Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: John Larson, Mary Kay Henry, Barbara Boxer, Bob Shrum, Dana Milbank, Lee Campbell, Phyllis Campbell

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, POLITICSNATION: Hey Republicans, I`m looking
for your jobs agenda. That`s funny. I can`t find it anywhere.

Party of unfairness -- a new report shows President Obama`s jobs plan
can work. Yet Republicans still block it. And they continue to block tax
fairness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have gone as far as we feel we can go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Actually congressman, you can go farther. Tonight
Congressman John Larson and SEIU president Mary Kay Henry show us the way.

Stopping the war on women -- Senator Barbara Boxer on her plan to make
2012 the new year of the woman. Watch on you, GOP.

Newt caught.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
had so many politicians beholden to them that in fact nobody was going to
check them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Uh-oh. Does that include your million dollar payday?
Shrum, Milbank on the Newt meltdown.

And another lucky day for the luckiest Republican in the world. Plus,
block the vote -- a Tennessee couple`s hour-long voter I.D. ordeal. It`s a
wake-up call for all of us.

POLITICSNATION starts right now.

Welcome to POLITICSNATION. I`m Al Sharpton. Tonight`s lead -- watch
what Republicans in Congress do, not what they say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: Helping Americans get back to
work is our number one priority. It starts with a pledge to America and it
will start with jobs.

Republicans have been focused on job creation since the beginning of
this congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You know, we hear a lot of that kind of talk, but Speaker
Boehner, you`re not really focused on job creation. How did your party
show its commitments to jobs today? By ramming a concealed handgun bill
through Congress so people can carry concealed weapons in the states where
we are thought allowed to carry? That`s job creation?

And there`s no real commitment to jobs in the big Republican economic
plan, either. This week Republicans are expected to reintroduce their
balanced budget amendment. Here`s a spoiler. It`s so extreme it makes the
Paul Ryan plan look weak. The cuts in it are so deep it would throw 15
million more people out of work. That would double the unemployment rate.

And that`s not all. It was ravage entitlements. It could cut Social
Security by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. And Medicare, Medicare
cut by $750 billion. Americans are desperate for jobs, but Republicans
just refuse to get serious about it.

Joining me now is Congressman John Larson, Democrat from Connecticut
and chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Mary Kay Henry, president of
SEIU. Today her organization of 2.1 million members announced the
endorsement of President Obama. We`ll talk about that more in just a
moment. Congressman let me start with you.

REP. JOHN LARSON, (D) CONNECTICUT: Good to be with you, Al.

SHARPTON: Republicans continue to push unpopular legislation. Are
they ignoring the will of the people?

LARSON: No question about it. What we hear every single that we go
home is our constituents calling upon us to provide them with the simple
dignity that can only come from a job so they can provide the security for
their family. And what we have gotten is, like you say, a lot of plat
attitudes and messaging.

But we should be able to take up the president`s plan. Why not put up
the president`s plan? Take up Eric Cantor`s plan, but for god`s sake, act
on jobs. You know, Al, that I`ve pressed the super committee, because we
know this. Job creation equals deficit reduction. The thing that reduces
the deficit the most, if we were to take unemployment from 9.1 to under
seven percent, over a third of the deficit is reduced and we put America
back to work. I don`t think this is rocket science. Either you have the
goal and objective of putting the country back to work, or you have another
goal, like un-electing the guy down on Pennsylvania Avenue.

SHARPTON: Talking about that, Mary Kay Henry, you probably had the
most on the ground, grassroots, progressive union in the country, and you
made a big endorsement today. Before I get to that, though, they are they
are going to actually reintroduce, Mary Kay, the balanced budget amendment,
the Republicans in the House this week. Now, you and I have been in
countless meetings together, marched together, just in August, tens of
thousands of us about jobs.

