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PoliticsNation, Monday, Septebmer 19th, 2011

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Guests: John Larson, Jared Bernstein, Dana Milbank, Bill Press, Joe
Madison, Perry Bacon, Jr., Josh Trevino, Barry Scheck


REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Tonight, President Obama takes the GOP back
to school.

Republicans keep ignoring the average American while keeping
millionaires and billionaires happy with tax cuts.

Plus, extra credit. Not so fast, 2012 candidates. Do you seriously
think you`ll make the grade by trying to privatize Social Security?

And the race to save death row inmate Troy Davis, five judges, one
life-or-death decision. It could be the ultimate injustice.

Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, the war over class warfare.

Today, a defiant President Obama put forth his plan for reducing the
deficit. He wants to protect Medicare and Social Security while making
corporations and the rich pay their fair share in taxes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Middle class families
shouldn`t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That`s
pretty straightforward. Warren Buffett`s secretary shouldn`t pay a higher
tax rate than Warren Buffett. There`s no justification for it.

We can`t afford to do both. This is not class warfare. It`s math.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president also took a tough stance against the
Republicans, promising he`d veto any GOP deficit plan that wasn`t fair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for
closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that
changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious
revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay
their fair share.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course, Republicans claim that raising taxes on the rich
would somehow kill the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-0H), HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, I don`t believe that
class warfare is leadership. And, you know, we could get into this tax the
rich, tax the rich, but that is not the basis for America. And it`s not
going to get our economy going again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But this isn`t true. President Clinton raised taxes on the
wealthy back in the `90s and the economy took off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When
I became president, we had a different kind of recession, but I asked the
same, the wealthiest Americans who had their incomes grow the most in the
eight years before I took office, and had had repeated tax cuts to give
back some of that money so we could balance the budget and get interest
rates down. And it worked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It worked. Clinton raised taxes on the rich and created 23
million new jobs during his presidency. By contrast, George W. Bush cut
taxes on the wealthy during his time in office, but he created just three
million jobs and left America with a crushing deficit.

Look, folks, as Warren Buffett said a few years ago, there already is
class warfare in this country. Buffett said, "There`s class warfare, all
right, but it`s my class, the rich class, that`s making war. And we`re
winning."

And he`s right. Winning with 9.1 percent unemployment, and they don`t
want to invest in job creation, in the infrastructure? Winning by taking
out a whole battle to eradicate collective bargaining in Wisconsin and
Indiana and wipe out the labor movement? Winning by talking about
privatizing Social Security?

Yes, it`s warfare, and they`re angry because people are saying stop
the war against the working class and the poor and let`s build one nation
that stands fair and equitable for everyone.

Joining me now, Connecticut Congressman John Larson, chairman of the
House Democratic Caucus, a passionate voice focusing on jobs, not cuts.

Thank you for joining me, Congressman.

REP. JOHN LARSON (D-CT.), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS: Happy to
be with you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: The president spoke today. It seemed like the fighting
president that a lot of people have been saying they wanted to see.

He clearly took the position today that he wanted to protect people
that needed the protection, he wanted real shared sacrifice. And I think
he said that he will even veto any move by the super committee that would,
in fact, cut spending and not balance it out with trying to deal with the
new revenues in terms of those new tax laws and the new tax code that he
had proposed.

What is your response to this?

LARSON: Well, I think the president got it right today. Clearly, the
whole concept amongst the American people is one of shared sacrifice and
fairness.

You know, we`re a nation at war. And when you see, as Warren Buffett
pointed out, .3 of one percent of the nation accumulating that kind of
wealth, when the president says taxing people earning over a million
dollars, that`s a million dollars in a year. That`s not a million dollars
in accumulated savings.

The people where I come from, Reverend Al, at Augie & Ray`s in East
Hartford think that it`s a matter of fairness and a matter, quite frankly,
of putting the 14 million people who are unemployed back to work. We know,
and as you pointed out, that job creation equals deficit reduction. And
put them back by investing in our own infrastructure, rebuilding this
country.

SHARPTON: People seem to understand that, Congressman. If you look
at this graph that -- I want to share with you. This is what the American
people are saying.

