THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
March 13, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Scott Prouty, Charles Kernighan
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW from New York.
Tonight, for the first time anywhere, you will meet the man who
videotaped Mitt Romney`s 47 percent comments.
This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How much of that gets
picked up. There are so many things that don`t get picked up in a campaign
because people aren`t watching.
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: Big morning in politics here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today was a political earthquake in the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama`s base voters believe they are
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: The result could be a potential game
changer in the presidential --
SCHULTZ (voice-over): It was the recording that ignited media fire
ROMNEY: I understand that there`s a video that`s been on the
SCHULTZ: The secret video that began a political collapse.
ROMNEY: In this case, I said something that`s just completely wrong.
SCHULTZ: For the first time, you`ll find out all the details. What
was it like in the room? What did Mitt Romney say that was so offensive?
And who shot the secret video that changed the course of history?
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for watching.
The 47 percent video changed the course of the 2012 presidential
election. The Romney campaign scrambled to address the candid comments,
but the proof was on the video.
Governor Romney was not concerned with the middle class in this
country or the poor in America. For months, the identity of the person who
shot the video remained a mystery. Over the next hour, you will hear his
story. Right now, you will find out just who he is.
SCHULTZ: What is your name and what are you all about?
SCOTT PROUTY, 47 PERCENT VIDEOGRAPHER: My name is Scott Prouty. I`m
a regular guy, middle class, hard working guy. You know, I think I`d like
to think I have a good moral compass and a core and I think I have a little
empathy. I think I have a little more empathy than Mitt Romney had.
I don`t know how I would describe myself, but I -- I was behind this
whole thing. I was bartending that night for the Romney fund-raiser.
SCHULTZ: Let`s talk about May 17th. What happened that day?
PROUTY: We got there, you know, it was a -- you know, a political
fund-raiser. We did our usual thing. We set up. And you know, it went
off without a hitch.
I work high end parties from all over for extra money. And, you know,
it was really just another typical party that I have done plenty of them
just like it.
SCHULTZ: Did you know you were going to record him?
PROUTY: You know, I did -- I brought the camera. A lot of other
people brought cameras, you know, like I said thinking he would come back
and take pictures. Clinton in the past did come back with the staff and
taking pictures. That was really my thought.
You know, I hadn`t made up my mind. You know, I was willing to listen
to what he had to say. I was interested to hear what he had to say.
But, you know, I hadn`t -- I didn`t go there with a grudge, you know,
against Romney. I was more interested as a voter.
SCHULTZ: How did you get the camera in there?
PROUTY: I carried it in my backpack. Again, they never said don`t
bring cameras, don`t film. Don`t -- you know, that was never said.
You know, I just thought, you know, why not.
SCHULTZ: So you didn`t go there with the intention to get Mitt Romney
on tape to make it a big story?
PROUTY: I really had no idea he would say what he said. I thought he
would say basically the things he was saying in public. I had no idea it
was going to be this big thing that it turned out to be. I had no idea.
SCHULTZ: So, this was done and the way it unfolded with you is not
because you were an Obama supporter. This is a justice/injustice issue
with you. That there was someone running in public and saying something
different behind closed doors? That`s your analysis?
PROUTY: The people that were there that night, they paid $50,000 per
person for dinner. You know, I grew up in a blue collar area in Boston.
Nobody I know can pay -- can afford to pay $50,000 for dinner. I just
don`t know anybody that can do that.
And in a way, I felt like, you know, whether you are a Republican or
an independent or, there`s a lot of people who can`t afford to pay $50,000
for one night, for one dinner. I felt an obligation in a way, to release
it. I felt an obligation for all the people who can`t afford to be there,
you shouldn`t have to be able to afford $50,000 to hear what the candidate
SCHULTZ: What did you personally go through? Was there a defining
moment that said I`m going to do this, I have to do this?
PROUTY: I`ve gone back and forth -- in that two-week period, I`ve
gone back and forth and said, you know, I have a comfortable life. I
struggle like everybody else, you know, and why would I -- why am I going
to do this? Why am I going to risk everything? Should I risk everything
and put myself in jeopardy, in legal jeopardy?
