updated 8/27/2012 11:28:56 AM ET 2012-08-27T15:28:56

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
August 24, 2012

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

Guests: Chaka Fattah, E.J. Dionne, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Spike Lee

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW, live from Minneapolis.

Seventy-four days until the 2012 election. Move over Donald Trump,
Mitt Romney is now the top birther in America.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ann was born in Henry Ford
Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital. No one`s ever asked to see my
birth certificate.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Mitt Romney blows the dog whistle of right-wing
hatred on the stump.

ROMNEY: They know that this was the place we were born and raised.

SCHULTZ: And the haters on the right are eating it up.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Right on, right on, right on.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Michael Eric Dyson on the birther of a candidate
and Richard Wolffe on Mitt Romney`s political gamble.

An avalanche of dirty money is pouring into the state of Ohio to take
out Senator Sherrod Brown. Tonight, the senator tells me how Todd Akin,
Medicare, and voter suppression are moving the polls in the Buckeye State.

And Director Spike Lee says Republicans are doing the wrong thing.

SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR: Everything that`s happening now is really,
I think, a plan to stop Barack Hussein Obama from getting a second term.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, my exclusive interview with the great Spike Lee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Well, another day at the office with the Mittster. Today, Mitt Romney
reignited the fringe, those in his party who don`t see President Obama as a
legitimate president of the United States.

Here`s Romney in Commerce, Michigan, today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised,
where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was
born at Harper Hospital.

No one`s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know this is
the place that we were born and raised.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Afterwards, the Romney campaign offered a very weak
explanation. Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden said, "The governor has
always said and repeatedly said he believes the president was born here in
the United States. He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is
campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised."

Later, Romney went on "CBS Evening News" and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We`re in Michigan, and Ann and I were both born in Detroit.
Of course, a little humor goes a long way. So it was great to be home, to
be in a place where Ann and I had grown up, and the crowd loved it and got
a good laugh.

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: But this was a swipe at the president. I
wonder why you took it?

ROMNEY: No, no, not a swipe. I said throughout the campaign and
before, there`s no question about where he was born. He was born in the
U.S. This was about us and coming home. And humor -- you know, we have to
have a little humor in the campaign as well.

PELLEY: You threw a little red meat at the conservative wing of the
party there.

ROMNEY: No, this is all about being home in Michigan, the place we
were born and raised.

PELLEY: But once and for all for the record, you believe Barack Obama
is the legitimate president of the state?

ROMNEY: I have said that probably 30 times by now and 31 certainly
won`t hurt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: If that`s true, then why did he say it, why did he bring it
up?

It seemed deliberate and calculated to me. Let`s listen to the last
part of it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: No one ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know
this was the place we were born and raised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: They know? Who is they? Donald Trump, Sheriff Joe Arpaio
and all of the other birthers in the country he needs to support of? They
know Romney was born in the United States, but they aren`t so sure about
President Obama, are they?

In three days, Romney will go to his convention in Tampa, Florida.
Seven birthers or birther sympathizers will be speaking at the Republican
national convention, including Donald Trump. Here`s the Obama campaign`s
response today, to what was said in Michigan by Romney.

"Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most
strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them. It`s one
thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio, and Kris
Kobach, but Governor Romney`s decision to directly enlist himself in the
birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America."

Romney knew exactly what he was doing. How many times -- think about
that, how many times has he appeared in his home state of Michigan during
this election cycle without raising this issue in front of a crowd?

I say it was calculated. This is an issue that`s been dead in the
media for months now. And Romney just kicked it up all over again, and a
few days before his convention to let the crazies know that, hey, he hasn`t
forgotten them. He`s out there with them.

Just minutes later in the same speech today, Romney said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: These kinds of challenges, we can overcome in one way -- by
coming together and being united. It`s time to have a president who
believes in uniting the American people, not dividing the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Just a couple weeks ago, Romney said this about President
Obama`s campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: His campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless
accusations that disgrace the office of the presidency. So, Mr. President,
take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let
us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, it sounds like Romney is bitter and he`s ready to
create some division of his own. We know it was deliberate because in the
past, Romney has flirted with this issue through his surrogates. Romney
and his wife accepted the warm embrace of Donald Trump`s endorsement.
Donald Trump, birther in chief. Romney held a Las Vegas fund-raiser with
Trump in May at a time when Trump was raising this birther issue like never
before across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: They make these birthers into the
worst. Why doesn`t he show his birth certificate?

