updated 10/25/2011 2:03:12 PM ET 2011-10-25T18:03:12

Guests: Jan Schakowsky, Richard Wolffe, Carolyn McCarthy, Dana Milbank,
Nia-Malika Henderson, Bill Press


REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans. Americans are drowning.
Throw them a lifeline.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon,
everybody.

SHARPTON (voice-over): President Obama goes West with a plan to help
fix the housing mess after Mitch McConnell makes the stunning statement
that firefighters and cops aren`t his problem.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: They are local and state
employees.

SHARPTON: Nice leadership, Republican Leader.

Tonight, fixing the economy without Republican help with Congresswoman
Jan Schakowsky and Richard Wolffe.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did Obamacare work?

AUDIENCE: No!

SHARPTON: Poor Willard. He really wants to play "Extreme Makeover:
Right Wing Edition." He just can`t stick to one side.

ROMNEY: My collaborator and friend, Senator Edward Kennedy.

SHARPTON: How about help from these guys?

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No abortions, no exceptions.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The government
must intervene.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You are pro-having
your cake and eating it, too.

SHARPTON: Tonight, the GOP goes extreme with Dana Milbank and Nia
Malika Henderson.

Plus, the party of no credit at it again.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: They`re dancing in the
streets in Tehran.

SHARPTON: No, Senator, they`re really not. But thanks.

POLITICS NATION starts right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Tonight`s lead, forget the Republicans. The president is taking new
steps to help people.

Today, President Obama unveiled a plan to help millions of struggling
homeowners, stepping in where Republicans failed to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We can`t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do
its job. Where they won`t act, I will.

Today, I am pleased to announce that the agency that is in charge is
going to be taking a series of steps to help responsible homeowners
refinance and take advantage of low mortgage rates. We can`t just wait for
Congress. Until they act, until they do what they need to do, we`re going
to act on our own, because we can`t wait for Congress to help our families
and our economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The plan would help up to four million underwater
homeowners refinance their loans. They could each see more than $2,500 in
savings. That`s money in their pocket, money that could be used to help
get the economy moving and get people more jobs. And this is just the
beginning.

On Wednesday, the president will announce an executive order to help
students repay college loans. And in coming weeks, he`ll move to help
veterans and small businesses. All of this done without the do-nothing
Republicans in Congress who have twice blocked action on his jobs bill.

Of course, these same Republicans claim it`s not their fault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: These bills are designed on purpose not to pass. Their
storyline is that there must be some villain out there who`s keeping this
administration from succeeding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Some villain who wants to stop the president from
succeeding? I wonder who Mitch McConnell could be talking about?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: Our top political priority over the next two years should
be to deny President Obama a second term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Earlier today, the president addressed McConnell directly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Their Leader, Mitch McConnell, said that -- and I`m going to
make sure I quote this properly -- saving the jobs of teachers, cops and
firefighters was just -- I quote -- "a bailout." A bailout.

These are the men and women who teach our children, who patrol our
streets, who run into burning buildings and save people. They deserve our
support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is outrageous. I mean, this is the epitome of an
insult to the American people, as far as I`m concerned.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from
Illinois, and MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe.

Thanks, both of you, for joining me.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, I was about to go off into a sermon, because
it`s just outrageous. How can you call firemen, policemen, teachers a
bailout?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I don`t think any Americans would agree with that.
They want to make sure that their streets are safe, that our first
responders are available when we have natural disasters and fires, and
certainly want their children to get a good education.

And the very idea that he would call that a bailout when people are
feeling so deserted because of the obstructionism of the Republicans --
they feel that that there is no help coming from the Congress, and they`re
right. This is a -- this is Republican leadership that is willing to bring
the economy down. They`ve proved it already in order to defeat Barack
Obama and take all Americans with them when it does.

SHARPTON: It`s an amazing, total disregard for what is good for the
American people.

Richard, let me show you this. Rick Santorum, when he was in the
debate over housing, look at how he deals with how we deal with this
housing crisis.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do as president to help fix the
overall problem of real estate and foreclosures in America?

