PoliticsNation, Monday, October 17th, 2011
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Guests: Brad Miller, Richard Wolffe, Melissa Harris-Perry, Scott Keyes,
David Milbank, Robert Johnson
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans, are you ready to get
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They`re going to have
to come down to North Carolina and tell kids why they can`t have their
SHARPTON (voice-over): President Obama pushes the first piece of his
jobs program, carving out $35 billion to put teachers back to work.
OBAMA: Maybe they just couldn`t understand the whole thing all at
once. So we`re going to break it up into bite-size pieces.
SHARPTON: Congress Brad Miller and Richard Wolffe on the test even
Republicans can pass.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Corporations are people.
SHARPTON: The picture-perfect campaign, that`s Mitt Romney. And his
dollars are showing. Melissa Harris-Perry on the photo the Romney camp
doesn`t want you to see.
We all know these billionaire brothers have been secretly pulling the
strings in the GOP. Now they`ve got their own candidate.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 9-9-9.
SHARPTON: We`ll expose Herman Cain`s deep ties with the Koch
And marching for jobs and justice. My weekend in the nation`s
If you won`t get the jobs bill done in the suite, then we will get the
jobs bill done in the street.
POLITICS NATION starts right now.
SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.
Tonight`s lead, President Obama increases the pressure. The president
took to the road today. He went to North Carolina on the first day of his
three-day jobs tour.
And watch out, Republicans. He unveiled a new strategy for the jobs
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What we`re going to do is we`re going to break up my jobs
bills. Maybe they just couldn`t understand the whole thing all at once.
So we`re going to break it up into bite-size pieces so they can take a
thoughtful approach to this legislation. If they vote against taking steps
that we know will put Americans back to work right now --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now.
OBAMA: -- right now --
AUDIENCE: Right now!
OBAMA: -- then they`re not going to have to answer to me. They`re
going to have to answer to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Get ready, Republicans, because you`ll have a chance to
answer to the American people really soon.
Today, Senate Democrats unveiled the first stand-alone piece of the
American Jobs Act -- $35 billion to preserve jobs for teachers and first
responders. It`s a bill that creates or protects nearly 400,000 education
jobs. It`s entirely paid for through a surtax on millionaires.
Republicans, don`t even think about saying no, because if you do,
you`re going to hear a lot more of this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: They said no to putting teachers and construction workers back
on the job. They said no to rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our
Essentially, they said no to you, because it turns out one poll found
that 63 percent of Americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. So 63
percent of Americans support the jobs bill that I put forward, 100 percent
of Republicans in the Senate voted against it.
That doesn`t make any sense, does it?
OBAMA: No, it does not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: No, that doesn`t make sense. And it doesn`t make sense for
you to block this bill either.
Seventy-five percent using money to hire teachers and first
responders, 75 percent support that. Three out of four people in this
country support that. And 54 percent of those in your own party support
higher taxes on the rich, because it`s not just the president who`s
This weekend, I marched for jobs and justice in Washington through
thousands of people, and we made it clear, the American people want action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: On Monday, in this, the capital, they had the audacity to
turn down a jobs bill. So if you won`t get the jobs bill done in the
suite, then we will get the jobs bill done in the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Brad Miller, Democrat from
North Carolina. He`s a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
And Richard Wolffe, MSNBC political analyst.
Thanks to both of you for being here with us.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
REP. BRAD MILLER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Thank you. Glad to be with
SHARPTON: Congressman, let me ask you first, will the Republicans
feel the pressure that the president is bringing on them now?
MILLER: They need to. The American people know that we need jobs.
The whole plan would create something like 1.9 million jobs.
And North Carolina is like most states. We just had big state budget
cuts that are going to cost teacher jobs. And people know that is going to
affect the quality of education in their kids` schools.
The upcoming elections tend to focus the minds of politicians on the
prospect of losing. And looking at the overwhelming support of the
American people for putting -- for hiring teachers, or not firing teachers
and first responders, and raising taxes on the people who really can`t
afford it, that has overwhelming public support. And at some point,
Republicans are going to have to start paying attention to that.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, this bill, the jobs bill, would have
brought how many jobs to North Carolina? And how many jobs by not passing
it did it cost you right there in North Carolina?
