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The Ed Show for Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

August 16, 2012

Guests: Wendell Potter, John Garamendi, Zach Stallberg, Steven Singer, John Nichols, Ruth Conniff, Gerald Casale

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW live from Minneapolis.

Eighty-two days until the 2012 election, Mitt Romney traded in his
etch-a-sketch for a whiteboard, trying to go back to the basics on

It`s a little more complicated than that, Mitt.

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


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president`s plan cuts
Medicare -- excuse me. Well, let`s see. There we go.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The Romney campaign to end Medicare as we know
it picks up Karl Rove`s whiteboard and George Bush`s playbook.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: In my line of work, you got to
keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Wendell Potter on the nonstop Romney lies.
Jonathan Alter on the possibility these lies could work.

ROMNEY: The fascination with taxes I`ve paid I find to be very small

SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney dumps gasoline on his tax return fire. We have
an exclusive response from Senator Harry Reid.

"The Associated Press" nails Paul Ryan on his request for stimulus
funds. And Ryan pulls a Palin to try and dodge the question.

REPORTER: You had asked for stimulus money for your district. Is
that accurate? Is that report accurate?

stimulus. I don`t recall. I haven`t seen this report, so I really can`t

SCHULTZ: And when a problem comes along, you must whip it.


SCHULTZ: Tonight, Devo`s Jerry Casale premieres the song dedicated to
Mitt Romney`s dog.


SCHULTZ: Thanks for watching.

Seven years ago, a major political figure in this country explained
the truth about Republican politics. There is no doubt the Romney campaign
is currently following his advice.


BUSH: In my line of work, you got to keep repeating things over and
over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the


SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican Party
are using the Bush philosophy when it comes to Medicare. Last night on THE
ED SHOW, Howard Dean told us the origins of this strategy.


HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: They`re starting to do a lot. What
they`re using is an old propaganda techniques that were actually used by
the Soviets years ago. They say something that`s not true and they`re
going to spend $200 million saying it again and again and again, hoping
that somebody believes --


SCHULTZ: Today, Mitt Romney was back at it. He used a whiteboard and
a magic marker to catapult more Soviet-style propaganda about Medicare.


ROMNEY: Today`s seniors, if you will, my plan presents no change.
The plan stays the same. No adjustments. No changes. No savings.

The president`s plan cuts Medicare -- excuse me. Well, let`s see. I
got -- there we go. By $716 billion.


SCHULTZ: Aside from the names on that board, Obama and Romney, every
word on Romney`s board is a flat-out lie.

So I thought maybe tonight I`d show everyone what a comparison of the
two plans for Medicare really looks like. This is the Big Eddie board of

Now, it`s very simple. Under President Obama`s plan, there are no
benefit reductions. Got it? No benefit reductions at all.

The Romney/Ryan plan kills Medicare as we know it. And what`s going
to happen? Costs are going to be going up for seniors by $6,000. It`s
very easy to put on the board.

This is why I think Romney likes his board. He can change stuff a

If Mitt Romney is going to repeat a lie over and over again, you know
what we`re going to do? We`re going it be using this board a lot to tell
the truth.

You see, folks, the $716 billion is savings. President Obama
redistributes the money to seniors in the form of preventative care and
prescription drug savings, which they are already enjoying. Mitt Romney
takes those savings along with another $1.3 trillion and uses it to pay for
tax cuts for the rich.

Seniors, what`s going to happen? You`re going to have to pay more.
You`re going to have to pay more for care, whether you can afford it or

Now, folks, this is the simple truth. Republicans don`t have the
truth on their side. So what do they need to do? They need to go to the
simplest form of a whiteboard and they still lie. You know, you can tell a
lie on an etch-a-sketch, you can tell a lie on a whiteboard. I thought
Romney did a pretty good job of lying today. What do you think?

George Bush was catapulting propaganda in order to do what? Back in
2005, privatize Social Security. After he got elected, that`s the first
thing he did, he went to Fargo, North Dakota, to start talking about
privatization of Social Security, private accounts. Remember those days?

Romney and Ryan are trying to do the same doggone thing with Medicare.
The lies are no different this time of around.


BUSH: I want to start by saying to people who are getting their
check, people who are born prior to 1950, the system will not change when
it comes to you.

ROMNEY: Making sure it`s there for current seniors, no changes by way
for current seniors or those nearing retirement.

