updated 6/1/2012 1:08:29 PM ET 2012-06-01T17:08:29

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Joan Walsh, Ruth Conniff, Catherine Crier, Ilyse Hogue, Mark Simone, Dr. Cornel
West, Tavis Smiley


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

Republicans are resorting to dirty tricks to win the 2012 election.
Early on they are. But now, election officials in Florida are standing up
against Governor Rick Scott`s attempt to purge the voter roles.

This is the hottest story in America. We`ll show why you Florida is
the focus of the GOP`s voter suppression plan.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican Party in Florida admitted there is
a problem with this system, that the data isn`t accurate.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Florida Republicans actually admit their voting
purging system is flawed. And election supervisors are revolting against
the governor. Bottom line, Republicans know that Mitt Romney can`t win
without Florida. So they are increasing their efforts to steal the
election.

Breaking news in Wisconsin: former President Bill Clinton will
campaign for the Democrats. And Republicans are beginning to crack with
bogus claims of voter fraud.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I`m always concerned about voter fraud,
certainly in Milwaukee. We had plenty of it. And I think it`s been
documented.

SCHULTZ: John Edwards dodges a bullet in North Carolina.

JOHN EDWARDS (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did an awful,
awful lot that was wrong.

SCHULTZ: We`ll tell you what`s next for the former Democratic star.

And Mitt Romney is trying to hide the Republican war on the poor.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The real need in America is
to help middle-income families get good jobs and help people who are poor
come out of poverty and become middle income.

SCHULTZ: Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West are here on the assault on
the working class.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

This is a classic. You`ve heard the saying. You can`t see the forest
because of the trees.

I`m going to show you some numbers tonight that you`re going to want
to consume because this is where the election is. Republicans are trying
to gain the system in Florida and win the election by purging votes.
That`s right.

But their efforts are falling short. That is the good news. The Palm
Beach County election supervisor rejected Rick Scott`s attempt to remove
voters who are flagged as possible noncitizens.

According to "Think Progress," her office determined the list`s
documentation to be not credible.

Hillsborough County also put an end to the voter purge request by the
state. County elections chief, Greg Latimer, spoke about the governor`s
purge list. "It was obvious it wasn`t very credible and reliable
information. So we suspended any further action. That`s the good news."

Because we`re shining a light on this, this is why it`s happening.
The media is on it.

In past elections, you see these voter purges happen under the cover
of darkness. Nobody was really paying attention. They weren`t exposed
until after the elections.

But now, Republicans in Florida are scrambling to explain themselves.
State GOP chair Lenny Curry was on MSNBC this morning trying to spin his
party`s voter suppression efforts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LENNY CURRY, FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN: This process is to insure that
noncitizens no not cast a vote in the election and in future elections.
And to be sure, there are certainly some issues with the data.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: OK. Let`s get to the numbers. Curry admits that the data
is flawed. But he`s still making excuses for the purge list. Curry isn`t
the only one spinning for the Republicans. Florida secretary of state Kent
Detzner is trying to get access to a federal homeland security data base to
double check the citizenship status of the 182,000 voters on the list.

Republicans are in damage control. There`s no doubt about it. Local
officials are resisting their strong arm tactics and media outlets are
covering the story. An analysis by Ari Berman, "Rolling Stone" shows more
than 35,000 eligible voters could be disenfranchised if the purge
continues. That`s a big number.

Republicans say this purge is necessary to prevent voter fraud.
Chairman Curry had a hard time coming up with hard examples when he was
questioned by Thomas Roberts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: How many ineligible voters voted
Florida?

CURRY: Well, here we know that an NBC affiliate in the Naples/Ft.
Myers area did a study and identified over 100 noncitizens on the voter
roles. In fact, in that study, they identified one lady that has been
registered to vote -- she`s a noncitizen -- registered to vote for 11 years
and voted six elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All right. Only one alleged case of voter fraud. I don`t
know if Lenny Curry can do any math but 35,000 is a heck of a lot different
than one.

Congressman Ted Deutsche pointed out how investigations into voter
fraud never turn up more than a handful of incidents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. THEODORE DEUTCH (D), FLORIDA: In the 2008 election, there were
16 cases of voter fraud out of eight million votes cast. And we don`t even
have confirmation on the person that he`s referring to. Ever cast a vote.
We know there were 60 cases out of 8 million votes cast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So are we talking big numbers here? No.

If you want to know why Governor Rick Scott and the Republicans are
trying to get the people off the roles in Florida, you need to look at
numbers on the Big Eddie program. Consume this: 537. Why does that sound
familiar? Oh, yes. That guy.

That`s the certified margin of victory for George W. Bush in Florida
back in the 2000 election. The Brennan Center says more than 12,000
eligible Florida voters were kept from voting in 2000, 12,000 people not
allowed to vote, thrown off the roles in 2000.

