PoliticsNation, Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Guests: Michael Mulgrew, Richard Wolffe, Alex Wagner, Garnet Coleman, Sherrod Brown, Ted Strickland
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans. The people want fairness.
Can`t you hear them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is called an uprising. And we are taking
back what is ours.
SHARPTON (voice-over): People across the country standing up to big
business, while do-nothing Republicans try to cut benefits for working
people and give tax breaks to millionaires.
ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: America`s
middle class has been hammered, squeezed and chipped at for a generation
now. And it can`t take it much longer.
SHARPTON: And stalling the president`s jobs plan.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What`s the problem? Do
they not have the time?
SHARPTON: Tonight, the rallying cry heard around the nation. We`re
live from the heart of Occupy Wall Street.
Plus, Senator Sherrod Brown on the Democrats` new plan to get
millionaires to pay their fair share.
And Texas` stonewaller just can`t bring himself to talk about a that
racist rout. Texas Congressman Garnet Coleman and MSNBC political analyst
Alex Wagner on Rick Perry`s disturbing record on race.
TED STRICKLAND (D), FMR. OHIO GOVERNOR: The political leadership in
this country need to understand the angst that exists in the heartland.
SHARPTON: Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and former Obama aide
Bill Burton on how Republicans are stacking the deck against you.
As we honor civil rights pioneer Fred Shuttlesworth, a reminder of why
we carry on his battle. Outrageous new voter I.D. laws deny a 96-year-old
woman her right to vote. We must fight back.
POLITICS NATION starts right now.
SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.
Tonight`s lead, anger in the streets. Thousands of people from a
dozen unions joined the protest in downtown Manhattan, railing against
The movement that started two weeks ago is growing. Protests are
being held and more planned in more than 50 cities. And college students
are walking out of class in solidarity all across the nation.
The protesters say they are fighting for the vast majority of
Americans. They call themselves 99-percenters, as opposed to the one
percent controlling most of the wealth.
Well, traders in Chicago today taunted protesters with this sign,
reading, "We are the 1 percent." And today, an astonishing reaction to the
protests from Republican presidential Candidate Herman Cain. He says the
unemployed should blame themselves.
You have to hear this to believe it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t have facts to back
this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and
orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama
administration. Don`t blame Wall Street, don`t blame the big banks. If
you don`t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Well, I think that speaks for itself. Blame yourself, not
the fact that many of these people have been working for years and have
been laid off, many of those that are there are union members that now
states are trying to lock out collective bargaining, not that many of them
bought homes that are being foreclosed on. Blame yourself.
You just don`t want to work. You`re just lazy. And you are just
irresponsible. They used to say lazy and shiftless.
They did blame themselves. They blamed themselves for not organizing
and mobilizing, and that`s why we`re organizing and mobilizing all over
And Mr. Cain, we`re going to change things, because we`re going to
start blaming ourselves for not doing more.
Joining me now from Wall Street and the Wall Street protesters,
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
Michael, how does it look down there?
MICHAEL MULGREW, PRESIDENT, UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: It`s
looking really nice, Reverend Al. I have to tell you, this is an amazing
thing that`s going on right now.
Two days ago, we sent out notice we were expecting a couple of
thousand people. And there were over 15,000 people easily filling up Foley
Square and marching down Broadway right now, people saying enough is
enough. We want fairness, and we`re going to fight for it, and we`re going
to stand up until we get it.
SHARPTON: Now, the fight is about economic inequality. And I
remember not long ago, you I and others marched down, talking about unions.
Now you are there as unions supporting the Occupy Wall Street.
This seems to be taking form for those that have variety of political
persuasions, but are united around one percent of this country should not
be controlling the wealth.
You know, the message has been clear here today, all day, from Foley
Square, back down to here. One percent have continued to get richer and
richer, and 99 percent of the people are getting poorer. More people in
this city are falling into poverty.
I`m standing in downtown New York City, which is the economic
disparity capital of the United States. And right now -- yesterday, the
mayor announced another two percent cut to the school systems, to the
social safety net, and at the same time he`s saying he won`t stand up and
support the continuation of the millionaires` tax here in New York State.
That`s what we`re dealing with in New York, but you`re getting this
across the country. People are saying enough is enough. We want fairness,
we want a country that`s strong, and we want it to work for everyone, not
just the one percent on top.
