updated 11/5/2012 11:21:58 AM ET 2012-11-05T16:21:58

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
November 2, 2012

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Bob Shrum, Chris Kofinis, Kelli Goff, David Cay
Johnston, Nina Turner, Judith Browne Dianis, John Nichols

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW from
New York. Four days until the election.

Let me give you another number, 32 months of private sector job growth. Bad
news for Mitt Romney. Can he save his campaign? This is THE ED SHOW. Let`s
get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So you don`t scare hard
working Americans just to scare up some votes. That`s not what being
president is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president finishes strong in Ohio, as Mitt Romney tries to
scare voters in Wisconsin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And unless we change course, we
may well be looking at another recession.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Strong job numbers out today prove President Obama has turned this
country around, and the Republicans can`t stand it. Richard Wolffe and
David Cay Johnston are here with analysis.

Plus, Bob Shrum with the latest numbers that look even better for the
president.

Nina Turner on Ohio`s latest voting shenanigans.

And from Richard Mourdock to Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party is crashing in
Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This is it for freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We`ll break down the down ballot Republican collapse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AKIN (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: The female bodies has ways to try to
shut that whole thing down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for watching. This
is the report we`ve all been waiting for. The final jobs report before the
election is now out and it is all good news for the Obama supporters.

The United States added 171,000 jobs last month. Expectations were around
125,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate is up a tenth of a point to 7.9
percent. The reason behind the slight uptick is more Americans joined the
work force. This, of course is good news, a good thing.

It makes October the 32 straight month of private sector job growth. Who
would have thought it, 184,000 jobs were added to the private sector.
Numbers for August and September were revised upward.

The job numbers helped President Obama certainly on the campaign trail make
the case about the improving economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic
crisis since the Great Depression. Today, our businesses have created
nearly 5.5 million new jobs. And this morning we learned that companies
hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: With only four days left on the campaign trail, the candidates
were all over the crucial state of Ohio. President Obama made three
different stops today in that state, first here in Hilliard, Ohio, in the
center of the state, then out west to Springfield, Ohio. Then he headed
north to Lima, Ohio.

Mitt Romney was not going to be outdone. Here`s a look at another Romney
campaign rock concert and victory rally outside Cincinnati. Romney was also
in Wisconsin this morning, portraying himself as the candidate of change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The question of this election comes down to this: do you want more
of the same or do you want real change? And we pick real change.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Do you want 32 more months of private sector job growth? Romney
sure has a funny way of showing change, doesn`t he? Take a look at Romney`s
surrogates at tonight`s Ohio victory rally, former Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, former Labor Secretary Elain Chao, Louisiana Governor
Bobby Jindal, former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, and also Ohio
Senator Rob Portman.

All five of these folks worked in the Bush administration. In fact, Mitt
Romney`s campaign is looking more and more like the Bush White House every
day. Romney even pulled out the old Dick Cheney trick of scaring voters
before an election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The same path we`re on means 20 trillion dollars of debt in four
years. It means crippling unemployment continues. It means stagnant take-
home pay, depressed home values and a devastated military. And unless we
change course, we may well be looking at another recession.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Another recession? All economic indicators show the country is in
a recovery. But Mitt Romney has no problem scaring voters if it helps him.
President Obama called him out on that tactic today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Right here in Ohio, folks who work at the Jeep plant have been
having to call up their employers because they`re worried. They`re asking
if their jobs are being shipped to China.

And the reason they`re worried is because they saw ads run by Governor
Romney saying Jeep plants were going to shipping jobs to China. Of course,
it turns out it`s not true.

This is not a game. These are people`s jobs. These are people`s lives.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The auto industry, they spend a lot of money advertising and
branding and letting folks know that we`re back and we`re here in America
and we`re making American cars with American workers. And now suddenly you
got a guy going out there saying, you know, something that is not true?

You don`t scare hard working Americans just to scare up some votes.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: That`s not what being president is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: When Romney isn`t buying scared voters, he`s making up a fantasy
about working across the aisle?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: You know that if the president is re-elected, he will still be
unable to work with the people in Congress. I mean, he`s ignored them. He`s
attacked them. He`s blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again. And
shut down and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So what is happening here is that Mitt Romney is telling the
American people, we need to cave in to the GOP hostage takers. Romney says
the president should have given in to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
Anything they wanted, boys.

Of course, they wanted to defeat President Obama from the start. But
despite their obstruction, unemployment has fallen to the lowest point
since President Obama`s first month in office. Today, job numbers closed
the chapter of President Obama`s first term and his economic agenda.

