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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

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Guests: Richard Trumka, Bob Franken, Nia-Malika Henderson, Bob Shrum, Mark
McKinnon, Lee Fang

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: The base is loaded and President Obama is at
the plate.

Tonight, the president and the vice president get down to business on
jobs. Protecting the American worker is their vow, and daring Republicans
to get in their way.

And Mitt Romney unveils his job plan.

Why start creating jobs now, Willard?

Plus, shocking new tapes from inside the billionaire Koch brothers`
Tea Party retreat. Did they really compare President Obama to Saddam
Hussein?

And you know it`s getting bad for Michele Bachmann when someone on her
own payroll says it`s all about Perry and Romney.

Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, with just two days to go before a major jobs speech,
the president has laid down the gauntlet for Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re going to see if
congressional Republicans will put country before Party.

(APPLAUSE)

We`ll give them a plan, and then we`ll say, do you want to create
jobs? Then put our construction workers back to work rebuilding America.

Do you want to help our company succeed? Open up new markets for them
to sell their products.

You want -- you say you`re the Party of tax cuts, well, then prove
you`ll fight just as hard for tax cuts for middle class families as you do
for oil companies and most desperate (ph) Americans. Show us what you`ve
got.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that last part is important. President Obama
challenged Republicans to fight as hard for the middle class as they do for
oil companies and the wealthy. Well, today we learned they probably won`t
do that.

Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent the
president a list of proposals they think he should consider. A lot of
those measures, well, you guessed it, help oil companies and the wealthy.

Some of the bills expand gas and drilling. Another cuts back on
financial regulation.

It`s clear Republicans have no interest in cooperating with this
president. Some don`t even want to hear him speak. That apparently now
includes Tea Party favorite Senator Jim DeMint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to go to the speech?

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I doubt it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

DEMINT: Well, if he sent a written proposal over first, I would go
hear him explain it. But frankly, right now, I`m so frustrated, I don`t
think I`m going to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: If Republicans won`t listen to the president, let`s hope
they do listen to the American people, because they like the president`s
job plan. Sixty-two percent support job training for the long-term
unemployed. Another 47 percent favor funding a road construction bill.
They also back an extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax
cut.

The American people have rejected the Tea Party Republican agenda,
which is why we heard some feisty words this weekend from Teamster boss
James Hoffa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES HOFFA, TEAMSTERS PRESIDENT: And you know what? Everybody
here`s got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let`s
take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America, where we
belong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Richard, let me ask you -- you and I have worked together on these
issues about jobs -- what do you want to hear from the president`s speech
Thursday night?

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: I think a couple of things,
Reverend.

One, we want him to be the leader that we know he can be and that he`s
been in the past. We want him to lead on jobs. We want him to be bold.
And we want him to be aggressive.

He has to give the worker hope that he`s going to fight for them, make
them believe that he`s going to fight for those jobs, no matter what the
Republicans do, because let`s just review something for just 30 seconds.

George Bush spent eight years in office. And when he came out of
office, there were fewer jobs in this country than when he went in. And
these politicians, Mitt Romney, Boehner, and all of them want to take those
same exact policies that didn`t create jobs and try to sell the American
public on the notion that somehow they`ll do it now.

Look, he`s going to have a plan that will be a step in the right
direction, and all Americans ought to get up and push it. And I think
those politicians will be judged harshly, not only by history, but also by
the American public if they stand in the way of job creation and putting 25
million Americans back to wok.

SHARPTON: Well, you said earlier this year at the National Press
Club, at a luncheon, you challenged this, and I think it was an appropriate
challenge. You said -- I`m reading your quote -- "If leaders aren`t
blocking the wrecking ball, and advancing working families` interests,
working people will not support them. This is where our focus will be,
now, in 2012, and beyond. Our role is not to build the power of a
political Party or a candidate."

And you`ve made it clear and you said it everywhere -- you`ve come
around the country -- that you`re about protecting working people`s
interests. Do you now feel that those interests will lie in the re-
election of President Obama?

