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The Ed Show for Friday, August 3, 2012

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guests: George Miller, Van Jones, Michael Medved; Patricia Murphy; John
Rowley, Nas

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

Ninety-five days before the 2012 election, Harry Reid is torching Mitt
Romney over his hidden tax returns, while President Obama runs up the score
like Carmelo Anthony.

This is THE ED SHOW -- and as Ed would say -- let`s get to work.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The word`s out that he
hasn`t paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes,
because he hasn`t.

DYSON (voice-over): Harry Reid is still punching on Mitt Romney`s
taxes. And Mitt Romney keeps on responding.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Harry Reid really has to put
up or shut up. Harry, who are your sources?

DYSON: Tonight, Congressman George Miller on Romney`s ongoing tax
problem and the new questions about Romney`s massive IRA account.

learned that our businesses created 172,000 new jobs in the month of July.

DYSON: Good news on jobs leaves Republicans scrambling. "Maddow
Blog`s" Steve Benen breaks down today`s big report.

Retired porn superstar Jenna Jameson explains her endorsement of Mitt
Romney. Quote, "When you`re rich, you want a Republican in office." The
big panel tackles that one tonight.

And rap legend Nas has the hottest new album in the country. Tonight,
one of hip-hop`s premier poets joins me for an exclusive interview.

(on camera): Where do you stand on President Barack Obama?


DYSON: A former boxer has knocked Mitt Romney for a loop. Senator
Harry Reid continues pummeling the candidate over his tax returns. The
Senate majority leader says a source tells him Mitt Romney hasn`t paid any
taxes in 10 years.


REID: The word is out that he hasn`t paid any taxes for 10 years.
Let him prove that he has paid taxes because he hasn`t.


DYSON: Just to make sure you heard what he said, Reid gave this
statement to "The Huffington Post" last night. "It`s clear Romney is
hiding something. And the American people deserve to know what it is."

In case you didn`t really get where he was coming from, Reid released
this statement today. "It`s hard to say which is more insulting to
Americans` intelligence, Mitt Romney`s tax plan or his refusal to show the
American people what`s in his tax returns."

Mitt Romney was forced to get off the ropes and defend himself.


ROMNEY: Harry Reid has to put up or shut up, all right? So, Harry,
who are your sources? Let`s have Harry explain who that is.


DYSON: To be sure Reid hasn`t named his source, but there are now
additional news reports about the source`s credibility.


DANA BASH, CNN REPORTER: I spoke to one source who is close to
Senator Reid who claims to also know who this Bain investor is, and insists
this is a credible person and this person if we knew the name, we would
understand that they would have the authority and the ability to know about
Romney`s tax returns.


DYSON: So here`s the bottom line, either Harry Reid`s source is lying
or based on the statement, Mitt Romney is.


ROMNEY: I have paid taxes every year. And a lot of taxes. A lot of
taxes. So Harry is simply wrong. And that`s why I`m so anxious for him to
give us the names of the people who have put this forward. I wouldn`t be
at all surprised to hear the names are people from the White House or the
Obama campaign or who knows where they`re coming from.


DYSON: Oh, come on now. Why don`t you give us your tax returns and
we`ll put all that to bed?

THE ED SHOW reached out to Senator Reid`s office for a response to
Mitt Romney`s claim that he always paid taxes.

Here`s a statement from Reid`s spokesman: "If that`s true, why doesn`t
Romney just release his tax returns? What`s he hiding?"

Make no mistake: This is bare knuckle politics. The pugilistic
senator knows how to hit hard and he has the Republican candidate for
presidential reeling. Some might call his tactics unfair, but one might
hope they call the many outlandish attacks on Obama unfair.

The Republican Party and its media representatives spent the better
part of 2008 obsessing over Obama`s place of birth. They created
exaggerated ties between the president and figures like Tony Rezko and Bill

Mitt Romney himself has created an American bashing caricature of
President Obama.


ROMNEY: President Obama apologizes for America. It is time for us to
be strong as a nation.


DYSON: Oh, stop the dog whistles, we get the putrid stereotypes. It
was Mitt Romney who spent the last several weeks distorting a comment made
by President Obama and turning it into the central argument of his

So, Republicans are no strangers to hard hitting politics. In fact,
Mitt Romney enjoyed lecturing his Republican opponents in the primaries
about developing a thicker skin.


ROMNEY: If you can`t stand the heat in this little kitchen, wait
until you get into Obama`s hell kitchen.

But, you know, this ain`t the bean bag. We`re going to come into the
campaign. We`re going to describe the differences between us.


DYSON: Man, you got to brush up on your vernacular.

