PoliticsNation, Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Read the transcript from Thursday's show
Guests: Van Jones, Alan Grayson, Bernie Sanders, Glen Johnson, Maria Teresa
Kumar, Amanda Terkel, Bill Press, Jonathan Capehart
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICSNATION": Occupy everywhere? Is it
the start of a real effort to make this country more fair?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s Street?
CROWD: Our Street!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s Street?
CROWD: Our Street!
SHARPTON: The movement for fairness in America Marching through the
streets of New York City, setting down at the Brooklyn Bridge, and
surrounding big banks in Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the beginning of a very big social change
in this country.
SHARPTON: What will it mean for progressive politics? How will it
affect the 2012 presidential election? Tonight former congressman Alan
Grayson and Van Jones on the strength of the movement, Senator Bernie
Sanders on how it`s already forced some politicians to wake up, except not
these guys yet.
Plus, supreme injustice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s involved herself in the litigation.
SHARPTON: A key senator goes after liberal justice Elena Kagan but
has no problem with Thomas and Scalia`s conflicts of interest? Senator, is
your hypocrisy meter broken?
And why is John Boehner crying again? It`s his birthday. He should
be happy. We`ll have our special birthday wishes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday.
SHARPTON: Politics nation starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICSNATION. I`m Al Sharpton. Tonight`s
lead -- the birth of a new progressive movement in America. Marking the
two-month anniversary of the middle class movement, protesters across the
nation today took to the streets to march for families. In New York City
at this hour thousands of protesters are in downtown Manhattan in route to
the Brooklyn Bridge. We`ve already seen massive marches from Zuccotti Park
to the New York Stock Exchange as thousands gathered near Wall Street.
For the most part the march was peaceful, but more than 170 people
were arrested for blocking streets and clogging traffic. At least seven
police officers have been injured in clashes.
And it`s not just in New York. In Los Angeles hundreds marched to the
financial district chanting "Banks got bailed out. We got sold out."
In Portland organized labor and activists rallied on the waterfront
and shut down the steel bridge. In Dallas occupiers woke up to eviction as
police shut down their tent city, evicting dozens.
And we`re now looking at a live picture of thousands of protesters who
are planning to get across the Brooklyn Bridge. Let me say that we can see
all over the country people are standing up, standing in unity, saying, we
must deal with economic inequality.
I can assure you many will be discussing things that are really not
the point. Was it 200,000 or 20,000 or 2,000? The point is that it is
enough to change the conversation in this country. We that march, we that
engage in civil disobedience are not doing it because people like to get
arrested or people like to be out in the cold. We do it because you must
dramatize what is going on to have those that are ignoring it have to deal
and address the problems.
Joining me now, two fellow warriors for the 99 percent, Van Jones,
president of Rebuild the Dream, and former congressman Alan Grayson,
Democrat from Florida. Van, your line yesterday was, quote, "You haven`t
seen anything yet. What do you think is coming next for this movement?"
VAN JONES, PRESIDENT, "REBUILD THE DREAM": This is a great day for
democracy. We are three years into the worst economic disaster since the
great depression, and people have been sitting on a white hot stove for
three years hoping that Washington, D.C. would come save them. People
realize now we`ve got to stand up for ourselves.
The American dream means that people who work hard should be able to
get someplace. We are now seeing the American dream being thrown in the
garbage can. The people who don`t work hard and break the rules, the
people who sit there on Wall Street, you know, making money off making
money, those are the ones who profited and the rest of us have been
suffering. So this is a great day for democracy.
What`s next? We have to move from anger to answers. People want the
Occupy movement has blown the doors open. The rest of us in the 99 percent
who have ideas and solutions like at rebuildthedream.com, we`ve got good
ideas now, and we`ve got the opportunity to not just talk about the
problems but also talk about solutions.
SHARPTON: Congressman Grayson, I think that we have seen any number
of movements now from labor in Wisconsin and Ohio to the jobs march we did
in the November around Martin Luther King`s memorial, jobs and justice,
Occupy two months today. All of this must lead to real solution and
answers as Van says, and it move to some action in the Congress and the
Senate. How do we make that transition?