They are reintroducing this balanced-budget amendments, which will
cost jobs. It is so bizarre that Bruce Bartlett, former adviser to
President Reagan and George H.W. Bush said, quote, "The proposal that
Republican leaders planned to bring up is frankly nuts." This is Bartlett,
not Henry, not Sharpton, Bartlett. Mary Kay, what is wrong with these
people?

MARY KAY HENRY, PRESIDENT, SEIU: It`s outrageous. We completely
agree with you, there are hundreds of millions doing more with less, and 25
million more that want full-time work, and there`s plenty of work that
needs to be done in this country. I join the congressman in saying there
is an economic emergency. We need to declare a state of emergency. We
need or government to act. We need millions of us to go back to work now.

SHARPTON: Now, congressman, when you look at the data, the average
cash income in 2011, top one percent average was 1.5 -- really $1,530,773
to be exact. That`s the average. And the bottom 20 percent, $9,187. If
that is not a wealth gap, if that is not class warfare in the bottom tier,
I don`t know what is.

LARSON: Well, you know, it is class warfare. Unfortunately the war
has already been won. And it`s been won by the nation`s wealthiest one
percent.

And look, all the more reason. Mary Kay is absolutely right. We
need, as you know, Reverend Sharpton, from the civil rights movement, the
idea and notion of the fierce urgency of now, to put more than 14 million
Americans back to work and some 25 million Americans that are
underemployed. And we need the government to step in and act hand in glove
together.

And ironically I think there`s a number of Republicans that agree with
this. We just need -- I always thought the super committee, because
there`s no cloture vote and there is no poison pill amendments, that this
was the best way for us to proceed in a timely manner to impact the
American people. Obviously -- and we still hope for that, but to date we
have not seen any jobs bill, just more of the same.

SHARPTON: But Congressman, you said something early that I want to go
to Mary Kay on this. You said that they are doing all of this, making the
American people really suffer in many ways because we need these jobs,
because they want to defeat the president. Is this all political?

LARSON: They`re pretty clear about that. They`ve said it. I mean,
it`s not anything -- they`ve been bold, they`ve been blunt, and they`ve
been very specific about it. When you have the leader of the Senate saying
that he has one objective, and that is to take this president down, it`s
pretty clear. This isn`t anything, you know, that they`ve been hiding or
beating around the bush. They have come right on you and said it.

SHARPTON: Don`t worry. Go back and tell your caucus, don`t panic,
the cavalry is on the way, because look at what SEIU and Mary Kay is coming
up the hill with.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: They started some ads today in states that are closely
contested for the U.S. Senate, a new union ad aimed at these Republicans.
And Mary Kay, tell us what you`re doing.

HENRY: We are coming up the hill. We think that this president
fights for working families. We want to expand the fight by declaring this
state of emergency. And tomorrow we will have members joining with
students, the rest of the community and labor movement, to say there`s
plenty of work that needs doing in this country. There`s 60,000 bridges
that can get fixed now. There`s lots of people out of work that want to
get back to work. We just need Congress to make the decision to have
everybody pay their fair share. And the Democrats have been leading the
fight. We want Republicans to join them and get America back to work.

SHARPTON: You`re coming out pretty tough on three Republican
incumbent senators, Brown, Heller, and Rehberg. These are members that are
up and they are being challenged. The SEIU and other union groups have a
new ad put out. And then you have a radio ad out, a new union ad, aimed at
these Republicans. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you cut Medicare Senator Heller, I`ll
remember it every time I visit my doctor. I`ll remember you cut Medicare
and Medicaid every time I fill a prescription. I`ll remember you cut
Medicare if I fall or get hurt. I`ll remember you protected millionaires
over protecting my health. My friends will remember it, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is a TV ad, Mary Kay. I know SEIU is coming out
strong AFT, AFSCME, everybody is coming out. Does this mean that this is
going to be unlike the midterm, that it`s going to be all hands on deck and
we`re going to be fighting and fighting hard so that Congressman Larson and
his caucus will not be held in some kind of lonely island fighting by
themselves?

