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The Ed Show for Friday, October 5th, 2012

October 5, 2012

Guests: Robert Wolf, Bob Shrum, Chris Kofinis, Alec MacGillis, Karen

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

Thirty-two days until the 2012 election. The unemployment rate hits
its lowest level in four years and Republicans hate it. Tonight, we rip
off their tin foil hats.

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


JACK WELCH, FORMER G.E. CEO: You don`t think it`s coincidental that
we`ve got the biggest surge since 1983 and in the job surge? Come on,

SCHULTZ (voice-over): The conspiracy theorists are howling tonight.
We`ll get the truth on today`s huge jobs report -- with former president of
UBS Investment Bank, Robert Wolf, and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum.

A Republican talking point died a bloody death today.

administration promised that unemployment would not exceed 8 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would not exceed 8 percent.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Unemployment under 8 percent.


SCHULTZ: Tonight, a requiem for the 8 percent promise.

The Mitt Romney coal miner story got even uglier today. We`ll talk to
the author of a new report that claims the owner of the Ohio mine Mitt
Romney visited forced workers to donate to the Romney campaign.

And the legendary actor LeVar Burton is mad at Mitt Romney for going
after Big Bird.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANIDDATE: I`m going to stop all things
-- I like PBS. I love Big Bird.

SCHLUTZ: Tonight, LeVar Burton, with the real story about PBS.

KERMIT THE FROG: The real story?

LEVAR BURTON, ACTOR: The real story.


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

The unemployment numbers for September were released today. And it is
good news for the American recovery. Somebody said Obama didn`t know
anything about the economy. Well, forget that for now.

The national unemployment rate fell to, count it, 7.8 percent --
114,000 jobs were added to the payrolls. An additional 86,000 were added
to revisions for July and August. The labor force grew, my friends, by
418,000, which means the drop in unemployment is not due to people giving
up on looking for work, which is a great Republican talking point.

President Obama broke the news to supporters during a rally in
Virginia today.


out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took


OBAMA: More Americans entered the work force, more people are getting


SCHULTZ: The president made clear the economy is not out of the
woods. It`s never going to be out of the woods.

But look where we`re going. There are still a lot of people who are
waiting for the recovery to reach them.


OBAMA: We`ve still got too many friends and neighbors who are looking
for work. There are too many middle class families that are still
struggling to pay the bills. They were struggling long before the crisis

But today`s news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the
economy to score a few political points. It`s a reminder that this country
has come too far to turn back now.


SCHULTZ: This has been a long road for America. Sometimes I think as
Americans we`re almost in denial as to where we were.

Here`s the bottom line: the September rate is lower than the
unemployment rate when Barack Obama took office in 2009 of January of that
year, right out of the bat. Today, where`s the Dow? The Dow Jones
Industrial Average hit a five-year high. Stocks are doing better than they
were before the economic crash of 2008.

More people are working today than when President Obama was
inaugurated. You know, when they were having the secret meeting about how
they were going to make him fail.

It`s not all sunshine and roses out there. We`ll admit that. But the
jobs situation in America has improved under President Obama`s watch --
now, of course, unless you are a hard core right winger.

Now, according to them, these unemployment numbers, you know what they
are? They are a conspiracy. They`re a conspiracy to re-elect the
president of the United States.


STUART VARNEY, FOX NEWS: There is widespread mistrust of this report
and these numbers because there are clear contradictions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guarantee when this is revised the unemployment
rate would be back above 8 percent.

VARNEY: Oh, how convenient that the rate drops below 8 percent for
the first time in 43 months five weeks before an election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you they`d get it under 8 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A great argument.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can let America decide how they got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are alleging specifically that the president
is engaging in a cover up of the data. You are saying that the
administration is actively manipulating that data, correct?

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: Well, absolutely.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I want to remind you I have
warned you this kind of thing is going to happen. The unemployment rate is
going to drop.


SCHULTZ: The insanity doesn`t stop there. One conservative writer
for the "Washington examiner" said unemployment dropped because a bunch of
Dems lied about getting jobs.

Now here is the grand daddy of all job truthers. Former General
Electric CEO Jack Welch, he had fun this morning. He tweeted this. He
couldn`t believe it.

"Unbelievable job numbers. The Chicago guys will do anything. Can`t
debate, so they change the numbers."

Welch went on FOX News and claimed he wasn`t making accusations about
the administration. He`s just raising the question.


