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The Ed Show for Monday, August 27th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Monday show

August 27, 2012


Guests: Howard Dean, Joan Walsh, Mitch Ceasar, Douglas Brinkley

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

Seventy-one days until the 2012 election. As the Republican National
Convention starts, Mitt Romney`s lies to scare old white voters about
President Obama are starting to work. The polls are interesting.

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


AD NARRATOR: President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare
reform by dropping work requirements.

SCHULTZ (voice-over): Mitt Romney blows the dog whistle on welfare
and called it shoring up his base.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No one has ever asked to see
my birth certificate.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne on the Romney
effort to make this election about race.

New polling numbers on Medicare now show the Republican lies are
beginning to work. Howard Dean is here with reaction.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I don`t think anybody
anticipated the breach of the levees.

SCHULTZ: And almost seven years to the day since the botched response
to hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is bracing for hurricane Isaac. We`ll
give you a live update from the Big Easy as the Republicans get ready to
party in Florida.


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

Racial identity politics is now the number one strategy of the Romney
campaign. Mitt Romney has added a new twist to the false claim about
President Obama removing the work requirement from welfare. "There`s no
question in my mind that the president`s action was calculated to shore up
his base."

Folks, the work requirement has not been removed from welfare. But
Mitt Romney continues to lie about it. It`s his campaign.

Now, he says this imaginary change was done to make poor minorities
vote for President Obama. The Romney campaign is currently running --
count them -- five separate campaign ads hammering the president with this
lie. Five of the last 13 ads endorsed by Mitt Romney are about bogus
welfare claims.

This is the latest dog whistle to white middle class voters across
America. It comes on the heels of Romney`s so-called joke about the
president`s birth certificate.


ROMNEY: No one`s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know
this is the place we were born and raised.


SCHULTZ: Republican Chairman Reince Priebus was on the defensive
today about Romney`s comments. Priebus said, you know, people should just
lighten up.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: The fact of the matter is that he`s
from Michigan. He was born in Michigan. He`s making the point that I was
born in Michigan. And you know what, we have gotten to a place in politics
that any moment of levity is totally frowned upon by guys like you.

Mitt Romney continuously has said this president was born in this
country. It`s a non-starter. It`s a dumb issue. It`s a distraction.


SCHULTZ: This is part of the new strategy. Priebus claimed Romney
meant no harm and we should praise Romney for being a good guy for the
birther stuff in the past.

Karl Rove tested this line out on FOX News.


KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS: The one guy who consistently dismissed this and
defended the president as having been born in the United States and in the
middle of a contentious primary was Mitt Romney, and the White House never
said, "Thank you, Governor Romney, for acknowledging this and defending
President Obama."


SCHULTZ: Thank you? According to Rove, Romney is the victim and
President Obama is the bully who never said thank you to him?

Look, the Romney campaign is using a lot of reverse psychology these
days. Here`s a good one for you. Former Mississippi Governor Haley
Barbour told a reporter to "name a campaign in the last 25 years where the
Dems didn`t play the race card."

Think about that. Haley Barbour, he`s the guy who kept a confederate
flag in his office and said segregation during the civil rights movement
wasn`t that bad. Now, he`s the Romney surrogate on race relations?

These comments are not coincidental. As the "New York Times" reported
this weekend, Mitt Romney is heading into his nominating convention with
his advisers convinced he needs a more combative footing against President
Obama in order to appeal to white working class voters.

Makes sense, doesn`t it?

Romney is actually no stranger to portraying President Obama as a
foreign menace and someone who hasn`t had the white American interest at


ROMNEY: Sometimes I just don`t think that President Obama understands

We have on one side a president who wants to transform America into a
European style nation. And you have on the other hand, someone like
myself, who wants to turn around America and keep America America with the
principles that make us the greatest nation on Earth.

I watched today a president who I don`t think understands America.

The course we`re on right now is foreign to us. It changes America.


SCHULTZ: Expect to hear a lot of these comments and stuff like that
in the coming weeks. There are two big reasons. The Romney campaign is
diving head first into racial identity politics.

First of all, it works. Remember this?


food stamps versus paychecks. President Obama is the most effective food
stamp president in American history.


SCHULTZ: Newt Gingrich was a presidential candidate who didn`t even
have a fully staffed campaign, but his racial dog whistling about food
stamps paid off somewhere, in the South. He won South Carolina with 40
percent of the vote. In Georgia, his home state, the win was even bigger
at 47 percent.

