updated 8/1/2012 9:46:47 AM ET 2012-08-01T13:46:47

Guests: Neera Tanden, Steve Israel, Keith Boykin, Susan Del Percio, Kelli Goff, Dr. James Peterson

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

Mitt Romney`s foreign adventure was such a disaster that in England,
they were calling him the American Borat. Now that the trip is over, a
Romney adviser is calling it a great success.

You just can`t make this stuff up.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I realize that there will
be some in the fourth estate or whichever estate who are far more
interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the
economy.

DYSON (voice-over): Mitt Romney complains about the referees after
missing a foreign policy layup. The long international nightmare finished
with a foul mouth flurry.

REPORTER: We haven`t had another chance to ask him questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED): This is a holy site for the
Polish people.

DYSON: David Corn will tell us why Romney`s disaster overseas will
hurt him in November.

And another small business ad back fires in Romney`s face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was trying to say, hey, you didn`t build that
business on your own.

DYSON: We`ll show the Romney camp`s latest attempt to exploit a
dishonest talking point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government helps you build it. That`s what
ticked me off more than anything.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DYSON: The Romney campaign`s international meltdown reached its odd
and ironic conclusion today when a Romney aide told a reporter, "Kiss my
bleep, this is a holy site." The flap occurred when Romney was walking
away from Pilsudski Square after visiting Poland`s Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier.

After a few shouted questions to Mr. Romney, an aide Rick Gorka got
involved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Governor Romney!

Governor Romney, do you have a statement for the Palestinians?

REPORTER: What about your gaffe?

REPORTER: Governor Romney, do you feel your gaffes have overshadowed
your foreign trip?

RICK GORKA, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: This is a holy site of the Polish
people. Show some respect.

Show some respect.

REPORTER: We haven`t had another chance to ask him questions.

GORKA: Kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED). This is a holy site for the
Polish people. Show some respect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Pilsudski will not be the same.

Mr. Gorka also reportedly said shove it to a second reporter. He
later called two reporters to apologize saying it was inappropriate.

The frustration was not limited to Romney`s aide. The candidate
himself said he had been misunderstood and blamed the press. First, the
part where he didn`t actually say what he really said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not speaking about it, did not speak about it
Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy. That`s an
interesting topic that perhaps could deserve scholarly analysis, but I
actually didn`t address that. Certainly don`t intend to address that
during my campaign. Instead, I will point out that the choices a society
makes have a profound impact on the economy and the vitality of that
society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: At the heart of that obfuscating answer is the claim he
wasn`t talking about culture in explaining the economic disparity between
Israel and the Palestinians. But in truth, Romney talked at length about
the subject during that Jerusalem fund-raiser.

And he concluded the point by citing "The Wealth and Poverty of
Nations" by Dr. David Landes. He says, "If you could learn anything from
the economic history of the world, it`s this. Culture makes all the
difference. Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I
look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of
this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other
things."

So when Romney says he was not speaking about culture, he is simply
not stating the truth. But there`s more. Romney concluded the press was
trying to distract attention from President Obama`s record. That`s right.
He blamed his foreign tour fiasco on the media.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I realize that there will be some in the fourth estate or
whichever estate who are far more interested in finding something to write
about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of
war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization
of Iran. They will instead try and find anything else to divert from the
fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Fourth estate, fifth estate, he couldn`t figure out which
home he was referring to.

The media wasn`t the one doing the diverting. The Romney campaign
through its missteps was diverting from what was supposed to be the central
theme of the trip, that Romney could be trusted as an able statesman.

And, by the way, criticism of Romney came from the so-called friendly
media as well. Here`s Charles Krauthammer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What Romney answered in
that question is unbelievable. It`s beyond human understanding. It`s
incomprehensible. I`m out of adjectives. All the man has to do is say
nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSOIN: Adjectival exhaustion aside, here is FOX`s Karl Rove.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS: I, he got stuck making somehow or another a
comment that the Brits took as an insult, and he walked it back pretty
quickly and walked it back adroitly, but nonetheless, the damage was done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: And FOX News` Greta Van Susteren said, "There`s been no press
access to Governor Romney since we landed in Poland. We press are in a
holding pattern. I can`t help but feel a little like the press is a
modified petting zoo since we are trapped in a bus while Polish citizens
take pictures of us."

The missteps of Governor Romney and his staff over a three-county
tour were not the fault of the press.

And the list is plentiful: Romney insulted the British. An aide
suggested support for an Israeli unilateral strike on Iran and then walked
it back. The Romney campaign closed a Jerusalem fund-raiser to the press
and then reversed course.

