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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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Guests: Mick Mulvaney, Sherrod Brown, Gene Sperling, Jared Bernstein, Alex
Wagner, Rick Lazio, Richard Wolffe

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans, the protesters are at your
front door. Are you listening now?


SHARPTON: Occupy Wall Street comes to Congress as the president
pushes hard for jobs.

day when every American will find out exactly where their senator stands on
this jobs bill.

SHARPTON: But same old same old from Republicans like Mitch

need to exacerbate one crisis in an effort to tackle another one.

SHARPTON: Can`t we turn this guy down?

MCCONNELL: Ah, that`s better.

SHARPTON: Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and White House Aide Gene
Sperling on the fight for jobs.

GOV. CHRIS SHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Mitt Romney is the man we need
to lead America.

SHARPTON: Christie endorses Romney ahead of tonight`s great GOP
economic debate.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIALCANDIDATE: If you don`t have a job and
you`re not rich, blame yourself.

SHARPTON: But can anything help this heartless crew? And, hats off
to Wendy Williams.

WENDY WILLIAMS, ACTRESS: This is your entertaining bonnet.

"Politics Nation" starts right now.


SHARPTON: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, the American people are bringing the fight to the
Republicans` doorsteps. Today protesters descended upon the Senate office
building demanding that Congress put the American people first and push for
economic fairness in this country. With their cries are falling on deaf

In just a few minutes Republicans are expected to vote down the
president`s jobs bill, defying the will of the American people and of their
own party. Fifty four percent of Republicans, Republicans, want to raise
taxes on the wealthy, and 68 percent of all Americans want the same thing.
This is an overwhelming majority, but despite all of this Republicans
refuse to listen.


MCCONNELL: Democrats have designed this bill to fail. They have designed
their own bill to fail in the hopes that anyone who votes against it will
look bad for opposing a bill they mistakenly referred to as a jobs bill.


SHARPTON: Designed to fail? If it was designed to fail, why would
the president have pushed for a bill that was built on partisan support?
Senator McConnell, just last year you and 36 other Senate Republicans voted
to extend the payroll tax cuts. What`s so different now?

In 2005, McConnell joined 46 Senate Republicans in support of the
infrastructure bill. What`s so different now? Folks, this is blind
hypocrisy, and the president is not going to let them get away with it.


OBAMA: Let Congress know who they work for. Remind them what`s at
stake when they cast their vote. Tell them that the time for gridlock and
games is over. The time for action is now. And tell them to pass this
bill. If you want construction workers on the job, pass the bill. If you
want teachers back in the classroom, pass the bill. If you want tax cuts
for your family and small business owners, pass this bill. If you want our
veterans to share in the opportunity that they upheld and they defended, do
the right thing. Pass this bill.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Gene Sperling, director of the national
economic council and assistant to the president for economic policy.
Thanks for coming on the show tonight, Gene Sperling.

With Republicans on both ends of Congress refusing to compromise, is
there anything the White House can do to help the millions of American
people who are out of work?

president can do exactly what he`s doing which is make very clear that we
are not satisfied with nine percent unemployment. We`re not satisfied with
projections of weak economic growth. We have a plan that is strong as you
were saying, as one that has been deserving of bipartisan support in the
past and that we`re ready to act, and the people are going to have to
explain why they are willing to do nothing with so many people out of work,
why they are willing to do nothing when we`re projected to have this type
of painful unemployment continue.

SHARPTON: Mr. Sperling, we`re really minutes away from this vote.
People are suffering people are trying to put their -- make ends meet for
their families. Realistically, without our dealing with any of this
beltway crap, the Republicans have said not one of them, are going to vote
for this.

If this goes down tonight, the president`s jobs bill goes down, even
though we`ve seen an increase in public support, a nine-point jump from 43
percent to 52 percent, September to October. The people want this, and
they are talking about voting it down. What can we do, Mr. Sperling?

SPERLING: I think, you know, as the president said, people have to
make their voice heard. You know, this is a mainstream bill. You know you
said this right. This is, this is a bill that is supported by Democrats,
by Republicans, by independents?

You know, in the past, everybody was for putting people to work to
create roads, to fix roads and bridges. That wasn`t a democrat or a
Republican bill. Democrats and Republicans both support preventing teacher
layoffs, preventing large and overcrowded class sizes. Republicans have
long supported cutting the payroll tax cut, and 50 very conservative
Republicans have supported previously the president`s proposal to cut
payroll taxes in half for all small businesses.

