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updated 9/4/2012 12:33:15 PM ET 2012-09-04T16:33:15

THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
September 3, 2012

Guests: Chris Van Hollen, Sandra Fluke, James Hoffa, Larry Cohen, Gov. Brian Schweitzer

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

Sixty-four days until the 2012 election and Republicans are asking
Americans if they`re better off now than they were four years ago? Ooh, I
like this conversation.

We`ll take a look back at where we were four years ago and show you
why their plan might backfire.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: Can you honestly say --

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: -- that Americans are better off
today --

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: -- than they were four years ago?

SCHULTZ (voice-over): There`s only one answer to that question that
is provable with facts. And even the Republican nominee knows it.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, of course it`s getting
better.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, we`ll end the debate with THE ED SHOW history
lesson for Republicans.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The banks have restricted
lending. Credit markets have frozen and families and business have found
it harder to borrow money. We`re in the midst of a serious financial
crisis.

SCHULTZ: Righty talkers continue their assault on Sandra Fluke.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: I`m just wondering when Sandra Fluke speaks
next week at the Democratic convention, what they`re going to drop from the
ceiling.

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Sandra Fluke on the ongoing war on women and a
preview of her speech.

Plus, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer tells us what Democrats need
to accomplish in Charlotte.

And Paul Ryan`s marathon of lying, now includes lying about America.

HUGH HEWITT: What`s your personal best?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Under three, I
think, two hours and 50 something.

HEWITT: Holy smokes!

SCHULTZ: We`ll show you how the vice presidential candidate is
running a losing race against the truth.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Republicans are loud and clear about the question they want to ask as
voters make their decision in November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I think when you make that
decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off
than you were four years ago?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That`s their strategy now? The leaders of the GOP are
highlighting this question as we head into the Democratic National
Convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: The fundamental question is back on the
table for Americans, which is -- are you better off today than you were
three or four years ago?

RYAN: We`re not going to hear evidence and facts about how people are
better off. You see, the president cannot run on this record.

ROMNEY: This president cannot tell us that you`re better off today
than when he took office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Do you really want to have this conversation? In order to
say whether the country is better off today than it was four years ago, it
helps to look at, all right, what was going on just four years ago this
month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: This is an extraordinary period for America`s economy. Over
the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances
and their future. I understand their worry and their frustration. We have
seen triple digit swings in the stock market. Major financial institutions
have teetered on the edge of collapse. And some have failed.

As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending. Credit
markets have frozen, and families and businesses have found it harder to
borrow money.

We`re in the midst of a serious financial crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And for months on end, President Obama`s never had to say
anything like that. Do you notice the date there, September 24th, 2008?
President Bush had less than two months in office remaining to the
election, and then of course the lame duck.

But the fact is this -- President Obama`s never had those conditions
since he`s been president. It`s been all upstart.

Republicans aren`t focusing on the reality of four years ago.
Instead, they`re blaming all the economic problems on President Obama.
It`s just an easy call because some Americans might believe it.

Mitt Romney told voters how bad they have it, thanks to the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Driving home late from that second job or standing there
watching the gas pump hit $50 and still going, when the realtor told you
that to sell your house, you`d have to take a big loss -- in those moments,
you knew that this just wasn`t right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: All of these things are President Obama`s fault? Question
mark? Well, according to Mitt Romney, they are. High gas prices,
difficulty with mortgage payments, jobs insecurity.

You know, I guess all of these things were fine before President Obama
took office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Families are squeezed by the high price of gasoline, and
feeling the pinch of food prices, and monthly mortgage payments. Workers
are anxious about whether their paychecks will stretch. Some workers are
anxious about whether or not they`re going to keep their jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Now, the date on that was October 7th, 2008. Not long after
the first tape we just played from September 24th.

This really is an admission of failure by the president himself.
Republicans are trying to sell a bill of goods and the American people, I
don`t know how any of us could buy this.

The most recent polling on the economy shows 54 percent of the country
still blames President Bush for the economic conditions we`re experiencing
now. Only 32 percent blame President Obama. And here is why -- we were
losing more than 700,000 jobs a month when President Obama took office.
The trend was reversed and we had 29 months of private sector job growth.

Now, hold it right there. Do you think if the Republicans had 29
months of private sector job growth, that we`d see maybe a banner at the
RNC convention?

GDP growth has followed a very similar trend. This is the most
trusted measurement of economic improvement.

The stock market bottomed out in March of 2009. Remember those days?
It has come back by more than 6,000 points.

Now, this is just not growth for Wall Streeters. This is stuff like
your education accounts, your health care savings account, your 401(k),
basic stuff that people really like to depend on.

