updated 7/10/2012 9:42:18 AM ET 2012-07-10T13:42:18

Guests: Dick Durbin, Richard Wolffe, Ron Christie, Keith Boykin, John Fugelsang, Chris Wojcik

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

The day after Romney hangs out with a Koch brother, President Obama
goes on offense for the middle class.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We should all agree to
extend the tax cuts for the middle class. Let`s agree to do what we agree
on, right?

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president puts Republicans in the corner
again.

OBAMA: The Republicans say they don`t want to raise taxes on the
middle class. I don`t want to raise taxes on the middle class.

SCHULTZ: Will Republicans hold the middle class tax cuts hostage yet
again? I`ve got commentary. Howard Fineman has answers.

Democrats are tearing into Mitt Romney`s offshore accounting.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: He`s the first and only candidate for
president of the United States with a Swiss bank account, with tax
shelters, with tax avoidance schemes that involve so many foreign
countries.

SCHULTZ: Senator Dick Durbin is here tonight.

The big panel takes on the ridiculous details coming occupant of Mitt
Romney`s Koch brother fund-raiser.

And a day after this terrifying picture was taken, the beaches were
open for business in Cape Cod.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be open for business. It`s going to be
one of the best summers we`ve ever had.

SCHULTZ: We`ll ask a shark expert if there`s anything to worry about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to need a bigger boat.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

President Obama has put the issue of tax fairness front and center in
this election. Speaking in the East Room of the White House, the president
asked Congress to immediately extend the Bush tax cuts for those making
less than $250,000 a year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The Republicans say they don`t want to raise taxes on the
middle class. I don`t want to raise taxes on the middle class. So we
should all agree to extend the tax cuts for the middle class. Let`s agree
to do what we agree on, right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Now, I`m going to show you some numbers in just a few
moments. And you can be the judge, because this really puts the
Republicans on the spot. They have to take a position on supporting middle
class tax cuts without an equal tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans.
Now, the Romney campaign believes the best way to deal with the
announcement is to say the president is raising taxes. President Obama`s
response to even more bad economic news is a massive tax increase.

Here`s the problem with the Romney camp`s statement. It is blatantly
false. But they think the head-shaking crowd will buy what they say.

The president did not propose a tax increase of any kind today.
Instead, President Obama said we should deal with the expiring tax cuts for
98 percent of Americans right now. Could Congress do something right now?

Well, instead of waiting for the deadline on January 1st, come on,
congressional members, prove you can earn your paycheck. Whether or not
the taxes should go up on the top 2 percent will be up to the voters in
November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: In many ways, the feat of the tax cut for the wealthiest
Americans will be decided by the outcome of the next election. My opponent
will fight to keep them in place. I will fight to end them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So what is happening here? The president is showing a clear
distinction between his idea of taxation and Mitt Romney`s. President
Obama continued to highlight this line in the sand throughout the day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They say they agree we shouldn`t let middle class taxes go up.
Why not go ahead and take care of the 98 percent now?

Have the debate about the 2 percent, and if Mr. Romney wins or the
Republicans control Congress, they could provide more tax breaks to the
wealthy. If I win, we won`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Of course, Republicans will never allow this extension to
happen without extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said so yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: What we ought to be
doing is extending the current tax rates for another year with a hard
requirement to get through to comprehensive tax reform one more time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We all know the real reason Republicans will not pass the
extension for the majority of Americans right now, is because they need a
hostage in order to get what they want. The middle tax cut is the hostage
this time. McConnell said he learned this lesson during the debt ceiling
debate last year.

"We did learn this -- it`s a hostage that`s worth ransoming. And it
focused the Congress on something that must be done."

This is why the Obama camp is pushing the tax message right now and
it`s really a brilliant move. In a campaign memo two weeks ago, the White
House adviser David Plouffe explained why this was a fight to win. "If
Republicans want to talk about taxes, then we`re happy to have that debate.
Republican plans will raise taxes on middle class families to give
millionaires and billionaires a $250,000 tax cut."

Recent analysis proves this, my friends, to be true. For example, if
you`re a person who makes between $50,000 and $100,000 a year -- listen up,
your taxes will go up nearly $4,500 under the Republican plan to offset the
tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That`s how they want to play the
game.

The big question tonight is whether Democrats will follow the
president`s lead. This is where the president of the United States needs
every Democrat out on the campaign trail saying this is what we can do now.
This is what we have to do. This is what Americans want. And they should!

As President Obama pointed out today, his proposal is something that
the vast majority of Americans have agreed with for a long time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So, I`m not proposing anything radical here. I just believe
that anybody making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax
rates we were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created
nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and
plenty of millionaires to boot.