BUSH: So people have to understand when we start talking about Social
Securities to strengthen the Social Security system for generations to

RYAN: Governor Romney and I will protect and strengthen Medicare for
our current seniors and for our future seniors of tomorrow.

BUSH: It`s the folks coming up that you need to worry about. See, if
you`re a grandmother, you`re going to get your check. You need to be
worried about your grandson.

RYAN: They`re more worried about their next election than they are
about the next generation.


SCHULTZ: In 2005, George Bush`s lies when it came to privatizing
Social Security, it didn`t work. And in the end, Republicans abandoned his
push for privatizing Social Security. He couldn`t get it done.

But this time, you see, the Republicans have a secret weapon. Watch
these campaign ads and then watch the prediction that I made about these
ads on Tuesday night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick would never do anything to harm Social
Security or Medicare. In fact, it`s one of the main reasons he`s running.

ALICE WALBERG, TIM`S MOM: You wouldn`t do that to your mom, would
you, Tim?

TIM WALBERG: I wouldn`t do that to anyone. I`ve always supported
Social Security and I`d work to make it secure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark Amodei thinks a plan that would end Medicare
is, quote, excellent.


SCHULTZ: How long before we see Paul Ryan`s mom on the campaign


SCHULTZ: Well, the answer is four days later. Paul Ryan`s mother,
78-year-old, respect her, Elizabeth Ryan Douglas. She`s loves her son, but
she`s going to join her son on the campaign trail this weekend. Where?
Well, down in Florida.

Now, there is no way the Romney ticket would be able to defend such an
unpopular proposal in a senior-heavy state like Florida. So instead, Paul
Ryan will go there with his mother.

You know what she`s going to say? Respectfully. She`s going to say,
Paul would never do anything to harm Social Security. And people will
probably believe her. Then Ryan will say, President Obama has stolen $716
billion from Medicare. People are going to probably believe him.

The truth is at stake in this election, my friends. Republicans want
to make sure the truth is on the losing end. And they`re going to make it
real easy for everybody to understand. They`re going to use the
whiteboard, I think, an awful lot, because you can erase this and then put
something else back on. You can switch stuff around. You can adjust the
lies a lot faster as you go along.

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

Tonight`s question: Will Mitt Romney`s Medicare propaganda work? Text
"A" for yes, text "B" for no to 62263. You can go to our blog at and leave a comment. We encourage you to do that. We`ll
bring you results later on in the show.

I`m joined tonight by MSNBC political analyst, "Bloomberg View"
columnist, Jonathan Alter, and Wendell Potter, former communications
director and vice president of Cigna, and now with the Center for Public
Integrity and author of the book "Deadly Spin." And that`s the cycle we`re
living in right now, "Deadly Spin".

Jonathan, let`s start with you tonight.

Are Democrats doing enough to counter this lie? I mean, it`s very
clear in recent days, day after day, they are not -- the Republicans, this
team, Romney and Ryan, they are not going to back off this Medicare lie.
What do the Democrats do?

starting to combat it, Ed, but they need to do more. And there`s time to
do more. And you have to remember to look at the glass half full if you`re
a Democrat, that every day that we`re talking about Medicare is a bad day
for Mitt Romney.

Remember, he wanted to keep the whole focus on jobs and how Obama
wrecked the economy and everything else. Instead, they`re talking about an
issue that has until 2010, and that`s a very important "until," has favored
the Democrats.

And the reason that it`s favored the Democrats is that the American
public used to know and can be reminded that the Republicans don`t believe
fundamentally in these programs. Remember, Paul Ryan was the main champion
of George W. Bush`s plan to privatize Social Security in 2005.

SCHULTZ: Yes, he was.

ALTER: Imagine what would have happened in 2008 to the savings of
seniors had they been in private accounts in the stock market as Bush and
Ryan wanted? They would have lost their retirement, right?

SCHULTZ: No question about it.

ALTER: So they believe -- they believe -- these folks believe in
privatization of these programs. Eventually, Ed, the reason that I`m
pretty confident this will work for the Democrats, despite the lies that
are flying back and forth, is eventually people will recognize that they
trust the Democrats more than the Republicans to protect their retirement

And in the meantime, the Democrats have to be honest, too. For
instance, it isn`t a lie to say that they`re not -- that Romney is not
right now touching Medicare for seniors. It`s going to be for people 55,
you know --

SCHULTZ: Sure. They`re trying to set the table --

ALTER: They`re trying --

SCHULTZ: They`re trying to set the table to start the wheel turning
that eventually some day they can get rid of it. Here`s more of Mitt
Romney at his whiteboard today. Here it is.