And then, of course, there`s always Donald Trump who is the king of
the birthers during the primary season. Yesterday, Trump told reporters he
was address Romney addressed the president`s birth certificate. "It
happens to be an issue that a lot of people believe in."

A lot of people who believe in the birther talk made Donald Trump the
front runner for the Republican nomination early last year. Trump was
never an official candidate. He just talked about the president`s birth
certificate a lot.

Here`s the other reason Romney needs to use issues like welfare and
the birth certificate to appeal to white voters, because he can`t win
without them.

John McCain beat Barack Obama among white voters in 2008, 55 percent
to 43 percent, and it wasn`t enough. Romney needs to do a heck of a lot

It makes sense for Romney to defend his birther joke this way.


ROMNEY: It was great to be home. To be in a place where Ann and I
had grown up and the crowd loved it and got a good laugh.


SCHULTZ: That`s what this strategy is really all about. Give the
crowd a good laugh about the president being a scary foreigner. And
hopefully the crowd is going to reward you with votes.

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

Tonight`s question, which party is playing the race card? Text A for
Democrats, text B for Republicans to 622639.

You can always go to our blog and leave a comment. We encourage that
at We`ll bring you the results later on in the show.

I`m joined tonight by MSNBC political analyst and "Washington Post"
associate editor Eugene Robinson, and MSNBC contributor and "Washington
Post" columnist E.J. Dionne, also author of the book "Our Divided Political

By the way, there`s no sense in me being down at the convention
because no Republicans want to talk to me anyway because all I do is point
out the lies they throw out.

You know, gentlemen, this is about keeping the lies alive in a
campaign as I see it. I mean, the power of fact-checking, it seems like in
modern day campaigns has diminished greatly. And I think that there was a
time in American politics where there were campaigns that were really
concerned about putting out commercials, God forbid if they were wrong,
what we`re saying, because the media might call us on it.

Those days are clearly gone. I mean, this is one lie after another
and keep it going. So the power of fact checking, I think, has diminished
quite a bit.

Eugene, you first, has Romney given up trying to really reach anyone
of these white voters and just has seen the polls as of late and feels the
best way to do it is just to continue the lie?

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think the campaign seems to
have felt the need to move the needle however the needle could be moved.
And so they`re making this sort of appeal, look, Obama is African-American.
And that`s a fact. And it`s a fact there to be played on if the
Republicans want to play it that way.

And that`s what they seem to want to do. So all the stuff gets called
out by the fact checkers and shown to be demonstrably false, the Medicare
attacks, the welfare attacks. Yet, just repeating them and repeating them,
the Romney campaign clearly believes that will move the needle.

SCHULTZ: E.J. Dionne, why is the welfare lie still being repeated as
if it`s gospel, it`s the truth? Why are they doing that?

E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I guess the theory is if you put
enough money behind something, it will sell whether it`s true or not. And
as Gene said, it`s very disturbing that something where a rules change that
was asked for by among others, two conservative Republican governors, this
wasn`t some radical liberal thing that Obama did to welfare, and it doesn`t
end the work requirement.

But I think the Romney campaign was looking at the polls and seeing
that the Bain attacks were seeing that Mitt Romney is not exactly a natural
fit with a lot of white working class voters and that Obama has because of
Romney`s candidacy a real opening with the white working class. So they
are looking around for whatever could move some of those voters back toward
Mitt Romney.

And I think unfortunately they`re going down this particular road.
And the best part of it for them is that if anybody calls them out on it,
they`re going to say, we`re not talking about race. It`s those folks
playing the race card.


DIONNE: That makes it pretty effective.

SCHULTZ: Eugene, do you believe Republicans when they say that, ah,
Mitt Romney, he was just -- he was just making a joke. It was just an off
the cuff thing. He was just having a little fun? We have to have levity
in the campaign.

Your thoughts on that.

ROBINSON: Har, har, har. It was hilarious, wasn`t it? It wasn`t
much of a joke. And the only reason to go to birth certificate from this
is my home town, that`s not a natural leap. You don`t go to birth
certificate unless you have a reason to do it.

And clearly, it was an obvious reference to the whole fake kerfuffle
about President Obama`s birth certificate and clearly it was an attempt to
sort of blow that dog whistle.

