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PoliticsNation, Friday, September 2, 2011

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Guests: Hilda Solis, Jared Bernstein, Ryan Grim, Bob Franken, Nia-Malika
Henderson, Josh Trevino, John Nichols

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Eric Cantor calls these people an
unproductive distraction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Jobs!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we need them?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Jobs!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we need them?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Tonight, the American people are with the president. It`s
time to focus on jobs, but Republicans don`t seem to think it`s a crisis.
Now is the time to go big.

And the White House is furious with John Boehner, and someone on the
inside is speaking out.

Plus, they`re coming for the cowboy, Bachmann and Romney, and yes,
even Sarah Palin. But is she getting into the race?

And I`ve got a special thank you to Dick Cheney for his reminding us
this week just how bad those eight years really were.

Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, Americans are demanding action on jobs, but
Republicans aren`t listening. Everybody`s favorite GOP Grinch, Eric
Cantor, got this response outside one of his events this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Jobs!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we need them?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Save us! Employ us!

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Save us!

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Jobs!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we need them?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The bottom line is, Americans want jobs, but Republicans
literally won`t listen to what the president has to say. Just listen to
what Congressman Joe Walsh`s reason for boycotting the president`s speech
next week is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: He`s sort of abusing his position here.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: He is abusing his position?

WALSH: Yes. There`s no reason for him to call a joint session of
Congress, Martin. My Lord. We reserve that for heads of states from
dignitaries around the world, presidents in moments in crisis, monumental
moments.

BASHIR: Mr. Walsh, this is a moment of crisis. We`ve got job numbers
today where we`ve had zero growth. This is a moment of crisis. That`s why
he`s --

WALSH: Martin, in three years --

BASHIR: -- inviting you to intend.

WALSH: Oh, Martin, come on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not a moment of crisis? Well, how is this for a crisis?
The economy added zero jobs last month, and unemployment remains at 9.1
percent.

Now, more than ever, Americans are demanding jobs, not cuts. Sixty-
eight percent say create more jobs even if it means less deficit reduction.

And that`s why President Obama must go big with his jobs plan and
address to the nation next week.

Put Republicans on the spot, Mr. President, and the American people
are on your side.

Joining me now is Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor. Secretary
Solis will be joining President Obama in Detroit on Monday for an address
on job creation on Labor Day.

Secretary Solis, as the president goes to Detroit, and then before the
nation Thursday, will he go big?

HILDA SOLIS, LABOR SECRETARY: You know, Reverend, I know that the
president cares very deeply about the crisis that we are facing right now.
It is shameful to see that so many people still can`t find jobs, that we
have five individuals per one job. And we need to do something now.

And I`m sure that many members of Congress who went home on recess
heard it loud and clear, that we need to focus on jobs. Enough of the
gridlock. Enough of the bickering. Enough of the politics.

Put it aside. Let`s get to work together.

The president is going to propose on Thursday, I believe, projects
that have been supported in the past by Republicans and Democrats. So
there is no excuse here. And the president has said very clearly that if
people in the Congress don`t want to adopt and help and put out that plan
and support the plan to create jobs, then he`s going to take it back to the
community. So our communities better be ready to help support the
initiatives that are put forward, that have bipartisan support, that are
ready to go.

And we need to have the support of our communities out there to let
these elected officials know, no more games. No more dampening the spirit
of driving down confidence in our economy. We`ve got to put that aside.

We went through that for two months here in July and August. Enough.
No more talk about the debt ceiling.

Look what happened. The stock market went down. People`s confidence
went down. Businesses did not hire up, and as a direct result because
people were naysayers, not because the economy was tanking.

In fact, this president has created 2.4 million private sector jobs in
the last 17 months. And even though this last month we created 17,000
jobs, we lost jobs in the public sector.

And we know that our states and our people out there are hurting.
That`s why there is an urgency. That`s why the president needs it speak
before the Congress and before the public this coming Thursday evening.

SHARPTON: Wow. I like it hear that kind of fire. And I think that
the community is ready, if there`s a fight and a fighting spirit.

