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The Ed Show for Friday, August 10, 2012

Guests: Michael Eric Dyson, Paul Waldman, Bill Burton, Richard Viguerie, Ari Melber, Kelli Goff, Michael Maslansky, Derrick Pitts

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

Eighty-eight days until the 2012 election. Mitt Romney is in
desperation mode. Conservatives are turning on him, and he continues to
lie about welfare. The Obama team is hitting back.

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


AD NARRATOR: Have you seen this? Mitt Romney claiming the president
would end welfare`s work requirements. "The New York Times" calls it
blatantly false.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The president exposes Romney`s welfare ad for
the lie it is. Meanwhile, the Romney camp goes all in on their welfare

AD NARRATOR: President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare

SCHULTZ: Paul Waldman and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson are here with the

Righties continue to slam the hard-hitting Joe Soptic ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the president of the United States of America
makes that kind of accusation, that`s different from what Mitt Romney did.

SCHULTZ: Bill Burton of Priorities USA put out the ad, and he`s here
to respond.

The Catholic bishops called him budget immoral, and the Republicans
want him as the vice president.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I worship the ground that
Paul Ryan walks on.

SCHULTZ: Richard Viguerie thinks the young gun has a laundry list of
problems and he`s here to explain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rover, I think the science we`re going to get
out of it is amazing. I mean, the pictures are, of course, beautiful.

SCHULTZ: And the rover curiosity sends back stunning color images of
the Martian surface. Astronomer Derrick Pitts has the latest on the most
advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet.


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

The Romney campaign is spending half its advertising resources on a
commercial that is a total lie. Romney`s welfare attack on President Obama
is the latest falsehood Republicans going to ride. Today, the Obama
campaign hit back.


AD NARRATOR: Have you seen this? Mitt Romney claiming the president
would end welfare`s work requirements. "The New York Times" calls it
blatantly false. "The Washington Post" says the Obama administration is
not removing the bill`s work requirements at all.

And President Clinton`s reaction to the Romney ad? "It`s just not


SCHULTZ: The Obama camp wants to nip this in the bud. They see what
the Romney camp is doing. You see, folks, it`s August, and Mitt Romney
figured out he cannot win on a platform of cutting taxes for the rich,
deregulating industry, and just getting rid of health care reform, because
all three of those are losers in the polls with the people.

Instead, Romney has to make things up to scare people about welfare
queens coming to take their money. In this instance, the Romney camp is
completely ignoring the fact about the waiver policy. How many of you out
there across America know what the waiver policy is? Hasn`t been much
detail about it.

Let me explain. The Department of Health and Human Services,
basically, what they`re doing is giving states more latitude to meet the
work goals of the federal welfare program. This is what the states have
wanted for a long time.

For example, the state of Nevada wrote to the HHS Department in 2011,
"Nevada is very interested in working with your staff to explore program
waivers that have the potential to encourage more cooperative relationships
among the state agencies." Meaning, let`s get more people to work. The
Nevada director suggested installing a six-month work exemption.

Well, the federal government has worked directly with states on this
for more than three years, to meet many of these requests by the governors.
Oh, by the way, one of those governors was Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
These waivers, they have not been granted yet, but it`s in the process.

But Republicans like Newt Gingrich have come out and said, you should
really be worried about this waiver rule because you really don`t know what
President Obama might do with it.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: The ad sets up what I think
has not yet happened, but you have to ask yourself the question, why would
they waive -- why would they put in place a waiver if they don`t tent to
waive it? I am happy to say it hasn`t happened. The clue, it`s going to
happen if he gets re-elected, because otherwise, why would you set it up?


SCHULTZ: So, what`s happening here? Republicans are basically
relying on dishonest attacks like this because Mitt Romney -- he just can`t
get any traction. He is plagued by the one big unsolvable problem, and
that is his tax returns.

Today, Romney`s former finance chairman, Jon Huntsman, Sr., became the
latest Republican to ask for more information on Romney`s tax returns. He
says, "I feel very badly that Mitt won`t release his taxes and won`t be
fair with the American people. I have supported Mitt all along, I wish him
well, but I do think he should release his income taxes."

There is more. Mounting public pressure for Romney to come clean. A
new CNN poll shows 63 percent of the voting public, what do they want?
They want to see more returns. Nearly seven of 10 independent voters say
the exact same thing.

The GOP, you know what they are? They are struggling with how to deal
with this, and it really shows. This is what RNC chairman Reince Priebus
said today when asked a question about the birther movement.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Just as much of a distraction as it is
for people to ask for more and more tax returns, and all of these other


SCHULTZ: Really? So he`s now comparing 67 percent of independent
voters to birthers. Their logic is flawed.