FORMER REP. ALAN GRAYSON, (D) FLORIDA: Well, the same way we did in
the `60s. I`m in my second half century like you, reverend, so I remember
what that was like. And this is what it looked like. This is what the
beginning looked like in the `60s. People marching, protesting, saying we
desperately need change. We`re not going to take any more. Our leaders
have to follow us and get things done. That`s what led to clean air and
clean water, safe food, safe cars, women`s rights, and peace. And you`ll
see the same transition now in this country 50 years later.
SHARPTON: But just like in the `60s and the `70s, and the `80s when
we fought and got change and I was involved and still am in a lot of these
things, I`m clear there are people pushing back. There are people fighting
us. There are people that are not going to give in easily, and we can`t
romanticize that. That is why it`s important that we have all kinds of
expressions of movement but, as Van Jones says, that are pointing towards
answers and solutions. How do we make the Congress understand though that
they must legislate and not just sit by and act like spectators.
JONES: We have an election coming up, but even before the election,
the so-called super committee, which should be called the super awful
committee, apparently is thinking about next week, even in the face of all
of this protest, coming forward with proposals that will just add pain to
the pain and impose even more devastating cuts on the American people.
If you -- the reason I say you haven`t seen anything yet is if the
streets and the elites stay this far apart, where you have a movement going
one direction saying we want more economic opportunity, more fairness, more
help for the people, and the elites in D.C. go the other direction and try
to impose more pain on the people, the movement you see right now will grow
by 10 times. The super committee needs to stop putting forward super bad
ideas and come forward with some super proposals for jobs, number one.
SHARPTON: Congressman Grayson, what will move Congress? I`ve been
down Occupy Wall Street. We had our marches, as I said last month. People
are still mobilizing. What will make the Congress change as we saw in the
GRAYSON: Think about what brought us the civil rights movement. We
had a million people show up at the Washington monument and demand their
rights. We`re going to need the same thing right now. But now it`s not
just one race. It`s all America. It`s the 99 percent. It`s all of us who
just can`t take anymore.
The sheep are looking up, and they`re going to demand that Congress
listens. And if that means Occupy Washington, D.C., that`s fine. If it
means Occupy Wall Street, that`s fine, whatever it takes, because people
just can`t take it anymore. And America needs to head in a different
direction. They will have to listen.
In the same way the Tea Party occupied all of our town hall meetings
two years ago, now real people, real middle class people need, people who
are suffering, experiencing the misery of having their Social Security
taken away, their Medicare taken away, losing their pensions, their jobs,
their homes, they`re going to speak up. The sheep are going to look up and
they`re going to take over.
SHARPTON: Now that is the hypocrisy that I am hearing, Van. There
are those that are complaining about all of the efforts that all of us are
doing, but a year ago when the Tea Party was marching and the Tea Party was
doing vigils and some of them even standing in front of public forums
holding weapons, they were expressing themselves as Americans. Now all of
a sudden these that are out there, those of us doing other things, are
called troublemakers, those that disrespect the law.
They can`t have it both ways. When Americans stand up, let me show
you this graph. When 68 percent of Americans are saying they`re supporting
taxing millionaires, 68 percent of millionaires even saying it, people are
outraged at the economic inequality. When it was the Tea Party on the
right, they had rights. When Glenn Beck was leading marches, they had
rights. Now when you have Occupy Wall Street, when you have all of those
of us doing other efforts, all of a sudden, we are being disruptive. No,
we are talking for the majority of Americans.
JONES: Yes. And I think that`s one of the most important things we
can say. The other thing they`re trying to say is that this is some kind
of movement that is against everything American. No, it`s a patriotic
movement. If this country is supposed to be a place of equal opportunity
we have the American dream and Cain`s dream, we are supposed to be a place
where equal opportunity means something. It shouldn`t just be just a cruel
And we`re standing up for that. That`s what patriots do. You stand
up and defend your country against the people who want to rig the game.
The other thing is this is not a movement that hates rich people just
for being rich. If it were that kind of movement we`d call it Occupy
Silicon Valley. No. It`s not about hating the economic winners. It`s
about hating the economic cheaters. We`re tired of the cheaters. We`re
tired of people rigging the game so that they can get ahead and the rest of
us can`t get anywhere.
