PoliticsNation, Friday, September 16, 2011
Read the transcript from Friday show
Guests Cedric Richmond, Bob Shrum, Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Bob Franken,
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Democrats need to stand up, not run away.
The White House is pushing back on Dems who feel like now`s the time
to panic. In fact, my main man, Bob Shrum, calls these folks a crybaby
chorus. We`ll talk to him in just a second.
Plus, Rick Perry has a tiny little problem. He may be totally
unelectable. And if that`s not bad enough, Donald Trump can`t even
remember his name.
Also, the second half of my one-on-one interview with New York Mayor
And a rally for justice, the fight to save the life and stop what
could be a horribly unjust execution.
Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.
Tonight, I`m going to talk to you live here from Atlanta, Georgia,
where later I`ll be speaking at a rally supporting justice for Troy Davis
in a death row case that`s drawing global attention. We`ll have more on
that later in the show.
But we begin the night with some advice from the Obama administration.
In a memo to the press today, Obama`s senior strategist, David
Axelrod, says, "Members of the media have a focused on the president`s
approval ratings as if they existed in a black box." He points out that
Republican approval ratings have dropped to a historic low point.
Meanwhile, only six percent think most of Congress deserves re-
election. Six percent. And worries about the Democratic base? Then how
do you explain 81 percent of Democrats approve -- approve now -- of the
president`s performance? That`s stronger than Bill Clinton`s standing at
this point in his presidency.
In fact, President Obama himself summed it up last night when he said,
"Here`s one thing I know for certain: The odds of me being re-elected are
much higher than the odds of me being elected in the first place."
So here`s my advice to Democrats. Now is not the time to abandon your
president, not when he needs your support more than ever, not when workings
class people need you on your post, not somewhere crying.
Joining me now is Congressman Cedric Richmond, Democrat from
Congressman, thanks for coming on the show.
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D), LOUISIANA: Well, Al, thanks for having me.
And let me just take a point of personal privilege for a second and
thank you for what you did for the city of New Orleans, which I represent.
After the storm, you were a tireless advocate to make sure that we received
the help and assistance that we did finally get. So thank you for that.
SHARPTON: Thank you so much, Congressman.
Well, let me say for that, you know, because we`ve been in battles
together, I don`t like dealing with an army of cowards, of people that are
afraid to fight. And some Democrats, I don`t know if they are afraid or
Let me give you an example. Senator Mitch McConnell, leading
Republican in the Senate, look at what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: This bill`s top selling
point, according to the president, was that both parties should like it.
Yet, so far, the only thing both parties in Congress seem to agree on is
that it`s got to be a better way than this.
You had the Democratic Majority Leader basically treating it like a
legislative afterthought. One freshman senator called parts of the bill
frustrating and unfair. Another Democrat called a central part of the bill
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How can we win this jobs bill, Congressman Richmond, which
you were one of the major spokesman for when the Congress -- Democratic
members of Congress had their rally on the steps the other day? How do we
win when the leader of the opposition can quote Democrats that are pouring
cold water on this?
RICHMOND: Well, he`s taking his quotes in isolation. And I will tell
you that there are some people who wanted to do more.
No one thinks that the president is doing too much. No one thinks
it`s a bad deal. I think it`s a great comprehensive bill on how to help
Americans, which means getting people back to work, training those who need
training, helping small businesses to hire people, pay people more. But
we`re doubling down on our energy to fight.
I think Senator McConnell and the rest of his group have been
obstructionists, and the one thing that we`re not talking about enough is
that this economy was growing. We were moving in the right direction, and
then one thing happened. The Republicans took over the House of
Representatives, and they have been obstructionists ever since.
And that`s what stunted the growth of the economy. And I`m just
hoping that we can start to talk about that and push this jobs bill,
because it`s very important. But the Democrats I`m talking to are very
energetic about doubling down and making sure that we get do this, because
it`s the right thing for the country.
SHARPTON: Well, let me say this. I think you raise a good point.
When the Republicans took over with the whole change of majority in
2010, the Tea Party political movement -- but how do we get voters out to
turn the Congress back Democrat if we don`t stand for something? And this
jobs bill which the president is pushing and which would provide jobs,
clearly is the thing that we`ve got to rally around.
RICHMOND: I think we have to rally around it. I think members of
Congress are going to have to go out in their districts and push it and
sell it and let people know how important it is.