SCHULTZ: E.J., there doesn`t seem to be any down side of Romney doing
this because the African-American vote certainly isn`t going to be there,
the Latino vote isn`t going to be there. This is all upside.

You might as well drive this home and make sure the radicals are out
there in full support.

DIONNE: I`m not sure in the long run it`s all upside. For one thing,
we don`t know what African-American turnout is going to be. We know
President Obama is going to win the African-American vote, you know, 97
percent, 98 percent, 99 percent.

But it matters a lot whether African-Americans vote, and stuff like
this is going to send a message that it`s important to vote.

I think secondly, there are middle class moderate voters who don`t
like racially tinged politics. And I think they`re going to see what`s
going on here. And so I think there is a longer term risk to this, to
Romney, and that`s why even though people will accuse those who call him on
it of playing the race card, it`s got to be called out because I think that
can have some effect between now and the election.

SCHULTZ: Eugene, you think we`re going to hear any of this talk on
the convention stage?

ROBINSON: I think they will be much more circumspect on the
convention stage. I think it will -- what we`ll mainly hear are attempts
to tell Mitt Romney`s story, to humanize him as a candidate. I think they
will talk about Medicare. That`s been certainly in the air here in Tampa
today. They will talk about welfare, but I think they`ll do it in a
somewhat softer way from the stage. That`s my guess.

SCHULTZ: They`re talking about Medicare down there at the convention?

ROBINSON: Oh, yes.

SCHULTZ: The latest poll shows they`re fooling a lot of people.
We`ll have more on that later on in the show.

But I really do believe that these -- this is the most dishonest
campaign we have ever seen by a national figure in Mitt Romney and his
campaign. I mean, he`s got these lies, they`re working on some Americans.
The polls are showing it. Why should they back off now?

Eugene Robinson --


SCHULTZ: Go ahead.

ROBINSON: Ed, it`s only august. It`s only august. So save the
superlatives for a little bit later.

SCHULTZ: All right. Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, thanks for your

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

Coming up, the Republican lies on Medicare which we just talked about.
What are they doing? They seem to be working. Which is amazing because
why would Americans ever trust Republicans to save Medicare when they have
been fighting it for generations?

Howard Dean joins me on how the Obama campaign should respond. That`s
next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Coming up, the Romney campaign Medicare lies. What are they
doing? If you believe the new poll numbers, they`re working. Mitt Romney
leading President Obama with Americans 50 and older when it comes to his
handling of Medicare? Former DNC chairman Howard Dean with his reaction

And Paul Ryan says the term forcible rape is just stock language.
While a Republican congressman compares out of wedlock pregnancy to rape.
We`ll have the details.

And as the seventh anniversary of hurricane Katrina approaches, New
Orleans braces for yet another storm. We`ll have the latest on the
tropical storm Isaac later.

Share you thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow.
We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching.

What a difference a week can make. It looks like Republican lies
about Medicare could be working. Keep in mind, this is a program
championed by Democrats since it was signed into law back in 1965 by
President Lyndon B. Johnson. And, of course, with President Harry S.
Truman, the first beneficiary, the Democrats did this despite all of the
Republican cries of socialism.

Here`s the famous actor, some guy named Ronald Reagan back in 1961.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Now, the American people, if
you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to
choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it.


SCHULTZ: Really?

Five decades later, it looks like Republicans are still lying about
Medicare. They`ve come up with some brand new lies. Romney`s latest ad
repeats the lie about how President Obama is hurting Medicare to the tune
of $716 billion.


AD NARRATOR: Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare. Why? To pay
for Obamacare. So now the money you paid for your guaranteed health care
is going to a massive new government program that`s not for you.


SCHULTZ: And the problem is this line of attack appears to be
working. On the question of who they trust more to handle Medicare, Romney
beats President Obama 45 percent to 42 percent in a "Washington Post" poll?
In another poll, President Obama beats Romney on the Medicare issue but
only by one point. And among those 50 years of age and older, President
Obama loses on this issue by five points. Ever since candidate Obama ran
against Senator John McCain four years ago, polls have shown seniors are
pretty much predisposed to vote against him.

Republicans are now praying on that bias and doing a pretty good job
of selling misinformation on Medicare. It`s still hard to believe the
American public could see Republicans as the ones to save Medicare and
handle it better? What`s going on here?

Let`s turn to Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and former
chairman of the DNC.

Governor Dean, good to have you with us tonight.

Think about --


SCHULTZ: I`m doing fine.