And this is not just my opinion. The American people are with me on
this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: OK, we got a poll for everything in America these days, but
you know what? There`s a couple years of polls back in the president`s
statement. The people are with the president on this. And they have been
for several years.

Gallup asked voters in 2010 whether tax cuts for the rich should be
phased out -- 59 percent of Americans said yes, only 37 percent said no.

Fast forward. A year later, 2011, Gallup asked if taxes should be
increased on the wealthy -- 66 percent of Americans said yes. The top two
percent has got to do more. Only 32 percent said no. That`s a minority
number, 32 percent, where I come from.

This year, fast forward to the numbers, Gallup asked if the rich are
paying their fair share in taxes -- 62 percent said they paid too little,
fair share, 25 percent, 10 percent of America thinks the wealthiest
Americans pay too much. Yes, the people are with the president.

The American people have been told, well, we can`t raise taxes on the
job creators. You know what? I think they should take a poll on that
because I think most Americans are sick of that line. There has been no
proof of any jobs created because the wealthiest Americans have had the
lowest taxes over the past decade. You never hear the rich explain to the
American people just how bad they have had it under the old rates.

Where`s that story? Let`s take somebody who makes $2 million a year.
Let`s talk about a wealthy person. Do you think if somebody was making $2
million a year, would you consider that person wealthy? I think you would.

Under the Bush rates, they would be taxed at 35 percent. That`s where
we are right now. Under the old rate, from the Clinton years, they were
taxed at there 36 -- 39.6 percent. Thirty-nine-point -- now, what does
that mean in money here?

See, Bush rates, 35 percent, old rates 39.6 percent. Look at the
numbers. This is with the Bush tax cuts, this is what you would take home,
$25,000 per week. Under the old rates, you take home $23,230 per week.

Someone maybe should go on FOX News and explain just how hard it is,
just how hard it is to make it on this number. Or that number. Or this
number.

Let`s go back to the old rates. This is what the president wants to
do -- $23,230 per week is what somebody making $2 million a year would take
home. Now ask yourself the question, could you live on that?

The president is trying to fix the treasury. The president has come
to the table, the Democrats have come to the table and said, OK, you want
to do big cuts, we`ll do big cuts, but we want to do this, too. And the
wealthy and Republicans don`t want to serve it up.

I believe that the wealthiest Americans can help save this country. I
believe that. But there just doesn`t seem to be any economic patriotism
floating around these parts these days. It`s all take, take, take.

Later in this broadcast, we will show you how middle class Americans
are serving it up. But the wealthiest Americans are being protected by the
Republicans.

Ask yourself -- go ask your husband or your spouse, your wife, honey,
could we make it on 25 grand a week? Well, yes. Do you think we could
make it on $23,230 a week? Yes.

That`s where America is right now and the polls show it.

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

Tonight`s question: will Republicans work for the middle class and
extend the tax cuts for the 98 percent? Text A for yes, text B for no to
622639. You can comment on our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you the
results later on in the show.

It`s about tax fairness, it`s about common sense. It`s about asking
the tough question, can the wealthiest Americans serve it up for America,
and President Obama today is asking that question.

I`m joined tonight by Howard Fineman, NBC News political analyst and
editorial director of "The Huffington Post" Media Group.

Great to have you with us tonight, Howard.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: Hi, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You know, the president has to win the middle class to get
re-elected. Let`s operate on that premise. Does this issue win the middle
class?

FINEMAN: Well, the White House thinks so. I talked to an aide today
who said what you said, is that this is the way they`re going to fight
back.

And I think the Republicans and Democrats inhabit different universes.
Mitt Romney`s really being run by that 10 percent that you showed in the
poll, the 10 percent who think the taxes on the rich are too high. Those
are the people running his show.

And from the Republican strategist point of view and I talked to one
today, they think anytime they yell tax at Barack Obama, they`ve got a
winner. He`s a tax raiser, he`s a tax raiser, he`s a tax raiser, he`s a
tax raiser. Their universe, they`re talking to their own people, they turn
out their own people.

The White House answer to that is going to be that Mitt Romney and the
Republicans are out to screw the middle class and they`re not using the tax
code in the best possible way to create jobs, because if you talk to
economists and I have, fair-minded ones, not raging liberals --

SCHULTZ: Sure.

FINEMAN: -- you know, fair minded ones, they will tell you that
cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans while it might create some jobs,
is certainly not the most efficient way to use the tax code to create jobs.
As a matter of fact, the best way to create jobs is to focus tax cuts on
the middle class. Study after study has shown that and that`s part of the
president`s argument.

