updated 7/9/2012 11:01:46 AM ET 2012-07-09T15:01:46

Guests: Sam Stein, Kelli Goff, Susan Del Percio, Patricia Murphy, Dr. James Peterson

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to
THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Shultz.

The Obama campaign is betting on Ohio and the Romney is sweating in
Bermuda.

This is THE ED SHOW -- and as Ed would say -- let`s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I still believe in
you. I`m betting on you. And the country is betting on you, Ohio.

DYSON (voice-over): The president takes his message to the middle
class as the Romney campaign deals with more new reports of offshore tax
havens. The former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has tough words for the
Republican candidate and he`s here tonight.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: Let`s kill this guy. And I feel
like that`s not really a very good campaign policy.

DYSON: The big panel weighs in on Ann Romney`s questionable comments
about Barack Obama`s campaign.

In Pennsylvania, a shocking new report says Republican voter ID laws
could disenfranchise three quarters of a million voters. That story ahead.

And comedian Chris Rock tweets about slavery on Independence Day and
the right wing can`t stand it.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: Doesn`t that tear the country apart,
Michelle?

DYSON: Dr. James Peterson responds tonight.

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: I`m talking about slavery. I`m just talking
about a period of time where black people had no rights. So, you`re
talking about the 1600s to about 1964.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: President Obama brought his re-election campaign to America`s
heartland today hoping to gain a decisive advantage in a crucial swing
state. Ohio has 18 electoral votes up for grabs. Florida is the only
state up for more grabs than that.

It`s a must win for both presidential candidates. The president
continued his recent campaign strategy of targeting his messages for
audiences. In northern Ohio, he delivered an appeal to the state`s
notoriously picky independent voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I want to work with anybody who believes we`ve got to invest
in our future. I want to work with anybody who thinks we got to get a
great education. I want to work with anybody who believes that we`ve got
to make sure that we`re building things here in America.

I`m not a Democrat first. I`m an American first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: But while the president was refining his campaign`s big
picture message of being a fighter for the middle class, he was also taking
pains to define his opponent in the opposite terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I don`t think that Mr. Romney`s plan to spend trillions of
dollars more on tax cuts for folks that don`t need them and aren`t even
asking for them is the right way to grow our economy, especially since they
want to pay for it by cutting education spending and cutting job training
programs, and raising middle class taxes. And I sure don`t agree with his
plan to keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: The Obama campaign is hoping the outsource of labor proves
hard to shake for Mitt Romney. Mr. Obama drew a contrast between Mitt
Romney`s experience with job creation and his own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Governor Romney`s experience has been in owning companies
that were called pioneers of outsourcing -- that`s not my phrase --
pioneers of outsourcing. My experience has been in saving the American
auto industry.

And as long as I`m president, that`s what I`m going to be doing --
waking up every single day, thinking about how we can create more jobs for
your families, for your security, for your community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Indeed the recovery of the auto industry is important for the
people of northern Ohio. According to "The Detroit News," the auto
industry is on pace to sell more than 14 million cars and trucks in 2012.
That`s the best sales year since 2007.

Mitt Romney might want his July 4th vacation to come to an end sooner
than later. While he`s been relaxing, his campaign narrative was snatched
away.

A bombshell investigation in "Vanity Fair" looked into the millions
of dollars of Romney`s personal fortune invested in offshore holding
accounts to take advantage of tax loopholes. A follow up report by the
associated press says, "Bermuda legal documents show that on January 1st,
2003, the day before he was sworn in as governor, his wife`s trust acquired
12,000 shares of Sankaty, an offshore holding firm. The transfer was not
made public."

The Obama campaign is more than willing to echo these. This map of
Romney`s offshore tax shelter was released by the Obama team. The
president and his advisers are happy to remind the majority of Americans
how Mitt Romney plays a different game than they do when it comes to taxes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What`s the effective rate
I`ve been paying? It`s closer to the 15 percent than anything. Because
the last 10 years, my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in
the past rather than ordinary income or rather than earned annual income.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: The Romney camp tried to counter the president`s push in Ohio
by sending surrogates Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to
shadow the Obama campaign bus. Whether they helped or hurt their candidate
is up for a debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM PAWLENY, ROMNEY CAMP CO-CHAIR: One of the basic questions is
have you had enough? How`s the situation look currently? And it`s not
very good. So, I think that opens the door for this county to look for a
different leader in change. And that`s in Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Does Tim Pawlenty really want Ohio voters to ask if they`ve
had enough? Have they had enough of a lower than average unemployment
rate? The Romney campaign needs voters to believe they are worse off today
than when they were there four years ago.