With all of that tough talk, it`s surprising that Mitt Romney`s top
adviser is having such a hard time with Harry Reid`s comments.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry Reid`s charges are baseless and they`re
untrue. And I would ask him one simple question, have you decency, sir?
Is there nothing that you won`t do to debase yourself and the office you
hold in the name of dirty politics?


DYSON: Oh, my goodness. I`m rubber, you`re glue. Everything you say
bounces off to me and sticks to you. Oh, I get it. It`s only dirty
politics when someone does it to the Romney campaign.

Bullies don`t like it when they get punched back. I`m reminded from a
scene from a classic movie many people have enjoyed over the years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something had happened. A fuse blew. And I had
gone out of my skull.



DYSON: It will shoot you eye out.

But Senator Reid isn`t just hitting back with his fists. He`s hitting
back with information the Romney campaign obviously doesn`t want to
address. This past week, ABC news asked Mitt Romney a direct yes or no
question that he did his best to avoid.


DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: We know that there was one year where you paid
about a 13.9 percent tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking you a simple
yes or no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the
13.9 percent?

ROMNEY: I haven`t calculated that. I`m happy to go back and look.


DYSON: I ain`t got no calculator big enough to do that.

Romney said he was happy to go back and take a look, but when ABC
contacted the Romney campaign, they got the same old story.


REPORTER: A spokesperson would only reiterate, "Mitt Romney has paid
his taxes in full compliance with U.S. law and he`s paid 100 percent of
what he has owed."


DYSON: The tax issue is going to dog Mitt Romney throughout the
campaign, both by serious journalists and by hard nosed politicians who
knew how to take a fight from bell to bell.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: Which man needs to put up or shut up? Mitt Romney or Harry Reid?
Text A for Romney, text B for Harry Reid, to 622639, or go to our blog at I`ll bring you the results later in the show.

I`m joined by Congressman George Miller of California who has his own
questions about Mitt Romney`s finances.

Welcome to the show, Congressman.

REP. GEORGE MILLER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you. Thank you, Michael.

DYSON: Sir, are we going to, you know, get your latest inquiry
regarding Mitt Romney`s individual retirement account? You know, we`re
certainly going to do that in a moment. But, first, do you think Senator
Reid has done anything wrong here?

MILLER: No, Senator Reid hasn`t done anything wrong. Mitt Romney has
been dancing around the ring the whole time and finally Harry Reid cold
cocked him with a simple question, make your tax returns public. If you
what you say is true, then there can`t be any problem in releasing these
tax returns over the last many years, but he`s refused to do it.

DYSON: Yes, there`s no doubt that pugilistic metaphor does it, the
rabbit punches, the clenches, the referee is now -- you know, let`s throw
it to the referee and say you decide if we`re punching beneath the belt or

So, is it troubling to you that Romney won`t just release the tax
returns to disprove Senator Reid`s claims?

MILLER: Romney has the answers to the questions that have been asked
of him now for many, many, many months. They started asking him this
question in the Republican primaries. He refused to answer it then. He`s
refused to answer it now.

And the fact of the matter is he has the information. He can let the
truth come out. And it appears that the truth may be more costly to him
than continuing this battle of denial, denial, denial, that politically is
a killer for him.

DYSON: Yes, it`s like he keeps saying that old reggae song, it wasn`t

Financial disclosures show his IRA holds more than $100 million. You
and two of your colleagues in the House have sent an inquiry to the
Treasury and Labor Departments wondering if the contribution process for
the IRA is legal.

This is what you wrote: "We hope that you will evaluate this issue
carefully to insure that a select few are not being provided with a
loophole that allows for wrongful tax evasion."

So, what concerns do you have about Romney`s IRA?

MILLER: Well, I know first-hand experience, and talking to my
constituents, how hard middle income families work to try to scrimp and
save and set aside some money at the end of the month for their retirement.
We know that families aren`t doing very well because they don`t have enough
disposal income to make those contributions to their 401(k)s, to their

And, in fact, most middle income families have tens of thousands of
dollars in it.

When I read that he had amassed somewhere between $20 million and $100
million inside of an IRA, I want to know how.


MILLER: And what appears is he gets to manipulate, he gets to
manipulate the tax code. He gets to pick the value of the stock and the
contribution he makes to his IRA, knowing he has the inside information
about what the prospects and the future of the company will be that he put
the stock in.

If a middle income family wants to put the stock into their IRA,
they`ll have to wait until it`s on the stock market, it`s a public number.
Everybody buys it at the same price.

You know, this is an outright manipulation of the tax code and the
loopholes that are there. But the manipulation of this tax code, and if he
can put $100 million in tax free, you have to start asking, what does this
mean to middle income families?

I mean, these tax loopholes that the wealthy are using, people like
Mitt Romney are using to exploit the tax code are killing the middle class,
because that means their taxes have to be higher or the deficit has to go
higher. And neither one of these are good news for the American public or
for the American taxpayer.

