updated 12/6/2012 1:15:30 PM ET 2012-12-06T18:15:30

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ

December 5, 2012

Guests: Steny Hoyer, Tom Perriello, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Karen Finney


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

President Obama has John Boehner boxed in and is done playing games.
Now, it`s getting good.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let`s allow higher
rates to go up for the top 2 percent. That includes all of you.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president holds the line on taxes and draws
the line on the debt ceiling.

OBAMA: I will not play that game.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer gives me the latest
fiscal cliff developments and the Democratic line on Medicare.

Tom Perriello from the Center of American Progress Action Fund on how
Democrats can deal with Republicans who can`t deal with reality. Rubio and
Ryan reload with a new message for the middle class.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Both parties tend to divide Americans
into our voters and their voters.

SCHULTZ: But there is no escaping their own policies.

RYAN: We`re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America.

SCHULTZ: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz responds tonight.

Plus, Senator Barbara Boxer on her new plan for national polling place
standards.

And a new poll shows half of all Republicans think the defunct group
ACORN stole the election from President Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s an eye opener.

SCHULTZ: I wonder where they ever got that idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just have to wait and see what happens.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Here`s the latest. Republicans are at a stalemate with the White
House in debt negotiations. The Republicans really only have two options
right now: bad and worse.

"The New York Times" is the latest outlet to report on senior
Republican leaders who are ready to strike a deal. They want to push off
negotiations until the debt ceiling vote next year.

President Obama won`t have it. The president is attacking the only
leverage Republicans have left. The president spoke to a group of CEOs
today and said that he will not negotiate if debt ceiling is going to be
used as a hostage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I have to just tell you, that is a bad strategy for America,
it`s a bad strategy for your businesses, and it is not a game that I will
play.

So I want to send a very clear message to people here. We are not
going to play that game next year. If Congress in any way suggests that
they`re going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the
brink of default once again, as part of a budget negotiation, which, by the
way, we have never done in our history, until we did it last year, I will
not play that game, because we`ve got to break that habit before it starts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner also made it very clear,
this is no game. He spoke with CNBC about holding the line with tax
increases for the top 2 percent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Republicans do not agree to that, is the
administration prepared to go over the fiscal cliff?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: Oh, absolutely. There`s no
prospect to an agreement that doesn`t involve those rates going up on the
top 2 percent of the wealthy -- remember, it`s only 2 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So the White House is eliminating the Republicans` best
cards. House Speaker John Boehner was left pretending that the Democrats
had not offered them a deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Now we need a
response from the White House. We can`t sit here and negotiate with
ourselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: House Republican leader Eric Cantor also seemed to forget
that the White House presented a specific plan in these negotiations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Where are the specifics?
Where are the discussions?

Nothing is going on. Meanwhile, the people of this country are the
ones that suffer.

So, we ask the president, sit down with us. Be serious about the
specifics of spending so we can stop the wasteful spending in Washington
and finally address the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: John Boehner appears to have the same form of amnesia Mitt
Romney was suffering from on the campaign trail. He told supporters, "If
our offer is not acceptable to the president, then he has an obligation to
show leadership by presenting a credible plan of his own that can pass both
houses of Congress."

Maybe John Boehner doesn`t quite understand how negotiations work
these days. The White House already presented a plan and the American
people backed it up.

Democratic senators were quick to point out Republicans can pass a
bill right now to extend 98 percent of the Bush era tax cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: So it`s really simple. It`s
there. It`s one thing that we agree on. We need just to get it done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Republican leaders also met with business owners today. You
see, they want the business community to think that President Obama is the
enemy in all of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: Although the president seems obsessed about raising taxes on
you, we feel that`s not the right direction to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: It`s interesting how no one from the business community has
said President Obama is wrong in all of this. None of the CEOs who met
with the president of the United States today came forward and challenged
the president`s plan.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told me last night, CEOs have been very
understanding of the plan set forth by the White House. The business
community is willing to accept rate increases.

They are really making more concession than John Boehner. Eric Cantor
says Republicans are not going to adjourn this year until a deal is
reached. Is that a sign of early capitulation?

He knows they can`t go home -- he knows Republicans can`t go home to
their districts with absolutely nothing to show for it. That`s not what
the American people voted for.