But that might not be the case in Ohio. The latest poll of the
Buckeye State shows President Obama with a nine-point lead over Mitt
Romney. The president maintains that nine point lead with independent
voters who are crucial in a very swingy state like Ohio.

And the gender gap could not be more in President Obama`s favor. He
has a 15-point lead among women over Mitt Romney. At a time when Mitt
Romney needs a close race in this vital state, the last thing he wants is
more questions about his wealth and the secrecy over whether or not he`s
paying his fair share.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: Does the secrecy surrounding Mitt Romney`s wealth concern you?
Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639 or go to our at Ed.MSNBC.com. I`ll
bring you the results later in the show.

I`m joined by Steve Benen, MSNBC political contributor and producer
for THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW.

Brother Benen, let me ask you a question straight up. Does concern
over Mitt Romney`s finances resonate with the voters in Ohio? Because the
message that Romney`s trying to get through is that look, things are much
worse now for you than they were four years ago. What do you think they`re
thinking there?

STEVE BENEN, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think Mitt Romney is a
tough case to make, especially with -- in light of the new revelations. I
imagine a lot of hard working class folks in Ohio are looking at Mitt
Romney saying I don`t know anyone with a Swiss bank account. I don`t know
anyone who stashes their cash in secret bohemian corporations and Cayman
Islands. This is something that makes it more difficult for Mitt Romney to
connect with voters, to relate to their concerns.

And while it`s true that Mitt Romney is in a position to say the
economy is not yet good, it`s especially tough to make that sale in Ohio
where job creation has been strong and unemployment rate has been dropping.
It`s actually below the national average. Put those things together, and
it makes it tough to say Romney has a compelling case.

DYSON: So do you think today makes a difference for Obama? It marks
a shift in strategy by President Obama should we expect to hear him talk
more about his experience versus Romney`s? I mean, he was pretty clear
there. What I`ve been doing every day is getting up thinking about what
helps you and I`ve been saving the automobile industry as opposed to having
this cash on offshore accounts.

BENEN: Right. Exactly. And I think the Bain Capital controversy in
this controversial background that Mitt Romney has in the private sector
has become a weight around his feet that just continues to drag him down.
You know, it`s very tough for Mitt Romney to present himself as a job
creator when he has this record of laying off American workers then getting
rich off laying off American workers.

In some ways Mitt Romney`s biggest weakness, his toughest issue is
jobs. And given that jobs is the number one issue and the concern -- on
the minds of voters, it makes it that much more difficult for him to close
the deal and kind of capitalize on the economic discontent that`s so common
among so many voters.

DYSON: Yes. You`ve indicated that look, Ohio is doing better than
years ago. It`s also doing better than the national average when it comes
to unemployment change. Does that change the dynamic of the race in Ohio?

BENEN: It does. I think with Romney -- especially in Ohio because
it`s a swing state and has so many electoral votes. If President Obama
wins Ohio, it`s difficult to imagine where the circumstances which he loses
the 2012 race.

And I think if you look at the overall landscape in Ohio, given the
fact that Obama has rescued the auto industry and saved so many jobs there,
given the fact that the unemployment rate is dropping so quickly in Ohio,
it creates these conditions that all -- when you add them together, it
makes it seem Obama is well positioned in Ohio.

In the polls you mentioned earlier, you mentioned Quinnipiac polls,
for example, kind of bolster this notion that Obama is well-positioned.

What you see is a live shot of Ohio as we have our conversation. The
Romney campaign attacks on the president for being weak against China. And
the Obama campaign attacks Romney for being an outsourcer. So, in that
battle, who wins that fight?

BENEN: I think that it`s very tough for Romney to make a sell that
Obama is being weak on China, especially given the president`s announcement
today. And I think that when you consider that in combination with the
fact that Romney has been so -- has been a pioneer I think was "The
Washington Post" word when it comes to outsourcing jobs and offshoring
jobs, I think that`s the kind of thing throughout the Midwest and working
class voter communities throughout the country, that`s the thing that will
continue to be a weight on his shoulders, dragging him down along with the
Bain controversy overall.

DYSON: Sure. Well, given all the debate going on there, what do you
think is the most important issue for Ohio voters?

