PoliticsNation, Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Guests: Jared Bernstein, Rick Lazio, Joe Madison, Rory Cooper, Dana
Milbank, Michelle Bernard
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: President Obama`s jobs plan is coming. It`s
time to think big and go big.
Tonight, the president has a stern warning to Republicans on the
economy: It`s time to work together or else.
I like what I`m hearing.
And the political storm is growing stronger. Eric Cantor says cuts
are needed to offset hurricane relief money. Now the last person who
should be talking about hurricane relief is supporting Cantor.
Plus, Mr. Universal Health Care is heading to his first Tea Party
Can you say desperation time, Willard?
And the progressives in Wisconsin are keeping up the fight in a way
that will have all of you smiling.
Welcome to the show. I`m Al Sharpton.
Tonight`s lead, big problems call for big solutions. And that`s what
the president should do with his new jobs plan.
The plan is still a work in progress, the subject of fierce debate in
the White House. Some think he should go small with moderate ideas that
some Republicans might possibly support. But I think he should go big with
a set of ambitious proposals to fix this economy, and then dare the
Republicans to oppose the president.
The president talked about that today in a speech at the American
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our economy has to grow
faster. We have to create more jobs, and we have to do it faster.
And most of all, we`ve got to break the gridlock in Washington that`s
been preventing us from taking the action we need to get this country
moving. When we choose to move forward together as one people, there`s
nothing we can`t achieve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: In an interview later on the "Tom Joyner Morning Show," the
president put a number of how many jobs might be created.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: There`s no doubt that we can take steps that would mean the
economy was growing a percentage or a percentage and a half faster. That
could mean a half a million to a million additional jobs.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The president also said the jobs issue would set up a stark
contrast between him and the Republicans.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: They are very unpopular right now, but they`re speaking only
to a very narrow segment of the population of their base. If the Congress
does not act, then I`m going to be going on the road and talking to folks,
and this next election very well may end up being a referendum on whose
vision of America is better.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A referendum on whose America is better. Yes, that`s what
I want to hear.
I hope that means we`re talking about putting out a big picture, a
real vision of how to, for once and for all, straighten out this economy,
deal with jobs, deal with unemployment. That`s what many of us are saying.
That`s why we`re still marching on Washington.
And we need the president to then challenge the opposition to come in
and say to the American people, I`m not going to do what`s necessary for
jobs, I`m not going to do what`s necessary to extend those benefits that
Americans need, we`re going to protect the rich.
Let`s draw the line in the sand, Mr. President, and let`s see if they
will come forward and fight that fight.
Joining me now is Jared Bernstein, former chief economist for Vice
President Biden, now an MSNBC contributor and senior fellow with the Center
on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Rick Lazio, former Republican
congressman and founder of IGNITEWithRickLazio.com.
Jared, should the president go big, or should he try to find a small
JARED BERNSTEIN, FMR. CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:
Reverend, when you`re looking at 9.1 percent unemployment -- and, by the
way, that`s not something new, that`s an unfortunate place where we`ve been
stuck for a while -- you`ve got to get that American jobs machine revving
again, humming again. And that calls for big solutions.
I don`t think small ball is going to get you over here. And so what
the president is talking about right now, ideas on the infrastructure
front, ideas on extending the payroll holiday, unemployment insurance
We`ve got lots of folks facing long-term unemployment. And you know
what? They get those benefits, they spend them, that ripples through the
We`re talking about a higher tax credit, maybe something to
incentivize mortgage refinancing.
These are a set of targeted ideas that, as the president said, could
shave a point, a point and a half off that unemployment rate, a critical,
critical program moving forward.
SHARPTON: Now let me ask Rick here.
Rick, when you look at what we`re talking about, big picture, let`s
look at the proposals that are possibly in the president`s plan -- payroll
tax cut extension, as Jared said; hiring tax cuts and incentives; green
construction; rehabilitation of schools; mortgage refinancing.
Many of us that have been supportive of the president in many areas
are saying he should go all the way, big picture, and throw it at the
Republicans and see if your party would oppose this. One reason is because
we need a big picture, but the other is because it seems that no matter
what he does, the Republicans are incapable of making an agreement.
How do you respond to these areas? How can your party oppose these
areas? And if so, what, if anything, will they agree to?
