PoliticsNation, Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry, Richard Wolffe, Mara Schiavocampo, Bernie
Sanders, Terry O`Neill, Alex Wagner, Amy Worden, Wendy Murphy
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans. Rick Perry`s brain freeze
is the least of your problems.
SHARPTON (voice-over): Perry forgets.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the -- the --
SHARPTON: But a day after voters rejected extreme Republican
policies, the rest of the pack pushes the same old ideas.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 9-9-9.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would look to see our tax
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Paying the price
of two Happy Meals a year, everyone can afford to pay at least that.
SHARPTON: Melissa Harris-Perry and Richard Wolffe on the GOP still
captive to the Tea Party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most significant jobs package for veterans
since the 21st century GI bill.
SHARPTON: Back in the real world, a jobs bill finally passes, but
Republicans still don`t get it.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Senate Democrats have
spent most of the time trying to make Republicans look bad.
SHARPTON: And the Penn State sex scandal. Coach Paterno`s out. The
new coach speaks out. And we`ll have all the latest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has to respond to hearsay.
SHARPTON: Shocking threats from Herman Cain`s lawyer to potential
And what happens on the campaign trail doesn`t stay there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can and will be much crazier. Cain!
SHARPTON: POLITICS NATION starts right now.
SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.
Tonight`s lead, the real fiasco in the Republican Party. Everybody`s
talking about Rick Perry`s brain freeze at last night`s debate. And I get
why. It`s good TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: It`s three agencies of government when I get there that are
gone -- Commerce, Education, and the -- what`s the third one there? Let`s
The third agency of government, I would do away with Education, the --
PERRY: -- Commerce, and -- let`s see. I can`t. The third one I
can`t. I`m sorry. Oops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But I wasn`t bothered by what Perry forgot to say. There
were eight people up on that stage. I was more bothered by what they all
remembered to say and what it means for America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Get the regulators off of the backs of the banks.
ROMNEY: Get serious about cutting and capping our spending.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to repeal
ROMNEY: I will repeal it.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will repeal those bills.
We have to lower the tax rate.
ROMNEY: I`d take the corporate rate from 35 down to 25.
GINGRICH: Lower taxes, leg regulation.
SANTORUM: Lower taxes.
GINGRICH: The first step is you take Social Security off the federal
SHARPTON: Deregulate, repeal health care, lower corporate taxes.
Talk about ignore the vote.
Just one day after voters across the country rejected the GOP`s
extreme agenda, these candidates were acting like the election didn`t
happen. Nobody moderated their stand on anything. They`re still captive
to the Tea Party.
Joining me now is MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry, a Tulane
University professor and columnist for "The Nation"; MSNBC political
analyst Richard Wolffe; and our friend Mara is back to fact-check the
Thank you all for being here.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Mara, let me start with you. I want to start with a big
question in the debate. The debate was held right outside of Detroit,
Michigan. How Mitt Romney would explain -- is the question -- his view
that we should have "let Detroit go bankrupt," instead of saving the auto
industry with a bailout.
Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: My view with regards to the bailout was that whether it was
by President Bush or by President Obama, it was a wrong way to go. They
gave the company to the UAW. The gave General Motors to the UAW and they
gave Chrysler to Fiat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Mara, what`s your take on that?
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, NBC NEWS: So, Rev, Governor Romney said that the
bailout gave GM to the UAW and it gave Chrysler to Fiat. Well, that`s not
totally accurate. Let`s take a look at what The Associated Press had to
say about this.
Now, they are reporting that the UAW trust got just a 17.5 percent
stake in General Motors. That`s a much smaller stake than the American
people got, which was about 30 percent. And Fiat got just about a 20
percent stake in Chrysler. So neither really fits Romney`s description
that they were simply given those companies.
Now, to rule on the accuracy of these statements, we wanted to dust
off the Rev-O-Meter. We`re bringing it back. And that judges them on a
sliding scale from Honest Abe Lincoln to not so honest Rod Blagojevich.
So, on this particular point, we are going to give Governor Romney a
three-quarter Blago, mostly misleading.