ROMNEY: Which of these two do you think is better? Going bankrupt or
being solvent? Well, obviously, being solvent.


SCHULTZ: Wendell, is there any truth to Mitt Romney saying that
President Obama will bankrupt Medicare?

What the president has done through the Affordable Care Act is extend the
solvency of Medicare for several years, and if Romney goes forward with his
plan on what he says he would end those cuts, then he would accelerate the
insolvency of Medicare. So he`s completely off base there.

But what he is doing is using the rhetoric, as you said, to try to
confuse people. He`s using terms like "patient-centered reform" in a
positive way. Whoever, whatever that means. And he`s saying he`s against
government takeover of health care, which is what he describes the
Affordable Care Act as.

So they`re very, very careful to use those kinds of terms that come
straight from the insurance industry. Mitt Romney is a favorite of the
insurance industry. I heard him address an industry group when I was still
working for the industry back in 2007 and 2008.

And he`s obviously following what they want them -- what they want him
to say.

SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, this is no doubt a slippery slope toward
privatization. This is just the beginning. And if they had done Social
Security back in 2005/2006, as Jonathan pointed out, who knows where that
would have gone. But that was just the beginning of privatizing

Now, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is taking the
Medicare strategy to the airwaves. Here it is.


NARRATOR: Benishek voted to essentially end Medicare, forcing seniors
to pay over $6,000 more a year.


SCHULTZ: Jonathan, are Democrats going to be able to make this a
down-the-ticket issue? Is this going to count in down down-ticket races?

ALTER: I think it will and I think it will help Democrats hold the
Senate and pick up seats in the House, and an outside chance of taking the
House. This is an issue that people care about a lot. The president, as
Wendell indicated, has actually done things to not just secure the future
of Medicare, but provide some immediate benefits in closing the so-called
donut hole that hurts seniors on prescription drugs and other kinds of
things that they can see as tangible achievements.

So I do think that this will help Democrats in November.


And finally, Wendell, the money that was taken away from the insurance
industry as far as subsidies, can we view that and maybe this is the way it
is, you tell me, tell our audience, is this what the insurance industry
gave up to get more people involved to lift their profits? Straighten that
out for us.

POTTER: Yes. The -- during the Bush administration, they started
giving insurance companies a bonus to participate in what`s called a
Medicare Advantage program, the private replacement for Medicare. And the
whole idea was if insurance companies could get into Medicare, they could
operate more efficiently.

It`s been the opposite. They`ve had to pay them a lot more, just to
stay in the program.

So what the president`s trying to do is to end those bonuses over the
long haul. And that is one of the ways we achieve these savings. The
insurance industry doesn`t really like that. They`d love to have Romney in
the White House to be able to restore that. That`s one of the things they
would love to have restored.

SCHULTZ: Jonathan Alter, Wendell Potter, great to have both of you
with us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

ALTER: Thanks, Ed.

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

Coming up, Mitt Romney claimed he`s paid taxes every year and never
less than 13 percent. Are we to take this guy at his word?

Congressman John Garamendi of California weighs in on that.

Stay with us. We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, Mitt Romney re-opens the tax files. Find out
what he says about his taxes and the people who want answers, next.

And Pennsylvania`s voter ID law could disenfranchise over 750,000
voters this November. I`ll talk to two people who are on the ground who
are keeping up the fight for voters` rights. What are they going to do?

Stay tuned. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Now, Ann Romney says it is case closed when it comes to her husband`s


ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: We have done what`s legally required
and there`s going to be no more, there`s going to be no more tax releases


SCHULTZ: Yet, here`s Mitt Romney talking about his taxes today.


MITT ROMNEY: The fascination with taxes I paid I find to be very
small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face. But I did go back
and look at my taxes and over the past ten years, I never paid less than 13
percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 percent or something like
that. So I`ve paid taxes every single year.


SCHULTZ: So I guess we`re just going to have to trust Romney on that
13 percent.

The Obama campaign is hitting back. "We have a simple message for
him. Prove it."

Romney`s 13 percent assertion is a far cry from Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid`s claim that a Bain Capital investor told him Romney paid
nothing in taxes over the past decade. Here`s Romney`s response to that.