RICK LAZIO (R), FMR. NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN: I would say, first of all,
Al, the president needs to lay out a vision and a strategy, and he needs to
stick to it. It`s not something that he`s been successful in doing since
he began his presidency.
If he moves off of the direction that he had been in, which is one
where he would continue to throw money at problems, and looks for common
ground in which he could remove barriers to job creation, that will be an
area where Republicans, I think, can find common ground. If you look down
that list that you just put up there of the possible areas that the
president would address, some of them might be perfectly good ideas.
I think that the president and the Congress needs to focus not on
short-term solutions that are going to help with the next election, but
longer-term, big-impact areas that will build a stronger, more durable
economic engine and more job creation over the long run.
SHARPTON: But, Rick -- and I want Jared after you respond to this.
Rick, the problem is that when you hear Republicans already saying they
will not support a payroll tax cut extension, which to me is alarming,
because I`ve never heard of a tax cut that you guys didn`t support, this is
a first -- when you talk about throwing money at the problem, the
Republicans have thrown money at the rich, saying it would trickle down
sooner and later, and we keep getting the later, never the sooner.
So the question becomes, when you say don`t play the politics, you
have Mitch McConnell saying that his only priority is to make this a one-
term president. Aren`t you preaching to the wrong side here?
LAZIO: I think both sides, when it comes down to laying out the plan,
they`re going to have competing visions. There`s no doubt about it.
Republicans do have a concern, and I think a valid concern, about
short-term fixes. When they talk about a temporary reduction in the
payroll taxes, that`s not going to change fundamentally any behavior.
Between an unemployment extension and a reduction in the employee part
of the payroll tax, that`s going to cost about $175 billion. Most of that
-- or not most of it, but 40 percent of it, or a little bit more than that,
will be borrowed, will be borrowed money, adding to the debt. So we`ve got
to be careful that what we do is going to have a positive effect, that`s
going to create the kind of incentives -- in my view, the president needs
to stop blaming business in particular industries, he needs to focus on
repatriation -- there`s $1 trillion or $2 trillion sitting, trapped
overseas -- let`s get that money back and let`s put some restrictions on
business to focus on --
BERNSTEIN: Reverend, let me responsible.
SHARPTON: Let me ask Jared.
Jared, let me say this, because -- and I want you to address all of
what he said.
SHARPTON: But when he says that the payroll tax cut extension won`t
bring a lot, it means a lot to people that are going to have to pay $2,100
extra a year.
BERNSTEIN: So here`s the thing, Reverend. Yes. I disagree
respectfully with Rick, and there`s a lot of reasonable things he`s saying,
but on this point, I think the evidence is that he`s wrong in the following
What you have got right now are tens of millions of working families
who are facing very tough family budgets. Their real earnings have been
contracting. That is, they have been losing ground relative to inflation.
You simply can`t tell me that if you give them a boost of two percent
to their paycheck, that`s not going to help them, they`re not going to go
out and spend the money. We know they are, we know have, and we know they
will. The exact same thing is the case with unemployment insurance.
And Rick, here`s the punch line. You worry about the debt and the
deficit. By (INAUDIBLE) temporary, something you said you didn`t like,
these measures have absolutely no impact on the medium or long-term
They get in the system. They`re temporary by definition. They help
and they get out of the way.
The ideas that you`re espousing, like a repatriation tax holiday,
that`s a big tax cut for corporate America. Their profits are already way,
way back to where they were before this recession.
SHARPTON: And they`re holding, Rick, a lot of cash that they won`t
LAZIO: But who creates the jobs?
SHARPTON: I want Rick to be able to respond to this.
BERNSTEIN: That`s the one group in this economy that`s doing well
right now. That`s the one group that`s doing well, is the corporate folks.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, Rick. When Cantor`s note came out on
what he wanted to do, let`s look at what the Republicans` plans were for
We`re talking about the GOP wanting EPA regulations. We`re talking
about coal ash, greenhouse gases, ozone, farm dust.
I mean, Cantor is talking about deregulation. That is -- in my
judgment, we`ve seen for a decade, where has that led to jobs?