John Boehner says he`s willing to stick around town to get a deal
done?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: I`ll be here and I`ll be available at any moment to sit down
with the president, to get serious about solving this problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But President Obama says John Boehner`s presence is not the
solution, it`s the problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The holdup right now is that Speaker Boehner took a position,
you think the day after the campaign, that said, we`re willing to bring in
revenue, but we`re not willing to increase rates. And I`ve just explained
to you why we don`t think that works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also called
Republicans out for sabotaging the Democratic process.

Now, putting this all into context, he tweeted out today, Harry Reid
did, "I share the frustration of Americans lamenting the lack of progress
in negotiations to avoid a massive tax increase on middle class families.
But for insight into why negotiations have been tough, consider the failure
of the disabilities treaty at the hands of the Tea Party. Those are the
same Republicans with whom Democrats are supposed to find agreement to
protect middle class families from a January 1st tax increase?" Who could
say it better?

Democrats are not being unreasonable here whatsoever. They are the
party of reason right now. The people have spoken.

House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer says Democrats are still willing to
talk with Republicans about entitlement reforms. They`ve been on the table
for some period of time. That does not mean that I`d be prepared to adopt
them now. But they`re clearly, I think, on the table.

Republicans don`t want to talk about entitlement reforms. You see,
they just want the Democrats to roll over and give them everything they
want.

The president is done playing around. He has the GOP right where he
wants them.

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

Tonight`s question: will radical Republicans ever agree to a tax hike
deal? Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639.

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

Joining me tonight, Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House
Democratic whip.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Appreciate it.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC WHIP: Always good to be --

SCHULTZ: You bet.

HOYER: Always good to be with you, Ed. Thanks.

SCHULTZ: You got some folks nervous talking about entitlements. When
you say entitlement cuts are on the table, what does that mean and how far
are you willing to go?

HOYER: Well, when I say everything needs to be on the table, Ed, I
want everybody to put their cards on the table and tell me what they want
to do. I want not only to see that myself, I want to see what others want
to do, including my Republican colleagues, in terms of entitlements.

Now, there are some things we are absolutely not going to do, as you
well know. I made it very clear during the election. We`re not going to
voucherize Medicare. We`re not going to privatize security.

We believe very strongly that we need additional revenues if we`re
going to get our country on a fiscally sound basis.

SCHULTZ: And that would take us to benefits. Are you willing to put
benefits on the table to get a deal?

HOYER: Everything needs to be on the table. When you say, am I
willing -- I want to see what the outlines are. I think even Paul Ryan, in
the short-term, said benefits should not be on the table. I agree with
that, certainly. And it depends upon what you`re talking about.

Certainly, I think we need to make sure that the guarantee of Social
Security and Medicare is secure. And one litmus test I will have, Ed,
personally, is the vulnerable in America.

Those who are least able to participate in helping to get us out of
this debt should not be asked to pay anything. Very frankly, the most able
among us ought to be asked to pay a greater contribution so we can get our
country on a sound footing.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think the Democrats have made it very clear, you`ve
got to have a rate increase from the wealthiest Americans.

HOYER: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: But where does the debt ceiling come into this conversation?
How does that come into play?

HOYER: Ed, in my opinion, the debt ceiling should not come into this
conversation. The debt ceiling is a phony vote, very frankly. And very
frankly, from time to time, Democrats have made it an item that they
demagogued on and the Republicans have demagogued on it as well.

The fact is, the debt limit is simply a recognition of what we have
already spent, what we have already decided to do. And it`s irresponsible
for us to say that the most credit-worthy nation on earth is not going to
pay its bills.

So I would hope Speaker Boehner would take this off the table.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

HOYER: I think the president`s offer of taking the minority leader,
Senator McConnell`s suggestion, of, OK, put the burden on the president of
the United States. Whether it`s a Republican or Democrat, saying we need
to raise the debt limit. And if two-thirds of the Congress, one House or
the other, and both houses would have to by two-thirds disagree, it would
happen.

And it would happen as a result of votes by the Congress of the United
States to spend money and to borrow money. Not to set a debt limit at an
arbitrary rate that puts our credit at risk.

So I would hope that Speaker Boehner would not make this an item of
leverage, because it --

SCHULTZ: Is that a deal killer?

HOYER: I think it would be a deal killer, if that becomes a leverage
point. Of course, we won`t know that until probably some time late next
month or early February.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

HOYER: But I would hope that the speaker would not pursue his
intention to make that a leverage point.

