The Ed Show for Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
September 19, 2012
Guests: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jon Soltz, Rob Zerban, Dean Baker, Sen. Sherrod Brown
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW, from New York.
Forty-eight days until the 2012 election. The undercover Romney fund-
raiser video has members of the Republican establishment calling for an
intervention. Tonight, the new portions of the tape that could force Mitt
to take them up on the offer.
This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.
ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: It`s unfortunate when something gets
misinterpreted like this or is taken out of context.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): The Romney campaign says their unedited tape is
being mischaracterized. Meanwhile, Karl Rove, Scott Brown, and Republicans
around the country are completely freaking out.
Tonight, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the Republican
The Romney camp wants to talk redistribution?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The president saying he likes
redistribution. I disagree.
SCHULTZ: Tonight, a lesson on upwards redistribution with Dean Baker.
Plus, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown on the 47 percent fallout in Ohio.
And could Paul Ryan actually lose two elections, in one night? I`ll
ask Ryan`s congressional opponent if the Randian candidate stands a chance
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: President Obama`s
policies are feverishly putting more people in the column of takers than
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for
Mitt Romney cannot escape his 47 percent comment and the undercover
tape exposing it. Many Republicans are running for cover after these
comments set off a chain reaction in the Republican Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for
the president, no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are
with him, who are dependent on him, who believe that they are victim, who
believe that government has a responsibility to care to them, who believe
that they`re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I mean, how do you get away from that? The comments are
what they are. The comments are taking on a life of their own.
Here`s how bad it`s getting. Last night, the Romney campaign
highlighted a video from a Denver FOX affiliate entitled "Ann Romney says
Mitt doesn`t disdain the poor." They pulled the video from their own
official YouTube account, but the content is still online.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wasn`t expressing any disdain for people who
are poor or who are on entitlement programs at this point?
ANN ROMNEY: Oh, absolutely not. Absolutely not. Totally not so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: It`s not a great week when the candidate`s wife has to
insist her husband doesn`t have disdain for the poor.
The 47 percent comments, what are they? Well, they are so toxic,
politically vulnerable Republicans, basically, they`re running scared.
Take a look at these two headlines from two separate Web sites. From
FOX News, there was this headline. "Governor Susanna Martinez distanced
herself from Romney`s 47 percent comment." And then there was this
headline from "The Washington Post." "Nevada Senator Dean Heller distances
himself from Mitt Romney."
Embattled Senator Scott Brown would not answer two direct questions
from reporters about whether he still even supports Mitt Romney. What did
he do? Well, he relied on a statement of o support from a spokeswoman.
Even Romney`s running mate is throwing the candidate under the bus.
Paul Ryan said, Romney was "obviously inarticulate" and told a Las Vegas
television station, "I think he would have said it differently."
Senate GOP leaders beat a hasty retreat before answering 47 percent
question from reporters today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until those problems are addressed and solved,
starting with jobs and spending. Thank you very much.
REPORTER: Forty-seven percent!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I mean, let`s get out of here before they ask it. Some
Republicans are running away, and others are basically punching back.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina criticized Romney`s campaign
schedule this week. "He needs to be talking about the economy and not in
Utah. He`s not going to get beat because of money. He ought to be running
in Ohio and Florida like he`s running for governor and running in Virginia
like he`s running for sheriff."
Good idea, but that`s just not Mitt.
Romney`s super PAC founder Karl Rove wasn`t so crazy about the 47
percent comment either. His comment was, "A lot of people who get a Social
Security check paid into that their entire lives and they`re plenty wired
up about the deficit. And there`s lots of people getting an unemployment
check who would love to have a job. So you`ve got to be careful about that
Clearly, it`s having an impact. And conservative columnist Peggy
Noonan wrote, "It`s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent
one. An intervention is in order. Mitt, this isn`t working."
"The New York Times" reported on a gloomy and openly frustrated mood
aboard the Romney plane. One staffer said the campaign was turning into a
vulgar, unprintable phrase.
These Republicans, they know how devastating Mitt Romney`s comments
have been. The comments look even worse after watching a 1962 video,
featuring Mitt Romney`s mother talking about her husband when she was
running for governor of Michigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are those who say that since he`s a man of
considerable means, he really doesn`t care about people.
LENORE ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S MOTHER: You know, we`ve only owned our
home for the last four years. He was a refugee from Mexico. He was on
relief, welfare relief for the first years of his life. But this great
country gave him opportunities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: This photo shows Mitt Romney watching the video of his
mother. It was taken by Mitt Romney`s personal assistant.