Today, President Obama was in Ohio where one in eight jobs are
connected to the automobile industry. The auto loan, remember that? This
prevented millions of people from being worse off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: More than 1 million
Americans across the country would have lost their jobs in the middle of
the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In communities
across the Midwest, it would have been another Great Depression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: In the past four years, we have ended a war that cost
thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. And as Joe Biden pointed out
today on the campaign trail, we removed one of the greatest threats to our
national security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You want to know
whether we`re better off? I got a little bumper sticker for you. Osama
bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Four years ago, the economy was in a freefall. It has
turned around. Even Mitt Romney -- listen to this -- even Mitt Romney
admitted this in a radio interview back in January of this year.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO HOST: You`ve also noted that there are signs of
improvement on the horizon in the economy. How do you answer the
president`s argument that the economy is getting better in a general
election campaign if you yourself are saying it`s getting better?

ROMNEY: Well, of course it`s getting better. The economy always gets
better after a recession. There`s always a recovery.

INGRAHAM: Isn`t it a hard argument to make if you`re saying, like,
okay, he inherited this recession and took a bunch of steps to try to turn
the economy around and now we`re seeing more jobs, but vote against him
anyway? Isn`t that a hard argument to make, is that a stark enough
contrast?

ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the
truth.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s be clear about one thing -- no one is saying the
economy is perfect. There are a lot of people out of work. There are
still millions of people struggling in these conditions, but Republicans
are presenting a stark choice by raising the four years question. Do you
want to continue with policies that created a clear trend in the correct
direction, or do you want to head back to what really brought us to where
we are, which all started four years ago?

Last week, Republicans did everything they could to avoid talking
about this man, George W. Bush. But today, the focus is on going back to
the economic turmoil of the past, turmoil President Bush never saw coming.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Mr. President, economists say the nation is at increasing
risk of recession. What do you say?

BUSH: I say that the fundamentals of our nation`s economy are strong.

REPORTER: Do you think there`s a risk of a recession? How do you
rate that?

BUSH: You know, you need to talk to economists. I think I got a B in
that Econ 101.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Let`s make a joke out of it, you know?

Now, Mitt Romney runs around the country saying that Barack Obama
doesn`t understand the economy. That videotape was back in 2007. Did it
sound like President Bush had a grip of the economy?

It only got worse from there. Do you really want to go back to those
days?

The fundamental question that Americans are going to be asking
themselves on November 6th, do you really want to make a change? Do you
really want to gamble this economy to a man who doesn`t connect with the
American people? Do you really want to turn the economy over to a man who
has a history of outsourcing and has never done anything for labor?

Oh, by the way, it`s Labor Day. We`ll get into that later on in this
broadcast. Are you ready to trust Mitt Romney with the finances of this
country?

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, will you be better off four years from now under Mitt Romney?
Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639.

You can always leave a comment at our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll
bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me tonight is Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, also
the chairman of the DCCC.

Chris, great to have you with us.

Congressman, this is an argument I think the Democrats and a
conversation the Democrats should be inviting at this point. Does this
really show that the Republicans are -- they`re winging it at this point.
What do you think?

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Well, they`re winging it and
they`re counting on the American people having a collective case of
amnesia. And the American people are a lot smarter than that. You just
cited the statistics.

The other question to ask is, what was Mitt Romney proposing? Because
when the economy was in freefall, the president acted decisively, passed
the recovery bill and he rescued the auto industry.

What was Mitt Romney saying we should do? Let Detroit go bankrupt.
What did Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan propose with respect to Social Security
a number of years ago? Let`s privatize it.

Well, you just cited the statistics about the collapse in the
retirement system. The American people lost about a third of their
savings. If we listened to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on Social Security,
people would have had nothing.

So it`s not only that the president had an economy in freefall,
stopped it and turned the corner. It`s that if we listened to the other
guys, we`d be in a world of hurt.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

Congressman, what do Democrats say to people who may not be better off
today? There`s -- you know, the numbers are 23 million Americans out of
work. It has been high unemployment, although it has come down since
President Obama has taken office. We`re headed in the right direction.

But what do you communicate to people who may not be better off today?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, the president has made clear, even though we made
progress from where we were, we still have a long way to go. And the
president proposed another round of a jobs bill. He submitted that to
Congress about one year ago this month, in fact.

And it called for a major new investment in our infrastructure, our
roads and bridges and our electric grids, schools. That would have put a
lot of people to work, especially when you`ve got 14 percent unemployment
in the construction industry. You have a component for small business
investment.

The Republicans have never even scheduled a vote on that, Ed.

So look, the president got us out of the ditch, and we were climbing.
He had another proposal to keep us climbing, and they said, whoa, one year
ago, they refused to vote on it. We`ve now voted over 30 times to repeal
Obamacare, not once on the president`s jobs initiative.