The bipartisan wish (ph), the fact is that even on things that they
have supported in the past, it seems when President Obama and the
administration, including you, come forward, they start not supporting what
they used to support. If they do not support the bipartisan appeal the
president comes with, you are saying the president is ready to take it to
the people and let us deal with this nation`s needs above this continued
deadlock in Washington? Is that what you are saying, Madam Secretary?

SOLIS: Absolutely. And I`m very confident that the public out there
knows, and as you just reiterated, that there are people out there that are
saying in a high percentage that they want to see job creation now. And we
know what works.

We know that if we invest in the infrastructure, then we can create
jobs in the construction industry that will help all vulnerable
communities, African-American, Latino, all those dislocated workers, in
addition to helping provide that safety net for people that have been out
of work for more than six months, and also a payroll tax for working class
people and businesses. That`s all going to go right back in our
communities, generate jobs, and generate that income that`s going to be
available for everybody. Everybody`s boat gets lifted, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Secretary Solis, stay with me.

I would like to bring in now Jared Bernstein, former chief economist
for Vice President Biden, now an MSNBC contributor, and senior fellow with
the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Jared, we look at real unemployment numbers. We know it`s 9.1
percent. But when you look at the real numbers, when you deal with people
that have stopped looking for jobs, or settled for part-time work, it`s
16.2 percent.

You hear in the passion of Secretary Solis the president must be fired
up, the country is saying we want jobs. We want that even more than we
want to see the continued debt reduction fight.

Where do we go to really deal with this as the president addresses the
nation Thursday night, in your judgment, Jared?

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I just think Secretary
Solis, which I would expect, by the way, because I`ve known her for a
while, and she is a tireless fighter for jobs and working people, just laid
out exactly the right roadmap. mean, the president has -- I think the
jobs plan has really two things to get right.

It has to be big enough to move the needle on unemployment. And from
what I`m hearing, it absolutely will be. But it also has to have
credibility and plausibility in normal times.

That is, as the secretary said, he needs to be able to go out to the
nation and say, I didn`t propose stuff that was off the map, off the
reservation, crazy stuff that nobody got behind. I proposed measures that,
in normal times, Republicans would have gotten behind -- a payroll tax,
holiday --

SHARPTON: Right.

BERNSTEIN: -- extending the unemployment insurance when it`s 9
percent. We`ve never failed to extend unemployment benefits with
unemployment this high, especially long-term unemployment. Infrastructure,
maybe to repair the backlog of maintenance in public schools.

Now, tell me why that`s not bipartisan stuff. So she is exactly
right. The secretary is exactly right.

Once he proposes a plan that meets those two criteria, it`s big enough
to move the needle on unemployment, and it`s a credible plan that ought to
have bipartisan support. He`s got a very strong program to go out and
fight for.

SHARPTON: Secretary Solis, the president has been reasonable, has put
on the table things that the Republicans have in the past supported, but
there`s a time where being reasonable becomes unreasonable when you see
that no matter what you say, the opposition is going to oppose it.

For example, this payroll -- these extensions on payroll tax cuts, it
will cost Americans $2,136 a year if it`s not extended. This is something
that is a no-brainer and has been supported by Republicans in the past.
This has, in my opinion, become bizarre, when we start seeing Republicans
start backpedaling on things that they used to advocate.

SOLIS: Reverend, it`s unfortunate, but we`re entering into that
political season, as you well know. And there are consequences when
there`s an action, and there`s consequences where there`s bad decisions
that are being made.

And you saw it happen in July and August, when there was gridlock,
when people couldn`t come to reason to pass the debt ceiling that was so
necessary. You know, we didn`t have to go through all that drama.

And I think that American public, giving them credit and saying, you
know what? They want to see their elected officials come together and work
on bipartisan team. There is nothing in the projects that the president
will be talking about that haven`t already been talked about by both
parties.

Let`s put American workers first, for God sakes. That`s what this
discussion -- this shouldn`t be a debate. Let`s just do it.

BERNSTEIN: Reverend --

SHARPTON: Jared, let me ask you this --

BERNSTEIN: Sure.

