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The Ed Show for Friday, September 21st, 2012

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September 21, 2012

Guests: Ted Strickland; Ari Melber, Bernie Sanders

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good Evening Americans and welcome to "the Ed
Show" live from Minneapolis.

Forty-six days until the 2012 election, Mitt Romney`s week from hell
just ended with a bang. Tonight, the Republican candidate`s newest tax
returns is leaving more questions than answers. Romney also tells "60
Minutes" his campaign doesn`t need a turn around. This is "the Ed Show."
Let`s get to work.


genuinely believes that nearly half this country is made up of people who
see themselves as victims.

SCHULTZ: The Obama team release the Biden. Mitt Romney released his
taxes. It turns out he has already disqualified himself from being

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t pay more than are
legally due and, frankly, if I had paid more than are legally due, I don`t
think I`d be qualified to become president.

SCHULTZ: Tonight the epic campaign day that ended an epic campaign
week with former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and "the nation`s" Ari
Melber. A full analysis of Romney`s sketchy tax return with David Cay
Johnston. Senator Bernie Sanders joins me to review Paul Ryan`s attempt to
fool seniors at the AARP convention.

repeal Obama care because it represents the worst of both worlds.

SCHULTZ: And Tom Akin is forced to answer for his illegitimate rape
remarks for the first time in the debate with Claire McCaskill.

those comments. But, they say a lot about how he views thing.


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

The dynamics of the presidential race changed this week and there`s no
turning back. For the next 46 days the two candidates will be dealing with
the fallout of the reaction of what happened this week.

Regardless of the outcome on November 6th, this week was a game
changer. The hidden video recording of Mitt Romney at a top dollar fund-
raising in Florida underscores the major differences between the two
candidates and the philosophies they bring to the presidency.

Mitt Romney stood by his comments about the 47 percent of Americans
being dependent on government. Well today, President Obama threw his
biggest punches yet at Mitt Romney over these comments. The president told
a Virginia crowd what it would mean for them if Mitt Romney were elected


get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of
victims. Who think that they are not interested in taking responsibility
for their own lives. I don`t see a lot of victims in this crowd today. I
see hard working Virginians.


SCHULTZ: The president made sure to emphasize hard work. It`s a
contrast to comments from the Romney video, where the candidate claimed the
economy will suddenly improve if he is elected president without Romney
lifting a finger.


ROMNEY: If we win on November of 6th, there will be a great deal of
optimism about the future of this country. And we`ll see capital cop back
and without actually doing anything, we may get a boost in the economy.


SCHULTZ: A lot has been made about the people who are in the 47
percent of Americans Mitt Romney was talking about. President Obama
painted a picture of exactly who those 47 percent are.


OBAMA: Some of you may be students trying to work your way through
college. Some of you may be single moms like my mom, putting in overtime
to see if you can provide a better life for your kids. Some of you may be
senior citizens who have been saving your whole life for your retirement.
Some of you may be veterans who served this country bravely, soldiers who
defend our freedom today.


SCHULTZ: Vice president Joe Biden kept quiet after the Romney video
was released. This week the words -- he said the words speak for
themselves. But today, Biden let the Romney campaign have it during a
campaign stop in New Hampshire.


BIDEN: Believe they are entitled, that they have become dependent,
they see themselves as victims who won`t take responsibility for their own
lives. How could he be so profoundly wrong about America? How is that
possible? Not in my neighborhood. Not where I grew up. Not the people I


SCHULTZ: The vice president`s a good attack dog for the Obama
campaign. But Joe Biden knows the strongest messages come from the heart.
He spoke softly when talking about what the Romney camp doesn`t get when it
comes to government.


BIDEN: As my dad would say, I don`t expect the government to solve my
problems, but at least expect them to understand my problems. At least
understand them.


SCHULTZ: Even Bill Clinton is getting back into the mix. The former
president was called the secretary of explaining stuff by President Obama
and Clinton was back on television explaining why Romney`s math doesn`t
work for Americans.


and I say we have this terrible national debt and here`s my opening gambit,
first I`m going to increase it by $5 trillion over a decade by doing
another round of tax cuts that mostly benefited the people we benefited in
the last decade, even though it didn`t produce jobs.