Romney suggested cultural superiority of Israelis over Palestinians
and then complained the comments were mischaracterized. Romney praised the
Israeli health care system which just happens to be socialized. Romney
aide loses cool, tells a reporter to kiss my bleep.

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: Is Mitt Romney`s campaign right? Was Mitt Romney`s foreign trip
a great success?

Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639. Or go to our blog at
Ed.MSNBC.com. I`ll bring you the results later in the show.

Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst David Corn. Also the
Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" magazine, and author of the book
"Showdown."

David, welcome to the show.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Good to be with you, Professor.

DYSON: Mr. Corn, three countries, three strikes?

CORN: You know, maybe he got a foul tip in Poland. I don`t know.
That`s about the best he did.

I mean, I have been on the air the last day or so calling this the
moon-walking tour because he had to spend so much time walking back
comments.

And I spoke this afternoon to a Republican strategist who I like
before Mitt Romney went on the tour, the guy was telling me, listen, this
is good for Mitt Romney, the Olympics are going on. Not a lot of attention
focused on politics here. He`ll get some good photo ops, be associated
with the Olympics -- probably a good thing for him.

So, I called him up and said what do you think now? He said, well,
this was the gymnastics floor exercise. I would take at least half a point
away from him. This was not a net gain for Mitt Romney.

If he`s trying to show himself as a competent statesman who can go on
the world stage, he didn`t do that. He ended up once again whining about
the press, and if anybody has any memory in the country, which is a
debatable premise, if you compare this trip to Barack Obama`s triumphant
trip overseas to Berlin and elsewhere four years ago, Mitt Romney really
looks like he came in a far second.

DYSON: Yes, your gymnastic analogy is appropriate. He didn`t nail
anything but himself in his own coffin.

And, by the way, the Romney campaign can`t even get the shouted
question right. I mean, you ignore it or act like you can`t here like
Ronald Reagan. I mean, right? What are your thoughts about that?

CORN: But also -- that`s been, you know, a theme throughout the
whole campaign, that Mitt Romney just doesn`t take questions. He won`t sit
down with David Gregory and "Meet the Press." You know, he`s done a lot
with FOX.

And the reporters covering him are going nuts because they spend all
the time, follow him around, and he doesn`t engage. He`s probably engaged
less with the media -- I mean, people complain about Barack Obama and other
candidates in the past. But he`s engaged far less with the media than any
candidate in recent years. John McCain did a lot more. George W. Bush did
a lot more.

And so you saw frustration explode today. And I think the -- you
know, reporters just want to ask him about what he`s saying in Poland. He
praised the small government.

Maybe he doesn`t know, but in Poland, they have a universal health
care system paid for by the government, and anybody can go to state college
or university paid by the government again. So it`s not a small
government. But yet he can say the stuff because he doesn`t have to submit
to any questioning.

DYSON: And he doesn`t have any sense of the history. We`re not
asking him about Polish poetry with (INAUDIBLE). We`re just asking him
what the heck is going on right before his nose.

Perhaps the oddest assertion is Governor Romney now claiming he
wasn`t talking about culture in the Jerusalem fund-raiser when obviously he
was. So, in fact, before that group of wealthy donors at the Jerusalem
fund-raiser, wasn`t Romney saying precisely what he meant, that
Palestinians were inferior, that poor people are poor because they simply
aren`t doing something right? Isn`t this what he actually believes?

CORN: It seems like he was pandering to the crowd in front of him
and not thinking like a statesman. If you want to have influence in the
Middle East and do anything regarding the peace process, you don`t insult
the players there, you know, the Israeli government or the Palestinians.
And it showed he wasn`t really sensitive to that.

But I also have to tell you, back in January when it was actually
possible to get close to the governor during the campaign, I asked him
about a speech -- I saw him give in which he said that Barack Obama wanted
to turn America into a European socialist type of country. And those
countries have more poverty in them.

I asked him, do you really think there`s more poverty in Europe than
there is in the United States? He looked at me and he said, I didn`t say
that. I said you just did. You said it five minutes ago in the stump
speech. He goes, no, I didn`t say that.

And I thought maybe I was going nuts. And I had to go back to C-Span
played back the tape and found out indeed that`s exactly what he said. So,
it made me wonder at the time, and this interview today was reminiscent at
least for me, made me wonder if he really understands or even remembers
what he`s saying or says what he`s being told to say and it`s all kind of a
blur to him.

DYSON: Yes, it`s a mystery to be sure. But David Corn, thanks for
helping us understand it tonight.

CORN: My pleasure.

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

Coming up, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is back to his
favorite pastime: obstructing Democrats. This time, women`s health care is
at stake.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: Coming up, women`s health is being used as a bargaining chip
in the Republican fight to take down the president. We`ll show you today`s
big showdown in the Senate, next.

