perspective.

ELLISON: It`s hard, but we`ve got to do it.

SCHULTZ: OK. But if they think that the president is not American,
if they think the president is not legitimate, if this is what they say
behind closed doors and the truth doesn`t come out until they get recorded
and it gets public -- how do we expect these people to work with the
president or with the Democrats if they think that the president is un-
American and bad for the country? They`re just going to say, hey, we`re
just going to wait this thing out and try to beat him at the polls. We`re
not going to try to get anything done, because we don`t think he`s an
American anyway.

You see my point?

ELLISON: Ed, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle told me
everything I need to know when they were willing to default on America`s
debt last year -- last August, in exchange for concessions.

When they were willing to let America be downgraded, from AAA to AA-
plus -- you know, I came to the conclusion that any hope for bipartisan
cooperation was going to be slim to none. When they let the FAA expire and
wasted a bunch of money because they were trying to play games with the
FAA. When we come -- we`re on the two-month, run a month-to-month basis
with the transportation bill.

I mean, I don`t hold out any illusions that we can work with these
guys in a constructive way. We`ve got to win at the polls and let that be
the deciding.

That`s sad. I wish we could get some cooperation. I`m ready to
cooperate. The president`s ready to cooperate, but if you`re looking for
cooperation from the other side, I don`t think we`re going to see it.

SCHULTZ: Not with that attitude. Congressman Keith Ellison of
Minnesota, good to have you with us tonight on the program. Thanks so
much.

ELLISON: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of
the screen, share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We always want to
know what you think.

Coming up, we`ll have more on the Republican Party going birther. Our
political panel, Krystal Ball, Chris Kofinis, and also Steve Deace will
weigh in.

Next, Mitt Romney is going after teachers` unions and is unveiling his
big plan to undermine public education.

Stay tuned. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney has officially joined the Republican
war on public educators today. We`ll bring you the lowlights from his
speech in Washington, D.C., next.

And the president torched Republicans on spending today in a speech in
Denver. We`ll bring you that later.

And things are tightening up in the Wisconsin race, despite the latest
lies from Scott Walker. And they are lies. The latest on the recall,
ahead.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The teachers` unions are the clearest example of a group that
has lost its way. Whenever anyone dares to offer a new idea, the unions
protest the loudest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That simply is not true.

Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Mitt Romney didn`t miss a beat, going after teachers today, while
speaking to a conservative Latino business group about education. It was
Romney`s first major speech on education, but as "The New York Times"
points out, "The challenge for Mr. Romney is that many school reform ideas
he touched on, increasing charter schools, holding teachers accountable for
student success, are already central to the Obama administration, whose
education policy has all be co-opted traditional Republican positions."

But here`s the big difference. Romney believes this country should be
doing less to help its children, not more. Just last month, he told a
group of conservative donors that as president, if he`s elected, that he
would gut the federal agency charged with administering education funding.

Quote, "The Department of Education, I will either consolidate with
another agency or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller."

And Romney is all too familiar with the Republican talking points, not
missing an opportunity to attack teachers and the unions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The teachers` unions dong fight for your children. That`s
our jobs. And our job keeps getting harder because the unions weld outside
influence in elections and campaign. So, President Obama has been able to
stand up to union bosses and unwilling to stand up for our kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: This has nothing to do with unions, unless you`re a
Republican. Because they want to destroy every union in this country.
They want to destroy the voting bloc.

Have you ever looked at it this way, folks? That the teachers in the
teachers` union only want the best for your child and they fight like crazy
for your child, that they fight like hell for the resources in the
classroom to help your child, that they fight like crazy for better working
conditions, so there`ll be a better environment for children to learn in
America?

This underwriting theme -- this overriding theme, this undercurrent
that is in the Republican Party right now, it`s all about destroying the
teachers` unions. It`s all the teachers` fault. It`s bad scores, all the
teachers` faults.

You know what it`s like being a teacher? When you`re a teacher, it`s
not like going to the grocery store and you`re picking the best grapes to
take home. No, when the doors open, everybody`s welcome in America -- the
rich, the poor, the gifted, the challenged.