Now we are in a really deep hole, much bigger than this clock I just
showed you. Now, let me tell you how we`re going to get out it have. What
about the details? See me about that after the election.


SCHULTZ: The 47 percent comments gave the Obama campaign and all
across the country plenty of ammunition for the remainder of the election
season. The Romney camp scrambled to find something else they could use
against the president in the same way. Yesterday, they jumped on a comment
President Obama made during his town hall forum on Univision.


OBAMA: I`ve learned some lessons over the last four years and the
most important lesson I`ve learned is you can`t change Washington from the
inside. You can only change it from the outside. That`s how I got elected
and that`s how the big accomplishments like health care got done was
because we mobilized the American people to speak out.


SCHULTZ: This message of civic engagement is one the president makes
quite often. You know, he centered a lot part of his convention speech
around it, I think.


OBAMA: At citizens we understand that America`s not about what can be
done for us. It`s about what can be done by us.


SCHULTZ: A lot of people agree with President Obama on this,
including Mitt Romney. While campaigning in 2007 Romney told reporters "I
don`t think you can change Washington from the inside. I think you change
it from the outside." But this didn`t stop Mitt Romney from trying to drum
up controversy over the president`s words.


ROMNEY: The president today threw in the white flag of surrender
again. He said he can`t change Washington from the inside, he can only
change it from outside. Well, we`re going to give him that chance in
November. He`s going outside.


SCHULTZ: This is another situation where the differences between the
two candidates are being defined right before our eyes in the news cycle
day after day. Mitt Romney thinks people will reject a president who says
you need American citizens to change Washington from the inside, from the
outside? President Obama has no problem embracing this message and he said
so today.


OBAMA: Now, for some reason my opponent got really excited. He
rewrote his speech real quick. He stood up at a rally, proudly declared
I`ll get the job done from the inside. What kind of inside job is he
talking about? We don`t want an inside job in Washington. We want change
in Washington. And from the day we began this campaign, we`ve always said
that change takes more than one term or even one president and it certainly
takes more than one party. It can`t happen if you write off half the
nation before you even took office.


SCHULTZ: Romney`s change argument was a flop. So the candidate was
in need of something else to turn attention away from his 47 percent
comments, which has been in the news cycle all week long.

Well, surprise, surprise, how about it, today the Romney campaign made
the candidate`s 2011 tax returns public. The numbers revealed Mitt Romney
made nearly $14 million mostly in investments. The Romneys paid $1.9
million in taxes, a rate of 14.1 percent. Romney gave $4 million in
charity last year, but only claimed about $2 million in charitable
deductions. If he claimed the full $4 million, Romney`s tax rate would
have been much lower. Mitt Romney actually paid more taxes than he needed
to, which really is at odds of the philosophy of a certain Republican


ROMNEY: My view is I have paid all the taxes required by law. I
don`t pay more than are legally due. And frankly, if I had paid more than
you are legally due, I don`t think I`d be qualified to become president. I
think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code


SCHULTZ: Now wait a minute. Someone who pays more taxes than
necessary is not qualified to be president. Did he really say that?


ROMNEY: I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a
dollar more. I don`t think you want someone as the candidate for president
who pays more taxes than he owes.


SCHULTZ: Oh, yes, he said it. Many conservative Republicans are in
agreement with Mitt Romney. But they are not convinced he`s qualified

Columnist Peggy Noonan continued her assault on the Romney campaign in
"the Wall Street Journal." This week, I called it incompetent but only
because I was being polite. I really meant rolling calamity. "The
Washington Post" reported on senior Republicans on Capitol Hill who have
become convinced about a likely Obama victory and the possibility of
striking a deal on tax increases for the rich. Romney can`t even hold on
to the confidence of Herman Cain, the former pizza man CEO says that he
would have a substantial lead on President Obama at this point.

According to Herman Cain, the reason is quite simple "I have some
death to my ideas." Hold it, 9-9-9 isn`t too deep. But that`s a real ouch
for the Romney campaign. Romney is not throwing in the towel. He is not
giving up. In an interview with "60 minutes," maybe he`s in denial, Romney
says things are going just fine.