TRUMKA: Well, I think we`ll find out about that. President Obama has
been a friend for us, and I don`t make that decision alone. That`s our
executive council. All our states are involved in that, and chances are it
will happen, that he`ll be re-endorsed, because he hasn`t been yet.

But what we need from him to make that happen, and to get the energy
level up and get the enthusiasm of working people up, whether they`re union
or not union, is to lead this Thursday, show people he`s serious about
creating jobs, give us a bold proposal and be aggressive about it, just
like he was yesterday.

SHARPTON: Now, we`re beginning to see some members align of various
parts of the progressive community, civil rights, labor. You spoke at
National Action Network with me this year. We`ve been talking about job
marches together, because a lot of us see that what the right wing is doing
is really trying to uproot and dismantle what all of us believe in.

Jimmy Hoffa, James Hoffa, who heads the Teamsters, outlined it this
way when he talked about what we`re up against. He says, "We didn`t start
this war. The right wing did. My comments on Labor Day in Detroit echo
the anger and frustration of American workers who are under attack by
corporate-funded politicians who want to destroy the middle class."

And a lot of people are focusing in on his words, and I tell people
that I`ve learned how to be careful with your words. But the whole climate
of a battle here really didn`t start from this side of the political
debate. It really started from those that wanted to declare a real affront
at the things that are the underpinnings of the middle class American life.

TRUMKA: Absolutely. With the Koch brothers, with a group called
ALEC, they had a seminar where they brought 2,000 of the Republican state
legislators in, gave them hundreds of bills on how to destroy the
progressive voices. And it`s not just labor, it`s trying to do these voter
I.D. bills that would disenfranchise large portions of the American public.

Take Wisconsin, which is a fairly progressive state, you`d figure.
The I.D. bill there would disenfranchise 25 percent of the elderly, it
would disenfranchise, Reverend, 78 percent of African-American males
between the ages of 18 and 24. It would disenfranchise a number, 50-some
percent, of Latino women.

It`s about silencing their voice, getting them not to vote, because if
they suppress the vote, they can win elections. They know that if more
people come out and participate in democracy, they have a tough time
selling that many Americans on the notions of their tired, failed policies
that got us into this trouble in the first place.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s exactly what I feel they`re doing. I think
that it is bringing us back -- somebody didn`t like it when I said it
before, so I`ll say it again -- I think it`s to bring us back to the pre-
1960s, 1950 America, where we didn`t have an inclusive democratic voting
conditions in this country.

But what do we do about it? How do we stop this move that they`re
making in terms of voter I.D. and in voter denial, and stopping same-day
voter registration? What do we do, Mr. Trumka?

TRUMKA: Well, I think it`s what we`ve been doing. Progressive voices
are coming together. Members of labor and the civil rights community, the
environmental community, people that want to help create jobs and help Main
Street, are coming together.

We`re educating our members, we`re educating the general public, and
we`re going to mobilize them. That`s what we`re trying to do, Al.

In my history, this is the most I can remember the AFL-CIO being of
the people, by the people, and for the people. We`re going to speak to
union workers and non-union workers, and get them to come out in large
numbers to protect the American way of life, to protect the middle class,
and to help us create jobs so that the 25 millions Americans out there that
are either underemployed or not employed can get back to work and build
this country back up again.

SHARPTON: Now, one of things that we saw, Mr. Trumka, right after the
midterm elections is they went after collective bargaining in Wisconsin.
You were out there rallying. I went with some of your board members around
the country -- Ohio, Indiana, other places.

But what the politics of that, the side that they`re not telling, is
that labor, aside from representing workers, where clearly there is the
policy dispute, politically, you`ve been the ones that have really been the
backbone in terms of resources in helping to even the playing field. When
you look at the 10 largest contributors to what was in the given political
landscape, only two of the top 10 -- three of the top 10, forgive me --
supported "liberal or progressive sides." All thee of them were unions;
SEIU, AFSCME, and the NEA.

Everyone else were very much conservative groups and groups like the
Chamber of Commerce, and Crossroads Security (ph), and Club for Growth.
So, in many ways, aside from the policy difference, I would suspect -- and
you know I`m subject to conspiracy sometimes -- that they want to try to
break the unions, because that also stops the resources of the opposition.