DYSON: Yes, I know some brothers who think the IRA might stand for
"individual reparations accounts" when you get that kind of dough.

Congressman George Miller, thank you so much.

MILLER: Thank you.

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

Coming up, today`s job numbers are out and they were much better than
expected. President Obama and Mitt Romney disagree on how to qualify the
jobs numbers, so we have Steve joining us next.


DYSON: Coming up, July`s jobs report were above expectations. And
Republicans are working overtime to spin them in their favor. Mitt
Romney`s plan to end tax credits for wind energy puts him at odds with his
own party. Van Jones joins me to discuss Mitt`s hot air about leveling the
playing field and the potential impact on jobs.

And later, legendary rapper Nas will join me to discuss everything
from the state of politics to the state of hip-hop.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using the

We`ll be right back.


DYSON: Here`s the headlines that`s good for the American people and
also happens to be good for President Obama. The economy picks up steam in
the month of July with jobs numbers nearly double what had been predicted -
- 163,000 jobs were added in July, according to today`s report. That
includes government job loss of 9,000. Therefore, private sector job
growth was higher, 172,000 jobs added.

The unemployment rate ticked up but it was literally a tick. It rose
from 8.217 to 8.254 and was rounded up to 8.3. The unemployment rate can
tick up when more people reenter the job market.

Here`s President Obama.


OBAMA: We learned our businesses created 172,000 new jobs in the
month of July. That means that we`ve now created 4.5 million new jobs over
the last 29 months. And 1.1 million new jobs so far this year.

But let`s acknowledge, we have still got too many folks out there who
are looking for work. We`ve got more work to do on their behalf.


DYSON: Here`s a shocker. Governor Mitt Romney took a different view.


ROMNEY: Of course, today, we got a new number from the unemployment
report. It`s another hammer blow to the struggling middle class families
of America because the president has not had policies that put American
families back to work.

I do. I`ll put them in place and get America working again.



DYSON: The fact remains Governor Romney, under President Obama, we
have now seen 29 straight months of private sector job growth.

Let`s bring in Steve Benen, MSNBC political contributor and producer

Thank you so much for joining us.


DYSON: The numbers from July aren`t astounding, and President Obama
acknowledged that, but, Steve, they`re better than expected, and double the
numbers from the previous three months. Why don`t you help us flesh that
out a bit?

BENEN: Well, sure. You know, it`s clear that this is a step in the
right direction. That the numbers for April, May, and June were deeply
disappointing and suggested maybe we were headed to a danger place in terms
of the state of the economy.

But with this morning`s report kind of was a breath of fresh air and
brought relief to people. A much better than expected report and numbers
were double what we had seen in late spring and early summer.

And so, while we`re not where we need to be, and everyone accepts that
and realizes the importance of that, I also think it`s important to realize
this is encouraging. This is a step in the right direction and that kind
of puts us on a better path going forward.

DYSON: Sure, and to help clarify that, you put up another job
comparing job creation over the Bush years and Obama years.

Explain some of the highlights from such a comparison. I think it`s
very interesting and enlightening.

BENEN: I think it`s interesting that people kind of look back at the
Bush years as being not so bad, especially the first seven years of the
Bush presidency when it comes to job creation. But just this year, just
this calendar year, January through July of 2012, we have added about 1.1
million jobs. That`s not a great year and the year is want over, but just
that year is better than the first three years of the Bush presidency
combined and better than five of eight years Bush was in office.

Now, of course, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney got pretty much every
economic policy they wanted out of Congress. They got two massive tax
breaks. They got the regulatory policies they wanted, and yet the economy
never really took off. We never saw the boon that Republicans predicted.

Whereas, now we`re seeing the Obama presidency, of course, which
inherited the Great Recession working through the tough times, getting us
back on track, and so here we are with 1.1 million jobs in 2012 so far.
And when you compare this year versus the Bush presidency, it looks pretty

DYSON: Steve, what is it about the American populous that tends to
not understand the comparison you just drew so brilliantly? Because the
fact is that Obama has done a far better job than Bush did. And yet he
doesn`t get credit for that. Is it this Janet Jackson, what have you done
for me lately kind of attitude that really prevents the recognition of what
he`s actually done?

BENEN: I think it`s really just the shock of the Great Recession.
This was not a normal recession at all. This was -- you know, we have
these cyclical recessions throughout American history, throughout the 20th
century. But I think this was obviously the crisis and the crash, the
catastrophic conditions that happened in late September 2008 and then of
course kind of early through 2009, before the recovery began, I think this
was such a shock to the American people that it kind of devastated a lot of
us -- just economically, psychologically.