How is he going to win swing states talking like that? That`s their

Mitt Romney would do anything to make this whole issue go away. In
fact, he told NBC`s Chuck Todd he hopes the Obama campaign would stop
talking about it.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our campaign would be helped
immensely if we had an agreement between both campaigns we were only going
to talk about issues and that attacks based upon business or family or
taxes or things of that nature, this is just --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Diversion? So are you going to throw out
something, a pledge or something?

ROMNEY: I would love to have -- only talk about issues. We could
talk about the differences between our positions and our opponents`

TODD: Are you going to offer something like this?

ROMNEY: Our ads haven`t gone after the president personally.


SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney has said his business experience is central to
his campaign because you see, President Obama doesn`t know how the economy
works. He only knows how the economy works. He knows the private sector.

Now, he says it`s off limits to talk ability his business and his
finances. The Republican Party, you know what they`ve got? They`ve got an
identity crisis, and Mitt Romney is a big part of it. When they panic,
they go back to the old attacks about welfare queens and free loaders
taking your money. It`s another reminder of how weak a candidate Mitt
Romney is and why he`s had such a bad summer, and it continues.

Get your cell phones out, we want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, will Mitt Romney`s welfare lie backfire? Text A for yes, text B
for no, to 622639. You can go to our blog and leave a comment at We`ll bring you the results later on in the show.

I`m joined tonight by MSNBC political analyst and Georgetown
University professor Michael Eric Dyson, and also with us, Paul Waldman,
contributor editor for "The American Prospect" magazine.

Paul, good to have you with us along with you, doctor.

Paul, you have said that this is one of the most dishonest campaigns
you have ever seen. What about this latest ad about welfare that the
Romney camp has put out?

PAUL WALDMAN, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT: Well, you know, usually when a
candidate misleads about his opponent or about a policy, there`s some kind
of tether to the truth. Either, you know, they either said those words but
they were taken out of context or something is kind of exaggerated.

In this case, they really do appear to have lost any concern about
whether or not what they`re saying is true. You know, in the ad, after
they get through talking about the part about Bill Clinton, pretty much
every sentence in there is false with the exception of "I`m Mitt Romney and
I approve this message."

But it really -- this issue is an old story for Republicans. It goes
back to the 1960s. It really exists at the nexus of class and race. You
know, Mitt Romney`s biggest political problem is the perception he`s a
candidate of, by, and for the 1 percent.

So he`s doing, I think, what Republicans have done for a long time,
which is to send a message to middle class voters that your resentments
shouldn`t be aimed up at the wealthy. They should be aimed down at the
poor. And even though they`re not making explicit racial argument, you
can`t ignore the fact there`s always a racial element to this in the minds
of voters. That`s something that the Romney campaign is not naive about.
They understand the kinds of reactions people have when you start talking
about welfare and those free loading welfare recipients who are taking your
hard working money and using it so they can goof off.

SCHULTZ: Well, there is a big difference between a PAC ad and Mitt
Romney saying I approve this ad. The "I approve this ad" portion is
backing up a falsehood about welfare and the waiver program which is
totally out to lunch.

Michael, why do Republicans always run back to issues like welfare and
as Paul mentioned, the racial end of it?

brother Waldman have been bringing here the nexus between wealth and middle
class is ever before us. And when you get weak as the Romney campaign is,
it has no arguments to make substantively against the president, it just
creates out of thin air all of these kinds of allegations that appeal to
the racial subtext that can be effectively appealed to without explicitly
taking responsibility for it. It`s that plausibility deniability.

So, here, they`re trying to suggest again as Newt Gingrich himself
said, the president was the food stamp president, even the food stamp
president accuser is saying that this is going too far. Mitt Romney is
doing what he has always done, denying his own history here, the Obama
campaign is brilliantly shown when he was governor, he was for the same
kind of waivers. Not only that, Ed, he put forth legislation that would
pay for free cars for welfare recipients and their insurance.

Let`s have that old Mitt Romney who can acknowledge he was much more
humane and compassionate. Now he`s employing the race card in subtle
fashion, that is a strategy that the Republicans fall upon when they have
not substantive argument to make against the president.

SCHULTZ: I think Romney has run this campaign so far into the ground
and alienated so many people and put out so many falsehoods, I don`t think
it matters who he picks as a V.P. I don`t think there`s a game changer out
there. I don`t think there`s anybody out there who can turn this around in
88 days.

Paul, I want to get back to the waiver thing. I want the audience to
understand how there`s a lot of governors out there who want this waiver
because they don`t want to have federal control when it comes to welfare.
How hard is it for a state to get a waiver?