TRUMKA: Well, absolutely. And even less than that.

They attack us in 20-some states so that we have to defend ourselves,
and you use the resources up that you would use to educate your members and
the general public, and to mobilize them. They try to get you to eat them
up, but in this case it actually backfired on them --

SHARPTON: Right.

TRUMKA: -- because not only did it energize our members, it energized
the general public.

Small business people, members of the religious community, all coming
together to say you have overreached, we`ve had enough of this stuff. We
elected you to create jobs, not make war on workers and try to take away
the only ladder that a lot of Americans have into the middle class, and
that`s a union. We didn`t elect you for that, so we`re going to come after
you. And look at what happened in Wisconsin.

SHARPTON: No, I think you`re right, but I think you hit it on the
head with these moves to try to disenfranchise voters, and voter I.D., and
going after unions that have the resources. It`s like they handcuffed your
wrists and shackled your legs, and say let`s have a fair fight, and speak
nicely to me while I`m having an unfair battle on you.

Richard Trumka, thanks for your time.

TRUMKA: Thanks for having me on.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Willard Mitt Romney once said corporations are
people. Today he unveiled his jobs plan. We`ll have the details.

And Rick Perry is cleaning up with the Tea Party crowd, but now he`ll
have to debate.

And secret new tapes from inside the billionaire Koch brothers` Tea
Party retreat. The secret audio shows just how extreme they are.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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I look forward to hearing from all of you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Even though Mitt Romney is now getting trounced in the
polls by Rick Perry, he`s still pretending his only opponent is President
Obama. So just two days before the president unveiled his jobs plan,
Romney rolled out his own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`ll be giving a speech in
a couple of days. I know what`s coming. I haven`t read it, but I know
what`s coming. I`ve seen versus 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

They`re not working. President Obama`s strategy is a payphone
strategy, and we`re in a smartphone world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Romney brags that he has 59 specific proposals to create
jobs, but in fact they include zero new ideas. Instead, Romney is simply
recycling the old Republican ideology of trickle-down economics. He wants
to deregulate business, limits unions, cut government spending, and of
course lower taxes for his friends, the corporations.

Remember what he said about them?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We could raise taxes on people. That`s not the right --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corporations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Corporations.

ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes on --
of course they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Willard Mitt Romney is pretending he has a credible plan to
create jobs, the same way this multimillionaire pretended to know what it
was like to be unemployed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Well, maybe I should also tell my story. I`m also
unemployed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Nia-Malika Henderson, Political writer
for "The Washington Post," and syndicated columnist Bob Franken.

Bob, Romney thinks corporations are people. So are you surprised his
job plan is aimed at corporate interests?

BOB FRANKEN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, unfortunately, most of the
corporations these days are laid-off people, except for a few at the top
whose idea of a job plan is to hire a few people to build an extension to
their mansions, and maybe work for minimum wage, and that`s only because
they can`t get rid of the minimum wage. But the simple fact of the matter
is, is that the corporations, in today`s society, who should be people, are
really just financial instruments, the play things for the wealthy to get
wealthier.

SHARPTON: Well, Nia, when we look at former Governor Romney`s record,
look at the state of Massachusetts, and we look at where they are. Forty-
seven out of 50 in job growth. He has these plans for job creation. It
seems like if he had them, they would have worked when he was governor,
because there`s nothing he`s saying now that`s new, and they`ve already
been tried in the state he was governor at.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well,
Reverend Sharpton, you`re actually saying exactly what Governor Rick Perry
said a couple of minutes in a statement after Romney`s speech. He released
a statement that essentially said if these ideas are so great, why was your
state 47th in job creation?

One of the things you see from Romney is that he`s clearly trying to
pivot away from his record in Massachusetts and really focus on his
background as a businessman. He`s running almost as a CEO.

The question, I think, for him and the challenge is going to be you
have a Tea Party that really is fueled by populism. And I think the
argument that he`s a turnaround artist and that he is coming as a CEO is
going to really fall on deaf ears for a lot of folks in the Tea Party. And
that`s why you see that giant spread between Perry and Romney in these
polls.