Sometimes polls grab people. This one has grabbed me because of the
lies that have been put out there about Medicare and it`s absolutely hard
to believe that we`re so -- Americans can be disconnected from this issue.

What has Mitt Romney done to give the American people confidence that
he`s going to be a better steward of the program, Medicare, which has
served the country`s seniors for generations?

DEAN: My own guess is these are lies. The $700 and whatever million
dollars comes out of the insurance companies pockets, and, in fact,
Romney`s plan makes Medicare go broke by 2016. So, you know, it is a fat

There`s two problems. The first is that these enormous corporations,
the business community, has funded these lies, to hundreds of millions of
dollars go behind this stuff. If you repeat it often enough, people
believe it. It`s sort of the old Russian propaganda stuff. It`s exactly
the same technique.

The second problem is this age group was not disposed to like Obama in
the first place. This is the hardest age group for President Obama. I
think a lot of it has to do with their age, to do with the enormous change,
the first African-American president, a new generation. And they`re just
resistant to change and frightened.

So, I think it is a sleazy tactic by the Romney people, but it`s not
surprising. Politics is a tough game, but there`s so much money behind
these lies, that`s what`s making them effective, and they`re told to a
population that didn`t like Obama much to begin with in the first place.


In the same "Washington Post" poll giving Romney a three-point
advantage on Medicare, another question was asked about Ryan`s plan to
voucherize Medicare, and 64 percent said they oppose it. Does the Obama
campaign need to do more to educate the American people?

DEAN: Yes, they do. They really do need to do this. It`s hard
because of course they`re being outspent hugely by the Koch brothers and
the other right-wing corporations who can give money now because of the
Roberts court, without thinking twice about it.

But they do need to defend it. They really need to go after the
voucher system. The Democracy for America has done a lot of polling on the
question of the voucher system. It`s a huge winner for the Democrats in a
lot of the swing state.

One of the interesting things in Florida where older people do pay
attention to Medicare, Romney is still down by four. That`s really
important to know that. I think people are a little better educated about
Medicare in Florida because so many people are on it. They pay attention
to this issue. That was an interesting issue in tonight`s poll.

SCHULTZ: Down by four? Shouldn`t he be down by like 25?

DEAN: Well, yes, but don`t forget, we have the demographic problem.
You know, Obama does very, very well among young people, among the
Democrats, the classic Democrats, the very, very diverse party, but he
doesn`t do so well against older white seniors. So -- with older white

So the fact he`s leading by four in Florida where the older white
population is pretty well informed about Medicare which they might not be
in other states is significant. Of course, if Obama wins Florida, the
election is over for Mitt Romney.

SCHULTZ: So this goes right in line, actually, this Medicare lie,
with the birtherism, with the other type conversation that is out there.

DEAN: Right.

SCHULTZ: And with the welfare fraud and lie that is out there about
it. I mean, they`re going --

DEAN: This is nothing --

SCHULTZ: Go ahead.

DEAN: Yes, this is nothing new. This is the 1968 Nixon Southern
strategy. When Wallace did as well as he did, Nixon decided he was going
to get those Southern Democrats who were voting for Wallace on racial
issues and it`s been done ever since. I`ll never forget Ronald Reagan
talking about welfare queens and pink Cadillacs.

I mean, this stuff is going on. Willie Horton -- this is a core
Republican staple. If you look at the Republican Party, it`s almost
entirely white, Christian, and older. Of course, they`re going to appeal
to race because there`s a racist wing of the Republican Party. I don`t
think it`s the majority, but it`s enough votes that will matter.

SCHULTZ: And he`s got to do better than John McCain did even though
McCain won with white voters. So, it`s clear what is happening here.

DEAN: Well, the reason he does is he`s in such trouble with Latinos
after his anti-immigrant stuff, he`s never going to recover from that.
He`s got to make it up by talking about race in code words to his own base.
That`s what he`s hoping to do.

SCHULTZ: Howard Dean, great to have you on THE ED SHOW -- thanks so

Coming up, Paul Ryan says the term forcible rape is just stock

And Mitt Romney makes his pitch to women. It involves Romneycare?
Joan Walsh will weigh in on that.

And a Republican official in Florida is standing up for voting rights.
Governor Rick Scott isn`t happy about it. We`ll tell you the whole story
when we come back.