SCHULTZ: All right. Now, about the convention, is there such a thing
as Bush burnout? There might be a lot of Americans who don`t want to hear
about Bush anymore. They know all about what he did. It`s moving forward
and I think that`s pretty much the campaign that the Obama people are
pushing right now.

Is Bush going to be a key part of the Democratic National Convention
conversation?

VAN HOLLEN: No, he`s not because let me make this -- I think this is
an important point. Yes, we inherited a mess from George Bush, but the
issue now is where do we go in the future? The point we`re making is if
you listen to what Romney and Ryan are doing, they`re proposing the same
economic strategy that got us into this mess.

So we`re saying, let`s look at the future. You`ve got a choice. You
continue to invest in America from the middle class out. Or do you go back
to this trickle down theory?

So those are the choices. It`s not that we`re talking about the past.
It`s what is your prescription going forward?

It just happens to be that Romney and Ryan are just going back to
their old playbook for the future and we know what happens.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Chris Van Hollen, great to have you with us.
We`ll visit again.

VAN HOLLEN: Thanks.

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

Coming up, Republicans tried to make their case to women voters. Did
they succeed? Sandra Fluke will weigh in on that. So much more coming up.

Stay with us. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Coming up, Republicans tried to close the gender gap last
week with prominent female voices, but kept silent on the party`s policies.
Sandra Fluke joins me with reaction.

Mitt Romney`s RNC speech did little to shift the polls in his favor.
I`ll ask Karen Finney what`s the next best play for the GOP?

And the president and vice president made their case today to the
middle class and wage earners in the middle of the country. Can they keep
the momentum through November? Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer will tell
you how to balance a budget with middle class workers. He`s going to weigh
in on that.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Republicans were determined to close the gender gap last week and show
the country their party is not waging a war against women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: We`re the mothers. We`re the wives.
We`re the grandmothers. We`re the big sisters. We`re the little sisters
and we are the daughters.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: As a strong woman of faith, as a
mother, as a wife --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She hopes to break down the barriers for other
young women.

GOV. SUSANA MARTINEZ (R), NEW MEXICO: No more barriers.

MITT ROMNEY: As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant
governor, a woman chief of staff. Half of my cabinet and senior officials
were women.

ANN ROMNEY: I love you women!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: OK. Very nice. But the substance, was it there?

There was no mention of equal pay for equal work, nowhere in that
convention. I guess they don`t believe in it. No talk of health care or
reproductive rights.

And they sure as heck didn`t mention the guy`s name down from Missouri
named Todd Akin. He may have made just a little too much news. Instead,
the GOP convention week outreached to women including a special pavilion in
Tampa offering a hair salon in hot pink decor, along with themed cocktails
like the lady lemonade and the woman-tini.

As for the newly minted Republican nominee, his speech -- well, he
didn`t move the needle either. In the latest Gallup survey, Romney`s
remarks received positive marks from just 38 percent of respondents, both
women and men. That is the lowest rating since Gallup began measuring in
1996.

Tomorrow, it will be the Democrats` turn to make their case. And
conservative Bill Kristol thinks the party will pull away from social
issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL KRISTOL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: As the polling showed, no one
really believed the Republicans are waging war on women. The Republicans
sort of half believe it was a threat. They certainly rolled out -- the
theme of the convention was, we love women. We`re not engaged in a war on
women. I wonder if that was a little bit of a misdirection by the
Democrats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight, Sandra Fluke, attorney and women`s
rights activist.

Great to have you with us tonight.

She will be speaking add the Democratic National Convention this week
in Charlotte.

Sandra, I`d like you to respond to Bill Kristol`s comments right there
that you just heard.

SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN`S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Yes, I mean, I thought what
you were saying initially was so telling, that the idea of how to appeal to
women is to serve them cocktails and just put women at the podium. It
takes more than that.

Women want to hear what a presidential candidate is concerned about in
terms of women`s lives. So women`s access to health care and to equal pay
for equal work, and you know, violence against women. And that kind of
substance is what women are worthy of, and that`s what we want to hear
about.

SCHULTZ: And you did not hear that with the Republicans at all last
week? How would you grade their presentation to women voters in America?

FLUKE: Well, overall, I think we saw an entire convention that was a
light on substance for everyone, and when there was substance, there were a
lot of factual misrepresentations. So it`s certainly not a good grade.

SCHULTZ: Sandra, what are you going to tell the country?

FLUKE: What I`m going to try to make clear is the difference between
the candidates that we have to choose from this November. You know,
looking at their records, we have President Obama who has stood for women`s
health care and our access to contraception, has defended Planned
Parenthood and has promoted our right to equal pay for equal work.