ROMNEY: Harry Reid`s charge is totally false. I`m sure waiting for
Harry to put up who it was that told him who he says told him. I don`t
believe it for a minute, by the way.


SCHULTZ: Reid`s office gave THE ED SHOW this statement that reads in
part, "We`ll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney release his tax
returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he`s hiding."

Romney is sweeping the issue under the rug. I mean, here`s what`s
happening. He`s calling people concerned about his tax returns small
minded? Well, recent polling shows that 54 percent of Americans want to
see Romney`s tax returns. If Romney`s -- is Romney calling the majority of
the people in this country small minded?

I mean, this is the issue for American voters because it goes right to
the concept of tax fairness. The question is, will Romney`s tax policies
tilt the playing field in favor of the wealthiest Americans even further?
You better believe it will.

Let`s turn to Congressman John Garamendi of California. He joins us
tonight on THE ED SHOW.

John, great to have you with us, Congressman. Thank you.

Harry Reid made his claim about Romney`s taxes over two weeks ago and
the candidate is still bringing it up and talking about it.

Why has it taken Romney this long to address the issue?

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I`m not at all sure he has
addressed the issue. Listen carefully to what he said. He said, I paid 13
percent in taxes.

What kind of taxes? Are we talking about fees on his five Cadillacs?
Are we talking about payroll taxes? Or are we talking about federal income
taxes? That`s not clear.

But more important than all of this, Ed, is where is his mind on tax
policy? He`s made it very clear, his tax policy that he`s put forth and
also with vice president designee or whomever, Ryan, would reduce Mitt
Romney`s taxes last year to 0.82 percent. Less than 1 percent would he
have to pay under his proposed tax policy. This is where we really need to
understand what is in this mind, what is he actually doing, so that we can
then figure out how he would act as president when tax policy comes up
which it must come up.

SCHULTZ: You know, I found it very interesting when he said that he
has never paid anything under 13 percent. Almost trying to make the case,
it seems like, to infer to the American people, you know, I`m really paying
a lot. You know --

GARAMENDI: Ed, he`s --

SCHULTZ: I found that absolutely amazing.

GARAMENDI: He`s paying what a single person making $40,000 would pay
of percentage. Come on, this man is making millions and millions every
year and paying 13 percent. Somebody out there working on the street,
making $40,000 a year is paying the same percentage of their income in
taxes, not including the payroll tax, which the payroll tax for Social
Security for Mr. Romney ends at $106,000.

This is really, really important tax policy we`re talking about here.
And in addition to that, Romney`s tax proposals would reduce the taxes on
person making $1 million a year, adjusted gross income, after all the
deductions, would reduce their taxes by $394,000.

That`s the tax policy that this man wants while raising taxes on the
low and middle income. That is terrible public policy. That`s where he
wants to go.

SCHULTZ: Well, he`s playing right into the wheelhouse of the
wealthiest Americans who don`t want to pay any tax. He almost presents it
as if he`s getting screwed at paying 13 percent, but he wants everybody to
know --

GARAMENDI: Give me a break.

SCHULTZ: -- he certainly hasn`t paid anything less than that.

You know, how big a problem is this, Congressman? I mean, do you hear
it on the campaign trail? Fifty-four percent of the American people, they
want to know more information about this man`s finances. What do you

GARAMENDI: Well, they certainly do, and apparently he wanted to know
more information about Mr. Ryan`s finances because he requested Mr. Ryan`s
tax forms for the last several years.

So he got: Ryan`s. Ryan hasn`t shown us his. Neither has Romney
shown us his. So let`s get it out there. Put it on the table. Show us
what you have. Because it will also show us what he believes to be good
tax policy.

SCHULTZ: And that`s what he is afraid of when the truth comes out --

GARAMENDI: I think so.

SCHULTZ: -- about how the wealthy will get off big-time.

Thank you, Congressman John Garamendi, with us tonight here on THE ED

Next, a tough new law could keep nearly a million voters away from the
polls. Find out what people in Pennsylvania are doing tonight to fight
Republican voter suppression efforts. It`s a huge story.

Stay with us. We`ll be right back.


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

Groups challenging Pennsylvania`s tough new voter ID law are not
giving up. And they can`t. But they are running out of time. I mean,
it`s a race against the clock.

As we reported last night, a judge gave his blessing to the
Republicans` voter suppression effort in the state. Today, the ACLU
appealed that decision. But we might not get a ruling until mid-September.