And so this is a very American movement. It`s saying we want to have
equal opportunity. Quit rigging the game. Quit cheating. If you`re
successful, that`s great. But don`t be greedy. Don`t use your wealth to
hurt the country. Use your health to help the country. That`s the message
of this movement.
SHARPTON: Congressman Alan Grayson, and Van Jones, thanks to both of
you for your time.
JONES: Thank you very much for the opportunity.
SHARPTON: Ahead, Massachusetts mystery -- a bombshell, a bombshell
report on governor Mitt Romney`s team. Why did they completely destroy all
e-mails? Why did they literally buy their state issued computers? What is
he trying to hide? The reporter who broke the story joins us next.
Plus it`s desperation time. They`re distorting and twisting the truth
to paint the president as anti-American. Massive fact check tonight.
And cheer up Speaker Boehner. It`s your birthday. And I have some
special gifts for you tonight.
You`re watching POLITICSNATION on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Democrats and Republicans are trying to find a way to deal
with this country`s debt crisis. There`s only one snag -- Republicans
don`t seem to get what`s causing the debt problem even though they seem to
have quite a problem with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Today marks an infamous day in
American history. It`s the day that the national debt is now $15 trillion.
And the president rather than tackling this challenge, rather than facing
up to our debt is pursuing policies that are making matters worse.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: Our debts have crossed the $15
trillion number yesterday. That ought to be a giant wakeup call to the
Congress that it`s time to rip the Band-Aid off and do what needs to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Did I miss something? Did Speaker Boehner miss the Bush
presidency? Did he miss the tax cuts Bush initiated? Those tax cuts will
add $424 billion to this year`s deficit alone. One-third of our deficit
can be blamed on those tax cuts.
You want to solve this country`s debt problem? Focus more on having
the rich pay more and less on cutting programs for the poor and middle
Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont.
Today he joined other lawmakers telling Congress to wake up and protect
entitlements in debt deal negotiations. Senator, thank you for coming on
the show tonight.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: My pleasure, Al.
SHARPTON: Why do Republicans continue to attack Medicare and Social
Security when taxes seem to be the real issue?
SANDERS: Well, they want to distort the reality facing the American
policy and what the debt crisis is all about. George Bush got news two
wars. He forgot to pay for them. He gave huge tax breaks to the
wealthiest people of the country, no offset. He passed prescription drug
Medicare Part D program, forgot to negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical
industry, didn`t pay for that. Wall Street caused this terrible, terrible
recession, massive unemployment, less revenue coming into the federal
And now with that as the background, as the true background, what our
Republican friends see is an opportunity with the national debt so high to
start shifting the blame and to say, well, we have this terrible deficit.
We`ve got to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. We`ve got to cut
back on education, the environmental --
SHARPTON: And it`s not even fiscally sound, senator. Let me show
you. When they talk about where we`re doing this reduce the deficit, if
you just reduce the corporate jet tax loop hole, you would generate $460
million a year. If you cut the wasteful spending programs they`re
proposing, you`d only cut $456 million a year.
If they really were just talking numbers and deficit, they would
really cut more by just closing the corporate jet tax loop holes than
programs that they`re talking about are wasteful which you and I would
argue are not wasteful at all. So it doesn`t even make mathematical sense
what they`re saying.
SANDERS: You`re right, Al. What is very, very interesting, Al, is
that all across the country the American people are coming together on what
a sensible deficit reduction plan is about. And all of the polls say the
exact same thing. The American people, whether they are Republicans,
Democrats, independents, conservatives, progressives, they say that when
the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well, when their effective tax
rate has gone down, you`ve got to ask the wealthy to pay more taxes.
The American people are saying when you have these huge corporate loop
holes so the companies made billions of dollars in a given year and pay
nothing in federal income tax, you got to close those loop holes. And the
American people whether you`re Tea Party or progressive, are also saying do
not cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
So we have a plan out there. The American people want deficit
reduction but they want it in a way that is fair and responsible. And I
certainly hope that the super committee, Republicans and Democrats, are
listening to what the majority of people want.
