PoliticsNation, Friday, October 14, 2011
Read the transcript from the Friday show
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, it`s a Republican nightmare, running
against the guy who saved the American auto industry.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: An American auto
industry that`s more profitable and competitive than it`s been in years
made it worth it.
SHARPTON (voice-over): President Obama talks jobs in Michigan, and
the South Korean president is with him.
Hey, Republicans, you can learn how to work a crowd from this guy --
PRES. LEE MYUNG-BAK, SOUTH KOREA: Thank you.
OBAMA: He knows how to get on your good side.
SHARPTON: -- instead of blocking a jobs plan that 63 percent of
A big victory and a new spokesman.
ALAN GRAYSON (D), FMR. FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Wall Street wrecked the
economy three years ago and nobody is held responsible for that. I`ll be
SHARPTON: Former congressman Alan Grayson on unfairness in America.
Rick Perry is hoping to make a comeback? It sure sounds like I`ve
heard that plan somewhere before.
SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA GOVERNOR: Drill, baby, drill!
SHARPTON: Oh, right. Wait to go, Governor.
Plus, honoring the dream. Martin Luther King, III, on the Memorial
dedication and keeping the dream alive.
POLITICS NATION starts right now.
SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton, live from
Tonight`s lead, Republicans are trying to put this economy in reverse.
This week, Republicans voted against putting nearly two million Americans
back to work. But hey, at least they`re consistent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s no question but that
if you just write a check, that you`re going to see these companies go out
of business ultimately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not support this kind of legislation.
This is only delaying their funeral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is, this doesn`t fix the problem. It
exacerbates the problem in the long term.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I join my colleagues in opposing this bailout
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: We simply cannot ask the
American taxpayer to subsidize failure.
MATT LAUER, "THE TODAY SHOW": You said, "If General Motors, Ford and
Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday,
you can kiss the American automotive industry good-bye."
ROMNEY: That`s exactly write. If you write a check, they`re going to
go out of business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Out of business? Willard, check this out.
The auto bailout saved 1.4 million jobs -- 1.4 -- let that sink in,
1.4 million. It also prevented over $96 billion in personal income losses
-- $96 billion kept in the pockets of working-class Americans.
Republicans might have selective memory, but this guy doesn`t.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Two years ago it looked like this plant was going to have to
shut its doors. All these jobs would have been lost. The entire community
would have been devastated.
I refused to let that happen. The hundreds of thousands of jobs that
have been saved made it worth it. An American auto industry that`s more
profitable and competitive than it`s been in years made it worth it. The
taxpayers are being repaid. The investment paid off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I love it. President Obama has a proven track record on
jobs, saving jobs. Republicans can`t say the same.
Well, joining me now is Jim Gregory. Jim Gregory is an assembler out
of Flint, Michigan. He works on the Chevy Silverado, and his job was
saved, literally, by the auto bailout.
Richard Wolffe is with me tonight. He`s an MSNBC political analyst.
And Erin McPike, a reporter for Real Clear Choices.
Jim, let me start with you.
JIM GREGORY, GENERAL MOTORS ASSEMBLER: How you doing, Reverend?
SHARPTON: Putting aside all of the politics -- I`m fine, and good to
have you with us -- putting aside all the politics and the bickering, let`s
put a human face on this.
What would your life be like? How would it be different if President
Obama didn`t bail out the auto industry?
GREGORY: Well, my life, my family`s life would have been turned way
upside-down, Reverend. We`re very thankful of the Obama administration,
and giving us the loans so that we could continue working and supplying
monies toward our communities.
And it would have been devastating to my family personally, as long --
as well as other families in the community, because every one of our jobs
equals eight on the outside. And I would have lost my home. I probably
would have ended up selling everything I had just to make it. And as you
can tell --
SHARPTON: So you were on the verge of losing your home and having to
sell everything, had this bailout not happened?
GREGORY: Well, absolutely, because, eventually, if I`m not working,
there wouldn`t have been any money left coming in. As you well know,
Michigan was one of the hardest hit.
We`ve lost thousands of manufacturing jobs, good-paying jobs. And as
you know also, a lot of homes have foreclosed. And I would have been right
in that bunch right there. I would have lost my home. I would have had to
foreclose and move somewhere. I don`t know where.