So I just don`t believe that in the end of the day that that doing
nothing is going to be satisfactory, that people are going to be able to go
home to their town hall meetings, to their districts and say there`s nine
percent unemployment. People are hurting. The economy is not growing
strong enough, and my response was just to say no to everything that the
president proposed simply because the president proposed it.

SHARPTON: In the name of partisan politics, 36 Republicans in the
Senate, 36 Senate Republicans, including McConnell, were in favor of
payroll tax cuts just last year. Now all of a sudden they are not for it
just because it`s President Obama`s bill? People are suffering. Forget
the election. What are we talking about in terms of selecting the American
people, Mr. Sperling? When we look at -- let me show you what is so
outrageous. They keep talking about entitlement programs. Fourteen
hundred and seventy, 1,470 millionaires and billion airs paid zero taxes, I
mean, zero in 2009, according to the "New York Times," and yet they are
walking around acting like we are trying to hurt the rich because we want
to see shared sacrifice so we can put jobs back into our cities and into
our villages and into our hamlets. It`s an outrageous, outrageous evening
if they vote this down.

SPERLING: Well, but also, look what they are voting down on the
positive tax side. The president`s proposal for cutting the payroll tax
cut would mean that for a typical family making $50,000, they would get a
$1,500 tax cut. Do you know what that means for the average family in
terms of helping to deal with rising food prices, in terms of helping to
deal with rising gas prices? It makes a huge difference.

I don`t understand how the Republicans will vote no to this. We`ll
spend next year explaining to people why y they have $1,500 less in their
pockets because they had to say no to President Obama. I don`t know how
they can plain to small businesses why there are much fewer customers
buying their products, buying their services, giving them the ability to
hire more simply because they wanted to say no.

I just have to be an optimist and believe that sanity will prevail and
that it will not be acceptable for people to simply say no to President
Obama for political reasons. That they will have to say yes to an American
jobs bill that will, as his plan is projected, create up to 1.9 million
more jobs next year. That`s 158,000 more jobs per month if President
Obama`s plan passes as projected by independent experts.

SHARPTON: Well, we`ll be watching, and it will be moments away. Gene
Sperling, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

SPERLING: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Joining me now, Senator Sherrod Brown, democrat from Ohio.
Senator, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

SEN SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back on. Thanks, Reverend

SHARPTON: In your estimation, is this June the latest example of what
the Republicans are doing to ignore the American people? Is this just
their way of saying we don`t care what the American people want?

BROWN: Well, I think it is. I think you saw back in the summer when
they were willing to see the country go into default. United States
government had never done that. You know just the threat of it throws
public, throws private investment and job creation. That cost us jobs, and
we see what they are doing in this bill. I mean, a few minutes we`ll vote
on legislation that absolutely will create jobs in this country. There`s
no question it will create - preserve and create teachers jobs and police
officers and construction workers and steel manufacturers, all of that. It
will prepare us for the future, and the Republicans en masse are going to
vote no.

SHARPTON: Stop right there. The Republicans in mass, we`re talking
about teachers, firemen, policemen. We don`t have one Republican willing
to vote. They don`t have a plan on the table. This is the president`s
plan, 1.9 million jobs, no other plan on the table, and we don`t have one
Republican that will vote for jobs for policemen, teachers, firemen, not
one tonight.

BROWN: Well, I hope there`s one. The vote takes place in a few
minutes. The word we got is that no Republican is going to vote for it. I
mean, you say they don`t have a jobs plan. Their jobs plan is what it was
during the Bush administration. More tax cuts for the wealthy. More
deregulation of Wall Street. That`s what got us into this, and that`s what
they continue to offer, but they really don`t offer anything that would
work. That`s why President Obama`s plan works.

I would just offer, if you would Reverend Sharpton, that people should
come to my Web site and sign an open petition to
Republican leadership saying stop blocking the democratic jobs bill, stop
blocking the president`s plan to put real people back to work all across

SHARPTON: Now, senator, if this bill doesn`t pass tonight, we`re a
nation without a jobs plan before the legislature. With all of this
outrage, all of these sufferings, all of the pay, people literally watching
us tonight don`t know how to make ends meet, and this plan can go down
tonight, and that`s it. We`ll have to go back to square one.

And let me show you what the American people have said about this jobs
plan, because this is not partisan, if I show you this graph of the polls
that the American people have said, this is what they have said, 85 percent
of Americans say they will support tax cuts for small businesses, 75
percent additional funds for civil servants, 72 percent, funds for the
infrastructure, 56 percent unemployment benefit extension. This is the

The American people are supporting it, and based on partisan politics
you`re telling me that we`re moments away from the strong possibility that
the will of the American people, forget the president`s name, the will of
the American people may be voted down.

BROWN: Well, I hope you`re right. I hope I`m wrong about that, but
everything I hear from hanging around the Senate floor earlier today,
talking to colleagues, my understanding is that there will be no Republican
votes, maybe one or two will creep in, but I think it gets voted down, and
it`s just, it`s just, it`s outrageous and it`s, it`s -- but it`s just sad.
It`s sad that this is a chance to really put people back to work. This is
paid for, again, by something the public wants. That is a five percent
plus surtax on people making $1 million a year or more.

I was talking to a professional football player today who told me that
I don`t have an objection for every dollar I make over $1 million. I pay
an extra nickel in taxes. I can afford that. I`ve been lucky. I get to
play pro football, and I get to make this kind of money.

SHARPTON: It`s amazing.

BROWN: That`s the way most people think about it, including a lot of
wealthy people.

SHARPTON: The people are angry. I was down yesterday at occupation
Wall Street. Saturday I happen to lead the big national jobs march.
People are angry, and on top of the injury, the insults, let me show you
what Karl Rove, leading Republican strategist, to say about the Occupy Wall
Street Movement.


KARL ROVE, REPUBLIAN STRATEGIST: What are these people for? I mean,
to the degree that they`re for anything, its left-wing nuttiness, but more
than that it`s just complete incoherence. This is a group of left-wing
lunatics and nuts, whose first thing is to violate the law.


SHARPTON: Lunatics and nuts to ask millionaires to pay their share,
to pay the same tax rate they are already paying, millionaire and nuts to
say let us have a country where shared sacrifice is not just those at the
bottom sharing. This is what they call lunatics and nuts.

BROWN: Yes. You hear Karl Rove say what you just pointed out, just
showed you, here and some of these Republican members of congress, many of
whom were born into privilege and protect their most privileged
contributors say that this is class warfare.

You know, there`s an old saying where I come from in Ohio if you throw
a rock in the pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one that hits.
That`s what`s happened here. You`ve hear the conservatives protect the
wealthy at any cost Republicans complaining when a few people are going to
pay a little bit more taxes, people who can afford, that and that`s why, as
I said earlier, come on to my Web site, and sign my
open letter to Republican leaders saying, come on, bring this to a vote.
Let`s have the debate. Let`s bring this to a vote and let`s have an up or
down 50 votes -- to get 51 votes it passes, if you don`t, it doesn`t. Give
us that chance to do that. Quit filibustering. Quit blocking this.

SHARPTON: We are going to be watching that vote, Senator Sherrod
Brown, and we are going to be in Washington on Saturday by the thousands.

BROWN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And we want to see you this Saturday, October 15th, our
march for jobs and justice from Wall Street to Washington. We want to hear
from you. They may vote down the bill tonight, but they can`t stop us from
standing up and forcing jobs on the agenda.

Ahead, the big GOP debate tonight is all about jobs. I guess these
Republicans won`t have much to talk about.

Plus, days after calling Wall Street protests dangerous, Willard
"Mitt" Romney is pretending to care about them. Is he kidding?

And Herman Cain said first said blacks are brainwashed. Now he`s
talking about President Obama and the black experience. My special
delivery is coming, Herman. You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Eric Cantor called Occupy Wall Street protesters mobs.
Mitt Romney called them dangerous. Now they are doing their favorite move,
the Walk back. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Welcome back. We showed you a number earlier that I want
everyone to see one more time, 54 percent of self-identified Republicans
are in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy, 54 percent. But apparently
none of those Republicans are in Washington because right now Republicans
in the Senate are in the house and in the house are blocking the
president`s jobs bill.

Joining me now, Republican freshman Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South
Carolina. He`s a member of the tea party caucus. Congressman, thanks for
joining me tonight.