SCHULTZ: Well, is it an argument that can hold up? We`re 120 days
away from the election. This is going to be the narrative for the Obama
campaign and this is really not Mitt Romney, this is the Obama campaign and
the president willing to make the clear distinction in front of the
American people.

So the question is: are there any Republicans out there in Congress
that might wind up agreeing with the president on this extension?

FINEMAN: Virtually none. Certainly none that are in Congress now.
You have a few renegades out there, but don`t forget, most are still signed
on with the Grover Norquist no new taxes pledge, number one. Number two,
the Republicans understand what Mitch McConnell said on television, which
is they`ve got to hold together on this or the whole thing falls apart.
The president is trying to split them very shrewdly, I think, but
procedurally in the Congress, having caught up with a couple congressional
aides today, they`re not -- the Republicans are not going to allow in the
House -- they will not allow the kind of vote the president wants.

SCHULTZ: No.

FINEMAN: That the president is daring them to have. It will never
happen.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINEMAN: So it`s going to be a rhetorical thing. There will be a
vote on an overwhelming -- on a complete re-upping of the extension of the
tax cuts, the Bush era tax cuts. There will be a vote on the house. All
of the Republicans will vote for it, virtually all of the Democrats will
vote against it. The Republicans will then say, see --

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINEMAN: -- Obama and the Democrats want to raise taxes, and Barack
Obama will again lay down the mark he laid down today and say, they want
give me the vote I wanted. Therefore, they`re out to screw the middle
class.

And really, what we`ve got here, Ed, is the president said, this is
like the regular season of the NBA. Nobody is paying -- the real ball game
is going to be in the playoffs, and then the finals are going to be right
after the first of the year.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINEMAN: And it`s for home court advantage here, for whoever has home
court advantage.

SCHULTZ: Well, the Romney campaign is going to have to get out
because the polling shows the wealthiest Americans should be paying more.
He can`t wait for the last two minutes and play hard and expect to win this
game, which is normally how a lot of regular season games go.

Look, I also think, Howard, how important is it for Democrats to get
behind the president on this? He`s correct on this issue. The people are
with him.

How can any Democrat go home and say, "No, I really don`t want to do
it this way" and then turn around and say, "Hey, I`m for the middle class"?

FINEMAN: I agree with you on that. I think we`ll see what happens.
I think the leaders of the congressional committee and the senatorial
committee are behind the president on this.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINEMAN: But let`s see how they whip it to use the term from the Hill
in whether they can enforce that because there will be some candidates in
some red states or swing places who are going to be reluctant to take the
dare.

But I agree with you, if the Democrats don`t go firmly on this and
back up the president`s strategy --

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINEMAN: -- then it will have no use whatsoever.

SCHULTZ: They have to go to the firewall on this issue. They served
it up.

FINEMAN: If they want to make it work -- absent a vote, Ed, they`ve
got to do it rhetorically if they`re going to make the point stick.

SCHULTZ: Howard Fineman, great to have you with us on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much.

FINEMAN: Thank you, Ed.

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

Mitt Romney is not giving very good answers on why he has so much
money socked away in offshore accounts. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin joins
me next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney`s tax shelters -- they are becoming a
major issue on the campaign trail. I`ll talk with Senate Majority Whip
Dick Durbin. He`s got some issues with it.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, this guy comes unglued in his latest
attack on the president. And he`s not the only righty pushing conspiracy
theories about President Obama. Richard Wolffe is over it with the
discussion tonight.

Share your thoughts on Twitter using #EdShow and like us on Facebook.
We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Democrats have come out swinging against Mitt Romney`s offshore bank
accounts. Here`s Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), MARYLAND: The relevance is this, that
Governor Romney can`t claim that his state actually was great at creating
jobs when he was governor so he has fallen back and said, look, vote for
me. I was a businessman, I created jobs.

If you want to talk about going the way of Europe -- what went the way
of Europe were the Swiss bank accounts and the American dollars that Mitt
Romney stuffed in that offshore Swiss bank account.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And this is key in this campaign. Mitt Romney has never
been critically questions by any journalists as to why he has money over
there. What`s wrong with American investment? What`s wrong with American
jobs?

This guy is running around the country telling everybody he`s a job
creator yet his real wealth is overseas? Why is that?

Any Americans who has money overseas, it`s only for one reason and
that is to be as wealthy as you possibly can be.

Senator Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs said Romney`s offshoring
issues can be cleared up only by releasing more tax returns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: The one thing he can do, Candy, to
clear up whether or not he`s done anything illegal, whether he`s shielding
his income from taxes in Bermuda or Switzerland, is to do what every other
presidential candidate has done, and that`s release a series of years of
their own tax returns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And I think we`ve got to be very clear about this. This
isn`t something that that been ginned up by the Obama campaign. This
follows a week of more news reports about Romney`s offshore accounts.