So at this point, Pennsylvania residents need a state certified ID to
cast a ballot.

Now, according to the state`s own numbers, 758,000 people will not be
able to vote. That`s 9 percent of the state`s voter rolls, 18 percent live
in urban areas like Philadelphia. Now, advocacy groups working on voter
rights, they got a real tough job ahead of them.

Voters need a Social Security card and a birth certificate with a
raised seal and two separate proofs of residency. You know, like your
electric bill and your phone bill. Now, they`ve got 81 days until the
election to find all of this paperwork, get it organized, get over to the
DMV and get an ID Republicans insist voters need to go through this process
to prevent fraud.

But you know what? There is no voter fraud. Last month, attorneys
for Pennsylvania signed this legal document saying that there have been no
investigations or any prosecutions at all of voter fraud ever. So why
would they push to exclude almost a million people from voting in


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter ID, which is going to allow governor Romney
to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.



SCHULTZ: Suppressing the vote in Pennsylvania could be the key to a
Romney victory. Now, he needs to win Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.

Oh, by the way, all three of these states have passed tough new voter
ID laws just in time for the presidential election.

Does this scare you, 758,000 people need I.D.s in Pennsylvania before
November 6th? Voters should not wait until the legal process takes its
course. They`ve got to get mobilized right now. I mean, this is going to
be one of the biggest political lifts when it comes to advocacy I think
we`ve ever seen in contemporary time.

And if it doesn`t happen, I`m not convinced that President Obama can
win Pennsylvania. I`m joined tonight by Steven Singer. He`s a teacher
from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, who started a petition drive to alert
voters in his area about the threat to their right to vote.

Also joining us tonight is Zach Stallberg. He is the president and
chief executive officer of the Committee of Seventy. This is a nonpartisan
government watchdog group promoting voter education.

Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight, on what I think is the
biggest story so far in this election cycle. I mean, we can talk about
dogs. We can talk about taxes. We can talk about Medicare back and forth,
who`s telling the truth.

This, my friends, is a reality. This is going down right now. You
can count on it. Now, what are the people going to do about it to respond
to it? Zach, let me start with you tonight. What`s your group doing to
help get people I.D.s? And how in the world are you going to mobilize
700,000 people in 81 days?

ZACH STALLBERG, COMMITTEE OF SEVENTY: We`re running an aggressive
all-out drive to make sure people know what they need. We`re knocking on
doors. We`re driving them to the transportation centers. We`re helping
counsel them through the process.

There are 145 groups, mostly in this end of the state, who are focused
on this battle.

SCHULTZ: A hundred and forty five groups. I mean, do you believe in
your heart that you can get this done?

STALLBERG: I believe we can make a real big difference. I think
you`re right. This is the big story in Pennsylvania of beyond issues. The
question is, will people who are registered have the right to vote? And
we`re doing everything possible, in a nonpartisan way, to make sure that as
many people as possible can vote.

SCHULTZ: Steven, you`re a teacher. Why are you fighting the voter
I.D. laws? And do you think people in Pennsylvania know what the heck is
going on with this?

STEVEN SINGER, PENNSYLVANIA TEACHER: Well, I`m fighting this voter
I.D. law because I think it violates people`s civil rights. The place
where I teach in Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County, it`s an area with a
high level of poverty, a high level of minority residents. So the parents
of the students I teach are adversely affected by this law.

And I just can`t, you know, sit by and let that happen. These people
deserve the right to vote. It`s that simple. And you know, we`re out here
and we started a petition. We have over 2,300 signatures as of now, in two
weeks, just asking election officials in the state, you know, if this
doesn`t get turned down, please don`t enforce the voter I.D. law.

SCHULTZ: What about in your county, is that what you`re trying to do,
work at it at a local level, to make sure your county election officials
just kind of throw this aside?

SINGER: We started it in Allegheny County. And we just delivered our
first round of signatures to Allegheny County election officials on
Tuesday. But once the decision came down from Judge Simpson, this
ridiculous partisan decision, we decided to broaden it statewide.

There are some petitions that are specific to a county like my
petition originally for Allegheny County. But now we`re doing it
statewide, asking election officials throughout the state, just don`t
enforce this.

SCHULTZ: Well, Allegheny County was big for President Obama in 2008.
Zach, what about the Obama team? How concerned are they about this? They
-- they -- I think they ought to be screaming from the roof, but however
they handle it, they handle it. What are you hearing?