And a teacher can`t pick the socioeconomic background that walks
through the door or the home life. The teacher has to do the best possible
job with what comes through the door, and the teacher can`t control
society.

So let`s just blame the teacher. That`s the Republican answer. And
oh, by the way, let`s just have more charter schools.

Let`s bring in Charles Hample. He`s a teacher at the Hennepin Middle
School in Pennsylvania.

It`s well-documented on this program, what is happening in the state
of Pennsylvania. They are making massive cuts. They are going to more
charter schools.

I`ve got to ask you, Mr. Hample, from what you hear, is there any
daylight between Governor Corbett and candidate Mitt Romney when it comes
to education, from what you hear?

CHARLES HAMPLE, PA SCHOO TEACHER: Is there daylight?

Well, thanks for having me again, Ed, and thanks for covering the
story for us, because we as teachers so much appreciate you getting the
word out for us.

I can`t believe what Mitt Romney said yesterday. One of the quotes I
wrote down here was, "unions favor teachers` well-being over students."
That couldn`t be farther from the truth. We favor students.

Look at across Pennsylvania. How many teacher unions in Pennsylvania
took pay freezes, have given back money, have done what they can to save
these programs these radical Republicans assume that they can just cut and
walk away? I don`t get it.

Yes, they want to make us charter. They want to make us all charter.
What is a charter school? Charters are for profit. Public schools are for
kids.

SCHULTZ: What do you make of this formula they`re coming up with it
seems like almost in every state, that if a district cannot meet its
budget, they just won`t fund it. They`ll cut it off even further and go
right to the charter school and blame the teachers in the classroom. Your
response to that.

HAMPLE: Well, my response is, yesterday, here, just in Pennsylvania,
through the Senate education committee, they passed a bill, a Bill 1307, I
think it was called, that these distressed districts, like our district,
they can come in and take over the union, take away our collective
bargaining rights, and set our salaries for what they want to balance their
budget.

Well, it`s just ridiculous. I mean, they devalue unions. What
happens to the middle class? The middle class wages go down.

They devalued unions, who are they after? They`re after the teachers.
But who suffers? Our kids suffer.

SCHULTZ: So what we`re seeing here is this country that used to
believe in integration, that used to believe in equality and education, we
seem to be getting away from that, don`t we? Because the poorer school
districts are not being resourced, because all of these Republican
governors want to fix their budget, and oh, by the way, we might as well
turn it into charter schools and make a profit out of the deal, and help
our private boys out, our private guys out. What about that?

HAMPLE: Sure, we`re going to turn the schools into charter. Then
what happens to the public schools? See, public schools aren`t for
business. We`re not-for-profit. We`re for kids.

See, that`s where I think Mitt Romney comes aboard. It`s kind of like
the same thing he did with Bain. Came in, we`re going to close down the
factories, we`re going to fire the teachers. We`re going to fire whoever`s
working for us and we`re going to sell us off piece by piece.

I`m here to tell you, our kids aren`t for sale. Public education`s
not for sale. And we`re here to stay.

SCHULTZ: Charles Hample, thanks for joining us tonight. I know you
speak for millions of teachers across America. Thanks for joining us.

Mitt Romney says, of course, he would welcome a focus on Bain Capital.
But wait until you see which Republican takes apart Romney`s so-called
business experience. One of the guys who would like to be Romney`s vice
president, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, says Obama is a failed
president? We`ll show you just how false that is, coming up next. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Today, Mitt Romney was asked whether an explanation, an examination of
Bain Capital is fair game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK HALPERIN, TIME: So when the president says he wants to focus a
lot of the election debate on your career at Bain Capital, do you welcome
that?

ROMNEY: Well, of course. I`d like to also focus on his record. What
is it -- what is it that he`s done as the president of the United States
over the last four years?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Romney says, "Well, of course," but he didn`t look too
enthusiastic in his response, did he?