You have to wonder if his story, her story, has really sank in at all
with Mitt Romney? It`s a story that a lot of Americans have. You never
know who among us has been affected by government assistance at some time
in their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN: Personal note here. A lot of Americans, of all
incomes with stripes have struggled the last few years and the risk for
Governor Romney is that it is insulting to them.
As a kid, my family was on food stamps for a few years when my dad got
sick. We didn`t feel entitled and we weren`t victims. And my father was
actually pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. But in the end, my
mother was grateful she was able to feed her kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: No doubt there are a lot of Americans with the same story.
The 47 percent comments are not going to help Mitt Romney`s popularity.
He`s already showing a negative favorability rating in the latest Pew poll.
This was taken before the hidden video was released. Only 45 percent
of Americans view Mitt Romney favorably. In case Romney can`t do the math,
that`s less than 47 percent.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight`s question, will the entire Republican Party pay a price for
Mitt Romney`s 47 percent remarks? Text "A" for yes and text "B" for no to
622639. You can go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com, we`ll bring you the
results later on the show.
And one more thing, it seems to me Republicans out on the campaign
trail are going back into their districts. They`re going to be asked by
constituents about the 47 percent remark. What does that mean? What do
You know, I kind of get a government check every now and then. My dad
was unemployed, and now he`s back in the workforce.
How are they going to answer this? Mitt Romney has put a lot of
candidates in an untenable position when it comes to answering the direct
questions about the economy and obligations and priorities and a social
safety net that this country has had for generations, because we have
believed in it.
There`s never been a march on Washington to get rid of anything that
Mitt Romney wants to privatize. That`s the bottom line. He`s out of
Joining me now is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida,
chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Congresswoman, great to have you with us tonight.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIRWOMAN: Thank you, Ed.
Great to be with you.
SCHULTZ: I get this feeling that Democrats want the election
tomorrow. That this is just going too good, that every time Romney opens
up his mouth, he sticks his foot in it.
Are Democrats are going to make this comments a focus of the next two
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, Ed, what these comments are, and when I
heard and saw them, I really just felt incredible disappointment. I mean,
disappointment in that you have a candidate for president of the United
States of America, from one of our two major parties, who essentially, very
easily and dismissively, wrote off half the country.
I mean, you know, what about the 20 million senior citizens who don`t
pay income taxes? I mean, are they victims? What about our veterans?
What about middle class, hard-working families? It`s just -- it`s just
And I`ll tell you, just a quick story. I was home in my district this
morning, and I was in a supermarket. And I was ordering lunch.
And the woman on the other side of the counter recognized me. And she
said, oh, my gosh, she said, what that man said -- she said, I`m not a
victim. I mean, this is how deeply that has sunk in. That`s what I think
the problem is.
SCHULTZ: I think it is sinking in. And Republicans in Senate and
House races, as I said just a moment ago, are going to have to go home and
answer to this. What do they think about this?
This is putting them in a real tough spot. Do you really think that
this is going to affect races? Is this a real opening for the Democrats?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, it`s not really surprising that these
Republican candidates, for the Senate and for Congress, all across the
country, are running as fast as they can away from Mitt Romney. I mean,
he`s really, I think, made himself kind of radioactive.
And you know, we`ve got to remember that these candidates, you know,
Dean Heller, the senator from Nevada who`s running for re-election, and
Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Scott Brown in Massachusetts, they can say
what they want, but the policies they`ve embraced are what`s important.
SCHULTZ: You know what I find amazing? Where`s the governor of New
Jersey, who loves television cameras? Where are the surrogates --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Not rushing to Mitt Romney`s defense, is he?
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. And that`s a key point here. There`s nobody
rushing to his defense, other than Rush Limbaugh.
Now, this story has brought, I think, attention back to Mitt Romney`s
tax returns. Here`s what Harry Reid said today.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Definitely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: For all we know, Mitt Romney
could be one of those who paid no federal income tax. Thousands of
families make more than $1 million pay nothing in federal income taxes each
year. Is Mitt Romney among those? We`ll never know since he refuses to
release his tax returns for the years before he was running for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Do you think that this renews the pressure for Romney to
release more returns? Or is just Harry Reid having fun with this whole
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, I agree with harry Reid. I mean, we`ve got a
candidate for president, Mitt Romney, writing off half the country, and
calling them victims and dependent on government, because supposedly, they
don`t pay income taxes.