STALLBERG: It`s a little difficult for us to tell. And I`m a little
bit surprised that we haven`t seen more action from the campaign, itself.
But we`re not waiting for the state to give us help. And we`re not waiting
for the Obama campaign to give us help.

These are -- the groups in this coalition range from the NAACP to the
ACLU, to the BAR Association, to neighborhood groups. And they`re getting
in there with hands-on help. That`s the only way that this problem is
going to get solved.

SCHULTZ: Well, Senator Casey is also up for re-election. I mean,
he`s going to need those votes, too. This is going to put his race in play
big-time. But Zach, if you think you need more from President Obama, who`s
going to make the ask? Is anybody in Pennsylvania saying, what`s your
strategy, Obama team, for Pennsylvania?

I mean, the goal posts have definitely shifted right now. And it
would seem to me that the president and the vice president are going to
have to work this state a heck of a lot harder. What do you think?

STALLBERG: Obama does have people assigned to voter I.D. in
Pennsylvania. We just haven`t seen much of the result. And frankly, this
-- for us, this is not about which candidate is working harder. It`s about
whether people have the right to vote or not.

SCHULTZ: All right. Steven Singer, Zach Stallberg, great to have you
with us. Keep up the fight.

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had asked for stimulus money for your
district. Is that accurate? Is that report accurate?

RYAN: I never asked for stimulus. I don`t recall. I haven`t seen
this report so I really can`t comment.


SCHULTZ: The anti-Obama, anti-government, anti-spending Paul Ryan is
ducking questions about his support for TARP, the auto loan, and his
request for stimulus money.

Next, Ruth Conniff and John Nichols on Paul Ryan`s problem with the

And the new wave legend Devo are out with a song hitting Mitt Romney
for sticking his dog on the roof of a car.


SCHULTZ: Tonight, one of Devo`s founding members, Gerald Casale,
debuts his new single live on THE ED SHOW.



SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
What is a person in the media supposed to do when you ask a question and
the answer changes from time to time? Paul Ryan spent the day trying to
tell voters in Ohio what he stands for.

The problem is, this guy keeps changing his story. First, he bashed
our nation`s trade policy with China.


RYAN: They steal our intellectual property right. They block access
to their markets. They manipulate their currency. President Obama
promised he would stop these practices. He said he`d go to the mat with
China. Instead, they`re treating him like a door mat. We`re not going to
let that happen.


SCHULTZ: But here`s the problem. When Congress got a chance to crack
down on China`s currency manipulation, Representative Paul Ryan voted no.
Ryan says he agrees with Romney when it comes to cracking down on China,
but his voting record certainly says something very, very different.

Ryan tried to score political points at campaign stops like this one
in Warren, Ohio. He didn`t answer any tough questions during lunch today,
but in an interview with a local reporter in Cincinnati, Ryan struggled to
stick to his story on the stimulus package.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had asked for stimulus money for your
district. Is that accurate? Is that report accurate?

RYAN: I never asked for stimulus. I don`t recall. I haven`t seen
this report so I really can`t comment on it.


SCHULTZ: Now, did you hear that? Ryan denies requesting stimulus
money, then says he doesn`t remember. Then he says he hasn`t seen the
report. And he said all that in less than 10 seconds?

Here`s the truth, my friends. The "Boston Globe" found two letters
from Ryan requesting stimulus money for companies in Wisconsin. Tonight,
Ryan released a statement saying his staff wrote those letters requesting
stimulus money and that it should have been handled differently.

Paul Ryan`s been on the campaign trail for less than a week, and
already he`s struggling with the truth? And a staffer was requesting
stimulus money? How does Washington work?

Let`s turn to John Nichols, Washington correspondent of "The Nation"
magazine and author of "Uprising." And also with us tonight, Ruth Conniff,
political editor of the "Progressive Magazine." Great to have both of you
with us tonight.

Ruth, let me ask you first, how is this going to play out when Ryan
stumbles over his answer on stimulus money and then throws it off on a

RUTH CONNIFF, "THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE": It goes right to the heart
of the problem with Ryan. This is something that we`ve seen in Wisconsin
for many, many years. As you know, Ryan is a member of Congress from a
very hard hit industrial district, a district that`s been inflicted by
plant closings, as he was signing off on things like most favored nation
trading status with China, as he was opposing fair trade legislation in

And then he turns around and opposes things like the extension of
unemployment insurance for his district. But he has tried to get a good
deal for companies there that have supported him through the stimulus. And
he`s got to bring something home to his constituents.

