Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Monday, October 10th, 2011

Read the transcript from Monday's show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry, Van Jones, Randi Weingarten, Joe Madison,
Melanie Sloan, Joe Bailey, Steve Mims


REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans. Wall Street protesters
just want justice for all. How can you blame them?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON (voice-over): Seventy-two cities and counting, and the GOP
is playing the fear cup.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Growing mobs occupying paying
Wall Street --

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dividing our nation at a
time of crisis is the wrong way to go.

SHARPTON: You`re half right, Willard.

But the real crisis is 14 million jobless Americans begging for help
as Republicans stick to the same old game.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Sugar-high economics are not what
businesses are telling us they need.

SHARPTON: Melissa Harris-Perry and Van Jones and Randi Weingarten on
why Republicans refuse to hear the call for fairness.

And more tonight on the secret GOP plan to buy, steal and rig
elections. We`re exposing their multibillion-dollar plot.

It`s the story Rick Perry doesn`t want you to see. Was an innocent
man executed on his watch?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The testimony offered essentially amounted to junk
science.

SHARPTON: The producers of an explosive new documentary join me
tonight.

And Herman Cain believes black voters are brainwashed, but I think
he`s the one who is out of touch.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t believe racism in
this country today holds anybody back in a big way.

POLITICS NATION starts right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, the 99 percent are coming together, fighting for
fairness. Today I brought my radio show to the heart of the Occupy Wall
Street movement in downtown Manhattan. I wanted to lend my voice to the
demonstrators, to thousands of regular people trying to feed their
families, trying to pay their rent and mortgages, trying to survive. I
wanted to lend my voice to a movement that has struck a nerve and is
growing every day.

In just 24 days, all over the country, protests has popped up in
around 72 cities, and even though American people have spoken, Republicans
just aren`t listening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: Part of it is jealousy. I stand by that. I don`t have a lot
of patience for people who want to protest the success of somebody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANTOR: I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs
occupying Wall Street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Finding a scapegoat, finding someone to blame, in my opinion,
isn`t the right way to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It seems to me
that their anger should be directed at the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: It`s anti-American, because to protest Wall Street and the
bankers is basically saying that you`re anti-capitalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Anti-America? This isn`t anti-American.

Paul Krugman of "The New York Times" summed it up best today. He
writes, "Who`s really being un-American here? Not the protesters who are
simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are
America`s oligarchs who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of
their wealth."

Republicans are trying to suppress this outcry. But when Tea Partiers
carried guns and threatened violence on signs, they said nothing. As
members of Congress were heckled by Tea Partiers, even spat upon, they said
nothing. But when this movement, Republicans are the first to tell you it
doesn`t deserve attention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Just as you see this
demonstration -- and it`s getting, I have to say, a lot of coverage, maybe
more than it deserves for the mainstream media, but it is an interesting
development around the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: More than it deserves? This coming from the network that
fueled the Tea Party? Remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: This year, Americans across the country are
holding Tea Parties to let politicians know that we`ve had enough.
Celebrate with Fox News. This is what we`re doing. Just get out and let
your face be seen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been interesting, because Fox News covered
these Tea Parties, and we were one of the only organizations to give it any
publicity or PR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Tea Party revolution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s probably one right by you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a map to show you just how widespread they
are. It comes from Newt Gingrich`s organization.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bam. Fox News is out in front of this.

NARRATOR: Americans are making their voices heard as they fight for
their future. Neil is giving them a voice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get ready to Tea Party.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: Well, I went down to Occupy Wall Street because I saw young
people, I saw old people, I saw people contrary to reports of all races
that were just trying to say one percent of the country should not control
the wealth. They`re not there following anybody, not even trying to build
an organization. They`re trying to do something that I felt needed all of
us to do and be a part of, and that is make America work for everybody.

Joining me now is MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry. She is
professor of political science at Tulane and columnist for "The Nation."
And Van Jones, president of Rebuild the Dream.

Thank you both for joining me this evening.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely.

VAN JONES, PRESIDENT, REBUILD THE DREAM: Honored to be here, sir.

SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Melissa.

The Tea Party movement had all kinds of incarnations and ended up a
political movement in the midterm elections. Now Occupy Wall Street is not
a political movement, but an outcry that I think all of us need to hear and
support. I even told them I`m going back and spending the night and
bringing a lot of clergy with us, because I think we need to really help
amplify the message.

Tell me what you see as the difference between the Tea Party and
Occupy Wall Street.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, obviously there are many, many differences
between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. And I`ll point out that, of
course, Occupy Wall Street is not just Occupy Wall Street at this point.
They`re occupying many localities around the country in a sort of act of
solidarity with those who are physically at Wall Street. So there have
been Occupy movements on college campuses, for example, around the country,
in small-and-medium-sized towns.

But a couple of things make these movements similar. And that is,
more than anything else, the kind of populist impulse that is not entirely
defined by political strategies and goals.

Both the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement have been about
saying, look, whatever democracy is, democracy is the form of government
that is supposed to be the form that protects those with the fewest
resources. Those who actually lose elections should prefer democracy to
any other form.

When I`m teaching democratic theory to my students, I sometimes point
out, if you expect to be in a category of people that will always be the
winner, that will always have resources, that will always have power, you
should probably prefer totalitarianism.

SHARPTON: Right.

HARRIS-PERRY: Democracy is for those people who have the fewest
resources to be able to speak.

But I will say there`s one thing that the Occupy movements could learn
from the Tea Party, and that is, as much as it was a kind of populist
movement that didn`t have clear policy goals at the beginning, it very
clearly and very quickly got on the train of affecting one of the political
parties by moving the Republican Party through elections and through those
candidates in those midterm elections toward their own agenda. And so I`m
excited by the kind of populist movement that is Occupy, but I also would
like to see it begin to define some goals that will actually push the
Democratic Party, the Republican Party, both parties, and define some
policy goals. But even until it does, it is worth valuing this sort of
outcry from the --

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: I think, Van Jones, that one of the things that I picked up
talking to those on the Wall Street side of the movement today is that they
are sincere. And I think a lot of the criticism of they don`t have stated
objectives, stated goals, I think their goal was first to expose the
economic disparity, and that it will lead them on further from there.

And I think people shouldn`t get in the way of that message. And a
lot of us that have organizational resources should come in and support it
and not try to guide it our way.

You are -- and I don`t mean to insult you, but you are one of the new
guard leaders, and you`ve been careful to try to be supportive and not try
to steer it in a way -- because this is not about any of us, this is about
a message.

JONES: That`s right.

Well, first of all, I think that they`ve been criticized for not
having message clarity. Well, they may not yet have message clarity, but
they have moral charity. And that`s what`s been missing.

There are plenty of messages in Washington, D.C., plenty of proposals
and those kinds of things. But these people have moral clarity.

They are saying that, why should one tiny, tiny group of people be
declared too big to fail? No matter what they do, they cannot fail. No
matter what the rest of us do, we can`t succeed. That`s not the American
dream. That`s the American nightmare. And so for them to go and to stand
up and to let their pain be seen has struck something with the American
people.

I also think -- I`ve been shocked and impressed that the rest of the
progressive movement has been both respectful, deferential, letting them do
their thing, and yet not letting them fight by themselves. The American
Dream Movement, which includes now 70 organizations from the SEIU, Planned
Parenthood, the AFL-CIO, MoveOn.org, I can go down the whole list, has come
in.

This week, we have added now 250 more protests to this -- under the
banner of "Jobs, Not Cuts," "Make Wall Street Pay." There`s a new
organization that has stepped forward now, the New Bottom Line Organization
that`s focusing on the banks.

You`re now seeing, based on this spontaneous protest, the established
progressives stepping forward in a way showing more solidarity and more
cooperation than we`ve probably seen for a couple of generations. This is
a very positive development, and they will now be able to go from
opposition to proposition in due course.

And I am proud that Mayor Bloomberg has issued a statement they can
stay there indefinitely. That means this will grow not just in quantity,
but in quality. This is a big moment in America.