Here`s what former Reagan budget director David Stockman had to say
about Romney`s business experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID STOCKMAN, FORMER REAGAN BUDGET DIRECTOR: I don`t think that
Mitt Romney can legitimately say that he learned anything about how to
create jobs in the LBO business. The LBO business is about how to strip
cash out of old, long in the tooth companies, and how to make short-term
profit --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it`s not!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David, he had so many jobs created for all the
jobs that were loss, it was a net gain, no?

STOCKMAN: I don`t think so. All the jobs that he talks about came
from Staples. That was a very early venture stage deal that, you know,
they got out of long before it got to its current size.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Interesting how that FOX anchor right there, said, oh, it`s
a net gain! Really? A net gain? Give us the number.

You mean you guys over at FOX Business don`t have the number? You
don`t know what the net gain is?

The Romney camp -- here`s the bottom line -- they have no choice but
to accuse the Obama campaign of character assassination. But that`s not
too convincing. So now Romney`s senior aide has described the Bain ad as
"performance art gibberish." "Shouting louder and getting more angry is
not very persuasive."

Performance art gibberish -- well, Romney`s adviser is actually
describing testimonials from real people who lost their jobs because of
Romney`s Bain capital. This is what the Romney camp calls "performance art
gibberish."

Let`s turn to Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and NYU professor.

Bob, good to have you with us tonight.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.

SCHULTZ: Romney tried, I think something similar in his losing run in
1994 when he wanted to unseat Ted Kennedy. I think a spokesman back then
said that Kennedy, the camp had put words in people`s mouths. What about
that?

SHRUM: Yes, well, that`s what they said. "The Boston Globe" went out
and found out it wasn`t true. We turned the camera on and the workers had
talked about what happened to them.

Look, they don`t have an answer to this. They don`t have a coherent
claim. This guy sometimes says he created ten thousand jobs, sometimes
says he created a hundred thousand jobs. Sometimes says -- well, maybe a
hundred thousand.

I mean, his communications director said it was a back of the envelope
calculation.

But, you know, it adds insult to injury in terms of these workers, who
are just saying what happened to them. To call them gibberish and
performance art, and that`s not going to fly.

People are going to hear the story of how Mitt Romney took over
companies, fired workers, re-hired some of them at lower wages, took away
their benefits, took out huge fees, and then those companies in many cases
went belly up.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

SHRUM: The whole notion -- you know, and by the way, this guy who was
against the bailout of the auto industry, and saving the auto industry, in
one case, left a company behind, the federal government had to spend $44
million bailing out the pension fund after Romney and his partners made
millions.

SCHULTZ: Bob, you also wrote today that Romney should release the
records of all Bain transactions from which he profited. Explore that with
us.

SHRUM: Well, I mean, look, if he`s going to make this claim, and you
did it very eloquently a minute ago. If he`s going to make this claim
about all the jobs created, FOX is going to say net jobs created. Let`s
put the records out there. Let`s not talk about character assassination.
Let`s talk about facts.

Character assassination, it was this guy himself who put his Bain job
record front and center. He said that`s his claim to the presidency. And
David Stockman is absolutely right. Leverage buyouts, or in the way Romney
practiced them, vulture capitalism, are not a qualification for creating
jobs.

SCHULTZ: Yes. The latest NBC news/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows
most Americans still don`t have an impression of Bain either way. I mean,
look, 72 percent, neutral or not true. So does President Obama need to
fill in the blank here? Do they need to stay on this and will they stay on
it?

SHRUM: They`re going to stay on it, Ed. They`re going to stay on it,
I believe, all the way through the campaign. And the schoolteacher you
interviewed in the last segment made a very important point. And he got
it.

His attitude -- Romney`s attitude in Bain connect directly with what
he wants to do to teachers. This is a guy who took away health benefits
from people and now he wants to end Medicare as we know it. This is a
mega-millionaire with an offshore bank account. Now he wants to give huge
tax cuts to millionaires.

You can just go down the list, every single thing, connects to this
story. It`s a narrative and it`s going to be very powerful. And what I
wrote in that column is that by the time this is over, this guy is going to
end up the candidate of the few, by the few, and for the few.