And I don`t think we`re nearly through with that. I don`t think we
have really recovered in any sense from that crisis. And so, I think that
people may have had unreasonable expectations. I think maybe people
thought the president would take office and all of a sudden, things would
get better, instantly, immediately. We`d see this robust recovery, and
that didn`t happen.

But, of course, that was unrealistic. There`s no way for that to
happen. The recoveries from that kind of crisis, from that kind of crash
simply don`t happen ever.

And so, I think the combination of just the severity of the recession,
the expectations were probably a little unrealistic, kind of leave this
lingering sense that Obama hasn`t succeeded when, in fact, he`s really
helped get the economy back on track.

DYSON: Steve Benen, thank you so much very much for the insight.

BENEN: Thank you.

DYSON: Wind creates energy and it creates jobs. But Mitt Romney
wants to end tax credits for it, and he has a whole lot of Republicans
lined up against it. Van Jones joins me next.

And the queen of porn endorses Mitt Romney for president. Jenna
Jameson says if you`re rich, Mitt is your man. Our panel will weigh in.

Stay tuned.


DYSON: Mitt Romney has managed to get a whole bunch of Republicans
annoyed with him because Mitt Romney wants to end the wind energy tax
credit. But many Republicans do not. Governor Romney made his position
clear through a spokesman.

"He will allow the wind credit to expire, and the stimulus
boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of
energy can compete on their merits."

Bear in mind when Mitt Romney says level playing field, he means a
completely non-level playing field in which the wildly profitable oil
companies continue to get government subsidies, government welfare.

Charles Grassley of Iowa definitely doesn`t want to end wind
production tax credits.

"I don`t think that`s the real position of the party, because they
said they were going to consult me on this stuff, and they haven`t gotten
my view."

Other Republicans disagreeing with Mitt Romney include Iowa
Congressman Tom Latham, Governor Terry Branstad, Senator Scott Brown of
Massachusetts and Arkansas Senator John Boozman.

The American Wind Energy Association says the number of jobs in the
industry stands at 75,000 and drives up to $20 billion in private
investment. Here`s an Obama campaign video on wind energy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The policies that President Obama has put forward
has been a great benefit to a small business like mine. Air and wind
recently received a loan that was supported by President Obama.

The loan we got is directly going to help us produce two to three
turbines. The loan we got has helped us sustain eight to 10 people plus
probably half a dozen sub-suppliers.


DYSON: Let`s turn to a man who can counter some of the hot air coming
out of the Romney side -- Van Jones, president and cofounder of Rebuild the
Dream and the author of the book by the same name, "Rebuild the Dream."

Van, welcome to the show.

VAN JONES, REBUILD THE DREAM: Glad to be here, sir.

DYSON: So, is Mitt Romney on the very wrong side of this?


JONES: You know, it`s almost an extension of his magical mystery tour
overseas. Every country he went to, he made mistakes and made people
angry, and he comes to the United States and then he makes everybody in
Iowa angry. I guess he just -- you know, that`s what he wants to do this
month, make as many people as mad as possible.

DYSON: Right.

JONES: This is a serious matter -- 75,000 jobs, is that a lot of
jobs? Well, there`s about 75,000 coal miners in the entire country and
there are 75,000 folks working in the wind industry. So, you`re talking
about critical energy industry in America growing, growing against gravity
in this awful economy. He`s willing to have 10,000 to 20,000 people thrown
out of work, but he won`t take on the oil companies, he won`t take on the

If he wants a level playing field, we`re all for that.

DYSON: Right.

JONES: We have a level playing, then wind would be competitive. The
reason wind is not competitive, one of many reasons, is because we do so
much subsidies on the other side.

So we`re talking about somebody who is willing to deal a devastating
body blow to a key energy sector for Americans and throw Americans out of
work for literally no reason, and even Republicans won`t go with him.

DYSON: Well, I was going to ask you that. How much push back will he
get from his own party? We gave you a sense, but give us a deeper sense of
how much push back it will get?

JONES: Good luck in Iowa. That`s what the Republicans are saying
right now. Good luck in Iowa.

You got family farms that are tanking right now. And some of them,
the only thing keeping them going is not only are they growing home-grown
food, they`re also growing home-grown fuel. A wind turbine on a family
farm can produce $10,000 to $20,000 per wind turbine, per family farm.

So, when you start pulling those wind turbines out of circulation, you
were dumping farmers overboard. That is not the direction the Republicans
want to go. But here is Mitt Romney. He`s so interested in currying favor
with the most extreme element in his party, he will do things to hurt the
American economy and even hurt other Republicans.

This is a very troubling sign.

DYSON: Well, this is a win-win situation on the energy and jobs
front, right? Because when you talk about creating new sources of not only
energy but of employment, it seems they go hand in hand.