SHARPTON: Well, Michael, let me show people around the country this,
for example. The average public school teacher`s salary is $55,350 a year
nationally. That`s the average salary, $55,350.
The average Wall Street bonus, not their salary, bonus, is $128,530.
That`s just the bonus.
When you look at what we pay our teachers, compared to just the
bonuses they get in Wall Street during hard times, there`s no wonder why
we`re marching in Wall Street.
MULGREW: This is -- you know, and teachers -- as a teacher myself,
you know, it`s about educating kids, but it`s also about fighting to make
sure that when children are educated, that there`s a society that`s working
for them. So what are we doing when children are going through high
school, going through college, and in the end we don`t have jobs, we don`t
have a society that`s set up to work for them, where entrepreneurship
really is being tamped down because of the policies that have been going on
since -- for the last 30 years?
And specifically right now, we`re dealing with all the austerity
measures that so many people cried out we need to cut, cut, cut. Well, we
have cut, and now the children, the human cost to those cuts, is now being
felt across this city and across this country. And that`s why I think
people are now saying enough is enough.
We need to do the right thing. We want our country strong. But the
only way we`re going to do this is to stand up and to make government work
for us, and stop working against 99 percent of us.
SHARPTON: Well, I think that it`s going to continue. And as you
know, civil rights leaders, we are coming down, we`re marching in
Washington. You, Randi Weingarten and others.
SHARPTON: But let me bring in right now to this discussion MSNBC
political analyst Richard Wolffe.
Richard, you are watching what is going -- let`s deal with the
politics of this.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
SHARPTON: Michael, stay with me. Don`t go anywhere.
The politics of this is what? Could this be on the other side of the
political spectrum, the balance to the Tea Party?
WOLFFE: Well, it`s certainly the energy and the organization you were
talking about at the top of the show. And it also frames what we`re
Actually, we start with the Tea Party itself. There is this enduring
resentment at how Wall Street and the financial sector has behaved, not
just because of the meltdown, not just because of the profits, but also
because of how they`re behaving right now.
You know, some of the president`s most strident critics right now are
the banks, the financial institutions who say he`s anti-business, he
doesn`t get it, how dare he go out and even question whether Bank of
America could charge people for using their debit cards. They want to roll
back everything that`s been done, which, by the way, most of the people on
the streets right now would say isn`t nearly enough.
So you have a really clear line that runs through the last several
years on the right and the left in terms of the resentment of the people
who are to blame for the financial meltdown and how they`re behaving right
now. All of that is being played out right now, and I think it`s still
open for grabs for elected officials to align themselves with a strong
strain of public opinion.
SHARPTON: Now, Richard and Michael -- Michael`s still with me -- I
showed Herman Cain and what he had to say, but let me show you another
Republican candidate, Willard Mitt Romney. Let me show you what he said
about the demonstrations.
He says, "I think it is dangerous. This is class warfare."
Explain, Michael -- you`re the teacher -- I went to public schools in
New York, so maybe you can explain it to me -- how is it when working class
people are saying we need to deal with unemployment, we need to protect our
benefits, it`s class warfare, but when they get corporate loopholes and jet
plane loopholes and all kinds of tax cuts, that`s fine, as long as they`re
making big money for the upper class, but if the working class just want
fairness, it becomes class warfare.
MULGREW: I think he`s completely wrong on this, Reverend Al.
Look, we`re in a classroom, a first grade classroom in New York City
that used to have 22 kids in it, now has 32 or 34. Those children are
And if we`re standing up saying these policies that created this or
allowed Wall Street and the banks to do what they did, if this is hurting
children, if you`re going to accuse us of starting class warfare, then so
be it. We`re going to stand up for the kids that we serve every day.
But at the same time, let`s be clear here. Whatever happened on Wall
Street, no one was held accountable.
They got bailed out and now the rest of us got sold out. And all I
know is in the classrooms where the teachers work in New York City, it`s
the kids who are being hurt because of it.
So, if Mitt Romney wants to say that we`re doing something, I say, why
don`t you come down here to New York City? Why don`t you come here and
talk to us about the real people who are actually dealing with the cuts,
about the children who are being hurt because of the policies that allowed
this to happen in the first place?