I want him to show his birth certificate?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?

TRUMP: There`s something on that birth certificate that he doesn`t
like.

You have to be born in the country. There`s no birth certificate.
There`s only a certificate of live birth which is a totally different
thing.

You ask about a birth certificate. How come there are no records that
his mother was ever in the hospital.

You got a certificate of live birth, that`s by the way, despite what
certain liberal press says, that`s not a birth certificate.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ: That was Trump`s issue all along. Romney`s campaign was
offering donors a chance to dine with the Donald. When asked about the
birther issue, Romney`s etch-a-sketch adviser said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: I can`t speak for Donald Trump,
Gloria, but I can tell you that Mitt Romney accepts that President Obama
was born in the United States. He doesn`t view the place of his birth as
an issue in this campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: A few months earlier in December of last year, Romney`s son
Matt Romney, said this when he was asked if his father would release more
tax returns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S SON: I heard someone suggest the other day
that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate
and sort of a long list of things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Matt Romney later tweeted, "I repeated a dumb joke. My
bad."

The conclusion we can draw is Mitt Romney knew exactly what he was up
to today. In the past, his campaign tried to keep a little bit of daylight
between Romney and the birther issue. Not today.

Here`s Rush Limbaugh loving it up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Romney gets up to the microphone, it`s his turn to speak
and he test drives that line about nobody has ever had to ask to see his
birth certificate. I`m going to tell you, you know, my prediction for you,
it`s going to be fascinating to watch. The Obama bashing at the Republican
convention is going to be delicious. It`s going to be five-star restaurant
type stuff. I mean, you`re going to love it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I don`t know if I agree with the Drugster, but it seems as
though Mitt Romney was taking birtherism out for a test drive today,
certainly floating up the balloons to see which way they were going to go,
but also signaling to the birthers, I haven`t forgotten you and damn it, I
really need you if I`m going to be president of the United States.

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

Tonight`s question: was Mitt Romney joking or pandering to the radical
Republican base? Text A for joking, text B for pandering to 622639. You
can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com and leave a comment. We
encourage you go do, and we`ll bring you the results of the poll later on
in the show.

Joining me tonight is Congressman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania.

Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. I guess I view this
whole thing as another Romney lie. I mean, we had a lot of lies out there
by the Romney campaign, so what the hell, they might as well throw one more
out there and embrace the birthers.

But I want to ask you, do you think this was a joke on the stump, a
slip of the tongue, or was this a calculated political move?

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I honestly think that when Todd
Akin was skipping out on science class, that Mitt Romney decided not to go
to geography class. Maybe he thought that the imperial Japan had it wrong
thinking that Pearl Harbor was United States territory. Hawaii is where
the president was born. I think it`s been clear even while he was serving
justice on bin Laden, he had an opportunity to share his birth certificate
to Donald Trump.

I guess the air on the high end jets, whatever they`re pumping through
the oxygen pipes must have touched Mitt`s funny bone.

But the truth is when he`s telling the truth about what he thinks it`s
more dangerous. When he said -- you know, you did a lot of work in
Wisconsin, when he said he got the message what America didn`t want was
more police, teachers, or firemen, that was scary.

When he goes out every day and tells mistruths, you know, he
constantly, you hear him and Paul Ryan say that 23 million people are
unemployed. They slip these numbers in.

So the problem for Mitt is that the campaign he has waged which has
not been one, I think, he should be proud of, is not working, you see the
polls in every single instance. The only place he can find a place to win
is on that other network. But every other poll shows the president
winning. He`s getting ready to walk into his convention.

And he`s going to be -- you know, anybody who has Rush rooting for him
and Sheriff Joe out in Arizona, you know, really has a challenge on his
hands in terms of rational voters in our country. That`s why he`s doing so
poorly.

SCHULTZ: So, Congressman, do you think it was a calculated move,
interesting just a few days before the convention, that he throws some raw
meat out to these birthers. I mean, he`s been to Michigan numerous times
and never brought this issue up before. What do you make of that?

FATTAH: Well, look, he`s a very calculating person. And I`m sure
everything he says as he goes forward, he has thought through.