Well, they pay state and local taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes,
and Mitt Romney, who has invested overseas in the Cayman Islands and has
money in Swiss bank accounts, and in Bermuda, and won`t release anything
more than a year and a partial year of his tax return, has the nerve to
call half of America victims? It`s --
SCHULTZ: I think another key point in all of this, the man who hosted
that fund-raiser back in May in Boca Raton has apologized to Mitt Romney,
and it`s now out there, of course, everyone was told that this was for
their consumption and not for the media. I mean, what you say behind
closed doors is really who you are.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think that`s exactly. And what President
Obama said last night and I know what I`ve said before is, you know, even
when you don`t get the support of everyone, you know, 47 percent of
Americans didn`t vote for President Obama.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But on election night, he said he was the
president of everyone and was going to do his best and work hard to
represent everyone in America. And apparently, Mitt Romney doesn`t feel
the same way.
SCHULTZ: Congressman Debbie --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And the truth was said behind closed doors in that
SCHULTZ: All right. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of
Florida here on THE ED SHOW tonight -- thanks so much for joining us.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom at the
screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow, and on Facebook. We
always want to know what you think.
Coming up, new insight into Mitt Romney`s foreign policy screw-up.
Find out what that fund-raiser tape reveals about Romney`s real motives.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney told his wealthy donors that he would
take advantage of a foreign policy crisis. We`ll look at his botched
response to the Libya crisis, next.
And later, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joins me to discuss how Ohio
voters are reacting to Mitt Romney`s 47 percent comments and so much more.
Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow.
We`re coming right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
There`s a crucial section of the Romney fund-raiser video that we need
to point out now. There`s something Romney told a wealthy supporter back
in May, actually plays directly into a deadly attack on the U.S. embassy in
Libya last week. Pay attention to this one. It connects.
One of the donors asked Romney about Ronald Reagan and the Iran
hostage crisis during the Carter administration. Some analysts think that
the crisis helped Reagan beat President Carter.
So the donor asked Romney how he would demonstrate similar strength.
Here`s Romney`s answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: In the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we had hostages
in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two
helicopters crash in the desert. I mean, that`s -- that was -- that was
the focus. And so him solving that made all the difference in the world.
I`m afraid today if you simply got Iran to agree to stand down on
their nuclear weapons, they`d go, you know hold on. It`s really -- you
know, but -- by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I
will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Take advantage of an opportunity. Mitt Romney said that he
would take advantage of the opportunity if a foreign crisis came along.
On September 11th, 2012, just last week, the opportunity did come
along. This timeline, my friends, is key. At 6:17 a.m. Eastern Time, the
Cairo embassy put out a statement to try to calm a threatening crowd of
demonstrators. At noon, they reiterated the statement as the crowds grew
and demonstrators breached the walls of the compound.
Around 7:00, there are reports of shooting and smoke rising at the
consulate in Benghazi, 800 miles away. At 7:51 p.m., "Reuters" reports at
least one American was dead at our consulate in Benghazi.
We now know the Romney campaign was discussing the events unfolding in
the Middle East throughout the day. As Governor Romney flew from Nevada to
Florida, his top foreign policy and political advisers held a conference
call to discuss what they would say about the crisis.
Well, when Romney landed, they showed him a statement and he approved
it. It said, "I`m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions
in Libya and Egypt, and by the death of an American consulate worker in
Benghazi. It`s disgraceful that the Obama administration`s first response
was not to condemn the attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to
sympathize with those who waged the attacks"?
The campaign did exactly what Mitt Romney promised his high-dollar
donors he would do in May. He attempted to capitalize on a foreign crisis.
Look at the statement again. "It`s disgraceful that the Obama
administration`s first response was not to condemn attacks on our
diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks"?
It is a lie.
The Obama administration didn`t respond to the actual attacks on the
embassies until the next day. The Romney campaign took a very dangerous
and difficult foreign crisis and attempted to make people believe that
President Obama was a terrorist sympathizer.
Let`s turn to Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org, and Sam Stein,
political reporter for the "Huffington Post."
Gentleman, great to have you with us tonight.
JON SOLTZ, VOTEVETS.ORG: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Jon, why do you think this is worse for Mitt Romney than his
comments about the 47 percent?
SOLTZ: Well, I think the 47 percent is pretty bad, Ed, especially
when we have a lot of National Guard and reserve soldiers who are on things
like food stamps. But I certainly think it`s terrible in regards to a lot
of the debate we had about the killing of Osama bin Laden. I mean, the
president`s talked about the hard decision he made and, you know, you and I
have talked about it both on air before and on your radio show, that if the
bin Laden raid had gone bad, obviously, Governor Romney would have used it
against Barack Obama. So he has every right to talk about it.