SHARPTON: Now, Richard, Elizabeth Warren, who is running for Senate
in the state of Massachusetts, last night, in a debate, look at what she
said. This might be what you were referring to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: The people on Wall Street broke this country, and they did it
one lousy mortgage at a time. And there has been no real effort to fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Was that what you were talking about, Richard?
WOLFFE: Sure it is. And she`s been a forceful advocate for this.
But before any of my right-wing friends go after me for saying --
suggesting that Tea Party folks are like these people, remember how
unpopular the TARP was, the bank bailouts were, and how much that propelled
the Tea Party on. Elizabeth Warren is speaking to the same thing.
There is another piece of this, I think, for a politician who really
wants to move ahead here which is not just about the anger and to punish
the people who were responsible, but help people out. There has to be a
way out for the middle class, who are stuck in mortgages that are too high,
they cannot refinance because the credit ratings are so tough for people,
even though they`ve kept up with the mortgage payments, even though they`ve
got good jobs.
So, you have got to have a positive piece, as well as the negative
piece, which is, frankly, about justice in terms of people getting bailed
out when they were responsible for the financial meltdown that leads to
nine percent unemployment.
SHARPTON: Richard Wolffe, thank you so much.
Michael Mulgrew, great work. I`ll be seeing you soon. You`ll be
joining me and others in Washington Saturday, October 15th, for our March
for Jobs and Justice around the same thing, and it`s the theme of the
Martin Luther King Memorial Weekend. It`s about economic equality.
Michael Mulgrew of the UFT in New York, joining Randi Weingarten and
Lee Saunders and others as we march with National Action Network.
Coming up, day four, and still Rick Perry has not commented on the
story about the racism and the range he leased.
Plus, a dramatic move today makes the case for President Obama`s jobs
bills even stronger.
And voting outrage. A 96-year-old woman is denied the right to vote
because of a new Republican voter I.D. law. It`s incredible, and we`ll get
it right after this.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Day four. Where`s Rick?
Questions about Rick Perry and race are mounting now, four days since
we learned that he leased a hunting property with the N-word in its name.
But Rick Perry is nowhere to be found, taking his longest campaign break
since announcing his candidacy.
Here he was at his last public event in New Hampshire on Saturday.
Then, on Sunday, "The Washington Post" story broke. And then he pulled a
magic act, disappearing for almost a week.
His next public event, a speech in Iowa on Friday. Coincidence?
Joining me now, MSNBC analyst Alex Wagner.
Alex, doesn`t Perry need to address this? You sat in that chair the
other night and you said, on day one, that he had a tremendous opportunity,
that he could come forward and really make a powerful speech on race.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANALYST: Sure.
SHARPTON: It is now day four.
WAGNER: Yes. And we have yet to hear that speech or anything
substantive from the Perry camp.
SHARPTON: We haven`t heard nothing. No murmur, no less a speech.
WAGNER: You know, Reverend, I think you could look at -- there are a
couple of things here.
There`s the practical reality of this being Chris Christie`s week, and
the GOP field has sort of been very unsettled, and you could argue that the
campaign, Rick Perry`s campaign, was doing internal recalibrations about
what they might have to do depending on whether Christie was in or out.
They also want to highlight the positive. Today, we find out that Perry
has raised $17 million, which keeps him very much in the game.
But I think more fundamentally, Rick Perry has not shown a lot of
aptitude or skill in terms of addressing complicated issues. That`s
everything from the government`s role in protecting its citizens, in terms
of health care, to immigration.
And so here is something very hot, which is race. And as I said, I do
believe it`s a chance for him to show us more about the fabric of Rick
Perry. But given the fact he`s not been able to tackle these issues very
well in the past, I`m sure that`s one of the reasons why we --
SHARPTON: Well, he had an opportunity not only to explain himself,
but to bring it to a higher point. All of us have said or done things
maybe we needed to deal with.
SHARPTON: And I think even if he had to correct some things, he had
an opportunity to come forward and say, I`ve learned, I`ve grown. But to
do nothing raises a real question.
WAGNER: Yes. And "The New York Times" editorial mentioned this, and
I think that this really cuts to the bone.