And then we have Mr. Romney, who, you know, vetoed a bill that would
have guaranteed survivors of sexual assault access to emergency
contraception in an E.R. And his running mate, Mr. Ryan, who cosponsored
the bill to make distinctions between which rape survivors deserve access
to the care that they need.

So, I think if I present to the American public what the differences
are in those two records, the choice becomes very clear.

SCHULTZ: So, did the Republicans make it an easy case to present?

FLUKE: They certainly did, yes.

SCHULTZ: All ri9ght. You have become a focal point in this election.
Here`s what FOX News had to say about you on the air the other day. I want
you to see this. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: There is nothing in America like a balloon
drop at a political convention. It is every bit as American as Fourth of
July fireworks.

O`REILLY: I`m wondering with Sandra Fluke speaks next week at the
Democratic convention, what they`re going to drop from the ceiling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, goodness.

O`REILLY: What would you do, though?

ROBERTS: There goes that suggestive O`Reilly again.

O`REILLY: I`m just pointing out, there`s only one reason this woman
is speaking, one and one only.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: One and one only -- one reason why you`re speaking.

How insulted are you by that, or are you not insulted by it?

FLUKE: Well, I think it`s clearly offensive to see a bunch of guys
sitting around laughing about dropping condoms on a woman. Obviously,
that`s offensive.

But I try to not pay attention to it, look past it, and focus on the
policies I care about. I`m doing what I can for the president.

And frankly, I think it`s clear there`s more than one reason I`m
speaking at the convention. I`ve taken positions on a number of policies
and I hope that my contribution and all of women`s contributions would be
more respected than that.

SCHULTZ: Sandra Fluke, great to have you with us. All the best to
you. We`ll be looking forward to your speech and our coverage here on
MSNBC. Thank you.

Up next, the Republican National Convention falls flat. Find out why
the businessman failed to close the deal on one of the biggest nights in
his life.

Later, President Obama rallied the troops. Today, he has a good
record with labor. James Hoffa and Larry Cohen will tell us what the
president needs to do for labor and what labor needs to do for the
president to get over the finish line. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Look around you. These aren`t strangers. These are our
brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans. My promise is to help you and
your family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Thanks for watching THE ED SHOW tonight.

Obviously, Mitt Romney giving what was supposed to be the ultimate
sales pitch but the newest polls show he couldn`t close the deal and he
falls flat.

In the history of convention polling, Republicans usually get about a
five-point bounce. The highly produced conventions usually succeed at
winning over hundreds of thousands of voters. It`s that time of the year
in the election cycle that people start paying attention. To be fair, TV
viewership was down 23 percent during Romney`s speech this year. How could
Clint Eastwood do that to him? But Web sites and social media drew record
audiences.

So here`s the bad news for the Romney campaign. One poll gives Romney
a three-point bounce. That`s within the margin of error. The Gallup Poll
shows no bounce at all. Almost a week of wall to wall coverage and no
gains?

This was supposed to be Romney`s big moment. It was his first chance
to deliver a live speech to a national audience, but it looks like Romney`s
speech simply failed to convince voters. According to Gallup, Romney`s
speech was average at best.

If you count just excellent and good reviews, voters put Romney in
fifth place among every Republican nominee in recent history. Romney
didn`t do as well as George W. Bush in 2004. In fact, Romney`s speech got
the lowest poll rating since 1996. Bob Dole got better reviews than Romney
did.

But there`s a poll number that really matters to a lot more Americans.
And this is it. Gallup shows Democrats are less enthusiastic about voting
this November. Here comes the red flag. Republicans are gaining -- 51
percent are focused on getting Barack Obama out of the White House.

Republicans might be feeling a little Romney malaise. They might not
even like this guy, but, here`s the bottom line. The Romney campaign could
actually win this election without having to win over voters.

Let`s turn to Karen Finney tonight, MSNBC political analyst and former
communications director for the DNC.

Karen, good to have you with us tonight. Twenty-three percent down in
the audience, what do you make of that? Is the country just politically
exhausted and tired of the guy who shipped a bunch of jobs overseas?

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it says the
people -- the snake oil that he`s selling, they`re not interested. Their
whole strategy has been just kind of fake it until you make it. We saw it
kind of going into the convention that the support for Romney, even within
the conservatives in his own party, within the conservative intelligentsia,
down to their grassroots, not that excited about Governor Romney, and
certainly, Democrats weren`t going to tune into that because they have
heard that rhetoric.

So, I mean, it`s bad for the Republicans. I don`t want Democrats to
take anything for granted, but I think it does show that Governor Romney
just does not have what it takes to inspire people, to get people excited.

