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The Ed Show for Monday, December 12, 2011

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Brad Woodhouse, Steve Deace, Jonathan Alter, Jon Soltz

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

Mitt Romney is a gambling man. Newt Gingrich says he`s a changed man.
The other candidates are just scrambling to get any kind of attention.

And President Obama is cool with the populist tone.

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


10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet?

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Middle class millionaire Mitt Romney is a
betting man, and Newt Gingrich is jumping all over him.

$10,000, that he won`t take the offer.

SCHULTZ: Katrina Vanden Heuvel of "The Nation" magazine joins us on
the fighting frontrunners.

Plus, Gingrich is defending his marital infidelities and he`s
promising to behave from now.

GINGRICH: I`ve said up front openly, I`ve made mistakes at times.
I`ve had to go to God for forgiveness.

SCHULTZ: President Obama is speaking out on the Republican

strategic decision that says anything Obama`s for, we`re against.

SCHULTZ: He also says Americans shouldn`t be satisfied.

MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter is here with the latest.

And this weekend, I spoke to some hardworking Americans who think
their voice is being stepped on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw the 94-year-old woman on television and
they didn`t let her register to vote because she didn`t have a marriage
license? That was absurd to me.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, my commentary on the assault on voters` rights.


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

One brief moment at the Republican presidential debate on Saturday
night has Mitt Romney`s campaign in full throttle damage control. You can
call it the $10,000 moment.


book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts, which should
be the model for the country. I know it came out of the reprint of the
book, but, you know, I`m just saying, you were for individual mandates, my

ROMNEY: You know what? You`ve raised that before, Rick, and --

PERRY: It was true then.

ROMNEY: No, no.

PERRY: It`s true now.

ROMNEY: Rick, I`ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet?

PERRY: I`m not in the betting business.



SCHULTZ: So, I guess you could say the Republicans have broken out
into their own conversation about class warfare when it comes to the fight
over class warfare. Candidates are rushing to criticize Mitt Romney as out
of touch with the American people. Rick Perry is using the moment to his


ROMNEY: Ten thousand dollar bet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney was trying to wager a $10,000 bet in a
debate in Iowa. The median income in this country means that $10,000 is
roughly three months` income.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not too many caucus-goers here in Iowa would ever
place a $10,000 bet, even if it was a sure thing.

ROMNEY: Ten thousand bucks, $10,000 bet?

PERRY: I`m not in the betting business.

The people of this country really want to get America back on track.


SCHULTZ: Democrats are just as thrilled. Today, the Democratic
National Committee began distributing these fake $10,000 bills to state
party headquarters and other allies around the country. Don`t you love it?

Romney was on FOX News this morning trying to put out the fire.


ROMNEY: This was an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge
from him. It`s been proven wrong time and time again. He keeps raising
it. I said, OK, let`s put something outrageous out there. Like saying,
hey, I bet you a million bucks, X, Y or Z.

And so, let me tell you -- afterwards my wife came up and she said,
Mitt, it was a great debate. You`re great at a lot of things, just not


SCHULTZ: It didn`t take long for Romney to take aim at the new
frontrunner Newt Gingrich.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since he took money from Fannie and Freddie, the
defunct, you know, pretty much hated agencies now, do you believe he should
give that money back?

ROMNEY: Well, I sure do. He was on a debate saying that politicians
who took money from Freddie and Fannie should go to jail. I mean, which is
outrageous in itself.


SCHULTZ: You know, Mitt, maybe you should give those jobs back to all
of those people you outsourced when you were running Bain Capital? I mean,
how many jobs did you ship overseas? You want Newt to give his money back,
how about giving those jobs back to those folks that you took and shipped

Gingrich said last week that he wasn`t going to attack his Republican
opponents during his election process. Those days are over. He responded
to Romney`s charge with his own undercut during a campaign stop in New


GINGRICH: I would just say that if Governor Romney would like to give
back all the money he`s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off
employees over his years at Bain, that I would be glad to then listen to
him and I bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won`t take the offer.


SCHULTZ: Well, something tells me the $10,000 comment is not going to
go away anytime soon. Mitt Romney knows it. He`s launching an aggressive
attack on front-runner Gingrich as a response.

Today, the Romney campaign unveiled a new Web site about Gingrich`s
contradictory positions. It`s called

Romney`s friend, Tom Stemberg, the CEO of Staples, he also was sent
into battle today. The Romney campaign put out a statement from Stemberg
saying, "Newt Gingrich has no clue how the real world economy works." New
campaign ads are on the radio airwaves in Iowa, with an Ann Coulter
endorsing Mitt Romney ad for president.

Just in case you forgot who Ann Coulter is, here`s a reminder.


ANN COULTER: It shows you that we don`t have racism in America

We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

That`s why our blacks are so much better than their blacks.


SCHULTZ: Well, when you`re turning to Ann Coulter for support, you
might as well put a sign named "bottom feeder" on your chest. How low will
the Romney camp go? Just how many people are in his camp right now when
they have to turn to somebody like that? They are in trouble.

One thing that got me at the debate on Saturday night is the question
that was asked from the candidates, a question from an e-mailer in Texas.
And the question was, "When is the last time you had a personal financial
strain that forced you, not only to give up a luxury, but also to cut back
on a necessity? And what were the consequences you faced?"

None of the candidates could answer that. They talked about their
daddy. They talked about where they grew up. They did not have
specifically a point in time in their life where they said, you know, I had
to give this up.

They haven`t been there and haven`t done that with the middle class.
They are all from privilege, every single one of them. And not one of them
could point to any time in their life where they had to give something up
at all? Don`t you find that rather unusual?

We have this big conversation going on in this country right now about
income inequality, but none of them have ever experienced it.

And let`s talk about this populist tone that the Republicans are
trying to gather right now. What populist tone? Every poll, they are at
odds with the American people. When it comes to health care, when it comes
to taxing the wealthiest Americans, when it comes to income inequality, the
Republicans are totally against the majority of the American people in all
of their positions when it comes to polling on those issues.

Populist tone, no. They can`t fool the American voters this time.
This is an elite bunch that doesn`t really know the struggle of America and
they`re all living the good life. And all they want to do is give more tax
breaks to the wealthiest Americans and continue on a failed economic policy
that has driven us right into the ditch.

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

Tonight`s question: Does Mitt Romney have any clue how much $10,000
means to average Americans? Text "A" for yes, text "B" for no to 622639.
You can always go to our blog at We`ll bring you the results
later on in the show.

Joining me now is Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of "The
Nation" magazine and author of the book "Change I Believe In."

Congratulations on that.


SCHULTZ: All right. Is this a turning point in any way, shape or
form for the Republicans, with Newt being the front-runner right now and
this big stumble by Mitt Romney? Your thoughts.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I think it`s too early to tell. We`ve seen bullets
before. There`s still time to take Newt down some. I still think in Iowa,
Ron Paul has a chance to come in first. Has the best field to ground
operation, may bring in new caucus-goers.

But for Romney, that moment, I don`t know if your viewers remember,
when his father came back from Vietnam in 1967, Mitt Romney`s father, his
father said, I was brainwashed. He was out of that race. The campaign

I don`t know if the campaign ends for Mitt Romney. But, boy, is he
clueless? I mean, $10,000, Ed, as you know, is one-fifth of the median
income of an Iowa family. And he didn`t know it. But they`re out of touch
in general with the state of economic pain and problems in this country and
the solutions they offer are from a reality show, a bad one.

SCHULTZ: I want to play a sound bite from Newt Gingrich, in South
Carolina last month. Here it is.


GINGRICH: I was charging $60,000 a speech, and the number of speeches
was going up, not down. Normally, celebrities leave and they gradually
sell a fewer speeches every year. We were selling more.


SCHULTZ: Can any of these candidates make a pitch to the middle class
and have it connect?

VANDEN HEUVEL: I don`t think so. I don`t think so. But let`s be
honest. There is a view in this country that government is rigged against
working people.

The fight is not to destroy government, which these people, the
Republican Party, which has been hijacked and moved so dramatically to the
right by the Tea Party believe, it`s to reclaim government, to work on
behalf of the people. These Tea Party people who have driven this party to
this level, they talk against corporations, but they suck at the tit of

And you see that with Newt Gingrich.

The people supporting Newt Gingrich must have a faith that the toxic
combination of moral hypocrisy and unfettered greed is a winning one
because this man is used unethical goods. But there`s a -- you know
there`s a struggle for the heart and soul such as it is of the Republican
Party. And that`s what we`re seeing.

In debates, Ed, which have been debased, it is a travesty. It would
be a farce if it wasn`t a tragedy to watch these debates. But what`s
happened to them, and what`s happened to the Republican Party is not
healthy for this country.

SCHULTZ: Don`t you think Newt Gingrich has enough media savvy and
enough moxy not to make the kind of stumble that -- and not to make the
kind of mistake that Mitt Romney made on Saturday night? I mean, he`s been
around the block. He knows how to talk. He knows the code.

VANDEN HEUVEL: He knows how to debate. But you know what? He also
is smug and he think he has big, bold ideas. But you know what? They`re
big, bad ideas, too, Ed. And he has made some whoppers. You know that.