MILLER: You know, I don`t have that number at my fingertips. I don`t
know. But nationally, it`s 1.9 million. So, North Carolina, it` a big
It`s a lot of jobs, and it`s jobs that people understand really do
matter. Teachers really do affect the quality of education.
SHARPTON: Well, let me show you, Congressman, just in North Carolina
alone, the numbers are that 42 percent approve it. But here`s the jobs
number: 234,000 long-term unemployed would have gone back to work under the
American Jobs Act.
So, when you`re talking about this bill not passing, 234,000 people in
your state alone -- we`re not talking nationally -- we`re talking about
North Carolina, where the president was today, could have been working if
this bill passed.
MILLER: That`s a lot of jobs. And North Carolina has been hard hit.
We`ve been right there with Michigan in loss of manufacturing jobs.
It`s a tough economy here. And I think North Carolinians, like Americans,
want Congress and the president to be focused on bringing jobs.
SHARPTON: Now, Richard, when we talk about pressure, people are
marching, you had the march we had this weekend, you have Occupy Wall
Street, we`re talking about going to the streets, we`re not talking about
any violence. We`re talking about putting the pressure on, showing masses
of people that are concerned.
Don`t you feel that it would be hard for the Republicans to ignore
that when they really played it up when the Tea Party was in the streets?
Now, when others that are questioning them when they`re in the streets, all
of a sudden we become some funny adjectives that they want to describe us
WOLFFE: No, I don`t think consistency worries them at all, Reverend
Sharpton. And I don`t even think the political consequences of their
positions really bother them that much, because when you look at how they
responded to the debt ceiling debacle, when you consider that many of them
thought default was fine, there wasn`t that much seriousness to the idea
that America wasn`t going to honor its own debt.
They don`t care, because the ideology in the House Republicans, at
least, the ideology trumps everything, even, in fact, in the presidential
polls we`re looking at. Republican voters would prefer a candidate that
agrees with them ideologically rather than one who can win.
So, the ideology, the threat here, isn`t from the folks on the
streets. It`s not from the left, it`s not even from the center.
If you`re in the House Republican majority, your worry is about
getting a primary challenge from the Tea Party folks to your right. So if
there are any taxes involved, millionaires, billionaires, doesn`t matter
who it is, your worry is all from the right.
So I`m afraid they don`t care about consistency, and they don`t even
care about what it does to jobs, because what they`re worried about is
those primary challenges.
SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, if you look at the polls, the American
people say they trust the president more -- in fact, it`s gone up since
September. He has risen nine points in who they trust to create jobs, and
Republicans have gone down six points. So maybe Richard`s point is being
communicated to the American public where they understand their priority is
not creating jobs. Their priority is politics, while there is growing
trust that the president is trying to create jobs.
MILLER: Oh, and I think they`ve seen that. They`ve seen that in
every big debate that we`ve had when we almost shut down the government in
the spring, with the debt ceiling debacle, as Richard accurately described
I think Americans have lost all faith in the Republican Congress. And
I think it`s true, as he said, that Republicans do have to look over their
right shoulder at being challenged in a primary. But they have to start
getting worried, some of them, at least, over having lost the rest of the
With continuing to fight any kind of increase in taxes, even to take it
back to the 1990 rates on the richest Americans, many of whom have done
nothing particularly useful to get rich, and in firing teachers so we can
pay for tax cuts for the richest Americans, they just can`t keep doing
SHARPTON: Well, I think if you look at the fact that they always talk
about, well, regulation has been the problem, and this is what has
strangled corporate America, that they can`t move because they`re
regulated, the fact of the matter is, if you look at the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 0.2 percent of layoffs was caused by government regulation,
30.6 percent caused by lack of demand. So it`s just a blatant lie, it`s
just hogwash, what they`re saying.