Now, as the for the governor`s statement that the bailout was "wrong,"
that of course is his opinion. But we should point out that the bailout
did save an estimated 1.4 million jobs, according to the Center for
Rev, back to you.
SHARPTON: Now, Professor Perry, you might notice the Rev-O-Meter.
Lincoln is a Republican. It`s the truth. Blago is a Democrat. Don`t ever
accuse me of just being partisan.
HARRIS-PERRY: Of course.
SHARPTON: But on the point, clearly we can have our own opinions, not
our own facts. Romney was not only factually incorrect, I disagree with
Where are you on this?
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I mean, look, I don`t think it`s necessarily that
important where I am, per se. If you talk to people in Detroit, they`re
very clear, that is a city that is absolutely in crisis in a number of
It is facing what so many other urban areas, including us here in New
Orleans, are facing in terms of blight in their housing crisis,
unemployment, all of those sorts of things. But the one thing that they
had, the one bright spot -- I mean, so much of the bright spot -- you know
I`ve talked about this before -- it was at the one commercial that you
remember from the Super Bowl, is that the auto industry is making a real
and sustained kind of comeback, and one that, had it not happened, if you
could even just begin to imagine the sort of expansive hole in the middle
of our country that would exist had those aspects of the American not only
industry, but our sense of pride, our ability to create something, the
sense of American engineering, all of that is wrapped up in the notion of
the American auto industry.
SHARPTON: Now, Richard, everybody`s talking about what Mr. Perry
forgot, but I think all of them forgot the election just a day before last
night`s debate, where labor won big in Ohio, a key state in the general
Why would you come out blasting UAW, blasting all of labor, when
clearly the public, both parties, voted in a way that says, wait a minute,
we`re not going with this anti-union extreme stuff? Are all of them having
a brain freeze?
WOLFFE: Well, for a star, they have no ideas. Right? So their plan
is just to go back full surrender to the free market that collapsed, full
surrender, and retreat to the Bush policies which didn`t create any jobs,
created over one million jobs over eight years.
And here you have a situation where, for Romney, he`s trying to
deflect attention from his terrible position on the auto industry itself.
To the extent anyone can make any sense of it, here`s a guy who says he has
all this private sector experience, he ran something called Bain Capital.
He thinks that these companies were given away instead of sold, or given up
in terms of the union benefits.
They didn`t just give them the shares to be nice to the unions. And
his position at the time was these companies ought to have found some other
form of finance when there was no finance for anyone out there.
So, the problem for these debates, the collapse of all the competition
for Romney, is he`s not getting pushed on this. You have got the CNBC
reporters doing the job of rival candidates who cannot get their act
together, and Romney skating through this, but he`s actually not helping
himself. He`s not becoming a better candidate.
I think, Professor Perry, that that was clear. There was not really
any challenge from the other candidates.
I mean, even on the thing that Willard Romney is the most vulnerable
on, being a flip-flopper, he said this and was able to get away with it
unchallenged. Look at this on the flip-flop issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I think people understand that I`m a man of steadiness and
constancy. I don`t think you`re going to find somebody who has more of
those attributes than I do. I think it`s outrageous the Obama campaign
continues to push this idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And his evidence was that he`s been married to the same
woman over 40 years, gone to the same church over 20 years. Yes, you`re a
flip-flopper that stayed married and goes to your church. I mean, that
does not mean you didn`t flip-flop on any number of issues that anyone on
that stage, had they had the courage, could have pointed out with him
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, but it does seem to be more than courage. Right?
It`s also in part here sort of an unwillingness to engage in factual
Listen, I think that the Obama -- not campaign -- this man is
president, so it`s the Obama administration -- so I think part of the
problem is, at the moment, the numbers are looking certainly bad, but in
the direction that is positive for the Obama administration. So, in other
words, we still horrible unemployment in this country, but we do have new
unemployment claims at their lower rate in seven months. We do have,
undoubtedly, all kinds of economic problems across the country, but the
fact is that many of those problems come from the fact that these
Republican governors offset the gains in private industry making jobs,
creating jobs, by actually stripping public sector jobs in so many of these
places where Republicans took over in 2010.