JONES: We just saw these jobs numbers, and you know, thankfully,
we`re moving forward -- 4.5 million private sector jobs. Obama has done
better in four years, on private sector job growth, than George Bush did
with eight with a much better economy.

DYSON: Right.

JONES: But we have a long way to go.

One of the areas we can get more job growth is to diversify our energy
sector, compete with China and the rest of the world and build jobs here.
We have a Saudi Arabia of wind energy in America, in the plain states, off
our coast, up near the Great Lakes area. We need to tap that.

And every energy sector in our country, and in the world, it`s a
public/private partnership. The government always plays some role in the
energy sector. The question is: are you supporting the problem solvers in
the energy sector, clean energy, or you`re supporting the problem makers?

Mitt Romney is not against subsidies. He wants to subsidize the
problem makers and abandon the problem solvers of clean energy.

DYSON: Yes. And that`s a key difference.


DYSON: Let`s change subjects a bit here. The job numbers came out
today, much better than expected, stronger than expected. Do you think
that indicates a better fall? I know, you have some ideas that might help
the president out.

JONES: Well, I mean, one thing the president can do is part of the
reason we have this drag on the economy is because the housing market is
still terrible. You have one third of Americans who are underwater in
their mortgage. It used to be, you buy a house, you build wealth. You
have one third of Americans now, every time they write a mortgage check,
they`re losing wealth because their homes are not worth what they paying on
the mortgage.

Fannie and Freddie want to fix this. Obama has one person in his
administration, his name is Ed Demarco, who will not let Fannie and Freddie
reduce the principle, will not let Fannie and Freddie charge Americans
fairly for their homes.

Reports have now come up that say, listen, if Obama were to fire this
man and give us the opportunity to cut the principle, we could get a
million jobs, a million jobs right now, one guy Ed Demarco holding it up.
Obama should fire Ed Demarco.

DYSON: All right. You heard it from Van Jones right there. Thank
you so much my friend.

JONES. Very good.

DYSON: There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour of "the Ed
Show." Stay tuned.

What about you becoming a millionaire? All right?

JONES: It`s great.

DYSON: There is a lot more coming up in the next half hour on "the Ed
Show." Stay tuned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about becoming a millionaire?

DYSON: Retired porn superstar Jenny Jamison is taking a stand on
behalf of wealthy Americans in her endorsement on Mitt Romney. The big
panel weighs in next.

And rap legend, Nas, is dominated the charts with his new album. One
of hip-hop`s premier poets joins me for an exclusive interview.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a big job. I salute him for taking the
job. Now he`s got to handle it.




enforce our obscenity laws. I want to make sure that every new computer
sold in this country after I`m president has installed on it a filter to
block all pornography and that parents can click that filter and make sure
their kids don`t see that kind of stuff coming into their computer.


DYSON: Tell him, every wife, too. Welcome back.

It seems as though, former adult film actress Jenna Jameson has never
seen that video of Mitt Romney during his failed 2008 run for the White
House. Because last night at a San Francisco strip club, we weren`t there,
the porn star endorsed Governor Romney for president, saying, quote, "I`m
very looking forward to a Republican being back in office. When you`re
rich, you want a Republican in office."

Miss Jameson made her living doing what most Republicans would call
obscene and have tried to legislate against even if they couldn`t resist
participation, which brings us to tonight`s Dyson-ary.

Obscene, offensive to morality or decency, indecent, depraved. But,
you know what is indecent? What Republicans policy do for less fortunate
Americans. Republicans don`t seem to care about income disparity.
Republican don`t seem to care about the poverty rate. Republicans don`t
seem to care about low wages for working Americans. And while I won`t get
into Congressman Paul Ryan`s immoral budget.

So, let`s turn to the Dyson-ary for Republican definition of obscene.
Obscene, what Republican policies do to the middle class and the least
fortunate among us.

I`m joined by democratic strategist John Rowley, Patricia Murphy,
editor of Citizen Jane Politics and syndicated radio host Michael Medved.

Michael, let`s start with you. Is Ms. Jam Jameson correct, if you are
rich, you want a republic in office. And if you are a Middle class, is it
the obvious choice, Barack Obama?

the obvious choice is Republican, if you`re rich, the obvious choice is
choice is Republican and if you are middle class, the obvious choice is

DYSON: Now, tell us how does happen?

MEDVED: Here is a basic fact, Professor Dyson, the basic fact is
this, there is no way that you can have a growing economy and have the
middle class improving and have poor people getting ahead without rich
people also getting richer. We all another move forward or we move
backward together.

And by the way, you know who is proof of that, is Bill Clinton. Rich
people did spectacularly well under Clinton. Rich people did better under
Clinton than they did under George W. Bush.