Now, maybe he thought it would be taken as, not just either/or but as
both. To some, he could play it off as a joke. To others, they will see
it in the same way that some other messages, like his -- these inaccurate,
proven to be false ads around welfare, that they are sending certain
signals to people that they want to make sure are included, and they seem
to feel as though since they have lost a significant opportunity to get any
African-American votes, Latino votes, college-educated Americans votes --
you know, they`re going after votes that they think are available, and part
of that is that maybe red meat is necessary.

SCHULTZ: Do you believe Mitt Romney when he and his surrogates say
that they believe the president was born in the United States and is
legitimate?

FATTAH: Well, I think this is that we know that the president is
legitimate. And number two, we know that he`s been palling around with
Donald, the Trump, and Donald is leading him astray.

And I think when this election is over with, we`re talking ability a
convention where they`re going to embrace a platform that embraces no
exceptions even if you`re raped or a victim of incest, or the life of the
mother. They`re talking about embracing the Arizona immigration laws and
what Mitt Romney wants to do is stand up and say forget the platform we
just embraced. Listen to what I tell you about what I believe.

SCHULTZ: So, the platform is so radical, what the heck, they might as
well bring in the birthers, too, right?

FATTAH: They might as well go for it all.

SCHULTZ: All right. Congressman Chaka Fattah, great to have you with
us tonight. Thanks so much.

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.

Coming up, Richard Wolffe and Michael Eric Dyson will join me to the
discussion. Mitt Romney, I mean, this guy is going full birther. Why?

He`s desperate. We`re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney goes full birther on the campaign
trail. Is he testing out a new strategy? Throwing Hail Marys? Michael
Eric Dyson and Richard Wolffe will weigh in on that.

Mitt Romney tells the truth about big business but continues to lie
about President Obama`s attitude towards small businesses.

And Spike Lee says when it comes to voter suppression, the fix is in
and Republicans will do anything they can to stop and defeat President
Obama. My interview with the legendary director is ahead.

Share you thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using the
#EdShow. We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Now, I love being home in this place where Ann and I were
raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital.
I was born in Harper Hospital. No one`s ever asked to see my birth
certificate. They know that this was the place that we were born and
raised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

That was Mitt Romney going full birther on the campaign trail in
Michigan today. Romney has no problem tossing out some red meat to the
base right wing before the Republican Convention.

A lot to be talked about. Let`s turn to MSNBC political analyst and
Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, and MSNBC political
analyst Richard Wolffe.

You know, gentlemen, when politicians go in front of crowds, I think
they know their crowd. I`m going to play this piece of tape if I can of a
lady in the crowd who isn`t convinced that President Obama is legitimate.
Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: You think he was born in the U.S.? The governor alluded to
that today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know.

REPORTER: You don`t know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

REPORTER: That`s a real issue for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why doesn`t he bring up his certificate? Why?
Why doesn`t he? Why doesn`t he bring forth where he was in school? Why
doesn`t he let everybody know that like they want Romney to divulge his
income taxes?

REPORTER: He showed his birth certificate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, that`s a phony birth certificate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, I offered to both of you tonight, I think Mitt
Romney knows exactly who his crowd is and he`s on a mission to make sure
that this story doesn`t go away, especially before the convention.

Michael Eric Dyson, your thoughts on this? Timing very interesting,
and respond to that lady`s sound bite.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, it
was a calculated move by Mr. Romney to try to infer. See, Stuart Hall
talks about two different forms of racism -- overt racism which is explicit
and we can identify. And inferential racism, which is suggesting it
beneath the surface.

Now, he didn`t come out and just outright say he was not born in the
United States of America, but by implication, he is suggesting that he is
still not truly American. This is the ultimate othering of the president
of the United States of America. It`s a calculated move to stir up the pot
of racial animus in just the way it was predicted with the outcome of that
woman.

Here she is going, bless her heart, he wasn`t born here. Why doesn`t
he show his school? We know he went to Occidental and Columbia and
Harvard. We know where he went to school. Why didn`t he tell us his birth
certificate? Will he show his birth certificate?

No amount of empirical verification will trump the vicious bias that
Mr. Romney has appealed to today. Not only did he not stumble into it, it
was an explicitly calculated move to make certain that the far right wing
understood that he was still in their corner.