And, you know, there was times I went back and forth a little bit. I
woke up in the middle of the night one night and I was -- you know, in the
darkness of my house kind of looking out the window and just thinking about
it. I walked into the bathroom. I just looked in the mirror and the
words, you coward came out of my mouth.
I looked in the mirror and said you are a coward. You are an absolute
coward, because I was leaning toward not putting it out. It just kind of
came out of my mouth. I, you know, I went back to bed and said, all right,
that`s not going to work. I`m going to put it out. I`m going to be proud
I did it. Do it to the best of my ability and make sure as many people as
possible hear it.
And then, at least when I turn that corner, I felt good about it. I
feel like I was doing the right thing. I went down the path and never
SCHULTZ: Let`s go to the recording. This is May 17th. This is when
it all started. Candidate Romney comes into the room and you`ve got the
camera set up. Let`s play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I guess everybody here is a dignitary. I appreciate your
help. By the way, I am serious about the food. Don`t slow down. Clear
the place. But Hillary has to eat her beets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What`s happening here?
PROUTY: He had only been in the room for maybe a minute or two. I
think it was telling for me, he had basically walked into a dinner party
that he was the guest of honor and he demanded that the service be sped up.
He literally had just walked in the door.
I thought that was kind of remarkable. Anybody that walks into a
dinner party, doesn`t matter who you are, I can`t imagine demanding to be
fed faster, to be served faster. You know, it wasn`t like we were behind
schedule, you know? And I just think that says a lot about who he is, to
walk into any person`s house and demand, you know, speed it up, speed it
up, bring it, bring it, bring it.
SCHULTZ: This next clip we have is really an attention grabber. I
understand it was for you. He`s talking about being lucky, being born with
a silver spoon, then he transitions to talking about China, which really
caught your attention. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China
to buy a factory there, employed about 20,000 people, almost all young
women between 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming
married. And they work in huge factories, they made small appliances and
as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work the number of
hours they work, what they earn, living in dormitories with little
bathrooms at the end with maybe ten rooms.
And the rooms, they had 12 girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of
each other. You`ve seen them.
And around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire,
and guard towers. And we said, "Gosh, I can`t believe you keep the girls
in." They said, "No, no, no, this is to keep other people from coming in
because they want to come work in this factory that we have to keep them
out, or they`ll just come in and start working and try and get compensated.
So, we -- this is to keep people out."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, at this point, you wanted to make sure you got what he
was saying. That wasn`t your intention when you started, but as it
unfolded, you now were some taking measures to protect the recording.
PROUTY: Yes. I wanted to make sure -- I had a Secret Service agent
behind me. And, you know, number one -- we were never told that this was a
secret meeting or private meeting, don`t bring cameras. There were plenty
of people in the room with cameras. There was a reception area and people
were taking video. There was a videographer there with her camera and
tripod. There was a microphone and a sound man and suddenly, people in the
room, and it was never said to us don`t bring cameras, but, you know, at
this point, I realized that this was not your typical speech.
SCHULTZ: So, this was the clip that motivated you to go public?
PROUTY: One hundred percent, absolutely.
SCHULTZ: All right. Let`s look at the 47 percent comment which you
admit and I think we all know, got the most play out of all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the
president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent were with him,
who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who
believe that government has a responsibility to care to them, who believe
they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What was your response, initially?
PROUTY: You know, I knew where he came from. He was born with all
the advantages -- you know, advantages that few people have, the son of a
governor, CEO. You know, prep school educated, Harvard educated, you know?
And I don`t think he has any clue what a regular American goes through
on a daily basis. I don`t think he has any idea what a single mom, you
know, taking a bus to work, dropping her kid off at day care that she can
barely afford, hopping on another bus -- you know, the day in, day out
struggles of every day Americans. That guy has no idea, no idea.
I don`t think he`ll ever have an idea.
SCHULTZ: So you`ve got this tape, and you go home and you know what
you`ve got, but you really don`t know what to do with it?
PROUTY: Yes, it was -- you know, it was that two-week period. I lost
sleep. I waited and I just thought, what am I going -- what -- I knew it
could be an absolute mess. I just knew that it could throw my life into
turmoil, I`d lose my job, you know, maybe I get sued.
I looked into, you know, all those issues and --
SCHULTZ: Issues, meaning you looked into the research of China?