It seems strange to me that we are looking at this graph that says,
when you ask the American people, raise taxes on the wealthy, $250,000 a
year or more, 56 percent say yes, according to "The New York Times." And
then, it`s not just you and I who are considered maybe centrist or left.
We look at the fact that U.S. corporations are sitting on $2 trillion-plus
in cash.

I mean, this is, in my opinion, an easy one if you look at it and
you`re concerned about the American people.

LARSON: Oh, absolutely. And it`s also patriotic.

When ever in the history of this country have we been at war and not
paid for that war? When in the history of this country have we doled out
tax cuts at the expense of the poorest amongst us as we see more Americans
slip into poverty and we see the middle class continue to be squeezed?

All they want is the simple dignity that comes from a job and the
ability to look across the table at their spouse and their children, and
let them know that they are providers for them. Again, this select
committee, as you`ve heard me say over and over again, ought to take up the
president`s plan for job creation, as well as his proposal here for
fairness.

SHARPTON: Well, when you say fairness, let me tell you, Congressman,
as you tell me why, I want the American people to understand how obscene
this is. Look at the income gains, 1979 to 2007.

The top one percent that you just talked about gained 281 percent in
their income. Income gained 281 percent from `79 to 2007. The bottom 20
percent only went up 16 percent.

What are we talking about? This is supposed to be America. This is
supposed to be a land where we all have a fair chance. How do you have
that kind of imbalance in income growth?

LARSON: Well, you know, I think Roosevelt said it best of our
colleagues on the other side of the aisle. And there are reasonable
colleagues under there. As you pointed out in polling data, they
understand, not only all Americans, but Republicans understand the fairness
behind this. But we have a few, as Roosevelt said, that are frozen in the
ice of their own indifference towards working America.

SHARPTON: Wow.

LARSON: As you rightfully point out, that`s the war that`s taking
place on labor. That`s the war that`s squeezing Americans. And all for
what? Over a political fight for power.

Listen, put America back to work. Give this president what every
president should be entitled to, an up-or-down vote on his agenda, on his
plan.

Put it before the select committee so it can`t be subject to the
cloture vote in the Senate which could hold it up for eternity, or to
poison pill amendments in the House. An up-or-down vote on the economy,
and putting 14 million Americans back to work, lowering our deficit and
creating fairness, that`s what the country is crying for, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Well, I agree with you. And I agree with the cries around
the country.

Congressman John Larson, thank you so much for your time.

LARSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now let`s bring in Jared Bernstein, former chief economist
to Vice President Biden. He`s now an MSNBC contributor and senior fellow
for the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

Jared, when we look at the disparities in terms of income, I mean,
it`s amazing to me. I just showed a graph to Congressman Larson about from
-- in the last years from `79 to 2007, 281 percent increase for the rich.
Only 16 percent increase for the bottom 20 percent.

I mean, and then they look at us when we talk about shared sacrifice
as if there`s somebody trying to harm them to say, you can`t keep having
tax cuts. Look at the kind of profits they`re making. It is amazing to me
that somebody would try to justify continuing this kind of unequal
relationship.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I agree. And by the way, I made
a graph that had those numbers in it this very morning. And if you
actually look at when those income gains did occur for the bottom or the
middle, they were about 1979 to around 1999 or so. I mean, those folks --

SHARPTON: I`m looking at that graph now. Go ahead.

BERNSTEIN: They`ve just gotten nowhere since 1999. The middle income
family, median household income peaked back there in 1999. And it`s down
4,000 bucks in real dollars since then.

Look, Reverend, at some level, I kind of want to almost talk past you
and me and Congressman Larson and just speak to anyone who`s in that top
one percent or .5 percent if they happen to be listening, and ask them,
just how much is enough and how much do you care about this country and
people walking into your factory and into your store and employing
Americans? And how much do you care about retirement security here in this
--

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Well, let me say something to you, Jared. The CEO at
Google did address this.

BERNSTEIN: Exactly.