So, at one level you have the talking point of, let`s not do something
that is not going to solve the problem, and then we`re hearing more of the
same, which helped put us in this ditch that we`re in, if I would borrow
the president`s terms.
LAZIO: So if we really want to be effective and not make political
points, we`ll listen to the small business people that create the jobs.
The NFIB, the National Federation of Independent Business, which is the
largest lobby for small businesses in this country, asked businesses, what
are the three biggest impediments to growth and to hiring people? It`s
demand, it`s high taxes, and number three, it`s regulation.
This year alone, under the Obama administration, it has issued
regulations for over 200 new regulatory initiatives -- 200 new ones.
That`s time and money spent by businesses complying with bureaucrats in
Washington, instead of growing their business, exporting goods, hiring
people, and basically doing the fundamental --
SHARPTON: And supporting jobs in many cases.
BERNSTEIN: It`s a little misleading, because if you look at --
SHARPTON: It`s a lot of misleading, but go ahead.
BERNSTEIN: If you look at what the NFIB is saying, if you look at
what the small business folks are saying, Rick is absolutely right. Those
are the top three. But you have that one demand, people coming in the
Customers walking in the door is way, way past the other two. That is
by far the dominant factor.
And, in fact, if you look at the regulations or the taxes, those are
constant trends. They`ve been complaining about that stuff for a long
time. It doesn`t mean it`s not real, but it certainly means that it`s not
What`s really hurting small businesses in the great recession is not
tax rates, which are as low as they`ve been, it`s not regulations. It`s
the fact they don`t have enough customers coming in the door, and the
reason they don`t have enough customers coming in the door is because there
are not enough jobs. And that takes us right back to President Obama`s
SHARPTON: And you cannot raise -- a lot of where we are seeing the
kind of nervousness and tension with investment and Wall Street is a
consumer index and the level of consumers in this country. People consume
if they don`t have money, Rick.
LAZIO: But you`re starting to see business investment drop down as
well, which is really alarming.
The president talks about exports as a major area for American
businesses and an opportunity for job creation. Yet, since this
presidency, China has concluded 44 new trade agreements.
How many do you think the U.S. has concluded? Zero. The one in
Colombia has been languishing. And at the time we began negotiating under
the Bush administration with Colombia, we had about 70 percent share of
their agricultural sector.
Now we`re down to 22 percent because other countries are eating our
lunch on trade. Those are jobs that we are effectively exporting overseas.
SHARPTON: Just a minute, Jared. I`m out of time.
And I want to bring both of you back, because I really want to get
into a discussion on trade, because I think that --
BERNSTEIN: I don`t think there`s a lot of jobs there.
SHARPTON: But Jared Bernstein, Rick Lazio, I thank both of you for
joining me tonight.
BERNSTEIN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: And thank you both for your time.
Ahead, the political storm grows. Eric Cantor, who, Rick, I named
"Pander," wants cuts from hurricane relief money.
You seriously, seriously will not believe who supports it.
Plus, Dick Cheney`s book. I mean his misinformation tour. He stopped
by NBC today. A massive fact-check is on the way.
And a top Republican thinks Mitt Romney is out of touch.
You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re learning more about the toll of Hurricane Irene. The
storm has been blamed for at least 40 deaths so far, and projected losses
from the storm are estimated at $7 billion.
So far, the drumbeat from Majority Leader Eric Cantor has been to
offset disaster relief with cuts elsewhere. And today, Cantor got some
pretty interesting backing from this guy --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Again, I want to
thank you all for -- and Brownie, you`re doing a heck of a job. The FEMA
director is working 24 --
BUSH: They`re working 24 hours a day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yes, of all the people, "Heck of a job, Brownie" agrees
that cuts are needed to offset disaster aid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BROWN, FMR. FEMA DIRECTOR: We don`t have any money. Let`s
say that FEMA needs an additional $1 billion just for round numbers.
Forty-two cents of every dollar that they give FEMA will have to be
borrowed, Bill, so we have to start making these choices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Is it me, or is this the last person you want to give your
plan an endorsement?
Joining me now is Joe Madison, Sirius XM radio host; and Rory Cooper,
director of Strategic Communication at the conservative Heritage
Joe, I mean, you and I marched and was done around Katrina. Can you
believed this? They rolled out Brownie out today?