And I also think it`s terrible right now with all of our efforts in
Afghanistan, this type of anti-Islamic rhetoric endangers the lives of our
troops. You know, I was a combat last year in Iraq. We`ve got a lot of
killings in Afghanistan right now from green-on-blue attacks, Afghan troops
So we don`t need to incite violence against our men and women, but
it`s mostly just wrong. And I think it goes to the heart of what the
Republican policy is right now, which is don`t pass a jobs bill is in the
Senate that helps veterans because you want people to be unemployed and you
want these problems.
You know, if troops get killed in combat, it`s good for Mitt Romney
and he`s going to use that to his advantage politically to try to say the
president`s not doing a good job, and it`s just terrible to use the death
of our public servants and our military for political gain.
SCHULTZ: Sam, doesn`t just this flat-out underscore and prove that
the Romney campaign is looking for any political opening they can find? I
mean, he tells this to people behind closed doors. What does the fund-
raiser tell us about the real Mitt Romney?
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, you know, the campaign was saying
that he was talking about using a situation like that, take advantage of it
for the purpose of cracking down on Iran even harder. But the problem they
run into is that his immediate response to the attacks in Libya and the
demonstrations in Cairo was hyper-politicized, and he obviously got in a
lot of trouble for that. He got a lot of blowback for it.
And I think gets to an issue that`s sort of a broader issue, you know,
which is what kind of foreign policy do we want to have from our chief
executive, from the commander-in-chief. Is it one that`s sort of
reactionary, a knee-jerk reactionary politicized, or actually standing back
and examining a situation and not injecting politics into it immediately?
SCHULTZ: Well, that`s it. What does it say about Mitt Romney`s
political instincts that he can`t gauge exactly what his comments are going
to mean. He just can`t fly ahead of the aircraft, it seems like,
politically, and understand what kind of an impact his comments are going
to have. How can Americans trust him?
STEIN: First of all, I think you`re right. I would disagree with
Jon. I don`t think Romney wants American -- wants to take advantage of
I do think that Mitt Romney is incredibly insecure about his standing
on foreign policy and feels like in order to overcome that, he has to show
this m machismo, this sort of militarism. You know, keep in mind, he
actually wants to expand the defense forces by 100,000 troops. He wants to
increase naval forces. He wanted to use stimulus funds for armament
All this goes into a deeper insecurity he has on foreign policy. And
I think stems back to 2008, and let`s remember this, in 2008, that primary,
he was badgered routinely by John McCain for being weak on foreign policy
and that`s primarily how he lost that primary election.
SCHULTZ: Jon Soltz, doesn`t this disqualify Mitt Romney in many
regards when it comes to foreign policy, with people who wear the uniform?
Can`t say see through this?
SOLTZ: I mean, there`s a lot of issues we look at. One is his budget
cuts are veterans benefits by 13 percent. But I got to tell you, if you`re
out in the field in Afghanistan right now and there`s been 51 U.S. troops
killed by Afghan soldiers this year and you`ve got a video of a guy running
for president saying, well, if things go bad in Afghanistan or things go
back like what happened to Jimmy Carter when we had two helicopters crash,
you know, you`re thinking, wow, does this guy really want us to be safe
right now? Or if things go bad and U.S. troops continue to get killed, is
that just political fodder for his campaign.
I don`t think anybody in the field right now who hears that comment
will feel good about this guy being commander in chief. I mean, forget the
rhetoric about, you know, spending $2 trillion on we don`t know what, or
more nuclear weapons. What about our benefits and what about the fact he
actually has our back? I mean, this is a guy who`s out of touch with what
our troops face in combat.
And I certainly interpret those statements that he doesn`t, you know,
he doesn`t care if we`re successful. He certainly, you know, if we`re
getting killed, he thinks it`s political fodder for him. And I don`t know
how he gets out of that.
SCHULTZ: Well, I mean, I understand the 47 percent remark about him
not understanding the middle class. They haven`t been able to understand
the middle class since the day that they went in front of a camera. And
the Republican Party has got an innate problem when it comes to that right
But to accuse the president of the United States of sympathizing with
attackers who have killed American personnel overseas, it is as low as it
gets for the Republican Party.