SHARPTON: The question I want to raise to you brings up some
Bernsteinism (ph) to Bernstein. Let me show you a graph that you put
together.

BERNSTEIN: All right.

SHARPTON: When the stimulus was put into effect by this president,
according to your graph -- people can see the chart -- the employment went
up. Those are jobs going up. So when they talk about the stimulus plan
didn`t work, the fact of the matter is we found out later that the figures
that we thought we were digging from under were underestimated.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

SHARPTON: If the president comes out this week and says we need to
spend money rebuilding schools and infrastructure, other things Secretary
Solis has said, they`re going to say stimulus doesn`t work. But your graph
shows that we got an immediate spike in jobs.

BERNSTEIN: That`s right, Reverend. We`re going to hit them with my
graphs the minute they try to pull that stuff for exactly that reason.

Look, if you just look at the growth rates of GDP and jobs, the most
fundamental variables in our economy, and you draw a straight line when the
stimulus started, you will very clearly see that come February, 2009, when
the stimulus was passed, the rate of loss of GDP and jobs began to
diminish.

SHARPTON: Right.

BERNSTEIN: And in the middle of 2009, Q3, third quarter, GDP turned
positive, where it`s been ever since, and employment became positive in
March of 2010. And as the secretary said, in the private sector, it`s been
so ever since.

Not enough. Not enough. In fact, the other thing those graphs show
is that, as the stimulus fades, GDP and jobs fade as well.

SHARPTON: Right.

BERNSTEIN: And that`s all the more reason why we have to go back to
those measures that help. It`s not that the stimulus didn`t work, it`s
that it faded too soon given the depths of problems in this economy -- the
deleveraging, the very deep hole in the economy from the great recession.

So that`s the lesson from those graphs. It`s really twofold. It
worked, and we need more of the same.

SHARPTON: Secretary Solis, the president and you will be in Detroit
on Monday, on Labor Day. Detroit is a symbol of something that happened
under this administration, and that is the auto industry was brought back.

Is that why the president is choosing to speak in Detroit on Monday?

SOLIS: You know, the president took some very bold steps in making
some reinvestments there in the automobile industry. One of the
cornerstones of our manufacturing base and something that goes way back in
our history here, creating middle class jobs for people. And yes, it is a
good time to go and celebrate the accomplishments and the revival of that
industry.

Not only were we able to see more production come out of these -- of
that industry, GM and Chrysler, and they`re paying back their loans and
they have more shifts that are ongoing, but we`re creating vehicles that
are energy-efficient. We created new technology now in lithium battery
production. And we`re opening up other sources of support for new
technology.

These are the kinds of things that I believe the American public can
all get behind. And it`s a day for us to celebrate, working men and women
that have made sacrifices, that have contributed to this country. But
also, we need to be reminded of all the people that are out there still
looking for work, that get up every single day looking for a job, having
the door shut in their face. And we have got to do something about it.

The president cares. We care. And we`ve got to make sure that the
Congress supports these plans to create more jobs.

SHARPTON: Well, Jared, thank you.

And Secretary Solis, thank you.

And we`ll be watching Monday, as well as Thursday, the president`s
address. And if the other side wants to fight, and the president has to
take it to the community, I started to tell you, Madam Secretary, I put my
fighting clothes on, but I never took them off.

Thank you.

SOLIS: Right. Happy Labor Day.

SHARPTON: Happy Labor Day.

BERNSTEIN: Go, Rev.

SHARPTON: And don`t forget labor during the Labor Day weekend.

SOLIS: Right.

SHARPTON: I agree with Secretary Solis.

Coming up, some folks used to think John Boehner was a reasonable man
held hostage by the Tea Party. But what if that`s not true? What if he`s
the real problem?

And Rick Perry had a good run so far, but can he handle the Mama
Grizzly? Sarah Palin may have a few surprises in store for him this
weekend.

Plus, the week Bush and Cheney came out of their bunkers and put some
things in perspective for critics of the current president.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The White House is furious at John Boehner, and someone on
the inside is speaking out. According to Politico, a White House source
says Boehner crossed the line when he forced President Obama to change the
date of his jobs speech. It`s a big change in tone.