WELCH: It`s just ironic that these assumptions all came this way the
month before the election. You draw your own conclusions.


SCHULTZ: Welch received a different reception when he tried to peddle
his theory to my colleague Chris Matthews on this network.


WELCH: I have no evidence to prove that. I just raised the question.

MATTHEWS: No, you didn`t. You said these Chicago guys will do
anything --


MATTHEWS: -- so they changed the numbers. Do you want to take this

WELCH: No, I don`t want to take it back.

MATTHEWS: There is a serious assertion there was corruption here,
infiltration or getting to -- it`s not funny, Jack. You`re talking about
the president of the United States playing with the bureau of statistics
numbers. This is Nixon stuff.

Do you want to take back the charge that there was corruption here?

WELCH: No, I don`t want to take back -- I don`t want to take back one
word in that tweet.


SCHULTZ: So let`s be clear about where we stand on the conspiracy to
re-elect Barack Obama.

From everything we`ve been told by the right wingers, here is who was
involved -- the Bureau of Labor Statistics which has never been influenced
by any White House. Somehow, somehow they manipulated the numbers. But
they only manipulated the numbers for the month of September instead of
manipulating them for three years.

OK. Then of course there is every polling organization in existence.
Now remember all of the polls are skewed toward President Obama. Then
there is the national media which, of course, includes FOX News because FOX
polls show President Obama is in the lead.

And finally, unemployed people. For some reason these folks, they
just want to lie to the bureau of labor statistics in order to help a
president who is presiding over their unemployment benefits as you see this
is, my friends, all crazy talk.

One person who didn`t play along with the conspiracies was this guy,
Mitt Romney. He knows better. But he did put out a statement downplaying
the new numbers. He said, "This is not what a real recovery looks like."

So Romney says the number is bad but the conspiracy kooks, well, say
the number was fixed to make President Obama look good. The fact remains,
conservatives have been shoving these unemployment rate numbers to the
president`s face for the last three and a half years.

Now it`s come back to bite them. They hate it. They can`t stand it.
It`s success under Obama. And if it works for them -- well, it`s the

If it works against them, you know what it is? It`s a conspiracy.
It`s a lie. You know what it is? It is pathetic.

You want a real conspiracy? I`m going to give you a real conspiracy
here tonight. An entire political party in Washington, D.C. -- you know
this -- has spent nearly four years making sure no legislative action was
taken on jobs.

When President Obama approached them with solutions to get people back
to work, they rejected them immediately, said no. They even said in
public, their number one goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term

When they executed this strategy, what did they do? They damaged the
country. Do you call that economic patriotism? I don`t.

This is what a job growth has looked like over the past three years.
Now take a look at what happens when we see these split between the private
sector jobs and the public sector jobs.

It`s pretty obvious. The losses in the public sector, what were they?
They were a drag on job growth. We lost nearly 700,000 public sector jobs
since 2009. Most of them, sadly, are teachers.

Now if you look at the major sectors of our economy right now -- hell,
there`s growth all over the place in all areas except one, construction
jobs. Now think about this. If the American Jobs Act was considered by
Republicans, they would have added nearly 2 million construction jobs.
Where would the unemployment report be now?

The September jobs report, my friends, it is not a conspiracy. It`s
just a lot of indigestion by the Republicans. And I think it`s insulting
to hardworking Americans to say that it is a conspiracy.

Republicans have engaged in something much worse over the last four
years. They tried to hurt the country for their own political gain. They
did damage to the economic system of this country.

They hurt families. They held us back. And they ultimately failed.

So can we officially call this tonight a Democratic recovery? Can we
get the history books to record this as the most obstructive time in
American political history and if it wasn`t for the Democrats, we wouldn`t
have had 31 months of private sector job growth? We wouldn`t have added
over 5 million jobs?

Come on. Be fair minded about this. This isn`t any conspiracy. This
is America.

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

Tonight`s question: are Republicans, are they even capable of
embracing good news for Americans? Text A for yes, text B for no to
622639. You can always go to our blog at We`ll bring you
the results later on in the show.

I am joined tonight by Robert Wolf, former president of UBS Investment
Bank and host of "Impact Players on Reuters TV, and an outside adviser to
President Obama.