Reverend, it`s always a pleasure. Thanks very much for having me.

SHARPTON: Fifty four percent of Republicans want to raise taxes on
the reach, 68 percent of Americans want to do it. Why don`t you? What`s
the problem with you listening to the American people, your own party?

couple different ways to look at it. Keep in mind, every time you see a
poll that says 64 percent of the American public wants to raise taxes on
somebody, recognize that half of those people don`t pay income taxes to
begin with. It`s easy to say you want to vote to raise taxes on somebody
else, and that`s the system that we`ve created. Almost half of the people
in this country don`t pay income tax so why should we care if we tax
somebody else.

SHARPTON: Yes. But they pay with sales tax and pay other way.
Alright, well, what about you`ve got 1,475 billionaires and millionaires
paying no tax at all. I mean, congressman, let`s deal with the reality
that if we just went back to the pre-Bush tax cuts, we would be able to put
billions of dollars in the economy. There are millions of people out of
work. I mean, I understand partisan politics. I understand beltway, but
people are suffering out here, sir.

MULVANEY: They are, Reverend, and there`s a couple different ways to
look at it. Let`s talk about taxes for a second and let`s talk about what
we can do to help people because they are two entirely different things.
You and I, have a history. We can find things to agree on and one thing we
agree on is everybody should pay his or her fair share. But one of the
things we talk about when people want to single out the top one percent,
the top one percent of the income earners in this country only earns 20
percent of the income, but they pay 40 percent of the tax. We have the
most progressive tax system of any developed country in the world. The
rich are already paying much more than the share of income that they earn,
but let`s talk about what`s really important. How do we get people back to
work? I know you`ve been talking all day. Been watching the network all
day about the president`s jobs bill and what always gets lost is what`s
happening in the house. Again tonight we`re going to have another bill
designed to save and create American jobs in the house. We`re going to try
to prevent some of the new EPA regulations from coming into force,
regulations that would put real blue collar American manufacturing jobs out
of work and sent overseas.

SHARPTON: Before we get to your bill. Explain to me something that
is blatantly confusing if not just outright contradictory. When you look
at this fact, that we had 175 GOP votes in 2010 for payroll tax cuts and
unemployment extension, 175, we had for infrastructure structure spending
264 votes in 2005. I mean, what are we doing, congressman, when it is Bush
you`re for it, and when it`s President Obama you`re against it. So, this
is not about the American people. This is not about people taking care of
their families. It`s about which party is up and who makes the proposal.
Who is the president? When do we start doing what we sent you guys there
to do and that is protect the American people rather than positioning

MULVANEY: Remember, Reverend, if you`re talking to me and expecting
me to defend George W. Bush it`s not going to happen. He`s one of the
reasons I got involved in politics. I didn`t like the way he was taking
the party. But you go back and look at 2005. And you raise a really good
point but what you forget what the overall debt was of this nation in 2005,
I think it was five or $6 trillion. We`re looking at $14 trillion and the
world literally has changed. In fact, there`s studies coming out now that
maybe they say that may be fiscal stimulus doesn`t have as much impact as
it might if you`re in a low debt situation as it does during a high debt
situation so there`s a lot of good reasons to be for something six or seven
years ago and against something today. We`ve also got the benefit of
hindsight. Been through a huge stimulus just two years ago and it didn`t
work. We spent $850 billion. Reverend, that`s enough to --

SHARPTON: But we saw that stimulus when it was going on, congressman,
we saw unemployment begin to go down. Jobs going up and we`ve looked at
your plan, the Republican plan, and we are seeing even -- let me give you
one of your own Republicans. Mr. Zandi, Mark Zandi who was an economist
advising John McCain. This is what he said about the Republican plan.


proposals, and there are a number of trade bill, patent bill, deregulation,
some ideas around energy, you know, they are not bad, as long-term economic
policy. I don`t think they mean much for the economy though in the near
term, not certainly for the next 6, 12, 18 months, and I think that`s where
I`m most concerned and focused.


SHARPTON: Now this is McCain`s man. This is McCain`s economist.
He`s saying all right, I don`t agree to all right, but he says it`s all
right, but it doesn`t mean anything to people that are unemployed tonight,
people that need jobs now, doesn`t mean anything. This is your own man,
your own economic guru to Mr. McCain.