WALDMAN: Well, it can be difficult. You need to be within the letter
of the original statute, then you need to get permission from the
Department of Health and Human Services. And you know, all that the Obama
administration is saying to governors is if you have some innovative
programs that will move more people into jobs, we`ll listen and we`ll look
at them, and as long as they`re carefully constructed and they have
measures to make sure that they`re producing what we want them to produce,
then we`ll consider granting you those waivers.

DYSON: Isn`t this what the Republicans --


WALDMAN: -- work requirement is just absurd. I means, this is
nothing of the sort.

SCHULTZ: Michael?

DYSON: Well, what`s interesting is that the Republicans always crying
for state`s rights. They`re always crying for keeping the federal
intervention in their local autonomy clear. Now, here is a clear example
where they`re arguing their own principles. Why? Because they hate Obama
so badly they would rather subvert their own principles rather than tell
the truth.

SCHULTZ: So, the Romney camp is spending the majority of their money
on this falsehood. I mean, Paul, do you think this is going to go through
all the way to November?

WALDMAN: I don`t think so. I mean, this is -- this does have sort of
a whiff of desperation about it.

Keep in mind, Republicans won the policy argument about welfare all
the way back in 1996. This kind of comes out of nowhere. And as I said, I
really think that his biggest problem is this perception that he`s only
going to do what`s in the best interest of the elite.

And so they`re kind of pulling out this argument that goes all the way
back to Richard Nixon and to Ronald Reagan talking about welfare queens and
Newt Gingrich in the `90s talking about midnight basketball. This idea
that your tax dollars are being taken to give to undeserving poor people
and black people, it`s an old song, but it doesn`t have quite the same ring
anymore, and it`s hard to imagine it`s going to be all that effective.

SCHULTZ: Michael Eric Dyson and Paul Waldman, great to have you with
us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

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

Coming up, the Romney campaign is hitting back at the president. But
has the damage already been done. Bill Burton of Priorities USA weighs in
to talk about the big commercial this week.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, it`s the commercial that`s been in the news cycle
all week long, that the Romney campaign is finally responding to the Joe
Soptic ad. But they`re still missing the point. Bill Burton of Priorities
USA on the right-wing response. That`s coming up next.

And more and more Republicans are hoping Paul Ryan will be on the
Romney ticket this fall, but not all conservatives are onboard. I`ll ask
Richard Viguiere who he would choose and just what`s wrong with Paul Ryan.
How come he`s not good enough?

And more amazing shots coming in from Mars Curiosity rover. Derrick
Pitts of the Franklin Institute on how the project is -- it`s really just
reigniting the country`s interest in the space program. We`ll talk about
that later.

Share your thoughts on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow. We`ll
be right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Good to have you with us

Mitt Romney is fighting back against a pro-Obama super PAC ad
featuring the story of former steelworker Joe Soptic. Yesterday, the
candidate called the ad inaccurate. Today, his campaign is hitting back at
the president with an ad of his own.


NARRATOR: What does it say about a president`s character when his
campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman`s death for political gain?


SCHULTZ: The Romney camp can try and attack the president, but it
can`t deny the facts. The decision by Bain Capital to lay off folks like
Joe Soptic had consequences. In Soptic`s case, he lost his health
insurance and his cancer-stricken wife didn`t have a fighting chance.

Joe Soptic is not alone. When you don`t have health insurance, you`re
playing Russian roulette with your future. No question about it. You
don`t have to take my word for it. Just ask Romney campaign spokeswoman
Andrea Saul.


ANDREA SAUL, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: To that point, you know, if people had
been in Massachusetts under Governor Romney`s health care plan, they would
have had health care.


SCHULTZ: So Republicans need to ask themselves a very fundamental
question, does Obamacare save lives?

Last night on the program, MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter made the
case, yes, it does.


should be focused on what are the consequences of repeal of Obamacare. And
the consequences as mike just indicated are death. Repeal equals death.
People will die in the United States if Obamacare is repealed.

If you have pre-existing conditions and you`re thrown off of health
insurance, you`re not going to go to the doctor as soon, your cancer or
whatever disease is not going to be caught as quickly, and your odds of
dying are much, much increased.


SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by Bill Burton, senior strategist for
Priorities USA Action.

Bill, good to have you with us tonight.

You, of course, are responsible for the ad that has caused so much
conversation this week.

And speaking of that, is this the conversation that was really the
mission of this ad? An outbreak of conversation about health care and
priorities in this country?

BILL BURTON, PRIORITIES USA ACTION: Well, the whole point here was to
talk about what Mitt Romney himself has said he wanted to talk about, which
was his business record. And when you look at the individual stories of
people who are affected by the decisions that Mitt Romney made, you see
that his business record isn`t all that great for middle class Americans.