BENEN: Well, I still think it`s jobs. I mean, obviously, we have
immigration and health care as being issues that have been in the news a
lot recently, especially given the Supreme Court rulings. I think when
push comes to shove, this economy and the job market is going to be the
number one issue, not just in Ohio but nationwide. I think that`s been the
case frankly since the day President Obama took office.

And I think the president has a strong case to make -- not only in
Ohio but nationwide. He could point to the fact that economy was
hemorrhaging jobs. Now, it`s adding jobs. That the stock market was down,
now, it`s up. We were paying money to Wall Street before now we made sure
that Wall Street" paid us back.

I think when you combine those factors, I think the president has a
fairly strong case to make, although he`s still facing the headwinds of a
struggling economy. But I think that if it`s the question of: is the
economy getting better? The president can make a compelling case with a
straight face that things are, in fact, getting better.

DYSON: Sure. Steve, even though we`ve been in there and done that,
we thank you so much for joining us here tonight.

BENEN: You bet.

DYSON: In the meantime, you all at home need to remember to answer
tonight`s question there at the bottom of the screen. And share your
thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know what you think.

There are five days remaining that could turn this year`s election on
its head. Tomorrow is one of them. We`ll tell you why. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: Coming up, we`ll go live to Parma, Ohio, where President
Obama is set to address the crowd.

Later, Mitt Romney`s campaign is in such a disaster that even the
right wing media has turned on him. Sam Stein will help explain the
right`s buyer remorse.

And comedian Chris Rock comes under fire for is a tweet on slavery on
the Fourth of July.

Share your thought with us on Twitter using the #EdShow.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: The president is addressing the crowd of supporters live in
Parma, Ohio. This is his third speech in Ohio today. Let`s listen in.

OBAMA: -- is here.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And Marcy Kaptur is here.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And I could not be prouder to have as one of my campaign co-
chairs, your former governor, the outstanding Ted Strickland is here.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: An outstanding president.

OBAMA: Oh, outstanding president, OK.

Now, I just want to first of all say thank you, guys, for taking your
time to come out. I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July. We had
a little barbecue in my back yard. It was little. Had a few fireworks.

Some of you know that Malia turned 14 yesterday. And she is just an
incredible young lady just like Sasha is. Now, she used to be young enough
where I could convince her that all these fireworks were for her birthday.
But she doesn`t believe me anymore.

And Michelle sends her love.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Malia was having a sleepover with some of her friends and
Michelle thought, you know, you can`t just have a house full of girls and
no parental supervision. Just letting you know. But she says hi. The
girls say hi. And Bo says hi.

Now, you may not have noticed, but we`re in the middle of campaign
season here. And this will be -- one way or another, this will be my last
campaign, which gets me to thinking about my first campaign. And, you
know, I was a lawyer and I was teaching law.

And, you know, the state Senate seat came up, and I told Michelle,
you know, some people had talked to me about running for office. What does
she think? She said, well, that`s a dumb idea.

But after I explained to her why I thought it might make sense for me
to run, she joined in. And we didn`t have a budget. You know, we didn`t
have TV ads. We printed a bunch of stuff at Kinko`s.

And we had a few friends who volunteered. And we started knocking on
doors and I`d go in front of the grocery store and shake hands. And, you
know, we would march in parades.
f
In fact, the Fourth of July parade in Hyde Park in Chicago, they had
a tradition that folks who were in office or running for office had to
dress up. And somebody had an outfit for me like a minuteman outfit with,
like, a hat. And, you know, sort of the cutoff pants. And my legs are
kind of skinny, so I didn`t look very good in them.

And then, you know, I won that race. So, I served in the state
Senate. And I got the idea of running for the United States Senate after
serving eight years in the state Senate there. And I decided to go to
Michelle and ask her what she thought. And she said, well, that`s a dumb
idea.

But because I`d had a chance as a state senator and traveled the
whole state of Illinois which is a lot like Ohio. You know, it`s a mix of
big cities and rural communities and folks from every walk of life. And I
started just traveling the state. And I go to state fairs and we`d go to
county fairs and we`d stop in little towns and meet folks and go to VFW
halls.

And what I realized during that Senate race and what I realized when
I first ran for the state Senate was the reason I got into politics was
because in this country, there`s this core American idea that we celebrated
yesterday. And that is if you work hard, you take responsibility for
yourself and your family and you don`t get discouraged when you hit some
setbacks, you can make it if you try.