But already, before the bill even gets to the Senate, this breakdown
of now how we`re going to go piece by piece, Eric Cantor, already, before
even studying how it breaks down, this is what Eric Cantor showed in the
spirit of unity and bipartisanism. This is what he said --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": What about in the Obama plan
$35 billion for states so that they don`t have to lay off teachers, police,
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Here we go again. I mean,
this is the type of monies and these are the types of programs that the
president advocated in his stimulus program. I think that the country
understands Washington doesn`t create jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Washington doesn`t create jobs, Richard. And the public
understands it. And the stimulus program -- and I don`t have enough time
left in this segment to go back and show the graph of when the stimulus was
there, how unemployment went down.
But what is Eric talking about? Does he live in a parallel universe,
Richard? Of course Washington can create jobs and protect jobs.
WOLFFE: He lives in a safe Republican district. The problem is,
what`s going to happen in the Senate for those Senate Republicans who need
to win statewide? What`s going to happen to your friend, Mitt Romney, who
knows that he cannot win the presidency without reaching the middle,
without talking about these public sector jobs?
Because remember, the troops are also government jobs. So they do
believe in some government jobs, right? Just not this particular way of
doing it, and they don`t want anything to do with taxes.
This ideological debate means that Republicans in the House may be
safe. Eric Cantor may still have a leadership role in the Republican side
of the House. He may not be in the majority, he may be in the majority.
But for sure, this is no path to win the presidency.
And what`s going to be interesting is seeing Mitt Romney trying to
squirm his way around this one. Is he with the president and with public
opinion in trying to defend these public sector jobs, the teachers, the
firefighters and the police officers, or is he going with the Tea Party
vote and trying to stay away from anything that sounds like taxes?
SHARPTON: Well, Willard is a good squirmer. We`ll see how he does.
But let me ask you, Congressman -- the president won North Carolina in
`08 by a fraction of a point. I read where Karl Rove says, if we could
just get black votes down one percent, he`d lose North Carolina.
You`re a congressman in that state. It`s a critical state. Can the
president win that state in 2012?
MILLER: He certainly can. Polling in North Carolina continues to
show it close here. And President Obama has a lead over all the Republican
And I think the African-American vote will be there for President
Obama, and it will certainly turn out. But the Republican legislature did
everything they could to try to suppress the vote, passing voter I.D. laws
and everything else.
SHARPTON: No, they were trying to protect us from fraud. They just
haven`t found any fraud. So, clear that that didn`t work.
We`ll stay tuned, certainly, and hopefully watch what goes on in North
Congressman Brad Miller and Richard Wolffe, thank you for coming on
the show tonight.
WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Ahead, we`ll have a winner from the Picture of the Campaign
Contest. I`ll announce the winner.
And congratulations, Willard. This picture is just money.
Plus, Herman Cain pretends to be the main man on Main Street, the Main
Street pizza guy. But a new investigation shows who`s really behind his
And we marched for jobs and justice over the weekend. Now it`s time
You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Folks, sometimes a picture says a lot more than words ever
could. Just take a look at this photo of Mitt Romney from his days as a
Wall Street businessman at Bain Capital.
This is Willard right here in the middle. They`re posing with dollars
and big bills, even dropping literally out of his suit.
This is the man that is obviously in the culture of where they think
it`s just fine to have money literally dropping out of their pockets, just
money everywhere, rolling in money. This is the man that wants to preach
At Bain Capital, Romney was a "vulture capitalist." That`s in quotes.
He often bought companies just to break them up and sell them off for
large profit, laying off thousands of workers in the process. Some of
those laid-off workers spoke out in this political ad from 1994 when Romney
was running for Senate against Ted Kennedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t like Romney`s creating jobs, because he
took every one of them away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I worked there 30 years, and I never dreamed
that I`d lose my job.
NARRATOR: Mitt Romney says he helped create 10,000 jobs. The former
workers at SCM in Marion, Indiana, say something else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he`s created jobs, I wish he could create some
here, you know, instead of taking them away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: All those worker layoffs made Romney a lot of money. He`s
now worth between $190 million and $250 million, yet his estimated rate is
just 14 percent. Fourteen percent is his estimated tax rate, much lower
than 35 percent tax rate paid by working class folks like teachers and
Fighting that kind of injustice and inequality is what the Wall Street
protests are all about. That`s why thousands of people turned out for our
jobs rally on Saturday.