SCHULTZ: Richard Wolffe, I have to ask the question. I think there
are some people out there rendering judgment on Mitt Romney`s campaign.
You mean it`s come to this? This is what he`s saying on the stump?

The political calculation here -- where is it, what is it?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s a dumb one,
right, because, look, the people who believe this stuff, like the woman you
played the tape of, they`re in the crowd, with this guy already. Where are
the birthers going to go? They`re not going to be tempted to vote for the
Democratic candidate in this election.

So, why does he need to do this? Remember, he`s already given the
ideologues the real radical Republicans, Paul Ryan, and now he takes this
on. Yes, OK, he tried to deliver a joke. It`s not funny in the way that
walking a blind teacher into a closed door wasn`t funny for the young Mitt
Romney, but maybe he finds it funny. Maybe the people around him find it
funny.

Not a great joke. Not great politics. Who is he reaching out to?

It undermines his fundamental premise that somehow there`s a clean
start. He`s an outsider, he`s not a governor, he`s a businessman. He can
do all those things Obama promised but is not delivering on in terms of
unifying the country.

Well, he`s not to do that with this kind of approach. He`s not going
to appeal outside his base with this kind of approach. So, I think the
political judgment is in question here, and yes, all of the things that
Michael Eric Dyson just said, there`s a strand running through the Romney
campaign saying that the other guy is not authentically American. He`s not
loyal to America. He doesn`t have American values or culture and this just
fits into it.

SCHULTZ: Well, you know, Michael Eric Dyson, the man you`re looking
at there on the screen, Mitt Romney, he is scoring in the polls. The
latest NBC poll, a zero with African-American voters.

DYSON: Right.

SCHULTZ: Has he come to the point saying, well, we`re not going to
get African-Americans anyway so I might as well have at it and make sure I
got all the birthers motivated? What do you think?

DYSON: Of course. This faux -- it wasn`t a happy birth to you moment
today by speaking about being born in Detroit, Michigan. Yes, it`s a
calculated dissing of African-American people, and this is where perhaps
apart from the birther element here to answer Richard Wolffe`s question,
maybe some of those swing voters who still would have anything but an
African-American in the office. They`re not outright and explicitly
racist, but they find a problem embracing this African-American man. Here
is where the gray realm of the racial animus exists.

And I think this is where Mitt Romney has calculated that he can show,
hey, I`m willing to take on black people. And done forget, Bill Clinton
had his Sister Soulja moment, where he proved to suburban white America
that he was willing to take on the urban vote.

I`m suggesting here that Mitt Romney doesn`t have that sophistication
of Bill Clinton, but he does understand there are enough people out there
who are still on the fence and the dissing of black people counts
tremendously on their side of the ledger.

SCHULTZ: Richard, does the president say anything? Does he leave it
to his spokespeople?

WOLFFE: I think he leaves it well alone. This kind -- look, if
you`re going to be charitable about it, this was a joke that misfired, and
it`s too low. You don`t punch down if you`re the president of the United
States. You keep the debate where it should be.

In this case, yes, he`s taking the fight to the other side, but the
fight is about tax policy, it`s about that priorities and their values.
This stuff, he`s just going to brush off his shoulder.

SCHULTZ: All right, Michael Eric Dyson, Richard Wolffe, great to have
you with us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Appreciate it so much.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Tonight in our survey, I asked you, was Mitt Romney joking
or pandering to the radical Republican base with his birther comments?
Three percent of you say he was joking. 97 percent of you say pandering.

Coming up, a small business owner will address the Republican
convention next week. Interesting, isn`t it? Will she mention the
millions of dollars she received in government loans? E.J. Dionne will
weigh in on that and much more.

Then, the Paul Ryan pick and the Akin controversy are shaking things
up in a lot of races, especially in Ohio. Senator Sherrod Brown is here to
talk about his Senate race and so much more.

Stay with us. We`re right back on THE ED SHOW.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.

Did you know that big business is doing just fine? Despite what the
Romney campaign has been telling the American people, those words are not
only true, but they were spoken by Mitt Romney.

Romney told folks at a fund-raiser last night, "Big business is doing
fine in many places. They get the loans they need. They can deal with all
of the regulation."