SCHULTZ: They say the ad is inaccurate. Is the ad inaccurate?

BURTON: No, it absolutely is not. There`s not a thing in the ad that
is not accurate. And you know, today, I noticed that in an interview with
Chuck Todd, Mitt Romney`s begging and pleading that people stop attacking
his business record and taxes and that should be off limits. We shouldn`t
even talk about that.

I understand that Mitt Romney is kind of a glass jaw, but to say he
doesn`t want to talk about things that ought to be central in the campaign
was kind of stunning.

SCHULTZ: The response by the spokesperson, Andrea Saul, to this ad,
has created quite a firestorm this week in the conservative camp. Did you
anticipate that?

BURTON: No. They really fumbled the ball on that one. I mean, to
have a Romney campaign spokesperson basically saying that if Mitt Romney
was there, he would have been able to save folks from people like Mitt
Romney. I mean, it`s so incoherent, but to watch the Ann Coulters of the
world and the rest of the Republican establishment freak out about it was
really surprising.

But it just speaks to the abject incoherent you get from the Romney
campaign on a day to day basis.

SCHULTZ: Well, senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom says that the
president has lost his credibility over this ad. Your reaction to that.

BURTON: Well, I think it`s -- you know, it`s typically overstated and
hyperbolic. You know, we made this ad independently of anyone else. We`re
fully responsible for it. And the fact that they can`t take a conversation
about Mitt Romney`s business experience says much more about Mitt Romney`s
business experience than it does about the ad.

This is about having a conversation about the thing Mitt Romney says
is his central qualification to be president and he can`t have this

SCHULTZ: When you went to interview Mr. Soptic about his experience,
about losing his job and being outsourced, did you know about the situation
with his wife? Did you know about the situation of losing health care, or
did he offer that up to you?

BURTON: He offered that up. You know, we talked to a lot of folks
around the country in places here they were effected by these layoffs. And
you know, we sat down with them and just let them tell their stories. You
know, the truth is, a lot of it is sad. A lot of it is tragic.

Some of it we won`t even use, to be honest, because it`s so emotional
and devastating.

SCHULTZ: Your response to the accusation by first of all, Romney,
saying it`s inaccurate but that the ad should be pulled.

BURTON: Well, I mean, I don`t see why we would pull an ad that is
fully accurate, that tells an important story, the impact that Mitt Romney
had on a community. People lost their jobs, they lost their health care.
The communities are still recovering in many cases. So, I think this is an
important part of the discussion to be having.

SCHULTZ: Is this -- well, about that, is this the discussion that the
Obama camp wants?

BURTON: Well, I can`t speak to what those guys are doing, but as
people who want to see the president re-elected, I think it`s a very
important discussion that we`re helping to have on a national level, to
make sure that people are taking a hard look at what were the decisions
Mitt Romney was making? What is he responsible for?

SCHULTZ: Bill Burton --

BURTON: Yes, thank you.

SCHULTZ: Good to have with us tonight. Thanks so much.

Coming up, more and more Republicans are pushing for Paul Ryan. But
not everybody thinks he`s the right choice for the far right wing. A
longtime Republican makes the case next.

And new evidence that Republicans have been out to sabotage the
president since day one. The source, Joe Biden. Our panel will weigh in.


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

Mitt Romney is getting more and more pressure from the right wing to
put Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan on the ticket.


GINGRICH: The smartest strategic thinker in Republican elected office
today is Paul Ryan.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: I think Paul Ryan would be a great
selection. A great selection in part because he has done such tremendous
work, shown such courage.

CHENEY: I worship the ground that Paul Ryan walks on. I think he`s
an enormously a talented individual and he`s trying to do the right thing.


SCHULTZ: Mega donor Karl Rove has said Ryan would be a good choice.
Even Tea Party lobbyist Grover Norquist put in a good word for Ryan at


we want to go. We want the Paul Ryan budget. We just need a president to
sign this stuff, pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a
pen to become president of the United States.


SCHULTZ: Congressman Ryan has become a top contender in the Mitt
Romney veepstakes. He`s in the running with Ohio Senator Rob Portman and
Minnesota governor, or former governor, Tim Pawlenty.

But in the last 24 hours, Ryan`s stock has doubled on Intrade. It`s a
site based in Ireland that takes political bets. So far, traders have
reportedly bet almost $18 million on Romney`s pick for vice president.
Paul Ryan`s gained almost 10 points in the trading so far.

But not all conservatives think Ryan would be the best pick and the
best bet. A Republican stalwart is calling for a much more conservative
vice president.

And joining me tonight is Richard Viguerie. That is the man we`re
talking about. He is the chairman of the conservative

Mr. Viguerie, good to have you with us tonight on the program. You
have been --

RICHARD VIGUERIE, HQ.COM: Always good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet, sir.