Later, we`re counting down to another vote to cut taxes for the
middle class. So, why aren`t House Republicans on board?

And are race relations better or worse after three years of an Obama
presidency? Dr. James Peterson weighs on the controversial new report.

Share you thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: When Republicans act on their plan to make President Obama
one-term president, their obstruction knows know bounds. Take a look at
what happened on the Senate floor today and see for yourself.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was praising the health care
services for women that will be available without co-pays starting tomorrow
under the Affordable Care Act. It includes contraception, preventative
cancer screenings and domestic violence counseling to name a few.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: As a result of the bill we
passed, being a woman is no longer a preexisting disability in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Wow. Powerful words.

After Senator Reid`s remarks, it was back to the business of passing
a cybersecurity bill, or so we thought.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I think it would be
appropriate to have a vote on the repeal of Obamacare. I would hope to be
able to offer that amendment during the pendency of the bill on
cybersecurity which we believe will be open to amendment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Boy, deja vu all over again.

Senator Reid, as you might imagine, was flabbergasted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Can you imagine how ridiculous my friend the Republican
leader`s statement is? Listen to what he said. We`re doing cybersecurity.
We have talked about the dangers in cyber-security if we don`t do something
about it. And he is now telling me that he wants a vote to repeal all of
the stuff I just talked about.

I don`t think a woman getting contraception has a thing to do with
shutting down the power grids in America, or the financial services in
America, or our water systems, or our sewer systems. That`s what
cybersecurity is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: In fact, several Democrats pointed out how the Republican
obstruction would directly impact women`s health.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Yes, it is a war on women.
Because if they really cared about women and they didn`t like Obamacare,
they would still have a proposal on the floor to keep these fine pieces of
the legislation.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: What is with this idea of
repeal? Do you really want to take away these benefits from women? From
children? From men, from families? Yes, I guess you do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Let`s turn to Neera Tanden, president of the Center for
American Progress.

Thanks for joining us tonight.

NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Great to be with you.

DYSON: What possible reason do the Republicans have for attaching
this amendment to a cybersecurity bill?

TANDEN: You know, I think actually this was a very instructive
debate. I`m so glad you broadcast it because what`s been happening is that
you see the Republicans, Republican senators, and Republicans in the House,
really using the legislative process to address just the concerns of their
base voters.

This will be the 37th, 38th, 380th attempt to overturn the Affordable
Care Act. And they know it`s not going to go anywhere. They know it`s not
going to pass. They know the president will veto. It won`t even pass the
Senate.

But this is just another attempt to put the important legislative
governing aside and do the work of the Tea Party and the base of the
Republican Party. And I think that`s a real shame.

I really applaud Senate Democrats for demonstrating what`s at stake
when they do that. What`s really at issue here, and it`s all these
important benefits that women will be receiving, 47 million American women
will receive preventive benefits because of this bill starting tomorrow.

DYSON: Sure. Extremely important legislation.

I want to read a quote from Republican Congressman Richard Hanna of
New York who spoke to a Syracuse newspaper the other day. Quote, "I have
to say that I`m frustrated by how much we, I mean the Republican Party, are
willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in
history. We render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take
severe sides.

And today, nine-term Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette
announced his resignation from Congress and blamed the polarizing climate
for his departure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: We`re talking about building roads
and bridges. We`re not talking about big Democratic and Republican
initiatives. More than an embarrassment to the House of Representatives,
it was indicative to the fact people are more interested in fighting with
each other than they are in getting the no-brainers done and governing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: These are Republican statesman, Republican congressmen, who
are assaulting the party or at least the extremes from within.

Why isn`t the Republican Party any longer able to govern according to
its own members?

TANDEN: You know, I want to make an important point about this
because you know, so many people in Washington and around the country say a
pox on both your houses, that both parties do that. But if you really look
at what happened in the last two years, you`re seeing a Republican Party
that`s moved far to the right.

And with Congressman LaTourette, he was no moderate by any means. He
was talking about was the fact that Republicans were opposing a
transportation bill. House Republicans have supported transportation bills
year in/year out, decade in/decade out.

But this party is different, and they were going to hold millions of
jobs hostage to the ideological opposition of their base. And that`s
tiring for everyone.

And I think we have to recognize that that partisanship has to end.
It`s not both sides. It`s really one side. Norm Ornstein, an AEI fellow,
recently wrote a great piece about how it really is the Republican Party
that is the problem in Washington. And it`s important that people
recognize that.

DYSON: And co-authored a book. We had both of them on this show.