Here`s another number I want you to consume: 61,550. Not very many.
That`s Rick Scott`s margin of victory in the 2010 Florida gubernatorial
race.

Now, if the 2012 election is that close, can you see that 182,000
purge voters might help tip the scales a little bit? In Florida, my
friends, the biggest scale tipper to date of all of the states if you look
at them closely. This is a current projection for the Electoral College
map from "Real Clear Politics".

These projections are based on averages of all the polls for the month
of May. There are nine swing states with margins of less than 4 percent.
Things are tight. Here they are. Nine swing states.

Now let`s just pretend for conversation that Mitt Romney wins all of
these swing states except Florida. Look at that. He still does not reach
the 270 electoral votes that he needs to win the election -- unless, of
course, there is a major change politically in the environment and all
those other states. Mitt Romney, you can make the case that`s no path to
the presidency without winning the state of Florida the way the map is
today. Florida`s 29 electoral votes are essential, essential to Mitt
Romney`s victory if he wants the White House.

This is why Republicans need to resort to this kind of stuff like
voter purges and lists and intimidation because they can`t run on the
policies of deregulation, killing social services, the Ryan plan, tax cuts
for the wealthy, on and on and on. You get the picture here?

So what do they have to do? They have to have a governor who is
willing to take the state of Florida`s 29 electoral votes and put them on
the plate and put them on the plate because he can make a freaking list of
Americans who have voted for years in the past just because he wants to win
the election!

You know, I don`t want to sound too grandiose about this. But when
this stuff was going on back in 2000, there wasn`t any liberal talkers on
MSNBC. There wasn`t any liberal talk radio in America. There wasn`t "The
Huffington Post. There wasn`t "Daily Kos". There wasn`t the blogosphere
of any significance.

But now, they`re out in the open and you know what`s happening?
They`re getting caught. They`re getting talked about.

And you need to pay attention as an American that there may be other
purge lists by other Republican governors around the country because they
know exactly what is at stake. Just remember, these people want power and
they will do anything to get it.

They will even take a 91-year-old World War II decorated veteran and
tell him that he can`t vote anymore.

Now, Alcee Hastings, who is a congressman from Broward County down in
Florida today on the radio show told me he doesn`t know how they`re coming
up with the names. I know they`re use something DMV, Division of Motor
Vehicles list and matching them this and matching there. Heck, they want
the homeland security list to try to find out what`s going on.

But if you want to the congressman earlier in this broadcast that we
play a moment ago, they`ve done it before there`s minimal voter fraud.

Now for just a moment, let`s go to Wisconsin. Did I hear earlier to
night we tease a story about, Reince Priebus, the RNC chair? He`s so
concerned about voter fraud in Wisconsin. Give me a break. That`s one of
the cleanest states in the Union. And, of course, we`ll have that later on
in the show.

It`s about Florida, folks. It`s about these 29 electoral votes. As
the map sets up right now, Mitt Romney can`t go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
unless he has a Sunshine State.

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

Tonight`s question, are Republicans trying to steal the election by
purging voters? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can you go
to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com, and leave a comment.

We think it`s a hot story. I think you do, too. We`ll bring you the
results later on in the show.

Joining me tonight, Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst, and
associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington
Post."

Eugene, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks for your time.

Are we assuming that they`re just playing clean and they`re really
trying to make sure that nobody is involved in any kind of voter fraud at
all?

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: Give me a break. That is not it.

I mean, Ed, you said, you know, essentially there`s virtually no voter
fraud. Actually, statistically, we could say there is no voter fraud.
There is none. There`s a handful of cases or alleged cases in the entire
nation from a whole presidential election in 2008.

Look, if there were voter fraud, do you think for one minute with all
the Republican legislatures and all the Republican governors out there and
Republican prosecutors and judges, do you think they wouldn`t be bringing
cases and convicting people to have show trials if nothing else to
demonstrate the premise that they`re trying to prove here?

But nobody gets convicted of voter fraud because it`s not happening.
The problem in this country is not that too many people are clamoring to
vote. The problem is arguably a problem that not enough people get out to
vote. But it`s not the opposite.

SCHULTZ: You look at these voter ID laws that have come up in some,
what, 17, 18 states in this country. It`s obvious what they`re trying to
do. The question now is fundamentally, has there been enough push back
against this purging of the voters? Is it happening enough where we can
put a stop to it?

Because that really is the question. How do we stop radical governors
from coming up with these lists because they have executive power?