You have been quoted in the "New York Times" that you`re not a real
fan, so to speak, of Paul Ryan as the choice of Mitt Romney if it turns out
that way, saying he`s too close to Washington, D.C. Does this disqualify

VIGUERIE: Well, I think most conservatives are fond of Paul Ryan.
He`s done yeoman`s work for our cause, but I think Governor Romney needs
something that`s going to bring more energy, quite frankly, than a
Washington insider. He`s got an image that he`s trying to overcome now of
being a big government type from governor of Massachusetts, Fortune 500

And there are millions of people, Ed, who became disaffected with the
Republican Party, during the Bush years. They left the Republican Party in
2006, 2008, they came back in 2010.

When the face of the Republican Party was not Mitch McConnell and John
Boehner, Karl Rove, George Bush, but it was the Tea Party. It was Mike
Lee, Rand Paul, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity --

SCHULTZ: So, Paul Ryan doesn`t fit in that category?

VIGUERIE: Not at all. He`s a good man. You know, his budget is not
as Obama. But it`s bad. He`s going to increase spending four trillion
dollars in the next five years. He doesn`t balance the budget for 28
years. America is looking for something more serious than that.

We know we have got serious problems. And anybody that proposes that
Congress, this Congress, commits the next 28 years to balance a budget,
that`s just not serious.

SCHULTZ: Who would be the best pick, Mr. Viguerie, for Mitt Romney?
Who would be the best pick?

VIGUERIE: Well, I knew you were going to go there, Ed. I don`t --
I`m very uncomfortable with giving anybody the kiss of death and saying the
conservatives really want this one. We have fortunately a very deep bench.
We have Senator Mike Lee of Utah, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, former Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.

SCHULTZ: Any of those are better than Paul Ryan?

VIGUERIE: Bobby Jindal of Florida --

SCHULTZ: Any are better than Paul Ryan?

VIGUERIE: Yes, I think so. They don`t bring the inside Washington
culture that Paul does. Paul is a good man. He`s carrying yeoman work in
terms of reforming the entitlement program, but he`s not going to bring the
excitement that is needed at the grassroots level to bring these millions
of disaffected right of center voters back into the Republican party like
the Tea Party did in 2010.

SCHULTZ: Well, is Romney doing enough to support the Tea Party
movement? And some suggest that his campaign is really in trouble. Your
friend Laura Ingram today, who is a conservative talker, says she doesn`t
want to be the skunk at the garden party, but Romney is losing. Do you
believe that?

VIGUERIE: Well, his campaign does seem to be running like a dry
creek, Ed. This is a very vulnerable president. He should be able to be
beaten and beaten fairly easily. But Romney, he seems to be surrounded by
Washington insiders, business as usual Republicans.

And people don`t like those. They don`t like being the Bush wing of
the party. They want something new, something fresh, somebody that is
going to come in and excite them and say, we`re not going to continue crony
capitalism. We`re not going to continue business as usual here. We`re not
going to grow the government massively, as Republicans and Democrats have
done for far too long.

You want somebody from out in the grassroots that`s going to be
convincing that they can bring change to Washington. And I don`t think
these Washington insiders, Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, Paul Ryan, Chris
Christie -- they`re established Republicans and they`re just going to
continue business as usual. Nobody`s going to believe they`re going to
come in with an ax to the tap root of government.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Viguerie, good to have you with us tonight. Appreciate
your time tonight. Thanks so much.

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




SCHULTZ: There`s shocking new proof Republicans want to sabotage
President Obama before day one. The panel weighs in on the number one goal
of the Republican party.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this rover, I think the science we`re going to
get out of it is amazing. The pictures are, of course, beautiful.


SCHULTZ: And the Mars Rover Curiosity sends back its first color
images of the red planet. Astronomer Derrick Pitts will update us on
Curiosity`s progress.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Our top political priority
over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.


SCHULTZ: Well, he means it. That`s no secret. Mitch McConnell wants
President Obama to fail. Over the past three years, we have watched
Republicans put partisan politics ahead of the American people. Look at
the number of filibusters.

And the proof is in the pudding, record number of filibusters, no jobs
plan, and a tax proposal that helps millionaires at the expense of the
middle class. There`s a new book out. "The New New Deal" confirms what we
have known all along. McConnell is leading the charge against President
Obama. Vice President Joe Biden tells author Michael Grunwald that early
on several Republican senators told Biden not to expect any cooperation on
major votes.

"The way it was characterized to me was, for the next two years, we
can`t let you succeed in anything. That`s our ticket to coming back."