These are very clear numbers. And so part of what we have seen happen
in this particular GOP primary is an unwillingness to engage with the
empirics, and an unwillingness to engage with the facts, because to do so
simply doesn`t benefit their very clear "Obama is all wrong," anything that
Obama says is wrong.
SHARPTON: Oh, you`re messing up the chatter with facts and empirics.
How dare you
Let`s go back to my Rev-O-Meter.
Last night, we also heard these Republican candidates attack
government regulations as the source of all evil. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Get government out of the way by reducing the regulatory
PERRY: Pull back all of those regulations. Everybody on this stage
understands it`s the regulatory world that is killing America.
BACHMANN: Our biggest problem right now is our regulatory burden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Mara, rev up the Rev-O-Meter.
Are regulations causing the ills of society?
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Let`s rev it up.
Listen, this is a big conservative talking point, right? But there`s
little evidence that regulations actually kill jobs. And the labor
department has compiled some statistics on this, and let`s take a look at
what they say.
According to the Labor Department, just .2 of one percent of the
layoffs since President Obama took office were due to government
regulation. Now, they say the much bigger reason is lack of demand.
In addition to that, Bloomberg reports that Obama has actually
approved five percent fewer new regulations than President Bush did at the
same point in his presidency.
So, while many in the business world would agree that they don`t want
to be over-regulated, the claim that over-regulation is the "biggest
problem" in our economy, let`s look take a look at what the Rev-O-Meter has
to say about that.
The Rev-O-Meter says this is a full Blago, says there`s no truth to
SHARPTON: Wow. They almost broke it that time, Professor Perry.
Richard -- let me start with you, Richard. If we didn`t have all
these regulations, 14 million people wouldn`t be unemployed, we wouldn`t
I mean, how do you sell that to the public, who has so many people
they know are unemployed themselves, are facing layoffs in their families?
WOLFFE: Well, look, to quote a great Republican philosopher, "Oops."
This doesn`t actually stack up.
It doesn`t stack up in public opinion. When you ask people, who`s to
blame for the bad economy? It`s really consistent. They blame the Bush
administration, they blame Wall Street.
And to their point, that somehow the banks are over-regulated, please
take this to the people. Go campaign on the platform that Wall Street is
being crushed by the heavy boot of government, because it won`t fly.
It won`t fly with Tea Party folks, who were outraged at Wall Street
just as much as the Occupy Wall Street people were. They do not believe
that Wall Street is somehow hampered in what it was trying to do or what it
needs to do.
In fact, I bet if you went out thee as Teddy Roosevelt and said, I`m
going to break up Wall Street, I`m going to break up Goldman Sachs, you
would get majority support. That`s a platform that a third-party candidate
could and should take.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Professor Perry, the whole message of
regulation is something elements of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street
movement people can agree. I mean, I don`t understand what about this --
these people that are on the Republican primary race? What are they not
hearing from all sides of the political spectrum here?
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I think this is part of what is most fascinating,
is I think we want to remember that the Tea Party movement very much began
as a kind of an anti-Wall Street bailout, what about Main Street? It is at
least as fundamentally populist, at least in its language, as the Occupy
In fact, the two of them have a great deal of agreement on that. They
also, both Occupy and the Tea Party, made very clear claims about being
nonpartisan, about not wanting to be just in one party or the other,
because they had a sense that both parties were kind of infected with a
But look, here`s the deal. When you look at corporate profits,
corporate profits are not down. That is not the problem.
And the notion that if these profit margins were even higher, that
they would begin to hire, that they would begin to hire workers, is just
clearly wrong. You have skyrocketing, enormous, amazing profits on the
part of these private industries, banking industries included, many of
which are at their lowest tax rates and some of the lowest regulation that
we have seen.
Some of that, much of that deregulation, occurring not just under
George W. Bush, but also under the previous president, President Clinton.
Those deregulating aspects have been going on for a long time in this
country. That is not the issue.
SHARPTON: And five percent less under this president when you compare
to the same time President Bush was.
Melissa, Richard and Mara have a lot to do tonight.
So thank you all so much.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks, Rev.
WOLFFE: You bet.
SHARPTON: Thank you, Mara. You can Take the Rev-O-Meter and put it
in a safe place. I`ll be bringing it back, I`m sure, in a few days.
Ahead, after rejecting the president`s jobs bill, now Mitch McConnell
is blaming the president for playing politics? Senator Bernie Sanders has
something to say about that.
Plus, the scandal gripping the nation. How was this man allegedly
able to victimize young boys, young disadvantaged boys, for so long?
Why didn`t people go to the police? Who protected him? We go inside
the investigation for answers.
And Herman Cain`s lawyer threatens Cain`s accusers. An incredible
turn in this story. Wait until you hear what his lawyer just said.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Sometimes even Senate Republicans can do what`s right. One
day shy of Veterans Day, Senate Republicans finally passed one tiny part of
the American Jobs Act, approving incentives for hiring veterans.
It`s a big change for the party of no. First, they said no to the
American Jobs Act, then they said no to jobs for firefighters and teachers.
Then they said no to infrastructure jobs.
But finally, a yes for veterans. This is long overdue, but Mitch
McConnell is still pretending that Republicans haven`t been the problem all
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: We can either acknowledge the fact that we live in a two-
party system and work together on legislation both parties can embrace, or
we can spend our time, ,as Democrats have for the past two months, putting
together legislation that`s designed to fail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Sorry, Senator, but you have that one wrong. The American
Jobs Act has been chockfull of bipartisan ideas, supported by the majority
of Americans, even by the majority of Republicans.
Fifty-four percent support infrastructure spending. Fifty-six percent
support taxing millionaires. Sixty-three percent support money for
teachers and first responders.
But Americans won`t be fooled. Most know who is really to blame for
this gridlock. Fifty-six percent say it`s you guys.
Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont.
He`s also a remember of the Progressive Caucus.
Senator, thanks for coming on the show tonight.
Why do you think the Republicans finally came around to support part
of the president`s jobs bill today?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, Al, I voted for the bill. It
was a good bill, but in truth, it was a pretty modest bill.
Unemployment in this country in real terms is 16 percent. For
veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the numbers are even higher,
which is a real, real tragedy for people coming from war, and then coming
into financial distress because they can`t support their family. It is a
terrible situation, and a lot of our veterans are hurting.
This bill is helpful, but in my view, you`re not going to solve the
unemployment crisis among veterans until we solve it for all Americans.
SHARPTON: I agree.
SANDERS: And the point that you just made, the hypocrisy of the
Republicans who talk about the need to work together, when day after day,
and on these job bills, one after another, they are sabotaging what the
American people overwhelmingly want. As you`ve just indicated --
SHARPTON: Well, let me show you something, Senator, to bring home
This is Senator McConnell. They don`t have to believe Bernie Sanders
or Al Sharpton. Watch what Mitch McConnell said himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: We made it perfectly clear from the beginning that if
President Obama proposed policies that were consistent with our principles,
we would work with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, this was last year. We`ll compromise if you agree
What kind of compromise is that?
SANDERS: Well, the problem, Al, is that on issue after issue, the
Republican ideology represents only a tiny fraction of what the America
people want. You go out on Main Street and you say to the American people,
do you believe we should give tax breaks to billionaires at the same time
as we cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? And people will look at
you and say, "Are you nuts? We don`t believe in that."
That`s what the Republicans are talking about.
So when the Democrats in the last couple of weeks come up with
programs that say let`s not see hundreds of thousands of teachers lose
their jobs, cops, firemen lose their jobs, let`s ask the wealthiest people
in this country who are becoming much wealthier while their effective tax
rate is the lowest in decades pay for job creation and deficit reduction,
do you know what people from the Tea Party to progressives say? Yes, bring
it on. That`s the right thing to do.