Also with us tonight is Democratic strategist Bob Shrum two of the
best here to talk about the economy and political ramifications of all of

Mr. Wolf, good to have you with us tonight.

me, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You were right there on the ground floor when President
Obama was dealing with this economic crisis. Take us where we were and
where we are and encapsulate it for our audience.

WOLF: So, we know where we were. The stock market was a hundred
percent lower, right? We were at 6,000. We`re at a five-year high. And
we were losing 750,000 jobs when he entered office.

I`d rather talk about where we are today because I think today`s
numbers are a culmination of policies that have led to a recovery that we
need to continue but we are starting to see the culmination of these
policies actually lead to very good things. So, let`s talk about it.

People aren`t discussing the average hour work week. It came in at 34
1/2, which is a prerecession number. Mortgage foreclosures are at a four-
year low. Housing starts at a four-year high. We have 31 straight months
of private sector job gains, of over 5 million jobs.

Manufacturing -- OK, manufacturing has had over 500,000 jobs created.
We`re in the right trajectory. Our export initiative is working where it`s
at double digits as a percentage of GDP.

So I think that we`re in the right trajectory. We obviously are not
where we want to be. But this is showing that the recovery is starting to
work. And we just need to keep the force going.

And I think to your point, Ed, which you mention all the time, we need
to start investing in infrastructure. That would speed up this recovery

SCHULTZ: Well -- yes.

Mr. Wolf, I got to ask you, what is your reaction when you hear all of
these righties and anti-Obama people say it`s a conspiracy and they`re
cooking the books?

WOLF: I mean, listen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been
something we`ve been looking at for decades. This is -- it`s embarrassing
that we even are having this conversation. This is really silly talk.

And I think that, you know, it`s an embarrassment that we`re not
actually talking about isn`t it great that we`re at a 2009 low. We should
be talking about how great it is, not how -- not the negative aspect. This
is a good thing. It`s a good thing unemployment is low. It`s getting

SCHULTZ: It is a great thing. It is a great thing. And it`s the
Republicans who have been running around -- especially, Bob Shrum, their
lead candidate for president, who says President Obama doesn`t understand
the economy. How big of a blow is this to the Republican effort to thwart
the economy?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it`s really tough -- I
think for them. And that`s why you saw this effloresce of what Richard
Hofstadter, the historian, called the paranoid style in American politics,
where everything is a conspiracy and nothing is on the level.

It`s amazing to me that someone like Jack Welch would lend his name to
this kind of conspiracy-mongering. He looked like a fool today. Now, he
is a Republican, a partisan Republican. He hated Al Gore because the
Clinton/Gore administration made G.E. cleaned up the PCBs they had spewed
into the Hudson River.

But it`s unbelievable that he doesn`t have the good sense to avoid
this that when he says to Chris Matthews he has no evidence at all he
simply won`t back down. So I thought about this today.

You know, first we had the truthers. Then we had the birthers. Now
we need a name for these conspiracy freaks who think that the BLS is
jiggering the numbers and I think we ought to call them the Welchers.

SCHULTZ: Is Romney going to get hurt by these wild conspiracies, Bob?

SHRUM: Yes. I think he is, because what this conspiracy theory has
done is given more currency to the actual news.

The people who listen to Rush Limbaugh, the people on FOX News, none
of them are going to vote for the president anyway. They never were going
to vote for him. But there`s going to be more currency to the story. It`s
going to be a more interesting story. It`s going to sink in better.

And I think it fits the narrative that Barack Obama and bill Clinton
at the convention have been trying to persuade the country to accept, which
is inherited a really bad situation. We`ve made real progress. We have a
way to go. Well, today it looks like we made real progress.

SCHULTZ: Well, Barack Obama did not inherit Bill Clinton`s economy.
He inherited George Bush`s economy. I think we have forgotten that along
the way.

Mr. Robert Wolf and Bob Shrum, great to have you both, gentlemen, with
us tonight. Thanks so much.

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

Coming up a big win for the economy means Mitt Romney is losing his
favorite talking point. Democratic strategist Kris Kofinis will tell us
what 7.8 percent unemployment means for the Romney campaign.

Stay with us. We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Coming up the new unemployment number means the death of a
GOP talking point. Democratic strategist Kris Kofinis joins me next.

A new report says the same company where mine workers attended a
Romney rally without pay also made workers donate to his campaign. Alec
McGillis of "The New Republic" has the details.