Former Senators Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania,
both retired, have both confirmed they had these conversations with Senator
Biden -- Vice President Biden at the time. Former Senator George Voinovich
of Ohio tells Grunwald McConnell ordered his troops to oppose everything
President Obama proposed.

"If he was for it, we had to be against it." Explains a lot. Let`s
bring in our panel tonight, Ari Melber, "Nation Magazine," also Kelli Goff
of, and Republican strategist Michael Maslansky, author of the
book "The Language of Trust."

Michael, welcome to the program. Good to have you here the first
time. What do we make of this? There`s an author out there that has gone
out and spoken with some former senators that said that they were told
directly by McConnell, we`re not doing business. How do you defend that?

MICHAEL MASLANSKY, AUTHOR: I`m not going to defend that, any more
than Democrats should come out and defend Harry Reid for getting up and
talking about how Mitt Romney hasn`t paid any taxes without any proof. I
think it`s another example of the political debate in this country getting
to the point where there`s no accountability for certain things.

If it`s true, it`s not something that we should defend. But I do
think we can know back to the end of 2008, 2009, and remember where we
were. Obama was a new president. He had big majorities in both houses.
He promised a bipartisan approach to the world. He came in with a very
liberal agenda.

Whether McConnell set out to do this or not, he was going to protect
the Republican policy principles. So the outcome was going to be the same
whether he set out to do it for purely political purposes or for policy
reasons, when all is said and done.

SCHULTZ: In a sense, you`re defending the record number of
filibusters then, if it`s for policy purposes. But the point was this
journalist is pointing out, through two senators, that there was a stop
Obama at all cost. This is how we`re going to come back in 2008. Ari?

ARI MELBER, "THE NATION": Michael says if it`s true, and you`re in
the school of communication, so you have a neat trick there. We know that
it`s true, because as you said, Ed, we have a record number of filibusters.
There was about an average of one filibuster a year through most of the
history of the Senate, when that was on the table.

And under the first two years of Obama`s administration, there was a
record 132 filibuster votes. Thousands more that never even reached a
cloture vote. So we know from the fact that this has been the most
recalcitrant Congress in history.

What that means for people at home -- a lot of the audience a
filibuster deals with a super majority. What it means is you have things
like the Jobs Act that got a majority of votes, but because it was blocked
by a filibuster, you never had that majority pass the thing. That`s the

KELLI GOFF, THEROOT.COM: And with all due respect, there`s a little
bit of a equivalency there to invoke Harry Reid potentially floating a
rumor about a campaign and members of the Senate in Congress actively
saying we`re going to stop getting anything done in the name of politics,
people whose salaries we are paying.

And let`s just be clear, this book, while what they did is actually
very bad news for the president in terms of getting some of the things
accomplished that he wanted to, it`s very good news for his re-election
campaign. Here`s why: because every poll that Gallup has taken since
President Obama was sworn into office has shown one thing, a lack of trust
in Congress. It has been at an all-time low, a two decade low, where
American have blamed Congress for the Jobs Act not getting passed, Congress
for the economy.

Meanwhile, President Obama hasn`t faced the same level scrutiny, poll
after poll after poll has showed.


MASLANSKY: I think there`s two things that I would challenge there.
First of all, everybody puts politics over policy. It happens on the left
and it happens on the right. To suggest that it`s not happening on both
sides is to be ignorant of what is going on.

GOFF: -- come out and say that the left has said, we don`t want to
get anything done, then we can talk about that.

MASLANSKY: It`s bad. It shouldn`t be defended.

GOFF: That was their marcher orders.

MASLANSKY: At the end of the day, the Republicans followed this
policy. They filibustered. Certain things didn`t get passed. Why? The
American people didn`t support it. Because -- you know how we know that?
Because in 2010, there was a massive shift to the right, two years after
those policies happened. Right? So the American people had the
opportunity to speak, to either say they want more of what the Republicans
are doing or they want more of what Obama is doing. Guess what they chose?

GOFF: President Obama wasn`t up for re-election. You can say --


SCHULTZ: -- in `09 and `10. I mean, there was nothing. There was
only a couple Republicans that voted with the stimulus package to start
with. They were all against health care, had to go reconciliation for the
health care package. But their strategy was to stop everything. Where
does that leave the Republican party right now in this campaign season,

GOFF: The other thing I would challenge too is to say that they spoke
loudly about -- it was a referendum on his administration. Yet you`re
conceding the point that things weren`t getting done because Congress was
actively working against them to make sure things weren`t getting done.

