The Ed Show for Thursday, October 4th, 2012

October 4, 2012

Guests: Stephanie Cutter, David Cay Johnston, James Hoffa, Nina Turner

ED SCHULTZ, HOST: All right. Not a good night. We didn`t play very
well. Unusual for us.

We`re a hell of a team. We got a long way to go. I know you`re not
happy. I heard the fans. I heard it. You`re hearing it from me. We`re
better than that.

Report card`s fine. There`s nothing wrong -- Obama`s great. That`s
why we recruited him in 2007. He`s a hell of a player. We won
championships with him before. We`re going to win again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach, going to be a lineup change?

SCHULTZ: No, there`s not going to be a lineup change. You think I`m
going to change the lineup now?

Look, did he turn the ball over? Yes. Did he throw the ball out of
bounds? Yes. Did he have some air balls? Yes.

He missed a few lay-ups. He`s still my guy. We`re not changing the
lineup. I told you when you started covering this team earlier, this was
going to be a long road. We`re on the road.

You know, I don`t know anything at playing at altitude. I know the
kids seemed well before the game. And everything started, we thought we`re
going to play well, we didn`t. We didn`t play very well. It`s another
game. We have to get over it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach, what about the other team?

SCHULTZ: The other team -- look, you know what, if you guys want do
go out and crown them the champion, you go right ahead and do it. I think
you`d be making a huge mistake if you did that. I mean, you know, you know
what we got to do? We got to get to work.


trillion tax cut. That`s not my plan.

AD NARRATOR: Why won`t Romney level with us about his tax plan which
gives the wealthy huge new tax breaks?

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The Obama campaign gets aggressive on Mitt
Romney`s lies on the airwaves.

AD NARRATOR: If we can`t trust him here, how could we ever trust him

SCHULTZ: And on the campaign trail --

the dance around his positions but if you want to be president, you owe the
American people the truth.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Stephanie Cutter of the Obama campaign on last
night`s performance and the way forward. Sam Stein, E.J. Dionne on
Romney`s style versus the president`s substance.

ROMNEY: I like PBS. I love Big Bird.

SCHULTZ: David Cay Johnston on Romney`s huge tax lie.

James Hoffa of the Teamsters on Romney`s 180 on his feelings for the
American middle class.

ROMNEY: I`ll never convince them they should take personal
responsibility and care for their lives.

SCHULTZ: And Ohio State Senator Nina Turner on what last night`s
debate means for the Buckeye State.


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

If it were just only a game, right? The presidential debate last
night was ugly. It was an ugly night because the truth left the building.
It took a beating.

Give Mitt Romney credit, though. He was an all-American liar last

And the president seemed to leave his best material, his best game at
home. For millions of Americans, it was extremely hard to watch Mitt
Romney lie the way he did and get away with it.


ROMNEY: First of all, I don`t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don`t
have a tax cut of the scale that you`re talking about. My view is we ought
to provide tax relief to people in the middle class.


SCHULTZ: The lie is so outrageous, it`s breathtaking. Mitt Romney
has campaigned across this country promoting a 20 percent reduction in the
tax rate.

His plan would give the richest 1 percent of Americans an additional
$60,000 tax cut. For those at the very top, the 0.1 percenters, they would
get a $264,000 tax cut.

The cost? Well, it`s $456 billion per year. How do you like that?

Romney can eliminate every deduction from the tax code and he still
will not be able to cover the cost of these tax cuts.

But Romney didn`t need to address any of these specifics. He just
needed to lie about it. It`s a strategy another president used when he was
asked about his proposed tax cuts for the rich.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Let me just tell you what the
facts are. The facts are, after my plan, the wealthiest of Americans pay
more taxes of the percentage of the whole than they do today.


SCHULTZ: Really? Here we go again. A Republican candidate has a
plan for massive tax cuts for the rich and tells the American people the
exact opposite in a debate. It only works if the candidate is a good liar.

Presentation does matter. Give him credit. Last night, Mitt Romney
was pretty good on style, but he had a boatload of lies.

Check out this triple whammy where Romney spits out one lie after
another with complete conviction.


ROMNEY: We didn`t raise taxes. You`ve raised them by $1 trillion
under Obamacare. We didn`t cut Medicare, of course, we don`t have
Medicare, but we didn`t cut Medicare by $716 billion. We didn`t put in
place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they`re going
to receive.


SCHULTZ: So, in one swoop, he accused the president of the United
States of raising taxes. The president has cut taxes. He accused the
president of cutting Medicare. The president gave seniors an additional
savings from Medicare.

He even accused the president of creating a medical treatment board.
Yes, Romney played the old death panel card.

Romney was an artful liar when it came to health care.