SCHULTZ: Here`s what senator Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in
the Senate said when asked if he thought that Bain was fair game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: I think it`s interesting to note
that the whole issue of earned success and of capitalism seems to be under
attack by this administration across the board, not just in the campaign,
but through the actions of the government itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I mean, this is all part of a coordinated effort. I mean to
paint the president as against free enterprise. How do they handle that
narrative?

SHRUM: Well, I don`t think they have to worry about that narrative.
This is blather about free enterprise.

Look, I could sit here and criticize the executive at JPMorgan Chase
who just lost $3 billion through a bunch of bad decisions and got fired.
That doesn`t mean I`m anti-business. It doesn`t mean I`m anti-free
enterprise.

The Bain formula, in many cases, was to take these companies, squeeze
all the money out that they could, not worry about the workers. And you
know, Mitch McConnell, all of this stuff is a fraud. And what it tells me
is that they don`t have an answer. If you looked at Romney in that earlier
clip, boy, was he uncomfortable.

SCHULTZ: He sure was.

SHRUM: When Mark Halperin mentioned Bain. He doesn`t want to talk
about it. He doesn`t have answer. He didn`t have one in 1994. Doesn`t
have one now.

SCHULTZ: Apparently Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney met today, so
they`re behind closed doors trying to figure this thing out. They`re
probably trying to get the senators on board with Mitt Romney when it comes
to verbalizing this to the American people, to keep everything straight.
Because I think you`re right, Bob, I don`t think they`ve got an answer on
how to deal with any of this.

The numbers are the numbers, and notice that the FOX anchor, he didn`t
have the numbers either.

Bob Shrum, great to have you with us. There`s a lot more coming up in
the next half hour of "the Ed Show." stay with us. We`re right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANCHOR: Are you with the president
in supporting gay marriage?

COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I have no problem with
it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Colin Powell isn`t endorsing the president, but he`s on
board with marriage equality.

Mitt Romney steps in it big time with his unemployment prediction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We get the unemployment rate
down to six percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And Republicans are still figuring out how to deal with this
embarrassing attack on the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That in his heart, he`s not an American. He`s
just not an American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The big panel weighs in on all of it, next.

Also ahead, my response to Paul Ryan`s fighting words for the
president. And Tom Barrett gets his best news to date in Wisconsin. The
Walker recall is heating up. John Nichols is here with the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Earlier in this broadcast, we told you about Republican
Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado. Coffman told a group of
conservatives at a fund-raiser that he didn`t believe President Obama is an
American at heart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: I don`t know whether Barack Obama
was born in the United States or not. I don`t know that. But I do know
this -- that in his heart, he`s not an American. He`s just not an
American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Coffman then issued a statement claiming he misspoke, but
when asked to elaborate, Coffman refused. Not once, not twice, but five
times, repeating this weak response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COFFMAN: I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I am joined tonight on our panel, Chris Kofinis, Krystal
ball, and Steve Deace.

Great to have all of you with us.

Chris, let me ask you first. How big a deal is this that the
Democrats need to keep coming out and responding to this, or they just
ignore it? What`s the best way to go?

KRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, ironically, you know, I
don`t think, obviously, the president or the White House should respond to
it, because it`s too crazy to deserve a response. But in terms of
Democrats or, you know, the grassroots, absolutely, they should respond to
it.

I mean, here`s the fundamental problem, aside from it being absolutely
crazy, it`s just this anger and hatred towards the president. And the part
that apparently these folks just, you know, don`t want to comprehend or
accept is the president is likable. The president is a person that the
American people like and believe in. And so the notion that somehow you`re
going to question his, you know, his American bona fides or that he wasn`t
born here, I mean, it`s this ten full brigade that doesn`t even pass the
laugh test. But I think you should respond to it, hit it back and hit it
back hard.

SCHULTZ: Krystal, what does this say about Republicans?

KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I don`t know how much more
evidence we have to have that there is a racial component to this. I mean,
ever since the president was elected and even before that, you`ve had these
crazy chain mails going out, you`ve had all of these efforts, including
birtherism, to paint him as the other. You have the Ricketts plan to
defeat Barack Hussein Obama, which is in search of an articulate black man
to make the case and to launch racially black attacks based on Reverend
Wright.

SCHULTZ: It`s a pattern.

BALL: I mean. I don`t know how long we have to pretend that race is
not a major component in this campaign.

SCHULTZ: It`s the Republican party. It`s not the tea party wing,
it`s not the radicals. It is the Republican party. For instance, in the
state of Iowa, they wanted to put it on the state platform, the birther
issue.

Steve Deace, you broadcast from Iowa. Have the Republicans in your
state reached out to Mitt Romney for proof that he is a natural born
citizen?

STEVE DEACE, AUTHOR, WE WON`T GET FOOLED AGAIN: I`m not sure many
Republicans in Iowa want to reach out to Mitt Romney for anything, Ed.
He`s not very popular in our state with a lot of the conservative
grassroots, which is one of the reasons why when we had our caucuses, he
stayed away quite a bit.

In fact, if anything, I think a lot of Iowa Republicans would just
prefer that they take on Obama by themselves without any help from Mitt
Romney.

SCHULTZ: But why is the birther issue -- why is this conversation
even taking place in the middle of the country?

DEACE: I think it takes place for the same reason that a decade ago,
on the other side of the aisle, we were having conversations about Bush
lied and people died, and Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq to get revenge
for the attempt on his dad.

SCHULTZ: Well, that was on tape.

DEACE: I think what happens is when you have a clash of world views
that is as stark as what we have right now in America, a house divided
against itself, it lends itself to a lot of distrust.

SCHULTZ: Steve, this is not a world view. These are facts. Steve,
respectfully, these are facts. There are facts that back up that President
Obama is an American citizen, he loves the country, he was born. He is got
all the documentation. Why is this an issue?

Krystal, you can see just from his answers that this is where they
are.

BALL: Well, that`s absolutely right. I mean, this is nothing -- this
is nothing like the situation with Bush. No one was questioning whether he
was constitutionally eligible to be president, which is what is going on
here. It`s a totally different level.

And to say that Mitt Romney is not popular in Iowa or that this is not
the mainstream, Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucuses with Rick Santorum, they
basically tied. So the problem here is that the Republican party engaged
in a short-term strategy in 2010 to ride the hatred and the anger of the
far right tea party. And what has happened now is they have completely
consumed the entire Republican party.

SCHULTZ: I mean. When you have a state party talking about putting
it on the platform, how much more radical can you get? I mean, they do not
want to accept this president.

BALL: And we had in Virginia, in my home state, we had one of the
local county parties send out an e-mail calling for armed revolution if the
president is re-elected. That`s the Republican party machinery, sending
out that sort of hateful, violent message.

KOFINIS: Ed, you know, I think you know, one key point to keep in
mind, when was the last time the last president that anyone questioned
whether they were an American? I mean, it`s really that simple. And so
that you have fringes within the Republican party that are saying this, I
think, just, it just sends a -- it puts a bad taste in a lot of people`s
mouth, and it`s just so counterproductive. It`s just the worth type of
politics.

SCHULTZ: Why aren`t the Democrats asking for Mitt Romney`s birth
certificate? I mean, his dad was born in Mexico. I mean, how do we know?

KOFINIS: You know why, because --

DEACE: Here`s what I think --

SCHULTZ: Go ahead, Steve.

DEACE: I think if unemployment -- I think if unemployment was at five
percent, I think if the president had lived up to his campaign promises on
turning the economy around, we probably wouldn`t be talking about this
issue right now. But when you`ve got to run on ft.`s economic record,
you`ve got to change the subject to stuff like this.