You have already indicated that you know the Tea Party has been
deferred to in a certain way and is continuing to exert its influence here.
Do Republicans really want to go down the road again of waging war on
women`s health?

TANDEN: Well, I have to say that one piece of good news is that John
Boehner last week, I believe, said they wouldn`t take on contraception,
that they would recognize that this isn`t the bill. They wouldn`t put
forward bills to eliminate this important benefit. That`s really only
after millions of women became energized by a debate in which Rush Limbaugh
said, you know, attacked a woman, a 30-year-old woman, basically calling
her the worst and most malicious names.

And I will remind folks that the leader of the Republican Party, Mitt
Romney, refused to repudiate him.

And so, I think, you know, now that women have woken up and
recognized that issues as basic as contraception are at stake in this
election, Republicans are unlikely to take on this fight. And I think
that`s an important message for the election that people have to get
energized, because its only then that we can push back on this -- what has
been a war on women.

DYSON: Right. Thank you so much, Neera Tanden, for joining us here
tonight.

TANDEN: Great to be with you.

DYSON: Coming up, your tax rates are up for a vote in the House of
Representatives. We`ll preview tomorrow`s vote with Congressman Steve
Israel.

And Mitt Romney`s tax problem won`t go away. Harry Reid says a Bain
investor told him Mitt Romney didn`t pay taxes for 10 years. Our panel
weighs in on that and much more.

Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Democrats and
Republicans agree on something, it should be pretty easy to get it done.
But right now, that`s not the case. Instead of doing what`s right for
middle class families and small business owners, Republicans in Congress
are holding these tax cuts hostage until we extend tax cuts for the
wealthiest Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: That was President Obama explaining what is at stake for the
middle class.

Republicans claim they are concerned about the middle class. This
week, they have a golden opportunity to provide stability and eliminate
uncertainty for them. House Republicans could approve Senate legislation
passed last week extending the middle class tax cuts and President Obama
would be sure to sign it.

Instead, they are insisting on maintaining tax cuts for the
wealthiest Americans.

Under the Democratic plan, 98 percent of Americans would continue to
benefit from the current tax cuts. As for the top 2 percent, those
Americans would pay a higher rate only on income above $250,000. If
Congress fails to act, all tax cuts will expire at the beginning of next
year. Taxes would increase on the wealthy and middle class.

Democrats see an opportunity to hammer Republicans for siding with
millionaires and billionaires. In an online ad, they are targeting
Republicans in competitive districts.

Here`s a portion of that ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)

NARRATOR: Good news. Republicans want to cut your taxes. Not you.
You. And you deserve a break. After all, these things are expensive.

So Republicans want to give you the millionaire another tax break,
all while charging seniors $6,000 more for Medicare. This guy, her, they
don`t need it. They`ll just by groceries and pay the mortgage, but you,
you`re going places.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: As the president would say, I`m just saying.

I`m joined by Congressman Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Welcome, Congressman.

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Great to be with you.

DYSON: Sir, how optimistic are you about this week`s vote?

ISRAEL: Well, I`d be optimistic if we had a Democratic majority,
which would support tax cuts for the middle class. In this case, I`m
pessimistic.

Here`s what you`ll see on the floor of the House of Representatives
tomorrow: a hostage drama -- where the Republicans will hold the middle
class hostage and hold small businesses hostage to getting their tax cuts
unless their millionaire and billionaire special interest friends get
theirs.

So the message that the Republicans will send tomorrow is quite
simply this. If you`re a cop, a firefighter, a teacher, even if you`re
living fairly comfortably, making $150,000, $200,000, you lose your tax cut
unless their big million dollar friends, billion dollar friends, get their
tax cut worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you`re a small
business, you lose your tax cut. If -- unless your ExxonMobil and you get
yours.

It is wrong. It is against the middle class, and they should be
ashamed of themselves for this hostage drama.

DYSON: Well, I`m not an economist here, but if the wealthy, the
truly wealthy get those big tax cuts, won`t it really eliminate the benefit
we have from giving tax breaks to those making $250,000 and below?

ISRAEL: Well, look, the fact of the matter is that when the middle
class does best, the country does best. And we need an economic strategy
that is based on solutions to expand the middle class, promote new small
businesses that will create jobs and hire people, the Republican economic
principle is simply -- give millionaires and billionaires more tax cuts and
the economy will be fine.

They tried that for eight years in the Bush administration. It
didn`t work.

DYSON: It just didn`t work. If Republicans vote against the Senate
legislation, what kind of message does that send to the middle class
because obviously, they don`t feel the love from the Congress?

ISRAEL: You know, I think there`s an unquenchable thirst by
Americans throughout the country for two things: solutions and compromise.