I mean, if people wake up as they will, and by the way, our campaign
season is way too long and allows the silent candidate money to dominate --
people are going to wake up and say, hey, I`m not sure I want to live in an
America which is going to allow child labor which is what Newt Gingrich
came out for. What he says about poor kids in the country, at the time
when the middle class is squeezed and is perhaps falling into poverty, he`s
basically saying poor kids don`t know much about jobs except illegal ones.

What is he saying about this u country he wants to govern? It`s not
the America I think millions of people want to live in.

And, you know, President Obama on "60 Minutes" think he was right when
he said, doesn`t matter which candidate comes out of the Republican Party,
they have the same ideology. It`s the yo-yo economics. You`re on your
own, discredited trickle-down economics.

SCHULTZ: Katrina Vanden Heuvel of "The Nation" -- great to have you
with us tonight.

Now, let`s turn to Brad Woodhouse, communications director if the
Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Woodhouse, good to have you on tonight.


SCHULTZ: Is this $10,000 moment the gift that keeps on giving to you

WOODHOUSE: Well, it is, in many ways, Ed, because it tells us about
the Mitt Romney we`ve been talking about, you know, all year. I mean, this
is someone who is out of touch with the American people.

I mean, look, in the same debate where he offered to bet Rick Perry
$10,000, casually, as if he does it every time he plays golf or whatever,
he also has said the middle class tax cut the president wants to provide
that Republicans are standing in the ways of was a little Band-Aid. I
mean, he doesn`t understand what $10,000 is to middle class. He doesn`t
understand what $ $1,500 is to the middle class.

SCHULTZ: Here`s another line of attack Gingrich has for Romney. Here
it is.


GINGRICH: Let`s be candid. The only reason you didn`t become a
career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.

ROMNEY: Wait a second. Now, wait a second. Wait a second.


GINGRICH: Do I get to go ahead?

ROMNEY: Go please, please.

GINGRICH: No, I`m saying, I looked at it and thought, you know, I`m a
citizen, I served the country in many ways. You`re a citizen. You served
the country in many ways. But it`s a bit much. You`d have been a 17 year
career politician by now if you`d won.


SCHULTZ: Mr. Woodhouse, do you welcome the debate over which one of
them is a career politician?

WOODHOUSE: Well, sure, they both are. I mean, I will say this. Newt
had that right. I think he may have gotten it from us, because we`ve been
talking about that for a couple weeks. I mean, you know, Mitt Romney has
used that charge against the president.

Mitt Romney said he was not a career politician. Well, he would have
been. And, in fact, he ran for office four times over the past, nearly 20
years and now, a second time for president. I mean, he`s as career a
politician as you get, except he just finds a way to lose most of the races
that he runs.

SCHULTZ: Dick Cheney says today not to underestimate Newt Gingrich.
Do you take his warning seriously?

WOODHOUSE: Well, absolutely. I think -- I think what you saw the
other night in Iowa was someone who, you know, the betting going in was he
was going to be under fierce attack. That was right. The betting was he
would wilt under that attack or he would make a mistake or gaffe.

Not only did he come out of that debate really strong, it was Mitt
Romney who came out of that debate in trouble.

SCHULTZ: So, have we seen the Democrats play their cards early here?
I mean, is this going to be the theme for the Democrats -- stand with the
workers, stand with the middle class, pretty much the same platform that
the Democrats had in the last election?

WOODHOUSE: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: Not much has changed here. And is this what President Obama
has been talking about? Is this going to be enough for the Democrats to
get the House back?

WOODHOUSE: Well, I sure think it is. I think we have a great shot
taking the House back. And I do believe President Obama will be re-

As you know, as you`ve said, the debate in this country right now is
about income inequality. It`s about fairness. It`s about balance.

And here the Republicans are, last night, or this weekend, in that
debate, you know, debating each other on who has the deepest tax cuts for
the wealthiest Americans. I mean, they are so out of touch with what`s
going on in America, it`s not to be believed.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, Mitt Romney, if he had just said, I`ll bet you
dinner, he`d be a hell of a lot better off. Instead he throws the 10 grand
in there, which most people don`t have.

WOODHOUSE: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: I think most Americans would have said, you know, at dinner,
I can understand that as a wager, but not the 10 grand.

WOODHOUSE: That`s right. No one would have noticed.

SCHULTZ: DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse, good to have you
with us. Thanks so much.

WOODHOUSE: Thanks, Ed.

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

Newt Gingrich needs the evangelical vote. So, his answers about
marital infidelity may be crucial. We`ll see if evangelicals are buying it
in Iowa.

And will the American people buy the president`s new populist tone?
He sat down with "60 Minutes" to talk about income inequality and the GOP
obstructionism. Jonathan Alter will weigh on that.

You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. We`ll be right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up on THE ED SHOW:

Newt promises the third time`s a charm when it comes to his marriages.
Radio host Steve Deace from Iowa will tell us if that`s enough to satisfy
evangelical voters in his state.