The basic -- the basic American bargain that says it doesn`t matter
what you look like, where you come from, where you worship, the idea is you
don`t have to be born into fame or fortune. If you`re willing to apply
yourself and work hard, you can make it. You can follow your dreams.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And the reason I got into that first race way back when and
the reason I ran for the Senate and the reason I ran for president was
because that had been available for my family. And my grandparents
participated in World War II. My grandfather fought in Patton`s Army and
my grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line.

And when my grandfather came back, he was able to study on the G.I.
bill. They were able to buy their first home with some help from the FHA.
America gave them that opportunity. Didn`t give them a handout, but gave
them that chance.

And when my mom, a single mom, was raising two kids and trying to get
her education, there were grants and loans available. And she could
instill a love of learning in me and my sister and we had a chance to get a
great education.

And you look at Michelle`s family. You know, her dad was what was
called a stationary engineer at a water filtration plant in Chicago, blue
collar worker. Even though he had M.S., he`d have to wake up an hour
earlier to get up and get dressed and get to the job. But he never missed
a day of work.

And Michelle`s mom, she stayed at home raising the kids and then
later became a secretary. They never had a lot, but they had a chance to
give their kids this great education.

And so my whole life and Michelle`s whole life was an example of this
American dream. This idea that if you work hard and you can find a job
that pays a living wage, you can afford a home, you won`t go bankrupt when
you get sick, you can retire with some dignity and respect, you can take a
vacation. May not be fancy, you might not be going to some fancy resort,
but you can go with your kids and enjoy each other`s company and see the
amazing sights of this country.

And the problem was that you could feel over the last decade how that
dream was slipping away for too many people. They were working harder and
harder, but it seemed like wages weren`t going up, incomes weren`t going
up, opportunities weren`t increasing, costs of health care was going up,
cost of college was going up, gas prices going up, groceries going up.

So that basic bargain felt like it was slipping away from too many
people. That`s what got me into politics. That`s why I ran for the state
Senate. That`s why I entered my first political race. That`s why I`m
running my last political race.

DYSON: That`s President Obama addressing supporters live in Parma,
Ohio.

Coming up, the right wing media goes into attack mode and turns its
sights on Mitt Romney`s campaign. Sam Stein has the latest.

And Ann Romney says the Obama campaign`s strategy is kill her
husband. Kelli Goff, Patricia Murphy and Susan Del Fersio (ph) will weigh
in on that and much more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Flip-flopping is no longer good enough for Mitt Romney. So now he`s
doing back flips. His latest, the health care mandate is a tax after all.
To get you up to date, here is the conservative chorus singing it`s a tax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: It is a tax.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: Yes, it is a tax.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: I called it what it was, a huge
tax increase.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: It`s a tax since the court said it was
a tax.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: It`s a tax.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

DYSON: But here`s Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom saying, no, it`s
not a tax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMENY CAMPAIGN: The mandate is not a tax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Just for good measure, Romney spokesman Andrea Saul confirmed
the mandate is not a tax.

But the Romney campaign must have caught a lot of flack from
Republicans because Romney felt compelled to grant an interview during his
Independence Day family vacation so he can say yes, the mandate is a tax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: So it`s a tax. Like it or not, it`s a tax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: That was more than enough to set off Rupert Murdoch`s "Wall
Street Journal" which wrote a stinging critique of Romney`s flip-flopping.
Quote, "Perhaps Mr. Romney is slowly figuring this out, because in a July
4th interview, he stated himself that the penalty now is a tax after all.
But he offered no elaboration. And so, the campaign looks confused in
addition to being politically dumb.

This latest mistake is of a piece with the campaign`s insular staff
and strategy that are slowly squandering an historic opportunity."

But that was hardly the end of conservative criticism. Here`s Dick
Morris on Fox News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His two senior advisers had a totally different
story.

DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I know. It was so stupid. What
he was doing was he didn`t want to be accused of raising taxes in
Massachusetts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Wow. So stupid, huh? And Bill Kristol agrees with the "Wall
Street Journal" that the problem was a larger one. Quote, "what was his
economic growth agenda? His deficit reform agenda? His health care reform
agenda? His tax reform agenda? His replacement for Dodd-Frank? No need
for any of that. I suppose the Romney campaign believes just need to keep
on speaking about the economy."