DYSON: Yes. Obama wants those tax rates now, right? Obama wants
those kinds of same tax rates they prevailed during the Clinton
administration to be --

MEDVED: He doesn`t. He wants higher rates on capital gains. He
wants to tax investments far more than bill Clinton.

DYSON: Also, your argument about trick 8 down has been disproved so
thoroughly that not even people on the right will take it, you know, into

MEDVED: Hold on for a moment. Bill Clinton shows by lowering capital
gains rates. In the middle of his administration, that`s when the boom
kicked in. And Barack Obama wants to raise it way above the rates that
applied under Bill Clinton.

DYSON: Well, let me bring in our other guests. I don`t want to have
a one-on-one conversation with you, but of course Bill Clinton also had a
strong economy. Any congress that is willing to work for him before the
second term.

Patricia Murphy, do endorsements like this help or hurt Mr. Romney?

PATRICIA MURPHY, THE DAILY BEAST: I don`t think this endorsement is
going to have a big effect on Mitt Romney. He`s certainly not going to go
out there -- he really is compulsively G-rated. Obviously, we know he`s
not going to talk about this, not going to do anything about it. If
anything, I think it does just add fuel to the Democrats` fire. And I
think Jenna Jameson is actually speaking the truth. I mean, she`s a
retired porn star so she`s not as into porn. Now, she`s really an
entrepreneur. She`s worth about $30 million. I think most people who are
worth about $30 million really are going to vote for Republicans.

Republican policies really are much more favorable to wealthy people.
They want to get rid of the estate tax. That would be a big boon to
wealthy investors. If you`re wealthy in America, you`re probably going to
vote for a Republican. Jenny Jameson is just one of them.

DYSON: Yes. Well, let`s talk about what happens to the rest of
America, though, outside of that one percent where the concentration of
wealth at the top doesn`t begin to trickle down, doesn`t stimulate the
economy and hasn`t been good over the last several years of such failed
policies. But here is a campaign ad Romney was running during his 2008 run
for the presidency. Let`s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to see us clean up the water in which
our kids are swimming. I would like to keep pornography from coming up on
their computers. I`d like to keep the drugs off the streets, I would like
to see less violence and sex on TV and in video games and movies.


DYSON: This despite Utah and Atlanta, the bible belts and evangelical
right having such strongholds on them having also the highest incidents of
strip clubs and pornography. Romney has been silent this time around on
issues like pornography and violence, but a campaign aide reportedly
promised a crackdown on porn if Romney is elected.

John, what do you make of this?

JOHN ROWLEY, PARTNER, FLETCHER ROWLEY: It`s amazing and entertaining.
I just can`t wait to hear Mitt Romney at a press conference say the word
porn and talk about this. He can`t get utterances about easy policy
statements and pretty well prepared things that a standard candidate for
office can do.

And so, as he continues to Harry Carry himself, there`s a political
karma that has been generated. When you run a great campaign, great things
happen to you and fall from the sky. When you`re running a horrible
campaign, I would argue he`s one of the worst candidates in about 50 years
to be a nominee for either party in terms of campaigning skills, that I
mean, it`s really just amazing. And so, he`s generating this negative
energy that`s falling from the sky. And so, I can`t wait to hear him talk
about it.

MEDVED: If you want to talk about the cheapest of cheap shots, I`m
sorry. This was not an appearance with Mitt Romney and Jenna Jameson. He
hasn`t accepted or welcomed her endorsement at all. And her endorsement
isn`t even an endorsement. She was at a strip club to celebrate its
anniversary. The eighth anniversary of the operation of the strip club in
San Francisco.

She was talking in the green room and they were talking politics and
someone reported on it. It`s not as if somehow Mitt Romney has a huge
surge of support in the porn industry, which is by the way overwhelmingly
Democratic. As far as rich people are concerned, some of the richest
people in the country are in Hollywood. And people like Steven Spielberg
and Harvey Weinstein and the rest of them all endorse Obama and go to his
$30,000 a plate dinners.

DYSON: Let`s speak to this, the point is that she was making a point
about what people who are rich tend to do. So, the argument here is not
about whether or not she consciously endorsed Mr. Romney and whether he`s
consciously going to accept that endorsement.

The point is that people who are rich are attracted to Republicans who
are good for their bottom line. But not good for the bottom line for the
rest of America.

I wish we have more time, but we`re going to have to stop right here.

John Rowley, Patricia Murphy, and Michael Medved.

MEDVED: But, what you said wasn`t true.

DYSON: He is a multiplatinum artist who isn`t afraid to talk politics
who grew up against FOX News. Musician Nas joins me next to talk about all
that and more and his new album as well. We will be right back.