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to let the market
work, and that`s what hasn`t been happening so far.

ROMNEY: These kinds of actions on the part of government haven`t
worked. The right course is to let markets work.

CAIN: In terms of what we need to do, we need to get government out
of the way. Reform Dodd/Frank and reform a lot of these other regulations
that have gotten in the way.

BACHMANN: Repeal the jobs and housing destruction act known as
Dodd/Frank.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So here you have Santorum, Cain, Romney, Bachmann. I mean,
it`s all of them saying almost the same thing of, let it go the way it`s
going, let the markets fix it, let this happen, that happen, government
should stay out of the way.

Government helped do us in by deregulation and allowing housing to
become a crisis. So you don`t want government to repair what government
did?

WOLFFE: There is -- obviously, they`re speaking to ideology here.
They believe the free market approach is correct.

Of course, most people actually look at the free market gone wild
through the 2000s and say, that`s how we ended up with the financial
collapse. But whatever your argument is on the economy, and what the right
policy is, it just isn`t a matter of politics, it`s incredibly tone deaf.

I mean, effectively, they`re saying to those homeowners who are
struggling, you`re on your own. Go default.

SHARPTON: Right.

WOLFFE: Have your houses repossessed, let the market fix it out. And
I guess you could go into a bed and breakfast or some motel somewhere until
you figure out how to get things right.

That`s a tough sell in a difficult economy. And I don`t know what
these candidates think they`re going to do in terms of reaching out to
voters beyond that very narrow base that watches these kinds of debates and
these primaries.

SHARPTON: Yes.

But, Congresswoman, we`re not even exaggerating this. Mitt Romney
said outright -- let me play you what he said. I want your reaction to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Don`t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its
course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in
them, fix the homes up, and let it turn around and come back up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let it run its course --

SCHAKOWSKY: Incredible. Cities --

SHARPTON: I mean, let people default, put renters in. I mean, it
would be shocking if it was not so real that he said this.

SCHAKOWSKY: Totally unacceptable. We have neighborhoods and cities
and even states that are so far under water, where people are losing their
homes, where the government -- what I appreciate about the president he is
saying, we are not helpless in the face of this, and I am going to use all
my power to make sure that homeowners who have little or even no equity in
their homes are going to be able to stay there.

What is Mitt Romney suggesting, that people by the millions, literally
tens of millions, be thrown out of their homes without the government doing
anything to help? And they are such hypocrites, Al.

They talk about how the stimulus doesn`t work and we`re not going to
do anything to create jobs. And yet, I see one after another of them
grinning when they cut the ribbon for projects that are in their district.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

SCHAKOWSKY: It just galls me.

SHARPTON: Now, and the thing that amazes me, Congresswoman, is if
government didn`t deregulate and allow these banks and others to put
homeowners in this position, they wouldn`t be in this position. So
government who citizens had the right to feel was protecting them from
these kind of predatory situations has to repair what government did.

How do you step back now and act like we have nothing to do with it
when you had everything to do with it, when people thought they were being
protected and they were not?

SCHAKOWSKY: They voted for the bailout, and now they`re saying that
we want to deregulate once again. We want to allow those same Wall Street
moguls that got us into this economic disaster to be able to do it once
again, and then just to let these banks who aren`t helping these homeowners
whatsoever, just let it run its course. This is not the United States of
America that I grew up in, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, let me show you what Mitch McConnell says.
He says, it`s not our problem, it`s a state problem. Look at this -- don`t
come to us about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: I certainly do approve of firefighters and police. The
question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on
300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for
whom firefighters and police work. They are local and state employees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, help me with this, Richard. You`re a smart man.

Should the federal government bail out states to help firefighters and
police? No, the government ought to be protecting millionaires, he`s
saying. We ought to be protecting the billionaires and the big companies
to make sure they don`t have to pay more taxes because we shouldn`t be
doing this to help these firefighters and police. That`s the state`s
problem. And I don`t know if that`s our job. Our job is protecting the
fat, rich guys.