SHARPTON: We have a letter of 72 House Republicans was sent to the
super committee today saying they won`t accept any tax hikes or new revenue
under any circumstances. We also see that -- we`re told that the
Republican leadership secretly pledged to Grover Norquist to protect tax
breaks. These things are the problem that keeps the situation unfair and
unequal moving forward. We`ve got to break that if we want to move
SANDERS: Al, what that is about is why the Republican right wing
ideology is literally a fringe ideology. Nobody in America except the
leadership of the Republican Party thinks that you should give more tax
breaks to the rich and then cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Now, my hope is that the Democrats this time stand tall and that they
defend working families in this country and they say, sorry, enough is
enough. Yes, the wealthy all going to have to pay more in taxes. And if
you guys are not prepared to do that, we`re going to go to the American
people and expose you for what you are.
SHARPTON: Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for being with us tonight.
SANDERS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, we told you about the conflicts of interest of
Justices Thomas and Scalia and what they face in the health care challenge.
What Republican senator Jeff Sessions is saying. Is it an attempt to
deflect from that?
And Rick Perry`s latest attempt on President Obama is just ridiculous
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK PERRY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He grew up in a privileged
way. You know, he never had to really work for anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: You better believe I`m responding tonight to that. Stay
SHARPTON: Since the Supreme Court announced it would hear cases
challenging president Obama`s health care law, we`ve told you about
potential conflict of interest for Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia. But
how does the right wing handle this story? They deflect.
Take Alabama Senator Jefferson Sessions. He`s jumped on liberal
justice Elena Kagan, saying she was involved with defending the health care
law when she was in the Obama administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, (R) ALABAMA: She`s involved herself in the
litigation and is not normally any private lawyer would not be able to sit
on the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Of course during her confirmation hearings Kagan told
senators she hadn`t been asked her opinion about legal issues related to
the proposed health care legislation. But it`s interesting senator
sessions is so worried about Kagan and not Scalia and Thomas. Just last
week they headlined and spoke at a fundraiser for the conservative legal
group the Federalist Society, sponsored in part by the very firm that`s
challenging the health care law. And Thomas and Scalia`s table were right
next to the table of Paul Clement. He is the lawyer who will likely argue
against the health care law in the Supreme Court.
We asked Senator Sessions` office if he is troubled by Thomas and
Scalia`s attendance and speaking at the fundraiser. They never got back to
us. Senator, do you think we wouldn`t notice that you ignored conflicts of
interest for conservative justices? Nice try, senator, but we got you.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. An explosive report from
"The Boston Globe" today reports that just as Willard Mitt Romney was
leaving the governor`s office, his top staff members destroyed all
electronic records from their computers. Quote, 11 of his top aides
purchased their state issue computer hard drives and the Romney
administration`s e-mails were all wiped from a server. And the computers
that weren`t purchased, they were replaced just before the next Governor
Deval Patrick and his staff showed up to take power in January, 2007.
State employees buying their work computers? That`s a new one on me.
Romney`s chief legal counsel said it was common practice in the governor`s
office and, quote, "Those purchases were in conformance with the law and
long-standing executive branch practice." In Massachusetts, they`re
supposed to hand over electronic records when the governor leaves office.
Seems very fishy to me.
Joining me now, Glen Johnson, political editor of "The Boston Globe"
Web site, boston.com. He`s been writing about this today for "The Boston
Globe." Glen, thank you for being here with me tonight.
GLEN JOHNSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Well, thanks for
having me on, Al.
SHARPTON: Now, let me make sure I have this right. Romney`s
administration let employees buy the computers they used at work in state
level jobs that had information on them that should have been saved for
JOHNSON: Yes. It wasn`t just the computers, which I think people
could probably wrap their head around. It was actually the hard drive
component of some computers that in some cases was bought. So it wasn`t
just like selling somebody a laptop that they could use in another job. It
was them taking a component out of a computer, a hard drive, and purchasing
it on their own.
SHARPTON: Now, wouldn`t some of the things in the hard drive and
those computers contain public record, public information that the state
should have had access to, the citizens of the state of Massachusetts?
JOHNSON: Well, in some senses it`s a public record. They were
obviously government documents. This communication back and forth between
government officials and on the government equipment was definitely
government records. Whether it`s public is a whole different story. The
state public records law doesn`t apply to the governor`s office. It also
doesn`t apply to the legislature which wrote the law but there`s another
section of state law which says that government records must be preserved
so even though the public might not have had ready access to anything on
these hard drives, it should have been preserved for archival purposes and
it wasn`t apparently.