Let`s turn to Sam Stein, political reporter for the "Huffington Post,"
who put it all in perspective for us. The Romney campaign was clearly at
war with itself on the question of whether the mandate is a tax, to say the
least. Tell us, Sam, is the war over?

SAM STEIN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": I guess so. Because when the
candidate speaks, he speaks for the entire campaign. The problem wasn`t
just that they said their belief that it wasn`t a tax. It`s that they said
that Governor Romney doesn`t believe it`s a tax. Then the governor had to,
of course, do an abrupt interview with CBS News and say yes, he does think
it`s a tax.

You know, this is all a debate over semantics, obviously, because if
you ask anyone who worked on Masscare or Obamacare, they will tell you that
as a legislative instrument, the mandate in each respective health care law
is basically identical. So if it`s a tax for one, it`s a tax for the
other.

I think Romney realized that early on, that he would get hit with this
accusation that if it was a tax for Obama, he raised taxes as governor. He
wanted to avoid that. The problem is that the conservatives class wanted
to use it as a cudgel over the president. So he was stuck in a really
tough place there.

DYSON: The Grover Norquists were looming in the background there.

STEIN: Exactly.

DYSON: Here`s Rick Santorum from a few months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It would be
probably the worst candidate for us to nominate to go after Barack Obama on
gas prices and on government takeover of health care. Heck, he was the --
he created the blueprint for the government takeover of health care that
President Obama followed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Man, this is Yogi Berra, right? This is deja vu all over
again. This is really coming back to haunt Romney, isn`t it?

STEIN: Yes, well Rick Santorum looks very prescient there.
Obviously, is there anyone in the country who would be a worse candidate to
run against Obama on health care? Mitt Romney basically God fathered the
whole bill. That was his call to reform and he did it with a liberal
senator, Ted Kennedy. So yes, Rick Santorum was right then and he`s right
now. There`s no one else in the Republican party who has the baggage than
Mitt Romney has on this issue.

That`s why I think you saw Romney do this interview. He wants to get
this swept off the front pages as soon as possible. I don`t think the
campaign anticipated that there would be conservative blowback to his
interview. They probably thought that when he went out there and said it
is a tax that that would settle the matter and they would move on.
Instead, what you see is a lot of conservatives worried about his handling
from the get go.

They said now he looks like a flip-flopper and he shouldn`t -- his
campaign shouldn`t have gone there in the first place. It goes to show you
that Mitt Romney`s not an adroit campaigner. If you get him on script, if
you`re talking about the economy, he`s in a good place. If you`re talking
about anything else, he finds it very difficult to deal with the narrative.

DYSON: Yeah, the God father, I suppose. So he`s Marlon Brando to I
suppose Barack Obama`s Michael Corleon and Al Pacino.

(CROSS TALK)

DYSON: Just don`t be Fredo. I can do things too, you know. I know
things, too. Look, Romney was asked if his Massachusetts health care
mandate was also a tax. Let`s listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Actually the chief justice, in his opinion, made it very
clear that at the state level, states have the power to put in place
mandates. They don`t need to require them to be called taxes in order for
them to be Constitutional. And as a result, Massachusetts` mandate was a
mandate, was a penalty, was described that way by the legislature and by
me. So it stays as it was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Wow, the semantics, this slogan nearing the pivot towards the
states rights and all that stuff. Is this really going to cut it with the
American people?

STEIN: No. Because again it`s semantics. And again, the people who
crafted both bills say they`re virtually identical. And the "Huffington
Post`s" Alex Becker, for instance, tonight searched the official
Massachusetts government home pages from the time when Mitt Romney was
governor. On that webpage, they describe it as a stiff tax penalty.

So the word tax is there on the official documentation. Obviously
this stuff is there to be unearthed. There`s plenty of quotes from Romney
a couple of years ago describing it as a tax penalty. This is a debate
over semantics. No one actually is buying any of the spin.

DYSON: Sam Stein, or should I call you Tom the Consiglieri, thank you
so much, my friend.

STEIN: I`ll take that. Thank you.

DYSON: All right.

There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour on THE ED SHOW.
Stay tuned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: I feel like all he`s doing is saying
let`s kill this guy. I feel like that`s not really a very good campaign
policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Ann Romney takes a big time shot at the Obama campaign. I`ll
ask the big panel if she went too far.