SHARPTON: We`re not talking about just some -- they try to act like
some wild-eyed liberals. Let`s listen to what the former CEO of Google,
Eric Schmidt, what he himself had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC SCHMIDT, FMR. CEO, GOOGLE: The crunch (ph) strategy is
ludicrous. You have a situation where the private sector sees essentially
no growth in demand.

The classic solution is to have the government step in and, with
short-term initiatives, help stimulate that demand. It needs not just
something like the jobs bill, but also significant government stimulation
in terms of buying power and investment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that`s Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. This is no
guy that`s running around leading a labor union or leading jobs marches.

So what are we talking about here? The American people need to
understand the gravity of this, Jared.

BERNSTEIN: That`s right. And it`s an important -- I was on a radio
show the other day with Bill Gross, who`s the bond trader who runs the firm
PIMCO. I mean, this guy is worth billions of dollars, and he said exactly
the same thing.

You know, I think sometimes what happens in this town is the
representatives of these people don`t really represent them at all. I
mean, there are lots of business folks out there who understand the kind of
shared sacrifice that the president was talking about today, not because
they`re good Democrats and good patriots -- many of them are -- but because
it`s an insight that Henry Ford had a century or so ago, which is that if
people don`t have any income in their paychecks, they`re not going to walk
in your door and they`re not going to create a business climate that you
can flourish in.

And, sure, you can go abroad and do all you want in the emerging
economies outside this country, but ultimately if this country can`t grow
because the broad middle class is getting whacked by all this inequality, I
mean, that`s not class warfare, that`s math.

SHARPTON: And it`s for people that, to me, are just -- when you look
at -- let me show you one last graph, Jared. It`s very important.

BERNSTEIN: Sure.

SHARPTON: When you look at the amount of wealth in this country
controlled by just one percent, one percent of the top rich or wealthy in
this country controls 40 percent of the wealth. One percent.

So we`re protecting people that are in control of 40 percent of the
wealth in this country. It`s like when I saw the movie where they say,
"What`s your number? What`s your number?" He says, "My number is more."
It`s like they never get enough.

And when working class people are just asking for a break, they want
to fix bridges and schools and tunnels in their own communities, live off
the sweat of their brow, they`re accused of class warfare? They`re the
ones that had the warfare perpetrated on them.

BERNSTEIN: You always have to beware -- when the guy who`s winning
the fight tries to tell you there is no fight going on, that`s the time
when you want to kind of perk up your ears.

SHARPTON: Well, when I worry is when he and the referees say don`t
swing back.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

SHARPTON: Jared Bernstein, thanks as always.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Rick "Ponzi Scheme" Perry is making Social
Security a wedge issue inside his own party. How bad is it hurting the
Republicans?

Plus, President Obama got tough today. Are you Republicans ready for
more?

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today we saw a side of the president we hadn`t seen for a
while -- his fighting side, ready to take on his political opponents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So the Speaker says we can`t have it my way or the highway,
and then basically says, my way or the highway. That`s not smart. It`s
not right. If we`re going to meet our responsibilities, we have to do it
together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And ready to fight for what`s fair for every American.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share
in taxes, or we`re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare.
We can`t afford to do both.

I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax
rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare. I think it`s just the
right thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans, you asked for leadership? How do you like it?

Joining me now, Dana Milbank, national political reporter for "The
Washington Post," and Bill Press, host of "The Bill Press Show" on Sirius
XM Radio.

Thanks for your time tonight.

Dana, the president came out tough and strong. I was jumping up and
down in my office. You could see it took me 15 minutes to sit down on the
show tonight. I couldn`t sit down. That`s what I wanted to see.

What do you make of this tougher president?

DANA MILBANK, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST":
That`s right. Well, Bill and I were there in the Rose Garden, and I had to
calm Bill down a little bit, because he was so fired up about this.

(LAUGHTER)

MILBANK: And I think it is -- you know, whether or not you even agree
with the policy that the president is putting forth, he`s finally showing
some leadership here. And what he had been doing in the past is he comes
out, and his first bid there is really where he wants to end up with. The
joke is that he`s showing up for a strip poker match and wearing only his
boxer shorts. So finally the guy is coming out --

SHARPTON: I don`t think that`s funny, Dana. But go ahead.