ROMNEY: Actually, we tied in the polls. We are all with (INAUDIBLE)
of air. We bounce around, week to week, day to day. There are some days
we`re up, there are some days we`re down. We go forward with my message
that this is a time to reinvigorate the American economy, not by expanding
government and raising taxes on people, but instead by making sure
government encourages entrepreneurship and innovation and gets the private
sector hiring again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor, I appreciate your message very
much. But that wasn`t precisely the question. You`re the CEO of this
campaign. A lot of Republicans would like to know, a lot of donors would
like to know how do you turn this thing around. You`ve got a little more
than six weeks. What do you do?

ROMNEY: Well, it doesn`t need a turn around. We have a campaign
which is tied with an incumbent president of the United States.


SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney could be right or he could be incredibly
disastrously wrong. Make no mistake, the 47 percent comment were a game
changer. It revealed an awful lot. There is no longer any doubt what the
two sides of this election believe. The comments allowed President Obama
to go out on a stamp of the message of inclusiveness. It is a message you
will hear a lot more about in the next 46 days.


OBAMA: The values we believe in just don`t belong to the workers or
businesses, the 53 percent, the 47 percent, rich or poor, the one percent
or 99 percent. These are American values. They belong to all of us!


SCHULTZ: Now, compare those comments with Mitt Romney`s final words
on the hidden video from Florida.


ROMNEY: One of the benefits is eating the world`s best dessert, which
I will. Thank you.


SCHULTZ: Romney may have eaten the world`s best dessert at that fund-
raiser but on the campaign trail the only thing he can find right now is
raw crow.

What`s is going to be like the next 46 days? How about this weekend?
How is he going to begin to turn it around?

The best thing he can do right now is call up Tom Cruise, the actor,
and ask him about that thing he put together, I think a couple of movies
called "Mission Impossible." That`s what it looks like right now for Mitt

Throughout this entire process he has been an adversary to labor. He
has been an adversary to wage earners. He has been an adversary to anybody
who is being covered in Obama care. There are more people that are
realizing every day that Mitt Romney has never had a plan, he`s never had a
vision and the only thing he`s had in his back pocket is the wealthiest
Americans. He`s not going to get it done. And if he does, it will be a

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: does Mitt Romney`s campaign need a turn around? Text A for yes,
text B for now to 622639. You can go to our web site and leave a comment
at We will bring you the results later on the show.

Coming up, we are starting to see the impact Mitt Romney`s mistakes
are having on the polls. Find out why it might be just too late for him to
turn this whole thing around when we come back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, a look back at Mitt Romney`s rough week with Ari
Melber and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland who toured up at the

Later, the Obama campaign and senator Harry Reid is jumping all over
Mitt Romney for his taxes. David Cay Johnston is here to tell us if Romney
just made things worst.

And the Democrats keep surging in Senate races across the country.
Todd Akin got crushed by senator Claire McCaskill in a debate today. We`ll
show you the highlights.

Share your thoughts on facebook and on twitter using #edshow. We are
coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show." Thanks for watching.

This has not been a good week for Mitt Romney and he`s running out of
time. Let`s review just what has unfolded.

A video surfaced showing him insulting 47 percent of Americans. He
was widely criticized for accusing the president of the United States of
being a terrorist sympathizer on 9/11. His staff has been depicted as
disorganized. Today Romney`s tax return is under the microscope.

And this is what all of those problems look like when you add them up
together. The new national journal poll shows Romney`s at least seven
points behind, a poll of 12 swing states shows Romney is actually slipping.
He had a one poll - he had a one-point lead over President Obama last

Today the president`s lead, well, he moved five points ahead. But
wait. You might say there are still 46 days left until the election,
Romney`s got some time, right? Actually, the voting has already started.
Absentee ballots are going out in dozens of states.

For instance, in Iowa, election officials are getting a record number
of requests. Thirty percent more than in 2008. By tomorrow half the
country will be casting votes either by absentee ballot or early in-person
voting. By end of the month people in 30 states will be able to cast a

Mitt Romney`s problems might be costing him the election before
October even begins. Let`s bring in Ari Melber, correspondent for "the
Nation" magazine and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Obama 2012
campaign co-chair.

Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.

Governor, let`s start with you. How serious, how damaging, how bad a
week has this been for Mitt Romney? And then throw on the fact that on a
5:00 document dump on a Friday afternoon, put it all together.

TED STRICKLAND (D), FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: It`s been a terrible week.
The president`s doing well in Ohio. We think we are seven points ahead
according to the polls. And I want to tell you, Ed, when he showed such
disrespect for 47 percent of the American people, we are talking about
seniors, we are talking about veterans, we are talking about soldiers, we
are talking about students and he looked down his nose at 47 percent of us
while he was talking to those fat cats down there in Florida. And I think
it has put a bad taste in the mouth of Americans who have heard this
videotape. And then these tax returns, Ed, he still is hiding the truth.
Why is he not releasing his tax returns? I think he has got something to

SCHULTZ: Ari, how do we know this is politically fatal?

yet. What we know is that it is hurting him. We know that he has the
lowest net favorable rating of any party candidate since 1988 when Pew has
been taking these numbers. So, that means even people like Bob Dole and
John McCain who lost were viewed more positively at this point than he is.

So, we know it`s taking a huge bite out of him. I think it goes to
the governor`s point. You saw this at the Democratic convention, both in
the governor`s speech and I think in Bill Clinton`s speech. Part of what`s
happening out here in this electors, is I think that facts are actually the
new spin. I think people care a lot about their livelihood, they care
about their jobs, this is an economic election. And people are looking at
the numbers. So, I will just give you a couple.

We have the 47 percent that you gave us and that Romney, obviously,
has seared into the public imagination, that`s all the people he`s
dismissed. Fifteen percent today is what middle class taxpayers have as a
total federal tax burden. Fourteen percent is what Mitt Romney paid, nine
percent is what he owed. You total it all up and what you have I think is
a one percent mentality. He doesn`t want to follow the rules that everyone
else does.

SCHULTZ: I mean, that is so politically fatal when it`s connected to
the middle class in this country that it`s just getting butchered in many
ways when it comes to the economy and trying to struggle out of it.

Governor, I want to ask you. Who is going to pull Mitt Romney out of
this? Who is going to stand on stage with him? Look at the politics of
the last two years in this country. Where`s Chris Christie, where is Rick
Scott, where is Snyder from Michigan, where is Walker from Wisconsin, which
is Mitch Daniels from Indiana? Where are all these governors who have been
attacking Barack Obama but they won`t stand up for Mitt Romney right now.
And this is a political crisis for him right now. Where is the Chris
Christies of the world? What do you think?

STRICKLAND: Well, even Ohio governor Kasich has indicated recently
that he does not agree with the Romney criticism of 47 percent of

SCHULTZ: They`re running for the hills.

STRICKLAND: Yes. They`re running for the hills. And they should
because, you know, they are going to be pulled down by this guy and
candidates for the Senate, candidates for the house, they see what`s
coming. A tsunami is coming unless this man is able to turn this around.

And, Ed, he spoke from his heart when he criticized 47 percent of
Americans. It was not a slip of the tongue. He revealed the true Romney.
And he gave us evidence of what many of us have thought about this man for
a long, long time. He is concerned about the wealthy and I think he has a
lack of capacity to understand what life is like for just regular people.

SCHULTZ: I think it speaks volumes that the guys have been going
after Obama and his agenda over the last several years are silent right now
when Mitt Romney is in crisis, political crisis.

Ari Melber, final point, I want you to bring up here. Is it - I
noticed today that President Obama, he didn`t waste any time. He is using
this hidden tape. He believes it`s what Romney is all about. Is he going
to continue to do this? And will he bring it up in the debates? What do
you think?

MELBER: I think he`s absolutely going to bring it up. I mean, I
think you have here is a moment of clarity, a moment of candor, a moment of
truth and that is going to just stick to Mitt Romney. And you can distract
away in the news cycle. I do think the media gets distracted. I think you
got to watch out because some of the press is going to look to even this
up. They are going to beat up on Romney. They are going to find something
wrong with Obama. Some other you tube --

SCHULTZ: Can`t do it with any credibility. I don`t think they can do
it with any credibility. I mean, President Obama`s campaign has been damn
near flawless. I mean, when you want to compare it to Mitt Romney`s. But,
I got what you`re saying.