In this case, we have a compromise on a solution. We can tomorrow
pass the Senate bill which provides a tax cut on the first $250,000 of
everyone`s income, send it to the president, he will sign it. The middle
class will have that security, sustainability, and predictability. We all
agree on that.

Why are the Republicans insisting on not even allowing us to vote on that
bill, but instead say, take it or leave it. Millionaires and billionaires,
where everybody under 250,000 dollars gets nothing.

DYSON: You know, Congressman, people have been asking for Congress to
step up, especially the Democrats? Are the Democrats in the position to go
on the offensive on this issue?

ISRAEL: We are going on offense. You saw that ad. We`re holding
them accountable. What have the Republicans proposed so far since they had
the majority? If you are a senior on Medicare, you lose your Medicare and
you pay 6,000 dollars extra. If you`re a millionaire, unless you get your
tax cut, nobody gets a tax cut.

It`s millionaires over Medicare. It`s billionaires over the middle
class. That`s the dividing line. Tomorrow is just another front in the
war to protect the middle class. We have the high ground. And we`re going
to hold Republicans accountable for their utter lack of priorities in the
middle class.

DYSON: Speaking of that, your Republican colleague from New York,
Richard Hanna, called out his own party today for catering to the extreme
right. What do you make of his remarks and do you expect his vote on
extending middle class tax cuts?

ISRAEL: I don`t know how Richard is going to vote tomorrow, but I
will tell you this, John LaTourettte from Ohio, one of the more moderate
Republican, today said he`s leaving. He`s resigning. He`s not even
waiting for the next election. Richard Hanna has been out spoken in saying
that the Republicans have just been too extreme.

You know what my definition of an endangered species is in Washington
right now? Being a moderate Republican. People want moderates. They want
Democrats and Republicans who are willing to compromise. Democrats have
consistently said we will compromise, even -- there are some things we
don`t even like, but we understand it`s not always about left or right.
It`s about forward.

And the Republican, the Tea Party caucus that is running the
Republican Congress right now, has rejected all compromise, has rejected
all moderation. And that`s why even some of their own people in the
Republican caucus, like Richard Hanna, like Steve LaTourettte and others,
Tim Johnson, another moderate Republican from Illinois, he`s leaving
Congress.

They`re sick and tired of it. They`re more in touch with their
constituents than these radical Tea Party Republicans who are so out of
tune.

DYSON: Sure. Did the House just become easier for the Democrats to
take in the next election then?

ISRAEL: Look, every time the Republicans say to the American people
it`s millionaires over Medicare, billionaires over the middle class, we do
better. Look, frankly, I wish it was different. I wish the Republicans
would join us in focusing and emphasizing on priorities to expand and
support the middle class. They have chosen the wrong policy and the wrong
politics. And that`s why I`m confident that we`re going to win the 25
seats we need to take the House and reinvest in the middle class and
working families in this country.

DYSON: Congressman Steve Israel, thank you so very much.

ISRAEL: Thanks, Michael.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: My view is I have paid all the taxes required by law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Harry Reid`s rumor turns into a "Huffington Post" headline.
He says a Bain investor told him Mitt Romney didn`t pay any taxes for 10
years. The big panel weighs in next.

I`ll reopen the Dyson-ary and teach Republicans the real meaning of
independents.

And has the election of the first black president been good for race
relations in America? Dr. James Peterson has answers ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was one year when you paid about a 13.9
percent tax rate. Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the
13.9 percent?

ROMNEY: I haven`t calculated that. My view is I have paid all the
taxes required by law. I don`t pay more than are legally due. And
frankly, if I had paid more than are legally due, I don`t think I would be
qualified to become president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: If I don`t hustle and exploit you for all I can get you for, I
don`t deserve to be in the Oval Office. Mitt Romney says he doesn`t recall
if he ever paid less than 13.9 percent tax rate. Of course, we have to
take Romney at his word since he`s only released two years of tax returns.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he knows why Romney is
keeping those tax returns locked up. Reid tells the "Huffington Post"
about a month ago, a Bain Capital investor called his office. Referring to
Romney, the investor reportedly told Reid, "Harry, he didn`t pay any taxes
for 10 years."

Wish we had the recording on that. Reid shared his disbelief with the
"Huffington Post." "He didn`t pay taxes for 10 years? Now, do I know that
that`s true? Well, I`m not certain, but obviously he can`t release those
tax returns. How would it look?"

Reid would not say who the investor was. Romney adviser Kevin Madden
is responding to Reid`s charges. Madden tells the "Huffington Post"
"Romney has gone above and beyond the disclosure requirements by releasing
two years of personal tax returns, in addition to the hundreds of pages of
personal financial disclosure documents he`s provided to the FEC and made
public."