PROUTY: I looked into the research of China -- you know, after I
decided, I eventually, you know, about two weeks into it, I said, you know
what, this is going live. If I`m going to do it, I`m going to do it the
biggest way I possibly can. I`m going to make sure as many people hear his
words and his words only.
You know, I felt an obligation -- people can decide for themselves
whether they agree with him or not but I felt it was my duty to make sure
that as many people heard of it as possible. So, I started doing my
homework. I wanted to find out what factory exactly he was talking about
and just -- and have a little bit of back up there.
You know, that brought me to David Corn`s July 11th article in "Mother
Jones". He did some -- he did an article about Global-Tech.
SCHULTZ: So, you were thinking in the research you were doing and the
articles you read, one specifically by David Corn of "Mother Jones", that
this is what Romney was talking about?
PROUTY: I thought so. It was a small appliance factory, large
factory. There`s actually pictures online. I was able to find a photo of
the factory. It was as described, huge, barbed wire, guard towers, you
know, huge factory. And it all kind of lined up for me.
SCHULTZ: That took you to what conclusion?
PROUTY: It took me to, you know, moving forward -- James Carter was
noted as a research assistant in that article.
SCHULTZ: Jimmy Carter`s grandson?
PROUTY: Correct, yes. I didn`t know it at the time. But he -- you
know, and figuring that I respected David`s journalism, and I --
considering he had done this article about Global-Tech, I said this is the
guy that I want to take it national. I want him to hop on this and do it.
And I figured the best way to get ahold of David was through his
research assistant. That made me contact to James Carter on YouTube and
SCHULTZ: At that point, when they started -- you didn`t release the
whole tape right away. What was your strategy behind that?
PROUTY: I -- you know, my goal was if you typed in Mitt Romney into
Google, my goal was to have that clip, that China clip pop up and, you
know, the way you do that or the way I understood you do it is by having as
many links as possible all over the place on the Internet. That raises
your standing on Google.
And so, my goal was to spread that as far and wide as possible,
knowing, you know, I considered, you know, if I`m going to do it, do I
release the whole thing now? Do I do it -- you know, it was May 31st when
I put the first clip online.
And, you know, I came to the conclusion, no, I think -- I want it to
go live in full, you know, probably when most people are paying attention.
I thought that was around the conventions, the RNC and the DNC.
SCHULTZ: So, the first tape went out late May. And then there was
another one. And you saw a build in social network. Why didn`t you come
out and do an interview?
PROUTY: I had offers. Eventually, when -- you know, I was spreading
it and spreading it. I was all over Twitter and it was all over Facebook
and it was all over the social networks.
SCHULTZ: Anonymous name.
PROUTY: Yes, anonymous name. I wanted to put it out there and get
the conversation started.
But, I degraded the video. I didn`t want them to be able to pinpoint
exactly where it had been taken. You know, I didn`t want to give the
Romney camp a head start in tracking me down to find me.
So, I did everything I could to minimize my personal risk, but still
to make sure I got it out to the maximum number of people possible, you
know? So I -- I was putting a link here and a link there and a link here
and a link there. And then other people were picking up on it and talking
about it and they would put in a blog and this blog and that blog. And I
thought, you know --
SCHULTZ: You just wanted the conversation.
PROUTY: I wanted the conversation.
SCHULTZ: You didn`t want the attention yourself?
PROUTY: No. When David went public with it and he released the full
video, I had offers, you know, "Today" show and this and that and the
other, as far away as Germany. You know, I thought it was absolutely the
wrong thing to do.
All along with David, I wanted Mitt Romney`s words and Mitt Romney`s
words only. He`s the guy running for president. I wanted his words to be
the absolute center of attention. Maybe it would be fun to go on a show or
do this show or that, but I thought that would change the topic of the
conversation away from the primary thing that was most important to me.
Of course, I`ll -- I expected to be ripped apart by the right wing
media. And I`m sure that`s to come. The blowback will occur inevitably.
But, you know, before the election, I thought it was too important for me
to just stand-up and say, hey, I did it and try to get a little bit of fame
SCHULTZ: Up next, more with Scott Prouty, the man who changed the
face of the 2012 election, next. Stick around.