It`s clear what the American people want. They want justice. It`s
clear what Wall Street wants. They want Willard Mitt Romney, because he`s
their kind of guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Corporations are people. There are people who work there.
There are customers that are people. Shareholders are people. They`re
people. Raising taxes on corporations is raising taxes on people.
When you tax corporations, either the employees are going to pay or
the shareholders are going to pay or the customers are going to pay. And
so corporations are people.
We could raise taxes on people. That`s not the way --
ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes on --
AUDIENCE: No they`re not!
ROMNEY: Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately
goes to people.
ROMNEY: Where do you think it goes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry,
Tulane professor and columnist for "The Nation."
Melissa, can a Wall Street candidate like Willard really succeed in
this political climate today?
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Possibly, and here`s why.
Because we have a big mismatch between what we think is true about how
Republicans perform economically and how Republicans actually perform
economically. So, ,after I talked with your producers, I was so excited
that we were going to be on set today. I did a little bit of my wonky
research and was looking up to be sure that I wasn`t going to misstate any
SHARPTON: Well, you`re our favorite wonk. So what did you come up
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, from the period of FDR until 2000, we had just as
many years with Democratic presidents as we had with Republican presidents.
So it makes a nice kind of comparison.
And when you look at economic performance on all the major economic
indicators, Democratic presidents outperformed Republican presidents on GDP
growth, on full employment, on relative equality -- there`s always a great
deal of inequality in the system, but relatively more equality in the
system when Democrats are presidents than when Republicans are. And yet,
business leaders tend to prefer Republicans as candidates.
SHARPTON: OK. Now, let`s take this slow. Let`s un-wonk this for
those that are at home like me that are not wonks.
You`re saying that since FDR, we`ve had just about an equal amount of
Democrats in the White House as Republicans, but that the gross --
HARRIS-PERRY: GDP, which is sort of gross domestic product, how much
the economy is growing --
SHARPTON: -- grew more under Democrats than Republicans?
SHARPTON: But isn`t their calling card that they grow the economy?
HARRIS-PERRY: It turns out they actually grow the deficits. Deficits
get higher under Republican presidents. GDP gets higher under Democratic
presidents. Relative equality under Democratic presidents, higher
inequality under Republican presidents.
But business leaders consistently prefer Republican candidates. Do
you know why?
SHARPTON: Let me show this to help support your argument to the
American jury watching.
Under George Bush, the economy, 2002 to 2007, 65 percent of economic
gains went to the rich.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, and that`s why. So the reason --
SHARPTON: This is to the top one percent.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. The reason business leaders prefer
Republicans isn`t because they`re better for the economy. It`s because
they`re better at growing the individual wealth of the wealthiest group.
So the one indicator that goes way up under Republican presidents is
that the very top percentage actually accumulates a higher percentage of
SHARPTON: You see, you`re answering something that I didn`t
understand, because I got up yesterday morning to go to the King Memorial
dedication, and I see in "The New York Times" this story that Wall Street,
who President Obama helped bail out, is giving their money to Romney.
Look at this. I mean, how do you have a guy bail you out and then you
contribute more to the guy that`s trying to run him out?
Look at the figures -- $1.5 million has gone to Romney already. Only
$270,000 has gone to President Obama. That doesn`t make sense -- or maybe
HARRIS-PERRY: Look, it`s a really clear formula. The fact is that we
actually do better as a country when we spread the wealth around.
Remember those kind of, oh, he wants to spread the wealth around, he`s
some kind of communist, socialist, that sort of discourse? But the fact
is, just in a capitalist system, just in a system where we want to grow our
economy, have more consumers, have demand for the products that people are
creating, all of that actually does better when working class people have
disposable income to purchase homes, to purchase cars, to purchase iPads,
all of those things. But what Republican administrations typically do is
grow deficits, because they grow military spending and they cut taxes and
they grow the wealth of the tightest top one percent.