It`s worked. But if you need to be reminded of where this country was when
he took office, just listen to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi from my
radio show today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: Four years ago in September, when
President Bush was president, and on September 18th, when I had the
chairman of the Fed and the secretary of the Treasury and others in my
office, Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate leadership, the
chairman of the Fed said, if we do not act immediately, we will not have an
economy by Monday.

Are we better off today than we were four years ago? Our country absolutely
is. Can it be better for many of America`s families? Absolutely and it
would have been if the Republicans had not obstructed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: The president and the Democrats were able to get this country
going, I guess you could say with one arm tied behind their backs. Mitt
Romney is ready to turn over the reins to the guys who caused the mess?
Really?

Voters have four days to decide which way this country wants to go. I`m
joined tonight by Richard Wolffe, MSNBC political analyst and vice
president, executive director and editor of the MSNBC.com, and David Cay
Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of "The Fine Print."

David, you first tonight. What do these job numbers mean? How good are
they?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, "THE FINE PRINT": Oh, they`re good and they`re
good in the details. All of the job growth, Ed, was in the private sector;
184,000 private sector job. There were some losses in government jobs.
That`s why the number is 171,000.


They revised upward the number of jobs for the last two months. So remember
Jack Welch and the Republicans saying, oh, they were manipulating the
numbers and attacking the professionalism of the people who do this work.
Well, they actually understated things a month ago.

In addition, the number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs -- now
that`s an indication of how confident people are they can find a new job --
that number went up. So that`s a very good sign. And there is another
number in a different report; the number of housing vacancies, both rental
and owner occupied has declined, which tells you the housing market is
improving.

So all of the numbers are getting better. They`re not as far as long as we
need to be, but the direction is very clear and it is all upward.

SCHULTZ: Richard, how important is this jobs report politically? I mean, in
the closing days to the election, certainly it must have a much more of an
impact than, say, something maybe six or seven months ago.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC.COM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Right, well, it certainly
isn`t bad news. And to that extent, that`s a good thing for the president.
But actually, I don`t think any single month of statistics is as important
as seeing consumer confidence pick up so steadily over the last several
months. You can see it not just in these statistics, but you can see it in
consumer spending. The way economists measure consumer confidence has been
rising very steadily.

And that does translate directly to job approval numbers, which have also
been ticking up steadily for this president. So, you know, for years,
really for most of the first term, people in the media and certainly
Republicans have been beating up the president saying, how come his job
approval numbers are only in the low 40s?

Nobody gives him credit when actually they have gone into the high 40s and
topped 50 percent. And you know very well that the folks in Boston who are
running the Romney campaign are looking at their numbers. And they know it
is that much harder to unseat a sitting president when your approval
numbers are close to 50 percent and maybe even above it.

SCHULTZ: David, we have had these radical governors in a number of states
on the Republican side who have refused to work with the president and
stalled a great deal. In fact, they have attacked public sector workers.
Some three million public sector jobs have been let go in the four years
here, especially in the last couple of years. There has been a lot of them.

What if they had not been let go? What would our economy look like?

JOHNSTON: OH, we would be in much better shape, Ed. You can figure out how
much the economy needed stimulus. It is a simple mathematical equation.
Spending equals income. Income equals spending. If one goes down, the other
has to go down.

When the private sector goes into recession, that`s when the government
should increase spending. When the private sector is doing really well,
that`s when you cut back on government spending. That`s what Clinton was
doing.

And if we had had the size stimulus we needed, and we hadn`t diverted 40
percent of it to tax cuts for business, today we would have a lot more
teachers, which is future wealth for America, nurses and cops on the
street. So this is very important. And we would be in much better shape,
but for the Republicans` insistence on taking care of the plutocrats.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Richard, what about these scare techniques that Mitt Romney
is using and now the president calling him out on it, the Jeep lie and all
the recession talk?

WOLFFE: Well, it is recession talk. But there`s so much projection that`s
gone along with this Romney campaign. There`s the recession. But actually I
thought more outrageous was this idea that if the president gets reelected,
we`re going to be back to default and this idea of a government shutdown,
as if it is the president who thinks that defaulting on America`s debt or
shutting down the government is a good idea.

Those are the Republican tactics. You know, I`m amazed at how much and how
apparently confident Mitt Romney can be in projecting Republican positions
on to this president and accusing him of being responsible for everything
the Republicans want to do.

It is just not the case. He knows that. Republicans know that. But it is
something that he seems to think he can spin to voters right now.

SCHULTZ: I don`t know if job numbers are going to motivate people to get
out and vote. But certainly whoever the next president is, what kind of an
economy, David, would you say that president would be inheriting?