HENRY: Absolutely. And it means not just our hands, our 2.1 million
members, but we`ll join hands with the unemployed, with non-union workers,
with the rest of the labor movement, with all of our community allies,
Reverend, because we think we need to get into the streets in numbers like
never before to make our case that we want our government to respond to
this state of emergency. Our members want to back this president, who is
making the case that we cannot wait as a country. We have to act now. And
that`s why we thought it was important to endorse today and to get into the
streets tomorrow and stay in the streets, turn out the vote in November,
2012, and then keep in the streets in November, 2013, to keep the change
that we want for this country.

SHARPTON: Well, congressman, this is not a reality show. This is a
show about reality.

LARSON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Americans need jobs, jobs, jobs, and we will take nothing
less. We turned the conversation. Thanks to our brothers and sisters at
Occupy Wall Street. Now we have to bring it across the line of victory,
jobs for the American people. Congressman John Larson and Mary Kay Henry,
SEIU, thank you for your time tonight.

LARSON: Happy to be here.

HENRY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Newt Gingrich denied lobbying, but a bombshell
report now says he made more than $1 million. Somewhere Willard Mitt
Romney is smiling.

Plus Herman Cain did it again, another gaffe in Miami today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How do you say "delicious"
in Cuban? Delicioso.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And witness to voter suppression -- this couple fights back
and speaks out exclusively tonight. You`re watching POLITICSNATION on
MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICSNATION. Republicans are just
waging a war on the middle class, but they`re not only waging a war on the
middle class. They`re also engaged in an unprecedented attack on women`s
rights. It`s not just the assault on reproductive rights that we have
talked about on this show. They`re on a mission to change or abolish
Medicare. Nearly 27 million women are covered by the program and 69
percent of adult Medicare recipients are women. Then there`s this all-too
familiar tagline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELE BACHMANN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obamacare is a bill
that simply must be repealed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 1.6 million reasons why we should repeal
Obamacare.

BOEHNER: Our pledge was to repeal Obamacare.

REP. ERIC CANTOR, (R) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Repeal the job-killing
Obamacare bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Repealing the health care law would be devastating for
women. Before the law, women could be charged more for individual
insurance policies just because of their gender. And there`s also the big
one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully they won`t continue to provide abortions
with taxpayer dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will stand tonight and we will put an end to
the federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to dig in and we`re going to fight for
the principles that taxpayers should not have to subsidize the largest
abortion provider in the country, namely Planned Parenthood of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Defunding Planned Parenthood would strip women of
everything from access to birth control to cancer screenings. It`s all-out
war on women and we have to fight back. Joining me now is the fighter,
Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from California. She`s recently launched a
campaign to help fight for women by getting more women elected to Congress
called "Win with Women 2012." Senator Boxer, thanks for joining me.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Why, Senator Boxer, are they attacking women?

BOXER: You know, you would have to ask them that, because that may be
a very deep psychological question. But I don`t care why they`re doing it.
The fact that they are doing it is harming more than 50 percent of our
people. Do you know, fortunately, the Mississippi personhood amendment was
defeated in that southern red state.

SHARPTON: Right.

BOXER: But there are many bills in the House and Senate that would
really hurt women`s reproductive rights, including a personhood amendment.
So think about this, Reverend Al. If a woman was the victim of rape and
she took a morning-after pill to prevent that rape from turning into a
pregnancy, she would go to prison under the Republicans` plan.

SHARPTON: When I heard this, senator, I actually was surprised. When
I looked in the House they actually for the personhood law you`re talking
about, they have 92 cosponsors, in the Senate, 17. I mean, so even though
it was defeated in Mississippi, it is in front of the Congress now.

