The Ed Show for Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Guests: Sam Stein, Karen Finney, Bob Shrum

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to
THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Schultz.

We`re awaiting remarks by the president of the United States at the
National Urban League in New Orleans, Louisiana. President Obama`s address
arrives on a truly auspicious day in the normally do-nothing Congress.

Today, the Senate actually passed a one-year extension of middle class
tax cuts by a simple majority vote, 51-48. The bill did not have to muster
the normal filibuster proof, 60 votes, because of a last-minute deal struck
between Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. An alternative
Republican bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone including the
wealthy failed. President Obama issued a statement.

It reads in part, "With the Senate`s vote, the House Republicans are
now the only people left in Washington holding hostage the middle class tax
cuts for 98 percent of Americans and nearly every small business owner.
It`s time for House Republicans to drop their demand for another $1
trillion giveaway to the wealthiest Americans and give our families and
small businesses the financial security and certainty that they need.

I`m joined by Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, MSNBC political analyst
and former DNC communications director Karen Finney, and "Huffington Post"
political reporter Sam Stein.

Thank all of you for joining us.


DYSON: So this is huge. Senate Republicans were outmaneuvered and
now House Republicans are the only ones standing in the way of a middle
class tax cut extension. Do you think Democrats might campaign on this,
Bob? Let me throw that to you?

SHRUM: I think they will campaign on it. I think Democrats are going
to be out there all the time talking about who is the party standing up
fighting for the middle class, and who is the party who is going to fight a
last-ditch battle to give away the most to the people at the top. I think
that will be central to this campaign.

DYSON: So, look, in speaking to the daily telegraph about President
Obama`s new view, a Romney adviser explained why he would be better. We`re
part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage and he Romney feels that a special
relationship is special, the White House didn`t fully appreciate the share
of history we have.

After we hear from the president, I`ll pick up about why we think it
was wise or unwise for Romney`s advisers to raise the clearly irrelevant
factor of Anglo-Saxon heritage.

Let`s listen to the man they claimed has no Anglo-Saxon heritage.

fact of this is called the Morial Convention Center had anything to do with
folks coming down to New Orleans, but it is good to be with all of you, and
I`m glad I caught you at the beginning of the conference before Bourbon
Street has a chance to take a toll on you.


OBAMA: All right. Stay out of trouble, now. Everybody, please have
a seat, have a seat, have a seat. I --


OBAMA: A couple of people I want to acknowledge. Obviously, first of
all, I want to acknowledge your outstanding president and CEO who has shown
such extraordinary leadership for so many years, Mark Morial.


OBAMA: Just like we got an outstanding former mayor of New Orleans,
we`ve also got the outstanding current mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu
is in the house.


OBAMA: Fine young congressman from this area, Cedric Richmond, is


OBAMA: And one of the best mayors in the country, we`re glad he came
down from his hometown of Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter is in the


OBAMA: And all of you are here, and I`m grateful for it.

And we love the young people who are in the house.


OBAMA: Mitch, don`t you -- I wasn`t referring to you, man. I was
talking to those folks over there.

Mitch is all waving. Thank you.

For nearly a century, the National Urban League has been inspiring
people of every race and every religion, and every walk of life. To reach
for the dream that lies at the heart of our founding. The promise that no
matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come
from, no matter how modest your beginnings, no matter what the
circumstances of your birth, here in America, you can make it if you try.


OBAMA: Of course, this dream has never come easy. That`s why the
Urban League was formed.

In the aftermath of the civil war, with the South in the grips of Jim
Crow, the waves of men and women who traveled north to urban centers,
discovered that even in their new homes, opportunity was not guaranteed.
It was something you had to work for. Something you had to fight for. Not
just on your own but side-by-side with people who believed in that same

And so, the white widow of a railroad tycoon and a black social worker
from Arkansas founded what would become the Urban League. To strengthen
our cities and our communities, brick by brick, and block by block, and
neighborhood by neighborhood, life by life. Decades later, I arrived in
one of those cities, my hometown of Chicago.


OBAMA: South side!


OBAMA: And I was -- I was driven by this same cause. You know, like
many classmates, I felt, I understood the pull of a hefty paycheck that
might come from a more conventional job, but ultimately, the pull to serve
was even stronger.

So I moved to the south side of Chicago, and I took a job with a group
of churches, mostly Catholic parishes, working to help families who had no
place to turn when the local steel plant shut down, and when panic-peddling
had led to enormous turnover in these communities. And we worked with
laypeople and local leaders to rebuild neighborhoods and improve schools.
And most of all, to broaden opportunity for young people, too many who were
at risk.