Remember, in June, Obama was trying to get friendly with Boehner by
playing golf. And Obama staffers kept saying the real problem in
Washington was the Tea Party Caucus, not Boehner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he is a partner, but he`s got a caucus
that may have a very different attitude about how they want to see
government function.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now it`s a whole new ballgame. The White House source says
what happened this week is "a big deal. It shows the House Republicans
will do no outreach, nothing." And the source adds, "At first I didn`t
think it was Boehner, but his caucus. But maybe not. Maybe it is him."

Joining me now is Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for "The
Huffington Post."

Ryan, has John Boehner been the problem all along?

RYAN GRIM, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Obama has plenty of problems, but
certainly John Boehner is one of them. I mean, but if this is the way that
the White House is going to get tough with John Boehner, to have a blind
quote sent to -- you know, to a Washington publication, then Boehner is
just going to keep rolling and rolling and rolling right over him.

Maybe the best way for Obama to start dealing with Boehner is just to
ask for the opposite of what he wants. If he really wanted to speak on
Wednesday night, maybe he should have asked to speak on Thursday night, and
then Boehner would have said, oh, you know what? We`re totally booked up
on Thursday night, we`re all watching football. How about Wednesday
instead? And then he would have gotten his way.

SHARPTON: Well, or maybe he goes Thursday night, even though I would
have called Boehner`s bluff Wednesday night, but let`s play out your
scenario. Maybe he goes Thursday night, lays out a plan, let Boehner
rebuff him, and goes to the American public, who has shown in every poll
that they are more with the president than what Boehner is saying, and take
him to a the mat in a in way that a lot of people want to see him take him
to the mat.

GRIM: Yes, absolutely. And the way it would have looked for Boehner
if Obama would have stood up to him would have been a debacle to him.

So the president, right after this terrible jobs number comes out,
wants to address both chambers of Congress and the American people on jobs,
on a job plans, and House Republicans don`t even want to hear him? It`s
one thing if they are not going to support his plan. It`s another thing to
not even hear him out.

And that would have just become a metaphor for the entire debate up
and down Pennsylvania Avenue. But they chose not to pick this fight. And
instead, to just complain anonymously to Washington publications.

SHARPTON: Now let`s look at some of the things that Mr. Boehner has
done.

I mean, because he gets this image that he`s a nice guy, and he cries
a little bit, and that the extremists are on the Tea Party. But he has
failed on pledge to cut a $100 billion from the federal budget. He pushed
the Ryan budget plan through the House. He forced the cancellation of the
initial vote on the debt ceiling bill. He didn`t return the president`s
phone calls.

I mean, if you look at the track record of John Boehner, he really
gives one persona, but the track record is much different from the persona.

GRIM: Right. And he has been able to keep his party more or less
together. There was a period several months ago where it looked like the
wheels might be coming off of the Republican coalition in the House, but
he`s gotten them back together.

And it`s clear now that he`s going to be able to take this all the way
through, at least through this next election. So, you`re right, the record
that he is amassing is probably one of the most extreme records that a
House Speaker has put up in decades.

SHARPTON: Well, based on your last statement, he being probably the
most extreme Speaker we`ve seen in decades, should President Obama even
bother negotiating with him?

GRIM: No, he probably shouldn`t. He should do the opposite approach.

He should call this -- he should call for a doubling of the payroll
tax. If Obama wants the payroll tax to be cut, he should come out and say,
I want this thing doubled. Then Republicans will come back and say, no,
let`s cut it by half. And then Obama can say OK, fine, there we go.

I mean, think about that. The Republican Party wants taxes to go up
in January. They want the payroll tax cut to expire.

How is Obama supposed to live and deal in a world where Republicans
are favoring tax hikes just because Obama supports a tax cut?

SHARPTON: No question.

GRIM: You know, I`ve been awfully critical of the president, but man,
you`ve got sympathize with the guy in some of these situations.

SHARPTON: Yes, but you deal with people that are irrational. And you
want bipartisanism, but you clearly are dealing with people that are
irrational.

And his being able to get them in a bipartisan agreement, in my
opinion, is slim to none. And slim is out of town in January, 2013. I
checked his schedule.