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

The GOP is still reeling from the mess Congressman Todd Akin left
behind. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says he approved
removing the term forcible rape from a bill he co-sponsored with Akin. In
fact, Ryan is now claiming that the term forcible rape was only included in
the bill as stock language.


that was stock language used for lots of different bills, bills I didn`t
author. And that language was removed to be clear and I agree with that.
Removing that language so we are very clear. Rape is rape, period, end of


SCHULTZ: This is how Republicans frame the issue of rape, in terms of
stock language. In the meantime, the Akin remarks aren`t going away, and
his fellow Republicans are having to respond.

Like Republican Tom Smith. Smith is running for the Senate seat in
Pennsylvania against Senator Casey. Today, he was asked about Akin`s
comments and abortion. Smith went on to compare an out of wedlock
pregnancy to rape.


MARK SCOLFORD: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who,
God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her
own will? Is that something you would -- do you have a way to explain

TOM SMITH (R-PA), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I live something similar to
that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. No,
don`t get me wrong. It wasn`t rape.

SCOLFORD: Similar how?

SMITH: Having a baby out of wedlock.

SCOLFORD: That`s similar to rape?

SMITH: No, no, no. But put yourself in a father`s situation, yes, it
is similar.


SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor at large for
and author of the new book "What`s the Matter with White People?" I
thought it was white men. OK.


SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight, Joan. How do you consume
the comments of candidate Tom Smith? How does this -- this kind of tone
deafness affect the GOP ticket?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I mean, do they think we`re stupid, Ed? Do
they think we`re not listening? It`s just crazy.

But one problem I have is, on the one hand, this language is
disgusting and ignorant. On the other hand, the real point, the real
reason Paul Ryan can say it doesn`t matter on some level and it`s stock
language is that there is no exception. They don`t believe in any
exception for rape and incest in our abortion laws.

So, you know, Paul Ryan, just the other day said, well the method of
conception doesn`t matter, as though rape is just another method of
conception. So, you know, I can see why Todd Akin and Tom Smith are kind
of stumbling, because their ignorance is so widely accepted. And it really
doesn`t matter how --

SCHULTZ: So congressman Paul Ryan says the term forcible rape is
stock language, meaning really don`t pay attention to it, but it just
happens to be in our platform. What does that tell you?

WALSH: Well, I think that they`re just -- they continue to wink and
nod to their base. They continue to say that this election is going to be
all about the economy, but they`re being sure to gin up the culture wars
with this abortion language. It`s been in the platform.

The reason Ryan can be kind of blase about it is it has been in their
platform since 1992. So they are sort of surprised that people are taking
it seriously. But I think that the right wing, the really extreme right is
also making this a culture war sort of election within the Republican
party. So they are really asking them to stick to this language and talk
about it.

SCHULTZ: Now we`ve got Mr. Romney out telling the "CBS Evening News"
that he would support abortion in consequence of rape and abortion. I
mean, they`re all over the map on this. But also, will the real Mitt
Romney please stand up again? Here he is touting the health care plan in
Massachusetts, OK? And then he says, well, I`m going to sign a law that`s
going to get rid of Obamacare. What`s happening here?

WALSH: Right, he says that his Massachusetts law was good for women,
but he`s going to get rid of it nationwide. And I think that the women of
Wisconsin and the women of Florida who are going to lose their preventive
health care, free preventive health care they get under Obamacare, lose
their birth control with no copay, I don`t think they`re going to be hugely
reassured by what goes on in Massachusetts.

The president`s point was we have to nationalize these standards. And
your health can`t depend on whether you live in Mississippi or
Massachusetts. And that was what was so bold about his move.

But right, he`s shaking the Etch-A-Sketch again. Remember when Andrea
Saul, his spokesperson, made this same sort of mistake. It was a mistake
for her, but it`s what Mitt Romney says. He thinks we`re just going to
forget about it.

SCHULTZ: Well, she was chastised pretty good by say Hannity and
Coulter, and now Mitt Romney is saying it.

WALSH: I think they called her a moron or something. Yes. So --

SCHULTZ: Address the title of your book. Tell us what it is and why
it`s titled that.

WALSH: Well, I am very concerned and very interested in the way that
the Republican party has pulled the white working class particularly, and
the white middle class over from the Democratic party. You and I have had
this conversation several times.