ROMNEY: Number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my
plan. Number two, young people are able to stay on their family plan.


SCHULTZ: This is such a big lie. Romney`s own adviser had to shoot
it down after the debate.

Eric Fehrnstrom was pressed about Mitt Romney keeping pre-existing
conditions as part of his plan. He said, "We`d like to sew what states do
what Massachusetts did. In Massachusetts we have a ban on pre-existing
conditions." In other words, it`s not in Romney`s plan and they`re le
leaving it up to the states. Feel confident about that?

Romney was rewarded for his skillful lying with a hero`s welcome at a
conservative political conference in Colorado today.

Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod admitted the president can`t let
Romney`s lies go unchecked next time around.


night to answer the questions that were asked and to talk to the American
people about what we need to do to move forward and not to get into serial
fact-checking with Governor Romney, which can be an exhausting, never-
ending, pursuit. But obviously moving forward, you know, we`re going to
take a hard look at this.


SCHULTZ: No doubt, last night was a moment of disappointment for
progressives in this country. But it`s not a moment of defeat. It is the
only time really that Mitt Romney has had even a slice of momentum in the
last six months.

He has the wind at his back because he lied really well and wasn`t
challenged on all of his falsehoods. There just wasn`t enough time to do
it all.

But the fundamentals of the race, my friends, have simply not changed.
Liberals need to temper their frustration from last night and just look at
the big picture. We need to insist Mitt Romney does not get a pass of any
blatant lies of the future.

Fortunately, it looks like the president understands where he was weak
last night. He tried to make up some lost ground by going after Mitt
Romney`s lies today.


OBAMA: When I got on to the stage, I met this very spirited fellow
who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn`t have been Mitt Romney
because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the
last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts to favor the wealthy. The
fellow on stage last night said he didn`t know anything about that.


SCHULTZ: A lot of people are wondering on the sidelines, you know,
why President Obama didn`t take the fight to Mitt Romney last night. It`s
a fair question, not critical, but fair.

But it`s clear the president realizes he can`t sit back and let
Romney`s lies go unchallenged.


OBAMA: So Governor Romney made the dance around his positions, but if
you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.


SCHULTZ: During an event in Madison, Wisconsin, President Obama
looked re-energized. He took on some of the most outrageous moments of
Romney`s presentation last night.


OBAMA: I just want to make sure I got this straight. He`ll get rid
of regulations on Wall Street, but he`s going to crack down on Sesame
Street. Thank goodness somebody`s finally cracking down on Big Bird. Who
knew that he was responsible for all these deficits?


SCHULTZ: Most importantly, the president`s campaign showed a
willingness to take the fight to the airwaves again. The Obama camp
released a television ad pointing out Romney`s blatant lies.


AD NARRATOR: Why won`t Romney level with us about his tax plan which
gives the wealthy huge new tax breaks? Because according to experts, he`d
have to raise taxes on the middle class or increase the deficit to pay for
it. If we can`t trust him here, how could we ever trust him here?


SCHULTZ: And I know a lot of lefties woke up today wondering why it
felt like they had a little bit better command of the material than the
president did. Well, who knows? But today, the president and his campaign
showed a willingness to change direction when things don`t go according to

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

Tonight`s question: Will Mitt Romney get away with lying to the
American people? Text "A" for yes, text "B" for no to 622639. You can
always go to our blog at and I`ll bring you the results later
on in the show.

Joining me tonight, Stephanie Cutter, Obama 2012 deputy campaign

Stephanie, good to have you with us tonight.

for having me.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

There were highlights last night obviously for the president. He went
after Mitt Romney on his $5 trillion lie. But does the campaign believe it
made a mistake with the debate strategy yesterday?

CUTTER: You know, Ed, the president was coming in to that debate last
night to have a conversation with the American people about his policies,
where he wanted to take the country, where we`ve been as a country over the
past four years, and what a second term Obama administration would look
like. And what it would do for middle class Americans all over this

I think we achieved that. I think what we didn`t expect is for that
Mitt Romney to show up.

Now, I know that Mitt Romney is an aggressive debater, a great
debater, in his own words. He was one of the things he used as a
credential to becoming the Republican nominee. But we didn`t expect him to
be such an aggressive -- aggressively dishonest last night.

SCHULTZ: So, was the president taken by the number of lies?

CUTTER: Well, you know, I think that, you know, today, looking back
at last night, you saw what the president did on the stump today. Called
Mitt Romney out for what he did last night. Not just about his $5 trillion
tax cut but a number of other things.

And, you know, we`ll continue doing that. As I was listening to your
piece coming into me, and you talked about our ad. We went on the air
today. We`re going to continue doing it, pointing out all the things Mitt
Romney said last night that are basically not true.