JOHNSTON: Well, we still have a lot of work to do. It took 32 years -- or
28 years at least to do the damage that we`re now cleaning up. And so there
are a whole variety of policies we need. Look what`s happened in New York,
the infrastructure -- that`s a lot of what I wrote about in my new book
"The Fine Print" -- has fallen apart.

And companies are hallowing out utilities so they can artificially inflate
profits. We have a lot of building to do, a lot of investing to do in
America. And what -- now that we`re winding down these wars, we should be
able to do that.

The Republicans, however, have a clear view that the real problem we face
is that the rich don`t have enough and we need to make sure they have more.

SCHULTZ: Richard, you anticipate any movement in the next few days? Or is
everybody pretty much where they are? Is there going to be any turn around
now?

WOLFFE: I think there say movement. Because, you know, we still got to wait
and see how the polls are going to shift post Hurricane Sandy. Again, one
of those great things hearing Mitt Romney say that this president cannot
work with Republicans, I think we just saw him working pretty well with
Governor Christie.

So let`s see how the polls unfold in the next day or two. Because that`s
the critical moment when those last minute undecideds -- and there are
still some out there -- will be making up their minds.

SCHULTZ: All right, Richard Wolffe, David Cay Johnston, great to have you
with us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks for joining us.

Coming up, the state of the race with just four days to go. What the real
numbers tell us. Bob Shrum joins us when we come back. You`re watching THE
ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us tonight. Four days out, and the state
of the race favors President Obama. Seriously. Now if you look at it, it is
never a lock. It`s never going to be a lock. But the facts are here. In the
swing states offering President Obama is a clear path to victory. He`s
ahead in the polls and he`s rising.

In Ohio, you`ve got President Obama -- he has been leading all along. And
as you can see in the latest poll averaged from Real Clear Politics, he
still is. This is why Mitt Romney is desperately campaigning in
Pennsylvania. It is a Hail Mary pass because he knows he`s probably going
to lose Ohio.

In Wisconsin, President Obama maintains a comfortable five-point lead.
President Obama is also maintaining his lead in Nevada. In Iowa, President
Obama is still ahead.

The national average is closer, but President Obama has been on the rise
there as well.

So early voting has been going on for weeks now in some states. And there
are some interesting numbers on party breakdown of early voters so far.
Now, most early voters have been identified as Democrats in Ohio, Nevada,
Iowa, Florida, and North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.

Republicans have the edge in Colorado.

Let`s turn to Bob Shrum, professor of public policy at NYU and contributor
for the "Daily Beast." Bob, always a pleasure. Great to have you with us
tonight.

BOB SHRUM, NYU PROFESSOR: Glad to be here, Ed.

SCHULTZ: OK. Let`s leave the names out of it for a moment, Obama and
Romney. Let`s just take Candidate A and Candidate B. Who would you want to
be right now with the numbers the way they`re playing?

SHRUM: I think you want to be candidate a, assuming that`s the
unmentionable who happens to be president of the United States. I mean, he
has a lot of routes to 270 electoral votes. If you look at Mitt --
Candidate B, Candidate B isn`t even going to Florida in the next few days.

Now you can interpret that in one of two ways. Either, A, he thinks he`s
already got it won, and the polls don`t show that at all, or alternatively,
he thinks he has to bet that he has it won, that he can`t carry Ohio, so he
has to go to Pennsylvania, as John McCain did, as other Republicans have
over the last 12 -- 20 years. And they never carried the state.

SCHULTZ: So why -- with that number, and the -- with the polling that has
taken place in Pennsylvania, what message is out there that gives the
Romney camp the idea that they can win Pennsylvania? Why would they waste
days in Pennsylvania and not Ohio and Florida?

SHRUM: I think they`re worried that they can`t crack Ohio. The president
went out there, defined Mitt Romney in the summer. Yes, Mitt Romney made
some progress after that first debate, but Ohio settled back down around
where it was, I think really five or six points in the president`s favor.

So they have this dishonest ad on saying Jeep is going to ship its jobs to
China. And the great irony of that ad, by the way -- because in a news
broadcast in Ohio now, you can see 22 consecutive political ads. The
newscasters says Romney has a fake ad about jobs being shipped to China.
Now let`s go to commercial break and you see the ad.

So the ad is preemptively denounced.

SCHULTZ: OK. What about Pennsylvania? Could there be the calculation here
that because of the storm, the eastern part of the state might have some
voting problems. I`m just speculating this. And there might be a play here
for Romney in Pennsylvania. And as you said, the past 20 years the Romney -
- no Republican has won it. But would there be a play there because of the
storm?

SHRUM: Well, that`s what they have to hope, I guess. Because they don`t
have any other plays. The fact is, if the president carries Wisconsin, if
he carries Ohio, it is very, very hard -- Romney would have to carry
everything else. That`s not going to happen.