You know, I think that liberals need to be a little more cognizant of
the strategy, as you and Governor Dean talked about. It was a deliberate
strategy in the `60s and `70s, but it also -- Governor Dean said one thing,
it was about southern whites. George Wallace won the Michigan primary
before he was elected. It was a northern phenomenon too, where white
ethnics got very nervous, not only about racial change, but about crime and
about a perception that government was giving their hard earned taxpayer
dollars to people who didn`t deserve it, the Cadillac driving welfare
queens, as we know.

SCHULTZ: It`s interesting, back then America figured out George

WALSH: Right.

SCHULTZ: Is America going to figure out Mitt Romney?

WALSH: You know, I think so. We had the story over the weekend
saying his own advisers are concerned that he cannot close the deal with
these white working class and middle class voters. They don`t believe that
he cares about them. I think there`s an opening for President Obama to do
better than people had expected earlier in this year, because this
candidate just isn`t winning over those people in enough numbers.

SCHULTZ: Joan Walsh, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
Appreciate it.

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


competed fairly and honestly, I probably would be the nominee being
nominated this week.


SCHULTZ: The pizza man makes a startling accusation about his fellow
Republicans. We`ll investigate the charges.

Rick Scott`s plan to steal Florida hits a major snag. We`ll tell you
why one Republican with a conscience continues to hold up the Florida voter
suppression effort.

And is the city of New Orleans ready for another big one?


you`re doing a heck of a job.


SCHULTZ: Republicans are partying in Florida as the Big Easy braces
for Isaac. We`ll take you there live.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I have said repeatedly on this
program, this is the biggest story in this election cycle. Here`s a slice
of it again in Florida. Florida Governor Rick Scott is working harder than
ever to block the vote as Republicans kick off their convention in Tampa.

Scott gained national attention in recent months for his attempt to
purge 2,700 voters in the swing state of Florida. Governor Scott also
signed a law cutting early voting days in Florida from 12 days to eight
days. Where have we heard that?

So far, Monroe County is the only county in the state of Florida that
has not agreed to Scott`s early voting measure. Republican County
Elections Supervisor Harry Sawyer, well, he`s holding out. He`s holding
the line. He plans to keep the 12 early voting days in Monroe County,
saying that there is no reason to crunch these early voting hours. "They
let people participate. We`re supposed to make it easy for voters, not

Governor Scott is not impressed with Sawyer`s actions. Last week,
Scott hinted that he might fire Sawyer. In a statement, he said, "I will
continue to take all necessary and appropriate action to ensure that the
laws are faithfully executed."

Sawyer responded to Governor Scott by saying, "I honestly do take that
as a threat. They`re threatening to remove me."

Monroe County, where is it? What is it? It`s a swing county in a
swing state. It has gone Democratic by a very thin margin in the past
three presidential elections.

And if Governor Rick Scott has his way, he will hand Monroe County to
Mitt Romney come November. We`re joined tonight by Mitch Ceasar, chairman
of the Broward County Democratic Party. He is also on the executive board
of the Democratic National Committee as a representative of the 14 southern

Mitch, good to have you with us tonight. Explain to us the power that
the governor has over Harry Sawyer here. Can he fire him? I understand
that Sawyer is an elected official, or am I wrong on that?

exactly right, Ed. He is an elected official. He is a Republican, which
makes this even more astounding. And he`s basically said, kind of
reminiscent of the 1970s, when Gerald Ford said to New York, drop dead --
it`s very, very similar to that.

He has said, I think it is discriminatory. I don`t agree with it.
You want to try to remove me, come and get me. It`s very courageous. Of
course, we have to remember that he`s not up for re-election. So it gives
him more courage, perhaps, but we`re appreciative.

This governor has never met an early voting day he didn`t want to cut,
because he doesn`t like when people vote, especially if you`re a Democrat
and absolutely if you`re a minority.

SCHULTZ: What were the reasons? Why go from 12 to eight?

CEASAR: Well, the problem is that the legislature, which is very
Republican in Florida, had decided to cut early voting days. what is very
detrimental to Democrats and to most voters and certainly minorities is
that he cut the Sunday early voting day from two times to one time, which,
as you know, adversely affects African Americans who go to church and
almost usually -- almost march to had polls as a civil rights rite of

So they`re doing whatever they can to suppress the vote.

SCHULTZ: The federal courts are ruling on Scott`s measure in five
counties. What`s this going to look like? Can you tell us about the court
cases? And there`s the map there that shows the counties that we`re
talking about. And I think we can come to the conclusion that this has got
to be heavy Obama territory if he`s going to win Florida. Am I correct?