SCHULTZ: Well, not really. He`s got 26 months of private sector job
growth. He`s saved the automobile industry, and added 4 million jobs. I
mean, the guy is not superman. He is just president of the United States,
and those are three facts there that are --

DEACE: Ed, there must be a lot of stupid people. There must be a lot
of stupid people, then, Ed, in your own NBC news poll. Because if you look
at the cross-tabs on the economy in your own poll that came out yesterday,
it doesn`t appear that they see things the same way you do --

SCHULTZ: That`s a messaging issue, no doubt --

DEACE: At best he has a 50/50 chance --

SCHULTZ: That`s -- he has added four million jobs. He has saved
millions of jobs because of the turnaround of the automobile industry, and
26 months of private sector job growth. Those are three facts right now,
whether it`s polled or not --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: Your party in Iowa wants to put birtherism on the platform
instead of talk about creating jobs. I`m out of time.

BALL: We`re not the ones that --

DEACE: What cracks me up is its considered radical --

SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight. Great to have you here.
We`ll have you back to talk about it. I gave the facts tonight, no
question about that.

Paul Brown calls Obama a failed president. Like the man as
anesthesia. Really? We`ll set the record straight.

Stay with us. We are right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Paul Ryan says President Obama is a failed
president. It seems like he`s forgotten what happened under the last
administration. I`ll refresh his memory, next. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show." Congressman Paul Ryan of
Wisconsin, he`s the chairman of the budget committee in the house. He made
a very bold statement about President Obama in a speech at the Reagan
library.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: That is why the parallels between 1980
and today are so striking. Now, as then, we face not just a failed
president, but a failed ideology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: This is a fascinating claim, made by a man who might be Mitt
Romney`s vice president. You never know.

Let`s start with the economy and jobs. This chart, absolutely says it
all. You can see the Republicans epic failure of the Bush administration
and what happened when President Obama came in and the turnaround took
place.

After digging us out of a hole, President Obama has delivered 26
months of private sector job growth. We ought to call this the Deace map.
That`s (INAUDIBLE) to call it.

What about Mitt Romney`s jobs` record? Massachusetts was 47th out of
50 states in this country in job creation during Romney`s time as governor.
47 out of 50? That`s a failing grade, isn`t it?

And next, how about general motors and the automobile industry? It
was left for dead the time President Obama took office.

Now GM is number one in the world and the United States automobile
industry is coming roaring back in a big, big way.

Mitt Romney would have left the automobile industry goes bankrupt.
That`s what he wrote. Next, there`s this guy named Osama bin Laden who`s
not breathing anymore or plotting against the United States. I suppose
that`s a failure too in the eyes of the Republicans.

President Bush used torture trying to get Osama bin Laden. President
Obama, he didn`t use torture, but he did get the world`s number one
terrorist. And in 2007, Mitt Romney said it`s not worth moving heaven and
earth to get him. What about war? What about war?

Bush gave us two unfunded wars, off the budget. President Obama got
us out of one of them, and he`s getting us out of the other one. Mitt
Romney wants to get us into more conflicts. By the way, we should point
out that a lot of the guys who were with Bush are with Romney now. Even
Colin Powell said that.

Now, if we are to believe his warmongering on Iran, holy smokes, we
ought to be nervous. Even on the president`s most controversial action,
health care, he paid for the entire package. Bush 43 gave us Medicare part
"d," but didn`t pay for it which brings us to the deficit and the debt.

The biggest cause of the deficits through 2019 are going to be the
Bush tax cuts, if they are not reined in, as well as the Bush wars. The
spending under President Obama, spending under the last five presidents,
has grown the slowest under President Obama. That`s a fact. These are
facts and President Obama is not going to let them call him a failed
president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Since I`ve been
president, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60
years. This other side, I don`t know how they`ve been bamboozling folks
into thinking that they are the responsible, fiscally disciplined party.
They run up these wild debts, and then when we take over, we`ve got to
clean it up. And they point and say, look how irresponsible they are.
Look at the facts! Look at the numbers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: "Ed Show" survey tonight, I ask you, will Republican
leadership ever condemn birther talk in their party? Three percent of you
say yes, 97 percent of you say no.