Does that relate to average Americans? Do you have offshore accounts?

The Romney campaign spokeswoman said this: "The Obama campaign`s
latest unfounded character assault on Mitt Romney is unseemly and
disgusting. Mitt Romney had a successful career in the private sector,
pays every dime of taxes he owes, has given generously to charitable
organizations and has served numerous causes greater than himself."

OK, good statement. But the fact remains -- this is a man running for
president of the United States who seems to like offshore bank accounts,
does he not?

Here is Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DURBIN: He`s the only candidate for president of the United States
with Swiss bank account, with tax shelters, with tax avoidance schemes that
involve so many foreign countries. You either get a Swiss bank account to
conceal what you`re doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than
the American dollar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Senator, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate you time.

DURBIN: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: This is abnormal. You pointed that out. Do you think the
American people are OK with this, or is this a real issue?

DURBIN: It`s a real issue. Let`s put it in perspective. Who set the
standard for income disclosure of presidential candidates? Mitt Romney`s
father. Mitt Romney`s father filed 12 years of income tax returns and said
this ought to be the standard.

How many years of income tax returns has Mitt Romney, his son, filed?
One.

SCHULTZ: Well --

DURBIN: It`s the least amount of disclosure of any presidential
candidate of either political party in the last 36 years.

SCHULTZ: So it`s tax avoidance or is it Romney just not trusting
American banks and the American currency? What do you think it is?

DURBIN: Ed, I`m serious, I have asked business leaders, I have asked
Republican senators, I asked Warren Buffett the following question, why
would anybody need a Swiss bank account? Warren Buffett said I never had
one. I think we have a lot of great banks in America.

But, you know, they basically say the same thing. There are two
reasons to have a Swiss bank account. To conceal your wealth and
transactions involving your wealth from government scrutiny, number one.
Or number two, because you happen to think the Swiss franc is a stronger
currency than the United States dollar.

And I might remind you, Mitt Romney made his decisions on moving money
into Switzerland when there was a Republican president.

SCHULTZ: Today, Romney said the offshore investments are in a blind
trust. His comment was, "I don`t manage them. I don`t even know where
they are."

Is this an adequate response?

DURBIN: No, and let me tell you why. When he was badgered by his
fellow Republican opponents in the course of the primary, he finally
released one year`s tax return. That`s it, all we have seen. One year,
and they were able to trace the Sankaty, which is a private corporation
blind trust that his family owns.

Listen to this, Ed -- the day before he was sworn in as governor of
Massachusetts, he transferred the money in this Sankaty into a blind trust
in his wife`s name in some foreign tax haven.

SCHULTZ: No coincident there?

DURBIN: So it wouldn`t have to be reported.

SCHULTZ: No coincidence there. Just happen the day before he was
sworn in.

DURBIN: Yes. And so, it`s never been disclosed.

And you have to ask yourself, the average American has to ask
themselves, why would we stand for a person running for the highest office
in the land concealing important elements of their own investment
decisions.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: So, Senator Durbin, is this the way it`s going to be all the
way up to the election? We`re going to know very little about the
Republican candidate`s finances and where his money and is he tells the
American public, he doesn`t know where they are, it`s managed by somebody
else?

DURBIN: Well, I`ll tell you what? He`s taking on some water on that
little boat when it comes to disclosure at this point, because Americans
are skeptical of this.

SCHULTZ: Yes. All right. You are sponsoring a bill to reduce tax
haven abuse.

DURBIN: Here`s what it boils down to -- Al Franken and I put in a
bill several month ago. And it says this: on the financial disclosure
forms for all members of Congress, for all candidates for president and
vice president, you have to specifically disclose whether or not you or
anyone in your family is invested in foreign tax havens to avoid taxes in
the United States.

I think that`s a very basic question that should be asked not just of
Mitt Romney but of all members of Congress. All candidates for president.

SCHULTZ: Do you think Mitt Romney is abusing the American tax system
and not paying his fair share?

DURBIN: I don`t know. I wouldn`t draw that conclusion. I`d say to
him, present the evidence. Show us what you`ve done. Have you paid your
fair share of taxes? Have you handled your financial affairs as a
businessman and a person of wealth in a way that is responsible?

SCHULTZ: Senator Dick Durbin, good to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.

DURBIN: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Coming up, the Republicans are coming unhinged. Find out
why they`re ramping up the attack on President Obama when we come back.