And Mitt`s plan to cut funding to PBS would be a drop in the bucket in
terms of the deficit, but would have a major impact on educational
television in America. Former "Reading Rainbow" host LeVar Burton will
join me tonight, looking forward to that.

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


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

Good news for the country means Republicans are losing one of their
favorite talking points. Now, the economy added 114,000 jobs last month
bringing unemployment down to 7.8 percent. Gosh, I just can`t say it
enough. You know what I mean? For years, Republicans have been attacking
President Obama for not knowing what the heck is going on, and getting
unemployment rate down below 8 percent. They thought he`d never do it.

Now with today`s news, their attack is officially dead. So, in
memoriam tonight, we`re sending their favorite talking point off in style.



BACHMANN: The White House promised us that all the spending would
keep unemployment under 8 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He promised that our unemployment rate would not
exceed 8 percent.

BOEHNER: The Obama administration promised that unemployment would
not exceed 8 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s important.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: The administration said they`d keep
unemployment below 8 percent. You`re part of this. What went wrong?

MCCONNELL: Below 8 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Below 8 percent.

ROMNEY: The administration pledged that the stimulus would keep the
unemployment rate below 8 percent.

They`ll hold unemployment below 8 percent and it has not been below 8
percent since.

The president`s been a disappointment. He told you he`d keep
unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn`t been below 8 percent since.

If they got their way on their stimulus, they`d hold unemployment
below 8 percent.

They set the measure and they have not been below 8 percent since.

MCCONNELL: How`d that working out?


SCHULTZ: I`ll tell you exactly how it worked out. Damn good. And
it`s going to get better.

Let`s bring in Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis tonight.

Chris, good to have you with us. You know --


SCHULTZ: Yes, you can. You know what? They`ve been rooting for
failure. Let`s just say it. They have fought this president every step of
the way. The record number of filibusters proves it.

If you go out on the street and run into some small business guy and
he says, you know what? I`ve had 31 months of job growth in my business,
he`d probably tell you, you know, I`m on a roll. I`m on a roll.

Why can`t the Republicans bring themselves to success that we are
definitely heading in the right direction?

CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, you know, you live by the
talking point you die by the talking point. And that talking point is now

And so, the Republicans have a real conundrum on themselves, facing
themselves. You know, how do they go out now and talk down the economy
even further? It`s really difficult to do given this significant

And I think what is even more significant about this, you know, after
the debate performance in which we all agree was not good on behalf of the
president, the Republicans and the governor, Governor Romney`s campaign
thought they had momentum.

This now I would say has popped that balloon in a significant way and
allows the president now to go out there as he did today in a very forceful
way and make the argument that the country is moving in the right
direction. You do not want to take us back in the wrong direction.

SCHULTZ: You know, in a lame duck session of the Congress we had this
big discussion about the Bush tax cuts. The Republicans are so far off
their game right now their reaction today should have been -- well, we told
President Obama to extend the Bush tax cuts. You can`t raise taxes on the
job creators. They don`t even know their own talking points.

And so, what do they do now? They come out and accuse the president
and the Bureau of Labor Statistics of cooking the books. What is the new
7.8 unemployment mean for Obama`s campaign strategy moving forward to get
him re-elected? What does this mean for him?

KOFINIS: Well, it gives him an opportunity to really paint the
picture that we didn`t do, he didn`t do effectively in the debate. I mean,
to me -- now, the stakes for the next debate become really critical to the
president. It`s a town hall format.

The president needs to go in there and not allow Governor Romney to
set the debate or control the debate or use facts that aren`t real. He
needs to sit there and look Governor Romney in the eye and say -- listen,
you sit there and tell the American people they`re not better off. Well,
tell the 5 million people that have jobs today that they`re not better off.
Tell the 37 million people who have health care and are going to have
health care that they`re not better off. Tell the soldiers that are coming
back from Iraq, back from Afghanistan that they`re not better off.

The president needs to do a full throated defense of his presidency
and not allow Governor Romney to define his presidency for him. This helps

SCHULTZ: And, Chris, quickly do we hear Mitt Romney continue to say
that President Obama doesn`t understand the economy? Does this put him in
a box?

KOFINIS: Well, to some extent but Governor Romney is going to use his
statistics to paint his picture and we saw that. And I think this is one
of the things that I would, you know, strongly recommend to the Obama

You know, Romney was a blizzard of statistics in that debate, but a
lot of them weren`t true. The president has the ability to use statistics
to attack and undercut Governor Romney`s arguments. He needs to go into
the next debate.