Let`s bring in Kelli Goff, contributing editor of Luke21.com,
Democratic strategist Keith Boykin with the laryngitis, and Republican
strategist Susan Del Percio.

Since our middle man is disenabled linguistically for a moment, Kelli
Goff, what are we to make of this speculation from Harry Reid? Is this so
much gossip or this something that is pretty salacious, we ought to dig
into or think about?

KELLI GOFF, LUKE21.COM: I think it`s a reminder that the man used to
box. It`s very easy to see the glasses and see this kind of demure guy,
but they call him the back room brawler, and obviously not for nothing. So
he knows how to mix it up, and that`s exactly what he was doing politically
speaking.

He knew it. That`s what made it funnier. He was kind of like gleeful
about it, about causing a little trouble. Look, I actually didn`t find
this revelation that shocking. I think the only shocking thing to come out
of the taxes for me would be if something was revealed like he paid 50
percent of taxes.

I think anyone with half a brain knows that there`s something in there
that`s unflattering, like this perhaps, or else he would have released them
already, right?

DYSON: Right. Let me ask Susan. You preserve your voice just a
little longer. So how does Romney get out of this pickle, so to speak? If
-- all of this information is coming out, these rumor, if they`re rumors,
then can`t he put them to bed by simply releasing the tax forms and showing
us what he did and did not pay?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I recognize there is an
issue with Governor Romney`s tax returns. They`ve been calling for it. I
happen to think two years is fine. It`s what previous nominees have done.
If people want to make it an issue, that`s one thing.

However, what Senator Reid has done is absolutely absurd, ridiculous,
and beyond the pale. You don`t quote somebody who you`re not willing to
give to a reporter. And frankly, the "Huffington Post" to report this, not
even being able to verify it, just to make hay is absolutely ridiculous.
You say, we`ll have to take Romney`s word on it. I can`t take Harry Reid`s
word on this. He`s not the one who frankly --

DYSON: But Mr. Romney can seal the deal by simply saying here it is.

DEL PERCIO: He could, but the fact of what Senator Reid did today was
really beyond the pale. Again, you want to hold Romney accountable, you
want to make an issue, that`s fine. He`s not showing his releases. You
want to call for it -- but the political tricks that Harry Reid is playing
is even below him.

DYSON: Wow. Let`s pull Keith Boykin in. Tell us what you think
about all of this Romney business, and Reid`s rumor mill? And then tell us
about what Romney did when he went abroad. Was he a statesman, as he
supposedly was going to show, or did he fall short of that?

KEITH BOYKIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: First, let me say I disagree
with Susan. I don`t think that this is going beyond the pale for Harry
Reid.

DEL PERCIO: You`re right, he is usually pretty low.

BOYKIN: No, the Republicans are the masters of that. We don`t want
to go on that discussion. But I think there`s a simple answer to this.
That is, release your tax returns. If you release the tax returns, it
won`t be an issue anymore. We`ll know what happened. That`s the answer.

In terms of Kelli`s comment, I actually disagree with what Kelli said,
too, because I don`t think that it`s not shocking. If we find out that
Mitt Romney hasn`t paid taxes for 10 years -- and I`m not saying that
happened. If that`s the case, that is a shocking statement, Kelli.

I think that`s inconceivable for a guy who has created his whole life,
calculating to be president of the United States, that he would be stupid
enough to do that. That`s almost a reason why I`m not sure that story is
even plausible, because it doesn`t seem like he`s not dumb enough to have
done that.

GOFF: I don`t know. This is the same man who has switched position
on pretty much every single major issue on the table, thinking that would
get him to the White House, and that that`s an effective strategy for
becoming president. Even according to Republicans, this has been the most
curious, to put it diplomatically, presidential campaign we`ve seen in a
really long time from a major candidate.

DYSON: Speaking of curious, Susan, it`s been curiouser and curiouser
that the further Romney got into his foreign trip, he got a bit more
complicated and difficult. How do you handicap him and assess him, in
terms of his success overseas?

DEL PERCIO: This was supposed to be a really nice photo op trip. It
didn`t quite work out for him.

DYSON: Something happened along the way.

DEL PERCIO: Actually, he did get the most important photo op with the
prime minister of Israel. So that worked out well for him. And the truth
is that this week, the headlines are going to end -- begin and end with
Friday`s jobs numbers.

(CROSS TALK)

DYSON: How did the optics work on his behalf?

(CROSS TALK)

DEL PERCIO: It was a tough week, and it shouldn`t have been. So when
I handicapped it, just going to what Keith had said a little bit earlier,
this is an unforced error. These are the mistakes that the candidate
should not be making, frankly.