SCHULTZ: Coming up on THE ED SHOW, our exclusive guest will respond
to Mitt Romney trying to spin his way out of the 47 percent comments.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for staying with us
tonight. We`re continuing the conversation with Scott Prouty, the man who
recorded the 47 percent video.
Scott`s video started a wildfire of controversy and immediately
changed the conversation in the presidential election. I asked Scott to
give us his take on how Mitt Romney and President Obama reacted.
SCHULTZ: So the 47 percent comment is out there and picked up by the
media and played on every show. It`s the conversation piece now. What
does it mean?
This is Mitt Romney`s first response on September 17th. Let`s look at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you worry you had offended this 47 percent who you
ROMNEY: Well, you know, it`s not elegantly stated, let me put it that
way. I`m speaking off the cuff in response to a question. I`m sure I
could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting
like that. So, I`ll -- I`m sure I`ll point that out as time goes on.
But we don`t even have the question given the snippet there, nor the
full response. I hope the person who has the video would put out the full
material. But it`s a message which I`m going to carry and to continue to
carry, which is: look, the president`s approach is attractive to people who
are not paying taxes because, frankly, my discussion to lower taxes isn`t
as attracted to them and therefore, I`m not likely to draw them into my
campaign as effectively as those who are in the middle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Mr. Romney, at that point wants you to put out the full
tape. What is your response to that?
PROUTY: Let`s do it. He asked for it, let`s do it.
And I was on the phone with David Corn at the time. And originally, I
asked him to blur out everyone else in the room. I only wanted Romney to
be seen. I really only wanted Romney`s voice to be heard, too.
In a way, I felt it wasn`t fair to the people in the room. I only
wanted his voice, but he came out and did this press conference. And, you
know, frankly, my reaction, it looks like he`s a broken man. That was my
His hair was a mess. His face is contorted. He`s as stressed as you
can be. He doubled down on it.
He said it`s a message I`m going to continue to take forward. He
didn`t back up from it at all. But then he did. He specifically asked
that I release the whole thing, called it a snippet, you know, kind of
insinuating maybe it was taken out of context. So, at that point, if he
asked for it, I decided I`d give it to him and said, you know, David, go
SCHULTZ: So, the out of context comment by Romney was a big motivator
SCHULTZ: You are going to the firewall with this.
PROUTY: He asked for it.
SCHULTZ: Now that the tape is out, the pressure is on candidate
Romney because he was asked about it everywhere. It evolved into a number
of different answers. Let`s look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
ROMNEY: And those dependent upon government and those who think
government`s job is to redistribute, I`m not going to get them. I know
there`s a divide in the country about that view.
INTERVIEWER: When someone is running for president this day and age,
you can`t always say what you believe?
ROMNEY: You always -- you just say what you believe now and then you
don`t say it very elegantly and to get tongue-tied or you mix it up and you
say something you don`t exactly mean and then you have to go back and say
that`s not quite what I meant.
Clearly in a campaign with hundreds and thousands of speeches with
question and answer sessions, you are going to say something that doesn`t
come out right. In this case, I said something wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHULTZ: What did -- how did you react to that? I mean, he was
giving a series of answers that didn`t match up.
PROUTY: I think it describes his campaign in a nutshell. He will go
back and forth on every single issue, depending on which audience and, you
know, and I don`t know what he believes. I don`t know if he knows what he
SCHULTZ: At that time, did you realize what you had done and how this
had been injected into the conversation in the country? I mean, this was
the story. Thanks to you.
PROUTY: Yes. I think it defined him at a critical point, you know?
It defined him exactly for who he was. You know, I thought, you know, job
well done because it`s exactly what I hoped.
At least, you know, everybody can make their own judgment on whether
they believe what he`s saying to be true or not. At the very least, the
people heard, all the people who couldn`t afford the $50,000 to be there,
people in the Midwest, where we (ph) live people like myself, they heard
what he believes. And that was the important part of it. And that`s what
happened, for sure.
SCHULTZ: And the story reached its pinnacle in the second debate, on
October 16th. And the closing remarks by the president of the United
States was in reference to what you had released. Let`s look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe Governor
Romney is a good man. He loves his family, cares about his faith.