WOLFFE: Right. Well, my opinion on whether they should or shouldn`t
isn`t nearly as important as what the polls say.

The American public thinks it`s the right thing to do. And you`re
looking at 60, 70 percent support for "bailing out" these states to help
firefighters, first responders, teachers stay in their jobs.

You know, there`s a weird situation going on where you have rhetoric
from both sides. For a start, there`s a real George Orwell-type speak of
saying anyone owning a million dollars or more is now a small business
owner. I don`t know how you square those two pieces of the English
language up.

But if you have both parties saying we need to get the economy moving,
we need to get jobs growing, there`s not a lot you can do about the word
economy facing crisis. Maybe you can`t really do a whole lot to convince
businesses to hire people, but there are some things government can control
-- helping the states, which has been a traditional role of Washington for
many, many decades, and modifying home loans. You know, you can`t do much
about the housing market, but changing the way underwriting rules play out
through the government regulators, that`s something Washington can do.

So deal with the things you can do, and let the market do everything
else. That seems a reasonable position for the middle ground for the left
and the right.

SHARPTON: Well, they know, Richard, where the regulators are because
they deregulated them.

Let me say this, Congresswoman. We`re not just talking about
something that is not real. This chart that I prepared shows that we`re
looking at the impact on the economy -- 12,000 layoffs, this is police
only. Police, 12,000 by the end of the year; 30,000 positions not filled.

If we don`t do something, this is the reality we face by the end of
this year.

SCHAKOWSKY: And this is the real trickle-down. Their trickle-down
is, let`s give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, and somehow that
will help the rest. But the real trickle-down is that, when you cut
government spending at the federal level, you end up with state and local
governments having to lay off their workers, critical workers, critical
workers that everyone needs to keep their neighborhoods and their
communities flourishing and safe.

I see them betting against, working against the economy. The American
people support the American Jobs Act. They want it to pass. But if not,
then the president is saying loud and clear, I am not powerless, we are not
powerless --

SHARPTON: That`s right.

SCHAKOWSKY: We`re going to do everything we can to address this. You
know that right now, the student debt is larger than all credit card debt
in this country, and it`s about to hit $1 trillion. We`re going to do
something about that.

SHARPTON: That`s why he`s going to use an executive order on
Wednesday.

SCHAKOWSKY: Exactly.

SHARPTON: And when you`ve got people like Senator McConnell saying
it`s not our job to bail out states who need to do that for police and
firemen, it`s our job to protect the taxes of the rich, what are we talking
about?

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Richard Wolffe, thank you both very
much.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, how to prevent your political free-fall. Go
back to the birther movement, of course. Rick Perry answering the
question, how low can he go?

Karl Rove trying to go moderate. Really? It`s happening.

And stopping the epidemic of gun violence in this country. A mother
loses her life while protecting innocent children from a hail of bullets.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: On Friday, a mother named Zurana Horton was shot and killed
while picking up her daughter from a Brooklyn elementary school. She died
acting as a human shield for the 11-year-old and other nearby children.

Ms. Horton was not the first in the family to die from gun violence.
One brother was gunned down just last year, another was killed being robbed
for his jacket. Three people, three lives, robbed by guns.

Stories like this are no longer shocking. The headlines are constant.
But the victims are varied.

Last month, four were killed and seven injured when a gunman opened
fire at an IHOP in Nevada. Three of the victims were National Guard
members.

This year began with six people killed and 13 injured during a
"Congress On Your Corner" event. Among them, Representative Gabrielle
Giffords.

So far, this year alone, over 79,000 people have been shot. Seventy-
nine thousand. That`s 268 people every day.

And despite all of this, we live in a country where gun possession is
rampant. There are 89 guns for every 100 people in this country.

The next country in terms of gun possession isn`t even close. It`s
Yemen. And their average is only 55 guns per 100.