ROBINSON: You know, I think the push back makes an enormous
difference, Ed. As you mentioned in Florida, before the 2000 election,
Katherine Harris who was running elections there conducted essentially a
voter purge ostensibly to get convicted felons off the voter roles.
Thousands of legitimate eligible voters got purged and were not able to
vote. And that surely made the difference in Florida in 2000.

Had there been the sort of exposure and sunshine and pushback before
or while that purge was taking place, I think recent history, frankly,
could have been very different. So I think it`s very important.

What we also have to keep in mind is that the aim here is not just to
take 180,000 or however many voters off the Florida roles. It`s to depress
turnout. It`s to intimidate --

SCHULTZ: Disincentive, you bet.

ROBINSON: -- eligible voters who otherwise would come out to vote.

SCHULTZ: You know, I don`t think they`ll stop at anything. I think
it`s going to take the justice department getting involved in this to make
sure that there`s no more lists that are put out there. This is about the
most un-American thing we`ve seen right under the hot sun of Florida.

Eugene Robinson, great to have you with us. Thank you.

ROBINSON: Thank you, Ed.

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

Scott Walker visits Sean Hannity to spread some lies. Bill Clinton is
going all in for Tom Barrett in Milwaukee. And Joan Walsh and Ruth Conniff
(ph) have the latest on the recall next.

And George W. Bush back in the White House today. The former
president was on hand for the unveiling of his official portrait. We`ll
talk about that and much more with Catherine Crier, Mark Simone, Ilyse
Hogue.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Coming up, Democrats in Wisconsin get a major boost. President Bill
Clinton is on his way to the Badger State.

Later, Cornel West and Tavis Smiley join me to compare Mitt Romney and
President Obama`s radically different visions for helping the poor in this
country.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Five days to go until the election day in Wisconsin. The
recall battle, it is heating up. Scott Walker visited Sean Hannity for
another softball interview last night and hit his lies right out of the
park.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We chose to balance it without
raising taxes, without massive layoffs, without cuts in things like
Medicaid. And instead we put in place long term structural reforms that
help us not balance our state budget but our local government budget.
Since last February, we`ve been under massive assault, millions -- tens of
millions of dollars have come in over the past year and a half to attack
us, thousands of bodies brought in from outside of the state, people under
attack throughout this time. Our secret weapon has been the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Enough.

The truth is Scott Walker has not balanced the budgets. He`s
increased taxes and there have been layoffs. You`ll find a lot of
unemployed teachers in Wisconsin.

Walker raised over $30 million to save his job, majority of that
money, where is it coming from? Out of state. He`s spent over $20 million
this year alone.

Walker talks about bodies coming from out of state. How about the 70
staffers that they put in Wisconsin to help Walker?

Meanwhile, former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold says Walker is in
for a rude awakening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSS FEINGOLD (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: By a majority, the people of
the state will make the tough decision to recall Scott Walker. With the
turnout I expect on our side, I think we`ll prevail.

I want you to keep telling everybody that he`s in the driver`s seat.
They`re going to get a rude shock on Tuesday night if they believe that,
because I think we`ve got far more momentum than people realize.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: If anyone knows the people of Wisconsin, it`s Russ Feingold.

President Clinton is also feeling good about the recall. He`s been
confirmed that Bill Clinton will travel to Milwaukee tomorrow to campaign
for Barrett. He said in a statement, "Folks in Wisconsin have been on the
front lines of fighting for working middle-class families across America
for more than 16 months. I`m coming to Wisconsin to help Tom and the
extraordinary grassroots volunteers on the ground."

No doubt Clinton`s visit will be a huge boost to Barrett`s campaign.

There`s another late breaking development from Wisconsin today. This
is billionaire Diane Hendricks who is a staunch Walker supporter and check
writer. You might remember her now infamous divide and conquer video.

Here`s a reason she is smiling in this photograph. "The Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel" reports she paid absolutely zero state income tax in
2010. That`s right. The richest woman in the state of Wisconsin paid zero
state income tax in 2010.

But she did cut Walker a check for half a million dollars earlier this
year.

I`m joined tonight by Ruth Conniff, political editor of the
"Progressive" magazine, and Joan Walsh, editor at large, Salon.com.

Great to have both of you with us.

Joan, you`re a Wisconsinite. What does a Bill Clinton visit do in the
11th hour?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I think it`s really exciting. The people of
Wisconsin are doing their own work for themselves. Can I just say about
the Sean Hannity interview? Was it like opposite day?

If you just take everything he said and flip it around, that`s what
the truth was. It`s just like such an amazing string of lies. I really
enjoyed it.

SCHULTZ: I was absolutely stunned that Sean didn`t ask him about the
legal defense fund and what all the money is going for, you know?

WALSH: Right. People are paying attention to that. People are
paying more attention to that. There continues to be revelations about
that.