CEASAR: Well, it is. It`s Hillsborough County, which is Tampa, where
the Republican convention is right now. It`s the Keys, which is Monroe and
several other counties. These are civil rights counties, as designated
based on the civil rights Voting Rights Acts of the `60s, in which the
Justice Department must approve certain plans. And they basically have
been at war with this governor, saying you`re being discriminatory, you
can`t do these things.

So what the governor did was he tried to have his secretary of state,
the head of the elections division, go forward and say, hey, I`m going to
pressure these five counties. And they all caved except the Keys, Monroe

SCHULTZ: All right, so what -- the stance that Sawyer is taking on
this, did his statements -- are they going to have an impact on the outcome

CEASAR: Well, it`s really hard to tell at this point because he`s
really kind of a lone voice in the wilderness. As I said, he`s really
taking the governor head on with a lot of courage and said, I think this is
discriminatory. The federal courts, the three-judge panel said that to do
it otherwise wouldn`t, in effect, be like closing and eliminating polling
locations, eliminating voting for African-Americans.

They were very, very clear. But this governor -- what he`s doing is
the Republican party, Mitt Romney, and Rick Scott have a political problem.
Their political problem is they don`t want certain people to vote. That`s
a problem to them. So what they have done is they have taken a political
problem and come up with what they think is a legal solution to a problem
that really doesn`t exist as a way to suppress the vote, as you have talked
about continually.

And because Florida is a swing state, they`re doing everything they
can do to make sure.

SCHULTZ: Well, the governor of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, they
must have been smoking big cigars when they came up with this plan, because
this clearly is what they`re trying to do, suppress the vote, steal the
election, deprive people of their rights, making it a hell of a lot harder
for folks.

It`s unfortunate. Well follow the story. Mitch Ceasar, great to have
you with us tonight. Thank you. >

Coming up, the pizza man is back. Herman Cain says if people had
played by the rules, he would be receiving the GOP nomination for
president? Interesting. We`ll bring you the latest next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. 999 is back in the game.
Herman Cain is down in Tampa, shaking things up in the Republican
convention. On Sunday, the pizza man said that if his competition had
played by the rules, there`s a good chance that he would be receiving the
Republican nomination.


CAIN: The process is fair, but many of the people that are involved
in the process are not fair. And they`re not honest. If everyone had
competed fairly and honestly, I would probably be the nominee being
nominated this week.


SCHULTZ: We can only assume the competition Cain was talking about
includes people like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron
Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney. Cain is partying with these unfair and
dishonest people down in Florida all week long. He might not have the guts
to say it to their face, but it sounds like he has something up his sleeve.


CAIN: The attack on my character came out and it was coordinated. It
had to be coordinated.


CAIN: We can`t tell you by whom because we don`t have proof exactly
by whom, but we know it`s coordinated.

BLITZER: Can you tell us if it was coordinated by a Republican?

CAIN: Nope. I can`t tell you that either, because I don`t want to
say anything that might jeopardize what we might do in the future, in terms
of exposing what happened.


SCHULTZ: You heard it from the pizza man himself, when it comes to
lying, it`s party before country.

Tonight, in our survey, I asked you which party is playing the race
card? Twelve percent of you say the Democrats; 88 percent of you say

Coming up, as Republicans gather for the convention in Tampa, most of
the Gulf Coast is in a state of emergency. Doug Brinkley joins me next.
Stay tuned.



MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU (D), NEW ORLEANS: Now is a time when I sense
there is a high level of anxiety. The timing of this storm, coming on, as
fate would have it, the anniversary of Katrina, has everybody in a state
and sense of alertness.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW for the Big Finish. That was
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu just after he declared a state of
emergency in his city of New Orleans. Tropical Storm Isaac is projected to
become a Category 2 Hurricane by the time it takes landfall between Tuesday
and Wednesday.

But the name on everyone`s mind is Katrina. Isaac is set to hit New
Orleans almost seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall
and devastated the city, which is still struggling to fully recover.

In the meantime, the show will go on in Tampa for Republicans. And
after an abbreviated session today, the Republican National Convention is
scheduled to resume as planned tomorrow. It looks like Isaac will spare
Tampa. And some conservatives see an opportunity to joke about it.