The right wing effort to suppress the vote amongst the poor and
minorities is dealt a major blow by one of their own. We`ll tell you about
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder`s surprising veto later.

And Chris Rock Tweets, the right wing freaks. And now Herman Cain is
trying to teach us all about slavery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it was Chris
Rock who made fun of the fact, well, it might be Independence Day, but the
slaves weren`t free then. Look at it this way, if America had not become
independent, slaves might still be slaves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: Offshore assets, Swiss bank accounts, car elevators; Mitt
Romney has an image problem. So once again he`s deploying his wife Ann to
come to his rescue. Mr. and Mrs. Romney tackled the reliability issue head
on, sitting down for an interview in their eight million dollar summer
estate in New Hampshire. Bless their hearts.

Ann Romney wasted no time of accusing Team Obama of not playing fair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

A. ROMNEY: It makes you recognize that they are going to do
everything they can to destroy Mitt. So, you know, they`re trying to
portray him in a light that is completely wrong. Early on, we heard what
their strategy was. It was kill Romney. And that was their memo that came
out from the campaign. And it`s, like, not when I`m next to him, you
better not.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Mrs. Romney was referring to a 2011 story in which an unnamed
Democratic strategist told "Politico" team Obama would have to go negative
to win. But the Obama campaign hasn`t personally attacked Mitt Romney.
Instead Team Obama is focusing on Romney`s record at Bain Capital, his
record as governor of Massachusetts. Mitt Romney is running for president.
Shouldn`t his executive experience be fair game?

According to Ann Romney, no. In fact, she believes President Obama is
leading the charge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

A. ROMNEY: I feel like all he`s doing is saying, let`s kill this guy.
I feel like that`s not really a very good campaign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Let`s turn to Patricia Murphy, editor of "Citizen Jane
Politics," Keli Goff, author of "The GQ Candidate" -- she`s looking GQ
herself, as well as the rest of these ladies -- and Republican strategist
Susan Del Percio. Thank you so much for joining us here tonight.

So Ann Romney is an effective surrogate. She`s beautiful. She`s
bright. She`s lovable and very sweet woman. Do you think she went too far
with these comments?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, she was simply
repeating something that was outlined in a story that didn`t say we should
go negative; it said we should -- they`re going to have to kill him. That
was the language used.

And as a spouse, you do get defensive and you do stand up for your
husband. And there`s nothing wrong with that. Michelle Obama did it in
2008, and she was lauded for it by many people. And she even had her own -
- if you want to deem this a little bit of a misstep, so did Mrs. Obama
when she was on the campaign trail.

But this is what you expect to see from spouses. You want them to
stand up for their husband. You expect it.

DYSON: Kelli?

KELLI GOFF, AUTHOR, "THE GQ CANDIDATE": This might be a little bit
more believable if this was Mitt Romney`s first campaign, not his like
tenth. We all know that she knows what campaigns are like and that they`re
often unpleasant and that there`s been a lot of attacking against President
Obama, a lot of it really racist and racially based. I`m not talking about
from the fringe crazy element of the party. I`m talking about elected
officials who have made -- sent around racist cartoons and racist jokes.

We`re going to see more of that this election cycle. Some of it`s
going to be from a lot of Romney supporters. So I think she`s being a
little melodramatic. And again, my point is that for anyone who thinks
this wasn`t sort of planned in a room where strategists said she needs to
be the attack dog in a subtle, likable way, anyone who doesn`t know that
that was a strategy is kind of kidding themselves.

(CROSS TALK)

DYSON: She`s increasing her visibility. She`s often a much more
relatable figure. Is there too big a relatable gap here? And is she
really helping him?

PATRICIA MURPHY, "THE DAILY BEAST": I think almost every day she`s
helping him. I think in this instance she`s not helping him, because you
want the tough person in the room to be Mitt Romney. You don`t want the
attack dog, the tough person in the interview, the person giving it back to
Obama, to be Ann Romney. Then here`s Mitt Romney on the other side saying,
well, I don`t really know if that`s the case.

I also think that the facts just don`t bear up here when you look at
what the Romney campaign did to somebody like Newt Gingrich in Florida,
carpet bomb that state.

(CROSS TALK)

DEL PERCIO: No, the Obama campaign in 2008, nearly six to one towards
the end blasting McCain. Both sides are known for negative campaigns.

(CROSS TALK)

MURPHY: But there`s a reason they go negative. Both sides go
negative.