A lot of people are going to be watching given the last debate and he
needs to go right at Governor Romney and completely destroy this notion
that reinventing himself, let alone introducing and proposing the same
policies are going to create a different outcome. He can definitely do
that. We`ve seen that.

SCHULTZ: Right wing conservative talking points dying on this Friday
in October. Chris Kofinis, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.

Coming up: workers at an Ohio coal mine. Now, they were forced to
attend a Romney event without pay. You know what, folks? That`s not all.

Find out what else employees of a major energy company were forced to

And 17 days after his 47 percent remark Romney says, ah, he was wrong.
And there`s something very curious about all of this and we`ll explain.

Stay tuned. We`re coming right back at THE ED SHOW.



ROMNEY: By the way, I like coal. I am going to make sure we can continue
to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it`s getting
crushed by your policies.


SCHULTZ: That was mitt Romney attacking President Obama and declaring
his love for the coal industry earlier this week. After reading a new
report from "The New Republic," it is pretty easy to understand why Mitt
Romney has just this deep affection for coal. Now we`ve told you about
Romney`s appearance at the Ohio coal mine back in August, where workers at
the Century mine in Bealsville, Ohio were given the day off without pay and
forced to attend a Romney event.

The unpaid miners, what did they do, well, they served as a convenient
backdrop for Romney. Romney thanked the miners` boss, Murray Energy CEO
Robert Murray, for his efforts.


ROMNEY: I`ll tell you, you got a great boss. He runs a great
operation here. Bob, where are you, Bob? There he is.


SCHULTZ: Now I just wonder why Romney was just gushing all over and
all about Murray? In addition to forcing miners to stay behind Romney
without pay, Murray also pressured his salaried employees to give to
Republican candidates deemed worthy by the company. You know, candidates
who are for deregulation and certainly anti-union.

"Salaried employees are also expected to contribute to the company PAC
through automatic payroll deductions." Documents obtained by "The New
Republic" show that company officials track -- they actually follow who is
giving and who is not. If employees don`t comply, Murray calls them out on

All of this pressure turns into real big money for Republican
politicians. Mitt Romney himself gained 120,000 dollars in support from
Murray employees alone. In 2007 -- since 2007, employees of Murray Energy
and its subsidiaries along with their families and the Murray PAC, well,
they have contributed over 1.4 million to Republican candidates for federal

Murray`s fundraisers have benefited the likes of Scott Brown, Rand
Paul, David Vitter, Carly Fiorina, and Jim DeMint down at South Carolina.
Murray`s PAC is also lending a big hand to who? Josh Mandel in Ohio, who
of course is going after Sherrod Brown in that Senate race in the Buckeye

Let`s turn to Alec MacGillis, a writer for "The New Republic." His
report, "Coal Miners Donor," details Robert Murray`s efforts to pressure
his employees into donating to Republican causes. Great to have you with
us tonight. Appreciate your time.

ALEC MACGILLIS, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": Thanks for having me.

SCHULTZ: You had several -- you had I understand several sources come
forward and tell you about this pressure to contribute. What surprised you
the most? What did you find out?

MACGILLIS: I guess I was surprised at just how long this has been
going on and we haven`t really heard about it. This is an amazing, years
long, widespread system that`s been going on where workers, when they first
arrive at this company, are told, look, you are -- we expect you to give to
the PAC, to our PAC. That`s part of working here. You`re going to sign a
form that lets us take one percent of your pay to give to the PAC.

You`re also going to be -- we also would like you to participate in
Mr. Murray`s fundraisers. He has these constant fundraisers. And the
letters just keep coming to people`s homes. The letters come from Mr.
Murray, please come to this fundraiser. I suggest you give 200 or 500 or a
thousand depending on your salary level. And you`re expected to go to this
banquet hall in St. Clarsville (ph), a little town near Wheeling, and one
after another of the who`s who of Republicans from around the country come
to this little banquet hall and collect these checks.

SCHULTZ: I mean, this is shaking them down at the office. That`s
what this is. This is a clear, concerted effort to get money out of
employees for Republican candidates, no doubt. You report that Murray not
only pressures employees but also contractors. How did that happen?