The 14.1 million people who are unemployed certainly understand how
important it is. The 25 million people who are underemployed, they know
how important it is.
But we`re going to have to work. We`re going to have to get out there
like we did during the campaign to let people know how important it is.
The other thing we`re going to have to do is let the country know how
ridiculous the Republican arguments are on a couple of things, one of which
is to require offsets for disaster assistance. I`m here in Connecticut,
and I`m from New Orleans with Katrina. There`s no way in this great
country that we can play 911 to the world and now we`re going to let
Republicans say that we can`t help American citizens unless we go cut
education, unless we cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for
So I think that if we take our message to the people, they will
understand that the choice they have right now is a president who cares
about the country, who wants to help people who are hurting, put people
back to work, and then another party who is playing politics and will allow
so many millions of Americans to hurt, to not have food on their table. So
this election is going to come down to purpose.
And I strongly believe that when you`re on the right side of the
issue, and you`re doing the right things, and you`re pushing -- loving your
neighbor and helping your fellow man, that that that`s going to prevail.
But I don`t want you to think that it`s going to be easy. We all know it`s
going to be a fight.
SHARPTON: Right. You`ve got to push.
RICHMOND: But I just think that we`re going to have to go fight for
this and members of Congress are going to have to lace up our shoes, and
we`re going to have take it to them, because they`ve been taking it to the
economy since January.
Go ahead, Al.
SHARPTON: Well, Congressman, that`s what I`m saying. I`m going to
have to break it here, but let me say this. Congressman Cedric Richmond, I
know you as a fighter, and I know we can`t win this without a fight.
I want you to know, I`m going to start as of tonight the crybaby list
here on POLITICS NATION. And I warn you to come on. I`m going to give a
handkerchief next to any name of any Democrat that you tell me is in the
crybaby caucus and stands in the way of fighting for this jobs bill.
Thank you, Congressman Richmond, for being with me tonight.
RICHMOND: Thanks for having me, Al.
SHARPTON: And I`ll talk to you about the crybaby caucus I`ll be
exposing from time to time on this show.
Joining me now is the originator of the crybaby theme that I`m turning
into a caucus on the show, Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and professor
at New York University. He has a great article out today, the top of which
I just said, "The Democrats` self-defeating crybaby chorus." And I`m
inspired. I`m going to start a list here.
And my friend, as well as reporter for "The Huffington Post" and MSNBC
analyst, Alex Wagner.
Thank both of you for being with us tonight.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.
WAGNER: I want one of those handkerchiefs just as a souvenir. I
think that might be worth a lot on eBay. Just saying.
SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to get some tears on it for you first,
because I`m serious.
WAGNER: Hopefully not mine. Not mine.
SHARPTON: I`m going to expose some people. I think people need -- if
they want to whine and cry, they need to be exposed, Bob. And we need to
call their names and put them up and say, here is a member of the crybaby
caucus, because when I hear people whining and crying, when we`re facing
this kind of disaster that we`re facing, and have people openly doing
things that they`re doing in these Republican primaries, I`m with you.
You absolutely fired me up in this article, Bob.
SHRUM: Well, I`m glad I did.
Look, this is an incredible situation if you think about it. This
president inherited a terribly torn economy that the Republicans have tried
to ruin even further so that they can -- they think that`s their road back
to power. And now you have Democrats out there who are sort of sniping at
the president, sniping at the people around him, and not getting behind
Look, in 1982, when Ronald Reagan was in the midst of a recession-
ridden presidency, he didn`t have Republicans running out on him, fund-
raisers criticizing him, supporters saying that somehow or other he wasn`t
going to do it right. And you remember this, too, Reverend. In 2004, when
John Kerry moved ahead of George Bush in the summer of that year, you
didn`t have the Bush rangers and the Bush supporters running out on that
president. You didn`t have them saying Dick Cheney should be dumped.
So, Democrats need to grow up. And as my friend James Carville, who
is part of this chorus right now, would probably say, there is too much at
stake, stupid. Let`s get together and let`s win the election. Let`s not
contribute to losing it.
SHARPTON: Well, like you said in the article, when they had bumpy
times during the Clinton years, Carville didn`t fire himself. I flew down
here to Atlanta the day we hit a little turbulence. I don`t want the guy
next to me screaming, "Panic button! Panic button!"