And he`s right. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, big
businesses are hiring at a faster rate than smaller businesses and were not
as negatively impacted by the recession. Yet when President Obama
expressed those sentiments, Romney came out with this attack ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The private sector is
fine. Where we`re seeing weaknesses have to do with the state and local
government.

The private sector is doing fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But Romney`s hypocrisy wasn`t the worst part. Romney says
the reason why big businesses are doing fine is due in part to offshore tax
havens. He sure likes them.

He says, "They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save
money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax
havens around the world for their businesses."

Of course, Romney`s recent focus hasn`t been on big business but
rather on small business. In fact, next week, Republicans will devote an
entire night to mocking the president`s belief that success in this country
comes from an individual`s hard work and help from public institutions and
government investments.

The Republican convention, they will call next Tuesday "We Built That"
night.

The evening will feature small business owners, including a woman
named Sher Valenzuela. Valenzuela is running for lieutenant governor in
Delaware, and she`s a small business owner. Good for her.

And taking a look at her resume, there are a few details she might not
want to talk about at the convention, maybe keep to herself. According to
"Media Matters," Valenzuela`s company First State Manufacturing -- well,
look at this -- they have received millions of dollars in federal loans and
contracts. Valenzuela herself has admitted she`s been successful because
of these loans and she`s encouraged other small business owners to take
advantage of the same opportunities to get ahead.

I`m joined tonight by E.J. Dionne, MSNBC contributor, "Washington
Post" columnist and author of the book "Our Divided Political Heart."

Great to have you with us, E.J. This is going to be fun to watch
because we can pull out archive after archive of tape and what not that are
in the archives, obviously, about how they have been railing on small
business, railing on the president`s comment.

It almost harkens back to Hillary Clinton`s it takes a village. I
kind of thought about that when the president first said that. How is this
going to play out? How are they going to put lipstick on this pig?

E.J. DIONNE, "WASHINGTON POST": First of all, Ed, you don`t
understand that if a Republican says business is doing fine, that`s a pro-
capitalist statement. And if Obama says business is doing fine, that`s a
socialist statement. Isn`t that perfectly clear?

I find this whole argument very strange. Whenever I run into somebody
who says I`m self-made, my first instinct is to say, well, you had parents,
didn`t you? I mean that not only in the biological sense but in other
senses. You had teachers, didn`t you? You had coaches, didn`t you? You
had people who gave you help along the way.

And in the case of a lot of businesses in America, they do a lot of
business with government. We have a Small Business Administration. We
have all kinds of benefits the government gives to business. I love
Senator Fritz Hollings who used to tell the story of a business guy who
went to college on the GI Bill, started a business with an SBA loan, bought
a house with an FHA loan, and said he was voting for Ronald Reagan to get
the government off his back.

I mean, there`s just something very strange and very old about this
argument that they`re making.

SCHULTZ: Well, how do they dress up the argument to make it look good
to the American people? On one hand, they`re railing against any kind of
government help. On the other hand, they`re going to put a person up there
who has had success with the help of government. It almost illustrates
exactly what the Romney campaign is all about, doesn`t it?

DIONNE: You know, they have had this problem before. I think, if I`m
not mistaken, this is the second or third business person they have pulled
out to make the point that there was something terrible about Obama`s
statement, where it turns out that that business did business with the
government or got some help from government.

Maybe they`ll put somebody out there who got help from the dread
stimulus package. It`s just very hard to find somebody in America who is
totally pure and has never gotten any help from government. And so I think
they`re going to have this problem over and over again.

SCHULTZ: Quickly, E.J., I want to know what you think about Todd
Akin. How much of a problem is he going to be at the convention? You have
Mike Huckabee, who is going to be speaking, and has embraced him. Your
thoughts on how this is going to unfold?

DIONNE: The fact is that you ask that question shows the problem they
have. We are a few days before the Republican convention. Not only are we
still talking about Todd Akin, but he chose today to put himself in the
news with that news conference. So I think this is going to be a problem
with them all week. We`re paying attention to a Republican platform we
might have ignored because of him. So I think it`s a problem.

SCHULTZ: Wind velocity that won`t go away with Hurricane Todd. No
doubt. E.J. Dionne, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NINA TURNER, OHIO STATE SENATOR: If you`re someone who cares about
fairness and justice, it is all of our responsibility to stand up and tell
the truth. And the truth of the matter is that it`s republicans who are
suppressing the vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Ohio`s secretary of state shoots down yet another attempt to
expand early voting in the Buckeye State. Senator Sherrod Brown responds
next.