And I confess the progress didn`t come quickly, and it did not come
easily. Sometimes it didn`t come at all. There were times where I thought
about giving up and moving on. But what kept me going day in and day out
was the same thing that has sustained the Urban League all these years --
the same thing that sustains all of you.

And that is the belief that in America, change is always possible.
And our union may not be perfect, but it is perfectible. That we can
strive over time through effort and sweat and blood and tears until it is
the place we imagine. It may come in fits and starts, at a pace that can
be slow and frustrating, but if we`re willing to push through all the doubt
and the cynicism and the weariness, then yes, we can form that more perfect


The people I worked with in those early days in Chicago, they were
looking for the same thing that Americans every place aspire to. We`re not
a nation of people who are looking for hand-outs. We certainly don`t like

We don`t believe government should be in the business of helping
people who refuse to help themselves, and we recognize not every government
program works.

But we do expect hard work to pay off. We do expect responsibility to
be rewarded. We do expect that if you put in enough effort, you should be
able to find a job that pays the bills.


OBAMA: We should be able to own a home you call your own. You should
be able to retire in dignity and respect. You should be able to afford the
security of health care. You should be able to give your kids the best
education possible.


OBAMA; That idea that everybody should have a fair shot, not just
some, that this country is special because it has grown this magnificent
middle class and has provided ladders of access for those striving to get
into the middle class, that`s the idea that drove me, that`s the idea that
has driven the Urban League. That idea that everyone should have equal
opportunity, that`s what brought me to Chicago.

That belief that this country works best when we are growing a strong
middle class and prosperity is broad based. That`s what led me into
politics. And it is those values that have guided every decision that I
have made as president of the United States.


OBAMA: Now today, we`re battling our way back from a once in a
lifetime economic crisis.

And make no mistake. We have made progress in that fight. When I
took office, we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. Our
auto industry was on the brink of collapse. Factories were boarding up
their windows.

We had gone through almost a decade in which job growth had been
sluggish, incomes had declined, costs were going up, all culminating in the
financial system coming close to a breakdown.

And today, three and a half years later, we have had 28 straight
months of private sector job growth.


OBAMA: Three and a half years later, the auto industry has come
roaring back.


OBAMA: Three and a half years later, companies are beginning to bring
thousands of jobs back to American soil.


OBAMA: But we still have much more work to do. There`s still too
many out of work. Too many homes under water. Too many Americans
struggling to stay afloat.

So the greater challenge that faces us is not just going back to where
we were back in 2007. Not just settling to get back to where we were
before the crisis hit. Our task is to return to an America that is
thriving and growing out from our middle class where hard work pays off,
where you can make it if you try.

And Urban League, I want you to know, what is holding us back from
meeting these challenges is not a lack of ideas or solutions. I have no
patience with people who say our best days are behind us because the fact
of the matter is we still have the best workers in the world, the best
universities in the world, the best research facilities in the world, the
most entrepreneurial culture in the world.

DYSON: You`re watching President Obama speaking live at the National
Urban League convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. We`ll have more of his
speech in our political panel will weigh in on his comments. Stay tuned.


DYSON: You`re looking at and listening to live President Obama
speaking at the National Urban League convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.
We`ll have more of his speech and full analysis coming up.

You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay tuned.


DYSON: We`re going to rejoin the president speaking to the National
Urban League convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Let`s listen in.

OBAMA: At a time where so many people who have a job can barely keep
up with their bills, we don`t need another trillion dollar tax cut for
folks like me. We need tax cuts for working Americans, not for folks who
don`t need it and weren`t even asking for it.


OBAMA: Millions of Americans including more than 2 million African-
American families are better off thanks to our extension of the child care
tax credit and the earned income tax credit because nobody who works hard
in America should be poor in America. That`s how strong communities are


OBAMA: And by the way, when working folks have money in their
pockets, businesses do well because they`ve got customers, and all of us
grow. That`s been the history of this country.

I believe strong communities are built on strong schools. If this
country is about anything, it`s about passing on greater opportunity to the
next generation. And we know that has to start before a child even walks
into the classroom. It starts at home with parents who are willing to read
to their children and spend time with their children and instill a sense of
curiosity and a love of learning and a belief in excellence that will last
a lifetime.

But it also begins with an early childhood education, which is why we
have invested more in child care and in programs like Early Head Start and
Head Start that help prepare our young people for success. It`s the right
thing to do for America.