SHARPTON: And I think also, Melissa, as the established progressives
of come, now the established civil rights groups -- we have a big march
Saturday in Washington around jobs and justice, and we`re all -- my going
today is signaling we`re going to be part of this -- is this the time,
though, that we can change the discussion in this country away from just
deficit-cutting, toward really how we distribute the wealth in this
country, something progressives, that Van Jones is talking about, something
Dr. King died talking about, those of us coming out of the civil rights
tradition? But all of us could meet at the intersection of a real social
and economic dialogue in this country.

HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, that`s what would be the exciting possibility
to emerge from this. And I think, you know, by signaling here its
connection with a very long history of rights-based movements and justice-
based movements, I think part of what you point to here with the Occupy
movements is that they are putting bodies in space, into our democratic
spaces.

And part of the reason that matters so much is, in a political system
like the one we have right now, the power of finances, the power of money
to shape elections, to shape the choices that we have in terms of policy,
to even shape the discourse about what the problems are or aren`t, the only
thing that ordinary Americans have really to counter that power of finance,
that power of money, is the power of their physical bodies to demonstrate -
-

SHARPTON: That`s right.

HARRIS-PERRY: -- that Americans are people, they`re human beings,
they`re not just a concept. And so, I absolutely agree with Van here that
part of what`s powerful here is to say that this is public space and we are
the public. And so by literally occupying it, we demand that you recognize
that we are human.

SHARPTON: Now, let me show you this, Van. I saw some very ordinary,
regular Americans of all races, all backgrounds. It was not young white
hippies like the press is trying to say. And we`re clearly making sure
that we continue to support that.

But let me show you what Mr. Beck, as in Glenn Beck, had to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BECK: They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill
you. They will do it. They`re not messing around.

Those in the media -- and I say this -- I am included in this -- they
will drag us out into the streets and kill us. If you`re wealthy, they
will kill you for what you have. You can`t -- you cannot tolerate this
kind of stuff, you certainly don`t encourage it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this is beyond provocative.

JONES: This is despicable. That`s despicable.

And one of the things that is so terrible is that these young people -
- all ages are down there now, but early on it was young people. And when
the police came and they arrested them, and they were rough with them, the
young people were completely nonviolent. And they even said, we are here
fighting for you police officer, we want to make sure your pensions are
intact.

It is despicable to then violence-bait them when they have been
nothing but peaceful and nonviolent. The people who are dividing America
are the people, first of all, who are rigging the game. When you rig a
game, you divide the playground.

The people have rigged the game on Wall Street. Those are the ones
who are dividing America.

These young people and struggling people are trying to bring the
country back together by fixing the game to make sure that it`s fair. And
I would love to hear some of these Republicans who are attacking these
struggling people and young people and calling them divisive say something
about this kind of despicable attack on the best people. The best people
in our country right now, the most selfless, are down there on Wall Street,
standing up against the most selfish, and they should not be attacked in
this way. That is wrong.

SHARPTON: Melissa, I mean, when we see this, many of us have been out
here, and civil rights and other things have been maligned. But to say
these young people that are nonviolently protesting will drag you out of
your house and kill you, I mean, are they getting desperate to protect the
rich? I mean, what would even motivate someone to make such an outlandish
leap like that?

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And I was going to say, Reverend Sharpton,
there`s a little bit of a clue there in that particular kind of attack.
Right?

Whenever an attack is just outlandish and not based in empirical
reality and way over the top, that should always be sort of a pause and
say, well, what does this mean moment? Look, if I was sort of a savvy
Republican, I would say, hey, any protest going on during a presidential
administration, we can just take this and spin it against the incumbent
president, right? That any protest could be read and defined as an anti-
Obama administration protest, and therefore we should get on its side.

So the fact that instead of sort of doing what Republicans often do,
which is to make savvy use of a populist movement for their own politics,
instead they`re turning against this particular populist movement, suggests
to me that, as you know from civil rights organizing, that whenever people
start claiming that you`re violent, that you`re anti-American, that you`re
somehow outside the norm --

SHARPTON: That`s right.

HARRIS-PERRY: -- that probably means that you are right in the sweet
spot of the thing that is most agonizingly worrisome for them about
protection of their privilege. And it is an indication that these Occupy
movements are beginning to tap into exactly that.

SHARPTON: But there`s a difference here, Melissa. I can tell you, as
a civil rights organizer, people don`t get savvy when you mess with their
gravy. And Wall Street is their gravy.

Melissa Harris-Perry, Van Jones, thank you both for your time this
evening.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks, Reverend.

JONES: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Ahead, as Americans suffer, Paul Ryan`s talking about sugar
highs.
President Obama responds to the Republican games.

Plus, the secret GOP plan to buy, steal and rig the election starts
with a half a billion dollars.

And Herman Cain first said blacks were brainwashed. Now he says this
--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I don`t believe racism in this country today holds might
anybody back in a big way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You better believe I`m responding to that with facts.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Wall Street protests we`re seeing across the country
are yet proof what Americans want -- justice, and they want jobs. And they
want them now.

Tomorrow, in the Senate, President Obama will finally get a vote on
his jobs bill, forcing Republicans on go on the record against a plan that
would create nearly two million jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Any senator out there who`s thinking about voting against this
jobs bill needs to explain why they would oppose something that we know
would improve our economic situation. If the Republicans in Congress think
they have a better plan for creating jobs right now, they should prove it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Prove it? The problem is they can`t.

We told you last week how even Republican economists admit GOP
proposals would do little to create jobs. Here and now, instead,
Republican leaders are recycling their tired old rhetoric about the
stimulus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Because we don`t think doubling down on failed stimulus
policies which have already proven to fail is the right way to go, so we
want to work with ideas that have proven to work. Temporary stimulus, sort
of sugar-high economics, are not what businesses are telling us they need
to create jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The 14 million Americans without jobs don`t have time for
this kind of nonsense from Paul Ryan. It`s why we`re marching in
Washington this Saturday to demand jobs and justice now.

And joining me now is someone marching with us as a co-chair, a
fighter for the middle class all of her life, Randi Weingarten, president
of the American Federation of Teachers, co-chair of the March for Jobs and
Justice.

Randi, thanks for joining me tonight.

RANDI WEINGARTEN, CO-CHAIR, MARCH FOR JOBS AND JUSTICE: It`s great to
be here. And it`s great to be in New York. It was great to be at Occupy
Wall Street this weekend, too. It`s a moment here that`s starting to
amplify just how frustrated people are with the current economic situation.

SHARPTON: Let me show you some live pictures from Chicago of what`s
going on as we speak. People are en masse for jobs in the Chicago area.
They are demanding -- this is the Occupy Wall Street Chicago live shot.

And, you know, Randi, let me show the people at home this graph of
where the income has gone in this country since the recession.

From December, 2007, to June of 2011, we`ve gone down 9.8 percent in
this country in income.

WEINGARTEN: Right.

SHARPTON: And yet, when you hear the president raising the American
Jobs Act, it would cut the deficit by $6 billion, according to the CBO, and
it would add jobs.

So it should be a no-brainer that the Senate would pass this tomorrow.

WEINGARTEN: It should -- look, what`s happening right now is the
president`s job bill that he proposed a few weeks ago should be a no-
brainer because it has very, very specific remedies, meaning get unemployed
youth of which six million teens have been trying to get work and can`t,
summer work, other work, get them in to employment. Get teachers of which
300,000 have lost their jobs, put them back into work.

The school districts have needed to hire 48,000 on top of the 300,000,
couldn`t because of budget cuts. Get them back to work.

Build, rebuild shovel-ready projects, including rehabbing 35,000
schools. Put firefighters back to work, put police officers back to work,
put construction trade folks back to work.

So it takes the lessons we learned from the stimulus bill, as well as
good practice everywhere, and says put people back to work, do the kind of
work we need to do immediately. But what we`re seeing, Reverend, is that
you see -- and maybe it`s just because it`s an old social studies teacher -
- I will emphasize the "old" -- in the Gilded Age --

(CROSSTALK)

WEINGARTEN: In the Gilded Age we saw the same thing. The rich got
richer and everybody else didn`t. And it spawned a populist movement, and
that`s what we`re seeing in terms of Occupy Wall Street.

That`s what Wisconsin was about. That`s what the protests all for the
last six months have been about. It`s about trying to create fairness.

Nobody wants a handout. Kids want to go to work and pay their student
loans. People who have homes want to keep their homes and have the wealth
in their homes.

There`s 11 million to 14 million people that are out of work. They
want to be in work. So what`s happening is this is a regular movement of
people saying let`s create some fairness here.

SHARPTON: And I think I think that`s why Saturday`s march is timely,
because the Senate will have gone through their vote tomorrow night, but
then we`ve got the House and we`ve got to really -- this is the first time
we`re having a en masse move during this jobs bill fight.

WEINGARTEN: Exactly right.

SHARPTON: So the timing of this, even though it was postponed from
August, couldn`t have been better, because we`re right in the middle of
putting the pressure on the legislators in Washington.

WEINGARTEN: And that is -- as all these other -- and the kids are
unbelievable. I cannot believe the Republicans are saying this about kids.

They are so incredibly nonviolent and respectful. You have to spend a
minute down in Zuccotti Park and you`d see that. But the denomination of
kids who have done everything we`ve asked them to do -- go to college, pay
their student loans, and they can`t get work.

But you`re right, we`re taking this march to Washington because that`s
where we have to put the pressure on. These are not radical ideas. These
are ideas we need to do to put people back to work and to keep people
working.

That`s what America is about, people who want to make sure that this
generation gets what past generations have gotten.

SHARPTON: No question about it. And I think we`ve got to put the
pressure where the pressure is needed.

WEINGARTEN: Exactly right.

SHARPTON: And as I`ve said, they`re laying off firefighters, police,
teachers. We`re not talking about radicals here. We`re talking about the
backbone of our country.

WEINGARTEN: And what they do is, the moment you start talking about
budget issues -- I`ve been in schools since the beginning of September, end
of August. There are budget cuts throughout the schools. And when
teachers start talking about how we can`t teach a class size of 50, which
is what I`ve heard reported in Dallas, when you see these thousands of
teachers laid off, the first response is, well, you`re not doing your job.

That`s ridiculous. We want to actually help children.

What I`m seeing in schools, do you know teachers these days spend an
average of $25 a month feeding kids because poverty has increased?
Separate and --

SHARPTON: Literally.

WEINGARTEN: Literally.

SHARPTON: Yes.

WEINGARTEN: Food kitchens in schools. We`ve seen poverty go up every
single -- sorry.

SHARPTON: No, don`t be sorry. They should be sorry. But we`re going
to do something about.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Thank you and see you Saturday.

WEINGARTEN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And if you care about jobs and justice, then please join us
for our march in Washington this Saturday, October 15th. We`re marching
from Lincoln Memorial to the new Memorial for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther
King. It`s time your voice was heard.

Ahead, Chris Christie and Sarah Palin broke hearts last week, but
another GOP star is running for something.

And Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are doing my job for me. Wait until
you see the dirt they`re digging up on each other.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, you know I like to take a couple of minutes each day
to point out GOP hypocrisy. But today, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney did my
work for me. Perry is out with a new ad linking Romney`s health care law
in Massachusetts to President Obama`s affordable care act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I`m a conservative
businessman. Time and again the White House has pointed to the
Massachusetts law as the model for it Obama-care.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I agree with Mitt Romney.
He`s right.

ROMNEY: Follow the path that we pursued. We`ll find this investment.
I like mandates.

In my book I said no such thing. I stand by what I wrote.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The line about doing the same thing for everyone
in the country has been deleted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s some scary music for a campaign ad. But of course
Romney`s camp wasted no time responding. They accused Perry of quote,
"trying to deflect attention from his liberal in-state tuition policy for
illegal immigrants. Governor Perry is poised to dethrone his onetime boss
Al Gore as the most prolific exaggerator and truth fumbler in presidential
campaign history," end of quote. Hitting Perry for his immigration stance
and his connection to Al Gore in the 80s, Romney is not kidding around.
But let`s get to the facts. There are similarities between Romney`s health
care law and President Obama`s. And that could be good for the rest of the
country.

Ninety five percent of Massachusetts residents have health insurance,
more than any other state. Meanwhile, Perry`s immigration stance makes
sense, too. Under the Texas dream act, illegal immigrants whose parents
brought them here as little kids pay in-state tuition rates at public
colleges and universities. So, Romney and Perry are running from perfectly
reasonable policies because they want to lead an unreasonable party. Good
thing they`re helping me show that. Nice try, guys. But you got each
other.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The secret GOP plan to buy, steal and rig the election is
becoming more clear. We`ve been telling you about radical ways they`re
suppressing the vote and we`re now learning about an explosion of money.
Politico reports, the billionaire conservatives Koch Brothers plan to spend
$200 million on a 2012 election. Combine that with Karl Rove`s 240
billion. And that`s nearly a half billion dollars going against Democrats.
There`s also a nationwide effort to suppress votes by changing state
election laws. Laws that may make it harder for some five million voters
to cast their ballots in 2012, voters like Dorothy Cooper, the 96-year-old
Tennessee woman we introduced you to last week who was denied a voter ID
because she didn`t have her marriage license. Republicans have passed
similar laws in 13 states this year, including Wisconsin. A new report by
the league of women voters say that law caused long lines and confusion
during the states recall elections in August. With plans to spend hundreds
of millions of dollars buying and blocking votes, it`s more important than
ever we fight back.

Joining me now is Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizen for
Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Joe Madison, Sirius XM radio
host. Thank both of you for joining me tonight.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Joe, I was in Ohio, I`ve been around different states that
are dealing with this voter ID laws. This according to the Brian (ph)
report may cost us five million voters alone if this voter ID laws and
stopping early voting and other voting law changes actually go into effect
in these states that they`ve proposed it.

MADISON: I was in Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin speaking just this
weekend and their changes for voter ID, Reverend Al Sharpton, will actually
eliminate 77 percent of the African-American males in Milwaukee alone.

SHARPTON: Wow.

MADISON: Seventy seven percent. Now, the two of us as you know have
done voter registration probably like no one else in the United States with
the NAACP. And I remember we could register people on cheese lines if you
remember that. But look what`s happened in Florida. In Florida, the
league of women voters will not vote. Here`s the point. First of all, if
there`s massive voter fraud, it`s usually caught on the local level. The
second thing I hope will happen in terms of people getting -- now getting
ready to get folks to vote, this because they can`t wait for the legal
system to turn these things around, but I do hope that the Justice
Department can somehow use the 1965 voting rights act particularly in
states that fall under the jurisdiction of the voting rights act.

SHARPTON: Because they`re supposed to get pre-clearance that will
affect...

(CROSSTALK)

MADISON: That`s absolutely right.

SHARPTON: Melanie, when Joe says that if there is voter fraud found
it`s usually local, when we look at the data, the Bush Justice Department
voter fraud from 2002 to 2007, five years. They only came up with 0.00003
percent in voter fraud. They only convicted 86 people. So this is a
solution looking for a problem. This is not a problem looking for a
solution. When you combine that with what you`ve researched on the money
that is going in from the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove, these forces that
are going to be campaigning on these referendums and the changing of these
state laws are going to have a lot of money to spend.

MELANIE SLOAN, EXEC. DIR., CREW: That`s right. First let`s be clear.
There is no voter fraud problem in America. This is a problem that people
have just made up out of whole cloth to try to suppress the vote in a way
we haven`t seen suppressions since the `60s and before. This is just a new
way to stop people from voting. And in addition to that, we have this
massive amount of money that will be pouring in to our elections. It`s all
going to be secret money. We`re simply not going to know which
corporations are sponsoring which politician. And it would be nice to
politicians were required to like NASCAR drivers and other athletes wear
the insignia on their sleeves of which corporation was endorsing them, but
we don`t know. So, we don`t know if these politicians` positions are body
paid for.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, you said that in Wisconsin, in Milwaukee alone,
77 percent of black men would lose their vote. Look at this graph of how
the breakdown of eligible voters with no photo ID. How it breaks down
according to Brennan Center for Justice. Fifteen percent of poor, 18
percent of elderly, 20 percent of voters between 18 and 29 youth voters, 25
percent of African-Americans. This is really undermining the voting rights
act of `65. We`re talking about dedicating a monument to Martin Luther
King while we`re undermining everything King fought and died for.

MADISON: Absolutely. Dick Gregory gave an excellent show the other
day and one of the things he said, that in the 1960s, the intimidation was
physical as you know. It was physical. Medgar Evers lost his life. Three
young men in Philadelphia, Mississippi lost their life. Today the game is
mental. It`s a clever way of suppressing the vote. And look at those
statistics. Look at those categories. They just happen to also be Barack
Obama`s base. And that`s what this is about. It won`t suppress everyone,
but just enough particularly in battleground states to make sure that if
it`s a close election, which is probably will be, that they can peel off
another -- a certain amount of votes. You know, Melanie said it right. I
mean, she said it right. The reality is that this is voter suppression.
This is just -- instead of Jim Crow of the `60s, this is James Crow
Esquire. They`re sophisticated cousin.

And James Crow Esquire, Jr. has a big bank account because Melanie, as
you exposed, that in 2006, independent groups spent $69 million. Last year
it was 61 Congressional seats flipping, they spent $305 million, Melanie.

SLOAN: Right. And that money is going to be dwarf. We`ll going to
see this election well over a billion dollar spent and we`re not talking by
the candidates themselves. We`re talking by outside groups sponsored by
people like Karl Rove, which is American crossroads, the Koch Brothers. We
are seeing in addition, the addition of a new phenomenal this year which is
the candidate specific super packs where Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann
and Rick Perry all have packs of their very own that are dedicated to
raising millions of dollars in money for their campaigns. So we`re going
to see endless amounts of money pouring in and we`re just not going to know
who is doing it.

SHARPTON: And these are outside of the campaign. We should not be
confused. We`re not talking about the money -- campaign.

MADISON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: This is independent money.

MADISON: Al, can I say this -- OK, all right.

SHARPTON: I thank both of you Melanie Sloan and Joe Madison. Thank
both of you for joining me tonight. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans still crying about Chris Christie and Sarah
Palin. Cheer up. One of your Tea Party stars is finally ready to run.
That`s right. Let all the speculation come to an end, because Joe the
plumber is running for Congress. I know everyone was pushing for this one.
Joe filed candidacy papers with FTC last week and registered a campaign
committee under the name Joe for Congress 2012. So get ready for plumber
fever in Ohio`s ninth district. But if he was hoping to win over the
plumber vote, good luck. He`s not actually a licensed plumber.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A defining moment for Rick Perry came last month during his
first debate on the big stage. He was asked about the death penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Your state has executed 234 death
row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you --
have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those
might have been innocent?

PERRY: No, sir. I`ve never struggled with that at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ve talked about the cheers there for the death penalty.
Almost as shocking was Perry`s answer. Especially after closer look at one
particular execution on his watch. The state of Texas executed Cameron
Todd Willingham on February 16th, 2004. He had been convicted of murder in
1991. After fire tore through his house killing his three daughters. The
arson evidence against him was debunked by a team of experts. Now two film
makers are again drawing attention to this great injustice with their new
documentary "Incendiary: The Willingham Case." Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE) He thought because the glass in the windows had been
fractured in a fine spider web pattern, that this again is something that
only accelerants do and natural fires don`t because of the rapid heating of
the glass. We put on demonstrations of this, put a glass pane across a
couple of bricks, put a bunch of burner under it and turned it on. And
what happened is the glass cracks. It never grazes. And then we take the
hot glass and throw a little water on it, and it grazes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now the producers of the documentary, Steve Mims
and Joe Bailey. Joe, what do people need to know about the execution of
Mr. Willingham?

JOE BAILEY, PRODUCER, "INCENDIARY": Well, he was executed by evidence
that would not be probable cause for arson today. If they were to find
that evidence in a fire today, we would not be able to call it an arson
fire. It will be ruled an accidental fire. We wouldn`t have a trial.
There would not be a trial at all.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you Steve, did we have access to any of
this before he was executed? Could this execution have been avoided?

STEVE MIMS, PRODUCER, "INCENDIARY": Yes, it could have been.

SHARPTON: What did we have and why was it not avoided?

MIMS: The fire scientists in Austin Gerald Hirsh (ph) wrote a report
and in that report, he went over all the indications of arson and found
that they weren`t accurate. And that was part of an appeal that went to
the governor, went to the process, ultimately that was denied.

SHARPTON: So there was a report given to Governor Rick Perry that
said that this evidence was not credible.

MIMS: Right.

SHARPTON: What did he do with it?

BAILEY: That`s really subject to debate because the briefs prepared
by his attorneys have been held as confidential. And the Houston chronicle
has sued for their disclosure under the freedom of information act.
Governor Perry`s office has refused to disclose any of those documents. So
we really don`t know how closely he scrutinized the report.

SHARPTON: But we do know that Willingham was executed and that the
governor could have stopped the execution.

MIMS: He could have asked for 30 days, so that that information could
be circulated to other fire scientists in that amount of time to see if it
was accurate or not.

SHARPTON: Right. And he did not.

MIMS: He did not.

SHARPTON: Tell me about the forensic commission that looks into this.
They almost got to the bottom of this, right? They started digging into
this evidence and three of them were fired by Rick Perry.

MIMS: That`s right.

BAILEY: Yes. So, the governor removed three commissioners. In their
place he installed John Bradley who is a close political ally of his. And
Chairman Bradley over the course of 19 months that he was chairman really
delayed any sort of public examination of the Willingham case.

SHARPTON: But this is dealing with whether or not that execution was
justified or not. Dealing with the evidence.

BAILEY: Yes, the idea of the commission was just to look at problems
and find a way not to have it ever happen again.

SHARPTON: There seems to be a lot of conflict between Texas politics
and Science. Thank both of you for joining us. Joe Bailey and Steve Mims
for being with us. And talk about your documentary "Incendiary," which is
now being shown in theaters. For more information, go to
incendiarymovie.com.

Herman Cain doesn`t think racism in America holds anybody back in a
big way. I`ll introduce him to the facts, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Herman Cain is mixing race and politics in a way nobody
could see coming. He was over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t believe racism in
this country today holds anybody back in a big way.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And do blacks have a level playing field right
now with whites.

CAIN: Many of them do. Many of them do have a level playing field.
I absolutely believe that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Racism doesn`t hold anybody back in a big way. This comes
just after he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Many African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being
open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. It`s just
brainwashing and people not being open minded. Pure and simple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, let me not even get emotional. Let`s look at the
facts, Mr. Cain. Unemployment rate in the United States. Blacks, 16
percent. Others, 9.1 percent. Let`s look at male incarceration rate. I
guess we just are more criminal. Five percent blacks incarcerated, one
percent whites. Imbalance in unemployment, imbalance in incarceration.
Uninsured rates. Blacks 20.8 percent. Whites 11.7. We just don`t like to
insure ourselves. Infant mortality, 13.4 percent, blacks, whites 5.7
percent.

I guess just we have bad luck in birth. The facts show institutional
racism is there. You don`t need a guy standing there ready to beat you
over the head for it to be racism. There`s institutional in the system
racism that`s holding back a lot of people. In fact, Mr. Cain, Michele
Bachmann said, what is the president going to do about black unemployment?
Newt Gingrich talked about it. You`re denying it exists. So, who are you
playing to, Mr. Cain? Or are you just playing?

Thanks 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

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2011 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2011 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
litigation.>





Sponsored links

Resource guide