MACGILLIS: Well, what I was told by sources was that it`s also --
this is also the way it works with vendors and contractors. They are told
that if they want to do business, that if they`re doing business with
Murray Energy, it would be nice if they could also support candidates that
Mr. Murray supports. And in some cases of course, this is not the hardest
sell to make, because a lot of these other contractors in this part of the
country, in this business, also are very anti-Barack Obama, anti-Democrat.
So some of them are willing to give.

The same goes for some of the employees I spoke with. I went out for
that rally in Ohio, the Romney rally. And some of the employees I spoke
with said, yeah, I give. He likes us to give and I give willingly. But it
was other people I spoke with who had a real problem with it, who felt very
uncomfortable about it, felt that it was not right, and felt that they were
made to feel very bad when they would not give.

They would say look. I have a tuition payment this month. I have a
car payment. I can`t do it this month. And they`d be made to feel bad
about it. The documents that I got back this up. In these documents,
these letters I have from Mr. Murray, himself, to -- down to the rest of
the company saying, hey. There`s no -- you`re not giving this month. Step
it up. You`re insulting me by not giving. What`s going on? He`ll
sometimes attach a list of employees who are not giving, or a spreadsheet
showing who is giving and who is not.

SCHULTZ: I tell you what, it`s really beating up employees in the
workplace. It is really wrong. But this is how the Republicans play the
game. Great reporting, Alec MacGillis. Great to have you with us tonight
on THE ED SHOW. Thank you.

There is a lot more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us. We`re coming right back.


ROMNEY: I said something that`s just completely wrong. And I
absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about a
hundred percent.


SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney is completely changing his tune after he
basically called half the country lazy moochers. Karen Finney joins me


LAVAR BURTON, "READING RAINBOW": I couldn`t believe the man actually
fixed his mouth to say that.


BURTON: I interpreted it as an attack on children.


SCHULTZ: And former "Reading Rainbow" host Lavar Burton is sticking
up for PBS by going after Mitt Romney. Mr. Burton joins me tonight.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Mitt Romney did something
truly unusual even for him; 17 days after his infamous 47 percent remarks,
he now says he was wrong. Sean Hannity asked Romney, what would he have
said if President Obama had raised the 47 percent remarks in the debate the
other night? Here is Romney`s answer.


ROMNEY: Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of
speeches and question and answer sessions, now and then you`re going to say
something that doesn`t come out right. In this case, I said something that
is just completely wrong. And I absolutely believe, however, that my life
has shown that I care about 100 percent.


SCHULTZ: President Obama didn`t bring up the 47 percent remarks in
the debate and caught a lot of flack for it. I questioned it here on this
network to one of his advisers. But he probably wanted to avoid giving
Romney the chance to address it in front of 67 million people, that kind of
a platform.

The Romney camp wasn`t satisfied. They were probably expecting it to
give their candidate an opportunity. OK. So they`re not happy with the
good debate performance, so they wanted a bite at the 47 percent apple to
straighten things out. So they sent Romney over to Fox News so Romney can
finally say that he was wrong on a different platform of course.

Romney sure took his sweet time. He didn`t say he was wrong two and a
half weeks ago.


ROMNEY: Well, you know, it`s not elegantly stated. Let me put it
that way. I am speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I`m
sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way. But it`s a
message which I`m going to carry and continue to carry, which is look, the
president`s approach is attractive to people who are not paying taxes
because, frankly, my discussion about lowering taxes isn`t as attractive to

Therefore I`m not likely to draw them into my campaign.


SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Karen Finney, former communications
director for the DNC and MSNBC analyst. Karen, great to have you with us.


SCHULTZ: Was it a brilliant strategy on the part of the Obama team
for the president not to use the 47 percent remark to give an opening to
Mitt Romney, because a huge platform of 60 some plus million people? What
about that?

FINNEY: You know, that may very well be. I mean, the thing that --
although that is so insulting is, think about it, just the clip you just
played, the night that came out, the next day where did he go? Fox News
with Neil Cavuto. Again, he really stood by those comments. He said,
well, I could have said them a little better, but I really stand by the

For the last two weeks, he has been saying I stand by this message
that those people, you know, that language -- even in his ads he talks
about those people, that they wouldn`t be attracted to his message of lower
taxes? I mean, who is he to make such an assumption? And more
importantly, he said, it`s not my job to worry about them.