And you look at Virginia, where the president I think has a marginal lead,
you look at Florida where he`s competitive -- the only state that seems
gone for the president is North Carolina.

SCHULTZ: OK. What about the response to Hurricane Sandy? Do you think that
this is going to have an impact? Because you`ve got, of course, Governor
Christie out there just praising President Obama. There haven`t been major
complaints of resources not getting there. It all surrounds around the
power.

The approval rating of the president right now is the country thinks he`s
doing a good job with Sandy. Will this play in the election?

SHRUM: Sure. It goes to the whole question of the character and quality of
presidential leadership. Romney found that out in the second debate, when
he went after the president on Libya, got slapped down, got corrected by
Candy Crowley. And the president has a big advantage there.

But the question is deeper. The question is, is this guy up to the crises
we face as a nation? I think we saw Barack Obama in last week respond in
exactly the way Americans want him to respond. And who would have thought
that Chris Christie would be the October surprise? That this guy would --

SCHULTZ: October political surprise.

SHRUM: Yeah. That he would be the October political surprise, that he would
stand up -- and it`s true -- and say the president has been incredible.
He`s been on the phone every time I needed him. Today when he was asked, he
said I haven`t talked to the president today because I don`t need to,
because FEMA is doing everything they asked.

But if I need to, I`ll call him and he`ll be there.

SCHULTZ: So if this election is about the economy, how important was the
jobs report that came out today?

SHRUM: I think it was important. The consumer confidence number was
important. The number that shows retail sales going up was important. And
that`s all reflected in the polling. There is a lot of different polling.

For example, in the purple poll, you now see the lines crossing on whether
or not people think the economy is doing better. A year ago, people had no
notion -- no belief that the economy was doing better.

So a lot more economic confidence. I think Bill Clinton told a powerful
story at the convention that this was going to take some time, but we were
on the uptick and that we were headed in the right direction. I think
people -- people believe that.

SCHULTZ: Yeah. Clinton has -- President Clinton has done a heck of a job.

SHRUM: Isn`t he great?

(CROSS TALK)

SCHULTZ: But he has done a heck of a job.

SHRUM: You know what, Ed, they made a big mistake. They set him up as the
validate, the referee. He came in and he validated Barack Obama.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. Bob Shrum, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you.

Up next, the war on voters. Find out why citizens are facing a growing
threat at the polls and what you can do to fight back on Tuesday.

And later, Tea Party extremism takes its toll on some key races. Chris
Kofinis and Kelli Goff weigh in. Stay tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on
MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for staying with
us. If you`re not worried about this election tonight, this story might
change your mind a little bit. Voter suppression tactics are ramping up.
The Advancement Project reports Ohio secretary of state purged 6,000 names
from the voter rolls; 38 percent of the voters turned out to be legitimate.
It is not clear why those voters were singled out. We don`t know if they`ll
get to cast a regular ballot on Tuesday either.

Here`s another problem for Ohio voters. Hurricane Sandy flooded parts of
Cuyahoga County. At least 50,000 people still do not have power this day.
And if the storm damage doesn`t stop voters, the long lines that are
developing just might keep them away. It doesn`t sound good, doesn`t it?

Even Senator Rob Portman had to wait in line in Cincinnati today. Some
voters claim that they waited longer than an hour to vote. One caller to my
radio show said that the line was so long that she just walked away.

The lines are long in Florida as well. More than 2,000 people cast ballots
at this nearby library near Daytona Beach on the first day of early voting
on Wednesday. Polls in South Florida are reporting a -- what -- four-hour
wait? The ballot in Florida is a monster. It is about 12 pages long.

The League of Women voters asks the governor of the state, Rick Scott, to
extend early voting hours. And what do you think he said? Well, the
Republican said no.

Rick Scott told reporters, I want everybody to get out and vote, but early
voting ends Saturday night.

Make no mistake, Democrats have been fighting successfully against unfair
voter I.D. laws and purge lists. But the threat remains. Some voting
advocates expect a record number of voter challenges.

The best advice, vote anyway. Don`t get bullied at the polls. And don`t
give up.

I`m joined tonight by Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. Also with us tonight
is Judith Browne Dianis. She is the co-director of the Advancement Project.

Judith, let me ask you first, what is the biggest threat at the polls as
you see it right now?

JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, THE ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Sure. Well, thanks for
having me, Ed.

You know, we have moved from politicians who have tried to manipulate the
laws to restrict the vote to now these partisan operatives. In Ohio, you
have Hustead, the secretary of state, who has been on a relentless effort
to restrict the vote, who now admits there has been a glitch in the
computer system; 33,000 people who registered have not found themselves on
the rolls and cannot get their absentee ballots.