It`s almost as if he forgot what the last six years of running for
president meant.

SCHULTZ: Yes. So are you -- I mean, there was a multi -- there were
millions of people watching last night, over 60 million people watching.
It was the biggest watch debate since 1980. Are you worried people will
believe Mitt Romney`s lies if they`re not countered in debates?

CUTTER: Well, Ed, it`s not as if these people are just tuning in
right now. You know, this race has been going on for some time. They --
you know, they know that Mitt Romney has been campaigning for the last two
years on a $5 trillion tax cut. That`s the only piece of his economic
policy. That`s what he points to when he talks about creating jobs.

So it`s not as if it was made up last night. He`s been campaigning on
it for two years.

So, I think they`re aware when he says he doesn`t have a $5 trillion
tax cut that that`s just simply not true.

SCHULTZ: How has the president assessed his own performance? I mean,
was -- were there so many lies flying across the stage last night the
president just forgot some of his stuff?


SCHULTZ: Because, seriously, the automobile loan, that`s a tremendous
American story. Thirty months of private sector job growth, 47 percent
comment. I mean, it just seemed that there were basics that were left out.

CUTTER: Yes. Well, you know, there`s a lot of different things to
point to in this race. I think, as you know, because you`ve been talking
about it -- but there`s probably very few Americans who haven`t heard about
the 47 percent comment. That`s the shot that was heard around the world
when that videotape came out.

And it was powerful because it basically confirmed what people already
thought about Mitt Romney, that he`s not worried about the middle class,
he`s not worried about those struggling to get into the middle class.


CUTTER: So, you know, there are a lot of things that could have been
brought up tonight. We had an aggressive, thorough conversation about the
course of this race and pointing out who Mitt Romney is --


CUTTER: -- and where he wants to take this country. And we`ll
continue doing that.

SCHULTZ: OK. So, you say --

CUTTER: We have two more debates left and we`ve got 30-some-odd days
and I think it will be a good race, all the way up to the end.

SCHULTZ: OK. So you admit there were things that were left out. But
what about now the importance that is being placed on the vice president`s
role in all of this. I mean, obviously, there`s going to be heightened
interest to see how Vice President Biden handles the radical Paul Ryan.

CUTTER: Well, I think you can expect the vice president to show up
ready to talk about Paul Ryan`s policies, but also Barack Obama and Joe
Biden`s policies over the last four years and where together they want to
take this country.

Now, in terms of Paul Ryan, you know, he`s tried to soften some of his
positions and certainly Mitt Romney`s been back and forth about whether or
not he supports the Ryan budget.


CUTTER: You know, he wrapped his arms around it in the primaries when
he was appealing to the base, his Republican base. Then when he picked
Paul Ryan after calling him the intellectual leader of the Republican
Party, tried to move away from some of those ideas. Now, we know Mitt
Romney campaigned on Paul Ryan`s budget.

SCHULTZ: Yes, he did.

CUTTER: Paul Ryan is Paul Ryan because of that budget. And, you
know, I don`t think that there`s any chance that`s not going to be part of
the conversation next week.

SCHULTZ: Stephanie Cutter, thank you for your time tonight on THE ED
SHOW. Appreciate it.

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

Coming up, President Obama was fired up today and we want to see more
of that in the next debate. E.J. Dionne and Sam Stein join me for the
conversation. Where are we now?


SCHULTZ: Coming up, President Obama says we can`t double down on the
policies that created the recession. Find out why Mitt Romney`s five-point
plan is more of the same, next.

Then, Mitt told the $5 trillion lie last night on his tax plan. David
Cay Johnston will weigh in. And both candidates recognize the importance
of Ohio during last night`s debate.

But with voters already heading to the polls, will the debates have an
impact in the swing states? I`ll ask Ohio State Senator Nina Turner.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and on Twitter using #EdShow.

We are coming right back.



OBAMA: We cannot afford to double down on the same top-down economic
policies that got us into this mess. That is not a plan to create jobs.
That is not a plan to grow the economy. That is not change. That is a
relapse. We don`t want to go back there.


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

That was President Obama. Obviously in Denver, saying the economic
policies of Mitt Romney are a relapse and the president is exactly correct.

Romney rattled off his five-point plan last night just as he has done
on the stump. Energy independence, education, trade agreements, cutting
the deficit and help for small businesses.

The Web site, "Next New Deal", discovered this five-point plan, well,
has been pushed before by Senator John McCain when he accepted the
Republican nomination four years ago. The five points were in a different
order, but in the speech, exactly the same thing. There`s really no real

Four years earlier, here it is, an almost identical five-point plan
was offered by President George W. Bush when he was accepting the
Republican nomination for re-election.