He runs as though he opposed trade that has sucked thousands of jobs
and increased job losses by 30 percent on his watch in his district. He
tries to run that way in his district. Then he goes to Washington and he`s
the Ayn Rand, you know, poster boy of multinational corporations. And
those two things are going to be very hard for him to bring together.

SCHULTZ: John Nichols, are we seeing a pattern here? We don`t get a
straight answer on Medicare. We don`t get a straight answer on the budget.
He hasn`t seen the numbers. Now he`s throwing off the stimulus answer for
the third -- this is a third different answer he`s given on about the
stimulus package money. Now he`s throwing it off on a staffer. Is this
who the guy is?

JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": Well, this guy hasn`t had this kind of
scrutiny ever before. And Paul Ryan is proving to be a much less adept
candidate than people expected. Remember that Paul Ryan came from a
district in which he never really faced a tough campaign after his first
election, a district that has no major media markets in it.

And so as a result, Paul Ryan has gotten very used to saying one thing
in Washington and another thing at home. Now he`s being faced with real
questions. And the fundamental question for Paul Ryan is, how can you be a
fiscal conservative who voted for the bank bailout, the auto bailout,
Medicare Part D and all sorts of other spending plans whenever folks on
Wall Street or in the pharmaceutical industry asked him to do it?

And it was most frustrating today as he tried to paint himself as a
tough on China, tough on trade politician. This guy has been begged,
begged by people in his district to vote the other way. They were out
today and he still keeps going free trade in Washington, but fair trade
when he goes out to the country.

SCHULTZ: Ruth, I found that interesting the other day when Mitt
Romney said, well, he`s on my campaign. In other words, clarifying, you
know, you better pay attention to what I`m saying and not so much, you
know, Paul Ryan. What did you make of that?

CONNIFF: I think it`s kind of an interesting problem for Mitt Romney.
Here he`s got Paul Ryan, who`s a very exciting candidate for vice president
for the Republican base and for the far, far right. And at the same time,
he is a champion of the policies that have hollowed out the middle class in
this country.

And that is a political problem that they face, trying to present this
in a way that`s going to win the election.

SCHULTZ: And time`s flying when we`re telling the truth. John
Nichols, Ruth Conniff, great to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your
time. >

Next up, Tea Party Congressman Steve King says if Romney wins, he is
going to be a player in the White House. I`ve got commentary on that.
Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: Put on your seat belt, folks. Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Fringe Republican whacked out Congressman Steve King of Iowa, he is
absolutely thrilled with the idea that Paul Ryan might be the vice
president of the United States. He told an audience at the Iowa State Fair
that if the Republican ticket is elected, he`s going to be a major player
in the White House.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: So I`m going to work to put Mitt Romney in
the White House. I`m going to work to put my good friend, Paul Ryan, in as
vice president. And we`re going to have a strong voice from Iowa right
there in the west wing and sometimes in the Oval Office of the White House.


SCHULTZ: Steve King is one of the most controversial Republicans in
Congress, especially on immigration. He`s a vocal opponent of the DREAM
Act. In June, he proposed to overturn President Obama`s new immigration
policy in court. Just a few weeks ago, he was supporting pointless
English-only legislation. At a time when Mitt Romney is polling at record
lows with Hispanic voters, King could be the last straw.

Beyond immigration, Congressman King has a long history of making
controversial statements.


KING: We have a very, very urban senator, Barack Obama, who has
decided he`s going to run for president. And what does he do? He
introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim.

The argument that diversity is our strength has really never been
backed up by logic.

The fraudulent claims might be, well, Johnny, yeah, he was raised on a
farm but he wouldn`t help his dad. He went off to the city and became a
drug addict. Now his daddy`s died and Johnny wants the 50,000 dollars that
comes from the USDA.

I want to put the fence in but I want to put a wall in, and I designed
one. We could also electrify this wire with a kind of current that
wouldn`t kill somebody, but it would simply be a discouragement for them to
be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.


SCHULTZ: This man considers Paul Ryan his good friend? Steve King is
not the type of person you want with a direct line to the White House.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you will Mitt Romney`s Medicare
propaganda work? Ten percent of you say yes; 90 percent Of you say no.

Coming up, Gerald Casale of the band Devo has written a song about
Mitt Romney`s dog Seamus. He`ll explain why, next.