Our education policy hasn`t just been based on more money. We have
also called for real reform. So, we challenged every state in the country
to raise their standards for teaching and for learning. Three years later,
nearly every state has answered the call.

We have seen the biggest transformation in terms of school reform in a
generation. And we have helped some of the country`s lowest performing
schools make real gains in reading and math, including here in New Orleans.
We made it our mission to make a higher education more affordable for every
American who wants to go to school.

That`s why we fought to extend our college tuition tax credit for
working families, saving millions of families thousands of dollars. That`s
why we fought to make college more affordable for an additional 200,000
African-American students by increasing Pell grants.


OBAMAS: That`s why we have strengthened this nation`s commitment to
our community colleges and to our HBCUs.


OBAMA: That`s why tomorrow I`m establishing the first ever White
House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans, so that
every child -- so that every child has greater access to a complete and
competitive education from the time they`re born all through the time they
get a career.

That`s why we`re pushing all colleges and universities to cut their
costs, because we can`t keep asking taxpayers to subsidize skyrocketing
tuition. A higher education in the 21st century cannot be a luxury. It is
a vital necessity that every American should be able to afford.

I want all of these young people to be getting a higher education.
And I don`t want them loaded up with tens of thousands of dollars of debt
just to get an education. That`s how we make America great.


OBAMA: Of course, all you have got to hit the books. I`m just
saying. Don`t cheer and you didn`t do your homework because that`s part of
the bargain. America says, we will give you opportunity, but you`ve got to
earn your success.


OBAMA: You`re competing against young people in Beijing and
Bangalore. You know, they`re not hanging out. They`re not getting over.
They`re not playing video games. They`re not watching "Real Housewives."
I`m just saying, it`s a two-way straight. You`ve got to earn success.


OBAMA: That wasn`t in my prepared remarks. But I`m just saying.


OBAMA: I believe strong communities are places where you and your
family can work and save and buy your home. That`s why we have helped more
than a million responsible homeowners -- these are folks who are making
their payments -- refinance their mortgages at these historically low
rates, saving thousands of dollars every year, because people who did
everything right shouldn`t pay the price for somebody else`s


OBAMA: So now we want to expand that refinancing opportunity to every
homeowner who is making their payments on time.

And while we`re at it, let`s put construction workers back on the job
because they have been hit by the housing bubble bursting. Let`s put them
back on the job, not only rebuilding roads and bridges and ports, but also
rehabilitating homes in communities that have been hit by foreclosures,
businesses that have been hit hardest by the housing crisis, that creates
jobs. It raises property values. And it strengthens the economy of the
entire nation.

Strong communities are healthy communities. Because we believe that
in the richest nation on Earth, you shouldn`t go broke when you get sick.
And after a century of trying and a decision now from the highest court in
the land, health care reform is here to stay. We`re moving forward.

DYSON: Don`t you dare touch that dial. You heard the president say
don`t look at the "Real Housewives." We`ll have more of the president`s
remarks from the National Urban League convention after the break. Stay


DYSON: Let`s rejoin the president speaking in New Orleans at the
Urban League Convention.

OBAMA: These are all the pillars upon which communities are built.
And yet we have been reminded recently that all this matters little if
these young people can`t walk the streets of their neighborhood safely, if
we can`t send our kids to school without worrying they might get shot, if
they can`t go to the movies without fear of violence lurking in the


OBAMA: Our hearts break for the victims of the massacre in Aurora.

We pray for those who were lost. And we pray for those who loved
them. We pray for those who are recovering with courage and with hope.
And we also pray for those who succumb to the less publicized acts of
violence that plague our communities in so many cities across the country
every single day.

We can`t forget about that. Every day -- in fact, every day and a
half, the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as
the number of people we lost in that movie theater. For every Columbine or
Virginia Tech, there are dozens gunned down on the streets of Chicago and
Atlanta, here in New Orleans. For every Tucson or Aurora, there`s daily
heartbreak over young Americans shot in Milwaukee or Cleveland. Violence
plagues the biggest cities. But it also plagues the smallest towns. It
claims the lives of Americans of different ages and different races.

And it`s tied together by the fact that these young people had dreams
and had futures that were cut tragically short. And when there`s an
extraordinarily heartbreaking tragedy like the one we saw, there`s always
an outcry immediately after for action. And there`s talk of new reforms
and talk of new legislation.