Yet, given these facts, for some on the other side the idea of gun
control is a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: I`m actually for gun control. Use both hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: I`m proud to say I`m a concealed permit holder myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: I kind of like my guns and bible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Gun control is hitting what you`re aiming at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s not funny to me, because I don`t care how many guns
you have. How do you defend yourself if you`re a woman being a human
shield to protect an 11-year-old child and other children? No matter what
gun she would have had, she couldn`t have protected herself from this kind
of gang violence.

I went out to see that family today. I`m going to preach her funeral.
But I want to also say to young people, they cannot live where they feel
they have to join a gang to be protected because society can`t protect them
from the wrong people having guns.

Watch this, this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are sending a signal to our young people that we can`t
protect them, they`ve got to join a gang to get protection. And maybe this
senseless act can wake this city up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ve got to wake the city, the nation. We`ve got to get
guns off the street, and we`ve got to give alternatives to young people.

Joining me now, Representative Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from New
York. She became a leading voice for gun safety after her husband and son
were shot during a mass shooting here in New York nearly 20 years ago.

And you have been unyielding in this fight for gun control, yet it
keeps coming back, haunting us, and it seems that a lot of people don`t get
it.

Congresswoman, what can we do to deal with this problem of guns in our
streets all over the country, every region of the country?

REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY (D), NEW YORK: Well, to be very honest with you
-- and thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk to the American
people -- what we can do about it is the average American person can speak
up.

Right now, we`ve got a bill going through Congress which will probably
be up on the floor for a vote which is going to pass, unfortunately, HR-
822, that will have concealed weapons be able to go into any state. As you
know, New York has good gun safety laws, and yet our governor will not be
able to control that. Anybody from any other state can come into our state
with a concealed weapon, putting our citizens at risk, and certainly our
police officers at risk.

SHARPTON: Now, let me show people exactly what you`re talking about.

This law is HR-822. And it says, "Residents of states with lax
requirements for acquiring a concealed carry permit could use their permits
to carry a concealed weapon in states with stricter requirements such as
New York."

So this is going to increase the flow of concealed weapons coming into
states that even have strict gun laws?

MCCARTHY: But I`ll be honest with you, there`s no reason to even have
this piece of legislation going through, mainly because states that already
have these laws, they have chosen to partnership with other states, and
other states they did not, mainly because they were too weak. So this is
something, as far as I`m concerned, is a states rights issue.

They`re always painting people like us that are trying to do gun
safety issues, that we`re trying to take away someone`s right to own a gun.
That is not true.

We have never tried to take away the right of someone owning a gun.
But with that being said, the Supreme Court said the states and local
cities like Mayor Bloomberg can put laws in place to protect their
citizens. And that`s what we`re trying to do, keep people safe.

SHARPTON: How do you respond, Congresswoman, to people that argue, it
is not guns that kill people, it is people that kill people? Those that
don`t understand that you have a lot of young people that have no idea of
what to do and how to deal with a gun, you have a lot of gang violence,
then you have people that -- like who Congresswoman Giffords was victimized
by, who are just out of their minds but have easy access to guns.

MCCARTHY: Well, that`s the whole problem, easy access to guns.

We know that we have tried to pass legislation to have better
background checks, and yet that is always being struck down. We have
legislation where we try to get rid of the large magazines that were used
in Gabby Giffords` shooting. There`s no reason to have something that has
more than 15 bullets in the chamber, up to 30 bullets, 40 bullets.

We don`t need those kind of things. You know, people want to go out
hunting, that`s fine. But with that being said, you`re also putting the
average citizen at risk.

As you had mentioned, over 70,000 people have been injured by guns
this year. That`s costing this country over $1 billion a year to take care
of those that survive, and those families and the victims.

The woman that you had just talked about that was shot and killed on
Friday, she has 14 children. Who`s going to take care of those 14
children? They are going to have to be taken care of. This is happening
every single day.

You asked me earlier, too, what can we do? Well, right now, I have a
Web site going up. It`s called StopHR822.com. Let`s get a petition going.
Let`s show these people down here in Washington that there are other voice
out there to stop this kind of violence out there.