It is a glitch.

Then you have True the Vote, organizations that say that they`re about
election integrity who are preparing to challenge the eligibility of voters
at the polls because they say it is about election integrity. And in fact,
if it is about election integrity, they should go to Ohio and protest
outside of Hustead`s house.

But that`s not what it is about. They`re trying to make sure that the
people who turned out in record numbers in 2008, African-Americans,
Latinos, young voters and the elderly, are not able to vote this year.

SCHULTZ: Senator Turner, how does this news hit your ears, 33,000 votes,
and, of course, this report of 6,000 voters purged, and 38 percent of them
were legitimate? What do you make of this?

TURNER: It is pretty darn sad, Ed. But we`re not going to let anybody turn
us around. Not only do we have that glitch which was a -- the Bureau of
Motor Vehicles glitch between sending information to the secretary of
state`s office about Ohioans who had changed their addresses on that, and
the BMV did not send that information to the secretary of state.

So now local boards of elections are just getting those addresses. So those
folks may not have their absentee ballot requests. We have another glitch
which is a search engine glitch, Ed, which has some voters who are
registered to vote, they`re receiving notification that they are not
registered to vote, when that is not true.

Here in Cuyahoga County, our director of the board of elections filed 865
people, but for the fact that she scrubbed that list, would have been
disenfranchised. This is ridiculous. It is shameful. And I question the so-
called glitch.

But whatever it is, the secretary of state needs to put politics aside and
do his freaking job, which is to make sure that everybody in this state who
is registered and eligible to vote have the opportunity to vote. And I
think he`s having too much of a cavalier attitude when it comes to other
folks` right to vote.

SCHULTZ: Well, what do you want him to do right now, with all of this going
on? What should he do, senator?

TURNER: One of the things he should do is direct the boards of elections to
not only send first class letters to people who are impacted by this,
through no fault of their own. He should make sure that if we have e-mail
addresses and phone calls, that folks are called and they also receive some
type of e-mail notification.

He could ask news stations to do public service announcements. We should do
everything possible to make sure that people are not unjustly
disenfranchised. It makes no sense. And these group of voters that we are
talking about right now have done what is right.

And your point about Sandy, Ed, Hurricane Sandy has had an impact here in
Cuyahoga County and throughout Ohio. There are still are 50,000 people
without power in Cuyahoga County. Can you imagine having to endure that and
then get some notification that you are not registered to vote when, in
fact, you are?

We need to stop playing games. He needs to make sure that people have the
right to vote. Game time is over. It is time for people to be able to vote.
And he should do everything in his power to make sure that that happens.

SCHULTZ: Judith, what is the remedy, in your opinion, at this point for
Ohio? It seems like the problems are multiplying.

DIANIS: Yeah, in Ohio, you know, we`ll be watching at the polls. We`ll be
making sure that there is not challenges that happen. But, you know, at the
end of the day, Hustead has really shown that he`s not about free, fair and
accessible elections.

And we have got to stand up against this. We have been winning. We have
been fighting back. Their plans have backfired so far. But now we`re seeing
the moves of desperation, desperation to steal the election. And we have
got to stand up and say no, we won`t be bullied at the polls. And in fact,
any secretary of state that stands in our way is going to be gone too.

TURNER: Amen.

SCHULTZ: Ohio State Senator Nina Turner and Judith Brown Dianis, thank you
for joining us tonight. It is a story we`ll stay on through the weekend.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: I think even when life begins
in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended
to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Richard Mourdock`s collapse in Indiana is now causing headaches
for Michele Bachmann. Next, find out how the Tea Party darling is trying to
spin Mourdock`s rape remarks.

The "Fox and Friends" see a conspiracy theory in a Hurricane Sandy benefit
concert.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it a hurricane benefit or a concert for Obama?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: We`ll take a seat on the crazy couch ahead.

And Wisconsin is looking strong for the president, but not for Paul Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You`re sick and tired of
it, and I am too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: John Nichols has the latest from the Badger State.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Should have been an easy win for the
GOP, but remarks made by Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard
Mourdock about rape victims and abortions are taking their toll. The latest
polling shows Democrat Joe Donnelly ahead by double digits. The "Washington
Post" changing the race from tossup to lean Democratic.

Nebraska was supposed to be in for the bag for the Republicans as well. But
now Tea Party favorite Deb Fisher, who holds the same view as Mourdock on
abortion, is losing ground to her Democratic opponent, former Senator Bob
Kerrey. Kerry also got a boost from former Senator Chuck Hagel, a
Republican. Hagel is citing Republican obstructionism as a reason to
support Kerrey.