It`s turbulence. We haven`t crashed. What`s wrong with you?
Alex, as we look for some names that may be on the caucus, I was
reading "The New York Times" this morning. They quoted some names. Let me
show you some people and some quotes that are being looked upon by me to --
let`s see where they may end up in my crybaby caucus.
Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia says, "I have serious
Really? I have some serious ones for you, Senator.
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, "I think we should break it up."
Break what up?
Senator Mary Landrieu, "I am not supporting a repeal of tax cuts for
the oil industry."
Alex, what`s going on here?
WAGNER: Well, look, I think they`re acting in self-interests. To a
certain extent, I think they smell blood in the water or they`re concerned
that the president is weak.
You know, everybody has a different poll number, they like to fight.
There`s a Bloomberg poll out yesterday that says 52 percent of the public
disapproves of how Obama is negotiating with the Republicans; 62 percent,
they`re unhappy with how he`s handled the economy.
These numbers are out there. Members of Congress are elected, they
have constituents. And so, if they sense this package isn`t going to play
well with their constituents, they are going to back away from it a little
There is also industry. Landrieu has oil and gas in her back yard, so
she`s not going to try and cut subsidies for oil and gas.
But I think to a certain degree, we`ve heard in recent hours and the
days since some of this has come out that maybe some of that criticism is a
little bit overblown. And as Congress has shown in the last couple cycles,
they will eventually get in line with whatever the president says.
SHARPTON: But there only is one thing that is more startling to me
than all of this, is that the people that are polling the lowest are the
people in Congress that are talking. I mean, they shouldn`t even be
bringing up polls.
Do you see the numbers that they`re getting, Bob? I mean, if
anything, they should be very quiet and move forward aggressively in an
area that would produce jobs and preserve the things that their
constituents sent them to Washington for.
SHRUM: Look, the president has set out a jobs plan that I think he
can take to the country that can enable him to show that he and the
Democrats are fighting for hardworking people, out of work people, the
middle class. And Alex is right. You have people -- you have folks in the
Congress who are pursing their own parochial interests, and you have other
people who think the best way they`re going to run is to run away from the
Well, I have news for them. You run away from the president, you
Look, in 1980, there were all these folks who thought somehow or the
other, Jimmy Carter was going to lose and they were going to be just fine,
and we lost the United States Senate. So I think it is time for Democrats
to say, especially in Congress, the president put down a jobs bill, it`s a
serious piece of legislation. Let`s stop playing legislative patty cake
with it. Let`s get behind him, because this may have to be a Harry Truman
campaign where we talk about the obstructionists in Congress, and I don`t
think Democrats should be among them.
SHARPTON: Alex, when you look at the poll numbers where people were -
- the question was raised, "Do you think we would be better off with John
McCain?" And McCain probably would be stronger than any other Republicans
out now. Look at what the poll numbers said that people -- comparing
whether or not they felt the country would be better with John McCain,
things would be better, 29 percent. About the same, 28 percent. Things
would be worse, 35 percent.
This is in the face of all of these questions about President Obama`s
leadership. If you look at the polls, would president compare to any of
the leading Republican candidates? He wins.
Now, what I`m saying is, with the poll numbers clearly behind the
president, with every polling organization saying that the American public
support the jobs bill in terms of what it stands for, why, if you are on
his team, would you start talking about sacking the quarterback?
WAGNER: Well, I think -- look -- and I`m not making the case for
this, but I`m saying there is a real sense of disillusionment and fear out
there. And if we`re looking at Reagan, in 1984 the unemployment rate was
7.2 percent during election time. So President Obama would be lucky to
have those numbers in 2012.
There`s maybe a sense that we are at an historic period. And for that
reason, I think on a certain level maybe you can`t begrudge folks for
thinking there`s got to be another solution out there. And whether that
means sort of disavowing the president at a time when he needs all of his
support is another question entirely, but I think we are in a different
time than we were in 2004 and --
SHARPTON: Well, no, there`s no question we`re in a different time.
The question is, how do you raise the questions?
And they are raising questions about a jobs bill, they are raising
questions that have nothing to do with advancing the times. They are
whining. In the words of the quotable Bob Shrum, and I`m going to give
them their reward and all the exposure that they can handle.
If you`re going to cry, it won`t be in a closet. It will be right
here on POLITICS NATION.