It`s not entirely fair to say that it`s his administration --


MASLANSKY: Apparently, because they wanted to support it. If they
didn`t want that to happen, they had every opportunity. Come on. They had
every opportunities to shift Congress in favor of the Democrats. Right?
Did that happen? It didn`t happen because the American people basically
spoke and said that they weren`t upset with the lack of things getting

And the bottom line is that the policies that they stopped, they were
liberal policies that were out of step with the American public. They were
about green jobs instead of good energy. It was about health care reform
and a very liberal approach to health care reform. It was about education.


MELBER: Can I get a quick turn? You`re talking about the agenda.
Let`s talk about the agenda. Among items that were filibustered, the Jobs
Act, the 9/11 Act, Pentagon spending, collective bargaining for emergency
workers, the Senior Citizen Relief Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, end
offshoring, the Disclose Act. Several of those have super majority support
among public opinion.

You`re putting forward a theory. Your theory is that our democracy
works really well and represents the public. I have a different theory,
and that is that you have items that are very popular, from supporting our
troops to supporting jobs to supporting public disclosure in campaign
spending, and they`re being blocked in Congress because democracy isn`t
working. I think that`s the difference of opinion here.

SCHULTZ: Let`s turn to this campaign right now. We have 88 days to
go. The president running against a do-nothing Congress. How does it

GOFF: Well, it works well for him because a lot of -- especially
hearing this, this book is like handing the Obama campaign a gift.

SCHULTZ: What should Romney do with this information? Is this going
to be an accepted strategy to run on for the Republicans?

GOFF: The only thing I think he could do is actually denounce and say
everybody should be going to the Hill and trying to work together. That`s
what he should say. But the reality is, I mean, this is --

MASLANSKY: I think we have just tested a whole series of ads on
talking about working together. The fact is that that ship has sailed.
Obama -- I think largely thanks to Obama, the American public doesn`t
believe that line, whether it comes from Democrats or Republicans anymore.


MASLANSKY: I think on both sides, there`s been a real lack of desire
to reach across the aisle. I also think just as a strategy from Romney`s
perspective, if I`m in his camp -- look, I think from the Obama
perspective, running against Congress is a great idea. For Romney`s
perspective, this is a clash of two wildly different philosophies about
government and governing, and that his campaign has to be about those
different philosophies.

SCHULTZ: Tax cuts for the rich? Extending those for the wealthy,
that`s where Romney is. That doesn`t poll well at all.

MASLANSKY: Of course, when it`s conveyed that way.

SCHULTZ: It`s fact.

MASLANSKY: When it`s talking about -- then why isn`t Obama polling at
over 50 percent consistently?

MELBER: There`s also a clash between the philosophy of universal
health care, which was Romney`s philosophy about six years ago, and the
philosophy of Romney today. The biggest clash is between the Romney that
was and the Romney that is.

SCHULTZ: Great discussion. Ari Melber, Kelli Goff, and Michael
Maslansky, great to have you with us on the program the first time.

Coming up, Republican lies ran rampant on the state level. Karl
Rove`s dark money group is busted running a false ad where? In the middle
of the country, in North Dakota. We`re calling him out next. Stay with


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Now, this week on the program
we have been documenting the lies from the Romney campaign on the
presidential race. But guess what, they`re lying all over the place, in
House and Senate races all over the country.

Let`s go to fly-over country, North Dakota. Karl Rove`s Crossroads
GPS has been busted running a false ad in the Prairie State. Now Rove`s
dark money group put out a TV ad hammering North Dakota Democrat Heidi
Heitkamp, who is running for the United States Senate.

The commercial claimed that Heitkamp, when she was North Dakota
attorney general, that she used taxpayer dollars to buy private planes.
The claim is a flat-out lie. And the ad is no longer running. The planes
were given to Heitkamp for free by the federal government and used for drug
trafficking surveillance. No money was ever spent, and the planes weren`t
for private use at all.

Heitkamp responded to the bogus commercial on my radio show earlier


HEIDI HEITKAMP (D), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: They accused me of securing
a private plane with public money, which was completely false, absolutely
untrue. And we were able to push back and get them to pull the ad. So
that`s the good news, but the bad news is they`re going to continue to lie.
They`re going to continue to distort. They`re going to continue to say
things like she raised energy taxes when that`s absolutely not true.

And you know, we just have to get people to understand you can`t
believe a word out of these folks` mouths.


SCHULTZ: Rove`s group had intended to spend over 190,000 dollars
running the false commercial in North Dakota. Heitkamp also told me she
expects Rove to spend 1.5 million dollars attacking her. This is
definitely a very tight Senate race to watch.

Tonight, our survey, I asked will Mitt Romney`s welfare lie backfire?
Ninety seven percent of you said yes; three percent of you said no.