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: No, I can`t believe it, but here`s
what I`m going to suggest. You know what? I`ll agree with Eric Cantor.
Fine, let`s cut.
Why don`t we not build a few battleships? Let`s bring all the troops
home, every last one of them. We`ll save trillions of dollars. That way,
you can put that money and the soldiers to rebuilding.
Number two, we`ve got another hurricane coming.
And number three, the last time I checked, FEMA -- the "E" in FEMA
stands for "Emergency." Can you imagine -- and let`s go to number four.
Number four is, do you know how long it would take Congress to debate
what to cut? We`re talking about months.
They would be debating for months while people are awash trying to get
their lives back together. This is the most absurd suggestion that`s ever
been made. And now is the time is when you govern, Reverend Al Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Now, Rory, Jay Carney at the White House said this about
the statement by Mr. Cantor. He says, "I wish that commitment to looking
for offsets had been held by the majority leader and others, say, during
the previous administration, when they ran up unprecedented bills and never
paid for them."
How do you respond to that?
RORY COOPER, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Well, the "M" in FEMA stands
for "Management." And FEMA cannot manage these disasters if we have
declarations every two-and-a-half days, which is the going rate.
We had an average under President George H. W. Bush of about 43
disasters a year. Under President George W. Bush, 130. And under
President Obama this year we`ll be hitting 288.
We cannot prepare for disasters if we`re constantly in response mode.
And so we have to look at the money that we`re using responsibly.
We have a billion dollars sitting in a DHS appropriations bill that`s
been languishing in the do-nothing Senate. We have a deal that came out,
the debt ceiling raised, that allows for a rainy day fund for these
emergencies. Money is not the issue here, the problem is we`re not
governing these emergencies properly.
SHARPTON: But Rory, may I ask you a question? Let me not interrupt
you, but let me make sure I`m following you right.
Are you saying now that we must manage the emergencies that we face?
I mean, you do understand emergencies mean we didn`t plan on them.
It was not in the president`s forecast and budget to have Irene. You
do understand that?
COOPER: Before Joplin, Missouri, before Hurricane Irene, which are
emergencies, and of course our prayers go out to the victims of those,
those are major incidents. The federal government, of course, rightly
should be involved in those.
But 288 disasters in one years? Obviously, the government is doing
things that state and local -- government is doing things that state and
local should be doing. You saw Governor Christie, Governor McDonnell,
Governor Cuomo, governor stepping to the plate and getting their disaster
ready here. And meanwhile, you don`t have resources ready --
MADISON: Whoa. Whoa.
SHARPTON: Joe, we`re going now to states` rights on hurricanes. But
go ahead, Joe.
MADISON: Well, hold on a second. And let`s go back to what Governor
He praised the fact that FEMA and the federal government worked hand
and hand with the local government. We`re not talking about federal
government doing everything. And what you saw in New Jersey, and what
you`re seeing right now, and will see in Vermont, are people coming
But it amazes me how you rattled off, oh, there`s a billion dollars.
I wish that MSNBC would pull up that graphic that showed how many billions
of dollars and they`re still counting?
So, again, let`s go with what Eric Cantor says, but guess what he`s
not going to propose? He is not going to take the money from the Pentagon.
I can guarantee you that.
SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you another question, Rory. Rush Limbaugh
said today that the president -- and let me show you what he said.
He said that the -- well, let me play it for you. I`ll do better than
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You know how the immediate
gentleman distorts, but I`m going to tell you something. The hysterical
reporting on Irene, they couldn`t wait for this storm. Obama -- I`ll
guarantee you this. I`ll guarantee you Obama was hoping this was going to
be a disaster as another excuse for his failing economy.
This one was made to order, but it just didn`t measure up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So here we go, sort of with a line, it seems like all of
you are taking, that somehow this is Obama`s plan, the president`s plan.
One, I think when you compare with Katrina, which the anniversary was
yesterday, the sixth anniversary, and the response of the federal
government six years ago with the plan by the federal government this time,
there was no comparison. And the fact that Irene did not go to the level
some projected, I think the preparation was needed. Katrina certainly went
way beyond what the president responded to six years ago.
But I think that for the 40 people and more whose families are
mourning, Irene was very serious. And it could have been more than that.