Bob Shrum and Alex Wagner, thank you and have a great weekend.
SHRUM: Thanks, Reverend.
WAGNER: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, a closer look at John Boehner`s claim that he
and President Obama are on two different planets. The president is here on
Earth. So what planet is Mr. Boehner from?
Plus, the Perry machine is rolling over the competition, but he may
have a big problem come November 12th -- November 2012.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can`t afford to drag
our feet any longer. Not at a time when we should be doing everything we
can to create good middle class jobs to put Americans back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: President Obama was out again once again taking his jobs
message to the American people. But the question is, how can the president
turn his message into a reality when Republicans like John Boehner are
living in a different world?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Sometimes the
conversations that we have would be like two groups of people from two
different planets who barely understand each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: From what we`ve seen, Republicans are from another planet.
They`re obsessed with the deficits, but Americans just want jobs.
And today, Republicans went on record against the infrastructure
investment President Obama wants as part of his jobs plan, saying it`s just
"adding more money to a broken system."
Joining me now is Chris Hayes, host of the -- "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES" is
the name of his show, and it premiers tomorrow morning right here on MSNBC.
Chris from "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES," thank you for stopping by this
CHRIS HAYES, HOST, "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES": Thank you for having me on.
SHARPTON: On the eve of the big premier. You should be somewhere
getting all ready, and you came by, and I`m glad to have you.
Can you help me out? What planet is John Boehner and the Republicans
HAYES: Well, I was trying to figure out how I could make a "denial is
not just a river in Egypt" joke, but I couldn`t get there to name some
planet. But what was so striking to me about the speech yesterday -- I
read it a few times -- there is, I think, if I`m not mistaken, not a single
mention of the financial crisis.
HAYES: There`s a mention of the bailouts. Not a single -- the entire
universe that he is looking at of the economic problems the country faces
has nothing -- in his conception, nothing to do with the worst financial
crisis in 70 years, and the fact that the deregulated banking system
essentially almost imploded the entire global financial economy.
Everything is Barack Obama`s fault. It`s too much regulation, it`s
business uncertainty, it`s saying mean things about job creators.
Everything that economists say, everything that any sane-thinking
person who looks at our economy comes away thinking is that we are
suffering through the recession we are suffering through because of the
crisis that happened in 2008, not because Barack Obama was elected and
initiated new regulations. It`s just a preposterous theory of the case.
SHARPTON: But this was his speech on jobs creation and he didn`t
mention it, and he was speaking where? Tell them, Chris. I mean, it`s not
like he was just talking somewhere. This was specifically a venue to have
the kind of speech you`re talking about.
HAYES: That`s right. Well, first of all, the other striking thing is
that it was like he pulled the speech out of a right-wing time capsule.
I mean, there was nothing in there responding to what is actually
happening right now at this moment. He wants to talk about how we`re going
to have a long-term healthy economic future and we have to close loopholes
in the tax code, which I think we should close loopholes in the tax code.
But there`s just no sense of immediacy or urgency about the jobs crisis in
anyone in the Republican Party. I mean, they want to use it as an
invocation to attack the president and to attack presidents, but they don`t
actually seem particularly motivated to do anything in the short term that
is going to boost job growth.
SHARPTON: No, but you`re missing the point. They`re on another
planet. They are not talking the way we are talking. They are on another
They`re not in a time capsule. They`re in a capsule, period. We`re
on one planet, they`re on another. That`s why they made an issue about the
birth certificates, because I think on their planet they use a different
way of finding (ph) birth.
But anyway, Chris, tell me about your show we`re excited about on
Saturday and Sunday morning. So we can wake up and watch you even before I
go to preach.
HAYES: Yes, that`s right, Rev. I know you`re an early riser on the
weekend, so this would be perfect for you to get up, make some coffee.
We`re 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. It`s going to be --
we`re going to try to make it informal and conversational. We`re going to
be having a bunch of great people. I hope you`ll join me sometimes.
HAYES: We`ll have some really smart folks trying to basically chew
through the week`s news and get to the stories that really matter, and also
have fun in the way that you would if you were getting together with a
bunch of smart friends over brunch to sort of figure out what the heck is
going on and what is John Boehner thinking. And we`re going to look back
to the week, we`re going to look forward to the week ahead, and I think
it`s going to be pretty fun.
SHARPTON: Now, who do you have as your first guest tomorrow morning?
HAYES: We have, thanks to my outstanding executive producer, Jonathan
Larson (ph), we have Nancy Pelosi.
HAYES: She is, as you may know, the first female Speaker of the
House, current House Minority Leader. We`re going to have actually a rare
treat, which is that she`s going to be here in New York, in the studio with
me, in the latter part of the show. So I`m extremely excited about that.
And I have a lot of questions I want to ask her.
We`re also going to have Rachel Maddow Sunday morning, so I`m going to
give Rachel a real grilling. I`m going to treat her like a newsmaker
interview and really rake her over the coals.
SHARPTON: And make sure you tell Ms. Pelosi I started the crybaby
HAYES: I will.
SHARPTON: -- and I will be bringing her names and putting them in the
official congressional record.
Chris, let me say this. Before I left New York, I got you a present.
HAYES: This is --
SHARPTON: It should be under the desk. Go ahead. I want to you open
it up because I want people to know I gave you a gift.
HAYES: I`ll need it.
HAYES: I`m sure my wife is going to appreciate how loud this is.
SHARPTON: What time are you getting up in the morning?
HAYES: That`s right. I`m sure my wife is going to be happy of how
loud this is.
SHARPTON: All right. And I`m going to be up watching you Saturday
and Sunday mornings. I get up early, but I will be not only up, but I`ll
turned on because I`ll be "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES."
Thank you so much, Chris.
HAYES: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: And I`ll be talking to you and I`ll see you in the morning.
It will be me screaming at the screen at you, saying, "Go get them, Chris."
So you probably heard Rick Perry and Donald Trump had dinner the other
night. I wonder if Trump came away impressed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Well, I had dinner last
night with Jim (sic) Perry. I was impressed with him. I`m meeting with
Mitt Romney next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Say what? Did Trump just call Perry by the wrong name?
Let me see that again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I had dinner last night with Jim (sic) Perry. I was
impressed with him. I`m meeting with Mitt Romney next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Perry must have made quite an impression, but he`s got
bigger things to worry about. New evidence today that Rick Perry is Mr.
But first, I just can`t get enough of Republican hypocrisy on the
stimulus. This time a good chunk of their presidential field is involved.
Folks, sometimes it`s almost too easy.
SHARPTON: Attacking the stimulus is practically a requirement for
republican presidential hopefuls, but the candidates can`t seem to help
campaigning off the good work that the stimulus has done. Here`s what the
candidates say about the stimulus and President Obama`s economic policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to use every ounce of my experience to get
America working again. And by the way, that doesn`t happen with a little
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The stimulus didn`t work.
JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president has had over
two years to fix this economy and he has failed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But they are only too happy to use companies that have
received stimulus money as campaign backdrops. In July, Willard, Mitt
Romney, to it an Ohio plant. They`ve got $220,000 worth of stimulus
contracts. The next month, Willard held an evened in Iowa, at a company
that also got about 200,000 in stimulus funds. And Willard`s not the only
one who has done the photo ops that these places that have benefited from
the stimulus. Michele Bachmann railed against President Obama. At a South
Carolina Technical College, that one more than $2.5 million from the
stimulus programs. And Jon Huntsman spoke at a at a New Hampshire firm,
that we see more than three million in stimulus contracts. I`m confused.
If the stimulus was such a waste of money, then why are these Republicans
promoting businesses that benefited from the taxpayer`s help and the
stimulus programs? Nice try, guys. But we`ve got you.
SHARPTON: Rick Perry is trying to hold on to his front-runner status
by pounding his closest opponent, Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Government mandated, government-run
health care. It is part of what he put in place as the governor of
Massachusetts. It is time -- I think it`s very important that we put
someone, as our nominee, that does not blur the lines between President
Obama and the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Maybe Rick Perry is on the offense because he doesn`t want
to defend his own record. A new report says, unemployment in Texas has
risen to 8.5 percent. The highest level in over 20 years. So much for the
Texas miracle. And 37 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of
independents say, Perry`s Ponzi scheme stands on Social Security. We heard
his chances of winning the White House. Some folks are calling Perry the
Marlboro man but I wonder if he`s really unelectable.
Joining me now is Nia-Malika Henderson, a political reporter for "The
Washington Post." And Bob Franken, King Features syndicated columnist, and
Matt Mackowiak of GOP -- Mackowiak, I`m sorry about that.
MATT MACKOWIAK, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: That`s all right. Thanks.
SHARPTON: They blurred the screen here. Mackowiak of GOP consultant.
Now, Matt, let me start with you. You wrote in the New York post an Op-Ed
piece that I found very interesting because it runs counter to all of these
things that I just said in the intro about Mr. Perry on the offensive and
his unemployment record now in Texas, et cetera. You are arguing that
perhaps in a normal year, the more moderate candidate would be more
electable but these times the GOP needs bold, colors, not pale pastels to
win et cetera, et cetera in your argument you`re really saying that you,
who did not support Rick Perry before for governor, thinks Rick Perry is
the guy to run and win the republican nomination in regard to the White
MACKOWIAK: That`s right, Reverend. I think that this election is
going to be different and I know, you and I have different ideological
viewpoints but President Obama really only has one option as to his
negative campaign. His poll numbers are so low. The economy is so bad
that he`s going to use his billion dollars next year to try to destroy the
republican candidate and try to win in a similar way to what George W. Bush
did in 2004. And so, because of that, I think we need a strong candidate
on the economy, press Republicans, and we need a strong candidate with the
base and I believe that Perry is a stronger candidate among the base and
And I think that Perry actually, a stronger record on the economy too.
You just made a point about unemployment being high in Texas compared to
previous years. It`s higher everywhere because of the national economy.
Texas has still created million private sector jobs, and a time, the
SHARPTON: What happened to the Texas.
MACKOWIAK: Hang on. Has lost 2.5 million. Pardon?
SHARPTON: But Matt, come on. Bob, what happened to the Texas
miracle, you can`t say that you had a Texas miracle and you produced jobs
while the president hasn`t and then turn around and have the highest
numbers and all of a sudden, say, well, everybody, the definition of
America is you do what others can`t do.
BOB FRANKEN, KING FEATURES SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I think that.
SHARPTON: Go ahead, Bob. I want Bob to deal with the miracle, I`ll
come back to Matt when I get back.
FRANKEN: And if I say anything that is really interesting, it will be
a miracle. But it`s interesting that Rick Perry is spending so much time
attacking the Massachusetts health care plan probably trying to divert
attention away from the fact that Texas hardly has a health care plan.
He`s got one of the highest uninsured rates in the country, I believe the
unbiased uninsured rate, and it`s got a variety of other problems when it
comes to the delivery of health care. But as far as the contention by Matt
that there`s going to be a negative campaign, this is already extremely
negative. They`ve called President Obama about every name but Barack and
if you want a republican, if you want a negative campaign against the
Republican, it`s being conducted by the Republicans themselves.
SHARPTON: Nia, you always had a voice of reason on Friday evening
before I go into my weekend. Can Rick Perry take this Social Security
position and other positions into a general election and win? Ultimately,
Republicans are going to have to nominate someone they think can win. Is
Rick Perry an electable candidate?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Romney and other
Republicans are saying, no. Romney has come out to say that Perry stands
on Social Security calling it a Ponzi scheme would mean that he would be
obliterated in the general election. If you look at the polls that have
come out recently, most of them show that both Perry and Romney would lose
in a matchup right now against Obama. But if you look at those poll
numbers, they are sort of close. I think, you know, Perry loses by like
nine and Romney loses by about five. So, I think there is going to be some
questioning about whether or not that is true. I think one of the things
that Perry is betting on is that this election or this electorate looks a
lot like 2004, meaning that this is an electorate, well, if they swell out
the base in terms of evangelicals, conservative voters, that they can
really eke out an election win here in the way that Bush did.
He won that election by about three million votes. So, that`s the
argument here. That, of course, ignores the 20 million or so surge voters
that turned out in 2008 for Obama and, of course, that is what the
challenge is for Barack Obama to really reengage those young voters, black
and brown folks, who went to the polls for the first time in 2008. So,
we`ve got to see if he`s going to be able to make those connections. We
see him going to college campuses now for instance, and reaching out to his
base and that is certainly something that we will continue to see him do.
SHARPTON: Now, Matt, Mr. Romney this week when he was questioned
about his kind of vice presidential choice he would have, if he were to be
the nominee, he surprised a few people saying that he respected and admired
MACKOWIAK: Yes. No, I`m not surprised, Reverend Sharpton.
MACKOWIAK: I mean, I know that you and I have yet a different view --
view points but Vice President Cheney has served this country`s distinction
and honor for very many three or four decades, in fact. But what Romney
was trying to do there I think was trying to really send a signal to the
base that he`s not a moderate. When in fact, his record and viewpoints
over the last three or four decades have shown that. He was prochoice up
until I think 2003 for mischievous carrier. He almost says a problem in
terms of having this health care reform plan that he passed in
Massachusetts. Well, look, ultimately this election is going to be about
Obama. I know the folks on the left are going to try to make it about Tea
Party being extreme.
Republican Party being extreme. It`s got to be about Obama. He`s the
incumbent, he`s going to have to make the case in his record has succeeded.
And if you look across country Reverend Sharpton, the polls show that that
is not the case. He`s in bad shape politically in state like California,
which no republican has won since 1984. Right now, it looks competitive.
So, if you look at those head to head polls between Perry and Obama right
now. Those don`t tell you much. Perry has name ideas know where near what
the president says.
SHARPTON: No, I think, Bob, help me. I think I`d saw a poll the
other day where the president has gone up in California and every time Rick
Perry speaks, I think he will go up even higher if Rick Perry keeps talking
about Ponzi schemes and things of that sort. Bob, do you think the
president is weak when you see these polls that say he wins against anyone
of the top three republican candidates?
FRANKEN: Well, I`m not in agreement with you and some of the others
who feel that there is no reason to be concerned among the Democrats. The
simple fact of the matter is that because it sends a fair play or whatever
it is, Barack Obama and his people have allowed the Republicans to paint a
picture of him and they have had some success and so they have really
increased his negatives and this is going to be a negative campaign but it
has been one since election day in 2008.
SHARPTON: Well, let me thank you Nia-Malika for the voice of reason
and, Bob. And let me thank you, Matt Mackowiak. Let me tell you something
Matt. The difference between Donald Trump and I is I messed up your name
but I know your name. Tell Rick Perry next time, bring a business card.
So, maybe Donald can at least remember his name. Thank you all of you.
Have a great weekend.
HENDERSON: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Up next, more from my interview with New York Mayor Michael
SHARPTON: I`ve had my differences with Mayor Bloomberg over the years
but he has pursued some bold agendas nationally that I do support and I
work with. Here`s one, and I`m going to discuss it here in the second half
of my interview with him in which we talk about efforts in which to stop
the flow of guns in American cities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: Gun policy in different states
and the federal government generally should make policy. We want them to
enforce federal laws that prohibit people with psychiatric problems from
having guns. Even though the Congress requires background checks, there
are some loopholes like at a gun show where you don`t have to have a
background check and we want Congress to close that loophole. We used to
have a law against assault rifles. When I was doing a parade the other day
or two weeks ago, in the crowd, the cops grabbed the guy with an AK-47. It
was at IHOP in some state. Some guy walked with some AK-47 -- parade in
Nevada. Just sitting at a table. This is craziness.
There`s a movement in Congress to require all states to recognize gun
permits in other states. There are some states where it`s basically just
mail-in. You can be a criminal and have an enormous record and still buy
and carry a gun. Every state should have a right to say, we do or do not
want people doing that on the streets in our cities. In New York City for
example, crime continues to come down to below words ever been before. And
there are plenty of with the safest big city in the country but we still.
SHARPTON: Still have a lot of work to do?
BLOOMBERG: We still have a lot of work to do. And the biggest
problem we have in New York City and it really is true in other big cities,
is that black and Latinos boys are twice as likely.
SHARPTON: Tell me about the initiative you`re doing because in
education, that`s the one area that you and I have said that all of us have
to work together. In fact, you and Newt Gingrich and I met with President
Obama about a very early in his campaign.
BLOOMBERG: There we were. You, Newt, and I and the president.
SHARPTON: That`s right.
BLOOMBERG: Look, black and Latino voters are twice as likely as white
children to grow up in poverty. Twice as likely to drop out of school.
Twice as likely to end up out of work. Far more likely than their peers to
become violent criminals. If you take a look who`s killing whom and who
gets killed, it`s exactly the same groups. It`s these young kids,
minorities, lot of broken families, little education, no future, no
understanding of how they can if they want to fit in and become productive
citizens and have a good life.