Now, the five points were in a different order in this speech, in the
actual speech. Small businesses were mentioned twice. You get the picture
in all of this.

Bush also repeatedly mentioned No Child Left Behind even though it
wasn`t one of the five points.

We need to see President Obama dismantle Romney as more of the same
and dismantle these Romney lies. Here`s the president in Wisconsin today.


OBAMA: Whoever it was that was on stage last night doesn`t want to be
held accountable for what the real Mitt Romney`s been saying for the last
year. But if you want to be president, then you owe the American people
the truth.


SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in Sam Stein, political reporter for "Huffington
Post", and also, E.J. Dionne, MSNBC contributor, "Washington Post"
columnist, and author of the book "Our Divided Political Heart."

Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.


E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you.

SCHULTZ: E.J., you first. Don`t we need to see more of President
Obama, what we saw today, the next time he shares the stage with Mitt
Romney? Can we afford to see more of the same?

DIONNE: Oh, I think we all want to see the one we saw last night. I
mean, you know, I think the best story I heard this morning about how Obama
supporters felt was a friend last night after the debate, a friend said
that his wife woke up in the middle of the night and she thought she had a
nightmare and she actually realized she was remembering the debate.

Now, the -- it`s a true story.

Now, I think there are things in that debate that will actually come
back to haunt Mitt Romney which I`ll get to, but I think President Obama
was so determined not to make a mistake, not to upset the trajectory of the
campaign, not to look like somebody who would offend swing voters, that he
went all the way over the other way. And that just didn`t work.

It may -- but it may work in two respects. One is, I think there are
swing voters, particularly women, who found Mitt Romney too hot. Put aside
the lies --


DIONNE: -- and the half true truths. I think they found him too hot,
too energetic in an attacking way.

And I think that could have repercussions.


DIONNE: Now, the other thing is that Romney left a lot of stuff on
table. Now, unfortunately, President Obama didn`t answer it last night,
but I still think he has real problems on the tax program. It seems like
he was for his tax program before he was against it.

And he`s got problems on Medicaid. He`s got problems on Medicare.

I thing you and I share a view. President Obama made a mistake saying
you and I have similar views on Social Security.

SCHULTZ: He is going to have to clarify. In fact, he`s already
gotten a letter or did last week from senators, 29 of them, want to know
where the president is on Social Security. That`s the point I made last
night. He may have opened up a can of worms for himself.

Sam, specifically, to what degree must President Obama dismantle
Romney`s outright lies on a host of issues? I mean, this is where the
campaign is right now, isn`t it?

STEIN: Well, it`s tough to get a sense of where they are, you know,
because there hasn`t been really good reporting about what they were
thinking going into that debate. I think E.J.`s right. On one hand they
didn`t want to come off as sort of the aggressor. So the trajectory is in
Obama`s favor.

Keep in mind, if you look at the map, he has to win Ohio, Wisconsin
and Iowa and keep the states he won -- and keep the Kerry map. And he`ll
end up the next president of the United States. They have a very easy path
to victory. They didn`t want to upset the trajectory.

But I think if you have a few more moments like this, then you really
start to wonder if that could be complicated.


STEIN: The other thing we have to keep in mind is that 60-million-
plus people watched the debate last night. The most people who tuned into
the debate since 1992. You know, that`s the first extended viewing of
these two candidates side by side that a lot of people had, and I don`t
think the Obama campaign should feel comfortable taking that for granted.

SCHULTZ: Well, exactly. I think, you know, lies are believed by some
people. I mean, how effective is a good salesman even if he`s lying left
and right to undecided low-information voters and what kind of poll
movement might you expect from this debate, E.J.?

DIONNE: Well, I think Sam is right on that and I think when the
president, himself, gives the impression that he doesn`t really want it
that much, and that`s when the laid-back style I think after an hour and a
half where he wasn`t willing to fight for his job.

SCHULTZ: But he looked like it today. Today the president came out -
- where was that guy last night?

STEIN: A day late and a dollar short.

DIONNE: Right. I think he knows that now.

You know, the early polling on this showed a couple of things. On the
one hand, it did show that most people thought Romney won the debate.


DIONNE: But it also showed that Romney didn`t appear to add that much
to his favorable rating from the debate. Just a little bit more, actually,
than Obama who actually did add a little bit. And that the people,
according to Stan Greenberg`s polls, the only people he saw shifting in his
big focus group were Republican leaning undecideds and he found no erosion
for Obama.

So if Obama begins to turn it around now, he could begin to contain
whatever damage that debate caused.

SCHULTZ: Yes. You know, here`s Governor John Sununu, one of the
surrogates for Mitt Romney who has said this kind of stuff before. Here it


fascinating, now this morning after they`ve slept, to watch them all
scrambling around to clean up the mess the president left on the floor last
night. He didn`t want to prepare for this debate. He`s lazy and


SCHULTZ: Sam, what about that?