And the 1 percent came out in droves this weekend to support Mitt
Romney. Keith Boykin, Ron Christie and John Fugelsang will weigh in on the
Republicans` fund-raising taking place in the Hamptons over the weekend.

Stay with us. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

As President Obama`s poll numbers get better, the right wing seems to
be getting crazier. The chair of the National Republican Party, the
committee, RNC says re-electing President Obama will end America as we know
it?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Mitt Romney has to win for the sake of
the very idea of America. Mitt Romney has to win for liberty and freedom.
And we have to put an end to this Barack Obama presidency before it puts an
end to our way of life in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Generic pabulum is what it`s called. Texas Tea Party Senate
candidate Ted Cruz actually joked that the president might put him and his
supporters on a so-called kill list.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kill list, should Congress have oversight?

TED CRUZ (R), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: Well, number one, I`m worried
all of us are on it.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But nobody is laughing when Florida Representative Allen
West claims the Obama administration wants to enslave Americans by offering
Food Stamps and unemployment benefits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: We are creating economic dependency.
And I call it slavery. It`s a different form of slavery. It`s not
physical. But it can be even worse because it trounces the indomitable
entrepreneurial spirit of the United States of America.

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I think the reason people love you is
because you`re so plain spoken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And crazy, on many subjects, I might add. The governor of
Maine might have been too outspoken. Paul Lepage apologized for what he
said about affordable health care during a radio address.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: You must buy health insurance or pay the
new Gestapo, the IRS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Governor Lepage apologized for that Gestapo remark, saying
that "it wasn`t my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish community
or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered." He should
have stopped there, but Lepage added more crazy talk. He says the word
Gestapo simply clouded his message.

Lepage insists our individual freedoms are being stripped away by the
federal government. The chair of the RNC claims that President Obama is
the most negative campaigner this country has ever seen. That might be the
craziest thing they have claimed so far in this campaign season.

Let`s bring in MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe. Great to have
you with us tonight, Richard. Is the Obama campaign running a negative
campaign?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they are running
negative ads, but that`s not all they`re talking about. As in any
campaign, certainly as happened in 2008, they`re running positive ads.
They have got a positive agenda. And they`re talking about their opponent
in, yes, critical ways. That`s the nature of politics.

I`m just surprised at these Republicans, many of whom gained power and
elected office through the Bush years, have no recollection at all of this
guy called Karl Rove and the politics that he`s brought through that period
and into the current one, with this current organizations like Crossroads.

This is their kind of politics. They should recognize it. But they
should also recognize that`s how these elections get played out throughout
America, by the way. That`s what the founders intended, a vigorous
contest. And ask the historians who look at Abraham Lincoln`s time.
There`s nothing particularly dirty about this time.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, ramping up the rhetoric, I mean clearly that`s
what they`re doing. How does Romney benefit in any way from this? Why
doesn`t he tell them to back off and get to the facts, because it`s all a
lot of generic hateful talk and scare and fear tactics and such as that.
How does Romney benefit from that? I don`t see that he does.

WOLFFE: For a start, I don`t think Mitt Romney is in a position to
tell the party anything. If anything, the party`s telling him what to do,
as we saw just last week on the whole question of the health care mandate,
was it a penalty or a tax. He`ll change his tune no matter what because he
came out of the primaries incredibly weak.

This is a party that cannot really exert central organization in any
way. You have seen that in members of Congress. John Boehner doesn`t have
a lot of control over his own caucus. So the problem for the Romney
campaign is that if it`s just about firing up the base, if they think there
are enough Republicans out there, this strategy makes sense.

But they know full well, if you look at their messaging, you look at
how they`re trying to position themselves, that this election is going to
get decided by the middle, by independent voters, by infrequent voters, the
people who are not going to be fired up by this kind of crazy talk.

SCHULTZ: When the president comes out today and offers an extension
of tax cuts to 98 percent of Americans, that`s nothing but positive. And
it`s winning the middle class. Does today`s announcement somewhat shift
this campaign and put more pressure on Romney? What do you think?

WOLFFE: For a start, the president is talking about the economy
again, about pocket book issues. What are Republicans going to do? They
want another vote on repealing health care. They`re off message, off
topic.

For them, they wanted to frame this whole tax debate about -- about
money going to everyone, a sort of equality issue. This president has
reframed it in terms of middle class, and how do you get the economy moving
again for the middle class in the short term and the long term. I think,
you know, this is how as president, having the bully pulpit, means you set
the agenda, the other side has to respond to it in a meaningful way. That
doesn`t mean another vote on repealing health care.

SCHULTZ: They have not done that. Richard Wolffe, great to have you
with us. Thanks so much.