Ari Melber, Ted Strickland, governor, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.


MELBER: Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney releases his 2011 tax returns and it
turns out he chose to pay a higher rate. David Cay Johnston is here to
crunch the numbers.

And Paul Ryan, you got to love this if you are lefty, he gets booed at
the AARP annual convention. Lot of that going around lately. Senator
Bernie Sanders, we love to hear from him. He joins me tonight. Stay

You are watching "the Ed Show" on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show."

Well, it turns out being unemployed pays pretty well, if you`re Mitt
Romney. Romney chose to released his 2011 tax returns return today in a
late Friday news dump. In 2011, Romney paid $1,935, 708 in taxes on $13.6
million worth of income. It means, his effective tax rate last year was
14.1 percent. Would you like to have that rate?

The Romneys also donated, to their credit, four million dollars to
charity in 2011 and claimed a two million dollar deduction on those
contributions. We should point out, Romney chose to limit his charitable
deductions. If he had taken full deductions, his tax rate would have been
somewhere around nine percent. That probably wouldn`t have fared very well
with the American people.

Romney also released summaries of his taxes from 1990 to 2009. They
claim Romney`s average tax rate for those years is 20.2 percent. They also
claim that the lowest rate Romney ever paid was 13.6 percent.

There is a whole lot of information here to digest in these documents
and what it all means. Our next guest can do it better than anybody. I`m
joined by David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author
of the book "The Fine Print, How Big Companies Use Plain English to Rob You

David, great to have you with us tonight. When you see the tax return
of Mitt Romney 2011, what jumps out at you? What did they do? How did he
get 14 percent?

percent because he mostly has this capital income. And we tax people who
are wealthy on the income from their money less than we do people who work.
What`s interesting here is Romney said in an interview with ABC if he paid
more than the minimum tax, a dollar more than the minimum tax the law
requires, it would make him unqualified to be president.

Well, he paid somewhere in the order of between 265,000 and 600,000
dollars more than necessary, little as his tax bill was, because he didn`t,
at least for the moment, deduct the full four million dollars of charitable
contribution. So by his own standard, he`s made himself unqualified to be
president. I think it`s a silly standard, but he said it.

SCHULTZ: Isn`t this a classic example, his tax return, how the
wealthiest Americans really have it pretty damn good in this country.

JOHNSTON: Boy, I would love to be paying a 14 percent tax rate. He
also did something else where -- Romney should be trying to shut this down
every way he can, Ed. You have to wonder about his judgment in all of
this, because that`s the only test we have of somebody running for
president, is judgment and how he`s handled this.

In the statement they put out about the 20 years of returns, they use
the verb "owed," They owed taxes. They didn`t use the word paid, meaning
paid in the year in each individual year. That leaves open the possibility
that they filed an amended return in a later year, that they were audited
and were required to pay higher taxes.

So I wrote the campaign and I ask them what about this. What I got
back an answer that was absolutely unresponsive to this. So now he`s
opened up this new questions, well, were there in fact big audits of you at
some point? He said he`s been audited. Did you have to make a big payment
because you underpaid? Did you ever pay penalties?

All these questions are now back on the table because they didn`t
carefully write the statement that they issued or they wrote it the way
they did because they have to.

SCHULTZ: And there are questions and also some maneuverability that
he can do with this tax return of 2011. Isn`t it possible for Romney, that
he can deduct an unclaimed amount in future years. For instance, if he
doesn`t get elected president, he can go back and say, you know what, I`m
going to take the full deduction instead of the 2.2 million on the four
million dollars that I donated.