SCHULTZ: welcome back to THE ED SHOW. In the Big Finish tonight, the
guys who told America to whip it back in the `80s are out with a brand song
telling viewers to remember Seamus this November. The band Devo just
released "Don`t Roof Rack Me Bro," a song that pays tribute to Mitt
Romney`s Irish Setter.

You know the story. Years ago, Mitt Romney strapped Seamus to the
roof of the family station wagon and drove 12 hours to Canada on vacation.
Heck of a ride. But according to Ann Romney, Seamus just loved the


ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: The dog loved it. The dog was like

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the dog got sick, right?

A. ROMNEY: Once. We traveled all the time. And he ate the turkey on
the counter. I mean, he had the runs.


SCHULTZ: Years later the story just keeps hounding Romney. Even
President Obama had some fun at Romney`s expense just the other day.


OBAMA: That`s what he said about wind power, you can`t drive a car
with a windmill on it. Now, I -- I don`t know if he`s actually tried that.
I know he`s had other things on his car.


SCHULTZ: Now, Gerald Casale, founding member of Devo, has joined
forces with the group Dogs Against Romney, and wrote the song "Don`t Roof
Rack Me Bro." Take a listen.




SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by Gerald Casale, founding member of
Devo, and the songwriter behind "Don`t Roof Rack Me, Bro." Gerald, great
to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time.

Interesting that you would take the time and the talent and the effort
to put this song together. Why did you do it?

GERALD CASALE, DEVO: I guess it`s because the story had legs. I
don`t know. It`s really because, as a dog owner and a pet lover, I was
appalled when I found out about this story and realized he wasn`t just --
not denying it, he was doubling down on it, saying, oh, the crate was
airtight, because his lawyer told him or something.

It got more and more bizarre. And basically, look, we have a
symbiotic relationship with dogs. We created all the breeds. We made them
need us. So if we`re supposedly superior species, we have a stewardship
that requires some responsibility. I just think any 36-year-old man that
would do that to a beautiful Irish Setter has a real serious something
missing behind that tight smile.

I don`t think there`s much humanity down here.

SCHULTZ: Gerald, do you think it says something about Mitt Romney`s

CASALE: That`s exactly what I`m saying. I`m saying, for me, more
than anything else you hear about, it`s a character deal breaker.

SCHULTZ: You`ve started a website, How do you
think people are going to react to this? What are your expectations of
this song?

CASALE: Well, predictably, the way they react to everything these
days, which is a level of discourse has been so dumbed down by, you know,
the hot edge of the media that it is all like a WWF smack down. You know,
everybody`s trying to wrestle everybody to the ground and get the knockout

It`s so stupid, because, look, there`s seven billion people on the
planet. We`re facing the worst kind of challenges and crises that you can
imagine that require intelligence, reflection, complex solutions. We don`t
have that. And we don`t have that in our politicians whatsoever.

SCHULTZ: Devo did a fund-raiser for President Obama in 2008 before he
became president. How do you feel about the president four years later?
You still just as enthused?

CASALE: Absolutely not. I don`t think anybody with half a brain
could be. But look, anybody that still thinks we have a democracy and that
the president of the United States is in charge, you know, they still
believe in the Wizard of Oz, and never pulled back the curtain to see the
man behind the curtain. It`s more like the movie "Network," where Ned
Beatty gives Peter Finch the big lecture in the boardroom and tells him how
things really work when Peter thinks he`s a powerful man on TV.

What we have here is a difference between Pepsi and Coke, with just a
little bit of leeway. Obama`s --


CASALE: -- the lesser of two evils. Obama is definitely the lesser
of two evils. And it`s clear why. Because he`s got some humanity there in
his heart. You can see it. And he`s not mean. He`s not a mean guy. And
my God, the world`s mean enough and people are suffering enough already.
You need a doctor that`s more -- I mean, a doctor? You need a candidate
who`s more like a doctor who takes that oath that say, do no harm.

I don`t see that in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They`re those kind of
guys that are so angry underneath. They want to make everybody snivel in
the dirt.

SCHULTZ: Gerald Casale, great to have you on THE ED SHOW. Good luck
with your song. I`m sure it`s going to be very entertaining but very
meaningful to a lot of people.

CASALE: I have this stuff for you, Ed. I have the hat and I have
this, Remember Seamus, the only real candidate for real change.

SCHULTZ: All right.

CASALE: Go to Remember Seamus.

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

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


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