GRIM: Yes.

SHARPTON: Ryan, thank you very much. Have a good weekend.

GRIM: You too.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Sarah Palin may uncork a few good ones on Rick
Perry this weekend. Republicans hitting Republicans -- now, that`s what I
like to see on a holiday.

Also, Eric Cantor is putting spending cuts before hurricane victims,
and we`re not going to let him get away with it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Eric Cantor has handed Democrats a golden opportunity to
show just how heartless Republican policies really are, putting spending
cuts before people. MoveOn.org has released a new TV ad condemning idea
that disaster aid must be offset by budget cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: When disaster strikes, Americans come together to help
rebuild, but Republicans like Eric Cantor are threatening to hold victims
of Hurricane Irene hostage by demanding budget cuts in exchange for aid.
It`s heartless, appalling, and it`s not how we do things in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is
calling on every House Republican from a district hit by Irene to announce
whether they agree with Cantor on disaster relief. And "New York Times"
columnist Paul Krugman slams Cantor in an article today writing, "Cantor
and his allies are threatening to take hurricane victims hostage, using
their suffering as a bargaining chip." Despite all this blow back, Cantor
still has support from at least one republican whose district got slammed
by Irene. New York Congresswoman Nan Hayworth says, quote, "We are facing
a natural disaster in the middle of an economic disaster." Certainly, the
challenges we face with the national budget has not changed. With hundreds
of thousands of people still out of power, this approach is all dollars and
no sense. And is something voters will remember in November 2012.

Up next, is Sarah Palin about to give Rick Perry a run for his money?
We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The republican debate is five days away, and I can`t wait.
Because it`s about to get to be fun. Republicans poll by FOX News says
their choice among announced candidates is Rick Perry. He stands seven
points ahead of Romney. Open it up to everyone and Perry still has a
commanding lead over Romney. Palin gets eight percent. And way at the
bottom, Bachmann drops to four percent. Sorry, but Ronald Reagan, but your
11th commandment of GOP politics is about to be broken. Here comes Sarah.
Sarah Palin stirring up speculation of whether she will run yet again. She
is heading to Iowa and New Hampshire this weekend. And she`s expected to
take aim at Perry.

The National Review says, she will throw out phrases like crony
capitalism and compromised political class. She reportedly won`t name
names but it`s clear she`s going after Perry. And she`s not the only one.
A pro Bachmann pact put out an ad swinging at Perry`s Tea Party carrier and
Mitt Romney keeps blasting career politicians. How will it play out?

Well, joining me now, Bob Franken, a King Features syndicated
columnist. Nia-Malika Henderson, a political reporter for The Washington
Post. And Josh Trevino of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Josh, looks like a little inside fight in the republican primaries.
I`m going to get my popcorn and see what Palin does this weekend.

JOSH TREVINO, TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION: Well, Al, you`ve been a
primary participant and you know how they can be. There is a lot of
fighting that goes on in that. I will say this though, in terms of
predicting what Sarah Palin is going to do, predicting what she`s going to
do is an easy game to lose. I don`t see anyone really getting it right.
And so, I think the really -- the right attitude in this case is wait and
see.
SHARPTON: Yes. But one thing we can say, Bob, that whether we can
predict Sarah Palin in that which I will on this rare occasion agree with
Josh, no one can predict what she`s going to do including, I think Sarah
Palin. But there clearly is a fight going on between Bachmann and Romney
and Rick Perry, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, KING FEATURES SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, you know, and
I think, let`s include Sarah Palin in this. There is a word that showed up
in that poll you were referring to a moment ago. The word extremist. And
it was implied by many of the respondent`s to Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann,
Sarah Palin. So, you have them battling for extremist monarchy. And then
you have Mitt Romney standing there jumping up and down and saying, hey, I
can be an extremist too.

SHARPTON: Nia, let me show you some of those polls to our viewers.
Because what Bob refers to, there was substantial amounts of people that
felt that they are too extreme. Michele Bachmann, 18 percent say too
extreme to run. Then we look at Perry. There was a poll on whether he was
too extreme to run. The Perry poll says that, yes, he is too extreme to
run by 14 percent. Then we have a poll on should Palin run at all. And
look at this number, 74 percent say that Sarah Palin shouldn`t run. So, I
think that when we look at these numbers, it seems that, yes, many people
think double digits, that Ms. Bachmann and Mr. Perry are extremists. And
way over two thirds think Ms. Palin ought to stay out of the race. How do
you read that, Nia?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. And I think what
even more surprising about that poll is that her natural constituency which
would be republican women, even a higher percentage of those voters say
that they don`t want her to run either. I think, you know, this is going
to be a big weekend for her. A big weekend for Romney. In terms of
courting the Tea Party. And I think, you know, this in some ways is her
first trial balloon out there in Iowa, then in New Hampshire. To figure
out if in fact, there is sort of ground roots call for her to run. That
poll suggests absolutely not, that people want her to stay on the side
lines. But I mean, she`s certainly going to assume a sort of Tea Party
mantle in the leader of the Tea Party in Iowa tomorrow.

SHARPTON: Now, Josh, let me lay out the week for you.

TREVINO: All right.

SHARPTON: On the weekend, you are going to have Sarah Palin doing
whatever she does, but according to National Reviews, she is going to take
some unnamed shots at Rick Perry. Then you have the president in Detroit
rising above your weekend of confusion, Palin style, talking about labor
and workers. Then you come into Wednesday night and you are going to have
the republican debate where you`re going to have your candidates on the
stage and the big question is, how Romney and Bachmann take on Perry.
Perry is there for the first time, has to be some clashes. And then the
next night, the President rises above the storm again and talks about what
Americans want to hear about jobs. Don`t you feel like maybe you`ll have
tricked yourself into a jam here? I mean, I saw you playing with the
calendar, but I think you might have roped yourself into a very bad week.

TREVINO: I`m pretty sure, especially given the way his poll numbers
have been calling for months now and given today`s job numbers which reveal
that there was zero growth in August, that the president`s public
appearances won`t be taken by a majority of the American public as a
transcending moments. He`s kind of lost that fight at this point. He may
or may not do well in Detroit and D.C. we`re going to see. But there is
nothing intrinsic about him magically doing better than anyone else. And
you know, when you look at the polling match-ups between with the
presidents and many of the contenders, including Governor Perry, he loses
at this point. Rasmussen just had him losing 48 to 40 to a generic
republican, which is Rasmussen code for ham sandwich.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

He can`t do worse.

SHARPTON: You took my whole set-up, totally ignored it. Because you
ignore the fact that I`ve laid out to you a lot of fighting and end fight
which will change a lot of perception of Republicans. But if I had low
poll numbers as the President, there is nothing that would make me feel
better than having Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry center stage. There`s
nothing better to have low poll numbers and be facing that and letting them
get a lot of air time this week.

FRANKEN: Well, first of all, will somebody please explain to me what
a generic republican is? You have some pretty strong brands in the
Republican Party. The question is, are they really out there squabbling
the way they are and really being the best campaign pitch for Barack Obama
there is. It is going to be very interesting. We have a slow "Newsweek"
it looks like. And of course on Thursday, I`m glad that they moved things
back because Al, I was really agonizing about which one I was going to
watch, the football game or the pregame show, what is now a pregame show
with Barack Obama and the Congress.

SHARPTON: Well, Nia, let me say this, as the political reporter on
the show that I respect, your objectivity, could you not say that it is
fair, even though Josh and I are on different sides, that if the
Republicans start bashing each other, starting with this weekend and
inevitably in the debate because someone has to try to break away from the
pack. And the President comes like he is the one concerned about the
American people, that could start turning a lot of the polls and the
perception of who`s the ability in this race, around?

HENDERSON: I think the main thing this President wants to do in terms
of turning the polls around and turning the country around is really
creating jobs.

SHARPTON: Right.