STEIN: I mean, what`s to add? It`s kind of absurd. It`s obviously
provocative. He wants to get a headline out of it.

It`s John Sununu. There`s not much to it. Obviously Obama`s not lazy
and disengaged. He has a ton of stuff going on.

SCHULTZ: But he left a lot of facts on the side of the road last
night. The people sitting at home were screaming at their TV sets. We
can`t deny that.

STEIN: No, no, I`m not denying that. But the notion that the
president is lazy and disengaged sort of ignores the fact that he`s doing a
lot of stuff. Now, you can disagree with what he`s doing on these things
whether foreign policy or domestic, but he`s not lazy and disengaged.

You know, I think we`re also overlooking the simple fact Obama is not
that good a debater. He wasn`t that great a debater in the Democratic
primary. He did fine against John McCain but it wasn`t exceptional.

Listen, last night, he clearly lost. But there`s one thing I`m
hearing from Democratic sources, that he didn`t end up with one of those
moments that`s going to haunt him.

SCHULTZ: No, I don`t think so.


SCHULTZ: He doesn`t lose any supporters and he certainly recovers
from this, but we can`t have any more like that. I`d say that.

Sam Stein, E.J. Dionne, great to have you with us tonight.

Next, we debunk Romney`s $5 trillion tax lie with David Cay Johnston.
Stay with us.

And Mitt Romney tried hard last night to make up ground with middle
class voters. He put on quite a dog and pony show. Tonight, we`ll remind
you who the real Mitt Romney is with Teamster`s president James Hoffa.

Stay with us.



ROMNEY: First of all, I don`t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I`m not
looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. Let me repeat what I said. I`m not in
favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That`s not my plan.


SCHULTZ: That was Mitt Romney trying to rewrite his position on
taxes. Romney proved last night he is a very polished, well-rehearsed and
unapologetic liar.

Now, the president called him out on it. But Romney was very
effective at ignoring the president`s attempts at fact checking. Earlier
this year, Romney, himself, admitted the truth.


ROMNEY: Number one, I say today we`re going to cut taxes on everyone
across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.


SCHULTZ: Now, we shouldn`t be surprised when Romney`s own website
contradicts itself. One section of the website, Romney insists he`ll make
permanent across the board 20 percent cut in marginal tax rates. In a
document on another part of Romney`s website, Romney says he`ll maintain
marginal rates at current levels.

So, which is it? Well, if we are to believe that Mitt Romney has been
saying out on the campaign trail he`ll lock in the Bush tax cuts, reduce
the deficit through spending cuts, then put into place an additional 20
percent tax cut that would ultimately benefit the rich. How would a
President Romney pay for all of this? Romney says he`ll close loopholes,
but he hasn`t offered any real specifics on that, either.

According to an independent nonpartisan tax policy study, the lost
revenues from Romney`s tax proposal would cost 4.8 -- T -- trillion over 10

The Obama campaign has already come out with an ad hitting Romney on
his five trillion dollar lie.

I`m joined tonight by David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning
columnist and author of "The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use Plain
English to Rob You Blind."

David Cay., great to have you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: After last night, do you have a better grip, a better idea
of what Romney`s tax plan is all about?

JOHNSTON: No, because he`s never been clear about it. As you showed,
he`s, on the one hand, saying I`ll cut everybody`s rates 20 percent, which
works out over the next 10 years to about five trillion dollars, and he
says I`ll maintain current rates. Now, if he`s going to not have a five
trillion dollar tax cut, it implies -- and he sort of hinted at this last
night -- that he`s going take away the deductions you are.

Well, he`s not going to succeed in reducing the problem by getting rid
of Big Bird, who -- the money to PBS isn`t even chicken feed much less Big
Bird feed. The only other project of any size he`s identified is Amtrak.
That`s like 1.4 billion a year. We`re talking trillions here.

What`s he going to do, take away your home mortgage interest
deduction? Is he going to take away your charitable deduction? He won`t
say. But if he takes away deductions in order to lower rates, where are
you better off? This, Ed, is like Ryan`s Medicare plan. I`m going to save
you a dollar in Medicare and I`m going to charge you eight dollars in
private spending.

SCHULTZ: Who will pay for Romney`s tax proposal? Is it the middle

JOHNSTON: Yeah, based on past history, what will happen if he`s
elected and he gets his plan is tax rates for those at the very top will
fall. Those popular deductions will remain in the law. And what will
happen is that we`ll cut government services. And they`ve already said
what they want to cut. Big Bird is a little tiny part of it.


