PoliticsNation, Thursday, September 15th, 2011
Read the transcript from Thursday's show
Guests: Bernie Sanders, Rick Lazio, Joe Madison, Raphael Warnock
AL SHARPTON, HOST: The Republicans` jobs plans is out and is out of
here. Speaker Boehner unveils his vision for how to create jobs. If you
think tax cuts and deregulations are magic, then he`s your magician.
Here`s another Republican plan out there, snakes, as the answer to job
growth. When are these guys going to get serious?
And his honor is here, my one-on-one with the mayor of New York,
Michael Bloomberg. We don`t agree on a lot of things, but tonight we try
to find some common ground.
Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton. Tonight`s lead, Speaker
Boehner`s plan to get Americans back to work attacks the president`s good
ideas and offers some bad ideas of his own. Today the speaker gave his
long-awaited speech on jobs and the deficit, literally less than one minute
in he panned the president`s plan as a, quote, "poor substitute" for the
GOP plan. Then he presented his ideas. Drum roll, please. They involve
fixing a tax code that is stifling growth and deregulating everything else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The first aspect of that
threat is excessive regulation, unnecessary federal regulations, removing
some of the unnecessary government barriers, unnecessary regulation from a
government that`s always micro managing. Tax increases I think are off the
table. A constant threat of new taxes. Tax increases destroy jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He then explained why he can`t seem to come to terms with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: Sometimes the conversations that we have would be like two
groups of people from two different planets who barely understand each
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The president is from planet earth. What planet are you
from, speaker Boehner? In fact, the only good thing I seem to hear was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: Yes my grandfather, my dad owned a bar and I grew up there,
too. Tended bar and, and you know, you have to deal with every jack ass
that walks in the door. Trust me I need all of the skills I learned
growing up to do my job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: In that case maybe Boehner can talk some sense into his
Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont.
Senator, thanks for being with us this evening.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: My pleasure.
SHARPTON: You`ve heard the speaker`s jobs plan if that`s what you
want to call it. Deregulation, deregulation, tax code but don`t touch the
rich. How can we look at this as a way that would create jobs, senator?
SANDERS: Al, you can only look at it and smile or maybe cry. It`s
the same old trickle down economics that has failed year after year after
year. This is what we heard from George Bush. Deregulate. Well, that`s a
great idea. That gave us the Wall Street disaster where the crooks on Wall
Street produced worthless products and ended up driving us into the worst
recession we`ve seen since the great depression. Tax breaks for the rich.
Oh, that`s an interesting idea. Well, we`ve done that for the last ten
years. And what has happened? Under Bush, we lost over 5 million private
SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the fact that the Republicans have
said the president didn`t have a jobs plan and he covers his. They were
going to bail the whole country out they ran and took the house last year
on where the jobs are. And then the speaker comes out, the leader of the
Republicans in the congress, and really gives us stuff that we`ve heard for
30 years that really put us in this position in the first place. What do
we do to turn this around? I mean, everyone`s just talking this show is no
frills, no games. How do we get people back to work?
SANDERS: Well, I`ll tell you what we do. First of all, the president
has got to be very sure. I thought what he said before Congress last week
is a good start. We`ve got to go further. Al, if you want to create jobs
quickly, you have to invest, invest. Invest in our crumbling
infrastructure. Everybody knows the need is there. Everybody should know
that we`re investing two percent of our GDP in infrastructure. China is
investing nine percent. They are building high speed rails. We`ve got to
do the same.
SANDERS: They are investing in sustainable energy in wind and solar.
We have got to do the same. They are building airports. We need to do
that. We have a crumbling infrastructure. We can create millions of jobs
as we invest in our schools, the president is right. School construction
SHARPTON: Finish that last point because I want to show you something
that`s interesting to me. Go ahead.
SANDERS: All right. Furthermore, the president is absolutely right.
At a time when we`re struggling to make sure that our kids are educated at
the same level or competing with kids around the world, you don`t layoff
hundreds of thousands of teachers and child care workers.
In fact, you improve child care. You put people to work nurturing our
kids so they get off to a strong start in life. You make sure we do not
lose police officers or firemen who are fired from their jobs because of
inadequate budgets at the local level.
SHARPTON: You see that`s exactly where I was going. Because among
independents, because this is going to be a battle for the independent
voter, among independents, 70 percent of those polled say exactly what you
say. Provide money to hire teachers and first responders.
SANDERS: That`s what the American people want, Al. Listen under Bush
we lost 500,000 private sector jobs.
SANDERS: Their idea, the rich are getting richer. They don`t need
tax breaks. Corporations are making enormous profits. They don`t need
more tax breaks. What we do need from corporate America, Al, and this is a
very, very important point and I disagree with the president on this one.
We need to change our trade policies. They are not working. NAFTA, CAFTA,
free trade with China has not worked. We have got to demand that corporate
America reinvest in the United States of America, rebuild our manufacturing
sector, and produce the products that we and other countries consume.
SHARPTON: You know I agree with you. I think the trade policy we
definitely need to renegotiate. I disagreed with them when democrat
president bill Clinton proposed it.
SANDERS: Right. Me too.
SHARPTON: But the other thing I disagree with you is I don`t know
where you`ve been that the rich are getting richer, because one Republican
said yesterday in Congress it`s the poor that`s getting richer, so you must
not be up to date, Senator Sanders.
SANDERS: Yes. I am up to date. I see what`s happening in my state.
I see what`s happening in this country. Bottom line, middle class is
collapsing. Poverty is increasing. And the people on top are doing better
than they have for a very, very long time. Meanwhile, they are paying the
lowest effective real tax rate that they have paid in decades. That`s what
Warren Buffet is saying. That`s true.
SHARPTON: I`m going to ask another billionaire about that later on
this show. But let me ask you this. Boehner is also trying to act as
though all this is normal. They`re beating up on us. And you know when
they`re doing well, when they riding high in the polls, it`s the people.
Now look at this clip. It`s just they`re martyrs almost. They`re being
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: So then America`s whipping boy for 200 years. It`s a
difficult process but it is what it is and I can tell the American people
I`m going to try and do the right thing every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So the America`s whipping boy. He is trying to do the
right thing. But how can the right thing be with 9.1 percent unemployment
to just come with a lop-sided economic policy of protecting those that have
the most and really not dealing with those that need the help?
SANDERS: Al, the truth is, by the way, real unemployment is 16
SHARPTON: No question.
SANDERS: All right, 25 million people. Look, let`s be very clear.
What Boehner and his friends are about, very nice guys and all that, but
what they are about is protecting the interests of the wealthiest people in
this country and the largest corporations. That`s what they do and they do
it very well.
Our job and the president has got to lead us in that direction is to
make it clear to every working person in this country that he is working
hard and has a plan to create millions of good paying jobs, balance our
budget, or move toward deficit reduction in a way that is responsible, that
does not attack the most vulnerable people in this country.
And if you do those two things, create jobs, balance the budget in a
responsible and fair way, protect Social Security, protect Medicare,
protect Medicaid, you know what? It`s the right thing to do with public
policy. He is going to win re-election by a large vote if that`s how he
SHARPTON: And the people in the country will win, too. Senator
Bernie Sanders, thank you for joining me this evening. Always great to
talk with you.
SANDERS: Thank you very much.
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Jared Bernstein, the former chief
economist to Vice President Biden and now an MSNBC contributor and senior
fellow with the center on budget and policy priorities and Douglas Holtz-
Eakin, president of the American action forum and former director of the
congressional budget office. He was an economic adviser to John McCain in
2008. Thanks to both of you for coming on the show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Doug, let me start with you. Are Boehner`s ideas really
the right way to get the economy going?
DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, FMR, CBO DIRECTOR: Well, he certainly is talking
about the right topics. I thought one of the most interesting things about
his speech was he was talking about tax reform. The president is on record
as wanting both individual and corporate tax reform. He was talking about
regulatory reform. The president devoted a fair amount of time in his
speech to his efforts to roll back 500 regulations that are excessive and
so far they`ve only rolled back one but, you know, they`re talking about
the same things.
And speaker Boehner talked about the debt crisis and certainly, the
president has said he is going to send up a real proposal to finally deal
with the burgeoning debt crisis. So they`re not far apart in the kinds of
things they`re choosing to address to get this economy going. Where there
is a big difference is on tax policy, particularly in the near term, and on
The president continues to rely on a temporary, which is pretty weak
policy. No permanent reforms and he also rely too heavily on targets that
get picked in the west wing for reasons that are never clear to me. So the
president`s got a temporary target, a policy that I think is ultimately
going to disappoint. The speaker is talking about the same problems with a
much stronger emphasis.
SHARPTON: Can this really work?
JARED BERNSTEIN, FMR. CHIEF ECONOMIC FOR VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No.
SHARPTON: And saying they`re not that far apart, the president is
saying Social Security is not on the table because it has nothing to do
with the deficit. The speaker is saying taxes are not on the table. That
seems like they`re far apart to me.
BERNSTEIN: To listen to Doug and Speaker Boehner you`d think we must
be doing OK. We have a low unemployment rate. We just have to worry about
our long-term growth perspectives and kind of pursue the same old agenda
these guys pursue whether the unemployment rate is low or high, whether the
economy is growing or shrinking. Cut corporate taxes and deregulate.
Let us not forget a couple things here, Al and Doug. It was precisely
that road map that had a couple of very, very detrimental effects on the
middle class, and the poor in this economy and the 2000s. We had the worst
decade ever for middle class income growth. It was a lost decade. We had
the worst decade ever for poverty. We went from budget surplus to budget
deficit. We had a terrible, as you heard Bernie Sanders say, a terrible
decade for job growth.
This is precisely the road map deregulate cut taxes that got us into
this mess. And the idea we`re sort of comfortably talking about going back
there is patently nuts. What we have to target is the unemployment rate.
And interestingly, Boehner did say one thing.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: The same thing you targeted, the eight percent, Jared?
I mean, come on.
BERNSTEIN: The one thing he said that would help was infrastructure.
You actually heard Bernie Sanders say that, too. There may be some
agreement there. All the other stuff is long-term conservative agenda that
has proven to fail every time.
SHARPTON: What`s wrong with that?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Let`s remember. We`ve had - Jared has just given us
this litany of woes.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: This president watched the three worst years since the
great depression for this president. In fact, the only way to defend his
policies is to say they`re better than the great depression. That is the
defense the White House offers.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Let me finish, Jared. You are the person who said these
policies are so good the unemployment rate is not going to go over eight
BERNSTEIN: Are you saying that this recession is Obama`s fault? I
that what are you saying?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: The - 2011, we have been growing for two years since the
recession ended, two of the worst years on record. They are the
president`s. The president said he owns this economy. The president does
and the policies haven`t worked and he is going back to the same broken
status quo that has left us facing a sovereign debt crisis, facing an
absolutely unresponsive economy.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you a question, Jared. Doug, he asked you, are
you saying that President Obama`s responsible for the recession?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: No. He inherited the recession. We know that. I was
on the financial crisis commission and Jared knows.
BERNSTEIN: You`re right. You made it sound like it was his
recession. You`re right.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: No, no. But since the recession was officially declared
over we have had dismal economic performance and the notion that we`re
going to do again what led to that performance is really quite mistaken.
This isn`t going to work.
SHARPTON: What is the answer? Jared, is the answer then to do what
got us into the recession? Look at what Boehner is saying about taxes.
SHARPTON: I want both of you to respond. This is what Boehner said
about taxes and these are the policies that led us into the recession in my
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: You`re wrong. Tax increases I think are off the table and I
don`t think they`re a viable option for the joint committee. If we want to
create a better environment for job creation, politicians of all stripes
can leave the, you know, my way or the highway philosophy behind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, that`s a nine-minute gap where he takes total opposite
position. How do you negotiate with someone, Jared that takes one position
and nine minutes later another position?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: You mean the president.
BERNSTEIN: Look, all day long Representative Boehner has been saying
taxes can`t be on the table. Revenues can`t be on the table. You know, by
the way, Nancy Pelosi somewhat to my surprise said, you can`t begin these
negotiations without revenues on the table and entitlements on the table.
So, she is trying to do what the president has done which is to come to the
table with an open mind. You simply can`t achieve a sustainable budget
deficit simply on the basis of spending cuts alone.
Now let me go back to a point that Doug has very deeply wrong here.
You are absolutely right, Doug. The president inherited the worst
recession since the great depression. Then because of the stimulus act and
the action of the Federal Reserve, an economy was falling off a cliff was
then growing again as you correctly pointed out starting in mid 2009.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: How fast?
BERNSTEIN: Since then it`s been stuck absolutely in neutral.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: His policies have failed.
BERNSTEIN: We need to build on the programs that got us here going
HOLTZ-EAKIN: They didn`t get us here. This is really simple. This
is not complicated.
SHARPTON: Gentlemen, we can have our different views but we can`t
have different facts. Look at the graph, Doug. The fact is that we saw -
HOLTZ-EAKIN: The fact -
SHARPTON: Hold it. These are facts. You saw the reduction and the
effects of the stimulus that brought us up after going down. I mean, these
are facts. You can`t argue with the fact that this economy had shrunk and
when we went into the stimulus the economy grew.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: And how much of that growth is the private sector?
Jared can`t answer that question. There is no credit given.
BERNSTEIN: Doug, you asked me a question. Since March of 2010 -
HOLTZ-EAKIN: I never get to finish. Why do you get to finish?
BERNSTEIN: March of 2010, there have been 1.8 million private sector
HOLTZ-EAKIN: How many would have been created without the stimulus
plan? That`s the question Jared.
BERNSTEIN: According to the congressional budget office between 1.5
and 2.5 million which I know you believe because you used to direct.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: No, I don`t actually. There is no data there. There is
no data there.
SHARPTON: Hold it. We`ll have to bring you back. I like a good
debate on substance but we`ve got other guests. Jared and Doug, we`ll be
right back. Thank you. We will be right back.
SHARPTON: Up next is it really time for the White House to panic?
Take a deep breath and look at the opposition. I think Republicans have
more than a few things to worry about. Well, that`s next.
SHARPTON: The man who helped President Clinton win the White House
has some not so helpful advice for President Obama, Panic. Democratic
strategist James Carville has a new op-ed in which he writes, quote "we are
far past sending out talking points. Do not attempt to dumb it down. The
time has come to demand a plan of action that requires complete change from
the direction you is headed".
But the White House might not want to reach for the panic button just
yet. A new Bloomberg poll shows 45 percent of Americans blame Republicans
for what`s wrong in Washington compared to only 20 percent who blame the
president. And when Republicans look at their presidential field the news
gets even worse, 47 percent of people who say they wouldn`t vote for
President Obama also say they wouldn`t vote for any of the current
Republican candidates. Americans are blaming the GOP. Republicans don`t
like their candidates. I have to wonder if Carville is giving his panic
advice to the wrong folks.
Joining me now is Rick Lazio, former Republican congressman and
founder of ignitewithricklazio.com. And Joe Madison of Sirius XM radio,
talk show host. Thanks, to both of you for being here tonight.
JOE MADISON, HOST, SIRIUS XM RADIO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Joe, let me go to you first. Don`t Republicans have plenty
of things to be panicking about?
MADISON: Well, yes. With the polls you just read, they`re having a
good time now because they have these debates and people get to see what
the candidates are about and you`ve had two. And I`m surprised quite
honestly at the numbers. They`re all over the place. Even the last debate
with the other network you could see the tea party was all over the place
here and there.
But I got to tell you, you know if the congressman, if I were his
adviser and I said to the congressman, if I said to Rick, panic, Rick. I`m
telling you, you should fire me. Carville talks too much and here`s the
deal. Let`s say the president takes his advice and he not only said should
he that he should panic but he said he should fire people.
MADISON: So let`s say he takes his advice. Well, now, what would the
other side do? Al, the other side would say, the president panicked.
Well, the last thing this administration needs is the perception of
panicking. He ought to, you know, Carville just ought to just shut up.
You know, just, it`s not good advice.
SHARPTON: And you and I differ on a lot. We talk, we remain simple.
This is a night of being civil to people I have disagreed with. But let me
ask you this.
FMR. REP. RICK LAZIO (R), NEW YORK: Yes.
SHARPTON: When you look at the unemployment rate, which is high, and
painful, when you look at the fact that there is a lot going wrong, you
have to admit that you would think that President Obama should be doing
worse than the polling that we`re looking at and that you`d see more people
gravitating toward Republican candidates than we`re seeing.
LAZIO: Well, I`d say this. Number one, he is below 50 in most of the
head to heads with a Republican field that hasn`t even selected really
their nominee. That ought to be a warning sign. I think that`s one of the
SHARPTON: But there`s not one that is running that is beating him
right now in a poll.
LAZIO: But you know we know who the democratic nominee is. We don`t
know who the Republican nominee is. So that would play out over time. If
you look back in 19 to 1992 when Clinton was running in a crowded field,
people looked at that. They polled Democrats and Democrats weren`t too
happy with that field either. It does shake out and over time you do get a
sense of who the nominee is going to be and that becomes very important.
So, I think the things to look at if I was going to argue Carville`s point
was, OK. People are losing confidence in the president in terms of his
stewardship of the economy.
SHARPTON: Not according to this poll. It seemed like they have twice
the confidence in him than they do the Republicans.
LAZIO: Not on the economy. Not in the economy. So that`s -
SHARPTON: Who do they blame for who we are?
LAZIO: But they will say, the polls that I`ve seen anyway, will say
did President Obama inherit a tough situation? Yes. You know? And do
people think that President Bush, former President Bush had some
responsibility for it? Yes. But do they think that President Obama made
it worse or didn`t make it better? Yes. And that`s where he is going to
have a real problem. He`s got to demonstrate that he`s got a clear
strategy, a path not just to electoral victory, but for long-term growth in
the economy and creating jobs. And right now it doesn`t look like he`s got
SHARPTON: Well, Joe, I think that, you know, I don`t necessarily
agree with that but I think even if I did, when you have as the guy that
may oppose the president, you`re going to make the argument, the
Republicans, that the president inherited a mess but he didn`t do well with
it. So now we`re going to bring in a guy that calls Social Security a
"ponzi scheme" and then runs around questioning whether things that
Americans fought to get are really unconstitutional. I don`t see how they
think that helps them.
MADISON: It doesn`t. And the reality is a couple of things. And in
part I agree with Rick. The president cannot run his entire campaign on
the past. He has to do a little bit of it and that`s what he`s doing. But
here`s what he`s doing smart. He put out a jobs campaign, a jobs plan. He
is running on right now. And all politics, and I tell you what I really
enjoy, all politics is local and he needs to stay out there, go locale to
locale to locale doing just what he`s doing right now and talk about the
future. We didn`t get in this mess overnight. We`re not going to get out
of it overnight. But I will say to the congressman, congressman, if you
were in a tough campaign and I was your campaign manager and I told you to
panic, would you panic?
LAZIO: No. I would say it`s too early to panic. You`re right.
Thirteen months out you don`t want really to panic. I assume again
Carville giving the benefit of the doubt is trying to issue a sot of wakeup
call that what you`ve been saying Mister President and your campaign team
is not working. It`s not showing traction. The idea that you continue to
throw higher taxes on the table, more spending, higher deficit, you`ve got
to change it right now.
MADISON: Well, I disagree with that. I think what he`s throwing on
the table is shared sacrifice. That`s what the American people are
LAZIO: But I will say on that point which I assume you`re talking
LAZIO: When people are paying higher taxes, $500 billion in higher
taxes, half a trillion dollars because of the health care bill, when we
know that the current configuration of Congress where the Democrats control
the Senate, that the Bush tax relief is going to lapse, taxes are already
going up. They`re going up by hundreds of billions of dollars.
SHARPTON: Alright. Well Rick, we`re going to have to go. Joe said
one thing, Rick. You have to answer this yes or no.
SHARPTON: He said all politics is local. Answer one local question.
LAZIO: It wasn`t for turner.
SHARPTON: Did Donald trump ever bring you to John George?
LAZIO: He did not. He did not. Not even burger -
SHARPTON: Rick Lazio, Joe Madison, thank you for your time this
MADISON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up you`ve heard about snakes on a plane. How about
snakes on a plan? We`ll tell you why Republicans think snake regulations
are crippling our economy. You can`t make this stuff up.
Then my exclusive interview with New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, he
has a tough message for Republicans who want the president to fail.
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matter most to you. We look forward to hearing from all of you. Now
coming up next, my one-on-one interview with New York Mayor Bloomberg.
SHARPTON: Sometimes you watch the dysfunction in Washington and you
have to ask yourself, have I gone crazy? Have they -- it`s gotten so bad
sometimes I find myself, even me saying that out loud to the TV screen.
Fewer and fewer independent voices in our political life find a way to
forget about partisan differences and get things done. That`s what the
people want to hear.
All right. Here in New York, we have a mayor who has worked with both
parties from time to time to pursue some bold initiative. You know, we
haven`t always agreed and haven`t been on the same page. We have some
things we`re debating now. But he has become a leading voice in some areas
that I think are important. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has become one of the
country`s leading voices on sensible gun control and this summer he
launched a young men`s initiative, a project he says is aimed at closing
the gap between black and Latino men and their peers. After decades in the
business world, he knows a thing or two about creating jobs. He was a
democrat, then a republican. Now he`s an independent. And despite our
differences over the years, I was happy to welcome him to the show earlier
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: Let me get this straight.
You who did not support me.
SHARPTON: That`s right.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
BLOOMBERG: In 2001 now have me as a guest on your show.
SHARPTON: That`s right.
BLOOMBERG: President Obama said he`d bring change and he did.
SHARPTON: All right. Touche. Well, let me ask you a political
question before we get to gun control. The Turner victory 9th
Congressional District in New York, people around the country saw it. Was
it a referendum on President Obama?
BLOOMBERG: Oh, I think for some people -- well, the press paints it
BLOOMBERG: And the question is what was in the minds of the people
going into the booth? And going into the voting booth, I think there is no
question people were upset. It`s not clear they blame the president. Not
clear they blame the Republicans or the Democrats. They blame Washington
or government as a whole. And they don`t distinguish. And there are no
winners here, Al. They just -- everybody`s a loser because people don`t
have confidence in the future. They`re not for the first time in a long
time thinking that their kids are going to have a better life. They work
hard for their kids but maybe their kids are going to have to live at home
and not have as good a job or not have as good health insurance.
They worry about whether they`ll keep their job and keep their homes.
It`s something they`re not sure of, not sure what`s wrong but they know
it`s not all right. Some of them strike out by starting a new movement.
The Tea Party is exactly that. If you look at it they`re not that
ideological. They tend to be conservative people. But it`s really exactly
to me like the McCain Boomlet 12 years ago, like the Ross Perot Boomlet,
two decades ago. Something`s wrong. Let`s change it. Which way? I don`t
know. But, you know, whatever is going on right now is not right. It`s
got to be something else.
SHARPTON: We`ve got to create jobs. That`s a big problem.
SHARPTON: And a lot of people think, me among them, we`ve got to
change how we deal with the economy in this country. You had to deal with
this in the city. Buffet says, let some of the guys in your, in his
economic level pay more. Would you agree with Warren Buffet?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I have said that I think that you cannot balance the
budget without both increasing revenues and reducing expenses and you have
to do both together. Politically you`ll never get one done without the
other. The only way to have it is everybody be against it or everybody be
for it. But if one side isn`t, you have paralysis. And on the revenue
enhancing side, I think everybody that pays taxes should have their taxes
raised. If you raised everybody`s tax three percent, the average American
would pay 150 bucks more. Everybody can afford, not everybody, but
generally, you want everybody to feel they share in the pain and when
everybody shares in the pain, it`s easier for every one of them to say,
well, I don`t like it but everybody else is doing it. And so, but rather
than just go pick one group, if you -- Buffet has his own views and if he
wants to pay more taxes that`s fine, but if you pick one class of people
and try to do something to them or for them on the other side, that you`re
not doing for everybody, everybody else doesn`t think it`s fair or they
don`t think it`s fair. So, do it for everybody and that will raise more
SHARPTON: So, you want to see everybody. Let me ask you one more
BLOOMBERG: Yes. Not a big percentage. I understand. People at the
lower end don`t have very much money. But if they had to pay $1 more, at
least they understand it`s their money. And those at the top end would
say, well, you know they don`t have a lot of money but they are sharing in
it. Same thing over on the cut side. You want to cut entitlements? We
have to. We`ll never balance this budget. You also have to cut some of
the tax breaks that people use to reduce their taxes at the higher end and
the companies use to reduce their taxes. If you don`t do everybody on both
sides, you`re not going to get it done.
SHARPTON: Well, the whole venom that we`re hearing now, I mean, I
watched the debates. People cheering about, people dying uninsured. One
of the things that people know is that after a lot of acrimony you brought
a sense of civilized conversation, at least, people disagreeing. You and I
have not agreed. Your commission on stop and frisk and union fights. I`ve
agreed with you on education. But there`s always been the conversation.
How have we gotten to the point in this country where we have gotten into
this name calling applauding people dying? The venom that we see in
BLOOMBERG: Well, there is a variety of reasons. I would argue the
reason you have so much partisanship in Washington is better air travel
believe it or not. In the olden days, congressmen and senators stuck
around and on weekends they dined together. They played golf together.
Their wives would be friendly. They`d send a card or a cake for a bar
mitzvah or a wedding or whatever, make a sympathy call. Today, they are
there from - on Thursday they head home to raise money and they don`t show
back up until Tuesday. They never meet anybody else. So that`s one of the
things. The essence of democracy is coming together, you and I for example
making an agreement. You don`t get everything you want. I don`t get
everything I want. There is a handful of things you get no part of and I
get no part of and you live with it because we won some, we lost some but
then we come to a consensus. That`s what`s kept this country going for 235
years. And if we have to get back to that. Now who is responsible?
Republicans and Democrats. Congress and the White House. I mean, I would
argue the president has a big responsibility.
SHARPTON: What do you think of the president?
BLOOMBERG: I think the president was dealt a very difficult hand. I
think he cares. I think he`s trying very hard. Some things he`s done I
agree with. Some things he`s done I haven`t agreed with. But that would
be, that`s like you and me. But I think he is our president. And what we
have to step back and say is, whether we voted for Barack Obama or not,
whether we agree with Barack Obama or not, whether we like Barack Obama or
not, he is our elected president. And our success, your children`s success
and your grand children`s success depend on he being a good president while
he`s in office. You may want to change presidents. You may yourself want
to run against him. That`s fine. You can do that in a campaign. But you
also have a responsibility as an American to make him be successful because
the country is not successful if the president is not successful.
Remember, the president is the representative of all of us. He
symbolizes everything about America to the rest of the world and to you and
me. And so is not treating the president with respect, not listening to
the president, not letting the president lead and saying, I don`t agree
with everything, I`ll get him to change some of the things, you can`t have
a successful democracy and it`s not good for this country. And I find some
people, one guy said, one columnist, I won`t dignify it with saying who it
was, he says I hope the president fails. What are you talking about? You
are talking about my kids and my grand kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Up next, these five people have the power of life and death
over Troy Davis. He`s on death row but he may be innocent and his final
appeal is just days away. We`ll talk to a minister who is helping to lead
the fight to save his life.
SHARPTON: The fight to save the life of death row inmate Troy Davis
is heating up. Today boxes of petitions signed by 660,000 people arrived
at the Georgia pardons board asking for clemency for Troy Davis. He is
scheduled to be executed next week for the 1989 murder of a police officer.
Since his conviction, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted or changed
their testimony. And others have accused another man of the crime. A
hearing on Monday before the Georgia board of pardons is his last chance.
So, who are the people who get to decide whether Troy Davis will die
on Wednesday? Chairman James Donald was a former commissioner of the
Department of Corrections and oversaw the fifth largest prison system in
the nation. Gail Buckner started her career as a police officer. Albert
Murray was a commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Georgia
overseeing troubled youth. Robert Keller was a prosecutor and also served
as vice chair of the governor`s commission on certainty in sentencing. And
former state Representative Terry Bernard served 16 years in the Georgia
House of Representatives. Three of these members are new and never heard
Troy Davis` case before. And Davis will be presenting witnesses the entire
board has never heard from.
Joining me now is Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the
historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Reverend Martin
Luther King Jr., and senior for that matter. Reverend, welcome to the
DR. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, SENIOR PASTOR, EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH: Thank
you so much for covering this very important case, Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Now, Reverend, you and I visited Troy Davis together on
death row. We`ve been involved in this case. A lot of people do not
understand that this is not just those of us in the civil rights community
or church community. There is a lot of people all over the world concerned
about this case. Let me show people an example. You have on one side
President Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict, Amnesty International,
NAACP, certainly National Action Network`s out there tonight. But then you
have some unlikely people that have said that they are concerned about this
case, people like you and I don`t always agree with.
William Sessions, who was the FBI director under Presidents Ronald
Reagan and George Bush, former deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson who
served under President Bush, former U.S. Representative Bob Barr who was
also a former federal prosecutor who appeared on this show with me a couple
nights ago and said he agreed with us. So, this case is beyond party and
beyond race. How do we get the board to understand this is about justice
WARNOCK: You are absolutely right, Reverend Sharpton. This is an
extraordinary case. I am opposed to the death penalty. So are you. But
many of the people who are opposed to this execution you and I disagree
with about 90 percent of the time. I mean, think about Jimmy Carter and
Bob Barr on the same side of an issue. John Boehner and President Barack
Obama could not agree on a debt ceiling. We`ll see if they can agree on a
jobs bill. But Bob Barr and Jimmy Carter agree that Troy Davis should not
be executed. That shows you just how much doubt there really is in this
case. And his last hope is this board of pardons and parole that will meet
on this coming Monday. The execution is scheduled for Wednesday. Troy
Davis`s life hangs in the balance but in a real sense, all of us are
imperiled if an execution can go forth with this incredible amount of
SHARPTON: Seven of the nine witnesses have recanted. Some saying
they were coerced. There was no physical evidence, no DNA evidence.
Reverend, it is even beyond race because you have a new DA. Has he spoken
out? I know you and some of the local ministers have met with him. What
is he saying? And he`s black.
WARNOCK: Well, we`ve encouraged the DA to hear this and to give this
yet another look and yet a death warrant has been signed. We pushed this
case from every angle. And, I mean, think about the fact that this very
board of pardons and paroles issued a stay on this case. Of course there
are new members back in 2007, the board of paroles and pardons issued a
stay. The Supreme Court pressed pause sometime after that. On another
occasion, the 11th circuit. In fact, one day you were standing outside of
the prison he was awaiting execution.
SHARPTON: With his mom.
WARNOCK: You were staying there with his mother and I was doing an
interview at CNN. I mentioned the other network. And we thought that he
was within minutes of being executed and then came a ruling from the
Supreme Court. Every sector of our criminal justice system has pressed
pause on this case because something in your gut tells you that it`s just
not right. Somebody ought to have enough courage to press stop.
Well, tomorrow night at Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, I`ll be there
with you and others rallying, asking just for justice and fairness. A man
shouldn`t die if there`s some doubt, and clearly there is a lot of doubt
here. Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, thanks for helping us cover this
important story. We`ll be right back.
WARNOCK: We told you earlier about John Boehner`s ridiculous jobs
plan. Well, he`s not alone. More Republicans are coming out with nutty
proposals to save the economy. The next big idea? More snakes equal more
jobs. In a House hearing yesterday, Republicans and their witnesses
claimed that a proposal to limit the transportation of snakes is somehow
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BARKER, ASSOCIATION OF REPTILE BREEDERS: The proposed action,
one, will not solve or correct any problem regarding these snakes species
in South Florida. And two, it will destroy American businesses and it will
damage hundreds of thousands of people economically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Snake regulations will hurt hundreds of thousands of jobs?
Really. This is their grand plan to save the country? In fact, the
republican plan could do more harm than good. It would let dangerous
snakes across state lines. Possibly into protected lands. And I`m not the
only one who`s less than impressed. Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly
says, quote, "These pythons are the same snakes that are breeding rapidly,
overrunning the everglades, eating every animal in sight including large
alligators. I think the GOP majority is peddling a bit of snake oil here.
But it has nothing to do with jobs."
I`ve been saying it every night. It is time to get serious. Fourteen
million people don`t have 14 months for you to keep trying different
theories, different distractions. We need to get down to business. We
need to get serious about jobs. It`s serious to know that the chronically
unemployed, those that are unemployed, and we`re going to get serious about
you taking them seriously.
Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right
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