BOXER: Absolutely. And we could go on with examples. Another one,
you had some wonderful examples. Thank you for those. But, you know,
there`s been well over 100 votes that would weaken environment laws, clean
air, safe drinking water, which impacts women and children, and especially
pregnant women and would really harm them, harm their health, harm their
babies. And they vote almost on a daily basis to go after the EPA. I`m
involved in that as chairman of the environment committee.

But this goes on and on. At a time when women are still only earning
77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, 63 percent of those on minimum
wage jobs are women, and of course a lot say we should do away with the
minimum wage.

So there really is a war on women. And the great news is
WinWithWomen2012.com, if folks go there, what they`ll see is we are
fighting back with six fabulous incumbent women senators, and five fabulous
challengers, including the latest one from North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp.

SHARPTON: I want to talk to you about that and WinWithWomen2012.com.
But let me emphasize what you just said -- 63 percent of workers earning
minimum wage or less are women, and in 2011, women earn only 77 cents for
every dollar men earn. I hope people are getting this at home.

Now, let me also add -- you said 25 states with new limits on the
right to choose were enacted this year. So I just want people to have the
context of why you have this drive going, because we have this gender war
going in terms of rights for women in that context, here comes senator
Boxer saying we need to put women that will stand up for gender equality
and rights in their rightful places.

Now, go ahead and explain the strategy, how can you do it and how
people with link into the fight.

BOXER: Yes. Well, they can link in easily by going to
WinWithWomen2012.com, all one word. And there they will meet on our site
the women who are running for the Senate, the incumbent women and
challengers. I`m not on there, because I won my race -- thank you,
California -- in 2010. It was a hard race.

And these are going to be very tough races. You have got people like
Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts who is a champion for consumers. You`ve
got Maria Cantwell, a champion for the environment and consumers. And I
could list every name. I don`t want even do that because we don`t have
time. But they can meet these women. They can also read about the things
you talked about and I talked about, this war on women.

And by the way, the jobs bills, the Obama jobs bills that Republicans
have shot down here in the Senate, they filibustered them. We couldn`t get
anything. Then we got a small veterans bill done. The rest they really
hurt women because --

SHARPTON: I know you couldn`t give the names, but they can go to
website?

BOXER: Yes.

SHARPTON: Which is?

BOXER: Which is WinWithWomen2012.com.

SHARPTON: I can`t hear you.

(LAUGHTER)

BOXER: WinWithWomen2012.com.

SHARPTON: One more time. One more time.

BOXER: WinWithWomen2012.com.

SHARPTON: Now that sounds like a plug. My mom was a woman.

BOXER: I love it.

SHARPTON: Senator Boxer, thanks for your time.

BOXER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a major conflict of interest for Justices Scalia and
Thomas on the health care case. But wait until you see how another network
covered it.

And fresh off his Libya disaster, Herman Cain gives us another YouTube
moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Since the Supreme Court announced it would consider
challenges to President Obama`s health care law, we told you about
conflicts of interest two of the justices face. On the same day the court
decide to hear the case, Justices Clarence Thomas and Scalia spoke at a
fundraiser for the conservative legal group the Federalist Society. Their
tables at the event were right next to Lawyer Paul Clement`s table. Here
is an a little issue to think about. Clement will likely be the lawyer to
argue against the law before the Supreme Court. Of course being cozy with
Clement isn`t Justice Thomas`s only conflict. As we`ve told you, his wife
Ginny started a Tea Party group that calls for the repeal of the health
care law, and she`s saying things like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The clear focus is to stop the Obama agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So there are serious signs of conflicts for Scalia and
Thomas. But how does FOX News cover this story?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are new questions now about whether
Justice Elena Kagan has already made up her mind on this issue. Now we`re
seeing Justice Department e-mails from Kagan`s time as Mr. Obama`s
solicitor general. On the very day the law passed in Congress back in
2010, Kagan tells Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, who was serving in
the Justice Department, quote, "I hear they have the votes, Larry. Simply
amazing."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she were closely involved in the health care
bill, she would legally be required it recuse herself from the case, but
according to the constitution, a justice must recuse even if he or she,
quote, "expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case
in controversy."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So let`s get this straight. Fog focused on Justice Elena
Kagan rather than on Thomas and Scalia? One issue off the bat with the Fox
report, they say Kagan should recuse herself because of article 28 in the
U.S. constitution. That article doesn`t exist. Beyond that, legal experts
say Kagan`s email doesn`t suggest she worked on the health care law or
played a big part in its passage, so there`s no real conflict.