SHARPTON: Wow. Well, thank you.
That`s why everybody thinks I`m smart. I talk to you, and then I walk
out and I just rehash it. Sometimes I give you credit. Just sometimes.
Melissa Harris-Perry, thanks for being with us.
Still ahead, the AstroTurfed candidate, how the billionaire brothers
who bankrolled the Tea Party are helping to drive Herman Cain`s run to the
But first, somebody please tell John McCain he lost the election.
He`s making some ridiculous attacks on the president.
SHARPTON: Republicans are so scared by the president`s winning
message on jobs, that they`re reduced to making ridiculous attacks about
the bus he`s using on his jobs tour.
Today, John McCain wasted the people`s time on the Senate floor
criticizing the president for traveling on a bus that was made in Canada.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I must say again, I`ve never seen an
uglier bus than the Canadian one. He`s traveling around on a Canadian bus
touting American jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Interesting. But you know who else likes Canadian buses?
John McCain. His so-called straight talk express in 2008 was built by the
exact same Canadian company that built the president`s bus. Too bad Mr.
McCain didn`t bring some straight talk to this issue. Of course, this
whole thing is bogus because the Secret Service did order the president`s
bus from Canada, but it was outfitted by a company in Tennessee. And they
ordered two. So the eventual Republican presidential nominee will also use
this bus. Senator McCain, the wheels are coming off. Nice try but we got
SHARPTON: Welcome back to the show. The billionaire conservative
Koch Brothers are at it again. They`re the guys who basically bank-rolled
the Tea Party movement for their personal interest. And now we`re learning
they have their own presidential candidate. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I
give you Herman Cain. He has a long history with the secretive right wing
billionaires. Here`s Cain praising the Kochs back in March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think David Koch is a
patriot because David Koch cares about the future of this country. His
brother Charles Koch is also a patriot. They get attacked because they
happen to be rich and they happen to believe in America, they happen to
believe in the constitution. They believe in the declaration. They
believe in, you know, the values of the founding fathers. That`s why they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: No, no, no, Herman. They get attacked because they`re
using power and money to influence policy. "Think Progress" exposed some
shocking ties between them. His campaign manager, Herman Cain`s seen here
with Cain, was the president of a chapter of the Koch-funded Americans for
prosperity pact. And then there`s economic advisor Rich Lowry, the so-
called economist behind the 9-9-9 plan who really worked at Wells Fargo
while he was on the board of advisers for Americans for prosperity. You
can see the logo behind them. Cain says he`s mainstream. I don`t buy it.
His policies are out to destroy Main Street America.
Joining me now is Scott Keyes, the reporter at "Think Progress" who
broke the story, why Herman Cain is Koch Brothers` favorite presidential
candidate, and Dana Milbank, national political reporter for the Washington
Post. Scott, how far back does this connection go?
SCOTT KEYES, "THINK PROGRESS": Well, thank you for having me, Mr.
Sharpton. Herman Cain`s history with the Koch Brothers and specifically
with the Koch Brothers as Tea Party front group Americans for prosperity
goes all the way back to 2005. He was actually hired as an official head
of their prosperity expansion project where he basically barnstormed the
country giving speeches, meeting with voters, connecting with donors,
essentially running a shadow presidential campaign for years before he ever
actually ended up running for presidential, you know, this cycle.
SHARPTON: Now, when you look at -- let me show you a graph. Because
some people say, well, he has the rights to get donations, all people in
public life do. And all of us have causes that people support. But when
you look at this graph of what the Koch Brothers have supported and what
he`s supported, you will see why they want to support him financially.
Koch Brothers say, EPA -- they fund the tax against the agency. Cain says,
he would eliminate the agency. Taxes they support, lower taxes. Cain
calls for a nine percent tax rate on unions, Koch Brothers` donated to
union-busting governors. Cain says, some unions trying to destroy the
state of Wisconsin. So, there is a policy agreement on major, major points
here that can`t be ignored.