S, Bill Clinton coming is important. I sometimes worry with the out
of state money going to Walker that the other side has managed to
nationalize this election in a way that we haven`t quite. But I think Bill
Clinton is part of showing that national Democrats really care about
Wisconsin. It`s very important.

I don`t think he`d be going there if it were not very close and
hopeful. I hope Russ Feingold is right.

SCHULTZ: A new ad shows Walker leading Barrett by two points. Russ
Feingold thinks Barrett is going to win this thing.

Ruth, what do you think? I mean, the bottom line is the money has
been 25-1. It`s been falling from the sky for Scott Walker. Wisconsinites
are going to have to be the most informed voters in America to beat this
kind of money. What do you think?

RUTH CONNIFF, THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: Well, I think that all that
money has not lifted Scott Walker above 50 percent in the polls at any
point. And so, I don`t think that it`s going to make the difference in
these last few days.

I think finally there is parody. So you see anti-Walker ads and pro-
Walker ads on TV. But I think more than that, it really is about the
grassroots. It`s about getting people to the polls and that`s why we hear
all the whispers about voter fraud because, you know, there is an effort to
suppress the vote.

You know, we`re looking at the Government Accountability Board in
Wisconsin predicting presidential level turnout. There is huge early
voting going on right now -- 60 percent to 65 percent of voter turnout
they`re projecting. So, that`s what it`s going to be all about. Who gets
their people to the polls?

SCHULTZ: RNC chair Reince Priebus is alleging voter fraud. He`s very
concerned about that. Now here he is on a conference call with reporters
yesterday.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

PRIEBUS: I`m always concerned about voter fraud, you know, being from
Kenosha and quite frankly have lived through seeing some of it happen.
Certainly, in Milwaukee, we had plenty of it. And I think it`s been
documented and I reject any notion that it`s not the case. It certainly is
in Wisconsin.

I`m always concerned about it. Which is why I think we need to do a
point or two better than where we think we need to be to overcome it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joan, respond to that. I mean, I`ve been told that
Wisconsin is one of the cleanest states in America when it comes to issues
at the polls.

WALSH: It absolutely has been. It`s always had progressive voter
laws, same day registration. You can walk up and vote because people
trusted one another.

I`m really offended on behalf of the people of Wisconsin that the RNC
chairman has so little respect from them. I`m from Kenosha so I know there
is voter fraud, what the hell is he saying? I mean, it`s a really
unconscious kind of slip. That disparages his own state and I don`t think
it helps Scott Walker.

And you set this up perfectly, Ed, with that great segment on Florida.
This is what they do. They want to disenfranchise young people,
minorities. They want to confuse people because they can`t win any other
way. So he said there is something like maybe 2 percent voter fraud.
That`s ridiculous. That would be like 40,000 votes in the governor`s race.

What an insult to the state of Wisconsin?

SCHULTZ: Ruth, is he setting the table for being a whiner, being a
complainer and an excuse?

CONNIFF: Yes. I think first of all they`re setting the table to
dispute the results. Secondly, they`re trying to suppress the vote, and in
particular the Tea Party group is coming up and getting involved in
Wisconsin again.

These folks came. They want to be poll watchers this time. They came
up to declare that whole petition drive to recall the governor was going to
be rife with fraud. They did their own data processing and said there were
280,000 illegitimate votes. That turned out to be completely false.

Now they`re coming back. A Texas judge called them a GOP front group.
And their ideas, if they go to the polls and they hassle poll workers and
they stand over people that cast their ballots, maybe they can suppress the
vote. I think what they`re going to find in Wisconsin is there are going
to be a lot of people there to make sure those people can cast their votes.

SCHULTZ: Ruth Conniff and Joan Walsh, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much for joining us on THE ED SHOW.

The verdict is in for John Edwards. What does it mean for the two-
time presidential candidate? We`ll weigh in on that and talk about the
legal avenues available.

And job con turns out Romney`s latest attack is making President Obama
look pretty good. We`ll show why you.

Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARDS: Washington, D.C., is broken. It does not work. The entire
system is rigged and rigged against you. There is no doubt about that

From insurance companies to drug companies to oil companies, those
people run this country now. And the question is what are we going to do
about it? I think you got to take them on and beat them. I don`t think
can you sit at a table and negotiate with them.

And we will never be able to have universal health care, be able to
change the way we use energy and tackle global warming. The big issues
that face this country, they are standing between us and the change that we
need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: What a loss for the Democrats. That was John Edwards back
in 2007 as senator and vice-presidential nominee and two-time presidential
candidate he was one of the few politician who`s talked about poverty in
this country, who told the truth about what`s happening to the middle class
in America.

Today, Edwards was found not guilty on one of six campaign fraud
charges with the jury deadlocked on the other counts. The judge declared a
mistrial.