JOHNSTON: Exactly right, Ed. Mitt and Ann Romney have three years to
amend their return. And if he`s not elected president, I`m sure they will
file an amended return and take the full amount. And it will knock his tax
rate down. You have to do some technical work to figure out exactly where
it is -- as low as about 9.6 percent, as high as 12.2, but certainly well
below the level that he`s talked about, and well below the level that
anybody working, who makes even 50,000 or 60,000 dollars a year, pays as a
share of their income.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent out a Tweet on
Romney`s taxes earlier today. He said "when will the American people see
the returns he filed before he was running for president?" What do you
think about that comment? Are you curious about his tax returns before he
said he was going to run for president? And then -- the way the market
went in 2008 and 2009, there might be a chance that Romney didn`t pay any

JOHNSTON: Yes. They assert in there -- that`s why that word "owed"
is important, that they owed taxes, as opposed to "paid." They do say
they`re current with whatever their taxes are. I was probably the first
person to call on Romney to release his returns. It`s getting close to a
year ago now. And he hasn`t done this. Clearly there`s something in
there, Even if it`s something that`s legal, that they know would just be
fatal to his campaign.

And in all of this, it`s just astonishing to watch how he has
mishandled this. Here`s a guy who says, I`m this brilliant businessman,
I`m proud of all this money I made, and look at all these things I did.
And he can`t seem to run a campaign where he can talk about the only issue
that can get him elected, which is that the economy hasn`t improved as fast
as some Americans would like. That`s a really serious flaw on his part as
CEO of the Romney campaign. That`s not a job he`s handling well.

SCHULTZ: Friday tax return releases might change the subject a little
bit this weekend on the talking heads, because of the 47 percent comment
earlier this week. We`ll see how it all plays out.

David Cay Johnston, thanks for your analysis tonight. Appreciate it
so much.

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


stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst
of both worlds.



SCHULTZ: The Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it gets a
rude greeting at the AARP Convention today. Up next, Senator Bernie
Sanders on Paul Ryan`s rough day with seniors.

And the Republican Senate implosion continues across the country.


TODD AKIN (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: If it`s a legitimate rape, the
female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.


SCHULTZ: Today it was Todd Akin`s turn to debate Claire McCaskill.


SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: He has apologized for those
comments, but they say a lot about how he views things.



SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Senior citizens gathered in
New Orleans today for the AARP`s annual convention. First, President Obama
addressed the crowd via satellite, assuring them the programs they paid
into will remain intact.


OBAMA: Given the conversations that have been out there in the
political arena lately, I want to emphasize Medicare and Social Security
are not handouts. You`ve paid into these programs your whole lives.


SCHULTZ: Then it was the republican ticket`s turn to speak up. The
Romney/Ryan campaign offered up the man who vows to end Medicare as we know
it, the architect behind fundamentally changing the program for generations
to come. Needless to say, a few of his big ideas were met with boos.


RYAN: The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare,
because it represents the worst of both worlds.


RYAN: I had a feeling there would be mixed reaction, so let me get
into it. It weakens Medicare for today`s seniors and puts it at risk for
the next generation.



SCHULTZ: They ain`t buying it. AARP is a nonpartisan organization,
but it supported the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare.

Ryan didn`t let boos stop him from attacking the president.


RYAN: Time and again, this president has ducked the tough issues.
He`s put his own job security over your retirement security.


RYAN: Of course he said he`d be willing to work with Republicans, but
he has not moved an inch closer to common ground.



SCHULTZ: Some convention-goers walked out of the Ryan speech. It
should be of little surprise that seniors in attendance weren`t sold on
Ryan`s rhetoric.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they could see the shallowness in some of
the arguments that Mr. Ryan had proposed. The people around me were
booing. And I think they get the feeling that these folks will say
anything just to get elected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I didn`t find Ryan sincere at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the haves and the have-nots. And that
bothers me because I grew up in a Republican party that was not that way.
The 47 percent, that`s horrible to come out with a statement like that,
because, hey, I`ve worked. I`ve worked since I was 14 years old. I`m 72
now. I`ve paid into all these program, Medicare. They`re not


SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from
Vermont. Senator, great to have you with us tonight. The Ryan/Romney
campaign was going to run on changing Medicare. Doesn`t look like it`s
working out very well for them. But I want to challenge what Ryan said,
that the Democrats have ducked the issues. What`s your response to that?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, in fact, Obamacare -- so-
called Obamacare that Ryan was attacking, while it doesn`t go as far as I
would like to go -- I`m a single-payer advocate -- what it does do is make
the greatest advances in terms of providing health insurance for 30 million
more Americans, a huge step forward, ending this obscenity of preexisting
conditions, making sure that kids under 26 can continue to get health care
from their parents, and putting huge amounts of money into disease
prevention and keeping people out of the hospital and out of the emergency

We also doubled the number of community health centers in this
country, so 20 million more Americans can get primary health care. I don`t
think that is ducking the health care issue. I think that is probably the
boldest step forward in many, many years.