SCHULTZ: The best thing Romney and the Republicans have going for
them right now is that people on their side just don`t like President
Obama. That might be their motivating factor. Should the Democrats be
worried tonight?

FINNEY: Well, absolutely. I mean, you know, I have come from the
school of politics where you never take anything for granted. And I have
to tell you, what concerns me is the combination of the voter suppression
efforts that we`re seeing -- they are very robust -- and the dog whistle
politics.

We don`t yet know what kind of impact that`s going to have on people`s
ability to actually get out and vote and have that vote counted. In
addition to that, I just don`t think we can ever take anything for granted
because you never know what`s going to happen.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINNEY: Look what happened in 2000.

SCHULTZ: Well, "The National Journal" reporting that Democrats are
confident. David Axelrod is quoted as saying, "We could win, we could
lose. I think we`re going to win."

What`s your reaction to that?

FINNEY: Yes, you know, what worries me about that is I think -- you
know, we saw this a lot during the Republican primary. People kind of
watched those -- the Republican primary debates -- you remember them well -
- and thought, Oh, Come on, Barack Obama can beat whoever emerges from that
crowd.

And again, I think we need to -- as Democrats, we need to continue to
convey the message that, look, we have a lot of hard work to do between now
and November, and we cannot take anything for granted.

At the same time, I don`t actually buy into this idea that there`s not
enthusiasm. There`s a lot of enthusiasm here in North Carolina. I think
Democrats will turn out.

I also think one of the things we haven`t focused on yet, Ed, is voter
registration. And those efforts mean that we`re expanding the electorate
in a lot of key places.

SCHULTZ: Yes. All right, do you think the Democrats are going to get
a post-convention bounce? I mean, the Republicans were so lacking in
definition and substance, especially on the women`s issues, this really
kind of tees it up for President Obama, doesn`t it?

FINNEY: Oh, absolutely. And look, I think what people are going to
see over the next several nights is more of a vision, more specifics, more
detail.

SCHULTZ: But will they get a bounce? Will they get...

FINNEY: Yes, I think -- I think we`ll get a bounce because people
will say, OK, that I understand, that I can vote for, that I can support.
And I think it further underscores for people how light on the details
things were last week with the Romney speech.

So I -- but I will say, it`ll be a modest bounce because, again, I
think people are going to -- it`s really going to be mid-September when we
see where this race really stands.

SCHULTZ: Romney not campaigning this week. Good strategy?

FINNEY: I was a little surprised by that. I mean, he`s got Paul Ryan
out there actually, you know, doing his dirty work. But that being said,
we -- you know, we`ve heard that he`s doing debate prep.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

FINNEY: And look, you know the president is an excellent debater, and
Governor Romney better come prepared. And he`s going to have to come
prepared, Ed, with some facts, not just platitudes.

SCHULTZ: Karen Finney, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

FINNEY: Great to see you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Lots more coming up in the next half hour of THE ED SHOW. Stay with
us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s unions like yours
that helped to forge the basic bargain in this country, the bargain that
built the greatest middle class and the most prosperous country and the
most prosperous economy that the world has ever known.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Labor spent last week getting demonized. This week,
American workers are rising up to back the president. Up next, James Hoffa
of the Teamsters and Larry Cohen of the CWA on what they expect in
Charlotte.

And Democrats are fighting the Republican onslaught to end Medicare as
we know it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re for
Medicare, they`re for voucher-care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Tonight, Montana governor Brian Schweitzer on what Democrats
need to accomplish this week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The 40-hour work week, weekends, paid leave, pensions, the
minimum wage, health care, Social Security, Medicare!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Those things happened because working people organized and
mobilized.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: On this Labor Day, let`s talk labor. Obviously, President
Obama at a Labor Day rally in Toledo, Ohio, today. President Obama needs
to make a real connection with labor this week if he wants to secure a
second term in the White House.

Labor plays a vital role in getting out the ground troops and social
networking, and in really getting out those numbers in a close election.
If it`s about enthusiasm, labor is going to be there. But will they be
there in full force?

Here`s more from the president today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It is unions like yours that helped to forge the basic bargain
of this country, the bargain that built the greatest middle class and the
most prosperous country and the most prosperous economy that the world has
ever known. It`s a bargain that says if you work hard, if you`re
responsible, then your work should be rewarded.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: So who`s for the wage earner? This might be the perfect
time to bring out our income disparity chart. This is where America`s been
over the last 30 years. President Obama stands with the blue liners, the
middle class, the wage earners trying to get ahead. Boy, they`ve been down
there for a while, haven`t they.