But even when FOX does talk about Justice Thomas, they miss half the
story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clarence Thomas is the targets of liberals who say
his wife`s lobbying activities for a group opposing the health care law
disqualify him from hearing the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No mention of Thomas connection to Paul Clement or that he
attended a right-wing fund-raiser. That`s fair and balanced? Nice try,
guys. But we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Newt Gingrich, you have
some explaining to do. Just one week ago, he was asked why he earned just
$300,000 a year as a lobbyist for lending giant Freddie Mac. He didn`t
appreciate the question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have never done any
lobbying. Every contract that was written during the period when I was out
of the office specifically said I would do no lobbying. And I offer
advice, my advice as a historian when they we`re walking and said to me, we
are now making loans to people with no credit history and have no record of
paying back anything, but that`s what the government wants us to do, as I
said at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A historian? A historian? I didn`t know mortgage lenders
had historians and neither did the people at Freddie Mac. Today, a
bombshell Bloomberg report reveals Gingrich was paid by Freddie Mac to
specifically court Republicans. Former Freddie Mac officials told
Bloomberg, quote, "The former house speaker was asked to build bridges to
Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company`s
public/private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to
dismantle it." Note, in case you did know, that`s the definition of
lobbying. And for all his work, he earned somewhere between $1.6 and $1.8
million for two contracts. Today, Gingrich danced around the question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: First of all, it wasn`t paid to me. Gingrich group was a
consulting firm that had lots of people doing things, and we offered
strategic device.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the $1.6 million figure accurate?

GINGRICH: I don`t know. We`re going back to check.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It sounds like a whole lot more than just
being historian.

GINGRICH: Well, look, I was speaker of the house and a strategic
adviser.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Newt doesn`t refute getting over a million from the
Freddie Mac, but months after he left the payroll, he had no problems
criticizing then presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Force Obama to give back the money that he`s taken from
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Newt, just between us, are you going to take your own
advice? With competition like this, Mitt Romney must be feeling like the
luckiest man on the planet.

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, former senior adviser to the Kerry and
Gore campaign, now a professor at NYU. And Dana Milbank, "The Washington
Post" columnist. Thanks to both for coming in tonight. Bob, is this kind
of an uh-oh moment for brother Newt?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that Dana makes a
pretty persuasive case that it is in "The Washington Post" this morning,
and I`ve said several times on the show that Newt Gingrich can`t be the
republican nominee. It`s going to be Mitt Romney, but I think we have to
have a couple of caveats here now. First, he may be Teflon. It may be
that republican primarily voters think they all know about this guy and
they`re just going to let this pass. Partly, because he`s about the only
un-Romney left. Secondly, his polling now is extraordinary. He`s not only
leading in a lot of the polls in the republican primaries.

SHARPTON: Actually leading.

SHRUM: He`s leading. He has the best favorable/unfavorable in the
Republican Party, and scores much more strongly with Cain voters. So, as
Cain fades, that support could go to Gingrich. Look, the Republican Party
may lose its mind and nominate Newt Gingrich and I would have improved to
be absolutely wrong when saying that a rational party is going to go ahead
and nominate Romney.