I mean, what are we talking about here? Emergencies should not be
responded to by the federal government, Rory?
COOPER: Nobody is saying that, Al. What we`re saying is Hurricane
Irene, which qualifies as a major disaster, should be looked at by FEMA.
But when FEMA is looking at sending $50 million to an area that had a
threat of a hurricane but saw nothing but a cloudy sky, then they don`t
have the money and time to devote to the actual emergencies --
SHARPTON: Rory, you`re changing the premise of my question. What we
are talking about is that Mr. Cantor said that we should respond if we are
going to match it with spending cuts.
Joe, that`s what we`re saying. We`re talking about Irene. We`re not
talking about 240 some-odd emergencies. He said on this that we need to
have spending cuts.
MADISON: Again -- look, let me tell you something. George Will, Rush
Limbaugh, they`ve got to be the evilest people walking the face of the
work. As if George Will -- I`m telling you why.
All of a sudden, they`re meteorologists? You`re going to tell me that
as George Will and Rush Limbaugh sat there and watched that storm develop,
that they knew it wasn`t going to be a major disaster? Well, hell, where
were they in New Orleans?
SHARPTON: That`s my point.
MADISON: That`s the point. All of a sudden, they`re sitting there
saying, oh, we over-hyped it. It`s called preparedness. That`s what we
did, we prepared.
And, by the way, it costs money. And let me finally say, you know
where they`re going to cut this money from? Social Security, Medicare,
COOPER: Rather than go to personal attacks, rather than talking about
cutting defense, rather than the smear tactics --
MADISON: Why not cut defense? Why not cut defense?
SHARPTON: I`ve got to go. I`m out of time. I hate to cut both of
And thank you, Joe.
Thank you, Rory.
And I understand, Rory, it`s hard to have a situation like this,
because we had a president that didn`t see the storm in New Orleans, but he
did see --
COOPER: He ordered FEMA --
SHARPTON: -- the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So he just has
COOPER: We can manage the response, Al, I promise you that.
MADISON: Yes. Well, tell that to the people wading in mud right now.
SHARPTON: And Rory, I should have taken you to the anniversary of the
one that you showed us last time.
COOPER: I would be happy to go with you.
SHARPTON: Mitt Romney is heading to his first-ever Tea Party rally on
Labor Day. I wonder if his corporation friends -- remember, corporations
are people. I wonder if he`s bringing some of those corporation people
Plus, I wonder to know if anything Dick Cheney says on his book tour
is a fact. A reality check is coming.
You`re watching POLITICS NATION, only on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: You know, I would love to stop talking about Dick Cheney,
trust me, but I have to call him out again today for trying yet again to
rewrite the history books with his new memoir. We told you last night
about his ridiculous claims that the Bush administration quote, "laid the
groundwork for capturing Osama Bin Laden." Well, this morning on the
"Today" show, the former vice president tried to rewrite the history of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, HOST, "TODAY SHOW": Given the fact that he had severely
damaged our reputation around the world, and there were no stockpiles of
weapons of mass destruction, you still think it`s worth it?
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, sure. I
don`t think that it damaged our reputation around the world. I just don`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Cheney may not believe that the Iraq war damaged our
reputation, but it did. A pew survey tracks opinion of the United States
abroad, and our favorability rating plummeted after the United States
invaded Iraq. Now Cheney also says, he doesn`t regret waterboarding
terrorist suspects. But when asked if he would feel the same way if Iran,
for example, waterboarded an American suspected of spying, he felt
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: We probably would object to it.
LAUER: On the grounds that it`s torture?
CHENEY: On the grounds that we have obligations toward our citizens.
LAUER: But if the government of Iran were to capture someone and say,
we have reason to believe that you`re a spy, you`re carrying out an
operations that could be damaging to our country, would you object or would
you say they did what they had to do to get the information they needed at
CHENEY: Well, I think we would object, because we wouldn`t expect an
American citizen to be operating that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, Cheney thinks waterboarding is just dandy for the U.S.,
but off-limits for other countries. But the most interesting interview
might have come after it was over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: And the book is called "In my time," it`s out today. We`re
back in a moment, this is "Today" on NBC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I think that sign sums up what a lot of people think about
the former vice president. Cheney`s trying to spin history the way he
wishes it had been, not how it actually was. Nice try, Mr. Cheney, but we
got you again.
SHARPTON: We`ll admit Romney needs some help from his corporations,
and fast. He is showing serious signs of desperation. The man that
created universal health care Massachusetts will attend his first major Tea
Party rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Labor Day weekend. He`s
joining the Tea Party express, the same group who once said, they wouldn`t
stand for mitt Romney because of Romney care. Right after that, he`ll fly
to South Carolina to attend the Palmetto Freedom Forum, led by the ultimate
Tea Partier Jim DeMint. So is going to a Tea Party rally on Labor Day? I
wonder how many corporations he`ll have with him. So why is he doing this?
Well, the latest polls show Romney is falling fast. Now 13 points behind
Tea Party favorite Rick Perry. Today, he went to Perry`s home state of
Texas and took a not so subtle jab at the front-runner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m a conservative
businessman. I spent most of my life outside politics dealing with real
problems in the real economy. Career politicians got us into this mess,
and they simply don`t know how to get us out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And he`s not winning over House Majority Whip Kevin
McCarthy. At a recent town hall meeting, McCarthy said, quote, "He needs
to stop staying in hotels and start staying with volunteers at every
campaign stop. His job should be to take out the trash every day, and if
the bag breaks, he needs to clean it up." I have to agree with Kevin
McCarthy on this one. Romney is out of touch, but everyone knows that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Maybe I should also tell my story. I am also unemployed.
Corporations are people my friend.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, they are not.
ROMNEY: Of course they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So will the Tea Party do anything to help Romney? Let`s
talk about it. Joining me now is Dana Milbank, national political reporter
to "The Washington Post," and Michelle Bernard an MSNBC political analyst.
Dana, is Romney in real trouble or is this a temporarily bump for Mr.
DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, that`s the big question
now, and how long this Rick Perry being way out in front pack can last.
Romney is clearly showing signs of panic, as well he should, because the
polls are showing not just that Perry is out among the Tea Partiers, which
you would expect. He`s also holding even with Romney or even slightly
ahead among the non-Tea Partiers in the Republican Party. Sort of the
establishment once. These are the corporation people that Romney`s talking
about. So, I don`t quite understand his strategy of going to hang out with
Jim DeMint, going to the Tea Party event, he`s never going to win over
those people if it`s not going to be Rick Perry, it`s going to be Michele
Bachmann or Sarah Palin, or somebody else, those people are not going to
belong to him. What he really needs to do is solidify -- try to fracture
up that Tea Party vote and solidify everybody else in the party. That`s
the only way he gets out of it.
SHARPTON: No, Michelle, he runs the risk in terms of these Tea Party
events of them getting a little nasty. I mean, suppose if he`s heckled,
suppose of his confronted, this could backfire on him.
MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It could absolutely
backfire and I would say that, most people would -- he most definitely is
going to be heckled. Mitt Romney goes into these meetings with various Tea
Party coalitions over Labor Day weekend looking very weak. The Tea Party,
as you mentioned, earlier, Al, was completely against Romney-care, as they
called it in Massachusetts. And also, you know, Mitt Romney has flip
flopped on so many different issues, that it makes him probably very
unattractive candidate for the Tea Party. I will say though conventional
wisdom, at least as called by one of the Dana`s colleagues at "The
Washington Post" is that what Mitt Romney really needs is for Sarah Palin
to join the presidential race, declare that she`s running.
SHARPTON: Michelle, you preempted me on that. I was going.
SHARPTON: No, that`s fine, because I think that that is an
interesting point that one of your colleagues raised, Dana, Chris Cillizza
of "The Washington Post" says, there`s one candidate who should be rooting
hard for the 2008 vice presidential nominee to run, and his name is Mitt
Romney. He`s saying, Sarah Palin could help Romney here. And, Michelle,
to add to your point, guess who said that himself a little while back, Mitt
Romney. Mitt Romney said, let me show you, where he might have been a
little more, a little more, with his ability to see the future that we
thought. He once said that Palin could be something that is of aid and
support to him.
In fact, I think his exact words were she could be the best thing that
could ever happen to him. Well, it looks like now that maybe a lot more
true than what he first said it, Michelle.
BERNARD: Absolutely. If he`s strategy is divide and conquer, this is
a strategy that could possibly inure to his benefit. Sarah Palin is very
attractive to the Tea Party, not to mainstream candidate, and not to
mainstream America, mainstream politicians and mainstream Republicans. But
to the Tea Party, they like her, they like Michele Bachmann, they like Rick
Perry. And if he can get the Tea Party vote to be split pretty evenly
among those three people and really those three candidates, and really
focus hard on mainstream establishment members of the Republican Party,
that`s probably his best chance going forward. He`s going to have a very
difficult time in Iowa, a difficult time in New Hampshire and really I
think the strategy of divide and conquer is one that he`s going to have to
take a serious look at it.
SHARPTON: Well, Dana, though, the problem for Sarah Palin though is
it seems that, if the recent poll is right, that most Republicans are happy
with the field of candidates they already have. There`s not a lot of room
for her to come in when 64 percent of Republicans polled are satisfied.
But let me also go to Rick Perry. Rick Perry said something that is very
interesting, as we deal with this whole jobs debate. And that is the
concern I have is jobs, and creating a job. He talked about not spending a
dime on stimulus. Let`s deal with his statement, and his quote. This is
what Rick Perry had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You won`t have stimulus programs under a Perry
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to go to Washington,
D.C. and try to make it as inconsequential in people`s lives as I can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As inconsequential as I can. No stimulus money, and
Washington inconsequence. I spent a lot of time last night talking about
the states` rights movement. I mean, who wants to be the president of the
United States and make the capitol and its functions inconsequential in the
lives of humans, or lives of citizens in this country, many citizens who,
if it wasn`t for the protection of the federal government, would not be
living like other citizens.
MILBANK: Well, look, I mean, that only happens if Texas doesn`t
secede before Rick Perry is elected president, but I have no doubt that, I
mean, this is Rick Perry. I mean, people assume that they`re going to see
another George W. Bush with compassionate conservative. No, this is --
there`s no compassion here. This is all-out conservatism. He`s the very
essence of the Tea Party, and he`s been extremely impressive in the
polling, at least so far. And that`s what has just stunned Mitt Romney
here, because the whole idea was -- you know, he wants Sarah Palin to race
precisely because she`s not a viable candidate. Michele Bachmann is seen
as not a viable candidate. But the truth is Rick Perry, you know, with his
talk of secession and talk of threes and they`re scene by many of the
establishments is not a viable candidate. The problem is, this is all been
upended here, because all of a sudden, Rick Perry, at least in the eyes of
the republican electorate, if not in the overall electorate is seen as a
SHARPTON: Well, Dana, I`m going to have to let it go there. Dana
Milbank, Michelle Bernard, thank you both for your time.
MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.
BERNARD: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, how does President Obama win the future, with all
the opposition? Bob Herbert, former "New York Times" columnist and a
distinguished fellow, at the most think tank joins me next to tackle that
SHARPTON: After one-week vacation that included both the Libya
revolution and Hurricane Irene, the President is back in Washington facing
an even bigger set of challenges. How does he create jobs? How does he
deal with the Republicans? Does he really have a problem with his base?
And how can he address the larger issues, like economic injustice in
housing and unemployment?
Well, joining me now to tackle those questions, former "New York
Times" columnist Bob Herbert, he is now a distinguished senior fellow at
the Demos think-tank. Bob, thank you for joining me.
BOB HERBERT, DISTINGUISHED SENIOR FELLOW, DEMOS: Great to see you.
SHARPTON: You know, every Saturday, I speak in Harlem for National
Action Network. I used to read you every Saturday morning know what I have
to speak about. So, in talking big picture, you were the first person that
I would think of, because you`ve been saying, the vision, the economic
vision for jobs we`re not dealing with.
HERBERT: That`s the biggest issue in this country, in fact it`s the
great challenge of our time. We need to put Americans back to work. And
all the other stuff. All of the other problems facing this nation
including the long term budget deficits will not be solved if we can`t
figure out how to get Americans back working again.
SHARPTON: How does he do that, given the strong republican
HERBERT: Well, I don`t even think that`s the primary, well, it`s a
primary, it may be a primary problem now, but I think the President`s
problem was that he missed the boat initially when he took office. When
the economy was in such terrible straits, everybody understood it. And
that was the time to have the mega jobs program. That was when he should
have hit it full force, should have brought in the public, the Republicans
at the time who I think even though they were obstructionist, would have
been reluctant to get in the face of a big push to put Americans back to
work if the president had succeeded in getting the public behind them.
SHARPTON: Now, a lot of us are organizing now to try to do that push,
whether it`s too late or not. But do you think, there`s a lot of talk
about he`s having problems in the base, some of the people that are talking
never did support him. So, I suspect some of them, but there are some
genuine concerns in the base, when he came to New York and spoke to our
group, he says, he knew we were not the national satisfaction network, and
he`s right. People want to see jobs, but when we look at the polling, it
seems that he is still very popular. African-Americans, they need to
represent Democrats 75 percent. Liberals at 68 percent, but his turnout.
HERBERT: Yes. Here`s the problem. He definitely has problems with
his base. He has problems with labor. He has problems with young people
who had been so strongly for him in 2008, and he has problems, even though
the polls don`t really show it, with African-Americans. African-Americans,
many feel that they`ve been neglected by the Obama administration. He
still has very high approval ratings, but Obama is going to need approval
ratings up in the lower to mid 90s. And as you point out, he`s going to
need a big turnout from African-Americans and other solid supporters if
he`s going to win reelection. That is not a guarantee. And another point
that I would make is, one of the problems I think the president faces is
that people don`t believe in him to the degree that they did before. They
still like him, for the most part. You know, they think Obama is a good
man, and they admire them to some extent, but they don`t think that he has
been an effective president. And that`s the sort of thing that affects
SHARPTON: But don`t a lot of people also feel he`s been unfairly
HERBERT: Definitely, a lot of people feel he`s been unfairly treated,
and an awful lot of people think that the alternative to Obama would be
disastrous. I mean, they do not want a republican president elected, but
there`s the problem of enthusiasm. When you`re talking about turnout, it`s
not just the preference that matters, it`s whether you feel strongly enough
about the candidate to work for that candidate, to raise money for that
candidate, to volunteer and go to the polls.
SHARPTON: I think he`s helped by some of the people that are
complaining the most, also more unpopular than him. Congress is lower than
him, but I think that he`s got to come with a bold speech and then program,
tangible program around jobs.
HERBERT: You know, he may make a bold speech, but I would really be
surprised if he does anything substantial about jobs. I`ve given up on the
leaders in Washington, the president, the leaders of Congress, they are not
going to effectively address this jobs issue. Jobs are still going to be a
problem during the campaign next year.
SHARPTON: Well, I think we`ll going to have to draw a line in the
sand and make that the issue next year.
HERBERT: I couldn`t agree more.
SHARPTON: Bob Herbert, thank you for joining us.
HERBERT: Great to see you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Glad to have you. When the progressives in Wisconsin vowed
to fight Republicans, they meant it. The latest act in this story will
have you smiling. That`s next.
SHARPTON: It`s payback time for progressives in Wisconsin. A labor
group in Wazoo (ph), Wisconsin has a special message for local Republicans
-- don`t rain on my parade. The Marathon County Labor Council is banning
republican lawmakers from its annual Labor Day parade. Republicans were
not invited, because they supported Scott Walker`s union-bashing law,
stripping collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. The
president of the group says, Republicans shouldn`t be surprised.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The only time they want to do anything to do with
us is one day out of the years. (INAUDIBLE) They attack workers right.
SHARPTON: Today the independent mayor of Wazoo said, the city won`t
help with the cost of the parade unless a decision to ban those Republicans
is lifted. I think it`s worth the cost after all. It`s Labor Day, not
cooperation day, not corporation day, not people of corporation day. It`s
Labor Day. They get the other 364 days of the year. It`s Labor Day.
Stand up to them. It is not right to let those that supported Scott Walker
march in a Labor Day parade where the laborers are being celebrated. It`s
like me going to a Tea Party event, drinking coffee. It may taste good,
but it`s just inappropriate.
Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. We want your voice heard,
so go to facebook.com/politicsnation, check that`s out. Send me a message.
"HARDBALL" starts right now.
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