SHARPTON: When I left the grandmother who now has to raise her
daughter`s children with the memory of having buried two other of her
children from gun violence, and then when I think of what is being said on
the other side, who has no sensitivity to this, it is frightening. I mean,
they act as though this is meaningless, and it`s not.

Give us that Web site again, Congresswoman McCarthy.

MCCARTHY: It`s StopHR822.com.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman McCarthy, thank you for joining me, and thank
you for keeping up the fight.

MCCARTHY: Thanks for having me. I`m not giving up.

SHARPTON: Ahead, just when you thought Republicans and their race
couldn`t get any worse, Rick Perry goes birther.

And Willard`s doing everything he can to escape the good thing he did
-- the one good thing he did in his political career.

But we got you again tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Poor Willard. No matter how hard he tries, he just can`t
get away from the health care law he signed in Massachusetts. Such a
compassionate and effective program, only gets him in trouble with
republican voters. No matter how hard he tries to sweep it under the rug,
Romney-care just keeps coming up in conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When government tries to
tell us what kind of health care we can have, when government tells us that
we have to join a union, whether he want to or not. Then government has
become too intrusive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Romney-care, their shouting. Romney-care. And now
Willard`s running even further from his plan. The "Los Angeles Times"
reports that under Romney`s law, undocumented immigrants can get free
medical care. Residents don`t need to prove their legal status to get
treatment at public health clinics and hospitals in Massachusetts. Now
emergency rooms can`t turn down anybody. So letting undocumented
immigrants get preventive care is meant to drive down costs in the long
run. But Romney doesn`t want to take credit for that solution. His
spokeswoman says, quote, "If illegal immigrants are getting access to
additional health care in Massachusetts, it`s liberal Governor Deval
Patrick that is made it easier for them to do so. It`s all the liberals
fault. Poor Willard, he used to be proud of what he accomplished.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I happened to like what we did. I think it`s a good model
for other states.

It`s now my pleasure to introduce my collaborator and friend, Senator
Edward Kennedy.

I don`t care less about how it works politically. In my view, it`s
the right thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It is the right thing to do and the popular thing, too.
Sixty three percent of the people in Massachusetts support it, five years
after it was signed. Willard, did you really think we would notice you
were trying to downplay the best thing you ever did is governor. But don`t
worry, Willard. We won`t tell any republican primary voters, nice try, but
we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Just when you thought
the republican reality show couldn`t go further off the deep end, the
birthers are back. That`s right. Rick Perry was asked if President Obama
was born in the United States. He said, quote, "I have no reason to think
otherwise." Not exactly a definitive answer. So the reporter pushed
harder and Perry said, quote, "Well, I don`t have a definitive answer
because he`s never seen my birth certificate." Does that make sense? What
does Rick Perry`s birth certificate have to do with it? This is so sad
it`s funny. With this kind of extremism in the GOP is nothing new. And
it`s not just Rick Perry. Here`s the crew in Iowa giving the Tea Party
crowd what they want.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will not differentiate
what is a legal and biological fallacy, that a human life is not a person.

RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fifty million have died
because America has not guaranteed the right to life expressly stated in
the declaration of independence.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would immediately move
to defund Planned Parenthood and take that money and devote it to adoption
services to create an alternative to abortion.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Life from conception, no
abortions, no exceptions.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not exactly a way to create jobs, but they`re playing right
to the Iowa caucus voters. A whopping 50 percent of them support the Tea
Party. And we`re learning this Tea Party still doesn`t have a favorite.
So they`re all jockeying for that vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a Department of
Education, but how did we get there? The constitution says, gives no
authority for the federal government to be involved in education.

MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 59,000 other
American men who come across America`s borders every year. This is a
national security threat.

CAIN: If I could have reversed one energy-related policy, I would
have allowed the American people to decide what kind of light bulb they
want to put in their homes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Light bulbs? Getting rid of the Department of Education?
The Tea Party might be happy, but can this talk actually win?