STEIN: And yet, he`s struggled because of it. Look at any of the
polls in the wake of what happened. They, by and large, the public has
soured on what --
SCHULTZ: But nobody`s calling him out on it. You know, where are
some of these senators who are sitting on foreign relations, that they
don`t even call Romney out for something like this? I mean, that is so
below the belt and beyond the pale.
Great to have you with us, gentlemen. Say it again?
SOLTZ: Thanks, Ed.
Ed, I would tell you that Governor Romney`s statement emboldened the
attacks on U.S. troops. I mean, if you`re sitting in -- look, I was an
embedded adviser last year surrounded by 3,000 Muslim troops in Iraq. I
don`t need a presidential candidate out there validating anti-Islam talk,
because I have to work with these guys every day, especially in Afghanistan
right now where they`re getting killed. So, his statement verged on
something very dangerous for our troops.
SCHULTZ: Jon Soltz and Sam Stein, great to have you with us. Thank
you so much.
Coming up, Mitt Romney isn`t the only one dividing America between
makers and takers. His running mate, Paul Ryan. I`m going to tell you
something, this guy`s an expert at that. I`ll talk to Democratic candidate
challenging Ryan for his House seat in Wisconsin.
And over the last 30 years, the rich have only gotten richer in this
country. Well, Mitt Romney`s comments about the 47 percent resonate with
the mega-wealthy? Dean Baker will join me.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching
You know, there`s a chance that we could witness political history on
November 6th. We could watch a candidate become a two-time loser in one
night. Congressman Paul Ryan will appear on the ballot twice in the state
of Wisconsin`s first district, as Mitt Romney`s vice presidential running
mate and as a candidate for re-election in the House of Representatives.
Two-time loser, could it happen?
If Romney fails to get elected and Ryan is edged out in Wisconsin -- I
mean, come on, the congressman could be one looking for government
assistance, don`t you think? In all seriousness, statements like these
aren`t helping his chances in the national election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president
no matter. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are
dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe
that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that
they`re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it, but
that it`s an entitlement, and government should give it to them.
And they will vote for this president no matter what. My job is not
to worry about those people. I`ll never convince them that they should
take responsibility and care for their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Ryan was quick to call Romney`s comments inarticulate. But
he`s no stranger to this Ayn Rand idea that America is a society split
between makers and takers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: We risk hitting a tipping point in our society, where we have
more takers than makers in society, where we will have turned our safety
net into a hammock that lulls able bodied people into lives of dependency
and complacency, which drains them of their will and incentive to make the
most of their lives. President Obama`s policies are feverishly putting
more people into the column of being takers than makers, being more
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: He may have been articulate, but even though the words are
different, the idea is the same. Ryan`s district has known hardship and
has struggled with high unemployment. Remember Janesville, the plant? If
he keeps playing to the makers on the national scene, there`s a chance that
Paul Ryan could be voted out by the so-called takers in his own backyard.
His opponent joins me tonight. Joining me now is Rob Zerban, the
Democratic candidate challenging Paul Ryan for that congressional seat.
Rob, good to have you with us tonight.
I`m curious, every candidate is confident. Every candidate hears good
things. But what is your instinct on how the comment about the 47 percent
and the entitlement and all of the things that have surrounded this tape --
how is this going to play in Ryan`s district?
ROB ZERBAN (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: Well, Ed, what I`m hearing on
the ground in the First Congressional District is people are quite
resentful of these comments. And particularly with the Janesville GM plant
lie that Paul Ryan told during the convention speech, these kind of
comments are just feeding the fire of resentment for the congressman, and
for him being at the top of the ticket and also in this congressional seat,
running two races at the same time.
And so I`m pretty confident that people are not only going to reject
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket, but they`re also going
to reject him in the congressional race as well.
SCHULTZ: Now, you`ve benefited from government programs. Tell us
about that. And do you consider yourself a taker?
ZERBAN: Not at all, Ed. In fact, I consider myself a person who
lived the American dream. I was a guy who -- like you said, I benefited
from programs like Government Cheese as a child. I was only able to get an
education because of Pell Grants and Stafford Loans. And then I was able
to go on and live my version of the American dream. I started two
businesses, employed 45 people providing excellent wages and benefits.
So I was one of these job creators that the Republicans like to talk
about. But I was only able to do that because these programs were there
for me when I needed them. And I understand intimately why these programs
help everybody have economic opportunity. And I believe that`s the
American dream. It shouldn`t just be reserved for people who are wealthy
and well connected.