Al Qaeda linked websites are threatening an ex-Navy SEAL turned author
after Fox News leaks his name. We`ll have a full report.

And the great director Spike Lee is out with his new movie "Red Hook
Summer."

Tonight, he joins me to talk about Mitt Romney`s African-American
supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: The funny thing for me is when they have these
rallies, with my man Mitt, and they have these one or two black people
behind him who are placed perfectly. Who are those people? I think, what
corner did they grab them from?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Hurricane Todd struck again
today with pretty good velocity, I might add. Congressman Todd Akin
announced he`s staying in the Missouri Senate race. This is pretty much
icing on the cake for a tough couple weeks for the Republicans.

And of course, it all started when Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as
his pick for vice president. He was really hoping for a jump in the polls.
But I think we can say after a couple weeks, it`s pretty much backfired.
All Romney ended up with basically was talk about Paul Ryan`s immoral
budget. It brought to light Ryan`s massive cuts in Medicare, Medicaid,
Food Stamps, and education.

It`s estimated six out of every 10 dollars Ryan cuts comes from
programs for the poor. It just isn`t fair. And after a tough week for
Republicans, new polling shows that President Obama is doing OK, with a
four-point lead over Mitt Romney.

And in the key swing state of Ohio, President Obama has a six-point
lead. So is it affecting other states? There`s also an important Senate
race going on in Ohio between Senator Sherrod Brown and Republican Josh
Mandel, who is definitely a radical. New polling in that race shows that
Senator Brown has a seven-point lead over his opponent, but the spending
from the big PACs is pretty much unbelievable.

For more, let`s turn to Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. He joins us
tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Senator, good to have you with us. It`s
been, I think, calculated -- you bet. It`s been calculated as not a real
good couple of weeks for the Republicans. Is that in any way affecting
your race and the conversation in the state of Ohio?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: I think that clearly Romney, Ryan, my
opponent, their extremism, their proposed cuts to Medicare, their proposed
cuts to Pell Grants, their whole issue of what Todd Akin was talking about,
forcible rape, all of that clearly shows they`re out of the mainstream.
But the problem is the huge wash of money all across the country.

And what`s keeping these races even close at all -- I`m not sure I
would have much of a campaign if it weren`t for the 15 -- literally 15.2
million dollars in outside spending from interest groups. We really don`t
know for sure who they are because they`re not accountable and they don`t
have to disclose who they are.

So that really is what`s kept some of these candidates afloat. I
think it`s -- in the case of my race, it`s exactly that.

SCHULTZ: So if the PAC money had not been coming into the state of
Ohio, you think your lead would be greater than it is right now?

BROWN: There`s no question. We have seen this money has -- as this
money has continued to pile on, they`re spending -- there`s either -- we`re
not sure, either five or six different groups in Ohio in August now
,outside groups, all -- we think all orchestrated by Karl Rove, directing
the orchestra.

They are spending four million in August alone. We expect that to be
even more in September, October. That 15.1 million clearly has caused my
negatives to go up. They`re all attack ads. They`re most of them
misleading, but you can`t -- nobody is accountable because we don`t know
who they are. We kind of figure we know why they are. We figure it`s Wall
Street, because of my bill to break up the six largest banks.

We figure it`s the oil companies because of my opposition to oil
company tax breaks. But you know, when you`re a target like that -- and
I`m a big boy. I can handle it. But when you`re a target like that, it`s
because you stand for something. That`s why we need a citizen`s movement
to fight back.

SCHULTZ: Well, let`s get back to the Akin situation for a moment.
Has he done the Democrats a big favor? I mean, doesn`t this give you
something to go out on the campaign trail and talk about and say, look,
they`re divided over on the other side. We know what they`re all about.
This radical right now is really what their party is all about?

Hasn`t this been a good opportunity for you to illustrate to your
constituents just who the Republicans are?

BROWN: Yeah, I think it has. I mean, the fact is it`s not just Akin
who has no -- no -- rape and incest or no -- also can`t have an abortion
even if it`s you`re a victim of rape or incest. It`s not just Akin. It`s
Paul Ryan, the vice presidential nominee. We don`t know quite what Romney
thinks because he`s been all over the board. It`s my opponent, who wants
no exclusion there.