SHARPTON: Well, let me bring up -- you brought up -- let me bring up
some sound bites so people can see this kind of sniping at one another that
Perry and Romney have engaged in.

Look at what Perry had to say about Governor Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is, you know,
one in particular that`s created jobs all over the world. But while he was
the governor of Massachusetts, he didn`t create very many jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I don`t think a career politician can fix what career
politicians have messed up. I think it`s going to take someone outside of
politics, and I am to a great degree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, this is great. I mean, we`re seeing them go after each
other. And with Rick Perry, it wasn`t even veiled. He said the governor
of Massachusetts.

They`re debating tomorrow night. I mean, I can`t wait to see this
tremendous display of Republican disunity right in everybody`s living room.

But the fact of the matter is that Rick Perry has taken a pretty
sizeable lead, Bob. If he holds this, can he win a general election, or is
he the best thing that could happen to President Obama?

FRANKEN: Well, it`s like that old country and western song, Rick
Perry can say "I was right wing extremist" before "right wing extremist"
was cool. And Mitt Romney is somebody who`s decided, oh, I think I`ll try
and play that game.

Both of them have something in common. This is going to be one of
those rare occasions on this program where you`ll hear Sarah Palin quoted
favorably. Both have in common what she calls crony capitalism.

SHARPTON: Well, I think you`re right, but Sarah Palin toured this
weekend, but she didn`t enter the race.

But there is someone in the race, Nia, named Michele Bachmann.
Remember her? It looks like a lot of other people are forgetting her.

Where does Bachmann now fit in this picture? And how does Bachmann,
in terms of what she represents -- I`m not even talking about the politics
of it. How does she get into this debate when she hasn`t come with a jobs
plan? Because let`s look at the top three Republicans.

Romney has come out with a jobs plan. It doesn`t say anything, but
it`s a jobs plan. Perry has not come out with one. Bachmann has not come
out with one.

So, with all of this about the president and the job plan, and where
are the jobs, we only see one plan, and that`s a microwave warmed-up
version of what he`s been saying and not delivering on for a while.

HENDERSON: Well, the other person to come out with a jobs plan was
Jon Huntsman, but of course we know he`s seeming to be fading fast in this,
at one percent in most of these polls that have come out.

Bachmann, I think a credible argument can be made that she may have
actually peaked in Iowa with this Ames straw poll. She had a victory
there, but since Rick Perry has entered this race, he`s pretty much blotted
out the sun in terms of her supporters.

She is nearly half the support she was before. So it`s really
difficult to see how she gets back in this.

You`ve had some sniping between her supporters and Perry. They went
up with an ad in South Carolina. So we`ll have to see how that plays out
in the debate tomorrow.

You saw Pawlenty really go after Bachmann in this last debate. And in
some ways, you know, I think some people saw that in that he was sort of
punching below his weight. Here was a guy who was a governor, and saying
that Michele Bachmann had a very thin legislative record. Well, mighty
funny, he spent much of his time really tangling with her in that last
debate, and was very tepid in going after Romney.

So we`ll have to see. I think --

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Yes, that`s not a smart strategy.

But let me ask you this, Bob, before we have to let you go. Jobs --
whoever captures the imagination of the electorate, that they can deal with
the question of jobs. Forget the partisan politics and labels. Jobs --
that`s who`s going to win this election.

Who on the Republican side can really get a momentum that, I`m the
jobs guy, better than President Obama? That`s what`s going to be the
determining factor in this election.

FRANKEN: Well, Democrats don`t like to ponder this possibility, but
if the unemployment rate stays where it is, the answer might be anybody but
Barack Obama. It looks like this is going to be a very, very negative
campaign, because the results of the first administration, when it comes to
joblessness, have not been very good and don`t look like they`re going to
be very good.

The issue, as far as the Republicans will be concerned -- from the
Democrats, in any case -- will be, do you really want somebody like that
running the country? So I think that we could have quite a really tough
campaign that almost obscures the issue about the handling of the economy.

SHARPTON: Which is why some of us are going to make sure they don`t
obscure the issue.