This is a national shame, and it is not just some remote hunting town
that has a very loaded and unfortunate name. This happened throughout the
SHARPTON: Oh, no question.
WAGNER: And it is a national shame that dovetails directly with Rick
Perry`s personal history. And as someone who is running for the presidency
of the United States of America, it is incumbent upon him to address that.
SHARPTON: Now I want to bring in Texas state representative Garnet
Coleman, a Democrat from Houston.
And Representative Coleman, I don`t want to get you in trouble. I
said in the intro that you were a congressman. I don`t want to start any
internal Texas political battles, but I do want to tell you when I makes
mistakes, they usually come true.
But anyway, give us a sense, Representative Coleman, about Governor
Perry`s background. Immediately -- we haven`t ahead from him at all, but
he started on Monday bringing out, trotting out some blacks that said he`s
been a friend of mine, you know, some of my best friends, never really
dealing with the substance of his issues and the substance of his
relationship on race issues.
I showed on this show last night how he defended the confederate flag,
and how they`re even entertaining some of his appointees of putting the
confederate flag on a Texas license plate. I mean, so that doesn`t seem to
me to jaw (ph) with some of his good friends that are saying, oh, he`s a
He might be a wonderful guy, but he has a race blind side, it seems.
GARNET COLEMAN (D), TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: That`s right,
Reverend Sharpton, particularly in his statement about tort reform, when he
said any old Jose can go down to the courthouse and file a suit, and didn`t
understand that that was offensive, just like he should have understood in
1984, that N-word rock was offensive.
SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Representative Coleman, in a debate over
tort reform he said any Jose, meaning a Latino?
COLEMAN: Correct, meaning a Latino.
SHARPTON: Could go down and file a lawsuit?
COLEMAN: Could go down to file a lawsuit.
SHARPTON: So, now, here we have it. I mean, here`s a guy that just
has no problem with racial words and stereotypes, because even the defense
of the property wasn`t that they destroyed the rock or removed the rock,
they just painted over it, they say.
COLEMAN: Right. And then he said he blamed it on his father.
Look, the problem here is that Rick Perry has been one of the leaders
in the "states` rights movement" when he went on Lady Bird Lake -- Johnson
Lake in Austin and started talking about secession. He understands that
those were code words in the past, but they aren`t now.
States` rights was the cry of segregationists, and he understands
words. And he`s using those words on purpose, and he continues to use
Just the other day he brought up secession again and said that the
state had the ability to secede based on whatever. We don`t.
So he understands the words he`s using. And by using states` rights
and doing resolutions that, if they were law, would nullify the Voting
Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the
Clean Air Act, these are things that Rick Perry has been peddling for the
last two years.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you a question, Representative Coleman.
You`ve been in the political arena, in the rough and tough of battle. Alex
is a journalist and more of an erudite kind of laid-back person. So she
wouldn`t think like this. So I need to ask you.
Has anyone ever thought about, maybe he`s being silent because he`s
sending a signal to those that believe there`s nothing wrong with this
kinds of language, that he`s not going to say anything? I mean, when you
start talking about secession, when you start talking about Jose can file a
lawsuit, maybe there is a method to his silence.
COLEMAN: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I think that there is, because it`s
the same reason they just sort of painted over the rock or left it there
for a long time. It`s a wink-wink.
And I think that his silence is a wink-wink. You know, I`m really one
of you, don`t worry about it. And I think that`s the pattern he has set
through his statements over the years.
But particularly today, if you`re going out using states` rights,
going -- having policies on voter I.D. -- that was his big bill, it was an
emergency bill -- the same thing applies to sanctuary cities, which there
are none, wink-wink. And so I think he wants a certain group of people,
unfortunately, to believe that he`s very narrow-minded when it comes to --
SHARPTON: Will this play nationally, Alex? I mean, he can get away
with that with certain segments, but how will that play on the big stage?
WAGNER: I mean, I think there`s a huge part of the population that is
shocked this even goes on. I mean, if you read the context of this, I
think there are huge parts of the American population that didn`t even
understand that this went on, this kind of naming, this nomenclature
happened in parts of the South.
The idea that we are now sort of pontificating and guessing what his
motivations are is not good for Rick Perry. This is someone who is very
much still unproven and untested on the national stage. I think he`s got
to come out in front of this.