JOHNSTON: They want to gut Medicare. They want to gut Social
Security. They want to increase military spending way beyond what the
Pentagon wants when we`re shutting down these two wars.

SCHULTZ: All right. I want to play this. Here`s what Romney said
regarding deductions of outsourcing. Here it is.


ROMNEY: As you said, you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas?
Look, I`ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you`re
talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant.


SCHULTZ: What`s he lying about here?

JOHNSTON: There are a whole varieties of subsidies that go to
companies that move overseas. There`s a report out momentarily -- or
recently about 168 million. That`s a small part of it. One of the
fundamental rules here is that American corporations are allowed to build
up untaxed profits offshore. American companies are sitting on six
trillion dollars of cash. That`s 20,000 dollars for every man, woman and
child. And about half of it is untaxed profits held offshore.

SCHULTZ: So how could Romney not know that? I mean, this guy`s a
corporate shark. I mean, he`s got to be lying about it.

Now, he also suggested the deduction cap could be set at 25,000 or
50,000 dollars, instead of his original suggestion of 17,000. Now, how
does that change the math?

JOHNSTON: Well, Romney deducted four million dollars in itemized
deductions. That`s more than twice what he paid in federal income tax in
2011. If he`d taken all of his charitable deductions it would have been
more than six million dollars. So were he to get this through -- and I
can`t imagine the people backing him are going to be in favor of that by
any stretch of the imagination -- there might be some effect.

But how many people do you know, Ed, who make enough money to take
25,000 or 50,000 dollars as a deduction? Take a look at your tax return,
folks. See how much if you itemize -- and only about one in three
Americans itemize -- and if you`ve got 25,000 or 50,000 dollars, you`re
doing really well.

SCHULTZ: David Cay Johnston, always good to have you with us on THE

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


ROMNEY: I was in Dayton, Ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm. She said,
I`ve been out of work since May. Can you help me?


SCHULTZ: All of a sudden, Mitt Romney is concerned for middle class
Americans asking for help.


ROMNEY: I`ll never convince them that they should take personal
responsibility and care for their lives.


SCHULTZ: James Hoffa of the Teamsters on Mitt Romney`s pandering to
the middle class.

We`ll bring you the latest on Mitt Romney`s goal to fry Big Bird.


OBAMA: He`ll get rid of regulations on Wall Street, but he`s going to
crack down on Sesame Street.


SCHULTZ: And how did last night`s big debate play in the most
important swing state in the union? There is no better person to ask than
State Senator Nina Turner.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Well, Mitt Romney put on quite
a dog and pony show last night for middle class voters across America. All
right there, he`s a different dude. During debate, he pulled a complete
180. Now all of a sudden, Romney`s concerned about the 47 percent of
Americans he trashed back in May.


ROMNEY: High income people are doing just fine in this economy.
They`ll do fine whether you`re president or I am. The people who are
having the hard time right now are middle income Americans. Under the
president`s policies middle income Americans have been buried. They`re
just being crushed.


SCHULTZ: Romney sold his phony image hard. He sold real hard. He
also told some personal stories.


ROMNEY: I was in Dayton, Ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm. And she
said, I`ve been out of work since May. Can you help me? Ann yesterday was
at a rally in Denver. A woman came up to her with a baby in her arms and
said, Ann, my husband has had four jobs in three years, part-time jobs.
He`s lost his most recent job and we now just lost our home. Can you help
us? And the answer is yes, we can help.


SCHULTZ: The bottom line is Mitt Romney has offered absolutely
nothing to help the middle class. He opposed the automobile loan program.
He was against stopping home foreclosures. He even vetoed a minimum wage
increase to eight dollars an hour while he was governor of Massachusetts.
And to top it all off, he picked a running mate whose immoral budget would
devastate programs for the middle class.

Last night, Romney tried hard to reshape his image with average
Americans. But unfortunately for Mitt, the 47 percent video will always be
there because that`s who he is. It will always expose what he really
thinks about Americans.


ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the
president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are
dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe
that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that
they`re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.

So my job is not to worry about those people. I`ll never convince
them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their


SCHULTZ: For more on the new Mitt Romney that we saw last night,
let`s turn to James Hoffa, president of International Brotherhood
Teamsters, who comes to us tonight from Local 630 in Los Angeles. Mr.
Hoffa, great to you with us tonight.

What did the middle class miss about Mitt Romney last night?

know, it`s hard to debate somebody that lies constantly. And for him to
all of a sudden say he cares about the middle class, I believe that video
about the 47 percent, that`s what he really thinks about us. And he still
is back to, he`s going to have tax cuts for the rich. And there`s only one
way to balance a budget, going after Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.