Edwards was accused of using money from two wealthy donors to hide his
pregnant mistress during the 2008 presidential campaign. Late this
afternoon, Edwards thanked jurors and his family and took responsibility
for his actions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARDS: I want to make sure that everyone hears from me and from my
voice that while I do not believe I did anything illegal or ever thought I
was doing illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. I am
responsible. And if I want to find the person who should be held
accountable for my sins, honestly, I don`t have to go any further than the
mirror. It`s me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to Mike Papantonio, attorney and host of "The
Ring of Fire" radio show.

Mike, break it down for us. Legally, what happened today? What does
this all mean?

MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think what happened is the
obvious. That is that the jury concluded what this judge should have
concluded from the very outset, in that there was never any criminal intent
on the part of John Edwards. This is a prosecution team that was served up
everything they wanted by this judge, Ed.

There was virtually every ruling went their way. As a matter of fact,
it was so obscene in some of these rulings that they asked the defense
expert that was supposed to testify on behalf of John Edwards` case that he
not be permitted to testify. Thirty seven years this expert had worked for
the FEC, had been a commissioner for the FEC.

The judge knew what his testimony was going to be. It was going to be
simple. It was that this law is so confusing, it`s so vague that even he,
as the chairman and commissioner of the FEC, would have doubt about whether
this would be campaign money.

SCHULTZ: So what is your call, Mike? Does the government go back
after this case?

PAPANTONIO: I think if they do, it`s going to be a pretty telling
sign. It`s going to be a sign that there`s more at risk here. Look, Eric
Holder needs to step in here, Ed. He needs to say you had some prosecutors
that blew it. When you go big in this business, Ed, you better win big.
These people lost big.

Eric Holder has his reputation on the line here, too. He needs to
make a trip to North Carolina and say, boys, I don`t know what you did. I
don`t know how you got caught up in this crazy case. But it`s time to let
it go and pay attention to things like what`s happening in Wall Street.
That`s the type of thing Eric Holder needs to do immediately.

SCHULTZ: What did you make of John Edwards statement? It was rather
wide sweeping. When I was watching, I thought what a loss for the
Democrats. He was such a talent, a great presenter. He was on all the
right issues. He just couldn`t control his ego and discipline himself.
And there you have it. But what did you make of his statement today?

PAPANTONIO: I watched that. Look, there`s no better showing of
personal fortitude than to show the courage to push back against almost
overwhelming odds. That`s what this man did from the very beginning. I
was -- look, I`m not a John Edwards fan. You have heard me say it`s
despicable some of the things we heard.

But you have to look at this character in a bigger light. You have to
look at him in a bigger lens. You have to understand that this is a man
who was set out to do a lot of great things in this country. He was
rebuilding something, a program that was very close to what John F. Kennedy
did to fight poverty in this country.

He was the director for the Center for Poverty. He had a mission.
When he said God may not be through with me, I hope what he meant, Ed, is
that I may not move into politics, but there`s a lot more good I can do in
this country fighting poverty.

SCHULTZ: Mike, you can`t fault somebody for wanting to help other
people. And that was my take on his statement there. I mean, if John
Edwards wants to go out and do public service and help people out, God
bless him for doing it. But I do think his political days are over and I
think he knows that.

Great to have with you us tonight, Mike Papantonio, always.

We have some breaking news. This just in. The Justice Department
sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening
demanding that the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process
it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act.

Let`s go back to Mike Papantonio. Mike, this is -- you`ve been
critical of Eric Holder, but he definitely stepped in the purging of what
Governor Scott is doing down in Florida. What is your take on this?

PAPANTONIO: Well, he needed to, Ed. The reason -- he reacted for the
very reason that you stated in your opening statement on this -- in this
show. That is we`ve shined light. You have shined light on it. Rachael
Maddow has shined light. Hopefully everybody in the Internet business has
shined light. Eric Holder has a great avenue open to him.

Under the 1965 Voter Rights Act, there`s a lot of things he can do.
He can start pulling those triggers now. He has to right now.

Look, Scott has been told from the very outset, Ed. He`s been told by
his own secretary of state that what we`re doing is potentially illegal.
We should not do it.

SCHULTZ: Hold it right there. That`s what I want to bring up. Why
doesn`t the Justice Department -- if he`s violating the Voting Rights Act,
why doesn`t the Justice Department bring Governor Rick Scott up on charges?

PAPANTONIO: Well, they can. There is a lot of things they can do.
The first thing that they can do is they can enjoin this effort to try to
stop this purge. They can do that immediately. One thing that Scott
didn`t do and his own secretary of state told him, you didn`t do that, is
under the 1965 act, Ed, the Voter Rights Act, there cannot be any effort to
change the law at all without putting the Justice Department on notice.