Thousands marched in New York City this weekend to protest voters`
rights, in favor of voters rights. You`ll hear from them later.

And the last of the troops will be out of Iraq by year`s end. Jon
Soltz of who returned from a tour of duty discusses and joins
me tonight to discuss conservative reaction and the future for Iraq and the
vets here at home.

And tweet us using the #EdShow. We`re featuring your tweets
throughout the show tonight.

Stay tuned. We`ll be right back.



PERRY: If you will cheat on your wife, if you will cheat on your
spouse, then why wouldn`t you cheat on your business partner? Or why
wouldn`t you cheat on anybody for that matter?


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

That was Rick Perry hammering Newt Gingrich, answering a question
about whether voters should consider marital infidelity when making their
choice for president.

Newt Gingrich, who was going to need evangelical voters in Iowa, was
the last one to answer.


GINGRICH: First of all, I think it is a real issue. I think people
have to look at the person to whom they`re going to loan the presidency and
they have the right to ask every single question. They have to have a
feeling that this is a person they can trust to the level of power we give
to the presidency. I think that`s a very, very important issue.

And I think people have to render judgment. In my case, I said
upfront openly, I`ve made mistakes at times. I`ve had to go to God for
forgiveness. I`ve had to seek reconciliation.

But I`m also a 68-year-old grandfather, and I think people have to
measure who I am now and whether I`m a person they can trust. All I can
tell you is that, you know, I am delighted at the way people have been
willing to look at who I am, to look at what my record has been and the
amount of support we`re getting from the American people and from all
across the state of Iowa, the number of people who are supportive of a
candidacy of real change and a record of real change.


SCHULTZ: Gingrich still on the move, made a pledge today to the
family leader, a conservative group in Iowa. Gingrich pledged to enforce
the Defense of Marriage Act and he pledged to uphold the institution of
marriage through personal fidelity "to my spouse and respect for those
marital bonds of others."

Well, Gingrich, on this issue, he had a different answer in March. It
was a little bit more bizarre.


GINGRICH: There`s no question that at times in my life, partially
driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too
hard and the things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And
what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I was
entrapped in situation ethics. I was doing things that were wrong, and yet
I was doing it. I found that I felt compelled to seek God`s forgiveness.


SCHULTZ: So, basically, he was passionate and he worked hard and made
mistakes. But now, he gets it.

For more, let`s turn to syndicated radio talk show host Steve Deace
out of Iowa.

Steve, good to have you with us tonight.

Do these answers in your opinion play with your listeners and play
with evangelical voters in Iowa? Is this going to work?

STEVE DEACE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Ed, I think that people are very
impressed with the brains and bravado that Newt has shown, especially in
the debates. But I think they`d still like to hear a little bit more about
his background and what specifically happened with him on an individual
basis to cause this change of heart. I think they like what they`re
hearing, but I think they`d like to hear even more.

SCHULTZ: What do you mean they`d like to hear more? What do they
need to hear from this candidate who says he`s a changed man?

DEACE: Well, I can only just go with my own experience. My wife will
tell you, she`s on her second husband. I went to a promise keeper`s event
10 years ago, and from there, you know, that`s where my faith came from and
my Christian faith just totally transformed my life and the way I live now,
compared to the way that I used to live before.

And I can give you all kinds of rationales for how I used to live and
the way I live now by comparison. And I hope over time people that know me
have seen those changes in my life.

And I think that sort of change and the evidence for it is what people
are still looking for in Newt Gingrich`s life. They certainly like what
he`s saying on the issues.

SCHULTZ: All right. You`re not running for president, and Newt
Gingrich is.

DEACE: Right.

SCHULTZ: And the question is, will people in Iowa, do you think,
accept this, or will this still be a problem for evangelical voters when
they go to caucus?

DEACE: I think it will still be a problem. How big of a problem? It
remains to be seen. I think that people would prefer either a candidate
like, say, Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum were saying the things with
the confidence that Newt Gingrich is saying them. I think they`d feel more
trusting because those are people that have been more consistent in their
personal and in their public lives.

But I think in the end, this election will be decided on issues and
not personalities. And unless the less risky candidates start taking risks
on the issues, I think voters will then take a risk on Newt Gingrich.

SCHULTZ: And where do you think the pulse of the people is in your
state of Iowa? Do they consider Gingrich`s ethics violations, his changing
answers on his consulting for Freddie Mac? And his flip-flops on things
like the health care mandate? Where does that leave him?

DEACE: Well, see, I actually think the mistake in the analysis is
he`s separating what`s happened in the past with his marriages with where
he`s come down on the issues in the past. I think voters, particularly in
a Republican primary, they don`t accept the idea that someone`s private
character is not impacted by their public morality or vice versa. They
actually see one being the result of the other.