GOFF: You took the words out of our mouths. This is politics and she
knows this. `s had multiple campaigns. And they participate in it.

Just going back to the fact that this is a strategy, there`s a reason
-- it`s not a coincidence that Mitt Romney was not the one being tough in
the interview. Why is that? Because polls show, and Karl Rove has said
this, that the one rating that President Obama has in the bag, that has
been unshakable since he was sworn into office, his likability.

Eight out of ten voters like him. And the RNC was on the record as
saying that you cannot attack him personally. Mitt Romney cannot do that.

(CROSS TALK)

MURPHY: Republicans want a fighter. They don`t want Ann Romney to be
the fighter. They want Mitt Romney to be the fighter.

DYSON: All right, let`s take a look at Ann Romney. She was asked
about her husband`s future running mate obviously as vice president. Let`s
listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he should nominate a woman?

A. ROMNEY: We`ve been looking at that. I`d love that option as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Now, what if Michelle Obama said we when referring to her
husband. We know Hillary Clinton got -- came under a lot of fire because
it was like, look, this ain`t your role. Now if Michelle Obama had said
we, there would be a firestorm of controversy. Do you think there`s a
problem in that possessive pronoun of we?

DEL PERCIO: I don`t think there would be a fire storm controversy
around it.

DYSON: There was for Hillary Clinton, though, right?

(CROSS TALK)

GOFF: -- Giuliani sitting in on cabinet meetings or what have you.

MURPHY: She comes off as a very traditional, political spouse. I
don`t think she`s wading into dangerous territory by saying we. I think
everybody knows that`s a political partnership. And I think it`s
refreshing. At least somebody is talking about a woman being on the
Republican ticket, even if it`s just Ann Romney.

GOFF: Because it worked so well last time for them.

DYSON: Well -- now Susan, but you -- you think it`s much to do about
nothing. You think look, this is par for the course. You think Ann Romney
is actually helping her husband`s image problem.

DEL PERCIO: Absolutely. She`s definitely an asset to him. She`s
doing a really good job. She is becoming very relatable to people. They
like to see that side of people. Let`s face it, one of the things we hear
a lot right now is Michelle Obama, what a great job she`s been doing as a
First Lady, and how she`s become also a tremendous asset on the campaign
trail. So there`s something wrong with that.

GOFF: I like Ann Romney, but when it comes to the whole relatable
question, that`s very much relative. You know, between Mitt Romney, her
husband, who thinks that like being an equestrian is an average Joe sport
like bowling or something, I think that --

(CROSS TALK)

DYSON: I guess all of this is relative. You have to say it if
they`re not --

(CROSS TALK)

MURPHY: She just speaks in normal, everyday language. As an
equestrian myself and not a rich person, I can say it`s not --

(CROSS TALK)

MURPHY: Mostly an asset, in this case not.

DYSON: Let`s have folks have equestrian, giddy up, giddy up, let`s
not go. All right, Patricia Murphy, Kelli Goff and Susan Del Percio, what
a lovely trio of brilliant women. Thank you so very much.

It happened this week in Michigan. A Republican governor actually
vetoed a voter I.D. law. But in Pennsylvania, hundreds of thousands of
registered voters could be disenfranchised this November. I`ll give you
the details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: Earlier this week, Republican Governor Rick Snyder went
against members of his own party and vetoed a voter I.D. law. But all is
not lost for the GOP. In the past two years, five battle ground states
have tightened their voting laws. These laws disproportionately effect
minorities, the young, the old, and the poor.

And in Pennsylvania, the impact of a new voter I.D. law could be much
bigger than Republicans had originally anticipated. Barack Obama won the
state by the largest majority of any candidate since 1972. But
Pennsylvania Republicans have made it clear what their goal is this time
around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE REP. MIKE TURZAI (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Voter I.D., which is going
to allow governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: You heard it from the horse`s mouth. Thanks to the new law,
over 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania might not meet the voting
requirements because of a lack of identification. That means over nine
percent of registered voters in the Keystone State could be disenfranchised
this November.

In Philadelphia, 18 percent of registered voters don`t have a proper
I.D. Republicans have always claimed that these laws help prevent voter
fraud. But here`s the truth: in the past decade, 649 million votes cast in
general elections, there were 47,000 UFO sightings, 441 Americans were
killed by lightning, and only just 13 credible cases of voter fraud -- 13.