But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors that 47
percent of the country considered themselves victims, who refuse personal
responsibility -- think about who he was talking about. Folks on Social
Security who worked all their lives, veterans who sacrificed for this
country, students who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own
dreams but also this country`s dreams, soldiers overseas fighting for us
right now. People who are working hard every day, paying payroll tax, gas
taxes, but don`t make enough income.
And I want to fight for them. That`s what I have been doing for the
last four years because if they succeed, I believe the country succeeds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: President Obama used your material to close a debate at a
very crucial time, after his first debate was heavily criticized. This was
his closing statement. What was going through your mind at this point?
PROUTY: It was the last line of the debate and I think I was sitting
on the edge of my couch at the time, just waiting. I watched the first
debate, and, you know, there was no mention of it. And, you know, there
was certainly a cheer erupted in the room at the time. You know, I was
thrilled that he hit him with it when he did. You know, it was well done.
SCHULTZ: At this point, had you ever had any contact with the Obama
SCHULTZ: This was all organic?
PROUTY: Yes. I mean this wasn`t -- you know, I voted for President
Obama, I`m proud to call him my president. You know, I`m independent. I`m
actually registered independent. I typically vote Democrat, but I`ve
certainly never had contact of any sort.
SCHULTZ: Did that validate your instincts of how important this tape
was when you saw the president use it?
PROUTY: Yes. You know, I was glad, I -- you know, in a way, I was
wishing he used it in the first debate. But it all worked out well. In a
way, I can`t -- it worked out exactly the way I hoped it would, you know?
I`m thrilled that he mentioned it. And I think he used it to great effect,
SCHULTZ: Do you think it changed the election?
PROUTY: Yes, I think it did. I think, you know, I think it defined
him at a point when he needed to be defined for the American public. It
defined him in a negative light, but an honest light. I think it showed
who he was as a person.
SCHULTZ: Were you following the polls?
SCHULTZ: Did you notice that there was a closing between the two
SCHULTZ: And then, after this story, there was a separation?
PROUTY: Yes. You know, I was following along. I mean, the entire
time, I was trying to push the agenda, trying to, you know, even when David
Corn came out, I was on Twitter and on, you know, just trying to spread the
And, you know, it was high stakes for me at that point because I had
rolled the dice. I had decided I`m in.
SCHULTZ: And this is your first on-camera interview. Why now?
PROUTY: You know, Romney has -- Romney came out, again, on FOX News
and did an interview just recently. And I know that he`s going to be on
the CPAC convention. His interview on FOX News, he`s calling the president
Nero, he`s saying his words were twisted, he`s blaming the media, you know.
And that -- you know, if he`s going to still interject himself, you
know, he could do a lot of good for this country. But instead, he`s
sitting in his mansion in San Diego somewhere and giving interviews and
calling the president names.
I think -- you know, I think the guy needs to respect the will of the
voters. The election wasn`t even that close. I think he needs to take
personal responsibility for his campaign, take personal responsibility for
the words he said and move forward.
You know, a good start would be to go back to some of the towns that
Bain Capital shipped jobs, you know, closed down plants. If he went back
to Freeport, Illinois, maybe start a business, hire some people, create a
product, build something in America, do something other than vulture
capitalism. Do something for America other than making another million
dollars for himself, you know?
And I think that`s if I -- I would have a lot of respect for him if he
went forward in that way, and I hope he would. But, you know, time will
tell what he -- what he does with his life.
SCHULTZ: Next, Scott Prouty will tell you about the specific moment
he decided to expose the real Mitt Romney to the world.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. There`s so much more to the
story of Scott Prouty. You`ll find -- you are about to find out the
specific part of the video that changed his life, as well as the man who
inspired Scott to stand-up and speak out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE KERNIGHAN, INST. FOR GLOBAL LABOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS: He really
put his life on the line, his living on the line, his job on the line, to
do this because it was the right thing to do, so that the American people
would know that they got to see the real Romney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: There is a lot more, coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The 47 percent comment
received all the national attention. But Scott Prouty was motivated to
take action by another part of the video, Mitt Romney`s comments about
buying a factory in China opened up Scott`s eyes to a story he felt America
needed to know.
SCHULTZ: This really drove your passion, this comment about the
treatment of workers when we had this big narrative going on in the
campaign about American jobs and building the economy. And you heard this.