DYSON: Welcome back to "the Ed Show."

Tonight in our survey, I asked you which man needs to put up or shut
up, Mitt Romney or Harry Reid. Ninety one percent say Romney, nine percent
say Reid.

Up next, legendary hip-hop artist Nas shares his thoughts on the Obama
presidency, occupy Wall Street, and much more. We`ll be right back.



NAS, MUSICIAN: I believe is a system that has been here to keep
America the number one country in the world, but I haven`t seen anything
that politicians have done to help my peers, anybody I came up around. I
had to make raps to get out of the hood. They forgot us. Barack is a
different story.


DYSON: Unlike most entertainers who may be afraid of alienating their
audience by publicizing their opinion, legendary rapper, Nas, isn`t afraid
to get political. In fact, he encourages it. He`s out with a new album
that debuted did number one on the billboard charts called "Life is Good."

And this legend is here with me tonight, rapper Nas, legendary figure,
welcome to the show.

NAS: Thank you for having me, Mr. Dyson. It`s a pleasure to be here.

DYSON: Thank you, my friend. Look, let`s get right into it.

We just heard you in an interview from 2008 before the November
election saying that Barack Obama was different from other politicians.
Four years later, where do you stand on president Barack Obama. Then he
was a senator, now he`s president. What do you think about him so far?

NAS: I think he`s still that guy who cares about this country and
cares about the people in this country. I think he just stepped up into
the biggest seat in the country and that means that your job turns into a
multiple different things that the people don`t really necessarily know
about or are misinformed about, and he has a big job. And you know, I
salute him for taking the job, but now he`s got to handle it.

DYSON: Yes, no doubt. What do you think in terms of handling it, do
you mean that he`s the, obviously, he has got a lot of hateration (ph)
coming from people, the right wing and so on who have been on his case from
day one, even disbelieving where he was an American or not and some people
on the other side, African American people who said they he hasn`t done
enough for us.

What do you think about that? Do you think he is responding
adequately to the interests of black people and handling his job all at the
same time?

NAS: I think it`s interesting that he ran for the seat and that he
has it now and I`m a spectator waiting to see. And so far, I`m still at
the edge of my seat waiting. And it`s coming to that moment where there`s
another election coming up and I`m still waiting to see what happens and
how he handles his handle. And that`s basically where I`m at. I mean, of
course, we`re still in a messed up place economically. It`s not his fault.
So, can`t blame that on him but, something needs to happen.

DYSON: Yes, no doubt. So let`s turn to how you have gotten involved
in the political conversation. During the occupy wall street protests, you
released you tube message in support of the protesters and even visited the
Zuccotti Park. So, what is it about their message that really inspired you
that caught your attention down there at occupy wall street?

NAS: It`s people taking charge. It`s revolution. A revolutionary
that was spirit was in the people. It was time for a revolution. And the
people were standing out there and protesting. And you know, demanding
what, you know, that we try to fight in equality and economics, and that
one percent out there are people who are out of touch with reality, and
we`re trying to make them wake up and realize that we have to take care of
each other.

DYSON: Sure.

NAS: I love that.

DYSON: Yes. No doubt. Why aren`t more rappers, artists,
entertainers, engaged in that kind of political process, because here at
the height of the economic inequality you have brilliantly cited, a lot of
rappers are talking about the stuff they got, which we can understand, but
they`re not talking about the social conditions and plight and predicament
of the people? Why not?

NAS: They don`t know, we don`t know. I`m not an expert. And you
know, we had to get ourselves up out of the slums. And we were not
counted. So we`re still adjusting to being first generation millionaires.
And we got there by dreaming about it and speaking about the better life in
our music.

So once it happens for us, it`s just, we`re so far away from the
political things and laws and things like that that make this country move,
we never felt accepted, so we don`t feel like jumping in there now. But
the thing is we don`t really realize the power we have. And that`s very
important for us to pay attention to now. We have to.

DYSON: You certainly realize it. You had an ongoing feud for
instance with FOX News, particularly Bill O`Reilly. A lot of us are
cheering you on.

In 2008, you headed a petition with color of against FOX
News, you know, expressing your concern about what you and others felt were
racist portrayals of the Obama`s. You definitely weren`t shy about
touching on that in your song "sly FOX." Do you think anything is change
by now? Do you think it`s the persistence of the same ideas or things have

NAS: I think there`s some signs of maturity that we`re starting to
see because I think they were embarrassed. I think people - because
they`re starting to see, you know, Martin Luther King had to show America
where they were wrong at, you know, and had to break down that arrogance
that they had.