REP. TED CRUZ (R), SENATE CANDIDATE: You know, we have so many things
to be thankful for, so many blessings, including even, we can be thankful
for Hurricane Isaac.


CRUZ: If nothing else, it kept Joe Biden away.


SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in Doug Brinkley, presidential historian,
professor at Rice University and author of "The Great Deluge." Professor,
great to have you with us tonight.

Is it appropriate to be making light of this kind of situation?

deeply irresponsible. This is the moment where the Gulf south is really in
a near panic mode. Anybody living in that ragged boot hill of Louisiana or
along the Mississippi coast right now, or in the city of New Orleans, is --
is getting very worried. As you mentioned, Katrina memories are very
alive, and the fear is can we survive another hit like this?

So it`s not the time for champagne and balloons and jokes. And that
was an irresponsible comment you just played.

SCHULTZ: This is also an opportunity politically, is it not, I mean,
for the Democrats to prove that government can work and can be prepared, as
opposed to what happened at Katrina. Or is that a bridge too far?

BRINKLEY: No, I mean, look, Mitt Romney just last week when in New
Mexico, said he doesn`t know what the public lands are for. He said that
he doesn`t know what they`re for because he wanted to open them up for oil
and gas drilling. What our public lands are for, wild life refuges, for
example, in Louisiana, that`s our great hope, the buffer zones right now,
Bayou Tesh, Delta National Wildlife Refuge, the Brighton Island Barrier

It`s the story of the wetlands disappearing in Louisiana and the
destruction of the barrier islands due to oil and gas drilling that allows
these hurricanes to come in and hit Louisiana and just pound it, without
anything to slow it down. So that part I think, of Mitt Romney seems to me
to not understand the need to save America`s wetlands in Louisiana, and how
important that is for American security.

Beyond that, you`re seeing taxpayer dollars hopefully at work. New
Orleans has new pump houses. Billions of dollars of money has come in
through the Army Corps of Engineers to try to fix that levee system, and
only time will tell whether the city endures this.

SCHULTZ: Does this bring us to a discussion politically in this
country about disaster relief? What should the federal government do? How
far should tax dollars go? And I think there are conflicting philosophies.
And it`s ironic this is happening at convention time, the Republicans
first. But you know, their position on disaster relief has not been the

BRINKLEY: No. And it began with George W. Bush, who took FEMA, which
was a Jimmy Carter innovation, and they -- you know, they gutted it. They
dumped it in Homeland Security. And you remember seven years ago that
Brownie, you`re doing a heck of a job, about Mike Brown of FEMA. Since
then, the Obama administration has revamped FEMA.

They`re prepared much more so with this. We have a mayor like Mitch
Landrieu in New Orleans who is not a fool, like Mayor Nagin was. And you
have a city much more prepared to handle this. Unfortunately, part of it
is because New Orleans is a smaller city because so many people weren`t
able to return home to the Lower Ninth Ward or Jauntily (ph) or East New

But it is weird that you`re going to be having a spectacle of a
celebration in Tampa and at the same time, on a split screen, seeing this
devastation. Mitt Romney is going to have to change the tone of temper of
his speech.

SCHULTZ: That`s what I wanted to touch on, the optics of this. If
Isaac hits New Orleans, how do the Republicans handle this? In terms of
the convention, the split screen you`re talking about? What do they say?
How can they be partying? How can they be doing the normal convention
business with, you know, enthusiasm so high, when just across the Gulf,
there`s a lot of hurt taking place?

BRINKLEY: Well, that`s a big question. I thought today you would
have thought the Republicans would have gone with their full program on
Monday and with the idea of not convening on Thursday. But if you`re
getting a large part of America could be in a blackout -- let`s hope not,
but it`s possible if this becomes a hurricane category two. It`s going to
be very hard to have any kind of festive mood in Tampa, because, Ed, you`ll
come up with clips like you played in the beginning of my segment, of
Republicans celebrating, laughing, while you`re watching people, fellow
Americans in utter despair.

We have to remember, this is going to be a moment when our federal tax
dollars, the federal government is going to be there. It`s our Coast Guard
that we`re going to be turning to. And we`re going to be turning to our
National Guard to keep -- control problems here. And on and on.

So when sometimes we beat up on the U.S. federal government, and when
you`re in a dire situation after a storm, that`s who you need, is Uncle Sam
on your side.

SCHULTZ: All right, Doug Brinkley, thank you for joining us tonight
on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

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


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