Meanwhile, Republicans who had rejected Todd Akin in Missouri after his
comments about legitimate rape are now having second thoughts. National
Republicans won`t say whether they`re injected funds into Missouri. But
suddenly Akin has received more than two million dollars in the final days
of his campaign.

But the extremism is taking its toll on other high profile races in the
House. Joe Walsh in Illinois seems to be toast. Polls are tightening for
Steve King in Iowa. Things are not looking real good for Congressman Allen
West in Florida. His Republican opponent in the primaries just endorsed the
Democrat in the race.

Michele Bachmann is locked in a tight race against Democratic challenger
Jim Graves. The right wing`s war on women came up in the last debate.
Bachmann was asked about Richard Mourdock`s remarks. Bachmann wouldn`t tell
voters where she stood, dodging questions about abortion access for rape
victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You heard what Richard Mourdock said and you know that
that has been controversial. "God intended this to happen" if a fetus
results as a consequence of that rape. I want to know if you agree with
that.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: What I agree with is I`m 100 percent
pro-life. And I agree with the position of the Catholic church on this
issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in Kelli Goff, political correspondent for
TheRoot.com. And also with us tonight, Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis.

Kelli, you first, the war on women. I mean, these remarks by Mourdock have
continued to erode away. How big of an impact is it going to have on these
races?

KELLI GOFF, THEROOT.COM: Huge. It already is, right? And I think the way I
look at this, Ed, is the perspective of the GOP was that this election
cycle was essentially about three issues: the economy, the economy, the
economy. And that is partially true, right?

But you could be the brightest economic and business mind on the planet,
and if you are running for office and you say something like, I kick
puppies in my spare time, I like Adolf Hitler, I hate black people, people
aren`t going to vote for you.

I think what a lot of the men in the GOP underestimated is, in the eyes of
a lot of Americans, making crazy insulting comments about rape falls along
those lines. And people aren`t going to vote for candidates, even if the
economy is their number one issue, when they`re making these crazy
comments.

SCHULTZ: Michele Bachmann seemed to have a hard time splitting away from
Richard Mourdock`s comments.

GOFF: Because she agrees with him, right. But she doesn`t want to say that
out loud because she has seen what happens when you actually say that out
loud. So they can`t get away from this issue. It has become the albatross
around the neck of every Republican candidate. And that`s what we`re
seeing.

And let`s not forget the other too that a lot of voters don`t care for, Ed,
is hypocrisy. And one of the Republican congressman we didn`t hear
mentioned is Scott Dedarlis. I might have been mispronouncing his name, but
you know exactly who I`m talking about. He was the pro-life, Tea Party
candidate who was caught on tape pressuring his girlfriend to get an
abortion, right?

Meanwhile, he`s trying to make it -- the procedure illegal for rape
victims. So voters don`t care for this sort of nonsense. And that`s what
we`re seeing. By the way, his race is tightening. He`s an incumbent and his
race is tightening as well.

SCHULTZ: It is. Chris Kofinis, it is interesting that in different parts of
the country, the most aggressive people on the president are having trouble
winning re-election. West in Florida. King in Iowa. Walsh in Illinois. And
Bachmann, of course, is in a tight race in Minnesota. What are we seeing
here?

CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think what you`re seeing is
this kind of growing, you know, desire among the American people to move
away from basically blow torch politics. And there is -- I think there is
something that has been happening now in two cycles, in particular in the
Senate races.

There were three races last cycle during the midterms, Colorado, Delaware
and Nevada, where Republicans arguably could have won with better, more
reasonable candidates. And they didn`t because these were Tea Party
extremists and they blew themselves up.

And now you have two races right now, the Republicans were going to win,
Missouri and Indiana, which they`re not going to win. That`s five races now
over two cycles.

And it is amazing to me that they have not got this message. And if they
lose, and I think they`re going to lose on -- you know, on Tuesday night,
the presidential election, what is going to be amazing about this, they`re
going to take the lesson away from this that they didn`t have a candidate
who was conservative enough, both in terms of the top ballot, all the way
down.

They just have not learned the lesson that the country is not where they
are, especially on these social issues, gay marriage, immigration, choice.
The country is moving in a more moderate direction. And they keep trying to
move this country into a far extreme direction. It is not going to happen.

SCHULTZ: President Obama is now in an ad for Connecticut Senate candidate
Chris Murphy. Is the race there closer than Democrats would like it to be
right now? What do you think?