SCHULTZ: Well, he`s in trouble then. If that`s the way the law
reads, there ought to be a case against this radical governor down in
Florida. We`re going to have more on this story tomorrow night. Mike
Papantonio, great to have you with us tonight. The Justice Department
stepping in on what`s going on in Florida.

There is a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.
Stay tuned. Panel is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Breaking news, we reported a
moment ago, "Talking Points Memo" reports that the Justice Department has
sent a letter to the Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner this evening
demanding the state stop purging its voting roles because the process it`s
using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act.

Let`s turn to attorney Catherine Crier, radio talk show host Mark
Simone and also columnist Ilyse Hogue. Wow, this is a big deal.
Catherine?

CATHERINE CRIER, ATTORNEY: Big deal, huge. The country is going
through amazing demographic changes. We`re going to be over 50 percent
Hispanic by 2050. Going to happen even if you build a 20 foot wall.

SCHULTZ: That`s why Scott was putting the list together?

CRIER: Of course. We are watching the decimation of what our
primarily Democratic voters -- this is from a healthy independent. That`s
what`s going on here all across the country. And Rick Scott, my former
classmate in law school, has taken the lead on this from the first moment
he got involved.

SCHULTZ: Does he face legal issues now?

CRIER: Of course he faces legal issues. But this is a question of
whether the DOJ, the Department of Justice, would step up to the plate and
engage him and bring the state into federal court to stop this from
happening.

SCHULTZ: Mark, what do you make of all this? How can we read this
other than the Republicans trying to steal the election? Throwing people
off the roles?

MARK SIMONE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, listen, it`s terrible.
What, am I going to defend it? I`m not going to defend it. This has been
going on for years. It goes on all the time. You said in the beginning in
Wisconsin, they`ve never had a problem. IN 2004, you had terrible voter
fraud in Milwaukee.

CRIER: No, come on. Give us the numbers, because you ain`t got the
numbers, buddy. You`re using that terminology and you can`t ever show me a
single year where you had more than the fingers on my hand.

SIMONE: Google "Milwaukee voter fraud 2004," Milwaukee Police
Department set up a whole --

CRIER: Don`t talk to me about numbers because you don`t have the
numbers. This is all --

(CROSS TALK)

CRIER: At least you admit it.

SIMONE: You have stuff like this going on both sides of the aisle
forever.

SCHULTZ: Where are the Democrats purging the voters?

SIMONE: How many corpses have voted in Cook County in the past?

SCHULTZ: What Democratic governor has put together a list of 182,000
people?

SIMONE: It`s big. I give that you. But somebody -- an old political
hand once told me -- he said, Republicans stink at this when they try to do
it. They always get caught and they`re awful at it.

SCHULTZ: They didn`t get caught in 2000 until after the fact.

ILYSE HOGUE, "THE NATION": I think we should give this guy a medal.
He could be a hero for the left, because his overreach is to amazing that
he`s actually catalyzed the backlash, that if they had been more
surreptitious, like they were in 2000, it would have caught us fast asleep.

But what we`re seeing now is a systemic purge of the voter rolls, the
same -- the 48 hour registration that got thrown out earlier today. These
are all part of the same equation that Rick Scott believes in. Buy your
election, keep everyone out.

SCHULTZ: Did he jump in fast enough?

HOGUE: I think we have to see, because jumping in is one thing and
actually pursuing it to the --

SCHULTZ: He`s going to get pressure from the left to follow up on
this.

HOGUE: He should get pressure from every American, Ed. This is not a
left or right issue.

SIMONE: Eric Holder`s pursuit speed is a little slow.

CRIER: You say quickly enough. They have very effectively
diminished, whether it`s registration of African-Americans, registration
efforts. You`re seeing 10 percent less in Florida. So even if they`re
stopped today, you`re going to see the repercussions in terms of fewer
registered voters, smaller turnout by what are traditionally Democratic
voters in 2012.

SCHULTZ: Mark, how can the Republicans dodge the accusation? Because
Florida is so important, with 29 electoral votes. The way it is right now,
Mitt Romney needs Florida to win this thing. It just so happens the
Republican governor is throwing 182,000 people off and the attorney general
of the United States had to step in and stop all this.

SIMONE: I`m not going to defend that. I`m just going to say, you`re
going to see other instances.

SCHULTZ: So he was wrong with the list?

SIMONE: I would think so, yeah, if it`s done correctly. The purpose
is noble. But it didn`t sound like they weren`t finagling this a little.
This is all over the place. "American Idol" has more votes than we have in
a presidential election. They seem to have less voter fraud --

HOGUE: Because they count.