HENDERSON: You know, this plan that he lays out whether it is payroll
tax cuts and investing in infrastructure, there is certainly the hope, I
think, from everybody in the country that this is something that`s going to
turn this situation around. He`s had a pretty bad August. If you look at
the unemployment numbers, the fact that there are no jobs created. Net
jobs over this past month. So, this is the real moment for him. I think
but also you`re going to see some divisiveness on display there. You know,
I mean, this is typical when you have this Joint Session. You`re going to
have Republicans booing most likely, what they hear and then Democrats
cheering. So, it`s going to be a really interesting moment for this
president to see if he can in fact assume the mantle of this bully pulpit
and really start moving things forward in terms of job creation.

SHARPTON: Well, I think it`s going to be very interesting as they do
boo and call for tax cuts. And then we watch football and America sees
that we really want to give tax cuts to millionaires running around with
pig skins.

Thank you Bob Franken, Malika Henderson and Josh Trevino, thank you
for your time tonight.

TREVINO: Thank you.

FRANKEN: Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, why President Obama might be thanking Dick
Cheney?

And Labor Day is upon us. I will tell you why some Republicans
shouldn`t be celebrating.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Here on "Politics Nation," we want the entire nation to be
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always tweet me at TheRevAl. I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Coming up, we heard more than enough from Dick Cheney this week. But
we`ll be thanking him for the memories, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks on the left who like to criticize President Obama got
some much-needed perspective this week when Dick Cheney emerged from his
bunker. And reminded everyone who got us into this mess in the first
place. He was everywhere. Morning shows. Prime time. Cable. Plugging
his book and his own twisted version of history. It`s a message the folks
over at FOX were eating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And joining me now, we are very
honored to have former Vice President Dick Cheney with us for the hour.
Mr. Vice President, thank you for being with us.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: John, it`s great to be here.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And now without any further ado, the author of "In
My Time," Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States. Mr. Vice
President, it is a pleasure to have you here on the couch.

CHENEY: Well, it`s good to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s good to have you. Incredible job on this
book, by the way. Very comprehensive. Good career.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not everyone was feeling so warm and fuzzy about the former
Vice President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: To write a memoir in which you say essentially nothing
seriously went wrong, if I wrote a memoir of my last week, I would have
things to apologize for.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In the book he says, he said would do it all over
again the same way he would make no changes. He said, he really -- he
would still, honestly, he still feel strongly about this. He would still
invade the wrong country.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s not necessary to take these kinds of barbs and
then try to pump a book up by saying, heads will be exploding. I think
that overshot the runway with that kind of comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Dick Cheney says that his new memoir will have
quote, "Heads exploding in D.C." Yes, especially if you read it while on a
hunting trip with Dick Cheney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And through it all, Cheney stuck to his guns and refused to
apologize or admit he done anything wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You say it is one of the things you are proudest
of and you would do it again in a heartbeat.

CHENEY: It was controversial at the time. It was the right thing to
do.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No apologies.

CHENEY: No apologies. I think we did the right thing. It is
important for us not to get caught up in the notion that you can only have
popular methods of interrogation if you want an effective counterterrorism
program. In fact, it will work, it`s all back on the rack, I think it was
the right thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Dick Cheney might not have any regrets about his eight
years in power, but a lot of other people do.

Joining me now is John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The
Nation, he`s written two books about the former Vice President. John,
thanks for being here.

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Great to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Do you think it was helpful to be reminded of the real
Bush-Cheney record this week?

NICHOLS: I think it was tremendously helpful. And I think it is
important that it came in a week where polling showed us that the majority
of Americans still put more blame on George Bush than they do on Barack
Obama for the economy. And I bring that up first because Cheney`s book is
really a foreign policy book. It doesn`t deal much with domestic policy.
But when you dig into it and when you look at some of the things that this
Bush administration did in economics, it is just flat-out shocking.

SHARPTON: Well, let me put a point right there. Because I want you
to finish there. Let me show a graph of you exactly what you are talking
about. The poll of what Americans say who they blame. Americans say
President Bush, 52 percent. President Obama, 32 percent of who they blame.
Now, when Cheney was questioned this week about President Obama on the
economy, I want to show what you former Vice President Cheney said about
President Obama on the economy.