SCHULTZ: OK. Congressman, when Eric Cantor says he needs to hear
specifics from Democrats, what do you say to that?

HOYER: I said on the floor today, the president of the United States
has put a long list of specifics on the table. Have put it on his budget,
has put it on other proposals that he`s made.

The Republicans, on the other hand, sent a letter to the president
with five items, conclusions only, no specifics. No specifics in terms of
how you raise revenue. No specifics in terms of cutting funding.

And very frankly, I think they made a political judgment, they would
much prefer to have the president choose those alternatives. That`s not a
way to negotiate. They only come up with their alternatives. The
president comes up with their alternatives.

Put it on the table, that`s my point. Put everything on the table,
and let`s get to a place where the math works. This ought not to be an
ideological problem. This is a math problem, as to whether or not we can
get our country on a sound fiscal footing.

SCHULTZ: Quickly, do you think Speaker Boehner is worried about his
job?

HOYER: Well, I think that he`s got a lot of people in his caucus who
have got their head in the sand, very frankly.

SCHULTZ: OK.

HOYER: And who don`t understand the realities that confront us.

I think Speaker Boehner is trying to do -- I think he`s trying to do
the right thing. He may not agree with me on how to do it, but I think he
thinks we need to make a deal.

SCHULTZ: OK. Congressman Steny Hoyer, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.

HOYER: Always good to be with you, Ed. Thanks.

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

Coming up, how is President Obama supposed to negotiate with
Republicans who won`t realize reality or deal with basic facts? Former
Congressman Tom Perriello of the Center for American Progress joins us
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to reinvent themselves as the
warriors for the middle class. Do you buy it?

I`ll ask Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz if their actions match
up with their rhetoric. That`s coming up.

And the GOP`s attempt to create an alternate reality seems to be
working. Find out what almost half of Republicans believe about ACORN and
the 2012 election later in the hour.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow.
We are coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Now, let`s put this all into context here. Fiscal cliff negotiations,
don`t you think they would proceed a lot faster and smoother if both sides
were really dealing with reality?

But, you see, the Republicans, they simply are not. House Speaker
John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have spent years
catering to the base that believes -- let`s see -- President Obama`s a
socialist. Mainstream polls, well, they`re all screwed up. You don`t
believe them. And the United Nations, by the way, wants to take your
disabled child right out of your home. They have votes to back it up,
folks.

This pitiful display of most Senate Republicans on the disability
treaty showed once again just how far they are, and how far they are
removed from reality. One Democratic senator told me yesterday his office
was actually getting calls from constituents with disabled children wanting
to know if the U.N. would remove their children from their homes. It is
manufacturing fear in the lives of Americans. Sometimes it`s just a bald-
faced lie about the facts.

Here`s the Democratic and Republican opening bids on the fiscal cliff.
But the revenue side of the Republican proposal just doesn`t match up with
reality. You can`t get $800 billion in revenue from lowering rates and
closing loopholes and deductions. Can we get on that page?

It doesn`t come close to adding up, unless you get rid of just about
every deduction for the middle class that`s out there. Is that what this
election was about?

President Obama has been clear about it all along.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Unfortunately, the speaker`s proposal right now is still out
of balance. You know, he talks, for example, about $800 billion worth of
revenues, but he says he`s going to do that by lowering rates. And when
you look at the math, it doesn`t work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: You see, if we lower these rates, then the job creators will
go out there end and all this money to hire a bunch of people, and that`s
going to contribute more to the tax base. And gosh, we`re just going to
take care of all of our problems.

We have tried this stuff, and it didn`t work.

When Leaders McConnell and Boehner feed the base, it makes it harder
for them to come around and later on lead their members towards a sane deal
with the president of the United States and Democrats who, by the way, won
the election.

Let`s bring in former Virginia congressman, Tom Perriello, now the
president and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Tom, good to have you with us tonight.

TOM PERRIELLO, CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: Always
good to be here.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Have Republican leaders boxed themselves in by catering to this fringe
element out there that just doesn`t want to deal with reality?

PERRIELLO: Well, I think it is a tough situation for them. But even
more importantly, it`s a tough situation for the middle class and working
class families right now. People are headed into the holiday season and
they don`t know what their own personal financial future is going to look
like.