MILBANK: OK. He`s finally coming out here and demanding more than he
expects to get, and says, look, I`m going to take it to you Republicans.
They can howl about class warfare. Fine, let them howl about class
warfare.

They`re going to howl about it anyway. They`re going to call him a
socialist anyway. He might as well demand big things. You know what? He
may actually get more this way.

SHARPTON: Well, Bill, the Republicans` responses were typical. Let
me just go through quickly the top contenders on the Republican side.

Perry says, it`s "a bait and switch." Willard Mitt Romney says it`s
"crushing impact on economic growth." I don`t know how he calculated that
one. And Michele Bachmann says, it`s "Warfare on millions of small
businesses, on charities, and on middle class America."

I mean, it is expected response, but it`s really not saying much in
terms of addressing, why shouldn`t millionaires and billionaires pay their
fair share?

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, pretty weak, too.

First of all, I just want to thank Dana for restraining me today. I
would have been thrown out of the Rose Garden if I had cheered.

But, listen, he was on fire today. It was not a campaign setting, but
it was a campaign speech. And he really showed leadership, and he showed
backbone, and he showed fight. And I think the American people want a
fighter.

And when he took it to John Boehner twice by name, I mean, I thought
that was really, really good, strong stuff. But the key question, Reverend
Al, as you point out, is, they can`t just say, look, this is class warfare
and then run away from it.

His basic question is, why shouldn`t the wealthiest men in America pay
the same rate of taxes as his barber does or his driver does or the guy
that cuts his lawn? And if they can`t answer that question, they`re in bad
shape.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that was what was so appealing. If you
listen to this, it was beyond the partisan. He talked about, let`s just
talk about what`s fair.

PRESS: Right.

SHARPTON: Look at this part of what the president said about just
what is unfair or not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or
a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax
rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can`t
change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to
protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be
called out. They should have to defend that unfairness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Unfairness.

How do they get around the fact that it is just blatantly unfair,
Dana?

MILBANK: You know, I think sometimes the problem is the president
gets bogged down in this debate about how much we cut from this program,
$10 billion here, $100 billion here. He doesn`t speak to that larger
issue. And he did that today.

He said, this really isn`t about the ledger or the balance sheet, it
is about what`s fair. That`s why I think he should invite that class
warfare argument there, because he may find that the Republicans will back
down.

But at the very least, he`s finally going to have people in his own
base saying, look, the guy finally planted a flag, there`s something to
rally around here. What the president needs to do is keep saying this, not
just give a good speech, as he did today, and move on to some other issue.
He has got to keep hammering away at this.

PRESS: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Now, Bill, we`ve seen this work before, because even Bill
Clinton -- I said in the first segment to Congressman Larson, when Clinton
raised taxes, he also generated jobs. He was questioned about this today.

Look at what former president Bill Clinton said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Republicans in Washington always say the same thing -- any
tax on any upper-income person is bad because they`re job creators. It`s
an insult to those people. They don`t mind being asked to pay their fair
share.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, here`s a man talking that, whether we agree or
disagree on all his policies, left this country in a surplus. And he`s
agreeing with President Obama.

PRESS: Look, Reverend Al, you have two very clear contrasts here.
One, President Clinton raised tax on the wealthy, as you pointed out
earlier, 23 million private sector jobs, new jobs, created. George Bush
cut taxes on the wealthy, we lost eight million jobs. So cutting taxes on
the wealthy does not work to create jobs.

But the other contrast that President Obama again today made is he
wants to cut taxes, extend the tax cut for the middle class, and end the
tax cut for the wealthy. And the Republicans have said right flat out they
want to end the tax cut for the middle class and extend the tax cut for the
wealthy.

You cannot have a clearer contrast going into 2012. And Dana`s right.
If he stays on that message, I think Obama has got a winning message.

SHARPTON: No, I think he does, because I think that the American
people are clear, according to all polls, what it is. And I just think
I`ll have a hard time finding my seat. I`ll be up jumping up and down for
a long time. But I like it. It will keep my weight down.

PRESS: The only question is, where`s he been for the last three
years, right?