MULVANEY: Let`s look at the president`s bill. Look at some of the
short-term things that the president offers in his bill. He offers
dramatic infrastructure spending. We`ve tried that. We didn`t get the
infrastructure spending we wanted to get in the first place and what we did
get didn`t create the jobs that we expected. He wants to extend
unemployment benefits another year.

Reverend, you were reporting on your network earlier today there`s 3.2
million jobs out there today that are going unfilled, and I suggest to you
if you paid people to be unemployed, they are going to continue to want to
be unemployed.

SHARPTON: So it`s better to just take them off of unemployment and
give them nothing since you`re not going to give them the jobs.

MULVANEY: No, sir.

SHARPTON: So on one hand to give them a job and on the other hand
give them insurance. What do we give them?

MULVANEY: Reverend, 3.2 million jobs out there today that are open,
that are going unfilled. I cannot tell you the number of times I`ve gone
to employers and say are you having trouble -- are you able to find people?
Are you hiring? We`re hiring. We can`t find people because they don`t
want to come back to work until after their benefits are over.

SHARPTON: Maybe it`s the part of the president`s job bill talking
about training and talking about preparing people for work, but in the
Republican bill, I don`t see where any of that is there. I`m showing you
your own people, showing you what`s in the bill. Congressman, in the name
of the American people, can`t you get through this gridlock of playing
partisan politics? I know you want to defeat the president, but do you
have to throw away millions of American families in the process?

MULVANEY: Reverend, you know me, we`ve done this before. I`ve tried
in the last eight months since I`ve been here to find places to agree with
the president. In fact, I was reading the president`s job bill going down
the list of things he presented when he appeared on your network and said
it`s take it or leave it. You don`t get to choose the things you like and
don`t like. It`s all or nothing. That`s not how it works. You know it
and I know it. You said it and here you`re asking me why I don`t
compromise. But the president is the one who said this bill is take it or
leave it. The Democrats in the Senate don`t even accept that part of it.
We can do what we want. The president is off running --


SHARPTON: Let me ask you this one question.


SHARPTON: Just me and you, is there anything you could support,
anything that you could support in this president`s proposal on jobs?

MULVANEY: Absolutely. You go through the list. He wants 100 percent
depreciation on capital expenditures, something Republicans support. The
Republican study committees are going to come out and support again this
week. He`s trying to end the three percent withholding on subcontracts and
contracts for the federal government, something that I`ve co-sponsored
that`s coming out of my commit they week. He`s talked about paying
government contractors faster. He`s talked about a couple of things that
we all, that we all like.

SHARPTON: So, there are things that you can support are all things
that would represent business and the rich. I hear you, I hear you loud
and clear, congressman. Thank you for joining me tonight.

MULVANEY: Thank you, Reverend. We`ll see you again soon.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the religious right ripping the GOP apart. Rick
Perry refused to repudiate the pastor who called Mormonism a cult. You`re
watching "Politics Nation." stay with us.


SHARPTON: In less than two hours, Republican candidates will take the
stage for a debate about the economy. Not that they have much to say that
makes sense. You know the drill. They want to cut regulations, cut taxes
and cut the president`s health care law, cut, cut, cut.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Put an end to every one of
the job-killing regulations.

RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Cutting taxes by freezing
these regulations.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We eliminate the corporate tax.

PERRY: Release you from over taxation and overregulation and sign an
executive order to wipe out as much of Obama-care as I can.




SHARPTON: Great, guys, but is there a real jobs plan among you? Not
from Rick Perry. He jumped into the race two months ago. Still doesn`t
have a jobs plan. Mitt Romney, Willard says, he has a big 59-point plan
for the economy, but it`s really just GOP boiler plate, nothing that
actually creates jobs and Herman Cain`s 999 plan. It`s just a gimmick for
selling real class warfare in this country. Former Reagan economic advisor
Bruce Bartlett says, Cain`s plan is, quote, "a huge tax cut for the
wealthy." Bartlett says, the plan would make the poor pay more while
massively increasing the budget deficit that exists. Way to go, Mr. Cain.