And the only thing stopping that from becoming clear is the House
taking up the bill that`s already passed the Senate, that would protect tax
rates for everyone making $250,000 or less. And as you know, this isn`t
one fiscal cliff. This is six or seven different things that can be taken
on one at a time.

The middle class and the working class can be protected. The only
thing preventing that from happening is the House leadership. And that`s a
tough situation for the Republicans to be in, where they either have to
show their true priority, which is to hold the middle class hostage, or
take this piece away and be forced to show what they`re really standing
for.

SCHULTZ: But if you look at the fish bowl the Republicans are
swimming in right now, there`s a lot of sharks. You`ve got Mitch
McConnell, who`s running for re-election. You`ve got Eric Cantor, looking
over Speaker Boehner`s shoulder. He`d love to have that job.

I mean, how can you get an honest broker out of the Republican camp,
when all of this stuff is swimming around? You`ve got the hard right-wing
Tea Partiers out there. You`ve got McConnell looking at possibly being in
a real tough re-election.

And as I said, you know, Boehner -- is he protecting his backside or
the American people? I mean, this doesn`t have the framework or the
dichotomy of a good deal from their standpoint, does it?

PERRIELLO: Well, I think one of the reasons that they`re on defense
is the fact that the president is willing to take this fight outside the
Beltway. Inside the Beltway, there`s a whole fuzzy logic that starts to
apply, where you lose track of what it means to be in the middle class and
how serious the economic situation is.

And I think as the president continues to make that case about basic
economic fairness, one that nearly two-thirds of voters in this election
felt that some form of raising revenues on the highest rates made sense in
order to get our fiscal house in order and make investments, and the
Republicans are trying to dig in on the wrong side of that.

So it is a tough debate. But ultimately, this shouldn`t really be
about who`s in leadership and Boehner versus Cantor. This really should be
about families out across the country. And you and I know, those families
are still struggling and would like to see a little bit of common sense.

SCHULTZ: Well, they`ve made a lot of improvement. There`s no
question about that. Our economy is a lot better. We can still go a long
way.

I just -- I just don`t believe that there is the makeup of a great
deal, because you can`t trust anything any of these folks say. This is one
of the reasons I think, Tom, why the Republicans haven`t detailed out
exactly what deductions are we talking about, what loopholes are they
talking about. They won`t come clean with the American people on this.
It`s all in these vague generalities.

Now, President Obama is not interested in taking negotiations further
until Republicans put a rate increase on the table. Do -- and this is
where Boehner is running into trouble. Do you think they`ll eventually put
a rate increase on the table?

PERRIELLO: I mean, they`re either going to do that or take us into a
very dangerous fiscal situation over the cliff. This is a Lucy and the
football situation and the president says, I`m not going to kick again
until you show me some serious commitment.

And keep in mind, this is the Republican leadership that supported the
$718 billion of savings in Medicare that was part of the health care
provisions to extend the life of Medicare, and then ran against it, as
being something that was stealing money from Medicare.

So it`s not even just a matter of putting those ideas on the table,
but willing to be consistent about it.

But I think what you see right now from the White House is a deadly
seriousness about this balance of getting our fiscal house in order, but
also making sure we make the investments in the middle class to grow.

SCHULTZ: Sure.

PERRIELLO: And they`re looking for a partner here. They`ve got to
have a partner who`s willing to put some facts on the table.

SCHULTZ: And I think your analogy of Lucy and football and cartoon
characters is very apropos at this point, with the way Republicans are
acting. Finally, you have decided not to run for governor in Virginia, is
that correct?

PERRIELLO: That is correct.

SCHULTZ: Why did you do that?

PERRIELLO: Well, you know, asking people for your votes is really a
sacred calling. And I didn`t feel called -- I did feel so inspired by this
election and people coming together, including my commonwealth of Virginia,
sending Tim Kaine to the Senate and President Obama back.

And I do think we see this new middle class coalition right now that`s
just astounding and changing the focus back to basic economic fairness and
wondered whether maybe that new spirit in me should go back into elected
politics. But I feel like I`m doing great work at the Center for American
Progress, that is really doing a great job of trying to get that focus on
economic fairness.

SCHULTZ: You sure are.

PERRIELLO: We`re going to have a great race next year and keep this
debate going forward.

SCHULTZ: All right. Tom Perriello, great to have you on THE ED SHOW
tonight. Thanks so much.