PROUTY: You know, I realized that, you know, Bain was kind of the
pioneer of this outsourcing business model. You know, and I realized that,
number one, it`s wrong on so many different levels. You know, essentially
what he`s talking about is a -- almost a prison camp in communist China.
And you know, I -- and I realized that the complete lack of empathy,
when he talks about the girls stacked three high, and he pays them a
pittance -- for him to come away with a really good feeling about it, I
just said, you know, this guy is dangerous. He just wondered through this
horrendous place and thought to himself, this is -- this is pretty good.
And then I realized, wait, he doesn`t care about those girls. He sure
as heck doesn`t care about the people -- you know, the people in Illinois
or Ohio or the manufacturing jobs that all the companies he closed down to
-- to ship this place to -- you know, ship these jobs to China. He doesn`t
care about the people that, you know, are out of work in the U.S.
And I said, man, this seems to be his M.O. This is what he does.
He`s a vulture capitalist, doesn`t care just even on the most basic level.
SCHULTZ: Scott`s research led him to a report exposing the horrible
conditions in the global tech factory. The report called "Betting Against
America`s Workers" showed the horrible working conditions, conditions in
the factory. But it also led Scott to a man who might be familiar to ED
Charles Kernighan is the executive director of the Institute for
Global Labor and Human Rights. Charlie is a tireless advocate for workers`
rights and has been a guest on this show.
Scott Prouty hoped the Romney video would help highlight Kernighan`s
work. Charles Kernighan joined us during our interview to explain why the
video was so important.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERNIGHAN: It was clear that -- that Romney and his colleagues were
lying through their teeth. There`s no way in the world. Nobody with half
a brain would say there`s barbed wire and -- and armed -- you know --
KERNIGHAN: Armed guards around the factory to keep workers out.
That`s completely ridiculous. I mean, everybody should have burst out
laughing on that. And then Romney said the same thing. He said, when I
walked through the factory -- Global Tech -- when I walked through the
factor factory, nobody looked up.
And he said to the owner -- the factory owner, the Chinese owner, why
don`t they look up? And he said, we take our work very seriously. And
they really concentrate. Of course, that`s also baloney. They were told
that if they raised their heads, they would be beaten, possibly arrested,
certainly thrown out of the factory.
So every single thing that is in the tape that Romney is talking
about, it`s in La La Land. It`s lies.
SCHULTZ: The whole conversation of the campaign was now unfolding in
front of your eyes. Everything that you had believed and everything that
you had thought of Romney was now on tape. Did you know it was the game
KERNIGHAN: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I personally felt frightened
for anonymous. I didn`t know his name or her name. But I was quite scared
that they are going to come after this guy.
SCHULTZ: Who`s they?
KERNIGHAN: Well, the -- many of the people who were out at this
meeting and, you know, the right wing, the extreme right wing. I mean, I
still think there`s great risk here. But when it first came out, my first
thought was, God, what`s going to happen to this guy. If there`s any way
we can help, we have to help. We just have to -- we have to take care of
each other, watch each other`s backs, stuff like that. And of course --
SCHULTZ: Did you tell him what his world was going to be like?
KERNIGHAN: I think Scott`s incredibly brilliant. And so it only took
like a minute before we could really be talking the same language and have
the same concerns. I think what he did was -- he`s like an incredible hero
to take these risks, to put these documents out. I mean, I think he
deserves credit from every single serious person in the United States who
wants to know the truth about these campaigns.
SCHULTZ: How rare is this man?
KERNIGHAN: I think absolutely one in a million. And it`s not only
the fact that he made the tapes; he also knows what he`s talking about.
And he also judged every single step of the way, should I do this, should I
not? Then that -- looking in the mirror and just saying, at one point,
like two weeks after the tapes or 10 days after the tapes, you are a
And so with great risk, for no reason, he really put his life on the
line, his living on the line, his job on the line to do this because it was
the right thing to do, so that the American people would know that they got
to see the real Romney.
SCHULTZ: You are not so sure that President Obama would have won re-
election without this tape.
KERNIGHAN: Yes, I don`t think so. It looked pretty rugged and a
little bumpy there. This was what threw it over the top.
SCHULTZ: Is this a lesson for activists? I mean, for -- do you hope
that this motivates people to get involved when they have an opportunity?