SCHULTZ: So everything that Romney and Ryan -- Ryan is who you`re
running against, obviously, in the congressional district. But everything
these two gentleman stand for, you`re the opposite and you`ve been
ZERBAN: Absolutely. And whether or not, you know, it`s -- Mitt
Romney is the one who`s laying out the plan with his words. Paul Ryan`s
the one who`s actually implementing the plan with his budget, calling for
privatizing Medicare, calling for the slashing of Pell Grants and Stafford
Loans, and then also food assistance programs.
SCHULTZ: Do Democrats hurt small business? I don`t think there`s
anybody out there that could speak to this better than you can. I mean,
you were a guy who had some help early in life. And you were a risk taker.
Are the Democrats friendly to small business?
ZERBAN: Absolutely. I knew exactly the things that were an
impediment to -- hurdles that I had to overcome to start a business. And
one of those things was not having a complete answer to Medicare or to
health care in this country. And you know, while Paul Ryan writes the kill
Medicare plan, I stand for Medicare for all, because I understand as a
small business owner how this can be an economic engine for small
entrepreneurs, and getting the economic engine of small business owners
SCHULTZ: Are you going to get a debate with this guy? I understand
you`ve started a petition to get Ryan to come back to Wisconsin to debate
you. But he probably thinks he has better things to do. Where does that
ZERBAN: Well, we`ve had over 700,000 sign the petition to ask Paul
Ryan to come back to the district and to debate me. So the grassroots
organizers are logging on to my website at RobZerban.com. And they`re
signing the petition. And anybody can go on there and say, please come
back to the district and debate Rob Zerban. The people of the 1st
understand that this is an important part of our democracy. And they want
to make sure that they can have their questions answered about why Paul
Ryan is trying to privatize Medicare and make it a voucher program.
SCHULTZ: Well, my research tells me that you are the most viable
candidate that he`s ever had to face, a small business guy who has made it.
You`re the American dream. It`s going to be interesting. I hope he comes
back and debates you. I think he`s afraid of you.
ZERBAN: I`m not -- I wouldn`t be -- I think that`s true, Ed, because
we`ve seen him spend two million dollars on his advertising, this time
around, which he`s never done. If his polling numbers are showing what my
polling numbers are, which show that I`m only currently trailing by eight
percentage points, with about 11 percent of the people undecided, this is
going to be a real nail biter at the end. And I think we`re going to be
able to squeak it out and win it.
SCHULTZ: Rob Zerban, thanks so much for joining us tonight. All the
best to you.
There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: The right course for America is to create growth, create
wealth, not redistribute wealth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Up next, the Romney`s camp ridiculous push on redistribution
with Dean Baker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China
to buy a factory there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I think Mitt Romney`s Chinese factory story says a lot about
his view of workers. I`ll explain, ahead.
And Mitt Romney`s disaster is shaking up every Senate race in the
nation. Senator Sherrod Brown tells us how those 47 percent comments are
playing in Ohio.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. For the last 30 years, the
rich have gotten their way. Taxes are low, profits are high. Yet as Mitt
Romney tells it, the rich are being held back by freeloaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Well, there are 47 percent of people who will vote for the
president, no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are
dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe
the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that
they`re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The Romney campaign is now in crisis mode. Today the
Republican nominee attacked the president over comments he made 14 years
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Just a tape came out a couple of days ago with the president
saying, yes, he believes in redistribution. I don`t. I believe the way to
lift people and to help people have higher incomes is not to take from some
and give to others, but to create wealth for all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Romney based his remarks on comments then State Senator
Barack Obama made in 1998, talking about how to make government more
efficient. "The New York Times" points out the political maneuvering, "Mr.
Romney and Mr. Ryan are using redistribution as shorthand to suggest that
Mr. Obama`s principal goal is to soak the rich so that money will keep
flowing for social program handouts to the lazy and undeserving."
And well-to-do Romney supporters, well, they believe it. One woman
attending a Romney fund-raiser over the summer articulated her frustration
to the "Los Angeles Times." "But my college kid, the babysitters, the nail
ladies, everybody who`s got the right to vote, they don`t understand what`s
going on. I just think that your lower income, one, you`re not as
educated; two, they don`t understand how it works. They don`t understand
how the systems work. They don`t understands the impact."
But things have gotten better for the rich. Wall Street profits
soaring through the roof; productivity has surged. Yet wages remain
stagnant, as this chart from "Mother Jones" points out. If the median
household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be
nearly 92,000, not 50,000.