Joining me now is Nia-Malika Henderson, a political reporter for "The
Washington Post." And Dana Milbank, a national political reporter for "The
Washington Post." Thanks to both of you for joining me tonight.

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good evening, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana, is playing the birther card political suicide?

MILBANK: Well, you know, Rick Perry was originally doing the
secession card. I think if at first you don`t succeed, you go with the
birther movement. I have thought that this had been put to rest in the
springtime. Pretty much everybody else backed off of it. Rick Perry has
chosen to march to a different drummer in this campaign. I think he`s, in
fact, gone farther even than the original birther, Donald Trump, himself.
So, you know, even a lot of Tea Party folks at this point say, don`t
associate us with the birthers anymore.

SHARPTON: Well, to prove that, Nia, let me show you this, no one less
than Karl Rove said, this about the birther Rick Perry incident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FORMER ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Look, you associate
yourself with a nutty view like that and you damage yourself. There`s a
simple answer. Yes, he was born in the United States. Yes, he is eligible
to serve. And don`t associate yourself with sort of this nutty fringe
group.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Karl Rove seems to be annoyed because I think he
knows this can`t win a general election, Nia.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: That, and he`s certainly
no fan of Rick Perry. But he`s exactly right. This is a movement and
Dana`s right, too, that even the Tea Party, even a lot of other folks who
were flirting with this whole idea of Barack Obama being born elsewhere
have really dropped that card. And you saw Barack Obama obviously come out
in the spring and release his long form birth certificate. What seems to
be happening here with Rick Perry is he really is trying to be the biggest
anti-Romney of this crew of six or seven other anti-Romney`s.

He talks about Mitt Romney being, you know, a person who would
campaign in pastels and him being the person who could campaign in bold
colors. And this seems to be what he`s doing there. And obviously in some
ways playing into the whole idea of Donald Trump and Donald Trump being an
important endorser, I don`t even know if that`s the case. But it seems
like in some ways, he`s blowing a kiss to Donald Trump with this and trying
to get his endorsement.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, Karl Rove in saying that not only Nia says, he
doesn`t like Rick Perry, but he doesn`t seem too crazy about Herman Cain
either. Let me show you his critique on Mr. 9-9-9.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROVE: Cain has had a number of misstatements. I mean, we`ve had
abortion, we had earlier this year that he didn`t understand what the right
of return was, the Palestinian demand for the right of return. He recently
said he didn`t understand what neoconservatives were when it came to
foreign policy. He had a rather odd answer on Afghan policy, basically,
I`ll figure it out once I get into office. The federal sales tax. The
whole effect of this is to not create an image I think of him as being a
flip-floppers, I think it has create an image of him as not being up to
this task. And that`s really deadly, that`s really deadly for a
presidential candidate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, Dana, I think that the problem is that when
Karl Rove says, you`re not up to the task, that`s even probably more of an
indictment than saying you`re a flip-flopper.

MILBANK: Yes, I`m not sure these words have ever skipped my lips
before. But Karl Rove is exactly right. He is fighting for the -- what`s
left of the republican establishment here and saying, people, try to focus
on what we need to do as Republicans to win the election next November.
Let`s not get distracted by these issues. And unfortunately for the
Republicans, the party is doing nothing but getting distracted by the
issues, the social issues of God, gays and guns, the birther issue,
immigration. And this is being accentuated in Iowa which cares about the
social conservatism. And the rest of the country is largely talking about
the economy and the Republicans are having trouble focusing on that.

SHARPTON: Now, Nia, there is a method to this appearance of madness
because when you look at the polls in Iowa and you raise the question to
Iowa republican voters, what is the main concern who they choose who
they`re going to support? Thirty percent say, a candidate with shared
values with them. Twenty nine percent say it`s their position on issues.
Only 20 percent are worried about their electable. Seventeen percent on
experience to govern. So, 59 percent of the republican voters in Iowa want
to know your shared values and position on issues more than whether you`re
electable or whether you have experience in governing. So, they`re playing
to a crowd that says, I don`t care if you win or not, I want to know if you
believe what I believe, I want to know if you stand with me on the issues
and maybe that`s why we`re seeing this kind of craziness that appears
politically crazy to us.

HENDERSON: Well, they are certainly playing to the crowd there in
Iowa. I think the problem with Iowa is that it hasn`t always been a good
springboard to the presidency or even the nomination. You can ask
President Dole that, you can ask President Huckabee that as well. So,
that`s the problem. They`re obviously going for the far right and going
for this vote, January 3rd vote where 60 percent of the folks who show up
for that Iowa caucus will be evangelicals. And among evangelicals, the
main issues are abortion and gay marriage. So, that`s why you hear all of
those folks who are really trying to be the anti-Romney stress those
issues. And I think for Herman Cain, he`s going to have a real problem out
there. He`s riding high in the polls now. But he articulated a real pro-
choice view earlier in the week last week and he`s going to have a real
problem trying to walk back from that.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, he certainly -- in very clear language, stated
that it was someone`s choice, the parents` choice. He`s walking it back,
which gives him a problem with this crowd who, as Nia said and you`ve
concurred deals with these kind of issues. But the other problem is, once
you come out of Iowa and face the rest of the country in the republican
primaries and then the ultimate winner, how do you sell that to the
American public?

MILBANK: Well, that`s exactly it. And I think that`s why you see
Mitt Romney downplaying Iowa. You see Jon Huntsman avoiding Iowa entirely
in favor of New Hampshire which they think is much more representative of
the country as a whole and much more capable of turning out a winner from
the Republican Party. So Iowa is just a game of who gets to challenge Mitt
Romney in New Hampshire. Mitt Romney does not want it to be Rick Perry. I
think he`d be very delighted to have Herman Cain there because as we`ve
seen, Herman Cain has trouble understanding the questions he`s being asked.
Either that or he just has trouble answering them.

SHARPTON: Well, he`s going to be the first president in the history
of the country that actually signed a constitutional amendment, according
to him. Thank you, Nia-Malika Henderson and Dana Milbank. Thanks very
much for joining me this evening.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, this 96-year-old fought back against a voter
suppression. But a news story shows how widespread the problem is.

And Republicans just can`t seem to give President Obama any credit,
even when he`s bringing the troops home in time for the holidays.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: As promised, the war in Iraq
will end by the end of this year and all our troops will be home. All of
them.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama at a democratic fund-raiser today getting a
standing ovation for his decision to end the war in Iraq. When it comes to
foreign policy, the saying goes, politics stops at the water`s edge. So
with the Iraq war ending, the GOP candidates got behind the President,
right?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: In many respects, we`ve lost control and lost the war in
Iraq.

ROMNEY: Was the President`s administration out negotiated by the
Iraqi leaders?

PERRY: The last thing that you want to do is put those men and
women`s lives in peril. And I think that`s what the President`s done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I guess not. OK, OK. But certainly the Republicans on the
Armed Services Committee will give the guy some credit, right?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It is viewed in the region as a
victory for the Iranians. And I don`t think there is any doubt there is.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Not being able to close the
deal in Iraq is a very serious mistake. Celebrating leaving with no troops
behind is a serious mistake. They`re dancing in the streets in Tehran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let`s be clear here. The timetable for pulling out was
President Bush`s timetable. And no matter what it is, Republicans flat-out
refuse to give this President any credit, not for killing Osama bin Laden,
not for saving lives in Libya and not for ending a war that never should
have happened in the first place. Why? Because their number one priority
is to defeat this president. Their motto is, don`t give credit where
credit is due.

Joining me now is Bill Press, host of "The Bill Press Show" on
Sirius/XM radio. Bill, is writing about the Iraq troops fallout calling
yet a promise made promise kept. Bill, what will it take for the
Republicans to give this President credit?

BILL PRESS, HOST, "THE BILL PRESS SHOW": Yes, you know what, Reverend
Al, as one of my callers said this morning on my show, the Republican Party
is like some of the banks down south, right? They refuse to give a black
man credit, period. I mean, he could carry their mother out of a burning
building and they wouldn`t give him any credit. And you know what I think
the problem is? I think because his success in the foreign policy realm --
and we`ll go through the record, I`m sure -- it exposes the folly of George
Bush`s policy. It shows that Bush was all talk. Obama`s all action. Bush
was wrong and Obama`s doing it the right way and they can`t stand it.

SHARPTON: Well, look at what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said
yesterday on "Meet the Press."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Obama has passed with
flying colors every leadership challenge. I mean, look at what he has
done. I mean, just to name a few things, I mean, you know, we were looking
for bin Laden for, you know, ten years. It was under President Obama`s
leadership that he was finally eliminated.

SHARPTON: Now, you said promises made, promises kept, Bill. Let me
show you something. Senator Obama in running said this as McCain called
him naive. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and
take him out, then we should.

MCCAIN: The best idea is to not broadcast what you`re going to do.
That`s naive.

OBAMA: The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama
bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, Bill, who is naive and who delivered?

PRESS: Exactly. By the way, you could add certainly to Osama bin
Laden, Anwar al -Awlaki, he`s gone, Moammar Gadhafi is gone. The operation
in Libya, huge success, seven months, ending the Iraq war, which by the
way, candidate Obama also promised to do, finally ending that, bringing all
of our troops home. In addition to that, Reverend Al, I checked out the
numbers on these drone strikes against the terrorists in Pakistan for
attacking American troops. In three years, President Obama has overseen
the killing of 1,400 of these terrorists, in eight years George Bush only
52. I come back to it. Bush and Cheney were whinnies in this stuff.
Obama is the real man of action.

SHARPTON: Now, despite all of that and despite some of us that are
progressive disagreeing with some of the policies.

PRESS: Right.

SHARPTON: He`s done what he promised and he said he was going to do.
Yet, it`s not good enough for his Republican adversaries.

PRESS: You know, why I think because, first, I have to tell you.
Some of my liberal friends, Reverend Al, are saying they think Obama should
give back his Nobel Peace Prize because he`s been so tough. But look,
here`s the problem, you know, they were planning to run -- their whole
thing was, they were planning for 2012 to run that 3:00 a.m. ad. Remember
the Hillary ad against President Barack Obama in the primaries who`s ready
for the 3 a.m. call. They were going to run that against Obama. They
can`t run that anymore. That issue is off the table. President Obama has
delivered. He`s got a record unparalleled. He`s the real deal when it
comes to the war on terror.

SHARPTON: Bill Press, thanks so much. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One of the biggest fights these days is against voter
suppression laws springing up in states around this country. In the last
year, 34 states considered radical photo ID laws for voters. Those laws
are in effect right now in 14 states and could impact more than five
million voters. As we reported, there have been some victories along the
way. In Tennessee, the law almost did what Jim Crow couldn`t do to 96-
year-old Dorothy Cooper, she was turned away from getting her ID. But
refused to give up and has been told she can vote after all. But there`s
still a long way to go. Meet 91-year-old Virginia Lassiter. She`s one of
126,000 eligible voters without an ID in Tennessee. She`s been voting for
seven decades. But as of now, she`s only able to vote with an absentee
ballot. Long lines and lack of seating at driver`s license center were too
much for her at 91. So, she left before getting her photo ID. Her son,
Richard says, it reminds him of the Jim Crow laws.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The notion that you should not have fraud in
elections is probably a good thing. But if your solution is to
disenfranchise 100,000 people or more, that`s a flawed solution and
shouldn`t prevail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: People marched, went to jail, suffered and died to give all
Americans the right to vote. We funeralized Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth
today who will have that fight. Four girls lost their life at Birmingham
when a church was bombed to give us that right. You can try to turn back
the clock. But some of us are not going to let you turn back time. We`re
going to stop voter suppression.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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