BOYKIN: Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, who was once a Republican
strategist, he famously said back in the 1980s, only three things good come
from a presidential election, mistakes, attacks, and pictures. What
Romney did in his trip overseas was to give the national media plenty of
mistakes, mistake in every country.

Then you go to Poland. You don`t make a mistake yourself, but one of
your campaign aides goes off on an attack on the press, this tirade where
he uses this unseemly language to talk about this is supposedly a holy
place. It`s just a reflection that his campaign is out of control.

Maybe Kelli is right after all. Maybe he is dumb enough to not pay
taxes for 10 years because he`s clearly not smart enough to put together a
strong campaign.

DYSON: Kelli, given that, given the fact that Romney has had all
these, you know -- he says, mischaracterizations, missteps, and these
gaffes, to be sure, but I love this MAP: mistakes, attacks, and pictures.
They have all been not in his favor.

So what does he do to come back? Give us the comeback plan. Don`t
call it a comeback, I have been there before. Give us the LL Cool J rescue
plan about how to get out of that madness?

GOFF: Run during a different election. Or actually, OK, I`ll be a
little nicer and say hope that his opponent makes even worse mistakes.

(CROSS TALK)

BOYKIN: Exaggerate non-issues like "you didn`t build that." Try to
make a mistake out of that.

DEL PERCIO: This is going to be a referendum on President Obama. I
understand that my Democratic colleagues want to talk about all the other
things.

BOYKIN: It`s a choice.

DYSON: Just the things that are happening.

BOYKIN: Elections are a choice, not just a referendum.

DEL PERCIO: The unemployment number is going to matter to people.

GOFF: The Anglo-Saxon remark, I actually don`t think that was an
accident because there`s an audience -- he has a shrinking audience of
people who are considering voting for them. And some of those are probably
racist.

(CROSS TALK)

DYSON: The time has shrunk. Kelli Goff, Keith Boykin, and Susan Del
Percio, thank you so very much.

Coming up, I`m opening up the Dyson-ary to give you the true
Republican definition of the word independence. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I do know this, the federal
government doesn`t create jobs. The private sector does.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: More government, more spending,
more taxes don`t create more jobs.

ROMNEY: Government doesn`t create jobs. It`s the private sector that
creates jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: Welcome back. The go-to play in the GOP playbook, Americans
don`t need help from government. They can do everything on their own. So
on tonight`s Dyson-ary, I`ll tell you what the word independence really
means to Republicans.

But first, the actual definition. Independence, freedom from the
control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. Sounds like a
typical Republican definition. But you might think differently after I
explain.

For the past two weeks, Romney`s campaign has been attacking the
president for his "you didn`t build that" remarks that were taken out of
context. They produced a whole slew of ads and live events showcasing real
small businesses that could, quote, "did build this without help from the
government."

But the Romney camp should have done their research. It turns out a
large amount of businesses used in their ads and events have had some help
from Uncle Sam. Sollmann Electric company, featured in a Romney ad,
received at least 3.9 million dollars in government contracts. Gilchrist
Metal Company, featured in a Romney ad, received 800,000 dollars in tax
exempt bonds.

AD Morgan Construction Company, featured in a Romney event, received
at least 150 dollars in government contracts. PRL Industries, featured in
a Romney event, received over 160,000 dollars in government contracts. And
Ball Office Products, featured in a Romney event, received 635,000 in Small
Business Administration loans.

I could go on and on and on. But you get the point and the picture.
So let`s turn to the Dyson-ary to find out what independence means to
Republicans. Independence, providing influence, support, and aid to those
we Republicans see fit.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you was Mitt Romney`s foreign trip a
great success? Three percent say yes; 97 percent say no.

Coming up, our segment with T.J. Holmes has some conservatives
accusing us of making a mountain out of a mole hill when it comes to racial
discrimination. Are they right? Dr. James Peterson joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DYSON: Last night on THE ED SHOW, television host T.J. Holmes told us
what it was like being pulled over for driving while black. As part of our
discussion, we wondered what incidents like this meant for a country that
was labeled post-racial by many in the media after President Obama was
elected.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: You talk about a post-racial country, well,
we can`t have a conversation about race ever because this is -- it happens
every single time. We go to our corners. We come out. We fight for a
round, beat the crap out of each other, and go back to our corners and get
ready to fight again. And nothing ever gets done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DYSON: T.J.`s conclusion is hardly controversial, but conservative
website "The Blaze" took us to task, saying "we preceded to transform
Holmes` single experience with an apparently incompetent police officer
into a gigantic parable about the state of race in America."