KOFINIS: I think that race is a little bit closer. I think what is going to
happen both in Connecticut as well as in Massachusetts, you know, these
Senate races -- you know, it is not just in Indiana and Missouri where
these candidates have hurt themselves and hurt the Republican party. These
have a hangover effect.

And I think because, you know, a lot of moderate voters -- one, Democratic
base voters get mobilized. Moderate voters get alienated. That`s why I
think Senator Brown is probably going to lose that seat, and the Democrat
is going to end up winning in Connecticut.

SCHULTZ: Kelli, does Barack Obama, the president of the United States, now
a pretty good guy to talk about on the campaign trail the last four days,
with this 32 months of private sector job growth and a good report that
just came out on Friday today?

GOFF: Depends where you are. I would say, though, in a lot of places, he`s
much better to have on the campaign trail than he probably was a month or
two ago, right? Because everyone likes to have a good jobs news, but
particularly when you`re talking about places like Ohio and Wisconsin. You
know, that`s -- he`s more, I think, welcome there than he probably would
have been beforehand.

So it certainly is not bad news, let`s put it that way.

SCHULTZ: No, it is not bad news. It would seem to me that that`s what
people would be talking about in a big way.

Kelli Goff, thank you for joining us. Chris Kofinis, good to have you on
tonight. Thanks so much.

Coming up, you won`t believe what Steve Dooshy and the kids at the curvy
couch has to say about tonight`s Hurricane Sandy Relief Benefit Concert.
Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. When faced with disasters like
Hurricane Sandy, Americans, you know, we always find a way to lend a hand.
We`re used to taking a shirt off our back for our next door neighbor,
aren`t we? That`s just the spirit of America. That`s who we are.

Tonight, we here at NBC Universal tried to do our part with the Hurricane
Sandy Coming Together Telethon. The hour long special was hosted by "Today
Show`s" Matt Lauer and included music from New Jersey natives Bruce
Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Long Island`s Billy Joel, and Staten Island-born
Christina Aguilera.

Coming Together to Benefit the American Red Cross and the relief efforts
for victims of the storm. Nothing controversial about that whatsoever,
correct?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why the timing? Why is that today? Half the state of New
Jersey doesn`t even have power. They can`t even watch the concert.

Is this more political? Is this more let`s get this thing on TV before the
election to make President Obama look presidential? Or is it more for -- to
help out victims?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does look like they are trying to squeeze things in.
Keep in mind, you have Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Both supported the
president of the United States, Barack Obama. And in fact, Mr. Springsteen
I believe has been traveling with the president of the United States.

Where are the conservative performers? There aren`t on the list I saw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This just seems like a rush job because the election is
-- it is going to be three days after.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it a hurricane benefit or a concert for Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Where are the conservative performers? I don`t know, Dooshy. Where
is Clint Eastwood. That`s your level of performer, to talk to an empty
chair. Look, I -- this is amazing that they would actually question the
timing of this.

It`s in the news. The need is now. The money is direct. The country`s
paying attention to it. You be the judge. This is the time for us as a
country to come together. This has nothing to do with politics whatsoever.

This is about looking out for fellow Americans. I hope you consider
donating to the Red Cross.

Coming up, President Obama has a lead in Wisconsin but by how much? "The
Nation`s" John Nichols will fill us in.

And Paul Ryan is spending a ton of money to save his House seat. You know,
this guy could be -- he just could be a two time loser on Tuesday night.
We`re right back. Stay with us.^

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: In the Big Finish tonight, Mitt Romney is attempting to chip away
at President Obama`s lead in the state of Wisconsin. Romney held a big
campaign event in West Allies (ph), Wisconsin, earlier today and gave what
his campaign called a closing argument to voters.

He was introduced by union busting Governor Scott Walker, who has tried to
spin Wisconsin poll numbers on Fox News today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s now a tossup.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Well, it really is. In poll after poll,
it`s about as close a tie as you can get, 49 to 49 repeatedly in a number
of polls out there. Most importantly, though, is the poll that`s conducted
on Tuesday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Walker is talking about the polls by the right leaning pollster
Rasmussen. So let`s give the governor a dose of reality here. President
Obama is leading by eight points in the latest poll from Marquette Law
School. You know, the one that Walker always used to quote.

And the latest NBC News/Marist poll shows that the president is leading by
three points in the Badger State.

Meanwhile, not only is Mitt Romney`s running mate fighting for the White
House, he`s fighting to keep his current job. Paul Ryan is spending two
million dollars on nine different TV commercials to keep his Wisconsin
house seat.

And his opponent, Democrat Rob Zerban, has raised more money than Ryan in
the last quarter. The polls show the congressman from Wisconsin with the
lead, but there`s always a chance that Ryan could become a two-time loser
on Tuesday night.