Next, the return of the compassionate conservative. Paul Ryan and
Marco Rubio -- well, they undergo a political makeover. They`re now
talking about Republicans working to help the middle class. Congresswoman
Debbie Wasserman Schultz will weigh in on that and so much more to talk
about tonight.

Then, the state Republican who cause these long lines are now
promising to fix the problem. We`ll talk to Senator Barbara Boxer who
thinks federal reform is a much better answer.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

RYAN: About 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in
dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes. So
we`re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America.

Chasing ever-higher spending with ever-higher tax rates will decrease
the number of makers in society and increase the number of takers.

We do not have a nation, a majority of takers, we want to have a
majority of makers.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ: Well, to hear Paul Ryan tell it, a sizable chunk of the
American people are just nothing but a bunch of damn freeloaders, mooching
off the productive folks at the very top. That kind of talk made him the
perfect partner for Mitt Romney, didn`t it?

But wait a minute, that was the old Paul Ryan. We`ve got a new and
improved Paul Ryan and he`s singing a much different tune.

You see, last night in his first address since the Republican`s
defeat, Romney gave some veiled criticism of his former running mate`s 47
percent remarks by offering this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Both parties tend to divide Americans into our voters and their
voters. Let`s be really clear. Republicans must steer far clear of that
trap. We must speak to the aspirations and the anxieties of every
American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: But you didn`t. Ryan made those remarks at a tribute dinner
to the late Congressman Jack Kemp, adding, he`s proud of the campaign he
and Romney ran.

Ryan`s pivot toward compassionate conservatism and a call to action on
helping the middle class was echoed by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
He`s in on it too. In fact, Rubio mentioned the middle class, what, 35
times in his speech? But Dave Weigel of "Slate" points out, "Rubio`s many
mentions of the key phrase were mostly lead-ins to boilerplate, not any
policy proposals."

Rubio didn`t let the lack of substance get in the way. He too
attempted to distance himself from the 47 percent remarks by warning of a
growing opportunity gap in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Now, I`ve heard it suggested that the
problem is that the American people have changed, that too many people want
things from government. But I`m still convinced that the overwhelming
majority of our people, they just want what my parents had -- a chance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: I`m joined by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
tonight, of Florida, chairwoman of the DNC. Great to have you with us,
congresswoman.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Great to be with you, Ed.
Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Now, those are two key players there in the Republican
party. One was on the ticket. The other was a Florida senator. What do
you make of this about-face and philosophical change and approach towards
the middle class. You buying it?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, it`s not an about-face, not by a long shot.
There is not much compassion in either of those conservatives. And you
know, I think what Mr. Ryan and Mr. Rubio must think is, you know, that
movie, "Men in Black"? There have been three "Men in Black" movies. And I
think one of the coolest things about that movie that most people remember
is that little device that erases people`s memories.

Well, I think that Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio must believe that all
Americans have had that device used on them. Because during the campaign,
and even before that, Paul Ryan was the author of the Romney/Ryan budget,
which increased taxes on the middle class to pay for 250,000 dollars in tax
breaks for the average person making more than a million dollars.

Marco Rubio went to 70 different cities in support of Mitt Romney and
Paul Ryan`s candidacy for president and vice president of the United
States. He embraced the Romney/Ryan budget, repeatedly. He cast votes for
it. He has embraced ending Medicare as we know it. He has a record, they
both do, of doing everything they could to ensure that the wealthiest, most
fortunate Americans have the wind at their backs and can do even better,
and have done nothing to help the middle class.

SCHULTZ: I find it interesting --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Look, just because you say the words middle class
-- sorry, go ahead.

SCHULTZ: Well, I find it very interesting that here`s Paul Ryan out
there talking about the middle class. And now we`ve got to be concerned
about all Americans. But he`s not stepping up right now saying, in the
House, we could take this vote to help 98 percent of Americans and move it
forward.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: So there`s really nothing genuine about it.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: I think Rubio has thrown out middle class 35 times in his
speech, because he`s taking the available language that has been
successful, that worked with the American people. When it comes to policy,
it`s not there.

What about the fiscal cliff, congresswoman? Where is this all going
at this hour, as you see it? Where are we?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, you`re exactly right, Ed. And Steny Hoyer,
I know, mentioned it earlier on your program. There is a bill in the House
of Representatives right now that has already passed the Senate. If Paul
Ryan and Marco Rubio and the rest of the Republicans in the House and
Senate want to make sure that we really give a fair shot, as President
Obama has fought so hard for, to the middle class, we can take up that bill
in the House next week, when we go back into session, and give that
certainty to the middle class.

And then we can work in earnest together to pass legislation that
would reduce the deficit in a balanced way, that would make sure that we
don`t first throw the middle class under the bus, that whatever we put
forward has spending cuts and revenue that is going to take care of the
middle class and make sure that we have spending cuts and revenue that
ensures that they`re fair and that the math works.

There has been no evidence thus far the Republicans are interested in
doing that.

SCHULTZ: This would just be the perfect opportunity for these two
gentlemen to step forward and show some leadership. Because the majority
of Americans do want this right now.

Congresswoman, the president has asked you to stay on as DNC chair.
What is the way forward for the Democrats? What`s happening here?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, we need to continue to focus on rebuilding
our economy from the middle class out. President Obama talked eloquently
and passionately during the campaign about making sure that we can get a
handle on this deficit, that we can rebuild our economy from the middle
class out, that we can focus on creating jobs and getting the economy
turned around. And that`s what he`s going to be working in earnest to do.

We really are hoping that we have an opportunity to work together with
the Republicans to move our economy forward.

SCHULTZ: Well, this would be the time to do it, if they`ll just step
forward. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much. There`s a lot more coming up in the next half
hour of THE ED SHOW. Stay right with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line
for a very long time -- by the way, we have to fix that.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Voter suppression across the country was a man-made
disaster. Senator Barbara Boxer has a new plan to end it and she`s here
tonight.

A Republican billionaire breaks, basically admitting he should have
supported President Obama. We`ll tell you who the big donor is, ahead.

And a new poll finds that 49 percent of Republicans believe Acorn
stole the 2012 election. The only problem is Acorn closed the doors in
2010. Karen Finney on the informed electorate in the Republican party.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Let us vote! Let us vote!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And we are back. Republicans in several states are
promising election reforms right away. They promise to prevent these
incredibly long lines in the future.

Here`s the problem. Those same Republicans created those long lines
in the first place. Now, we`ve shown you how people waited for hours to
cast ballots in Virginia and Ohio. The long lines were even longer in
Florida, where some voters waited up to seven hours. The problem grabbed
the president`s attention on election night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line
for a very long time -- by the way, we have to fix that.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Yes, we do. So today, United States Senator Barbara Boxer
from California introduced the LINE Act. It would require an election
commission to set new national standards by January 1st, 2014. The
commission would decide the minimum number of voting machines, workers, and
other resources needed for an election.

It would keep voters from waiting longer than one hour to cast a
ballot. But some Republicans want to handle the problem themselves.
Pennsylvania Republicans, for instance, they want to change the number of
electoral votes. Down in the state of Florida, the secretary of state
acknowledges that there were election problems, but he won`t explain why
voters had to stand in line for seven hours.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What other criteria are you going to be using to
determine what is a high performing versus an under performing county?

KEN DETZNER (R), FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: That`s a very general
term, and I don`t want to get into the specifics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And the Ohio`s secretary of state is in a complete state of
denial. John Husted spent months fighting Democrats in court so he could
shorten voting hours and days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN HUSTED, OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: It`s kind of like criticizing
the cook who delivered a great meal. You may not like the process where we
got to this point, but it ended up working out just great. We could have
looked like Florida. Instead we looked like Ohio. We looked like we had
our act together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Husted says Ohio didn`t look like Florida? But if we ignore
the people wearing coats in the video, the lines look pretty dog gone
identical, don`t you think?

The Republicans tried to suppress the vote with shorter hours, longer
ballots, and tougher voter I.D. laws. These voters refused to be
intimidated. Those same Republicans cannot be trusted to fix the problem
they created.

So let`s turn tonight to California Senator Barbara Boxer. Senator,
great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time.

When do you do election reform? Well, I think when there`s not an
election going on and people are paying attention. I want to thank you for
doing this. This has been a story that we have spent countless hours on,
leading up to the election.

But how do you see the federal government setting standards? What
does the LINE Act do for states like Ohio and Florida, where there have
been problems?

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, first, thank you for all
the work you`ve done on this. I`ll tell you, my heart sank when I saw
those lines, because I thought back to the `04 election in Ohio. And I
don`t know if you know this, but I actually stalled the electoral college
vote, because I was so incensed when I learned that in minority precincts
in Ohio, people waited for 12 hours to vote and many gave up. It was
pouring down rain.

This is really disenfranchisement. So in the Constitution, it says
that when it comes to national elections, the Congress has the perfect
right to get involved in setting standards. I`m proud that the states are
going to do it. Good for them. I`m happy they`re ready to fix it.

But they have to work with us. And I hope the LINE Act passes. Now,
just in case it`s obstructed or there may be a filibuster or two around it,
I`ve written a letter to Eric Holder, our attorney general, saying that I
think when you have to stand in line for, as you pointed out, in this
election, up to seven hours -- and I spoke to people in Florida who were on
the line after Mitt Romney had conceded, and they just stood on the line to
make sure that Florida went for our president -- you`ve got a real serious
problem.

So what our -- what we`re doing is we`re also asking the attorney
general to go into those areas, those states, those counties, those cities
that had exceptional problems and work with them on a remedial plan that
can go into place right away.

SCHULTZ: Senator, who would be against standards to make sure people
vote?

BOXER: Ed, I don`t know anymore. Who would be in favor of going off
a fiscal cliff to protect the billionaires? What can I tell you? We are
living in a strange and beautiful country. But I don`t know who could be
against this. But we`ll see how this goes with this law.

SCHULTZ: Now, this would put --

BOXER: Yeah?

SCHULTZ: This would put more machines in places and more personnel in
places to alleviate the problems of long lines? This would be federally
resourced and there would be more oversight, federally, on this?

BOXER: What it would do is it would set national standards. We hope
that the commission would say, working with the attorney general, that it`s
unreasonable to stand on line for more than an hour. And therefore, here
are the number of machines you have to get, the number of people you need
to put in place, and we`ll work, state by state, to make sure that this
happens.

You know, early voting will take care of a lot of this. In
California, we`re a huge state. We don`t have a lot of problems, because
so many people vote early, and by absentee. And as you know, that`s a
whole other issue. And that is part of this LINE Act as well. Because we
don`t need to spend a lot of money on machines if people vote early. It
lessens, you know, the flow on election day.

SCHULTZ: But there`s such an emphasis on turnout. There`s more and
more people voting all the time. And we`ve got to be able to accommodate
it.

BOXER: Without a doubt.

SCHULTZ: Senator, great work. I`ll follow up on this. I`m going to
keep track of what Republicans are against it, but of course the chances
are it`s probably going to get filibustered again.

BOXER: Let`s see.

MORGAN: Senator Barbara Boxer, thanks for your time tonight.
Appreciate it.

Coming up, we`ll play a game of guess the mega-donor. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Let`s play a game of guess the
mega donor. Our mystery donor said the following in a recent interview.
"I`m pro-choice. Abortion shouldn`t be brought up as a political issue.
I`m pro-DREAM Act. I`m in favor of a socialized-like health care."

Logically you would assume a mystery donor like this would be someone
who would give his money to the Obama campaign. Well, we`d be wrong on
that. Our pro-choice, DREAM acting supporting fan of socialized health
care, mystery mega donor is none other than billionaire casino mogul
Sheldon Adelson.

That`s right, you remember that guy, the man who shelled out nearly
150 million dollars on Republicans during the 2012 elections. In an
interview with "the Wall Street Journal," Adelson admits he`s basically a
social liberal, a social liberal who has vowed to double down on his
donations to Republican campaigns, obviously unfazed by his sweeping losses
on election night.

So what does -- and what drives a social liberal to become the
kingmaker of the Republican party? During the election, Adelson told
"Politico" one of his motivations was self-defense. Adelson`s Las Vegas
Sands Corporation is under two federal investigations for possible money
laundering in Las Vegas, and a possible violation of bribery laws, with the
company`s ventures overseas in China.

Adelson claimed that after he became heavily involved in the election
process, you know who was really throwing out the money, the government
began leaking information about the federal inquiries in an effort to
vilify him. While Romney, of course, wasn`t in a position to help him out
this time, sources say that Adelson plans to visit Washington in the coming
week, where he`s arranged Hill meetings with at least one House GOP leader
and is expected to discuss possible changes to the Foreign Corrupt
Practices Act, the Anti-Bribery Law, that has been -- that has the feds
looking into his casino network.