CRIER: When you had George Bush with a Republican Congress and a
Republican Department of Justice screaming this was a problem in 2000, and
by the end of their reign, 2006, they had, what, something like 32 cases
that they were able to come up with, the entire Republican conservative
national government, nationwide. And yet this is being treated as a dire
emergency to prevent a banana republic.

HOGUE: I think it`s pervasive in that you have the same set of
players actually buying the elections on one side and engaging in voter
suppression.

SCHULTZ: You had secretary of state in Florida that quit, told the
governor, I`m not going to do this.

HOGUE: Yeah. But look, Ed, all you have to do -- the Kochs are going
to spend what 400 million this cycle. AFP has been implemented in so much
voter misinformation, so much voter disenfranchisement. It`s two sides of
the same coin.

SCHULTZ: Mark, isn`t it because they can`t win on the issues? The
Republicans can`t win?

SIMONE: Here I am in the belly of the beast.

SCHULTZ: You have time to say it. Defend it. They can`t win on the
issues. They want to raise taxes on the middle class. They want to give
tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. There`s no poll showing that the
American people want that.

SIMONE: I could walk a few blocks to another network and they would
say isn`t it true they can`t win on the issues.

SCHULTZ: But they`re not telling the truth, I am.

SIMONE: Simple common sense things like showing photo ID and all
that, sometimes Democrats oppose that. You know, you have to show photo ID
to be here on this show, to get in this building.

CRIER: If there was a problem, if you could demonstrate the numbers -
- but you`re creating a false premise and then your solution will
disenfranchise people who don`t have IDs, who can`t get access, and there
are a lot of.

SIMONE: I can`t walk into any building in New York, including this
one. I couldn`t be on this show if I didn`t show an ID.

SCHULTZ: But there are very impoverished people that can`t afford the
taxi cab, that can`t afford the bus ride, that aren`t getting help to get
the photo ID. I mean, it makes a difference, especially when you got a
state like Florida that is so close. Heck, Scott won by only 61,000 votes.

HOGUE: And Michigan, the number of minorities without driver`s
licenses and then --

SCHULTZ: All right. My producers are telling me, Mark, that we do
have the number. There were seven cases of voter fraud in Milwaukee in
2004. But we`re going to have you back.

CRIER: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: You`re a good sport. Catherine Crier, Mark Simone and Ilyse
Hogue, thank you for joining us.

Next up, heckler hypocrisy; the Romney campaign`s latest tactic looks
like it`s actually backfiring. We`ll have the story when we come back.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney`s top campaigners think that they can beat
President Obama on the jobs issue. They nearly heckled the top strategist
off the podium today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Where are jobs? Where are jobs? Where are the jobs? Where
are the jobs?

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: You can shout down speakers,
my friends, but it`s hard to Etch a Sketch the truth away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Proof positive. They don`t check the crowd. Where are the
jobs? Good question. They`re not where the Romney camp thinks they are.
Romney has now decided to run on his record as governor of Massachusetts,
hoping to prove he`s a job creator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re happy to compare the 4.6 percent
unemployment rate that Mitt Romney achieved as governor of Massachusetts
versus what President Obama`s done. He promised, with the passage of the
stimulus bill, that unemployment would be at six percent or lower today.
And that`s simply not the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Sounds good. But under Romney, things got worse, a lot
worse. Romney wants us to look at his record as governor. OK, let`s do
that for a while. While Governor Romney was -- America`s economy was
growing and Romney`s state was shrinking. Massachusetts -- when it comes
to jobs. While Romney was at the helm, Massachusetts dropped a -- like a
stone, going from 36 to 47th out of 50 states for job creation.

I guess all that experience at Bain Capital just didn`t come in --
didn`t come in handy at all, did it? Governor Romney inherited an economy
that was losing jobs each month and left office with an economy that was
adding jobs each month. Now doesn`t that sound familiar?

President Obama kind of inherited a pretty tough economy, don`t you
think? But check out the chart. The red line shows the Bush
administration job losses. The blue line shows positive job creation under
President Obama.

Governor Romney only wants you to look at the unemployment in the days
right after the president took office. That`s before his stimulus package
was even passed. It`s a complete, and I mean a complete double standard.

Governor Romney won`t take blame for the economy he inherited, but he
wants us to blame President Obama for jobs before he was sworn in?
Romney`s hoping that you won`t hold him to the president`s standards on
what could be the most important voting issue of this election: jobs.

Tonight in our survey, I asked are Republicans trying to steal the
election by purging voters? Ninety seven percent of you said yes; three
percent of you said no.