SCHULTZ: Senator, do you think that this just walks seniors right
into the Democrats` camp? Go ahead.

SANDERS: This is what I think, Ed. When you get old, probably the
issue you worry about most is you`re going to get sick, what kind of health
care is out there for you, can you afford it. And when you have somebody
like Ryan come forward and say, look, we`re going to end Medicare as we
know it, people are saying what is he doing? Medicare is a popular
program. It`s not perfect, but it is a damn good program providing health
care to millions and millions of people. He wants --

SCHULTZ: They make the case that -- senator, they make the case that
they`re trying to save the program. What about that?

SANDERS: They`re, quote unquote, saving the program by forcing -- of
course they`re not trying to save the program. What they are trying to do
is create a voucher program, which will mean that a significant increase in
cost will fall on the backs of the average senior citizen. And that`s why
he gets booed. They know that.

You just stop and think for a second, Ed. You`re 70 years of age.
You`ve been diagnosed with cancer. And they give you an 8,000 dollar check
to walk into a private insurance company. What do you think that private
insurance company, whose function in life is to make money, is going to say
to you when you have tens of thousands of health care bills in front of
you? They`re going to reject you.

Seniors understand that. And then you got Paul Ryan, who has been a
leader in trying to privatize Social Security. You got Paul Ryan, whose
budget in the House would cut Medicaid by over 700 billion dollars in a 10-
year period, devastating cuts for children on health insurance, throwing
millions of people off of health insurance, and in addition -- in addition
making it much, much harder for people to afford nursing home care.

Seniors understand what I think an increasing number of Americans
understand, that these guys are there to protect the wealthiest people and
the largest corporations. And they`re going to devastate virtually every
program we have passed in the last 80 years, which protect the elderly, the
children, the sick or low-income people.

SCHULTZ: Senator, I got to ask you, I know that you have signed on to
a letter along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to President Obama,
asking him to state exactly his position on saving Social Security. Why
would 29 Democratic senators sign on? Are you not real confident that the
president is going to there been when it comes to the debt reduction costs,
that he would actually put the big three on the table for a big chop? What
do you think?

SANDERS: Ed, Let me tell you what I think. And I helped write that
letter. What I think is that four years ago, President Obama was very
clear when he was running against McCain. And he said, I will not cut
Social Security or raise the retirement age. And 29 of us wrote a letter
today because we want the president to make that statement again. He has
not made that statement.

And I worry very much that after the election, corporate America,
Republicans, some Democrats are going to get into a room and, in fact, they
are going to do deficit reduction by cutting Social Security, by moving
toward a so-called chained CPI, which would mean very significant cuts over
the years for the elderly and, by the way, for disabled veterans. I hope
the American people -- go ahead.

SCHULTZ: Well, it sounds to me like 29 senators want some very direct
answers from the White House. Have you gotten a response back on this


SCHULTZ: Do you expect a response?

SANDERS: The answer is we have not gotten a response. And I am
nervous that we will not get a response. I hope the American people say,
Mr. President, make it clear, do not cut Social Security.

SCHULTZ: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with us tonight here on THE
ED SHOW. Thanks so much, senator.

Democrats are surging in Senate races across the country. It`s real.
John Nichols is going to join me next. Stay with us.



AKIN: I don`t believe that this election overall is about talk, but
it`s really about two visions of what America is.


SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, that was Congressman Todd
Akin answering a question about his legitimate rape remark. Akin and
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri held their first debate today. And
just like other GOP Senate candidates lately, it did not go well for Todd

Here`s Senator McCaskill from the debate.