SHARPTON: I think he has got to do it, but the question is, will he
do it? And then I think, as I talk to Representative Coleman, I hear him,
there`s a lot of things he`s going to have to deal with one he does come
Representative Coleman, where are we in this whole fight for putting
the confederate flag on the license plates?
COLEMAN: Well, we`re making efforts to have that removed, but, you
know, just like before, Perry defended the Sons of Confederate Veterans in
keeping statues of the Civil War on our grounds at the Capitol. These are
the types of things where, OK, I`m not a racist, but I`m going to do these
things so that people defend a time in the past.
And, you know, I`ve been really thinking about this, Reverend
Sharpton. And if that said "Whore Rock" and he had done nothing about it,
would people have a question about his motives as it applies to women?
COLEMAN: This is very offensive, and offense is in the receiver. And
as a black man, I`m sorry, I`m very offended.
SHARPTON: I am, too. And I want to be clear. I fought hip-hoppers
on the use of the word who were black. You know we`re not going to
tolerate it from presidential candidates.
State Representative Coleman and Alex Wagner, thank you for your time
WAGNER: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Ahead, forget Romney and Perry. Karl Rove is President
Obama`s biggest obstacle, and you won`t believe what he`s already doing.
And the middle class movement is sweeping cities across the country.
But it doesn`t start there.
You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Breaking news, Sarah Palin is not running for president.
The former Alaska governor and republican vice presidential nominee
released a statement saying, quote, "After much prayer and serious
consideration, I`ve decided I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination
for president of the United States." Just yesterday, a "Washington Post"
poll showed two thirds of republican voters did not want her to run.
Let`s bring back MSNBC Alex Wagner. Alex, in two days, Christie has
pulled out, now Palin has pulled out. What does this do? Does this mean
that there will also have a significant wait in where the endorsements go,
and can have a lot of influence on where the party is going even though
they`re not in the race?
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: This is not the last we`ve seen
of Chris Christie or Sarah Palin and you could always say that about Sarah
Palin. I think she`ll be out in the national stage for some time to come.
I will say, however, the white-knuckled wait doesn`t really apply to Sarah
Palin as much as it did with Chris Christie, where I think that there was a
real viable, you know, real enthusiasm about his entry, what it would do to
the field. Sarah Palin understands one thing, I mean, among others I
guess. And one of the thing is the media cycle. And I think, she and her
adviser`s understood that her sort of expiration date as far as becoming a
real player in the presidential race had passed, and thus I think the
SHARPTON: Do you think there are some others that are dropping out
that`s already in?
WAGNER: Well, you know, I think everybody`s eyes are on Michele
Bachmann. She seems to have really stumbled in the past few weeks.
There`s a general sense that she`s no longer frontrunner. You know, Herman
Cain has sort of taken the position as sort of the straight-talking come
from behind candidate. So I think it`s probably a matter of time before
SHARPTON: Well, as I said breaking news, Sarah Palin has announced
she`s not running. I`m tempted to say Sarah, we hardly knew you but the
reality is she`s not running because, Sarah, we got to know you too well.
Alex Wagner, thanks.
Well be right back with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, on the fight for
jobs in this country.
SHARPTON: Today Senate Democrats made a dramatic move to make the
case for President Obama`s jobs bill even stronger. They have changed how
the bill is paid for, adding a new surcharge on people making over a
million a year. The choice now is clear. Either you think millionaires
should pay their fair share, or you don`t. It`s clear where the American
people stand. A new "The Washington Post" poll shows 75 percent support
raising taxes on millionaires, 75 percent.
With me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, democrat from Ohio. He`s a
strong voice for the working class and leading the charge right now to
protect more American jobs from being lost to China. Senator, thanks for
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be with you again.
SHARPTON: How can republican senator fight against something so
popular, as asking millionaires to just pay their fair share?
BROWN: Yes. They kept saying, it`s a really simple contrast. I
mean, do we, I was just on the floor with Senator Harkin, and Senator Casey
and Senator Whitehouse taking about this (INAUDIBLE) construction, rebuild.
We tell our kids the most important thing in the world, education, we send
them to crumbling school buildings. Do we rebuild school buildings or do
we -- and pay for it by a tax on by people making million dollars a year,
just five percent, we`re not taking away all their income. It`s five
percent on people making a million or two million or 10 million a year.