Nia-Malika Henderson, Bob Franken, thanks so much. And have a great
evening.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Michele Bachmann celebrating last month seems a long
time ago now thanks to a certain cowboy.

And South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley wants to cut, cut, cut, but
she managed to find taxpayer money for one thing. You won`t believe this
story.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: South Carolina`s Tea Party republican Governor Nikki Haley
is all about cutting back, except when it comes to her taxpayer-funded
European vacation. Since taking office in January, Governor Haley has made
fiscal responsibility the centerpiece of her agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Just like every household and
every businesses within their means, South Carolina government from this
state forward is going to live within their means.

I just want them to understand we don`t have to spend these dollars.

Every day that they don`t restructure in South Carolina is costing our
taxpayers time and money, something I won`t stand for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But Haley`s fiscal restrained must not travel well. The
Charleston Post and Courier reports that the governor led an entourage of
27 people on a week-along, state-funded trip to France and Germany this
summer. The goal encourages foreign investment in South Carolina. It
didn`t work out so well. The Post and Courier reports, the delegations
didn`t make any deals to bring jobs back home. But they spent $127,000 of
taxpayers` money on the trip. This definitely wasn`t a budget vacation.
The group hosted a $25,000 event at a townhouse in Paris.

They stayed in five-star hotels, and spent more than $5,000 on daily
expenses. Plus the state`s commerce secretary says other expenses from the
trip are still being submitted. Did Governor Haley think we wouldn`t
notice her spending binge just because it wasn`t in the U.S.? As we know,
South Carolina governors don`t do well when they travel to foreign
countries. Nice try, governor. But we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Tea Party has taken over the Republican Party. A new
NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows front-runner Rick Perry has Tea Party
backing in the bag. He has 45 percent of Tea Party support, more than
double Mitt Romney`s take. Michele Bachmann a whopping 38 points away from
Perry. Suddenly the days of celebrating her aim straw poll when last month
in Iowa seems like decades ago. And Bachmann`s campaign manager Ed Rollins
just stepped down telling "The Washington Post," quote, "The Perry/Romney
race is now the story with us the third candidate." Rollins will stay on
as a senior adviser. So, someone still on the pay road just said, it`s
Perry/Romney race. Now, good news for her. Meanwhile, most of the
candidates spent their Labor Day playing up their Tea Party cred as Jim
DeMint`s presidential forum. And fresh off his first Tea Party rally, Mitt
Romney linked the group to the mainstream GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: There`s great interest
to say, oh, the Tea Party, oh, the mainstream Republicans, oh, they`re
fighting and they`re different. Look, the Tea Party has at its central
core, a belief that the government is too big. Sound familiar?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, it`s clear the Tea Party is running the field, but can
they win the big one? Joining me now is Bob Shrum. Democratic strategist
and senior adviser to John Kerry in 2004. And Mark McKinnon, "Daily Beast"
contributor, co-founder of "No Labels," and former adviser to George W.
Bush. Mark, has the Tea Party taken over the GOP?

MARK MCKINNON, CONTRIBUTOR, "DAILY BEAST": Well, it`s certainly where
the energy is in the primaries. And that`s why Rick Perry has taken off.
He has taken the -- he`s got the Washington -- anti-Washington rhetoric
down to a fine art. You combine that with his jobs record in Texas, and
that`s where the energy is. And politics is all about intensity,
particularly in primaries. So, Rick Perry is strongest on the fire up, is
lighting it up.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, you said on this show that there was the real
possibility that Perry could come on strong, take the momentum and wrap
this up early. And I for one, thought you were, you know, drinking too
much caffeine, but it looks like every day you may be right, in terms of
wrapping up the nomination, I`m saying.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I guess I should be a little
cautious about the boldness of that prediction, but I believe it. I think
there`s a real chance it could happen. If he gets through the next few
weeks, if he gets through this debate, he`s only debated four times. And
the whole 11-and-a-half years he`s been governor. I mean, he`s mostly
skipped debates, so we`ll going to have to see what he does. And I think
he would be wise not to abandon the intensity mark just talked about, not
go to a Romney game plan for the debates, where he just tries to hold on to
the -- but go out there and really reinforce the strength he has without
scaring more and more people away.

SHARPTON: Now, I think, Mark, you wrote a very telling piece in the
"Daily Beast," about Mr. Perry in which you really, in my opinion very
adequately described where this kind of momentum is coming from. You said
there`s a near raging within the base of the GOP, and Rick Perry knows how
to fan the flames. And the key will be to see whether he has the
discipline and a modicum of moderation to keep the blaze from getting out
of control and burning down the GOP house on the long road to a general
election. And I think that you`re you`re right, the key is if you is fire
people up, do you control the flames that you don`t burn up those that you
fire? And the question is, you have studied and been around the candidate
Rick Perry. What do you think? Is he going to slip?

MCKINNON: Well, he`s been through nine campaigns, he`s won them all,
he`s very disciplined, very aggressive campaigner. And I think I agree
with Bob. There`s a lot of a line tomorrow night. And we`ll see tomorrow
night whether or not Rick Perry can sustain and build on what he`s done, or
whether or not he`ll wilt under the hot spotlight of the national stage
which he`s never been on before. And as Bob knows, because he`s now a lot
of these debates, it`s a big damn deal, an it`s a lot of pressure for a guy
who`s just coming out of the box debating I guess a bunch of guys who`s
been on the stage and women who have been through a number of debates. So,
there`s a lot in the line. And the whole story is about Rick Perry for it
tomorrow night. And everybody is going to be focus on that. It`s either
could be Rick Perry survives, Rick Perry blows the roof off, or Rick Perry
collapses. That`s going to be the show tomorrow night.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, let me ask you this. Let`s say he surprises
everybody and he survives tomorrow night. Maybe not a knockout punch, but
comes out even or ahead on points. Let`s go, and he wins the nomination.
He ties it up early like you said. How does a guy that represents these
thoughts that has said in his book that`s only 10 months old, when that`s
about 10 years, 20 years, 10 months old that certain things were
unconstitutional that said that Social Security was a Ponzi scheme. I
mean, this guy on stage against Barack Obama, who has said Medicare and
Medicaid unconstitutional, laws protecting civil rights, national labor
laws, national minimum wage laws, all bank regulations, how do you put a
guy like this in a general election on the stage and expect that he would
even come close to winning.

SHRUM: Well, he would have to figure out how to back off a lot of
that and how to reassure people, which is what Ronald Reagan did in 1980.
I don`t think this guy is going to wilt tomorrow night. As I watch him out
there on the campaign trail, and he`s got over the line a bit, but he`s
pulled back in the last couple of weeks. He`s fanning the flames without
dousing himself in gasoline, I think he`s got an enormous live for the
nomination, a tremendous advantage in part because Romney just tried to get
this thing by standing there and saying, I`m the leader. In a general
election, I think he`s got huge problems.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: I think he will be held accountable for all of this. You
know, Alex Castano, a friend of mine, a republican consultant said, the
country isn`t going to vote to put Elmer Gantry in the Oval Office. The
difficulty is that Romney who`s I think the only viable alternative at this
point, I don`t think the country is going to vote to put zelig in the oval
office, either. I mean, the guy`s all things to all people, he sounds like
an animatronic figure on steroids in that clip you played earlier. I mean,
he`s stiff and unconvincing.

SHARPTON: Zelig against Elmer Gantry. What do you think? Do you
agree with that line, Mark?

MCKINNON: Well, what I do think is that he`s got a line that he`s
been saying, as President, he`ll try to make Washington as inconsequential
as possible in people`s lives. And that`s something that`s ringing true
with people because they`ve lost confidence, not just in the economy but
they`ve lost confidence in Washington itself. And they`ve lost confidence
in the ability of politicians to work through the problem, so Perry gives
voice to those people, those millions of people out there who just see
Washington as completely broken. So, you know, this race in some ways
reminds me of Reagan/Bush in 1980, where Bush is Romney and Perry is
Reagan, just in the sense that you have sort of this establishment figure
against sort of the outsider, and.

SHARPTON: I agree with you, Mark, but Bob, people hear different
things even though it`s the same thing being said, because as Mark says
that, Washington -- people don`t trust it, and it`s broken. In another
part of the country, to say that we want to make Washington insignificant,
it`s scary, because it spells states` rights to a lot of people that see
states` rights as the enemy to their being protected in this country, and
it will energize a lot of us that may have a lot of questions or a lot of
other feelings right now. When we hear states` rights, we said, oh, it`s
almost like a dog whistle. We can hear that sound if nobody else can hear
it.

SHRUM: Yes. And look, Perry will be -- if he is the nominee, the
unwitting unifier of the Democratic Party, but he`ll also unify the
Republican Party. Because even though Karl Rove is right, obviously as
express some distress whether he thinks he`s vulnerable and have done all
election. I think Mark would agree with me that in the end, the Republican
Party, the establishment if Perry is the nominee, will rally behind. He
will have the Tea Party people, and in that sense you`re going to have a
very stark choice if he`s the nominee.

Now, I wouldn`t want to go into Florida, you know, trying to carry
that state, which I think Perry would have to, having said that Social
Security is a Ponzi scheme, unconstitutional, Medicare, I mean, those are
very heavy burdens to carry. Some people say, you know, that his problem
is he`s too Texas and too Bush. I think the problem is he`s not enough
like Bush 2000. Bush 2000 was said, he said he was a compassionate
conservative, gave a sense of reasonableness, said he didn`t want to
radically change the country, just wanted to share the prosperity in the
form of a tax cut for folks.

SHARPTON: It`s a big difference, but I think, Mark, we can leave the
passion, but not the compassion in the image of Rick Perry. Thank you for
being with us, Mark McKinnon, Bob Shrum, thank both of you for being with
us tonight.

MCKINNON: Thanks for having us on.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, secret tapes from inside the right-wing summit
hosted by billionaire activist Charles Koch. You want to hear this.

And outrage grows, Republicans in Gabby Giffords` home district
raffle off this gun. You won`t believe their response. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Who can forget the emotional scene in Congress last month?
Gabby Giffords returning to the floor for the first time since being shot
in January. Her appearance brought people from both parties together, but
back in her home district, the Pima County GOP forgot about it. Republican
officials sent out this flyer, announcing the auction of a glock handgun
last week. That`s the same type of gun used in the Tucson shootings. The
critics came out from both sides, the former chair of the group said,
quote, "There`s a woman who has a bullet in the brain and who everybody is
wishing a full recovery. I don`t think raffling off a firearm right now is
probably the right way to go." So, what did they do after all the outrage?
They decided to raffle off a second firearm, a deer rifle. This is
insensitive and ignorant. It`s hard to believe a group connected with a
national political party could have such a complete lack of judgment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: New tapes take us behind closed doors at a secret right-
wing summit, hosted by the Koch Brothers, the billionaire conservatives who
bankrolled the Tea Party. The conference was held this summer at a Posh
Colorado resort to plot strategy for the 2012 election. In a tape obtained
by online journalist who shared it with Mother Jones, one of the Koch
Brothers discusses American politics, and then adds this odd mention of
Saddam Hussein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KOCH, BILLIONAIRE CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: We have Saddam
Hussein. This is the mother of all wars. We`ve got in the next 18 months,
for the life or death of this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, a Koch spokesman denied the ABC News that Mr. Koch was
preferring, was not referring to President Obama. They`re denying that he
was referring to President Obama. Quote, they say, Charles Koch was not
referring to President Obama in his remarks. The mother of all wars is a
common phrase frequently attributed to Saddam Hussein on the eve of the
Persian Gulf War, amid record U.S. unemployment continued economic decline,
and loss of liberty, the U.S. has been plunged into its own mother of all
wars.

Even so, the mother of all wars is about the coming election. Do the
Koch Brothers think they`re at war? Charles and his brother David have
thrown more than $100 million behind a slew of right-wing causes, funding
everything from voter I.D. laws to anti-climate change, research in that
area, supporting Tea Party initiatives, and fighting to repeal President
Obama`s affordable care, and they`re showing no signs of stopping. Listen
to how Charles worked up donors on the last day of the seminar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: I hope you will stay with us, and also continue to do your
utmost. Because it isn`t just your money we need. We need your energy, we
need to bring in new partners, we can`t do it alone. This group can`t do
it alone. We have to multiply ourselves, thousands and thousands fold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: With me now, Lee Fang, a researcher and blogger for Think
Progress. He`s done great reporting on the Koch Brothers in the past.
Lee, NBC has not independently confirmed the tape, but what can you tell us
about these meetings?

LEE FANG, BLOGGER, THINKROGRESS.ORG: Well, Al, thanks for having me.
You know, to the best of my knowledge, this is Charles Koch on tape and he
did say those comments about Saddam or at least it sounded like he did.
But regardless, you know, this wouldn`t surprise me, you know, in the lead
up to the 2008 election, Charles Koch said that he thought Obama could be
like Stalin or Hitler or Mao. And, you know, Charles Koch`s father, Fred
Koch, who founded the business Koch industries and also have found the John
Birch society made it very common that he would compare both the Eisenhower
administration and John Kennedy as agents of the Kremlin. So, it`s
troubling that one of the most powerful and wealthiest man.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. His father said that they would compare
John Kennedy and Eisenhower as agents of the Kremlin?

FANG: Not compare. Directly accuse Kennedy of being an agent of the
Kremlin. He wrote scripts, he gave speeches.

(CROSSTALK)

FANG: I`m sorry?

SHARPTON: It`s worse than compare. He`s actually made the statement
that they were?

FANG: Oh, sure. Yes.

SHARPTON: So, it would not -- if Mr. Koch senior and John F. Kennedy,
and Dwight Eisenhower, agents of the Kremlin, I guess that I shouldn`t be
stunned that their sons may be making some comparisons of Barack Obama and
what`s going on today. I mean, this is outrageous to me.

FANG: Well, you know, one thing to keep in mind is that, it`s easy to
kind of associate Charles Koch, and Charles Schwab and all these other
billionaire donors at this meeting to, you know, the right-wing fringe, but
I would say that they`re crazy like a fox.

SHARPTON: Yes.

FANG: You know, they fund Tea Party groups that push very out there
conspiracies like health reform being like the holocaust or the EPA is
going to come and take over your church.

SHARPTON: I`m going to run out of time, Mr. Fang. But I want to
talk more to you about it. And of course, Mr. Koch, if you`re saying
that`s not you on the tape, you can come on any night you want and talk to
me about it. I`ve been misquoted, but I`ve always shown up to clear it up.
Come on back. Talk to direct to me. You`re welcome. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I want to tell you about something that should never happen
in this country. This is Kyle Willis, a 24-year-old unemployed, uninsured,
Cincinnati father, who died Wednesday, from a toothache. All because he
couldn`t afford the $27 antibiotics that would have saved his life. He
left behind a 6-year-old daughter. This is a tragic story, but
unfortunately it`s not an uncommon one. Nearly 45,000 people die in the
United States from curable diseases every year, because they lack health
insurance. We are ranked last out of 19 other industrialized nations for
avoidable mortality. That means if the person had seen a doctor or gotten
treatment would not have died. Despite have been one of the highest rates
of uninsured people in the United States, Florida`s Governor Rick Scott has
rejected millions of dollars in federal grants for affordable health care.

And Governor Rick Perry has waged a war on health insurance and
Medicaid in Texas, which now leads the nation in the highest uninsured
rates. What will it take for the politicians to wake up? When will it
finally become time to put people before politics? Martin Luther King made
a determination once that if he went in and fought a fight, some say what
would happen to him? He says, if he did go in, what would happen to the
people? We need politicians that are worried about the people more than
they`re worried about their political future. Until we get them, we need
to end some of their political goals, so that we have a future for all
American people.

Thanks no watching. Americans are agitated in this area, I`m Al
Sharpton, and we will make this programming note. NBC News/Politico
republican debate will air tomorrow night here on MSNBC, at 8:00 p.m.
"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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