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

The reports from Mitt Romney`s Koch brother fund-raiser read like an
Obama bashing mustard commercial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But of course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The big panel weighs in next.

Police and firefighters forced to take minimum wage pay decreases.
We`ll tell you about the middle class nightmare in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

And it`s the picture everyone is talking about. And now the man in
the kayak is telling his story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I looked behind me and that`s when I saw the
shark, which is pretty much right there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I`ll ask shark expert Chris Wojcik if the increased shark
sightings on Cape Cod are anything to worry about.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: They were high on the hog. In fact, they dined on
prosciutto wrapped melon balls. They mingled in multi-million dollar
mansions, while live bands played "Margaritaville." The one percent showed
up in droves this weekend to support one of their own. Mitt Romney raked
in close to four million dollars a trio of fund raisers in the Hamptons on
New York`s Long Island.

It all began with a 25,000 dollar a plate luncheon at the estate of
one billionaire. It ended up with a 75,000 dollar per couple fund raiser
at the estate of another, David Koch. As the "New York Times" reports,
these Romney supporters drove up in Bentleys and Porsches. One donor
called President Obama a socialist from inside a gold Mercedes.

Another poked her head out back of a black Range Rover demanding, is
there a VIP entrance? We`re VIP.

Romney himself was there to hob-nob with his own kind, but, as one New
York City donor told the "L.A. Times," the former Massachusetts governor
needs to do a better job connecting with the little people. The quote was,
"I don`t think the common person is getting it. Nobody understands why
Obama is hurting them. We have the message," she added, "but my college
kid, the babysitters, the nails lady, everybody who has the right to vote,
they don`t understand what`s going on. I just think that if you have an
lower income, one, one, you`re not as educated. Two, they don`t understand
how it works. They don`t understand how the system works. They don`t
understand the impact."

Wow. These comments have been all over the web today. Joining me now
-- I guess this is the men`s grill after these guys got off the golf
course. This is men`s night out here on THE ED SHOW. I have had ladies
here, three at one time as well. So be cool about it.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Don`t go bragging.

SCHULTZ: I`m not bragging. Keith Boykin, great to have you with us.
Ron Christie, always good to have you back on the program. And John
Fugelsang, always.

Ron, I have to ask you first, what about these comments? It`s almost
as if these people at these fund-raisers are talking down these hard
working middle classers.

RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don`t think so. To coin a
phrase my John McEnroe used to say, come on, Ed, you can`t be serious. For
the Obama folks to come out and for folks to criticize Governor Romney for
raising money this weekend, I look to Anna Wintour. Of course, she went to
Sarah Jessica Parker`s place in New York City and raised a ton of money.
Both sides are doing it.

To suggest that Obama`s out of touch I think is a little -- nice
little bit of political theater. But they all do it.

KEITH BOYKIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: But it`s not just about raising
money. Every candidate raises money. It`s about the attitude of the one
percent who are attending Mitt Romney`s fund-raisers, the people who are
contributing to this. The egotism and the arrogance of these people, to
suggest somehow that the rich know better than the rest of America, that to
me is an example of the class warfare that Republicans are always crying
about.

(CROSS TALK)

FUGELSANG: It`s only class warfare if you fight for the bottom 99
percent of the population. I was appalled watching it. I had no idea
Daisy Buchanan from the "Great Gatsby" was a Mitt Romney supporter. But
it`s not about conservative versus liberal. It`s aristocracy versus
democracy.

Six states will decide the election. And what`s Mitt supposed to do?
Is Mitt supposed to run on his personality or his record? No. He has to
raise the super PAC money. He has to flood those six states with negative
ads. Otherwise, all he`s got is his own record, which conservatives don`t
like?

SCHULTZ: Is it an attitude issue?

FUGELSANG: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: Is it an attitude issue about workers versus the wealthy?

FUGELSANG: And that`s the distinction between him and Obama. Ron is
right. Yes, Obama is rolling around in the Wall Street dough as well.
Absolutely. But Obama stood in front of the Supreme Court at the State of
the Union Address and decried Citizens United. You will not see Mitt doing
that because raising this kind of money is the only thing Mitt can win on.
He sure can`t do it with his record.

SCHULTZ: Ron, you have the floor on the attitude issue. Is this an
image problem for the Republicans?

CHRISTIE: I think it`s an attitude issue for the Republicans and
Democrats when they`re seen in these very high falutin places, raising a
lot of money by very wealthy donors. Again, Governor Romney`s doing it
because it`s legal. President Obama`s doing it because he`s legal. Look,
you`re not going to sit here and tell me that somehow the Republicans have
an attitude problem when President Obama is out at the home of George
Clooney. He`s going to do a fund-raiser overseas.