SHARPTON: But you know what? You can look for him after the next
election. Let`s stay on the point here to get some jobs for the American
people.

PRESS: Got it.

SHARPTON: Bill and Dana, thanks for your time tonight.

PRESS: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a congresswoman complained today -- a congressman
complained today he only has $400,000 to feed his family. Only $400,000.
Wow!

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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all of you.

Just ahead, today President Obama vowed to protect Social Security.
But republican pretenders are pandering the exact opposite. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. There are some hot political stories today.
And here to talk about them are Joe Madison, a Sirius examine radio talk
show host. Jerry Baker, Jr., White House correspondent for "The Washington
Post." And Josh Trevino, vice president of communication at the
conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. Thank you for joining me
tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: First, let`s talk about Social Security. The president
made it clear today, overhauling Social Security is not the key to getting
the economy back on track.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Social Security is not the
primary cause of our deficits, but it does face long-term challenges as our
country grows older and both parties are going to need to work together on
a separate track to strengthen Social Security for our children and
grandchildren.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, there`s no doubt Democrats want Social Security for
generations to come. Eighty one percent of Democrats say that Social
Security should continue to exist. But Republicans seem to be divided.
Fifty five percent of Republicans and 53 percent of independents say Social
Security should be kept intact, while 41 percent of Republicans and 36
percent of independents say, it should be overhauled entirely. Josh, has
Social Security become the new litmus test for the Republican Party?

JOSH TREVINO, TEXAS PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION: Well, I don`t know if
it`s become a litmus test. But it`s a conversation that`s happening not
just within the Republican Party, but as you just showed with that polling
result, that`s happening among the ranks of independents as well.
Americans are very concerned about the viability of Social Security in the
long run. And while there`s nobody who`s proposing ending it in any
fashion, there is support for restructuring it and looking at how it can be
improved. I think that`s a conversation that most of the nation wants to
have. Not just conservatives and not just Republicans.

SHARPTON: But Joe, they`re not just talking about changing it. In
the last republican debate, it became clear at least the leading candidates
are talking about some form of privatizing it, which is something that
raises a red flag with many of us.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: You know, Reverend, the two of us
go way back. And I think we can go back to the debates I used to have on
talk radio with conservatives when I was working at a conservative station
with the likes of Oliver North and others, they wanted to end Social
Security. That was the debate that they wanted to have. But I`ll quote
two great Americans, Franklin Roosevelt, I can`t believe I`m saying this,
Ronald Reagan and agreeing with him. You do not touch Social Security.
The president made it very clear. He said, look, we`ve got to strengthen
it.

And there are ways to do that. And I think that you take those
numbers, you sit down in a room and let`s figure out how you, yes, keep the
elderly protected, grandma protected. And at the same time for people who
simply don`t trust Wall Street, that you allow them this insurance that
they`ll have something in their old age even when they`re Josh`s age.
That`s really what it`s all about. It`s an insurance. It`s never was
meant to be an investment.

SHARPTON: And Perry, I`m coming to you, because I want to deal with
the politics of this and how you as an objective reporter see that. But
Josh, I have to ask you. When you hear the Republicans and the right
wingers talk about, no, we just want to reform it, I think that`s what he`s
saying and changed it. How do you call something a Ponzi scheme and a
monstrous lie and say you want to reform it? You don`t reform lies. You
don`t reform Ponzi schemes. You put them out of business. I mean, you
can`t have it both ways, Josh.

TREVINO: Well, no, you can`t actually. And -- speak from an
experiential deficit being so much younger than Gerald, but I can`t say in
this particular case that, you know, the Ponzi scheme descriptor of Social
Security, since you`re bringing that up has been used for years back.
Mitch Daniels has used it. Milton Friedman used it. Paul Krugman used it
back in 1996 before he became a celebrity. And yet Social Security has
been continually reformed over the years. And there`s no reason it can`t
be done again now. Some of the.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

SHARPTON: Of course, Josh, of course Josh, along with age goes
wisdom.

TREVINO: I`ve not seen a lot of data for that.

MADISON: And the wisdom of top politics. And the Republicans are
going to learn this, Social Security is the third rail. Don`t touch it.