So I don`t think voters just look at the fact that he`s on his third
marriage or some of the things you just mentioned. I think they see those
things as a total package.


DEACE: And I think that they look at what goes on in his private life
as a result of what happens publicly.

SCHULTZ: Well, you know, Limbaugh and other conservative talkers
around the country were all over Bill Clinton saying character counts. And
is this a way to mop it up for Newt Gingrich? I mean, which Republican
candidate benefits the most if Iowa evangelicals aren`t happy with Newt

DEACE: Ron Paul, I believe, benefits the most. I think the election
now, Ed, you know, I listened to Katrina before I came on. Really the only
thing she said I agreed with is I think people are really underestimating
Ron Paul`s chances to win the Iowa caucuses.

I think that right now, the race is a battle between Newt Gingrich`s
surging popularity in poll numbers and Ron Paul`s organization. He`s got
one of the best political organizations in the state. He probably has a
better political organization in Iowa than Governor Terry Branstad does.

And so, I think this is really what it comes down to right now is
Gingrich is trying to build an organization that can actually mobilize his
support. There`s not a lot of time.

SCHULTZ: You know, there`s a candidate for office who is a good
family man. He`s raising a couple of kids right now. He cares about the
poor, the underprivileged. And also a lot of what people talk about is
income inequality.

Obviously his name is Barack Obama, president of the United States. I
see that President Obama is polling well in South Carolina and in Florida,
ahead of the other two Republican candidates that we`re talking about, Mitt
Romney and Newt Gingrich.

How does President Obama poll and sit with the people of Iowa where
you see it right now?

DEACE: There`s been a couple of polls that have been done just in the
last couple of years that have shown Iowans by in large have buyers remorse
about Barack Obama and really we`re the state that gave rise to Obama. Had
he lost to Hillary in the caucuses, he probably wouldn`t be the president
of the United States today.


DEACE: So I think that the polls in Iowa mirror what you`re seeing
across the country in that a lot of people have buyers remorse about Barack

SCHULTZ: Well, actually, Steve, the polls are showing -- actually the
polls are showing right now he would beat Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney.
But I understand your political take.

I appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so much. Steve Deace from
Iowa joining us tonight.

Rush Limbaugh couldn`t make it through college, but he thinks he`s
qualified to go after President Obama`s intelligence? "Psychotalk" is

And thousands turn out to protest new restrictive voter laws. I was
there and spoke with some of the protesters over the weekend. See what
they had to say, coming up.

You`re watching THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: And in Psycho Talk tonight, college dropout Rush Limbaugh is
going after President Obama`s intelligence?


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We`re also told Obama`s smart.
Well, where are his grades? Where are his -- they will not release his
grades. Nothing about law review. All of this we`re just supposed to
accept. And we accept he`s smart because he sounds it.

There isn`t any quantifiable, empirical evidence that Obama is smart,
because they won`t show us that. So it`s all based on how he speaks.


SCHULTZ: Oh, yeah. Limbaugh is spouting the bogus Donald Trump line.
It goes hand in hand with the Birthers. Barack Obama got into Columbia
University and Harvard Law School, and he was elected editor of the
"Harvard Law Review." And unlike the guy in the White house before him,
Obama`s not a member of the lucky sperm club. He had to work to get into
the Ivy League schools.

And Rush, the way a person speaks does reveal something about his or
her intelligence. Listen to some of the guys running for president in
Limbaugh`s party.


an American embassy in Iran. I wouldn`t allow that to be there.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m running for office, for
Pete`s sake. I can`t have illegals.

the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in -- first of all, in
child laws which are truly stupid.

BACHMANN: Now with a president -- he put us in Libya. He is now
putting us in Africa.

ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend.

are nine Supreme court judges. I don`t know how eight came out of my

I can`t. The third one, I can`t. Sorry. Oops.


SCHULTZ: Oh, Rushky, you love to brag about being called the titular
head of the Republican party. Well, your Republican candidates are a bunch
of small minded one percenters. For you to say that there is no evidence
of President Obama`s intelligence is just plain dumb Psycho Talk.

President Obama keeps his populist message in an interview with "60
Minutes." MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter will weigh in on that.
How is the president doing?

And President Obama has finally accomplished President Bush`s mission.
Today he formally marked the end of the Iraqi War. But Liz Cheney wants to
keep on fighting.



OBAMA: I would be surprised if the American people felt satisfied
right now. They shouldn`t feel satisfied. We`ve got a lot more work to do
in order to get this country and the economy moving in a way that benefits
everybody, as opposed to just a few.


SCHULTZ: President Obama on "60 Minutes" last night, acknowledging a
tough road to re-election. Using the same populist tone he took to Kansas
last week, the president addressed income inequality and called out
Republicans for protecting the one percent at the expense of everyone else.