Today, "Forbes" reported that the net wealth of the richest Americans
grew by 13 percent in the past year. That`s right, in the past year, since
President Obama`s been in office. The gap between the very rich and the
merely rich increased and helped drive up the average net worth of Forbes`
400 members to an all-time record 4.2 billion dollars.
The rich are getting richer and the middle class are getting left
behind. Yet America`s wealthy, they want more of the pie. And they`re all
too willing to accuse President Obama of trying to take their money and to
take it away.
Let`s turn to Dean Baker, the Center for Economic and Policy Research
and author of "The End of Loser Liberalism." I don`t know if I like that
title, but I sure like your work. Great to have you.
DEAN BAKER, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: The other part
of that is "Making Markets Progressive."
SCHULTZ: There you go. Thank you, Dean. Great to have you with us
tonight. Why do the rich believe that they`ve gotten some kind of a raw
deal under this president?
BAKER: Well, you know, I think in their view, they have this idea
that, look, they`re really wealthy, and just because they worked hard and
they`re smart -- and in many cases, that may well be true. But they also
had a lot of things going for them like government policy that
redistributed income upwards.
And their view is anything that, you know, President Obama or anyone,
I should say, for that matter does to try to say, OK, you guys did well,
what about the rest of us, that that`s somehow stealing from them. That`s
really the way they talk. And I think if you look at what Governor Romney
was -- said at the videotape, that`s pretty much the attitude he was
SCHULTZ: Now, you`ve said that the upward redistribution of the last
three decades did not just happen. I mean, it was engineered. It was
legislated. And it was laid out. Explain that.
BAKER: Well, there`s a whole set of policies, many of which you and
your listeners are quite familiar with. Trade is a very visible one.
You`ve had trade policies that were quite explicitly designed to put U.S.
manufacturing workers in direct competition with the lowest paid workers
anywhere in the world. And the predicted and actual result of that is to
drive down the wages of U.S. manufacturing workers. That`s not a surprise.
And that`s what we`ve seen.
We`ve lost millions of jobs in manufacturing. We`ve had anti-union
legislation, anti-union practices. You know, we just had a Chicago
Teachers` strike, which seems to have been settled on reasonably good
terms. We don`t know all the details yet. But you might recall, Rahm
Emanuel was prepared to go to court. He wanted to have striking teachers
thrown in jail if they didn`t go back to work.
These are the sorts of policies. I`m going to give you a long, long
list. That`s what my book`s about, but there`s a whole set of policies I
could point to over the last three decades --
SCHULTZ: It`s just anti-worker. It`s almost as if the wage earners
are the enemy and they want to concentrate the wealth. I mean, we have a
progressive tax system in this country. We have a social safety net. They
want to privatize that. Mitt Romney vows to preserve both of them. How
can he do it? I mean, isn`t that redistribution?
BAKER: It is redistribution. And again, part of this story, when we
look at -- most of us, if we look at the Romney/Ryan plan to privatize
Medicare, we`re thinking, what`s going to do to people on Medicare? But
the flip side of the story is you have people making money on that. So in
the health care industry -- of course, it`s a very large, lucrative
industry. I should mention private equity is very big in it these days.
People are making lots of money on health care. So on the one hand,
we`re concerned that people won`t be able to count on decent care in their
older years. But the other side is you have people who are looking to make
lots of money in that.
SCHULTZ: Sure. And here`s the other thing, only 20 percent of
Americans believe the poor pay too little in income tax. Why does the
Romney campaign, do you think, believe that casting them as a bunch of
freeloaders and takers is a good strategy?
BAKER: You know, it`s hard to understand. I mean, I can`t really
speak to the politics. It seems very strange. But we know the realities
of the policy. The poor, these are people who are working. They don`t
make a lot of money, but you go, OK, here you have someone who is making
the minimum wage, nine dollars, 10 dollars an hour, often supporting a kid,
and we want them to pay taxes? I don`t understand what their thinking is.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Dean Baker, great to have you on THE ED SHOW. Thanks
so much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, Mitt Romney`s comments on the 47 percent could mean good
news for Democrats running for Senate. I`ll talk with Ohio Senator Sherrod
Brown, how his constituents are reacting. That`s next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In the Big Finish tonight, if
President Obama wins re-election, the last thing he`s going to need is for
the Republicans to take over control of the Senate. But lately, the
outlook is seeming to be a lot better for Democrats. Is there this
rejection of Republicans across the country and their lack of connection to
the middle class?
Even before the effects of Romney`s 47 percent remarks have sunk in,
many key races are moving in the direction of the Democrats in an
increasing -- the likelihood that they could hold the majority in the
Senate. It would be amazing.