SHARPTON: But let me show you something even more, I think,
You`re correct, Senator, about the Tea Party members all the way
across the board. But let me show you this poll.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans say tax millionaires, but 68 percent
of millionaires say tax -- in your term, bring it on. Even millionaires
are saying bring it on.
SHARPTON: Who are they speaking for with this?
SANDERS: Well, that is a good question. And I think it is a small
number of hard-core, right-wing extremists and people like the Koch
brothers who ideologically, essentially want to undo every single piece of
legislation that has benefited working families in the last 80 years.
I`ll tell you something else, Al. On Tuesday, we saw a tremendous
victory for working people in Ohio and elsewhere.
SANDERS: Republicans are getting nervous. Right-wing extremism is
being rejected all across the country.
The issue now is, will the Democrats snatch the defeat the jaws of
victory? Will the Democrats now in Congress have the guts to stand up on
the super committee, for example, and say, no, we`re not going to cut
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we are going to do what the
American people want? We`re going to end all these absurd corporate
loopholes, we`re going to ask billionaires to start paying their fair share
of taxes. There is a fair way to move toward deficit reduction.
If the Democrats do that, and give faith to working-class people all
over this country that they are on their side, you know what you`re going
to see in November? You`re not just going to see just a victory for Obama
and Democrats, you`re going to see a landslide. But that remains to be
SHARPTON: Well, I agree with you. When you have the wind to your
back, you keep going. Don`t turn around and start turning a back wind into
Senator Sanders, as always, thanks for your time.
SANDERS: Thank you, Al.
SHARPTON: Ahead, Herman Cain calls Nancy Pelosi a princess on
Smart move, Herman.
Wait until you see his response today.
And inside the shocking sexual assault story, how one man allegedly
used a program for disadvantaged youth to find boys to assault.
We`ll go inside the investigation.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Herman Cain says, he
never acted inappropriately with anyone, but he`s hired a new Attorney Lin
Wood, to defend him. Mr. Wood was asked about taking legal action against
anyone else coming forward with allegations. Wood responded, quote, "I`m
not here to scare anyone off. However, they should think twice anyway."
Think twice? That`s a flat-out threat. He is threatening any other
potential victims from coming forward. Remember, this comes just after we
learn that some of the accusers may come out publicly together to challenge
Mr. Cain`s account that nothing inappropriate happened.
Joining me now, Terry O`Neill, president of the National Organization
for Women. Terry, what is your reaction to it when you heard that threat?
TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: You now,
it`s completely outrageous. Retaliating against employees who come forward
to say that they have been sexually harassed is just flat wrong. And for
this attorney, this representative of a presidential candidate, to flat-out
make that kind of a threat, you know, you`ll be sorry, it`s outrageous.
Mr. Cain should immediately fire this lawyer for making that kind of a
threat. But I think that it`s not just a threat against the women who are
now coming forward with these allegations. The real problem with this kind
of behavior on the part of both Mr. Cain and his attorney to start smearing
the character of the women who have come forward, that has reverberations
to women all across the country. And that, I think, is the real damage
that he does.
SHARPTON: I think also, Terry, the thing that was striking to me in
the debate last night is the seeming no real appreciation in the tone of
Mr. Cain in dealing with the gravity of the charges, the accusations, be
they true or not, and how this is offensive to women and therefore
everyone. Let me give you an example. When he refers to Nancy Pelosi as
princess. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the previous Congress, it
was HR-3400, and what that does -- it`s already been written. We didn`t
hear about it in the previous Congress, because Princess Nancy sent it to
committee and it stayed there. It never came out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, you would think if someone is accused of gender-based
harassment you would not make that kind of reference last night. And you
would say, oh, I made a mistake, I may have said it before, but it`s a
different time. So, he questioned about it today. Watch how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: I apologize for calling her Princess Pelosi, if that`s the
biggest story you all want. OK. I apologize.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why do you apologize?
CAIN: So you all will stop asking me about it, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s like, OK, I apologize. Why apologize? So you all
will stop asking me about it. It looked like he really, really was sorry,
O`NEILL: You know, Reverend, when I -- when my colleagues and I went
back in the day when I was practicing law, we just to talked about the
micro-aggressions of everyday life. And that snide, you know, Princess
Nancy remark, what it really shows is disdain for all women, in particular
powerful women. And if I may, it certainly suggests a certain amount of,
it seems to me, fear of powerful women. If this is a gentleman who wishes
to be the president of the United States, one of the thing he needs to wrap
his brain around is he will be representing half the population. He needs
to start treating women of this country with respect. He needs to start
thinking of women as leaders, as being strong and assertive and that strong
and assertive women are good things, and not things to be belittled by
calling them Princess Nancy. And then, oh, ha ha, you can`t you take a
joke, I apologize. Not OK for a man who wants to be president.
SHARPTON: Well, talking about strong assertive women, let me bring in
MSNBC contributor Alex Wagner, whose new show on MSNBC at noon debuts next
O`NEILL: Indeed it does.
SHARPTON: And we`ll all be watching. Let me show you something,
Alex, that also caught my eye last night and your response caught my eye.
Herman Cain said this in the middle of the debate about when he was
questioned about his character. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: The American people deserve better than someone being tried in
the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations. That`s what
that`s about. For every one person that comes forward with a false
accusation, there are probably -- there are thousands who would say none of
that sort of activity ever came from Herman Cain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: For everyone, there are thousands that will say none of
that came from Herman Cain. Alex?
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I just think it`s flawed. It`s
really playing the numbers game on this one, if you`re Herman Cain, is not
necessarily your best strategy. Because, I mean, I liken it -- Rev, you
mentioned what I said last night with Lawrence O`Donnell, I mean, it`s like
with serial killers. I just, you know, for every one person I may have
killed, there`s thousands that I may not have killed. It`s flawed logic.
And at the end of the day, this isn`t just a game of he said she said, it`s
a game of he said, she said, she said, she said, she said, she probably
would have said she would say if she could speak. I mean, it is not a good
look, as it were. But I mean, again, any kind of evidence of thoughtful
consideration about what he has done or the repercussions of what he said
is not something that Herman Cain -- that has entered into Herman Cain`s
rear view or his front view mirror. I mean, this is someone who has shown
time and time again a certain defiance and real remorselessness about his
actions or potential missteps.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this, Alex. The whole idea of when the
reporters brought up the character question and the audience started
booing, have we gotten so extreme in this country now to you can`t even ask
a candidate about what is on the front page for the last nine days,
including that day leading up to a debate? I mean, they were not accusing.
They asked a comment, and it was like they insulted. Don`t the public have
the right to want to at least question something about someone`s character
if it has become an issue?
WAGNER: Sure. Rev, you bring up a really good point which is the
audience has become a narrative in these debates, in as much as the
candidates have been. I mean, everything from the sort of the death
mongering audience from times -- from a few debates past to the folks that
were calling for, you know, applauding Rick Perry`s records on execution,
to the man who`s being allowed to die because he didn`t have health
insurance. What`s happening here is that in these debates, candidates are
stacking the audience with like-minded supporters. And I think that that`s
something largely un-discussed in the media.
SHARPTON: Yes. And is unprecedented.
WAGNER: Exactly. And it`s a highly partisan environment, but I
doesn`t, I think serves the national conversation very well.
SHARPTON: Yes. I mean, let me ask you, Terry. In terms of these
sexual harassment cases, aren`t they difficult to prove on its face?
O`NEILL: Well, you know, of course they`re often very difficult to
prove, but women who come forward to make these accusations need to be
taken very seriously. The traditional defense of the sluts and nuts
defense, oh, she deserved it because she`s a slut or she`s crazy and she
was lying. Herman Cain is using that strategy, and it`s old, it`s tired,
it really shouldn`t work, and I think that we have progressed as a society,
in my mind, at least to this point. And this is something that actually I
didn`t say this Gloria Steinem said the other day, you know, Clarence
Thomas may have become a Supreme Court justice, but Dominique Strauss-Kahn
will never be president of France. And my prediction, with the way Herman
Cain is behaving, he will never be president, not just of the United
States, but frankly, he won`t be president of any other company ever again
SHARPTON: Terry O`Neill and Alex Wagner. Thank you for your time
tonight. And remember, everybody stops 12:00 noon Monday and going forward
to tune into Alex`s show.