But is it a single experience for sure? Or is it a small piece of a
larger truth? The number of incidents like T.J.`s are not diminishing, but
attitudes about racial harmony are. Seventy percent of Americans said
racial relations would get better the day after President Obama was
elected. A year later, only 41 percent thought things were better.

In 2011, more people felt there was no chance -- no change versus
change for the better. Jesse Washington of the Associated Press recently
authored a fascinating report on race relations in America. Many white
Americans feel President Obama has made race relations worse. Here`s one
quote about the president. "He`s made them terrible. A lot of people I
talk to can`t understand why a man who is half white and half black is so
anti-white."

Attitudes like that put pictures like this into context. Some people
may call this a single experience, not a gigantic parable, but Police
Sergeant Jose Lozano (ph), who is quoted in Jesse Washington`s report,
describes it like this: "that was ugly. I have never seen anything like
that. There`s no way that would have ever happened to a white president."

I`m joined now by Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana Studies and
associate professor of English at Lehigh University. You have seen the
background. You`ve seen the backdrop. What have you noticed about race
relations in America in the Obama presidency.

DR. JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Number one, I think that his
presidency, in some ways, exacerbated some of the challenges and some of
the residue of racism from America`s past. But I think people need to
understand it is quite possible for us to make progress, like electing the
first black president, but also have some areas of challenges, like the
institutional racism that we see in the prison industrial complex or the
institutional racism that we see sometimes in the criminal justice system
as a whole.

All we need is one Troy Davis to show us how race and bias operate in
terms of the death penalty, or one Trayvon Martin to show us that racial
profiling is still alive and well, or one march against Stop and Frisk to
reveal the information, the numbers and statistics around race and racism
in terms of Stop and Frisk policies.

So there are a lot of different challenges and issues that we have to
confront with respect to race. Just because we make a step forward doesn`t
mean that we don`t have other issues and areas that we have to be concerned
about and deal with directly.

DYSON: Sure. You have alluded to the density of data that suggests
that we have yet to succumb to that racial nirvana or promise land. So
does T.J. Holmes have a point when he says it`s still impossible to talk
about race relations because everyone just goes to their corners, digs in,
comes out, swings and fights and then goes back to their corners?

PETERSON: I think T.J. is right that some folk do that. There are
many of us that try to have these conversations in an ongoing way. Many of
us understand the value of having a consistent, continuous conversation
about race and about bias and about equality and about gender and all sorts
of issues. But he`s right. There are many people who want to sort of take
sides and don`t want to learn.

But look at the data that`s out there. There`s quite a bit of
institutional racism left for us to fight and confront head on in America.

DYSON: There was a lot of noise around the Census report than white
births no longer make up a majority of births in the United States. Are
attitudes, Dr. Peterson, about race affected by a fear that the white
makeup of the country is diminishing?

Remember, there was a famous female author, you know, 30 years ago on
the Donahue show, who made a similar argument, though with a different
context. Now here we are -- Francis Wellsin (ph) Now here we are saying
that the fear of diminishing white returns on the Census are leading to
some kind of real racial situation there.

PETERSON: For the small minority of folk who still hold on to race
based ideas about judging people and interacting with people, yes, the
growth of our Latino population, the continued growth of the African-
American population, other populations of color, are challenges for them.
There`s nothing anyone can do about that. This world is getting browner.

I think the point of the matter is that we`re all in this together,
and we really should all be on the same side. There should not be bias and
racism in any way in this society. We`re way too mature. And we should be
progressed way beyond that.

So I hope that we can continue to engage these things in
sophisticated, nuanced ways, without sort of running to our subject
positions and sort of bite back and being negative about it.

DYSON: Quickly, Professor Peterson, there doesn`t appear to be a
consensus in polling as to whether President Obama has made race relations
better, worse, or the same. Why hasn`t more of a consensus emerged, in
your viewpoint?

PETERSON: Because it`s both. So at the same time that having the
first black president is significant, again, there are still a small
minority of people in this society who hate the fact that we have a black
president. What it has done is it`s raise the ire of those vocal focal who
are racist in our society. And those of us who are interested and invested
in progress don`t really understand how we can move forward and backwards
at the same time. But that`s exactly what is happening today.

DYSON: As always, sharp as a tack, Dr. James Peterson. Thank you so
much.

PETERSON: Thank you, Doc.

DYSON: That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed
Schultz. The inimitable, tremendous, eloquent, grandiloquent (ph),
nevertheless stunning Rachel Maddow is next. Her show comes on, but not
without her. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: You know what, could I play Madlibs with
you sometime?

DYSON: You`re the winner.

MADDOW: Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate that, more than you
know. Thank you.

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

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