OBAMA: Our politics has gotten to the point where we can`t have an
honest conversation about the greatest income inequality since the 1920s.
And we can`t have an honest conversation about the irresponsibility that
resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression without
somebody saying that somehow we`re being divisive. No, we`re being honest.


SCHULTZ: President Obama laid out his accomplishments, from health
care to financial reform to the death of Osama bin Laden, despite the GOP`s
relentless obstruction.


OBAMA: When I came into office in 2008, it was my firm belief that at
such an important moment in our history, there was no reason why Democrats
and Republicans couldn`t put some of the old ideological baggage aside and
focus on common sense, what works, practical solutions to the tough
problems we were facing.

And I think the Republicans made a different calculation, which was,
you know what, we really screwed up the economy; Obama seems popular. Our
best bet is to seem on the sidelines because we think the economy is going
to get worse, and at some point just blame him.


SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and
columnist for "Bloomberg View" and author of "The Promise." You know this
president well. You know his White House, his operation.

The things that he`s saying right now, Jonathan, is he too late? I
mean, six months ago, we weren`t hearing this kind of a tone. Now we are.

JONATHAN ALTER, "BLOOMBERG VIEW": Better late than never.


ALTER: You know, there was that 18-month gap between when health care
was signed in March of 2010 and when he introduced his jobs program in
September of this year. In that period, he should have been pivoting to
more of a jobs agenda. He didn`t. It cost him. But he would be in some
real danger now anyway, because he is sailing into such a stiff wind.

So I think he`s gotten to a place now where he`s playing a bad hand
about as well as you could expect.

SCHULTZ: Well, when you say it cost him, it wouldn`t cost him this
election. I mean, he can obviously recover. In fact, he`s actually
polling pretty well against the Republican candidates, whether it be Newt
or Mitt. But why did the president not listen to the base? Because they
were all saying, you know, the Republicans are out to sabotage the economy.
The obstructionism was just at a torrid pace. Now finally he is admitting
it and saying it in interviews.

ALTER: Well, he knew all that. And he said in interviews in 2010
things like, all I want for Christmas is an opposition I can negotiate
with. I think he felt in order to keep getting things done -- and
remember, Ed, he got a tremendous amount done in his first two years. He
had the best legislative record of any president since Lyndon Johnson, way
better than Bill Clinton or John F. Kennedy or Jimmy Carter.

SCHULTZ: With the amount of filibusters.

ALTER: He still got an awful lot done. And as he said, he ended this
era in American life where if you have somebody sick in your family, you go
bankrupt. That`s now in the past, assuming the Republicans don`t repeal
health care. So there`s some big changes this president got through.

The problem is that he thought that the 2010 midterms were sending a
message that independents wanted him to move to the center. And so he
spent the latter part of 2010 and the early part of this year trying to
move to the center.

SCHULTZ: Well, you know, the wealthy paying more, after getting two
big tax breaks over the last ten years, income inequality -- I mean, these
are all things that are polling extremely well with the American people
right now. Is this the campaign?

ALTER: Yeah, I think it basically is. And the reason that he has a
better chance is that, remember, in 2008, 130 million Americans voted. In
2010, 80 million Americans voted. Those 50 million Americans, a lot of
them, they`re busy. They have other things to do. They don`t pay
attention to politics. They don`t watch cable TV. They don`t vote in
midterm elections.

When they come back to the polls this next time, you`re going to see
them taking a hard look at which candidate is working in their interest.

SCHULTZ: The president was asked on whether he promised more than he
could deliver. Here`s what he said.


OBAMA: I didn`t over promise. And I didn`t underestimate how tough
this was going to be. It was going to take more than a year. It was going
to take more than two years. It was going to take more than one term. It
probably takes more than one president.

The one thing I`ve prided myself on before I was president, and it
turns out that continues to be true as president, I`m a persistent son of a


SCHULTZ: You think that plays well?

ALTER: I think it does. I think people like to see somebody who if
he`s not a fighter, because that`s not part of his temperament, is at least
very persistent, keeps pressing the issue, as he has on jobs all fall.
Even when the Republicans obstructed him, he kept at it. That`s how you
win these elections. You have to stay in there. You have to be a
political survivor.

I think he showed in 2008, when he had a long struggle in the
primaries with Hillary Clinton, that he could be a dogged campaigner. And
it will serve him well. But don`t underestimate -- with all these clownish
Republican activities, don`t underestimate how hard it is to win a
presidential election when you have eight or nine percent unemployment.

SCHULTZ: He struck the right tone, you think, in that interview? He
was really mellow.

ALTER: He sounded reasonable.


ALTER: Confident.