SHARPTON: Well, Josh, young or old learn how to filibuster because he
never addressed my question. You cannot call something a monstrous lie and
a Ponzi scheme until.

TREVINO: Oh, no, no, I answered you directly. Now, you can`t. You
can`t.

SHARPTON: You chose not to answer. I just want you to know.

TREVINO: No, no, no. I brought up Krugman. Krugman wants to reform
it and he called it a Ponzi scheme.

SHARPTON: You do not call something a lie. And Ponzi scheme until
when you want to reform it. But let`s go to Perry. Perry, how do you
successfully run for office and you have declared war on Social Security?
When you look at any of other polls, 50 percent of Americans are less
inclined to support Perry because of his stance on the Ponzi scheme. This
is a tremendous political third rail, as Joe Madison said.

PERRY BACON JR., "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think Perry probably
regrets writing those words in the book. I don`t think it was smart
politically if he was in a presidential run to do that. That said, I sort
of think that you can tell Perry is not going to use that phrase over and
over again. I think you`ll see by the end of the day, Perry, Romney, the
other Republicans are not going to spend a lot of time talking about Social
Security in this campaign. They if you notice are trying to -- I don`t
think they`re even going to put out their privatization plans. Even
there`s a poor privatization, they will not put our plans, that`s not the
issue that they want to talk about. They want to talk about jobs and the
economy. I think they`ll go back to that at some point. I think you`ll
see less talk about this as they go forward.

SHARPTON: But they won`t be able to do that if I keep bringing Josh
on, because Josh is seemingly not trying to apologize and he was trying to
make the best out of a bad situation. And I intend to help Josh as much as
I can because you still seem to act like this is some Ponzi scheme. And by
quoting to me who else called it that doesn`t make it any less. That`s
like going to court saying.

TREVINO: Wait, wait, wait, no. You cite Krugman like scripture,
Reverend. You disagree with Paul Krugman that.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

SHARPTON: I disagree with whoever is saying this is a Ponzi scheme.

TREVINO: All right. And I`m glad to see the daylight between you and
Krugman here, Al.

SHARPTON: I`m not sure you`re quoting Krugman right. But whoever
said it, I`m disagreeing with it. And I`m also saying to be clear, you
can`t reform something that is set up in a way that is only arranged to try
and explain.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

TREVINO: Oh, that`s an odd attack.

MADISON: Hey, Josh, if Al Sharpton said it was a Ponzi scheme, I
would disagree with Al Sharpton.

SHARPTON: That`s right. On Al Sharpton`s show. But you can`t reform
or change something that is designed to just try and take somebody`s money.
That`s what a Ponzi scheme is, Josh. You can`t redefine what it is to try
to save Rick Perry.

TREVINO: Well, then, look, I mean, if you agree that it`s
fundamentally unreformable, then you`re actually arguing by the likes of
some of the leading liberal economists of the day that need to be shutdown.
And nobody saying that -- stuff.

MADISON: No, he didn`t say that. He didn`t say that.

TREVINO: No, no, no, this is not a logical consequence of what he`s
arguing here.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

SHARPTON: Josh changes everything I say. He ought to run for the
republican nomination. Because he`s a great distorter.

MADISON: A Ponzi scheme -- people get into Ponzi schemes, I`ll say it
again, to do what? Get rich quick. Nobody gets rich on Social Security.
It isn`t intended for that.

TREVINO: Yes, I mean, the government, I mean nobody is.

SHARPTON: That you`re selling people dreams and it is not there --
you`re not holding and banking their money. So I mean, come on, you can`t.

TREVINO: So, it`s an aesthetic difference?

SHARPTON: All right. What about monstrous lie? Tell me how you
reform a monstrous lie.

TREVINO: Look, you know, there are lots of examples of reforms. And
look, I`m going to appeal to your experience as.

SHARPTON: No, no, no. How do you reform a monstrous lie? That`s
what Rick Perry called it. How do you reform a monstrous lie? If it`s a
monstrous lie, it`s a monstrous lie.

TREVINO: As structured, yes, it is. Look, the campaign can speak for
itself. But I do think in this particular case, that you can restructure
things so that they are more solvent and more able to be carried on into
the future. And that`s how you reform things like that. Like if you went
on a static grounds, and just end it, and that`s one thing.