SHARPTON: Now, have you been able to find any other case where this
has happened in gubernatorial administrations aside from this one?
JOHNSON: Yes. As we work our way back to the computer era here, so
far we`ve gone to the two prior administrations, the administration of
Governor Jane Swift, another republican and the administration of Paul
Cellucci, a Republican himself. And the people that we`ve talked to today,
none of them, you know, ever bought their computers or at least bought the
hard drives out of them. So, while the Romney people say this was standard
practice, you know, perhaps they`re referring to the practice of replacing
computers in the governor`s office before a new administration comes in,
but certainly we`ve seen no precedent for this idea of taking hard drives
out of computers and selling them to staffs for 65 bucks a piece. That
SHARPTON: Do officials that you spoke with think that this is legal?
JOHNSON: Well, certainly the secretary of state says the records
should have been preserved and that part of it, you know, that is the
question where, was there a violation of the law if any documentation that
was on his hard drives wasn`t preserved and passed on to the state
archives. The transaction in and of itself, there are canceled checks for
it and that all seems perfectly legal and I don`t think anybody is alleging
if that is illegal. There is some question about how usual or unusual it
but not that the actual sale of the device was illegal, itself.
SHARPTON: And the Romney camp I understand is not too happy that
you`ve written this. Tell us about their response.
JOHNSON: Well, I mean, you know, they basically say that this is
standard practice and what they`ve done is immediately pivot and they`ve
now launched into an attack on the people that brought this to light. The
Deval Patrick administration is being peppered with public records requests
about Mitt Romney and as a part of that, when people started asking for
these e-mails they found they didn`t exist. They issued a statement
yesterday saying they don`t exist and now the Romney campaign is accusing
the Deval Patrick administration of conducting dirty tricks doing the dirty
work of the Obama administration by bringing this to light. They note that
Governor Deval Patrick, Mitt Romney`s successor, is a very close friend of
the president`s and they say he is trying to embarrass him.
SHARPTON: OK. So, let me just get this right before I let you go.
People have been making requests for public records of Romney`s term in
office as governor. The present governor in responding to why they didn`t
have some of those requests explained what happened to some of it and of
course Willard`s people are now saying that the governor is not just
responding, saying why he can`t produce these things, all of a sudden it`s
a conspiracy that President Obama is behind?
JOHNSON: That`s the -- that`s been the line of attack this afternoon.
The campaign manager for Mitt Romney wrote a letter to the governor of
Massachusetts this afternoon putting his own freedom of information request
in saying, he wants to see if there is any communication between the
governor`s top aides and the top aides in the Obama campaign to try and
prove that this may have been done at the behest of the Obama
administration. The Patrick people say, they`re going to be happy to
fulfill the request. Something in fact that they say, the Romney people
never did. That they didn`t release e-mails when they were in the
governor`s office. They`re saying they`re going to do it.
SHARPTON: Well, they should make them do an even and fair exchange.
Willard, Willard, Willard. You never cease to amaze me. Glen Johnson,
thanks for your time tonight.
JOHNSON: Any time, Al.
SHARPTON: I want to bring in Maria Teresa Kumar executive director of
Voto Latino and an MSNBC contributor and Amanda Terkel, senior political
reporter for "The Huffington Post." Thanks to both of you for being here.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: Thank you, Al.
SHARPTON: Maria, let me start with you, Maria Teresa. One question
here is what could Romney and his staff be hiding in your opinion if
KUMAR: That he`s too much of a moderate republican for the extreme
base, right? This is exactly what we forget is that just five years ago he
was actually pro gay marriage and pro choice. And while he was in the
governor`s office, he actually passed universal health care for
Massachusetts residents. So, maybe he has too much of a fingerprint of how
moderate he truly is, number one. Number two, I could also see it as a
problem for the Tea Party. What they believe is that government is truly
about them and it`s about the people so the fact that he`s destroying or
actually deleting public records that could actually give a trail of where
his stance really is must keep them, give them some sort of unease that he
cannot be trusted and it really fits into the narrative that he`s a flip
flopper. That he basically is hiding behind their shield and no one really
knows what he stands for.
SHARPTON: Now, Amanda, when I got up early this morning, I read a
statement from Jonathan Gruber, the man who helped Romney create the
Romney-care legislation in Massachusetts and he says and I`m going to show
it to our viewers, this is Romney`s architect of Romney care. He said the
same f`ing bill. He just can`t have his cake and eat it too. He can try
to draw a distinction and stuff. He is just lying. And when he is
referring in that profane way to a bill, he is talking about President
Obama`s bill is the same as what Romney is doing. So I`m not raising this
"Boston Globe" to suggest they`re hiding something illegal but maybe what
Maria Teresa is saying, they don`t want a record of the flip flopping and
the stances that he once took that now he`s taking differently. Do you
think he`s hiding something like what Gruber is saying?
AMANDA TERKEL, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Well, certainly it raises a lot
of questions which is, you know, why I mean, why did they hide these e-
mails? Health care certainly would be in these e-mails. It was the
signature achievement while Romney was governor. He was probably praising
the individual mandates, a very important part of his plan. Perhaps he was
even talking with Democrats about it. And you know, probably not what the
conservative base would like to hear now. And so, was Romney thinking of
this? Were his aides thinking ahead saying, look he might want to run for
president and he will need to run to appeal to Republicans? We don`t
really know because those e-mails aren`t out there and they`re not really
SHARPTON: Now, Maria Teresa, you may think that I have called Willard
a flip flopper and I have but let me show you Republicans even feel.
KUMAR: That`s right.
SHARPTON: That he`s a flip flopper. These folks in Iowa, 47 percent
feel he`s a flip flopper. In New Hampshire, 43 percent. Iowa, 48 percent
say, Willard will say or do anything to win. In New Hampshire, 43 percent
say that Willard would say or do anything to win. And you know what?
These are Republicans that are being polled. These are all just
Republicans. So, I think that when you have that kind of burden to
overcome, you might not want people to have much of a record on what you
said in the past.
KUMAR: I think you`re right. And I think that`s not wrong. And the
fact that Mitt Romney cannot catch a break and break over 20, you know, 29
percent approval rating or 22 percent, whatever, that range, really says
that they have an enthusiasm for everybody but him. And that`s I think
what the Republican Party really should have, keep an eye on. The fact
that they were so confident coming into the 2012 election that they were
going to have a grass roots Tea Party pace that`s going to get fired up
behind a candidate but now it`s evenly split with everybody but him, yes,
he can go ahead and be the republican nominee but are they going to fire up
the pace for the Tea Party to come out and vote for him? I don`t think so.
And I think that`s what has everybody scratching their head and that`s why
Newt Gingrich is increasingly looking like an attractive candidate. But he
himself has his own baggage both personally and professionally of whether
or not he can actually carry the presidency. So, it`s going to be, it`s a
tough field right now for the Republican Party just in general.
SHARPTON: Amanda, is it possible with Willard, I mean, we`ve seen
every week a different, every other week a different person rising up with
momentum, clearly giving an indication Republicans just don`t want Willard.
How can he ever get over this 29 percent if he can`t convince the
Republicans of his authenticity?
TERKEL: I think he`s just hoping to ride it out. He wants to be the
tortoise in the race. The others are the hare. They`ll make big
headlines. He tweak, he won`t do that. But they will make big headlines.
They`ll fizzle out. They might have a controversy like Herman Cain and the
sexual harassment allegations. Rick Perry having his oops moment in the
debate. They`re hot one week. They are not the next and Mitt Romney just
wants to be that tortoise going along, going along, building up his
supporters and saying, look. I`m reliable. I may be more moderate but I
can go against Obama and I think that is the strategy he`s trying to do to
get himself through this primary.
SHARPTON: Do you think Maria Teresa that in the end that he will win
by default because everyone that they raise as the anti-Romney just seems
KUMAR: I think so. And I think that is one reasons why he is not
paying attention so much to the Iowa caucuses. He realizes that if he
spends any time there then it indicates to the media that he actually might
win. And if he comes in second or third by not doing anything in Iowa then
he actually has a shot at the presidency and he can control that media
narrative. I think one of the things that he`s also challenged with
though is that sure, he can come out, he can come out and be the republican
nominee but every single candidate right now has a war chest that is going
to really make a dent in his own war chest when it comes to becoming the
republican nominee against Obama and I think that`s what`s making the Mitt
Romney a little nervous and not surprising why he is going after these jabs
with this whole story of "The Boston Globe" trying to blame the Obama
administration with why they`re disclosing this.