ALTER: And he laid out a rationale for re-electing himself. And he
also -- he talked for the first time that I`ve seen in a while about what
he got done. The man prevented another Great Depression.

SCHULTZ: He saved the automobile industry.

ALTER: Saved the auto industry. He doesn`t get a chance enough to
brag on himself and explain to people --

SCHULTZ: Is he going to do more of that, you think?

ALTER: He`s going to have to. I don`t think he likes doing it. He
thinks it looks immodest or something. He`s going to have to.

SCHULTZ: MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter with us tonight.
Thanks so much.

A program note for this Thursday; I`ll have an exclusive interview
with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on this program. We`ll talk about the
Republican obstruction in Congress, on jobs, the Democrats` chances of
taking back the House next year and a whole lot more. We`re thrilled to
have the Democratic leader, Pelosi, on this program. We hope you`ll join
us coming up on Thursday night.

Coming up, over the weekend, thousands marched here in New York City
in protest of the restricted voting rights around the country -- voting
laws that have been enacted. I was there to talk to some of the
protesters. You`ll hear what they have to say, next. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This crowd of Occupy protesters -- and we think
there`s several hundred of them here now -- are in the middle of an
intersection here. And they have managed to shut down access to this part
of the port of Long Beach.


SCHULTZ: As the Occupy movement continues across the country, today
protesters focused their efforts on some of the nation`s busiest ports.
Protesters blocked and attempted to disrupt ports all along the West Coast.
Dozens were arrested, but demonstrations remained largely peaceful.

Meanwhile, here in New York over the weekend, thousands marched on
Saturday in protest of the restrictive voting rights laws that have been
passed in 17 states.


SCHULTZ: What`s happening out here? Why are you marching today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we`re trying to keep our voting rights.
Trying to keep our voting rights. As a child, I remember what happened to
my people fighting for rights. And you know, I want my kids to have the
same rights that is is so important I exercise. I want them to have the
same thing, my children, my grandchildren.

SCHULTZ: Really fundamental to being an American, isn`t it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

SCHULTZ: Do you think young people get this? The struggle of what
you went through as a people and where we are today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they`re getting it. I thing they`re
getting it. Things like this will make them get it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are about 100 kids here today from our
school. And there are 250 kids in our class. So the majority of our class
is here today supporting NAACP and all the other groups that are here for
voting rights.

We are young. We need our voting rights. And we need to be able to


SCHULTZ: It wasn`t just voting rights that protesters were focusing
on. The attack on education and the shortage of resources has
professionals speaking out.


MELISSA AVERY, PUBLIC SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: I made a promise to kids and
I made a promise to the parents that I`m in this neighborhood, I don`t care
what it is, I`m going to get the job done. As they bind my hands, I`m
trying to figure out how am I going to get it done? Because I had to lay
off five people this year.

We had about a couple of grand for books. And I had to be very
strategic to get all of my supplies ordered. What am I going to do next
year when they cut another five percent? I don`t know. I don`t know.

SCHULTZ: It`s all about the resources, isn`t it?

AVERY: And they are dried up. They have dried up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what democracy looks like!

CROWD: This is what democracy looks like!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what democracy looks like!

CROWD: This is what democracy looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about promoting a values summit for lefties?
To get in the face of the righties who pull all the social bull (EXPLETIVE
DELETED. Talk about left wing values like the right to vote. How about
that? I`m talking about a value summit.




SCHULTZ: What do you want me to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A value summit for progressive causes to go
against the righties with all of their values summit bull. You can do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can do it. No one else can do it.

SCHULTZ: You want me to do it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re our voice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I even wrote you about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Ed, I want to shake your hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody wants to shake your hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re the man.


SCHULTZ: Well, some broadcaster across the street said that the
movement is politically dead. No. Lots of passion right here in America.
And I think it`s all just getting started.

President Obama followed through with his campaign promise to end the
Iraqi War. Our troops will all be out by the end of the year. Iraq
veteran John Soltz just got back from his final tour in Iraq. He`ll have a
lot to say next on THE ED SHOW.


SCHULTZ: THE ED SHOW survey tonight, I asked does Mitt Romney have
any clue how much 10,000 dollars means to average Americans? Three percent
of you said yes; 97 percent of you said no.

Next up, President Obama keeps his promise to bring the troops home.
I`ll talk exclusively with Jon Soltz, just back from Iraq. He`s now the
chair of


OBAMA: When I took office, nearly 150,000 American troops were
deployed in Iraq. And I pledged to end this war responsibly. In the
coming days, the last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq
with honor and with their heads held high. After nearly nine years, our
war in Iraq ends this month.