So there is still a part of me that would have loved to see the
confrontation on that. Because think about this, Ed. You just played that
clip. You did that interview talking about those coal miners. If you
really care about the 47 percent, did you realize, did you know that that -
- those people didn`t get paid that day to sit there and be props for you?
Do you care about them?


FINNEY: It never probably occurred to him.

SCHULTZ: You know, this is a huge admission by the Romney camp that
they got some serious problems with the middle class.


SCHULTZ: And they`ve got to address it somehow. So you could just
see him behind closed doors saying, you know, boss, you got to go out there
and you got to eat some crow on this one. You got to tell them that you`re
really not down on everybody. You know, that the 47 percenters are a
problem. Because this is the largest economic voting block in America.


SCHULTZ: The number of polls out there show that he has so much
trouble with the middle class. Is this going to work at all? Is it going
to have any effect on his campaign?

FINNEY: You know, I don`t think it will and here`s why. I think
again, one of the things that team Obama has done very wisely for a long
time, I mean, they really worked hard on this narrative. And remember all
those Bain ads that people thought were ill conceived to run in the middle
-- with the middle class, hitting the middle of the country, think about
this, Ed, the same people who were in those ads talking about how when Bain
came to town, they lost their jobs, they lost everything while, you know,
Mitt Romney and his guys walked away with plenty of cash -- those are the
same 47 percent that he was talking about.

So the combination of those messages I think has really done damage.
And that is what the Romney team is really afraid of. I don`t know that
they have enough time though to fully turn that around. Let`s see what he
does at the townhall, when he has to really talk to somebody.

SCHULTZ: Well, here`s the irony of it, is that he`s over there on Fox
trying to make amends with the middle class. Conservatives, behind closed
doors, they were eating it up at that fundraiser.

FINNEY: That`s right.

SCHULTZ: Here`s what Rush Limbaugh said. Let`s play it. Here it is.
Let`s play the Drugster. Here it is.


opportunity. This could have been -- could be the opportunity for Romney
and for that campaign to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off
and just start explaining conservativism.


SCHULTZ: Romney is now ready to give up the golden opportunity to
talk about conservativism? What is that all about?

FINNEY: You know what it makes me think, Ed, is it makes me feel like
there was some kind of conversation that said, look, this isn`t working.
If we want to win this thing, we`ve all got to agree that we`ve got to put
a different Mitt out there for these last three weeks. He`s got to be a
little bit contrite on those stupid comments. He`s got to talk like he
really cares and recognizes that not everybody, you know, grew up like he
did, and sort of say -- and you guys have to let him have a pass on that
because we got to win this thing.

I`m telling you, Ed, I would not be surprised if we don`t learn after
the election there was some kind of deal made that says we got to soften
our rhetoric, but don`t worry. We`re still -- rich people, you`re still
going to get your tax breaks and, you know, we`re still going to screw the
middle class.

SCHULTZ: Karen Finney, great to have you with us on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much.

FINNEY: Take care.

SCHULTZ: Coming up I`ll talk to former "Reading Rainbow" host Lavar
Burton about Mitt Romney`s Big Bird problem and why we need America`s
biggest classroom. Stay tuned.


SCHULTZ: A little earlier in the show, we played a requiem of the
death of the Republicans` favorite talking point. Many of you in the
social media had lots to say about it. So, by popular demand, we are
playing it for you again. Here it is.



REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The White House promised us
that all of the spending would keep unemployment under eight percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He promised that our unemployment rate would not
exceed eight percent.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The Obama administration
promised that unemployment would not exceed eight percent.

It`s important.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This administration said they`d keep
unemployment below eight percent. You were part of this. What wept wrong?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Below eight percent.

ROMNEY: The administration pledged that their stimulus would keep the
unemployment rate below eight percent.

That he`d hold unemployment below eight percent. And it has not been
below eight percent since.

The president`s been a disappointment. He told you he`d keep
unemployment below eight percent, hasn`t been below eight percent since.

If they got their way on the stimulus, they`d hold unemployment below
eight percent. They set the measure and they have not been below eight
percent since.

MCCONNELL: How did that work out?


SCHULTZ: Yeah, Sean, what went wrong? Tonight in our survey, I asked
you are Republicans capable of embracing good news for Americans? Four
percent of you said yes; 96 percent of you said no.