MCCASKILL: He has apologized for those comments, but they say a lot
about how he views things. I believe a rape victim should be allowed to
have emergency contraception in order to avoid pregnancy. Todd Akin does
not. I believe his view is extreme and out of the mainstream for most

But there`s other extreme views. He wants to abolish the minimum
wage. He wants to privatize Medicare, privatize Social Security. He wants
to do away with the Student Lunch Program.


SCHULTZ: Senator McCaskill kept going, but you get the picture.
Later today, Todd Akin tweeted a picture of a woman`s rally for the
congressman. If it looks sparse, it`s because the Associated Press says
more than 100 people were there. GOP Senate candidates seem to be having a
really hard time as of late. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson
complained about the effect Mitt Romney could be having on his own Senate
race. Here`s Romney defender John Sununu responding.


sounds like Barack Obama blaming it on somebody else. Look, campaigns go
up, campaigns go down. I`m sure Tommy will be fine in the long run.


SCHULTZ: According to "Politico," a senior Romney campaign official
dismissed questions about Romney`s down-ballot impact as "galactically
stupid." The official said GOP Senate nominees have stayed close to the
top of the ticket. Really?

Let`s turn to John Nichols, Washington correspondent for "The Nation
Magazine," and author of the book "Uprising."

John, what`s unfolding here? Is there any doubt Mitt Romney is
starting to have a down-ballot effect?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Not among GOP Senate candidates there
isn`t. Tommy Thompson said that the reason he has gone from a nine-point
lead in Wisconsin to a nine-point deficit is because of Mitt Romney. Now
up in Massachusetts, Scott Brown has said, you know, he doesn`t have the
same world view as Mitt Romney.

In Connecticut, the republican candidate there has renounced Mitt
Romney`s 47 percent remarks. The fact of the matter is Republican
candidates who are in tight races are terrified of Mitt Romney. And you
saw it writ large across last night`s debate between Elizabeth Warren and
Scott Brown.

The most devastating thing that Elizabeth Warren said in that debate
was simply I support Barack Obama for president. I think he should have
another term. You saw Scott Brown gulp, because when you bring Romney into
this thing, that`s trouble.

SCHULTZ: John, doesn`t this embolden Democrats quite a bit, to go for
the jugular on the issues, to be aggressive? Because it seems Republicans
across the board are so terribly off message, especially with the middle

NICHOLS: Absolutely. You saw what was happening in that Akin and
McCaskill debate. Claire McCaskill did reference Akin`s extreme comments
as regards reproductive rights and rape, but then she used it as a bridge
into a host of other extremes. The fact of the matter is when Mitt Romney
goes off message, when Todd Akin goes off message, it starts Americans in
states across this country to think, wow, is this Republican party so far
out there that I just ought to go down my ballot and pick the Democratic

I think you`re seeing a lot of that happening. The polls are
suggesting an Obama connection.

SCHULTZ: President Obama will be in your state of Wisconsin tomorrow.
It seems that the pick of Paul Ryan on the ticket has had a negative
effect. CBS/"New York Times" poll shows 51 to 45, Obama now leading Mitt
Romney. What`s happening in Wisconsin?

NICHOLS: Well, the polling is astounding. We now are seeing in what
I think is the best of the polls -- this is a Marquette University poll
that came out yesterday. It showed a 14-point lead for Barack Obama. It
also showed a nine-point lead for Tammy Baldwin in that Senate race.

You`ll note that tomorrow, Barack Obama will stand right next to Tammy
Baldwin, the Democratic Senate candidate. And you`re starting to see that
up-and-down the ticket message coming through. I don`t think that anybody
would have thought you`d see that even two months ago. Now Democrats are
feeling incredibly confident, and I think for some good reason.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols, Washington correspondent for "The Nation"
magazine. I`m at dinner last night and I`m reading your tweets at 11:00.
Will you get some sleep this weekend? Do you ever sleep? That`s what I
want to know.

All right, John, great to have you with us tonight. As always, thanks
so much. That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. Be sure to tune in tonight
at 10:00 p.m. Eastern for a replay of the "Saturday Night Live Weekend
Update Special." You won`t want to miss it.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW" show starts right now.


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