WAGNER: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: I will. Don`t call me no more at noon.
Up next, new details about the Penn State sexual assault scandal, how
the alleged predator used a group for disadvantaged kids -- disadvantaged
youth, to commit crimes. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: A man is accused of assaulting sexually a minor in `98.
Even after recording him saying something that clearly indicates something
happened, no prosecution. And then it comes back, something in 2002, then
2009, now he`s indicted. There`s outrage. People are rioting? Why people
who knew and didn`t know anything about it being fired? The question is
why would disadvantaged kids put in the vulnerable position that this man
had authority over? That`s next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Now, to the shocking
sexual assault scandal group in the nation. The case involving former Penn
State Coach Jerry Sandusky has turned that campus upside down. In the last
24 hours, the school has fired as head coach of 46 years Joe Paterno, and
the university president. Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting
eight boys over a 15-year period. The first reported incident came in
1998, after an 11-year-old told his mother that he was forced to shower
with the coach. Sandusky was never charged. What`s worse, it didn`t stop
In 2002, a graduate student witnessed him sexually assault a 10-year-
old. He did not stop the alleged rape or report it to police. He instead
told Coach Paterno, who advised him to bring the matter up with school
officials. Yet no justice was served. Please were not called in, and no
one attempted to learn the identity of the child. This is not a sports
story. This is a moral failure. These families deserve justice, and it
took a shameful act in 2009 to bring it forward.
Joining me now is Amy Worden, a reporter from "The Philadelphia
Inquirer" who`s been covering this from the beginning. She has a front-
page story and a scandal today. And Wendy Murphy, a former federal
prosecutor and child advocate. She`s written an editorial today entitled,
"The Penn State Scandal is About Institutional Cover-up, Not Football."
Wendy, how come it took so long for an accused predator to be brought
to justice? And let me say this, let me show this on the screen before you
answer. We were told, in the actual indictment, in the indictment it reads
in the report from the grand jury that Sandusky said to the mother of
victim six -- this is in 1998, quote, this is what police have recorded, "I
was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won`t get it from
you. I wish I were dead." This he is discussing have been a naked shower
with her son 11-years-old, and they didn`t prosecute him.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Unbelievable. How many
people failed these boys? Starting with the prosecutor in 1998. Let me be
clear. It is a crime. It is considered child sexual exploitation under
Pennsylvania law, to shower naked with a child. The prosecutor begged the
case, why? Because they are politicians who understand the influence of
Penn State, the scandal was too big, and it went away. Two years later,
the year 2000, a child is orally raped by Sandusky in the shower on Penn
State`s campus. By this time, Penn State had gotten rid of Sandusky.
Technically, he was, wink, wink retired after the `98 incident but they let
him back on. And in 2000, he had another little boy in there orally raping
And then again, in 2002, and make no mistake about it, people at Penn
State -- oops I mean, Perp State University, knew what he was doing. He
had a pattern. And they covered it up, because they care more about their
damn reputation and scandal and money and damn football than they care
about little boys being anally and orally raped over and over again. Penn
State should shut its damn doors, if you ask me. They should hang their
heads in shame. They think firing a president and firing a coach is
enough? McQueary, the guy who watched the little boy being anally raped,
and walked away while it was happening is still a coach.
SHARPTON: Now, that`s what I want to make clear here, Amy. McQueary
walks in, this is in 2002, after all of this -- have been made up by Wendy
and I, `98, we`ve had the assault -- he leaves his so-called retires as
Wendy says, `99, and forms a nonprofit for disadvantaged kids, and no one
says anything. Now, he has kids under him, and he starts again continuing
this stuff. Now in 2002, we have him discovered by this man nude with a
10-year-old boy nude sodomizing him. The guy sees it and walks out and
goes to the head coach the next day, doesn`t stop it, doesn`t report it,
doesn`t interrupt. I mean, is this crazy or what?