Mitt Romney stands with the top 1 percent, who have already done
pretty well over the last 30 years. In fact, it`s not even a close call,
and he wants those folks on the red line to have even more.

Governor Romney is clearly anti-labor. He has no history of dealing
with labor and has been a financial dictator in the business sector for
years. The last thing he thinks about is the wage earner. He thinks about
profit for his company. That`s his record.

The GOP platform salutes Republican governors and state lawmakers who
have saved their states from financial disaster by reforming laws governing
public employee unions. That`s just the first chip (ph) at what they
really want to do in this attack on labor. Mitt Romney would love to go
national with an attack on public employee unions, even on Labor Day.

Republicans, what do they do? They celebrate management. House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor tweeted today, "Today we celebrate those who
have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own
success."

Let`s bring in James Hoffa, president, International Brotherhood of
the Teamsters. Also with us tonight, Larry Cohen, who is the president of
Communication Workers of America. Gentlemen, great to have you with us
tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s good to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great to be with you.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Hoffa, you first. What does President Obama need to do
to energize the ranks of labor? And how important it is for labor to get
behind this president, given the record of Mitt Romney?

JAMES HOFFA, TEAMSTERS PRESIDENT: Well, I think he`s got to keep
doing what he did today in Toledo, what Joe Biden did today in Detroit.
We`ve got to start talking about the accomplishments of labor, what they`ve
done. That basically energizes our people to realize they appreciate what
we have done to basically build the middle class.

And we need more of that. And I hope here at this convention, in the
next three days, you`re going to see more of that. We`re going to have
Bill Clinton. You`re going to have Michelle Obama. And you`re going to
have the president talking about these issues.

I think they can energize people and get a big bounce out of this
convention that, basically, the Republicans didn`t get because they had,
basically, a completely dishonest convention. They didn`t talk about
facts. They had nothing but platitudes.

They talked about the forefathers, their aunts, their uncles, their
moms, their dads, but they didn`t talk about tax cuts for the rich. They
didn`t talk about eliminating capital gains. They didn`t talk about
sending vouchers out instead of Medicare. They didn`t talk about what they
stand for.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

HOFFA: And the good thing about President Obama -- he`s not afraid to
say what he believes in. When he goes on the trail, he says, We`re going
to increase taxes on the very rich. And you know what? That`s what it`s
all about.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Cohen, can this country trust Mitt Romney? Can wage
earners trust Mitt Romney, from what you heard last week?

LARRY COHEN, CWA PRESIDENT: Not at all. Mitt Romney brought us a new
verb in the English language called "Bained." Workers know they`re Bained
when their jobs are sent out of the country. They`re Bained when their pay
is cut. They`re Bained when they lose their pensions and their health
care. That`s what Mitt Romney`s about.

By contrast, the president in his Labor Day proclamation talked about
preserving collective bargaining rights. In fact, what workers want to
hear is that he`s ready to help expand bargaining rights since they`re now
at the lowest level since 1900.

And it`s bargaining rights that raise pay. It`s bargaining rights
that allow workers to have a voice in this economy. It`s bargaining rights
that can help bring the economy back as people lift themselves up.

SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, we know that there are union members in this
country who vote Republican. Mr. Hoffa, what do you say to those folks?

HOFFA: I say vote your pocketbook. You know, we go out and,
basically, talk to thousands of people. I don`t (ph) do it. I know Larry
does it. And yes, there are some people in there, either because of, you
know, some issue of guns or abortion or something, that are off on a
different track.

We`ve got to make them come back home and say, Hey, the issues are
they`re trying to destroy what you are enjoying now...

SCHULTZ: Yes.

HOFFA: ... your union, the good pay you have, your health care, your
pensions. They are against that. That`s the message we have to deliver.

SCHULTZ: Larry, you agree with that?

HOFFA: Wake up out there!

COHEN: Absolutely. Jim nailed it. Politics should be about public
policy issues. It should be about our health care, about our jobs, about
our trade policy. Politics is not about personal issues.

Republicans try to flip it to create a wedge among working families.
We need to flip it back, make sure our members, but more importantly,
American workers, union or not, understand this election is about choices.
The choice is clear for American workers.

SCHULTZ: You know, Labor Day is supposed to celebrate labor in this
country. I think Labor Day today in 2012 is a heck of a lot different than
it was 50 years ago or 100 years ago. What do young people need to know,
Mr. Hoffa, about what labor does for this country?

HOFFA: It`s an educational thing. We, basically, try and make sure
that our members understand what the union means and what their children
understand or the people that go to work, the young people that come to
work, you know, as teamsters or in the communication workers.

They`ve got to have to understand how did they get to the level they
have, the good wages, the health care, the pension. A lot of hard work
went into getting them where they`re at. And they`ve got to buy into the
idea that we have to keep that going...