In Virginia, former Governor Tim Kaine is surging in his run against
former Senator George Allen for that open Senate seat. Kaine is up seven
points in the latest poll. In Massachusetts, momentum seems to be with
Elizabeth Warren in her bid to defeat incumbent Republican Senator Scott
Brown. Warren is up five points in the latest poll.
And in Wisconsin, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is gaining ground in a
tough Senate race against former Governor Tommy Thompson, who is a mainstay
with Republicans. In one recent poll, it`s a tie. In another poll, she
leads Thompson by nine points.
It also helps when strong Democratic incumbent senators are holding
their own. And no one`s holding their own better right now than Ohio
Senator Sherrod Brown, who joins us tonight. And I say that because it is
an unprecedented amount of money that is being spent to defeat this man in
the Senate. It is up to 18 million dollars.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back.
SCHULTZ: I`m going to -- I don`t know if this is the kiss of death,
but I think that you are the modern day Ted Kennedy that they just can`t
stand. You have been a stalwart supporter of the middle class and for
labor. And Ohio`s economy is turning around because of the automobile
Why are they throwing so much money at you? We all know that Karl
Rove wants Ohio. Why are they coming after you?
BROWN: Well, it`s Ohio, but it`s also we figure -- we don`t know,
because they don`t have to disclose this money. It`s unlimited. There`s
no limits to it and there`s no disclosure. But we figure it`s Wall Street
because my legislation to break up the six largest banks. We figure it`s
oil companies, because I helped to lead the charge to take away their tax
breaks. And we figure it`s corporations and their Chinese allies who
outsource jobs to China, because my China currency bill.
So that just makes grassroots efforts that much more important,
because they`re spending these huge numbers of dollars against an outspoken
SCHULTZ: I have this theory about Ohio`s economy. Obviously, it was
helped by the automobile loan. China is subsidizing its auto workers. I
mean, this is a direct attempt to undermine what is happening with the
economy in your state, as one in eight jobs are affected by the automobile
industry. President Obama has taken action and filed suit with the WTO on
Does this help you in your race? What is happening with China? And
why are they coming after the automobile industry in your opinion?
BROWN: Well, we saw 10 years of manufacturing job loss in this
country; 60,000 plants closed between 2000 and 2010, five million jobs
lost. We`ve gained jobs over the last two years. Partly the auto rescue,
partly we`ve enforced trade laws. There`s a new steel mill in Youngstown.
There are few tire jobs in Fennely. There are new steel jobs in Lorraine
and Cleveland, and aluminum jobs in Keith, and in Sidney, Ohio.
And it`s all the built around we believe you grow the economy by the
middle class out, not this whole idea of tax cuts for the rich and trickle-
down. And that`s the secret -- not a secret, that`s the strategy of the
Obama administration to govern and to campaign.
SCHULTZ: Well, I don`t think that the Romney campaign has a clue
about what China is doing to Ohio`s economy and what affect this is going
to have. And the move by President Obama and the administration clearly is
the right thing to do and he`s got a record of doing it and you have been
there with him.
I want to ask you, this is actually the first time I`ve had a clans to
visit with you since the infamous 47 percent comment was caught on tape by
Mitt Romney. How`s this going to play in Ohio?
BROWN: I think it just contributes to the narrative that they`re top-
down, the whole idea of trickle-down economics. And we build out from the
middle class. And that`s why organizing is so important in this campaign.
I want to urge viewers, as I have in the past and as you`ve helped me with,
to come to SherrodBrown.com, sign up, help us build this middle class
effort to fight back.
SCHULTZ: But this 47 percent comment that Mitt Romney made, he`s
going after low information -- he`s actually -- and we did this last
night, he`s actually attacking his base, those white workers out there that
are low information. I mean, how is this going to play in Ohio? I mean,
he insulted a good portion of Americans.
BROWN: Most Ohioans get up -- exactly right. It`s an insult to even
think you should govern a country where you don`t even have respect for
half the population. But Ohio`s school of working class voters, many went
to community college, some graduated only from high school. Obviously many
are more educated than that. But middle -- workers that wake up every day
and they make glass -- they manufacture glass in Zanesville, or they make
tanks in Lima, or they`re building -- doing jobs in Mansfield or Toledo.
And they fight and work every day. And it`s an insult to all of them.
SCHULTZ: Senator from Ohio Sherrod Brown, great to have you with us.
Appreciate it so much. Thank you.
That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. Thank you, my friend.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
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