He wants to privatize Social Security. He wants to send you a voucher
with regard to Medicare. He is against what we stand for, and the things
that basically are the safety net in America right now. And no matter what
you saw last night, it was a big lie, because he basically tried to remake
himself last night.

You know, we know the real Mitt Romney.

SCHULTZ: He says the middle class has been crushed under President
Obama. What`s your reaction to that?

HOFFA: Well, they haven`t been crushed. Basically they`re suffering
from the Bush crash that happened in `08. And people haven`t recovered
from that. You know, people`s homes are under water. We haven`t recovered
our economy. We have people unemployed.

Let`s look at what`s going on. The economy`s coming back. We
basically have people working. Teamsters are working. UAW members are
working. The auto industry is thriving. All the different people that
work in plants are back to work.

So we have hundreds of thousands of people that have had their jobs
back. So that`s good news. We`re on our way back and we basically need
some more time. That`s all. For him to say they`ve been crushed is not
true. If anybody crushed them, it was his party that crashed the economy
in `08.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Hoffa, are you concerned at all about labor? Are those
folks who are standing behind you tonight still where they were 48 hours
ago when it comes to President Obama?

HOFFA: They haven`t changed one bit. They know the truth. And they
can tell a liar when they see one.

SCHULTZ: Now, what about President Obama saying he wants to lower the
corporate tax rate on manufacturing to 25 percent? What does that mean for

HOFFA: Well, whatever it does that can help create more jobs in this
country. What I like what he said about basically, we`re going to reward
people that put jobs here in America, and we`re going to make sure the tax
is an incentive for people that send American jobs overseas, something that
Mitt Romney has done. He did that at Bain and he sent jobs overseas.

SCHULTZ: What was your response when Romney was talking about he`s
been in business for 25 years, he didn`t know anything about incentives for
shipping jobs overseas? What was your reaction to that?

HOFFA: Well, again, it`s this lie after lie. It`s hard to debate
somebody when he takes one position on his website, one position during the
campaign and gets on television and completely changes it. He knows
there`s all kinds of incentives to have people move offshore. That`s
what`s wrong with our trade policy. We have to get rid of those and
basically make it so it costs you more money to send your job to China.
Build the thing here in America where it belongs.

SCHULTZ: Mr. James Hoffa, Teamsters president, great to have you
tonight on THE ED SHOW. Appreciate your time.

Coming up, Mitt Romney feels the backlash for threatening to defund a
cultural icon in America. I`ll tell you why Big Bird made a big splash
last night at the debate.



ROMNEY: I`m sorry, Jim, I`m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I`m
going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like
you, too. I`m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow
money from China to pay for.


SCHULTZ: OK. Mitt Romney has never made it a secret that he really
likes firing people. But he ruffled more than a few feathers last night at
the debate when me proposed to cut federal funding for PBS. It wasn`t
because moderator Jim Lehrer worked for PBS since 1973. Romney messed with
the most popular bird in America, and Twitter responded.

Big Bird peaked at 17,000 Tweets per minute. And the hash tag
#SaveSesameStreet became the top trending topic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t understand. You know, everything was just
fine. Why does it have to be this way? Give me one good reason.


SCHULTZ: Well, that`s the problem. PBS doesn`t receive any direct
money from the government. The government funds the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, a profit -- a private non-profit corporation that distributes
the subsidy to local PBS stations. In 2012, CPB was given 444.1 million
dollars. Let`s see. What is that? That`s 0.012 percent of the federal

Last year, PBS received just five percent of CPB`s total
appropriation? So in terms of having an impact on the nation`s debt,
folks, we`re talking about a drop in the bucket. But to many Americans,
Mitt Romney is talking about cutting an institution. PBS calls itself
America`s biggest classroom for a reason. It offers educational
programming to kids across America who might otherwise not have access.

President Obama put it best.


OBAMA: Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.
It`s about time. We didn`t know that Big Bird was driving the federal
deficit. But that`s what we heard last night. How about that? Elmo, too?


SCHULTZ: Tonight, in our survey I asked, will Mitt Romney get away
with lying to the American people? Eighteen percent of you say yes; 82
percent of you say no.

Coming up, forget about the style and the zingers. There`s only one
way to know if Romney really won last night`s debate. It`s simple. We`ll
explain it next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: And in tonight`s big finish, let`s talk about the bottom
line in this election, folks. The Republicans may be high fiving behind
closed doors over Mitt Romney`s debate performance. But style won`t matter
a bit if Romney fails to move the needle in the important state of Ohio.
Early voting started there Tuesday. And turnout could be a record breaker.

Some counties are reporting twice the number of voters than they got
in 2008. This kind of turnout is exactly what the Republicans were
fearing. They -- they tried to stop early voting, didn`t they? But their
tactics didn`t hold up in court.