SCHULTZ: Yes.

HOFFA: ... because as your chart shows, we`re losing this battle
right now. So we`ve got to get involved and educate our people. I think
that`s the key.

SCHULTZ: Mr. Cohen, what does President Obama have to do? I mean,
Does he have to unequivocally make a commitment to labor? I mean, I think,
look, President Obama can`t win a second term if he doesn`t have labor with
him. And I mean really with him. It`s going to be that close. So what
are your expectations of the president?

COHEN: I think he has to continue to do what we just heard today.
He`s got to speak to American workers, both union and not, and say that, I
stand with you. I stand against the offshoring of jobs. I stand against
the pay cuts, against the health care cuts, against the elimination of
retirement security, whether it`s Social Security or pensions on the jobs -
- on the job. I stand with you. Young and old, American working women and
men, whether you have a union or not, I`m here for you.

SCHULTZ: James Hoffa, Larry Cohen, great to have you gentlemen with
us tonight on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Coming up: Paul Ryan can`t seem to tell the truth, and you
won`t believe what he`s lying about this time. This is a dandy. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Up next, Paul Ryan`s lie about his marathon time is just the
latest in his marathon of lies.

And in "The Big Finish" tonight, what do Democrats need to do to get
voters to stick with them for another term? Montana governor Brian
Schweitzer joins us from Charlotte to tell it like it is again.

Don`t forget, you can listen to me on radio Sirius XM channel 127
Monday through Friday. Be on tomorrow at noon to 3:00 PM Eastern time.
You can follow me on Twitter @Edshow and like THE ED SHOW on Facebook.

We`re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Believe it or not, Paul Ryan
has been caught in yet another lie. Last week, Ryan called in to visit
with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt on the low-rated
program, and the conversation turned to Ryan`s workouts.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Are you still running?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. I hurt a
disc in my back, so I don`t run marathons anymore. I just run 10 miles or
less.

HEWITT: But you did run marathons at some point?

RYAN: Yes, but I can`t do it anymore because my back (INAUDIBLE)

HEWITT: All right, just to go ask, what`s your personal best?

RYAN: Under three, I think, you know, high twos, two hours and 50-
something (INAUDIBLE)

HEWITT: Holy smokes! All right, now, you go down to Miami
University...

RYAN: I was fast when I was younger, yes.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: "Holy smokes." What an appropriate response. For a time
like that, Ryan would have to average under seven minutes a mile for the
entire 26-mile race. So the folks at "Runners` World," they did a little
checking and found out that, well, he did run in a marathon back in the day
in Duluth, Minnesota, when he was a college student. Ryan`s actual finish
time, over four hours.

So the congressman issues a statement trying to laugh it off as just a
mistake. Every marathon runner knows their personal best, no question
about it, I mean down to the second. I mean, I remember my 40 (ph) time.
I could never do 4.8, I could always do 4.9. Couldn`t get 4.8. I used to
lift weights. I couldn`t get 280. I could do 275, but I just couldn`t do
280.

Everybody knows. When you`re a competitor and you`re in it and you`re
performing, marathon runner -- Oh, I don`t know, a couple hours.

But wait a minute. This is a pattern, my friends.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: ... for stimulus. I don`t recall -- I haven`t seen this
report, so I really can`t comment on it.

Candidate Obama said, I believe that if our government is there to
support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years. That plant
didn`t last another year. It`s locked up and empty to this day. The
recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Issues big and small! No matter how long the trail is for
the marathon, it always comes down to a lie, doesn`t it? The guy just
can`t seem to tell the truth.

Tonight in our survey, I asked you, Will you be better off four years
from now under Mitt Romney? Five percent of you say yes, 95 percent of you
say no.

Coming up: The Democrats` big week and a chance to convince the
American public to stay the course. It`s not an easy sell in a tough
economy, but it`s got to be done. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana has
the answers. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Last week, the other party gave their sales pitch at their
convention down in Florida.

(BOOS)

OBAMA: Don`t boo, vote!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: And in "The Big Finish" tonight: Tomorrow evening, Democrats
get their shot at convincing the American people to stick with President
Obama. Here`s my advice. They simply just need to be good Democrats and
be fair about it.

The values of the Democratic Party are more in line with the American
public today than they ever have been before. The Democratic Party is the
party of the middle class. It`s the party of equal pay for equal work.
It`s the party of inclusion and fairness.

The country needs these values more than ever in face of a Republican
Congress and a bunch of dangerous Republican governors who will do
everything in their power to diminish the middle class as we know it. They
attack wage earners.