And I think it takes time for people to start learning that they were
arrogant and ignorant and there`s not much that has changed. I think
people disguise it better, but people are still confused. And I just
didn`t like what I was seeing out there. This was a great thing to see
Barack Obama come into office when he did come into office, and before he
got there, just all of the hate, I couldn`t take it. I mean, I`ll do it
again, the moment I see too much ignorance coming out of these people,
these ignorant people, I`m stepping up again. You know, I have a voice,
and I`m going to be heard.

DYSON: All right. Well, we`re glad to hear you tonight. Nas, please
stay with us.

Coming up, we`re talking about Nas` latest chart topping album and
I`ll ask him about the state of hip-hop. Stay tuned.


DYSON: He`s released eight consecutive platinum and multiplatinum
albums. You can tell I`m old school. I`m still calling them albums.
Since 1994, and sold over 13 million records in the United States alone.

Often rank is one of the greatest MCs of all time and one of the most
influential rappers of all time. Yes, I would say life is good, and that`s
the name of his new album, which is his sixth number one album of the
billboard 200 chart. Who better to talk about the state of hip-hop than
the legendary Nas.

And you know, I want to say, welcome back, of course, and
congratulations. I see the top 50 lyricists of all time, you were named in
that number, of course, by source magazine. And you were named number two.
And of the top five, only two of you, well, three of you are alive, rock
Kim, you, and Jay-Z. The other two are dead, Biggy and Pac, and two of you
are still making music, you and Jay-Z.

How do you account for your longevity? Here you are, what, 18 years
ago, you were a child prodigy releasing ill-matic, and you know, nearly 20
years later, you`re still at the top of your game. How do you account for

NAS: Man, I say passion, passion, me being an insane fan of hip-hop
music since I was a kid. And just really wanting to carry the torch and
really move people since I was a kid, since I first dreamed of being in the
music game. And I`m just humbled by it all, man. It`s amazing, truly is

DYSON: It is amazing because you were considered the most above
ground underground artist, so to speak. You have tremendous appeal across
the board. You`re on the top of the charts, yet you`re still seen as a
rapper`s rapper, MCs mc. How are you able to balance that out by talking
about the things you do on the one hand but interjecting the politics on
the other hand?

NAS: I think people can relate to a normal guy. Yes, there`s some
flash with the things I do. That`s rap music is about bragging and talking
about things that the average person doesn`t have or live. And you know,
but I think people see that regular guy in me. And they hear it in my
music, and I think you know, I humanize myself all the time in the music,
and I think that goes a long way.

DYSON: Right. Well, speaking of humanizing yourself, on this latest
CD, this is probably one of your more introspective albums. You talk about
your relationship to your former wife, Kelis. You spill the ink about the
devastation, the hurt, the pain, the agony, you two went through. Tell us
why you made the decision to discuss that so publicly.

NAS: Well, Mike, you know me. I`m pretty much a private cat, but
today`s game is all about the social media. And the social media is the
devil. It puts all your business out there. And my divorce was very
public. And so many people were talking about it. I felt like it was very
necessary to address it myself.

As I was recording the music, I tried to stay away from it for a
little while and I couldn`t. So I felt like it was just therapeutic for me
to put it all out there.

DYSON: Sure. And you talked about it not in a bitter sense, but in a
sense of loss. Lamenting what you all did have and could have had, and you
took responsibility for not being the best husband. I mean, you`re self
critical on this album.

NAS: Definitely. I mean, I wasn`t the greatest husband during the
whole thing. And I`m someone, I`m a fan of love. You know, and I always
saw myself getting married, you know what I mean? And that day finally
came, one of the greatest days of my life, and it hurt me to see it go bad.
I don`t like failure. And I failed. And you know, I put that all out
there. I needed to. I needed to address it and I wanted her to hear it.
Of course, I didn`t know show she would take it so far. She respects me
artist to artist. You know what I`m saying? She can respect that, and I
just had to get it out there.

DYSON: All right. 20 seconds left. In 2006, you said hip-hop is
dead. Is it dead or has your resurrection through your music and others
made it a living art form?

NAS: It definitely -- the spirit of it is alive. I try to put the
spirit into my music to give it that thing that I felt as a fan of it, and
as a couple great artists out there who are doing the same thing, I think
right now it`s on a respirator.

DYSON: All right, then. We thank you for breathing life into it.
Nas, one of the legendary MCs of all time, thank you for your time tonight.

NAS: Thank you, sir.

DYSON: That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed
Schultz. The "Rachel Maddow Show" starts now.

Good evening to the Nas of nighttime television, Rachel Maddow.

getting better and better, this gossip from Michael, I have to say. I must
tell you, you having Nas on is very, very cool. Ill-matic was absolutely
formative to my DNA. I would not be who I am without their record.

DYSON: Well, I could intuit that.


MADDOW: Have a great weekend, Michael.


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