And too often, those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying,
and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere. But what
I said in the wake of Tucson was we were going to stay on this
persistently. So we have been able to take some actions on our own,
recognizing that it`s not always easy to get things through Congress these

The background checks conducted on those looking to purchase firearms
are now more thorough and more complete.


OBAMA: Instead of just throwing more money at the problem of
violence, the federal government is now in the trenches with communities
and schools and law enforcement and faith-based institutions, with
outstanding mayors like Mayor Nutter and Mayor Landrieu, recognizing that
we are stronger when we work together.

So in cities like New Orleans, we`re partnering with local officials
to reduce crime using best practices. And in places like Boston and
Chicago, we have been able to help connect more young people to summer jobs
so that they spend less time on the streets. In cities like Detroit and
Salinas, we`re helping communities set up youth prevention and intervention
programs that steer young people away from a life of gang violence and
towards the safety and promise of a classroom.

But even though we have taken these actions, they`re not enough.
Other steps to reduce violence have been met with opposition in Congress.
This has been true for some time, particularly when it touches on the issue
of guns. And I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment
guarantees an individual the right to bear arms.

I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on
from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a
cherished national heritage. But I also believe that a lot of gun owners
would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands
of criminals.


OBAMA: That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets
of our cities. I believe the majority of gun owners would agree we should
do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing
weapons. And we should check someone`s criminal record before they can
check out a gun seller, that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be
able to get his hands on a gun so easily.


OBAMA: These steps shouldn`t be controversial. They should be
commonsense. So I`m going to continue to work with members of both parties
and with religious groups and with civic organizations to arrive at a
consensus around violence reduction, not just of gun violence, but violence
at every level, on every step, looking at everything we can do to reduce
violence and keep our children safe, from improving mental health services
for troubled youth to instituting more effective community policing

We should leave no stone unturned and recognize that we have no
greater mission as a country than keeping our young people safe.

DYSON: Coming up, we`ll have more from the president speaking at the
National Urban League Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Stay tuned.


DYSON: Let`s go back to New Orleans, where President Obama is
speaking to the National Urban League Convention.

OBAMA: Let`s be clear, even as we debate government`s role, we have
to understand that when a child opens fire on another child, there`s a hole
in that child`s heart that government alone can`t fill. It`s got to be up
to us as parents and as neighbors and as teachers and as mentors to make
sure our young people don`t have that void inside them.

It`s up to us to spend more time with them, to pay more attention to
them, to show them more love, so that they learn to love themselves, so
that they learn to love one another, so that they grow up knowing what it
is to walk a mile in somebody else`s shoes and to view the world through
somebody else`s eyes.

It`s up to us to provide the path toward a life worth living, toward a
future that holds greater possibility than taking offense because somebody
stepped on your sneakers. That`s the difference that we can make in our
children`s lives and in the lives of our communities. That`s the legacy we
must leave for the next generation.


OBAMA: Now, this will not be easy. Even though it`s called the Big
Easy, this proud city and those who call it home, they know something about
hardship. They have been battered again and again in this new century, one
of the worst natural disasters in our history, the worst environmental
disaster in our history, the worst economic crisis most of us have ever

So sometimes being from the Big Easy means knowing hardship and


OBAMA: But what this city also knows is resilience and determination
and heroism. That`s one of the reasons it is one of America`s jewels.
It`s quintessentially American because of its resilience. There`s no
shortage of citizens in this city who have stepped up in the darkest of

And one person I want to end with is somebody that many of you know,
the superintendent of schools in St. Bernard`s Parish, Doris Boshea (ph).
Now when Katrina`s waters rose, Doris and the faculty and staff of Chalmed
(ph) High School saved the lives of hundreds of their neighbors, many of
them old and sick, by moving them to shelter in the school`s second floor.

Two days later, they led 1,200 people to safety.


OBAMA: The day after that, with her community in ruins, the
superintendent was on her way to Baton Rouge to make sure her schools would
open that fall. "Failure is not an option" became her motto. When some
government officials gave her the run around, she plowed ahead on her own,
secured loans, finding portable classrooms and books and doing everything
it took to make sure her kids, our kids, could return to some semblance of

When an official told her a gas line wouldn`t be repaired in time for
school to reopen and that her kids might have to eat MREs, she hired a
local restaurant owner to cook hot lunches on a barge and sent FEMA the


OBAMA: On the first day of school, less than three months after
Katrina swept ashore, she heard a young child who had endured nearly three
months of suffering and hardship yell out loud, "real food! Real food!"