SCHULTZ: You`re right, senator. It`s not only Akin. It`s even the
candidate on top of the ticket. Mitt Romney today interjecting the Birther
conversation. Do you hear Birther talk in Ohio?

BROWN: I hear -- I don`t go to rallies where they do the Birther
talk. That`s where my opponent goes. But I -- I just think it would be
comical if it weren`t tragic. This crowd has shown themselves not ready to
lead. They have shown themselves way out of the political mainstream.

But when they have that kind of money from the oil companies and from
Wall Street and from the moguls, casino moguls, they can keep these
candidates afloat and keep these races close.

SCHULTZ: When they`re not doing that with money, they`re doing voter
suppression. Your thoughts on the early voting ban and the hours that have
now been cut back and restricted in the state of Ohio, all 88 counties. Is
this going to affect your race?

BROWN: It`s going to affect our race if we let it. But the point is
we have got to be organized. We`ve got to fight back. I ask people to
come to SherrodBrown.com, join our citizens movement to fight against the
big money, but also help us organize. Because when they try to cut back on
voting hours, one of the answers is we just organize better and get our
people to the polls early for early voting or on election day, and make
sure they -- make sure they have the opportunity to cast their votes.

But it really is all about organizing at SherrodBrown.com. It`s about
organizing better than they do.

SCHULTZ: Well, it is about organizing and getting people to the
polls. Right now, it`s about Republicans trying to suppress the vote.
Would you agree?

BROWN: Absolutely. They`re trying it in state after state. They
have always done voter suppression. We had that every four years in Ohio.

SCHULTZ: At this level?

BROWN: But it`s never been quite at this level from the top down.
It`s never been by using state law. It`s been doing kind of sleazy
underhanded things in the neighborhoods. This is well beyond what`s we
have seen in this country in 50 years.

SCHULTZ: Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio, great to have you on THE ED
SHOW tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.

Coming up, Fox News is putting the life of a former Navy SEAL at risk.
The disgusting details are coming up next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Earlier this week, a former
SEAL Team Six member announced that he would be releasing a book detailing
his firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. To protect
his identity and for the safety of his family, the author used the pen name
Mark Owen.

Because of Fox News, he remained anonymous for exactly one day. Fox
News published the retired SEAL`s real name in a report on their website.
This show and this network will not use the man`s real name. The reason?
NBC News reports that militant Islamic websites affiliated with al Qaeda
have already posted his name.

They are also posting death threats. On top of security concerns, the
man known as Mark Owen now faces legal trouble, the Justice Department for
not vetting his account with the Pentagon. Justin Fishal (ph) is the Fox
News contributor who outed the author.

Let`s go back to May of 2011, when Fishal wrote an article stressing
the importance of protecting the identities of SEAL Team Six members. In
the same article, he slammed the Obama administration for leaking operation
details to the press.

Now, Fishal and Fox News have blown the whistle on one of the leaders
of SEAL Team Six because Mark Owen`s book highlights one of the Obama
administration`s signature achievements? Here`s Fox News` response to
criticism over the leak. "Once you write a book, anonymously or not, you
have no reasonable expectation of privacy."

Really? That`s about the most un-American response I think you could
ever get, considering the accomplishment of SEAL Team Six and what it meant
to the world and fighting the war on terror, which that network loves to
promote all the time.

Coming up, director Spike Lee has a new movie out. He`ll join me
coming up. We`re talking voter ID laws, President Obama, the GOP
obstruction. Stay tuned. We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We`ve been following the
Republicans` effort to suppress the vote across the country. These voter
ID laws disproportionately affect the young, the elderly, the poor, and are
hitting minority communities big time.

Folks are taking notice. And they are speaking out, and they need to.
Director Spike Lee says the fix is in when tit comes to these new voter ID
laws across the country. He says, "we know that all these new rules have
been implemented to stop the president from getting a second term."

Lee, of course, has chronicled the African-American experience in his
films for over 25 years. He`s a master story teller, exploring themes such
as race, poverty and religion. His latest film, "Red Hook Summer," is
opening in theaters across the country.

Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this what your mother, Sister Augusta, God
bless her soul, prayed for all these years, building up little heaven? Is
that what she wanted for you, son?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First you need to take that claw off me, preacher
man. The next time you mention my mother`s name with real talk --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No disrespect. I just wanted you to meet my
grandson, Click. He`s going to be here for the rest of the summer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, I met him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining me now is director Spike Lee. Spike, great to have
you with us on THE ED SHOW tonight. Thanks for your time.

LEE: What`s up, Big Ed?

SCHULTZ: Well, I`m still working for a living. That`s the good news.

LEE: That`s a good thing. You got a job today, baby.

SCHULTZ: Absolutely. Spike, I`m intrigued by that clip we just
played. What are you trying to accomplish in this film? What is your
mission on this production?

LEE: Well, Ed, it`s really just what I have been doing from the
beginning, even started in NYU Film School way back in 1979. I`m a story
teller. And I`ve been working hard to build a body of work and tell
different stories and show what I feel the truths and realities of the
world we live in today.

SCHULTZ: Well, focusing on the African-American community, here we
are in 2012, and there is actually a political party at work in this
country to suppress the vote. After all the documentaries you have done
and after everything you have seen in your life, how does that strike you
on the verge of what some people call the biggest election in the nation`s
history?

LEE: Well, you know, politics is a dirty business. And people are
going to do what they feel they have to do to get their candidate elected,
whether they have to break laws or not. And I think that once you become
aware of that, you have to jump those hurdles.

And everything that`s happening now is really, I think, a plan to stop
Barack Hussein Obama from getting a second term.

SCHULTZ: You`ve said President Obama is not perfect, but people have
expected too much. Your comment was that he was a savior black Jesus --

LEE: I said people thought he was. I`m not saying he was Jesus. The
perception was that. It was there.

SCHULTZ: OK. But you basically are saying you thought the
expectations were too high. What about that?

LEE: Well, it`s a natural -- how could that be natural? This is the
first African-American president in the history of this country. How could
not be people -- not just black, because people forget it was a coalition
of everybody that got President Obama elected. And so with that came one
of the greatest moments in the history of this country. So I think it`s
natural that expectations were up that high.

SCHULTZ: What -- how do you feel about the Republican obstructionists
that have taken place? A record number of filibusters in the Senate, a
stated effort by Republicans to make sure that this president wasn`t going
to have any legislative victories, that it was going to be tough, that it
was absolutely a road map put together by Republicans to make sure that
President Obama was not successful?

LEE: I think history will state that what you just said is true, that
when the president -- when Obama put his right hand on Abraham Lincoln`s
Bible, the decision was made, that`s the last time he`s doing that. His
hand is not going to be in the Bible two times. And everything, I think,
has played out like that.

SCHULTZ: You know, the Republicans and the media, especially this
show, has made a lot out about the fact the war on women is taking place in
this country. You look at their agenda, you look at their GOP platform.
It`s pretty easy to see. What about the war on minorities? Going into the
convention, you see what the Republicans, they don`t have anything on the
table for minorities.

In fact, the African-Americans right now are polling that Romney is
going to get zero percent of the vote. And the Latino vote is also not
going to be there for Romney. What does that say about where we`re going
as a country, that you have a political party that scores so lowly with a
lot of Americans?

LEE: I think, to me, Ed, to be honest, that`s very troubling,
because, as you know, United States Census Bureau has said by early I think
2040, white Americans will be a minority in this country. This is not
Spike Lee saying this. This is the United States Census Bureau.

The funny thing for me is when they have these rallies with my man
Mitt, and they have these one or two black people behind him who are placed
perfectly.

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

LEE: Who are those people? I`m always thinking, what corner did they
grab them from?

SCHULTZ: Actually, Spike, there were two people behind him at the USS
Wisconsin down in Norfolk, Virginia. But then when he started talking,
there was only one. I don`t know if you noticed that.

LEE: I missed that one.

SCHULTZ: Before the speech was over, there was only one. I don`t
know what happened to the other.

LEE: The other guy split. He said I`m out of here.

SCHULTZ: Must have heard too much. No question about it. Spike,
good luck on your film. You always do great work. You`re always welcome
on THE ED SHOW. Good to have you with us.

LEE: Thank you for being a big supporter of me. Love you, man. Love
you.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much.

LEE: All right, Brother.

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

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

Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>