Now Romney realizes that he has to win Ohio the old fashioned way. He
has to earn it. As a result, Ohio got a lot of love from both candidates
during the debate.


ROMNEY: I was in Dayton, Ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm. She said,
I`ve been out of work since May.

OBAMA: At Cleveland Clinic, one of the best health care systems in
the world, they actually provide great care cheaper than average.

ROMNEY: Your example of the Cleveland Clinic is my case in point.

OBAMA: The auto workers that you meet in Toledo or Detroit take such
pride in building the best cars in the world not just because of a
paycheck, but because if gives them that sense of pride that they`re
helping to build America.


SCHULTZ: Ohio is the key to the election. The state carries 18
electoral votes. Look how the numbers break down. This is Romney`s best-
case scenario. Without Ohio, Romney would have to win five other
battleground states. He`s trailing, or tied, in all of those states. So
he`d need to -- he`d need multiple come-from-behind victories across the

And here`s the bad news for the candidate. The latest Ohio poll shows
President Obama ahead by eight points. Romney hasn`t made any gains for
almost a month in that state.

I promised I`d get to the bottom line. Here it is. Winning a debate,
real nice, kind of important for the moment. But Romney needs to win Ohio
if he wants to be president of the United States. We`ll see if a single
debate can make a difference for him.

Joining me tonight, Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. Senator, good to
have you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: Do you think Romney`s debate performance was enough to
change the dial a little bit in Ohio?

TURNER: Not at all, Ed. As you outlined, Ohio is still trending in
favor of President Obama. Ohioans get that Governor Romney does not
understand that being president of the United States is not a business
venture. It`s a service venture. And Governor Romney just does not get

You know, he hasn`t been in elected office since 2007. So it was easy
for him last night to talk about hypotheticals and what he would have done.
What he did as governor was slash budgets by hundreds of millions of
dollars for local government, cut funding for higher education. He left
office with a 34 percent approval rating.

So no, Ohioans are not buying Etch a Sketch Part II. Excuse me,
Governor Romney was shape shifting last night, Ed.

SCHULTZ: "The Hill" reports Republicans plan to spend 4.2 million
dollars in Ohio this week. It`s two million less than they spent last
week. Can money shift votes in Ohio, you think? Which, of course, leads
me to the next question about early voting. Combine those two. What about
the money, what about the early voting?

TURNER: Well, certainly money has some impact. But Ed, in Ohio,
money is not going to buy Governor Romney love. Ohioans understand who
stood by them, saving the auto industry. Women in this state understands
who believes in them. The president signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the
Affordable Care Act, helping young people in tough times being able to stay
on their parents` health care plan.

Ohioans understand that. And that`s why this state is still going
toward the president. So, no, money is not going to buy Governor Romney
love in this state.

SCHULTZ: So you know President Obama. Ohioans know what he has done
for the economy.


SCHULTZ: And the pack of lies, nobody is -- everybody`s going to see
through exactly what Romney was doing last night? That`s the take?

TURNER: That`s the take, Ed. You know, Republicans talk about a
president who has been trying. Well, yes, he has been trying. You know,
you want to talk about trickle-down government. If that means saving the
auto industry, if that means providing a safety net for people who are in
need, if that means stopping and averting a great recession from going into
a Great Depression, we will take trickle-down government any day of the

The governor -- the president is trying, but the governor`s doing a
whole lot of lying.

SCHULTZ: Should the Republicans worry about voter turnout?

TURNER: Absolutely, they should, Ed. And all the voter suppression
tactics that they are using in the state of Ohio is just further cementing
the cause of folks getting out to vote. People in Ohio are still excited
about getting out to vote. And that`s clear by the first day of early
voting, where in Cayahoga County, almost 1,900 people, Ed, showed up the
first day of early voting, far outpacing what happened in 2008.

SCHULTZ: The AFL-CIO said today it has registered 68,000 new voters
in the state of Ohio. That`s a heavy lift.

TURNER: It is. It`s the right kind of lift, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Well, OK. So does President Obama need to do more in the
state? Does he need to go reaffirm his position with these voters? Or do
you consider him to still be in really good shape in Ohio?

TURNER: He`s in good --

SCHULTZ: Did the debate do anything to him last night?

TURNER: The president is in good shape, but come on. I felt like you
and Chris Matthews after that debate. The president is really going to
have to bring it the way he should and the way he knows that he needs to do
it. But he`s going to be here in Cleveland tomorrow. The president has
visited here 22 times. He will keep coming back because he knows Ohio is
the heart of it all.

SCHULTZ: All right. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, great to have
you with us again tonight. Thanks so much.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. I`m a believer. Our locker
room`s OK.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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