SHARPTON: Maria Teresa and Amanda, thanks for your time tonight.
KUMAR: Thank you so much.
TERKEL: Thank you.
SHARPTON: They have nothing on the president, so they`re attacking
him by distorting the truth. That`s next.
SHARPTON: First, they wanted the President`s birth certificate then
his college grades. The latest attack is just as low. That`s next.
SHARPTON: The right wing have absolutely nothing on President Obama
so they attack him with lies. Here is where it all comes from. His recent
economic speech to CEOs from around the globe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We`ve been a little bit lazy I
think over the last couple decades. We`ve kind of taken for granted, well
people will want to come here and we aren`t out there hungry selling
America and trying to attract new businesses into America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The president was referring to America`s pursuit of foreign
investments. He was talking about business practices, not individuals.
But Republicans are never ones to let a little thing like facts get in the
way of a low blow talking point. They`re claiming President Obama is
calling Americans lazy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can you believe that?
That`s what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans are
lazy? That`s pathetic.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve got some of the
hardest working people on the planet here in the United States of America.
What do you mean lazy?
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Once again, the president of the
United States insults the people who make this country work.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said that Americans are
lazy. I just don`t think that President Obama understands America.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The fact that the president of the United States
has called us soft. We`ve lost our competitive edge. And now we`re called
lazy. Why is he so determined to bring us down?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But Rick Perry went as low as he`s ever gone in an
interview on FOX News last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: He grew up in a privileged way, you know, he never had to
really work for anything. I think that mentality of I`m the smartest guy
in the room and therefore it couldn`t be my fault is really hurting America
and we need a president who has been through their ups and downs in life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Privileged. Here`s a man that grew up with a single parent
mother, who at some point had to take care of his eating with food stamps,
take care of her child, grandparents helped to raise him, on merit went to
college, became the one who headed the Harvard Law School journal. You
can`t get that unless you earn it with merit and grades. Then went not to
a big law firm but decided to go to a housing development in Chicago and
work for people that were poor and hopeless and you call that privileged?
You call that a man who doesn`t know anything about ups and downs?
You are inferring that he got some extra advantage. You`re trying to
wink wink at those that try and behave in a way that everything certain
people got it was because they got some advantage at the expense of others.
We know the wink. We know what you`re trying to say. And it is ugly and
it should be called out by all Americans. As for him being the smartest
guy in the room, when he`s in the room with people that don`t know the
third agency that they want to close, there`s a whole lot of people smart
in that room, Governor Perry. Sharpton said that, not President Obama.
Joining me now is Bill Press, host of "Bill Press Show" on Sirius XM
radio and Jonathan Capehart editorial writer for "The Washington Post" and
MSNBC contributor. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Great being here.
BILL PRESS, HOST, "THE BILL PRESS SHOW": Reverend Al, good to see
SHARPTON: Good to see you. Bill, this lazy, now I just played what
the president said. Obviously he said, we`ve been lazy in going after
investments. How they take a literal taped statement. I mean, we`re not
even talking about a private meeting here that no one can prove what he
said and act as though that he called Americans lazy and all of them go on
this is amazing.
PRESS: You know, everybody is saying they`re distorted of what the
president said. They are not distorting anything. They are lying. They
are absolutely lying. The President did not call Americans lazy. But it
does prove I think that Perry and Romney will say or do anything to make a
point to score a point to get elected. But here`s what gets me. What the
president -- he was meeting with his business leaders and if you read what
he said, you know, we`ve got to get out there and we`ve got to hustle.
We`ve got to hustle to tell people that this is a great country. We`ve got
to streamline the process for it. We`ve got to help them invest here and
we`ve got to make it easier for them. That is exactly what the Chamber of
Commerce says every day.
PRESS: And that`s what conservatives say they stand for. And here is
the president out there, they hate him so much, Al, that they will take one
little word and twist it and lie about it and use it against him.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, Rick Perry says, the President grew up privileged
and we need a president that knows the ups and downs of life.