That first night, she said there were no riots. There were no
disruptions. There were just hundreds of people just like you and the
person sitting next to you, in the blink of an eye having lost everything
that they had worked for over their entire lifetimes, who now look to us
for rescue. And we accepted that responsibility, because that`s what
school people do.


OBAMA: Now, obviously, the superintendent is an exceptional educator
and an exceptional citizen. But as I have traveled around the country,
what I have discovered is that`s not just what school people do. That`s
what Americans do. That`s what Americans at their best do.

When I traveled to Joplin, Missouri, that`s what folks in Joplin do.
When I go to Aurora, that`s what people in Colorado do. In urban
communities all across America, that`s what you do.

For more than two centuries, our journey has never been easy and our
victories have never come quickly. And we have faced our share of
struggles and setbacks and climbs that have seemed too steep, just like we
do today. But we know what we`re fighting for.

We can see the America we believe in, a country where everybody gets a
fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, where everybody is
playing by the same set of rules. And if we don`t keep fighting as hard as
we know how for that America, if we don`t keep fighting for better jobs and
better schools and a better future, who will?


DYSON: That was the president speaking at the National Urban League
Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. When we come back, we`ll have an
analysis of the president`s speech with Bob Shrum, Karen Finney and Sam
Stein. Stay tuned.


DYSON: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The president just wrapped up
his remarks to the National Urban League Convention in New Orleans,
Louisiana. Let`s bring in Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, MSNBC political
analyst and former DNC communications director Karen Finney and "Huffington
Post" political reporter Sam Stein.

I want to get all of your first impressions on the speech. But Sam,
what do you think the news out of this particular speech was?

SAM STEIN, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": I think the first direct news story
out of this is the forceful, direct take that the president offered on what
he called violence reduction. I think it was a coded word for gun policy
or gun control. I don`t think I have ever seen the president speak that
directly or with that much description about the issue since he entered

And obviously, he`s tackling something that, you know, is in the
limelight. He was addressing assault weapons, also the mental health
aspects of gun control, what he called common sense gun control. It all
pivoted off a poll done by Frank Luntz on NRA members yesterday.

So that was the first direct news aspect. The second thing that I
picked up was, again, pushing back on this you didn`t build it attack that
he`s been enduring from Romney, where he talked about success and the
government being able to provide you the ladders to the middle class, but
you have to lift yourself up yourself.

He talked about a two-way street. I thought those were the two major
take always of the speech. But definitely the gun stuff stood out the

DYSON: Sure. Karen, the president also drew a parallel between what
was going on in the streets of Chicago and other large black urban areas,
showing and displaying for many who have been frustrated at what their
perceived lack -- the perceived lack of the president of showing empathy
for those who were victims of gun violence in inner cities and what`s going
on in -- what went on in Colorado.

A very interesting parallel, no?

talking about a shared experience that we have in this country, where, as
he said, we have gun violence and violence occurring both in big urban
centers and small towns. That`s the point he made.

I agree with Sam. What is interesting is that the president used some
of the direct language that this Luntz poll showed. Responsible gun owners
actually agree with And I think part of the problem has been there`s a lot
that people don`t realize about some of the loopholes and gaps in our

The other thing that I thought was noteworthy, that he really leaned
into, was this middle class narrative. We have heard him do that before.
But as our "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News poll today showed, this is a
strong point for the president. So you heard him really lean into, in the
beginning -- I mean, he connected his support and belief and faith in the
middle class and that work with his time as a community organizer, with his
getting into politics in a way that I hadn`t heard before.

Clearly, we`re going to hear more on that narrative as well.

DYSON: Right. Bob Shrum, he also gave a special shout out not only
to the South Side, but he also gave a shout out to the young people who
were in the audience, and really directed some poignant comments of empathy
toward them as well as challenges. What do you think about a president who
speaks to the future in that sense of understanding the difficulties and
complications that these young people have to face politically?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Listen, you listen to him and he`s
in fighting form. He`s out there really communicating with people. Karen
is right, he has a message in terms of the middle class. The back and
forth with the young people was marvelous.

You compare that with Romney`s kind of stilted animatronic performance
yesterday in front of the VFW, and it gives you a lot of hope for this
election. One thing I would be very careful of -- I think the president
went further than he has before in talking ability gun violence. I don`t
believe that he will propose any new measures of gun control before this

I think it would be far too dangerous for him in places like
Pennsylvania and Ohio. If he could pass it, he might take the risk. But
it won`t pass.

STEIN: And he hinted at that. Didn`t he hint at that when he said
listen, there`s lot of opposition in Congress. I know the limitations
legislatively, but these are the commonsense reforms.


SHRUM: But Sam, he`s not going to ask for an assault weapons ban.



FINNEY: He also talked about some of the things that he has done on
his own. But one thing I think is really important that we underscore
here, because there`s been a lot of conversation in the black community
because people have looked at what has he done for the LGTB community,
what`s he done for other -- for the Latino community. This message,
talking about violence in this way, it relates to people`s lives.

This is the reality of what organizations like the NAACP, like the
Urban League, doing work in our urban centers and black communities,
understand very well and deal with. And nobody -- just like we`re not
talking about the poor, we have not really talked about crime and violence.

Again, I think it`s important for this audience in particular to say,
I get it, that this is a major problem. And I will keep doing something.

DYSON: Let me follow up something very quickly with you, Karen. I
have been getting several texts from people saying, look, why does the
president when he goes to these major black institutions and organizations
show our capacity for self critique, because he gives it to us, because
that`s what you do when you trade on inside knowledge, so to speak, but at
the same time, asking as if white folks study hard but black students
don`t. As if they`re --

SHRUM: He didn`t say that.

DYSON: No, no, I`m saying when he says -- I`m trying to talk about
something very sensitive here. I`m saying that he`s gone before the NAACP,
some people said, and the Urban League, and he said look, you have to get
your studies. You`ve got to study hard. He says that in a way directed
toward a black audience that you have to turn off the reality television
shows and you have to pay attention to your books.

A lot of people have been irritated. I want you to speak to that,
Karen, about what you think the perception is.

FINNEY: I think a couple things. Number one, I actually have heard
him say that to young people in general, mixed audiences, white audiences.
But I get what you`re saying in terms of the sensitivity in the black
audience. You know what, let`s be real about something. It is harder if
you`re an African-American, particularly if you`re a young African-American
male in this country. You have to be two times better if not more.

So there`s a little bit of a reality of experience that I think he`s
speaking to. And I would hope people wouldn`t be irritated by that but
would just recognize, you know what, that is just still a reality in this
age in this country.

DYSON: Sure. So Bob and Sam, when you said, look, he didn`t say
that, that`s what I`m saying. You probably missed that because there`s an
internal battle going on within African-American culture that I wanted to
expose to the broader society.

STEIN: I think Karen is right. Remember in `08, Obama made a big
point of talking about parenthood in front of black audiences and the
importance of black parents to have a cohesive family. I think we`re
missing the big picture, though. He insulted the Real Housewives and is
turning off every voter regardless of race.

FINNEY: Have you watched it lately, Sam?

DYSON: You only made my point. I don`t -- so Bob, let`s give you the
last word here.

SHRUM: Look, I think the president has talked about personal
responsibility to white audiences, to black audiences, to Hispanic
audiences. I think it`s always been part of his message. I don`t think --
frankly, I`ll tell you something, if you went out and talked to the average
African-American about this and talked to them about the president, I would
say the president`s approval rating is probably somewhere around 90
percent. He`s going to get about 95 percent of that vote.

So I think some of these folks are dancing on the head of an
ideological pin. They`re not getting what he`s doing.

DYSON: All right, Bob, thank you for that 14th century analogy. Bob
Shrum, Karen Finney, and Sam Stein, thanks for your time.

A brief note about Ed and Wendy Schultz. Ed has been off TV and radio
for the last week dealing with a major health issue that has struck his
lovely and brilliant wife, Wendy.

Last Wednesday night, Wendy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a very
serious disease. Ed spoke about it publicly for the first time on his
radio show today.


ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s been a real -- a real jolt to say the
least. I mean, it shakes you to your bones. But she`s a tough girl. And
she went through surgery yesterday. The doctors feel like they got all of
it. It was very successful surgery, but we got a long way to go.

And you know, I`m just going to be gone for a while. Doing the radio
and TV show isn`t exactly what I`m thinking about right now. I`m going to
be with my wife through all of this.


DYSON: All of us on THE ED SHOW love and respect both Ed and Wendy.
And all across the MSNBC family, we wish Ed, Wendy, and their family well
wishes and to get strong through this particularly horrendous ordeal. You
can hear Ed`s entire statement by going to our blog at

If you want to send Ed a message, going to or
Tweet Ed using the hashtag @EdSchultz.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed Schultz. "THE
RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Ezra Klein is filling in for Rachel
tonight. Good evening, Ezra.


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