SHARPTON: The reason you`re bringing these quotes up is because if
you look at the actual quote, the venom in the quote, monstrous lie, Ponzi
scheme, these people going back to Joe Madison, they are not talking about
reform. They want to eradicate and they are trying to do the moonwalk and
say, we`ll be reformers but they really were saying this must be destroyed.

TREVINO: Name me one person who says that. Who says that? One name
who says that. Tell me.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

MADISON: Josh, excuse me. I`ve been in the talk show business for 30
years. And I`m going to tell you, we can go back -- I`m not lying to you.
We can go back to the Reagan years and the debate was to end Social
Security. And that`s the long-range plan.

SHARPTON: Then they wanted to privatize it. I`ll send you a book
called "Fed Up," Josh. Maybe you should read it before you come on next
time, Josh.

TREVINO: I actually have read it and he doesn`t call for ending it.

SHARPTON: He calls it a monstrous lie and he calls it a Ponzi scheme.

TREVINO: No, he doesn`t.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison, Perry Bacon, Jr. and Josh Trevino, the real
ranger of words. Thank you very much for your time tonight.

MADISON: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in two days for
killing a police officer. The hearing was held today and it will determine
his fate. Barry Scheck joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: With two days to execution, Troy Davis is fighting for his
life. And his supporters are fighting for justice. Today was a critical
day in the death row case that is drawing global attention. More on that
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The eyes of the world are on Georgia today as Troy Davis
fights for his life in a final bid for clemency. Just two days before his
scheduled execution, Davis was found guilty in 1989 for the murder of
police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. The conviction was based largely on
eyewitness testimony. Most of them have since recanted or changed their
stories. Troy`s final appeal was today in a hearing before Georgia`s board
of pardons and parole. Outside the meetings, protesters gathered to call
for clemency, adding their voices to a chorus that includes former
President Jimmy Carter, the pope, 51 members of Congress, 660,000 people
who signed petitions demanding justice. This morning, the board heard from
Troy Davis` defense team about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony,
the very thing that landed him on death row.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP HORTON, LAWYER FOR DAVIS: The jury did not hear a great deal
of the evidence that`s been before the board, both presented today and
that`s been presented to them on paper. They heard a very, very different
case than the case that we know of today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The board will make a decision sometime before Wednesday at
7:00 p.m. when Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. His
life is in their hands.

Joining me now is Barry Scheck, co-director of The Innocence Project
who just today released a study about the unreliability of eyewitness
accounts. Barry, welcome to the show. I was in Atlanta for the protests
on Friday and have been there the last couple of years. And I clearly have
protested this case with National Action Network. You and I have worked on
a lot of cases. What can you tell us about what happened today? I know
that outsiders were not allowed in. But I know you, and I know you have
some sense of what may have went in front of this board today.

BARRY SCHECK, CO-DIRECTOR, THE INNOCENCE PROJECT: Well, we have been
working on this case for a long time, Reverend Sharpton. And Dr. Jennifer
Dysart who was any eyewitness expert at the John Jay School of Criminal
Justice who actually worked on that report that was issued today by The
Innocence Project, the American Judicature Society, she went down there to
testify as a witness. Because as you`ve indicated, there were seven
witnesses that is recanted in this case. But they were the worst
eyewitness procedures you could possibly imagine. The police took
witnesses back to the scene of the crime and stage to re-enactment so all
the witnesses talked to each other. You could never do that today.

SHARPTON: No, no, just a second. Right there. It`s a very important
point. They brought the witnesses and they let the witnesses actually talk
to each other while they were going through what they were supposed to be
describing as what they objectively saw as witnesses?

SCHECK: Right. And all the psychological research shows that that`s
about the worst thing that you can do. And by present best practices, that
would never be allowed today. The police also showed single photos. But
putting all that aside, I mean, this is a terrible eyewitness case and they
all recanted. But the key thing that the board of pardon and paroles
seemed to be interested in today, Reverend Sharpton, is that they heard
from one of the jurors, actually there were three jurors that have recanted
and said, please don`t execute Troy Davis.