SHARPTON: I mean, there is clear, you know, inferences that he`s
trying to play on.
CAPEHART: Those are dog whistle words that we`re hearing. And you
handled it just fine before you introduced us, so I don`t need to repeat
what you said. But anyone who knows President Obama`s story knows that the
words "privileged" and "he never really had to work hard" just don`t match
the man. They don`t match his story. They don`t match his reality. And
you know, we`re all aghast at what is being said now, that a word like
"lazy" is being pulled out, out of context and thrown into an ad. This is
November, 2011. It is going to get a whole lot uglier, this is what they
shows me, it`s going to get a whole lot uglier once there is a defined
nominee and once despite independent 527s with all their money go out and
go after the president.
SHARPTON: Bill, I think he`s right. Is this because they really
don`t have anything to go after the president with so they`re going to have
to go for low blows when you can`t win a fight you have to try and break
the rules and hit with low blows?
PRESS: Oh, no. Absolutely. And you know what they`re really feeding
on I think is this hatred of Obama, which is an obsession with the Tea
Partier so that anything Obama -- here again, Obama is singing the song of
the business community, right? And they have to against him because it`s
Obama. You know what? It`s like Newt Gingrich who said, we got to bomb
Libya once Obama gave the orders to start bombing Libya then Newt Gingrich
suddenly comes out against it.
SHARPTON: Well, at least Newt Gingrich knew where Libya was.
I mean, to bring up who`s the smartest guy in the room, Rick Perry
shouldn`t even mention that.
PRESS: At least Obama can count to three.
SHARPTON: And remember.
CAPEHART: Right. And you know what else is going on here, let`s put
all these words together. Privileged, didn`t work hard, didn`t have to
work hard. Doesn`t know what it means to work hard. Add that to
socialist, Muslim, not born in this country. Pretty much right after his
inauguration and the rise of the extreme elements of the Tea Party there`s
been this move to delegitimize Barack Obama as president of the United
States by making him foreign, making him strange, making him the other.
So, that`s why I keep saying, if we`re horrified by what we`re hearing now,
then just fasten your seat belts.
SHARPTON: Bill, is that going to work with moderates? Is that going
to work with independents and moderates?
PRESS: Well, look. Unfortunately, if they tell the lie often enough,
some people start to believe that`s what Obama said and they`re out there
putting out this ad. I think the Democratic National Committee has got to
do a better job of telling the truth here and what Obama really said. But,
you know what? What I want to see, there is another debate next week. We
were just talking about this on Tuesday night. And you know darned well
that Rick Perry is going to use that line and Mitt Romney is going to use
that line, probably all of them, right? If those reporters or those
moderators are not asking questions, let them get away with it without
calling them on it and saying that`s not what the president said. Then
they are not doing their jobs.
SHARPTON: They should just play the tape.
Bill Press and Jonathan Capehart, thank you. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. We have exciting news tonight. It is
Speaker John Boehner`s birthday. Happy 62nd birthday, Mr. Speaker.
Congratulations. You now qualify for Social Security. But you`d rather
keep working, right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Eventually getting
the retirement age to 70 is a step that needs to be taken. If you have
substantial nonsocial security income while you`re retired, why are we
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And maybe it`s time to say so long to health insurance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: When you look at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, these
are important programs for tens of millions of Americans but they`re not
sustainable at their current levels. We`re going to have to make some
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But since it`s your birthday we here at politician nation
got some gifts for you on your special day. First, a dog. He`s a man`s
best friend. And with those mean Tea Party members in your caucus, you can
certainly use one. We`ve also got some driving lessons. You keep driving
the conversation away from jobs to guns or taking away abortion rights so
maybe we can steer you back on track. And we have new golf clubs. We
already know you spend half the year on the course but those Tea Partiers
might give you even more time to tee up.
Don`t start crying yet, Mr. Speaker. I have your final gift right
here. I brought it myself. Some tissues that you can have and I don`t
want you to use them all now. Save them until next year, election night.
Because I am making sure that a lot of people understand the policies and
we`ll going to give you something that you`ll be able to use this for
election night. Gift from me to you. Happy Birthday, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right
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