KEYES: Right. Look at Mr. Lowry, for instance. He was on the board
of advisers of Americans for prosperity. Wrote this 9-9-9 plan which would
lower the corporate tax rates of companies like Koch industries from all
the way from 35 percent to nine percent. I mean, that`s an un-humongous
corporate giveaway. And this is coming from the Koch Brothers` own front
group who are then advising Mr. Cain. You know, the connections are really
unseemly but unfortunately, they`re starting to pervade into the
presidential campaign and into the policy proposals that is we`re seeing.
SHARPTON: Now, Dana, talking about Mr. Lowry and the 9-9-9 plan, Mr.
Cain was on "Meet the Press" this weekend. And he made an interesting
admission about his 9-9-9 plan, that it might actually might raise some
taxes on some people. Well, let me not be accused of misquoting him. Let
me show you what he said himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": The wealthiest Americans would
pay less, the poorest Americans and middle class would pay more. You don`t
CAIN: I do dispute that. More people will pay less in taxes. More
people will pay less in taxes.
GREGORY: It`s incontrovertible. There are people who will pay more.
CAIN: That`s right. Some people will pay more. But most people will
pay less is my argument.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And those some people, Dana, are the people that go and buy
things with the sales tax -- people in state that don`t have a sales tax.
Talking about working people and poor people, are those some people.
DAVID MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. And believe it or not,
Reverend, that was perhaps his most coherent moment during the entire David
Gregory interview. But Herman Cain is now getting the kind of scrutiny
that he had not received before. And a lot of people are coming out of the
woodwork to criticize him. And it`s not just coming from the left. You
have Grover Norquist, the anti tax activist now saying this 9-9-9 plan is
unacceptable now that he`s gotten to have a look at it. I think that these
ties to the Koch Brothers are very interesting but are not anomalous in the
since that we`ve been seeing for a long time now that the Chamber of
Commerce, lobbying interests and others have basically hijacked the Tea
Party movement. There were well-meaning conservatives out who were angry
about things going on in the economy. Basically they were taken over by
corporate interests to turn this into a vehicle to further the corporate
SHARPTON: Now, Dana, you said that was his most coherent statement on
"Meet the Press." Let me show you another statement that might not have
been as coherent. But I sure got it. They asked him about Supreme Court
justices he most admired. And listen to this answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: I believe that Justice Clarence Thomas, despite all of the
attacks that he gets from the left, he basically rules and makes his
decisions, in my opinion, based upon the constitution and solid legal
thinking. Justice Clarence Thomas is one of my models.
GREGORY: Has he been targeted unfairly, do you think?
CAIN: I think he has been targeted unfairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, Judge Clarence Thomas is his model. He`s been targeted
unfairly. The Koch Brothers have been targeting unfairly. I mean, there`s
a whole lot of targeting going on, Scott.
KEYES: Yes. Well, you know, but I think you have to take a step back
and ask, why is it that the Koch Brothers here are investing so much in the
Cain campaign? Now, they`ve already said they`re going to put in $200
million into this race in 2012. I think if you start to look at why they
would be backing a candidate like Herman Cain over, say, Mitt Romney, you
put yourself in their shoes. Mitt Romney`s and your Rick Perry`s, they`ve
already been in politics for years. They`ve been thinking about these
issues. They`ve built these connections. Herman Cain is someone who came
up through the Koch network and is essentially beholden to those
connections he`s made within them. You know, he gets into the White House,
the Koch Brothers have a direct line to Governor Walker in Wisconsin,
they`re sure as heck going to have a direct line to President Cain.
SHARPTON: Well, Dana, I`m running out of time. But, you know, he
also said he would put up a fence to deal with immigration that would
electrocute people, an electric fence that would kill people. He said in a
fiery speech, people uploaded and then the next day, he said he was joking.
But "Politics Nation" just found out he was meeting with Sheriff Joe
Arpaio. Maybe they don`t -- a bunch of new jokes.
Scott Keyes from Think Progress, and Dana Milbank from the Washington
KEYES: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Ahead, in the spread of Dr. Martin Luther King, we marched
for jobs, stay with us.