NICHOLS: The fact of the matter is, if we talk about unrestrained
spending and lack of discipline spending with their respect to spending, I
think the Obama administration`s record is the worst we`ve seen.

SHARPTON: But let`s go to the facts. As we would say in sports,
let`s go to the tape. And who spent the most? Under Bush and Cheney,
total cost of new policy, $5.07 trillion. Under President Obama, $1.44
trillion. This is -- if you cost out everything that they have initiated
in terms of new policies. So John, you are absolutely right. The figures
speak for themselves in terms of who spends in an unrestrained way.

NICHOLS: Absolutely and it goes deeper that than that, Reverend.
Because when you take a look at the book, you realize why they screwed up
so badly. Cheney acknowledges in this book, and it should have been a much
bigger headline, that when they made economic policy, they didn`t include
the Secretary of the Treasury. They literally did not bring in their own
cabinet members. It was simply Cheney and the political people sitting
around figuring out how big of a tax break they could give to billionaires.
And that`s written large across this book. You begin to understand and
reading it, that a guy who ran his own company, Halliburton, into the
ground, and Cheney left has Halliburton CEO. That company was in severe
trouble. Then took over U.S. economic policy and ran it into the ground.

SHARPTON: When you said CIA, you mean CEO. Was that Freudian or
would you.

NICHOLS: Reverend, that`s a just about as Freudian as you can get,
yes.

SHARPTON: All right. But let me ask you this. Because I don`t want
people to miss this. Because I almost did. Are you saying when they were
going over economic policies, he admits in the book they didn`t have the
Secretary of the Treasury in the meetings?

NICHOLS: Absolutely. I am saying that. That is in the book. What
Cheney says, is that there were several times where they had major meetings
on tax cuts and budget policy and they did not include Secretary of the
Treasury Paul O`Neill. And then Cheney amazingly says, in hindsight, maybe
we should have invited O`Neill. Now, I think it is important to remember
who Paul O`Neill was. He was the one successful businessman in the
administration and he was the one guy who said, that they should be a
little more careful with some of these tax cuts, a little more responsible
on some of their budgeting, and so they just didn`t let him in the
meetings.

SHARPTON: Well, you always have something that we didn`t know. Thank
you, John, for your time. Have a great weekend.

NICHOLS: You too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Labor Day is upon us. A day to celebrate the American
worker. I better not see Scott Walker at the beach Monday. That`s next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Labor Day is coming. It`s a day to kick back and relax,
have a barbecue, hit the beach. But it really has a bigger meaning.
President Obama just released a statement saying, on Labor Day and
throughout the year, we celebrate our nation`s workers. And we commit to
supporting their efforts in moving our economy forward. A day to celebrate
American workers. Well, if that`s the case, a lot of our Republicans
should be working Monday, 2011 has been the year to tax huge. Republicans
across the country have been on a rampage. Trying to roll back 150 years
of sacrifice and struggle. GOP governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich,
signed anti-union bills. That took away collective bargaining rights in
Wisconsin and Ohio. Florida Governor Rick Scott tried to cut the state
budget of union workers.

So, I don`t think they should be celebrating at picnics and beaches
Monday. In Wisconsin, the center for union bashing this year, Republicans
will walk in the Washington Labor Day Parade, even though Democrats tried
to stop them. Those are the same people who sided with Scott Walker`s
union bashing law. Let`s remind them, what unions have done for us over
the years. For starters, they helped create child labor laws. Decades ago
it was common place for children to work long grueling days in factories,
literally for pennies. Now kids are free to be kids.

Unions also improved workplace safety standards. They fought to raise
the minimum wage. So keep that in mind over the holiday weekend. And
thanks to all the great American workers. Last Friday, I stood as they
dedicated Martin Luther King memorial. He died fighting with a union for
rights in Memphis. This morning I was with the machinist union in Florida.
We must come together and remember those that built this country and those
that fought for those that work in this country. We may not always agree,
but we`re all trying to build an America for everybody. Happy Labor Day.
But don`t take labor out of the day. Thanks for watching.

I`m Al Sharpton. Have a great holiday weekend. "HARDBALL" starts
right now.

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

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