SCHULTZ: President Obama checks off another campaign promise. He
hosted the Iraqi prime minister at the White House today, Mr. Maliki, while
the two leaders formally declared an end to the nine-year, 800 billion war
in Iraq. Eight years and eight months after President Bush declared
mission accomplished, President Obama finishes the job.

Of course, the right wing critics are out in full force.


now as commander in chief, is performing abysmally with respect to
Afghanistan and Iraq. He`s about to snatch defeat from what was a victory
in Iraq by pulling everybody out.

Iraq and Afghanistan are two places where this president is absolutely
failing. In Afghanistan, he`s pulling our troops out so fast that he`s
putting the mission at risk. We`ve got these two wars that have been
incredibly important and in which we sacrificed tremendous lives and
treasure. This president`s performance means we may well lose both wars.


SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Jon Soltz, chairman of Jon
has served his country so well. He`s an Iraq War veteran, who has served
as a major in the Army and returned last night from his final deployment to

Jon, congratulations. And thank you for your service to the country.
What are your thoughts when you see President Obama announcing it is now
going to be over in Iraq for military involvement? What goes through your

JON SOLTZ, CHAIRMAN, VOTEVETS.ORG: Well, I think the first thing for
everybody is it`s humbling. Just flying back here, coming back to the
states, eight and a half years, people were like, where are you going? I`m
like, I don`t really know where I`m going because I haven`t -- it`s all
I`ve known, you know, since I was -- since I was 25 years old.

I`ve been to Iraq twice. Everything I`ve done in advocacy of Vote
Vets has been about the Iraq War. So it`s humbling that you make it
through and you`re OK. You`re not missing a limb. I mean, there`s so many
soldiers and Marines, specifically, who served in Iraq or Afghanistan that
have been injured or wounded. So I think, for the first part, it`s
humbling that it`s finally over.

SCHULTZ: And what do you make of the rhetoric I just played for you?
Liz Cheney saying that President Obama is snatching defeat from the jaws of
victory and that he`s losing both wars. What`s your response to that?

SOLTZ: That`s why I was laughing in the lead-in. I actually couldn`t
believe they put her on TV. I heard this a little bit, you know, when I
was in Iraq. You know, look, there`s stuff exploding all the time. You
focus on your mission.

But I keep hearing this rhetoric from the Republicans. My first gut
reaction to that is, her father was the vice president. This agreement to
get the U.S. forces out of Iraq that we signed with the Iraqi government
was signed by her father`s administration. So what President Obama did is
he executed the Bush administration`s plan.

It`s no different than the Obama-care, Mitt Romney conversation. Mitt
Romney has obviously huge problems with his because his health care plan is
Obama-care. For her to say that, she is essentially saying her father`s
agreement is wrong.

But the worse part is she might as well spit on the grave of everybody
who just died in Iraq. This is Operation Iraqi Freedom. They just asked
us to spend eight and a half years of our lives establishing an Iraqi
democracy. The Iraqi democracy cannot and will not ask for an extension of
U.S. forces, because Nouri al Maliki`s governing coalition has a very close
relationship with the Iranians and the government would topple.

So if we stay there one day past the end of the SOFA agreement, that`s
the only way we can lose this war. So she is guaranteeing defeat by saying
these comments

SCHULTZ: You just told us in a detailed manner that Liz Cheney has no
clue what she`s talking about.

SOLTZ: None. None. It appalls me they even let her to come on TV.

SCHULTZ: What about other Republicans who have been critical of this
exit? What`s your response to them?

SOLTZ: I just think they don`t know anything. I don`t think they
have anyone on their staff who understands Iraq. I mean, if the Americans
wanted a longer relationship in Iraq, we should have focused more on the
political debate within Iraq, essentially helping the nationalists.

Al Iraqia, which is Ayad Alawi`s party, actually won the most seats in
the last Iraqi election. But he wasn`t able to build a coalition to become
the prime minister. So the hard-line Shia groups are the ones who really
empowered Nouri al Maliki at the end. They`re the ones who have the close
relationship with the Iranians.

So that -- if Maliki had requested an extension of U.S. forces, Sadr
had two options. He could have fought U.S. forces, which part of his
movement did violently over the summer months and killed 20 Americans, or
he could pull out of the government. If he pulled out of the government,
well, you know, Maliki then doesn`t have a government coalition and they
could essentially topple the government.

So it just shows there`s no lack of any basic understanding of what`s
going on in Iraq. The actual software of the Iraqi democracy can`t sustain
a long term U.S. presence.

SCHULTZ: John Soltz, I know you`re going to continue work with as the chairman. We`re going to talk a lot to you in the
coming days about the challenges that the veterans are going to be facing
coming home.

Congratulations for what you did for the country. You`re an American
and a brave one at that. I appreciate your time tonight.

Before we go, another reminder, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will be
our exclusive guest on Thursday night here on THE ED SHOW.


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