SHARPTON: Rick Perry`s wife, Anita, is pulling a Romney. Yes, like
Willard, she sympathizes with the unemployed and like Willard, the
reasoning is hilarious. Her son recently resigned from a top bank to
campaign for his father. Quote, "He resigned his job two weeks ago because
he can`t go out and campaign with his father because of SEC regulations, so
I can empathize," end of quote. Then she blamed it on the president.
Quote, "My son lost his job because of this administration," end of quote.
This makes no sense. SEC rules were designed to members of the
security industry from influencing politicians. Next thing you know,
she`ll be saying corporations are people.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. Let me tell you a bit about what I saw over
the weekend at the rally in Washington, D.C. A man came to me and says,
I`m a businessman and I am all for fighting for jobs, I`m all for the 99
percent getting their share, I agree with you, Reverend. But also, there
are those of us that suffer not only class but race and that have been
disenfranchised. How do we deal with that? The jobs numbers for
minorities tell a terrible story. The national unemployment rate stands at
9.1 percent, but even worse for minorities. The African-American
unemployment rate is 16 percent. Hispanic unemployment is 11.3 percent.
But talking about it isn`t enough. We need to turn that energy into
action and find a way to fix the problem. We also need to remove the glass
ceiling of those at the top and how they are chosen because a lot of the
people at the top are not just there by merit, they`re there by
relationships and access. And my next guest is someone who says he has an
answer. And because of what he`s achieved for himself, I think he has
something that we need to hear.
Robert Johnson who`s the founder of Black Entertainment Television and
the first African-American billionaire, he has the pleasure of being with
me tonight -- I have the pleasure of having him on my show. And to hear
about the RLJ plan. Now, there was the Rooney plan, right?
ROBERT JOHNSON, FOUNDER, BET: The Rooney rule.
SHARPTON: Tell me what the Rooney rule was.
JOHNSON: The Rooney rule was the way the NFL wanted to change the
fact that there were few African-American coaches and African-American GMs.
So, the NFL said that when there`s a coach vacancy, or GM vacancy, the
owner of an NFL team must interview at least one African-American candidate
before filling that position. And that led to a significant increase in
African-American coaches and African-American GM, including those coaches
who have taken teams to the Super Bowl. Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, Lovie
Smith. It shows that African-Americans, when given an opportunity, can
compete at the highest level.
SHARPTON: Now, when the Rooney rule came in, a lot of us who were
around, people said it wouldn`t work. But let me show you the graph of
what you just said, Bob, that we went from three in 2003 to eight by 2011.
So, it really more than doubled what the goal was in terms of -- well, it
doubled the numbers. So, the RLJ rule is based on that for the private
JOHNSON: Based on that concept with one difference. In the NFL you
get fined into the owners don`t comply with the Rooney rule. I`m asking
corporations throughout this country to do it on a voluntary basis, what I
call enhanced best practices. Any company you talk to, they say they`re
committed to diversity inclusion. But this is a way of getting around a
traditional old boy network that affects particularly jobs at the vice
president level and above. And also, I`m adding into this minority
contractors. Don`t issue a new contract unless you interview at least one
or two qualified African-American minority companies that can fill that
job. Don`t hire a VP position, don`t fill a VP position unless you
interview one or two qualified minorities who could fill that job. It`s a
very simple rule, no quotas, no mandate to hire. But interview.
SHARPTON: Now, these contractors are on the ground hiring people in
the community and they don`t necessarily get access to bid on these
contracts or get these contracts. So if you had this rule voluntarily
there, people would be seeking out minority contractors that don`t normally
even get a shot at trying to get a major contract.
JOHNSON: If a CEO of the top 1,000 companies said to the HR person,
their diversity person, part of your job and assignment is to follow the
RLJ rule -- I don`t have any pride or authorization for the name. They can
change it to a Wall Mart rule, the JCPenney rule, the American Airlines
rule, whatever they want to call it. But the idea is, your job is to make
sure, before you issue a new contract, interview one or two minority
qualified companies. Before you hire VP and above issue, I mean, meet with
and interview one or two minority candidates who would be eligible,
qualified for that job.
