In today's show, we'll lead off by recapping perhaps the worst week in Mitt Romney's political life, all the way from Monday's Mother Jones secret-video scoop (at which "Saturday Night Live" took a well-placed shot this week, hitting Fox News with some comedic shrapnel) to yesterday's puzzling release of his 2011 tax returns (in which he paid a 14.1% tax rate, engineered for the public's eye) and a "summary" of his returns from 1990 to 2009.
And that's not me calling it "puzzling," it's Republicans like former Romney strategist Alex Castellanos, who remarked, “At first I thought this was an April Fool’s Joke...but this isn't April":
“I can’t imagine that David Axelrod will now say, ‘I’m glad Mitt put this issue behind him.’ This will drag Mitt’s taxes back into the debate. And there’s not many days left. I just can’t imagine why they would do this. There are 40 days left and you have now made more of them about Mitt’s taxes….you don’t serve a life sentence and then confess afterward. They’ve taken their beating on this (already) … I just don’t understand how a (being) ‘little pregnant’ strategy (works).”
Considering the bad week -- no, month -- Romney has had, we'll take a look at how he and other factors will contribute to what candidates (and what initiaitive or referendum) wins down the ballot. We'll also get into a new, revelatory Pew poll on the so-called "engagement gap" in our weekly This Week in Voter Suppression!™ segment.
We'll also dig into senior-citizen issues later in the show, taking note of this Paul Ryan embarrassment yesterday at the AARP conference:
Paul Ryan’s speech to AARP’s national conference in New Orleans did not go over too well with the audience.
The Republican vice presidential nominee, who has led his party in proposing a privatization plan for Medicare, drew repeated jeers and catcalls as he made the case for Mitt Romney’s platform on entitlements. Easily the worst moments came as Ryan discussed repealing the Affordable Care Act, which increased prescription drug and preventive service benefits for seniors.
But folks, I may have saved the best for last: the great musician Willie Nelson (see above) will join Melissa to talk about this year's edition of his benefit festival Farm Aid, which celebrates its 27th anniversary today. We'll have other guests, too:
- Eddie Agosto, Air Force veteran and former postal worker, and current volunteer at the AARP.
- Ari Berman, contributing writer at The Nation magazine and author of "Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics."
- Brenda Gardner, actress and AARP member.
- Imara Jones, economic justice contributor, Colorlines.com.
- Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director, CEO, and co-founder of MomsRising.org, and author of "The F Word: Feminism in Jeopardy."
- Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine and author of "The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama."
- Alex Wagner, host of "Now with Alex Wagner" here on MSNBC.
- Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of Reason magazine and author of "Declaration of Independents" and "McCain: Myth of a Maverick."
As always, folks -- be sure to interact with us during the show here in the comments of this post, on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland. We look forward to having you join us at 10am ET on msnbc!