My entire point of this is these fellows are operating within the
guidelines of the law. They`re doing what they`re legally obligated to do.

But wait a second, let me finish my last point. My last point is to
say that Republicans don`t look at people and say, oh, if you`re not in the
top whatever percent, we`re going to look down at you. Republicans look at
people as individuals, not by how much money they have.

(CROSS TALK)

BOYKIN: Exactly, john, we saw those people at the Hamptons fund-
raiser, people who are donating to Mitt Romney do exactly that. The
problem is not about people raising money. Again, it`s not about people
making a lot of money. This is America. We don`t have a problem with
that. The problem is about the attitude. You have --

SCHULTZ: You don`t think there`s an attitude at all with rich
Democrats when they have these fund-raisers?

FUGELSANG: It`s very different.

BOYKIN: But they`re not giving money to the Obama campaign hoping to
help prop up the one percent and the aristocracy, which is what these guys
are doing. The reason why this fits in so neatly with the whole Mitt
Romney narrative that`s going on this week about disclosing his tax
returns. Why won`t he disclose his tax returns? Why does he have millions
in an account in Bermuda, an offshore account in Bermuda? Or why in the
Cayman Islands or why in a Swiss bank account?

It gets -- it contributes to this feeling that somehow Mitt Romney and
the people he`s representing are not really trying to help the working
class.

(CROSS TALK)

CHRISTIE: This is a losing strategy for you guys. I think Americans
are looking right now and they`re saying this country is hurting. It
doesn`t matter whether you have a million in the bank, whether you have
10,000 dollars in the bank. What are you going to do to put policies
forward that are going to help Americans. This class welfare nonsense is a
distraction.

(CROSS TALK)

BOYKIN: What is Mitt Romney going to do to help those people? Tax
cuts for the rich?

CHRISTIE: It`s not just tax cuts, guys. This whole mantra of all
Republicans care about is tax cuts, it`s not tax cuts.

FUGELSANG: They like war, too.

CHRISTIE: It`s not war. Look at health care. Republicans have said,
you know what, we need to have a different system. We need to have a
system in place where you can buy insurance across state lines, where you
can pool together. That`s an innovative idea.

FUGELSANG: They have had 30 years to implement it. They`ve done
nothing and you know it. Look, Mitt Romney is running on one thing, Ron.
He`s running on trying to do exactly what Bush did and call it something
different. For anyone who is not a millionaire to still vote GOP, they`re
a damn sucker because no Republican president has balanced a budget once
since Nixon. None has had a surplus since Eisenhower.

There`s no reason to trust your money with these folks anymore,
because all they are good at is two things, redistribution of wealth to the
top two percent and making conservative Americans think that`s a good
thing.

SCHULTZ: Ron, I have give you the floor on that one. He made some
good points.

CHRISTIE: He made some interesting points. But the fact of the
matter is the reason in modern American history that we had a balanced
budget is it was the Republicans. And I worked for John Kasich, who was
the House Republican budget chairman, who actually worked with President
Clinton in a bipartisan manner.

FUGELSANG: Raising taxes.

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ: Good discussion. I like it. Keith Boykin, great to have
you with us. Ron Christie, John Fugelsang, thank you so much.

FUGELSANG: We`ll continue in the green room.

SCHULTZ: You bet. Coming up, the disgrace of paying police officers
and firefighters minimum wage. If it can happen in Scranton, Pennsylvania,
don`t you think it could happen anywhere? That`s coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This county, this
city has gone through some tough times. It`s had its heyday, it`s come
back, it`s had tough times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Vice President Joe Biden on
the campaign trail in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which once again is going
through tough times. The Mayor Chris Daugherty reduced the pay of all city
workers, including his own pay and the pay of police and firefighters to
minimum wage, 7.25 an hour. Scranton is broke. They`re out of money.

The mayor wants to raise taxes to make up a 16 million dollar budget
gap, but the city counsel wants to borrow the money and they can`t agree on
anything. The terrible practical effect can be seen with the fire
fighters` pay.

John Judge is a Scranton firefighter and president of the
International Association of Firefighters Local 60. He normally gets about
1,500 dollars every two weeks after deductions. On Friday, his check was
less than 600 dollars before deductions.

He says he`s not sure how long he can pay bills on this kind of
salary.

This isn`t just about Scranton, Pennsylvania. Every time President
Obama sends a bill to Congress that includes more money for state and local
firefighters and police force workers, Republicans, what do they do? They
kill it. The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, is equally dismissive of
public workers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need
more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Didn`t he not get the message
of Wisconsin? The American people did. It`s time for us to cut back on
government and help the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: If this can happen in Scranton, Pennsylvania, it really can
happen anywhere in the country. It would set a precedent. Police and
firefighters getting minimum wage? It`s an absolute disgrace. It`s our
infrastructure falling apart and being attacked.