SHARPTON: Well, Dana, I read you this morning, too. Let me show you
something before we go to your column. This is at the Bloomberg debate in
October, what he says about Barney Frank.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: If you want to put people in jail, I want to second what
Michelle said, you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, and
let`s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians
who profited from the environment. And the politicians who put this
country in trouble. Barney Frank says, go back and look at the lobbyists
he was close to at Freddie Mac, all I`m saying is, everybody in the media
who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after
the politicians who`ve been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening
this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But politicians like Barney Frank in jail, but Barney
didn`t seem like he was going to go quietly. Let me show you what Barney
said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: To well words apply to Newt --
lobbyist and liar. Mr. Gingrich who had reprimanded by the -- lying, he
has a history of doing that. And this is nonsense that he was being paid
$1.6 million and maybe more to talk about history? To talk about the
transcontinental railroad? He was clearly there as a lobbyist. And again,
he kind of slipped and acknowledged that when he said to justify that large
amount of money, I`m speaker of the house. You don`t enhance your academic
credentials by having been speaker. What you enhance is, your value as a
lobbyist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, there`s been like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin,
Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, I`m almost running out of
fingers on how many people had the surge to be the new flavor of the month
or week. I thought Newt, who you know I know the president had us do this
bipartisan education tour together, I thought Newt would at least last talk
and discuss over Thanksgiving dinner. What does this mean?

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, Reverend, I think he`ll be
around a little while, at least until the opposition digs out those photos
of you standing there with him in the driveway, or the west wing. I was
there, I saw it with my own eyes. You know, Newt has done a very clever
job of sort of running against the media this time and going for that Tea
Party vote. Yes, sure, he`s a conservative, but he`s also been a different
kind of politician who`s made common cause with Hillary Clinton on health
care. He had some commonality with you on education saying it`s the first
real civil right of the 21st century. He`s been on global warming saying
it`s manmade, and working with John Kerry on that. I mean, all these
things make him sound like, you know, a sort of reasonable guy, but not to
the republican primary electorate. That can really get him in trouble.
That`s why I think he may have some trouble convincing somebody that he is
a real alternative to Mitt Romney, but as Bob and you pointed out, there`s
not a whole lot of alternatives left there, unless you want to go with Rick
Santorum. I guess he`s the only one they haven`t gone to yet.

SHARPTON: This really is about Mitt Romney. This really is, Bob,
about Willard just cannot convince the party that he is the guy. This
really is not about any of the people, including newt. This is about
Willard.

SHRUM: Yes, it is. And they don`t trust him. The republican
establishment wants him. Republican primary voters are very suspicious of
them. They don`t know what he believes in other than himself, and they`re
probably right about that. Because as I think I said to you before, this
guy has a business plan. He`s just going to give the consumers whatever
they want. That`s what his pursue to the presidency is about. So, he`s
been pro-choice, not pro-choice. He`s been pro-gay rights, against gay
rights. He changes his mind on every essential issue of conscience and on
all this issue of policy. And now, today there`s a first sign his
electability argument is framed. There`s a new McClatchy poll out that
actually shows that Gingrich, at least for the moment, before people find
out more about him perhaps, is doing better against Obama than Romney is.
Electability has been Romney`s calling card. It hasn`t been enough, it
hasn`t been the high card but he can`t afford to lose it.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, before we -- lest we forget Herman Cain was in
Miami today. And Herman Cain did it again. I didn`t think he could but he
did. He talked about freeing Cuba. Now, we all now he`s had challenges in
foreign policy, let me show you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Croquetta.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Croquetta. How do you say
delicious in Cuban?

(INAUDIBLE)

CAIN: Delicioso!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, how do we -- how do Americans take this as a
serious process when you see people like these people? I mean, what are we
really, really talking about? In some ways, he`s almost making a mockery
on the process. And, you know, clearly not in the republican side of --
thank you. But I know some very intelligent Republicans we tried to argue
and debate in an intelligent way. This is the mockery of Republicans that
have some intelligence and know how to run a campaign and how to deal with
policy in my opinion.