SHARPTON: But I think the new racism and I`ve used that term is low
expectations, just allowing people to feel based on who they are. And
BLOOMBERG: Well, when I came into office I said, that`s not going to
happen. We have raised teacher salaries in New York City by 105 percent
over the last ten years whereas everybody else`s salaries have only gone up
about 32 percent. Because I think education is the most important thing
and we weren`t paying our good teachers and nothing, they were leaving.
So, we`ve been doing something about it. And we`ve closed the ethnic gap,
the way black and Latino kids score versus white kids, we`ve cut them in
half, but it`s still big and it`s still there. So, we`ve started this
program. The city put in $22.5 million in city taxpayers, Reverend --
George Soros, a philanthropist, Hedge Fund manager agreed to put in $30
million. By foundation put in $30 million.
And so, we have some $127 million that we`re going to do to go out and
show the world that private-public partnerships that we can make a
difference in education, health, employment and the juvenile justice
system. We are trying to do some new programs, giving them education,
giving them mentors and focusing on the schools that have shown some
progress and giving them more resources to really focus on black and Latino
kids and explain to them what is required and how they really have an
opportunity. All they`ve got to do is get to work and devote themselves
and these kids have special needs, and this is going to let us knew that.
And then there`s employment. These kids, they were hacking to get a job.
A lot of them don`t have an I.D. If you don`t have an I.D. and somebody
asks you to fill out a form, when did you ever go and fill out a form for
anything? That doesn`t.
SHARPTON: So, this initiative helps job for preparation.
BLOOMBERG: Giving them the skills, giving them the family life,
giving them the opportunity, employment opportunities, getting mentors in
the schools. And companies that are willing to give them summer jobs, or
internships, and that sort of thing. And then working with the kids who
are going in and out of the justice system. We`re going to have a program,
moving probation offices to where the kids are. So that the probation
officer can see whether the kid is following what he`s supposed to do and
if he starts to drop off the straight and narrow, get them to come back on.
And say, hey, if you don`t do this, you`re going right back to jail.
We just can`t sit around. And some people say, this isn`t the right
things. Maybe they are not. And if you`ve got an idea, let`s go do some
more things. But at least, things to George Soros, and the taxpayers at
city in New York. We are doing some things and trying new things. The old
things at some good. But they`re not working and it was near as much.
Here are new things. Will they work? I think so and I hope so. We work
hard on it. We will continue to work hard.
SHARPTON: We will be watching Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And we agree
we`ll work together. We disagree and have a civilized conversation. I do
want you to get Warren Buffett -- I agree with Buffett. I have to say
BLOOMBERG: If you disagree with me, Al, I will defend your right to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his time, and I told him, I
will defend his right to be wrong as I think he is sometime. I`m here
tonight in Atlanta rallying for justice. Death row inmate, Troy Davis will
be executed next week. FOX show it would be the ultimate injustice.
SHARPTON: This week we`ve been reporting on the a death row inmate
Troy Davis set to be executed next week for the 1989 murder of a police
officer. Davis` last chance to appeal the Georgia board of pardons is on
Monday. But so far, the process has been right full injustice. For his
1997 appeal, Troy was unable to afford a lawyer. And was not given one by
the courts. Pro bono groups took on his case. But Congress last their
funding. No surprise, Troy Davis lost that appeal. Davis was convicted on
the testimony of nine eyewitnesses, since then, seven of them have recanted
or changed their stories. And so far more than 660,000 people have signed
petitions demanding clemency. But we also can`t lose sight of the tragic
fact that an innocent man has already dead. Officer MacPhail`s family lost
a son, a husband, and a father.
His family deserves justice. But justice is not served if the wrong
man is executed. When Troy`s family reached out to me a couple of years
ago. And I visited him on death row with other courageous men, I was
convinced that you cannot with no physical evidence, no DNA, and with the
recanting of seven of the nine witnesses take a man`s life. Yes, one
innocent man is gone. You do not avenge it by taking another innocent
man`s life. Two wrongs don`t make one civil right. That`s why we`re in
Atlanta tonight. That`s why we`re saying that people around the world need
to understand that you cannot do what is wrong to Troy Davis next week. I
thank you and I hope that you will be watching this case.
Thanks for watching the show. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts
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