Coming up, the Mars Rover Curiosity sends back its first color images
of the Red Planet. Astronomer Derrick Pitts will update us on the
mission`s progress next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And liftoff of the Atlas Five with Curiosity,
seeking clues to the planetary puzzle about life on Mars.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In Big Finish, well, it was
eight months and 350 million miles. The Rover Curiosity safely touched
down on Mars. Big story this week. It`s been five days since the rover
made its dramatic landing and NASA engineers say everything is going as

Curiosity is now sending back stunning 360 degree pictures of Mars.
The detailed pictures show the Gale Crater with Mount Sharp in the
distance. Scientists plan on taking the rover to Mt. Sharp to study rock
samples in the future.

Curiosity has captured the American public`s attention and its
imagination in recent days. In fact, I think NASA hasn`t seen this kind of
positive attention since the Apollo Space Program back in the `60.

The Rover Curiosity created a media frenzy for the space program it
hasn`t seen in a long time.


STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": At 1:30 a.m., America Standard
Time, NASA`s Curiosity Rover touched down on the surface of Mars.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NASA just hit a galactic hole in one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touchdown confirmed. We`re safe on Mars.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going from 13,000 miles an hour to zero.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: A successful touchdown on Mars. The
incredible images that NASA`s rover is beaming back from the Red Planet.


SCHULTZ: The Rover Curiosity is great news for NASA, but even better
news for the American public. Let`s turn to Derrick Pitts, chief
astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. He`s been designated
by NASA as an astrobiology ambassador.

Derrick, great to have you back with us again.


SCHULTZ: These pictures, high definition pictures are absolutely
fantastic and stunning. What can we learn from these pictures that we`re
getting back?

PITTS: Well, Ed, the pictures are going to tell us a tremendous
amount about the area where the rover is now. For example, we can already
look around and identify on the surface that there are lots of pebbles
around on the surface. That tells us something about some mechanism of
erosion for the rocks that are there.

We can also see that from the blast from the landing rockets -- that
underneath some of that dust that`s right on the surface there, there`s
bedrock right there. So that gives us another hint about the geology
pretty easily.

We can also look at the color of the material there. And that tells
us that there are both different textures and different materials. That
all goes toward the hunt for the environment that might have been conducive
to life on Mars.

SCHULTZ: What else are scientists going to learn from the rock
samples? This is going to be pretty fascinating stuff.

PITTS: They`re also going to learn from the rock samples how variable
the environments have been in this particular area. For example, things
like if water was part of the environment that was here near Gale Crater,
as the rover makes its way up toward Mt. Sharp, how much water was there in
the past. How long did that water stay there? How did it get around on
the surface? Did it have an affect on the geology? What kind of minerals
are there? What might we expect to find in other places like this, as well
as helping to identify the kinds of places we should think about as targets
for the very next mission that goes there.

And ultimately, a place to send astronauts in the future.

SCHULTZ: They`re expecting dust storms pretty soon. What does this
mean for the mission?

PITTS: In previous missions, having dust storms come along were --
that was a big concern, because dust distributed on the upper solar panels
would decrease the amount of sunlight coming in and thereby decrease the
batteries. For this particular rover, it`s nowhere near as much of a
challenge as it was for the other rovers. This one has its own power
supply, certainly good for the next two years of the primary mission, and
estimated to live probably for another eight years after that.

So we`ll be able to see what happens with the dust storm as it goes
by, but nowhere near as much of a concern as for the other rovers.

SCHULTZ: Are we going to dig down into the surface somewhat with this

PITTS: Well, the thing that`s going to happen with this rover is not
only are we going to dig down into the surface, but we`re also going to
drill into rock as well. So in doing both of these, either if we get the
sample from a rock face or if we get the sample from on the ground, the
material will be scooped up and dropped into internal laboratories, if you
will, that will examine the material to see what its composition is.

This is a great step forward, because all kinds of really wonderful
and complete analyses can be done this way.

SCHULTZ: When are we going to put an American on Mars, do you think?

PITTS: Not soon enough I think is the answer to that, when Ed, it
looks like it`s probably not going to be until 2030 or so. But if it could
happen sooner, that would bring us that much closer to figuring out the
question, that age-old question about life somewhere else out there.

SCHULTZ: All right, Derrick Pitts, great to have you with us on THE
ED SHOW tonight. Thank you.

That`s THE ED SHOW, I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.

I want to tell you that someone suggested on my radio show that you
and I should have a two-person beach volleyball team. I said I don`t know
if we would qualify for Olympic competition, but I do know one thing. You
would have to cover a lot of ground.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: You know what, Ed, I will do that if you
and I can come to an agreement that we`re both going to wear the same
outfit while doing it.

SCHULTZ: I`ll -- I`m easy. I`ll wear whatever you want.

MADDOW: Excellent. Thanks, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Have a good weekend.


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