MILBANK: Yes, I mean, poor Herman Cain, speaking Cuban there, I think
the new 9-9-9 plan is nine -- each of the nine, nine days, explain nine
different ways. You know, Mitt Romney is the luckiest man in the world.
Yes, he`s got a huge electability problem, yes, that`s fraying in some
ways. But think how blessed he is been with the opposition here. You
couldn`t have asked for something better than what happened with Rick Perry
at the debate, with Herman Cain in this, you know, the ridiculous five
minutes explaining Libya. And now, we find out that his latest opponent is
a multimillion dollar historian, who spends his large assets at Tiffany`s
on his third wife. I mean, you just couldn`t ask for a weaker field of
opponents. So, whatever Mitt Romney`s problems are, he just seems to be
blessed.

SHARPTON: Now, let me show you this Bob. Just so, we can round this
off. Michele Bachmann, because we know that she is another one that really
studies foreign policy. They caught up with her today. A lady asked her
about the president in Australia, committing troops in Australia. Let`s
watch what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Obama was sending troops to Australia. Yes,
that`s what I heard.

REP. MICHELLE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you
kidding? For what reason?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don`t know.

BACHMANN: Well, OK, I`m sorry I can`t tell you, because I don`t know
what that reason is, but -- but I will definitely look into that. If
there`s anything that we have learned about foreign entanglements, once you
get in, it`s very hard to get out, and it comes at a very steep price.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, she said this right after she said she was engaged in
foreign policy, and anybody that woke up this morning or read the papers
knew the president was in Australia and said that we were committing a
strong military -- a different military presence there other than just a
base, but it kind of missed her, the one running for president.

SHRUM: Well, the notion that we`re getting into a foreign
entanglement by sending troops into Australia is completely stupid, but
she`s done this over and over again. If she had stopped at the end of the
first sentence saying gee, I`m not aware of that, I`ll look into it, she
would have been a lot better off. But Dana is right. You`re right. This
is not just the weak field. This is the weakest field of candidates in
either party in my lifetime. And as you watch these debates, your breath
is almost taken away by some of the things people say, by some of the
mistake these make. You know, Perry is out there now saying, I`m not a
politician. That`s for sure. He`s become a punch line, his become a punch
line because of his own performance. And I think people looking at this
kind of say, well, at least rational people do, Romney is the only adult
there, he`s the only adult on the stage, but he`s still got his problems.

SHARPTON: Well, if there wasn`t for 14 million unemployed people in
the country, it would be funny. It`s really sad to me that we`re not
discussing in a substantive way the real issues. Bob Shrum and Dana
Milbank, thank you for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thank you.

SHRUM: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the right wing effort to suppress the vote is
happening right now in the country. And it`s working. We`ll talk live to
a Tennessee couple and hear their terrible experience just trying to
register to vote. And Herman Cain may be splitting from the party when it
comes to pizza. We`ll explain that one. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. We`ve been telling you
about the coordinated right-wing effort to suppress the vote. Here`s a
reminder of how ugly it is. A Texas Tea Party group is planning an event
around columnist Matthew Vadum. That`s him posing with Iowa Congressman
Steve King. Vadum criticized groups that register poor people to vote.
This is what he said, quote, "Welfare recipients are particularly open to
demagoguery and bribery. Registering them to vote is like handing out
burglary tools to criminals. So he`s calling poor people who want to vote
criminals. This is the kind of ridiculous logic that led to voter
suppression bills in 37states this year alone. But the fight is on. And
that`s how Democrats are getting the message out in a forum held this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), OHIO: From Ohio to Wisconsin, down to Florida,
across Texas, the franchise is under attack today in this country.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MINORITY WHIP: A poll tax by another name
would smell as vile.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: These laws will do the worst
thing that can be done in a democracy discourage citizens from voting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This couple from Tennessee was discouraged from voting.
They testified about their own struggle to get a free voter I.D.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEE CAMPBELL, SPEAKING OUT ON VOTER SUPPRESSION: The worker then
suggested why not just get a duplicate license for a fee of $8? I replied
no, we want the free voter photo. The worker again reiterated that the
wise choice was to get the photo on the driver`s license as opposed to
getting a separate I.D. photo, as that entailed, as she said, too much
paperwork.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now, Lee Campbell, a retired high school
guidance counselor and his wife Phyllis Campbell. Welcome to the show.