Joining me now is, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, and MSNBC
contributor Jared Bernstein, former chief economist for Vice President
Biden, now a senior fellow with the Center for Budget Policy and

Richard, won`t we see a failure to address the jobs crisis on the
stage tonight? I mean, I told my friends it`s like -- I used to tell
friends at a Mike Tyson fight. If you`re looking for a substantive job
plan tonight, don`t get a soft drink because you might miss it.

quote Rick Perry, the question is whether these people have a heart about
the unemployed. That`s one side of it. You know, it`s often in spite of
the politics, in spite of the House Republicans saying they wanted to
campaign on jobs, jobs, and jobs. Every time someone talks about jobs you
get accused of being a democrat or a progressive. It would be nice for
republican candidates to express some concern about the unemployed, unlike
the Tea Party folks you just interviewed who seem to think that their
position is one of sort of being too lazy to go out and find work.

But even if you said all of the empathy question aside, what really
matters here is whether these candidates are speaking to the real problems
facing the economy. And if you listen to them, what they are talking
about, cutting regulations, cutting taxes, it doesn`t really square with
what businesses are saying. Businesses may complain about regulations, but
they are not saying I cannot hire someone because regulations are stopping
me from doing so. There`s a problem with demand, and there`s a problem
with credit, and if they don`t address those two, they are not getting to
the heart of the problem.

SHARPTON: Jared, give us a reality check on this.


SHARPTON: Because I think that some of us in wonderland here.

BERNSTEIN: I think so. I mean, basically the republican candidates,
every single one of them, talk about 999 or whatever idea you want to hear
up there. They have got two basic problems, and they kind of come down to
George W. Bush and his economic road map. If you look at the 1990s under
Bill Clinton where we had more progressive taxation, certainly the
regulatory regime was, if anything, more emphatic than it was during the
2000s, what you saw, jobs that grew four times as fast, middle class
incomes that actually grew by about 10 percent in those years as opposed to
fell five or six percent even during the Bush recovery.


BERNSTEIN: And you see, people remember that, Reverend Sharpton. If
you poll people to this very day and you remind them about the Bush economy
and the policies that got us into this mess, they don`t have amnesia on
that stuff. And so the road map that these guys are touting. Romney in
some ways is the best exam. I mean, his big plan is to take the corporate
rate down ten percentage points.


BERNSTEIN: And you mentioned Herman Cain`s extremely regressive tax
ideas. Another thing from Romney, by the way, haven`t gotten enough
attention. Romney says in his plan that as soon as he`s elected he`s going
to cut spending to 20 percent of GDP. Now, that might sound good to some
people but it basically means a five percent of GDP subtraction from the
2012 economy which guarantees right back into recession.

SHARPTON: Well, but Richard, you know, Romney might have changed that
after Jared said it because he flip-flops so fast. But anyway, Richard,
let me ask you something. Do these guys need to come with a real jobs
plan? I mean, do they think they can run just attacking the president,
playing on the bad state that the economy is in that their party really
started and not come up a concrete plan? Do they really have to come up
with a plan?

WOLFFE: Not to win the nomination, no. All they have to do is punch
the president on the nose as hard as they can, and look, there`s plenty to
criticize about this economy. They can tie it to the president as much as
they want, but, you know, it`s the general election that`s going to cause
them a problem. And Jared is right because memories of the Bush economy
are strong. People still blame the Bush economy for many of the woes right
now. And by the way, the Bush policies created net in eight years, all of
1.1 million jobs, in eight years. Jimmy Carter did ten times that in four
years. Bill Clinton did 20 times that. So, the -- the model doesn`t
really work for a general audience, but at this stage of the primaries,
yes, it`s more than enough just to go out and whack the president on the

Well, you mentioned former presidents. I mean no, one was more
articulate, more eloquent on the fact that the rich needs to be paying
their fair share than Ronald Reagan. I mean, I keep playing this tape
because I want people to get it. Let me play it one more time so people
will not think I`m misquoting President Reagan.


RONALD REAGAN, U.S. FORMER PRESIDENT: We`re going to close the
unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to
avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of the loopholes were
understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for
millionaires to pay nothing while the bus driver was paying 10 percent of
his salary, and that`s crazy. Do you think the millionaire ought to pay
more in taxes than the bus driver or less?


SHARPTON: Jared, every time I hear him say it, I get a Chris Matthews
attacks, something wiggles up my leg. I mean, to hear Ronald Reagan say
that, what is wrong with these guys?

BERNSTEIN: You know, I`ve written this numerous times. Ronald Reagan
would be kicked out of today`s Republican Party, and it -- it makes
absolutely -- everything is just topsy-turvy right now, and the reason
these guys are so tied to this Bush road map that got us into this mess is
-- maybe appeals to the Tea Party. But once you get to the election, you
know, I think Richard is right. You can bash the president all you want,
but you know, it`s much harder for President Obama to run against nobody or
this broad aggregate of whomevers, but one person up there and the
president is going to say to them, what`s your plan, and he -- I believe,
unless something big changes, it is not going to be at all hard for him to
say, you guys drove this car off a cliff and now you want the keys back
because that`s really what`s going on.

SHARPTON: Well, Richard Wolffe, Jared Bernstein, thanks for your time

WOLFFE: Thank you.

BERNSTEIN: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the religious fight ripping the GOP apart just got
uglier. A live report from the debate is next. And what does this picture
of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack have to do with me?


SHARPTON: Ahead, I`m introducing Governor Willard to candidate
Willard. The smoking gun tying his health care program to the president`s.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: In just over an hour republican candidates will be taking
the stage in New Hampshire for yet another presidential debate, and here`s
what it will look like. Herman Cain, the new number two in the race, right
there in between front-runner Mitt Romney and fallen GOP savior Rick Perry.
This is the front of the GOP pack. You have the ultimate flip-flopper Mr.
Corporations of people Romney. Mr. Cain, the godfather of pizza who wants
to build a moat around America filled with alligators and the executioner
Rick Perry who has a racist hunting camp in Texas. Republicans, sometimes
you get what you ask for.

Joining me now, live from Hanover, New Hampshire, MSNBC analyst Alex
Wagner, and here in studio, former republican Congressman Rick Lazio,
founder of Alex, who has the most to lose up
there tonight?

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANALYST: I think this is -- I think that the broad
consensus here is that it is Rick Perry who has the most to lose. He`s had
some weak debate performances thus far, and I think everybody is looking to
see if he can sort of ramp it up. We know that his advisers have said he`s
been sleeping a lot. He had an energy level issue at the last debate so
that may help him, but I think fundamentally he`s been going through more
debate prep. He`s reportedly been sparring with someone who is taking the
place of Mitt Romney. Rick Perry has to have a very strong showing tonight
quite simply. Otherwise his candidacy is really in jeopardy.

SHARPTON: Well, Mr. Lazio, let`s look at why he`s got to come through
some tonight. If you look at the polls, his standing in September,
September 15, it was Perry 31, Romney 24, Cain five. You go to today`s
poll, it`s Romney 20, Cain 18, Perry 15.


SHARPTON: He`s got a problem.

LAZIO: He does have a problem, and he has had a series of
underwhelming debate appearances. He looks like he isn`t well prepared,
that he`s not as familiar with the federal issues as he should be. He has
no plan, so these are really serious questions, and as a question mark over
his head right now, so that`s one of the reasons why you`re starting to see
him slide. And I think a lot of those early supporters are questioning it,
and a lot of them are beginning to move towards let`s get some consensus.
And it looks like with today`s announcement that Chris Christie is
endorsing Romney, that the consensus is building around Romney who does
have a 59-point economic plan, who does talk about jobs relentlessly
wherever he goes. And who is -- spending in taxes.

SHARPTON: In fairness he talks about jobs. He doesn`t produce one in
the 59 percent but he talks about it.

LAZIO: Well, you can`t create jobs without a great economy.

SHARPTON: Yes. We`ll get back to that.

Alex, Herman Cain, there`s been a lot of talk. People have been
directing a lot of traffic on Herman Cain my way because he keeps bringing
up race, he brings it up.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: And I think I`m glad to see him in the race. I`m proud of
him as a fellow African-American, but his extreme views are what bothers
me. Let me show you something Herman Cain says. It`s not anything but his
views that I question.


CAIN: There`s this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the
Muslim faith into our government.

Don`t blame Wall Street. Don`t blame the big banks. If you don`t
have a job and you`re not rich, blame yourself.

If you need a license to get -- a picture to get on airplane, why
should you need one in order to be able to vote?

Ever heard of the Great Wall of China? It looks pretty sturdy. And
that sucker is real high. I think we can build one if we want to.


SHARPTON: I mean, supports voter ID, Sharia law, he says we`re
getting into -- I mean, I mean, you`re talking about to the right of the


SHARPTON: I mean, come on.


SHARPTON: This is a guy now that`s number two in the polls in the
republican primaries?

WAGNER: Well, Reverend, you know, this is something I like to call
the fruit loops phenomenon which is basically that, you know, republican
voters are basically walking down the aisle and on one hand they have the
wheaties, which are their candidates like Mitt Romney and to some degree I
think Jon Huntsman who are sort of establishment candidates who will appeal
to a broader mass of the American public. And then the other side you have
the fruit loops, who are the sort of sugar high, bells and whistles guys
and gals like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain.

And I think, you know, there`s been a real desire on the part of the
right to find a candidate that can sort of energize the American public.
Unfortunately, with candidates like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann that`s
been to the detriment of actually having feasible policy. I mean, you look
at Herman Cain`s 999 proposal, which is a pillar of his policy. It would
basically gut, you know, the federal government in terms of funding, the
social safety net would dissolve. I mean, these are not feasible proposals
for governance.

SHARPTON: Now, Rick, a lot of conservative bloggers have
mischaracterized me as saying I questioned Mr. Cain`s authenticity as a
black which I never did. I questioned his politics and his views. But
then look at what he said today talking about questioning somebody which I
never questioned his authenticity. Look what he said today in a radio
interview about President Obama. This is Herman Cain. He says, "Obama has
never been part of the black experience in America."

I mean, he keeps bringing up race and then the conservatives when
those of us in the black community and civil rights respond, they say we`re
questioning his authenticity. We`re questioning what is he talking about
when he keeps talking about we`re brainwashed, the president doesn`t know
the black experience, this, that and the other. You can`t have it both
ways. You can`t bring up race and when people respond you accuse them of
doing it.

LAZIO: I think what he`s saying which resonates with lots of people
is you can`t just expect government to come to the rescue and save you,
that you`ve got some personal responsibility. Yes, it is true that from
time to time everybody needs a little help. Nobody is saying that`s not
the case. But he`s trying to communicate a message I think about
industriousness, self-fulfillment and determination and responsibility.
And that resonates with a lot of people. He`s got a great personal story,
right. Comes from nothing, comes from a very poor family. Overcomes stage
four cancer.

SHARPTON: And I think that`s great.

LAZIO: Runs his own business.

SHARPTON: I think we should admire that.

LAZIO: And he`s got real ideas.

SHARPTON: And you don`t turn around then though and say that
everybody else, the only reason they don`t have a job or that they are not
rich is their own fault. When you have a great story, an inspiring story
like his, you don`t use that to put other people down. You should be
uplifting them.

LAZIO: Yes. I agree with that sense, it should be inspirational.

SHARPTON: Stay right there. Alex, I`ve got to go. Watch yourself up
there tonight in the republican house, and I hope you return safely.

WAGNER: I will, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Alex Wagner live from Hanover, New Hampshire. Former
Congressman Rick Lazio. Thank you very much. Ahead, hair, hats and diet
tips. My morning with Wendy Williams. You`ll want to stick around for


SHARPTON: I was on "The Wendy Williams Show" earlier today. We had
some fun.


legendary political activist with the best hair in the biz. Let`s talk,
young man. How much weight have you lost?

SHARPTON: At my hate around 305, now I`m down to about 180, 185.

WILLIAMS: I really like you, Rev.

SHARPTON: I`ve always loved you.

WILLIAMS: I wore this dress as an inspiration to you, you know, the
Reverend, the choir, the whole bit. So now regarding your romantic life,

SHARPTON: Like I said, every night, 6:00 MSNBC, "Politics Nation."



SHARPTON: Later, Wendy tried to get me to put on a hat.


WILLIAMS: We love to take care of our hair properly, and I don`t know
what do at bedtime. But for you, you, Rev, it`s beautiful. It`s satin.
This can be your entertainment. When the doorbell rings, this is your
entertaining bonnet. Would you like to fashion it for us? Oh, come on,

SHARPTON: How do you do it?


SHARPTON: I almost did it, but then I remembered a couple of things.
I remember Governor Vilsack, you remember when they got Vilsack to put on
this Winnie the Pooh, and then I remembered John Kerry where he got caught
out there dressed funny. I may not always know what to do, but I know what
not to do. I didn`t put the hat on. And I`m still doing "Politics
Nation." Thanks for watching.

I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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