KERNIGHAN: A hundred percent. I mean, not everyone wants to do it or
could do it. But when there are people who really can play an activist
role that actually matters and educates the American people and stands in
solidarity with the American people and stands with working people, I think
what Scott did was about the highest level you can go.
SCHULTZ: Charlie Kernighan, known worldwide for advocating for -- for
workers and telling the story about exploited workers, he calls you a hero.
PROUTY: Charlie has been doing this work, I think, for 20 years and
you know -- and really hasn`t got -- got the attention. We put glory and
attention on a lot of people for a lot of silly things. You know, there`s
not a lot of money to be made doing what Charlie does. Charlie does things
for the right reason, stands up for the workers of this country, stands up
for the people over there that can`t stand-up for themselves, people that
don`t have a voice. They are not allowed by their communist governments to
have a voice.
Charlie is standing up for those people as well. And that`s -- that`s
really important. I mean, to hear him say those things about me, it`s -- I
don`t think -- coming from him, it`s an honor. You know, he`s been doing
this work and hasn`t gotten the credit that he deserves. And I -- like I
said before, I`m happy that I can just bring -- just shine a little bit of
light on the work he does.
And it`s an honor to have met him. And it`s an honor be associated
with him in any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Stay with us on THE ED SHOW. Scott Prouty will join me for
his first live interview. That`s next.
SCHULTZ: Now you have seen Scott Prouty speak out for the first time.
The man behind the 47 percent tape that changed the course of a
presidential election will join me live here in studio on THE ED SHOW.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Joining me now live in studio,
Scott Prouty. Scott, good to have you with us. It`s been fun to get to
SCHULTZ: You are a unique man. There`s no question about it. And a
guy with a lot of guts.
PROUTY: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: What`s your future?
PROUTY: I don`t know. I`ll see where it goes. I think I`m going to
be working with Charlie a little bit more closely. I had the pleasure of
meeting Leo Gerard. And he`s the president of the United Steelworkers, I
met him in Washington. And Tim Waters has been great through this whole
So I hope maybe I can work with them a little closer. We`ll see how
SCHULTZ: Have you ever done any kind of advocacy work before? Have
you been a politico or someone just so actively involved in politics?
PROUTY: No. You know, I was politically aware and I stood for one
day to protest against the Iraq War. But that was the sum total of my
political activism at that point.
SCHULTZ: What do you want to say to your co-workers? I mean, you
weren`t the only worker there that was at that dinner. What do you want to
say to them, if anything?
PROUTY: I have an apology to make to the people I work for, because
they were fantastic people. They -- they treat their employees fairly.
They pay above average wages. And they treat their employees with dignity
and respect. That was the most difficult part of deciding to release it,
because I felt like maybe I wasn`t being fair to them.
But, you know, I felt like maybe what was at stake was more important
than my job. I knew that they had such a great business. I work with
really talented, professional people. And I knew that, you know, their
business would be OK. And -- But I would apologize to the people that
owned the business.
And you know, if it affected them in any way, that was not my
SCHULTZ: Did the other workers know it was you?
PROUTY: You know, I think they probably had an idea. Yes, I think
they had an idea.
SCHULTZ: Did they ask you?
PROUTY: No. I just kind of -- I stopped all contact. I just
couldn`t really talk about it with anybody. I just, you know -- I just
figured the best thing to do is just stop talking totally. And you know, I
think they probably had a pretty good idea. But they were great to not
SCHULTZ: How did you respond to the conversation in the community
that they were going to, quote, get -- not your employers, but just people
in general were going to get the guy that did this?
PROUTY: You know, I kind of expected that. And you know, that`s the
way it goes. If you are going to play at that level and you`re going to
interject yourself at that level, then I guess you are going to get what
you get. You know, I`ll take my lumps and deal with what I have to deal
with. It will be OK.
SCHULTZ: If you had a moment with President Obama, what would you say
PROUTY: I would probably thank him. I think he`s done a great job.
I think he works hard. And I he -- he`s owed a thank you from me. I would
thank him for being a good president.
SCHULTZ: Do you think you changed the election?
PROUTY: I think so. Or -- yes, I think so. No, I think Mitt Romney
changed the election, I think.
SCHULTZ: But what you did?