Or do we just let the schools crumble, or we just stay, never re-
employ a job, what I mean is, it`s so clear, as you said that this would
put people to work immediately, would put people to work on constructions
sites whether it`s bridges, highways, community colleges, junior high
buildings, elementary schools. It would help us employ, ultimately likely
help us employ more teachers, and then put manufacturing employees to work,
making the cement and the steal and the glass for renovating these school
billings. And ultimately then, it sets the stage for long-term prosperity.
You know, in the `50s, `60s, `70s, 80s, we let the world had never seen
infrastructure like we built in this country, and we`ve let it decay and
let it fall apart. And this is exactly what we need to do, short term and
SHARPTON: Now, Senator, we`re seeing people occupy on Wall Street,
people marching in 50 cities, rights groups coming there to Washington in a
couple beaks. People are outraged. And I think part of it is the
arrogance and insensitivity of saying, given this economy, given our people
are suffering on the ground, they are actually fighting you in the Senate,
the Republicans to maintain the millionaires having no investment in the
BROWN: Yes, exactly right. Well, Mitch McConnell, I want to think
it`s better than that and here`s why it might be. Mitch McConnell said on
the Senate floor yesterday, I was standing 10 feet away said, we want to
vote on the president`s package. We want to vote on it. So, we`re going
to say tomorrow, here`s what we want to vote on. We want to vote on the
president`s jobs package, paid for with a five percent, just a five percent
surtax on people making over a million dollars a year, and let`s see if
Mitch McConnell even lets us, if he instruct his republican members to kill
it or let us debate it. My fear is, they won`t even let us, they won`t
even allow us to bring it to a vote.
SHARPTON: So you`re going to call McConnell`s hand tomorrow and say
we want to grant and call a vote with a five percent surcharge.
BROWN: Yes, you bet.
SHARPTON: And he said let`s vote on it.
BROWN: Yes. He said let`s vote to on it. So, let us bring it to the
floor, let us debate it. And let the country compare, make the decision.
And that`s what President Obama is doing very well now. He`s saying to the
country, here`s what we stand for, here`s what they stand for, and let the
country decide, let the Congress decide, but bring it to a vote, listen to
what people are saying. I`m confident most Americans would want to see us
build -- hire teachers, hire police officers, fix the highway system, build
water and sewer projects in places like defiance and Perrysburg, Ohio, and
pay for it with a tax, in a small increase in taxes, five percent, on
millionaires and billionaires. I just don`t understand why that`s not
something that Republicans would vote for in the end?
SHARPTON: Well, I don`t see how they are going to justify it if they
don`t. We`ll be watching the moves tomorrow and see who stands up and who
does not for the American middle class. Senator Sherrod Brown, democrat
from Ohio, thank you so much for joining me.
BROWN: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: Republicans have made it clear they`ll do anything, and
spend any amount of money to defeat President Obama. Leading the effort is
former Bush adviser Karl Rove, his two super-pacs, American Crossroads and
Crossroads GPS, funneling vast amounts of conservative money into the 2012
election. Rove recently announced they plan to spent $240 million in this
election, bankrolling attack ads against the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He raised our hopes. He seemed to understand.
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The last thing you want to do
is raise taxes in the middle of a recession.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But today he`s different.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president proposes tax increases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-and-a-half trillion dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is the Democratic Party`s answer to Karl
Rove, Bill Burton, former deputy press secretary for President Obama, and
cofounder of priorities USA Super PAC. Bill, glad to have you on the show
BILL BURTON, FMR. WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Reverend,
thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: How are you going to beat these guys? What`s your plan?
BURTON: The plan is to use the truth, to take on what are the bare
facts and talk about what got us into this mess, the kind of vision that
Mitt Romney and the rest of these republican candidates are trying to
promote and take them on with just the bare facts. There`s going to be two
competing visions in this election. And the American people are going to
have a choice between ideas that can help get us out of this mess or these
same ideas that the Republicans want. They got us into this mess.
SHARPTON: They`re using all kinds of distortion, half-truths,
outright lies, and codes. You are saying we`ve got to come with the truth,
and that the truth in and of itself will give a clear choice to the
American people. Now, all of the polling that I have seen. Let me show
you a "Washington Post" poll on who the American people trust to create
jobs. Let`s give you that example, for one, because I think when you say
truth, people at home will say, yes, well, that sounds right, but I think
the American people are already clear. Who do you trust to create jobs?
Forty nine percent say, they trust President Obama. Only 34 percent say,
they trust the GOP in Congress. So clearly you start off with the
advantage of the American people`s trust on who`s going to deal with this
BURTON: That`s exactly right. And the Republicans have done nothing
but try to mislead, try to distort the president`s position. Even that add
that you showed from Karl Rove`s groups Crossroads is a complete distortion
of the president`s position. And anybody who was watching the 2008
election knows that one of the central tenants of the president`s economic
plan was to make sure that the wealthy paid their fair share and that we
got the deficit under control. And we made the kind of investments that we
needed to make. Now, they doctored journalist quote in that ad. They
misled on the president`s position, but, you know, like Harry Truman said,
we`ll just going to give them the truth and they`ll think it`s hell.
SHARPTON: Well, let me play for you something that you quoted
President Truman. Let me show you something that President Obama said last
night because one of the things that I think has caused a lot of outrage
and annoyance for those that are not as outrage as some of the rest of us,
is that they can seem to get past the partisan brinkmanship here and
realize that people are really suffering. Let me show you what the
president said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Middle class families shouldn`t pay higher tax rates than
millionaire and billionaires.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Warren Buffett`s secretary shouldn`t pay a higher tax rate than Warren
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Bill, I think it`s a clear case.
BURTON: I think it`s a very clear case. And if you look at a guy
like Mitt Romney, he`s someone who recent studies have shown pays a 14
percent tax rate, which is dramatically lower than the tax rate of the
people he`s got landscaping, whose million dollar mansion on La Jolla,
California. It`s just not fair. The president has a different vision for
how this country ought to go. And if Republicans in Congress were willing
to take the common sense steps that are necessary in order to get taxes in
a place where we could get the deficit under control, we could really make
the investments need to make and grow the economy and create the jobs that
we need in order to make America more competitive here in the 21st century.
SHARPTON: Bill Burton, thanks so much for your time.
BURTON: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Voting outrage, a 96-year-old woman, denied the right to
vote because of radical republican voter ID laws. It`s disturbing, and we
need to fix it. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: The main street movement spreading across the country is a
fight for fairness in America. Standing up against corporate greed in New
York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago, and against the politicians who
support the one percent, and forget about the 99 percent. This movement
has been building from the state level, where a group of republican
governors have embraced an extreme agenda attacking the middle class.
Joining me now is one of the biggest fighters for the movement, former
governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland. Governor, welcome tonight.
FMR. GOV. TED STRICKLAND (D), OHIO: Reverend Al, thank you for having
SHARPTON: Thank you for being here. I was in your state over the
weekend, going back on Saturday. And you have been the champion fighting
there against SB 5, which is really a union-busting law really, as well as
the House bill right 194. Explain to the national audience, because it`s a
national problem, because it`s not only in Ohio. There are similar state
legislative bodies that are doing these kinds of things under different
numbers. Tell people what they`re trying to do and why.
STRICKLAND: Well, two terrible things. First of all, Senate bill 5,
Reverend Al, is an attack upon Ohio`s working people, nurses, firefighters,
police officers, teachers, they`re being made the villains for this
economic circumstance that we face. They had nothing to do with this
recession or causing it. It was greed on Wall Street, but now the Kasich
administration and the republican leadership here in Ohio is trying to
focus on these public employees, and making them the villains. And we`re
fighting back. The good thing about Ohio right now is the working folks
understand what`s happening, and they`re standing up for themselves. So,
Senate bill 5 will be issue two on our ballot. We want to both know and we
want to make sure that this is defeated. The second issue you raised is
the voter depression.
SHARPTON: And let me say this before you go to the second one. That
referendum is because people went out and got signatures and mobilized.
So, people need to know that wasn`t an automatic referendum. People
mobilized, and organized and put that on the ballot in Ohio.
STRICKLAND: They gathered 1.3 million signatures.
STRICKLAND: Think about that. There are only 11.4 million people in
the entire state including children, and yet 1.3 million Ohioans put their
name on the petition saying, we want the change to turn this legislation
back and to push back against this radical agenda. Now, the second thing
they`re trying to do in Ohio, Reverend Al, is to suppress the vote.
STRICKLAND: And they passed a very draconian election reform bill.
And here again, the people of Ohio gathered together, they put their names
on a petition, and this measure now is frozen, in place until 2012. In
November 2012, when the people of Ohio will have a chance to go to the
polls and express their opinion. But these efforts are shameless. And one
of the things that bothers me about what`s happening in Ohio, is that I see
it`s happening elsewhere. I was in Tennessee over the weekend. They have
this photo ID law in Tennessee. It`s going to keep legitimate voters from
exercising their right to vote. And the people of Ohio, and I believe
across America, are starting to draw a line in the sand and say you`ve
pushed us as far as you`re going to push us, and we`re standing up for
ourselves and we`re fighting back.
SHARPTON: No, I think when you think of the fact that you have all of
these people that are talking about American democracy, and then they come
with voter ID laws, ending early voting, doing all kinds of things to
undermine the vote, that we say to the world we represent, it`s downright
un-American and unpatriotic.
STRICKLAND: And Reverend Al, they have no shame. They should be
embarrassed to think of taking actions that would literally limit the
ability of people to vote. Who will be hurt by these awful efforts? Poor
people? Older people? Sick people? People who are less likely to have
the resources to enable them to actually meet these draconian requirements.
We should be encouraging people to exercise their right to vote. We should
be asking more and more Americans to get involved in our political system,
but they want to limit the right of people who have the legitimate right to
vote, they want to make it tougher. They want to make it harder. And they
ought to be ashamed of themselves.
And I`m proud of Ohio, because we are now pushing back and we`re
seeing a coalition of various groups like the firefighters and the police
officers, the nurses, the teachers, the building trades unions, and the
people of faith, the social service folks who are concerned about child
poverty, all of these folks are now coming together in Ohio, and we`re
fighting back. And I think we`re going to have a victory this November,
and I think that will take us into 2012 with great hope that we can finally
start pushing back. You talked earlier about the millionaire, you know, we
need some shared sacrifices in this country.
SHARPTON: That`s right.
STRICKLAND: And the middle class, the working people, Reverend Al,
they`ve already been sacrificing.
SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to talk about a 96-year-old woman losing
her right to vote in the next segment. Governor, I must tell you though.
I was in Cleveland and Akron, I keep hearing run, Ted, run. You`ve got to
make up your mind. They want you to run again. Governor Ted Strickland.
STRICKLAND: Well, I want to join you on October 15th, if I possibly
can in Washington, D.C.
SHARPTON: You`ve got to be there. Washington, D.C. You`ve got to be
there. Thank you for your time tonight.
STRICKLAND: Thank you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Nearly 50 years after the voting rights act, Tennessee
Republicans seem to be trying to roll back state laws, back to the Jim Crow
era. The latest victim, 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper, she`s voted in every
election but one in nearly 70 years. But now, she may be just
disenfranchised by a new voter ID law, she had a birth certificate, rent
receipts and the voter registration card, but the state told her she
couldn`t get a photo ID card, because she didn`t have her marriage license.
I wonder how Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth would feel about that. Reverend
Shuttlesworth died today at age 89.
He was the cofounder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,
and led the fight against segregation in Alabama side by side with Martin
Luther King, Jr. Shuttlesworth`s house was bombed, he was beaten, he was
arrested too many times to count, and he led the charge for justice. One
documentary, once called them the man most feared by southern racist.
Reverend Shuttlesworth knew the right to vote was key in the fight for
(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)
REV. FRED SHUTTLESWORTH, SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: I
started to -- for voter registration. I`m the first church in Birmingham
that got all its members registered. I was chosen for this thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Thirty four states have proposed new voter ID laws, people
everywhere trying to turn back the clock. Reverend Shuttlesworth and
others fought to open the door for all Americans. We can`t let that door
shut. That`s why people are occupying Wall Street. That`s why we`re
marching in Washington. Because those ahead of us paid a heavy price.
Those behind us have to maintain it. They told me once Shuttlesworth in
that generation said, we would rather die on our feet, than living on our
Some of us are not going back down to our knees. Thank you for
watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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