Here`s President Obama in Toledo, Ohio, today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Despite all the challenges that we face in this new century,
we saw three straight days of an agenda out of the last century. It was a
rerun. You might as well have watched it on black-and-white TV with some
rabbit ears on there.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Today, the Obama campaign released a new ad explaining how
Romney would hit the middle class harder than ever. In Detroit, Vice
President Joe Biden laid out the choice for Medicare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ladies and
gentlemen, we`re talking about making sure we protect Medicare. They`re
talking about creating an entire new system, "voucher-care." Voucher-care.

(BOOS)

BIDEN: That`s what they`re doing. It`s simple, folks. We`re for
Medicare, they`re for voucher-care. And if they win, people are in
trouble!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana.
Governor, good to see you again. Good to have you on THE ED SHOW.

Let`s talk health care first. In rural red states in America, where
there are aging populations, how can folks turn against the Democrats when,
very clearly, they have strength in Medicare, and they have also made it so
the program will last even longer and benefits haven`t been cut? Where is
the disconnect here?

GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), MONTANA: Well, the disconnect is pretty
simple. The Republican message is one of fairy tales. We heard it for
three solid days down there in Tampa.

And frankly, we would expect that they start telling the truth. The
way they tell the stories, I mean, I could make those stories up, too.
Let`s see, I graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. in astrophysics, and I just
won the pole vault gold medal in the summer Olympics.

They take that down as fact. If one person says it, they just
continue to say it. They say somehow that we`re taking $700 billion out of
Medicare, when in fact, we are enforcing and strengthening Medicare. We`re
taking care of the middle class. And the Republicans have never supported
the middle class, and they`re not going to this time.

SCHULTZ: So how do Democrats convince the American people to stay the
course, convince voters to stay the course? And which brings us to, Are
you better off today than you were four years ago?

SCHWEITZER: You are better off today than you were four years ago.
Did you forget that it was on September 15th that the Lehman Brothers
declared bankruptcy and banks all over the world were teeter-tottering on
the end? By October of 2008, we didn`t know whether we were back in 1929
or maybe something worse. We lost 700,000, 800,000 jobs every month.

And now for 29 consecutive months -- 4.5 million new jobs. And Ed,
something that the Republicans don`t tell you is that we`ve been increasing
the private sector jobs, all the while decreasing government jobs. You
know, in Montana, we`re down by 4.2 percent in government jobs, but we`re
increasing the private jobs.

We`re producing more energy in this country. We`re using less energy.
And for the first time in a generation, manufacturing jobs are coming back
to America.

And by the way, happy Labor Day to all the people that move the
freight, take care of our children and take care of the elderly.

SCHULTZ: Well, Governor, we have seen two philosophies, Republican
governors attacking labor. You haven`t done it. You are running a
surplus, are you not, in Montana?

SCHWEITZER: We`ve cut more taxes for middle class families and we`ve
run seven -- the seven largest budget surpluses in the history of Montana
right through the great recession.

And when the Republicans refused to give a raise to our state
employees, they refused to honor the deal that we had negotiated, I turned
to our state employees and said, I tell you what, we`re going to actually
give you better benefits because we`re going to decrease your co-pay for
health insurance and we`re going to give you broad-band increases within
the law because the Republican legislature wouldn`t do the right thing when
we`re sitting on this large budget surplus.

SCHULTZ: Well, as a guy who loves the outdoors, I`ll just say that
you can`t fish all the time. Where are you going to be in 2016?

SCHWEITZER: Well, I`ll just fish in the morning and I`ll drink
whiskey in the afternoon.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ: What kind of whiskey?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWEITZER: Old whiskey!

SCHULTZ: We`re vetting (ph) now! We`re vetting (ph) here!

SCHWEITZER: Old whiskey, Ed. It`s old whiskey and big fish.

SCHULTZ: Governor, when do you speak?

SCHWEITZER: Well, that`s kind of a secret, but they`re talking about
speaking late, not early.

SCHULTZ: Well, don`t tighten that tie anymore. You let them have it
again, like you did back in 2008.

SCHWEITZER: Well, I think you better just get your belt real tight
because we`re going to get on that bull and we`re going to ride him!

SCHULTZ: Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer, here with us on THE ED
SHOW. Thanks so much for joining us.

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

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. This is going to be a very
exciting week. I`m looking forward to our big joint coverage.

SCHULTZ: Well, guarantee that the Democrats will have more
personality than the last group.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW: I don`t know! I think there was some personality on display
last week.

SCHULTZ: I think Brian Schweitzer will take care of that in one
speech.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW: That`s fair enough! He could out-personality pretty much
anybody in politics. Thanks, man. I`ll see you tomorrow.

SCHULTZ: Absolutely.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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