Coming up, Lavar Burton, former host of PBS`s "Reading Rainbow," joins
me to break down Mitt Romney`s big yellow problem.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. President Obama has a new and
surprisingly popular political ally. And his name is Big Bird. On the
campaign trail today, the president continued to hammer Mitt Romney for his
pledge to cut federal funding to PBS as a means to cut spending and reduce
the debt.


OBAMA: Governor Romney plans to let Wall Street run wild again, but
he`s going to bring the hammer down on "Sesame Street." It makes perfect


SCHULTZ: The president understands Main Street is a fan of "Sesame
Street." In fact, a 2008 survey found that 77 million Americans watched
the show as children, kind of an American institution. And children who
frequently view "Sesame Street" as preschoolers have high school grade
point averages almost 16 percent higher than those who don`t, which is just
one of the ways PBS earns its title of America`s Biggest Classroom.

Mitt Romney joins a long list of Republicans who have turned public
programming like PBS into political pinatas. For instance, back in 1969,
President Richard Nixon wanted to cut proposed funding for CPB in half.
The late Mr. Rogers, everyone`s neighbor, appeared before the Senate
Subcommittee on Communications and gave what proves to be a timeless
defense of programs like those offered by PBS.


FRED ROGERS, FORMER PBS HOST: We made a hundred programs for EEN, the
Eastern Educational Network. And then when the money ran out, people in
Boston and Pittsburgh and Chicago all came to the floor and said we`ve got
to have more of this neighborhood expression of care.

And this is what I give. I give an expression of care every day to
each child.


SCHULTZ: Unfortunately Lavar Burton had a travel delay and could not
join us tonight. We will get him on the program next week if he is
available. This story isn`t going to go away. For some crazy reason,
politics takes some funny turns every now and then. For the life of me, I
will never understand why Mitt Romney thinks that this is a huge problem in
the federal budget deficit. It`s amazing.

Karen Finney stays with us tonight, analyst MSNBC, former
communications director for the DNC. What is the strategy here, Karen?
Why would Mitt Romney -- this is such a sliver of the federal budget. Why
would he use something so small yet something that has such a huge impact
on American society? Why would he use that and attack that in, of all
places, on the format in front of a debate crowd of some 67 million people?
What do you think?

FINNEY: You know, I think that was the dog whistle to conservatives
that -- or the little wink-wink that I`m still with you. I`m going to cut
PBS. I`m taking down Big Bird. I`m the tough guy.

Seriously, if you think about how on that stage we saw this
performance of Mitt Romney, you know, trying to be this different kind of
guy, and he cares about people, but what`s the one classic conservative
punch line that he could not let go of? Going after Big Bird and PBS.

I have to tell you, Ed, I`ve worked in education for several years.
And as you know, "Sesame Street" and a lot of the programming on PBS is the
gold standard not just here in America but around the world for educational
programming and for young people, for children. So, I mean, if you want to
talk about somebody who doesn`t understand America, suggesting that cutting
that is not -- should not be a priority to keep it, I don`t understand
that. I really don`t.

SCHULTZ: How do you think President Obama has played it? I mean,
it`s a serious issue.


SCHULTZ: God forbid if PBS were to get cut like that because of the
educational programs they give our young people in this country. But he
has used it in a different way, not serious, but almost in a joking
fashion, you know, somebody is after Big Bird now. Does that play well?

FINNEY: I think it does because it`s a very quick, memorable way for
people to remember that what we`re talking about here, that the math
doesn`t add up. It goes to a much larger serious point. Obviously PBS is
very important. But here you have Mitt Romney saying -- I mean it is a
five trillion dollar hole. I don`t care what they -- how they try to spin
it. That`s the truth.

And the truth is, as we know it, the math doesn`t add up between the
loop holes they say they`re going to do away with and the tax cuts they`re
going to do, and they`re going to do it on the back of Big Bird? I mean,
it`s a great way to remind people that you just cannot trust these guys.

SCHULTZ: Well, Lavar Burton, who we will get on the program, spent 25
years encouraging kids to read. Isn`t it interesting that the Republican
Party think it`s really not that important to get people to read and be
well informed. I think there is a real message there, big time. And I
think the American people should be -- they are, and they should be upset
about this.

But it also underscores this: how dangerous the conservative movement
is in this country.

FINNEY: Right.

SCHULTZ: They want to limit the information now to young people.
That`s what it sounds like. Karen Finney, great to have you with us
tonight. I appreciate your time. Thanks for staying with us here on THE

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


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