SHARPTON: Three jurors that voted him guilty?

SCHECK: Yes. But one of them who was testifying today named Brenda
Forrest (ph) who says that she`s a strong supporter of the death penalty
still, especially for cop killers, but given what she now knows about the
ballistic evidence, which is something that people have not focused on,
there was evidence put before the jury that the bullet that killed officer
MacPhail came from the same gun as a bullet that was fired at a party
reputedly by Troy Davis. Now, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation now
agrees that they can no longer say that the testimony they put before the
jury is reliable and accurate. And they can`t say that the bullet that
killed the officer came from the same gun that was shot at that party. And
so Brenda Forrest told the board of pardon and parole that given that
evidence, she certainly could never have voted to execute Troy Davis at the
penalty phase. And they were very interested in that. They kept on
questioning her about it. And Jen Dysart, Dr. Dysart couldn`t even testify
because they kept on inquiring about that.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s startling information. If you`re given
information and you`re on this board, that a ballistic report that was
given at trial ended up not being accurate and a juror is saying that had I
not had that, I would not have voted him guilty, I think that`s a
compelling piece of evidence that we`ve not really focused on.

SCHECK: Now, that`s exactly what happened. There`s no doubt that the
Georgia Bureau of Investigation is saying that the ballistics testimony is
unreliable and should not have been used. And this juror was questioned at
length by the members of the board because they wanted to know how
important that was in the deliberations. And she said, it was very
important. We discussed it at length. So, that gives me some hope. There
are three new board members. One of the holdover board members is a
prosecutor named Keller. And he was a prosecutor in a case involving
Calvin Johnson who was exonerated with DNA testing. So, I know he at least
knows that these kinds of mistakes can happen.

And I think people really have to understand that, you know, there was
a hearing, a very unusual hearing that a federal judge heard evidence in
this case. And he made a finding that there`s not enough proof here of,
quote, unquote, "Actual innocence to just throw aside the conviction." But
that is a lot different than what the board of pardon parole is supposed to
do. They`re a safety valve. And while you can`t say, oh, legally the
judge was saying that we have definitive proof of actual innocence, but
there`s plenty of substantial doubt here.

SHARPTON: And they can actually stay the execution, couldn`t they?

SCHECK: They can stay it. And maybe hear more evidence. But I`ll
tell you, Reverend Sharpton, you know, I think that the family of the
victim in this case who everybody feels terrible for.

SHARPTON: Right. Absolutely.

SCHECK: You know, this has been going on for years and years. And,
you know, the proof is there. This is, you know, death penalty supporters
like former Congressman Barr, William Sessions, former head of the FBI,
people have looked at this evidence and realize.

SHARPTON: I`ve got to go back. Thank you.

SCHECK: Too much stuff.

SHARPTON: Thank you as always. You gave us a lot of depth. And
really get to the key matters that have, you know, Barry Scheck, thank you
for your time.

SCHECK: Thank you, Reverend, for all you doing on this case.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Are Republicans just out of touch? You be the judge.
Louisiana Congressman John Fleming was on MSNBC earlier today. He owns
subway restaurants and UPS franchises and real estate partnerships. It
brought in at least $6.3 million last year. 6.3 million. Not a bad year.
But don`t tell that to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The amount that I have to reinvest in my business
and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million. So, by the
time I feed my family, I have, you know, maybe $400,000 left over.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When they hear that you only have $400,000 left
over, it`s not exactly a sympathetic position.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, again, class warfare has never created a job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Only $400,000 left over. There are 46.2 million people
living in poverty. Just $400,000 left over. You want us to feel sorry for
people with only $400,000 left over when we have 26 percent of African-
Americans below poverty, 21 percent of Americans. And you act as though
they did this to themselves, none of this has anything to do with economic
policies. But we must protect your policies as you make $6.3 million a
year and worry about only $400,000 left over? No. It`s time for Americans
to stand up and have a country that we all believe in each other. A land
of opportunity where you can do as well as you can. But don`t do it by
just charging those at the bottom and giving a free ride to those at the
top.

Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "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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