PROUTY: I suppose. Yeah, I think it was critical. It was a critical
point. Like I said before, it really defined him at that time.
SCHULTZ: There was a time in the video where you -- a towel was
thrown over the camera. What was that all about?
PROUTY: It was kind of a holy cow, I don`t believe he`s saying this.
I just don`t believe he`s -- is he really saying this?
SCHULTZ: You were afraid that somebody was going to notice the
PROUTY: It was just a gut instinct. I`m going to cover this up,
because this is not the normal speech that you hear, you know, when he does
a stump speech. This is not normal.
SCHULTZ: I want to make it very clear to our viewers that we have a
policy that we do not pay for interviews. But you have received offers of
money to do interviews.
SCHULTZ: Why didn`t you do that? Why didn`t you take the money?
PROUTY: Yes, you know, I -- the message was clear the entire time.
And for -- you know, for whatever amount of money you are going to get, it
wouldn`t be worth, you know, damaging what the motivation was. And the
motivation was just to expose him for what he said.
SCHULTZ: What about your personal situation? How much did this play
into the video and what you heard? You didn`t have health insurance at
all? No health insurance. Your savings was modest at best.
PROUTY: Sure. Yeah. I struggle like everybody else does, or a lot
of other people do.
SCHULTZ: So this really rang hard with you.
PROUTY: Yeah. It wasn`t -- you know, it wasn`t an easy thing to do.
I happened to -- the person I`m with happens to be incredibly -- she`s
great. And she probably deserves an award more than I do.
SCHULTZ: What do you want to do?
PROUTY: You know, my dream was always to go to law school. That
would be a dream. But, you know, I take it as it comes, see how it goes.
SCHULTZ: Do you have any regrets? Do you worry about the future?
PROUTY: No. I -- once I made the decision and then, you know, I feel
good about it. I feel good about the way it turned out. So no, I don`t
have any regrets. It turned out exactly the way I would have hoped it
would. And so, I mean, I`ll move forward and play it by ear and take it as
SCHULTZ: And again, to reiterate, why did you do this? Why? Why
would you put yourself out there like this?
PROUTY: It`s -- you know, the people need to hear what someone really
believes. They needed to hear what he really thinks. And you know -- and
he was just saying the absolute opposite in public. And I just felt like
that -- you know, I just watch him on TV, and that just wasn`t what he was
saying in public. So it just -- you know, everybody needed to hear that.
SCHULTZ: So you knew you had a unique seat in history as to what was
PROUTY: Yes, I thought it could be a game changer. I thought it
could take him out. I thought maybe he would leave the campaign at that
SCHULTZ: OK. Scott Prouty, thanks for your time. Thanks for doing
this on THE ED SHOW.
PROUTY: Thank you for speaking up for workers all across America.
That`s the reason I`m here today, is because you have a voice that -- I
think we need more voices like yourself.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate that very much. Thank you.
Coming up, I have another major announcement, next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, a big personal and
professional announcement. MSNBC will be expanding its weekend
programming. And this opens a big opportunity for THE ED SHOW and my
I will be leaving this time slot at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and moving to
Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. I want you to know that I
raised my hand for this assignment for a number of personal and
professional reasons. My fight on THE ED SHOW has been for the workers and
the middle class in this country.
This new time slot will give me the opportunity to produce and focus
on stories that I care about and I know that are terribly important to
American families and American workers. I am very proud of the work our
team has done here at 8:00. But I have to tell you, sitting behind this
desk five nights a week just doesn`t cut it for me.
I want to get out with the people like I did in Wisconsin. I want to
get out and tell their stories all over the country. This show has been a
show that has been a voice for the voiceless. That really was my mission
when I came here to MSNBC, and it remains.
I`m going to be here at MSNBC for a long time. I`m not going
anywhere. And I invite all of you to join me on Saturday and Sunday from
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. And this show is going to start in April. I will
continue to do my radio show. In fact, my goal is to do the radio show
until the good lord takes me. That`s how much I love radio.
And you might be thinking, well, gosh, Ed, that`s going to be seven
days a week. There will be some days off. But at least it won`t be 13 and
14 hours a day. And that, of course, is the good news. I`m looking
forward to doing it, I hope that you will join me.
And I will be back here tomorrow night for my final show. And that is
THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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