For more, let`s turn to John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The
Nation" magazine and author of the book "Uprising."

All right, let`s talk about the president first. Is Wisconsin in the bag
for the president? How good does it look?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": It looks very good. I`m always cautious about
saying in the bag. It`s a very competitive state. Remember, this is Reince
Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee`s home state. He
moved another million in yesterday. He`s trying everything he can to hold
on to it.

But you got that Marquette poll with an eight-point lead. St. Norbert`s,
the older university poll in Wisconsin, nine point lead for Obama. Two
other polls in the last couple days with five point leads.

SCHULTZ: So why is the president there?

NICHOLS: That makes total sense. Ohio -- he`s in Ohio, he`s Wisconsin, he`s
in Iowa. He locks those three states up, you can`t see an avenue for Romney
to go in.

So I think he`s sure in core places. He`s also doing one other thing. He`s
helping out a Senate candidate, Tammy Baldwin. She`s in a very tight, tight
close race. That really is a close one. Obama coming in twice I think is
very helpful to her.

SCHULTZ: So the president is going to be in Madison in a few days. How big
a deal is that going to be?

NICHOLS: Let`s just say that I saw the street closing list. It`s going to
be -- it`s going to be a little hard to drive around. He`s bringing Bruce
Springsteen, who Madison loves. It`s going to be a morning rally. I suspect
not a lot of work will get done that day.

SCHULTZ: John, let`s talk about the vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan.
This is unusual that a man is running for two seats in one day. Is he in
trouble in this House seat? Now this is probably the best candidate -- I
keep hearing this, that Rob Zerban is about the most formidable candidate
that`s ever gone against Paul Ryan.

NICHOLS: I think there`s no doubt of that. Now Paul Ryan has never had
below 57 percent of the vote. He`s always won pretty big. He just redrew
this district in the Wisconsin redistricting. So he`s got a lot of
advantages here.

Rob Zerban has just worked it. And there`s simply no question. He`s been an
incredibly impressive candidate. The interesting thing is one of the big
things that he`s kept knocking on is the fact that Ryan won`t debate him.
Ryan was in Wisconsin six times, six different events in the last week,
couldn`t find time to debate Rob Zerban.

SCHULTZ: Vice President Joe Biden has had him up on stage a couple of
times. This guy Zerban is a self-made guy. He is exactly what the
Republicans look for when they look for a candidate. This is a guy that
came from -- he told me on the radio, I was dirt poor growing up. He`s been
very successful in business. How does that play?

NICHOLS: I think it plays very well in that district. He`s also been a
local elected official. He`s real. And I drove through the district
yesterday. And I saw Zerban signs in some of the most Republican areas.
He`s clearly made an impact there. We`ll see what happens on election
night. It`s still a Republican leaning district. But Zerban`s run a really
remarkable race.

SCHULTZ: Back to the Tammy Baldwin Senate race against a -- Tommy Thompson
is one of the most recognized names in the state of Wisconsin. How is that
race going? How tight is it?

NICHOLS: We have got one poll with her up a little bit, one poll with her
down a little bit. It essentially looks like a tie right now. It really
does. And that`s across the polling.

SCHULTZ: Turn out in Wisconsin is -- it`s one of the best states in the
union, isn`t it, when it comes to turn out?

NICHOLS: They tried everything to slow that down. They tried a voter I.D.
law. They tried it all, but the judges said those were unconstitutional. So
Wisconsin is on track for a great big turnout. I was at early voting in
Madison the other day. And it was an hour wait for early voting.

SCHULTZ: Why hasn`t Paul Ryan delivered the state of Wisconsin to Mitt
Romney?

NICHOLS: He has a political unknown in much of Wisconsin. This is the thing
people lose sight of. He`s represented one-eighth of Wisconsin. And it
wasn`t a major media market. So he`s only been a big figure in Wisconsin
the last couple of years. And frankly, he was introduced as a guy who wants
to mess with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

SCHULTZ: I have to ask this question, because obviously spending so much
time in Wisconsin over the last two years, what about political exhaustion?
What`s the enthusiasm of the people. Holy smokes, we`ve had recall
elections. We`ve seen petitions being signed, just everything. But here it
is. Are they ready to rock and roll?

NICHOLS: They are ready to rock and roll. I`ll tell you why, June was tough
for Wisconsin -- for Wisconsin progressive. They would to like have beaten
Walker. They are looking at Baldwin and Obama and maybe even Zerban as a
chance to really push back.

SCHULTZ: OK. John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation," good
to have you with us.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. Remember, we`ll be here at our normal
time tomorrow night and Sunday evening with special election coverage. "THE
RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

END


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