Well, for Sheldon Adelson, losing an election cost 150 million
dollars. But controlling the purse strings of people in charge of writing
the laws may have broken his promise. Priceless, should I say.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you will radical Republicans ever agree
to a tax hike? Eleven percent of you say yes; 89 percent of you say no.

The great Thomas Jefferson once said, "a properly functioning
democracy depends on a well-informed electorate." If he was right, new
polling shows that we are in deep trouble. Karen Finney weighs in on the
factually challenged Republicans, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, some scary new poll numbers
from Public Policy Polling show Republicans are living, basically, on
another planet. Forty nine percent of Republican voters say the community
organizing group Acorn stole the 2012 election for President Obama. The
number is down only three points from the 2008 election.

The problem is, folks, Acorn, they shut their doors back in 2010.
These poll numbers are absolutely shocking. But if you look at where
Republicans get their news, some sense can be made of all of this.

In 2012, FoxNews.com and its fringe sister site, Fox Nation, did five
stories related to Acorn. The Fox News effect is nothing new. As long as
Fox News and right-wing talkers push information, the problem will
continue.

Meanwhile, these poll numbers also show Republicans can`t handle
losing the election; 25 percent of Republican voters say that they want to
succeed from the union. And 19 percent, well, they`re not really sure yet.

It`s safe to say that Republicans are no longer the party of
patriotism. A quarter of their members want nothing to do with this
country. This -- these misinformed Republicans love to talk about our
Founding Fathers. Don`t they always quote our Founding Fathers, those Tea
Partiers out there?

So tonight, I`ve picked a quote from James Madison out of Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse`s brand new book. It`s out. You should read it. It`s
got all these quotations. It`s on virtues.

Madison wrote, "a popular government without popular information or
the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or
perhaps both. Knowledge will forever governor ignorance. And a people who
mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which
knowledge gives."

They were pretty smart back then. For more, let`s turn to Karen
Finney, MSNBC political analyst and former DNC communications director.

Karen, 49 percent of Republicans think Acorn stole this election.
We`ve got a lot of work to do, don`t we, Houston?

KAREN FINNEY, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yeah, we sure do.

SCHULTZ: What do you make of this?

FINNEY: You know what, Ed? The point that you were just making, I
mean, it`s funny and it seems ludicrous, but at the same time, we know that
the kind of misinformation campaigns that Fox News and this right-wing,
sort of smear machine engage in, it can be very dangerous.

I mean, earlier in the show, you talked about people who were calling
in to members of Congress, asking if their disabled child was going to be
taken away by the U.N. That`s the kind of fear mongering and scare
tactics. It`s why -- remember, there was that poll -- what was it, 50 some
percent or something in the south think that the president is, you know --
wasn`t born in this country.

That`s how these things get perpetuated, is if, you know, these guys
keep on these stories and keep treating them like they`re real and keep
creating these boogie men.

SCHULTZ: Twenty three percent of Americans support the Simpson/Bowles
deficit reduction plan and 16 percent oppose it. Eight percent support the
Panetta/Burns plan and 17 percent oppose it. Now, we need to point out
that there is no such thing as the Panetta/Burns plan. This really shows a
disconnect.

I mean, you can make stuff up and get people to believe it. Pretty
scary.

FINNEY: That`s right. You can make it up. You can say it a couple
of times. People may hear it on the radio or they read it on a website,
and they think, oh, well then it must be true. So again, I think there is
an element to this where -- I bet you, Ed, that we could probably get 20
percent to support the Schultz/Finney plan as well. But there is a point
at which it really becomes dangerous.

And I do think that we`re getting to a point where these guys really
need to be held to greater account. Because as we know, this kind of
misinformation, it`s not only damaging towards our democracy, but there can
be real, dangerous consequences by creating these really negative
stereotypes and creating these -- again, these boogie men.

SCHULTZ: No doubt. But let`s be very clear here tonight that you
would be on top of that ticket. That would be Finney/Schultz.

FINNEY: OK.

SCHULTZ: I would not aspire to the office of visibility -- I would
just want to outdo Dick Cheney, the way he used Air Force 2 and go around
hunting and fishing all over the country. That`s what I would try to do.

FINNEY: Just don`t shoot anybody in the face, Ed.

SCHULTZ: I wouldn`t do that. Karen Finney, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.

FINNEY: Take care.

SCHULTZ: That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW
SHOW" starts right now. Chris Hayes filling in for Rachel tonight. Good
evening, Chris.

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

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