In the Big Finish tonight, the truth about poverty in America. Tavis
Smiley and Dr. Cornel West will join me for the conversation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, a new report says the United
States has the second highest rate of childhood poverty in the developing
world. I don`t know what you think, but I think that that is a national
disgrace. Let`s be clear. There are two very different versions and
visions, should I say, on how to help the poor people in this country.

Here`s Mitt Romney just a few months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net
there. If it needs repair, I`ll fix it. I`m not concerned about the very
rich. They`re doing just fine. I`m concerned about the very heart of
America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Romney had been saying the same thing for months. But he
took some flack for those comments. So his rhetoric changed. Here`s what
he said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The real need in America is to help middle-income families
get good jobs with rising incomes and more security, and help people who
are poor come out of poverty and become middle income.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The rhetoric doesn`t match Romney`s policy. He would adopt
the Paul Ryan budget. The Ryan budget would attack programs the
underprivileged benefit from like never before. It would end Medicare as
we know it. President Obama has been sometimes -- been criticized for his
record. But certain facts are clear.

The Recovery Act included 150 billion dollars for low-income people.
The Affordable Care Act added 16 million people to Medicare. Obama`s Race
to the Top education initiatives is geared to low income folks in this
country.

There`s more. An expansion of SNAP, the Food Stamp Program, new child
nutrition programs, an expansion of SCHIP, health care for children in this
country, nine extensions of unemployment insurance in a tough economy.

President Obama has also been a strong bulwark against Republican
extremists who want to gut the social safety net and throw the poor out on
their ear or under the bus.

I`m joined tonight by Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, co-hosts of
public radio`s "International Smiley and West," and the authors of the book
"The Rich and The Rest Of Us, a Poverty Manifesto."

Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. I want both of you to
just get after it here. Cornel, you first. What are we doing wrong and
what do we have to do?

CORNEL WEST, PUBLIC RADIO HOST: Well, one, we have to love poor
people, which means we make them a priority in the way we made investment
bankers priority and bail out. What am I talking about? Massive investment
in jobs, massive investment in housing, decent housing, massive investment
in health care beyond simply the private companies running things.

I`m talking about making a life of decency accessible to poor people.

SCHULTZ: Tavis?

TAVIS SMILEY, PUBLIC RADIO HOST: The short answer, Ed, is that
something is wrong with the nation. It says something very damning about
this country that the younger you are, the more likely you are to be poor.
Something is wrong when women and children are falling faster into poverty
than anyone else.

This did not all happen, obviously, on Mr. Obama`s watch. But the
truth is that no president, Republican or Democrat, since Lyndon Johnson
has declared, Ed, a war on poverty that we are going to win. Bill
Bradley`s title of his new book has it right, "We Can All Do Better."

So what we`re saying in this book is that we cannot buy another race
for the White House where the issue of poverty is not discussed. McCain
and Obama didn`t get around to it last time. And Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama
are going to have to make poverty a priority in this campaign. It ought to
be discussed. But poor people can`t rendered invisible in this campaign.

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney is going to embrace and has embraced and would
implement, if he had the political power, the Ryan Plan. What does that do
to the poor? It`s pretty simple. What do you think?

WEST: Look, it`s catastrophic for the poor. It`s catastrophic for
working people. There`s no doubt that Mitt Romney`s policies are much
worse than what Barack Obama is putting forward. It`s not just a choice
between the two. Yes, Obama is better. But what we`re talking about is
much more fundamental in terms of making poor people a priority. Even
Barack Obama still is too tied to Wall Street, brother Ed.

SCHULTZ: Well, he`s tied to Wall Street. But the middle class also
invested in Wall Street. You are saying with budgets tight that Congress
is going to have to a lot more money for programs for the economically
challenged families in this country to get ahead? That`s what I`m hearing.

SMILEY: That`s right. But we`re also saying, number one, that
budgets are moral documents. We`re also saying, number two, that austerity
is not the answer. We`re also saying, number three, that budgets cannot be
balanced on the backs of poor people.

And we`re saying that poor people matter, that they have to be include
in this conversation. We`re calling for a White House conference on the
eradication of poverty. Bring the experts together. Let`s craft and
create a national plan where over 10, 15, 25 years, we can get serious, Ed,
about reducing poverty in this country.

Poverty is the moral and spiritual issue of our time right now.
Poverty is threatening our very democracy as we know it.

SCHULTZ: Cornel, how long would it take to turn it around?

WEST: Well, I tell you, on the one hand, we Americans, if we can put
a man on the Moon, if we really put our energy, creativity and imagination
and intelligence to focus on this, we can knock it out in 10 years. On the
other hand, if we have big money clogging up, getting in the way of our
political will, if we have lies getting in the way of intellectual clarity,
we`re in trouble.

SCHULTZ: Cornel West Tavis Smiley, thanks for the time tonight. I
agree with you 100 percent. Thank you.

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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