Tomorrow night, Mr. Judge will join us on THE ED SHOW and tell us how
this is impacting his family and just how he`s going to pay the bills and
of course the fate of other city employees in Scranton.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you will Republicans work for the
middle class and extend the tax cuts for the middle class? Ninety eight
percent of you said no; three percent of you said yes.

Coming up, it`s shark week on both coasts. Find out how a kayaker
managed to escape a Great White. The amazing story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Telegram.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, telegram, just a moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, some real life sharks are scaring the heck out of
beach goers on both coasts this summer. Just when you thought it was safe
to go back in the water, take a look at this picture. A man was kayaking
for the first time off Cape Cod yesterday when a Great White Shark starting
to follow him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a pretty good glimpse of it. It was a good
size and it a fin sticking out. So I just turned and paddled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That`s Walter Zoltz Jr. (ph). He was only 100 feet off
shore when he saw that dorsal fin. He actually teased his daughter earlier
in the day about being afraid of sharks. The harbor master estimates the
Great White Shark was 12 to 14 feet long. Zoltz says his instincts kicked
in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just reacted. I thought it was either it or I`m
getting in. So I just paddled like no tomorrow. I kind of ran out of the
water like a little child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Another kayaker on the West Coast had a much closer
encounter with an even bigger shark this weekend. Look what the shark did
to the bottom of his kayak in Santa Cruz, California. A 15-foot long great
white bit into the hull. You can see the teeth marks. The shark even left
behind tooth fragments. The kayaker wasn`t hurt. His friends pulled him
to safety.

Both beaches in Santa Cruz and Orleans are open today, but swimmers
are being told to watch out for seals, not sharks. Beech goers need to
stay away from seals. Experts say the sharks are hunting seals, not
people. Even so, it makes vacationers nervous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The thought of a shark coming near me up in the
water is pretty freaky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It definitely makes you think twice about jumping
up the water.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by Chris Wojcik, marine biologist and
shark expert. Good to have you with us. What do you make of all this?
How does this story strike you?

CHRIS WOJCIK, MARINE BIOLOGIST: Well, I have the same conversation
about once a day that that fellow had with his daughter, which is to try to
tell people that there`s really no reason to be afraid when you go in the
water of sharks. Obviously, that`s where sharks live. We like to recreate
there. So sooner or later, we are going to overlap and come in contact
with one another, I think.

SCHULTZ: What about the seals? What is happening here? Is this a
global warming issue? Because all marine life relates to water
temperature. What`s happening here?

WOJCIK: It does. Marine life usually moves around the ocean relating
to water temperature. It almost acts like a physical barrier or a wall.
And certain fish or mammals, they won`t move through that wall. They
basically move along these what we call fronts. And it`s just basically an
area of big temperature difference.

So the seals, I think that their population has actually been
increasing greatly over the last couple years, which is a good thing. But
unfortunately for swimmers, their primary predator is the great white
shark, and that`s coming in closer contact with humans.

SCHULTZ: How much danger was that gentleman on the kayak in?

WOJCIK: I would say that when this picture was taken, he was in a
very little bit of danger. Probably a couple minutes before that, before
anyone actually saw the shark, he was probably in a little more.

SCHULTZ: Why is that?

WOJCIK: Because great white sharks are what are referred to as ambush
predators. They basically lurk low down, near the bottom, and they hunt
things that are up at the surface and they`re making a silhouette along the
top. So basically, the sun is over the top and you look very much like a
seal or a sea lion swimming along, and that`s what the shark is looking
for, that silhouette along the top of the water.

SCHULTZ: So I`m hearing from you that you really don`t think that
these sharks are hunting people, that it`s safe to go in the water, that
this is unusual.

WOJCIK: I would say that the second story that you had shown there,
with the kayaker who was actually knocked out of the kayak, he was actually
-- he was actively being hunted by that white shark, for sure. And the
nice thing, if you want to call it that, is generally once the white shark
comes up and feels you -- sharks don`t have hands or fingers. They can`t
come over to you and kind of push on you and feel what they are.

The only thing they have that they can use are their mouths and their
teeth. So What the shark did is come up and he felt the kayak with his
teeth. Unfortunately, that type of contact, you know, leaves some scars
behind sometimes.

SCHULTZ: Chris Wojcik, thanks for joining us tonight.

WOJCIK: You`re welcome.

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

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

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