New numbers show the recall race tighter than ever in Wisconsin and
the Republican governors` association is pushing out an outright lie to
help Scott Walker. "The nation`s" John Nichols weighs in next with me.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the big finish tonight, going to be a heck of a
finish in Wisconsin. New poll numbers out in the Walker recall election
show that it`s going to be closer than ever. Green board poll conducted
for "We are Wisconsin" shows Walker leading Barrett by only three points,
well within the margin of error. And despite being outspent 25 to one has
a six point lead on Walker among independent. That`s a big number.
There`s more good news for Democrats, only voter turnout for the recall is
high and Democratic leading Madison and Milwaukee. And Madison lines have
extended out the door of the city clerk`s office. But, with less than two
weeks to go, big out of state money is taking a Tom Barrett.

Today, the Republican governors` association got in to the act. They
released an anti-Barrett ad filled with lies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We interrupt this regularly scheduled political
commercial to provide something different. Facts, no opinions, just the
facts.

Since Scott Walker became governor, Wisconsin has gained over 30,000
jobs, fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The Republican Governors Association is pushing an outright
lie. Here is a fact for you. The bureau of labor statistics show Walker
has lost over 30,000 jobs. Lost over 30,000 jobs in the state. The
Republican Governor`s Association isn`t the only organization lying for
Walker. Now, comes the national rifle association, jumping into the fray.

Here`s their commercial trying to scare gun owners into voting for
Walker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your freedom. This is your freedom if Tom
Barrett gets the chance to recall your gun rights. Any questions? Tom
Barrett has a rating of "f" from the NRA. Don`t let Tom Barrett recall
your gun rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Every democrat has an "f" from the NRA. Scott Walker has
been whining about outside money coming into the race on the democratic
side. I just showed you two commercials from the NRA. Take a look at some
of the outside Republican big guns that are coming in to back Walker.

Earlier this week, well, Romney`s co-chair, the campaign Tim Pawlenty,
failed governor from Minnesota, stumped for Walker. Louisiana Governor
Bobby Jindal plans to rally with Walker on Thursday. South Carolina
governor Nikki Haley will campaign with Walker on June 1st and Mike
Huckabee, you know, the guy who`s got a show over on FOX and nationally
syndicated talk show, he actually has a PAC. I didn`t know that. And he
is raising money for Walker.

Hey, Phil, can I have a PAC? Probably not. I work for a news
organization. I`m joined tonight by John Nichols, Washington correspondent
of "the nation" magazine and author of the book "uprising."

John, where is the race right now? How tight is it?

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION MAGAZINE: It`s a tight race, Ed. When I
talk to Democrats and Republicans, they tell me that all of their internal
polling shows that this race is close and in most instances, getting
closer. As you see, that movement among independents, toward Tom Barrett.
And I`ve seen it physically around the state.

This afternoon, I was in Scott Walker`s hometown of Delavan,
Wisconsin, and in front of the big old bed and breakfast, in downtown
Delavan, there`s a huge recall Walker banner. So even in Scott Walker`s
hometown, people are feeling quite confident in saying they don`t want him.

John, what about the commercials? Are they lies? What you`ve seen in
the Republican Governor`s association and the NRA for that matter?

NICHOLS: These ads deal in genuine falsehoods. And I want to
emphasize that.

One of the most troubling things is that in addition to deceptive
language and deceptive messages, things that just simply aren`t true, as
you pointed out, they also create a false impression as regards Scott
Walker, that NRA ad, suggests, I think, that Scott Walker is some sort of
great defender of sportsmen, and a great defender of hunting. He`s not.

When he took over as governor, he put a businessman, builders and
developers, in charge of the agency that is supposed to protect our hunting
areas, our wetlands. He signed a law that`s going to make it easier to
sell off wetlands, and he put a guy from Texas in charge of our deer
hunting in Wisconsin, and this guy`s one of the top advocates in the
country for something called deer ranching, where you take public lands and
sell it off, so that they can only be hunted by people that pay to be
there.

SCHULTZ: Land access is a big issue in the upper Midwest, no question
about it. You don`t mess with deer hunting in Wisconsin. I can`t believe
he`s done that.

John Nichols, great to have you with us tonight.

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.
END

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