This isn`t about voter fraud. This is about voter suppression.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you does the secrecy surrounding Mitt
Romney`s wealth concern you? Ninety percent Say yes; seven percent say no.

Coming up, Chris Rock takes a stand on the meaning of the Fourth of
July for African-Americans and takes a lot of heat. Dr. James Peterson
joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Chris Rock Tweeted this about
the Fourth of July: "Happy white people`s Independence Day. The slaves
weren`t free but I`m sure they enjoyed fireworks." Here`s what Michelle
Malkin had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE MALKIN, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: All the people of color
around the world who want to get into this country, I think that`s who
Chris Rock needs to talk to. Not that we whitewash our history, but
yesterday was a day to celebrate the opportunity, the freedom, the
uniqueness and exceptionalism of our country. And these people in
Hollywood refuse to see it, even though they`re the greatest beneficiaries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Curious case of "our" from Miss Malkin. What Chris Rock
eluded to is hardly new. In 1852, Franklin Douglas gave a speech, "the
Meaning of July Fourth For the Negro." at the outset, he praised the
fathers of the republic. "They were statesmen, patriots and heroes. And
for the good they did and the principles they contended for, I will unite
with you to honor their memory."

But later in the same speech, he addressed the reality of his time.
"I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included
within the pale of this glorious anniversary. Your high independence only
reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you
this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of
justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers,
is shared by you, not by me."

For more, I`m joined by Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana
Studies and associate professor of English at Lehigh University. Always
great to see you, Professor Peterson.

Look, didn`t Douglass strike right at the heart of this? We celebrate
America, but we mourn its deepest historical flaws.

DR. JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Yes. This speech you`re
citing from Douglass is one of the classic speeches in American history. I
would encourage viewers to read it to better appreciate the irony that
Chris Rock is getting at in the Tweet. This is why we love Twitter too,
because these kind of concentrated, pithy remarks can be sort of realized
about very, very deep issues, in this case the irony of black folks
celebrating Independence Day.

It`s not that we don`t celebrate it. It`s that we have to also
commemorate the fact that our ancestors had to transcend violence and
brutality and oppression for years in order to even begin to tap into
what`s so called the American dream.

DYSON: Well, perhaps from the sublime of Douglass to the ridiculous
of Herman Cain, here`s former Republican candidate Cain on the Chris Rock
Tweet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I think it was Chris Rock who made fun of the fact, well, it
might be Independence Day, but the slaves weren`t free then. Look at it
this way. If America had not become independent, slaves might still be
slaves. America`s ability to overcome those things that it needed to
overcome is one of the greatest attributes of this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Doesn`t this miss the point? First of all, it isn`t when they
became free, that is the nation from European hegemony, that it, all of a
sudden, freed the slaves. Help us understand, professor.

PETERSON: It`s idiotic. Mr. Cain is misunderstanding history.
Obviously black folk fought in every war this country fought in and was
instrumental in every war this country fought in. But he`s mixing apples
and oranges here.

The bottom line here is that black folk in this country have a set of
experiences that are distinct, a history that is distinct. And look, if
you look at any measure, even right now -- if you look at incarceration
rates, if you look at access to health care, if you look t access to good
education, if you look at police brutality, if you look at bias in the
criminal justice system, look at the death penalty, look at any of these
issues, you will see that racially we still have challenges in this
country.

What Chris Rock`s Tweet does is reveal the irony of the American dream
for black folk. And I stand by it. I think it was a very, very powerful
statement that he made.

DYSON: Let`s take a listen to a little bit of what he`s done in his
standup act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: When I talk about slavery -- no, no, no. When
I talk about slavery, I`m just talking about a period of time where black
people had no rights. So you talk about the 1600s to about 1964.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: That is pretty crushing. Rock has never shied away from this
subject, so we shouldn`t be expected on this Independence Day to do it
either. Give us in 30 seconds what is the down low is here?

PETERSON: Listen, the thing is also people are leaving out the most
important part. The punch line of the Tweet is that slaves experienced
fireworks. Right, so he`s making an irony about the kind of violence that
black folks have experienced in this community. Chris Rock is always
abrasive, but he`s always sharp, smart and intellectual. And people need
to let a comedian be who he is.

DYSON: No doubt about that. Dr. James Peterson, ain`t no humor in
what you`re saying, but a lot of insight. Thank you so much, my friend.

PETERSON: Thank you.

DYSON: That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts 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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