LEE CAMPBELL: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Now, Lee, let me start with you, as Phyllis -- you and
Phyllis went for Phyllis to get her I.D. That`s now required to vote, and
when you were just testifying at that forum before the Congress persons,
you were saying free I.D. You wanted and they said get a duplicate that
cost money. What do you mean by free I.D.? And why were they pushing you
to the duplicate that cost money?

LEE CAMPBELL: Well, I was saying free I.D., because that`s what was
in the legislation. That was passed by the Tennessee legislature last
spring. And I felt that the amount of the money, $8, was not the question.
We could easily afford that, but the question was, that by paying an $8
fee, that would in effect be paying a poll tax?

SHARPTON: That is paying a poll tax. It`s not in effect, you`re
absolutely right. And the reason you had to get the I.D. at all is because
they`ve imposed this new law. And is it so that you had to therefore go
and get new I.D. to vote that was not required before, which is why you and
Lee were there in the first place, Phyllis?

PHYLLIS CAMPBELL, WIFE OF LEE CAMPBELL: Yes, that`s right.

SHARPTON: So, all you wanted to do was vote, the legislation
requires now you get state voter I.D., or state-issued I.D., and they said
it was too much paperwork or whatever the excuse was, to give it to you
free, so they kept pushing you that would have cost $8, and as you`re
saying Lee, it doesn`t matter that you could afford it, the fact is that
they`re making you pay for something that shouldn`t be charged. Imagine
somebody that couldn`t afford it.

LEE CAMPBELL: That`s correct. And I might say that the previous --
we were there September 9th, and in August, a senior citizen friend of
ours, Mr. Steve Blankenship of Murfreesboro. He went to get the same
thing, the voter ID on his license. Before after age 60 in Tennessee,
you`re not required to have the photo and that`s your choice. So, I was
cognizant of the fact that Mr. Blankenship had gone in August and was
charged the $8, and I was -- I`ll just say I wasn`t surprised when we got
there and they wanted us to pay the $8. But it was supposed to be free,
and I -- I stood our ground.

SHARPTON: Well, Lee, I want to thank you and Phyllis for standing
your ground, and for telling it on our show tonight. A poll tax by any
other name is a poll tax. We`ll be right back. Thank you.

(COMMERCIALBREAK)

SHARPTON: And finally tonight, forget jobs. Republicans are
fighting for what really matters -- keeping starchy vegetables and salty
foods in our school cafeterias. House Republicans just blocked a proposal
from the Department of Agriculture to make school lunches healthier.
Thanks to Republicans, our kids can eat all the pizza they want. Why?
Because the USDA counts tomato sauce as a vegetable. The right-wingers who
freak out about a so-called nanny state are celebrating, but I don`t think
the Godfather of pizza will be too happy about this one. Herman Cain
recently said, quote, "The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe
the more manly he is. A manly man don`t want it piled high with
vegetables. I would call that a sissy pizza." So, if tomato sauce is a
vegetable, the entire pizza is a massive vegetable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: Excuse me? Excuse me!

SHARPTON: This all got me thinking. What is it with republicans and
pizza? Back in May, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin had a very public meeting
right here in New York at a Times Square pizza place. And by the way, who
eats pizza with a fork? Herman, your response, please?

(HERMAN CAIN SINGING)

SHARPTON: You wonder why some of us support Occupy Wall Street
protests? Why some of us march for jobs and justice just last month by the
tens of thousands? Why are people doing what they`re doing? We`ve got to
get the right conversation in this country, and we`re going to do 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
BE UPDATED.
END

<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
litigation.>





Sponsored links

Resource guide