SHARPTON: Now, Jim, how do you feel then when you hear Republicans
say that we shouldn`t have bailed out the auto industry? Let me show you
something that Willard Mitt Romney said. Let me show you something, and
tell me how you feel when you hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Should they have used the funds to bail out General Motors
and Chrysler? No, that was the wrong source for that funding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, this -- Willard Mitt Romney, this week at the debate,
saying that we shouldn`t have done it, it was the wrong source for this
GREGORY: Yes. I would like to know what he`s thinking, because I
guarantee if he was in my situation, he would have wanted those loans to
come through to help support his family.
And I have a special-needs child. I mean, my health care and
everything all depends on my job for my child.
And I just think he`s -- I just can`t believe that he would even think
that. I mean, I`ve got a question for any of the Republicans.
To my knowledge, Reverend, I don`t think they`ve passed one bill yet
to create a job. And my question is, how can you stand up to the National
Anthem -- if you`re at a ballgame, how can you stand up and salute that
flag, knowing that you could have killed a 1.4 million jobs in this
They would have stuck us in a depression, and I thank God every day
for President Obama and the Democratic Party and what they have done for
the working families of this country. And as far as I can see, they`ve
been fighting. And like I said before, I don`t think the Republicans have
done one thing to create a job.
SHARPTON: Richard, you hear Jim. And I wanted to start the show
tonight putting a human face on it, somebody that doesn`t have a political
ax to grind. You know we`re marching for jobs here tomorrow.
So people understand, he says he has a child with special needs, about
to lose his house, I mean, this is real stuff. This is not some newspaper
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, real people, real
You know, we often treat politics like a game, and these debates don`t
seem real, but they have real-world impact. And when you`re asking to be
president of the United States, what you decide affects real people.
For Mitt Romney, whose essence of his whole candidacy is that he
understands the economy, he understands businesses, for him to say that
just then, never mind the question of whether you have got a heart or
whether you have jobs or whether you care about people losing their homes,
it doesn`t make any sense. It doesn`t make any sense, because this program
worked, number one.
Number two, if you know anything about finance, there was no other
source of this money in late 2008. The banks wouldn`t lend to each other.
Does he think that someone was going to give that money to GM? There
was no money out there. The Federal Reserve was giving the money to
McDonald`s and big corporations to meet their payroll. That`s how
desperate it was.
Mitt Romney saying that stuff kills his own credibility.
SHARPTON: Erin, how do the Republicans` run against people like Jim?
Forget they`re running against the Democrats or the president. They`re
running against people like Jim that are saying very openly, I was on the
verge of losing everything, I need this bailout, I`m glad that it happened.
How are they going to run against that?
ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: I am not sure, but let me return
that to Mitt Romney for just a minute, because Mitt Romney, in late 2008,
authored an op-ed in "The New York Times," and the headline -- now, in
fairness to the Romney campaign, "The New York Times" decided what the
headline would be, but it was "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
That will be a big challenge for him, because if Mitt Romney is the
nominee, you will see that headline splashed across campaign commercials
over and over and over again next fall. And that will be difficult for him
to overcome in Michigan.
SHARPTON: Jim, you rolled your eyes when Erin said that. I mean,
what makes you -- how do you feel when you hear a headline from a guy who
wants to be president saying let Detroit go bankrupt?
GREGORY: Wake up, America. Don`t be fooled, because this guy is not
for you. For working families, labor, firemen, police officers, everywhere
you`re at, imagine if we wouldn`t have had the fire department, just like
9/11, down there to save all those people during the 9/11 attack, if those
people would have gotten laid off in the Republican plan not to give this
money out for these jobs, where would we have been then? That`s what I
And, I mean, again, I go back to, what have you done to create a job?
You`ve done nothing but hammer down everything President Obama has tried to
do to help create jobs. And that`s the one I see out there trying to help.
I don`t see what the Republicans are trying to do. I really don`t.
SHARPTON: Richard, let`s look at this screen here, how trust in the
president`s job plan actually has gone up nine points since September.
SHARPTON: They`re going against the flow of public opinion.
WOLFFE: Well, that`s what tells you what happens when the president
gets out there talking about this stuff, because people don`t really see
the legislation going through. They don`t understand how the sausage gets
made. But what they hear is the president talking about jobs, saying he`s
fighting for jobs.
Those numbers right there, I had senior Democrats all week saying this
shows that if he carries on doing this, if this moves another 10 points,
another 15 points over the next month or so, we`re in a totally different
landscape not just for this legislation, this jobs bill, but also for the
election. That changes the dynamic.
So, the president going out there making this case is having an impact
on the numbers, and ultimately has an impact on real people.
SHARPTON: Well, I think that you`re right in what you`re saying,
And Erin, I thank you for being with us tonight.
And Richard, of course.
And thank you, Jim Gregory, of the United Auto Workers. Thank you so
much for coming on the show.
GREGORY: Thank you. And I just want to say something to, Al, about
this red shirt that I`m wearing right here, because you hear a lot of anti-
American slogans toward unions and things like that. And we`re very proud.
Every worker back at Flint assembly, we just put on a third shift with
750 jobs added to our plant. You can multiply that by eight, and then
multiply that number by three, because we have got three shifts running.
That`s how many jobs we`re going to be creating thanks to that automobile
loan that we got from the American people that we`ve paid pretty much back.
And I`m able to go and spend money at every grocery store, or go to
Best Buy and buy an appliance, or to a lumberyard. That`s what I`m trying
to tell you.
And our union won benefits, our health care is very important. It
just all spreads around.
I just want to tell you one other thing, the reason why I`m wearing a
red shirt. Every Friday at our plant, we wear red to honor our veterans
and our armed forces that are over in Afghanistan fighting in Iraq for our
freedoms. And we appreciate it.
And I just want to let you know one other thing about the Flint truck
assembly, the home of the HD Silverado.
When the 9/11 attack happened, just so the American people know, the
labor, the union, workers volunteered their labor. They stayed after work
and built trucks for the New York City Fire Department because of all the
vehicles that they had ruined. And General Motors donated those trucks.
And we started that. As far as I know today, not one transplant --
the ones that Shelby and Corker and the rest of them are all supporting,
these foreign automakers that do nothing, as far as I know, for the
American people than what we have done, they only sent their condolences.
SHARPTON: Well, Jim, let me say this. I`m glad you got it out. And
I want you to come back again and I want you to bring some of the other
workers with us, because people in America need to understand beyond the
beltway politics in this town.
This is not about just politics, who`s up, who`s down, which party is
in. This is about people like you, like your child, people that have
worked and sweated all their lives, that were on the brink of losing
everything, and some have.
That`s why we`re marching in D.C. tomorrow. People have got to be
above our politics.
This is not about anybody in Washington. This is about the Jim
Gregorys of this world.
Thank you, Jim.
Thank you, Richard.
Thank you, Erin.
Ahead, the protests for fairness gets a major win, so Rush Limbaugh
hops on the distortion bandwagon.
Former congressman Alan Grayson joins us.
Plus, Rick Perry emerges. He meets the press again and again and
again. After hearing his jobs plan, I think it`s time to go back into
And the streak is over. Michele Bachmann starts all over. We`ll
explain this one.
You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Folks, let me show you a number that really hit home with
me this week.
The top one percent in America owns 40 percent of the wealth. Think
about that now. How is that fair?
That`s why they`re protesting in lower Manhattan today. Thousands
celebrated after city officials backed down from a planned park cleaning
that would have forced them out.
The movement is now in more than 100 cities, with weekends of marches
planned. And Washington is starting to take notice, but it could use more
of this kind of talk --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAYSON: Listen, if I am the spokesman for all the people who think
that we should not have 24 million people in this country who can`t find a
full-time job, that we should not have 50 million people who can`t see a
doctor when they`re sick, that we shouldn`t have 47 million people in this
country who need government help in order to feed themselves, and we
shouldn`t have 15 million families who owe more on their mortgage than the
value of their home, OK, I`ll be that spokesman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Alan Grayson. Alan Grayson is a former
Democratic congressman from Florida.
Congressman, thanks for coming on the show tonight.
GRAYSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: How can Republicans defend statistics like the one I just
GRAYSON: Well, they can`t. And it`s amazing that they even try.
It shows what tools they are of the term that`s been used for many
years now, the "establishment." They`re tools of the establishment.
They`re tools of that one percent. And there`s so many different ways you
can measure that.
One thing I mentioned earlier this week is that there are only four
countries in the entire world that have a more unequal distribution of
wealth than the United States. And how is that working for Zimbabwe,
There`s so many ways that ordinary people in this country are just not
getting a fair deal. And the result of that is exactly what you see,
massive unemployment, many people who can`t see a doctor when they`re sick,
efforts to cheat us out of our own Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,
even the unemployment insurance that you pay for in every paycheck. And
it`s got to end right now.
The cattle are saying we are not going to be cattle any longer, stop
SHARPTON: Yes, but you know what gets me, Congressman? Is when you
have people raise these questions, when people like us go to the streets
like we`re doing tomorrow, like the people in lower Manhattan, they`re
demonized, they`re castigated. One percent controlling 40 percent of the
wealth like this is supposed to happen.
Let me show you what some of what Cantor and others have said about
people that are just raising the question of fairness. Let me show you
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MAJORITY LEADER: -- mobs occupying Wall Street.
ROMNEY: -- dividing our nation at a time of crisis.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s anti-American, because
to protest Wall Street and the bankers is basically saying that you`re
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: -- left-wing lunatics and nuts whose
first thing is to violate the law.
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They will come for you and drag you
into the streets and kill you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fringe of the fringe of the fringe.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Very obedient, compliant, smug,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: "They will drag you in the streets and kill you."
I mean, people that are saying that Americans should not be controlled
by one percent, almost half of the wealth in this country, and that`s what
they`re called, Congressman?
GRAYSON: It`s shocking to me. They are so out of touch with the way
ordinary people actually live.
There are so many people now who don`t have a job, there`s so many
people who are afraid of losing their jobs. There`s so many people who
wonder, how are we going to pay the mortgage this month, how are we going
to pay the rent this month?
There are so many people who have already lost their homes, and
frankly, they`re living in their cars. That`s the America that we have
seen today that`s been created by Wall Street.
And there`s a reason why they`re occupying Wall Street and, let`s say,
not Central Park or Grant`s Tomb. It`s because Wall Street created this
system, perpetuates the system, and controls the political -- dominates the
political life in this country to the point where you`re not even allowed
to be heard anymore unless you actually go and show up.
So they`re doing the last thing that people can still do in this
world, they`re showing up. That`s what they`re doing occupying Wall
Street, occupying San Francisco, occupying Detroit, occupying Orlando
tomorrow. They`re showing up and saying we will not take it anymore.
SHARPTON: Well, you`re right, because just this week, they voted --
they stalled in the Senate a jobs bill that would have created 1.9 million
jobs, and they`re not telling us don`t even complain about it, just shut up
in silence, when we can see a continued down-sliding of the American
Look at this graph of over the last decade where the income of average
Americans have gone just in the last decade, down seven percent. So, I
mean, we`re sinking while the top one percent controls 40 percent of the
wealth. And on top of that, they`re going to call you everything but a
child of God to even protest it?
GRAYSON: Well, look, we can still do that. That`s clear from what`s
happened up to this point. But it`s a shame it`s come this far.
It`s a shame that it`s this necessary, but this is what people need to
do in order to be heard. Because, in the end, what we`re supposed to be
doing is creating a good life for ourselves, a good life for our
grandchildren, a good life for everybody in America. But that`s not what
What people see is that they`re falling into debt slavery -- falling
into debt slavery, where they owe more than they own on their house.
They`re buried in credit card debt. They have no conceivable way to get
out or even to survive. That`s what`s happening right now, and people are
SHARPTON: Now, with the money that is not in the politics, how do you
win? How do you maintain a congressional seat when they`ve got all of
these tricks now where they can bring in all kinds of money to get guys and
keep guys out of office like you that would dare even question this unequal
GRAYSON: Well, that`s right. I mean, in my case, they buried me with
$5 million of negative ads from hidden special interests in what we used to
call in New York sewer money -- "Alan Grayson is a liar." "Alan Grayson is
a loudmouth." "Alan Grayson is a national embarrassment." "Alan Grayson
is a dog, Alan Grayson is a clown."
Well, people have to see through that, and they`re already starting to
see through that, because in the end, money can`t vote. Only voters can
vote. And that`s the one thing that nobody has been able to take away from
SHARPTON: Liar, loudmouth, clown. They said that about Al Sharpton.
They need to get new adjectives for us, Alan Grayson.
Thank you for being with me tonight.
GRAYSON: Thank you. Thank you for recognizing the importance of this
movement so early.
SHARPTON: Oh, no problem.
Ahead, more than 40 years after the dream, where do we stand now in
the fight for jobs and justice? I`ll talk to Martin Luther King III about
his father`s life and legacy and all the memorial events this weekend.
SHARPTON: Today, Rick Perry finally released the first part of his
big jobs plan for America, and it`s centered on the killer Ds --
deregulation and drilling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America is the Saudi
Arabia of coal. I will work to open up Alaska`s abundant resources to oil
and gas exploration, resume the pre-Obama exploration in the Gulf of
Mexico. We`ll begin tapping the energy potential of the American west,
getting the EPA out of the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s your job plan, Rick Perry? Drilling in Alaska? Get
the EPA out of the way? Sounds like someone else`s slogan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Americans, we need to produce
more of our own oil and gas.
Drill, baby, drill!
Let`s drill, baby, drill, not stall, baby, stall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, now we have job plans from all three top Republicans
contenders. There`s Herman Cain`s 9-9-9 class warfare plan that steals
from the poor and gives to the rich. And we can`t forget Willard Mitt
Romney`s 59 points of recycled republican talking points that do nothing to
create jobs. It`s no wonder President Obama is feeling confident about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I`m looking forward to that
election. I`m looking forward to the debate. I think we`ve got better
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, MSNBC analyst Michael Steele, former
chairman of the Republican National Committee. And Lou Dubose, editor of
"The Washington Spectator." Thank you both for being with me tonight.
Lou, you`ve been following Perry for a long time. Is this jobs plan
typical for him?
LOU DUBOSE, EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR": It is typical for
him, Reverend Sharpton. You know, he`s running a great campaign, I think,
thus far, for governor of Texas. He just hasn`t quite made it to the
presidential level yet, and maybe not even a great campaign for the
governor of Texas. Because oil is very much part of Texas` past in terms
of revenue and what it means for the economy here. So, you know, he has
promised a jobs plan, says he will deliver one next week in a speech in
South Carolina. But as of yet, it ain`t happen. This is a drilling plan,
long, long lead time to get to -- if it works, to get to a full employment,
1.2 million that he`s talking about. He`s got permits, they have to build
infrastructure, so it`s an energy plan, you know, and drag as a jobs plan.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, you would think, Michael, that Governor
Perry, who claimed this great Texas miracle, would have come out with a
jobs plan to show what he did in Texas he will do for the U.S., but when
you dig a little deeper into the -- what he did in Texas, it`s more of a
mirage than a miracle. Let me show you this graph of what he did. And Lou
can help interpret it for us. Job creation under Perry lost 300,000 jobs
from 2009 to 2011. So, that`s a miracle? Maybe he`s talking about
drilling, because he really doesn`t know how to create jobs, Mr. Steele.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I think that`s one side of
the numbers. I think the other side of the numbers is as a lot of folks
will tell you around the country, that Texas has led the way in creating
jobs. I mean, certainly those numbers come from the first part of the
recession where everyone suffered a significant number of jobs loss, even
at the beginning of the Obama administration, 700,000 jobs a month. And
now they like to brag about creating two million jobs. If you put it all
together, you come up with a slightly different number. I think the goal
here though as it`s noted, this is part of a series of plans that he`s
going to be putting together to create jobs. This is the energy side of
the equation. Then there`s going to be a manufacturing side of the
equation. And there are other aspects of our economy that will be creating
jobs as well. Next week in South Carolina, so, you know.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
SHARPTON: So, we`re going to get a little at a time.
STEELE: Look, it`s taken up two-and-a-half years to get something
from President Obama.
SHARPTON: If you weren`t filibustering and jibing in the Senate.
STEELE: Excuse me, wait a minute.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
SHARPTON: I love how the Republicans say two-and-a-half years, you`ve
filibustered every bill, you`ve just voted down the jobs plan.
STEELE: When you had the 60 votes in the Senate, you didn`t get it
done, so don`t give me this filibuster the last year.
SHARPTON: When you had the 60 votes in the Senate, we had to fight
tooth and nail to get a health care bill that also was.
STEELE: You had to fight your own.
STEELE: You had to fight your own blue-dog Democrats that weren`t
buying this takeover.
SHARPTON: And I didn`t give you nothing for Christmas, I`ll give you
a pack of blue-dog Democrats from me.
STEELE: That`s your problem.
SHARPTON: Lou, let me ask you something.
STEELE: That`s used to be yours.
SHARPTON: No, it`s going to be yours. Because we`ll sent them over
to you. Let me ask you something, Lou, when you deal with the fact, that
he`s now coming out talking about eliminating EPA, isn`t this more rhetoric
than job creation? Listen to his statement on EPA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Eliminate those activist regulations that are already on the
books. There are a raft of new rules and foot-dragging from the EPA. From
the Department of Interior, that are killing jobs in this country. I`ll
stop the EPA`s draconian measures related to the regulation of greenhouse
gases, reform the bureaucracy, and in particular the EPA.
DUBOSE: Reverend Sharpton, that goes back to Dick Cheney`s speech at
the American Petroleum Institute when he and Bush were elected vice
president and president, and we saw what happened there. You know, I want
to go back to, if you would, to 2001, to one bill that sort of defined what
Rick Perry`s relationship with working people. And it was a bill that was
passed by unanimous consent in both parties and legislation with no
opposition, and was vetoed 20 days after the session ended, thus it could
not be overridden. It was a bill that provided that public school
districts within 50 miles of the Texas/Mexico border, would have be
compelled to charge, would have to pay contractors, would have to pay a
living wage of $8 an hour.
There was no opposition to this, and Perry vetoed it. I think it in
part is because, you know, his relationship with labor is rooted in ranch
culture. And that`s just where he comes from. It was the same with race
culture two news cycles back. You know, his relationship -- labor is an
expendable commodity, businessmen are clients and corporate executives are
clients, and laborers are constituents. But how could you justify -- how
does he justify -- he needs to answer this -- vetoing a bill that provided
$8 an hour of living wage in the Rio Grande valley, one of the poorest
regions of the world, and it was all organized by Valley Interfaith, a
faith-based congregation advocacy group in the valley. I mean, it`s a bad
story and it`s a bad history, but it is what he is.
SHARPTON: Michael, let me ask you this, getting away from Perry,
because I wouldn`t want people to feel that the other guy`s really better,
explain to me, if you were a lower middle income American, and you`re
struggling to make ends meet, how given me a $9 across the board tax sales
STEELE: Nine percent.
SHARPTON: Nine percent. How does that going to help me? I mean, you
know, you and I always, you know, kind of raise our voices with each other,
but Martin Luther King III -- I`m going to be very civil and quiet, and I
want you to explain to America how you can make any sense out of this
idiotic 9-9-9 plan.
STEELE: I`m not going to use pejorative terms to describe the plan.
I think this is part this, you know, this process now where Herman Cain has
to go out and explain the impact on states like Florida and New Hampshire,
for example, that don`t have a sales tax that will now have a sales tax
under his plan. How does that wash? Also, the impact on the poor. I know
as a lieutenant governor of my state of Maryland, working with our team,
there is a connection between tax rates and poverty and the income flow.
So, if you`re going to take more money out of the system, put a greater
burden on the poor, you`ve got to -- for that somewhere. So, these are the
questions he`s going to have to address.
SHARPTON: So, let me put this in English. Because that was in
republican talk. Michael Steele can`t explain the 9-9-9 plan, either. He
just told you, Herman Cain will have to explain it.
STEELE: Wait a minute.
SHARPTON: I feel better. There`s a democrat and a republican, and
neither one of us can make sense out of nonsense.
STEELE: That`s not what I`m saying.
SHARPTON: Michael Steele, have a great weekend. Lou Dubose, thank
you and have a great weekend as well.
STEELE: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Just ahead, the legendary singer and activist Harry
Belafonte, and his memories of the civil rights movement and marching with
Dr. Martin Luther King. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: This weekend, the president will dedicate the Martin Luther
King Memorial, but Dr. King must be more than a memory. What he stood for
we need now more than ever. Martin Luther King III and I will talk about
that in a moment.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to the show. On Sunday, thousands of people
will head to Washington to be a part of history at the official dedication
of the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument. One of those who stood proudly at
Dr. King`s side during the civil rights ,movement was actor and activist
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: You were very close to Dr. King and Martin Luther King and
you had a relationship that was very different than most, I know from
having spoken to people very close to him, including Mrs. King.
You tell the story about how a police officer, law enforcement officer
regarding your room one night and listen to you and Dr. King and the guy
who was not too congenial at least in appearances, but that something
transformed this guy. Tell that story if you don`t mind. People need to
read the book, but tell that story.
HARRY BELAFONTE, ACTIVIST: Well, the location was the University of
Maryland, we`ve taken over the university in the campus -- I mean, we
negotiated to be there to give an appearance for Dr. King. And the field
house was just mob of students. And when I arrived, there was a police
officer, state trooper standing there and looking severe. I mean, I saw
the seething in his face, and I just registered that fact and made sure
that I stayed abreast of all that was going on so that he would not be
provoked into anything. And each time I passed to go back to the dressing
room where he was guarding, I had to take a look at him. And that
And at the end of the evening, when everything was over. He was gone.
I got back to the field house, on the campus, got to the desk to get the
key to my room. And the lady told me there was a letter for me. When she
gave me the letter, I felt it. It was rather weighty and I shook it. It
had something in it. I opened it, and when I opened it, I took out a
letter, and accompanying the letter were six bullets from his revolver.
And this thing says, "Dear Mr. Belafonte, when you and Dr. King walked into
this place, my life had been set on the sights of making sure that your
voice not be heard beyond that which we were anointed to do in defending
this country. I`ve heard you speak, and more importantly I`ve heard what
Dr. King has had to say. And I know that these bullets will never find
itself taking a human life. From this moment on, I`m on another path. And
I thank you both for this revelation."
And the officer signed it. It hangs in my home. I have it as an
important piece of memorabilia. But that was a very profound and impactful
thing that happened to us.
SHARPTON: I remember visiting your home when you had actual letters
from Gandhi and letters from Dr. King. Dr. King used to come to your home
when he was in New York and stayed there. Tell us, you know, the world is
memorializing him this weekend with a monument, but you knew Dr. King.
Tell us who Dr. King was to you, the kind of person and character he was.
BELAFONTE: Dr. King was what I dearly hoped all America would know
him to be. I think a lot has been lost to us by those who -- not the
divine intervention is not the miracle of all things, but to be totally
dependent on divine intervention sometimes can lead you askew. Everybody
says, we`re the next Dr. King. I hasten to answer that question by saying,
where was the first Dr. King before you met him? He was silent. He was
somewhere off into the rural parts of black America, and the most humble of
an environment with a tiny church, a wife who was pregnant. And they came
to him and said, we`d like you to be part of our movement, and he said, no,
I don`t think I can do that. Would you at least you`d come to the church?
And he said, yes, I can come to the church and listen to what you have to
I`ll never forget, AD Nixon (ph), who was the one that invited him to
come to the church, at least we`re relieved to hear that you`re coming to
the church. Because it would look kind of silly you`re not being in the
church since it`s your church we`re holding the meeting, but when Dr. King
saw that and heard those voices, he emerged. And what I`ve seen around
America, and all the student campuses and all the prisons I`ve been, all
the young spirits that I`ve talked to, all of the people, the native-
American movement, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I`ve found that we are
resplendent with hope, with articulation, with young people who knows
exactly what to look for. If not in great detail, they`ll shape the detail
that`s necessary, and you`ll see a microcosm of all of this down on Wall
Street. I feel a great sense of faith and hope in what`s going on, and I
know it will escalate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Ahead, at a time of protests for fairness, there`s no
better time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King`s dream. His son and heir,
Martin Luther King III, on the dream, next.
SHARPTON: This Sunday, President Obama will lead the nation in
observing the official dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial
in Washington, D.C. We are honoring the legacy of a man who fought not
just for civil rights, but for economic equality and justice. Tomorrow, we
will be marching for economic equality and justice in the national jobs and
justice march, where we will march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin
Luther King monument and rally, labor and civil rights groups.
Joining us, and I think the one who has symbolized his father work in
this generation is Martin Luther King III, he`s the president and CEO of
the King center. Thank you for being here tonight.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, PRESIDENT, KING CENTER: Honored to be here,
SHARPTON: I`m sure it`s a proud weekend. We prepared for it in
August, and nature interrupted, but it`s almost providential, Martin,
because now with protests all over the world about the wealth gaps that
your father fought about and with the jobs bill failing in the Senate, I
think it`s a real appropriate time for us to march tomorrow and raise the
legacy of your father.
KING: Well, it absolutely is. In light of the fact that none of this
-- I think this was brewing back on the 28th, and although that was the
anniversary of the march on Washington. Now there is a real potential
movement developing all over this nation and throughout the world, so it is
most appropriate that the dedication take place this weekend.
SHARPTON: Now, you have fought in your own life, continuing your
father and mother`s work about poverty. Let me show you this graph of how
we have seen an increase in poverty in this country. Poverty rate in
America in `69 was 13.7 percent a year after your father was assassinated.
Today, it`s 15.1 percent. Is that why you are so passionate about this
inequality and why you spent a lot of time in your life on this poverty
KING: Well, absolutely. In fact, my father talked about eradicating
what he called where the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism.
We know that race is not where it needs to be. We have made great strides,
but in poverty and militarism, it seems that we`ve made almost no strides.
And when you live in a nation with an inordinate amount of wealth, even
this day, with a terrible economy, something is wrong when one percent of
the wealth in this country -- when one percent controls almost 50 percent
of the wealth. We are certainly going the wrong way. Dad talked about it,
in fact he probably was killed, quite frankly, because he talked about a
radical redistribution of resources in our nation. And while there are
people who will consistently fight that, they`ll fight to the end, it`s a
breath of fresh air to see young people engaged and leading a movement.
Because quite frankly, we forget dad was, what, 26, 25? So, he was a young
person when he was leading Montgomery. And its young people have to
continue to lead these movements throughout our nation and the world.
SHARPTON: Now, you have headed the King Center and kept SCLE (ph)
going. Now, you have the King Center. Tell people around the country what
the King Center does. Because as we see activism, a lot of these activists
need to be trained and schooled in what to do.
KING: Well, the King Center`s large and primarily historical focus
has been to teach people how to live together without really destroying
personal property. When we look at balance that occurs in our communities,
and in our nation -- not just in the African-American communities, but in
our communities broadly balance often is the language of the unheard, of
people who are left out, who are not included, so when we look at poverty
in America, it`s critical that we learn how to resolve our conflicts
without destroying one another. But, you know, you`ve got domestic
violence, you`ve got bullying now, you`ve got all kind of balance that is
occurring in our school systems, and in our system in general.
And my dad and his team fought against that. We at the King Center
are fighting against that, because we believe that nonviolence is certainly
needed today, perhaps more than ever before in our world. And we saw that
actually happened in Egypt. We saw a nonviolent movement begin in Egypt
while it`s gone little violent today. By and large, it was nonviolent.
What we see in New York and around this country is nonviolent, and
hopefully it will stay that way. I think there will be great success if
SHARPTON: Martin Luther King III, and head of the King Center, the
oldest living child of Dr. King, is there and continue the work of his
father and his mother. We`ll be together tomorrow and Sunday.
Thanks for joining me tonight. I`ll see you at the march tomorrow.
And I want to see you tomorrow October 15th, I`ll march for jobs and
justice. Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right
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