AMY WORDEN, "THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": Well, Al, I can`t explain
McQueary`s inactions on the night of that incident in 2002. I suppose
we`ll have to let him explain it, although what we do know is that he did
tell -- he told -- he called his father and they together went to Joe
Paterno`s house very shortly thereafter, and told the coach, and the coach
told the athletic director. And ultimately they came back to McQueary and
said, we have taken away his keys, of course we learned it was not the
SHARPTON: Wait a minute, let me make sure I understand this right.
McQueary walks in, he sees in the shower a naked nude 10-year-old with his
hands up being sodomized by a grown man, and he doesn`t call the police,
doesn`t deal with trying to stop it, he goes home, calls his father, his
father and him tells the head Coach Paterno the next day, and after Paterno
and them look into it, with the campus police, they take the guy`s keys?
WORDEN: Yes. They took his keys away, his access supposedly to the
locker room and they also reported it to second mile, his charity. Again,
why McQueary did not act. It`s only speculation, we know, essentially
Sandusky was his boss at the time. He was a graduate assistant. He wanted
clearly, he wanted to have a future with the football program here. He`s
here now on the football coaching staff.
SHARPTON: Wendy, is this criminal? Wendy, you`ve been a prosecutor.
I mean, is this criminal, is Paterno and others guilty of crimes here?
MURPHY: You know, I don`t have words that won`t get you in trouble
with the FCC. They`re a bunch of bastards, from one and to the other, the
people at Penn State who covered this stuff up. Who walks away from a
child being raped? I don`t care if it`s against the law or not to report
or not report. Who walks away from a child being raped and calls himself a
human being? Animals aren`t that mean to each other. This is what I don`t
understand, those knit wits who are protesting Paterno`s ouster, why aren`t
they at Sandusky`s house? Why aren`t they protesting Sandusky? And
shaming him and complaining about what has happened to these children?
What is wrong with the entire community of Penn State that they think the
worst thing that has happened is Paterno can`t coach. Are you kidding me?
SHARPTON: Amy Worden and Wendy Murphy, thank you. And I think this
is outrageous, I think they are protesting at the wrong house. We`ll be
SHARPTON: Welcome back. Before I go tonight, putting aside the minor
detail that if elected this republican field would drive America off a
cliff, this crew is actually pretty funny. So for a moment, I`m going to
sit down and just enjoy the comedy show that is the republican presidential
race. I mean, now Mike Tyson as Herman Cain is comedy goal. But it`s
honestly hard to tell the difference between spoof and reality, so we can
all just sit back, and relax and enjoy the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I have a solution. I`ve got it right.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s pretty simple, actually.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Where did I put it?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK. Here we go.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are a lot of reasons
not to elect me.
CAIN: Because that`s the person Herman Cain is. Herman Cain. Herman
Cain. Herman Cain.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I can and will be much crazier.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Cain!
ROMNEY: A lot of reasons to elect the people on the stage.
CAIN: Excuse me. Excuse me!
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Cain!
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Commerce, education
and the -- what`s the third one there? Let`s see.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It looks like you`re just flat-out losing it?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What? The election? I know.
PERRY: Um, the -- oops.
(I AM AMERICA PLAYING)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hello, I`m Mitt Romney. And I`d like to thank
funny or die for giving me this opportunity to speak directly to the
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hello, Herman Cain here, a message for the
internet, you`re way too complicated.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Have you often (beep) seen the one where that baby
panda sneezes? Oh man, I love that.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Pizza, Pizza pie
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`ll see you later, internet, and remember to vote
funny -- wait, funny or die, funny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I figured it out. They want us to relax and be laughing so
we`ll forget to vote. That`s how they`re trying to work. Because no one
could be that bad. The strategy is, let us relax and be entertained and
the election will be over. I better get up and be ready to vote in
November. They`ll get away with it.
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
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