They may not get that job, but they could get the next job that came
along or if they do get that job, they`re going to be sensitive to hiring
in diversity all across the spectrum because Reverend Al, as you know,
whether the numbers are ten years or 20 years from now, most of the people
working and consuming in this country are going to be minorities. And it`s
in the best interest of companies to find the best talent now, just like
the NFL did, just like baseball did when Branch Rickey recruited Jackie
Robinson all of a sudden now. You don`t have that problem.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this. You are one of the first
billionaires` black this country has had. And there hasn`t been many. You
could sit them around this table. But you started not rich at all. But
you also worked in government. I mean, this whole thing of, government has
no role in opening doors, do you believe that is true?
JOHNSON: I never worked in government. I worked on Capitol Hill for
a Congressman -- and I worked at the trade association.
SHARPTON: You worked for a congressman.
JOHNSON: I worked for a Congressman Fontro (ph), yes. Government has
a role in anything. And I think government particularly has a role here in
this area. And as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King said once, you can`t
legislate morality, but you can regulate behavior. And I think there`s a
role for government to regulate behavior in certain areas. But what I want
to see, for example, is government used more of the bully pulpit of
focusing on companies to do things that are in their best interest rather
than mandating that they do them. I`m more to the school of, let`s go to
companies and ask them to do what is in their long-term best interest. And
then if you have to, you can use the stick. But I`m more in favor of
putting the carrot in front of people. Because that`s worked for me and
the businesses I`ve started. I`ve always been able to find some strategic
partners to grow with me. And I believe that we can do the RLJ rule if
companies recognize it`s in their best interest.
SHARPTON: Robert Johnson, founder of BET, thank you for coming on
tonight. You use the carrot while I`m soaking the stick if the carrot
don`t work. Of course I`m talking political stick. Thank you for being
with us, tonight. RLJ rule, we`re going to be getting updates on that as
JOHNSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Up next, a weekend fighting for jobs, justice and hope.
SHARPTON: On Saturday, thousands turned out for our march for jobs
and justice. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s time for us to Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Washington,
Occupy Alabama. We`ve come to take our country back to the people!
GEORGE GRESHAM, PRESIDENT, SEIU 1199: Let the history books reflect
that on October 15th was the beginning of working people coming together,
standing up and demanding jobs and justice. Because if they say cut back,
we`re going to say, fight back. If they say cut back, we say.
RANDI WEINGARTEN, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Here today, you
have the foot soldiers fighting for economic dignity, fighting for jobs for
Americans, fighting for Americans together to not simply be about the rich
but be about all of the way America is.
SHARPTON: They want to take away our vote in 34 states talking about
voter ID, talking about ending early registration, ending early voting.
They want to honor Dr. King and revoke the voting rights act at the same
time. You can`t kill the voting rights act and honor Dr. King. You can`t
unemployed people and honor Dr. King. We will not let you make a mockery
of what Dr. King stood for. This is about our survival. You want us to
pay for your loopholes. You want to go into our parents` Social Security.
When you mess with our Social Security, this is not about Obama, this is
about my mama. If you can`t stand up for the unemployed, we`re going to
vote to make sure you join the unemployed.
Somebody said that the Occupy Wall Street was a mob. Occupy
Washington was a mob. They`re not a mob, they are saying what we`re saying
-- that you cannot act like this country is your playground while single
mothers can`t take care of their families, while you send us to schools
that don`t have enough money to give us the teachers that can teach us.
Then you want to demonize teachers. You want to cut the teachers, you want
to cut the firemen, you want to cut the policemen, you want to cut the
municipal workers while you take care of your tycoons. We are telling you,
look at the mob today, we`re just getting started. We`re getting ready to
Let`s demand our rights. We`re Dr. King`s children. We`re Coretta
King`s children. We`re not going to bow down. We`re not going to bend.
We`re not going to buckle. Stand up, America! Stand up, America! Stand
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yesterday, the day after that march and rally, we dedicated
the memorial to Dr. King. But some of us are committed to making sure that
we don`t put away what he stood for and we bring into reality his full
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
<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
MORE FROM POLITICSNATION
Add PoliticsNation headlines to your news reader: