updated 9/10/2012 11:53:06 AM ET 2012-09-10T15:53:06

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
September 7, 2012

Guests: Jon Soltz, Chris Kluwe, Nina Turner, Terry O`Neill

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

Sixty days until the 2012 election. The Democratic National
Convention has already given President Obama a bounce, Republicans are
giddy over bad job numbers, and a story trending on Twitter, an NFL punter
taking a stand for equality on Twitter. That is on fire tonight.

We`ve got an exclusive interview with the Minnesota Vikings punter
Chris Kluwe. That`s coming up.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They don`t want to show
you their plan. That`s because they know their plan won`t sell.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president continues to whack Mitt Romney
for playing hide and seek a day after lighting him up in Charlotte.

OBAMA: I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their
deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another
millionaire`s tax cut.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Richard Wolffe and Eugene Robinson on all the
convention fallout and the president`s big bounce.

Jon Soltz of Vote Vets on Mitt Romney`s pathetic excuse for ignoring
the troops.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When you give a speech, you
don`t go through a laundry list. You talk about the things that you think
are important.

SCHULTZ: In Ohio, secretary of state is playing chicken with a judge
over voter suppression. State Senator Nina Turner is here to react to
today`s big news.

STATE SEN. NINA TURNER (D), OHIO: It`s all our responsibility to
stand up and tell the truth, and the truth of the matter is, is that it is
Republicans who are suppressing the vote.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

The mission for Democrats this week was to offer a clear contrast for
voters in November. They were right on target and last night, President
Obama sealed the deal. The president did not offer platitudes or easy
answers. But he offered a stark choice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I won`t pretend the path I`m offering is quick or easy. I
never have. You didn`t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You
elected me to tell you the truth.

(APPLAUSE)

And the truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve
challenges that have built up over decades. It will require a common
effort and shared responsibility. And the kind of bold, persistent
experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis
worse than this one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I think we can all agree that the country needs a little bit
of confidence right now and I think that the president took care of that
last night. I think we all feel better about it, especially liberals and
progressives. One of the biggest mistakes of the Republican convention
last week was the lack of confidence and vision and direction for the
country.

Americans are optimists. We believe, and President Obama explained
why the Republicans were not offering a prescription for positive change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Now, our friends down in Tampa at the Republican convention
were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with
America. But they didn`t have much to say about how they`d make it right.
They want your vote, but they don`t want you to know their plan.

And that`s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions
they`ve had for the last 30 years. Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.
Deficit too high -- try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax
cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: President Obama didn`t take his foot off the pedal, either.
Issue by issue, he pointed out why the Republicans have not offered
specific plans -- because they don`t have any.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger
tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way that since government can`t
do everything it should do almost nothing. If you can`t afford health
insurance, hope that you don`t get sick. If a company releases toxic
pollution into the air your children breathe -- well, that`s the price of
progress. If you can`t afford to start a business or go to college, take
my opponent`s advice and borrow money from your parents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: You know, in a lot of ways, this speech was President
Obama`s vision versus the inability of the Republicans to present a very
clear vision for America. The president asked Americans, he asked
Americans to help him achieve his vision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your
country, goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and
the deficit -- real achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more
opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That`s
what we can do in the next four years. And that`s why I`m running for a
second term as president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Well, the critics said the president`s speech was nothing
but lip service. The question is whether the president can deliver more
job opportunities and improved economy in another four years in office.
Does he deserve the shot?

Here`s the response to the critics who were out and about. A year
ago -- I think we have to point this out -- a year ago, the president
unveiled the American Jobs Act. This is it, never got a notice. It was
fully paid for, fully paid for and would have created up to 2 million jobs,
Republicans, they made sure it was dead on arrival in the Congress.

Last September, the president went on the road. He toured the country
pushing for infrastructure upgrades, spending for construction jobs,
infrastructure attention. Bridges, roads, it would have created jobs
instantly. He even spoke at a damaged bridge in House Speaker John
Boehner`s district.

But Republicans still blocked any attempt at new job proposals. They
were sitting there thinking, we only have one year to go here. Why help
him now?

Despite the engines of Washington running against the president,
despite the historic number, historic number of filibusters in a do-nothing
Congress, and good spite the partisan agenda designed to take down this
presidency, what do we have? Well, we still have 30 consecutive months of
private sector job growth.

Imagine that. Without anybody else`s help. This is all under
President Obama`s watch, what he was handed, what he`s done with it.

At the end of this chart, you`re going to see the numbers for August.
It`s OK -- 96,000 new jobs were added, but think about this. The 96,000
jobs that were added, Republicans didn`t help you get that job. Could have
been a lot better, but we`re still adding jobs despite all of the
Republican efforts of obstruction.

Imagine what the employment situation would be like if the 2 million
jobs the president had added. Would it have been a different climate last
night? Would there be a different feeling in the country if he could step
up and say, you know, we have added 2 million jobs in the last year? Would
you feel like the country was going in the right direction? Of course you
would. There would be no doubt.

Now, the Democratic Party spent three days making this case. It`s
early, but so far it looks like the Americans people are starting to agree
with the president. The president`s approval rating rebounded in the daily
Gallup tracking poll. He`s at 52 percent -- 52 percent, seven points
higher than his approval rating before the convention.

Maybe it`s because Americans across the country are understanding what
this country has actually been up against. There has been a group of
elected officials who were supposed to go to Washington and help make the
country better. They`ve gone to Washington to try to make it worse because
they don`t like the guy in the Oval Office.

Americans understand Mitt Romney is not offering a vision to get us
out of these problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And if you share that faith with me, if you share that hope
with me, I ask you tonight for your vote.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: If you reject the notion that this nation`s promise is
reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election. If you
think your bid is beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in
this election. If you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot
and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules,
then I need you to vote this November.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Think about how trivial the conversations have been coming
from the Republicans. He`s not an American. We don`t know where he was
born.

That last sound bite, did he look like he cared about America? Did it
look like he wanted Americans to get a job?

This election is 60 days away. The choice is before all of us. You
will decide who makes the best case for America`s future.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think tonight.
Tonight`s question: who makes the better case for America`s future? Text A
for President Obama, text B for Mitt Romney to 622639.

You can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. Leave a comment there.
We encourage that. We`ll bring you the results later on in the show.

I`m joined tonight by MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe and
Eugene Robinson, MSNBC political analyst and associate editor and Pulitzer
Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post."

Gentlemen, thanks for being here tonight.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: I want to start with the last clip we showed was President
Obama getting kind of cranked up, getting forceful, making the case. But I
thought there was a tone strategy last night not to oversell. Richard,
what do you think about that?

WOLFFE: You know, Ed, let me say, I`m getting more than a little sick
and tired of hearing that Republican critics make this claim that this
tone, the pitch of this speech was flat, there was nothing in it, and it`s
been repeated through the day by lazy journalists with all of the recall of
a goldfish around a very small glass bowl.

You know, this president as a candidate and in office has always taken
these big moments and toned things down. You don`t have to be flying on
the wings of oratory at these moments because the big moments speak for
themselves.

I was in the arena. There were people out there who were just
thrilled to see him and reacted with passion to every line he delivered.
The big speeches this president delivered as a candidate were when he was
in a hole. He needed to deliver a big speech in New Hampshire when they
lost or when Reverend Wright burst on the scene and he was talking about
race in Philadelphia.

This was a moment when the moment spoke for itself, and the speech
delivered in terms of the framing and certainly in terms of the delivery.
So, enough with the lazy memories and the glossing over. This president
for his inaugural, for his acceptance four years ago, and last night, toned
it down in the big moments.

SCHULTZ: Eugene, do you think the president motivated supporters and
swing voters? I mean, asking for the vote the way he did I thought was a
very effective moment.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it is also effective,
I think, in politics to ask in that way. That creates more loyalty,
actually, than anything else when people respond.

You know, I thought it certainly inspired supporters of the president.
And I think he went a long way. I think the whole week went a long way
toward appealing to independents. Even those who might be disenchanted
with the way things went the last four years to take stock, and to listen
to what the Republicans were saying and listen to what the president was
saying and make a choice. I think that`s the sort of consideration the
president wants.

SCHULTZ: President Obama was on the campaign trail today repeating
his argument about the Republican vision. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Tax cuts. Tax cuts. Gut some regulations. Oh, and more tax
cuts.

Tax cuts when times are good. Tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts
to help you lose a few extra pounds. Tax cuts to improve your love life.
It will cure anything, according to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: What about this approach, Richard? This argument, how does
it play out for the president, the way he`s handling it? He`s almost
mixing in some comedy and jabbing along the way with this.

It`s a very serious issue. We`ve got to fix the Treasury. And it all
-- it is about the tax cuts.

WOLFFE: Look, successful candidates can jab and punch and do it with
a sense of humor. President Clinton did it. President Bush did it, too.
So, that is a skill, a skill that Mitt Romney hasn`t shown yet. Maybe
he`ll pick it up along the way.

But one thing you got to understand about this phase, the next big
thing that Mitt Romney is doing this homework for are the presidential
debates. What President Obama did last night and what he`s doing on the
trail is setting up the debates. He`s knocking down their arguments
systematically. So when he gets to the debates, people are already primed.

That`s why he`s taking down their arguments one by one, especially
this framing: yes, tax cuts, the same old ideas, tax cuts for everything,
but also what you heard in that clip right at the top of the show, just
because government cannot do everything, doesn`t mean that government
should do almost nothing. You`re going to hear that line again and again
before we go into those debates.

SCHULTZ: And quickly, Eugene, the job numbers today, does this put a
damper on the president`s speech and the convention?

ROBINSON: Well, the job numbers today were a downer. I mean, you
know, now it`s continued job growth. Predictions were that the job number
would be something like 200,000, and it ended up being 96,000.

But my view is that the economy is what it is. We have growth that is
too slow. There are reasons for that. There are things that could be
fixed and things that would be difficult to fix.

It`s a long slog -- the president made that argument. I think he`s
going to have to keep making it especially because we have to go to the
election with the economy we have, not with the economy we would like to
have.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Richard Wolffe, Eugene Robinson, you gentlemen are the
best. Thank you for joining us tonight.

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

Coming up, Romney failed to mention the troops in his acceptance
speech. Now his explanation is making matters even worse. Jon Soltz of
VoteVets.org is coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney didn`t think it was important to
mention the troops in his RNC speech? Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz joins me
with reaction next.

Democrats speak out on women`s issues and they have the policies to
back it up. I`ll ask Terri O`Neill if the Democrats made a convincing case
to women over the last three days.

And later, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe takes on a Delaware
legislature for attacking freedom of speech and marriage equally. Chris
Kluwe is my exclusive guest tonight.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Governor Mitt Romney is actually trying to defend his decision to
decision to omit any mention of our troops in his acceptance speech.
Here`s the explanation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: When you give a speech, you don`t go through a laundry list.
You talk about the things you think are important. I described in my
speech, my commitment to a strong military, unlike the president`s decision
to cut our military. And I didn`t use the word troops, I used the word
military. I think they refer to the same thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Romney says when he gives a speech, he talks about things
that are important. He didn`t talk about the troops in his acceptance
speech. Therefore, by Romney`s own definition, he didn`t think the troops
are very important.

Six thousand four hundred and seventy-three troops have died in Iraq
and Afghanistan, 49,746 Americans have been wounded in those wars over the
last 10 years. Suicides among veterans are a serious problem. July set a
record for a record high for the number of suicides in the United States
military.

Then there are the multiple deployments that families go through, the
military moms and dads waiting for their spouses to return home. Romney
said he spoke to the American Legion and VFW, but that doesn`t cut it.

This is the party that practically coined the phrase, we support the
troops. This is the party that demonized people who wouldn`t wear the flag
lapel pin. This is the party that always claimed to have the upper hand on
protecting the country and national security and love of country, and
accusing President Obama of not being American enough and not loving the
country.

But Mitt Romney can`t bring himself to I insert a paragraph about
those troops in harm`s way right now and have been there multiple times in
his acceptance speech? I think it is the ultimate disqualifier.

Here`s Senator John Kerry addressing the issue last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No nominee for president should
ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in
his acceptance speech. Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney was talking about America.
They are on the front lines every day, defending America and they deserve
our thanks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Tribute is the correct word.

Let`s turn to Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org. Jon served in Iraq
in 2003 and again in 2011.

Jon, your response to the lack of attention given to our troops and
especially our troops in theater right now at the Republican convention.

JON SOLTZ, VOTEVETS.ORG: I`m still shocked at Governor Romney`s
response. I can`t believe he said that this morning. In regards to what
happened at the Republican convention, he has a very, very unpopular
position on Afghanistan. I mean, the president`s position isn`t popular.
Mitt Romney doesn`t have a timeline to end the war. He would commit
100,000 troops there for an indefinite period of time, basically involved
in a type of insurgency that is more related to the future of the Afghan
democracy than what happened with American security.

I think that`s the first thing. He`s got the neoconservative George
Bush advisers around him who frankly never served.

In regards to not talking about at the RNC, I mean, who wants to talk
about a policy position that isn`t supported by the military and isn`t
supported by -- maybe is only supported by 15 percent of the country? And
they didn`t mention or talk about what they were going to do to help the
veterans returning home. That`s probably because Governor Romney
supporting his running mates budget, which is an $11 billion cut to
veterans and almost 13 percent compared to what the president is proposing.

SCHULTZ: So in a sense, he supported the budget, but Paul Ryan, $11
billion cuts to vets by not mentioning the vets at all and not mentioning
the troops in Afghanistan.

What message does that send to the men and women in uniform?

SOLTZ: It`s terrible. I mean, I think the larger thing, when you
listen to the comment, when he talks about, I mentioned the military. This
is sort of a conservative talking point, weapons systems. And there`s
always this debate about weapons systems versus taking care of the
military.

You know, will there be an attempt to take away the military pensions.

So, when you have the president and he`s thanking the troops, the
actual people that do the work, that`s different than the military
industrial complex that Mitt Romney is referring to. Just in the microcosm
of what he said this morning on television about laundry lists. Well, it`s
great to know our troops are considered part of a longer laundry list.

If you want to talk about the priorities, they have chosen to talk
about the top 2 percent of Americans who are in a lower tax bracket that
who serve the country like I do, and President Obama and the vice president
talk about the 1 percent of the people who actually are the troops who go
and do the work. I think there`s a huge disconnect about them
understanding what we do in the military.

SCHULTZ: You think what they did at their convention and what the
Democrats did at theirs, a very lofty tribute, a very sincere, very
detailed, and connecting it to policy and what they`re going to do for
veterans and the troops in our military, do you think that will affect this
election?

SOLTZ: I think it affects this election with voters who care about
the military. So, the perception with independent voters or undecided
voters or Americans, they want to know these kids have been fighting in a
war for the past 10 years and they want to know that they have an
administration that`s not going to turn their back on them, and that goes a
lot further than just how veterans feel. I think it`s very important.

I think the other thing is it connected to the people. John Kerry was
superb last night when he made the statement about ask Osama bin Laden if
he`s better off today than four years ago. It was the largest cheer in the
room.

So, I think they focused in on things that connect to how Americans
felt. When the vice president stood up last night and mentioned the exact
number and amount of troops that were killed and wounded, he has a personal
connection to the issue. I think if you talk to Beau Biden, he`ll tell you
his father is his best friend and they lived that experience together when
Beau went to Iraq. There`s one party close and understanding the sacrifice
of these young men and women who fight.

And then you have another party where you have the presidential
candidate who says something like my sons are serving the country because
they`re working for my campaign, and you have a vice presidential candidate
who says I know something about war because I voted for it twice in
Congress.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

SOLTZ: It plays exactly into their sort of inability to communication
to regular Americans and their sacrifice.

SCHULTZ: Jon Soltz, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it so
much.

SOLTZ: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Women were front and center in Charlotte this week. Will it
help in November? President of the National Organization for Women, Terry
O`Neill, will weigh in.

And then the fight for your right to vote. Find out what Ohio`s
secretary of state is apologizing tonight. But what`s he going to do?

The latest on the Republican voter suppression efforts. That`s just
ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The war on women -- well, from health care reform to equal pay for
equal work, women and women`s issues were front and center in Charlotte.
Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLPK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing gets done more to improve the day to day
lives of American women and our families than health care reform.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, women are beginning to get the preventive
services they deserve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This past year, women learned when we aren`t at
the table, we`re on the menu.

EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS: Mitt Romney wants to take us back to
yesterday.

SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN`S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: An American in which access to
birth control is controlled by people who will never use it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like we woke up in a bad episode of "Mad
Men."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We believe there is no room for politicians --
especially those politicians who don`t know how women`s bodies work.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: He believes that women are more than
capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care.
That`s what my husband stands for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But a different story from what we heard in Tampa. When it
comes to policies that help women and their families, the GOP is all talk.
Today in an interview with our NBC affiliate in Davenport, Iowa, Ann Romney
continued to dodge the issues women care about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in Iowa, as you know, same-sex marriage is
legal. Do you believe a lesbian mother should be allowed to marry her
partner?

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: You know, I`m not going to talk
about the specific issues. I`m going to let my husband speak on issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe employer provided health insurance
should be required to cover birth control?

A. ROMNEY: Again, you`re asking me questions that are not about what
this election is going to be about. So really, if you want to try to pull
me off of the other messages, it`s not going to work because I know,
because I have been out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to pull you off any message. You
just told a reporter who was questioning you in Cleveland that you want
women to have a secure and stable future. I asked you about marriage and
whether lesbian mothers should be allowed to marry. Isn`t marriage a part
of creating a stable future?

A. ROMNEY: You know, again, I`m going to talk to you about the
economy and about job creation and about how my husband is the right person
for the right time. This is going to be an election that is very important
for women. And we are going to make sure that their economic prosperity is
more certain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight is Terry O`Neill, president of the
National Organization for Women. Terry, great to have you with us. You
want to respond to what you just heard?

TERRY O`NEILL, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN PRESIDENT: Look, if
the big issue is job creation, and I actually agree that it is, then why is
Ann Romney`s husband supporting job destroying policies like the
Romney/Ryan budget? Let`s be clear. Stripping Medicaid, converting it
into a block grant program and then reducing the federal funding by as much
as a third, that`s going to shut down nursing homes across the country.
It`s going to kill women`s jobs across the country.

SCHULTZ: Ann Romney is arguing that marriage and contraception don`t
have anything to do with women`s financial security. What is she talking
about?

O`NEILL: Well, frankly, she`s dead wrong. If you listen to the
crowd`s response, Ed, to the women who were talking at the Democratic
Convention this week, it`s the women and the men who understand the
relationship between women`s access to health care and especially women`s
access to preventive health care like birth control, mammograms and
cervical cancer screenings.

There`s a direct connection between access to health care, on the one
hand, and economic security, on the other. It`s very much about respect
for women`s rights, but it`s also very much about women`s economic
security.

SCHULTZ: But in that -- in that interview, she was dissing women.
She just demeaned women, did she not, by saying that those issues aren`t
important? Your thoughts?

O`NEILL: It`s really striking to me. I have heard Ann Romney. I
have heard Nikki Haley from South Carolina say that the Republicans should
be able to pound women`s access to reproductive health care over and over
and over in dozens of bills at the federal level, and then when women
object -- and it`s not just women advocates. It`s ordinary women around
the country. When they object, then those same women slam ordinary women
and say, oh, don`t you worry about that while you should be worried about
jobs.

They can`t have it both ways. They can`t attack women`s access to
reproductive health care and tell us not to worry about it.

SCHULTZ: Did the Democrats make a strong enough case to affect this
election, do you think?

O`NEILL: What I think needed to happen this past week was we needed
to spark a fire. We really needed to spark the same passion that was at
work in `08. That passion was very much in evidence in Charlotte. Now we
have to get our ground game going, because my prediction is that Romney`s
people are going to be in the air.

We know that they`re not going to be dictated to by fact checkers. So
they`re going to be in the air, frankly, you know, without evidence and
without facts. They`re also, I`m afraid, going to be on the ground trying
to suppress the vote. What we have to do is get enough people in there to
vote to overwhelm their voter suppression efforts.

SCHULTZ: I think -- I`m taking a leap here, but I think a lot of
women are going to compare that response from Ann Romney to what the First
Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, has been talking about.

Terry O`Neill, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

Coming up, an NFL punter writes a devastating takedown of a lawmaker
over gay marriage. Tonight, Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings is my
exclusive guest. He`s trending on Twitter. We got a lot more coming up in
the next half hour. Stay with us.

Clint Eastwood is finally explaining his RNC disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: I`m not going to shut up. It`s my turn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: You won`t believe what he`s saying now.

And the Ohio secretary of state is playing chicken with a federal
judge over voter suppression. State Senator Nina Turner isn`t pleased and
she joins me tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: My dear friends, your vote is precious,
almost sacred. It`s the most powerful non-violent tool we have to create a
more perfect union.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis giving an
emotional speech about the Republican voter suppression that`s under way in
this country. Representative Lewis joined Dr. Martin Luther King in
protests like this one in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. He risked his life to
fight unfair voter registration practices.

Almost 50 years later, we still fight racism at the polls. But
there`s some good news out of Ohio tonight. Secretary of State John Husted
has backed down, at least a little. He`s been fighting to block early
voting. The real battle is over these three days. Historically, Ohioans
have been able to vote on the weekend before the election. The Republicans
worry most of the early voters are Democrats and Obama supporters.

Ninety three thousand folks in that state voted during the weekend
before the election in 2008. This year, John Husted decided to shut down
the polls on those specific days. Now, the Obama campaign is taking Husted
to federal court. At first, Husted ignored the judge and told every county
in the state to keep the polls closed. No early voting no matter what.

But today, Husted apologized, maybe he realized that he just can`t
ignore a federal court directive. The judge ordered Husted to personally
come to the next hearing. And this afternoon, Husted assured the court
that he will comply with its findings. At this point, we still don`t know
if 93,000 people will get to vote the weekend before the election.

The court will have to decide. Husted`s also confusing voters in the
city of Toledo. He refuses to decide where they`re going to put the voting
sights in Lucas County. The county is deadlocked in the city commission.
And Husted won`t break the tie. Democrats want the polling site downtown.
Republicans oppose that because they think it will make it just too easy
for Democrats to vote.

We are 60 days away from this election. And the Republicans can`t
even agree on a polling site in one of Ohio`s biggest cities. Go figure.

Let`s be joined by Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. Great to have you
with us tonight.

The latest developments, when the secretary of state, Mr. Husted, says
that he will comply, do you believe that?

NINA TURNER, OHIO STATE SENATOR: Well, Ed, he said that kind of sort
of. He said he apologized to the judge for the impression that he was not
going to comply with his directive. His directive, even though he issued a
new directive -- he basically asked the judge in his papers that he filed
today, to place a stay. He`s asking the judge for a stay.

What that means is that he wants his original directive, which is not
to have early voting happen in the state of Ohio, to hold until it`s
appealed. Let us not forget that before the ink dried good, our attorney
general, Mike Dewine, said very clearly that he was going to appeal. When
the attorney general said that, secretary of state issued a directive to
all of the boards of elections throughout the state of Ohio and told them
not to make a move.

The judge was not pleased with that. And that`s when he said
secretary of state, you come see me next week. Today, the secretary of
state issued that directive and said, I apologize for the impression, but I
am asking for a stay in this case as we appeal.

Ed, they are appealing to stop access to the ballot. So no, this is
not necessarily a good thing in the state of Ohio. Enough is enough. They
need to stop suppressing the vote.

SCHULTZ: So it sounds like the federal judge is certainly paying
attention to what the heck the scheming that is going on here. When Dewine
came out and said that, the judge responded. I mean, that`s the way -- so
it sounds like you have a federal judge who is on top of this and going to
make sure that these voters are going to be having the opportunity to vote
early.

But are the Republicans, in the midst of all of this, succeeding in
confusing Ohio voters? What about that?

TURNER: Absolutely, Ed, not just Ohio voters. I was in Charlotte,
as you know, and voters all over this country are confused. They don`t
know if it`s voter ID, vote early, vote late, or vote never.

But we will not be deferred. Ed, some folks are too cool, calm, and
collected about this. If your house was being robbed, you wouldn`t be
cool, calm, and collected. The Republicans are trying to steal the
election in the state of Ohio and across this nation. And there is
something wrong with this.

You know, one mentor said to me, if your hair is on fire, you need to
act like your hair is on fire. Well, our hair should be on fire in the
state of Ohio and across this country, to have politicians that would use
their political clout to suppress the vote.

And you`re absolutely right, Ed. The judge was not going to take it.
And I don`t know what the judge is going to decide. But where I come from,
it`s writing a check that your behind cannot cash. It`s still is not clear
whether or not the judge is going to still have our secretary of state come
in next week. But the judge is watching.

SCHULTZ: I thought John Lewis was very effective last night at the
convention. Are there any activist groups that have thought of bringing in
this icon, the congressman who was marching with Martin Luther King, who
had the personal experience of actually fighting for the right to vote? It
would seem to me that he would have a tremendous impact on this story.

TURNER: You`re so right about that, Ed. We thank the congressman
for his service. And absolutely, my Ohio Senate caucus has reached out to
the congressman and tried to get him to come to Ohio to tell the story
about this voter suppression, to tell the story about how we got over.

We have a short memory in this country. And Ed, I want the folks in
Ohio to be encouraged, because between the faith-based leaders, the Ohio
Democratic Party, the president`s campaign, and other civic minded groups,
we will not be deterred in the state of Ohio, no matter how many rotten
dirty tricks and traps the Republicans set.

We are going to make sure that the voters in the state of Ohio are
informed. We are going to fight. We will not be moved, Ed.

SCHULTZ: And we will stay on this story. Ohio State Senator Nina
Turner, thank you so much for joining us tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, Clint Eastwood, well, he finally shares the inspiration
behind his decision to speak to an empty chair. You won`t want to miss it.
Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
Clint Eastwood`s bizarre performance at least week`s Republican National
Convention took the country by storm. It was supposed to be Mitt`s big
night. But everyone was confused on Eastwood`s decision to speak to an
empty chair.

Today, Eastwood broke his silence for the first time since taking the
stage, and has revealed to inspiration for his 12-minute conversation with
an invisible Obama. In an interview with his home town paper, Eastwood
explained, "there was a stool and some fellow kept asking me if I wanted to
sit down. When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. And
I`ll just put the stool out there, and I`ll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him
why he didn`t keep all of the promises he made to everybody."

The stage hand who brought the chair out was apparently the only
person who had any clue what Eastwood was doing. Eastwood said he arrived
at the convention site just 15 minutes before he was scheduled to go on and
didn`t have anything vetted by the Romney campaign.

"I told them, you can`t do that to me because I don`t know what I`m
going to say."

No kidding. Now, despite the criticism, Clint still believes his very
unorthodox speech was a success. "The president, President Obama, is the
greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. Romney and Ryan
would do a better job of running the country. And that`s what everybody
needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of lefties, but I was aiming for
the people in the middle."

That was not a direct hit, Clint. I definitely wasn`t irritated at
all. That made my day.

Tonight, in our survey, I asked you, who makes the better case for
America`s future? Ninety six percent of you say President Obama; four
percent of you say Mitt Romney.

Coming up, the butt kicking a Maryland lawmaker caught from an NFL
punter who spoke up for free speech. NFL punter Chris Kluwe joins me next.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the big finish tonight, freedom of speech is under
attack, but the Maryland lawmaker trying to attack it just got a real kick
in the butt, if you know what I mean.

Here`s the story. A linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, Brendan Ian
Bedaggio (ph), was one of the first pro athletes to publicly support
marriage equality. He said it`s not only a gay issue. It`s an equality
issue, pure and simple.

Maryland State Delegate Emmett Burns Jr. wrote to the Ravens` owner
last week saying that the football team should inhibit such expressions
from your employee. Our next guest, Chris Kluwe, who is the punter for the
Minnesota Vikings wrote a scathing letter to Mr. Burns.

He started by reminding him of the First Amendment. "As I suspect,
you have not read the Constitution. I would like to remind you that the
very first amendment in this founding document deals with freedom of
speech."

He reminded Mr. Burns about other kinds of discrimination in the NFL.
"As recently as 1962, the NFL still had segregation, which was only done
away with by the brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and
do the right thing."

Kluwe wondered what Mr. Burns was so afraid of. "How does gay
marriage, in any way, shape or form, affect your life? I can assure you
that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. That
wouldn`t come into your house and steal your children."

The entire letter is linked on our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. And I can
tell you it`s worth reading.

Joining me tonight is the punter of the Minnesota Vikings, Chris
Kluwe. Mr. Kluwe, good to have you with us. What motivated you to respond
to an issue almost on the other side of the country? What motivated you to
do this?

CHRIS KLUWE, NFL PUNTER: Well, it`s an issue of free speech and of
civil rights. I mean, the message that the delegate was sending out was
it`s not one that I think any progressive or person in this day and age
would want to see in our government. I mean, it`s just -- it`s not the
right message.

SCHULTZ: Are you -- are you a politico? Have you ever done anything
like this before?

KLUWE: I have written some scathing letters before, but they were
mainly to people who attacked me for being a punter and daring to speak my
mind. So I have had a little bit of experience.

SCHULTZ: I have to tell you, in street terms, it was heartfully
written, but we can`t read all of it on the air. You were definitely
pretty passionate about it.

The NFL, the Ravens released a statement, said that they "support
their players` freedom of speech under the First Amendment." Brendan said
today he was grateful for the support that he had gotten from the whole
team. Have you spoken to the linebacker from the Ravens?

KLUWE: Not yet. I am hoping to, because he`s a fellow UCLA
aluminous. And he actually lit me up in a game against Chicago. So he`s
got that. But no, I think it`s great that the Ravens came out and
supported him, because as athletes, we have this very prominent platform
where we can affect social change. I think it behooves all of us to do the
right thing.

SCHULTZ: I understand in Minnesota, this is on the ballot this
November, correct?

KLUWE: That is correct.

SCHULTZ: How is that working out? Is that a big conversation piece
in Minnesota? And are you actively involved in defeating that?

KLUWE: Yeah, yeah. It`s definitely starting to pick up steam. And
I am involved with the Minnesotans for Equality and hoping to defeat this
constitutional amendment, because it`s making a permanent change to the
state constitution that -- you know, it`s basically taking away people`s
rights. Gay people would like to get married. I think that`s something,
when we look back 20, 25 years from now and you look at history, which side
were you on? Were you on the side that supported this or did you try to
take people`s rights away?

SCHULTZ: Football players have to stay focused here. Is this going
to disfocus you in any way? You`re going to get lot of attention. What
kind of response to you think Vikings fans are going to give you when you
take the field?

KLUWE: So far, it`s been overwhelming positive on Twitter. I have
had a lot of people congratulate me and say thank you for speaking out and
using your voice to say this. I will definitely say, my focus on Sunday
will be against the Jacksonville Jaguars and punting the ball as best I
can. But at the same time, you know, there`s only so many hours a day I
can punt. I think that goes to the thrust of the matter of what the
delegate was trying to say to Brendan, is that, you know, you should just
be a football player. You should only be on the field. That`s all we
should hear from you.

And I don`t think that`s right. I think everyone deserves to have
their voice heard.

SCHULTZ: Do you think more players will get more involved as we get
closer to the election? Do you think they`ll be speaking out.

KLUWE: I don`t know. I think that really does depends on the
player, and just how they feel their role is in terms of interacting with
the media. For me personally, I know it`s something I enjoy doing, because
I like to kind of speak my mind and let people know that, hey, I feel this
is not right or that this is a travesty of justice.

SCHULTZ: Chris Kluwe, punt it out of the stadium, will you? I am a
Viking fan. You may not know that, but I am. Great to have you with us.

KLUWE: I`ll do my best.

SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight. You`re brave for doing
what you`re doing in the public arena. I bet that former Viking Allen
Page, who is on the Minnesota State Supreme Court, he`s probably pretty
proud of you tonight. Thank you so much.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
a very important show tonight, because it starts year number five.

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

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